Monthly Archives: May 2019

A problem with Socialism & Capitalism in America

As strange as it may sound both Socialism and Capitalism suffer from the same problem in America. This is not to say both suffer other problem/issues, just that they both suffer from the same one in America. In America we seem to think that both Socialism and Capitalism are well defined and thought out economic systems. Unfortunately they are not. They aren’t even well formulated economic theories. What they are are two, in practice, economic systems with many many different systems in practice.

People also think that Capitalism is a 18th century development an Socialism is a 19th century one. What is true is that those were when economic systems that had been going one for many centuries started to be both studied and, sometimes, formalized. When Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” he was describing the economic system system he found around him in 18th Scotland. He both gave it a name and did try to formalize it into a theory. An for an 18th century philosopher he did quite well. But he wasn’t the last word, not by a long shot.

The same can be shown for Socialism. The economic philosophers of the early/middle 19th century were describing an economic system that they could observe practiced by natives in the soon to be colonized Africa and Americas.

So just what is the problem these two Izums share? When discussed they are in an idealized form. This is something done quite often in science. We will create an ‘idealized’ model to simplify the tremendously complex system we are studying. The thing to remember that it is an idealized sample we are looking at and therefore subject to errors. What will work in the idealized system doesn’t work, or works in strange ways, in the real world.

A great example of this is something I learned in a Macro Economics class, the concept of elasticity. All too often people think that you can buy, or refrain from buying something depending on how much it costs. An for a lot of things this is true. But somethings you must have to live, like food an water. If either or both of these become scares people will do what ever is needed to get them. These are what are called inelastic commodities. In an idealized economic model commodities will either be all elastic or all inelastic, not a mix. Nor will you have a commonality that is usually elastic that can become inelastic do to non economic forces.

Another thing that is often done in idealized economic systems is to limit the number of reasons a person will do something to strictly economic reasons, excluding religious , moral, and/or philosophical reasons. We even do a lot just for emotional reasons, because it will make us feel good, or to get back at someone/something that hurt us? These reasons for making economic decisions are difficult or impossible to quantitize much less predict.

So the next time someone brings up Socialism or Capitalism take a moment and ask them just what they mean by that word. You just might be surprised.

A Problem In 2020 for the GOP

There is a problem just waiting to jump out and bite the GOP in the butt in 2020. It is, strangely enough, the blind eye they are turning towards election security. I’m not sure what they are thinking. It could be a lot of things, most likely is. But this I do know, the GOP is the party of “it’s no big deal, so let’s do nothing.”

Even if they win big in 2020 how will they defend their victory against the charges of election tampering. If we do nothing how can they reassure the electorate that the election was fair? How does any state demonstrate that the election wasn’t hacked? After all the GOP has been the party leading the charge about election fraud. Of ghost voters, or illegal aliens voting? So how do they turn around and say “This was a fair and open election. No hacking here.”

They maybe thinking that they will not win big, or even win at all. That this is just preparatory to crying “Rigged Election” when they loose. If so it is a greave error on their part. While it might help them in the short run, it will hurt the United States in the long run and history will not be kind tp them. But then, again, the leaders of the GOP may not care what history says. After all, they will be long dead an buried so what does it mean to them.

But what does it say about them?

How SCOTUS can dodge Alabama’s Trap.

A great deal has been written the past few days over just what and why Alabama passed such a draconian anti-abortion law. Mostly they all agree that it is to make a test case for the Supreme Court to over turn Roe vs Wade. An this may well be the case, but I think the Alabama Legislative may just have gone a bit to overboard in their enthusiasm. I see a way for the court to dodge the issue of abortion entirely and still overturn the law.

The Alabama law makes it illegal for a person (aka woman) to travel out side of the state to get an abortion. This one little clause. The first that came to mind was the ‘full faith and credits’ clause of the Constitution. Later, as I started writing this post in occurred to me that it also violates the right of any Citizen of the United States to freely travel between states with-out hindrance (with a few notable exceptions for convicted felons). Here are your citations: Full faith and Credit see Article IV Section 1. Right of movement see link.

SCOTUS could, or even a lower court could, declare the law unconstitutional on either one or both grounds and never even look at the issues of Roe v Wade. It is quite possible SCOTUS will not even hear the case if the appeals court rules the law unconstitutional on theses grounds. They could just let the lower court ruling stand.

To my way of thinking this is the end this law deserves. It is a bad law, badly written, badly intended, and was never intend to work except as a ‘cause celeb’ of the anti-abortion movement.

“By the pricking of my thumbs.”

“Something wicked this way comes”

As some of you may know the above quote comes from the play McBeth (act 4, sene 1). Many more will know that the play is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies and is about a very bad king.

With the coming of Pres. Trump and the turning in of the Mueller Report, we are now seeing, what I like to identify them as, Movement Conservatives really coming out of the wood work. They are greatly emboldened to push thru their agenda and grab for ultimate power. Mostly because of the new A.G. Barr has publicly said that the President, when he is a Republican in nothing else, can not be investigated. Nor may he be charged. Additionally he can stop any investigation he chooses when ever he thinks it is best, particularly those investigations that are directed at him/her. Pres. Trump now seems to be acting like he can do what he wants, when he want, to whom he wants, in anyway he wants. Just like the Kings of old.

In the past two weeks we have seen the threat of military action in Venezuela, Korea and Iran. We are seeing US military actions taking place in the Middle East with responses by Iran. Also we have several State Legislators passing or getting ready to pass laws that are currently unconstitutional in the hope that the ‘new’ “Conservative” Supreme Court will use one or more of them to over turn “Roe vs Wade”. Funny how so few people remember that the SCOTUS of ‘Roe’ was considered ‘conservative’ at the time?

I am really not sure where all these things will lead to, but I am sure we will be living with the results and effects for the next few decades, even if Donald Trump is not re-elected. One of the results I will be working for, and I encourage others to do is when you disagree with what is happening to resist to your up most. It doesn’t mater how much, every little bit is needed. You need not be a MacDuff, you don’t even need to be a spear carrier. If nothing else you can bear witness to the actions taken. So I leave you with the closing couplet of the pay that I started this with……

“Lay on MacDuff, and damned be he who cries Hold! Enough!”

Persecuted Evangelicals

Yesterday, V. P. Pence at Liberty University, told the graduates to be ready to be shunned and ridiculed. This is exactly what many of these graduates want to hear. Ever since the 2nd Great Awakening many evangelicals have been, in there eyes, persecuted for their faith. Today’s evangelicals look at the world the same way. I’ve always wondered why?

When looked from the outside it is very difficult to see any persecution, especially in this country. My first clue came over 50 years ago when I read “Lest Darkness Fall” by L. Space de Camp. In the story a character complains that he was being denied religious freedom because the King had passed a edict of toleration. The character was no longer allowed to persecute people who were not ‘orthodox’. While I know that this is from a work of fiction, it still got me started thinking. As I studied more history and politics it has become clearer to me that people like seeing themselves as persecuted when they can’t get what they want. So what does this have to do with persecuted evangelicals? Well, just hang-on it is going to get complicated.

Since the 2nd Great Awakening American evangelicals have desired to demonstrate how great their faith is. They also have held up as models of great faith the early Christian martyrs. Who hasn’t heard the stories of the Christians being throw to the lions. Just a few problems, first, few if any Christians were thrown to the lions (see link). Next, and even a greater problem, is that in this country with it’s 1st Amendment on religious freedom, they are finding it very hard to find ways to be persecuted, much less martyred. I mean how easy is it to be martyred when you can’t even get people to throw stones, or rotten fruit, or even mud at you.

So you have to settle for calling out being ‘shunned’ even though you are always talking about your religion, how great your faith is, or how bad those ‘other’ people are. It never seems to cross their minds that people just don’t want to be around a person who seems always so judgmental. That every time they even seem to disagree they are countered with heated, sometimes loud, responses. Or, finally, where everything is seen in a religious light, that nothing is really secular. So what is a martyrdom seeking person to do? How do you demonstrate the strength of you faith when Cesar insists on, not only toleration, but actual religious freedom?

There are many ways but I will just mention two here. First, and the one, sadly, most common cry out that everything that is done to you that does not follow you faith is persecution. You can insist that in spite the evidence to the contrary you are persecuted and unjustly treated. Or you can take a much harder path, you can live your life quietly following the teaching of your faith. You can act like former President Jimmy Carter. I know it is much harder and much more complex way of demonstrating faith than simple martyrdom but it has one great thing recommending it. It does not need anyone but you to do anything.

Thank on it.

The Seldon Crisis Continues


With all that has happened the past week and a half I thought it was good to point out how the Seldon Crisis I’ve been blogging about is progressing. For you who are still unclear on just what a Seldon Crisis is just follow the link. What I’m seeing now is part of a Seldon Crisis is one of the internal half of the crisis. With the release of the Mueller Report (redacted) and the demand of the House Judiciary Committee for both the complete report and all of the underlying data.

The action taken Pres. Trump to place everything and everyone dealing with the subject of the report under Executive Privilege I agree with Chairman Jerry Nadler that we are interning a Constitutional Crisis.

Time out for a disclaimer

I am not a Constitutiona scholar, nor lawyer. I am merely a long time student (49 years and counting). So anyone who is either a scholar or lawyer of the Constitution please jump in with your views, just be sure and identify your selves as such. I will listien very attentively. Everyone else be ready for possible snark.

Back to the blog

I have been thru two Presidential impeachment investigation, Nixon and Clinton. Neither was fun or the least bit enjoyable. One, Nixon, was successful even though Pres. Nixon was never tried in the Senate. An while the impeachment of Pres. Clinton was successful he was not convicted by the Senate. Also both were very different from each other. Both in how the investigations leading up to Impeachment and how the House voted on the impeachment. Also both Nixon and Clinton Impeachment’s are very different from the situation we are facing now.

I shan’t be going into all the details of the involved with Pres. Trump and the possible impeachment he is facing. Primary because I’m going to wait till actual impeachment hearings, if any, are being held to write several blogs here. I’m not even sure there will be hearings, much less a vote. But equally important to me is that we have a very important legal/political batter shaping up.

The battle is not the one you will see in the News/Media. It is none the less critical. I’m talking about the proper way for the congress to enforce it’s subpoena power. Historically we have two ways of enforcing a congressional subpoena. Once, over a hundred years ago the House, or Senate, would send out it’s Sargent at Arms to ‘arrest’ the person(s) who was defying subpoena. Now we turn everything over to the justice department. In the current situation this would come of nothing an be bothering more that a bit of Political Kabuki. Some think that this is just what the House Democrats are working for. Some people also think that this is just what the Trump White House is expecting. Me, I think some people are quite wrong.

If this whole battle ends up as a bit of political Kabuki I will be very disappointed in the House leadership (both parties) as this will lead to the effect end of congressional investigations and oversight. What I’m hoping for is that the actual people who are served with the subpoena(s) will defy the orders of the White House and will comply with the subpoena(s). I do not expect this. What I do expect is that the House will clean up it’s holding cell (I hear it is quite disreputable) and then send their Sargent at Arms out to arrest those person(s) who are defying them.

I wait with baited breath to see if we will have Kabuki or action.

What has A.G. Barr sold his Soul For

“[] it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world…..but for Wales?”

Some of you may recognize that the quote above is from “A Man for all Seasons”. I think it is quite appropriate to ask just what AG Barr has sold both is reputation and, possibly his friendship with Mueller, for. After yesterdays performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee where he lied, obfuscated, and figuratively threw his longtime friend Robert Mueller under the bus I think it is well for us to ask just what is he getting out of this. After all this is the age of transactional politics, or so says Pres. Trump.

Tit for tat, this for that, nobody does anything for nothing. Everything can be monetized, even ethics and morality when dealing with the Trump Whitehouse and, now a am afraid the GOP. It has been over 45 years since an USAG has placed himself in legal jeopardy like this (See John Mitchel and the Watergate Scandal). I want to know just what AG Barr is getting out of it. At least with Richard Rich we know he was getting a title in Wales to sell his principals to support Henry VIII. Or maybe I am doing AG Barr a disservice here. Maybe he is standing up for principal.

Maybe he truly holds that the President is above the law, at least when it comes to obstruction of justice. Maybe he truly believes that because there was no demonstrable collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian agents it is no big deal that the Russian government proactively acted to influence the results of the 2016 election. So someone may or may not have hacked election computers systems of one or more states, so what? No one has shown it effected the results so no harm, no foul. Maybe it is he holds that “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.” An it doesn’t matter what you do if you win, just win.

I put it to you, it really doesn’t mater from a practical since, both are equally horrendous and AG Barr has to go. It is time for the House of Representatives to start looking into forcing William Barr to leave the United States Attorney Generals office. If he did for the first reason, he is corrupt. If he did it for the second, he is immoral and unethical. An while it does matter in the long run, in the short run we, the people, need to do the same thing. So write your Congress people, House and Senate, Democrat or Republican and tell them that AG Barr has to go. If you don’t then don’t complain about how justice is done in this country in the future. Remember “We get the country we work for.”