Who’s in Charge Here?

Nobody asked but …

… I’d like to know.  The first stage of panic (and second and third) is to scramble around looking for someone to follow.  Many of us followed others into bars, but clearly most followed hoarders of toilet paper and hand sanitizer into all the dollar stores, the drugstores, and the supermarkets.  But the thing that is now most scarce is information.  Human beings continue to query “whadya know?”, but the answer is still “not much, you?”

Some say that in times of war, the first casualty is the truth.  But the “truth” is that the human race is at war with itself.  Will we win, and what will a win look like?

At any rate, here are some questions I’d like to be answered (and I’ll bet you would too):

  • Who’s in charge?  Every scheme cooked up throughout history has been a kicking of the can down the road.  If the buck really stops somewhere, why hasn’t the buck stopped?
  • What is “the buck?”
  • WTF?  Did POTUS really offer help to North Korea?  Who’s the dunderhead who decided that we are fine, so NK needs our help?  Is NK the model of collective that we seek to preserve?
  • Is there anyone with a microphone and teevee camera who will stand up and say “I am just a narcissistic glutton who will make up bullshit just to keep the red light glowing?”
  • Does one have a duty to others?  Yes, if you know them personally and have accepted responsibility for their care.  I have Kilgorette with whom I have exchanged vows.  We have 2 daughters, 8 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren.  We have neighbors.  We have friends.  We have 2 horses, 3 dogs, and 7 cats.  We do not triage among the members of this list.  After that, triage.  North Korea is vanishingly small on that list.
  • How do I get tested?  Where?  When?
  • If I am looking for a manager for my life, whom should I turn to?  The only possible answer is ME.

Stay tuned.  More questions are forming.

— Kilgore Forelle

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You Are Not Alone

Nobody asked but …

I just read two case histories on coronavirus. In one, a young mother died, in another a young mother lived. Both people had to face their outcomes alone. But many others were affected.

I don’t know if there were clear choices that could have been made, nor whether either of these young women were free to make choices.

But there is no guarantee of good, even if you check every box.  One is an individual, and one’s circumstances roll out unpredictably.

 … never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

— John Donne

We are all susceptible.  This is not a commercial, however, for fatalism.  I believe that every course has a point, maybe points, where the individual could exercise an option.  The option may be more or less clear.  But no option has guaranteed alternatives.  The natural laws on unforeseen consequences still apply.

The important thing is to be as prepared as possible with rational information.  For instance, politicians rush in regardless of their ability to effect change.  One should keep a jaundiced eye toward their theatrics.  You still have to make the choices.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Six More Presidents

Nobody asked but …

I’ll say again, the Presidents of the United States are a motley crew.  So far the scorecard reads 45 attempts, 45 clunkers.  I am not saying there were no honorable persons in the group (“honorable” itself is a very iffy word).  But I have practically no regard for the intellects of any of today’s half-dozen.  With the exception of the monstrous Jackson, the other 5 are bound for the oubliette of history.  But, to me, there is no such thing as a great President.  To have been a POTUS places a black mark on that career.  Few (ie none) have risen above.

On some occasions, some wisdom has been dispensed independently of the downward slide to the oval office.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the second six (7-12):

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes.

As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it.

The chains of military despotism, once fastened upon a nation, ages might pass away before they could be shaken off.

Let it be henceforth proclaimed to the world that man’s conscience was created free; that he is no longer accountable to his fellow man for his religious opinions, being responsible.

I would bring the government back to what it was intended to be – a plain economical government.

If elected, I would not be the mere president of a party – I would endeavor to act independent of party domination and should feel bound to administer the government untrammeled by party schemes.

But every person who has served in furtherance of this inauspiciously mediocre capacity, in my view, has a great atrocity to their name.  Again, the list:

— Kilgore Forelle


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Six Presidents

Nobody asked but …

The Presidents of the United States are a motley crew.  So far the scorecard reads 45 attempts, 45 klunkers.  I am not saying there were no honorable persons in the group (“honorable” itself is a very iffy word).  I have the highest regard for the intellects of Jefferson and Madison.  I believe that John Adams was among the greatest lawyers (a rare occurrence).  But, to me, there is no such thing as a great President.  To have been one places a black mark on that career.  Few have risen above.

On some occasions, some wisdom has been dispensed independently of the degradation to the office.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the first six:

It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company.

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.

It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin.

America… goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

But every person who has served in this inauspicious capacity, in my view, has a great atrocity to their name.  Again, the list:

— Kilgore Forelle

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Falling Back on Principle

Nobody asked but …

That’s good. That’s right. Because it’s natural. — Jack London

Sometimes it takes awhile to fashion a topic, so I search Google for the keyword “politics,” using the “news” tab.  Now I’m struggling to define for myself what are the differences among a regular news day and a slow news day and a no news day and a fake news day.  But this is clear, there is no difference between yesterday’s news day and today’s news day.

So, if one is seeking clarity, one is looking with futility at whatever passes for news.  I did get some information, obliquely, however, from a local radio sports talk show.  Whether this was critical information, I will leave as a homework assignment for the curious.  But here are the particulars.  The Kentucky legislature is debating various forms of legalized gambling.  Firstly, the term, “legalized” is a misnomer, misleading in the extreme — more truth could be ascribed to either “decriminalized” or “monetized.”  The point I am pursuing is that human nature is beguiling.  We try to dress-up questionable activity with the appearance of propriety with a patchwork of words and “-izations.”  The gadflies who inhabit the Hill, in Frankfort, are, nonetheless, observing natural law because human nature is part of Nature.

I tend to observe events through the lens of Natural Law, particularly principles derived from the operations of Natural Law.  The first principle is that political control of natural tendencies (aka morals) is impossible.  I am not opposed to gambling;  I’ll not waste my time being against it.  But I am opposed to statist intervention in matters of chance, because such intervention always takes the forms of evil, as in criminalization, decriminalization, monetization, revenuization, legalization, and tax theftization.

As far as I know, wagering takes place in any gathering of human beings.  It is not an opportunity for exploitation.  Don’t tax it, don’t moralize about it.

— Kilgore Forelle

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Process and Product

Nobody asked but …

I agree wholeheartedly with James Walpole in his blog post, “Being Late Is for Slaves“. But I must admit that I misread the headline. I have had a few jobs where obsessive clock-watching by a supervisor may have helped the process but not the product. Remember the object of a process is the product. The product is the be-all-and-end-all without which there would be no process (except fictional ones, like a Potemkin village).  The purpose of punctuality is procedural, not production.  In the end, there must be a product, factually, that fulfills its function well, regardless of whom was at their workstation promptly, during its processing.

Bureaucracy tends to emphasize the process, often while fictionalizing the product.  The Pentagon is great at this subterfuge.  Defense is their decoy product (while allowing 9/11 to happen), then they fooled all of us into believing that interdicting WMD was the product (cherrypicking was the process — selectively revealing so-called intelligence to aid the ruse).  But this has always been the case, the Military Industrial Bureaucratic Political Complex has specialized in straw men all along, to underwrite the constant need for more and better materiel.

In the long run, it makes no difference which employees were there on time, or even which employees were there at all. All that is necessary is buy-in among the positions filled. The Manhattan Project was an example of buy-in sufficient to reach a goal — Hiroshima and Nagisaki — that satisfied the agenda of those who saw self-gain possible.  T. C. Mits did not know about this secret goal.  Have you ever seen any attendance records from Los Alamos?

I will not leave before lauding the point(s) that James Walpole has made, in his post linked above. I’m still not all in with the headline, but I finally understood the point — understand the requirements of the real world around you. Take responsibility for the requirements. Master them. Being on time is your deal, not some bureaucrat’s. Not some current employer’s.

— Kilgore Forelle

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