Showing posts from June, 2020

Toward a Hong Kong Declaration of Justice and Rights

Freedom is gained or lost with every generation. But sometimes there are key moments. A small series of events that have a huge impact on the trajectory of the world. Hong Kong, right now, is having one of those moments. Hong Kong has a great history of freedom, prosperity, and bravery. A history that China has been working hard to destroy for the past 20 years. Hong Kongers have resisted the tyrannical Chinese oppression. This came to worldwide attention in 2014 with the Umbrella Movement against China interfering in and corrupting Hong Kong elections. A tyrannical system has two options when encountering resistance: increase oppression, or adapt. China has chosen again and again to increase oppression in Hong Kong. In 2019 they pushed a law taking away Hong Kong courts, so that people from Hong Kong would be taken to mainland China for so-called trials. Millions of people in Hong Kong marched in the streets against these clear violations of basic rights. China feigned adapti

Fighting Local Government Corruption - Part 18 of ?

A real election is happening in Dalton Township. A real election with real choices. And that's a huge win. Elections are one of the most important parts of a system of checks and balances. And without checks and balances, individual rights are never protected. Dalton hasn't been having real elections. Whoever would run as a Democrat would simply win uncontested. The single party decided all positions of political power in the township. A rumor had even been started that no one other than a Democrat could run in Dalton. I broke through that myth when I filed for office. Others followed, and now we have a ballot full of options, for the will of the people to reveal itself. Personally, I do not think this is a small step, I think this a gigantic leap forward for Dalton. There are two more important leaps: replacing people on the board, and then making positive policy changes. And that process has already begun by having an election the way that it is supposed to happen.

Liming and the Difference Between Prose and Poetry

Most twelve-year-old boys aren't really into poetry. Liming is no different. And, I don't understand how poetry even works in the Chinese language. Their spoken language is tonal, meaning when you change the sound you change the word. And their written language is logographic, meaning their symbols evolved from pictures representing whole words. But Liming is fluent in English, so we tackled the prose versus poetry issue anyway. I like to generate examples for things in the moment, off the cuff. It's a fun challenge. And it's often a good way to compare things. For instance, I was telling Liming about how I've been reading poetry from John Keats and Ovid recently. I inquired into his understanding of poetry, and there is an almost complete absence of exposure. He reads a lot of prose though. I decided to take a basic sentence in prose and show him what the same idea might look like in a poetical form. Here's the sentence in prose. - - - - - - - The sun

Michigan Monarchy

The word monarchy comes from Greek and means "one ruler". It's an old form of government, and it's new again. In a monarchy the authority of law emanates from the king or queen. This is opposed to the idea of natural and individual rights. And the similarities between how the government in Michigan is currently operating, and a medieval monarchy, are quite striking. In a monarchy the queen issues edicts. Laws that she makes whenever, wherever, and however she wants. In Michigan, Queen Whitmer calls them executive orders. And she's issued over 100 in the last three months. In a monarchy you must live by the whim of the sovereign. In Michigan, the same. In a classic monarchy there isn't a congress in the way the United States has traditionally had a congress, designated as the branch of the government with the power to make and change laws. That power is held by the queen. Instead, the queen has an advisory council that can suggest things, and she thin

How Tyrants Get People to Give Them Power

History has discernible patterns. As an example, this is John Ponet writing in the year 1556. He's talking about William the Conqueror in 1066. "He spoiled the nobility of their goods and possessions, made them slaves, and his own slaves lords: and upon the commoners he put immense taxes and impositions. He took from the people their weapons and harness, and made a law that no man should come out of his house after [eight o’clock]..." (Short Treatise on Political Power) These same tactics occur in every age. The tendency toward forms of government also has patterns. Patterns of power. Niccolo Machiavelli describes the classic cycle in his "Discourses on Livy". A single ruler is able to unite people and is thus a king. The next few generations become tyrannical kings. Nobles resist and overthrow the tyrant. The next few generations become tyrannical oligarchs. A populist movement rises up and overthrows the oligarchs. The leader becomes a king, and

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