Lay Off, Romney! He’s Just a Pisces!

I’m coming to the defense of Mitt Romney.  Liberals, lay off the Pisces! Yes, Romney is a Pisces and fellow mate of mine in the zodiac.  In general Piscatorials are mutable (flippy floppy),  gentle, kind, retiring, sensitive, unlucky and sometimes melancholy.  Here think of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

Of course, all of this is altered by stars, the moon and planets.  Generally, we’re a pretty decent sign. I mean, just study the little symbol for Pisces — twin fish.  What do you expect? And I have to say, too, that Romney’s Myers-Briggs is most like an ENTJ which means he is totally extra-verted while at the same time time intuitive, thinking and judging. He is the typical American type: perfectionist, questioning, and assertive. He’s  the consummate achiever.  He’s closer to the shark and barracuda than we porpoises.  So all is not uniform in the Piscean sea.  But we fish have to stick together.  I mean when we are not eating something smaller than ourselves.

For those of us who swim silent and swim deep, these election flaps are like froth on the surface and most often just as significant.

Steadfast and cautious,

S. David Milliken








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Obama the Socialist? Not Even Close –

I’m not sure Americans today appreciate quite how predatory socialism was. It was not — as Mr. Obama’s detractors suggest — merely a government so centralized and bloated that it hobbled private enterprise: it was a spoils system that killed off everything, all in the name of “social justice.”

via Obama the Socialist? Not Even Close –

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Coolidge, Hoover and the Myth of Businessman Presidents: Echoes – Bloomberg

“One motivation for Coolidge was his conviction that individual integrity and religious faith were as important to growth as government policy. In the same speech that he uttered the famous line about the chief business of America, he said ‘the chief ideal of America is idealism.’ ”

via Coolidge, Hoover and the Myth of Businessman Presidents: Echoes – Bloomberg.

The important point here is that Coolidge at least saw a necessity for good government policy.

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Kansas City Star: Demand a presidential campaign of substance –

Concerned Americans want less about presidential dogs, less about birth certificates and less about second-home car elevators.

They, and we, want substance.

We want serious discussions about health care, entitlements, defense spending, deficits, jobs, foreign policy and education.  More . . .

via The Star’s editorial | Demand a presidential campaign of substance –

After I read this editorial this morning, I felt like no one could have said it better and that no more needs to be said, except more on these issues.  It’s time to dig deeply into real debate. The editorial is not just good Midwestern horse sense, but sound logical sense for useful framing of 2012 election issues and, most likely crucial issues in our nation for the foreseeable future.  I am glad to hear this excellent newspaper calling on President Obama to put the Simpson-Bowles report back on top as a major priority.

In addition I add that this editorial proves why we need and will always need good, old-fashioned, print journalism.  I do not believe a great democratic republic can content itself with cable news only or even PBS and network specials — OR iPhones, Droids, et cetera — any thing that chops complexity into more mindless  dribs and drabs.  Sound bites and the daily palaver about who’s up and who’s down in the polls will not save America.  I’m sorry current events, national and global, are not solely entertainment.  They should not be followed like sporting events.  The electronic Media can fix this.

And I am tired of the endless litany of political parties who refuse to debate honestly what few ideas they have.  Truthfully we are all just waiting for the economy to get well on its own.  Maybe that is best; well, fine, then let’s have an end to Romney just saying over and over and over again how he can do a better job than Obama.  I want to know how and what he would do, except preside over inertia. What does the man believe in? Right now, I only know that Romney wants to be the President.  Perhaps he wants to out do dear old dad and that’s it.  From Romney I would like to know why he is not just another Herbert Hoover.  I want to hear him talk about the revenue side of budgeting.  He’s a businessman after all.

Obama wants a second term.  And I want President Obama to frame a total vision and tell me about it — better than the hope stuff.  I want him to confront the spectre of economic meltdown from debts and deficits.  I want Simpson-Bowles to frame the debate.  I want candidates who don’t constantly feed the public with more pap.  I have seen the statesman in Obama.  I want to see more of it.

Do you think it will happen?  I am not optimistic because money, buckets of money, will prevent it.  A true,  democratically-elected republic might call for compromise.  Do I expect too much?

Steadfast and cautious,

David Milliken

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Theodore Roosevelt on the Issues of 2012

“. . . We must have complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs, so that the people may know beyond peradventure whether the corporations obey the law and whether their management entitles them to the confidence of the public. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs . . . ”

via New Nationalism Speech by Theodore Roosevelt.  This is a long speech by Theodore Roosevelt and written in a time before sound bites and ersatz opinion making.  My time was well repaid in the reading of it.  I hope yours will be, too.

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Robert Reich: In today’s GOP, Social Darwinism reborn – Baltimore Sun

“Millionaires are the product of natural selection, acting on the whole body of men to pick out those who can meet the requirement of certain work to be done. It is because they are thus selected that wealth aggregates under their hands — both their own and that intrusted to them. They may fairly be regarded as the naturally selected agents of society.”  — William Graham Sumner

via Robert Reich: In today’s GOP, Social Darwinism reborn – Baltimore Sun.

The Tortoise still frets about the notion of social Darwinism.  After all, a Chelonian who takes advantage of his natural camouflage and finds ways to hide from danger which she senses through vibration may well live to be 100. That’s productive and makes for more tortoises. However, the great tortoises are endangered.  More and more, these animals which are fit to survive in their natural habitat are not so fit in man’s habitat. A trip to the sunny meadow, if it involves crossing a highway or street, can mean certain squashing death by automobile tire.

In terms of laissez faire my grandfather did a fine job of founding a company in 1929, a company that survives today into a fifth generation.  Grandfather really never saw the day when the company finally succeeded, but his descendants have.  So I guess Grandfather and his progeny have been economically fit.  The small company has survived by cautious expansion and product development as the need arose to survive obsolescence.  I do not believe the company has ever been cutthroat or greedy and yet it has survived where competitors have gone extinct.  True, technology has dramatically reduced the number employed, but the company goes on — providing college and opportunity for others.

I also believe that like tortoise survival, there’s also a lot of plain old luck involved when no powerful competitor comes along to squash the company dead in the road — that and the fact that the company has always, like a good tortoise, maintained its “hide” and stuck to the basics.  Where it was intended to survive on herbs, it has never developed a taste for meat.

So when I think of free enterprise, capitalism and the American way this is the industry I think of.  I do not believe that my grandfather or his descendants were more fit to live than any other person born of woman. Nor do I think their calling in life was particularly more worthy than teaching, social working, policing, fire fighting or writing poetry — unless, of course, worth is solely a matter of material success.

I know that the name of Robert Reich , means ultra-liberal to many, especially since he comes from UC-Berkeley.  And yet, the link attached needs to be consulted.  In short I might be persuaded that millionaires are the “the naturally selected agents of society,” and as such even the vaunted Job Creators who are selected “for certain work” to be done.”

But why then is the Tortoise still worried that without a decent social safety net in the public interest, good old capitalism will run amuck again as it just did in the last twenty years.  And the lower species will wind up with another bail out — AGAIN.  Tortoise fears the human species will sink into its same old habits and make more tortoise soup from an endangered species, i.e. the middle class taxpayer.  Once more, they might forget the wealth entrusted to them.

I believe that Warren Buffett creates new jobs, because I have seen evidence.  If I could really see more of it, and hear fewer excuses like overmuch regulation and taxes, I might believe again. Maybe I need to visit China to see those jobs. The Tortoise wants value-added capitalism that creates good jobs at home, not just another low-paying service wage. Right now Tortoise knows that she and the millionaires don’t share the same habitat. She wonders if they even value hers.

Steadfast and cautious,

David Milliken

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Election 2012: Plain Dealing & Honesty on My Mind

I must say that the best name for me is “Republicrat.”  At least we’re not likely to see Tweedle Dee versus Tweedle Dum this election, and as always I will vote.  Frankly I don’t know what I am any more.  The right war before Iraq was in Afghanistan.  I hope to God we don’t have to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.  If we do, it must be an allied effort; though we and NATO can’t afford it.  Too bad we blew all those resources, human and financial, in Iraq.  An expensive war in Iran will destroy what’s left of the West, I fear.  We’re tired of war; well, some of us are.

Obama dropped the ball and a lot of statesmanship when he didn’t take up the Simpson-Bowles report.  I haven’t the faintest idea where Romney lives, really; but his Freudian slips tell me what he’s missing.  You know, he’s been unemployed, too.  His income from speeches c9uld have been better. Tch, tch.

But it’s Newt I’m after today.  He sent me into  a little research on Saul Alinsky.  Alinsky was a devout Jew until he became an atheist. Alinsky was a radical like Thomas Paine with a difference.  And both men had their right and freedom to be radical. My reading finds Alinsky associated with the likes of Jane Addams of Hull House and something called “sympathetic knowledge.”  Yes, they were community organizers.  I recall her from sixth grade history.  She was much revered and actually so was Alinsky.  True, he was called a Marxist and a Communist, but then so was Martin Luther King.  Alinsky came from the era of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  It was the Chicago of child labor, slums and general working class poverty — a brutal age.  Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were students of Alinsky.  I do not believe Hillary or Barack are socialists, communists or anything else subversive.

When Newt says Obama wants to re-shape the nation in a way the Framers had never conceived of, I think its more a matter of being aware that the Framers did not know the Great Depression, the Robber Barons, nuclear warfare and catastrophic health care costs. Nothing to be afraid of Newt, it’s just a different world that we in our time must deal with using “sympathetic knowledge” of  the countless ones without a lobby.  We don’t need to forsake the Constitution, but it must work in our world.

I know what Newt is up to — distorting history, implying this and that kind of bogey man.  As an historian, he knows better, but because he is an historian that also makes him effective and guilty of  malpractice.  It’s the old, predictable Newt.

What I wouldn’t give for honesty in Election 2012.

Steadfast and cautious,

David Milliken

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Social Darwinism, Alive and Well in Election 2012

The Tortoise in his plodding way set out to understand liberalism and laissez faire. But Tortoise, slow and steady, steadfast and cautious, got very angry when he read that “In nature, survival of the fittest is the rule [at least according to Herbert Spencer, 1802-1903 in The Gospel of Social Darwinism]. Well, this he could accept, but he could not tolerate that “the weak and the effete make way for the strong and the swift.” That was it for Tortoise who knows a lot about survival, the strong and the swift. “Why,” he asked, ”do the strong and the swift have any better claim in the pursuit of happiness than the slow and the steady, the prudent and the deliberate? What’s the big deal about muscles and speed, especially if most of them are on steroids?  Does everyone have to win a frickin’ bowl game to be worth a damn? Why with some luck a tortoise can live 100 years!”

Tortoise, my friends, is furious. Any way this is what Herbert Spencer thought in the late 19th Century and things haven’t changed much. We all know who’s expendable, don’t we, Mr. Job Creator.

R. Strinivasan has written a superb paper on “Liberalism.”  The article or Position Paper–16, appears at Indian Liberals(Group) in Vol.2.  For those who have ever cared about such things as the evolution of liberalism from the 16th Century to the present, this is a readable article and mercifully short. This matters, friends, this matters. Liberalism isn’t socialism. The article clarifies why today’s American Conservatives are really 19th Century Liberals.

But more important, although the American election is not Strinivasan’s subject, his scholarship provides an historical perspective for the 2012 Debate in the U.S. — currently playing out in our mindless, Media circus. If you want to take the extra time in this paper, you can also appreciate the differences in British, French, German and American liberalism. In each nation the philosophy grew out of the unique experiences of these peoples.  From other reading(Edmund Burke), I know that the French Revolution and Robespierre, for example, gave the French a strong desire for a strong state. Watching that revolution from across the English Channel profoundly affected the British way.

Read this paper and you will understand how much demagoguery inundates us this political season. A plague on all thelr houses!

Here’s one last quote from the paper. Read “Liberal” as “Job Creator:”

Apart from this, there was an unfeeling attitude to the problems of the proletariat. The British economists were impressed by laws which they held to be immutable. Malthus was to argue of the impossibility of improving the lot of the poor – they tend to have an excessive birth rate. The subsistence theory of wages argued that the wage tends to be at a level which would allow the labour to exist and perpetuate itself without increase or decrease of their numbers. Any legislation which would augment the wage of the labour will result in a population increase which would offset the gain and poverty would continue. Also, increase in wages would eat into profits, reduce investment into production, increase unemployment and perpetuate misery. Nassau Senior advocated a view that legislation to shorten the hours of labour would militate against the profits; for profits are made only in the last hour of the working day. If one were to shorten the working hours, it would lead to the closing of the factories and mines. He was dubbed as ‘Last Hour Senior’. The Liberals were described as creating a science for wealth rather than a science of wealth.”

Steadfast and cautious,

for The Tortoise

David Milliken


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