Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Age of Anarchy now available on Amazon
Thriller, The Age of Anarchy, now available at as a kindle ebook for $.99.

The Age of Anarchy Plot:
Max Eastern is a young filmmaker, the son of an old Hollywood star. He’s overjoyed with himself because he’s just finished his first movie, a flattering biopic of world-renowned revolutionary Oscar “el Puño” Ramírez, now president-for-life of the Caribbean nation of St. Elizabeth. Eastern has flown down to the island for the film premiere, but even before his plane’s touched the ground, the movie’s already causing a stink.

Eastern might revere el Puño, but that doesn’t mean the president’s own people do. Out of touch with what’s happening in the country, Eastern expects to be greeted in St. Elizabeth with adulation and applause. But he’s barely out of the airport on the way to a party in his honor, when, instead of throwing him flowers, somebody in a motorcycle tosses a Molotov cocktail at his car. Eastern can’t believe it. Who would want to kill him? It couldn’t be his film that’s pushing them over the edge. Ramírez dismisses the assassination attempt as a ploy by one of his own political enemies to embarrass the regime, but something doesn’t add up. For one thing, this political enemy, a man named Betancourt, shows up at the party drunk and he’s never heard of Max Eastern or his film. When, the following morning, a second film surfaces, also a Ramírez biopic but an unflattering portrait that contradicts everything in Eastern’s film, Max Eastern looks like a fake, a liar, and a fool.

Determined to reclaim his reputation before it’s too late, he seeks to discover where this film came from, who made it, and why. As he pursues this mystery, he sets off violent forces suppressed for decades that now threaten to engulf the entire society, and Eastern’s kidding himself if he thinks hiding out in an island mansion off the coast will protect him for long.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Teddy Roosevelt disses the OWS movement

Did Teddy Roosevelt have something to say about the OWS movement over a hundred years before the first disgruntled professional activist set foot in Zuccotti Park?

Okay, not really.

He was talking about the supporters of the Democratic nominee for President in the election of 1896, William Jennings Bryan, as quoted in Richard Zacks book Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York:

Not only do [Bryan supporters] wish to repudiate their debts, but they really believe that somehow they are executing righteous justice on the moneyed oppressor.
They feel the eternal and inevitable injustice of life, they do not realize and will not realize how that injustice is aggravated by their own extraordinary folly, and they wish , if they cannot lift themselves, at least to strike down those who are more fortunate or more prosperous.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artists on the Cutting Edge

Most artists today who see themselves as daring and cutting edge are nothing more than conformists producing devotional works dedicated to the cult of progressive dogma and political correctness. Brave has become, in Orwellian fashion, a synonym for craven. Ed West points it all out in his blog at the Daily Telegraph:

... yet British theatre itself distorts reality for its own political ends. As I wrote a while back, while British arts folk love to “break taboos”, the highest praise, they only like breaking the taboos of 30 years ago, not the sort of ones that today will actually lose you friends. After all, where are the plays about the persecution of Christians in Arab countries? Or plays about the euro delusion? Or even a play that showed modern secular do-gooders as hypocrites in the way that so many show their predecessors and rivals – priests – to be? Or, God forbid, some of the downsides of ANC-run South Africa. They just wouldn’t be made.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Gap between Rich and Poor

Left leaning condemnations of the gap between rich and poor are not really about the gap itself but rather about the pernicious existence of the rich. If it were the gap that really mattered, the Left would be interested in measures that would narrow the gap by making the poor richer, but invariably their methods of reducing the gap always entail making the rich poorer. Not that elitism bothers the Left. In fact, elitism is an essential component of progressive philosophy. The problem with the rich from the progressive point of view is that they have acquired power and elite status simply by making or accumulating or inheriting money, whereas, in the ideal world of the Left, power is restricted only to those who have proven themselves ideologically correct. Ideological purity must be the measure of achievement for the Left, not business acumen. Thus it is a question of control. Anything else is a threat.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fair Share: the real meaning may be found in the words of a certain German philosopher

When they say the rich should pay their "fair share" of taxes, what do they really mean by this deliberately vague phrase? Two assumptions underlie it. The first is that making money is inherently evil, or, in other words, that capitalism is a scourge and egalitarianism, regardless of personal accomplishment, is an ideal that will usher in a paradise on Earth. In this sense, "fair share" does not mean the rich should pay their fair share of taxes, whatever fair means in that context, but that by being rich the wealthy have accumulated more than their fair share of wealth and property, as if there is some sort of objective scale for determining such things, and society has the obligation to relieve them of this excess and unnecessary accumulation.

The second assumption in the term "fair share" concerns the purpose of income tax. Many of us believe income tax is a revenue generating device enabling the government to fund itself so it can undertake various public projects, such as road building, police and fire departments, national defense, etc. But experience has shown that raising taxes actually tends to lower government revenue because the wealthy respond to higher taxes by moving away or sheltering their income from tax or refusing to start businesses, leading to more unemployment and fewer people paying taxes. It seems obvious that getting the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes actually gives government less money. So why do progressives insist on it.

Progressives see income tax as a means of redistributing wealth, not principally as a revenue raising device, taking from those who have more than their fair share, and, through government, giving to those who don't, thereby leveling the playing field. Or as Karl Marx wrote, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." This is the real meaning of "fair share." Any American who wants to prevent the country from becoming Zimbabwe should challenge not just the assumptions of this phrase, but its very legitimacy.

When they say the rich should pay their "fair share" of taxes, what are they really saying withthis vague phrase. For one thing, "fair share" is incredibly vague and it has a basic underlying assumption, that making money is inherently evil, that capitalism is a scourge and that egalitarianism regardless of accomplishment will usher in paradise on Earth. What they really mean is not that the rich should pay their fair share of taxes, whatever fair means anyway, but that by being rich they have accumulated more than their fair share of wealth and property. So another underlying assumption of the phrase "fair share" is that

Thursday, August 18, 2011

200,000 is not a Million

Calling something Orwellian is rather overwrought these days to the point where it's becoming meaningless, but how close to Newspeak is it to demand tax increases for "millionaires and billionaires" when in reality the increase starts with people making $200,000. The Wall Street Journal editorial writers understand the difference between the two amounts and this is what they said about what they call the middle-class bait-and-switch:
Like Mr. Obama, Mr. [Warren] Buffett speaks about raising taxes only on the rich. But somehow he ignores that the President's tax increase starts at $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. Mr. Obama ought to call them "thousandaires," but that probably doesn't poll as well.
The President needs to levy his tax increase at such a lower income level because that's where the money is. In 2009, 237,000 taxpayers reported income above $1 million and they paid $178 billion in taxes. A mere 8,274 filers reported income above $10 million, and they paid only $54 billion in taxes.
But 3.92 million reported income above $200,000 in 2009, and they paid $434 billion in taxes. To put it another way, roughly 90% of the tax filers who would pay more under Mr. Obama's plan aren't millionaires, and 99.99% aren't billionaires.
Mr. Buffett says it's only "fair" to raise his taxes, but he's lending his credibility to raising taxes on millions of middle-class earners for whom a few extra thousand dollars in after-tax income is a big deal. Unlike Mr. Buffett, those middle-class earners aren't rich and may earn $250,000 for only a few years of their working lives. How is that fair? 
They hate the bourgeois middle class and it's them they're after and always have been.