One day (hopefully) in America.

One day, very hopefully, in America, somebody is going to have kids with this woman.

She is beautiful, brilliant, educated, and Black.

And America will be a better place when she has children if they carry on her work. Hell, make no mistake about this. America is already a better place just because she lives here.

Talking to the dead.

I spent the last week fixing my truck, and yesterday I put new tires on it. Yesterday was my birthday. When I woke up this morning I was so excited, I was going to go tell my brother what I had done. I was feeling very proud of myself.

So I got out of bed, and was headed for the door, and then I remembered. My brother had died on February 6th.

I’ve always been a lights on lights off kind of person when it comes to sleeping. Never the kind of person who wakes up a little at a time. And yet somehow, for a few brief minutes at a time, I keep forgetting that my sister, my mom and my brother have all died with the last 2 years. I keep catching myself thinking, “Oh, mom is going to want that, I grab it for her and surprise her”, or or I run across a movie online that looks like something Cliff would enjoy and I find myself halfway out of my chair before I remember that he and I will never watch another corny ass B rated movie together again.

My sisters birthday is Valentines Day, the day before yesterday I found myself reaching for my phone to call her and wish her a happy birthday. The phone was in my hand and my hand started trembling uncontrollably as I remembered that she had died 2 years ago. She was two weeks older than I turned yesterday.

I keep wanting to talk to my sister, my mom and my brother. The problem is, that they are all dead now. A very kind hearted friend told me to go ahead and talk to them.

I come from a family of seven, five kids and two parents(well, technically three parents if you count my birth father, I was 5 when they got divorced). There are now two of us left among the living. My step father was the first to go, he died in 1996, my birth father died in 2001, my middle brother Guy, in 2006. Then my sister in 2015, mom in 2016 and Cliff this year. All that is left is me and my youngest brother.

I guess that we all know that having a loved one pass away is anything but easy. A lot of people have anniversaries where they visit the graves of their loved ones. We do this because we do not forget our loved ones. As much as it aches,(and right now my heart really aches) we remember their lives and what they meant to us.

What is coming as a surprise to me is not the heart ache of remembering them and knowing that they are gone. Of not being certain on a spiritual level what comes next. But of forgetting that they have died. I guess that I am not unique in this respect. I think perhaps this is why so many people visit the graves of their loved ones, of why they talk to them as if their loved ones can somehow hear them.

I do not believe that my family can hear me. Its not that I believe that they have ceased to exist. Its more of a case where, if your brother lives in New York City, and you live in Los Angles, and you walk out back without a phone or radio, and start talking to him, well, he isn’t going to hear you because he is so far away.

I do not know where my loved ones are right now. I believe with all of my heart that they have not ceased to exist, they are somewhere, of that I am certain. Where, I do not know, I am after all, not God or any divine creature, but I am also certain that the gulf between them and me is far to great for them to hear me talking to them.

If you believe differently, then you have both my envy, and my blessings. It must be wonderful to believe that even if they can’t answer, at least they can hear you.

I miss my family, I really miss them a lot. I wish there were some way for me to tell them how much I miss them, how much I love them. While it may seem a while for me, I guess in reality, I will be joining them soon enough. While we are yet alive, life seems to be so very long. Yet in reality, measured against the universe itself, its less than a blink of the eye.

The only thing certain in the future, is that like the rest of my family, I too will one day shuffle off this mortal coil. Perhaps then I will quit forgetting that they have passed this veil of morality and moved on to whatever awaits us.

An American Conservative view on the role and size of Government.

From America’s Founding Fathers on to today, the American Conservative believes and always has believed that government was a necessary evil. One which required the Sword of Damocles always be hovering just above its head. The quote “The best government is that which governs least.” can be traced as far back as the 1839 issue of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review. America’s Founding Fathers were inherently distrustful of government to such a degree that when crafting the United States Constitution, it was the government itself rather than the citizens that they places the most restrictions on.

Even the most cursory reading of the United States Constitution exposes this fact. In every single Article and clause, in every single Amendment the single most striking aspect, is the limitation placed on the government. Here you will go, and no further.

Section 9.

The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.

No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one state over those of another: nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one state, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another.

No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.

No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
Section 10.

No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.

No state shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection laws: and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any state on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.

No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

Congress shall make no law, shall not be infringed, No Soldier shall, The right of the people.

Thomas Jefferson even went to far as to make this prescription for keeping a tight reign on the government.

“I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion.[1] The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787[2]

What the Founding Father’s knew, and attempted to the best of their ability to guard against, was the tyranny of a government which had slipped its legal, moral and ethical constraints and amassed to itself the power and authority to disregard the will of the governed. The Christian apologist and writer CS Lewis saw just as clearly what the form of such an America tyranny would take.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

And indeed, here were are in America in 2017. Living under the oppressive tyranny of George Orwell and CS Lewis’s predictions. Living in an America that would have appalled and offended America’s Founding Father’s.

Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition

In 2015, I took a swing at assessing the shape and state of our global challenges. Looking back, that essay is still well worth a read, but it is high time for an update.

While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.

I use John Robb’s term “Trump Insurgency” here to highlight the fact that the election of 2016 was not an example of “ordinary politics”. Anyone who fails to understand this is going to be making significant errors. For example, the 2016 election is not comparable to the 2000 election (e.g., merely a “close” election) nor to the 1980 election (e.g., an “ideological transition” election). While it is tempting to compare it to 1860, I’m not sure that is a good match either.

In fact, as I go back and try to do pattern matching, the only real pattern I can find is the 1776 “election” (AKA the American Revolution). In other words, while 2016 still formally looked like politics, what is really going on here is a revolutionary war. For now this is war using memes rather than bullets, but war is much more than a metaphor.

This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years. This is a pretty tactical assessment and should make sense and be useful to anyone. I’ll get to the deep point last — and will be going way out there in an effort to grasp “what is really going on”. I’ll definitely miss wildly, but with any luck, the total journey will be worth the time.

Thomas Jefferson’s prescription indeed.

The role of the government as envision by America’s Founding Father’s, was to protect the rights and liberties of American citizens. That role, as codified by the United States Constitution was, and even to this very day, still makes the United States Constitution the single most revolutionary document ever written. The United States Government was never intended, nor even legally allowed to intrude into every aspect of American citizens lives and dictate which moral or ethical ideologies those citizens must prescribe to.

It was never intended that the government gain control over every public or private affair of America’s citizens. It was never intended to grow so large and powerful that it could ignore the will of the governed. Its role is, and must return to that of protecting, not limiting or controlling the rights and liberties of American citizens. Its size needs to be reduced to the point where its legitimate role cannot be supplanted by the sheer mass of bureaucratic volume.

On the Issue of an Israeli-Palestinian solution.

American Presidential administration after administration has labored under the fallacious and mistaken belief that it would be the administration that would find and broker a peace solution between Israel and Palestine. This has been going on every since 1948 when Israel became a nation again. Every presidential administration since that of Harry S Truman has made and continued to make the exact same mistake.

That mistake is both painfully simple and amazingly complex. The complex side of the equation, is the American arrogance and hubris. The simple side, is Islamic theology.

Lets look at American arrogance and hubris first, as it represents the stumbling block that every American administration to attempt a Middle East Peace process has stumbled over. America is a nation both literally and figuratively built on the “Can Do” attitude. Americans are people both unfamiliar with and uncomfortable with the notion of failure. They know all to well that the concept of failure exists, but consider and treat it as temporary set back due to a failure to plan, innovate and execute. In short, in the mind of the average American, failure is the result of not doing your homework, not working hard enough, and giving up to soon.

Americans believe that there is no problem that cannot be solved given enough time and hard work. Inherent in this belief is that everyone involved in solving whatever given problem is being addressed actually wants the problem to be solved, and that equally, everyone involved perceives the problem in the same way. America became the most powerful nation on earth because, amongst other reasons, this mentality is so pervasive within the collective America psyche. When everyone works together towards a common solution, that solution eventually becomes inevitable.

This collective attitude has led to Americans being perceived around the world as overly confident and boastful. It is a common complaint both in Europe and Asia that Americans walk around like they own the entire world. Another near equal complaint is that Americans neither know, nor care to know anything about other cultures.

America was once subject to a monarchy, albeit a absentee monarchy. During the time that is was subject to that absentee monarchy, what it was not subject to, was an aristocracy. This small and rather trivial fact actually plays a significant role in the American psyche. Americans have never had to take a step back, bow down or look at the ground as a monarch or member of the aristocracy passed by. They have never had to hold their tongue or speak in hushed whispers for fear of offending the sensibilities of any member of the aristocracy.

This reality has played an enormous role in the creation of the American “Can do” spirit. In America, the value of any idea is not weighed based upon the social standing of the individuals advancing that idea. It is instead judged upon the quality of the idea itself. This is the heart and soul of the American entrepreneurial spirit. That same spirit that so much of the rest of the world perceives as arrogant and boastful. If you work hard, there is no limit to what you can achieve, no barrier to the social strata you may rise to.

This American hubris comes complete with a self defeating flaw. That every problem has a solution, that success builds alliances, and alliances create communities, that communities create mutual interests and mutual interests create trust. In America, almost everything is negotiable. Almost everything is negotiable because (at least in principal) everyone is subject to the exact same laws.

Here is where we come upon the great American failure to negotiate peace in the Middle East. The stumbling block every American administration has stumbled over. The American arrogance and hubris that has time and time again doomed the Middle East peace process. The inherently American belief that for every problem there is a solution, that success builds alliances, and alliances create communities, that communities create mutual interests and mutual interests create trust.

What makes this a self defeating flaw, rather than the strength that has served America so well in the past, is that a huge part of the America psyche is predicated upon Judaeo-Christian morals, ethics and values. Within those moral’s ethics and values is the notion that intentional perfidy is an exceptionally grievous and unpardonable offense. Thus what we arrive at, is that nearly everything is negotiable, that a solution is inevitable, a contract will be drawn up, and that all sides to that contract will make every attempt to abide by the terms of said contract.

Enter Islamic Theology. American administration after administration have fallen victim to the above hubris and failed time and time again because they either do not understand Islamic Theology, or refuse to take Islamic theology into account.

Islamic Theology is one of conquest and domination. Moreover, in direct contrast to Judaeo-Christian Theology, Islamic Theology not only does not consider perfidy to be a grievous and unpardonable offense, as long as it advances the overall goal of Islamic conquest and domination of the entire world, it is actually considered a virtue.

The Palestinians have repeatedly stated that their goal is the utter and complete destruction of Israel.

The PLO Charter Still Calls for Israel’s Destruction

The Palestine Liberation Organization was created in 1964. Like most revolutionary movements, it wrote a Charter to define its aims and fundamental policies, including:

Article 17: The partitioning of Palestine, which took place in 1947, and the establishment of Israel are illegal and null and void, regardless of the loss of time…
Article 18: The Balfour Declaration, the Palestine Mandate System, and all that has been based on them are considered null and void. The claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood. Judaism… is not a nationality (and) the Jews are not one people with an independent personality…
Article 19: Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims…
Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, (or) on the Gaza Strip.

Contrary to belief in some quarters, the Charter has never been amended and in fact, fealty to “armed struggle” (i.e., terrorism) was reasserted as late as 2011. In pursuit of its goals, Palestinian terrorism has killed more than 5,000 Israelis since 1949. Airplane hijackings; sniper shootings (including an infant in her father’s arms), bombings on buses, in cafes and in restaurants; little boys bludgeoned to death; children murdered in their homes in front of their parents. Raw anti-Semitism pours today from Voice of Palestine Radio. School children learn that Israel is only a temporary impediment to Palestinian aspirations and that killing and dying is the highest good.

American administration after administration has chosen to ignore this unequivalently stated and reiterated position and the reality that Islam considers perfidy to be a perfectly acceptable and valued strategic tactic. Each successive administration has failed to grasp the significance of these two facts, and thus failed to achieve anything other than failure.

In the Palestinian mind, the problem is not violence, violence is the solution, the problem is Israel. The only peace acceptable in the Palestinian mind, is that of the Israeli grave. As long as American administrations continue to judge Palestinian actions by Western Judaeo-Christian standards, and refuse to take them at their word, this long unbroken succession of failure will continue.

Tragically, it is unlikely that the administration of President Donald Trump will any different in this respect. It will likely makes all of the exact same mistakes of previous administrations. It will ignore the role perfidy plays in Islamic culture, it will ignore the actual unequivocal stated goal of the Palestinians and will continue to believe that the goal of peaceful coexistence is shared by both the Israeli’s and the Palestinians.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Until both the American and Israeli public’s and especially their political leaders accept the reality, that when a Muslim says he wants to kill you he is dead serious, and that his position absolutely cannot be negotiated and that said Muslim will joyfully commit perfidy to achieve that goal, this nearly 70 year old dance of failure will not only continue, it will do so at the cost of innocent lives.

To honestly negotiate a peace treaty with Israel in good faith with the full intention of abiding by that treaty is and would be, in terms of Islamic Theology, an abomination worthy of Allah’s greatest and most excruciating wrath. This is absolutely and utterly nonnegotiable, any American administration that does not, cannot or refuses to comprehend this simple reality, including the administration of Donald Trump, has doomed itself to failure before they have even begun.

A eerie quiet.

A eerie quiet has descended on my house. For the first time in 15 years, the only sound is that of my own making.

I cannot hear mom in the kitchen puttering around, arguing with the stove, washing dishes or working on one of her many craft projects. There is no sound of the television from the other room or my brother either laughing at something, giving advice to a contestant on some game show he is watching or arguing with someone on the news.

There is no sound of the front door opening and closing or voices exchanging greeting as people come and go. Yesterday was frantic as my sisters in law came in and completely rearranged my living-room and kitchen. Their kids, my nephews and nieces bouncing off the walls making complete nuisances of themselves.

For the last 15 years, my room has been my refuge from the semi-controlled chaos that has been my home. A constant flow of friends and family coming and going, hustling and bustling about their lives. For the first time in 15 years, I do not sense the presence of another individual, though they might not be making any sound, in my home.

This is not the quiet of nobody being home. This is a different kind of quiet, an eerie kind of quiet, a faintly disturbing kind of quiet. This is  the quiet that says, you are alone, you are all alone. Those sounds that have faded away are not coming back.

They may in time be replaced with new sounds, with different sounds, but today, you are all alone.

A look at American Conservative values.

Regardless of where one lives in America, those identifying as Conservatives have certain shared values. From state to state and region to region those values fall upon a hierarchical ladder.

Mostly common
partially common

This is because Conservatives are not a monolithic group. Within Conservative America are certain values that are essentially Universal. Which is to say, that if you are in Boston Massachusetts or Casper Wyoming these particular values remain constant.

1) The United States Constitution.

Conservatives consider their allegiance to be to the United States Constitution, not to the Government of the United States of America. No bureaucrat, no elected official, no presidential administration holds the Conservatives ultimate allegiance. It is first and foremost reserved to the United States Constitution.

This reality has been manifest to the consternation of the Republican Parties leadership for decades and has cost them no small discomfort. Legion are the powerful, well funded Republican elected officials who have found themselves voted out of office when their conservative constitutes decided that said elected official was representing the national parties agenda or their own personal agenda rather than that of their constitutes.

American Conservatives, by majority, recognize that the United States Constitution is not and certainly was not perfect upon its creation and ratification. While we recognize that from time to time it must undergo a process of refinement, we utterly and absolutely demand that the process be universally consistent with the original intent of the Founding Father’s. Moreover that whatever amendments be added or redacted must be done so with a approval of the citizens of the United States and not at the whim of a Jurist, politician or activist group.

There is a way to change the United States Constitution, it is known as Article V. It most assuredly is not via the POTUS pen and phone, nor is it by the passage of various and sundry acts of legislation in Congress.

American Conservative by and large recognize and understand that the United States of America is a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. The difference between the two not only is not subtle, but the very cornerstone of America’s Constitutional Republic. Each States has its own State Constitution which is in harmony with the United States Constitution but provides varying and different levels of protection and responsibility to each states residents.

The differences in each States Constitution represent the individual values which hold preeminence in each state. Each of those States Constitutions defines the sovereignty of each individual State.

Amendment 9.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The consequence of these two amendments is that provided they do not contradict the laws specifically codified in the United States Constitution, the laws of each individual state are subject to the will of the individual citizens of each state. These two amendments also restrict within the constraints of the United States Constitution, the the amount of authority the United States Federal Government may exercise over the individual states.

America’s Founding Fathers were utterly adamant that the United States of America not be a Democracy, they were all to aware that democracies always eventually devolve into tyrannies of the majority. Were it not for this insistence, for the inclusion of the Electoral College amongst other things, it would be possible for California, New York and Texas by virtue of their populations dictate all of the laws and policies of the United States of America.

RIP Clifford Martin Walker

Cliff’s 14 month battle against Stage 4 Lung Cancer ended this morning.

Cliff was a son, a brother, a father, a husband and a Navy veteran. He was 54 years old.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.