Archive for May, 2017

President Donald Trump

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

May 29, 2017

It’s time for me to tackle the anti-Trump craze before this Memorial Day passes into history. Trump won the election even though the reigning clergy (see Bill’s Blogs, pp. 74, 78, and 103) did not approve. Now they are desperately trying to reverse the will of the people with a Special Counsel. He claims it is a witch-hunt. Trump has a point.

Harsh critics say Donald Trump is “a liar, rude, manipulative, ignorant, arrogant, evil, a  chauvinist, paranoid, an abomination, etc, etc.” Many add that he is a racist and a sexist. My good friend and regular reader from the UK wrote, “How a man of your intellect could possibly have been hoodwinked into voting for such a charlatan is beyond me. Do you now feel any remorse?”

No, I don’t feel remorse. I do have some reservations. The insults directed at President Trump are eerily similar to the insults directed at Jefferson, Lincoln (he was called constantly an ape!), FDR, Nixon, and Reagan. All of them survived (Tricky Dick resigned rather than being impeached, but he went on to be the very model of an elder statesman). My bet is The Donald will survive the witch-hunt. Whether he will go on to be a good president I can’t really say at this point.

There is little doubt that the establishment clergy (academics, teachers, social workers, media reporters and pundits, celebrities, activists, intellectuals, and assorted Democrat bureaucrats and leakers) are united against anyone not politically correct. Donald Trump fits that description. I join the contrarians in begging to differ.

I’ll start my defense by admitting The Donald does have flaws. For one thing he is no doubt blissfully ignorant about philosophy, literature, arts and sciences, and many important ideas. Probably he has not read many important books. He is also arrogant. Of course, the same thing could be said of almost any past president (maybe with a few exceptions), or the CEOs of large corporations (a few exceptions), or small ones like Hawkhill (present CEO excepted!). Or for that matter, leaders of many non-profit and religious groups, including the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Catholic and Protestant hierarchy (and for sure Muslim Mullahs). The list includes leaders like Barack and Michelle Obama, FDR, JFK, Nancy Pelosi, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, George Bush, Jeb Bush, John McCain, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pope Francis, Osama bin Laden; supporters like George Soros, Warren Buffet, and the Koch brothers; and business innovators like Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai, and Steve Jobs.

I also admit Trump is often petty and rude to inferiors, superiors, media critics, and competitors. Trump’s excuse is they are very rude to him. Trump does have a point, but in all honesty, one cannot say this about the vast majority of past presidents and corporate CEOs.

Unlike Lincoln, Jefferson, or JFK, Trump is no master of the English language. I too am personally offended by his poor language skills. As shown in his impulsive tweets and his feeble repetitions in mediocre. But then I have to admit, his campaign speeches have been very popular.

As to policies though I spring to his defense. As I wrote last week I think he is absolutely right to trump environmental and safety regulations with job creation. Of course that assumes his policies will work to create real jobs. Not just any jobs, but efficient jobs. Jobs that add, or at minimum support, and don’t subtract from our wealth as a nation. In short jobs that do not make us poorer. I predict his efforts will bring such jobs.

He is also more right than wrong on his immigration and environment ideas.

I’m aware that Progressive Greens like Barack and Michele Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer are busy touting the job creation benefits of alternative energy (solar cells and windmills) jobs as well as jobs to better control people and subsidize movements with government charity—especially ones that are designed to help minorities but more often these well-meaning and charitable subsidies bring alcoholism, drug and sex abuse, crime, looting, murders, and suicide in their execution.

As constant readers can guess I also applaud Trump’s frequent attacks on the clergy, which includes the fake news media. Draining the swamp as Trump likes to call it. There is no question in my mind that the swamp (what I call the clergy) is desperate to get Mr. Trump. You can almost hear the sharpening of knives in the newsrooms of the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN, CBS, NBC, CNBC, ABC, PBS, and most pundits, as well as most college professors and government employees. Add to that Democrat-appointed left-liberal judges, and any and all bureaucratic leakers who viscerally despise the man. At least they are open about it as they eek ways to bring him down, impeach, or even imprison him. Hardly a wonder that he is fighting back? Hardly a wonder that I have some sympathy?

On the down side again, it’s true that Trump is not yet eager to adopt some of my pet Libertarian ideas. A trait he shares with most politicians and most people. I remain hopeful that he will be on board in the near or distant future to libertarian ideas like freedom—freedom in any and all senses including food, farms, and drugs; black power; women power; strong law and order enforcement— without which no ideas can work; better universal heath care (actually Trump may be in favor of single-payer systems, though the devil may be in the details!), and finally; guaranteed minimum income (Social Security and Medicare for all). I admit this last idea is a long shot. So far as I know Trump has not discussed or endorsed it but based on his idea history I think he just might be sympathetic in the future.

As I said before Trump has already announced his strong support of law and order, a minimum requirement for literally any idea, and a strong belief in inner-city rebirth with jobs and welfare reform. As he said in the campaign, “Can it get any worse for poor blacks?” I might add, “Can libertarian solutions be far behind?”

In summary I will say, “relax good people wherever you are, Trump is not so crazy. In fact he may yet turn out to be one of our better presidents.”

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. For more details and evidence please buy and read (full disclosure: Trump is not mentioned in any of my books)—a Little While Aware< /em>, Twilight or Dawn: a Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street/em>t, or Bill’s Blogs.”

Environment

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

May 22, 2017

The best definition I know for environment was Bucky Fuller’s..

Environment must be
All that is that isn’t me
Universe in turn will be
All that isn’t me, and me!

This beauty of this definition is that it puts the emphasis on the “me.” Where it should be!

When all is said and done, unemployment us a far gloomier fate for most people than lead paint dangers, carbon dioxide in the air, or dying coral reefs. Which in turn is why Trump is quite right in favoring economic growth over environmental regulation. (I know, I know. Trump remains controversial as President and I promise to tackle this phenomenon head-on next week.)

The point is environment is important but not all-important. “Me” is if anything more critical. Saving coral reefs, reducing carbon dioxide, and installing non-lead pipes or using non-lead paint are all fine ideas so long as they do not lead to more unemployment. That’s because unemployment, as well as welfare without work, lead to greater tragedies—like alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness, terrorism, crime, and suicide—than any environment issue can do.

Nevertheless environmental challenges can be serious. I agree with Teddy Roosevelt, and in modern times with The Nature Conservancy , that conserving prime ecosystem land and water is the most important task for Green activists. Solving pollution problems comes in a distant second. (In a preview of coming attractions this does mean that President Trump is surely right in favoring economic growth to trump both environmental and safety regulations.)

All that said environmental health is indeed very important in cultural, literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic ways. We would indeed be poor caretakers of our Spaceship Earth if we couldn’t enjoy and benefit from Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Wordsworth’s poetry. Or Beethoven and Brahms or Bach’s music. Or Michelangelo, Monet, and Picasso’s paintings. Or Newton, Pasteur, and Darwin’s science. Or Aquinas, Russell and Dewey’s philosophy. Or Jefferson, Reagan, and FDR’s politics. Or for that matter Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Steve Job’s business enterprises. (I’m aware that I’m leaving out quite a few worthies here.)

Greens do have a good point. Science, Art, Music, Politics, Business, Ideas, and Philosophy are all important human pursuits. And they all depend at rock bottom on a healthy and rich environment.

What does this mean in practice?

Take them one at a time.

Science: the biggies here of course are climate change and evolution (bell curves for example). According to Bill’s Law #1 (see Bill’s Blogs, pp. 8-12), bad ideas in Science have a half-life of about ten years. Science years ago supported sexism, racism, opposition to evolution and germ theories, and was crazy about eugenics but no longer does support these antiquated ideas. Climate change may have a few more half-lives to go. Whether GM foods, lead in paint and drinking water, alar on apples, organic and natural fads, nuclear power, and radiation dangers have similar short half-lives remains to be seen. Ditto to rejection of evolution’s bell curves when they are applied to human beings. To my mind, these beliefs will all have short life spans.

The Arts: My hunch is that Abstract and Happening art and politically inspired literature have had their day. Gutsy, beautiful, and meaningful realism in painting, sculpture, poetry, and fiction is long overdue for a comeback.

Music:Here I have to plead ignorance since I am hearing handicapped and can’t understand the lyrics in most popular music. (I’m old too and can’t really appreciate the melodies in pop songs. I not-so-humbly ask, does modern music, classical or pop, really have any catchy tunes?)

Politics: Remember Bill’s Law # 2. Bad political ideas have a half-life of 100 years or so. Socialism, after its sad failure in the Soviet bloc, China, India, Venezuela, and Cuba, and is definitely on the down slope of the political bell curve. Democracy and freedom, on the other hand, seem to be on the rising slope, but without prosperity may also have a short life span.

Business: is doing fine although major and minor corporations are threatened by counter-productive and excessive taxation, onerous environmental and safety regulations, and anti-efficiency demands for affirmative action as well as PC advertising. But they do have a president on their side now and business may well be on the rising side of those PC incorrect but science bell curves.

Philosophy: My specialty though I do admit I’m not up-to-date professionally. Nevertheless I do urge you to read and take seriously my Big Ideas and “Bill’s Laws,” whether you call them philosophy, science or art. In addition I predict further trouble, if not seriously bloody violence, in our relations with the Islamic world. Bill’s Third Law says religion’s bad ideas have long half-lives of 1000 years. (Muslims have not had what Christians have already had—a violent and very bloody Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment.)

As readers know I also do not take seriously Progressive/Green fantasies about the demise if the Modern Age, whether due to conservative, libertarian, or environmental fascism—or environmental end-of-the-world catastrophe.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P,S. For more details and evidence please buy and read—Twilight or Dawn: A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs.

Embarrassing Moment

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

May 15, 2017

Skip this one if you are squeamish about sex.

Privacy is a problem with me since my office has been moved up from the basement to the 1st floor. The reason for the move was clear and compelling. After my hip operation, I did have trouble climbing the stairs. Even though it has led to a host of problems with shipping DVDs and paying bills in my new office, I am usually able to grudgingly manage.

Last Saturday evening I had a very embarrassing moment. I slipped off my wheelchair in front of my computer and ended up a helpless clump of flesh and bones on the floor. Jane and Sam helped me get on my knees and this was enough for me to raise myself up into the walker and make it into bed. Luckily I did not suffer any physical injuries but I was embarrassed.

I hesitate to tell you why (Jane especially) but it’s said to be good for the soul, so I better confess up.

I fell watching some pornography on the computer screen. Worse, nudity may have been still obvious on the screen after I fell. Neither Jane nor Sam seemed to see it. At least they didn’t mention seeing it.

I’m not proud. For that matter I’m not ashamed either. I think that actually Jane, who is older than me, would like me to still make love to her still. But after a good run of sex in our lives, the awful truth is that at 90 I can’t maintain a decent erection. Despite experiments with Viagra and Cialis (and pornography too) I remain incompetent for sex activity of any kind, shape, or form. I am sorry about that. Sex in my younger years was important if not vital, not to mention the source of much pleasure. At least it was, and no longer is for me, notwithstanding the hoary jokes about the alleged potency of 100-year-old men.

I understand pornography on the Internet is very popular with both men and women! To my jaded senses, it is just short of boring. But the prospect is still fresh enough that I admit to keep trying to nurture it. Alas, with embarrassing results last week!

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

Be careful what you wish for

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Be careful what you wish for; you might get it!

Which could be good. Or not.

I wished for more responses in my last blog. And I did get more, many more.

One of the most sensible came from my son, Andrew.

“Hi Dad, my feeling is that people are reading your blogs, and agreeing or disagreeing, but it takes time to compose intelligent responses to it. And since most people have busy lives or are just trying to make ends meet, a response to the blog has a very low priority…I.n any case, as with any marketing, a response rate of 1% is probably GOOD!”

He’s right. I’m 90 and retired. Semi-retired at least—I still fill a few DVD orders for Hawkhll. I spend a lot of time and energy on these weekly blogs. To expect readers to spend an equal lot of time and energy on a response is absurd. He is right too on the marketing…We used to routinely send over 100,0000 Hawkhill catalogs to schools each fall. If we got 1000 orders we’d be delighted.

Nevertheless, I used to have a few Progressive/Green friends who would regularly challenge my comments about reactionary Democrats. I miss them.

Onesuch fried, Cary, did respond to my recent request with length and fire.

“If I had more time, I would be reading every Blog post thoroughly, as you present some scintillating ideas that I respect. However, you also present some ideas to which I do not agree, and you seem unwilling to yield at any time, in any way, to my…. objections.

“After all, I HAVE lived 70 years, I’ve done some stuff, I’ve been immersed in STEM and in philosophical and historical ideas, I’ve read many books, and many of the…”important” ones. I’ve seen many NOVA and American Experience shows. Therefore, I may have some ideas that are worthy of considering, even if counter to those you hold.

“No, I have not read your nooks…But I DO get your Big-Ideas and anthropological periods. And I agree on your meme-theory. A lot of it can be found in the writings of Joseph Campbell, anti-Semite that he was.(I don’t know what he means here. My ideas, big or small, don’t have much if anything to do with Campbell’s myths and philosophy.)

Cary goes on to give a detailed critique of my recent blog. He strongly dislikes my views on climate change, equating socialism with liberalism, guaranteed minimum incomes, and in general he seems to recent my, to him,  dismissive and even arrogant attitudes. He writes in despair an end piece and a follow-up email…

“WHAT the friggin’ fuck has happened to the Human Race? You will be outa here soon, and I will soon follow along with all my cousins and sister. I don’t wish to leave this mess to them, but that’s the way it is.

“ Donald Trump is an abomination! He is rude, he is a liar, he is manipulative, he is ignorant, he is arrogant—What he is is smart, and that makes him so darn dangerous! But wait until the blue-collars realize that he is of no help to them—maybe a year or so into his administration, if he is not impeached before that. I think of JFK and Camelot—bringing art and culture to the White House. Woodrow Wilson, the college president, I need not make a list; they each had their flaws but Trump??—a charlatan! And Pence?—a sycophant!”

I’m not that sure myself about Trump. But Cary, for all his erudition (he has a Ph.D. in chemistry and is a brilliant teacher) knows little about past presidents. JFK, for instance, for all his wit, intelligence, love of arts and culture, and tragic end, was also a serial adulterer, plagiarist, and a failure as president. Woodrow Wilson, for all his Princeton scholarship, was also a fan of the KKK. an unapologetic racist, and led us into a meaningless bloody WW1. Not small ”flaws.”

I got other responses, some short and sweet, like “I read it every week. Keep writing!” and “Agreed.” Or, “I agree with 99% of your ideas and as a result I don’t feel the need to straighten you out on how the world works. So I don’t respond to your blog, but I enjoy reading it.”Or simply, “You blog on Big Ideas was excellent.”

And some that were puzzling…

“Bottom Line: I think that Donald Trump is perhaps our most dangerous president since Lincoln. (not sure I understand this judgment);  “Liberal,”  “Populist,” and “Conservative,” have lost their original meanings. I am neither, but a combination of all three. (I am too!)

My friend Pierce also introduced me to a Danish philosopher-poet, Piet Hein. Piet did many things in his long life (now has a

hotel and fashion company named after him). He is most famous for his Groots. Here are samples…

“Those who always
know what’s best
are
a universal pest.

Living is

a thing you do
now or never –
which do you?”
A longer one…

Go on a starlit night,
stand on your head,
leave your feet dangling
outwards into space,
and let the starry
firmament you tread
be, for the moment,
your elected base.

Feel Earth’s colossal weight
of ice and granite,
of molten magma,
water, iron, and lead;
and briefly hold
this strangely solid planet
balanced upon
your strangely solid head”

I got one very welcome response from a reader I didn’t know before. She sent me a good joke too!

“Here, here! I have only replied on a very few occasions (this might be number three), because I invariably ‘get it’ and agree.

“My father used to tell a joke:

  • · “This family has a little boy. He was a toddler and he wasn’t talking. They took him to the doctor who advised giving him a little time. Time passes; he is still not talking.  Back to the doctor who advises seeing a specialist. After numerous tests, the specialists cannot find any physical problems…. Life goes on and the little boy still isn’t talking. One evening, while the family is drinking mugs of hot chocolate, the now 9-year-old boy says ’This cocoa’s no good.’ The entire family is speechless! Finally, Dad says, ‘After all these years, all those tests, all those doctors, you never spoke!  Now the first thing you say is, ‘This cocoa’s no good?’ The little boy says, ’Up till now everything has been good.’

“Cocoa is still good, sir.”

Thank you one and all for your strangely solid, and kind, responses.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P,S. For more good reads see my books—A Little While Aware, Twilight or Dawn: a Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, and Bill’s Blogs.”