Is it Still A Failure if we Convince Ourselves Otherwise?

2006/08/31

The Bush Administration has failed in every particular. It is hard to know which is the dominant impulse in the administration: incompetence, arrogance, corruption, treason, unaccountability or the rest. The war in Iraq was begun under a false claim of WMD’s, later bolstered by a ludicrous claim of democratization and stabilization.

This war isn’t winnable, and it has never has been. It is not a matter of ‘will’ it is a matter of human nature. There is not one modern example of non westerners welcoming a western remaking of their society, or of a successful occupation. And that is not surprising, no one wants foreign occupation troops, ever.

If I had a plumber work on my house, and he left the plumbing in worse shape than ever, and my basement flooded, no one would blame the water. It is only in politics where we get cause and effect so screwed up. Bush is a failure; to doggedly support his failure is stupid and disloyal to the country.

We need a new government.

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Is the U.S. Government, Monarchial in Nature?

2006/08/30

I am neither right wing nor left wing, or even on the spectrum between those two poles. I see many possibilities and am not wedded to any ideology.

I read the constitution to understand what it says. I do not conveniently discover what I think is a wise or useful addition. I advocate explicit amendment, when a deficiency or needed improvement is identified. The amendment process is widely disregarded in favor of faddish situational interpretations by the powers that be. I accuse the left/right axis of disregarding the constitution while paying it lip service.

For example, the court system could be compared to an established church: in the sense that their authority is in a moral realm. The courts can’t actually enforce anything, they can’t make policy, but they can randomize results and gum up the works. Judges are like Bishops, and Canons, appointed by the government with lifetime sinecures. The constitution is like a holy book, mystical and full of undiscovered doctrine, and capitalism is the ruthless; double talking god.

The congress represents the interests of the nobles, mediated by the agency of lobbyists/courtiers. Sovereign authority is grafted onto a feudal structure and called a corporation: without reference to democratic or republican principles it is monarchical. The states fill the role of local magistrates and give the appearance of popular representation, while our first past the post system by its nature leaves the larger population unrepresented.

The President is like an elected monarch, chosen by electors representing various vested interests, and selected from a narrow, vetted, and low quality pool; in practice unaccountable to the citizenry. Instead of servant to the congress and accountable to them, the Presidency has usurped extra constitutional authority. The office is perpetuated, the change of occupant is less important than the aggrandizement of power.

Like a monarchy, changes are cosmetic, money is handled secretly, the same insiders endure, and the Star Chamber operates. And brilliantly, people here are placated with the opportunity to vote, wherein they choose between two nonentities, both of whom will perpetuate the status quo.

There is no separation of powers, it is merely the duplication of authority and lack of accountability that makes that seem like a reasonable statement. There is no popularly elected official in the federal government and few in the states. There is no cause and effect, only correlation between votes and outcomes. The U.S. Federal, State and local governments are not democratic; they’re not republican either, and they are not accountable.

We need a new government: one that is open, democratic, and accountable, for a change.


Iraq Irrationality

2006/08/15

The use of military force and its ramifications are not well understood by most people, including apparently our leaders. And an opinion formed through Radio, TV & Movie, is an ill informed opinion, of no value, and usually counter productive. The current leadership of our country is truly ignorant in regard to what is militarilly achievable. Perhaps that is to be expected from those who operate from belief rather than empiricism.

I am not opposed to the use of force; in fact I wouldn’t even save it for a last resort. I would use force if it was the best method toward a wise goal. It is important to have rational goals. Invading a country to make it democratic is lunacy, and can never work. In fact since the end of the Second World War all guerrilla movements, insurgencies in today’s parlance have succeeded despite and because of military resistance of a great power.

The French in Algeria, the British in Malaysia, and the Soviets in Afghanistan showed us that military victory can be achieved and that political failure can still be the outcome. The examples are so numerous that one has to wonder at the human minds ability to trump knowledge with belief. Even those who couldn’t see it in advance, should see it now, the war in Iraq is an obvious failure, the longer it goes on the worse it will be for all involved nations. It was and is not winnable and that is plain.

The irrational certitudes of ideological or religious belief are strangely and readily accepted and empirical evidence is not even acknowledged. I wonder what it is in people, which would make them want to believe something to be true when it is demonstrably false?


A Great Farce

2006/08/15

In a few more months, we Americans will engage in an empty exercise, we will vote in our mid term elections. There is an expectation that the GOP may suffer large scale erosion of voter support. There is the possibility that Democrats may even gain one, or even both houses of congress. And so what?

This election, like all others is not about changing the system, or any great issue, it is about which faction of our one party state gets first dibs on the trough of corruption we call our capitol. Both party’s pander to special interests, and both are corrupt. Neither party proposes any useful national action.

We need to address really national issues, like education, income, fiscal prudence, health care and so many others. But neither party offers more than condemnation of abstract and vague issues of morality and each other. Each party poorly advances the cause of various special interests that are wealthy enough to get heard, but nothing ever really changes.

That’s why we need a new government.

We need a national system of elections, with integrity and accountability. We need to vote for larger ideas and not the ‘man.’ We need to put the Supreme court and Presidency back in their constitutional boxes. We need a National Legislature with plenary authority that is truly representative. We need to give up the illusion that the executive branch can coordinate anything, and break national functions down and make them accountable to elected representatives.

We need coherence in policy and implementation and we need to eliminate the duplication of services and functions between Federal, State, and Local governments.

But, this forthcoming election will provide none of the small list of forgoing items.

The government is corrupt, the systems is corrupt, the elections a farce and it needs to change.


The Non Geek Guide to Exporting Mozilla, Firefox, Netscape, & Opera Bookmarks

2006/08/04

The Non Geek Guide to Exporting Mozilla, Firefox, Netscape, & Opera Bookmarks

This is for the intelligent person who wants to use a computer as easily as a car, and who doesn’t want to be a mechanic of either. Firefox was recommended to me by a techie friend, and I found it useful. I figured out how most of it worked, but the FAQ’s could have been more helpful. I could not find a step by step explanation of the process of exporting bookmarks. I was surprised to find my techie friends didn’t know. I googled the question and finally found a pretty good explanation. The writer left out a small piece, but I could intuit the missing part because it logically fit in with his steps. I couldn’t find the site when I wanted to show it to another person, so I present my own effort. I will include every step under the theory that what is obvious and what is opaque varies with the reader. Please offer suggestions for improvement.

  1. Click or double click your non IE browser icon to open a browser window.

  2. Go to the Bookmarks drop down menu at the top and click on manager.

  3. A manager browser window will open. In the manager window go to the File drop down menu and click on export.

  4. A pop up window titled “Export bookmark file:” will appear. This is where you choose the save location. There are many options, for this example click on “Desktop” found on the left side of this particular window.

  5. Click on the save button. You have now created a Bookmark file! It will show the icon of your default web browser.

  6. This Bookmark file can now be imported to another browser, saved on a flash drive, or emailed as an attachment.

Hope this helps. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.