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Monday, March 29, 2010

Helen Keller Was a Communist

No, I'm not kidding, nor am I exaggerating.  

From the website named "" we get this summation of her life:

"Her legacy in the larger hearing world today is one of the saccharine sweet triumph of the individual over personal adversity (with the help of a determined educator-hero).  Gone is her call for international working-class solidarity and her clear revolutionary vision." 

Read more at the link to see the more of her horrible ideology.  

Personally, I agree with the presentation of Keller's story without the introduction of her political opinions.  Her accomplishments are inspiring and make us aware of the potential that can be hidden in so many people.  

That she was a smart lady in no way excuses her perverse and radical, violent advocacy of marxism and communism.  

Why is this worth mentioning?  When her story is so inspirational otherwise, why should I bring this up with seemingly no other context?

Because it's a way to show how strong a movement the communist ideology had in this country back then.  Back in the twenties and thirties, communism, Freudianism, and a few other crackpot ideas were quite the fad among many of the self-identified intelligentsia.  Eleanor Roosevelt associated with many marxists, though most historians think she was not one herself:  I suppose they consider her too much of a ding bat to have such intentional associations though I've seen no such evidence of that.  Her husband's closest advisor, Harry Hopkins, was a soviet spy who tried to assist in supplying the USSR with nuclear material and technology.

Clearly marxism was very popular and powerful here in the United States.  Despite that, it has never gotten mass popularity among Americans.  Most Americans, then as now, favor rugged individualism and free enterprise, even if they often and vacantly mouth slogans that might indicate otherwise.  When truly socialist ideas are presented, Americans tend to balk at them.

Back then, marxists such as Helen Keller tended to be open about their ideas.  The result of the House Unamerican Activities Commission and the McCarthy hearings is that most of the movers and shakers in the marxist movement began to be more discreet.

This is not an international black helicopter conspiracy.  It is an ideology.  The ideology did not die when the cold war ended, in fact it was again freed from the association of murderous Stalinism and was able to flourish again as being acceptable.  Marxists never disappeared from our society, the influential ones just learned to be less open about the name of their ideas.  

We are now living through the triumph of marxism in our nation.  Nothing B. Hussein has done, and very little of what he has said distinguishes him from the ideology of his openly marxist friends.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Does Anyone Even Remember What Freedom is Anymore? Ayn Rand once commented that many young people seem to think that freedom means being able to drink either Pepsi or Coca Cola, dressing however they want, or listening to the style of music they prefer.  Even in their darkest days, she wrote, not even the Soviet Union dictated musical styles to people, or told them how to dress.  

I think her perspective is even more germane today.  Our civics discussions still claim that we are a free country, but I'm not seeing where all that freedom exists.

Yeah, you can choose between coke and pepsi, but can you start a business without government approval?  Can you hire people without onerous taxes and regulations?  Can you use salt on your food in the New York City?  My grandmother worked her entire life as a housekeeper, I don't think she ever asked anyone's permission, definitely not the government's, to conduct that business.  Just try doing that today.  Back in the early 90's on many military bases, you were not allowed to have the neighbor's kid babysit your children for the evening without her getting certified and licensed by the base.  The ostensible reason was to protect the children, but everyone knew the real reason was to grant the base day care center a monopoly.  Can you imagine the impact to business if this mentality is extended to the entire country?  It's coming if we're not careful.

What do we have that makes us free?  Surely there must be something.  Two hundred and thirty-five years ago we rebelled against the British for a long list of abuses listed in the Declaration of Independence. Most of their complaints seem quite tame by today's standards.

When the government controls your health, they control your life.  The government has in the past declared that firearms ownership is a health issue for the Center for Disease Control to monitor.  The government wants to wage war against obesity.   With the government controlling our access to medicine and doctors, they will have total control over our lives.  You want to get that MRI?  Well, you need to stop eating so much.  You need antibiotics?  Well, you should have kept a better log of your exercise regimen.  Controlling the health care industry gives the government the power to control your guns, your cigarettes, and your cheeseburgers, not to mention your life and death.  The government has gotten close to criminalizing the weather.

People wonder at the animosity and acrimony in politics today, and wonder why it's gotten so bad.  The more power the government wields, the more vigorous the disagreements on how to wield that power will be.  Our federal government has risen to nearly omnipotent power now and the debate has become quite vigorous.  

What makes a people free?  The word has been defined down to being almost meaningless.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Abortion Did Us In

First, let's be up front and point out that abortion is wrong by any human standard.  Even the Supreme Court admitted as much in Roe and Casey, but ruled that deciding the morality of abortion was beyond its authority:  "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer." Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 159 (U.S. 1973).  That Court refused to have any part of balancing the recognized right of the child with the right of the mother, and decided to simply ignore the rights of the child.  It was a morally bankrupt decision on every level, from states' rights, basic individual rights, and responsible jurisprudence.

There have been three reasons that the left has been adamant about abortion rights.  First, there is a very weak claim that it has something to do with women's rights.  With the invention of birth control of so many different kinds that are so easily obtained, this weak claim evaporates.  In any kind of balancing equation between the right of a mother who failed to use birth control before having sex, and then failing to use birth control after having sex, it really comes down to quite simply killing a child for the bad luck of being conceived by a thoughtless and irresponsible woman.

The second reason to favor abortion has been that they sell it as a progressive measure to free and empower women, to try to garner the favor of women voters and constituents in all places.  It has always been a very popular measure in communist movements because it helps to disrupt the society and in some instances divide many of the women voters from the men.

The third reason to favor abortion has been to focus the efforts of the political opponents away from other issues.  This has worked very well the past forty years.  Note how the abortion arguments get more and more shrill and more outrageous.  Our current president, B. Hussein, even openly and enthusiastically supports waiting for a child to be born except for its head, and then sucking his or her brains out, and collapsing his or her skull before the head emerges from the birth canal.  This is a procedure that is never needed for any medical reason.  Why would such a law be supported so vigorously?  For one reason only:  To keep the opponents of abortion focusing their hatred on something that doesn't matter one bit to the democrats.

And now we see the result of this ploy.  It appears that Hussein's take over of the market place is not to be stopped with the banks and car makers.  He will now control our health; which is to say that he will control every aspect of our lives from now on because everything we do affects our health.  How did he finally accomplish this?  By brokering away some abortion language in the erstwhile bill that no one has read or understands.  Of course, they can always reinject the abortion language at some future date after we have become enslaved, and perhaps the morally supine Supreme Court might even insist on it.  But don't kid yourselves.  The democrats as a whole don't really care about abortion except for that third reason above and being able to use it to disable their political opponents.

The republicans have erred by allowing abortion to become so important to their party for this reason.  Certainly they should be opposed to abortion, but they should instead be focused on freedom and pointing out the evil of socialism and collectivism.  Instead, the republicans are saturated with socialists such as the Bushes and McCain, who only disagree with the extent (barely) of socialism used in our nation, not on its philosophy.  

If Stupak, whoever he is, ends up being the key to enslaving us and dooming our nation to becoming just another socialist country like Germany or Cuba, or even like North Korea if we aren't careful, then we can blame the myopic vision of the anti-abortion crowd.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hurt Locker

Okay, I get the point.  Being in an exciting place doing exciting things has a certain intoxicating aspect.  Even General Robert E. Lee wrote that "It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it."  I agree with that sentiment.  As long as you're not the one getting shot or blown up, it is very exciting.

That seems to be the point of "The Hurt Locker."  

Other than that, it's another stupid Hollywood cliche.  

First, there are plenty of inaccuracies.  The HMMWV's used are from 2006 or later, yet the events are supposed to occur in 2004.  Blood shed only moments earlier is not going to jam a magazine for a .50cal sniper rifle.  When you're in the desert of Iraq, you don't drink tiny juicey bags like your toddler has, you drink 1.5 liter bottles and suck it dry very fast.  I find it very hard to believe that a bomb making factory would booby rig a young boy's body within their own facility.  No one, absolutely NO ONE goes outside the wire in Iraq usually without at least four vehicles and a dozen men, and in no circumstances alone in downtown Baghdad.  Not only is that a certain death sentence, it is procedurally unlikely.  Inside of a HWMMV is way too noisy to have a conversation of any sort, especially the sort of touchy feely introspective examination of mortality such as they have at the end of the movie.

These are all legitimate, but admittedly petty points.  If the movie were better they would hardly be worth mentioning.

But the movie isn't better.  It is cliche ridden and promotes the stereotype that being in the military during wartime causes everyone to suffer serious mental problems.

Cliches?  There are only two officers in the movie.  One is portrayed as the typical moron, which is standard for Hollywood.  It seems that our military is led exclusively by morons who think only of their careers.   The other officer is a naive psychologist who feels a need to prove himself to the combat soldiers and joins in on a mission, only to get blown up because he wants to be nice to people instead of being forceful in making them move away.

Where is the EOD team's superiors?  Are they just a bunch of free lancers?  Why is there no one to control this nutty EOD tech?  You'd think that working in EOD requires men that are calm and controlled and that anyone acting stupid would be identified and straightened out fast.  

Okay, cinematic license can account for this behavior and these errors.  I understand this.  What I don't understand is the choice of these idiosyncracies.  

This is a movie made by a woman who is anti-war and decidedly anti-Iraq-war.  She doesn't understand or want to recognize that men at war are smart, hard working, and motivated to win and succeed.  She portrays the military as made up of men who are sick, disturbed and dangerous to their own people.

The point of the movie was to highlight that "war is a drug."  I agree with that, and with Robert E. Lee's love of war's excitement.  But instead of demonstrating this point as a universal truth that must be guarded against ("We should grow too fond of it.") they present it as a degenerate symptom of sick people.  

Someday Hollywood will make a war movie that is realistic and adult enough to examine war and its impact on good people that doesn't portray them as cartoon characters or evil monsters.  Oscar or no Oscar, this movie is an infantile stereotype and trivializes human experience, and demeans men at arms.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Backing a Loser

Sometimes I go with a less prominent or popular method of doing things.  I like doing things my way and most commercial products tend to over simplify.  For instance, when I moved to Austin back in 1997, I decided to quit my ISP from California because phone modems were still the norm and the long distance modem charge back to Sacramento would have been prohibitively expensive.  I looked for a local ISP and found  I liked them because they were one of the few out there that let me play in the UNIX shell and do TELNET.  I was able to check my personal email from work or from any computer capable of accessing the internet long before browser based email was available.  I was also able to do other UNIX tricks.  

Realtime has been bought and sold and there have been some very minor challenges as the server I was hosted on aged and the new company made some changes in migrating me to a new server, but over all I have been very pleased with my ISP.  I don't touch any UNIX stuff anymore, but I still like my small ISP.  It had the nice feature of not being noticed for a long time by DoD network nannies and I was able to check my email from military computers while overseas when anyone using hotmail or AOL was SOL.

So sometimes backing the dark horse works out well. 


But sometimes it doesn't.  Years ago when my blog started getting bigger and I learned that they made a name for what I was doing on my website (blogging) I found iBlog.  It was designed for a mac and at the time it was state of the art.  I could use my own ISP to host the blog, giving me complete control over what I was doing.  It also had some java scripts and other theme scripts that I was able to massively customize to my own liking.  I enjoyed the scripting challenges and iBlog served me quite well.

Until they created version 2, that is.  Right before completing version 2, it appears the company has either folded or just stopped doing anything.  Version 2 had a lot of promise and is still better than version 1, and the migration to version 2 was exceedingly painful.  But I kept at it and finally figured it out.

Now, I have a new problem.  I have a new computer.  I want to transfer my blog files to the new computer, but there seems to be something keeping the new computer from seeing the files.  Maybe I can figure it out eventually but so far I don't even see a possibility of figuring it out.  I can either migrate to a new piece of software or just run the blog from my old computer.

Either way, I'm quite discouraged.  It took a lot of work to customize my blog to look the way I like it.  It could stand for some improvements, but generally I'm pleased.  I am not looking forward to a painful migration to another software solution.  Most seem to recommend WordPress, though I don't know anything about it.  In any event, I'm looking at a massive investment in time to switch.  Perhaps just keeping running off of the old computer will be the best solution.

So, sometimes going with the off beat answer is not so good.  It looks like I've backed a loser with iBlog. What a pity.  It had a lot of promise.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


A few people have commented on the Oscars as having been rewarding to almost right-wing political view points this year, noting that "The Hurt Locker" is a war movie and "Blind Side" is a movie about a southern Christian family.

I'm not sure I agree and I'm not sure that this means much at all.  First of all, the makers of "The Hurt Locker" regard their own film as anti Iraq War, which hardly makes it a candidate for a right wing political view point.  Also, I don't think it's entirely uplifting to portray people in the military as being effective or efficient only if they are off their rocker.  I confess I haven't see "The Hurt Locker" but the reviews give me that impression.  I don't think there has been many good war movies made since the 1940's.  You don't see many that give a good impression of men at arms.  They're usually portrayed as idiots or as craven cowards.  This isn't much new.  "The Red Badge of Courage" pretty much has the same theme of the clueless soldier who at first is considered heroic but only because he doesn't yet understand what he's doing, and upon gaining that understanding tries to shirk his duties.  Or just think of Kurt Vonnegut and "Slaughterhouse-Five" where the brave men in the unit are derided as mindless automatons and the insipid coward is the hero.  "The Hurt Locker may not be as blatant as these, but the EOD technician as a dysfunctional man at home who can only exist in the most dangerous conditions - and dragging his men into foolhardy risks - is along the same lines.

As for "Blind Side," I watched that one with my wife and enjoyed it.  I've always had a crush on Sandra Bullock and hoped to run into her while she lived here in Austin, and I think she did a good job in a decent movie.  I'm very happy for her.

But let's not kid ourselves.  "Blind Side" is a movie that should have been an after school special, not an Oscar nominated or Oscar winning movie.  The success of "Blind Side" says less about the rise of Southern Christian values (did they ever go away?) and more about how bad movies have become in general.  In the world of movies there have always been good years and not so good years, but never has the dearth of decent movies been so pronounced.

The alternative to "The Hurt Locker" was "Avatar."  If I'm not impressed by "The Hurt Locker," at least I'm glad that "Avatar" didn't win.  Sure, it was a pretty movie, but it was devoid of any substance of merit.  It was one big, unoriginal cliche.  And it was neither a cartoon, nor real acting.  Movies should not be rewarded just for having big production costs.  It seems that the least expensive part of a movie and the part that can be done with the least technology, is the writing of the script.  I get very discouraged at seeing so much money lavished on special effects, yet the acting and the script are no better than I could have written while in high school.  

I think that the conclusion that this year shows the rise of non-liberal/progressive values in movie making is incorrect.  This is not a sign of the rise of conservative ideas, because the ideas were neither conservative nor very good.  This is a sign of the end of the power and glamor of Hollywood.  Their lack of ideas and their vacant ideology has sucked the life and imagination from the art.  In fact it is no longer an art form and resembles more a factory or industrial process than it does an art form.  At least in the 1930's and 1940's when studios were little more than movie factories, the bad movies weren't so expensive and lifeless.  Now all we have left are B-movies, and they are incredibly expensive.