May 25, 2010

Interesting Times

My friends, we are suffering under the ancient curse, "May you live in interesting times."

I've been sitting at my desk today working on a fairly mundane and repetitive task - silhouetting images for a Flash animation. It doesn't take a lot of concentration so I was able to occupy my mind with other thoughts. A refrain from one of my least favorite bands that popped into my head unbidden: "I read the news today, Oh Boy."

I began to wonder when my children reached my age, what sort of life they would have, and what sort of country they would be living in. 22 images later I can't claim to know the answer, but I think I have a better understanding of the question. The truly interesting thing is that the answer will known long before my children reach forties.

What I do know about the future is that it will be nothing like the present or even the recent past. I know I have a terrifying grasp of the obvious and on it's face that is a completely useless statement. But if you bear with me I will offer what I can by means of an explanation to give it what meaning I can.

First a definition of terms. By "recent history" I am referring to the the last half a century or so. For a historical reference let's assume the Post War Era. 

Politics and culture have been swinging like the tides. A little more freedom, a little more statist then back again in and almost decadal cycle.

Starting with the Great Society of the Sixties we moved into the barely moderate Seventies until we hit a pothole known as the Carter years.

Then we had eight years of conservative leadership from the Reagan administration. Followed by the squishy conservative years with Bush the Elder.

Then eight years of Triangulation, which was an exercise in intellectual masturbation through which Clinton tried to hide how liberal he really was.

We followed that with eight years of "Compassionate Conservatism." Which was Bush the Younger's attempt to govern as a conservative while trying to look like a moderate. The result of all this back and forth has been ever growing government and ever increasing statism.

Now the tide has fully reversed and we have The One. The One has put a lot of effort into blaming everything on Bush the Younger, but in truth The One is not the Anti-Bush. The One is the Anti-Reagan.

In fact about the only thing for which I can give The One any degree of respect is the fact he is unabashedly liberal. He doesn't try to hide it with triangulation or some silly pseudonym like Conservative Progressivism. He is what he is. And of course he is wrong.

My point in all of this admittedly oversimplified analysis is that I don't think as a nation we have much time left to swing a little to the left, and little to the right as we dance around the middle. I think The One has taken things far enough to the left to have broken the cycle. In the back and forth between the statists and those who prefer the individual liberty on which this nation was founded it has finally come down to us or them.

I don't know who is going to win but I suspect that the struggle is not going to be pretty.

How can I be sure of that? Consider that today the people who want to live in a country that is actually governed according to the Constitution with which it was founded are the Counter Culture. They are protesting. They are marching. They are mocked and derided by the powerful as "teabaggers" in much the same way those in the Sixties Counter Culture were mocked and derided as Hippies.

There are some differences. The current Counter Culture contains a large number of people who are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. They are armed in numbers that the Sixties Counter Culture could never imagine. This is not to say that the current establishment is going to be any more averse to using force than its Sixties and Seventies predecessors.

Recently members of The One's favorite labor union the SEIU arrived by the bus load at a the home of a Bank of America executive with a goal of intimidation. They succeeded in terrorizing the man's teenage son. No arrests were made despite their mass trespass on private property. 

They were breaking the law to protest BofA following the law, enforcing contracts, and foreclosing on delinquent mortgages.

This is not the end of physical intimidation from the left, nor is it the beginning. I do not think it is a question of if the left's violence will be answered with violence, but when.

The One needs one more big crisis to make his next transformative change to the country. That crisis will be the next round of financial meltdown that is coming soon. It will start in Europe when Greece finally collapses into chaos and the European Union falls apart. In the U.S. the kick-off will be California. Having spent trillions bailing out everyone else there will be no financial means or political will to bail out California.

Can all this be avoided. Possibly. If Greece and California can last past the mid-term elections and enough statists can be replaced in Washington. But even with that I think it's still going to be a very interesting time.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:14 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

May 20, 2010

It's Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!

My celebration of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day would probably be better if I could draw at all. But the fact is I can't draw to save my life. Which given today's festivities is either a good thing or a bad thing. I'm not sure.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:01 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

May 19, 2010

Local Liar

Does it come as any surprise that Chris "Friend of Angelo" Dodd having been forced out of the Senate because he was too corrupt for even Connecticut Democrats to support has endorsed Attorney General Richard Blumenthal?

Recently Blumenthal was called to question for some things he said that were less than truthful.

He got caught lying through his teeth about his past military service.

His defense is that he misspoke. On the multiple occasions when he said he served as a Marine in Vietnam, he meant to say he served during Vietnam. As he did not actually go to Vietnam or take part in anything close to combat.

I don't believe that he misspoke. I believe he told the same lie with both statements.

If someone says to you "I served in the Marines during Vietnam," do you take that to mean they were in the states working their day job while they were part of the Marine Reserves? Or do you have a picture them slogging through the jungle, carrying a rifle, looking for Charlie?

Blumenthal deliberately sought to create the impression that he fought as a United States Marine in the Vietnam war. He lied.

He should be dishonorably discharged from public service for conduct unbecoming a decent human being.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:59 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

May 16, 2010

Serious Spin

I make no claim to be a legal scholar, and I have only been peripherally following the issues surrounding the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

However you can file this under the heading of Spin so unbelievable it can only come from the New York Times.

On Speech, Kagan Leaned Toward Conservatives

WASHINGTON — In her early years as a law professor, Elena Kagan wrote almost exclusively on the First Amendment. There are indications in those writings that her views on government regulation of speech were closer to the Supreme Court’s more conservative justices, like Antonin Scalia, than to Justice John Paul Stevens, whom she hopes to replace.

They actually expect people to believe that The One nominated a Scalia ally to the Court? There's a reason spin like this usually appears in print or online. It would fail on television because no one could make an argument like that with a straight face.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

May 06, 2010

What's Going On?

I have let so many things go by without comment, my loyal reader is probably beginning to question my dedication. Even my friend Jack has stopped sending me the emails he gets from But in my defense, it's hard to keep up with reality these days in large part because the truth is stranger than fiction.

So here's a quick round-up so my reader knows I'm paying attention.

One thing the current administration has going for it recently is a bit of good luck. They have been lucky that the incompetence of terrorists sent to attack us has obscured their incompetence in protecting the nation from terrorism.

The guy who failed to blow up a car in Times Square was arrested on board a plane that was taxying to the runway when it was ordered back to the gate. The guy was apparently on the federal "no fly" list. I guess technically "the system worked" because the plane never took off and he didn't actually fly, but wouldn't it be more effective to just not let him on a plane in the first place?

Tin Foil Hat Time: Cap and Trade legislation is stalled in congress. The One is taking some heat for his fake support of off-shore drilling. The green energy revolution and the billions of jobs it will create is off to an excruciatingly slow start. The whole edifice of Global Warming is crumbling. What The One really needs is a good environmental disaster. Preferably an oil related disaster. Never let a crisis go to waist and all that.

I'm not saying the administration caused the well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. I'm just saying it couldn't have happened at a more convenient time.

The healthcare takeover bill is turning out to be bigger disaster than even some of the more pessimistic predictions. Actually it you combined all the different pessimistic predictions from all the different pessimistic analysts you would probably get fairly close to reality.

According to documents requested by Henry Waxman when companies started publicly reporting the financial impact of the bill, they are also busy doing the math to see if it makes better financial sense to not provide medical insurance as a benefit to their employees and just pay the fines instead.

Manufacturers of medical devices are busy looking into ways to reduce their operating costs to offset the increased taxes they will have to pay. One of those ways will be lay-offs.

On a more personal level I'm rolling along into the 11th month of unemployment. I'm currently interviewing for a position at a company that specializes in medical insurance. If the Republicans can't or don't undo this monstrosity I could possibly have job in a industry that will soon die of unnatural causes.

I would hate to have to put my fate in the hands of the GOP. The last time they ran the show, they really really sucked.

The CEO of Government Motors has been all over the television lying his ass off about how GM paid it's government loan back early. With interest. The lying sack of shit never mentioned the mentioned the $45 billion or so GM got by selling 60% of its stock to the U.S. Treasury. And the asshole never mentioned that they paid back the government loan with other money GM got from the government.

He also failed to mention that the only reason GM and The One and Tax Cheat of theTreasury Timmy Geitner tried to pull of this little fraud is because GM wants to get a $10 billion loan to retool it's factories to meet new government gas mileage standards.

Want to guess who they want to borrow that money from. That's right. The federal government. 

I think it's about time they drop the pretense that GM is a private company. They should just make GM a federal department and the CEO a member of the cabinet. I'm certain the confirmation hearings would be entertaining.

Based on what is happening in Greece, a good deal of Europe and here in the U.S. I predict that before the end of the year what's left of the global economy will crash and crash hard. It is not going to be pretty.

If you want to know how unstable things are someone apparently made a typo on a stock trade today and sent the whole system into a tailspin. It's not even a house of cards any more. It's a hack magician's levitation illusion.

Someone asked me the other day if I was worried about police violating people's civil rights using Arizona's new "let's enforce immigration law" law. The way I see it law enforcement in Arizona will be operating under a microscope and anything done under this law that is not squeaky clean will be dealt with harshly. So my first instinct when someone cries abuse will be to assume they are lying for political reasons.

My lawnmower died yesterday. 

I bought it 15 years ago when we bought our first house. It was an incredible machine. I brought it home, put in oil and gas, connected the spark plug and started it up. In the 15 years I have had it the only thing I have ever done to it is put in more gas. I never changed, added or even looked at the oil. It has an air filter on it somewhere, I've never touched that either. When winter came I pushed it into the garage with whatever gas was left in the tank and left it there until spring when I added more gas and started it up.

With that level of care it ran great for 15 years. If you ask me, Briggs and Stratton make a damn fine lawnmower engine.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:43 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

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