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Bending the Knee

This is not about Game of Thrones, but rather our national anthem. In 2016 when 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick bent his knee during the national anthem it was a protest of a black man against racial injustice in America. It spread from there. Within a month similar protests were seen not only in the NFL but in college sports as well.

That was last season. This football season it became a national issue since Donald Trump waded in with “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”. That played well in Alabama. read more…

Taxing The Rich And Other Follies

Even though I have said this before apparently no one was listening so I have to say it again* because every time a new tax reform bill is proposed, the same clichés are trotted out and most of them are wrong. The purveyors of these clichés know they are wrong but they don’t care because they are trying to manipulate you to their ends. And, people fall for them.

Here is what the polls say about what Americans think about taxes (Gallup, Pew Research): read more…

Why You Should Ignore Economists

If economists are so smart, why are they always wrong?

When I took Econ 101 and 102 as a young college student back in antediluvian times the textbook we were assigned was Paul Samuelson’s Economics: An Introductory Analysis. This book is the all-time best selling economics textbook and is still around today (19th ed.).

I had the 1961 edition. In it, Samuelson, a prominent Keynesian economist who won the Nobel prize in economics, predicted that the economy of the Soviet Union would overtake the U. S. economy in 23 years (by 1984). Even as late as the 11th edition (1980), Samuelson stood by his prediction. read more…

Statues, Money, and Dead Politicians

When I was a child I became enamored of coins. I had inherited from my father a few large U.S. one cent copper coins dated from the early 1800s. In those days money was made from copper, silver, and gold. These early coins were beautiful objects. The interesting thing and what is pertinent here is that they were decorated with images of “Liberty”, a female head of various styles, or later, a seated Ms. Liberty. Somewhere on the coin was the word “liberty”. The point being that from 1796 to 1909, there were no presidents on our coins. In 1909 the new copper penny bore the image of Abraham Lincoln which is still with us today. We are now following the examples set by Roman emperors and other despots and rulers who wanted their subjects to know who was in charge. read more…

Is Trump Irrelevant?

Those who had lauded the expansion of executive powers when Barack Obama was president perhaps now see the dangers of an imperial presidency with Donald Trump as president. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, because we all know what Lord Acton said about the corrupting influence of power. read more…

I Told You So

I told you so. I am not gloating but I have been quite correct about Donald Trump in my prior articles. I wish it were not true, but he is living up to my early assessment of what his presidency would look like. Also see here and here. His defenders say that he has accomplished a lot. Politifact, a site which keeps track of what politicians say and then do, has given him credit for accomplishing these campaign promises: read more…

Affordable Food Security Act Passes Congress

Congress, in recognition of the national food crisis, has enacted the Affordable Food Security Act (AFSA), popularly known as “Foodcare”. The leaders of the Senate, the House of Representatives, key Congressional representatives, and the President gathered in the White House yesterday for the President’s ceremonial signing of the Act. With the stroke of 22 pens, he enacted a sweeping law to reform America’s broken food production and distribution system.

read more…

‘Dunkirk’ and the Battle of Ideas

Wars are battles of ideas, which is why ideas matter. This concept was brought home in the recently released movie, “Dunkirk” which I strongly urge you to see.

The movie is based on real events, events that threatened the very existence of our modern western civilization and its values.

For those of you who ditched your history classes, let me give you a synopsis. read more…

Fake Legislation For Fake News

A California state senator, Hannah-Beth Jackson, a prominent Progressive, has proposed yet another bill in the California Senate, SB 203, to protect our children from fake news. Jackson, a prolific legislator, introduced the bill because she was “concerned about the recent proliferation of fake news during the Presidential election …” She said,

This legislation is about ensuring we have an informed citizenry. The role of the media and technology is only growing. The skills we teach kids today about critical thinking, the role of media in their lives and how best to interact with social media, fake news and technology will help keep them safe and serve them into adulthood.

Fortunately, her bill, along with a more draconian bill (AB 1104) making it a crime to publish “false or deceptive statements on the Internet about a political candidate or ballot measure”, have been sidelined because of objections from pesky advocates of free speech (like the Electronic Frontier Foundation). Political speech is speech and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the right to speak freely no matter how wrong we may be. Politicians are fair game and the courts have given us much leeway to criticize them.

read more…

Culture and Capitalism

A Letter From Santa Barbara

My wife and I attended the Santa Barbara’s Music Academy of the West’s Academy Festival Orchestra’s performance of Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring. We were dazzled. I am not a critic, but I thought they were spectacular. To think that a local, but famed, music organization can gather here in Santa Barbara the best and brightest young musicians from America and the world and hone them into a world-class orchestra in a matter of week is, well, world-class. read more…

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