Saturday, January 31, 2009

Orrin Hatch is Finally Worrying about the Important Things: Like the BCS

You've got to hand it to Orrin Hatch. In a day when our economy is in a shambles because of greed in the highest places of government and corporationdom, and in a day when international respect for the United States is at an all-time low because of our bizarre foreign policy, he's worrying about far more important things, like whether the college football Bowl Championship Series is "un-American".

Hatch supports spying

Considering that President Obama and Congress are drilling us a hole to hell through which a handbasket can easily fit, it's hard to say just what's American anymore.

on you with reckless abandon
.

He supports making it nearly impossible for anyone to unseat him in the hallowed halls of power.

He supports giving Washington D.C. a representative in the House for the exclusive reason that Utah just might get a fourth seat out of the deal.

He supports the violation of habeas corpus and the torture of

The BCS is stupid. But un-American? Please. I wish Hatch would reserve that word for things that really matter, such as...well...unfettered spying on the American people, and advocacy of torture.

supposed terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

But never fear--his highest priority is actually protecting your rights...to see your favorite college football team in the Bowl Championship Series game.

"It (the BCS) may very well violate our nation's antitrust laws," Hatch said in a Senate speech, continuing complaints that it robbed the undefeated University of Utah of a chance to be declared national champion.

Hatch said the BCS did some tweaking to its system — but not enough — after he led Judiciary Committee hearings into it in 2003.

"However, as this past season demonstrates, these changes leave much to be desired in term of fairness and competition," he said. "The BCS system is anti-competitive, unfair and, in my opinion, un-American."
The BCS is stupid. But un-American? Please. I wish Hatch would reserve that word to use against things that really aren't trivial, such as...well...unfettered spying on the American people, and advocacy of torture.

Considering that President Obama and Congress

That's as American as cyanide-laced apple pie.

are drilling us a hole to hell through which a handbasket can easily fit, it's hard to say just what's American anymore. So, in keeping with the new socialistc vision of America, I don't think Orrin Hatch is going far enough. Let's make sure that we give each college football team an equal opportunity to be crowned champion.

Now that's American--as American as cyanide-laced apple pie.




Thursday, January 29, 2009

With His Personnel Picks and the "American Collapse and Socialization Act", Obama is Ignoring the Financiers That Got It Right

No wonder President Obama's administration members are warning that the economic recovery is several months away. He's doing nothing different than George W. Bush did when his attempts at economic recovery failed.

Obama has appointed, without exception, people who helped cause the problem. Obama's associates, not to mention his "stimulus" package (more on that in a later article) are prime indication that he actually wants the economy to get much worse. Does anyone know why?

Robert Rubin contends that no one saw the economic crisis coming. He's probably lying, but even if he really is that dense, it proves that Rubin's not even fit to be dogcatcher for the smallest bank in Poughkeepsie. There are several individuals who

Just like before, those people who are honest, who have integrity, and who could really fix the problem that those in office don't seem to care much about, are left out in the cold.

saw it coming
, and some of them are from the financial sector. Ironically, (is it ironic when it's on purpose?) none of them belong to the Insider-Man American-Hater Club, so they were left out of Barack Obama's presidential entourage.

Timothy Geithner? Okay so he didn't pay a bunch of his taxes. That makes him a money-grubbing son of a monkey. But much worse, he was also president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the Fed's money-creation orgy, which...well...makes him a money-grubbing son of a monkey. The Fed, which has been carefully cultivating a bumper crop of soon-to-be-experienced hyperinflation, is the main part of our problem. Most Democrats and Republicans are barely able to squeeze themselves around the outer edges of the room that that elephant is standing in. C'mon, President Obama, you can do much better than Timothy Geithner.

Lawrence Summers? Back in October when this issue was being

It's not, like Rush Limbaugh, that I want it to fail. It's simply that we are destined to fail when we fight against inexorable economic laws.

discussed by the king-makers and slave-makers, here's what was said:
Robert Rubin, treasury secretary under President Clinton and now an adviser to Barack Obama, said it was important "to be highly, highly proactive."

Lawrence Summers, also a Clinton treasury secretary, said, "Any time you have a problem with trust, you've got to deal with it in a very aggressive way."
Sure, we have been aggressive. We have been highly proactive. And the economy continues further into the tank. It reminds me of the long-running joke about socialism--that it hasn't worked yet because it hasn't yet been tried by the right people. Lawrence Summers was a poor choice.

You may not know that there are banks who have continued to turn a profit during the current crisis. Perhaps these people should be punished,

Nancy Pelositician ensured today that the "ship of state" is headed for the same rocky shoals toward which President Bush steered it. The only difference is that our clipper is now breezing along at full sail.

because they didn't do certain things that were encouraged by the federal government, such as give loans to people who couldn't afford them, or things that manifested corporate greed, such as decorating their offices for millions of dollars and giving themselves obscene bonuses.

John Allison, of BB&T corporation, is looked at by some as a member of the new Sons of Liberty for having stood up against the folly of federal bailouts.
It was Allison who wrote a stinging letter to Congress on Sept. 23, arguing that the contemplated bailout would reward poorly managed banks at the expense of properly managed banks...
...like his. Allison explained another reason why bailouts won't work
"The primary beneficiaries of the proposed rescue are Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley ," Allison wrote. "The Treasury has a number of smart individuals, including Hank Paulson. However, Treasury is totally dominated by investment bankers. They do not have knowledge of the commercial banking industry."
Dick Kovacevich of Wells Fargo has proven that honest bankers can turn a profit. People are fleeing the troubled banks and putting their money in a bank they can trust--Wells Fargo.
[Wells Fargo's] success is largely due to Kovacevich who served as CEO from 1998 to 2007, and didn't bow to pressure even though rivals such as Countrywide and Washington Mutual were growing their mortgage operations faster than Wells Fargo earlier in the decade.
Following the passing by the House of Representatives of the latest stimulus boondoggle fad package (I think it was H.R. 1, called "The American Collapse and Socialization Act"), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had this to say:
My colleagues, the ship of state is difficult to turn but that is what we must do.
You're right, Ms. Consummate Politician. However, what you did today was ensure that the "ship of state" is headed for the same rocky shoals toward which President Bush steered it. The only difference is that our clipper is now breezing along at full sail. It's not, like Rush Limbaugh, that I want it to fail. It's simply that we are destined to fail when we fight against inexorable economic laws.

The more things change, the more they seem to be the same old same old.

Just like before, those people who are honest, who have integrity, and who could really fix the problem that those in office don't seem to care much about, are left out in the cold.




Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Utah Legislature's 2nd Highest Priority: Reform Thy Lofty Self

In an atmosphere of environmental catastrophe brought on by greed (mostly) in high places, I think that maintaining the order of Utah's economic house must be our highest priority. Not far behind, however, is an issue closely related to the first--ethical lapses in high places. Rampant ethical laxness in the Utah legislator reflects very poorly on the predominant religion in Utah, especially because LDS lawmakers comprise a higher proportion of the legislature than

My state Representative recently

The current state of ethics in the Utah legislature should be profoundly embarrassing to all of us. Apparently, according to recent polls, ethics reform is finally on the radars of about 75% of Utahns.

sent out a mailer to gauge his constituents' views on various subjects. In the section labeled "Ethics Reform" he listed 5 or 6 issues and asked us to rank them in priority order. Here's how I ranked those six issues:

1
1
1
1
1 and
1

It doesn't matter necessarily how long the lobbyists have been able to take their pet legislative animals to a Jazz game. It doesn't matter how

I hope that ethical reform in this year's Utah Legislative Session will become a widely accepted litmus test.

many state employees have pulled a "Mark Walker" and gotten away with it. It neither matters how many bullies have perfected the Greg Hughes brand of influence, nor how many Phil Riesens have gleefully aired the legislature's dirty laundry. What matters is that the current state of ethics in the Utah legislature should be profoundly embarrassing to all of us. Apparently, according to recent polls, ethics reform is finally on the radars of about 75% of Utahns.

As the Deseret News recently reported:
"We have the most lax [ethics] laws in the nation," said Kirk Jowers, Director of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics.

[Governor Jon] Huntsman said Utah is one of the few states in America where campaign finance is "wide open, subject to abuse and mischief."
Lobbyists. 84% of Utahns think that legislators should not be allowed to be lobbyists until one year after they have left office.

84% of Utahns think that legislators should not be allowed to be lobbyists until one year after they have left office. How about ten years? How about never?

How about ten years? How about never? I'm not sure how a legislator can feel comfortable ignoring his/her real lobbyists--his/her constituents--in favor of those who give out lots of money and things. Lobbyists on K-Street in Washington are proving the downfall of the United States of America, and allowing Utah small-fry to act like their big brothers in the nation's capital is like drilling holes in the side of a sinking Titanic.

Gifts. Before he became mayor of Salt Lake City, Ralph Becker perenially supported banning nearly all legislative gifts. Year in and year out, Becker was slam dunked by the Republican aristocracy.

Campaign Funds for Personal Use. How this is not easily recognizable by nearly everyone as theft, I cannot fathom. Most people donate to candidates because they are running for office, not because they think they need a handout.

Corporations and industries donate to candidates because

How using campaign donations for personal use is not easily recognizable by nearly everyone as theft, I cannot fathom.

of the influence such bribes buy. In an effort to further remind legislators that they weren't elected by corporations, all donations from groups other than individuals should be banned.

Gerrymanderers 'R Us. Utah Republicans skittishness at handing over the reins of redistricting to a bi-partisan committee is a clear indication of their intoxication with power. Republican power brokers are less likely to give up gerrymandering than they are to give up any of the other emoluments of power--this despite the opposition of nearly 75% of Utahns.
. . .

I hope that ethical reform in this year's Utah Legislative Session will become a widely accepted litmus test. In other words, if a legislator votes against meaningful and reasonable ethics reform, he or she should be voted from office. Hopefully, legislators will support cramping their own style because they sincerely believe that it's far past time that we had honesty in the Utah Legislature. But even if they support ethics legislation just
because they want to be re-elected, that will be good enough.




Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama Inauguration: "Don't Believe Everything Your Parents Tell You"

What would do if your child's teacher told your child "Don't believe everything your parents tell you."? Would you be angry? I was for a minute. But I decided to turn what should have been a teaching moment into...a teaching moment.

Update 1/27/2009: See the teacher's cordial response below.

That's why I wrote the letter below to my child's teacher.

I asked some of my work colleagues what they would do if something like that happened to their child. They encouraged me to personally confront the teacher and give her "what for". I initially determined that I would seek such a confrontation. But the more I thought about it, I realized that such a confrontation would very likely cause me to miss a teaching moment as well.

So for what it's worth, here's the letter.
Dear Miss [Name Redacted]:

I very much appreciate that you encourage your students to discuss political issues in class. It is healthy for students to understand that, just like there are various religious perspectives in the world, various political viewpoints exist as well, and that it's important to show respect to these varying looks at life. What I don't like is that, in reply to a student who disagrees with your political perspective, you say "Don't listen to everything your parents tell you." You're correct, by the way, that we shouldn't believe everything they tell us, but such a statement is almost always interpreted as mean sounding.

My daughter, [name redacted], tells me that such was the gist of a conversation between you and her this past Tuesday. I would have much preferred if you had turned the conversation into a teaching moment by saying something like, "I'd like to have you go home and visit with your family about why or why not they think President Obama will be good for America. Try to form your own opinion, and come back to our next class ready to discuss 2 or 3 of your reasons."

Had you done this, you, my daughter, and your class would have discovered that
  • I do not necessarily think that Barack Obama will be bad for the country. It depends on whether he has the fortitude to achieve some of his stated goals without buckling under to entrenched interests in Washington.
  • I do think that George W. Bush was bad for the country, primarily due to his invasion of Iraq and his hubris with regard to the rest of the world on the subject of terrorism.
  • I think that Barack Obama will be a much more inspiring leader than George W. Bush was.
  • I think that President Obama has some great ideas (closing Guantanamo Bay, getting out of Iraq, reducing taxes) as well as some that are not so great (man-made global warming, federal control of eduction and healthcare, and bailouts with money that government does not have).
  • My daughter's mother has a different opinion (in some ways) of Barack Obama than I do.
  • My daughter would have been able to come to class with several reasons to support both the pros and cons of an Obama presidency.
My daughter might still not have formed her own opinion by asking my wife and me how we felt about President Obama, but we would have planted a germ there that might perhaps encourage her to form one, and the next day in class you would have had a marvelous discussion. (By the way, we have talked about it, and if you'd like, I'll encourage her to make a list...)

;-)

So next time, instead of saying, "Don't believe everything your parents tell you," ask your students to "defend your answer." And then remember that almost any well-thought-out answer to a political question is to be respected as a good answer.

That's when real education happens.
There. Was I tactful? How would you have responded?

Update 1/27/2009: Here is how the teacher responded. I thought it was a great response.
Thank you for you letter and your involvement and concern in [your daughter]'s education. I agree with your opinions in passing up a meaningful learning opportunity for my students and will hopefully be able to use your suggestion to challenge students to go home and ask their parent's opinions in the future. I apologize if I singled [your daughter] out about her opinions and have let her know that I was not out to get her.

My aims for having this discussion after the inauguration speech was to help my students dispel the large amount of rumors they have heard about President Obama (I don't know where they receive their information but I have had students say some very inaccurate, inappropriate and racist things about the President) and teach them to find the source of facts or opinions before repeating them. I also like to encourage them to think and research to form their own opinions. I did not mean to discredit parents political beliefs and apologize for the language I used.

I also wanted to clarify that I did not have a political agenda as I spoke to my students about this. My objective was to foster a time that allowed the students to think, question and form opinions, if they choose, about government. To be honest, I am still largely undecided on where on stand on many political issues and politicians. What I do know is that it is very important to me to form my opinions based on education and facts. In encouraging this discussion I hoped to teach my students to open up their minds to the variety of information out there, rather than taking the opinion of a forwarded email, friend or even family member.

I hope I have not caused trouble at home, or lost your respect for me as [your daughter]'s teacher. I appreciate your response and criticism. Please contact me in the future with any other concerns.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obushma? I Hope Not. But I Fear So.

When they campaign, they promise us the moon. When they campaign, they also somehow convince us that they're different than their competitors, and even that they're different than the office-holder that they will replace. Maybe they really are different.

But then the unfortunate reality sets in--the reality of a behemoth that is at odds with American ideals. On this Inauguration Day 2009, with the Establishmentarians firmly ensconced behind the dais in the shadows of power, I'm worried that four years from now, we will all be saying, "Obama wasn't much different from Bush after all." Although I sincerely hope he is different, here's my list of ways in which I'm afraid Barack Obama will probably not be much different than George W. Bush.

The inauguration speech of President Barack Obama was magificent. It was much more inspiring than something

How can it be that hard? It doesn't take four years to sign an Executive Order.

a George Bush, a Jimmy Carter, or even a Bill Clinton could have delivered. I disagree with the President's stand on a few of the issues that he talked about. On other issues, I agree with him wholeheartedly. I'm just worried that, because of the shadows of power, he won't be able to accomplish what he set out to do on the campaign trail.

Community service. I like a President who uses his office as a soap box to enourage everyday Americans to care

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the following special announcement: Obama's current position is that if he is able to close Guantanamo by the end of his first term, he will consider that a success.

for one another. What I don't like is when the government uses its power and money to either compel such caring. George W. Bush advocated "faith-based initiatives", which Obama recently stated he would expand. That's not good. Both forced charity and subsidized charity eventually become no charity at all.

Bailouts. On this subject, the President has already shown that he's more concerned about our short-term than our long-term benefit. Do

Like Bush did, President Obama plans to increase government control of health care, which is the primary reason that health care costs continue to explode all across America.

bailouts help? Absolutely not. They only make things worse. President Obama knows this. It doesn't take an economic rocket scientist to figure it out. Yet he has already proposed to make the economic cliff bigger from which we must eventually fall.

Government Health Care. In his address earlier today, President Obama stated that "Our health care is too costly." Unfortunately, like his predecessor, he plans to increase government control of health care, which is the primary reason that health care costs continue to explode all across America.

Education. Not much will change here, which won't be a surprise. A couple of decades ago, the Republicans planned to demolish the Department of Education and return education

It doesn't take an economic rocket scientist to figure out that bailouts delay and exacerbate the inevitable. Yet President Obama has already proposed to make the economic cliff bigger from which we must eventually fall.

where it belonged--to the states. George W. Bush was the head cheerleader, though, for No Child Left Behind. The changes that Barack Obama would like to make to NCLB would be better than what we currently have, but the greatest problem facing education today is the federal control of it.

Iraq. Obama claimed that he would have the troops out of Iraq within 16 months. Then he said it would be most of the troops. Now it seems he's just fine with taking the full three years that the Iraqi parliament mandated is the limit. Strangely similar to George W. Bush, and to his Republican presidential opponent, John McCain, Obama has consistently been in support of leaving a residual U.S. force there...forrr-evvvv-errrr.

Guantanamo. The prison and torture facility at Guantanamo Bay must be closed immediately, Obama used to say. We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the following special announcement: Obama's current position is that if he is able to close Guantanamo by the end of his first term, he will consider that a success. How can it be that hard? It doesn't take four years to sign an Executive Order.

National Crisis. George W. Bush had his ready-made galvanizing crisis when the terrorists struck on 9/11. Vice-president Joe Biden has already promised us a couple of months ago that we will have another such crisis, and that when it comes we must stand behind our President, even if it seems like we shouldn't. Sounds exciting!! Stay tuned.




Saturday, January 17, 2009

How Rape and Murder In Iraq Led to Curtailment of American Liberties

On a warm early morning near Baghdad in May 2007, fifteen Iraqi insurgents surprised two four-man humvee crews of American soldiers. Five of the Americans were killed. Three were captured. As a result of the captures, the Bush Administration and the U.S. National Security Agency sought for and received drastic strengthening of surveillance powers. Ironically, the attacks on the Americans were only in direct retaliation for a brutal rape and several grizzly murders committed by other Americans a few months prior. To add insult to the irony, the draconian new powers requested by the Executive Branch were not needed to find the missing soldiers, and they were granted after the bodies of the three missing soldiers were found.

Private Steven D. Green was granted a "moral waiver" to join the U.S. Army. In 2006 he deployed to Iraq, "because I wanted to kill people." Green worked with his squad members at a checkpoint in Mahmudiyah,

The worst part about the Global War on Terror is that, more and more, you are being treated like a terrorist.

near a farmhouse where a beautiful young Iraqi girl, Abeer Qasim Hazma al-Janabi, lived with her family. In lust over her beauty, Green and his squad mates concocted a plan wherein they murdered Abeer's father, mother, and sister in the farmhouse, then took turns violating Abeer until they had satisfied their filthy carnality. Before heading back to the checkpoint, Green put a bullet in Abeer's head as well.

Green's army chain of command attempted to cover up the incident, further inflaming the hatred of Americans by the local Iraqi populace. Sensing no satisfaction after a year for the vulgar crimes, fifteen Iraqi men, many of whom had never before engaged in insurgency against Coalition forces, attacked another group of unsuspecting and probably sleeping American soldiers at an observation post along a road nearby where the rape and murders had occurred, killing five and capturing three.

Immediately on learning of the three missing soldiers,

The pattern has a now familiar ring to it. The United States gets itself neck deep in abysmal foreign policy, and then when something bad happens, our representatives give themselves greater powers, on the pretext of fighting the terrorism that they incited, over you.

the Bush Administration and the NSA jumped into action. Avoiding mention of the of the clear link of the rape and murders the prior year with the insurgent attack and the missing soldiers, the NSA claimed only that it could not help find the captured men if it could not listen in on communications in the Mahmudiyah area.

In his sales pitch to Congress for all-out warrantless wiretapping, NSA chief Mike McConnell warned that, unless U.S. surveillance abilities were strengthened, more "Americans are going to die." Republicans in Congress added fuel to the passion by claiming that the U.S. had had to "abandon our soldiers because of the law".

Interestingly, in an apparent attempt to use the captured soldiers to the Bush administration's advantage, the NSA waited three days after the captures in Mahmudiyah to file paperwork that would already, under existing FISA law, have allowed them to surveill communication traffic in that region.

The strategy worked. Congress enacted draconian new eavesdropping powers, including the ability of the NSA to listen in without a warrant on Americans communicating overseas, and turning responsibilities that once belonged to the FISA court over to the Attorney General's office.

Since then, it's gotten even worse.

That's how the rape and murders that occurred in Mahmudiyah, Iraq--a place we should never have been in the first place--resulted in the loss of your liberties. How's that for a shell game?

The main selling point to Congress for the increase in these surveillance powers turned out to be a ruse. Writes James Bamford, in his book The Shadow Factory:
Ironically...the changes in FISA...had nothing to do with the search for the missing soldiers. The kidnapping took place on May 12 and the new interpretation of the law didn't go into effect until June 1.
It turns out the U.S. Military not only didn't need the NSA's help, but that NSA's initial (illegal) lead turned out to be incorrect. Bamford says:
...according to Colonel Michael Kershaw, one of the regional commanders in Iraq who helped lead the search, the key suspect involved in the initial target of the NSA's search, Abu Rus, was quickly captured, and it turned out that he had nothing to do with the kidnapping.

The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, pp. 294-303
The pattern has a now familiar ring to it. The United States gets itself neck deep in abysmal foreign policy, and then when something bad happens, our representatives give themselves greater powers, on the pretext of fighting the terrorism that they incited, over you.

The worst part about the Global War on Terror is that, more and more, you are being treated like a terrorist.

P.S. Senator and President-elect Barack Obama voted twice to strengthen U.S. surveillance powers and curtail your liberties--once after the the Mahmudiyah captures and once again in spring 2008.




Friday, January 16, 2009

"24": Are You a Fan? Should I Be?

I have only ever watched most of one episode of the hit series "24" on Fox. Based on that one episode, and its apparently tacit approval of torture, I am not a fan. But maybe I just need to know more of the context? Would I be a fan if I watched more episodes? I'm afraid I would be, simply because I would have become addicted to it.

I have military friends who watch 24 religiously. I was talking to some of my co-workers yesterday about 24, and

Maybe I wouldn't be so worried about Bauer's antics if they didn't match reality so closely.

they love it, too. My physical therapist says that it's his second favorite show besides Lost ("Lost" drives me bonkers by the way; I'd rather go shopping at Wal-Mart on Black Friday).

The other night I tuned in to the first episode of 24 season number 7, and I did not like what I saw.

Jack Bauer was being interrogated by some Senate committee. When asked whether he tortured a supposed terrorist named Ibrahim Hadad, he smugly replied, "According to the Geneva convention...yes...I did."

When asked whether he had detained Hadad without due process, and whether he had used extreme interrogation methods on him, he proudly replied "yes, sir", and he said that he had "probably" broken procedure.

The situation under which the torture had occurred was that a busload of 45 people, ten of whom were children, was about to be blown up, and Bauer knew that Hadad knew who was going to do the bombing. So he tortured him. And he saved the children.

24 seems to be--based on the one episode I've seen, as well as what I've heard other people say about nuclear bombs hidden somewhere in Los Angeles and other such truck, a series about "ticking time bombs" None of these scenarios is likely to ever happen, but what I'm afraid of is that most watchers of 24 have been or will become convinced that these things are likely to happen in a terrorism-saturated world, and that therefore Jack Bauer is justified in using any means to thwart these supposed likelihoods.

In other words, Jack Bauer is above the law--and most of us seem to be proud of it.

Maybe I wouldn't be so worried about Bauer's antics if they didn't match reality so closely.

Did I catch the essence of this well-produced but very dangerous program? Or am I way off base?





Monday, January 12, 2009

One Sure Thing about Global Warming: Loss of Liberty

In all of my reading about man-made global warming, never once have I come across the statement that 'we are absolutely sure' that mankind is causing irreversible global warming by our behavior. No one has dared make this claim yet. The closest anyone has come is being pretty sure that something bad might happen in fifty to one hundred years if we don't act now.

One thing that several people have stated (on both sides of the debate), however, is that slowing the supposed effects caused by man on the warming of the globe will require significant strengthening of governments around the world, along with a significant reduction in your freedom to choose.

My religion teaches

You may think, from this article, that I am having a hard time separating my views of church from my views of state. That would be correct.

that there was a great war in heaven between two ideologies. The first faction advocated our Heavenly Father's plan, which was a blueprint for freedom of choice. The opposing faction, much smaller but much more vociferous, advocated that individuals could not be relied on to make proper choices, and that they must thus be compelled by some sort of overlord to make (what were deemed by the overlord to be) the proper choices.

I'm glad the freedom-of-choice crowd won the day

Just like "godless Communism" that came before it, man-made global warming alarmists advocate as the only workable solution the taking away of your freedom to choose. That's pretty weird considering that they have never once said that they are absolutely sure that you are the problem.

in the eons of eternity. But the more I think of it, the more I have become convinced that one side of today's global warming debate is much less about shepherding the environment through reduction of global warming than it is about global control of our choices. Our "war in heaven", it appears, has spilled over to earth, and the global warming alarmists are now in the vanguard.

In his new book, Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, Christopher C. Horner refers to statements made by environmentalist Mayer Hillman:
..."leading green thinker Mayer Hillman [says] that rationing is the only way to prevent runaway climate change," because "When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life..."

"'The Chinese live in a totalitarian state,' [Hillman] points out. 'You don't have to persuade the Chinese, you've got to persuade the Chinese government.'"

Red Hot Lies, pp. 215-216
That's much easier! How nice!

But why are we persuading anyone to constrain freedom of choice, especially by holding up the Chinese government as something worthy of emulation, when no one is sure that man is causing irreversible global warming in the first place?

Temperature figures are so narrow that statistical tolerances leave the possibility that man is having no effect at all on global warming.

Horner paraphrases a PhD associate of his by stating that
...in the global warming agenda we are dealing with a premise that, once adopted, leads to no other conclusion than to accept government control in nearly every aspect of our lives.
Vaclav Klaus, current President of the Czech Republic, has lived through Communism, and he sees much of the same totalitarian agenda in the green movement. In fact, when Communism fell, many of its advocated gravitated rather quickly to the environmentalist movement. Klaus abhors the
politicians, journalists and scientists [who]are exploiting an unproven issue for their own advantage.

"Utopia is an excellent escape for politicians because they can busy themselves with far-away goals and don't have to worry about immediate problems," [said] Klaus. "Climate change is an excellent issue for that escape."
The alarmists and the news media regularly harp on the millions of dollars that man-made global warming skeptics receive for their research. What they usually conveniently forget are the BILLIONS of dollars awarded by government entities--cities, states, countries, and the United Nations--to those who claim to believe that man's activities are causing irreversible global warming. That money is given out overwhelmingly to one side for only one reason--control.

You may think, from this article,

Why are we persuading anyone to constrain freedom of choice, especially by holding up the Chinese government as something worthy of emulation?

that I am having a hard time separating my views of church from my views of state. That would be correct. My politics are often colored by my religious outlook.

In this case, my religion has help me to find a modern-day equivalent of what I believe went on in heaven before any of us came to earth. Just like "godless Communism" that came before it, man-made global warming alarmists advocate as the only workable solution the taking away of your freedom to choose.

That's pretty weird considering that they have never once said that they are absolutely sure that you are the problem.




Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is America's Perfect Economic Storm Just Around the Corner?

Now that the holidays are over, we can probably expect the stock market to tank. Not-yet-president Obama is already working on his first package to stimulate the size of the national debt. The House of Representatives made some draconian overhauls to House rules yesterday to favor the monopoly of the party in power. This has all the makings of a perfect storm for America.

The one thing that is sure: people focus much more clearly on the important things in a crisis. A crisis, unfortunately, is probably just what we need.

In a meeting of computer geeks yesterday,

Even if I didn't want an economic crisis, the laws of nature say that it's time.

one of our number mentioned how well we had reacted and how in depth we knew our computer systems in the run-up to the Y2K crisis nine years ago. Since then, they said, we have slumped into lackadaisical slumber, and our systems are not so carefully developed and monitored. I suggested to the group that perhaps we need another computer crisis to help us focus like a laser beam on what's important.

I've been coming to the firmer and firmer conclusion over the past few months that a crisis is what we need for America to back on the track that made it once great. Not that I necessarily want one, but I do think we will have matured significantly as families and as a nation by result of having been through a cleansing crisis. I think our made-to-order crisis is just around the corner. The planets seem to be aligning themselves in that regard. In the paragraphs that follow, I describe some of those planets.

Overstimulation. Barack Obama is using the projected $1.2 trillion budget deficit of 2009 as a limit on the stimulus package he is originating and which he will then pass on to Congress. My projection, however, is that, due to the "the last one didn't work because it wasn't big enough" philosophy, soon-to-be-President Obama's self-imposed stimulus limitations will look minuscule from a future historical perspective. Meanwhile, less and less will be produced in America, directly due to previous "stimulation" of overproduction by the inane policies of government and the Federal Reserve. This will stimulate the price of everything to increase, being only offset by fewer and fewer families' ability to buy much of it.

Monopoly Rule in Congress. I am just fine having a Democrat president and a huge Democrat majority in Congress. It will help ensure that American fascism comes out of the closet to swagger in plain sight. It should help the Republicans focus on that issue that is most important to mainstream America--liberty. The upcoming crisis will help voters determine whether their congressional representatives are worth their weight in gold--or in the stuff that comes out the east end of west-moving cow.

What makes the situation even more poignant are the rules passed on Tuesday in the House of Representatives that will make it much more difficult for House Republicans to have much impact on legislation.

Stock Market in the Toilet? MarketWatch.com had this to say yesterday about the post-holiday stock market.
Everybody should have known the holidays would only delay it. The freight train of job cuts, plunging earnings and massive spending cutbacks set to hit the economy was, thankfully, pushed back a few weeks while stunned investors and workers across the globe caught their breath after the worst fourth quarter in decades.

But now the great dying has begun...
Government unemployment computer systems are being overwhelmed. Construction is at a standstill. Even Wal-Mart, having up until now projected fairly could numbers, is worried.

As of yet, I'm largely unaffected by all of this. I have a comfortable job. My family has a year's supply of food. We have almost no debt. So it may be easier for me to say this than most--but I welcome an economic crisis. The political crisis that happened 233 years ago redounded to America's overwhelming blessing. The reason that I want another crisis to happen now, is that I think--in the end--we'll be greatly blessed for this one as well. Even if I didn't want one, the laws of nature say that it's time.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.




Sunday, January 04, 2009

Headline: Iran Lashes Out at Mujahedin-e Khalq Fighters. Hundreds of Civilians Dead.

The Associated Press is reporting this morning that
After suffering through bombardment of 6,464 rockets launched at Tehran from Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) bases southeast of the capital city over the past years, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei and the Guardian Council recently determined to go on the offensive to terminate the MEK attacks. Iranian Revolutionary Guards in recent days launched a heavy air campaign against MEK strongholds. MEK spokespersons claim that over 400 followers have been killed in the air strikes, and at least 100 of them are civilians.

After warning civilians in the area of MEK bases to leave their homes, Iran has now launched a follow-up ground attack. MEK freedom fighters are protesting the attacks as disproportionate. Protests of support for the MEK fighters have sprung up across Europe, the United States, and elsewhere around the world.
The story continues:
Thousands of Iranian troops backed by columns of tanks and helicopter gunships launched a ground offensive against MEK bases Saturday night with officials saying they expected a lengthy fight in the densely populated territory after eight days of punishing airstrikes failed to halt militant rocket attacks on Tehran.
Woops! I guess I got my facts twisted just a little bit. I guess it was really Israel that decided to go on the offensive after having suffered through the attack of 6,464 rockets in the past three years. Instead of

Great "collateral value" exists to Hamas for each bit of "collateral damage" committed by Israel. Hamas is doing whatever it can to encourage and compel the civilians to stay put.

MEK being the rocketeers, Hamas is. I'm just guessing, though, that that makes a huge difference in your mind.

Why should it? An attack is an attack. Self-defense is self-defense.

The truth? As of yesterday 6,464 rockets had been fired into Israel by Hamas. Among more than 400 dead are about 100 civilians in Gaza. While in the fake story, Iran warned civilians to vacate after the aerial campaign, in the real story, Israel asked them to leave before any attacks had begun. World-wide protests in support of MEK freedom fighters?--that would have never happened.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a rocket attack? I have. What doesn't cause death or injury defintely causes panic.

After reading the above fictional account, think to yourself carefully: "Who would I more likely have given a pass to if it had been true?" Unfortunately, most people would say Iran.

Can you imagine what Iran would have done if MEK really had bombed its major cities with rockets nearly incessantly for three years?
Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger.
While Israel hopes its warnings have been heeded, and that they encounter no civilians during their ground offensive to seize caches of Hamas rockets and other weapons, Hamas is doing whatever it can to encourage and compel the civilians to stay put. Great "collateral value" exists to Hamas for each bit of "collateral damage" committed by Israel. Unfortunately, most of us in the West feed Hamas's flame of hatred by not being honest about its incessant provocations of Israel.

In addition to the citation immediately above, Charles Krauthammer puts it this way:
For Hamas the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza--peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible--also on both sides.
If you guessed that the combatant who is committed to saving lives is Israel, go to the head of the class. If you guessed that Hamas is Gaza's knight in shining armor, please see a psychiatrist.

What happened to the gigantic, vibrant greenhouses that Jews left behind when they vacated the Gaza in 2005? They have been abandoned. Hamas has spent most of its time not feeding and protecting its people (although they do just enough of that to convince dupes that they really care). Rather, it has been building up terrorist bases and huge arsenals.

It can't be that Hamas is angry at the Israelis (which include Palestinians) because Israel occupies Gaza. That stopped almost four years ago. There must be some other reason. Could it be...I'm just brainstorming here...that Hamas subscribes to Mahmoud Ahamadinejad's penchant for wiping Israel off the map?

Ask the Palestinians in Gaza what they think about Israel, and they will likely tell you that Israel is the enemy. In most cases, however, the Gaza civilians know that not to be true, but they are afraid to say the truth--because the enemy is among them.

Israel doesn't want to kill people. They just want to be left alone. Disproportion has nothing to do with it. All Israel wants is for the indiscriminate bombings of its homeland to stop. They have bent over backwards to give Hamas its own territory. Hamas gives Israel a slap in the face in return.




Saturday, January 03, 2009

Enron a Symptom of What's Wrong with Capitalism? Please...!

Capitalism took a huge hit when Enron went under. People with either clear political agendas or monumental ignorance fed and/or believed this blatant falsehood. A look into the reality paints a completely different picture, however. Enron was in virtually in no way a capitalist organization. Other energy companies have learned from "the best", and they are as well profiting handsomely from what should in reality be (but isn't) providing proper stewardship and protection to the earth. The faux environmental movement is being led by the incestuous orgy of government and prison market profiteers.

General Electric knows how to best get its bread buttered. Go green!! (Or at least pretend as much.) So does British

Isn't it funny how the best schmoozers of government have somehow come to give the free market a bad name?

Petrole...sshhhh!!...I mean BP. Duke Energy fawns at the feet of the bread butterer as well. T. Boone Pickens is attempting to set the record for the most buttered bread. Referring to these companies and people as capitalists may in a very peripheral way be appropriate, because they are definitely capitalizing on their unfair advantages. To call them free marketers is sheer chicanery, however.

All of these firms learned how to milk the bread butterer--the federal government--from the best. The best butter-receiving bread holder, in its day, was Enron.

The faux environmental movement is being led by the incestuous orgy of government and prison market profiteers.

A few of the heads of these companies were close associates of none other than Ken Lay (see Red Hot Lies, by Christopher Horner, pp. 108-110). They have learned very well.

As my definition of capitalism (despite my attempt at humor above) I use the following non-Marxist one:
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 means of wealth.
Hmmm....wealth made 'chiefly by private individuals or corporations'... Does that mean with or without the special favors of government? It seems here appropriate to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen's famous retort to Dan Quayle:
I served with capitalism: I knew capitalism; capitalism was a friend of mine. Mr. Lay, you're no capitalist.
Isn't it funny how the best schmoozers of government have

It doesn't have much of anything to do with "green". It has everything to do with the appearance of good and the acquisition of raw power.

somehow come to give the free market a bad name? As you re-read that last sentence, don't think that you'd suffered a momentary bout of deja vu. It was, rather, the United States financial sector that just crossed your mind.

In case you didn't know, Ken Lay was, in his pre-Enron life, a government regulator. Ironically, it has been said of Enron:
Marjorie Kelly in her Enron interpretation, “and it’s time we said goodbye to the invisible hand.” Princeton economist Paul Krugman predicted in the New York Times that the demise of Enron—an event that was bigger than 9-11 in his view—would sour society against free-market capitalism.
and that
For three decades now, the dominant strain of economics from the University of Chicago has been teaching gullible undergraduates and journalists that there is no such thing as the public interest. Efficient outcomes are just the aggregation of selfish private interests, and government’s main job is to get out of the way. Well, after Enron, these theorists should learn some other useful trade.
News flash!! Government, rather than being out of Enron's way, was the pickle in Ken Lay's pocket. From previous regulatory experience, Mr. Lay and his Enron cronies (not the Enron serfs, mind you) knew just how to jump in with both feet.

Enron was in almost no way

Government, rather than being out of Enron's way, was the pickle in Ken Lay's pocket. Ken Lay fooled you once. Don't let his proselytes and pimps fool you again.

a free market company. It was completely dependent on government and its mutual back-scratching associations with power-hungry "climate control" organizations. It began its own campaign for sustainable development in 1988. Lay sought for and achieved massive taxpayer funding for his company, as well as access to his competitors' transmission infrastructure. And to think it was all with the willing help of free enterprise...er...uh...wasn't it?

Ken Lay, in perhaps the least told facet of the Enron debacle, was a huge "friend" of the environment, exclusively because being so was "friendly" to him and his company. His "benefactors" surely knew this.
  • He received the Climate Protection Award from the EPA.
  • Enron advised the President’s Council on Sustainable Development; the Business Council for Sustainable Energy; the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
  • He supported the Clinton Administration's drive for a Btu tax.
  • In an effort to reap huge profits, Enron incessantly lobbied the federal government to regulate emissions of CO2.
So don't give me this crap about Enron being capitalist. One of the most important lessons of history to be learned is that Ken Lay

There really, simply is not much capitalism going around anymore. And that is the problem. The invisible hand of the market has been replaced by the mailed fist of federal and world government.

was not a member of the free market, but was rather one of its chief detractors--a "prison market profiteer".

There really, simply is not much capitalism going around anymore. And that is the problem. The invisible hand of the market has been replaced by the mailed fist of federal and world government.

In the 1930's Ken Lay would have been best friends with Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. His friends from GE, Duke, BP, and Pickens Energy would love to have dined at the same table.

The current climate control movement doesn't have much of anything to do with the kind of "green" that you were just thinking about. It has to do with...yes...that kind of green. It has everything to do with the appearance of good and the acquisition of raw power. Ken Lay fooled you once. Don't let his proselytes and pimps fool you again.