Archive for October 2013

Courtesy of Theo Spark   Leave a comment

Pretty much right!

Dak's Bays

lessons learned

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Posted October 16, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Breaking News!   5 comments

There is not one Alaskan confirmed to have successfully signed up for the ObamaCare exchanges.

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/10/15/alaska-we-cant-confirm-one-obamacare-enrollee-yet/

When the fight over ObamaCare was in full swing, I was still working in Lefty-Loony Central (social workers are not all liberals, but most are a little loony). It was common discussion in the mailroom how with so many Alaskans uninsured, ObamaCare would be highly popular even as our governor was fighting against it. I disagreed, but when you’re outnumbered, it’s easy to doubt.

Alaskans are a pretty computer literate bunch. We get most of our goods from distant states. We shop on line. We buy cars over the Internet. We pay bills electronically. And we buy insurance that way.

Yeah, the health exchange website has problems. Only about 5,000 people nation wide have managed to sign up through it, but less than 50,000 people have signed up nation-wide calling and talking to people. Those states that set up exchanges themselves are reporting better numbers, but nowhere near the 30 million who were just foaming at the mouth for insurance.

I don’t buy that Alaskans can’t figure out the website and don’t like to talk on the phone. I think it’s something simpler than that. The majority of Alaska’s 100,000 uninsured are actually insured through Bureau of Indian Affairs. Others have catastrophic insurance policies and nice savings accounts. Many Alaskans live out in the woods and “treat” their ills with marijuana and Fox Springs water. Alaska set up an in-state high-risk pool (ACHIA) before President Obama was President Obama. In other words, the “problems” ObamaCare was meant to address didn’t exist in the first place.

Or ….

Every anarchist-volunteerist I know who isn’t insured (many are) are planning not to sign up. I know some self-employed folks who are planning to refuse to pay the tax penalty. Maybe this is the ultimate civil disobedience from a state of people who tend toward civil disobedience. What if the government mandated you buy a product you don’t think you need and you simply refused to cooperate? What if we all did that?

My anarchist friends may be on to something here! What will the government do if we refuse to cooperate in the restrictions of our liberties.

And, yeah, that’s a bigger topic than just ObamaCare.

Posted October 15, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Administrative State

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Suspect Ones   1 comment

Thanks, Dak, for providing me with this link about how American “nativists” sought to dhimminize German Americans during World War I in a similar fashion to how the government treated Japanese Americans and Aleuts during World War II.

Dak suggests that it might be an understandable reaction to circumstances of the times and I partially agree with him. Human nature is exactly as we became after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. We stink and when we act as flesh-and-blood and violate principles our country was founded on or we say we believe from the Bible, we really shouldn’t be surprised because Adam and Eve, upon learning to discern good from evil, raised a brother-killer. That’s who we human beings are. Evil to the core and we chose to be that way. It is not at all surprising that we distrust those who are not like us and wish to remove them from our presence on any pretense available. That’s who human beings became when we chose to worship ourselves rather than God.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t be. Christians shouldn’t be, anyway. The Bible says Christians are to love our fellow human beings as God loves us, which is far deeper than the brotherly love spawned from mutual agreement. In other words, hating our neighbor is not an option for Christians, but disagreeing with them is. Moving beyond that to the political realm, the United States was founded on the ideal that “all men are created equal endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” … to self-governance. With rights comes responsibilities. If I truly hold that my neighbor has the right to govern himself, I should not seek to imprison him or take away his property or his natural rights because he isn’t like me. At the very least, he should have to have done something that substantively harms myself or someone else before I can restrict his rights.

I don’t get the right to violate the free speech and association rights of Americans of German descent just because our government was fighting Germany. I don’t get the right to stand quietly by while my government inters Americans of Japanese descent just because we were at war with the country they left to become Americans. I don’t get the right to relocate Aleut Indians from their homes and force them into camps just because — well, we weren’t at war with the Aleuts and the Aleuts didn’t immigrate from anywhere else. They were Americans before non-Natives got here, so I’ve always wondered what our excuse was for how we treated them. Oh, yeah, because they were different from us and the United States government wanted control of the rocks they lived on.

By the way, I used to buy the “well, we were at war and people were afraid” argument until I learned what happened to the Aleuts. The argument didn’t apply to the Aleuts and that brought the argument for the Japanese and the Germans into question as well.

Today, it’s Americans of Middle Eastern descent who are the suspect ones. I’m not saying there are not some American Muslims who are guilty of terrorism. Times Square, the Boston Marathon and 911 are all evidence that would argue against me if I claimed that. But not all are. Some are just as American as I am.

Oh oh! Just as “American” as I am. I’m a Christian first, an Alaskan second and an American third. I advocate for a loosening of the bonds that hold the states in the federal matrix. I want to see the federal government shrink to one-third or less of its current size. There are statists who think those ideas are really dangerous. Might they not advocate for my  internment? Could they not make the case that I’m different and therefore suspect and not worthy of constitutional protection of my civil rights?

There are strong atheist voices in this country who openly advocate for Christians to lose custody of their children and not to be allowed to run for public office, even not to be allowed to vote or work in certain professions because they suspect we don’t agree with how they would structure society and they believe we are working to create a theocracy. Maybe there are a handful of Christians living in America who actually fit that description.

Limited government and Christianity — could they become the new Japanese?

Interning Americans who don’t fit the white Anglo Saxon Episcopalian/Methodist statist mold sounds reasonable to white Anglo Saxon Episcopalians until it’s they’re no longer the majority and then … when they come for you, there will be no one left to protest.

Shut Down Gets Personal   Leave a comment

As I said, Alaska as a LOT of federal employees. We’re 2 or 3 in the nation, depending on the news article. So there are at least three non-military federal employees going to my church. The “shut down” just got personal, because these are people I know and care about.

However ….

One man is still working — he’s TSA, so is considered an “essential” worker. He began looking for other work several months ago anyway. This is just making him look harder.

The stories of the other two are interesting in their diversity.

The woman who works for federal wildlife is freaking out because she didn’t plan for something like this and she can’t pay her bills.

The guy who works for the fire service was calm and collected. He typically takes a couple of weeks off this time of year because his schedule is insane during the summer fire season, so he’d be hanging out at home anyway. He and his wife and kids live on his income alone, but it’s a good income and they live modestly, so they have six months’ of operating expenses saved for a rainy day. He said when his slightly shifted two-week vacation is over, he’ll start doing the computer work he does all winter from home, so he will be legitimately eligible for back pay. I asked him if he could hang on until after Christmas as some of the pundits are saying it might go that long and he said he could. The State of Alaska has been head-hunting him for a decade, so if the federal government permanently contracts he’s likely got a job if he wants one. He’s got one more year before he has 20 in with the feds, which triggers important changes in retirement, which is what he’s holding out for — but he also really likes what he does in his job.

It’s painful to watch friends struggle. I’ve been there myself and I know it’s not fun. However —

Planning ahead for the inevitable federal contraction should have been Plan A for every federal employee. Right now it’s temporary, but it should be permanent. My friend who works for the fire service wisely planned for that inevitablity. Federal employees typically make 52% more than workers doing similar jobs in the private sector. They can afford to save for their future and they should.

Does the federal government really need to do things like the fire service? The fire service is an essential function in Alaska’s summers. Black spruce will burn if a moose exhales too warmly. I’m not saying the job my friend does is not essential. But does the federal government need to do it? The State of Alaska already has agencies that do something similar and my friend has already been given an open door to that employment.

Does the federal government really need to do wildlife service? Again, the State of Alaska has a very large wildlife division.

Does the federal government really need to do the TSA? These functions used to be done by private contractors for local airports. There’s no evidence that TSA is doing a better job than they did. Yes, three planes were hijacked, but I’m not convinced that the TSA could stop that any better than private contractors would.

Just because the contraction of government services became personal does not change my essential belief that the federal government is bloated beyond sustainability and needs to be severely pared down. Right now about 85% of the structure is still functioning, but in reality, by 2025, the structure should be one-third of what it currently is.  With the exception of those workers currently employed by the federal government needing to go find other jobs, the services that the federal government provides are largely unnecessary, duplicative of state-level agencies or could be performed by the private sector. Those federal employees who have good skills and a good work ethic will be able to find similar work in state government or the private sector. They probably won’t get paid as much, which stinks for them, but they should never have been allowed to make more than the prevailing wages of their employers (we the people) anyway.

Anarchist Alternatives to Voting   Leave a comment

You, my readers, get the benefit of my research as I try to decide what I believe. Right now, I’m focused on anarchy. I see value in their beliefs, even as I don’t think I will wholly embrace those beliefs.

What are the anarchist alternatives to voting? I’m not blowing up stuff as a political statement. That’s off the table before we even sit down. So, I asked a couple of Fairbanks anarchists who hang out at the same coffee shop to explain it to me. Coming off a local election in which sheer lunacy reigned supreme, they had me with “notice we don’t care how the election turned out”. That doesn’t mean I drank the koolaid, only that I recognize it might have a nice flavor. This is the result of my interview, possibly colored a bit by the three 4-shot mocha breves they plied me with.

Elections guarantee that various political parties and their members will be out seeking your vote and support or at least a few minutes of your attention. Elections are a popularity contest that are touted as THE time when the average American citizen gets to have a say in how the country is run. My anarchist friends say “Don’t vote! Organize instead.” And then they started talking about “direct democracy.”

For the record, they need another term. “Direct democracy” has a connotation that scares the hell out of me and doesn’t actually match their definition of it.

Anarchists view voting and political representation as a bankrupt way of meeting the needs and wants of society. Politics, political parties and representative democracy sees politicians elected by popular vote to represent the people and our interests. In exchange, we the people give them the power to make decisions on our behalf – in effect, to govern (or rule) us.

The power to make laws, regulate and control society are in the hands of those in power (politicians) and are binding on the people. A few at the top of the pyramid dictate to the rest of us at various levels of the lower pyramid. Information and power are concentrated with the few representatives, who make decisions under the people’s authority. If the representatives don’t do a good job, we are allowed the right to replace them periodically by voting for another bunch of rulers, but we’re stuck with them and their decisions in the interim and the laws they pass often hold sway long after we’ve fired the set of rulers we didn’t like. Moreover, when the new set of rulers get comfortable with their jobs, they begin to tyrannize us just as much and usually in similar liberty-destroying way.

Anarchists see this hierarchy and imbalance of power as the source of most of the problems in the today’s world because a tiny group of people (be they politicians or corporations) have more power, say and control than others.  This loss of control at the bottom leads to greed, exploitation and poverty because those without power are coerced by those with power.

Anarchists propose “direct democracy” as a less coercive alternative to “representative democracy.” Anarchists don’t want to see the pyramid flipped upside down (as socialists advocate). They want to do away with the pyramid altogether, replacing it with what they call “federalism”.

Instead of electing representatives with authority to act on the people’s behalf, we would select delegates for temporary task-oriented assignments for the purpose of carrying out that task and with no authority to make binding decisions or to deviate from the assignment. My friends point out that we use this arrangement all the time in our personal lives and many family businesses are arranged this way.

The key aspects of direct democracy are:

  • the fluid and temporary nature of delegation;
  • delegates are directly involved in the decision making
  • delegates are directly from and for the group;
  • everyone involved has a direct say in the issue at hand

Equal balance of power in making decisions assures the non-existence of an exploitative hierarchy, allowing direct democracy and self-management to flourish —meaning you can have the maximum input in what directly affects you. Such voluntary association groups can connect with other groups doing hte same thing (neighborhoods, towns and states, even countries) and form a federalist system of groups following the same structures and the same principles.

It sounds good and extremely inefficient, which I’d be okay with if we lived in the 1830s, but I suspect this system would leave us unable to respond very quickly to something that requires a quick and decisive response — such as a foreign invasion by a force using 21st century technology.

And, how are we selecting these delegates without voting????

Posted October 13, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy, Common sense

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When Doctors Decide Your Disease Doesn’t Actually Exist   Leave a comment

I think I’ve said that I worked as an administrator for a community mental health center for more than a decade.
I can attest to the people whose entire lives have been defined by a disability that I often thought did not apply to that person.
There are people who have schizophrenia who may never be able to work at 9-5 job because they can’t handle the stress and the voices. I’ve met those people. Many of them, however, can work a part-time job with an understanding boss AND SHOULD. And I have met legitimately depressed people who needed help … for a time.
The problem with these diagnoses is that they frequently are used as an excuse for not living. “I can’t get a job because I suffer depression.” Seriously? You were diagnosed 10 years ago and you’ve been stable for a decade and sometime in the last 8 or 9 years you didn’t feel well enough to get off your butt and do something for yourself? You manage to show up at this mental health center several times a week for a free lunch. Seriously? You couldn’t use that energy to work for a living? Then you find out they do have activities to keep them from being bored — church, kids, one woman owned horses — but no, they couldn’t possibly work because they “suffer from depression.”
I’m glad to see the DSM-V is tightening up definitions. Maybe psychiatrists have begun to realize that the country can’t afford so many “disabled” people.

pundit from another planet

People come to like their diagnoses, or at least to feel that they have explanatory power for the dissatisfactions in their lives.

Theodore Dalrymple writes: Diseases that have no objective tests to distinguish them from normality have a tendency to spread like fungus: for example, it is years since I heard anyone say that he was unhappy rather than depressed, and it cannot be a coincidence that 10 percent of the populations of most western countries are now taking antidepressants. Yet the state of melancholia undoubtedly exists, as anyone who has seen a case will attest.

Likewise with autism. I remember an isolated, friendless and uncommunicative patient who tried to kill himself when his landlord could no longer tolerate the collection of light-bulbs that he had collected since childhood, was constantly enlarging, and that now threatened to fill the whole house. For the patient light-bulbs were the meaning of…

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Posted October 12, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

A Nation of 300 Million Slaves   Leave a comment

I listened to Patriot’s Lament today and once again saw the logical end to the sort of anarchy they ascribe to.

It sounds so wonderful. Throw off the yoke of the government, form cooperative communities and use contract rather than coercion to make society work.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. The United States of America is a nation of 300 million people who owe $17 trillion dollars. The largest part of that (a bit more than $1000 billion) is owed to China and about $900 billion to Japan. Japan might think it owes the American people for its booming economy, but China clearly does not believe that. If we dissolve the government and say we the people don’t owe the debt, do we really think they will just forget about it?

Right now we’re slaves to a master of our own choosing — sort of. The Constitution still exists and we have means to reestablish it as the rule of law in the country. If we the people dissolve the institutions that are seen as capable of paying what we owe, there is nothing preventing China from coming to collect from we the people.  I don’t think the UN will protect us. It’s controlled by third-world nations that believe we are the cause of their problems. I think they will allow China to establish an occupying force and put us all to work paying off that debt. Sure, some of us will fight back, but most won’t because they weren’t prepared and China can afford to lose population compared to us. When the patriots are depleted or just plain run out of bullets, we will stop fighting. The numbers are in their favor. And why should they leave after they’ve built factories and farms to turn us to productive capacity?

A nation of 300 million slaves is more profitable after their debt has been paid off.

Just a thought. I’m not against making changes and I like some of the principles of anarchy, but without a state a nation is at the mercy of other states and those states will win because those states are organized and a state-less society would not be.

This is probably why anarchy hasn’t taken off around the world.

Posted October 12, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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