The World under Obama’s Reset

There have been mass demonstrations all over the world to protest the deaths of Gaza Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli armed forces. There were demonstrations in Paris and London, of course but also as far as Chile where the Arab population must be small. The media don’t seem to have reported much by way of protest in the Palestinian West Bank though. It’s only thirty miles from Gaza. There have not been comments that I know of in the press about this absence of what you would expect to be a normal reaction when your own close cousins are the victims.

As I write, it seems that 250 Gazans were killed in the new conflict with Israel. Somewhere between more then 100,000 and a little less than 200,000 wee killed in Syria. Think of it as a ratio:


There were no demonstrations to protest the deliberate mass slaughter in Syria. The Islamist extremists who are taking over Iraq assassinate at one sitting several times the number killed by Israelis in several days. The reason for the disparity of treatment by politically correct world opinion is clear:

Arabs killed by Israelis are much more dead that Arabs killed by Arabs; they are more deeply dead. (I know I am repeating myself; no problem.)

Incidentally, I don’t blame the current armed conflict on Sec. of State John Kerry’s months of negotiations with Palestinians and Israelis. I am convinced they a had no effect, one way or the other.

Let me simplify: Someone shot a passenger plane out of the sky above or near Eastern Ukraine. There are only three possibilities about who did it: The Ukrainian armed forces, the Russian-speaking Ukraine separatists, the Russian military. No one accuses the Ukrainian armed forces. The separatists are unable to left a finger without active Russian military help. Therefore, the party responsible for the mass assassination of civilians is? Tough deduction!

All the continued media coverage is unnecessary. This is a simple story. Cowardice, that of Western governments and that of public opinion is what keeps this story on the front page. There is no court of law involved here such as exists in civilized societies. No one needs proof beyond any reasonable doubt except those who prefer inaction in the face of brutal aggression.

Much of the verbiage I hear on conservative radio and even in the mouths of elected Republicans about the new border crisis makes me wince. No, gentlemen, ladies 50,000 or 60,000, or even 100,000 children breaching our southern border are not going to sink the Republic. The practice must be discouraged fro two reasons. First, the practice is dangerous and inhumane for the children. Second, it encourages more and the flood is potentially endless. In the short run, those who are here have to be taken care of well. That’s what this country is about. Caring for defenseless children is more central to the integrity of this nation than an impenetrable border (a pipe-dream any way). There, I have said what many are thinking.

Republican politicians who insist that the way to solve the unaccompanied children invasion crisis is to send the National Guard to the border are not thinking or they are criminally misinformed. The children don’t swim across the Rio Grande, they are delivered to the border. (Yes, there is such a thing as being criminally misinformed. I am thinking of the many leftist leaders who speak as if Israel were currently occupying Gaza, had been for the past few years.)

No one in the US press has yet to do the obvious: Send a reporter to ride the death train with the illegal immigrants between Mexico’s southern border and its norther border, its border with us. It’s another gross dereliction of duty.

This Republic turns out to be more of a monarchy than I would have thought: When the King is weak-kneed, there is a tendency for other parts of society to stumble.

My book:

 I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography

is available from me by email : Please, send me $17 so I can buy fishing bait. Please, add $1.50 for taxes and $4 to help support the US Post Office. Total: $22.50

This is cheap for much entertainment and a little bit of enlightenment. The book contains many items of esoteric high-brow trivia you will be able to use to make yourself sound brilliant at cocktail parties (Marin County) and at barbecues (elsewhere).

The electronic version is also available in the Kindle Store at:

On reading devices other than Kindle: August 2nd

The electronic version costs only $7. (Every time you buy one I can afford another cappuccino with my share of the proceeds.)

Other unimportant news: My slim collection of stories and essays in French will be on Amazon (electronic only) soon. It’s entitled: Les Pumas de grande-banlieue.

Posted in Current Events | 1 Comment

Bombing Neighbors

I live in Santa Cruz, California. It’s a reasonable prosperous town. It’s white except for the cooks and the leaf blower jockeys. Forty minutes by car south from here lies the town of Watsonville. It’s mostly Latino and considerably poorer than Santa Cruz. It has a notoriously corrupt city government and a much bigger gang problem than does Santa Cruz. Roughly, my town is mostly law-abiding, Watsonville is largely lawless. There is little by way of movements of population between the two towns except that some people from Watsonville commute to low-level jobs in Santa Cruz.

I am trying to figure what I would do if the Watsonville city government encouraged or even if it failed to stop explosive projectiles from flying from its town into mine. What if some group in Watsonville – its municipal government or anyone else – bombed me, however ineffectually? I imagine it might destroy a tree one day, blow up some windows another day, kill a dog the next day, and ended up grazing a child’s leg the next.  Then, quickly, I would think: Next week their competence is going to improve, or they will simply just get lucky, and they will kill my granddaugher. How long would I stay still, I ask myself?

The answer is: not long, days at best.

I hope my better, reasonable side would take over. I hope that I would not demand a bloodbath on the shooters. If I were moderate, I would look to a promise to drain the swamp for good. I would give the authorities in the other town a small number of days to stop the aggression. Then, I would proceed to take many measures to empty that town of its population. One way would be to simply stop as much as I could both necessities and luxuries from reaching the town. I would probably not kill anyone not caught weapons in hand. (I would kill everyone of those on the spot that I could.) Instead, I would seek to make life there extremely unpleasant by every other means. Cutting of the water would be fine, power, even better. I would seek to trigger an exodus. To my mind, it wouldn’t be “collective punishment” but prevention.

Being a pragmatist, I would also consider given the residents of that other town economic incentives to leave: Go away and remain reasonably well off or chose to stay and your life will be hell. The old stick and carrot, in that order. Most of them are innocent except that they elected exactly those who seek to do me harm. When they were elected, the elected promised to do me harm. No surprise there.

I would not stop until the only people left in that other town would be the non-mobile abandoned by local government, and the shooters themselves. The fate of the first, I would say would be morally the responsibility of that other town’s government. I would use every lethal weapon against the others until they died or surrendered unconditionally.

I see it coming: What if there were many people in Watsonville who hated you, or your fellow Santacruzans for a good reason, because you did them much harm in the past that you never repaired? What if that’s why they are bombing you?

Same thing. It’s my moral duty to fix what I broke, however far in the past. But I want a reasonable certainty that the hateful actions against me will stop if I do fix things. My worst case scenario is one where I do all the necessary repairs and the bombings continue. This involves both a strategic and a moral guess.

Now, what if the other guys said, “We will bomb you whatever you do”? “We will no stop until you are dead,eradicated, gone”? In that case, I would feel zero compulsion to seek a peaceful solution. I would also pay no attention to the people in some other, third town, say in San Francisco – not at risk at all – advising me to exercise moderation . I would ignore such advice as much as I could.

How about you? What would you do?

Another thing: The fastest way to peace is not “proportionate response,” it’s crushing victory. It may even be the most humane way, sparing the lives even of people on the other side.
Post-script: There is nothing wrong with Watsonville, California. No one from there has bombed Santa Cruz. It was just a tale.

Update: I read on Facebook that Israel provoked the current hot crisis. I wonder what it did. I am open. Use the Comment section, please.

An excerpt from the Hamas Covenant:

Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam.” (Bolding mine.)

The Hamas Covenant, Article thirty-one.

Posted in Current Events | Leave a comment

Gaza: The Moral Issue

It’s 1938, Poland’s economy is 1/8th of the economy of Germany next door. Poland has a democratically, properly elected government but an authoritarian one. Supporters of the Polish ruling party assassinate three German teenagers. The Polish government fails to condemn the deliberate killing of defenseless young civilians. It does not do anything to apprehend the assassins. Soon, German vigilantes waylay and assassinate a Polish teenager. The democratic German Government condemns this last assassination in clear terms. Soon, it arrests three suspects. The German nation goes into mourning for all four teenagers.

Poland has in its constitution the goal of eliminating Germany altogether. This fact makes many Germans angry and many more uneasy.

Less than a week later, Poland fires massively on a Germany it knows to be armed to the teeth. Its fire is technically such as to guarantee that it cannot hit military targets inside Germany. It’s purely terror bombing aimed at inducing panic among civilians. Germany attempts to stop the Polish firing by launching airstrikes against important Polish military leaders and firing sites. It precedes each strike with several warnings to civilians to vacate the area. In spite of this extreme precaution, German strikes cause 200+ deaths in collateral casualties. Or, the Polish government claims it does. One German dies from Polish fire; several are critically wounded.

World public opinion fails to wonder at the reasons why German strikes can be so precise without benefit of land-based aviation strike specialists.

After a week of punishment, Poland reluctantly agrees that it might consider stopping its inaccurate firing at Germany in return for the release of 100 of its politicians (from the governing party) the Germans detained at the beginning of the short conflict.

Russia offers to mediate the conflict. The Russian political elite hates equally the Poles and the Germans.

Where is the morality issue in this work of historical fiction?

Where is the rationality?

PS I am not Jewish, never have been, never will be. I am not either one of those born-again Christians who are pro-Israel because they think it will hasten the Second Coming of Christ. I just don’t become confused easily.

Posted in Current Events | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Question to Rational Feminists

I am leisurely today and reading the excellent Review section of the Wall Street Journal that includes a commentary on one of the most famous poems in the English language. Then, the question hits me, coming from an unknown region of my brain:

Why does it seem that there are so few women poets?

Here is how not to answer this serious question: “Girls are discouraged from any accomplishment from the earliest age.”

First, it’s a boring answer because it’s absurdly overused. Two, it’s patently untrue: Knitting, for example is easily dominated by women. Then, in every Western society, for several centuries, young upper-class and middle-class women were actively encouraged to pursue poetry, more so than were boys, I think.

And, by the way, when I swim in the cold Pacific Ocean, as I am going to  this afternoon, there are invariably more women than men in the water alongside me. (There are always few of any sex. It’s not difficult to ascertain that four is more than two.)

Next, if you are going to answer that publishers actively  discriminate against women rather than pursuing the prestige and profits that come from literary success, you had better give some evidence, some sort of evidence.

And no, writing poetry does not require upper body strength.




Posted in male chauvinistic pig | 2 Comments

TV5, l’ignorance et la constitution americaine

Hier, le 9 Juillet, aux Information de TV5, la chaine francophone internationale, le presentateur a mentionne le fait que les grands supermarches Target invitaient leurs clients a ne plus entrer dans leurs magasins armes. Cette information est correcte.

Ne voulant sans doute pas rater l’occasion de dire une betise, le presentateur en question a ajoute, “Bien que ce (cette invitation) soit contraire a la Constitution.” Cette remarque est absurde. La Constitution n’a rien a dire sur la maniere dont les commercants conduisent leurs affaires. La function de la Constitution  federale des Etats-Unis est exclusivement de limiter les pouvoirs du gouvernement.

Si les grands magasins Target decretaient que seuls les clients portant du bleu seraient servis aucune objection constitutionelle ne serait possible.

Si je vivais en France, la vie ne serait pas possible, ce ne serait pas une vraie vie car je passerais tout mon temps a corriger les conneries des medias.

Je m’etends sur ce sujet dans un essai  faisant partie d’un recueil de mes modestes oeuvres en Francais que je vais placer prochainement sur l’Internet. Cela s’appellera:

“Les pumas de grande-banlieue: histoires d’emigration.”

Je regrette le manque d’accents et de cedilles ce coup-ci. Mon recueil aura tout cela et tout le barda.

Posted in Stories and poems in French | Leave a comment

Illegal Child Immigration: the Trap (Updated)

Democrats laid a trap, they dug a big hole in the Southwestern Desert desert, and Republican honchos are lining up to fall into it! I refer to the invasion of thousands of underage illegal immigrants, of course.

The media are doing a piss-poor job of covering these events. An example: They describe the young illegals as “children.” Yet, it matters a lot how many of these “children” are, say 17, how many are six or under. I could have moved to another country when I was sixteen, on the one hand; I would have been capable of doing it competently, I think. On the other hand, any six-year old who is really unaccompanied is a tragedy, with other, even greater tragedies waiting to happen. The media don’t want to know, I think. I suspect they are complicit in a conspiracy.

My scenario is that some Democrats encouraged the mass migration from Central America. (I doubt the president himself was involved. He is too detached from is office and too attached to his golf game.)
The relevant immigration legislation has been in place for a long time. There was no announcement of change in immigration policy right before the exodus of young people across Mexico and through our southern border. It’s not difficult to encourage people discretely to take great risks if their living conditions are bad enough, dangerous enough, if they are poor enough, if they are close enough to illiteracy. Well-placed rumors often repeated will do the trick:

If you ship your kids to the US, the Americans will take care of them and you will eventually be able to join them.

Incidentally, the last part of the rumor is not really false. Family re-unification provides the bulk of our legal immigrants year in and year out. It works in accordance with a ranking of priorities. Re-uniting parents and minor children is right at the top of the list.

The way the Democrat organizers see it, nothing moves Americans faster than the spectacle of suffering children. As it turns out, President Obama’s plan for wholesale immigration reformed is blocked. Rather, it’s blockaded by Republicans in Congress. Just about everyone agrees that our current immigration system does most things badly. It does not please any group, except, perhaps, some labor unions. I am not revealing any secret here. You would be hard put to find a single elected Republican willing to say publicly, “It’s just fine, leave it alone.” The problem is that Republicans in Congress don’t want the specific reform package Mr Obama has been trying to cram down their throat . (See my essay on this blog:

If he wants something done, the president has to negotiate with the Republican Party, or at least, with some Republicans. If he does, he will end up with less than he wants. The “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants so dear to left-Democrats might just fall off the table, for example. But, there is another way to go, more to Mr Obama’s style anyway, a path increasingly popular in the left wing of the Democratic Party: Create a crisis of huge proportions in order to make an executive order acceptable for that which should constitutionally be achieved only through legislation. (There are famous historical precedents for this kind of political behavior. Think about them.)

The intended effect is simply to be in a position to declare: “This is out of control, the problems caused by our inadequate immigration system have become intolerable. The whole shebang has to be reformed, top to bottom.” Now, it’s difficult to make this argument coolly, rationally; you have to appeal to intense emotions to get away with it. With enough emotion, it’s relatively easy to simplify, like this: The Republicans are so heartless that even the spectacle of abandoned, defenseless children does not move them, not even little kids.

If the ploy fails completely, there are still considerable benefits for the Democratic Party to garner. Let me explain.

People are busy with their lives, their children, their mortgages, their church services. Even those who are fairly well off see their attention drafted by daily life such as taking kids to and from the game and the mechanical task of paying bills. The very large number of growing parents simply don’t have any free time, as a rule. Many people are just too tired after work to do anything but watch entertainment on television. Many have brains that are chronically overcrowded. Many are simply lazy.

Hence, for a vast fraction of the population, such things as hard-to-understand slow growth statistics, the failures of Obamacare, economic cronyism, sicking the IRS on political opponents, spying on American citizens, half-truths, distortions, outright lies, even lying about a terrorist attack, may not leave a durable impression. In the tumult of daily life, I speculate, there is not much that has traction.

In principle, I see two exceptions to the general principle of no-traction. First repetitive offenses may leave in many minds like tracks in the mud. Second, imagery that generates deep emotions tends to become seared in people’s minds. An invasion by helpless, poor children qualifies. Pictures of illegal immigrant children in refuges are beginning to seep into the media as I write.

Digression: I say “seep” because the Obama Administration got caught in its own contradictions. On the one hand, it would serve well the purpose of creating a crisis to show many beleaguered, probably crying children in poor shelters. Yet, showing such images would demonstrate anew the administration’s gross incompetence – about everything. You can be sure more pictures are coming our way.

Come the next partial election, and even the next presidential election, Mr Obama’s many sins will be a distant and therefore vague memory in many voters’ minds. The poor children won’t be. That’s ineradicable.

Even harder to forget will be pictures of an angry crowd of conservatives turning back in the night a busload of defenseless children, as happened in Murietta, California. That is is never going to dissipate. The crowd looked for all the world like a lynch mob, even to me. That episode could not have been better staged by one of Hollywood leftist directors to serve as a centerpiece of future anti-Republican propaganda. I am betting it will be used over and over again. Because of the intemperate and mindless reaction of some Republicans, the “War on Children” is soon to join the “War on Women” in the fallacious Democratic Party narrative.

As a result, Democratic voters will be more motivated to vote, including those who are newly disenchanted with the Obama overall performance, independents will be swayed, some Republicans will feel shame and make it a reason for not voting the next time. This is the stuff of which elections are made. The beneficiary will be Hillary “Benghazi” Clinton.

Often , in morality as well as in politics, it’s important to think of the short term first. Often, what’s right is simply what’s humane. What you must do with children, including children who were cynically sent across danger unaccompanied is clear: You feed them, you give then shelter, you supply them with medical attention, you arrange for toys and basketballs. There is no other way. That’s what America does; that’s what it has always done. We will settle accounts later with those criminals who sent them and with those who encouraged those who sent them.

As I write (July 9th 2014) not a single Republican leader has pronounced these obvious truths. We will pay dearly for this lapse of sanity, this shortfall of humanity.

Update July 10th: President Obama is asking for four  (4) billion dollars to deal with this particular crisis.  Predictably, Republican voices are raised to ask for an offset, for reducing federal expenses somewhere else. A Republican tin ear again! This is not the time, this is not the place. Instead, the Republican House leadership should grant the funds requested and demand that 3/4th be earmarked completely, integrally for the care of  the illegal immigrant children. They should dare the administration to argue that these money would be better spent for other purposes.

Folks, that’s about $25 (twenty-five US dollars) per working American. Isn’t this ridiculous?

Bill O’Reilly and  some conservative voices are clamoring for an ill-defined “militarization” of the border. They probably envision the National Guard standing shoulder to shoulder on our endless  border with Mexico. Way to go, friends: Machine gun the little bastards!

Many Republicans are currently giving Republicans a bad name; this time we come close to deserving it.

PS I am an immigrant, my wife is an immigrant. I write often on immigration. There is a link on the face of this blog to my article in the libertarian Independent Review (co-authored with fellow-immigrant Sergey Nikiforov) : “If Mexicans and Americans Could Cross…

Posted in Current Events, Socio-Political Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liberals Against the Pursuit of Happiness

Every year, my town celebrates the birth of the first country to be founded on the explicit ideal of liberty by erecting steel barriers. Would I make this up? Would anyone? Does anyone have the imagination? The barriers -which must cost a bit to rent and set up – are placed around the main beaches. The main purpose, I am told by a cop, is to filter evening beach-goers so that fireworks don’t get through. Makes sense; you wouldn’t want to take the risk that the sand of the beach will catch fire from ill-used fireworks!

In the couple of weeks preceding, bright orange posters bloomed all over town, warning of “triples fines” for those who transgress the municipal ordinance prohibiting all fireworks. That’s triple $500, up to $1500 per item. You have to really love fireworks to brave this kind of criminal penalty. Or, maybe, there is an other explanation. (See below.) I hold one of the orange signs in one of my scofflaw hands as I write. (Documentation matters.) In the week preceding the Fourth, the Police Chief and, I think, the Fire Chief went on local radio to warn and threaten. The current drought conditions figured high in their declarations. Keep this detail in mind.

The town is Santa Cruz, California. It’s a town worth observing. Like Berkeley, also in California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, it’s one of a handful of towns that act as windows on what liberals want to do when they have uncontested power. Santa Cruz has been under the control of Leftist-liberal coalitions for about thirty years. The city has chased away almost all employers. The big campus of the University of California is the one remaining large employer. I don’t expect much political relief from there. It’s the same university from which Communist icon Angela Davis retired recently. She held the university Chair of the History of Consciousness (N.S.!) The students are all more or less revolutionaries although many demonstrate their revolutionary consciousness only by becoming LUGS (“lesbian until graduation”) because having sex with men is like giving succor to the enemy; it’s a collaborationist act. (But don’t worry, most eventually marry, marry men, shortly after graduating).

This Fourth of July, I celebrate with my family, immigrants all  minus one (my granddaughter is US-born). We have a quiet a barbecue on my yacht harbor dock, next to my boat. The Harbor Patrol, normally dedicated to saving from the cold Pacific Ocean imprudent, drunken, or simply unlucky boaters, is now patrolling (appropriately given its name) up and down the harbor in its military-style large, black, inflatable with the super-charged outboard motor. The nearby land is crawling with police personnel in varied uniforms. All nearby agencies have been drafted to combat the impending peril of fireworks thus, the different uniforms. Some are khaki uniforms, bringing back bad memories for me. Some drive around all-terrain vehicles. This is how military occupation must feel like. Some or most of those guys are on time-and-a-half or on double pay. We are a fairly poor town – where few workers earn even $10/hour – with a rich police.

Near 9 pm, it’s dusk, and we leave the harbor in my the boat as we did in years past. We do so to optimize the chance that my little granddaughter will see some fireworks, fired perhaps from other towns, or by Santa Cruz own renegades. A few hundred yards out on the Monterey Bay is the best, the most central location to take in the fireworks that might still happen thanks to what I expect to be a handful of lawbreakers willing to take the risk of police repression. I have a bad feeling that there will be hardly any. I am preparing mentally an explanation that will console my granddaughter’s six-year old mind. It’s windy and cold out there. We only see four or five desultory rockets in fifteen minutes. I am turning the boat back toward the harbor entrance.

And then, the miracles happens. It’s 9:15, and fully dark. All of a sudden, there are dozens and then, more fireworks of all shapes and color. Even out here at sea, the noise is nearly deafening. It’s a firework of fireworks! The show goes on on all three sides of the bay. (On the fourth side is Japan; it’s not close.) A miracle has happened. Our fellow Americans are celebrating Independence Day by noisily declaring their independence from the local authorities. I feel bad that I doubted them for a while. I reproach myself for my lack of faith. It’s all good. My six-year old granddaughter declares happily, “I have never seen so many fireworks in all my life !” My wife, my daughter and I all agree there are more fireworks this Fourth of July than in years past.

I have lacked faith elsewhere too. My younger fellow citizens were not cowed by threats. Many braved the super fines promised by the city because they knew that at that level of penalty, they could demand a jury trial. They made the bet that few juries, even in Radlib Santa Cruz, would vote for a big fine as punishment merely for setting off fireworks. When I think about it, I agree with them. Americans just won’t submit meekly, won’t surrender.

The next day, the local paper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, has nothing to say about the fireworks in Santa Cruz proper, nothing, not even the number of criminals arrested by the massive deployment of police officers. The local paper is to the City Council as the national press is currently to the Obama Administration: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything!

My sources on the inside tell me that one lone  person was arrested for an open booze container (and a bad attitude). There was not a single arrest for illegal fireworks, not one!

Correction on  July8th: There were actually four (4) felony arrests. That’s for a local population of about 40,000 enlarged by at least half as many visitors, say 60,000 total. Any normal weekend beats this low figure, I would bet. There were hundreds of police officers about. Either, the police deployment had a near-perfect dissuasive effect or the law enforcement  productivity was so low that in any other industry, the managers would be “resigned.”  The abundance of theoretically forbidden fireworks set off tells me that  the dissuasion explanation  is probably not the right one.

The Fourth of July parade takes place on Sunday 6th of July. It’s scheduled for 9 am. Santa Cruz is a university town. No one much rises before 10 even when the students are away on a break. (Where do you go for a “break” when you live near the beach, in Santa Cruz? Beats me!) The early hour constitutes a modest effort, a small ruse to hold a patriotic event while pretending not to do so.

Someone has thrown an old shoe on the monument to Santa Cruzans who fought in wars. It’s a large size shoe. The A..-H… who did it was an adult.

The beginning of the parade is made up of various ragged “progressive” group carrying silly streamers. They demonstrate their democratic spirit by wearing their ordinary street clothes -  a low standard in Santa Cruz any day – even though it’s Sunday. I half expect to see a marching group of Young Pioneers in their bright red kerchiefs, or a martial detachment of Obama Youth. It’s not going to happen; learning to march requires too much effort, too much self-discipline, fortunately

The parade closes at 10 am sharp with a large Catholic Portuguese-American organization composed of local groups coming from faraway. It includes a marching band that actually marches in good order. The Portuguese Catholics easily steal the show. Rather than Independence Day, they are actually celebrating the birthday of Saint Isabella, a saint who fed the poor. You can bet every single one of the hundreds of marchers is solidly pro-life. The City would like to un-invite them but it dares not. “Portuguese-American,” with its hyphen, sounds vaguely ethnic after all. And although the marchers look white, you don’t know, they might be some kind of Hispanics. They might be cleverly camouflaged “people of color.” You can’t be too careful.

Your story is trivial, you say; and serious adults don’t care much for fireworks, you say, and parades are mostly childish. And the fire danger associated with drought conditions amply justifies restrictions on fireworks. Yes, maybe, except that the nearby town of Scotts Valley, surrounded by forests and dried-out meadows managed somehow to offer a respectable fireworks show. It was professionally managed which sure limits fire damage. The town is much smaller than Santa Cruz, yet somehow, it can afford a fireworks show. Its city council is not liberal, incidentally. Maybe that’s related. And the town of Watsonville, to the south, about the same size as Santa Cruz also had an official fireworks display and little by way of ban on private fireworks. Watsonville is much poorer than Santa Cruz and its city council is notoriously corrupt but it’s not especially liberal. And two thirds of its population are Hispanics. That number undoubtedly include many immigrants, people who are not sophisticated enough to feel contempt for the storied founding of this country.

So much for the fire danger. I think my story is not trivial because I have actually read the Declaration of Independence, several times. It says in its second paragraph that all men (that includes women) possess unalienable rights, rights that cannot be taken away by government no matter what. Only three of those rights are explicitly listed: life and liberty, of course, but the third is “the pursuit of happiness.” It sounds vague but, it’s not. It means: “Whatever floats your boat.” There is a subtle but forceful issue of  burden of proof involved: The government may not insouciantly restrict you from doing whatever floats your boat. Strong, overwhelming compelling reasons are required. And the “pursuit of happiness” does not mean only the search for sublime symphonic performances, it does not mean only such elegant things as the translation of antique Chinese manuscripts, or the daily practice of yoga, or anything tasteful. It includes squarely drinking and whoring, for example, and fireworks. The burden of proof regarding what is permissible rests squarely with it, the government, not with us, the citizens.

Showing fireworks to my grandchild floats my boat, even floats it a lot. Forbidding this traditional Independence Day activity infringes on my constitutional rights. It’s an infringement imposed mindlessly by people who mostly don’t understand the Constitution, people with a dangerously simplistic view of democracy. When liberals and other leftists are in power they treat the rights of political minorities as if the US Constitution did not exist. Here, with fireworks, it’s at the local level. If you think they become more respectful of our political tradition when they get their hands on an army and a navy, and spy agencies, think again. Or read the newspaper. (This is July 2014.)

Lest I be unclear, let me add that the pursuit of happiness does not cover imaginary “rights” such as the “right” to health care, or the “right’ to fresh pizza, or the “right” to enjoy safe sex at one’s neighbor’s expense. I am much in favor of sex in general and of safe sex in particular. Abundant sex makes people kinder, I suspect strongly. When done right, it’s inexpensive and healthy, excellent recreation all around. People should pay for their own recreational expenses however, such as my pleasure boat and their borking. See my essay on his blog:

Posted in Cultural Studies, Socio-Political Essays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment