Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Lot of Rich People Suck, and It's Mostly Your Fault

I think it's because we've always admired rich people, and that we want to become like them, that we often don't seem to care how they got that way. Some rich people worked hard and ethically to get where they are, but you'd be surprised at how many didn't. The truth of the matter is that a heck of a lot of them got their mansions and Lear jets by stomping on you on their way up.

A lot of people blame the free market for the economic problems that we have in our country. In reality, with the shysters that we elect to the federal and other governments year in and year out, we haven't had a free market in decades. We've had a butt-kiss market. I'm not better off than I was ten years ago, not to mention just last year. And it's your fault, because you keep voting members of the butt-kiss market into public office.

So quit it!

The Real Benevolence of the Profiteering Non-Profit Law Firms. I just found out this morning that a lot of these so-called benevolent law firms who do all kinds of pro bono work aren't really as benevolent as I thought.
Non-profit law firms funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation invested tax dollars in booze, interest-free loans for employees, lobbying registration fees and $750,000 for an independent "information technology" contractor whose contract had been lost and whose address was identical to the law firm's address, says the Government Accountability Office.
Why am I surprised?

Sports Stadiums. Every time I drive past Sandy, Utah on the freeway I just want to scream. Sandy city

A lot of people blame the free market for our economic problems. With the shysters that we elect to government year in and year out, we haven't had a free market in decades.

government has got to be the most unethical city government in the state. Tom Dolan and his cronies should be sent off to a penitentiary. After paying themselves bonuses because they are so indispensable, the Sandy City government is now trying to ace you out of several million more dollars as they entice a developer (with a tax giveaway) to build a broadway-style theatre that nobody wants.

Even before that, Sandy somehow finagled 35 million dollars from you and me for their monstrosity of a soccer stadium, because enough state legislators were STUPID enough to believe that they'll get their money back sometime in the next 50 years. And then Dave Checketts reneged on $7.5 million that he would donate to youth sports parks. What a chump. No, actually...we're the chumps.

But again, I'm not surprised. That's chump change compared to George Steinbrenner, who raped the Bronx public park system, with the help of "America's mayor", Rudi Giuliani, and built a new stadium for the New York Yankees with a gift from the government of $276 million. Washington D.C. forked out $611 million to build a stadium so their rich friends--owners of the Washington Nationals--could play baseball. There are such stories galore. It makes me never want to attend another professional athletic event ever again.

Shop at Wal-Mart and Cabela's--So You Don't Get Screwed Twice. Most of the Wal-Marts and Cabela's all across the United States have strong-armed the cities in which they ultimately build stores for very favorable economic perks, such as free land and much lower taxes. Chances are very great that Utah county did this for our local Wal-Mart and Cabela's

Unless we start electing honest and courageous people, a government "solution" to our problems will be worse, but only because the sins of the butt-kiss market are not yet pervasive across the entire country.

When they are pervasive, though, both "solutions" will be the same.

vultures. I thought for quite some time that both of these businesses grew themselves from the ground up. But I have found that Sam Walton and Mr. Cabela are part of the butt-kiss market. You like getting stomped on, don't you? If they really have a good product, why can't they sell it in a market that doesn't give them the advantage?

Their strong-armed advantage is the primary reason that Wal-Mart and Cabela's can afford to have lower prices than their competition. So I guess you'd better shop there so that you don't get screwed twice--first, because they made you pay the taxes that they should have paid, and second because you'll pay more than everyone else who shops there.

On second thought, if you have a spine, you can shop somewhere else and send a letter telling Wal-Mart and Cabela's that they suck because they didn't get rich by honest means.

The Booty of Political Conquest. George W. Bush is coming to Utah to take millions of dollars from Utahns who want to have a part in the butt-kiss market--so that another establishmentarian (John McCain) can pilot America on its downward trajectory. Imagine what productively could be done with those millions of dollars. It's beginning to make me think that we should change campaign finance reform laws so that every candidate gets the same amount of money.

Maybe, however, it will take utter economic collapse for enough of us to realize that we should be electing people like Ron Paul to public office--people whose main purpose isn't to be bought.

. . .

It's been quite some time since very much "free marketing" has been going on in the United States. Rather, government shysters are scratching the back of their K-Street business buddies and vice versa, and most of the "market" gets bottled up in the top 1% of US wage earners. Often, once they've scratched enough backs, government whores take their turn in the business sector where they can get their unfair cut of the pie. What we've got stinks an awful lot more like fascism than the free market. And it's mostly your fault.

So, for example, people who allege that the market cannot solve the problem of man-made global warming are probably right. But not for the reason that they think. Because of the real problem--rampant greed--government wouldn't be any better at solving the global warming problem than our existing butt-kiss market. Unless we start electing honest and courageous people, a government "solution" to our problems will in almost all cases be worse, but only because the sins of the butt-kiss market are not yet pervasive across the entire country.

When they are pervasive, though, both "solutions" with be the same. And then the word "suck" will have a completely new definition.




Monday, May 26, 2008

Is Obama Crazy? Or Should We Talk with Iran?

Recently, when asked if he as president would sit down with Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, Barack Obama said he would. Several on the political right screamed bloody murder--especially that he would cavort with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Besides the fact that's not what he said, I'm not so sure having closer communication with Iran is such a bad idea.

Hillary Clinton was recently asked what she would do to Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. She stated that as president she would obliterate Iran. Recently asked if she still stood by her statement, she said she did:
Sen. Hillary Clinton today defended her statement that the United States would "obliterate" Iran if it ever launched a nuclear strike on Israel. "Why would I have any regrets?"
Iran, according to the latest US National Intelligent Estimate, has stopped nuclear weapons research, although they continue to enrich uranium. It's probably not very likely,

We had talks with the Soviets when they had 40,000 nuclear weapons. The Chinese currently have thousands. Iran has zero. Why are we afraid to have talks with them?

even if Clinton served two terms as president, that she would be confronted with an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel.

And, for heaven sakes, Israel can take care of itself anyway, Ms. Clinton.

Currently the average Iranian would love to have more interaction with the US. The Iranian people were the most genuinely saddened by the 9/11 attacks on America. The people there love western music, movies, and blue jeans. Imagine how negatively Iranian (and Middle Eastern) sentiment would be affected if we "obliterated" Iran.

This is one area where Obama and Clinton are very different in their approaches. Obama chastized Clinton's remarks for sounding very Bushian. I agree.
"Well, it's not the language that we need right now, and I think it's language that's reflective of George Bush. We have had a foreign policy of bluster and saber-rattling and tough talk, and, in the meantime, we make a series of strategic decisions that actually strengthen Iran.
In addition to threatening to attack Israel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has "denied" the holocaust. But what about the rest of the Iranian ruling class? Did they say anything like this?

The only way I would modify Obama's intent would be to suggest that he wait until after the June 2009 elections in Iran before sitting down for talks--Ahmadinejad might not be president anymore.

Conservatives galore have called Obama an appeaser and willing to negotiate with terrorists. I think that's bunk. I'm not sure how they can really be so narrow minded with everything that we know about Iran. Hillary Clinton made a terrible faux pas with her "obliteration" comment. Obama said he is willing to sit down and talk. But he didn't say that he would be a pansy about it.

Ron Paul makes a good point about communicating with our adversaries, using the Soviet Union as an example:
I fear our policy towards Iran is a threat. [...] We [should] have a more sensible policy, we talk to them and trade with them. We remove the sanctions. I mean, the Soviets had 40,000 [nuclear weapons]. I was called up for military duty in 1962 during the Cuban crisis. The height of the Cold War and we won the Cold War, we didn’t have to go a nuclear war. We won that by being strong by talking to the Soviets, we talked to Khrushchev. We have a lot more than Iran, Iran has none.
Obama said something similar:
Here’s the truth: the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, and Iran doesn’t have a single one. But when the world was on the brink of nuclear holocaust, Kennedy talked to Khrushchev and he got those missiles out of Cuba. Why shouldn’t we have the same courage and the confidence to talk to our enemies? That’s what strong countries do, that’s what strong presidents do, that’s what I’ll do when I’m president of the United States of America.
Not that I support Obama for president (Ron Paul would be infinitely better). But on this issue, they're both right. Have you thought of the likelihood that China has perhaps thousands of nuclear weapons right now--but we associate with them?

Iran is being held up by the neocons as a much greater bogey monster than it really is. As long as Iran knows that we have a big stick and that we will use it as necessary, there can only be positives that come out of communication with them.




Friday, May 23, 2008

Man-Made Global Warming Inhibitions Begin to Fall

Who was it that claimed that conservatives always tend to flock together? Well, the flock is breaking apart as John McCain, Newt Gingrich, and more Republicans jump on the establishment's man-made (double entendre' intended) global warming bandwagon. Hopefully, as the wagon makes its move down the highway to government hell, you will resist the urge to conform.

In much the same way as conservatives claim that liberals coddle terrorists, liberals claim that conservatives don't care much about the environment. Both claims are not very truthful. When it comes to the environment, however, conservatives temper respect for the environment with an understanding of the facts that (1) a lot of the fear of global warming is based on estimates and computer models which don't match the facts of the last 10 years, (2) human ingenuity can solve such problems if they ever really become problems, and (3) government "solutions"

Most people who are poor in the world today are poor due to government oppression. Ironically, more oppression is NRDC's "solution" to the current "problem".

to global warming will become a huge economic detriment to American (and international) society.

America's Climate Security Act (ACSA), sponsored by US Senators Joe Lieberman (Independent) and John Warner (Republican), has been around for about a year now, and will be debated in June in the Senate. Just in time to impress you with how dead you're going to be if you don't support this government takeover of the economy, the Natural Resources Defense Council released its most recent research.

ACSA, if implemented will cause a sharp increase in energy prices. It has always been relatively straightforward to indicate what the costs will be if certain governmental regulations are put in place. Now, though, not to be outdone in forecasting economic catastrophe, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Tufts University catalog the costs that would accrue if we don't do something about man-caused global warming. Interestingly (coincidentally?), the alleged costs of doing nothing, which ascribe many costs to rising sea levels, fiercer storms, and higher temperatures, are just

In much the same way as conservatives claim that liberals coddle terrorists, liberals claim that conservatives don't care much about the environment. Both claims are not very truthful.

about the same as the alleged costs of doing something.

More importantly, over half of the NRDC-alleged costs will be due to increased cost of scarce water as a result of drought conditions. None of the costs factor in the change in human behavior that would occur if these scare-tactic scenarios were to actually occur.

The timing of the NRDC/Tufts study seems suspect, coming just days before Senate debate will begin on ACSA. The report admits that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report for 2007 is
the most pessimistic of the business-as-usual climate forecasts considered “likely” by the scientific community
which pessimistic projections never seem to factor in human ingenuity. Nonetheless, to ensure that you are still scared out of your pants and will not give up your support for future, greater government domination over your life, NRDC states that the IPCC 2007 report "is still far from the worst case [global warming] scenario".

NRDC continues its gloomy forecast
Droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes have already caused multibillion-dollar losses, and these extreme weather events will likely become more frequent and more devastating as the climate continues to change.
Admitting that
Many economic models have [unsuccessfully] attempted to capture the costs of climate change for the United States
NRDC claims that it has come up with the model to end all models, a model which is completely accurate (and a model that naturally claims that the costs of not acting are much higher than we first thought). To ensure that we feel sufficiently guilty in order to believe their estimates, NRDC reminds us of the plight of the poor:
...many of the poorest countries around the world will experience damages that are much larger as a percentage of their national output. For countries that have fewer resources with which to fend off the consequences of climate change, the impacts will be devastating.
NRDC fails to point out that most people who are poor in the world today are poor due to government oppression (ironically the "solution" to the current "problem"

As more and more so-called leaders band together in support of draconian government reform, the lack of difference between the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" will become more apparent.

from NRDC's perspective), and that the poor will have absolutely no chance of pulling themselves out of poverty as government restrictions make it more costly to do so.

As more and more so-called leaders from both sides of the aisle band together in support of draconian government reform to curb global warming, the lack of difference between the terms "Republican" and "Democrat" will become more apparent. Also more apparent will be the simultaneous realignment of those who believe government can solve all problems vs. those who believe that liberty can cure a host of ills--even man-made global warming.




Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's About Time! FLDS Justice is Served in Appeals Court

The entire two-month saga of captivity and abuse of members of the FLDS Church at Eldorado, Texas at the hands of Texas authorities didn't ever have to be, I've said several times in these pages. Finally, the Texas Third District Court of Appeals agrees. It's about time. I hope that these families, molested by their government on unsubstantiated charges of molesting each other--can put their lives back together, healthy and whole.

I don't like what the Fundamentalist LDS Church teaches. I don't appreciate the fact that they use my

I don't like what the Fundamentalist LDS Church teaches. But I can't believe how many people cheered as the FLDS had their rights trampled in the mud and excrement. That kind of abuse is something that anyone, regardless of religion, should stand up against.

Book of Mormon in claiming that theirs is the only true Church of Jesus Christ when they've never even been a part of our church.

But I can't believe how many people cheered as the FLDS had their rights trampled in the mud and excrement. That kind of abuse is something that anyone, regardless of religion, should stand up against.

The Texas Third District Court of Appeals ruled today that warmed my heart and almost brought tears to my eyes. There is still at least some justice in the world. The Appeals Court ruled that
"The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the department's witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger," the three-judge panel said.

The state's Department of Family and Protective Services "did not present any evidence of danger to the physical health or safety of any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty," the judges ruled.
I am frankly rather shocked at how so many Utahn Mormons seemingly thought the FLDS community had received a proper come-uppance, when in fact their rights were violated in an egregious matter that would have made the KGB proud.

The case was tenuous from the very start, but a multitude of unthinking people, perhaps lacking confidence in their own religion, perhaps having unwavering confidence that legal authorities in the United States could never be wrong, submitted like sheep to the illogical decrees of Texas law enforcement and child services officials.

If only one thing comes out of this whole vile episode--that something as egregious and unthinking as the travesty perpetrated on the FLDS people never happens again--it might have been worth it.



It wasn't long before we found out why Texas officials would not classify the ages of those mothers who were under 18--because, in fact, they weren't.

The claim that the Eldorado children had an unusually high frequency of broken bones was a joke. FLDS numbers corresponded quite closely with national averages, and may have been slightly lower than those averages.

Maybe somebody from the State of Texas went to the Appeals court and pleaded for the court to bail them out, because the sticky wicket that they had put themselves in was becoming more embarrassing by the day.

If only one thing comes out of this whole vile episode--that something as egregious and unthinking as the travesty perpetrated on the FLDS people never happens again--it might have been worth it.

That is, if these families' lives--torn to shreds by the dogs of discrimination--can be put back together.




Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This is Sports the Way it Should be Played


What happens when you hit a home run, but you injure yourself and cannot complete your run around the bases? The rules say that your teammates can't help you. Is there a way that you can make it home? Yes.

I hope that something like the incident below would happen in professional sports, but I don't know if it would (it would probably be more like the picture at the top of this article). Even high school sports are probably too competitive. I tend to think that male athletes would have a hard time being this sportsmanlike, but I hope I'm wrong. There are even some parents in little league sports that act like the picture above instead of the video below.

The following incident happened between two college women's softball teams and epitomizes the essence of genuine competition.

Take a look.



It would have been Sara Tucholsky's only home run of her college career. But as she rounded first base, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament, and was unable to continue around the bases. She had to make it home, but the rules said that her teammates couldn't help her. The outcome of the game could have been different if she didn't make it home. But the members of the other team felt that fairness was more important than winning.

The story reminds all of us that the next time we want to win so badly that something is much more important than winning--fair play.




Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why Do Liberals and Muslims Not Criticize Islamic Terrorism?

I've thought about this question a lot lately, and I thought I knew the answer to it. The question is a lot more nuanced than to satisfy itself with only one answer, though. First, some people don't criticize terrorism because they're afraid of the terrorists. Others don't because they can't understand why the United States and others have exercised imperial dominion over the Middle East for so long.

But the most important answer to the question--which admittedly came as some surprise to me--is this: most liberals and Muslims do criticize Islamic violence and terrorism. You just have to know where to look.

Where Not to Look. One of the places that you can't look to find out what liberals and Muslims really think about radical Islam is the Rush Limbaugh show. Yesterday on his last hour, he attempted to lambaste Barack Obama for his willingness to have a dialog with the Iranians. Limbaugh made the mistake of letting Obama speak for himself and his own sensible ideas, beside which Limbaugh himself seemed like a sputtering, silly man.

Another place not to look: Jihad Watch by Robert Spencer. Benazir Bhutto, in her posthumous book entitled Reconciliation, called Spencer one of the most ill-informed people regarding the true nature of Islam. I've read one of his books, I've heard him speak on the subject, and I whole-heartedly agree.

Examples of Failure to Criticize. Admittedly, there are times when organizations don't have it in their best interest to publicize the fact that many Muslims abhor Islamic terrorism. A great example--perhaps out of their interest not to offend Saudi Arabia or the terrorist fringe itself--was the instance in which PBS would not broadcast the show "Islam vs. Islamists".

Liberals and Muslims Usually Do Criticize. Thinking I knew everything about liberals and Muslims, I received a different perspective as I read Madeleine Albright's recent book The Mighty & The Almighty. In her book, the former Secretary of State taught me that it is a matter of course for most liberals and Muslims to abhor terror, and they understand it to be completely not in keeping with the fundamentals of Islam. While they do speak out against it, they don't think they need to go around talking about a self-evident truth all the time.

Conservatives often claim that if radical Islam were to take over the United States, a lot of our freedoms would be destroyed. From a practical

While most liberals and Muslims do speak out against Islamic terrorism, they don't think they need to go around talking about a self-evident truth all the time.

perspective (i.e. the perspective not taken by Rush Limbaugh and Robert Spencer) there are so relatively few radical Muslims that it would be impossible for them to take over the United States.

So let's look at what really matters--what most liberals and Muslims apparently really think about Islamic terror. Here's what Secretary Albright has to say:
There is little generalized desire on the part of Muslims to involve themselves in violence. If they agree about anything, it is about the peaceful nature of their faith. Even when the Taliban held power...[it] was recognized diplomatically by only three of the fifty-three Muslim-majority countries.

The Mighty & The Almighty, p. 268
Her personal opinion is that
The invasion of Iraq certainly made it easier for radical imans to assert that all Muslims are under attack; but a sense of victimization provides no moral excuse for blowing up subway cars in London.

ibid., p. 234
Here's what Muslims are saying Islamic terrorism themselves:
The managing editor of a daily newspaper, a childhood friend of bin Laden, has written a denunciation of those who use the Quran to condem all Christians and Jews. Numerous columnists have lambasted Al Qaeda... Abdel Rahman al-Rashad, general manager of...Al Arabiya, has declared:

It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims... We cannot tolerate this...whatever suffering they claim to justify their criminal needs. These are the people who have smeared Islam and stained its image.

ibid., p. 210
If you want to know how Muslims and liberals feel about Islamic terror, you should probably ask a Muslim or a liberal. Because Rush Limbaugh, Robert Spencer, and people with axes to grind or bucks to make like them very likely won't give you the right answer.




Friday, May 16, 2008

What's Your Reaction to California's Decision on Same-Sex Marriage?

Yesterday a "Republican-dominated" California Supreme Court struck down state laws against same-sex marriages. The LDS Church issued a press release, calling the decision "unfortunate". I agree, but not for reasons you might think. Did the California Court make the right decision?

Update 5/17/2008: California decision does not affect prohibitions against polygamy and marriage of close relatives. Why not?

Government should not sanction same-sex marriages for the same reason that it should not sanction heterosexual adultery--such activities tend to be destructive to the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Before you get too far into reading into my words, let me echo and agree with something that Madeleine Albright wrote in her recent book, The Mighty & The Almighty (one of the better books that I have read in a long time):
I oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians and am convinced that heterosexual adultery is a greater danger to the institution of marriage than homsexuality ever will be.

The Mighty & The Almighty, p. 80
I also think that, although the best family situation is one where children have a loving father and mother, the absolute worst family environment is one in which the father is abusive (mother being abusive is not much better).

That still doesn't change my perspective on how government should treat homosexuality. I don't support government 'going into people's bedrooms' to find out what lasciviousness might be there. But I do support laws banning adultery, sodomy, and so forth, because such activities should not be allowed in public, as they violate others' rights.

One thing that I appreciate about the California decision is that it is a state decision and not a federal decision--as I think many other decisions, including whether a woman has a right to abortion, should be. Utah has a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, which I think is proper, and the US constitution requires all states to give full faith and credit to the laws of every other state, so even if two homosexuals were to get married in California, Utah would not legally have to recognize that union.

Discrimination is a broad term, but be it known that I discriminated against all other forms of cold cereal (and any kind of breakfast) when I ate Honeycombs this morning. With regard to homosexuality, the kind of discrimination that is wrong is for people to belittle others because of their sexual orientation/preference. I have written on SUMP before that I support laws in Utah banning workplace discrimination against homosexuality and the right for homosexual couples to adopt children under appropriate circumstances.

In a nutshell, California has every right as a state to decide whether or not it should recognize same-sex marriages. Morally, however, I think the wrong decision was made yesterday. Legally, I think the California supreme court is completely up in the night on this one.

Update 5/17/2008: The New American reports that
...while homosexual relationships have often been accepted in various pagan cultures, I don't know of one that instituted homosexual "marriage." The court ignored this, however, and redefined marriage to suit its agenda.

This is especially obvious given that Chief Justice Ronald M. George, according to Adam Liptak writing at the New York Times, said: "… the decision did 'not affect the constitutional validity of the existing prohibitions against polygamy and the marriage of close relatives.' "

Well, why not? According to Justice George's reasoning (again, reported in the Times): " ''Tradition alone' … does not justify the denial of a fundamental constitutional right."

Are we to assume that a stroke of a chief justice's pen does?

If same-sex "marriage" is a fundamental constitutional right, on what basis does the justice deny the right to marry to polygamists and others? Does he suddenly defer to Christendom's traditions when settling on a definition limiting marriage to two individuals?




Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Should College HR Official Be Fired for Opinion on Homosexuality?

A human resources officer at the University of Toledo has lost her job because she commented in a newspaper that she "questioned whether homosexuality is a civil rights issue". Should she have been fired for stating her opinion? I don't think so. It seems to me that this is a "liberal" reaction to the issue and that, therefore, liberals are not as open minded as I thought.

I don't want to detract from the excellent conversation that is going on here about conservative mind-numbed robots, but I came across another story today that has me questioning the

...it seems when liberals come across any of their sacred cows...they will brook no dissent.

original premise of that article--that liberals are more open minded than conservatives. In the case of a University of Toledo human resources officer, it seems when liberals come across any of their sacred cows--in this example, homosexuality--they will brook no dissent. Her attorney said that
...the university had offered Dixon "another position, in a different part of the university, not in human resources" because she had argued in her editorial that sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic like race or sex and should not be afforded the same protection under civil rights laws.

"She said no, that's when she was fired," Rooney said. "We are going to do everything we can within the law to try to show that the firing was improper and potentially illegal."
Admittedly, Toledo is offering the fired employee another job in a different department. At this point she doesn't seem to want to take the new job offer--she wants her old job back. That's ultimately why she was fired. I think she should get her job back.

Was it improper? Was it illegal? What is your opinion?




Monday, May 12, 2008

Rush Limbaugh Wants People to be Stupid

Why are there so few liberal radio talk shows today compared to those of the conservative variety? I think because liberals are much more likely to have formed their own well-thought-out opinions.

I have a hard time calling myself a conservative these days, despite the official definition of the term. Why? Because Rush Limbaugh is a conservative, and all he seems to want to conserve is people's stupidity. Probably because it makes him rich.

Conservatives are a monolithic bunch, don't you think? I once made the mistake of thinking liberals are the same way, but I'm starting to realize it's not true.

While I was on the way to get a Subway sandwich at lunch today, I heard a lady call into the Rush Limbaugh show claiming she knew the answer to why there were hardly any liberal radio talk shows. Rush praised her for coming up with the "right answer", which allegedly was that liberals controls all the newspapers, magazines, newscasts, etc. 'Oh, and don't forget Hollywood movies,' Rush intoned.

Here's the real reason that Rush--along with Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and others of this ilk-- is so popular, but that liberal talk show hosts aren't. Liberals tend much more frequently to think for themselves. Most

Not all liberals think, to be sure, but most do. Contrarily, not all conservatives don't think, but most don't.

They let Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly do their thinking for them.

How pitiful.

conservatives have a hard time doing this, but rather feel a rush of euphoria when they discover that they have become conditioned to agree with some million-dollar talk-show host that makes a fast buck by doing their thinking for them.

While liberals have their own often carefully thought-out opinions, most conservatives are content to be served up a mind full of not much more than mush.

This idea became clear to me the other day as I read a DailyKos article. First, let me ask a couple of questions:

(1) How many died-in-the-wool conservatives would criticize George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and the Republican Party. Answer: Not many.

(2) How many liberals criticize Democrats when they think they are wrong? Quite a few more. It was this article by mcjoan about FISA at DailyKos that helped clarify the conservative conundrum for me (H/T The SideTrack). In the article, mcjoan criticized the Democrats for capitulating to Republicans in the battle over FISA legislation (a point, by the way, with which I agree):
Have Dem leaders really moved in the discussions from whether to provide amnesty to how to provide it? Beyond that, why in the hell do the telcos have a seat at the negotiating table on this issue at all?
And it dawned on me. Liberals' principles are much more likely to be something other than of the whim-of-the-day wolf-pack-mentality variety.

This concept has been on my mind as I have begun to read The Mighty & The Almighty, a book by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, a book which in bygone years I would never have picked up, because I was content to let Rush Limbaugh do my thinking for me. Ms. Albright is a far more dynamic individual than the dimwitted Mr. Limbaugh would like anyone to know as he so many times has attempted to squelch understanding by referring to the Madame Secretary as Madeleine Halfbright.

In her book, I am impressed to find out, Ms. Albright talks about the importance of discussing religion in public, a view that she did not always subscribe to. As I do, Madeleine Albright believes that essentially all religion is valuable, and that everyone should be left to freely choose what religion will be theirs. She believes that an attempt to understand Islam will be of great benefit to achieving liberty and peace across the globe--another point that is right on target in my book. Most importantly, she says that while liberty and democracy are "mankind's best inventions" and superior to any other form of society and government, it is a precarious situation to go around the world compelling others to accept America's form of democracy.

Rush Limbaugh must be less than half bright.

Not all liberals think, to be sure, but most do. Contrarily, not all conservatives don't think, but most don't.

They let Rush, Sean, and Bill do their thinking for them.

How pitiful.




Sunday, May 11, 2008

I've Got the Best Mom in the World. Don't You?

Just about every guy in the world thinks that he has the best mom in the world, even when he's graduated from childhood and thinks that his own children enjoy that same prestigious honor. My mom's the best mom in the world. But so is my wife. Don't you agree--I mean that your mom and your wife are the best moms in the world?

My Mentor--My Mom.

Mom was always there when I got home from school. Sometimes all I needed to know was that she was around, and then I'd run off to play. When I was younger, she would often take me down to "the field" where I could sit on the tractor or in the feed truck with my dad. And every once in a while she'd even come down and take me babck home when I felt like I'd been there too long.

She always came to my basketball, football, and baseball games, even though I was often not the star of the show.

I still remember the first time I read a large book as a child. My mom was excited to tell everyone how proud she was that her son was a great reader. The first time I set out to write a book (I still never have accomplished that feat, but she has), she was very patient with me as I banged on the keys of her typewriter and wasted dozens of sheets of paper.

She became my example for learning; she often read books, thereby encouraging me to be voracious reader to this day. Through her I developed the understanding that it wasn't just men who could or should excel in intelligence and leadership. Her candidacy for Washington County School Board and her later election to the Washington, Utah City Council was every bit as inspiring to my political ambitions was as my father's political career.

I often tell people that my mom got her Eagle Scout award with me as proxy. It was she who always ensured that I continued to earn the merit badges and fulfill the requirements to become an Eagle.

My mother was the only person who wrote me letters nearly every single week of my Army basic training and my LDS mission. With the exception of my wife, my mother was the most frequent sender of letters and goodies to me while I served with the military in Iraq.

To this day mom makes sure she keeps in touch, sometimes quite spontaneously, even though we live several hours away from each other. She's always a listening ear and a problem solver, even when she doesn't really have the time to be. Despite the distance, she frequently makes time to attend important events in the lives of her grandchildren as well.

My Sweetheart--My Wife.

It wasn't until after the first date with my future wife that I told my roommate that I knew who I was going to marry. It was a freaky (good) feeling, but I was right, and it was the best decision I ever made.

My wife often tells me how how handsome I am (even though I'm really not) and how much of a physical specimen I am (even though I could stand to lose about 20 pounds). She even likes the way I smell. And you know what? That makes me feel good.

She is the calm to my storm. I'm surprised sometimes that she puts up with my antics, but I know that her leavening influence has me heading in the right direction. She's no dummy! But she is very patient!

My wife is the financial guru in our family. It is due to her aggressive financial nature (more than mine) that we are free of debt. She has taught our children well the value of money.

She has read nearly a hundred thousand books to our children, and that is the main reason that they all feel a sense of belonging to our family and that they all love to read.

I don't think she'll ever be in poor physical shape, having been a track star (and state record holder) in high school. She still smokes all the women her age--and younger--in the 4th of July races. It's her example that keeps me motivated (although I could do just a little better) to maintain my physical fitness. As a result, all of our children enjoy activities that require exertion. Our favorite summer vacations involve not Disneyland or that sort of thing, but rather hiking in the national parks.

She has an excellent singing voice and has taught all of my children to love music. Through her example, they all sing with a local youth choir.

My wife is always the example. She frowns at my occasional curse word, but she keeps right on loving me and expecting me to be the best person I can be. So I keep trying.

We had a discussion once about whether we make will make it to heaven. My response was, "I sure hope, so." She looked at me a bit strangely and said, "Absolutely, we will!" You know what? Knowing her strong sense of character and example--all I have to do is hold on for the ride, and I'm sure we will.




Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Ugliest American: Breaking the Vicious Cycle

It's hard to imagine that approximately eight years ago George Bush gave the ugly American speech. An ugly American, he said, is someone who makes the rest of the world do it our way. Now, ironically these eight years later, he has seemingly forgotten his own words, and he is the ugliest American of them all. It will take much more than we think we're capable of to rid ourselves of this stain on the American character.

Back when he was campaigning, and when he, astonishingly to me, seemed normal to just about half of American voters, George W. Bush had an interesting perspective on nation building. He was positively agin' it. Or so he said.

Who said the following?
I think one way for us to end up being viewed as ‘the ugly American’ is for us to go around the world saying, ‘We do it this way; so should you.’
..and this...
…I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called ‘nation building.’
...and this?
If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us.
Answer: George W. Bush. What in the world happened to the 'humble' President Bush?

Answer: It was a sham!

Hardly before the paint

George W. Bush is the ugliest American. Americans are at near consensus on the issue. Citizens of countries around the globe feel sorry for us.

I never voted for him. But I'll bet you did. And now you're planning on voting for one of three cookie cutter establishment replacements--Larry Obama, Mo McCain, or Curly Clinton?

dried on his new oval office name plate, he was scheming to build democracy, American style, in foreign lands. Bush's scheme couldn't have been more nimbly aided by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, after which the country would do anything for him. Interestingly, it now appears that his schemes were already well developed before his presidential name plate was even painted. So we went to Iraq on the grandest of pretexts.

And we're still there. George W. Bush has no excuse for being the ugliest American, but he nonetheless is. Americans are at near consensus on the issue. Citizens of countries around the globe feel sorry for us.

I never voted for him--never once. But I'll bet you did. And now I'll bet you're planning on voting for one of his three cookie cutter establishment replacements:
  • Larry Obama
  • Mo McCain
  • or Curly Clinton
Some choice! Tell me you're not that dense!

George W. Bush got into office on patently disingenuous platitudes. He is either a liar or a puppet. Which one is it?

These are the only two choices in retrospect. And neither one is pretty.

Let's not let it happen again. I'm getting sick of ugly presidents.




Thursday, May 08, 2008

Putin's New Puppet, LDS Give Foreign Aid the Right Way, and Obama's "Liberation Victimology Theology"

I read three interesting stories in the newspaper this morning, and I couldn't decide which one to blog about, so I guess I'll talk about all three.
  • Dmitry Medvedev took over as Russia's president today. Will he be his own man, or Vladimir Putin's puppet?
  • The LDS Church is working together with CARE international to ship supplies to Myanmar. Now that's what I call foreign aid of the good kind!
  • Jeremiah Wright may be right about a lot of things, but drawing attention to himself as a victim is not one of them.

Will Putin Pull Medvedev's Strings?

While Vladimir Putin took away a lot of liberties in Russia (in the name of stability) as its former president, new president Dmitry Mevedev seemed to indicate that he is more of a liberty-loving president.
"Human rights and freedoms ... are deemed of the highest value for our society and they determine the meaning and content of all state activity," he said.
But it all may be moot. Putin stays on as Prime Minister, assuming that Thursday's vote in parliament is a formality--which it is.

Putin recently has rattled his saber at the West, and particularly at President Bush and his brand of imperialism. Putin may be a dictator of sorts, but then again, I suppose, so is Bush.

LDS Church Gives Genuine Foreign Aid to Myanmar

When it's pried from my fingers, it makes me mad that it gets given away by my government as "foreign aid". What really frosts my cookie, though, is how counterproductive US foreign aid has been. Most of it makes people mad at each other, mad at the US, or turns them into dictators.

I like the way the LDS church does it much better, partly because I donate freely to them rather than being coerced, and partly because it is so much more efficient, teaching people to love rather than to hate.
LDS Church leaders approved funds to purchase large quantities of tarps, blankets, basic food, medical equipment and especially clean drinking water for those affected by the recent cyclone in Myanmar...

All items are being purchased in Myanmar or in nearby countries.
And, to boot, they're ensuring that activities surrounding the reconstruction will serve to enhance local economies. Which goes to show that the FedGov should leave the giving of foreign aid to people who know how to do it right.

Obama and Wright - Often Correct, but They're Some of the Leading Whiners of Liberation Victimology Theology

I've written here and here that I agree with a lot of what Jeremiah Wright has to say. What I can't figure out is that most conservatives don't give him credit where credit is due. When he's right, let's admit it.

I listened to a half-hour segment the other day by Glenn Beck, where Beck said "I'm just going to open up the microphone and let you hear for yourself."

I don't know what's liberating about that theology.

So I did, and I wish I'd had an open mic to ask Glenn, "So tell me one thing in all that ranting that wasn't true?"

But then maybe I've been giving Reverend Wright too much credit. After all, he doesn't seem to just be pointing out that America has wronged the blacks, the Japanese, the homosexuals, the Iraqis, and the American Indians. He seems to be saying that all of these people would be better of considering themselves as ongoing victims.

I don't know what's liberating about that theology.




Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No Matter How You Feel About Abortion, Roe v. Wade Was a Terrible Decision

You may think that abortion is okay anytime. You may think it is never okay. I happen to think it is okay in very rare circumstances--much more rare than the million or so abortions that are occurring each year in the US.

However, regardless of your or my position on whether abortion should be legal or not, it is impossible to make a case that the Roe v Wade decision of the US Supreme Court in 1973 was constitutional. I personally think the Roe decision was a huge blunder from a social perspective, but that's not the point. The point is that the Supreme Court should have never heard the case.

It has nothing to do with how strongly you feel about the rightness or wrongness of the issue. The question is, did the United States federal government have the constitutional right to decide on the issue of abortion?

Constitutionally, the answer is no.

George W. Bush has made a mockery of the Constitution. Do you care about that? If so, you must care about the mockery of Roe v Wade.

So regardless of your position on this issue, you must admit that we have been living at least one constitutional lie since 1973.

Even many of those who supported abortion were embarrassed by the illogic of Harry Blackmun and the other justices who voted in favor of Roe. Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized it from the perspective that it short circuited an evolution of abortion law in the states, where it belonged. John Hart Ely said:
[Roe] is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be. What is frightening about Roe is that this super-protected right is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers’ thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation’s governmental structure.
The issue was really a simple one--until the court complicated the issue by creating a much bigger problem than the one it was trying to create. The federal government has no constitutional jurisdiction over the issue of abortion.

The problem of Roe can be solved--perhaps not easily, because we seldom "think" in America anymore with anything other than our emotions--by Congress' doing the following:
  1. Invoke Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution to prohibit the Supreme Court from deciding on issues of abortion.
  2. Enact legislation turning responsibility for legislating abortion back to the states (Congress could even specify that until such legislation is created--or brought out of mothballs--states are bound by the decision of Roe.
It doesn't even matter whether we think abortion is a woman's choice or whether it is murder. It is a matter of legal and constitutional integrity.

If you're worried that your state may make the "wrong" decision, then you might as well seek for world government to decide the issue once and for all--and then hope that decision agrees with you.

You and I have every right to influence the decision of whether abortion should be legal or not. It's just that we don't have the right to expect to influence such a decision that is made in Washington D.C.

How do you like living a constitutional lie? Does it even matter? George W. Bush has made a mockery of the Constitution. Do you care about that? If so, you must care about the mockery of Roe v Wade.




Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ethanol: An Excellent Case of How the Rich Get Richer

The rich in the United States are getting richer. We're not Rome yet, but we're heading in that direction in a lot of ways, and particularly with regard to the growing divide between rich and poor. The ethanol scam is a perfect example of how that divide most often gets wider--with the help of government.

When the richer get richer by theft, they should be punished, even if government helped them in their highway robbery. And those government shysters should at least be voted out of town on a rail.

The ethanol people never really did have as their primary goal to save the planet. Their primary intended consequence was to get filthy rich--which they have now done. Congress wasn't out to save the planet either. They may have been out to look good, but their primary goal was to buy votes.

It goes like this--dream up a scary scenario, then provide a "solution" for the concocted problem. Then, before too many people find out about the scam, make millions of dollars perpetuating it. Finally, after all those people do find out about it, claim that the consequences were unintended. Ummm......

Those consequences (causing food shortages while "saving the planet") may have indeed been unintended. Because as far as those consequences are concerned, there were no intentions at all. They never thought--or cared--that deeply. The only sure intentions of congress, Archer Daniels Midland, and the ethanol good-ole-boy network was to make the government complicit in fleecing you.

Robert Tracinski of The Intellectual Activist (subscription required) is now calling out Congress and their ethanol partners in crime:
This recognition of the so-called Law of Unintended Consequences [is] coming from the mouths of everyone [involved in the scam]...The problem is that "unintended consequences" are being invoked in this case by people who have never before expressed such skepticism about the power of government—and who are not likely to do so again.

Congress is not shocked to discover that an idealistic program has gone awry. Instead, they're eager to avoid the blame for something that they already knew they were up to.

By mandating that oil companies include ethanol in their gasoline, and by spending tens of billons to subsidize its production, Congress certainly knew that it was creating a vast new demand for corn and supplying vast sums of money to pay for it. And they knew and hoped that this would drive up the price of corn and the profits of Midwestern farmers.

It's not convincing for Congress to claim that its purpose was to replace oil with a cheaper alternative, because a cheaper alternative would be able to compete on its own merits and would not require government support. Cheaper goods don't need to be subsidized.
That's it. It's as simple as that. Call it whatever you will--man made global warming, climate change, radical Islam, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or whatever.

One thing is becoming more clear. The scam continues. For ethanol subsidies, these people knew all about it--inside and outside of congress. These rich people should be investigated and punished.




Monday, May 05, 2008

Aw, Crap! Global Warming Has Stopped!!!

One way that you can tell if someone is telling the truth about something is if they point out those related issues that do not flatter their personal point of view on the subject. On this, the man-made global warming lobby fails miserably. If they were honest, for example, they would admit--while they're screaming bloody murder that there is no ice left in the Arctic Ocean--that the globe has not warmed since 1998.

I apologize in advance for my mockery. I don't usually mock people who disagree with me on various issues, but with Global Warming I can't help myself. Because it is so obvious to the person who looks at it with an open mind--we just don't know how much of an effect man is having on earth's climate.

Just because Exxon paid some scientists several

At any rate, the globe has not warmed since 1998, but very few scientists are talking about it. And the ones that do are revealing that they're freaked out about it.

thousand dollars to do research on global warming, and because these scientists found that man has a very insignificant contribution to global warming, this does not prove that man is causing global warming. Yet many people somehow think it does.

If we want to consider that this logic is impeccable, then it's important to remember that Exxon paid a few people a few times, but the bulk of those scientists who are absolutely sure (give or take 100%) that man is causing nearly all of global warming are being paid a regular salary by the governments they work for, and most of these governments have already told their scientists what the correct answer will be.

The Globe is Not Warming... At any rate, the globe has not warmed since 1998, but very few scientists are talking about it. And the ones that do are revealing that they're freaked out about it.
The fact is that what has been happening to the world's climate in recent years, since global temperatures ceased to rise after 1998, was not predicted by any of those officially-sponsored models. The discrepancy between their predictions and observable data becomes more glaring with every month that passes.
Some scientists are starting to spin it a certain way, however, but the fact of the matter is that earth has not been warming lately.
Researchers studying long-term changes in sea temperatures said they now expect a "lull" for up to a decade while natural variations in climate cancel out the increases caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The average temperature of the sea around Europe and North America is expected to cool slightly over the decade while the tropical Pacific remains unchanged.

This would mean that the 0.3°C global average temperature rise which has been predicted for the next decade by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may not happen...
They're probably worried about a popular backlash against this junk science. Science reporter Andrew Revkin of the New York Times is worried about it.
If the new forecast of a decade of cooler temperatures in North America and Europe pans out, it will pose a substantial challenge to climate campaigners, politicians, and citizens...
Instead, they're talking about the "undisputed fact" that Arctic Ice is at an all time low in history.
"The long-term prognosis is not very optimistic," atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University said at a briefing Friday.

Last summer sea ice in the North shrank to a record low, a change many attribute to global warming.
Unfortunately for them, that "history" is less than 40 years old, but they don't tell you that either.
Scientists began monitoring the extent of Arctic sea ice in the 1970s when satellite images became available.
The Life Raft Scenario. This reminds me of the scenario we learned in grade school about the life raft. You have 10 people on a life raft, but you only have room and supplies enough for nine--so who do you kick off the raft? It's only a scenario, just like man-made global warming is a scenario, but far too many people are taking it seriously. And the end result is lots of the same--destruction of people to solve a problem that might be a problem.

This is why I mock these people. Because most of them are afraid to say, "We just don't know." If they do that, they fear that the people who hearts they have struck fear into will say, "The whole thing was a crock all along."

Gosh! We can't have that happen! That would be too honest. And there would be far more scientists out of work than just the handful that supposedly got paid by Exxon.




Thursday, May 01, 2008

Capitalism Failing? What Are You Talking About? We Haven't Had Much of That for Years!

From the Federal Reserve to the socialist policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the socialist policies of George W. Bush, it's time to thank the elitists for "trying" to help us live more comfortably--and send them packing--because it sure isn't helping.

If you think their "capitalist" policies have failed, you haven't studied economics very deeply, because them policies ain't capitalist.

When I was a kid 30 years ago, I could buy a loaf of bread for 1/4 the price it is now. Thank you Federal Reserve! The Fed was the worst economic decision the United States of America ever made. (The moral-hazard-enhancing beast called the FDIC was a stupid idea not much smarter than the Fed.) The Fed's inflationary monetary policies benefit the elite few, but by the time the money trickles down to everyday-you-and-me, the prices of everything have gone up! The Fed presided over a cataclysmic economic depression beginning just 16 years after its

It's not capitalism that's really failing. If you sneak back and pay attention to the man behind the curtain, you'll notice that he's a Socialist through and through. And he's been that way for a long time.

founding, and they haven't learned anything yet. The longer the Fed tries to tune its way out of our currently impending economic collapse, the greater that collapse will eventually be.

Bailouts-R-Us. From Mexican Peso bailouts to Asian bailouts to Russian Ruble bailouts to Bear Stearns bailouts to the subprime bailout--these bailouts are getting both bigger and more frequent. The center cannot hold. And yet Barney Frank wants to provide yet another bailout--while the value of housing plummets with no sure end in sight, leaving homeowners with far more debt than their homes are worth?

Why are housing prices so inelastic? I don't know for sure, but I suspect it's in large part because of government's having become the bailer-out of last resort.

Why are there people rioting in the streets around the world at the shortage of food? Not because of capitalism, but because of the lack of it. Capitalism is
an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned [or controlled] means of wealth.
Food in your Gas Tank. Government has been interfering in the capitalism of food production for decades now, whether it

A major reason for food shortages across the world is the collusion between "green" companies and the government. But then again, food scarcity helps the elite solve one of their pet concerns--overpopulation. Put that in your Global Warming pipe and smoke it.

is to bail out a Soviet economy that can't support itself or to pay farmers to let their land lie fallow. Now, a major reason for food shortages across the world is the collusion between "green" companies and the government in their ill-conceived attempt to find alternative fuels. Sounds an awful lot like fascism to me.

But then again, food scarcity helps the elite solve one of their pet concerns--overpopulation. Put that in your Global Warming pipe and smoke it.

Meanwhile, the masses associate what they're seeing with Western Capitalism--and they want no more of it. Thanks to western fascists.

The very poor and the very rich are the only ones really noticing the problem right now. But what about you? Are you really doing better than you were 1, 2, or 5 years ago? Not me. And I have a computer programming job. I feel sorry for my neighbor who's trying to feed his family of six on $18 per hour with no benefits.

. . .

The same tired "solutions" to our problems are not going to work this time, because they haven't worked yet. That's why we can't afford to vote for any of the popular candidates for president this time around--because their solutions are more of the same at a time of impending crisis. It's not too late to give your support to Ron Paul, because he is the ONLY presidential candidate who has pledged to try to get us out of our one-track establishmentarian rut.

It's not capitalism that's really failing. If you sneak back and pay attention to the man behind the curtain, you'll notice that he's a Socialist through and through. And he's been that way for a long time.