Friday, December 13, 2013

Joe Neville's Views, StarTrek Economics and a Trio from Sid



Pro-Gun Control Colorado Legislators Recalled
I heard an NPR radio interview the other day with Joe Neville, President of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association which recently was active in the recall of two Colorado legislators who supported the gun control legislation passed in that state.


Neville's group backed successful recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse (above) as well as another legislator's recall  
 
Neville and his group support a “no compromise” approach in opposing all issues related to gun control and is active in working against legislators with whom they disagree.  Of course, Neville and all those who oppose gun control legislation (see the prior blog posting, or just visit www.americanrifleman.org ) are entitled to their opinions and the opportunity to encourage support of their position.

But supporting Neville involves something more than mere opposition to gun control.  Here is a direct quote from him taken from the radio interview, when he was asked about his involvement in the recall elections:

"Any time you can get tens of thousands of people across a state, in each district, to come out and fight for freedom, yeah, it makes me happy. It gives me hope that the radical leftists that are controlling Washington, D.C., and all the way down to the state and county levels, they don't control the people. Which is what they want to do, they want to control the people."

I raise several questions about this kind of thinking:  

(1)  Does opposing gun control legislation constitute “fighting for freedom”?  
(2)   Do radical leftists control Washington, D.C.?
(3)  Does this “control” extend down to the state and county levels?   
(4) Do these governments, assuming that they indeed are "radical leftist," actually want to control the people?

Apparently, Neville and the many Coloradans who voted to recall those two legislators do believe this. That is sad.  Most Americans believe that our government is there to serve people, not control them.  I take his quote as evidence that people like Joe Neville have a much broader agenda than simply opposing gun control.  And because the recall efforts succeeded, that too is sad.

Neville 

If you are part of the minority of Americans who oppose expanded gun control, be certain that when you do so, you do not buy into a far more extreme agenda such as that of Joe Neville's group! Opposing gun control measures is not the same as battling those imaginary "radical leftists" who, in the eyes of people like Neville, supposedly control our government.  (Legalization of marijuana in Colorado leads me to wonder what Neville has been smoking.)



Postscript:  People like Neville manifest the extreme right wing’s distrust of government.  That distrust, paired with an abhorrence of government spending and a willingness to slash the economic safety net built up over the past half century has seriously infected the Republican Party.  Right wing groups, such as those springing from the Heritage Foundation, have told otherwise sensible Republican legislators that they can cut off significant chunks of their political funding or even support primary challenges aimed at replacing them with Tea Party loyalists, if it appears that they are willing to cooperate with the Democrats.  Hence, out of fear, the G.O.P. has swung rightward over the past few decades.  

Finally, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, has awakened and screamed “Enough!” and made it clear that the G.O.P.’s elephant is not being wagged by its tail.  We hope it is not too late because we truly need a two party system.
 
Jack Lippman

                                  
                                                                 

Who did all the work on Starship Enterprise?   

Of course, we all remember Captain Kirk and his StarTrek officers on the bridge of the spaceship, but who was down there in the engine room, or in the kitchen or behind the bar making those odd colored drinks?  No one!  All of the tasks requiring labor were done automatically on the Enterprise.


When they went to “warp speed,” no one had to feed more fuel into the engines.  It just happened.  Computers and robotics ran everything, once you got off of the bridge.  The need for human labor was limited to thinking and planning.  Perhaps that is why, in science fiction, the folks living in highly advanced far-away galaxies always seem to have big heads and frail bodies.  Muscular brawn isn’t needed but brain power is.


This may be where we are going in our economy.  The need for employees in technologically advanced countries is shrinking.  What took a dozen workers to build now takes just a few, and robotics will ultimately replace even them.  Of course, there will always be a need for the engineers and scientists who design these labor-free means of production, but their numbers will not be large.  Right now, the only countries which have flourishing labor forces are those where paying for human labor is less costly than using computerized robotic labor.  Those days are disappearing in the United States, Japan, parts of Europe and within a few generations, will disappear from Asia and ultimately from Africa, Asia’s logical replacement as a source of cheap labor, as technology takes over the production of everything we need.



  Even entertainment will be robotically provided



In the future, in addition to the engineers and scientists mentioned above, there will always be jobs preparing them for their careers (educators), a few people to handle the distribution of manufactured goods (on line retail employees), a limited number of health care workers and of course, some sort of government to oversee all of this.  



The biggest problem facing a government in such a world will be the distribution of wealth.  The scientists, engineers, educators, government people and physicians will be well paid.  Almost everyone else will be out of a job, for there will no longer be many opportunities for employment.  Unemployment will be the rule, the norm, for most people.



 

Marxist ideas have failed in Russia and China, so we have to come up with something better.



If the riches of the world were to be distributed according to Marxist principles, everyone would get a share based on their needs.   Living standards would be relatively comfortable but far from luxurious. A higher standard of living, and a greater share of the world's bounty would be available, of course, for those involved in the remaining opportunities for human employment mentioned above.  


To avoid this turning into a class or caste system over the generations, employment in these limited high-paying jobs mentioned above would be permitted for just a few years.  Once educated and trained, for example, scientists or physicians would work for no more than ten years after which they would retire, and receive a far smaller share of the riches of the world.  (They had better have saved their money while they were working, or else they would end up like everyone else, on what would amount to a comfortable universal dole.)  There would be an unending supply of freshly minted scientists waiting to step into their positions.

The question of whether these kinds of things could take place in a democratic nation, or whether a totalitarian government would end up running everything must be addressed as the disappearing need for human labor becomes the key factor in the ever changing world of economics and politics.  I feel we have about a century to learn to successfully deal with these challenges.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?
JL
                                                       

                                                    

Sid's Corner

In this posting, Sid includes an unneccessary thank-you note to me, a meaningful obituary and finally, a joyful poem describing his recent Thanksgiving revels.
                          
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THANX, JACK       
 Sid Bolotin

This is to thank you for inviting me and others to submit our writings to your blog. When our community’s informal writing group dissolved, I searched the Internet for a place to post my writings.



I hoped for a site that was akin to both our community’s group and the one up North in which I participated  before moving to Florida…a place to air my ramblings sans a cacophony of “constructive” parsing of structure, theme, verbiage, grammar, punctuation, etc.



By my count you’ve accepted about seventy of my creations, be they stories, poems, or essays; and never have you editorialized any one of them. You did the same when you were the Managing Editor of our community’s by-monthly magazine.



Your relaxed editorial criteria has been an encouragement for me (and others) to continue our writings … knowing that they’ll have a “home” and be read by a world-wide audience far beyond the limited boundaries of family and friends.

                                                            *  *  *  *  *




 DR. ERLE MYERS     
   Sid Bolotin

He died November 28, 2013. He was ninety years old. He was a dear friend and confidant. 


I first met Erle forty-four years ago when he was the Youth Director at Temple Emanu-El, a Reform congregation that we had recently joined in Marblehead, Mass. He was straightforwardly outspoken and a beacon for many of the youngsters who were having difficulties navigating their teen years.


He urged my wife and me to become involved with his group as advisors after one of our many chats with his oft repeated proclamation, “Sid, there’s a bigger world outside the confines of Temple Emanu-El.” And so began our long “tip-toe through the tulips” with this gnome-like bundle of compassion and his wife, Ida.



Although his New Age philosophies sometimes perplexed the more staid members of the Board of Directors and some congregants, the teens adored Erle and Ida. He and she were always available for them at any hour…of need or just to kibitz. As a licensed Social Worker he offered family and individual counseling to both members and the community at large. His gentle heart and compassion poured from his twinkling eyes.



Even though he was not of a towering, impressive stature, his appearance did capture my immediate attention. At about five and a half feet tall with a thick, longish, brown comb-over, a bushy mustache, beak-like nose, almost lash-less eyelids, with a gnome-like, cherub-like persona, his loving soul’s energy poured from his eyes.

He encouraged my metaphysical explorations and introduced my wife and me to the Spiritualist Church where he and Ida were certified mediums. In later years he founded and became ordained as the minister of the Boston Church of Spiritualism in Watertown, Mass. We attended many sessions that featured healing circles and channeling by world-renowned channelers, many from England.



Over the years Erle became an intimate part of our family…sharing in its joys and sorrows.  Whenever life’s twists and turns knotted our emotions, He was there to blanket us with comforting, sage advice.

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                                   Bolotin Clan's Thanksgiving - 2013  
                                    Sid Bolotin


Our three sons and their wives



Three granddaughters, six grandsons       

One with wife, one with solid girlfriend

All in teens and twenties



Staid senior dogs - Bart, the Pug and Diesel, the Cockapoo

Wary of new Golden Retriever puppies - Sundance and Oakley



“And a partridge in a pear tree”



At oldest son’s house in Massachusetts

His wife finishing up weeks of food prep



His brand-new pool table focusing activity

Keeping the horde out of her kitchen



Flashing hands and chomping jaws

Ferociously wolfing down fantastic hors d’oeuvres



Beer, wine, and cocktails aplenty

Stimulating the exuberant chatter



Males bantering

Ladies twittering



Ultra-religious Chabbadnic grandson

Chanting the lighting of Chanukah candles

His demure wife beside him



Buffet-style serving of turkey, cranberries, and all the fixins

Squash soup, taters, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower salad, stuffing



Voicing of gratefulness for the blessings of family

Spoken by all gathered ‘round the table

Choking up Bubbie and Zaydee



Concluding with yummy desserts

Including home-made, kosher, Oreo cookies



                                                                   



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Jack Lippman

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