The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Robots, Friends Or Foes?

I watched a movie I hadn't seen in years the other day. It was called "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". I like to watch movies again after a few years because I often see things I hadn't seen the first time around and come away with a different impression of the film.

One of the things I newly noticed was that it was about the relationship between a boy named David (a "Mecha") and his adoptive mother. A kind of love story. the boy searched for the "Blue Fairy" who, he thought, could make him a "real boy" that his mother could love, maybe more than her own son (Martin) who had been in suspended animation because they had no cure for his disease. Toward the end, we learn the head of Cybernetics built him modeled on his own son who had apparently died years earlier (I do not know why he died or how). Anyway, he finds the "Blue Fairy" (a character in a fairy tale called Pinochio) but since he was made as a child, he believes the statue underwater can do what she did for Pinochio and spends the next 2000 years waiting for the miracle to happen. Along come some space aliens who find him and the statue and build a clone of his mother from the hair he once clipped from her head. The clone only lasts one day (which one alien warns him will happen) but that one day is the best day of David's life.

A truly satisfying ending and one which almost brought a tear to my eye.

Interesting sidenote: The head of Cybernetics is played by William Hurt, who also had/has a similar part on Humans.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Just One More Political Note

I am sure you are all tired of the political circus afoot. Yet, I want to ensure that you are completely fed up with it by explaining my thoughts about it.
Sometime ago, I left a comment somewhere (perhaps on "THE VIEW FROM OUTSIDE MY TINY WINDOW"):

"As you know, I agree with you about our prejudices but my take is that we have only one instinct and that is the survival instinct. I believe that atruism is an extension of that... in terms of giving one's life to save another, for example. I also agree with you about politicians and was reminded of what a wise (though young) man once told me about the 1964 presidential election: he was Black and I asked him who he was going to vote for (he was 21, I was 17). I was taken aback when he said "Goldwater", he said he knew who and what Goldwater is but that he distrusted Johnson. I learned 2 things: that all black people didn't fit my stereotype and that some were wise beyond their years. I differ with you on our problem with people who firmly believe some things. Yes, Trump is echoing the psyche of many of us but I think we desire such, we want someone to not only believe something great about us but who convinces us of that greatness."

I think that is what Trump has been doing and why he is popular. He is not only playing to our fears but he is clever. As a showman, he understands that there is no such thing as bad publicity. So he says outrageous things and that gets newsprint and commentary... free publicity. His most recent trick of refusing to show up at the final debate before the Iowa Caucuses will likely be seen by historians (if he wins the primaries) as pure political genius. He also seems sincere in what he spouts on the "stump." Bernie Sanders also does this, maybe to a greater degree because I think Sanders truly believes what he says. I wouldn't vote for him but that is because I find socialism to be abhorrent.

I think we are constantly looking for a savior, a "white knight", to come to our rescue. And that is what Trump and Sanders represent to many.

We want someone who seems sincere and says things we want to hear. These two do that. As did a certain dictator who started World War II. Not that I think either of these two will start the next worldwide conflagration but that there is a strong similarity.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


As I was playing Monopoly, my thoughts went to a recent poll on how socialism is viewed in the US (and, especially, in Iowa).

You should realize that much of my life has been lived during the Cold War and socialism was equated with communism. Very few people would admit to liking it in those days and there was no way any candidate stating he was socialist would have garnered any votes. These were in the 50's, 60's, and 70's... candidates offered by the Socialist Workers Party... and they didn't have the proverbial snowball's chance.

Now, we have one Bernie Sanders labeling himself a "Democratic Socialist" and he is gaining popularity against his principle opponent, Hillary Clinton. He is not, as far as I know, a member of the afore-mentioned Socialist Workers Party but an Independent running for the Democratic presidential nomination. The other important choice is someone facing scandals about fund-raising for the Clinton Foundation and using a private email server for her job job as Secretary of State under president Obama.

I heard someone say he blames the public education system for the favorability of socialism seen in those polls. I tend to disagree, though he could be right. It's also possible, and he said as much, that people might have confused social media or being a sociable person with being a socialist. That could also be the fault of our education system.

Anyway, Bernie Sanders would like to revive the 90% tax bracket that we once had. He often, as do Democrats, says that the rich "should pay their fair share" of taxes. What he doesn't say is that this "fair share" is determined by the government and those that, I think, dislike the rich. There is nothing voluntary about our taxation, you pay or you face punishment, including prison time. Consider it robbery, if you like, just because the robber is government doesn't make it any less than the forceful taking of your money.

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Have Been Remiss...

In my duties as blogger. I will not give excuses because none need be offered, you all know how lazy I am.

I have been thinking about the state of the world recently... and worrying. It is a mess. I have been reading a bit about about what others think of it and haven't found much to be optimistic about, I understand that George Orwell wrote, in 1940, about the rise of fascism in Germany, "Why is it that so many people in the West, why are so many Germans, buying into this horrible ideology -- as opposed to an ideology of capitalism and free markets and freedom?"

I now wonder why so many in the U.S reject capitalism? Why they seem to like anything which opposes capitalism? I do not understand why there is such support of Bernie Sanders (who is now seemingly giving the Clinton campaign the "heebie-jeebies"). And, on the other side, Donald Trump (clearly a capitalist) apears to be (at this time) headed for the nomination. Are we that divided? Bernie Sanders' allure seems to be partly about resentment of the rich, of the 1%. We once lauded the wealthy, admired them, appreciated them for the jobs they provided and the industries they ran. Now, we don't. We seem to hate them just because they are wealthy. Even Trump wants to raise taxes on hedge fund managers; why them and not all stock brokers? I could blame the education system we have but that is a easy target and so many others have taken that route.

I am old now and not likely to suffer much of the troubles I foresee. But, if I am right about Iran, that could easily impact me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What A Mess

The next president of the U.S. will inherit a real mess... sides are being chosen; Saudi Arabia (Sunni), Bahrain (mostly Shia), and Sudan (Sunni) have aligned against Iran. Iran is mad at Saudi Arabia for executing a Shia imam.

Is this the start of a major war in the Middle East? Who knows? If it is, it could mean a morass that the U.S. could get sucked into. And there is little we, the public, can do about it. This is something we leave to our leaders. This conflict might take years, or just months, to develop and more players might become involved, the UAE has cut ties to Iran and who knows how many others will follow suit.

There is an old Chinese curse that goes, "May you live in interesting times."

These times will certainly be interesting.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Electoral College- Needed Or Not?

I used to think, in this modern age of rapid communication, it wasn't needed anymore; an anachronism from the days when there might be weeks or months before a state's election results could be known. I don't think that way anymore, I understand more about its true purpose now.

It's about smaller states having a say in an election of the president. Like many, I thought it was all about the limits of communication in the days when the Constitution was written. Wikipedia tries to explain it using the Federalist Papers and Andrew Hamilton's take on the system (it's not a place, it's a system; a way to do an election and only for president, not for senators or representatives those are local elections). More than just a way to make sure the states' results get to D.C., it's how smaller states with fewer people get a somewhat equal footing with their bigger and more populous brethren.

Without it, California, New York, and a few other states might pretty much dictate who would be president. And that would be unfair, in my opinion.