Weekly Standard Sideswipe

Not much substantive here, but a comment on the demise of the Weekly Standard, which has been greatly anticipated.

Matthew J. Peterson at The American Mind posted an autopsy.  Mark Hemingway, lately of the Standard, posted a poignant and measured defense.  He gets it, but then again he doesn’t.  Or is it parody?

Clearly, Trump’s bull-in-the-Mikasa-outlet presidency

Who talks like that?

Of course, it should be said that James Mattis being the most beloved military figure of the 21st century carries about as backhanded a distinction as being the prettiest girl at a Radcliffe mixer.

Ha.  Ha ha.  Ha ha ha ha.  A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha … ha.

I don’t get it.  It’s smarmy little inside jokes like this that these tone-deaf morons have to thank for their unemployment.

Peterson is right in his article.  The only thing to be conserved at Bluwark is some effete “right-of-center” jobs.  Maybe Mark is married to Mollie (I don’t know, is he?), but you can tell it’s no blood relation.

Good Riddance.

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2019 — A Year Without Gillette

That’s my tag line for the way to handle the Gillette debacle.

People talk about Procter & Gamble, amd there are lists of products or companies forwarded by P&G — I feel that’s too broad.  After all, focused fire is more effective.  And the P&G name is not the one being connected with this nonsense.

The name Gillette has been thrust at us as a champion of the point of view that one of the bedrocks of western civilization, among all civilizations similarly by the way, is wrong and upside-down in its value proposition.  Yet the value proposition of any facet of our culture is that it helps sustain that culture, and masculinity — Men as such — underlies most that is great in our culture, that has been accomplished, and which will be available to our posterity.

Masculinity, and in particular the western conception of masculinity, is that which preserves and expands the circle of affinity for which all will be given if required.  Masculinity exists in tension with, not in opposition to, femininity.  These two primal forces of human nature and of social existence confront and comprehend each other, much as the interplay between God and man.

What is happening before our eyes is not even social engineering, but its inevitable successor, cultural destruction.  Beyond the often-seen cultural vandalism of the left, we now live in a culture of un-tended broken windows, our once mighty civilization becoming just another shithole alley of needles and rapey boy-men uninitiated in their social role and the need to master themselves, and insecure before a barrage of anti-male nonsense.  The left is ascendant in the culture war, and speaks worldly power to eternal truth.  Our political power is a rear-guard defense.  We engage in nothing which is not merely an attempt to counter the assaults of the left.

Merely being right is no defense.  You can argue with the Gulag guards all night, exchange views from the personal to the political, come to an understanding, and go to sleep knowing that you have connected with your fellow humans, but they still shoot you at sunrise.  I have said for an unenviable number of years that facts no longer matter, words no longer matter, being right no longer matters.  The only thing that matters is power, and the left has it.

We cannot hurt Procter & Gamble any more than it will allow — they’re too big.  We can perhaps not even hurt Gillette in a meaningful sense.  The best we can do right now is send a powerful message.  The name Gillette must be made radioactive in a way that ties it to the millstone of cultural destruction.  We may not be able to smash them, to force a behavioral change.

What I guarantee we can do is leave a mark, the same way the putting votes on the record *even going into a sure loss* produces leverage for the next fight.  The GOP is now famously branded as the “fight tomorrow, not today” party, noting the handy truth that the linear nature of time guarantees tomorrow never comes.  Yet effective conservative political warriors take the time to force all involved to show where they sit, to illuminate the place they say they stand.  Why?  To pierce the veil of voice votes and arranged defeat useful to dishonest politicians, and devastating to the polity.

We are fortunate to have been given this Gillette boon at the beginning of the year.  We should take this opportunity to tie three things together — Gillette, cultural destruction of men, and an awful year in the media — perhaps even the boardroom.

I know that we can succeed in making the name Gillette as toxic in a real way as their advertisement is in a cultural way.

2019 — A Year Without Gillette.

#NoGillette2019

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Select Administrative Sex

Man, I thought I was going to get an intern under my desk or something.

Imagine my surprise.

This is from the profile interface for an online health thing.  The madness proceeds.  Literally the only truth written in every cell of your body is your sex; XY or XX.  It’s not an administrative matter, although I appreciate the nod to data sanity.  It’s the rest of the sanity we miss, and will pay for dearly.

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Reaganize the TSA

Hey Trump — you wanna make a quick political buck?

Fire the TSA rats who refuse to show up.  None of them will suffer real harm through the shutdown, and the snowflakes staging a “sick” walk-out are causing real harm similar to the ATC walkout decades ago.

TSA operates under DHS.  Those are federal employees.  Let them have it in the neck.  Meanwhile, this should improve promotion and posting opportunities for the guys who stayed at their jobs.

C’mon, say it — You’re Fired!

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What Good is a Wall?

But the Wall won’t actually stop anybody, they’ll just get ladders, etc.  True enough.  A wall in the middle of nowhere with nobody watching it is useless.

All the great walls in history (let’s select the Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, and the Walls of Constantinople) were not mere obstacles, but tools to be used in the defense of that which lay behind.  Every one of them was also a road, a fortress, a warehousing system, a network of linked fighting positions.  Walls are built to be used by competent defenders.

Military obstacles are not spend-and-hope propositions.   Obstacles are used to shape the field of battle to produce an advantage for the side spending the money, or the manpower, the blood, toil, sweat, and tears.  The goal in building these obstacles is to allow a spirited defense at a price worth paying for the return.  To simply build a wall and hope that it works would indeed be the ludicrous waste that the left claims.

The modern wall need not serve also as a road, need not store provisions and armaments, need not provide bunkers (dare I say bulwarks) against massed invasions — we have other technologies for delivering force at a time and place.  But a line must be drawn, and an obstacle must be employed.

A military obstacle allows you to channel your fire, to prioritize your targets, to reduce the amount of force that your enemy can bring to bear at a given time.  In the photo at the right, swiped from the front page of Drudge, the wall is not failing.  It is succeeding at forcing a limited subset of the interlopers to matter.  Those who have not made it atop the wall do not yet matter.  Those who have made it up top matter now.  A serious border defense, such as that exercised at most contested international borders in the world, looks at this picture and sees three targets to engage, and several not to engage.  A border without guns is no border.  A border with a wall requires far fewer guns — it requires far fewer shots to be fired.

Our border is very much contested.  It is contested from within by those who see no need, who hate America, or whose pet theories about one-worldism require the absence of a wall.  It is contested from without by political forces who deny that America has a right to exist, to defend its existence, to have a place at which to mount that defense.  It is not the location of the border that is disputed, but its legitimacy.  If Americans (a people) have a right to live in America (a location) as Americans (a nation/culture), then we also require the ability to control access to that place.  Our culture is worse than none other, and better than most.  And most importantly — it is ours.

To be or not to be?  This is the core question underlying all others in this “debate”.  If we will not shoot to defend our border, then we will have no border.  The wall is a fair warning against transgression which will by rights result in a shooting, and a handy military obstacle to reduce the amount of shooting required.  For a people with zero political will to defend its existence, a wall is a poor filter, a minor delay on the road to Hell.

The wall is a military tool, to be used in the pursuit of the most fundamental, most legitimate use of force ever — to defend one’s existence.    A country with such a laughable set of immigration controls should be easily able to enforce a military defense of its borders.  After all, there are still doors, and they are all wide open.  Who then is threatened by the prospect of a wall, even a vigorously defended one?  Those who wish us to be unable, not merely unwilling, to set and enforce policy at the doors.

Three guys on top of our wall do not threaten us.  Three guys who enter unopposed do.

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The Edge Of Sleep

I had a remarkable experience this morning.  In a (so far) culmination of a series of largely similar events, this morning’s was the most spectacular semi-lucid experience yet.

I knew I was awake, but not fully conscious.  There was just a faint glow of twilight on the horizon.  I suppose it was the vocals that woke me, as much as I was awake.  There was a lot going on.  I could see two backgrounds.  One was a maze-like pattern, with large circular-themed sections embedded in a grid structure — as far as I could tell, the maze was continuous.  Colors and textures washed through this.  The other background was composed of triangles and trapezoids looking like escapees from a 1980’s album cover.  These backgrounds kind of faded and competed with each other, but both were always visible and filled my vision.  There was some degree of more mundane thing going on in the foreground, which did not much concern me.  I recognized it as life going on, just humdrum stuff, and focused instead on the parts I don;t usually get to see, because… right.

There was music playing.  I was aware that I composed and enjoyed the music at the same time.  These things were visible to both eyes, audible to both ears, yet I was aware that everything so far was coming from one hemisphere of the brain.  I could *feel it*.  The sole exception was a voice speaking orderly nonsense.  Like a machine practicing grammar, it was structured but not meaningful.  Yet it was clear, and each word was distinct.

Somehow, I tracked all of this and more — it felt as if I had spawned helper processes — it was all still me, but I had as much attention to pay as was required.

The music was a variation of something I have been working on, but more rich, better developed.  Some musical creation is construction, and some is discovery.  I suppose this thing is a bit of discovery.

I don’t assign any meaning to this, but I sure find it interesting.  I regret that I cannot do it justice.  This is the way of dreams, of course, lucid or waking or whatnot.


When I was a child, single-digits, I would wake up fully conscious but paralyzed.  Long story short, some people wake up in a state from time to time with the mental motor running, but the transmission in neutral.  It can be terrifying, but nothing bad ever happens.  You get used to it.  It just feels like there’s an elephant on you.

Later, as a teenager, I got into lucid dreaming.  You can take control of your dreams, but I don’t recommend it.  It gets confusing.

I have recurring dreams, and recurring themes.  My recurring dreams are not identical repeats, just the same damned thing with variables adjusted.  The recurring themes are consistent over long periods of time.  The first I recall was flight.  When I was very young, I imagined a remarkably specific type of jetpack that allowed me to fly all sorts of places in dreams.  Later, this became an ability to fly using all organic means.  It turns out that, in my dream world, if you cross your legs just so while kneeling, you can will yourself airborne.

Other themes are fairly pedestrian, the usual suspects.  The molasses (slow speed) dream, the falling dream, the exposed dream, although public speech has never terrified me.

More recently a peculiar theme has popped up — the ability to descend stairs by simply surfing the edges of the steps.  Why waste all that time walking down the stairs when you can just get a good start and slide down?  This is the sort of thing which I am sure is technically possible, but you wouldn’t catch me doing it on a dare.  Break my damned neck.

Still, it weaves its way into other dreams about who knows what, and when the rest of the dream evaporates, for some reason, I remember the stairs.

I can’t explain.

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Casus Belli

I can boil my thoughts down to a simple statement.

The same government which failed to even indict Hillary Clinton for the cluster of scandals tied to her e-mail, including Benghazi, is unfit to to convict Donald Trump of a damned thing.

If the government moves to negate the result of our election, there will be war.

This is my New Year’s spirit.

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More on the Patreon Meltdown

Here’s a guy, Matt Christiansen, who gained an interview with some droid at Patreon.  Good questions, laughable answers, and a sense that he’ll never get another interview with them.  Heh.

He’ll leave Patreon in January.  At one point, the droid he interacts with implies that any impact to this guy’s account, dropped memberships through Patreon, that is, results from an overlap between his viewership and that of the recently de-platformed Sargon of Akkad.  He bats this down, but it points the way to the next phase to watch for in this sorry spectacle.

Wait until the lefties are impacted.

Brief explainer, for those not following this:  Patreon has de-platformed Milo, Lauren Southern, and now Sargon of Akkad.  I know nothing of the Milo and Southern bans, and am only glancingly familiar with the Sargon ban — looks like he used some language that I do not use.  This video is Christiansen’s attempt to get a straight answer out of Patreon about standards, processes, or rules.  They don’t have an answer, although they keep trying.

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Amazon can Follow Apple off a Cliff, For All I Care

Maybe I did something wrong.  I used to know how to do this.

Maybe they don’t want me to keep my music.  This was not a problem before.

Maybe I’ll just go back to pirating what I want.  The user interface is simpler.

I have purchased an album on Amazon.  I can see it in my account.  I cannot surface it in the official Amazon Music App.  When I bang a link on the store website to “Play in Amazon Music”, it opens the official app (all of this is on my phone, mind you) to the album, and then prompts me to join their ###-###### music-club streaming trail of tears, which I DO NOT WANT.  There is no work-around, work-through, or work-beneath.  Just the work-over I’m getting.

I must have been in the first hundred people to use iTunes, WAY BACK WHEN.  Back when, they wanted you to play mp3s and organize them on your computer — that’s what their software did.  Later came the online store.   The store came along and the UI as well as the functionality has been driving users to stream from Apple servers ever since; steadily increasing.  Your music used to be front and center — now you have to move a bunch of ads for “Gorillaz” and U2 out of the way just to get to your own stuff.  Well that was actually five or six years ago — last time I saw that stinking heap of behavior modification.  God knows what they’re up to now — I certainly do not.

Oh, and I cannot get my music off my aged iPhone because its original homebase computer has gone the way of all things.  I am not going to buy another Macintosh just to get my stuff off my phone!  Sorry, HFS+ formatted; Windows version of iTunes will just wipe it dead.

Amazon was my refuge after Apple became unpalatable.  I have more or less abandoned a bunch of Apple content.  And now, long story short, Amazon is going the same way.  I’ve done this before — bought MP3 albums from Amazon, using the app they provided.  It used to be simple.  Well, now it’s not.  Things that used to work are being broken to change my behavior — to reduce my ownership to mere licensee status, and to tie me to a mother-may-I permission management system.  And now what do I see on the website?  An option to ENABLE DRM.  Oh, heck yeah, just what I wanted for the last twenty years — FREE DRM!

You know who never screwed me?  Napster.  Morpheus.  eMule.  I’ll manage my own permissions, thank you very much.


So I bought the thing on Google Play for about ten bucks, four more than I already paid to Amazon.  I’m listening to it now on my phone.  Been hanlkering for this albm for days.  It’s GREAT!  I resolved to go get my money back from Amazon for a digital purchase — unheard of, right?  Well, right there on the record of the order (“invoice”, such as it is), it says that the product purchased is “The Hush  [Download] by Texas”.  That’s the album name, the artist, and the format I purchased.  Except there’s no way to download the dad-gummed thing without joining their moron loser club.  I grab my invoice number and scroll way down to the bottom of the page to find the customer service link, and — hey wai…. I scroll back up to see that there’s a Download link right there in the order list.  So far, every other download link I have clicked has gone right to some DRM thing, stream thing, authorize your PC thing, or here’s an app for you to download and then maybe you can stream your DOWNLOAD format purchase.  Gamely, I click the link — and a zip file falls into my Downloads folder.  Looks legit.

Now let me tell you why this is still a problem.  First, it’s not on my phone, which is where I wanted it.  That’s Okay, Amazon — Google already put theirs on my phone for twice the money, and that’s a bargain.  Second, how many people would think to avoid everything that says Music, My Music, My Music Library, and instead surf to the “Your Orders” list, which is a kind of accounting afterthought.  Every button on the Your Orders list is surfaced somewhere else, but DOWNLOAD behaves differently here!  Which is to say, it actually works.

My guess is that their Department of Messing Things Up is not yet allowed to mess up the Your Orders screen.  Too close to the core of the business itself.  But it will be.  Soon.  Selling tracks online seems to be a dying business.

YARRR.

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Fake News about Border Patrol re Death of Little Girl: Broken Down by YouTuber Tim Pool

Just a fellow I came across as I spelunked the web looking for info on the ban of Sargon of Akkad.  This guy seems on the level, and presents here a one-video breakdown of leftist media warping a story to fit lefty politicians’ aims:

The girl was malnourished and dehydrated along the family’s journey to sneak across the border.  Her father certified that they were all in good health.  Once she presented seizures and a fever of 105, CBP wound up ordering an air ambulance to take the girl to a hospital, and did all they could in the meanwhile.

The girl’s father is grateful to CBP, and states that they did everything possible to save the girl.

That’s not what Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, and the Washington Post et al would have you believe.

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Amazon Streaming Services makes a good acronym

I’m in a foul mood, just a bit.  Long story real short — I am not in the slightest bit interested in joining anybody’s streaming anything, ever.  I pay, I download, I file it in storage I own.

Amazon is making this difficult, and now apparently impossible from the phone / mobile app.  I even went to the desktop in frustration and bought an album, and I still cannot see it from the mobile app.  Google is worse.  Apple’s all-streaming iTunes is one of the things that motivated me to leave the platform — not the only one, but they were early.

Looks like I, as well as everybody else who might, say, go on a ship, or work where you cannot stream, will just hole up in a hillside cave throwing chicken bones at modern people.  And it’s not even about what I cannot do — it’s what I do not want to do.  I do not want to subject ,myself to somebody else’s service, or permission to use a service, to access thing that I have paid for, that I foolishly kept somewhere else.  This makes about as much sense as buying certificates for gold in case the SHTF.  Dumb-ass, if the SHTF, the certificates won’t be honored any more than the toilet paper we call dollars.

Likewise my “rights” to access the content I want after an arbitrary length of time, one bendo-cycle in market terms, has passed, where the  money I paid is long gone, and the license I hold is a liability, not an asset.  Businesses do not survive by accumulating liabilities.  Not one of the streaming “services” has any financial interest at all in allowing you access to something you have already paid for.

Gosh, I’m frustrated.

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Ten Thousand Words on the Twenty-Third

Nope, sorry, it’s not a forty-page book report on the only Psalm most people can name.

I went to Starbucks today, and after some rigorous farting around, attacked a new book project.  I got 3500 words in before taking about a four hour lunch break (more farting around), then blazed away on the keyboard, such as it is, to complete the other 6500 ju-u-ust after they closed.  The good people at my local SB respected my furious typing, and let me go another ten minutes after they locked the doors.

It pays to be a local.

It also pays to use the right stuff.  Allow me to briefly plug a product which I find immensely useful: Scrivener, the award-winning blah blah, man it really helps you organize what you are doing, while you are doing it.

Following is a badge with NO AFFILIATE LINK to the product and the site.  They do have an affiliate program, but I’m just providing the handsome link.  SO let’s see how this works:

Scrivener: By writers, for writers.
Well, that seemed to work.  The big old S appears to be taking on water, sinking out of frame, but that’s the way they like it, it seems.  Never happened to me.

I have taken a couple of stabs at using it over the last several years, and every time I really dig down and get going, I really benefit from it.  Now technically, I could also dig down and grunt out plenty of words on a typewriter.  Hey, it was good enough for Hemingstein the Tout, but I’m no Hemingstein.

There is a lot to the product, and I have no clue how to use most of it.  I just got to the point where I can move around with fair confidence, and I kind of get the purpose of some of the gee-gaws.  But writing is straightforward, and practice builds skill.  I am practicing on the software.  The writing?  Time will tell.

Meanshile (writers coin new words from time to time), you may be surprised — you may be shocked! — to learn that all that keyboard pounding was accomplished on the Microsoft Surface (5) “Alcantara” keyboard, which is one of those flimsy bouncy mushy looking things — except that it feels great.  Here’s a picture reproduced from this website, which gave the attached Surface Pro 5 a great review, but seemed to miss the mark on whether people would or should buy the machine.

Microsoft can’t keep these things on the shelves, and now the next generation is flying out of stores as well.  I got my 14-year-old son a Surface Go (the new line of smaller units) for Christmas.  I’m going to pack it underneath a $40 4-in-1 El Cheapo brand printer, and proudly announce that I’m glad he has taken an interest in printing (since he asked for help printing exactly one thing this semester).  I can;t wait to see the look in his face as he goes from pretending to like the printer to getting the thing he mentioned once, and I pooh-poohed.  Spoiled?  Probably.  But as long as he keeps turning in top-shelf grades, he’ll get top-shelf stuff.  Or coal.  Depends how he talks to his Mom.

So I’m rapidly becoming a guy happy with his tools.  I’ve always liked Scrivener, I fell in love with the Surface as soon as version 5 “the one to get if you’ve been waiting to get the one” came out, and the sweet keyboard (technically called a type-cover) grabbed me as soon as I type-tested it in the store.

It was a dark and stormy night.

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The View from a Federal Employee — [edit: greatly expanded]

Allow me briefly to present myself as an employee of the federal government.  At some times, I work for the government as a GS (the most populous pay-scale of the US Civil Service), an IT nerd.  At other times, I am not a federal government civilian, and I do try to preserve a fig leaf of uncertainty about my status at any given time.  More so officially than informally, as A) it would be inconsistent with the principles of government service to go about posting things online with some intent to hide it from the government, and B) only a fool thinks they can hide from the government, the good guys, the bad guys, the hackers, the helpers, and anybody in between.  Privacy is dead — adjust to the new reality and behave as your values direct — as always.

But as a person who has served in the government (as an employee, that is) during previous periods of shutdown, allow me to offer that point of view on shutdowns:

Bring. It. On.

Federal employees are the least-threatened group of people EVER.  Every single one swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  Many federal employees, their unions, their spokesmen, their lawyers, their PR flacks and their namby-pamby therapeutic culture warriors of fairness and endless wrangling for benefits feel no compunctions whatsoever about lobbying, politicking, protesting and so forth for their precious benefits, terms of employment, un-fire-ability, and so forth.  Sorry, but “and so forth” is a frequent fact in detailing the scope of the federal employees’ expansive power to dictate the terms of their jobs.

It is my opinion that no union has ever been so successful as the group of unions which have their members’ salaries paid by government.  This is because government is always a third-party payment system, in which it is always somebody else’s money which is spent, and with the power of the law to compel payment, few in government are required to feel a serious budget pressure beyond the merely programmatic.  Fundamentally, there is no bottom line when it comes to government spending, a fact which is made ludicrously concrete when searching for a balanced budget in the government.  Even states which are constitutionally bound to balance their budgets still have a hand-in-pocket relationship with Uncle Sugar, the federal repository of your — your — tax dollars.

In my opinion, the oath of a federal employee, and several of the principles of government ethics, are designed to require that a federal employee put service to country first, and I further feel that this is a requirement not understood or not taken seriously by perhaps a majority of federal employees.  It is not supposed to be about us.  We are supposed to be about it, where “it” is the explicit duty to the constitution that we all voluntarily embraced, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

Not one federal employee has a duty to preserve the smooth running of government, nor to preserve the government, nor fealty to any person or office in the government.  Yes, there are subsidiary regulatory requirements which direct that execution of duties shall be in accordance with, and so forth, but those are about the daily goings-on of getting the job done, not about the ultimate seat of purpose for a person in the employ of the federal government, which is the protection and defense of the Constitution.

From the wonderful Legal Information Institute:

An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” This section does not affect other oaths required by law.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 424.)

I am sure that there is a great deal of legal commentary and decision-making to be researched in the legality of public employee unions — I know that this is an old and much-debated topic.  I also know that even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, of the big-government, pro-stimulus, unitary government, court-packing, New Deal mentality — even he found the idea of public employee unions noxious, anathema to the obligations of public employees.

On their page titled Federal Government Employee Unions, the caretakers of the FDR Library briefly acknowledge the distinction made by FDR himself between the public and private sector, and then hurry along to say that he was silent on the issue of state and municipal employee unions.  They then follow that up with plenty of pro-union statements of his, not pausing to acknowledge the importance of the fact that these all concerned private sector, corporate employment.

Perhaps he found this a convenient defense, perhaps he had other methods of getting the same goals achieved, but I find it dispositive that he was at the very least unwilling to try his hand at this, which he did not shy away from court-packing and government support of unions in one of the more literally fascist schemes ever to have been undertaken by the federal government.  A kind of fascism-lite, New Deal corporatism is the sort of invitation to de-individualize the American citizen, treating him as an element of labor, if at all.

The National Recovery Administration was a prime New Deal agency established by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) in 1933. The goal was to eliminate “cut-throat competition” by bringing industry, labor, and government together to create codes of “fair practices” and set prices.

I do not ascribe to FDR any of the cruel, despotic traits associated with, and in some definitions required to constitute fascism, but in looking at the bundled fasces; industry, government, and labor — this bundle must be wielded by a hand, and it is invariably the hand of government.  According to the wikipedia article on corporatism, “Corporatist ideas are common to ideologies including absolutism, fascism and liberalism.”  This sounds a bit broad, or at least relying upon a more specific definition of liberalism than presented.  After all, if liberalism is (classically) the impulse and actions taken to increase the liberty of the individual by decreasing the role of a central government in his life, usually travelling hand-in-hand with a healthy contempt for tradition and norms as elements of the present jealous power structure, then corporatism can play no role in liberalism — not a supportive role, at any rate.  I privately suspect that an analysis of meta-conceptual rigor in definitions of -isms on wikipedia would reveal a bias toward softening definitions of progressive ideas, movements, and requirements, and a hardening of definitions underpinning conservative positions.

A key point is the relationship of the federal employee to the US Constitution, and the expression of this relationship in subordinate duties — and all duties of a federal employee are subordinate to this relationship.  Resolving this requires a settled view of the constitution, so that various lines of accountability may be drawn to something which is not a moving target.  There is such a thing as a physical constitution, it is composed of written words, which have meanings, and it sets out the structure of the United States government in concrete terms.  It specifies the power structures, how to operate them, how to populate them, and critically, specifies the limits of those powers.  Particularly, in the first ten amendments, the “Bill of Rights”, the constitution specifies certain rights of those governed which are not to be infringed by the federal government, or the narrow circumstances in which those rights may be infringed.  It also explicitly reserves all rights no directly treated to the states and to the individuals, and removes these powers from the hands of the federal government.

These points are not reasonably debatable.  The fact that they are frequently debated implies much in the way of illiteracy, incompetence, or dishonesty on the part of those who argue otherwise.  This will sound provocative and circular, but I forward that it is the result of a logical closure — that is, all of the checksums add up when you view it in a certain way.

As a federal employee, I am comfortable enough with the Sixteenth Amendment opening the door to a federal income tax.  It is a ratified amendment, and therefore part of the constitution.  It is also old law, surviving many challenges.  Finally, it is unfortunately a better alternative than many other things.  There it is in black and white, and it means what it says.

The constitution established a republican form of government.

Article IV, Section. 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.”

This is as clear a duty laid upon the federal government as any in the constitution.  Stronger than privacy, as strong as speech and guns, and requiring not one inch of extension of premises, that is, no perception of aurae, no observation of penumbrae, nor divining of emanations are required in order to admit the cold, hard text: SHALL GUARANTEE.
Proposals which run counter to this, such as the National Popular Vote, open borders schemes, and subjugation to a world governing body (take your pick) are explicitly anti-constitutional.  The Constitution is not a neutral arbiter among all points of view concerning the structure and operation of a government — it is a specific point of view defining and detailing the structure and operation of a government.
Every government employee should be comfortable pointing this out.  Opposed as we are to Nazism, fascism, dictatorship and so forth, we are also opposed to communism, socialism, anarchism, and so forth.  These are all opposed to, antithetical to, a republican form of government.
Pointedly, this is not a political question.  It is a matter of law, and it is conditional to the continuing employment of every government employee.  We have mechanisms for solving political questions, and government employees should rightly be silent on these things in their official capacity, and with other restrictions laid down by the Hatch Act, among other requirements.  But to argue that the federal government is required to guarantee to each of the several states a republican form of government is not political — it is a fact, and an obligation.
It is important to note at this point that the mere name of one political party as “Republican” does not equate any partisan activity with a constitutional duty – in fact, such partisan support is handily dealt with by the Hatch Act for federal employees, and officers of the military, as well as by the UCMJ for all members of the military.  That’s right, the Hatch Act does not apply to enlisted servicemembers, but the UCMJ covers those bases anyway.  The use of the term “Republican” is no more than a coincidence in evaluating partisan activity (frowned upon and in some cases prohibited) as opposed to constitutionally required activity.
The Pentagon during the Obama administration decided that global warming was a top-tier national security threat, freeing up top-tier expenditures and guidance to combat it.  Witness the Navy’s “Great Green Fleet”, and other programs to shovel money at favored federal contractors.  Mixing politics with duty is a hazardous area, and I would suspect that many high-level officials run afoul of this admittedly grey zone.  But so do many low-level officials, such as run-of-the-mill federal employees who support anti-constitutional schemes.
I support pro-constitutional schemes.  The constitution is one of my basic authorities not just in a professional sense, but in my personal outlook as to the roles and duties of government.  Many documents throughout history are valuable in informing this point of view, including references to Justinian and later Roman Law, Magna Carta, the Common Law of England, writings of Rousseau, Locke, Hobbes, Macchiavelli, Marx, the documents of the French and American revolutions, and the Declaration of Independence.  All of these are valuable — they are not all consistent with each other (Hobbes Locke, Rousseau, Macchiavelli, also the French and American Revolutions), nor is each of them even internally consistent, as in the ridiculous case of Marx, who had a bunch of neat ideas, warped by a desired social outcome to which his logic was bent.  All of these are informative and important, yet even to the exclusion of the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the least flawed document ever written, none are required to be considered in evaluating a federal employee’s duty except the Constitution, and the larger body of subordinate law and regulation.
The Constitution is the one and only thing to which every law must be compared, and discarded if found wanting.
The Constitution spells out the order in which legislation must be brought forth, and how the sausage shall be made.  Our three-branch, republican form of government was explicitly designed to pit faction against faction, level against level, branch against branch, and politician against politician.  (I am less sanguine about the largely anti-constitutional 22nd Amendment than the 16th, but it, too is old law.)  Each of the branches, factions, levels, and individuals in government is expected to do everything legal and constitutional to discharge the duties of office.  Squabbles over turf in government are not anti-constitutional — they are the expected condition for the successful functioning of the government.
No President is required to sign a law with which he disagrees.  That’s not political — that’s what the Constitution says.  Shutdowns of the government resulting from a lapse in appropriations are not some dysfunctional nightmare scenario of a poorly-functioning government.  As some people are fond of pointing out, the federal government shuts down two days every week, and nobody dies.  Besides, the terms of a modern shutdown are so polished, so pre-arranged, that while politicians can make a lot of hay describing the national chaos to consume us all if government doesn’t make it into work one day, that most people don’t believe it.  It has become another form of scare-mongering for political effect — suitable for gotcha journalism and explicitly partisan political activity.
And this is where the rubber hits the road.
When public employee union take to the street complaining how the shutdown is going to bankrupt an uneducated and apparently without-options federal mother of four pushing paper across a desk, this is partisan political activity.  Everybody knows that she is going to be fine.  For Heaven’s sake, has there every been a more protected class than the employees of the United States government?  Why do these same people not also point out that if the government does not somehow resolve the issue of the day, being taxation, security, border control, then the citizens of the United States will be diminished?  The pitfalls of government ought not and largely do not much concern the average American, and many of them cheer any effort to reduce government spending.  Pity that none of that will be implemented as a direct result of shutting down the government, as everybody is promised back pay, in some cases even for hours not worked!  Nobody in the history of ever (approximately speaking) has had such a sweet deal.  Yet the upside potential for indirect cost-cutting as a result of shutdowns — that is, making the government sit up and pay attention to the political will of its masters, the American people — is laudable.
I survived government shutdowns just fine.  I was comfortable, and had a few days off.  These were handled by the bureaucracy to ensure that I lost no benefits, suffered no injury, faced no hardship.
Did you know that federal employees get paid for work if inclement weather results in the government declaring a snow day?  No work, get paid.
How many of you have this benefit?
Er, gotta go.  I’ve rambled a bit, and should tighten this up.  But I wanted to get it off my chest before the moment passed.

 

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