Alexei Zoubov,head with saxophone
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        Democracy and the Intelligence of Masses

        October 2nd, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        As democracy is perfected, the office [of the President] represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” (H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920)

        We definitely managed to achieve this amazing result, predicted by Mencken almost a hundred years ago, by electing George W. Bush – and not once, but TWICE!

        The following is also often sited as said by Mencken:

        Nobody’s ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

        He never wrote this anywhere, his closest comment on record was:

        No one in this world… has ever lost money¬†underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. (Chicago Tribune, 1926)

        So, Americans shouldn’t get pissed off at him, his observation was global.

        Something somehow related: In Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., created a new religion, Bokononism. Here is the Fourteenth Book of Bokonon:

        Title: What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?

        Only verse: Nothing. 

        Positive thinking, anybody?

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Thoughts | No Comments »

        A Case of a Homeless Patriot

        September 28th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Five days a week at quarter to 10 am I  walk from my home near La Brea and Sunset to The Horn Connection shop where I work, At 4 pm I take the same walk in the other direction. It takes altogether about 12 minutes one way.

        In my age I need a walk and in this sense it is a nice thing to do.¬† There is nothing really to look at on the way. One ugly building after another, sometimes they¬† demolish one ugly building to erect another even uglier in its place. I guess, it’s called progress.

        Sunset is a major street, but, as almost everywhere in Los Angeles, there aren’t many people walking on it. Those that are really walking, not just going¬† from the shop to their car, are usually the most interesting to watch. This is Hollywood, the land of real characters.

        There is at least one homeless person on the way each day, sometimes 2, 3 or more. I already know most of them and exchange hello’s with some, others are so far gone, they are way beyond any communication.

        There is one man who is there almost every day, he looks happy, alway has a smile on his face. For some reason looking at him  always makes me sad.

        He is a veteran and a patriot. His posessions are loaded on a ¬†cart that is draped in American flag. Another flag on a pole is attached to his cart. In his hand he holds a large plastic cup with stars and stripes on it. He has his veteran’s ID hanging on a string around his neck. He makes sure¬† that everybody sees it, but never asks for money.

        Homeless patriotHe now recognizes me, his smile is getting larger, he seems to be glad to see me, although it isn’t often that I have a dollar or some change in my pocket to give him. Sometimes he says “God bless America” with the enthusiasm that would work great on the election campaign.

        Isn’t it a positive thinking at its best? Do you think this guy has a vision of bright future? Or he just lost all hope and feels good about it?

        Yes, he is a true patriot. His country sent him to war to fight for whatever. May be he thought he new what he was fighting for, may be he didn’t have any idea. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The country accepted his sacrifice and¬† in return completely forgot about him and let him live on the street. And he still says loudly: “God bless America” for all us to hear.

        I do admire him¬† in some ways, I wouldn’t be able to be¬† so… forgiving?¬† Wrong word – he probably doesn’t even think there is anything to forgive. Seemingly, there is no resentment at all , no hard feelings and probably that’s what makes him happy and content.

        I don’t know about you, but it makes me angry and sad…

        Posted in Just Stories | No Comments »

        TV Ads, Smoking and Suicide

        September 27th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        I already posted a story about my allergy to ads.

        Now, there is another TV ad that deserves your attention. It promotes a pill to help in quitting smoking. May be you’ve seen it – there is a hare and a turtle on the road – probably referring to Zenon’s paradox, but mostly to stress that quitting smoking is a difficult and lengthy process, so the use of this pill would appear almost inevitable.

        Now, what about the side effects? I couldn’t believe my years: you could experience suicidal thoughts.

        No, I’m not joking, the ad says: “If you experience suicidal thoughts, call your doctor

        I used to smoke non-stop, about 3 packs a day. I quit about 18 years ago, without pills, gum, hypnosis, absolutely on my own. True, it wasn’t easy and required a lot of inner work and some methods I learned in a 12 step program (not for smokers). I experienced a lot of very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, even was depressed for a while. Adding to that a pill that could cause suicidal thoughts – no, thank you!

        If you watch TV, you would eventually see this ad. If you are a smoker and are planning to quit, you might wish to write your suicidal note before taking this pill.

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Thoughts | 2 Comments »

        Jazz Musicians, Russian Immigrants and Politics

        September 21st, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Almost all last week I was conducting an absolutely unscientific poll in person and by telephone.

        The question was “What is your estimate of the percentage of conservative republicans among – [the name of the group the polled belongs]

        There were two groups asked:

        1. Jazz musicians
        2. Russian immigrants of the last wave (1970 – to now)

         

        The results of this so called “poll” (absolutely unscientific, but still very revealing):

        The percentage of conservative republicans:

        1. Among Jazz musicians – about 10%
        2. Among Russian Americans – about 90%

         

        I find it very interesting and very significant. I have my own ideas why it is so, but I really would like to hear from others.

        Please leave a comment!

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Jazz, Musicians, Thoughts | 4 Comments »

        From Jazz Seduction to Jazz Addiction (Moscow)

        September 11th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        This is a sequel (kind of) to The Great Jazz Seduction post.

        I’ve bought my first tenor saxophone in the spring of 1955. I didn’t know that at the time, but it turned out to be a decent horn, made by Kohlert in the 30’s. At the time it was a German company, and it still exists, but somewhere in the far East – Taiwan or Thailand, I don’t know for sure. The old man that sold it to me gave me some instructions on how to hold it and which end goes into the mouth. There was an ancient chirped mouthpiece and a few half-rotten reeds. I was ready to start.

        It was next to impossible to find anybody to give me lessons or even just an advice. As I already mentioned before, from 1947 on, Stalin and the Communist Party declared a war on all so called “bourgeous capitalist” influences in art, literature and music, and jazz and the saxophone became almost officially the enemies of Soviet state.

        Stalin died in 1953, and that saved a lot of people and arts from complete destruction. Very slowly, but steadily, the atmosphere started to change and jazz music and its fans started to crawl out of their hiding places. Some bands playing in the restaurants and at the dance parties started to play something vaguely resembling jazz and use saxophones. But the only thing I could learn from these saxophone players was how not to play!

        So. in the beginning my lessons came from the radio and a few records I could get hold of. For the three months summer vacation I went to my parents’ “dacha” (summer house) and spent all these three months practicing 6-8 hours a day. Just imagine how happy it made my neighbours!

        No matter how much the neighbours wanted to stop me, they didn’t succeed, and in September I returned to Moscow full of unjustified confidence in my playing abilities. I managed to get into a semi-amateur big band at the Moscow Arts Workers Club. This band was a part of a large variety concert program “The First Step”, that really deserves a separate piece because of its enormous influence on the development of stand-up comedy, pop music and even jazz in Moscow. I will definitely return to this topic later.

        Now I started to discover that there were other serious young jazz musicians in Moscow. Almost all of them were like me, college and University students, majoring in areas very far from music, united by their addiction to jazz.

        Once more, I couldn’t even imagine then that I’ll eventually become a professional musician. I was working on developing my skills just for the fun of it. But at that time there were two problems in my life that I intended to solve, using my newly acquired pretty limited musical skills, namely:

        1. I really needed to make extra money.
        2. I was a shy and reserved person, lacking any confidence with dealing with chicks. They just felt my inner discomfort and preferred to deal with somebody else.

        So I intended to use my saxophone to change my financial situation and attract some girls. To some extent, it worked, mostly in solving the first problem – money.

        There was a growing demand for the dance bands for all kinds of dance parties, mostly in colleges, university and science research institutes. It worked practically the same way as so called “casuals” are organized here in the States. There was a contractor who’d secure the gig and then put together a small band. And although I wasn’t really accomplished player back then, there wasn’t really anybody else, and I suddenly became the most popular tenor player in Moscow and started playing gigs non-stop, 5-6 times a week.

        But, if the money problem was more or less taken care off, the situation with girls didn’t improve much at all. What really helped, at least for some time, was booze!

        It made me stronger, assertive, confident, more attractive to the girls, it seemed to me that I even played better, which, to some extent, could even have been true. The problem was – it only worked if I was able to control the amount consumed and stop on time. And I was notoriously bad at it!

        Russians are deservingly known as some of the hardest drinkers in the world. Russian jazz musicians always were eager to be very patriotic about that and prove themselves to be “more Russians than Russians” in that respect. As the Russian saying goes: “You have a drink and become a completely different person, but.. this other person wants to have a drink too!”

        Never liking the person you are at the moment is definitely a contributing factor to the development of drug and alcohol addictions, in jazz musicians in particular. You try to reach that wonderful state of perfect balance of feeling great about yourself, being in full control of your music, with that nasty self-deprecating voice suppressed, when everything flows naturally and the joy of creating overwhelms you…

        Some lucky musicians achieve this state naturally, some get there by hard work on themselves, and some get there with the help of drugs or alcohol. For the latter this state becomes more and more elusive and rare, they have to use and drink more and more, and…

        OK, that is a topic for a separate post and I promise to get back to it. I don’t drink or use for a long time, close to 25 years, and I’m lucky I’m alive now. In the art of drinking myself almost to death I am definitely a retired professional and, hopefully, my story could help others.

        By 1956 eight musicians formed a more or less permanent group and called it, very inventively, “The Eight”. It featured a trumpet (Victor Zelchenko), trombone (Konstantin Bakholdin), two altos (George Garanian and Eric Dibay), one tenor sax (me) and bass (Igor Berukshtis), drums (Alexander Garetkin or Alexander Salganik) and piano (Boris Rytchkov or Nikolai Kapustin). It was the first group in Moscow that played written arrangements. It soon became the most sought for group and was so busy, that it had sometimes to split to send two-three guys to the next gig, while the others were finishing the first one.

        The picture below is the only one I have saved from this time – sorry for the quality.

        This was taken at The Eight gig in 1956.   

        I’m in front at right, playing my Kohlert sax with Brilhart mouthpiece.

        This group played everything from pop tunes to dixieland to swing (Glenn Miller was essential), even some bebop – and the crowd was happily dancing and applauding after every tune.

        The Soviet society was slowly opening to western influences and the power was reluctantly going along. There was a decision made to have an International Youth Festival in Moscow in the summer of 1957. The Soviets intended to promote the successes of the Soviet Union to the guests from abroad, but there was an unintentional result – promotion of the western culture to eager to absorb it Moscovites.

        And Moscow jazz musicians became some of the main beneficiaries.

        More next time!

        Posted in Jazz, Just Stories, Music, That's how it was.. | 4 Comments »

        History and Economy according to Weinstein (Part 3)

        September 9th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Part 1 Part 2

        Part 3 is an attempt at anti-utopia: what, Leon imagines, would happen if you vote for Democrats – a very old tactics of fear-mongering.

        I truly believe that even McCain, is he reads this (I believe he won’t), might just have a heart attack from laughing. Leon, please have mercy for the old man! I’m not voting for John McCain, but I believe he is an intelligent and knowledgeable man. He doesn’t deserve this crap.

        But then the unexpected will begins to happen. The Users didn’t not know that when you take most of the profits from Producers, when you tax their inheritance and their dividends, their capital gains, their large homes and generally punish them for their success, the Producers stop creating new jobs, stop inventing new technologies, stop investing in new bold projects and stop working hard – or in simple words they stop producing wealth that the life of this country depends on, and which all of us enjoy so much.

        Until now we have seen exactly the opposite happening. The moment the government started working for “Producers” (read: top earners, corporations, financial sector) instead or representing all American people, there was a steady growing gap between the earnings of the top 1% and middle class, and now the situation is close to that in the 3rd world countries. More people are dropping below official poverty level (now over 30 million total). poverty rate in USA is now higher than in at least 10 developed countries.. The number of people without health insurance is steadily rising. Deregulation of financial services lead to a scary growth of the number of bankruptcies and to recent mortgage crisis. And the top 1% is getting filthy richer!

        And that’s what Leon would like to continue, just on even larger scale!

        Here he goes again:

        The Producers now are not in charge of their money, property and destiny (all that now can be taken away from them by a decision of the democratically elected officials, the majority of whom were representing Users, not Producers), they first slow and then eventually stop producing. To whose benefit should they work so hard? To whose benefits they shall create new companies, invest time and money, risk everything they have in life? To fill someone else’s pockets? Like in countless countries and regimes of the past, the moment people can’t get benefits from their own labor, ingenuity and investments, the economy freezes.

        And the society that was proud to call itself a free Capitalistic society would cease to exist. The tyranny of one person of the past would be substituted by the tyranny of a majority, in this case the majority of Users. Freedom would be abolished in order to cater to the needs of the Users. The will of the State once again becoming more important than the life of the individual. And the wealth would begin to diminish. Exactly like it did in all the countries that put great ideas of equality ahead of the freedom of an individual and forgot about one simple thing, the nature of the human being.

        Under this new (old) system the owners of the rental houses will stop repairing their properties. They would be unable to justify the expenses. New houses would not be built since prices and profits would be controlled by the state and it wouldn’t be worth investing. New drugs will not be created – the pharmaceutical companies will not be able to cash in on new inventions that usually cost millions to create, test, promote and distribute. Under this system the quality of the health care goes down since doctors receive their pay anyway, regardless of the quality of their service. Universities loose researchers – they are able to get better pay abroad. Research in many companies’ die, since only the companies with an abundance of profits can afford research. The Market eventually crashes (not fluctuates, crashes). Many large companies slid into bankruptcy. And slowly but surely life in the US will begin to resemble life in Mexico, Cuba, North Vietnam and Belarus. Immigration into America stops and the animosity and hate some other countries feel toward the United States diminishes and disappears. And China proudly and rightly will begin to be called the most advanced nation on earth. And only in the history books may be written about this ‘once rich and great country’.

        Is there any sense to comment on all this? I’m not a Democrat, but to present this as their platform is either stupid or just plain dishonest. Again, the goal is to induce fear.

        An obvious fault with Leon’s reasoning is that there are only two options for him. He wants a pure “laissez-faire” capitalism. At the same time he praises the 200 years of the United States achievements, although there never was any time in American history when pure ‘laissez-faire” capitalism existed. The government since Washington was controlling slavery, tariffs, intervened in monetary policy, founded government banks, created what we now call “corporate welfare”. Later came control over monopolies, anti-trust laws under Teddy Roosevelt, who firmly believed in Government protection for the citizens from the excesses of unregulated capitalism. Social security and other government programs, paid by the taxes, followed under another Roosevelt. So, The States always had and has now what economists call “mixed capitalism”, which greatly added to the success of this society.

        Actually Leon’s views are very similar to Herbert Spencer, the creator of the idea of the “survival of the fittest”, later developed into “Social Darwinism” (that, in reality, has no relation to Darwin’s theories).

        Spencer believed that unsuccessful people that aren’t able to support themselves should be left without any help – left to die, so the society would get better without them. And if you think that Leon’s views are more humane, think again. All he wrote in this letter tells you that his dream is to get rid of all those “users” altogether. It is very close to class genocide, not by killing, but by just letting them die.

        Now comes his desperate call, and although he addresses it to “Dear Senator”, he is definitely smarter than to expect to influence McCain by this outpouring of paranoia, fear of “communist” conspiracy and predictions of apocalypse coming. No, he is addressing it to those who listen to Fox news, Rush Limbaugh and such, he is “preaching to the Choir”, just being afraid that they somehow get a portion of truth and reason and then may vote for Democrats because of that.

        Dear Senator, this is what will happened (is already happening) if you do not win this election. I want you to realize that you are not fighting for yourself, but also for all of us, for all the people who cherish freedom and the right of the Individual to pursue happiness the way he wants to pursue it. You once said you would prefer to loose the election, but not loose the war. It was nice to hear, but again it was about you, your election. I want you to realize that now the situation is very different. Now you can’t loose this election. You have no right to the loose it! There is no retreat! There is no compromise! This is our last stand before this gloomy scenario will start unfolding in front of our eyes! The socialism is already playing out in the speeches of Senator Obama, in the ads of moveon.org, in articles by Democratic Party officials, under standing ovations of the tens of thousands of hypnotized listeners. Democratic party that once proudly represented Producers has chosen to represent the Users. This is the class warfare predicted by Lenin, Mao and Marx (an apparent hero of the Far L eft of the United States Democratic Party), and We the Producers have no right to loose it.

        The dark shadow of Joseph McCarthy is definitely here. Oh, I’m sorry, it isn’t like a shadow, it is like McCarthy’s soul is now inhabiting Weinstein’s brain. And I’m afraid that the same kind of clinical paranoia that drove McCarthy to ruin the lives of thousands of people that had nothing to do with communism or marxism, is now driving Leon Weinstein.

        McCarthyism, didn’t, of course, reach the scope of political prosecutions in dictatorship states (communist or otherwise). American system stopped him eventually, a little late for many affected. But it is important to keep in mind that the main idea was absolutely the same – punishing people for their views.

        McCarthy paranoia was amplified by his alcoholism that ruined his liver and caused his death at 49.

        Now we have another paranoiac who sees communism and socialism where it doesn’t exist. We all should be grateful that he doesn’t have the power McCarthy had, but, obviously would like to have.

        To wrap it all up I would like to paraphrase Counsel for the Army Joseph N. Welch’s words, addressed to Senator McCarty in 1950 hearing.

        Have you left no sense of decency, Leon Weinstein?

        Part 1 Part 2

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Leon Weinstein, Thoughts | 3 Comments »

        History and Economy according to Weinstein (Part 2)

        September 8th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        This is Part 2. Part 1 ended with Weinstein inventing new word definitions. According to him, you can’t say the person is “rich”, you have to say “Producer”. Pretty Orwellian Newspeak.

        OK, here is Leon Weinstein again. The following is presented even in more infantile way than the previous part:

        The new Elected Officials came up with an ingenious idea of how to get even some of the hard working people to vote for them. They told the people who worked hard, but didn’t earn a lot, that money will be taken not from them but from ‘the rich’, and that they could vote without any fear, knowing that they were deciding what to do with other people’s money. Those hard working people were even told that if they voted for this new order, some of the money earned and saved by ‘the rich’ would be given to them. And the only thing they were asked to do in order to get this money was to vote for the Democratic Party. You do not have to work or study hard or do anything to get those additional funds, just vote for us, Democrats were saying.

        I have to stop here and take a deep breath, I’ve lived in this country for about 25 years, I was reading and listening and I haven’t ever heard or read Democrats saying anything like that. This way of presenting a distorted reality reminds me of the way the history was taught in elementary schools in USSR. Yes, the paradox is, that Leon is using the same methods of distortions, half-truths and downright lies that Soviet communists used.

        As a result of this new order of things, a big portion of the population stopped working at all. Why work if you can get almost the same benefits and money as the working people? The users of wealth knew that their representatives would bring them more and more money, so they even began to think that somehow Producers owed them money and benefits. Some of them thought that they have a right to receive assistance because they had a rough childhood, some because their ancestors were slaves, some because their skin was the same color as the slaves’ skin color, some because they came to this country illegally and had endured a lot of hardship crossing the border, some because they just wanted more money. And at a certain point in time, due to several factors including low birth rate among those who produced wealth, and the high birth rate of those who received benefits without working, there finally were more than half of the voters that were not working and creating things, but getting money from those that produced, created and worked hard. We call those people who depend on the benefits from the State – Users.

        Well, there are always people milking the system, and I mean – any system. And there are not only those that receive benefits, there are also “rich” people that I wouldn’t call “producers”, that use deregulations and loopholes in the tax system and laws to get more of peoples money without any work whatsoever.

        I’m not sure how Leon managed to calculate that more than half of the voters don’t work. When you make claims like that, please provide the source of this statistics.

        Once more, Leon isn’t for a balance in the system. He just wants to abolish all regulations and all benefits for the poor. He and his fellow reactionaries hate the New Deal that took the country out of Great Depression and created the most prosperous time in American history.

        The moment that Users saw that they are a majority and Producers of wealth are a minority..

        Where is that coming from? The story completely loses any connection to reality! If he claims that “Users” are the majority, then he obviously counts working class and low paid service workers as “Users”.

        …Users decided to elect one of their own as the President, the very person in charge of all the money the State was receiving from Producers.

        The president is not and never was in charge of money – more Newspeak! He can submit the budget, but the congress has to approve it or reject it.

        Many Democrats were promising Users to get more money for them, but they voted for the one that promised that he will greatly increase the amount of money the ‘rich’ Producers will pay as their taxes on earnings, double the amount of money the ‘rich’ Producers pay on their Capital Gains and Dividends, take a huge share of the money from Producers they would leave their accumulated wealth to their families and raise other taxes even more in order to give more to those that will elect him. The Users were happy about the prospects of getting more money from Producers and they all rushed to elect him to the highest office in the land.

        There are two obvious conclusions from the above:

        1. Money that comes from investments and stock speculation is better money (for Leon and his ilk)than that coming from wages. See Postulate #6 in The World according to Leon.

        2. There is an underlying idea, that poor people shouldn’t vote at all. Like in the old times, when only the owners of property could vote!

        Once more, if you read all that Weinstein was trying to say above,you see that it is based on his absolute conviction that poor people are just inferior people and shouldn’t be helped at all. I’d understand if he’d just criticize the excesses of, say, welfare or bad management of some social programs. No he just doesn’t want any, they are all just robbing “Producers”. And for him all people with money are “Producers”, period. I just wonder, what is his threshold for turning from “User” (read: loser) to “Producer” (winner). Did McCain mentioned something like 5 million?

        If you are tired, I understand. I’m tired myself, it was an awful work to read all that, and not once! I need some time to recover. But I will finish the job, I promise!

        In the next post we are going to meet Leon The Prophet! Get scared, people! The greatest scholar of history, economics and social studies will tell you about the perils of voting for Democrats and Obama.

        Watch for Part 3 – the conclusion.

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Leon Weinstein, Thoughts | 1 Comment »

        History and Economy according to Weinstein (Part 1)

        September 6th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Here is a condensed excerpt from Leon Weinstein‘s “Open Letter to Senator McCain” with some comments of mine along the way. This post is long, but I hope to keep your interest going.

        The letter starts with Leon’s version of Barak Obama’s program that Leon thinks will lead to socialism. A little later it becomes clear that for Leon McCain is way too far to the left. Well, everybody who is a little bit to the left of Weinstein is ether a socialist or even a communist and obviously anti-American. It is impossible to be to the right of Weinstein, so almost everybody is anti-American. I suspect that Leon is a reincarnation of senator Joseph McCarthy.

        The most important and largest part of the letter is Leon’s take on American history, development of American economy and American values. Remember, this is an open letter to McCain, so he is essentially teaching the senator, assuming that this candidate for the President of the United States doesn’t know crap about all this.

        The main revelation you get from this part is that there is a complete mess in Leon’s head (not new to me). In addition it reads like a story for pre-school children, written by a teenager with D’s in history and social studies.

        Here comes Leon…

        About two hundred years ago for the first time in the history of mankind a totally new system of social order emerged. Prior to capitalism, people’s property, freedom and even their lives had been taken from them by the will of a leader, king, tsar, party chairman, revolutionary guard, religious sect or a strongmen of any kind. It was possible to do so because the will of the State was always more important than the life of an individual. For the very first time in recorded history of mankind the life of a person, his desires, dreams and his property were proclaimed more important then the State. The Individual, not the Group he belongs to, was proclaimed as having the highest value of all. An individual under this system received a right to do what he wanted to do. Individuals received the right to produce wealth and keep it for themselves and their families.

        The first glaring mistake: capitalism didn’t start in America, it existed prior to the emergence of American state. Secondly, capitalism as a system of economic relationships, capitalism as a social order and capitalism as a theory are overlapping and to some extent interdependent, but not necessary completely determining each other. Just compare American capitalism with the capitalism in Canada or some European countries.

        The rest looks more or less OK, until you remember that The Founders praised the ability to set aside private interest and personal advantage to exercise the public virtues that advanced the common good.

        In other words, along with with their devotion to personal freedom and property rights, the founders understood the necessity of a balance between private and public good. Leon is so obsessed with “What is in it for me?”, that the notion of public or common good never appears in his writings.

        And a miracle happened! In a record period of time this system created wealth for millions of people and allowed this country and a handful of other countries, to create a bearable life for most of their citizens. Millions of people now dream about immigrating to America. Billions envy us and do not understand how this country was able to so quickly to become the best place for human beings to live. This is the safest place on the planet earth. This is the place with the best and brightest opportunities. This is the place where equal opportunity exists not only on a piece of paper. This is the place where you can say practically anything, criticize anyone and survive. Many now take if for granted. But it is not like that in the most countries in the world.

        I agree that United States is still the best country in the world. But I also believe that it is going in the wrong direction, approximately since early 70s. And I’m also ready to assert, that this deterioration is progressing exactly because the views like Weinstein’s affected (in larger or lesser degree) the government actions for the last 30+ years.

        The founding fathers of this country decided that We the People will cooperate in defending the territory we live on, in policing the streets, and doing other things that they felt would better our lives. For that they needed money and they decided to take a portion of what we produce and put it into a treasury to pay for all those common projects. Now they needed someone who would run those projects, and they elected a President. In order not to let him loose without supervision, they sent elected representatives to the capital to oversee what the President was doing, and to create laws by which the President was supposed to govern and oversee the dispersal of our money. So far, so good.

        I agree (surprise, surprise!). Although I still think the way Leon presents it, it looks like designed either for small children or grown-up morons, still, there are no objections.

        The representatives were good hearted people and when they saw that there were some sick people who were not able to survive on their own, they asked the citizens to send a bit more money to care for the sick and the elderly. The Citizens agreed. Then representatives saw that there were many poor people who were not able to afford schooling for their children, decent housing and enough food on their tables. They asked for more money from the Citizens, and the Citizens agreed. Then they asked for more staff and expenses for themselves to serve the country better. The Citizens sighed but agreed. Then the representatives concluded that we all need to help those that have children without husbands, those that have lost their jobs, and those that had just came to this country and had nothing to live on.

        Let’s stop and look at the last sentence.

        1. “.. those that have children without husbands..” There should be a lot of work and effort to prevent this from happening. But.. what do we do with children without fathers that are already there? It looks like Leon would better let them starve than provide any help. Of course, there is nothing in that for him!

        2. “.. those that have lost their jobs..” I see, we have to abolish unemployment benefits altogether. Anyway, if a person loses his job, he is a loser (or “user”, as Weinstein puts it) and doesn’t deserve help!

        3. “.. those that had just came to this country..” Is Leon referring to Jewish immigration, I wonder? They got a lot of help from the government when they just came to this country.

        At this time the Representatives didn’t even ask the Citizens for their agreement to send additional money. They just voted that everyone shall send a larger share of their earnings to Washington. The Citizens began to feel a bit stretched but didn’t revolt, thinking that maybe their moral obligation is to help the needy.

        Just for Leon, the moral obligation to help the needy existed even in ancient times. It isn’t something that “the left” invented.

        And when exactly was this time, I wonder? Was it in the most prosperous times, at least for the middle class, in the history of America – the fifties? When one person working could provide for the large family? Does Leon know that the progressive taxes then reached 90% for the upper class – and that didn’t negatively affect the prosperity? History, history!

        From now on the real thing starts, Leon is trying to lay a foundation to the specific ideology I already wrote about in The World according to Leon, so you may wish to look at that post first – it’ll make it easier to understand the motivation behind Leon’s childish blubbering.

        Then new election came and suddenly the Citizens realized that many of those who were not producing any wealth, but quite the opposite – were receiving welfare benefits and were supported by others, voted to send to the Capitol their own representatives with a goal to demand more financial assistance from the producers of wealth. More people began to receive benefits from the state, more became dependent on the constant influx of money that other people earned. After the next election more of those demanding officials were sent to the capital and they continued to demand more and more and more money.

        The State has no money. Only citizens do. Every time another social program was introduced, the Elected Officials created new laws for getting more money from the productive citizens, now without even consulting with them. The new times started when citizens were prohibited to decide by themselves what to do with their own money. Someone else was now deciding for them. ‘You earn, but we decide’ was the new way of doing things in Washington. The successful people were now called ‘the rich’. The rich was a code word for the people who worked hard, who were successful in what they were doing, saved money and who passed their accumulated wealth to their kids and grandchildren. We call those ‘rich’ by a different name – Producers.

        Sorry, I have to stop right here! This BS should be taken care of.

        “Rich” is a very old word, meaning “people with lots of money”. For Leon, it equates with success. For Leon, there is no other measure of success but money. And “producers” means essentially “producers of money for themselves”.

        And more – people that are working hard most of the time don’t get rich and don’t accumulate wealth. But for Leon the most important thing is to establish that rich are good and poor are evil. Kinda Bush-style black and white thinking.

        Oh, and I forgot to mention, that in the first part of the letter Leon says that “Democracy is a road to Socialism”. So, is he for a monarchy? For dictatorship? I think I know and I’ll tell you later!

        I will finish the review on Weinstein’s letter in the next post. The “best” is still ahead, now he will tie Democrats with socialists and communists.

        I hope you weren’t too tired and will come back to read the rest.

        Alexei Zoubov

        PS: Meanwhile, you may wish to go here.

        Part 2 is ready!

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Leon Weinstein, Thoughts | 2 Comments »

        Sarah Palin, the Savior of Humanity!??

        September 5th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Jon Stewart makes life in this crazy world bearable.

        Sarah Palin episode

        Sarah Palin is defending the humanity!

        Sarah Palin is defending the humanity!

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Thoughts | No Comments »

        Paul O’Neill on Ideology

        September 3rd, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Here is what Paul O’Neill (former Secretary of Treasury under George W. Bush) said about ideology:

        Ideology is a lot easier, because you don’t have to know anything or search for anything. You already know the answer to everything. It’s not penetrable by the facts.

        This has a direct correlation to my post: The World According to Leon

        It’s no surprise that Bush practically fired O’Neill in 2002. See here.

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies | No Comments »

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