Monday, March 31, 2008

Al Gore and His Global Warming Superfriends

Prepare yourself to be inundated by a three hundred million dollar advertising campaign to convince you that you are at fault that the globe is warming, despite mountains of evidence that there has been no recent warming at all. Al Gore and his trusty Superfriends--from both sides of the political aisle--will be attempting with both barrels to lull you into a belief that the question has been settled once and for all.

When I was a kid, I used to watch the Superfriends on Saturday morning TV. There was always someone, like the man who, with his evil xray ice gun, was bent on taking over the world. But Superman, Superwoman, Batman, and the whole cast of Superfriends always saved the day. I was almost as scared then that the iceman was really going to freeze the earth as my kids were recently that Al Gore's "documentary" told the truth about man and global warming.

It was comforting to them when I cited several bits of evidence that An Inconvenient Truth is mostly lies.

The coming tsunami--the $300 million ad campaign telling you that there is now once and for all consensus about man-made global warming--includes people from both sides of the political aisle agreeing on only one thing--that man causes global warming. Two of those sets of identical advertising twins that were revealed by Al and Tipper Gore last night are:
  • Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi-This is proof positive that those of you who thought that Newt Gingrich was ever politically different than Nancy Pelosi were sold a bill of goods. Newt and Nancy are part of the same Establishment that wants to dominate our politics and our liberties.
  • Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton-Interestingly, the advertising segment between these two said "we strongly disagree except on except one issue. That would be taking care of planet". We can perhaps assume that Pat Robertson meant "taking care of the planet" instead of "man is destroying the earth", but either way, Pat is making as much money out of this $300-million deal as are Al, Newt, and Nancy.
Traditionally a member of the elite group that has always advocated government to stay out of religion and morality, Al Gore told Leslie Stahl last night on 60 Minutes that the fight against global warming "is a moral and spiritual issue". Oh, well then! Count me on board! It's a moral issue!

No...actually, on second thought...I call bullcrap.

When it comes to those most qualified to speak out against Al Gore's crusade, who did Leslie Stahl choose? Dick Cheney.
"There's still a lot of skepticism about whether global warming is man made," Stahl remarked.

"I don't think there's a lot. I think there’s…" Gore said.

"Well, there's pretty impressive people like the vice president," Stahl pointed out. "He said, 'We don't know what causes it.'"
Dick Cheney as the foremost detractor of man-made global warming? That's the same as saying that Al Gore is its most qualified advocate.

In the news in the past few days was evidence of what happens when we make scientific decisions in the absence of science, because someone like Al Gore said we can't afford to wait. All of those Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs that everyone has been buying to save the earth are actually very dangerous, with no real solution to the problem that is created when they are broken or burn out. Perhaps now because more people are seeing that this dog won't hunt, that this emperor has absolutely no clothes, the Establishment is unleashing its greatest propaganda barrage to date.

It would be nice if this was their last-ditch effort.
. . .

The science is far from settled on the issue of global warming, despite what Al Gore and his gang of Superfriends want you to think. On the one hand they want you to think that people like you and me--who don't think man is making a major contribution to global warming--will be the culprits when earth burns up in fifty years like a fireball.

At the same time, however, politicians (not scientists) from both sides of the political spectrum are betting that you don't catch on to the fact that their "solution" to this non-problem will be much more devastating than an evil xray ice gun from Saturday morning cartoons.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton to George Washington's Father: "About that Cherry Tree?--George Misspoke"

Imagine what it might have been like if Hillary Clinton were George Washington's press secretary.

mis·speak [mis-speek] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object), verb (used without object), -spoke, -spok·en, -speak·ing. speak, utter, or pronounce incorrectly. speak inaccurately, inappropriately, or too hastily. flat out lie your pants off

[Origin: 1150–1200; ME misspeken; see mis-1, speak; cf. OE missprecan to murmur]

So this is what the campaign for presidency has become, a circus, lasting for approximately two out of every four years, where the most qualified candidates are ignored, and the least qualified (Obama, Hillary, and McCain...) are paraded before America as our only choices. Why are they the only choices? Because they make for great theater!!

If you type "hillary mis" into the Google search widget of your browser, the second thing on your list is "hillary misspoke." Click on that, and you find thousands of articles and opinions on the subject.

Not good for someone who is running for

Our first American president could barely tell a lie, while a 2008 candidate for the same office can barely tell the truth.

Hillary-- your pants are en fuego!!

President of the United States. By the way, yes it is critically important--unlike other issues that are brought up in presidential campaigns--that Hillary lied.

Here's what Hillary said about her visit to Bosnia that has now been embarrassingly proven to have been "misspeak" definition number 3--a flat out lie.
I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. But it was a moment of great pride for me to visit our troops, not only in our main base as Tuzla, but also at two outposts where they were serving in so many capacities to deactivate and remove landmines, to hunt and seek out those who had not complied with the Dayton Accords and put down their arms, and to build relationships with the people that might lead to a peace for them and their children.
Here's what Hillary might have said if she had been a young George Washington's press secretary:
My client remembers approaching the cherry tree under a hail of arrows from his Native American assailants. There was supposed to be some kind of fruit on the tree, but due to the onslaught he couldn't stop to look--and instead he ran with his head down to get into cover inside the barn. It was a moment of great pride for him to visit the cherry tree, where he served in so many capacities to deactivate and remove hatchets, to hunt and seek out those who had not complied with the Appalachian Accords and put down their arms, and to build relationships with the people that might lead to a peace for them and their children.
Our first American president could barely tell a lie, while a 2008 candidate for the same office can barely tell the truth. If she told a lie (or even simply can't remember what happened) in such a simple situation as this, you tell me--do you think she should be the President of the United States??

I sincerely hope you don't!

Hillary-- your pants are en fuego!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Should LDS Church Leaders Sign Autographs?

Would you ever ask an LDS General Authority for an autograph? What do you think they would say to you if you asked? What would you think of them if they signed one for you?

I was part of an interesting conversation a couple of days ago. We were talking about "priestcraft", which requires two things:
  1. To receive the praise of throngs of people.
  2. To solicit and bask in that praise.
Based on the first definition alone, President Gordon B. Hinckley might have been accused of priestcraft--millions of people adored him.

But if the second definition is figured in, he would not be guilty of priestcraft, because surely he didn't do it to receive all the attention and praise.

I suspected that at times such adoration was slightly embarrassing to him, and I wondered aloud in our conversation: "Did President Hinckley ever get asked for autographs? If so, how did he handle the situation?"

I think he would have politely declined, but I guess I'm not sure. There is a policy guideline from over 30 years ago stating the following:
Collecting Autographs and Greeting General Authorities. “There is a growing tendency in the Church for members to request autographs of General Authorities who are visiting the stakes and missions. In some places there has developed a competition to see who can collect the most signatures in hymnbooks and even in books of scripture. When autograph seekers appear at the close of meetings, this becomes a distraction making it difficult for General Authorities to greet people. In addition, it gives something of the image of a celebrity to the Brethren, which may not be in keeping with the sacred callings entrusted to them. …

“General Authorities are always grateful for the opportunity to shake hands with the members of the Church. It would be more in keeping with our pattern of meetings and of worship for leaders to greet the members and shake hands with them rather than to sign autographs.”
The policy seems to imply what should happen. But is that what always happens? The policy doesn't seem like a hard and fast rule. What do you think? Should a church leader--of any church, for that matter--popular because of their position--sign autographs?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Socialism and American Health Care: How Much Did That Box of Cereal Cost?

One of the reasons that health care costs so much in the US is because general hospitals are not required to publish their costs. Claiming that publishing their costs would contribute to collusion and higher prices, they hide their costs from consumers. Hiding costs is precisely what does allow for collusion. That's a main reason why your health care costs are so high. Why do the general hospitals hide their costs? Because the United States Congress allows them to by law.

And you thought American health care was inefficient because the free market doesn't work. News flash! US Health Care is hardly a free-market industry. Health care in the United States continues to gravitate further away from the free market. Subsequently, health care costs rise--while fewer and fewer people can afford to pay for even the insurance to protect against these costs.

The other day I went to the grocery store. Here's what happened.
I don't do the grocery shopping very often, so it surprised me to find out that my grocer had established a new policy. By edict of the federal government (I found out from the cashier as I got to the checkstand), there was not one price tag anywhere in the cereal aisle. I, however, love cereal, so I grabbed a couple of bags and a few boxes of the stuff, which would last us a week and allow us to add to our food storage.

I'm a pretty good mathematician, so I always like to guess what the cost of our groceries will be. When the final tally rings up, I'm usually within a dollar or two. Imagine my surprise when my guess was off by over fifty dollars! "Holy cow!" I exclaimed to the cashier. "That can't be right." "Oh, it's right alright," she said as she handed me my receipt. "You bought cereal." I looked at the receipt but couldn't find anything to indicate why my guess had been so far off. But I did notice, based on the cashier's warning, that the costs for the boxes and bags of cereal were not to be found on that little slip of paper.

When I got home, my wife took one look at the cereal and asked sternly, "What in the world did you buy cereal for? Don't you know how expensive it is now? I send money to our friends in Mexico and they send me the same stuff for much cheaper."
Okay, so the previous story didn't really happen (except for me seldom doing the shopping but loving to guess the final cost when I do). But such tales are the daily reality in the health care industry.

Do you think the price of cereal would go up or down if no one knew what they were being charged for it?

...So do I.

Health care is no different in that respect.

In her book Who Killed Health Care? Regina Herzlinger explains the rationale that general hospitals have used to keep hidden the exorbitant charges they pass on to the consumer--and that Congress has bought...hook, line, and sinker.
In a blatant display of their self-serving agenda, the general hospitals convinced the U.S. Congress to ban further expansion of specialty hospitals. one alleged that the specialty hospitals were bad for the consumer's health. No, instead, the general hospitals alleged that the specialty hospitals were bad for their health [read profits].

To achieve their goals, the general hospitals used another variant of the competition-is-killing-us argument. They alleged that the specialty hospitals are focusing only on high-profit procedures...[which is not true].

Who Killed Health Care? pages 80, 81, 82
Non-profit general hospitals in the United States are often far from non-profit. One hospital described in Herzlinger's book made $567 million profit in one year--after paying out outrageous salaries to its executives.

Ironically, however, this particular health care problem is not simply with the general hospitals. It is with national lawmakers who have colluded with the health care providers. And true to form, prices have gone up.

Other countries, whose health systems are not so protected by their governments (no, not Candada) are making it financially feasible for Americans to travel overseas, stay for several days, and get better health care for much cheaper than they can receive in the bureaucratic nightmare that is becoming the US health care system.

Hopefully now, you can see that more government control of health care is not the solution to America's skyrocketing health care costs. In nearly every example where government has affected health care, government collusion has caused health care costs to increase. Ironically, one area where prices have actually gone down is in lasik eye surgery--because government has stayed largely out of this arena.

We don't need more socialism. We need less.

Put the prices back on my cereal!

Easter is Becoming My Favorite Holiday

Maybe it's because it doesn't have all the materialistic trappings of Christmas. Perhaps because it's starting to feel like it's finally going to be Spring this year! But for whatever reason, this Easter has been one of my more memorable ones. Did you enjoy Easter 2008?

Even though I woke up early and worked an uncustomary 7 hours yesterday and 1 today, I still rate Easter 2008 as one of my favorite Easters ever.

To appease the Christians, the Pagans, and perhaps everyone else, the date of Easter varies each year. Because it's a bit earlier this year, it falls on the day before my father's birthday (he has since passed on to the next life) as well as my father-in-law's birthday, who were born on the exact same day (March 24, 1935--we haven't established how close in time on that day they were born).

Last year's Easter, celebrated with the Staheli side of the family, was just as enjoyable. I remember my mother asking one of my younger children why we celebrate Easter. I whispered to him an answer that would catch her off guard, and when he responded, "Because that's when Jesus was born," it did surprise

Christ was born in the Spring. He died and was resurrected on a beautiful spring day as well, affording us the blessings of salvation.

Now that's worth celebrating. Especially with family.

her. "That, too!" she said.

The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ implies that the birth of Christ occurred during the time that we now celebrate as Easter:
1 The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April—
To begin the festivities yesterday, our extended family went over to the LDS Church building and played basketball in the gymnasium. There are a lot of good ball players in the David and Diane Dance family. After ball playing was over, some of us jogged as far as we could toward home before grandpa picked us up in his car.

As always, lunch was more than scrumptious. There was so much food that I compelled myself (I don't know how much it will help my "diet", though) not to sample everything--until supper, when I sampled the rest of it.

After lunch the Easter egg hunt convened, followed by the eating of candy galore--as if we had room left in our already full stomachs. (This morning the hunt organizers went back out and found a handful of the treasures that had not been discovered during the hunt yesterday, and we quickly dispatched their contents as well.)

My brother-in-law and his wife presented to us some insights into a personality profiling tool that he uses. This discussion was very helpful in seeing why our children are the way they are. More than once, when my brother-in-law explained to one of my kids that, because they identified as a certain color they have certain traits, my child said "Yup! That's me!"

My favorite part of the whole day was when my wife initiated a discussion of memories of her childhood, including her 8 brothers and sisters, but focusing mostly on memories of mom and dad. Even the youngest children sat with rapt attention as the Dance siblings talked about playing tag on their three-wheelers, how dad unloaded potatoes directly from the combine into needy people's pickup trucks, how mom dressed the kids all the same way, and how they had to hold on for dear life to the sprinkler pipe trailer as dad sped the pickup truck down the highway.

Family is what it's all about. And, because this holiday is not mixed with too much gift giving that diverts our focus from its real purpose
(as Christmas often can be), I've decided that Easter is becoming my favorite holiday.

Christ was born in the Spring. He died and was resurrected on a beautiful spring day as well, affording us the blessings of salvation.

Now that's worth celebrating. Especially with family.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Did You Think of Obama's Speech? I'm Not Sure.

Barack Obama said a lot of the right things in his speech in Philadelphia yesterday. The only problem is--I'm not sure if I can trust him. I agreed with some of the things he said, but I wonder about some things that weren't said, and I also wonder about the potentially hidden meanings of others.

Some of the Things I Agreed With

In No Other Nation - I agree with Obama's implication that America is something to be uniquely proud of:
I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Reverend Wright's "Profoundly Distorted View" - I appreciated very much that Obama publicly chastised Jeremiah Wright for his overtly racist statements:
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.
There is Much More to Reverend Wright Than a Couple of YouTube Videos - I am willing to believe that Wright's racist comments are aberrations of his real personality.
But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Some of the Things I Disagreed With

The Black Experience - I know many blacks have been in groups of white people where they have felt intimidated by them. Perhaps based on that there is the "black experience".
That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
On the other hand, I've been in groups of black people in which I have felt severely intimidated because of my color. I have been told by a black woman that as a white man I have no value. If Obama is serious about overcoming the racial divide in America, he shouldn't just give a nod and a wink to the racist facets of the "black experience".

Throwing Grandma Under the Bus, But Not Dad - Greg Allen hosted General Jerry Curry on The Right Balance this morning. Their conversation included a discussion of Obama's speech. Greg Allen made a good point, which I'll paraphrase. If Obama can say this:
I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, ... and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
then why did he not admit that his black father left him when he was two years old?

The Potentially Hidden Meanings

The "Long March" - When I hear this term, I immediately think of its pregnant meaning. Obama, who must have known what the term implies, said:
This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us...
Mao Tse Tung endured a long march of his own--to a power that ceased only upon his death.

Socialist Antonio Gramsci talked of the "long march through the institutions", advocating a patient, gradual change away from individual liberties and toward socialism, where the government takes care of everything for everyone. This, by the way, is why I will not vote for Barack Obama--his agreement with Antonio Gramsci on at least most things "social".

The Fervor of Unity - Barack Obama has used the word unity nearly ad nauseam in his campaign speeches. The way people swoon when he talks of such unity has me a bit creeped out. Unity behind what? I can think of several people who had unity behind the wrong principle:
  • Benito Mussolini was adored by Italians. Women swooned. He was a marvelous speaker.
  • Franklin D Roosevelt unified the people, many in worshipful genuflection, behind socialistic policies that still wrack the American economy today.
  • Adolf Hitler was adored by fellow Germans. Not that Obama is thinking about putting all whites in concentration camps or anything, but their meteoric rises to "rock stardom" are eerily similar.
  • Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, and Che Guevara suckered the Cuban people hook, line, and sinker. It was only after the Cubans realized they had been lied to that they were forced to choose whether (1) to suffer abuse, torture, and/or death, (2) to escape to the United States, or (3) to become one of the "unified".
Unity behind the wrong principle is much more scary when people are unified a person just because of his innate skill as a pied piper. It is the principles that the man espouses that must be listened to--not the clarion call of the rhythmic, polished voice.
. . .
So...yes, Obama said a lot of good things. Did he mean them? And his preacher might be a good man. Does it matter? In this context, I don't have to care, really. Because Obama's socialist policies speak much louder than his eloquent words.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Would You Vote For Super Dell Schanze for Anything?

First he's sure that he's the Republican silver bullet for Salt Lake County Mayor. Then he changes his mind and decides to run as a Libertarian for governor of Utah. In all of this, it occurred to me that (if he lived in my precinct) I wouldn't even vote for Dell Schanze to be my precinct secretary.

I write this article with some trepidation, worried that if Super Dell reads it he may come to my house or place of business and brandish a firearm at me. But anyway, here goes.

A few years back, at the Republican State convention, I thought a Republican challenger to incumbent Governor Mike Leavitt was serious about his campaign against the governor. Then he asked Super Dell to introduce him to the convention, and it was at that point that I concluded that he was not serious.

I used to think that the radio ads for Totally Awesome Computers were funny. Somehow, though, no one else I knew thought they were. People who had been into one of his stores were the most vehemently disgusted by Dell's on-air rantings and ravings. I decided to go to Totally Awesome Computers and buy a computer. It was then that I decided I didn't think Super Dell's radio ads were that funny anymore. I was condescended to, pigeon-holed, and made fun of because I didn't want to buy the top-of-the-line, 720 gigabyte 83 million RPM hard drive, Xeon super extra quad three core processor with ulima video graphics array (or something like that) computer. I made the "I'm going to looook arrooooouuuunnnnd a little, and I'll be back" excuse, and then I went to EBC computers and bought a computer that actually was totally awesome.

I wasn't sure if I was hearing both sides of the story about Mr. Schanze brandishing a firearm in his neighborhood a few years back, but then I heard more brandishing stories from callers to KSL Nightside last night. The ones that I remember are: He was arrested at Moab for brandishing, and he took his employees to Totally Awesome Guns and Ammo and threatened them subtly with a firearm when his computer company was going down in flames.

It is debatable whether Dell Schanze is a good businessman. Bob Lonsberry this morning opined that he may make himself and several other people rich by advertising their products on the radio. That may be.

But the one thing I'm sure of. Dell Schanze will not make a good politician. The Republicans (including me) are very excited that he dropped out (as a Republican) from the Salt Lake County Mayor's race. Now, however, he has inflicted the Libertarians by suddenly signing up as one of them to take on Jon Huntsman.

Super Dell is getting his publicity, for sure. But let's hope for no other reason than to defeat him early that the Libertarians field another candidate for governor.

Because so far Dell Schanze hasn't even done a very good job as president of the Super Dell Fan Club.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No, I'm Not Taking My Ron Paul Signs Down Yet

It would appear that it's all over but the shouting--for and against the Establishment-anointed John McCain. Perhaps first and foremost, he now has all of Romney's delegates, right? And therefore, he's a shoo-in for the Republican presidential nomination?

Actually, no.

Ron Paul still has more than just a small chance. So I'm not taking down my Ron Paul yard signs just yet.

My wife asked if it was time to take our Ron Paul yard sign down yet. I told her that I would prefer not to, and here's why.

I am (almost) a perpetual optimist. For example, if the BYU Cougar football team is trailing the University of Utah, as long as there is time left on the clock, I am optimistic that we can come out on top against the Utes. As a matter of fact, it's happened just that way in 2007, when Harvey Unga made an 11-yard touchdown run to overcome a 10-9 deficit, and in 2006, when John Beck

There are still a bunch more uncommitted Republican delegates than the establishment news media want you to know about.

threw a touchdown to tight end Johnny Harline
with no time left on the clock.

You see, it's never over until it's really over.

I share the same optimism for Ron Paul. Until the Republican national convention is complete, I still have optimism that Ron Paul can be our next president.

Why is that? Because there are still a bunch more uncommitted Republican delegates than the establishment news media want you to know about.

For example, how about all those Mitt Romney delegates, now that Romney has suspended his campaign? He gave them to John McCain, right? In some cases, that may be legal, but in other cases, it is clearly not. Let's look at Utah Republican rules. Utah is a winner-take-all state. Since Romney got the most Republican votes in Utah, all the delegates are (sort-of) committed to Mitt Romney.
36 National Convention delegates are to be allocated to the presidential contender receiving the greatest number of votes in the primary statewide. [Utah Republican Party Bylaws 7.0.B]
But here's where it gets tricky and interesting. Since he's not a candidate anymore, what happens? Well, he can't just give them to McCain, because that's not who Utahns voted for. Here are the rules:
On the first ballot, the national delegation are bound to vote for the candidate who has received the most votes in the Republican Presidential Primary. The delegation is not bound on subsequent ballots. [Utah Republican Party Bylaws 7.0.B]
Delegates from other states are not committed either. For example, all of Wyoming's delegates are "soft-pledged", meaning that

there is no formal system of allocating Wyoming's National Convention delegates to presidential contenders.
there is no formal system of allocating Wyoming's National Convention delegates to presidential contenders.
Currently of the thirty Republican delegates in Michigan twenty are uncommitted, and the other ten are "soft-pledged"

The stories of several other states are very similar.

. . .

The Republican presidential race is not nearly as "over" as we've been led to believe. Can any, many, or all of the Republican delegates be convinced to vote for Ron Paul? Maybe not. However, he is clearly the most insightful and well-qualified candidate remaining in the race, so maybe at least some of the delegates can be convinced.

At any rate, you can see why I'm not taking my signs down yet. And if you've taken yours down, I encourage you to put them back up!

Ron Paul may be the next President of the United States yet!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Obama's Pastor "On the Couch" (He's Actually Pretty Accurate)

I looked into the supposedly inflammatory rhetoric of Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Is he a lunatic? Many people seem to think so, but I don't. Some of the things he says are a bit odd, but some of them have more than just a grain of truth.

I don't share his appreciation for Louis Farrakhan (and I wonder if Obama does). After all, just read The Autobiography of Malcolm X if you want to know about the Nation of Islam. But we can't paint every picture with such a broad brush--as Rush Limbaugh is wont to do. Even though Obama (and Wright, apparently) belong(s) to a different political party than I do, it's not right or healthy for me just to dismiss everything his pastor says as inflammatory and wrong. Because it's not.

So, come along with me as I psychoanalyze the Reverend Jeremiah Wright--and I'll show you the nuances.

Drugs, "Three Strikes", and Bigger Prisons

Reverend Wright inveighed against all three of these in one breath:
"The government gives [black Americans] the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.'
We may not be giving them the drugs, but our war on drugs is a joke, and it has the effect of getting more drugs to more people, because drug pushing has become a profitable profession. I agree with Ron Paul--and I guess, then, Reverend Wright--that blacks are treated unfairly in this drug war. If we treated them more fairly, maybe a lot fewer of them would think that Radical Islam is the only place to turn.

Let me ask you--do you think the "Three Strikes" law is sound law? I think it is a fiasco. I agree with J. Daryl Charles, who said:
To abandon the criteria for just punishment—punishment commensurate with the crime—is to abandon all criteria for punishment. In truth, the sentences imposed by many state systems bear almost no resemblance to time actually served, thus breeding disrespect for the criminal justice system...
How can it be crime-commensurate punishment to levy
a minimum sentence of 25 years to life for [all] three-time repeat offenders[?]
I guess Reverend Wright isn't so far afield after all...?

American Supremacy
Reverend Wright went on in the same "diatribe" to say:
No, no, no, God d--- America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God d--- America for treating our citizens as less than human. God d--- America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
America does act supreme. A lot of Americans think we have a good reason for it, though--but I don't. How can it be that we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, yet we can't spend a fraction of that amount to close our profusely open and insecure borders? Answer, because the American supremacists want to use our supremacist (read Establishment)-created insecurity as reason to have a military presence in about three-fourths of the world's countries.

What's worse, the fact that America acts as the world's supreme and only superpower gives a boatload of socialist countries a boatload of extra money (they don't have to have but the smallest of militaries) to continue to keep a boatload of soon-to-be failed socialist experiments afloat--just long enough perhaps for a preponderance of Americans to envy them.

Still think Jeremiah Wright is so wrong?
. . .

Don't get me wrong. I won't vote for Barack Obama, despite some previous praise I have given him on this site. But just because we don't like his politics is no reason to categorically lambaste his pastor.

To do so makes us look uneducated and silly.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why Do Elliot Spitzer and Eve Carson Dominate the News?

Elliott Spitzer and Eve Carson have dominated national news coverage for the past few days. Do you think it's healthy that two attractive people--and very unfortunate events in their lives (or deaths)--take up nearly twenty percent of the news cycle--while hundreds of other news stories go unreported? I don't think so. It seems a bit voyeuristic to me.

Elliott Spitzer is a fallen celebrity, and Eve Carson was a very successful, very attractive woman. Let's respect both of them--and ourselves--by leaving them and their families alone.

Stories should dominate the national news according to their national importance. I know--it hasn't been that way for a long time. But the current news cycle goes to emphasize the point that outlets like CNN and Fox News think you're more interested in the murder of Eve Carson and the adulterous antics of Elliott Spitzer than you are about the failing US economy, Iraq, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Presidential Election.

Are you? If so, why?

Elliott Spitzer is a dirty old man, and it appears that he's been so for quite some time. But why do I care? He's not even a governor, for crying out loud. (I cared when the President of my Country was a dirty old man, and was glad that he was impeached, although the Senate didn't have the courage to remove him from office.) To my dismay, I know a lot more about Spitzer than I think anyone should ever have to know. Now that the destruction of his family is nearly complete, we get to be further entertained by learning the equally "important" "news" of some of the lovely ladies that he's been consorting with.

Spitzer did something that was egregiously stupid, but how about let's just leave him alone--so I can get back to reading my current issue of People magazine, huh?
. . .

According to Wiki Answers, there are about 45 murders per day in the United States. I'm not sure if this is accurate, but let's take for instance that it is. Eve Carson was murdered about seven days ago. Using these statistics, about 300 murders have occurred since Eve Carson was murdered, but how many of these murders have been in the news. Answer: one.


Because she's pretty. Because she was successful. How does that make the families feel of the rest of those who have been murdered in the last week?

To add to the irony, try a Google search for the name "Abhijit Mahato". Who's that, you say? He's the young man from India that was admittedly murdered by the same guy who took Eve Carson's life. Interestingly, aside from a handful of local reports at the time of Mahato's death, the only way you can find out about it is because of Eve Carson's murder. How is this fair and respectful news reporting?

. . .

Is Eve Carson's story newsworthy? Yes. For about an hour. Is Elliott Spitzer's story newsworthy? Possibly. But for much less than an hour. And these stories have been going on for days!!!

Many news outlets have a predilection for pretty people and either their pretty or salacious stories. In the meantime, a great deal of what is genuinely important in our world goes virtually unnoticed. Very likely it's because most of us prefer the comfort of bread and circuses to anything substantial.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oil Hits $107 a Barrel. Yay!!!

It's not all bad when oil hits $107 per barrel. In the past, high oil prices have been the impetus to find alternative energy solutions. Whenever oil prices have dropped, it has made pursuing those solutions infeasible. The price is way up, so let's research and develop!! Wait... Enter the man-made global warming lobby.

107-dollar oil is not all good either. A large portion of the cost-per-barrel increase over the past few weeks has been because the value of the dollar is plummeting. Where the dollar was once about on par with the Euro, you can now purchase 55 Euros with one hundred dollars--not very good.

But historically, the increasing cost of oil has made it feasible to look for alternatives to oil. I'm not sure how a weak dollar plays into this, but let's hope American ingenuity can make lemonade out of this current batch of lemons.

In 1973, OPEC established an oil embargo against the US and other nations that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur war. President Richard Nixon quickly created Project Independence, calling for US energy independence by 1980. OPEC flinched and opened the spigots, and the price of oil stabilized.

By 1981, oil had increased in price to $37 per barrel. About that time Jimmy Carter issued an executive order creating the Synthetic Fuels Corporation. OPEC increased output, and prices dropped back to $14 per barrel.

I think there's a pattern here. Why did OPEC keep dropping prices? Because they knew that at a certain price point, research into alternative fuels becomes feasible.

Fast forward to March 9, 2008. The price of oil hits an all-time high of $107. Sounds like a pretty good time for private entities to start looking at alternative fuels again.

A good place to start (or to pick up where we left off) might be synthetic fuels (oil from coal bitumen). When the world started to restrict trade--particularly oil--with Nazi Germany, the Fischer-Tropf synthesis was used to produce an oil replacement.

But...there is a catch. The synthetic fuel process creates a bunch of carbon dioxide.
Such promise has attracted entrepreneurs and government officials, including the Secretary of Energy, who want domestic substitutes for foreign oil.
But there is a big catch. Producing fuels from coal generates far more carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, than producing vehicle fuel from oil or using ordinary natural gas. And the projects now moving forward have no incentive to capture carbon dioxide beyond the limited amount that they can sell for industrial use.
So, the reason we can't be energy independent has nearly everything to do with the faux crisis of man-made global warming.

It's all starting to become clearer.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Zero Energy: What is a Green Building Anyway?

The concept of a Green Building seems great. I'm all in favor of conserving energy. But not when it means creating an excruciating work environment. Green builders should build green buildings rather than just jumping on the bandwagon.

The Deseret News recently ran an article about saving energy from building "green" office complexes. I think it sounds like a great idea.
"We need to educate CEO's, COO's, brokers and investors about why they should be thinking about green," said Jeppeson, who is president of Salt Lake City-based Green Earth Development. "It's not just about being good for the environment."

The biggest benefits for businesses to consider environmental standards in their developments are economic, because they can pocket the savings from lower operating costs from energy efficiency and reduced maintenance.

"We can save 25 percent of operating costs, and that goes immediately to the bottom line of a developer," he said. "The value of the real estate increases tremendously."
The implication here, I thought, was that money could be saved by the way buildings are architected. I hope this is true. In the case of at least one office tower, this is decidedly not the case.
The new Thomas Mayne designed Federal Building at 7th and Mission Streets in San Francisco is a case in point. Lauded by the New York Times as a building that “may one day be remembered as the crowning achievement of the General Services Administration’s Design Excellence program,” what some believe is the greenest federal building in the nation’s history also likely has the worst work environment. While architectural describe the building’s “sense of airiness” as “magical,” employees view working in this heat and air-conditioning free building with the wavy concrete floors and ceilings as a nightmare.
It sounds like they've pretended to reduce their carbon footprint on the backs of Federal employees. Here are some of the features of the building:
  • No heating or air-conditioning (as mentioned above)
  • Elevators that only stop at every third floor. It remains to be seen how many employees will resort to using the disability elevator, which stops at all floors.
  • People use umbrellas to block out the sun in certain portions of the building.
  • The building was built for millions of dollars over budget, yet still failed to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating.
  • Employees can use the cafeteria--in the building across the street.
. . .

Here's a little something that has gotten me a tad nervous about the green movement, though.
Global Green USA establishes collaborative partnerships with local governments, affordable housing organizations, and other public and private entities to facilitate the development, adoption, and implementation of sustainable policies, programs, and practices. These partnerships inform and direct education, policy development, and advocacy efforts at the local, state, and federal levels. Global Green USA also partners with housing developers and public agencies to 'green' select affordable housing projects.
Rather, I agree with Don Fitz.
Don Fitz is not a fan of green building. At least not the type he perceives the current green building vogue to represent: a movement by green architects, activists and politicians to promote building practices and "eco-techniques" with a narrow focus that do little to address the underlying environmental problems.

He laments the fact that politicians in particular rarely demonstrate any real concern towards global warming, often choosing just to hitch their rides to the green bandwagon in order to bask in the positive glow it brings.
I don't mind Global Green working with private entities to suggest new ways to build more energy-efficient buildings.

It's this collaboration with government, government, and government in order to compel greenness that seems a little creepy.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Global Warming: Utah Students Should Be Taught Science, Not Propaganda

I completely agree with the Salt Lake Tribune editorial staff. Our children should be taught in school about global warming.

Okay...well...I don't completely agree with them. For starters, I think they should be taught the truth about global warming. And I just found out that, based on my opinion of global warming, the SL Trib editorial board thinks I'm an "obtuse naysayer". Oh! Ouch!

Have the Brits become smarter than their progeny who declared independence from them 232 years ago? It would seem so. At least they can recognize a crock when they see it. Caught up in a religious fervor, however, the Salt Lake Tribune editorial staff has revealed one of its interesting blind spots. You see, with 90% surety, they are absolutely positive that the theory of man-made global warming is
an issue of science, and, as far as the vast majority of legitimate scientists are concerned, it is settled science.
Crock alert!

Show me one--seriously--one scientist who says that the issue is settled? No one in the science field is as positive as the Salt Lake Tribune that "human production of carbon emissions" is a significant cause of climate change or "that there is [a] looming crisis".

When the Brits smelled a rat, they did something about it. They required that the faux documentary Incovenient Truth by Al Gore be offset by statements of truth when shown to their school children.

But the Salt Lake Tribune wants to force it down our children's throats--lock, stock, and barrel. At least the Trib had the courtesy to publish a news story about some of us "obtuse...naysayers"!! In the next breath, however, they lambaste the lot of us.
Some of these parents call the issue "political" or "religious."
Well, duh! I have two questions:
  • (1) First, a political one: Who would be out of a job if they told the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that man is not affecting climate change?
  • (2) Now, a religious one: What do you call it when someone has blind faith in something that has more evidence against it than for it?
The Tribune steps further into a sticky wicket of their own making when they discuss the potential source of "economic chaos":
The children being taught in Utah schools today will have to deal with the hunger, displacement and economic chaos that are inevitable if Earth's growing population doesn't act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How everyone and their dogs isn't howling that that emperor has no clothes is beyond me. Note to the Tribune: there already is far too much hunger, displacement, and economic chaos! The only way that millions of third world people will ever get out of their current economic chaos is if they don't get further burdened by the regulations inherent in the combating the fictitious man-made global warming slash government enhancement crisis.

So yes, our children should be taught about global warming. But they should be taught the truth. First of all, we don't know the effect of man's actions on global warming, as much as we religiously would like to. Second of all, there are a lot of other actors that have a great deal of influence on the warming of the globe, such as the sun, the clouds, volcanoes, and the ocean.

All in all, it would be a travesty if the Utah Public School system took the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board's advice on how to teach global warming.

Harry Reid's "God and Intimate Friend"--Franklin D. Roosevelt

In a speech at BYU, Harry Reid spoke of his reverence for Franklin D. Roosevelt. I didn't realize, until reading the book Liberal Fascism, just how pervasive FDR-worship was in the 1930's and 1940's--not to mention in our current century. Nor did I understand just how that worship could color the politics of Harry Reid.

When Harry Reid was a child, his family had a picture of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the wall of their home. He spoke very fondly of FDR and how--to this day--he agrees with FDR's policies.

What I didn't realize is just how big of a phenomenon FDR was in his time (although it was in my family--see below). Understanding this issue helps us to understand not only how FDR can still be revered today, but how he could be so successful with his implementation of plans that so clearly spat upon the Constitution of the United States.

(Incidentally, to understand the fervor of socialist hero worship in the early part of the 20th century, one need only look at my family tree. My grandfather was named Woodrow Wilson Staheli, and my father was named Franklin H Staheli--after Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was born in 1935.)

Shortly after FDR came to power, the British Ambassador notified the British government about a hysteria that was spreading among Americans. As chronicled in Jonah Goldberg's book, Liberal Fascism, the leader expressed that
The "starved loyalties and repressed hero worship of the country have found in [Roosevelt] an outlet and a symbol." Liberal Fascism, p. 121
Visiting the rural hinterlands, an aide reported back on the brewing cult of personality: "Every house I visited--mill worker or unemployed--had a picture of the President...He is at once God and their intimate friend; he knows them all by name, he knows their little town and mill, their little lives and problems. And though everything else fails, he is there, and will not let them down."
In retrospect, I remember hearing and feeling a similar devotion from Harry Reid when he spoke last October at BYU. He spent somewhat of a disproportionate amount of his time paying obeisance to FDR as a springboard to explaining how his own brand of politics are Christlike. Harry Reid would have been a progressive had he been alive 100 years ago.

It makes me wonder if Harry Reid has really ever been his own person? Reid's first political memory is that of FDR, and obviously that memory is of particular poignancy. If Reid, to this day, expresses such a reverence for his "God and []intimate friend", is it likely that he would ever give his own politics a good, honest questioning? What are the chances that Reid would turn against his God and intimate friend?

Moreover, has Reid really ever stopped to see not only how devastating still are the effects of FDR's legacy, but how he himself now contributes to the American malaise that is tending toward total government control over society?

I don't think so.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hillary Roars Back: What Did I Tell You?

I told you two weeks ago that Hillary Clinton was nowhere near finished with her presidential campaign. James Carville and others were preparing her epitaph, because she wouldn't win both Texas and Ohio, which would doom her campaign. How do you like the looks of my latest conspiracy theory now?

There was no question in my mind that Hillary would win both Texas and Ohio, because the establishment has already ordained Hillary the next US Minister of Socialism. The campaign still makes for good theatrics, but it was never in doubt that Clinton wins in Ohio and Texas would be carefully orchestrated. It will be close, because close bolsters ratings, but Hillary will get the nod in the end. (It's "too bad" that Ron Paul isn't Establishment material--otherwise, the media could have a double-dip a great ratings.)
Clinton's triumphs ended a month of defeats for the former first lady, who told jubilant supporters, "We're going on, we're going strong and we're going all the way."

Seriously...are you really surprised?

My first clue that I was right on target was when the guy called in to the Glenn Beck program yesterday saying that everyone in Ohio that had been registered Republican was now registered as unaffiliated. what could that mean? If it were to help a particular candidate, who might that be? Especially after Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter asked Republicans to torpedo the Democrats by voting for Hillary.

A friend of mine asked me last Saturday if I still stand by my Hillary Conspiracy. I told him that I did. Last night's results didn't surprise me in the least.

Barack Obama is young. He'll have another chance. But Hillary has paid her dues through such things as Hillarycare and schmoozing with the Chinese.

It's Hillary's turn. Unfortunately, she will be president. Ohio and Texas were but light snacks for her on the road to the White House.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Roots of the Minimum Wage: Progressive Racism and Eugenics

It is very observable that if wages are raised to a certain level, then certain individuals will no longer be employable. Ironically, this was exactly the reason for early 20th-century progressives to support a minimum wage. Their less-than-honorable intentions were to rid society of those human beings who didn't 'make the cut'.

In our day and age, Conservatives are branded as fascists because of their opposition to minimum wage laws.

But one hundred years ago, the progressive predecessors of 21st-century liberals understood the effects of minimum wage laws perfectly. That's why they wanted a minimum wage--as an excuse to cleanse society of its human refuse. This is another of those strange-but-true facts that the American Establishment has been nearly successful in stuffing down the "memory hole".

Empirical evidence supports at every turn the Conservative contention that those who can least afford to lose their jobs are the first to be priced right out of the job market when minimum wage laws are established.

Sidney Webb, a progressive at the turn of the 20th century (and who would be a liberal if he were alive today) said this about the efficacy of a minimum wage:
These physical and moral weaklings and degenerates must somehow be maintained at the expense of other persons. They may be provided for from their own property or savings by charity or from public funds with or without being set to work in whatever ways are within their capacity. But of all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites the most ruinous to the community is to allow them unrestrainedly to compete as wage earners for situations in the industrial organisation. Industrial Democracy By Sidney Webb, Beatrice Potter Webb
Coincidentally, people like Webb, H.G. Wells, and President Woodrow Wilson were consummate racists who looked at the black, brown, and other non-white races as belonging to those "physical and moral weaklings and degenerates" they desired to eugenically cleanse from society.

The minimum wage, therefore, has its roots in racism and eugenics.

At least the liberals of one hundred years ago were honest.

Presidential Campaign 2008: David Paul vs. Goliath McCain

Mike Huckabee just dropped out of the Republican presidential race. That leaves just John McCain...right? Not so fast! The Republican race, to the chagrin of Establishment Americans everywhere, is now down to TWO candidates, despite what the establishment media would have you believe. And you know what? Given the honest chance, I think Ron Paul can clean John McCain's clock. It will be difficult, because McCain and all his establishment buddies are now wussies running scared.

This makes potentially for a very interesting Republican National convention.

There used to be a plethora of Republican candidates for President of the United States. Now there are two. I'll bet most of you thought that with Mike Huckabee's exit there was only one.

Mike Huckabee bowed to reality Tuesday and out of the Republican presidential race.

''We kept the faith,'' he told his end-of-the-road rally Tuesday after John McCain clinched the nomination. ''I'd rather lose an election than lose the principles that got me into politics in the first place.''

From the very beginning, Ron Paul was given no chance to survive the race for president. The heavyweights have all nearly fallen,

David once a long time ago slew his Goliath. I think it can happen again. This is just starting to get interesting.

and as the dust's...David Paul against Goliath McCain.

You, fellow Republicans and Independents, have two choices now. John McCain represents debauchery, imperialism, and bloated deficits. Ron Paul, on the other hand, stands for good will, liberty for all, and preserving the economic future for our posterity.

That's not a very difficult choice. Do you have the courage to make it? I think you do. Look at it this way...Do you want just to be on the bandwagon--again, or do you want to help effect a healthy course change for history?

David once a long time ago slew his Goliath. I think it can happen again. This is just starting to get interesting.

Monday, March 03, 2008

America: A Shining Example, or an Iron Fist?

Many people have come to believe that America should be the leader of the world. I happen to disagree. I rather think that America should should be the world's example. For nearly one hundred years our foreign policy has been one of "leadership". For nearly one hundred years America's iron-fisted foreign policy has been mostly wrong.

Nine days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, President George W. Bush spoke the following words
The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice -- assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come.
Patiently, invoking the name of God, and assured of the rightness of his cause, he proceeded to colonize Iraq.

The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Constitution of the United States is an inspired document which contains principles that apply to everyone.
77 ...the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
An interesting--and nearly forgotten--principle enshrined in the Constitution is that no one should be in bondage to anyone else. This, ironically, includes the people of other countries.

Unfortunately, George W. Bush's policy of aggression and American Messianism is nothing new; it had its genesis with President Woodrow Wilson, who won a second term because "he kept us out of war"--and who then almost immediately embroiled us in a war that changed the American psyche in ways we hardly comprehend. Crisis after manufactured crisis has, through the years, allowed the United States to brand Arabs, Koreans, Japanese, Hispanics, Germans, and others with the yoke of a faux American liberty.

Prior to becoming President, Woodrow Wilson referred to America as "Christ's Army." In 1905 he claimed
There is a mighty task before us...and it welds us together. It is to make the United States a mighty Christian nation, and to Christianize the world.
Muhammad never said anything that brash. How would Wilson accomplish his task? Through the iron fist of government, of course.

As President, Wilson stirred up religious fervor for war and destruction. His adminsistration claimed such things as a:
"high and holy mission." His Secretary of the Interior, Franklin Lane, spoke of "the world of Christ" coming face to face with the world of force. The Creel Committee declared that the war was "a crusade not merely to re-win the tomb of Christ, but to bring back to earth the rule of right, the peace, goodwill to men and the gentleness He taught."
But it didn't turn out that way. The manufactured crisis of World War I allowed Wilson to bring more and more of American liberties under the auspices of the American state. And the land of the Constitution became a land where, by that same force Wilson claimed to eschew, men became compelled to follow government edict.

We are no longer a nation that sets an example. Beginning with Woodrow Wilson, and continuing to this day, while Americans themselves have remained the most compassionate and charitable people on the face of the earth, their "established" government has evolved until it has come to rule the world with an iron fist. You don't want American government, you Iraqis? Well, tough! How about a McDonalds on every corner? And we shall entertain you with the august echoes of the music of Britney Spears. The compassionate American scarcely

American foreign policy for the past 100 years, while claiming to foster freedom around the globe, has proven to be liberty's antithesis.

realizes how many times every day his government forces his compassion, let alone how many countries we through our military occupations coerce into becoming the spit and image of America. That's not liberty.

George Washington warned America against becoming involved in entangling alliances. Not to worry, we're merely involved in entangling dominions.

. . .

The Constitution was inspired by God and is meant to encourage liberty for all, but it was never meant to encourage the use of force to compel that liberty. Somehow, America's leaders have anointed themselves as God's

George Washington warned America against becoming involved in entangling alliances. Not to worry, we're merely involved in entangling dominions.

leaders on earth, and have, in their lust for power, desecrated the very document they claim to uphold. American foreign policy for the past 100 years, while claiming to foster freedom around the globe, has proven to be liberty's antithesis.

It's time once again for America to return to its constitutional roots. Let us set the example for all. Let us protect our liberties. But let us never again attempt to mold the rest of the world into a place where liberty only means what the American establishment says it is.