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Herb Van Fleet

Herb Van Fleet has written 35 posts for The Absurdity Index

When “Give ‘em Hell” Truman Actually Gave ‘em Hell

“The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.” – President Harry S. Truman, Excerpt from public statement, … Continue reading

About Marriage: Gay and Straight

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” — Homer Rumor has it that right after the Supreme Count issued its ruling on gay marriage, Justice Antonin Scalia went outside the Supreme Court building … Continue reading

The Tragedy of Self-Interest

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.”– Adam Smith – Back in … Continue reading

Torturing America’s Values

  “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.” – George W. Bush   Although I am loath to use “Senate” and “intelligence” in the same sentence, nonetheless, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report a few months ago on the use of torture … Continue reading

Searching for the Least Worst Decision

“‎The greatest danger of a terrorist’s bomb is in the explosion of stupidity that it provokes.” ― Octave Mirbeau A few weeks ago, most of the world recoiled in shock at a video showing the decapitation of American journalist James Foley by a terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, … Continue reading

Thoughts on the Fourth of July

Another Forth of July is behind us. The speeches are now fading memories, the patriotic music is quiet, the hotdog eating contests are over (thank god), and the fireworks displays have fizzled out Everybody knows (or should know) that the Forth of July is the day of the year when we celebrate the signing of … Continue reading

So Long Democracy, We Knew Ye Well. R.I.P.

  Well, it’s is now official. Liberal democracy as we knew it is no more. Or, as Nietzsche might put it, democracy is dead. And how do I know this, you ask? I know because of an April 9 report by Princeton University’s Martin Gilens, and Northwestern University’s Benjamin Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: … Continue reading

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Care

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,during a period of philosophic thought called the Enlightenment, the idea of “natural rights” was all the rage. With few exceptions, the philosophers of the day felt that human beings were born with certain immutable rights and that the protection of these rights must be a condition of the establishment … Continue reading

Predicting is Hard, Especially About the Future

The great poet and philosopher Yogi Berra once astutely observed that “predicting is hard, especially about the future.” Well, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it look easy. In its latest report, “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis,” issued March 31, the IPCC says in so many words (covering 1,552 pages) that the … Continue reading

How to Save a Drowning Man

I recently recalled an old joke about how to tell a Republican from a Democrat. It goes like this: There is a drowning man 100 feet off shore. The Republican would throw the man 50 feet of rope and make him swim half way to safety. But the Democrat would throw the man 200 feet … Continue reading

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