August 27, 2012

Open Letter to the RNC by Julianne Thompson

Found this on Facebook this afternoon:



By: Julianne Thompson – National Delegate, Georgia

Chairman Reince Preibus, members of the Rules Committee, and the entire voting delegation of the 2012 Republican National Convention:

As a National Delegate to the 2012 RNC, I am extremely disappointed that a rule would be passed through committee that essentially strips the grassroots of all of it’s representative power by ridding State Parties of their ability to choose whom they will send as delegates and alternates to represent their State to the Republican National Convention. The rules change would allow the Presidential nominee sweeping new power to override that process and choose their own National Delegates. The rule also allows the RNC (with only a 3/4 vote) the power to amend the party's rules without a vote by the full Republican National Convention.

The GOP is the political Party of the grassroots. Our national delegates are the boots-on-the-ground that get Republicans elected. We are there for County meetings, State Conventions, National Conventions, and most importantly we spend our time and money canvassing our neighborhoods, going door to door, making phone calls, writing personal endorsement letters, and getting-out-the-vote for Republicans. We are the worker bees, and we are the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

We have always believed that our Party is the one who best represents what it means to be an American…freedom! With your current attempt at this rules change, you are essentially striking the first blow that chips away at that freedom, and you disenfranchise the very people that turned the tide for the GOP in 2010 by returning power in the U.S. House of Representatives to Republicans.

I would like to hope that our nominee is unaware of the skullduggery that occurred with regard to this attempt at shutting out the people that have unified to help him win in November. The audacity of creating a firestorm when there is an opportunity for unity and peace that is needed to win back the Senate and take back the White House is irresponsible and I seriously question the motives of those behind this attempt.

Why the change in rules? That is the million-dollar question, and it is fairly easy to answer. There are still those in place in the GOP and on campaigns that would like to use the delegate and alternate seats as rewards for donating large checks to campaigns and the RNC.

If your desire is to win elections, then I strongly suggest that you engage the grassroots and show respect to those who help put you in power.

During a time that should ring of unity, you have put the GOP at a crossroads. Do you want to win this election and future elections? Now is your opportunity to prove it. Either take it to the floor and let us vote it down, and better yet, pull this insulting attempt to disenfranchise the heart and soul of our Republican Party!


Julianne Thompson, National Delegate for Mitt Romney – Georgia

*** ATTENTION NATIONAL DELEGATES: A minority report was put together, so this change could be brought to the floor and voted-on by the entire delegation. Despite attempts to pressure rules committee members into not signing-on to the report, signatures are still being actively sought, so this report can be brought forward.



August 25, 2012

Movie Review: 2016, Obama's America

Last night, for the first time since moving back to the United States from Japan, I desperately needed to sit down and have a long discussion about the post-colonial world with someone who had a true international perspective. Unfortunately, the one person locally who fits the bill was unavailable and the one person I trust most for those kind of discussions is in Helsinki. The reason I really needed someone with an international perspective was the movie "2016: Obama's America".

Dinesh D'Souza, the man who wrote the books that became the movie, is someone whose work I've only had limited exposure to. That is not going to be the case from here on out. Dinesh D'Souza is one the most brilliant conservative thinkers of the modern age. He grew up in India, worked his way to a degree from Dartmouth College, and began his professional career as a policy adviser under President Ronald Reagan. He and I are the same age (and so is Pres. Obama). Although I haven't been to India (or Indonesia), I did live in Japan for a quarter century. All of this is important because an international life outside the realm of the super-rich provides a perspective on globalism that cannot be explained. It can be shared, but not explained. At least, not very easily.

This international perspective drives Pres. Obama to spend his every waking hour looking for ways to transform America into a "better global citizen", drives Dinesh D'Souza to write his books, and drives me to maintain this blog years after the initial glow has worn off. It also makes it hard to have certain conversations with someone who does not share that perspective, which is why last night I really needed someone to talk to.

"2016: Obama's America" is one side of a conversation between international people. Whether you agree with the movie or not, whether you are a staunch Obama supporter or opponent, if you plan to vote in the 2012 presidential election (or if you just want to understand Pres. Obama better) then you need to see this movie. The movie opens with a brief journey through the childhood of both Dinesh D'Souza and Pres. Obama. It establishes the parallels between them as well as the key differences. Then it goes into a close examination of both Pres. Obama's principal influences and his book, "Dreams from my Father". The portrait of Pres. Obama that emerges from this exploration is nothing like I expected.

True globalists, those who have lived and worked in a country other than their homeland and experienced both the good and the bad of such a life, tend to fall out into several broad categories: "we are all one", "my homeland is the best", "colonialism is a scar upon the earth", "the modern world is moving closer to utopia everyday", and so on. These categories are sometimes labeled, "universalism", "ultranationalism", "anti-colonialism", and "utopianism". I have long considered Barack Obama to be a utopian. My impression is that his mentors and heroes bequeathed to him a view of the world defined by Marx and driven by righteous indignation at the injustices of capitalism. That is not the view held by Dinesh D'Souza.

Here is where things get tricky and difficult to explain. Dinesh D'Souza views Pres. Obama as a rabid anti-colonialist driven by his past to dismantle American political, military, and economic hegemony over the modern world. This movie presents Barack Obama as a man driven to create a more fair and just world by removing the tyranny of the last global colonial power, namely the United States of America. It also speculates that once this hegemony has been dismantled, Pres. Obama will work to assist the Middle East into the formation of a larger political and economic region, or perhaps two of them. Sort of a United States of Arabia and a United States of Persia, which could serve as a counterpoint to the European Union and whatever is left of the United States of America after it's transformation into a "better global citizen".

Dinesh D'Souza is an accomplished and brilliant scholar. He presents his case very well. Many people will come away from this movie believing he has labeled Barack Obama a Utopian Marxist, but that is not the message he is trying to get across. He does not see Pres. Obama as a utopian thinker at all, let alone a Utopian Marxist. In this Dinesh D'Souza is very generous. Unfortunately, I'm not certain ultranationalists and neoconservatives will understand what he is trying to get across. Staunch Obama supporters will either be relieved that he does not label their messiah a Marxist or furious that he has labeled their messiah a Marxist depending on how much genuine international experience the individual seeing the movie happens to have. Remember, this movie is one side of a conversation between people like myself, Barack Obama, and Dinesh D'Souza, people who have firsthand experience living and working in a society they were not raised in.

This is why it is vital that everyone who plans to vote in November sees this movie. It will be difficult for many Americans to understand, and there is great potential for misunderstanding it. Either way, this movie explores in a very graphic way how someone like me (or Dinesh, or Barack) perceives the world all of us live in. Globalism, genuine globalism not the vain academic kind, is going to be far more common in the future. In many ways, it is our future whether we like it or not. If humanity is going to survive the 21st Century then we must create a global political structure that allows for free movement, free markets, free-thinking, and freedom to create your own lifestyle without fear that someone, somewhere will come along and destroy everything you have built.

This is not utopianism. The world will never be perfect. There will always be injustices, unequal distribution of resources, extreme poverty, and extreme wealth. We cannot build a perfect world, but with time and consideration we can most certainly build a more livable world. The conversation that this movie tries to have with the viewer is a bold step in the direction of a more livable world.

August 21, 2012

Two visions of our future

In the 15th Century both China and Europe experimented with ship-borne trade and exploration. China, fearful that all those new ideas would erode Imperial prestige, abandoned her efforts. Europe, in contrast, encouraged the efforts of her best and brightest by allowing all those intrepid explorers to keep the profits of their trade. It took China five centuries to recover from that mistake. If we make China's mistake on a global scale we will probably go extinct in two or three generations.

Assuming we don't follow China's example and self-destruct, humanity will reach the limits of the Earth's ability to support it sometime this century, mid-way through the next century at the latest. There are only two ways to avoid mass starvation: population controls with massively improved food production or mass extraterrestrial colonization. Much of the liberal progressive demands that we all become peasant farmers is based on their fear that if we don't, we'll all starve, including them and their children.

I'd much rather see us sending countless ships loaded with colonists into outer space than to see the world's population reduced to a seething mass of peasant farmers ruled over by despotic tyrants who believe their cruelty is necessary to insure our happiness. Granted, some of those ships will crash and burn, killing all on board. Exploration is never safe, after all. However, considering the alternative is a world filled with starving billions ruled over by masterminds with absolute powers of life and death, the risks of space colonization and the rewards it should bring would definitely be worth it.

When national governments become collectivist and create a population dependent on the government through welfare, centralized health management, and confiscation of private enterprise, they are also removing any incentive for individuals to create better, more effective ways to leave Earth and reach distant planets. Look at Britain, for example. The only "creativity" in Britain these days is creative anarchy and high fashion. Australia and Japan have both followed suit, although so far Japan has managed to avoid the anarchy. German engineers, on the other hand, are still coming up with new technology and new ways of using existing technology while innovation has stagnated in Britain. This is partly because Germany has avoided some of the more egregious socialism dictated to them by the EU parliament.

America is broke and deeply in debt. There is really only one way out of this: we must invent something the rest of the world will spend trillions to own, use, and incorporate into their daily life. The only way for that to happen is to encourage innovation by making it possible for a few bright engineers to become entrepreneurs and make huge profits off of whatever that "next big thing" turns out to be. We need a new generation of innovators like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Zuckerberg has done pretty well, but not well enough, and his innovation has done nothing to get us moving off-planet.

I'd like to see "the next big thing" be ships loaded with colonists headed for Alpha Centauri and beyond. That, to my mind, would be a much better option than a world of peasant farmers and their overlords.

August 12, 2012

Three lessons learned from primates

Some scientists are prone to comparing humans to chimpanzees. This is largely the result of the obsession of one woman, Jane Goodall. Don't misunderstand me. Dr. Goodall spent her lifetime studying one particular faction of the world of chimpanzees. She studied it in great detail and learned more about chimpanzees than any researcher before or since. However, far too many people who quote her research draw vast, universal conclusions about both primate and human behavior from this one tribe of chimpanzees. This assumption that what is true for one is true for all is typical collectivist thinking.

In recent years research has been expanded into other primates including but not limited to bonobos, orangutans, Japanese macaques, and even gorillas. Although it should have surprised no one, it turns out that there is a wide range of "normal" primate behaviors. Different types of primates have different behavioral patterns and different tribes within each primate group have different behavioral patterns. Not only does Jane Goodall's research have only limited applicability to other primates, it has even less applicability to humans. It also turns out that primates are just as individualistic as humans are and within each tribe there is always a wide range of behaviors as each individual adjusts to, or fails to adjust to, changing social conditions within the tribe.

As I brought out in a post I wrote in 2005 (In search of a better world) for some bizarre reason, as globalization spreads and we move ever closer to a truly global society governed by a global body politic, there is a powerful tendency for those making the decisions to think in collectivist terms. This is largely due to the overwhelming influence exerted by traditional monarchies, oppressive dictators, and rising militant groups such as warlords, Islamic terrorists, and tribal groups seeking to opt-out of the modern world. Despite the violence of groups like the Taliban and the Somali warlords, the recalcitrance of groups like the Amish and the Hutterites, the growing move toward fascism throughout the Arab and Persian worlds, as well as the alarmist rants of Christian groups like the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, sooner or later we will have a single global government. Sooner or later we will have a world with completely open borders, free movement of both rich and poor throughout the globe in search of better opportunities, and so on. I know this for an absolute fact and I can promise that it is coming not because I am a John Titoresque traveler from the future, but because we already have global businesses, global police forces, global criminal enterprises, and global terrorists. The past few years have even brought about our very first global political action groups in the form of Anonymous, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and of course, Wikileaks. (As I write this, the Wikileaks website is unavailable.) By leveraging the power of the internet these three groups have had a far greater global impact than the world's diverse Marxist advocacy groups ever dreamed possible.

I do not belong to and will not join any of the current movements toward a one world government. Nor am I inclined to join zealous anti-immigration and anti-globalization groups. So far, none of these groups have displayed any genuine human compassion nor any genuine respect for the rights of the individual. All of them, on both extremes, are radical collectivists demanding absolute conformity to their own group vision of what the world should be, how it should be organized, and who should be in control. If any of the current crop of globalism advocates or opponents have their way our world will be thrown back into a world based on peasant farmers and local kings with absolute authority over their local domains. The only difference between the pro and anti forces is that the pro-globalization forces would unite these disparate domains under a single global dictator with absolute authority whereas the anti-globalization groups would have zero political governance beyond the limits of each small, self-sustaining community of peasant farmers.

This is not progress. This would be digression of the worst sort.

Jane Goodall's research taught us that we are not so far removed from our animal cousins as we like to think. Every primate species (including humans) that has survived into modern times demonstrates a few common behaviors. These behaviors are very few in number and how each primate species exercises them is different, but it seems obvious to me that these behaviors are essential to the survival of each species, including our own. I find there are no more and no less than three lessons our civilization must learn from our primate cousins if we are to survive into the distant future.

First and most important of all, every primate is highly mobile. They move with the seasons, but they do not migrate like birds or insects. Rather, they are completely opportunistic and follow their favorite food sources rather than relying on weather to guide their movements. Our earliest human ancestors displayed exactly the same behavior when they followed migrating herds of animals. It was only after the large animals had become extinct that humans in East Asia, Northern Africa, Europe, and even North America gave up their wandering and developed some form of agriculture. This drive toward mobility is what carried humans throughout the globe and it is the main force behind all of our modern transportation systems. We are not naturally a sedentary species. As the world grows ever smaller and easier to grasp, we will continue to seek better, faster ways to move from one place to another. We cannot stop our drive toward mobility. It is part and parcel of our primate nature.

Secondly and almost as importantly, every successful primate species is child-focused not adult-focused. Every successful human civilization has also been child-focused rather than adult-focused. Many primate mothers have been documented carrying the dead bodies of their child because they cannot bear to be parted from them. Many human mothers and fathers who have lost children become obsessed with and fixated on the grave where their child lies. In every species of primate the adults throw themselves into the jaws of predators in order to provide their children time to escape. Likewise, countless human mothers have stepped between their child and an attacker. One blog, A Girl and her Gun, was specifically created by its owner to document her path to personal empowerment and self-defense after she and her children were accosted in the parking lot of a local grocery store. During that encounter she was horrified to realize that if the perceived threat had been realized she would have had no way to protect her children. Children are the future. Protecting and providing for them is key to continuation of a species. Not only primates and humans, but the vast majority of animal species have some instinct driving them to protect their young.

One of the reasons collectivism is such a profound danger is that it is centered on conformity to a pre-defined adult group of some kind. "All bankers and industrialists are evil", "all criminals are lost souls needing assistance", "all victims are to blame for provoking their attackers", etc. This kind of thinking is adult-centric. Children are not the future, they either an annoyance or a means to an end. Children are sex toys, slave labor, sadistic troublemakers, or at the very least, an inconvenience. Collectivists are so focused on conforming to adult society that they don't have time or energy to care for children. If they have children of their own and the resources to do so, they force someone else to do the nurturing and child-rearing because they cannot be bothered. The purpose of this is not to ensure survival of the species, but to ensure survival of their adult legacy and reputation so that they themselves will not be forgotten or ignored by future generations. It's not about the children at all. Instead, it is about what benefit if any a child can bring them. This attitude is anti-survival and always results in the collapse of that family rather than its perpetuation. Most troubling of all are the collectivists that cannot be bothered to care for their own children because they are too busy advocating for the children of everyone else. This double-edged sword of hypocrisy not only brings about the collapse of their own family, it also makes it nearly impossible for other parents to protect and provide for their children because all of the group's children are seen as the property of the collective rather than the future of the species.

The third quality shared by all successful primates including humans is cooperation. Cooperative behavior is not collectivist because it does not demand conformity. Each individual is free to either join in on the co-op project or go off on their own and work on some other project. The individual is even free to sit in the shade of their favorite tree and do nothing at all. The fruits of the co-op project are shared among the participants, and the exact system used to divide it up is agreed upon by those who participated. Adult chimpanzees will cooperate together to pass difficult to reach fruit to their tribe's children for example. Adult orangutans have a very complicated cooperative system of linked arms or legs to form bridges so that children can pass over streams or between trees with gaps too wide to jump. Humans, naturally, cooperate in farming, in clubs, in business enterprises, in staging social functions, and so on.

A collectivist can join in on a co-op project, naturally, and share in the fruits of it. Friction usually develops at some point because the collectivist demands to either command the project or determine how the fruits of that project are divided up. Sometimes the collectivist demands to both command a co-op project and determine how the spoils are divided, inevitably taking for themselves the largest share. Individualists, on the other hand, will take the time negotiate in mutual respect over both the organization of a cooperative project and the division of its fruits. The collectivist, being conformity-driven, simply makes demands and issues commands. Collectivists will also go to great extremes to make certain that any shortcoming or failure on their part is blamed on someone or something outside their control. While it is true that outside forces can have a negative impact on any cooperative project, the collectivist is the one who consistently fails to carry the burden they have agreed to carry and then blames outside forces.

Very few non-human primates exhibit collectivist organization and conformist instincts. For example, even though orangutans tend to be solitary or to travel in pairs, when two individuals or pairs first meet their initial greetings are conciliatory rather than aggressive. Even within the ranks of primates with strict hierarchies, as long as the chain of command is observed individuals are free to roam in and out of the pack in search of food, water, bedding, and so on. Displays of dominance or aggression are mostly confined to instances of ignoring the social hierarchy or opening an encounter with some kind of a threat such a thrown rock or raised hand. Disparate Eastern chimpanzee tribes, despite their popular reputation for aggression, will frequently share feeding grounds or watering holes without any aggressive actions at all. Individuals from each group will even sometimes help individuals from the other group when they encounter an obstacle or difficulty. In another example, a research team in Japan documented two disparate Macaque tribes who stumbled into the same berry patch at the same time. They circled each other as they harvested berries, always careful not to intrude on one another as they fed. At one point one young Macaque lost its grip on its mother and fell into a hole. A male from each group ran to the hole and worked together to free the child then simply parted ways as if nothing had happened.

Despite Jane Goodall's fixation on aggressive behaviors in the tribe she spent her life observing, other researchers who have come behind her or who have assisted her have documented far more cooperative behaviors than aggressive. Researchers observing other primates have returned similar findings. Cooperation, not competition, seems to be the primary driving force behind the social organization of most non-human primates. Competition does occur, but other than a few very rare occurrences, it is quickly settled with growls, a display of fangs, or other low-level highly ritualized and very short aggressive behaviors. There are exceptions, naturally. Two tribes of chimpanzees once fought over a baboon pack that both were hunting. As soon as they realized the baboons had escaped, the fight ended.

There are three lessons I have learned from reading research papers and watching documentaries about primates. Like us, the keys to their success as a species revolve around mobility, protecting children, and cooperation without forced conformity. All of the most successful primates, and all of the most successful human civilizations, have shared these same three priorities. The modern ranting and raving over "diversity", "homosexual marriage", and even "abortion" are creating deep rifts in our political and social landscape. If we do not recognize that no individual has the right to dictate the lifestyle choices made by another individual, and recognize it soon, then our worst dystopian fears will be realized. If history is any guide at all, then this will be the generation that either once again learns to cooperate as free individuals or oversees the violent dissolution of our emerging global community.

Radical Muslims, fearful tribal groups with entrenched power structures, militia warlords, drug cartels, human traffickers, collectivist revolutionaries, and other fascist movements are tearing our modern world to pieces right before our eyes. If we do not step aside from our petty political debates and start addressing these very real global problems then it won't matter if homosexuals fall in love or single women want to abort their unborn child. The reason it won't matter is because the collectivists with their drive toward social isolationism and conformity will have won the day. They will have destroyed our individuality beneath a rising, anti-survival trend of adult-centric behaviors that view children as property, women as baby factories, and the vast majority of us as slaves to their all-encompassing vision of utopia.

If the collectivists succeed in achieving their one world dictatorship then humanity will be dead within three generations. That is the lesson of Sumer, Akkadia, Athens, Samarkand, Pharaonic Egypt, the Roman Empire, and the Third Reich. The only reason any of these lands still have people in them is because in the midst of their collapse refugees had somewhere else to go in order to survive. After the collapse, some returned, some migrated in, and cities regrew from the ruins. If our modern global civilization collapses beneath the oppression of a collectivist regime there will be nowhere for the refugees to seek shelter and no outside population to migrate in and refill our abandoned cities. Our generation is the generation that must decide. Will we build a world of free individuals who cooperate when it suits them or will we build a collectivist empire where people are the pawns of masterminds?

August 06, 2012

Homework for Patriots

I'm going to keep my own analysis to myself. Nonetheless, if you are a Tea Party Patriot, an Oathkeeper, a strict Constitutionalist, or some other modern patriot dedicated to individualism, liberty, small government, and genuine freedom, then you need to read this article in its entirety, follow the links it contains, then sit down and come up with a counterplan of your own. It is also important to keep in mind that Saul Alinsky radicals, neo-Marxists, anarchists, and other collectivist revolutionaries will be reading this very same article and developing counterplans of their own. Depending on how things unfold, small government, liberty-seeking patriots could easily find themselves supporting this strategy rather than opposing it.

If worst comes to worst and we cannot settle our differences at the ballot box, then this is our future.

Small Wars Journal: Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland

This is where we separate the sunshine patriots from those dedicated to liberty. It was awfully nice of them to give us a sneak peek at how they expect the revolution to start and how they plan to counter it.


Update: August 11, 2012

Washington Times Editorial: The Civil War of 2016

August 04, 2012

Book Review: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

I don't claim to be a genius. Robert A. Heinlein, on the other hand, is one of the most brilliant writers the United States of America has ever produced. He starts with a kaleidoscope of colorful characters, posits a world no one living has ever experienced, then uses science to bring them together in a multilayered study of human existence. And he achieved this in every single book he wrote.

Consider Mike, the supercomputer who becomes sentient and helps free the former prison colony of Luna from the tyrannical and oppressive "Authority" based on Earth. The name and character allude to "Michael", an archangel, the only archangel in the Bible clearly identified as a warrior angel. Thus it is not the least bit surprising that Mike the supercomputer comes up with and executes the strategy that helps Luna's revolution succeed. Nevertheless, the two personality traits that give his character such charm are a childlike naivete and a love of practical jokes. His naivete is so overwhelming that when he realizes the destruction brought by his strategy it renders him catatonic.

Consider also Hazel Stone. She first appears in a book published almost ten years before this book (The Rolling Stones) as the grandmother of that book's two charming halfwit brothers. Ten years after the publication of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress she reappears as a tertiary, yet critical character in The Number of the Beast, then a few years later as the central character in The Cat Who Walks through Walls, and finally in 1988 as a pivotal character in To Sail Beyond the Sunset. Hazel Stone starts out as a minor character in a book published in 1955, and becomes one of the most important members of the Long family in the four "Boondock" books where Heinlein finally brings together and reveals how his works are all bound together in a literary examination of the philosophical concept of "the world as myth". Most importantly, despite evolving over four books and three decades Hazel Stone never once violates the key elements of her wildly independent, doggedly determined personality. That kind of career-long internal consistency is extremely challenging for a writer to pull off successfully.

Some critics disparage Heinlein's female characters because they do not think and act like men. Somehow these same critics never notice that when push comes to shove, it is always the women in a Heinlein book that have the most initiative, the most common sense, and the greatest ability to change the course of human history. No matter how the male characters stumble through the plot, the women always provide the missing piece of the puzzle or the critical decision that eventually wins the day. Heinlein's female characters, like Hazel Stone and Wyoming Knott, are always the focal point of the events that move a Heinlein novel forward and bring it to its conclusion.

The main character of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Manuel Garcia "Mannie" O'Kelly-Davis, meets Wyoming Knott at a subversive meeting he has no interest in attending. The only reason he goes is because his "thinkum dinkum" friend Mike the Supercomputer cannot observe the meeting directly and asks Manuel to attend for him and tell him about it. The meeting is interrupted by a police raid and in the course of the raid Manuel is charged with protecting Wyoming Knott, a keynote speaker invited from the Hong Kong colony. On the strength of Wyoming's kiss, ready sense of humor, and ability to win the trust of Mike, the next twenty-four hours finds Manuel drafted into leading a revolution against the Warden and the Authority that oppress Luna.

One of the most brilliant strokes of genius is how through this providential meeting the reader learns that Luna is a libertarian society with no written laws while the Authority is a Soviet-style collectivist big government attempting to dictate every aspect of life in Luna. The subversives use Soviet style revolutionary titles and hierarchy, but are fighting for an American style free market economy. This reversal of roles is a literary device that keeps the reader questioning their assumptions about labels versus the genuine truths those labels are applied to. What becomes apparent only after reading the Boondock books is how The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is really a key lesson in understanding the difference between a label and the thing itself. The continuity of Hazel Stone's character is one of the powerful literary tools Heinlein uses to teach this lesson not once, but repeatedly over a period of three decades!

As I said at the beginning, I am not a genius and I do not claim to be. Nonetheless, when I read some of the negative and disparaging reviews of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress at, it strikes me that none of the people who rated this book with one or two stars actually understood the book and several of them probably did not even bother reading beyond the first chapter or two. Just as in every book Heinlein wrote, there is far more going on here than meets the eye. On the surface, it is a rollicking space opera of revolution and freedom. Peel back the layers and you find a critical assessment of everything that is wrong with American culture in the post war years as well as a dire warning about the civil unrest that tore through our society in the decade after this book was published.

Some science fiction writers claim to be prophetic. Robert A. Heinlein actually was.

August 01, 2012

Book Review, "Roy Smeck: The Wizard of the Strings in His Life and Times"

Everyone knows Les Paul, the Beatles, Elvis, and Hank Williams. None of these people would have ever had a career if it were not for Roy Smeck. In a very real sense, Roy Smeck created the modern American music scene. He created the standards everyone else uses to judge professional music. His books taught everyone else how to play and his act taught everyone else how to entertain. This book, "Roy Smeck: The Wizard Of The Strings In His Life And Times" is far more than a simple biography of the man who created the American music industry. This book is the history of America in the 20th Century as seen through his life.

If you're a musician, whether amateur or professional, you need to read this book. If you're a historian, this book shows you in livid detail how the great events of the 20th Century impacted the lives of individuals both great and small. Even if you are neither historian nor musician, this book will show you how we came to be what we are today.

This is quite possibly the most important book of my lifetime. Seriously.