Category Archives: Responsibility

A Few Words on Capitalism – Part 1


Every one of us is a “capitalist.” This, in the sense that we all strive to obtain as much safety, comfort, material goods and security for old age, as we possibly can for the least amount of effort necessary. It doesn’t matter for whom we vote. Many of us simply want to be free TO acquire what we need; others wish to be free OF the need to acquire. In both philosophies we are attempting to gain with minimum effort.
But that’s not the whole story, is it?

Every person is motivated to act differently. We all have our own “profits” that cause us to expend MORE than minimal effort necessary to take care of ourselves and our family. Some are motivated to gain as much as possible in terms of material goods and “wealth.” Some want to be charitable and will work more than necessary so as to give to others. Some are motivated by artistic expression, drama, music or writing. Some by the gaining of power over others, one way or the other. Many profits.

The invention of money both simplified and complicated capitalism. For some, in twisted ways, the accumulation of money, itself, became their “profit.” Such people are able to “buy” the necessities for which others strive, but they are also consumed by numbers and the quantities of money they represent. They have different fears and joys than “regular” people. Unfortunately, they come to realize that they can also “buy” power – influencing government-types to protect their accumulated wealth.

Government types come from those for whom “profit” means power over others, over “public policy” and over taxation and, unfortunately, over “public” budgeting. Tapping into the “profits” of others, familial, financial and charitable, provides the most ways to acquire at minimal effort for those so motivated. They concentrate in governments. Almost inevitably and partly because much of their effort is arcane, they come to believe in their own mental superiority over “regular” people whose concerns are familial, local and unobtrusive.

Meanwhile, capitalism, which in the U. S., OUGHT TO MEAN the right to own private property, and by extension, the right to own the fruits of one’s labors, carries on, inherent in every person. It is human nature.
Some aspects of human nature can, if unchecked by society and hence by government, cause damage and destruction to that society. Many control-worthy human aspects are checked by “agreement.” That is, members of society “agree” that murder, rape, theft, fraud and other forms of false witness, greed, sloth and envy, are to be controlled through various codified sanctions. Lately the list has grown to include littering of various degrees, like pollution, and, in an extraordinary reversal, discrimination against sexual oddities, a change that has led to “intolerance” becoming a worse social transgression than some actual crimes. Western societies must now “tolerate,” if not celebrate, anti-capitalist “lifestyles” that include essentially welfare careers. These things actually threaten the social order and every other right protected by the Constitution, our fundamental social agreement.

A tremendous strength in American capitalism has been the high integrity of our contracts, both with one another and with our governments. This phenomenon makes modern trade possible as well as the millions of debt contracts that describe modern economics. But today, we ignorantly embrace a new form of socialism based on twisted concepts of “social justice,” which intends, fundamentally, to cause guilt-ridden government types to alter the underlying concepts of private property, and to discard natural human capitalism. This need not be an inevitable slide toward the only economic future possible.

It is a slide the basis of which is ignorance, willful and otherwise. It is a slide that attempts, as all socialist plans inevitably do, to replace human nature with a government-directed one. While there may exist the technical possibility of directing every person’s life and economic decisions, governance based thereon cannot prevail. It devolves into tyranny or revolution, perhaps to a new tyranny or, once in a great, great while, into a new form of governance based on self-discipline and personal sovereignty, one in which the governed grant their governors limited powers, and where the tyranny of the majority is carefully sanctioned and where tyranny of the minority is unheard of.

Inherent in a government based on individual freedom and personal responsibility are the concepts of private property and ownership of the fruits of one’s labor: essential free-enterprise.

Capitalism gets fully mucked up when it is politicized, which is to say when limited governments attempt to create economic “fairness.” It seems that no “free” economic and democratic system can refrain from favoring certain industries in return for maintaining power for those who are already “in” government. Much of the favoring is done to “make things fair” or to “level the playing field,” but almost without exception, the net effects are to limit competition for those industries and to limit competition for those in power. These are tendencies that a wise and educated citizenry would create institutions in society and government to carefully limit, if not make impossible. In our growing ignorance we are failing at this essential part of citizenship.

A great strength of capitalism is that it doesn’t reward failure… it replaces it with something that can succeed, success measured in profitability and ability to destroy debt. In this is a lesson for all with eyes to see and ears to hear. Among our people, however, those who get the message are now considered hateful while those who refuse to see or hear are empowered, or re-elected. Ours is fast becoming a system hobbled by the removal of the pillars of individual freedom and personal responsibility. We are rewarding failure.

Immediately this statement will be attacked with charges of cruelty, but this stems from ignorance, which is to say, it’s a charge leveled by those who, for whatever personal profit, IGNORE the distinction between those who are capable and willfully refusing to take responsibility for themselves, and those who are incapable and needful of charity and public support.

The greatest value of capitalist profitability is the creation of surplus – productive surplus – of which a portion may be used to care for those who cannot care for themselves. The greatest flaw in capitalism’s opponents is their creation of and acceptance of a thousand reasons why individuals may be grouped among those who cannot care for themselves. They unfortunately become codified and form a malevolent inhibitor of success. And here we are.

The New Tyranny

Everyone decided to chide President Trump for privately describing New Hampshire as a “drug-infested den.” Oh, the horror! Why, there are genuinely nice people living in New Hampshire; how could he say such a derogatory thing about them?

Well, he didn’t, of course, and the release of the content of that conversation was a crime, but who cares if discomfiting Trump is the possible result. Let’s use our brains, now, and realize that the point Trump made was that even in New Hampshire, for more than 200 years the veritable definition of good, clean living, based on religious morals and flinty work ethic, the corruption of drugs had penetrated every town and city, and was destroying the heritage of “New-Hampshire-ness” with little to stop it.

It is no wonder that closing the southern border is taken so seriously by Trump and many others. The worst flow of drugs into our nation – and into New Hampshire – begins in Mexico and points further south. Making it harder to get drugs into the country is a good thing. I’m pretty sure of that, but why?

First, let’s stipulate that human beings are remarkable products of evolution and more. The “more” is best described as a foundation of religiously sourced and codified morals. Whether you choose to accept any religious “truths” or are an affirmed atheist, it is clear that the hundreds of religious histories and traditions on Earth have brought us to a fairly honest and moral civilization, capable of correcting and perfecting itself. One of our greatest mores is that we call “freedom.”

We may think freedom is inherent, but it really is intensely fragile, is it not? Historically, since the organization of city-states, freedom has been merely forms of servitude, some quite oppressive. In fact, the age of kingdoms, kings and subjects, or warlords and serf-protectees, was marked by various forms of tyranny. Granted, some was less benign than others, and the basis of great folk-tales. Robin of Locksley and his Merry Men describes the battle for freedom from oppressive taxation and government incompetence – I didn’t invent that irony.

Anyway, back to drugs. None of our heroes in the perpetual fight for freedom, is also described as drug-addled. Indeed, much effort today is described as helping addicts to achieve freedom FROM drugs. So, it seems logical, a free people, ever jealous of their freedom from tyranny, must, by definition, be drug-free as well. Keeping drugs out of America is the logical path to follow IF, and only IF, a leader of Americans is attempting to keep them free. Now we need to look at the headlong rush by various governments within America to actually PROFIT from the cultivation and sale of drugs to their free citizens.

A large element of states’ argument FOR drug legalization, is that it costs too much to enforce laws against marijuana and, besides, isn’t the use of drugs an exercise of the very freedoms governments are supposed to protect? Well, no, not at all, but we seem to have talked ourselves into this twist of “freedom.”

Free people are also responsible for the defense of freedom. This is called citizenship. That is, as we grant powers to an organizing and defensive government, limited by a Constitution that we the people approved of, we also assume an obligation to ourselves, our children and all of future history, to defend those freedoms that government was constituted to PROTECT. That is, by all logic, we are FREE to be FREE, but not free to enslave ourselves, as we do in the grip of drugs.

Oh, come on, you say, pot is no worse than alcohol! Well, perhaps not, that’s arguable, what with alcohol being metabolize-able and being only ingestible and not smoke-able. Too-heavy ingestion of alcohol will kill liver and other cells and disrupt neural communications for some time, until naturally removed from the body. The same could be said about marijuana, except that the danger is directly to the lungs, about 20 times that of tobacco cigarettes. The body does expel a lot of the elements of marijuana smoke, but does a poor job of removing THC, tetra-hydra-cannabinol. THC has the friendly quality of being easily absorbed into fat cells.

Fat cells are found all over the body but one of the greatest concentrations is the brain. This is good because fat cells are hardy and relatively long-lived, but it’s also a liability when exposed to certain toxins like… well, THC. THC tends to store in fat cells – not only brain cells – which is why it’s a risk for lactating mothers to smoke pot, but it is a “freedom,” right? Back to brain cells.

THC stores in brain cells and surreptitiously clogs up the intricate, microscopically tiny connections that enable complex thoughts and memory. “Maybe for real pot-heads, but not me,” you say, “I hold down a job and have no problems smoking pot for relaxation on weekends and once in a while other times. No problem at all… did I say that already?”

From the standpoint of defending freedom, however, the softening and dulling of voters’ intellects is perfect ground for planting illogical political distinctions, thereby guiding voting patterns in the direction most beneficial for those in power. Faced with a population clamoring for “freedom” from pot-related criminal records, all the Sheriff of Nottingham had to do was come out in favor of legalizing pot and his hold on POWER would have been unshakable. Populist “Robin Hoods” could dash themselves against that rock to no avail. Look around us – it’s what we have, now.

Even better than political strength, our state budgets are overspent and there are “revenue short-falls.” Actually, there are “spending long-rises,” but the important thing is that potheads will buy the stuff and pay the taxes so that we, your most-benevolent governors can take care of the children. You wouldn’t deny us that heartfelt mission, would you? You right-wing fascist bastard? After all, taxes on tobacco have declined dangerously and we have so many vital needs that only government can take care of – you see that don’t you?

And we bought into this. We accepted, first, that medical marijuana was medical. That’s a good one. You could get it at CVS if that were true, but, if they’ll buy that they’ll buy anything. They’ll even accept that the pay of legislators is somehow related to the incomes of corporate giants. Let’s test that by voting ourselves 60% raises and see what happens…

This in no way belies the fact that there are medical values to some marijuana components. There are medical values to lots of plants and thank God we have discovered those we have. It doesn’t mean that addling our intellects is a goal of a free people, does it? And so we argue about how high the taxes should be now that legalization has been voted-for, with the murder by a pot-stupefied driver with a medical marijuana prescription, of a State Trooper, a mere hiccup in the process. Pot is so benign, in fact, we should recommend it to heroin addicts to help them get off of the “real” drugs.

It has been a big, long-term sale, and we bought it.

Maybe if Trump simply tried a few tokes he could stop hassling druggies, damned right-wing fascist bastard.

Voting for pot legalization is a lot like voting for socialism, the other lie of non-responsibility. “Hey, man, it’s like, a free country, man, and health care is a right, not a privilege, man.” And not a responsibility? Next you’ll be telling us that you’re entitled to your freedoms and the government better make sure you keep ‘em, man. If it doesn’t then you’re voting for whoever is in favor of legalizing pot everywhere. Did you know that George Washington made rope out of hemp?

A Home on the Beach

As the popular sport of denigrating Christianity has flourished, the new religion of “climate change” has gained thousands of new acolytes. Of course, “climate change” is science as opposed to faith-based mumbo-jumbo. You religious nuts have to come in to the 21st Century. Maybe. Hold the door, please.

Climate change is one of the few constants in the life of the earth. Ice ages, warming periods, volcanoes, comets, tides, gravity, planetary magnetic fields – these things have been present quite variably for billions of years. Well, yeah, but… but pollution, man… pollution has been present for like, since the atom bomb, man. What about that, dude?

Valid point, but pollution, too, has come and gone many times. We are considering only pollution that affects things WE have experienced. We, in our hubris, see this brief period since Biblical times or, more pointedly, since Columbus, say, as what is normal and the only way the world should be forever. Maybe, but an impossibility with or without the befouling presence of humans, especially white ones; they are the worst.

Earth changes in ways and for reasons we cannot affect, effect or fully understand. We may have some ephemeral effects right now, but they get taken care of through cyclical processes fairly well, although not perfectly, God knows… except for jet aircraft and a handful of other egregious assaults on the biosphere that we can fix if we develop a mind to. Surface weather cleans up a lot of our sloppiness, and we are technologically obviating some of our worst ideas. Economics helps.

Self-driving cars are a good example. Again, hubris and greed are driving current approaches, but we’ll get it right without too many deaths, one hopes. Once a standard is set requiring cars to “talk” to each other, real progress will be made. The problem with “autonomous” vehicles is autonomy: attempting to have every car have all the abilities to detect, control or react to every variable in traffic, pedestrians and weather – and weird roads. Can’t be done. However, if every car knew what every other vehicle within, say 100 yards were doing – direction, speed, acceleration – then traffic could automatically adjust itself so that it would never have to stop, including at intersections! Add a few sensors at intersections, on-ramps and the like, and “self-driving” cars will begin to resolve one of the worst pollution generators on the planet: personal, independent, ready-at-a-whim, expensive, heavy, inefficient cars.

And save lives. Imagine commuting without driving your own car. An electric “AV” (autonomous vehicle) or “SDC” picks you up along with 3 others going to the same concentrated economic zone, all independently arranged with phone apps. You work on your laptop, play cards, text or eat breakfast perfectly safely. Your SDC moves steadily forward cutting commuting time by a third or a half, then drops each “ride-pooler” at his or her work and goes off for the rest of the day to do some other tasks, including plugging itself in for an hour or so. At the prescribed times it picks up its riders (who may or may not be the same 4 based on workday schedules) and takes them home. Highways are less congested, traffic flow is uninterrupted (thanks to MDV’s [manually driven vehicles] also communicating with vehicles within that 100 yards), and billions of gallons of gas are left unburned. Cool.

Plus, thousands of acres of parking lots are made superfluous and may be “de-paved” and otherwise made better use of. Public transportation, that perennial, government, unionized cesspool of constant losses and shortfalls, will finally be in a form that works and a lot of crappy trains, trolleys and buses can be eliminated. SDC’s can go where people need to go when they need to go there, resulting in actual use. A lot of people will simply stop owning personal cars that sit idle 93% of the time.

As for jet travel, that’s different. Still, large fractions of it can be obviated with superior “ground” transport systems. Monorail transports in busy corridors, even up to 1,000 miles, can eliminate thousands of short-haul jet flights. Jets, after all, dump their exhaust at 35,000 feet, beyond where normal weather will help remove it. Surface transit at 300 miles an hour, or close to it, will compete effectively on trips up to 3 hours or so – possible up to 1000 miles. Trips from 150 to 500 miles would be a breeze, and more comfortable… and electric. Clean.

Elon Musk’s batteries are going to help, but we’ll have to resolve our UN-scientific fears of nuclear power to finally clean up our planet. It’ll happen… has to. Neither solar nor wind can carry the load in the next couple of generations and we seem to want to clean things up right now – nuclear.

At the same time, maybe we can devise solar-powered robot vessels to clean up our preposterous gyre of garbage in the pacific. Container-ship companies can pay for them. We have to become serious about not despoiling our home. Clean air, clean land, clean water – all valid and viable goals. Climate change will slowly correct to the only extent that it can. What does that mean?

To whatever, unquantifiable degree that human activity has caused a change in Earth’s average temperature, it has taken a long time. This is not to discount variations in solar output, sunspot cycles, variations and weakening of the magnetic field and so forth, but let those go. We may have an impact, no matter how arrogant we sound in saying so. Still, it’s fairly small and slow to make a difference. There isn’t any treaty or legislation that is going to make a rapid reversal. Decades, generations.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start as soon as possible… and we have. But, increasingly, the choice that true believers offer is stark destruction of our ecology and mass starvations and all they imply; OR, VOLUNTARY population reduction. The possibility that Humanity might resolve pollution by dint of invention and technology or even good motives, is never proffered. According to the Church of Inevitable Death, mankind will either kill itself out of stupidity and greed or thanks to enlightened leadership from government members of the new religion.

I’ll take door number 3, Winky.

Climate acolytes are currently very upset about “…the four inches of sea-level rise that has already happened!” Well that’s serious, especially if you’ve been living within two inches of the mean sea level in 1940. It’s also extremely difficult to determine with any precision. But if the seas have risen a couple of inches, their worry and over-concern has to ignore the 400 FEET of sea-level change since the beginning of the reversal of the last ice age. Of course, there was a lot more ice available for melting in the good old days, so small global changes could cause massive meltwater volumes. We’re relatively safe from those kinds of effects, today.
A large part of our ostensible sea-level problem is our own damn fault, since we do enjoy living right on the waters’ edges. I expect we’ll deduce how to avoid drowning slowly, most of us, anyway.

If the entire atmosphere could be liquefied it would be about 33 feet deep, or 393.7 inches. Well great… so what? Well, in fact, CO-2 comprises about .0397% of the total. Let’s see what this means:
1% of 393.7 inches is just 3.937 inches – out of 33 feet. But, CO-2 is less than 4/10ths of that percent, or slightly deeper than 1.57 inches. Around the year 1800 (pre-industry), we’re told, CO-2 was only 3/10ths of a percent of the total, or what would have been 1.18 inches. Now we are told, it is the added .39 inches of the 33-foot total that has caused nearly every problem we face today, hot or cold, wet or dry, cloudy or sunny.

It is a big deal because people literally breath out CO-2, as do our cars and trucks and planes and things. Better, it’s a trace gas that we can BLAME on humans! We can TAX it and buy votes with it and be superior about it. Ohh, Heaven!

Worse, it is swamping tiny atolls in the Solomon Islands and the handfuls of people who like living there (who wouldn’t?) need some of everyone’s money to compensate their moving costs. At least, that’s the trumpeted theory. Still, it fits with the trends of the past 100 centuries or so, which ought to be comforting. Our anxiety derives from changes that have affected things we know from the past couple of hundred years… things that, in our arrogant view, should have remained static once we decided we liked them.

Right? Of course, right!
Since so many factors we have nothing to do with have maintained the direction of change, we are now adopting an amazing attitude that it is within our politics, economics and powers, that we can steer change in a different direction. This is far more remarkable than divinity, but a lot of people have bought it.

MASSACHUSETTS VAULTS INTO FIRST PLACE

In January of 2017 the legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA, Earth, known as “The Great and General Court,” implying some connection to legality and justice, collectively determined that their theft of monies from their subjects-taxpayers would have only an indiscernible impact on the rest of the Solar System, let alone the Universe. And so far, they appear to have calculated safely. Not even the orbit of the Moon has been perturbed.

Not ones to be caught without full justification, albeit besotted with partisanship, the august leaders of the aforementioned and veto-proof majority of both chambers of that vital legislative coven, all sworn to uphold the laws and constitution of the Commonwealth as well as the laws and Constitution of the United States of America, searched the Galaxy for comparative compensations that rendered said august leaders of the majority party (of which many members were likewise “leaders”) second-rate or, God forbid, third-rate, by comparison and therefore instantly deserving of sufficient added compensation as to restore primacy to the Great and General Court of Massachusetts’ leadership – every last friggin’ one of them.

Holding the balance of reason and probity was the tiny band of Republicans (also blessed with numerous “leaders”) numbering but 6 of 40 in the Senate – the “upper” chamber – and 34 of 160 in the House – the “lower” chamber. Observers and constituents have argued since which fits the latter designation, in fact, and which the former.
They seem, to all not so newly compensated, to be vying for the latter. There will surely be a study.

In 2014 the “Special Advisory Commission Regarding the Compensation of Public Officials” delivered itself of a remarkable document that purported to win over any doubters of the premise that the hard-working, frequent-vacationing leaders of the Democrat Party hegemony in Massachusetts’ state government, most particularly in the legislative offices, were, sadly, underpaid and just scraping by in their selfless service to the citizens of this great state. Of course, its effects, if converted into passable legislation, would be bipartisan, so there certainly was no self-service that might happen… none.

The study now extant became a Christmas present burning holes in the back pockets of Stanley Rosenberg, Robert DeLeo, nearly every member of the Great and General Court, every judge, magistrate, court officer and constitutional officer to boot. It simply needed the right Christmas to arrive for a quick, unobstructed delivery into their suffering hands. The anticipation must have been exquisite.

Finally, with ostensibly Republican governor Charlie Baker fully compromised, January 2017 saw delivery of the long-awaited financial orgasm. “Our royal thanks for the sacrifice and diligence of the Special Commission.”

What did the committee do during their months of service? And, it is worth asking, for whom? After all, the report IS neatly typed, carefully printed and edited for accuracy and timeliness, not to overlook well-peppered with charts and graphs, and plenty of margin space for easy gleaning. All of its authors are not only eminent, but well-regarded – a comfort, that.

There are fundamental premises that the report was created to make relevant, even justificatory of, the “need” to take more money from the Commonwealth’s tax-paying citizens and deliver it into the pockets of their “representatives” and many others. Somehow, we should now be convinced-of and, perhaps, relieved to grasp, the value of paying all these people more than most of said tax-payers, themselves, make.

Premise # 1: Higher, appropriately higher, compensation is needed to attract and retain the best talent – and presumed competency – for these crucial jobs.

Premise # 2: The relative pay of politicians in similar offices in the other 50 states is of some (arcane) value in our deciding how much to pay OUR politicians.

Premise # 3: The total compensation packages of huge private for-profit and not-for-profit CEO’s and other corporate officers form logical comparisons to what are held to be equivalent-responsibility public-sector positions.

The first premise can be challenged by the greater than 90% incumbency re-election rate in the House and Senate. Clearly the jobs are attractive enough to keep nearly every office holder vying to retain his or her seat – even during the dark days of insufficient compensation. Likewise, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General and other executive offices are both sought after and clung-to like pregnancy-swollen breasts, despite the poor comparisons with other states’ office holders. Pregnancy? How did that happen?

And, not always poor. New Jersey, for example, has a similar GDP to that of Massachusetts, based on kinds of economic activity, port value and as GDP per capita. Mass., $485 billion; N. J., $570 billion, a difference of 15%. The cost of state government, however, IS VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL: $55.1 billion for Mass., $56 billion for N. J. New Jersey is almost 10% more efficient than Massachusetts in this regard. Political leaders must be better compensated there, no?

Well, no. New Jersey’s senators and reps are paid 18% LESS than the toiling servants of Massachusetts. Putting lip-gloss on it, the N. J. senate president and house speaker are paid 31% (!) LESS than our vital comparatives… for doing a better economic job. Taxes are high in both states, Democrats dominate in both states, taxpayers are restive/complacent in both states. We certainly can’t justify 40% pay increases looking at those bozos! It is good that we didn’t compare ourselves to Florida!

Still, there must be some cobbled-together set of statistics that will obscure our purposes more completely while appearing to justify this embezzlement. Ummm… aha! Let’s make a chart that compares and ranks the old (high) pay scale to ALL other states: premise # 2.

The assembled charts are wonderful, guaranteed to make a reader’s eyes glaze over. No one is going to pore over a list of fifty rates of pay for governors, lieutenant governors, attorneys general or anyone else. Presented with the two pages of six columns of small print, the concerned reader will find the numbers that pertain to Massachusetts officers and relax in the knowledge that this report includes extensive, thorough study.

Except for the nationwide self-aggrandizement of politicians, the fact that Mass. paid its governor MORE than 39 other states did and LESS than only 10 others is, in one important sense, meaningless. In another sense, the generous taxpayers of Massachusetts ought to have taken solace in the realization that we have well-compensated our governor in comparison to almost all other states. Doesn’t matter.

The big deal is Table B-7: nice big print, comparing the Senate President’s and House Speaker’s (equal) salaries with those of other full-time legislatures (11, all told), ranking 5th and 6th respectively. In 2014, this meant only $95 grand per year plus numerous benefits and stipends to ease the pain. Oh, the horror.

Legislators in Massachusetts receive raises every two years based on the calculated “Median” income in the state. Sounds fair. It’s a plan that was supposed to avoid the contentious process of legislators voting for their own raises! All of you who hate doing the same thing where you work, can appreciate the awkwardness.

Well, despite many legislators clinging to their sinecures for decades – and becoming wealthy somehow, and retiring with pleasant pensions and health-care benefits, the automatic (median income has and always will rise in this system) raises were not making legislators, especially their “leaders” (20 of them) rich quickly enough. You can see the problem: How on Earth can we slip a gigantic compensation package through the legislature and signed by a governor? Hmmmm…

Turns out, there’s nothing better than a mind-numbing report produced by a Commission – a commission: brilliant! – all of whose members are both eminent and highly regarded. That’s the ticket.

Still, facts on the ground comparing pay scales with other states really don’t quite carry the water for this hijack. What must be included is something ethereal, heavenly, mystical. Let’s compare our collective irresponsibilities and partisan claptrap with real leaders: top-paid CEO’s, COO’s, corporate treasurers and the like. Find a highly-paid corporate lawyer to help the Attorney General. This will make our grandees appear UNDER-paid even with this new bloat, and enhance our leadership status among the low-information voters.

Premise # 3: What top private-sector executives make is relevant to what political leaders make, and their responsibilities are roughly comparable. A fabulous, fantastic concept that can be made true in the hands of the right eminent and highly regarded Commissioners. Go for it.

In reality, where taxpayers actually live, there is no comparison – none. Private-sector (whether for-profit or not-for-profit, “business”) leaders operate in a different world: one where performance is measured intricately and specifically against economic results and targets, month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter and beyond. Highly paid people in business can be fired based on results. They answer to boards of directors or trustees. They are carefully regulated by governments, and taxed, fined and fee’d to a fare-thee-well and still required to show performance and results that meet goals.

Many of these goals involve COST-CUTTING(!), a miraculous process whereby profits increase and excess payroll is jettisoned. This leaves, over fairly short times, the BEST employees employed, and only as many of those as needed to achieve results for the share-holders. These are foreign concepts in state government, specifically in Massachusetts state government, where political “leaders” see their goals as met by INCREASING jobs, and not for the best of employees, but for the most loyal, politically.

Goals for legislators and officers in government are not lower costs, not better returns on investments or returns on assets; the goal is re-election and job-security – not to mention as much pay, compensation, expense reimbursement, pension and perks as possible while appearing heroic!

This is not to say that political leaders and functionaries don’t have POWER. That is the one quality they share with business leaders. What they don’t have is actual responsibility for performance or profit – things that get business people fired or bonused. They never work for bonuses based on meeting economic targets. Things can go to Hell in handbaskets in state economies and politicos are victims of world-wide conditions, same as the rest of us. But, not responsible. Nor is their pay cut because stock prices are down for bad performance or for poor vision for the immediate and long-term future.

Finally, NO OTHER STATE is trying to attract these captains of government to come run THEIR states because of a record of market-beating success. These people are LUCKY, in the main, to have the cushy jobs they have. When things go south they can raise taxes, by POLICE POWER. In business, leaders have to attract new revenue because they deliver what customers or donors actually WANT and will voluntarily pay for. And they want to compare themselves to corporate success-masters?

This isn’t a report on compensation delivered by eminent and highly regarded people, IT IS A FRAUD from the very start. This is Kabuki theater, designed to defraud the taxpayers of Massachusetts. With a series of impressive and MEANINGLESS charts and 50,000 words of palaver, the House and Senate justified grand theft.

And our God-damned governor let it go through! Oh, he vetoed it – that was his Kabuki role, but he didn’t fight it, he didn’t campaign against it, he didn’t use any of his power to stop this legal CRIME. The day after his “veto” was overridden, he was at a “time” for a Democrat in Fall River with Stan Rosenberg and Bob DeLeo. This isn’t the fox in charge of the hen-house, it’s the ROOSTER.

There was one big reform. To save senators and reps from cheating on their per-diems they now receive bloated flat-rates to reward these vital characters for showing up for “work.” Oh, thank goodness! There were maps and charts to justify them.
The ONLY reform that would justify this grandiose sleight-of-hand, is TERM LIMITS for all of these people, and the right to remove judges by plebescite. Did I mention that the AUTOMATIC biennial raises are still in effect? NO ONE who voted for this scam deserves another vote from any of us.

THE BELIEFS OF LEADERSHIP

There are lessons to be learned from the reactions of his opponents to the campaign and election of Donald Trump. Those same opponents seem deaf to them… and blind. As history often provides, the lessons will be made clearer, oddly enough, as the lens of time becomes thicker, longer and, in fact, cooler. Are these lessons so earth-shattering? Well, yes, probably.

Some nation is going to lead all nations, like it or not. Since its founding, in a sense, the United States has been that nation. Why? Much derives from the sacrifices of George Washington, a quite spiritual man. Unlike all the kings of history, Washington finished his second term as president and went back to his farm. He could have been president for life; he could have dictated who the next president would be. Instead, he surrendered a power the extent of which he may not have realized. In many ways he was the key man, launching our ship of state with faith in the inherent goodness of the people of America… and little else.

That “goodness” was primarily Judeo-Christian, filtered through all of Europe and the British Isles. Whether steady attendees at churches or not, most “Americans” were Christian – an inconvenient truth. When Franklin answered that the Constitutional Convention had delivered a “…republic, if you can keep it(.)” he expressed his recognition of the need for a morally straight citizenry in order for a representative democracy to function and survive.

Only morally raised children would grow up to live in honesty. Only a moral people would demand and sustain a legal structure of honest jurisprudence, honest, enforceable contracts, written and verbal, and honest money, trusted by every seller and buyer. Only an honest people would allow, even encourage, the least among us to excel, grow and succeed. Our many flaws grew from wrong beliefs and our regret is justified. But, our basic honesty and the strength of our institutions enabled us to change flawed beliefs.

Which is not to say that changing all beliefs is a good thing – our forbears were right about most of it.

Those of us old farts who have worried about the upset changes of the 1960’s, are being proven right, too. That was a decade that saw socialism become a “solution” through the “Great Society,” and indulgence of every youthful abandon begin the erosion of moral institutions, education as a moral institution, and every sort of drug and sexual thrill gain “rights.”
These changes are bearing their fruits… and nuts.

Daily we are challenged over every institution’s role as modern politicians – liberal ones, anyway, and fearful non-liberals – bow to every new idea about how individuals are not responsible for building their own lives and economics. Unfortunately, in a whirlpool of new “rights,” the lives of those citizens who don’t agree with or don’t care about the new licentiousness, the power of government has been turned against the majority of those who give it power in the first place. What are the new beliefs?

A growing minority believe that every form of sexual expression is as valid as all the others. These same believe that resistance to the disappearance of procreative sacredness is the equivalent of Hitler’s incomprehensible pathologies. This same group decries all rules of personal behavior not invented by them, and they are quick to hate while castigating haters. What sort of leaders will they be? With no social norming at work, will nations, in their view, become irrelevant, too?

The ungoverned seem quick to demand that “government” destroy the lives and rights of the traditionalist majority, and there are sufficient psychologists and lawyers to twist their ideas into effective arguments against… whatever. Screams for diversity – whatever that is – turn into screams of rage when diversity of beliefs is placed before them. Technology cannot mask that divide, nor, apparently, can elections. Majority rule is hateful until the disenchanted are in a majority position, however briefly. Since it will be brief, court rulings are sought to make their beliefs permanent policy.

Drugs are becoming mainstream, which might have some positive value if they calmed the hateful. They don’t, evidently. Drugs are a subject for belief and not necessarily truth, or reality. Besides, there are tax revenues to be realized, the purest calcimine that ever touched a brush. Soon we’ll be crime-free. Let’s hope the lights come on and the water flows on that day.