Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs

I can't say I'm not amused by the fact that Leftist atheists are now demanding that Obama remove all references to God and religion from his inauguration. I think it's apt, in fact, that the Democrats' supporters are now starting to demand that the Democrats support them. The atheists are, of course, misusing the establishment clause of the first amendment, which states that the federal government cannot make a law establishing a state religion -- they use it to mean that the government cannot even make mention of religion, and that religion must be purged entirely from government. They seem to conveniently forget what follows: "or prohibit the free exercise thereof." These atheists are attempting to prohibit the free exercise of religious beliefs by our elected officials. Thus, they are trying to get Obama to violate his own civil rights. You liberals are getting exactly what you deserve, since this is the sort of thing that you meant, even if you didn't know you meant it. Ideas have consequences.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Analytical Creativity

There have been a lot of articles talking about the late Harold Pinter's politics, resulting in one writer asking why it is that so many artists seem to have crazy politics. Marrin in fact goes a long way to explaining it in her observation that there seems to be a separation between the analytical and creative minds. What she doesn't ask is if this is a necessary condition, or only a recent phenomenon. I'm of the opinion that it's a recent phenomenon, born of the Modern Era, after the Renaissance. There are many who fused the two, such as Voltaire and Goethe, but certainly in the case of Goethe, it seemed to be a reaction to the separation of the two in so many other artists (such as the Romantics). But we only have to look to the Renaissance to see that being analtyical and being creative are not necessarily separate. Indeed, in her book Shakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language, Sister Mirium Joseph makes the case that Shakespeare was deeply analytical, making use of logic throughout his works. Frederick Turner, another who fuses being analytical and creative, also makes the case in Shakespeare's Twenty-First Century Economics that Shakespeare also had a very sensible understanding of economics -- certainly a far more sensible understanding than did such literary greats as Sartre, Steinbeck, or Shaw. But one of the aspects of modernism is specialization, and artists and analytical people separated themselves from each other.

Perhaps this is an indication that we need a new combination of analytics and creativity. Perhaps we could have a manifesto for "Analytical Creativity." Shouldn't our art be sensible? If, as Harold Bloom and Minette Marrin suggest, art is the source of wisdom, how can it be that the artists themselves are unwise and so full of nonsense? If that doesn't make any sense, it's because wise nonsense is itself nonsensical. If people wonder why it is we haven't had a Shakespeare since Shakespeare, it's precisely because artists after him abandoned half their minds. It's time we had artists who used their entire minds to create the most beautiful works of art.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bank Exec Bonuses

I was one of those outraged at the bonuses, etc. given out by companies who received money from the "bailout." That is, I was until I learned that the federal government strong-armed 9 large banks who did not need or want the money, but were forced to take it to make it appear that it was not a stigma to take the money. If you did not need or want the money, and your executives were up for bonuses, then they should get the bonuses. Unfortunately, nobody's telling the public who the 9 banks were who the government forced to take the money. But there sure are members of Congress using this situation to make the banks who are giving out the bonuses and who probably didn't need the money look bad. Sounds almost like a set-up job. No, it IS a set-up job.

Mark Twain's Perpetual Wisdom

Two observations made by Mark Twain that are truer now than they were when he spoke them:

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

“No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Social Security Is a Ponzi Scheme

Bernie Madoff will rightly go to prison for running a Ponzi scheme. So how does one explain why our elected government officials are still running free running a Ponzi scheme (aka, Social Security)?

Social Security has been a Ponzi scheme from the beginning. The money paid in went immediately to retirees. What little was in fact left over was invested in government bonds that paid a lower interest rate than the inflation rate (yes, the government lent itself the money at a low interest rate), meaning the money has been losing value in light of inflation. In the meantime, the money we pay in continues to go out to retirees, whose money was already spent on other retirees. This system works fine so long as there are more people working than retiring at a fairly high percentage. But as that percentage goes down, SS taxes will have to go up, or the system will collapse sooner rather than later. And it will collapse, as all Ponzi schemes do.

Yet another example of something the government does legally that is illegal for others. One could also include the protection racket (property taxes, where if you don't pay them, they take all your stuff away from you, and keep you paying under threat). Taxes are essentially tribute, after all. One could argue that we are in fact getting something for the money we pay, which is true -- but Kroger doesn't threaten to lock me in their storage room unless I buy groceries from them, even if I do need to eat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fed Promises Even Worse Policies For Economy

From The New York Times: "the Fed bluntly announced that it would print as much money as necessary to revive the frozen credit markets and fight what is shaping up as the nation’s worst economic downturn since World War II."

The Fed is going to print more money. We are on the verge of a depression, and the Fed is going to devalue the dollar and artificially drive up prices. Please, somebody go get all the Keynes books in D.C. and New York and burn them. Then fire anyone who has ever thought Keynes, who had everything backwards, ever had anything good to say. Artificial inflation, as opposed to real inflation (prices going up due to economic growth), is devastatingly bad for an economy, as we saw in the 1970's around the world. All it does is send false signals, resulting in high prices AND high unemployment. It's a double sucker-punch to the poor and middle class.

Our government's every action seems designed to drive this economy into 3rd world status. And we just elected people who promised to accelerate the process! Heaven help us. It's all that's left that can.

Monday, December 15, 2008

On the Naive View of Artistic Creation

In his response to Frederick Turner's Creating a Culture of Gift, Richard P. Gabriel chastises Turner using what I call the naive view of artistic creation -- a view which I believe to be a barrier to truly understanding art, artistic creation, and perhaps to the healthy creation of art at all.

In the naive view of artistic creation, a work of art comes spontaneously, miraculously, inexplicably -- a gift from the Muses. To propose a theme for art to investigate is heresy in such a view. A theme would provide fetters on art, and we all know art is unfettered. Such is the naive view of artistic creation, where style, not content, is what is relevant.

But style can be taught. I can teach someone to write in iambic pentameter, to rhyme, to develop a work so it has an introduction, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, to create a sonnet. Milan Kundera identifies the art of the novel as prose-poetry variations on a theme. For him, the theme(s) is/are selected beforehand, and the novel constructed with that idea/theme in mind. Style affects content -- but one must first have content. When I write a play, I have a plot first, then characters and setting, then I flesh it out with poetry. The idea for the work my come from something I hear in a church sermon (as happened this past Sunday) or on the news. I may have a theme I'm concerned with, or a human problem I want to work out. From whence does the art spring forth? In the initial idea? In the conscious planning? In the choice of style? In the word-explosion encased in the engine block of structure to create the work? And the Muse? Those who now invoke the Muses as a "mindless" source of art forget (or never knew) that the Muses' mother's Memory, their father's Zeus, god of wisdom and power. Memory means content -- to remember, there must be something to remember. We must have knowledge to be artists. We must, too, have wisdom, an understanding of the whole. Wisdom and knowledge, the system asa whole and the parts of the system, are the necessary elements of beauty.

The more we know -- the more we have in memory -- the more there is for our minds to work with, assimilate, make connections, re-member, see the system as a whole. Insight or inspiration, that sudden flash, is the coming-to-consciousness of our brain's work. If we give our brains good content, good themes, and good styles, we can then create good works of art. My poetic dreams come to life in iambic pentameter only after I learned how to write in it and internalized it to such a degree that it became a part of the artistic flash that comes to me. Externalities also inform my art. I see my 2-year-old daughter go up to a pansy and say, "Hi flower." and I delight, see what she's done, understand it in light of evolutionary and emergentist psychology, transforming it into iambic lines, and a poem is born. Wisdom in art -- there there is wisdom or else it's not art -- comes about from this kind of deep understanding.

Fetterless art? Art without rules? THere is no art without patterns. There are no patterns without rules. Fetterlessness is randomness, and randomness is patternless -- the opposite of art. No system is random or patternless. If a work of art to be a work of art is wise and born of knowledge, it is a true system, and thus a patterned work. Art, to be art, is complex, emergent, beautiful. If it is not, it is something else. Rhetoric, perhaps, but hardly art. And then, it's probably not even very persuasive rhetoric, either.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sandy Keenan: A Tragedy

Here's a teaser from "Sandy Keenan: A Tragedy."


A senseless war has killed my son. A war
Of nothing but revenge – against a man
Who never did a thing to me and his
Poor helpless nation, made a victim of
This nation’s President. How many sons
Has President Oakshott sent to the grave
On either side of this damned war? The brave
Must die so cowards holding power look
Like men. No man would send an army out
To fight their battles for them. Caesar did
Not stay in Rome. Great Alexander and
His boyfriend both were on the battlefront.
And Richard was a Lionheart because
He went to fight, himself. How easy it
Is now to sit behind a desk and send
So many others out to die and you
Just have to think about the polls and how
To be more popular. You do not have
To be responsible. Who will hold you
To it? The virtuous must die so that
The President can give a speech about
The virtues of this stupid war. He’ll use
Each soldier’s death to go up in the polls.
Disgusting. My intestines roil at
The thought. My gas pains, heart pains – how the soul
Can make the body ache. The two are one.
My spirit weakens me. I must be strong.
My husband thinks I’m delicate. That’s why
He left me here. But all he did is let
Me burn inside until I bear the stripes
True to a mother’s pain. I will not gaze
Upon this country’s government with blind
And starry eyes. Oh, no. I see the truth.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Melina!

Today is Melina's 2nd birthday!!! This is what she looked like exactly two years ago today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In Defense of Teasing

Everyone should read this excellent article in defense of teasing. Bans on teasing and other forms of social communication are all part of -- and an enforcement of -- the post-existentialist, postmodernist world view that we are all socially isolated atoms. In the end, this is a dehumanizing ideology. Certainly it has brought us many good things, like attention to sexual harassment and bullying, which, as the author of the article points out, are not at all the same thing as teasing. It shows a suspension of judgment to insist that they are the same -- but then, postmodernism is all about suspending judgment as well. When postmodernism becomes politically correct bullying, as is the case with rules against teasing, laws against smoking in bars, etc., it poisons the well of humanity. If you want to believe that we are all socially alienated atoms amongst true communication with others is impossible, that's your business. But don't force it down the throat of all the rest of us who know better.

I"m increasingly convinced that one of the key features of postmodernism is its humorlessness. Even with people, like Kurt Vonnegut, who use humor in their work. Now there's a postmodern ironic stance for you: humorless humor. Yet how can you read someone like Vonnegut and not come away with that opinion of him? And while it seems that most postmodernists are on the Left, such as the ever-increasingly humorless Al Franken and Jeneane Garaffalo, the Right-leaning neocons aren't exactly the exemplars of humor (Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are decidedly not neocons, by the way). Teasing is a form of humor -- thus the postmodernist must ban it, since it is nothing like them, and nothing they seem to understand.

Even more importantly, the author suggests something very interesting: teasing and poetry both have the same origin, in ritual designed to stave off aggression. Ironically, then, the attempts to get rid of teasing to stave off violence are likely actually causing aggression to become violence.

My objections to postmodernism come from someone on the other side of it. I see postmodernism as a necessary stage to go through -- in this sense, postmodernism is much like the metaphor Nietzsche gave of virtue being a tree: the taller the tree, higher the limbs of virtue, the deeper the roots of evil. Postmodernism is a necessary evil to pass through to get to a better, more virtuous, more beautiful existence. One must descend lowest to ascend highest. Unfortunately, the postmodernists don't realize they are in Hell -- and worse, being in Hell, they are busy making life Hell for everyone else.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Teaser from "Vice: A Tragedy"


Outside. We see the corners of two houses. There are bushes planted between them. Flowers also decorate the fronts of both houses.

Scene 1 – Enter Sam, Allie, Ben, and Randy. Allie is dressed in such a way as to indicate
she is a member of a very conservative religion. It should look fairly uncomfortable to wear. She will wear something familiar throughout. The men are dressed conservatively.


The sign is down. I guess that someone bought
This place. What kind of neighbors will they be?
I hope they’re moral and do as they ought.
To know that we will have to wait and see.


Don’t judge them, Sam, before you get to know
Them. We will see if each is a black crow
Or swan-white, full of grace and beautiful.


If they all shine with grace or all are dull
From evil living, I will know for sure
When I meet them. I’ll know if they are pure.


And if they’re not? What will we do with them
Beside us? It could be a real problem.


Can virtue live this close to wicked vice?
I hope they’re good, else we will pay the price.


I’m sure that they’ll be fine. They’re moving here,
So they must know that our community
Is very ethical. I doubt they’d leer
At us or try to foster enmity.


I hope you’re right or, if you’re not, that they
Are open to conversion. That, I pray.

[Exit all.]

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Teaser from K(no)w

Act I, Scene 1 of my new play K(no)w:

Scene 1 – Interior Catholic Church. Enter Father Fischer.


Oh Lord, I pray you give me wisdom, strength
To lead my congregation, show the length
To which we all must go to give up sin.
Submissive Christians, finding freedom in
Our faith, please help us learn benevolence
And mercy-tempered justice, teach us sense
And wisdom in our lives, and bring politeness
Into our lives, the basis of true rightness
Of living in society. And start
With me, dear Lord – I’ll drag the burden-cart
And show through life the way you want us all
To live. You gave us knowledge in the Fall,
The knowledge of what’s good and evil, made
Us truly human, gave us choice and laid
The ground for loving you and your forgiveness,
The gift that was and is your son, who’d live less
Than forty years on Earth and take the pain
Of all our sins on Him. On Him you’ve lain
Out the last sacrifice and all we must
Now do is just believe in you and trust
Your word, be comforted by You, Your Son,
The Holy Ghost, the sacred Three-in-One.
And when we do our lives will be transformed,
Our souls and actions, lives and thoughts reformed
By You, in You, through You, my Lord. I’ve been
A sinner. Forgive me, my Lord. Amen.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Decision

One of the reasons I decided to start the Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture was because of my passion for the arts and humanities (I do, after all, have a M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in the Humanities) and my belief that economics is a complex system emergent from human action, a naturally-occurring system that is dangerous to tinker with. Looking at the think tanks we now have, I saw they were mostly trying to influence politicians. But politicians are going to do wha t the voters want (more or less), meaning the problem is less with the politicians than with the voters. We live in a culture that is anti-market in its beliefs and overall mentality. That needs to change. How do we change that? We need to change the culture, meaning we need to change the messages put out by the arts and humanities. Those who are pro-market do not find a lot of support in the universities or elsewhere, so it seemed to me that we needed a new institution to support those kinds of artists and scholars, and to educate the populace as a whole. That is the goal of the Emerson Institute. One of the reasons for my passion for the arts and humanities is the fact that I am myself a poet, playwrights, short story writer, and scholar. I write because I must. This Fall I wrote three verse plays. Now, in reality, I could probably take on both full time jobs of running for office and of running the Emerson Institute. But when would that leave time for me to do my creative and scholarly writing? That is something I cannot imagine giving up. Thus, I'm afraid that my decision is that my time would be best spent on the Emerson Institute and on working on my own creative and scholarly works. Political office just isn't for me. At least, not that this time. I'd rather do something of longer-lasting importance than hold political office. I hope that those who were planning to support me in my run will instead support me in my endeavors with the Emerson Institute. My goal with is is nothing less than educating the populace about the very nature of freedom, its importance in our lives, and the place of free markets in it. If one cannot have a democratic republic without an educated populace, then my work will be just as important, if not more so, than if I had run for office and won.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thoughts on Literature (Harold Bloom)

A few thoughts by Harold Bloom to contemplate:

"I accept only three criteria for greatness in imaginative literature: aesthetic splendor, cognitive power, wisdom."

"Shakespeare may well stand here for the largest benign effect of the highest literature: properly appreciated, it can heal part of the violence that is built into every society whatsoever."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

For John Milton's 400th Birthday

For the 400th Birthday of John Milton, Starbucks presents a reading of

John Milton’s

Paradise Lost

By Troy Camplin

On December 9, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Starbucks on Coit and Campbell. Also featuring a coffee and pastry tasting.

Monday, December 01, 2008


The anti-war crowd should be thoroughly horrified by Obama's national security picks.

In the meantime, Glenn Beck recently talked about the fact that 20,000 U.S. troops are getting ready to be deployed in the U.S. itself. Never mind that that is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Our government doesn't follow the Constitution, os why should it bother to follow the laws it passes?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reader Advice Wanted

I thought I would seek some advice from my readers. Here is the situation:

I have been busy trying to set up the Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture ( ) this year, and I just received 501(c)(3) status, meaning we are now able to solicit funds and really get the EIFC started. The Emerson Institute is a free market think tank focused on supporting the arts and humanities. I see it as a privately-funded organization within the arts and humanities spontaneous order whose purpose is to support those artists who understand the world as a hierarchy of self-organizing systems, of which the free market economic system is a naturally-occurring member. We already have a journal (see website), whose website is going to get a renovation soon. To get this thing well-funded so we can get started transforming the culture in a positive manner, it will take up much of my time. This will essentially be a full-time job.

I live in the Texas 32nd Congressional district, and Pete Sessions (R) is our Congressman. I consider his vote against the bailout, then for it when some money came his political way, to be a prime example of the kind of corruption we desperately need to fight against. And it shows his incredible ignorance of economics. Now he is coming up with the lame excuse that he really didn't want to vote for it, but he had to. Nobody ever "has" to vote for something they are honestly against. These sorts of things show the kind of man -- and the ideology of the man -- Pete Sessions is. For these reasons, I have been considering running against Pete Sessions in the GOP primary. However, this too will be a full-time job. I want to be fair to my supporters.

And speaking of being fair to my supporters, if I should run -- I have also been applying for academic positions across the country. If I should get one of those jobs, I will have to move out of the district. Since we are talking about academic jobs, there's not a high probability of my getting hired, especially since I am applying for primarily English positions and my Ph.D. is in the humanities and my work deals with scientific approaches to understanding literature (when I'm not presenting conference papers on spontaneous orders, that is). Scientific approaches to understanding literature are not exactly popular (let alone my politics) in English departments. So there is a very high level of uncertainty.

So, it comes down to this: with the information provided, does it seem reasonable for me to run in the primary against Pete Sessions (please ignore any considerations of my ability to actually defeat Pete Sessions)? Any and all advice is welcome.

Friday, November 28, 2008

501(c)(3) Achieved!

Good news! The Emerson Institute is now a 501(c)(3). That's right, we're a nonprofit. That means we can now collect money and get to work on supporting pro-market artists and scholars!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Congress Violated the Constitution WIth Bailout

"the Constitution does not repose in the Congress the power to bail out individuals or private industry: Bailouts violate the Equal Protection doctrine because the Congress can’t fairly pick and choose who to bail out and who to let expire; they violate the General Welfare Clause because they benefit only a small group and not the general public; they violate the Due Process Clause because they interfere with contracts already entered into; and they turn the public treasury into a public trough. Worse still, Congress lacks the power to let someone else decide how to spend the peoples’ money."

Further: "the Congress delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury some of the power the Constitution has delegated to the Congress: The power to decide when, how, for whose benefit, and in what amounts taxpayer dollars should be spent.

This delegation of power to the secretary directly violates a basic principle of constitutional law: Delegated powers cannot be delegated away. The Constitution delegates to the Congress the power to write all federal laws specifically related to spending, to the president the power to enforce those laws (and he must spend as the Congress ordains), and to the courts the power to interpret the laws (and they usually stay away from issues of spending). The Congress can no more delegate to the secretary of the treasury the power to decide how to spend billions than the president could delegate to the Congress his power to appoint the secretary." -- Judge Andrew Napolitano

Read the whole thing. But since when did our government allow the Constitution to stand in the way of doing what it does? Other than the military and the post office, the Constitution actually doesn't allow our government to do much of anything. Everyone who voted for the bailout have thus violated their oaths and should be required to step down.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Now, whoever put the piano in the woods for the police to find are brilliant artists -- whether they intended to be or not. Actually, what they did was turn a police photographer into an artist. I love that they even titled the piece. "Liberace"

On Pragmatism

I've given a little thought to the idea of pragmatism. If we say someone is "pragmatic," we mean that they support "what works." Well, one would hope that everyone is a pragmatist, then. But is that what a pragmatist really is? It seems to me that those we call pragmatists in politics are only interested in finding out "what works" to get them elected. Any politician who was actually interested in what works would be a supporter of the market system and would oppose almost all government involvement and interference in that system. I also doubt there would be much support for the current laws, the way we deal with criminals, regulations, prohibitions, social policies, the welfare state, etc. from a true pragmatist. A true pragmatist supports what works because a true pragmatist believes in reality. Political pragmatists are not true pragmatists, but are rather mere politicians, looking to find what works to get them elected and reelected.

Loose Lending Sinks Economies

Bank lending practices have returned to the more sensible way they were prior to Clinton's intervention. As a result, everyone is saying that credit has "frozen," making getting a loan "nearly impossible." Nonsense. More difficult, yes. But not impossible. More rationally available, yes. But hardly frozen. But because loans are nowhere near as easy to get as they were in the situation which caused this crisis, the Treasury Dept. has announced that they are moving to free up credit, to make it easier to get -- again. Loose credit is what put us in this situation. Doesn't that moron Paulson get that? Easily available credit is a political, not an economic, issue. that should tell you all you need to know about why Paulson is doing it, and what the consequences will be.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wisdom and Literature

The arts have a future when you actually have a critic argue that the reason why we should study literature is because it is full of wisdom.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some Things for the GOP to Consider

What is success and what is failure? We do not succeed when we win offices and keep them. We succeed when we can govern well, when government’s a gently guiding hand and not a foot that presses down on us, as government has certainly become, and threatens worse things still. Let’s put things in perspective. We say Franklin Roosevelt was a socialist when he presided over such a small and unobtrusive government which only made up six percent of GDP, and then we turn around, proclaim ourselves to be supporters of free markets with a government which uses forty percent of our GDP. A government Republicans presided over. Where’s the smaller government Republicans have promised us? Republicans took over Congress and the Presidency and turned into Democrats. The government was ours, and so we took the money and the power, never looking back. We won the Congress on the promises of Gingrich that we would shrink government, be different from the Democrats. We lost the Congress when, with Dennis Hastert, we became like Democrats, and spent like Democrats, and grew the government like Democrats. The public looked at us and looked at them, decided we were both the same, and went with them because at least they spoke the truth about the way they’d spend and grow the government. And then we chose a man to run for President whose ideology was that of what has failed us with both Bushes, Hastert, Dole, and Nixon. These are leaders who supported economic theories which have failed and failed again, especially the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. His theories gave us terrible economies, inflation, and high deficits – stagflation in the seventies we blamed on Carter, who deserved the blame for stupidly continuing with policies which failed with Ford and Nixon. Reagan, after all, first ran against Ford, then he ran against the failing policies of Carter. Reagan’s policies succeeded, so we then rewarded them by voting in a man who brought us back to Nixon’s policies. We made the right decision once again with Gingrich, but then blindly chose to grasp to power without understanding how we got it. Market policies are what have worked. Throw out your Keynes and read your Hayek, Mises, Friedman, Adam Smith. Believe in markets, not big businesses. Support a system that has proven every time to work, when tried. Reject ideas that failed us. Republicans must stand for more than merely cutting taxes. We must have a full, coherent message if we want to win. And more, we must believe the things we say, which means that we must do the things we say we’ll do. If we believe in smaller government, then we must cut the budget – not just cut the growth we’ve built into our budgets. Zero-baseline budgeting is but a start. We have to then begin to cut, beginning with the subsidies which only help our donors and those engaging in bad business practices. And speaking of supporting failing business practices, the ones who voted not to spend the seven hundred billion dollars on the bailout voted to support reality in economics. Let the failures fail so better people can move in. But those who voted first against it and then voted for it when some money came their way exposed themselves for what they are: corrupt. Such people have to go. But only if we want a vibrant party. Such a party stands on principle and for reality. We win when we don’t try to win by being pragmatists. We won whenever we have stood for principles, for what is right, for liberty. We’ll win again if we can offer more than tax cuts as a way to separate ourselves from Democrats. But in the meantime, government just builds and builds in size. We should support a sunset law for every law we pass – if any law’s worth having, it’s worth voting for again each decade. Thus we can get rid of laws that we no longer need. Now, John McCain was right to stand against the use of earmarks, but we must go further. If a bill’s work voting for, then it should stand alone. No packaging of bills – let each stand on its merit. These are real, effective ways to stop the growth of government. We need coherent economic, international, and social policies which both address the world in its complexity, but which are easy for the general public to then understand. If you cannot explain whatever laws you want to pass, then you don’t understand them, either, and you have no business passing them. And, finally, we have to ask ourselves just why we want to win. If it is just so we have power, then we don’t deserve it and won’t get it. If, however, we want power so we can bring liberty to individuals once again, if we want power so our markets can be free so average people have real opportunities to have success, if we want power so America is once again a beacon to the world of what is best and possible and true, then we will win and, more, we will deserve to win.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Troy Camplin for Congress

So, I am considering running against Pete Sessions here in the Texas 32nd District in the GOP primary. I figure it is the least he deserves for voting for the $700 billion bailout -- but only after a bit of money was thrown his way in the "bailout." Anyone who voted for it the first time was merely wrong and ignorant of economics. But those who voted against it the first time, then voted for it the second time once some money was thrown their way (or, more accurately, the district's way, so they could get reelected more easily, regardless of whether the bailout was a good idea or not) shows them to be basically corrupt. Aren't we tired of having politicians? Don't we deserve statesmen?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Person With All the Power Accuses Underling of Sexual Harassment

Now, I'm the first one to say that 13 year olds are little jerks -- I half-jokingly say they need to be locked up and beaten daily, in fact -- but when an adult woman who is a social worker and, thus, has authority and power over a 13 year old boy intends to bring "sexual harassment" charges against him because she felt he hugged her "inappropriately," then there is something seriously wrong. Here's how this should have been handled:

"Excuse me, but that hug wasn't appropriate."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, . . ." and then she should have told him.

Instead, the woman has set out to create a criminal record for this child.

Why? My guess is that, in this case, it's a clear abuse of power and authority. It does not help that morons like Nicole Littler from MOCSA, the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault , says of sexual harassment, "Hugging someone can be sexual harassment, but it also depends on who it is and how they feel about the situation."

In other words, if I offer to give someone a hug, and they accept, and afterwards they decide they didn't like the hug, I've committed sexual harassment?!? This is perversity. And it's a perversity designed to eliminate any and all social bonds, which are reinforced by touching. This sort of thing is less "sexual harassment" and more "how dare you be a social mammal!"

My God, orthodox, fundamentalist, fanatical religious groups are more tolerant of people touching each other than this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SEC, Mark Cuban, and "Insider Trading"

The SEC going after Mark Cuban for insider trading is completely ridiculous. Insider trading laws were designed to prevent people within the company from screwing over the other investors. It's primary use, though, including this use of it, however, is a clear abuse of power. The SEC doesn't go after everybody, but just whoever they pick and choose. The law is such that if you hear anything from anybody who might know something, and you use that information to sell a stock, you are engaged in insider trading — so let’s be honest here, that this is designed so the federal government can go after whomever they want whenever they want. So you can’t use information to make a decision? This is a clear violation of the very basis of the market economy. I hope Cuban does have evidence that he didn’t even violate the unjust law they are trying to enforce. Good for him for standing up against these thugs who call themselves our federal government. David Henderson at EconLog discuss this issue at well, and go over a lot of the economics behind it (and why the law is a dumb one overall).

Walter Williams on the Evil That Is Wealth Redistribution

Walter WIlliams, as usual, has it exactly right regarding the evil that is wealth redistribution. He gives the marvelous example of an old woman who cannot mow her lawn or afford to have it mowed, so the government will either force someone to mow it for her, or to give her $40 to have it mowed. Everyone would identify the first one as slavery, but nobody seems to think the second one, even though the person had to work to make that $40, and now that work is forcibly given to another human being. And it is forcibly given. Try not to pay your taxes, and see what happens. For a government to be ethical, it must get money in ways other than through the use of force. If anybody has to go to jail over the government not getting their money, the way they are getting it is unethical, pure and simple. When non-government entities engage in these kinds of activities, we call them organized crime and engaging in protection rackets, etc. But just because the gang calls themselves your government, you think what they do is moral?

In the meantime, Jonah Goldberg points out that Obama's solution to an economic situation being made worse and worse by the uncertainty created by Paulson is . . . to create more uncertainty! He says he's going to engage in bold experimentation, which is a signal to the markets that "you never know just what I'll do!" It is an admission by Obama that he doesn't have a clue what he's doing, that he doesn't in fact understand the economy at all. Great. News we could have used a month ago.

John Stossel also points out that Paulson's every ignorant action weakens the economy. Seriously, if Paulson were a M.D., he would have been put in prison by now for negligence and malpractice. And Obama is now telling the hospital that just hired him that he's at least as incompetent as Paulson. Great.

In the end, for an economy to grow and be strong at all, it has to have steady, standard rules. It needs the stability of rule of law, knowing the rules won't be changed from day to day, week to week, or even month to month. What is happening and being promised is not rule of law, but rule of men, and the ever-shifting policies that comes with it. Rule by men rather than law was one of the very things our Founding Fathers fought Britain over. Why, then, are we allowing it to happen? And why did we vote back in a COngress that gave this kind of power to a single man?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kleptocrats' Money Used For Art Instead

In a demonstration that they can do something good, the U.N Human Rights Council spend foreign aid money on a ceiling mural. I say it's good because the more money spent on foreign aid, the worse the situation of those who receive the help. "Colorful stalactites" as critics are calling them, are a far better use of the money than if they had used it to line the pockets of kleptocrats, which is what it would have otherwise been used for.

Ethics, Laws, Rules, and Being a Jerk

At the Spontaneous Orders conference I attended Nov. 1-4, Gus diZerega asked a question designed, it seems, to test one's (my, in this case) "libertarian purity": What is the difference between me shining a bright light onto my neighbor's property and painting naked people on my fence so the neighbor can see it? He proposed there was no difference, as light must cross property, regardless, and so tough luck for the neighbor, who must now live with an oppressive neighbor rather than an oppressive government. I propose, however, that there is a marked difference.

If we take the issue of the light itself, there is a difference between the purposeful directing of the light toward the neighbors and the incidental reflection of light from off of a painting. This is perhaps the weakest argument, but it does parallel the distinction Marc Hauser makes in "Moral Minds" regarding what people naturally find ethical or unethical. He observes that people find bad outcomes incidental to a decision to not be unethical, but do find bad outcomes built into the decision to be unethical. It seems a light I direct into the neighbor's yard to be of the latter kind, while a painting whose reflected light enters a property to be of the former kind.

But the issue with the painting is itself incidental to the light involved. True, we need light to see it at all, but the point is the images. The issue with the images involves the neighbors taking offense. But here we see that the person who painted the images is not responsible for the reactions of the neighbors. It is the neighbors who take offense, so they are the ones responsible for their own reactions. There is nothing inherently, objectively offensive about an image -- offense is always subjective. The directed light, however, can have an objective consequence in its disruption of circadian rhythms. The neighbors' plants can be negatively affected, let alone the neighbors themselves, whose sleep could be disrupted, whose eyes could be damaged by the intensity of the light, etc. The neighbor could, of course, take measures against the light, but such measures cost the neighbor. If I run into another car, I have to pay for repairs because the person now has to buy things they did not have to buy absent my actions. Again, the painting costs the neighbor nothing, as they can avoid looking at it by simply averting their eyes.

Both behaviors may make me a jerk -- meaning I am acting in an antisocial manner -- but the real issue here is which of these should require a law. For my money, laws should be involved only when some kind of objective harm is involved for the secondary party, and if the law can be applied equally for everybody. Disrupting one's circadian rhythms certainly qualifies for the first. Doing something at which someone may or may not take offense does not. The latter examples is purely subjective -- it is "harmful" because the secondary party chooses for it to be "harmful" to them. That is certainly not the fault of the primary party. However, if I want to be a member of a certain society, then I should try to abide by that society's rules. But law is one thing, rules are another -- and being a jerk shouldn't necessarily be illegal.

GM Board Supports Useless Management Team

Last week a General Motors spokesman said, "Nothing has changed relative to the GM board's support for the GM management team during this historically difficult economic period for the U.S. auto industry." Perhaps this is why they are a failed company with failed policies which needs to declare bankruptcy. If the board supports a management team that is going to run the company out of money in a few months so that it could not possibly continue to exist afterwards unless it receives $50 billion from the federal government, then the board needs to be fired too. GM is nothing but a failure upon a failure.

Still, I'll be very surprised if the federal government didn't bail them out. If we had the same kind of government in 1900 as we have now, Walmart would be selling buggy whips even now. Well, not selling them, but offering them for sale.

In the meantime, what will those wanting to buy an American-made car do? I don't know. Perhaps they could buy a Kia, made in Birmingham, Alabama. Or a Toyota, made in Kentucky, Indiana, or Texas. They probably even have more American-made parts in them than do GM, Chrysler, or FOrd products anyway. American-owned doesn't mean American-made, and Non-American owned doesn't mean it's not American-made. Welcome to the world economy. If GM fails, that just means a larger market share for companies like Kia and Toyota, who will then have to hire even more American workers to meet the new demand for their products.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Whatever It Takes? Doubtful.

President-elect Obama says he's going to do "whatever it takes" to get the economy moving. Fantastic! So he's going to cut taxes, push through a massive deregulation program, reverse the bailout he voted for . . . No, wait, he's going to do the complete opposite of all these. I wish he would do whatever it takes to fix the economy -- but he won't. What he will do is slow the economy even more and stretch out this recession unnecessarily.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

U.S. Auto Makers Are Dinosaurs

I agree with Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama when he says the U.S. auto makers are dinosaurs and should face market realities. In fact, had the federal government said this to them decades ago, we would in fact have a health auto-making sector by now. Instead, we fed and fed and fed the dinosaur until it's legs buckled under its weight. But as in nature, sometimes a species has to die because it is no longer adapted to the environment, and keeping it around only prevents new species and evolutionary innovation from arising. Such is the case with the U.S. auto makers. They haven't had to deal with reality for a long, long time. If our government would stop creating mirages for them, they would have been able to survive. What has happened with the auto industry should be a warning against governments propping up poorly-run companies. We need to stop rewarding failure.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oldest Temple Found

11,500 years old. That's the age of a temple found in Turkey. It predates domestication and agriculture. Thus, it was set up by tribalist people, hunter-gatherers. This is a group who moved from tribalist into egoist psychology and social structure, which then led to settlement behaviors. It's quite an insight into human psychological and social development and emergence that it is what seems to have led to settlements, and not the other way around. I personally am not surprised, as I have argued elsewhere that the social order emerges out of the psychological order, as the social order is a spontaneous order which develops out of the kinds of entities that make it up. You have to have a high enough percentage of a psychological level to get a new social level.

RNC Chair

If Gingrich is running for RNC chair, I'm for him. If not, I choose Michael Steele over Saul Anuzis, who called for banning Ron Paul from the debates. I'm against anyone who is in favor of excluding voices from the debates. Nor does it help that he singled out Ron Paul, whose ideas were by far the best ones among the GOP lineup. Paul's knowledge of economics is desperately needed in the GOP at large.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Evidence for the Benefits of Music

A new study suggests that music makes children smarter, particularly in vocabulary. However, the authors claim that "Contrary to previous research, instrumental music training was not associated with heightened spatial skills, phonemic awareness, or mathematical abilities." This does not mean that there is no connection, as a great deal of other research has shown, only that they did not find it in this particular study. They did find a connection to improved verbal abilities, though. A general improvement in cognitive abilities makes a great deal of sense since development of the ability to play a musical instrument helps one understand the world better. "Music involves grasping patterns," and the world is deeply patterned. Further, music is structured much like grammar, and thus it makes sense that it helps with language and reasoning. In fact, "The young musicians' vocabulary scores were 15 percent higher, and non-verbal reasoning scores were 11 percent higher. The longer the child was musically trained, the higher the scores." This is a pretty significant improvement. Makes me glad I have my daughter, Melina, in a music class already. Besides, she loves it. She will definitely be learning how to play a musical instrument when she gets a bit older. In the meantime, I find it remarkable that music isn't a dominant part of all education in the U.S., starting in Kindergarten. If we really wanted students to learn more and become more intelligent, we would implement this kind of information.

Self-Esteem Movement Diagnosed as Unhealthy

Psychologists have finally come around to noting what I noticed for quite a while now: teens think too highly of themselves. I saw it especially in the college classes I taught. Just as bad as thinking too well of themselves, they cannot take criticism at all. And when they get to college, too many administrators and professors also let them slide by. I've been told that the rhetorical, grammatical, and literary expectations common in public elementary school children in the Renaissance is too much for college Freshmen, and is now only expected to be taught at the graduate level. Fortunately, there is a movement in certain religious schools to teach the Trivium (rhetoric, grammar, and logic) and the literary Canon that is very welcome. Unfortunately, they also typically combine it with a "literalist" Biblical science curriculum. Can't we please get some balance somewhere in this country?

Government Redistribution Does Not Make You Generous

In theists or atheists better people? In the U.S., studies have shown theists to be far more generous and happier people than atheists. However, in this review of Society Without God, the reviewer notes that the author says that Danes and Swedes are for the most part atheists, and that they are in fact very generous people. His evidence?

"They have a famously expansive welfare and health care service. They have a strong commitment to social equality. And—even without belief in a God looming over them—they murder and rape one another significantly less frequently than Americans do."

Well, if letting someone rob you without complaint so that they can give your money to others is generosity, then call me against generosity. An extensive welfare and socialized medicine are not indicators of generosity. They are indicators of a government run by people who are not personally generous, but want to force others to be. The net effect is a decrease in actual generosity. To put it another way: you are not morally culpable when you are forced to do something. Nor are you moral if you are forced to do good. Virtue is freely made. Thus, an expansive welfare and health care service is no indication of virtue at all. At best it is a relinquishing of virtue.

I have no idea what is meant here by "social equality," but if it means an egalitarian world view, then it is deeply unjust, as people are not in fact the same, and when we try to treat unequal things equally, we get injustice. "One law for the lion and the lamb is tyranny." _William Blake.

The only point he may have is the statement about murder and rape. However, we must not make the mistake of equating positive correlation with causation. There may be any number of causes of a higher rape and murder rate in the U.S. than in Denmark and Sweden that have nothing to do with religion -- or lack of religion -- per se. Of course, if most Swedes and Danes are at the Egalitarian level, that would also explain well the low levels of murder and rape, which are not commonly found among those with an Egalitarianist psychology in the U.S., either. The presence of a higher percentage of people in the U.S. with an Egoist psychology well into adulthood may go farther in explaining the higher levels of rape and murder, though. I suspect that Authoritative and Classical Liberal psychologies don't exactly rape and murder much, either (and when they do, it's because of a strong, negative Egoist psychology still at work in them), so the fact that pure Egalitarians are also atheists doesn't necessarily support the thesis entirely. There are atheists at all levels.

The rest of the review, though, it quite interesting and thought-provoking. His point about moral communities having a strong locally social component is dead-on, and the quote he gives from Robert Putnam that "voluntary association with other people is integral to a fulfilled and productive existence—it makes us "smarter, healthier, safer, richer, and better able to govern a just and stable democracy"" is also an important point. Please note the term "voluntary." When government takes money and property from you through taxation and confiscation, there's nothing voluntary about it. Government thus prevents us from living "a fulfilled and productive existence" and prevents us from becoming "smarter, healthier, safer, richer, and better able to govern a just and stable democracy". Government is preventing us from governing well? Yes. And when that happens, it's time for a real change. Governmen

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spontaneous Orders and Bailouts

The free market is a naturally-occurring spontaneous order, a self-organizing system that emerges out of the free exchange of the people in that economy. Outside interference in that system will always result in perverse incentives and unintended consequences. More, it results in a simplification of a complex system. And if you simplify a complex system, you get sickness and death -- consider what happens if you simplify a cell from a complex system to a simple pile of chemicals. More, when government interferes, it is typically trying to import something appropriate to that system into another system. It would be as though the economy were a rain forest and the government were the arctic, and the arctic government decided the rain forest economy needed polar bears. Neither the polar bears nor the rain forest would benefit. Or let's say that someone decided that what rain forests really needed was more cashew trees, so efforts were made to grow more cashews. naturally, that would push out other tree species, and reduce the biodiversity that makes the rain forest healthy. Environmentalists would object that we are trying to force a monoculture on the rain forest, which reduces biodiversity. Yet many of the same people (unfortunately) are more than willing to support policies that have the same effect in the economy. The phrase "too big to fail" is much like complaining that if we let a banana plantation revert back to the rain forest, we will harm the biodiversity of the rain forest itself. This is utter nonsense, which we can see in the ecological examples given, but which too many cannot seem to see with the economy. Perhaps this is because nobody understands that the economy too is a kind of ecosystem, or environment. Until we understand that, though, we will continue to make the mistake of thinking we can do better with our planning than the system itself can do naturally.

Evidence for Life as Self-ORganizing Systems

Exciting news out of Princeton: scientists there have discovered a protein that directs its own evolution using feedback, keeping the system stable. More evidence for biological systems as self-organizing systems.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bailouts and Perverse Incentives

When we bail companies out, all we are doing is rewarding bad decisions. Why make good decisions? If you are big enough and make a bad enough decision, the government will give you money! And where do they get the money? From those responsible enough to have made a profit by making good decisions. So all a bailout is designed to do is punish good decisions and successful choices, while rewarding bad decisions and failures. Only a government could come up with a massive plan of perverse incentives and say it will help the economy. In both the short and the long term, it will do neither. If they wanted to throw money around, they should have let the companies in question all go under and gave each person $2500, so that a family of four would get $10,000. That's a couple mortgage payments right there. Or at least some high-priced items being bought that gets that money in circulation. And I say that with the opinion that that's not a good idea, either, as it results in the U.S. being in even more debt, which is really bad for us long-term. And you end up paying people not working, which acts as an incentive to continue not working.

Bailout for Starbucks

Starbucks announces its profits dropped 97%. This is clearly a world crisis! How will people get their caffeine?!? Starbucks is too big to fail! Bail them out! Quick! Before all coffee vanishes from the world with the terrible condition Starbucks is in! Someone call President Bush! Better, call Barack Obama! Only a great and powerful and all-wise and all-knowing world leader like the President of the United States can save us now!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Right Side of History

Yesterday my brother pointed out something brilliant. He observed that the news media was engaging in a subtle bias by constantly referring to this past Presidential election as "historical." That is, it would be historical if we made the right decision and elected Obama. Only then would it be truly historical. And we all want to be on the right side of history. That, too, was always a Marxist argument: you want to be on the right side of History, don't you? Heaven help anyone who said they didn't.

New Poll

Take my newest poll, at the bottom of the page.

Break, Blow, Burn -- The Outtakes

Camille Paglia does a marvelous job of analyzing what is wrong with modern poetry when she explains why she left out certain poems from her best-selling work of close readings of poems Break, Blow, Burn. This is why I love Paglia. She is such a clear-headed thinker. I don't always agree with her, but I think it would be possible for us to disagree agreeably.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Trust, Economy, and the Arts

What do the arts have to say to us about the current financial crisis? Here are a few thoughts. Excepting the Marxists, who grossly misuse this fact for unethical ends, we often forget that economics is deeply tied to ethics -- the language of both tends to be the same. The author of the linked piece focuses on "trust," and it is "trust" that is indeed what is at stake here. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed because they proved untrustworthy. The solution? A government we trust even less nationalized them. How will this solve the problem of trust? It won't -- and hasn't. We do need a George Bailey. He understood what economic institutions are really about.

40 Acres

Forty Acres: a poem for Barack Obama from Nobel winner Derek Walcott

Out of the turmoil emerges one emblem, an engraving —
a young Negro at dawn in straw hat and overalls,
an emblem of impossible prophecy, a crowd
dividing like the furrow which a mule has ploughed,
parting for their president: a field of snow-flecked cotton
forty acres wide, of crows with predictable omens
that the young ploughman ignores for his unforgotten
cotton-haired ancestors, while lined on one branch, is a tense
court of bespectacled owls and, on the field's receding rim —
a gesticulating scarecrow stamping with rage at him.
The small plough continues on this lined page
beyond the moaning ground, the lynching tree, the tornado's
black vengeance,
and the young ploughman feels the change in his veins,
heart, muscles, tendons,
till the land lies open like a flag as dawn's sure
light streaks the field and furrows wait for the sower

From The New York Times Online
November 5, 2008
Not to be a wet blanket, but does anyone notice the irony in the fact that Obama is not a descendent of the people Walcott is talking about in this poem? Also, the poem itself seems a bit rushed. Not the best poem of Walcott's -- one would expect better from a Nobel Prize winner. There are some lovely ideas in the images, though. Too bad they're wasted on the son of a African chief whose family was wealthy enough to send their son to the U.S. t o study. The problem is that this is simply not the appropriate poem for Barack Obama. I'm no fan of his as a politician, but doesn't he deserve to have a poem that is actually about HIM?

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Prediction, Riffing on Biden

A prediction:

Biden is right that Obama will be tested internationally. Several times, I bet. At least once by someone he considers to be an ideological ally. When he goes up against this ideological ally, it will be the conservatives who support him.

Incidentally, Venezuela's Leftist President Hugo Chavez just nationalized their gold mines and turned production over to Russia. Russia has also been talking nuclear "power" with Chavez.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

China Asks US to Support Free Markets?!?

The world has certainly been turned on its head when China is asking the President-elect of the U.S. to please respect the concept of free trade. The continued slide of the stock market post-election is not a good sign, either.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stocks Plunge 5% Upon Obama Win

The stock market has given its verdict on the election: a 486 point (5.05%) drop. This is the worse drop since FDR was elected (4.51%). Worse, in fact, as we can see. This tells us that those who know the most about the economy have no confidence in Obama, just as the drop in 1932 said the same thing during the Great Depression. And rightly so, as it turned out, with FDR, whose policies extended the Great Depression, as his predecessor's had. It was in fact the implementation of increased governmental intervention in the economy which perpetuated the depression into the Great Depression, and those interventions were eerily similar to things Obama has promised to do. It is a myth that the free market caused the Great Depression, just as it is a myth that FDR did anything to end it -- WWII is what ended it. Equally, it is a myth that the free market had anything at all to do with the latest meltdown. This economy is facing a recession. If Obama can move quickly to get much of what he wants, he will put this weak economy into a depression. The last thing you want to do is take money out of an economy during an economic slowdown. That has a deflationary effect. Less money in an economy slows the economy down. If you take money out of a recessionary economy, you will cause that economy to enter into a depression. Obama has further talked about implementing trade barriers, which were another cause of the Great Depression -- and of our war with Japan. These are not good signs. I hope Obama isn't able to implement much until after the economy starts to get back on its feet. Unfortunately, Bush's last few months of trying to help the economy have made a rapid recovery unlikely. Remember, though, that Obama supported it, so what he's going to inherit is just as much the Obama economy as the Bush one.

My Election Results

If the election had been held on my blog, McCain would have won 30 (40%) votes to Obama's 27 (36%). The Libertarians would also now be a major party with their 13 votes (17%). Heck, even McKinney of the Green Party got 2 votes (3%), and Nader got 1 (1%). What this really shows is that I have a pretty nice mix of readers, about which I'm glad. Wouldn't it be nice if we had this kind of distribution in the real election? I mean, that parties other than the two-party-one-ideology monopoly we have had a real chance. Might even make the Republicans want to differentiate themselves from the Democrats.

Stop Moving Left You Stupid Republicans!

Obama certainly had coattails, but let me suggest another reason Republicans lost seats: if you're going to have someone in office acting like a Democrat, you might as well have a Democrat. The Republican Party needs to take THAT lesson away from this. Probably, instead, they will be convinced that they need to move even more to the left. The Republicans deserve to lose to the Democrats if they are going to act like the Democrats.

Spontaneous Order Conference

I am back from the spontaneous orders conference, and it was great. It was good to be able to talk to people who see the world in a similar fashion. There was the question if -- and feeling that -- what we were doing was the beginning of a paradigm shift. I hope so. If so, it has a long lead-in tail going back before WWII with Bertalanffy, Polanyi, Prigogine, and Hayek. Most at the conference came from a Hayekian tradition, but we had people like me influenced by people like Baertalanffy, Prigogine, Frederick TUrner, J. T. Fraser, Stuart Kauffman, and the chaos theorist, and even a person involved in systems robotics, taking the computer systems approach. Of the 19 people there, I think 4-5 knew Fred Turner personally. He's an underground influence that needs to be brought above ground. I'm going to be revising my paper and submitting it to the journal they are beginning. I will be making links to that journal as it comes up.

As I think through some of these ideas, I'll try to talk about those ideas here. Of course, I will always be talking through the subtle shifts in world view that occur whenever I learn something new.

The Government We Deserve

Apparently the people of John Murtha's district really are as backwards, ignorant and stupid as he repeatedly said they were. How else does one explain his re-election? And Alaska seems to be going to re-elect Ted Stevens Senator despite being convicted of corruption. I mean, my God, what do you have to do to lose re-election in this country? Put bribe money in a freezer and get caught? Hmm. Apparently not.

I still find it bizarre that a political party whose Congress has only 10% approval rating gained many new seats. Seriously, people -- you get the government you deserve in a democracy. I fear we may.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

On Obama's Victory

One. It's sad that Obama's grandmother died before she could see her grandson elected President.

Two. This is a great moment in our history in that we have proven to ourselves that we are not a racist nation. In fact, I better not hear anyone ever say that again. It is a lie, and only racists believe it.

Three. Obama is promising to do everything that lead to the Great Depression at a time when the economy is in a very weak state. The Democratic majority in the Congress will more than happily do everything he wants. Redistribution of wealth destroys it, and he has promised to redistribute wealth. My opposition to Obama is and has always been based on his devastatingly wrong economic beliefs. His economics is like having a belief about the ecosystem that if you only bulldozed the forest, you could save it from deforestation.

Four. Obama has the most hubris of any Presidential candidate I have ever known of. Being hubristic, I doubt he will choose good advisors -- but we will see for sure. More important than the obvious Cabinet will be his real advisors he keeps close to him. Know who they are, and you will know what he's really going to do. The problem with a hubristic person is that eventually they find the true end of the rope. Everyone needs to go out and read all the Greek tragedies and Shakespeare's tragedies. Now. You need to know what we're going to face with him as President.

Friday, October 31, 2008

See You In Several Days

A note to my regulars:

I will be out of town until Tuesday, as I will be attending and presenting at a conference in New Hampshire on spontaneous orders. I'll talk about it when I get back and make appropriate links.

In the meantime, feel free to play the game of "Guess who Troy voted for?" (I voted early.) Post answers. Those who already know don't get to play.

Thanks Exxon!

In light of Obama's predictable class warfare rhetoric in regards to the latest report by Exxon that they broke a record for amount of profits (but nowhere near the record in percentage profits), I would like to take this moment to do something you rarely hear someone do.

I would like to thank Exxon for all that they have done for the world.

Thank you, Exxon, for providing fuels so that people can travel, move goods, and have the energy needed to have better lives.
Thank you, Exxon, for providing jobs to millions of people around the world, directly and indirectly.
Thank you, Exxon, for providing your products at a relatively cheap price so that not just the rich and middle class, but the poor as well can use your product to make their lives better.
Thank you, Exxon, for your generosity.
Thank you, Exxon, for making so many people's lives far better than they would be without you.

Exxon is a vastly superior, far more moral institution than is any institution within any government in the world. They have provided more benefits than any government ever has, and they have caused far less damage to people and the environment than has any government. In fact, Exxon harms almost nobody on earth; it benefits 99.99% of all who come into contact with them. No government -- not even the best government -- can make that claim. For all these reasons, I would like to thank Exxon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama, Robin Hood, and Catholicism

Father Jonathan too debunks the claim that Obama is Robin Hood. He does so in light of the interview in 2001 where Obama expresses dismay over the lack of wealth redistribution in the U.S. The fact is, for a Catholic, Obama is a nonstarter, whether it be on economic issues or on abortion.

Hugo Chavez vs. Human Rights

Is Venezuela a brutal dictatorship? Well, the two men who were expelled from Venezuela for publishing about Chavez's abuses don't think so, but their treatment more than suggests that things are headed that way. The bottom line is that the Left are fundamentalist thugs at heart, and they have no intention of letting anything get in the way of creating their dictatorial "utopia."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama is a Marxist. Obama is a Marxist. Obama is a Marxist. Obama is a Marxist. How Many Times Do I Have to Say It?

It's been all over Fox News and the conservative radio talk shows: Obama complaining that the Founding Fathers did not put in and, later, the Supreme Court did not find in the Constitution the ability of government to redistribute wealth, which he termed "economic justice." The only people who use terms like wealth redistribution and economic justice are Marxists. Seriously. He's not a socialist. He's a full-scale Marxist. And he said that he would put people on the Supreme Court who would interpret the Constitution to have redistribution in it. I say "interpret," but in fact he wants to put people on the court who will invent things whole-cloth and claim it is in the Constitution -- much like the "right to privacy" in the 14th Amendment. I read the 14th Amendment, and that simply isn't in there. Not even remotely. Obama wants to put people on the court who will do more of the same, but do it in regards to political economy. The really sad thing is that he doesn't understand that the only just economic system that has ever existed was the free market, and that all deviations from it have resulted in deviations from a just economy -- with the least just economies being those founded in Marxist thought.

You may note that an Obama spokesperson says Obama was saying the opposite of what he actually said. But here's the transcript:

MODERATOR: Good morning and welcome to Odyssey on WBEZ Chicago 91.5 FM and we’re joined by Barack Obama who is Illinois State Senator from the 13th district and senior lecturer in the law school at the University of Chicago.

OBAMA: If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be okay.
But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried to characterize the Warren court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted. One of the I think tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributed change and in some ways we still suffer from that.

MODERATOR: Let’s talk with Karen. Good morning, Karen, you’re on Chicago Public Radio.

KAREN: Hi. The gentleman made the point that the Warren court wasn’t terribly radical with economic changes. My question is, is it too late for that kind of reparative work economically and is that that the appropriate place for reparative economic work to take place – the court – or would it be legislation at this point?

OBAMA: Maybe I’m showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way.
You just look at very rare examples during the desegregation era the court was willing to for example order changes that cost money to a local school district. The court was very uncomfortable with it. It was very hard to manage, it was hard to figure out. You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time.
The court’s just not very good at it and politically it’s very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So I think that although you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally. Any three of us sitting here could come up with a rational for bringing about economic change through the courts.


So Obama is saying that he believes that "economic change" -- "redistributive change" -- was not brought about because it has been politically difficult, not because one cannot justify it legally, through the Constitution. He implies, in that last comment, that one of the problems is "separation of powers issues." What do you think he might have in mind to "solve" that "problem"?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Partisanship is a Lie

Is partisanship on the rise? Well, the accusations of partisanship have increased, but I think that has been used to mask an actual increase in bipartisanship. Once the Republicans got rid of the Gingrich crowd who were interested in a strongly ideological conservatism that approached libertarianism (please note that one of the members of that group was Bob Barr, now the Libertarian Party candidate for President) in order to try to keep power, they acted just like the Democrats in most things, especially in economics. And, despite the rhetoric, the Democrats are almost identical to the Republicans on social issues. Even on things like abortion, they are really arguing about the nuances of when it is appropriate to have an abortion, not if it is appropriate. The policies put in place by both parties following 9-11 and the recent bailout make it even clearer that the Republicans and the Democrats are almost identical in their desire for the government to seize power throughout the country. And whether it is Obama with his factually-inaccurate understanding of economics or McCain with his admitted ignorance of economics, the outcome was the same: both voted for the bailout bill, which has resulted in the partial nationalization of many banks (and before the bailout, the U.S. government already nationalized Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, thus bringing back into the fold two huge mistakes which will remain mistakes, since nobody will get rid of them). The elevated rhetoric has only worked to mask these facts. I don't think that's an accident, either.

America Asks for a King

America Asks for a King? So it seems. While I don't agree with every detail of this article, I think the overall analysis is dead-on. When the Israelites asked for a King, God told them no and warned them about what would happen if they got one. When they asked for one anyway, after learning what would happen, God punished them by giving them what they wanted: a King. I pray God never punishes us similarly.

Biden Asked Some Real Questions for a Change

Isn't it about time the Obama campaign was asked some real questions? And, more, that someone observed in an interview that Obama's "spread the wealth" comment was in fact based in Marxist thought. How can Biden lie about Obama saying he wanted to spread the wealth? Does he think a simple denial is a refutation? In any case, the interviewer is right, and it's about time the Obama campaign was asked these kinds of questions. Of course, the Obama campaign's response is to pick up their toys and go home.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

President Faust?

James Pinkerton over at Fox News is trying to draw a connection between Obama and Satan through the radical Saul Olinski. He gives as evidence the dedication in one of Olinski's books: “Lest we forget at least an over the shoulder acknowledgement of the very first radical, from all our legends, mythology, and history … the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.” I don't think the connection is really all that strong, since I think Obama is actually an atheist and doesn't believe in anything buy his own ego -- and any government he would be in charge of. Obama has already admitted that he joined Rev. Wright's church with its racist, Marxist version of Christianity for political reasons, so there's good reason to believe he never really believed in the Christianity part of the church he went to. Since there is little doubt in my mind Obama doesn't believe in God, I don't think he believes in Satan, either. Of course, to many a Christian, that's only proof-positive that Satan has his back.

All of which makes me think that the Faust myth is due an updating. Maybe I'll get around to writing "President Faust" soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama And The New Party

Obama's connection to the New Party has finally been noted by the mainstream media. In this article, linked to by Fox News, Obama's shown to have been an actual member of the New Party, which was founded by members of the Democratic Socialist Party, the Communist Party, and ACORN. It also notes that Obama had also been active with DSP. Nice to see the MSM is catching up with me. Now, if Obama's not a socialist, he seems to have a lot of explaining to do as to why he was a member of a socialist-communist political party and attended DSP events. Thought I'm not convinced McCain won't stumble his way into socialism through his economic ignorance, he at least didn't attend DSP events and join a socialist political party.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anti-1st Amendment Group Attempts to Violate Bishop's Civil Rights

Can the Americans United for Separation of Church and State be sued for attempting to violate the Roman Catholic bishop of Paterson, N.J., Arthur Serratelli's basic civil rights in trying to violate his freedom o f speech? I think they should. If they want to criticize him, that's fine. But anyone who tries to shut someone up for giving their opinion through the use of government should be imprisoned for attempting to violate that person's basic civil rights. Seriously, people, pay attention to this. Do we really want someone in office who uses these tactics, whether directly or indirectly, to silence his critics?

Venezuela's Blackouts

Venezuela has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and yet, they are having all ind of energy problems. Can't seem to keep the lights on. With all those energy reserves, what could the problem be? Hmm. The economic system? The same economic system Obama wants to give us.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bill Ayers Support Petition

Here is a convenient list of people whom I should never bother asking for a job. I was, however, in an acting troupe with number 2001 in the mid 90's. It's nice to know that there are so many people in our universities who don't think attempted mass murder is a big deal. I'm guessing that most who signed are themselves Marxists, so I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised at that, considering the history of Marxism. Oh, but history doesn't matter. That's right. I forgot. Never mind that Ayers much more recently than 40 years ago said he'd wished he'd done more. I guess he's upset that he's a failed mass murderer. Where's the anti-Ayers petition? I want to sign it.

"Socialist" Means "Black"?

Apparently one cannot criticize Obama on anything or use any sort of label to describe him without being accused of racism. Now "socialist" is a racist term? The selectively-historic imbecile who wrote the op-ed in the Kansas City Star has noticed that a few African-American leaders in the past were called "socialists," and concluded that it really only ever meant "black." Never mind, apparently, that socialism is a form of political economy, and a socialist is someone who supports this form of political economy. Never mind that most people associate socialism with Europe which, I am pretty certain, is the motherland of white people. To the extent that anyone of any race is a socialist or a Marxist, they are adopting a European idea as their own. It's really pathetic when you cannot criticize someone's ideas if they are a member of some minority group without being accused of being a racist. The Nazis would be impressed with how we have figured out how to censor any sort of criticism this way. Criticize a liberal's ideas, and you're a racist, a sexist, etc. Apparently only conservatives and libertarians can be criticized. Why are we on the verge of electing these wannabe tyrants?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama's Childhood Communist Connection

Well, we know that Obama's father was a communist, and we know that most of his associates in the last decade and a half have been communists, but it turns out that even growing up, Obama's childhood mentor was a communist. It turns out that Obama, while growing up on Hawaii, was close to the poet Frank Marshall Davis, a lifelong communist. Obama mentions Davis in his book, Dreams From My Father, but only ever calls him "Frank." I do find it odd that he failed to disclose the full name of such a famous poet. If I ever write an autobiography, I'm not going to talk about some poet named Fred who influenced me -- no, I'm going to say that it was Frederick Turner. So why does Obama fail to mention who this guy is? Even in his autobiography he's trying to hide his connections to communists. There is only one reason why he would do that, which is that he's trying to hide those associations. And the only reason he would try to hide those associations is if he agreed with their agenda.

The poems of Davis I read did not exactly spell out a communist agenda. He's fortunately too good a poet for that. Which is not to say that he doesn't spell out some social concerns of his. He's too good a poet for that. So if Obama was sitting around listening to this guy read his poetry, it seems to me that Obama could have said that he had the immense privilege of having known Frank Davis, whose poetry was incredible, even if, looking back, he didn't exactly agree with his politics. But that didn't happen. Instead, we have Obama hiding who Frank really is, figuring the media would be too lazy to try to find out. Well, he was mostly right about that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Separation of State from Church, Yes; Church from State, No.

The issue of the "separation of church and state" is back in the news. Especially, it seems, here in Dallas, where pastors of several denominations have promoted certain views from the pulpit, and have even endorsed candidates. This seems to happen every election, and it's getting annoying.

The "separation of church and state" does not mean that churches do not get to have an opinion about political issues. Quite the contrary. Insofar as the church covers the realm of ethics, and governments do things within that realm, churches have a right and obligation to make it clear what is right or wrong in the realm of governance. This so-called separation of church and state, then, does not cover churches being involved in informing their parishioners about how they should vote, whether that be in general terms, as the Bishops of Dallas and of Forth Worth have done, or to specifically endorse a candidate. The 501(c)(3) status of churches prohibits the latter, but it is still done anyway -- and to my mind, it points out a flaw in the nonprofit system that churches are prohibited from engaging in political endorsements. The state should not prohibit the expression of a pastor's opinions in any way, and 501(c)(3) status has been turned into a way to do that. A different category should be made for churches so that the pastors of churches can be allowed full religious and political expression without fear of the government. It is the lack of fear of government by the churches that the 1st Amendment s designed to address, so that the state cannot set up a state-recognized and -supported church, thus prohibiting other religious beliefs. The state is not to enter the realm of the church, according to the 1st Amendment, but that same Amendment does not in any way, shape, or form prohibit religious leaders from being involved in the political process, including explaining to their parishioners what the church supports ethically, meaning, politically. To deny that is to deny one's 1st Amendment freedom of speech, and to impose a lack of religion on all discussions regarding politics, which for most people means removing ethics from politics. Certainly many would like for that to happen, but when it does, we end up with brutal governments with no boundaries. This is certainly not what we want in and from government.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Synopsis and Character List for "Vice"

Here's a synopsis and character list for my new play "Vice." What do you think? Sound like anything you might want to see?


“Vice” is a tragedy in three acts with a fourth act satyr play. “Vice” is about a very liberal family, including two promiscuous daughters and a gay son, who move into a conservative, religious community. The community tries to change the family, but the family is not only resistant, but openly defiant at times, while the parents try to persuade the townspeople that each should live and let live. Their neighbors, however, have to deal with them on a more personal level, and so begin to engage in ever more drastic methods to change their ways. When one of the neighbors’ sons starts seeing the family’s gay son, this is the last straw. The play ends with the neighbor calling forth satyrs, which he considers demons, to punish everyone. Indeed, the play ends with seven of the ten main characters murdered.

In Act I, Carter James, his wife, Nancy, and their children, Britney, Lindsey, Albert, and Barney, have moved into a new house. The neighbors, Sam Nidal, his wife, Allie, and their sons, Ben and Randy, decided to check out who these new neighbors are. They do not like what they see.

In Act II, The James family are confronted by the town’s Elders. The parents first try to deal with the townspeople and reason with them, but eventually, they have to tell their children that the townspeople do not approve of their actions, especially the promiscuity of the two teenage girls and their gay son, Barney. Act II ends with a home invasion that results in the two girls being raped and Barney being beaten badly “to teach them a lesson.”

Act III takes place in the Nidal home, where the audience learns that it was the father and his two sons who were the home invaders. Sam decided to have the James’ over for dinner to try another approach to changing their ways, but after he learns his son has been seeing Barney, his plans take a more sinister turn. When the James’ come over, it is only the parents and the two daughters. Albert is off at college, but Barney is missing. It turns out that Sam has killed Barney and has fed him to the James family.

The final act, Act IV, is a satyr play. Sam has let the James family go, but follws them out of the house. The Jameses discover their house on fire. Sam calls for satyrs, who emerge from the enflamed house and grab all four women, including Allie, and drag them into the enflamed house to rape them. Ben joins the satyrs. Randy, appalled at what is happening, runs off. The satyrs emerge to say all the women, and Ben, are dead. They then turn on Sam, who is then beaten to death with a shovel by Randy. Albert returns in time to see everything end, and the satyrs proclaim their eternal devotion to him, saying they follow the one who is the strongest. Thus, they leave when Albert tells them to. In the end, the only ones left are Carter, Albert, and Randy. They leave as both houses burn to the ground.


Carter James – Ideologically, a very liberal man; husband of Nancy James; father of Britney, Lindsey, Albert, and Barney.

Nancy James – wife of Carter James

Britney James – a promiscuous teenaged girl.

Lindsey James – a promiscuous teenaged girl.

Barney James – a promiscuous gay teenaged boy.

Albert James – a moody teenaged boy.

Sam Nidal – neighbor of the James family; a very conservative, very religious man who thinks there is no boundary over which one can step to protect people from vice.

Allie Nidal – wife of Sam Nidal

Ben Nidal – Sam and Allie’s elder son.

Randy Nidal – Sam and Allie’s younger son; Barney’s boyfriend.

Elders – town elders who confront the James family.

Satyrs – half-men, half-goat

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Pushing to Suppress Investigation into ACORN

So, let me get this straight:

ACORN is directly involved in voter fraud and in signing up people too young to vote, dead people, and cartoon characters, and the INVESTIGATION of that is part of a Republican plot to "suppress the vote"? And this is a claim not just from ACORN, but from the Obama campaign. Apparently Obama never heard of avoiding the appearance of impropriety, because his defense of ACORN's involvement in voter fraud by claiming the investigation is a GOP conspiracy makes him look like he's somehow involved in it and wants to suppress the investigation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Spontaneous Order on 20/20

Everyone should have watched John Stossel tonight on 20/20. I loved the fact that he used the term "spontaneous order," introducing Friedrich von Hayek's term to the popular culture. Especially since I am going to a conference Nov. 1-4 in Hew Hampshire on spontaneous orders, where I will be presenting. Naturally, I'll be making links to the papers when the conference is over. I try to make the distinction between spontaneous orders as environments and self-organizing emergent systems. In between are what are known as teleological organizations (a distinction I did not make clear in my paper, but will make clear at the conference). If people understood spontaneous orders, neither Obama nor McCain would have stood a chance to get nominated. They probably wouldn't even be in the Senate. Perhaps that's a pipe dream, though, as part of the paper I'm presenting refutes the Marxist interpretation of systems theory. Oh well.

Why Bill Ayers Can Be a Professor -- But Not Me

Greg Gutfeld of Fox News asks how it is that terrorists like Bill Ayers and his wife can be professors. Well, Greg, let me tell you. Pretty much nothing bars you from being a professor other than being an opponent of Marxist and postmodern thought -- especially in education and the humanities. All you need is a Ph.D. Ironically, my Ph.D. in the humanities, while being sufficient for teaching community college, university, and graduate students, does not qualify me for teaching high school. No, to teach high school, I would have to get certified to teach high school, and I would have to take classes to get that certification. In the meantime, I am told by English departments that I am "overqualified" for positions that require a Ph.D. with my Ph.D. in the Humanities, M.A. in English, and B.A. Recombinant Gene Technology. It seems that not only do you have to be a Marxist and a postmodernist to get a job in an English or humanities department, but you can't be educated in any of the sciences -- let alone use something like biology to help you in your literary analyses.

Mortgage Rates Increase Due to Bailout

The federal government bailout has pushed mortgage rates up, which is now threatening home sales and its making it even more difficult for those with adjustable rates -- including those with subprime mortgages -- to afford their mortgage payments. With it being harder to sell homes due to the higher interest rates and the threat of even more defaults, it looks like the bailout is going to make things worse.

Didn't I predict that the bailout would make things worse?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Synopsis and Characters of "Sandy Keenan: A Tragedy"

Here's a synopsis and character list for my new play "Sandy Keenan." What do you think? Sound like anything you might want to see?


“Sandy Keenan” is a tragedy in five acts, with a foreword, four interacts, and an afterword. The foreword, interacts, and afterword are the voice of a radio talk show host done with closed curtains, and provide commentary and background on the action of the five acts. The play’s acts concern the development of Sandy Keenan from a mother who lost her son in a war to a war protestor, to a U.S. Congresswoman, to the assassin of the President of the United States, resulting in her own death.

In Act I, Sandy Keenan and her husband, Richard, are visited by two soldiers sent to announce their son’s death. After the soldiers leave, their neighbor, Karla Rose, an official in the Democratic Party, comes to give them her condolences. While there, Sandy expresses her interest in protesting the war, an idea which Richard opposes.

In Act II, Sandy is protesting outside the President’s private home in Texas. She is joined by several other protestors as well as a California Congresswoman, Marie Delrossa, and a young man running for Senate in Illinois, Barry Trenton.

In Act III, the Democratic Party has taken the Congress, and Barry Trenton is part of that takeover, but they have not ended the war. This prompts Sandy to decide to run for the seat of Marie Delrossa, who is now Speaker of the House. Karla Rose persuades Delrossa that Sandy running will actually help Delrossa, and Marie joins Sandy’s campaign to undermine it to ensure Delrossa wins.

In Act IV, Sandy has won Delrossa’s seat and is now a Congresswoman. Barry Trenton has also won the Presidency. However, on the day of their inauguration, President Trenton announces that he will continue the war effort to victory. Sandy angrily denounces him in a press conference.

In the final act, Act V, Sandy confronts the President and Vice President in the President’s office over his refusal to end the war. She manages to sneak in a plastic gun, which she uses to assassinate the President and Vice President. She is then killed by the Secret Service. As a consequence the new Republican Speaker of the House is made President.


Rusty – conservative talk show host
Richard Keenan – father of slain solider Mar; husband of Sandy Keenan
Sandy Keenan – mother of slain soldier Mark; wife of Richard Keenan; war protestor; Congresswoman
Soldier 1, Soldier 2 – deliver news of Mark’s death
Karla Rose – DNC official; Sandy Keenan’s neighbor
Marie Delrossa – Congresswoman from San Francisco; Speaker of the House
Matthew Crist – NBC reporter
Cameraman and crew for Matthew Crist
Sister Sarah – Catholic nun protesting the war
Father Don – Catholic priest protesting the war
Catholic Protestors
Soldier 3 – Catholic solider for the war
Barry Trenton – politician; Senator; President
People on the Platform with Sandy Keenan and Karla Rose
Audience for Sandy Keenan’s announcement
Staffers for Sandy Keenan
Joe Ryan – Vice President
Advisors for President Trenton
Secret Service Agents