We Could Eat the Pork

With Travis gone from the paper I thought I could write about Star Trek to ease the pain his fans might be experiencing. Amazingly, in this culture where government is God, William Shatner flew into space last year at 90 years of age without taxpayer funding.

I’ve been a Shatner fan for a long time. He had a brilliant TV show called Boston Legal that was the last show we watched before giving up TV. We got a set of DVDs of the show that we loaned out and I have no idea where they are. It was that good.

Anyway, with the spendaholics thoroughly in charge in Washington the lemmings anxiously await the latest proof of American exceptionalism, a moon shot. By 2025 NASA will have spent $93 billion on the Artemis lunar program. That’s not a typo, it’s not “loony program.”

I remember going to the Pork Expo in Des Moines and happened upon a speech by Alan Keyes, a black Republican running for president of the United States. He was telling a bunch of welfare farmers they had to get off the dole. These were civilized thieves so tarring and feathering wasn’t even brought up. I think I was the only one who clapped.

In case an explanation is necessary, raising hogs is welfare dependent because hogs eat corn and corn is subsidized by taxpayers. They might call it something different as the public finds out and the names change, but it’s welfare.

Anyway, I was an Alan Keyes fan starting that day. Farmers could survive just fine without the government.

There were two events we attended at NIACC (North Iowa Area Community College) a few years ago. One was Constitution Day (September 17 every year federal law says schools must stage something commemorating the Constitution on that date) where a teacher was trying to explain that the general welfare clause at the beginning of the Constitution negates all the limits on government spelled out in the rest of the document. At three o’clock exactly, with hands in the air all over the room, he packed up and left.

The other event was an appearance by Alan Keyes as part of his obviously futile campaign tour. He had me going. My checkbook was coming out like Bruce Jenner. Keyes seemed to know about Article 1, Section 8, and the Tenth Amendment.

Then he took questions. Someone asked what he thought of the space program. He loved it. Oh well. Like a blemished televangelist, his sin way overcame his Constitutionalism.

American exceptionalism has come to indicate a lack of principle more than anything exceptional. Why is welfare for the space geeks more worthy than welfare for farmers? We can’t eat space.

The old saying from public TV, “If we didn’t do it, who would?” needs to be carefully considered. What is the reason for doing “it?” The reason for doing it turns out to be that somebody loves it but not enough to pay for it themselves. And that should be the bottom line.

NASA estimated the Artemis lunar program to cost $500 million in 2012, with the first rocket shooting off in 2017. Now we are (and I say “we” because it is ours) eight times over budget and five years late according to a NASA auditor.

Just think of the big dormitory and hog confinement facility we could build at Martha’s Vineyard for that kind of money. And we could eat the pork.

We Could Eat the Pork

With Travis gone from the paper I thought I could write about Star Trek to ease the pain his fans might be experiencing. Amazingly, in this culture where government is God, William Shatner flew into space last year at 90 years of age without taxpayer funding.

I’ve been a Shatner fan for a long time. He had a brilliant TV show called Boston Legal that was the last show we watched before giving up TV. We got a set of DVDs of the show that we loaned out and I have no idea where they are. It was that good.

Anyway, with the spendaholics thoroughly in charge in Washington the lemmings anxiously await the latest proof of American exceptionalism, a moon shot. By 2025 NASA will have spent $93 billion on the Artemis lunar program. That’s not a typo, it’s not “loony program.”

I remember going to the Pork Expo in Des Moines and happened upon a speech by Alan Keyes, a black Republican running for president of the United States. He was telling a bunch of welfare farmers they had to get off the dole. These were civilized thieves so tarring and feathering wasn’t even brought up. I think I was the only one who clapped.

In case an explanation is necessary, raising hogs is welfare dependent because hogs eat corn and corn is subsidized by taxpayers. They might call it something different as the public finds out and the names change, but it’s welfare.

Anyway, I was an Alan Keyes fan starting that day. Farmers could survive just fine without the government.

There were two events we attended at NIACC (North Iowa Area Community College) a few years ago. One was Constitution Day (September 17 every year federal law says schools must stage something commemorating the Constitution on that date) where a teacher was trying to explain that the general welfare clause at the beginning of the Constitution negates all the limits on government spelled out in the rest of the document. At three o’clock exactly, with hands in the air all over the room, he packed up and left.

The other event was an appearance by Alan Keyes as part of his obviously futile campaign tour. He had me going. My checkbook was coming out like Bruce Jenner. Keyes seemed to know about Article 1, Section 8, and the Tenth Amendment.

Then he took questions. Someone asked what he thought of the space program. He loved it. Oh well. Like a blemished televangelist, his sin way overcame his Constitutionalism.

American exceptionalism has come to indicate a lack of principle more than anything exceptional. Why is welfare for the space geeks more worthy than welfare for farmers? We can’t eat space.

The old saying from public TV, “If we didn’t do it, who would?” needs to be carefully considered. What is the reason for doing “it?” The reason for doing it turns out to be that somebody loves it but not enough to pay for it themselves. And that should be the bottom line.

NASA estimated the Artemis lunar program to cost $500 million in 2012, with the first rocket shooting off in 2017. Now we are (and I say “we” because it is ours) eight times over budget and five years late according to a NASA auditor.

Just think of the big dormitory and hog confinement facility we could build at Martha’s Vineyard for that kind of money. And we could eat the pork.

Bastiat vs Marx

John Bolton recently wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal calling England’s new warmonger Prime Minister the best for America. Alan Blinder is a professor at Princeton and writes articles in the Wall Street Journal about how the government can guide the economy better than an aggregate of peoples’ free choice. In other words, theft should be the prime mover of civilized society. I wrote a letter to The Journal proposing a new political party, “The Money Grows On Trees Party.”

We pretty much form opinions based on inputs. The Fox News people, the MSNBC people. They recite. It helps us avoid thinking.

Basics are clouded by details. I think it’s wonderful that southern border states are sending migrants to the cities up north. Those people (Ha, now there’s a loaded phrase.). If only each and every one of us bore the brunt of our actions and “those people” were simply those people. Come to think of it, what a fantastic world if that were the case. The voters who have no affection for the federal border law breakers who they enable are the lowest form of hypocrite.

Thanks to the internet we’ve become familiar with Billy Strings. His real last name is Apostol. Think about that. The guy is a reincarnation of the Grateful Dead. Bluegrass guitar in another dimension. Forty-five minute jams. We never think to ask, “Is it almost over?”

In case you wondered, I dig Apostol. Get it? Even those nincompoops that spent too much time in school dig Billy. They have a paper to prove it. (There’s a riddle here and I welcome guesses.)

Anyway, I got on a list and all of a sudden I was gonna get a chance to be Apostol digger like them. Unfortunately my bum leg and Dawn’s cold eliminated us from selling ice cream sandwiches at the festival. My sister’s boyfriend went and he’s even more feeble than me. The music was great but this old man was to stand or sit on the ground the whole time because they didn’t allow lawn chairs?

I asked my way hipper friend in Seattle what gives here? “They use them for weapons,” he said. Which brings me, of course, to Frederic Bastiat, French philosopher.

Every regular reader of this column has read Bastiat’s The Law, which simply spells out the purpose of laws. This book was published two years after Marx’s Communist Manifesto. In this country, now routinely called a democracy, where voting is heralded as a sacred right, reading these two books should be a prerequisite to voting.

The argument that a music festival should ban lawn chairs because someone might use one as a weapon perfectly illustrates the cause of the decline of this great republic. The Law draws a line between central planning and individual choice. In Bastiat’s lawfull society the consequences of weaponizing a lawn chair would deny freedom to the perpetrator. The Marxist position would set a precedent where everyone’s freedom is denied because of one individual.

Principles in The Law are now so broadly violated that we can only throw up our hands and ride it out, knowing that our grandchildren will likely live a dull and drab regulated exsistence with little reward for excellence. Innovation will grind to a halt, so as problems crop up the Marxian masses will seek nonexistent experts for answers and settle for boring survival. The lack of enforcement of laws and punishment exemplify this.

“The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”

– Marcus Aurelius

More Chaos On Road With Thumb

(continued from last week)

When I was lounging around at Dad’s in Connecticut I read an article in Time Magazine about the Canadian hitchhiking promotion. Wow. I was mainstream. There was a photo of a road sign in Wawa, Ontario with many scribbles by hitchhikers. They all lamented the fact that they were stuck in Wawa. For example: “Been here 16 days still no ride.”

After my friend in Sault Ste Marie dropped me off at the highway, I headed up past Batchawana Bay to Wawa. A challenge never means impossible and it takes quite a while to starve to death. Which reminds me, ain’t summer grand? About 15 minutes after sticking my thumb out at Wawa I got a ride with a nice retired couple in a pickup with a camper on the back.

Remember bench seats? We’ve got one in our ’94 Ram. The cute little lady slid over to make room for me and it made her husband grin. By the way, these retirees were younger than I am now. We still have cows and hate the thought of a day without that responsibility. These folks lived their whole lives sacrificing their time, saving for the day when they had no responsibility. But they could take their home with them and have room for me too.

Total strangers have lots to share. Our conversation paused when we pulled over to

make sandwiches. You can meet strangers in the checkout line or on a cruise but there was something special about those I met hitchhiking. Blind trust.

I don’t hitchhike anymore. Despite pledging not to do so because of my duty to my family, I picked up a hitchhiker going west out of Dumont a few years ago. As usual I started out like we were pals already, as I said, “I used to do a lot of hitching and picking up hitchhikers too.” This guy stared at the floor of the pickup and said, “I bet you did.” I was glad I wasn’t on that shortcut to Billings with him.

Meanwhile (back to 1973) I eventually made it to Dumont to see Grandma and Grandpa for a couple days and then headed to Yellowstone. The “gas crisis” turned it into a ghost town compared to the zoo it usually is. I even rode a grizzly bear. Just kidding.

Car Pooling Chaos

A benefit of divorce was having a dad who moved around the country. Of course it wasn’t enough to make up for Mom crying all the time with no explanation. Oh well. My sister and I had two worlds to explore.

I visited Mary and Dad in Connecticut. I remember taking a walk in the woods with all these caterpillar webs hanging from the trees. All through the leaves and twigs on the ground were rusty cans and trash. I even stumbled over an old car. This was quite a contrast to all my wilderness hiking out West. I’m prejudice against easterners but so many have moved west since the 60’s, the whole country is full of litter bugs and people who don’t wave.

Weirdly, the highlight of the trip was a 22 inning ballgame on TV and a movie. As a movie buff I had heard and read about Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. The New York Times said it was to be on TV after the baseball game. They were right, unlike their claim of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The game went sorta long but I stayed up anyway to see how Bergman’s crusader dealt with death. Bergman went all Woody Allen after that and I’m not a psychiatrist so I lost interest in his stuff.

Dad was a pal when he took me to Albany to get me on my way back home and mostly out of the urban nightmare. I hitched as far as Utica, New York and spent the night in a Salvation Army that sounded like a TB ward. In the morning I was glad to get on my way to Watertown to visit a friend and her family that lived on one of the Thousand Islands on the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Their home was a little thing on a rock with the water right by the house. It was strange after growing up by the ocean with tides.

The year was 1973 when Israel was at war with Egypt and Syria. OPEC suddenly raised oil prices by 70%. Traffic was light. There were lines at gas stations and they often ran out of gas. Canada encouraged students to hitchhike to see the country as summer jobs were scarce. They organized hostels for overnight stays across the Trans Canada Highway. One where I stayed was at a day camp so we had to get up and out by the time the kids arrived in the morning.

I met some striking miners in Sudbury, Ontario, home of the second tallest smokestack in the world. They had an old house in the country and we sat around a fire drinking beer and cursing the bosses. In the morning they took me to the highway. On the way, a big Caddie cut us off. My miner friends got ahead of this older couple before the next red light and one of them jumped out and stood with his hands on the front of their hood. The other guy went to the driver’s window and screamed at the poor old guy. I was curled up in the back of their Mini woody wagon and was glad when they called off the tantrum and got me to the highway.

In Sault Ste Marie at the eastern end of Lake Superior I got a ride from a high school kid with a new camera. He took me home to meet his folks and we had a great supper. He shared an upstairs room with his brother. It reminded me of our old house with a ceiling that followed the peaked roof. His brother was away at camp and I had his bed. When I arrived home in Oakland there were some pictures in the mail of me from him.

Stay tuned.