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Monday, December 31, 2012

Coup d'état

What this is ladies and gentlemen, citizens of this once great country, is a Coup d'état. The state has slowly and inexorably moved until it is now in a position to take control of everything. The Federal government prints the money used to turn the wheels of our American economy. So if you're a fascist dictator, and you want total control of everything, all you have to do is print enough money to buy everything. When it owns all the banks, when it owns all the car manufacturers, shipping, trucking, etc., at what point will Americans wake up and realize that we're no longer running this thing? At what point will we realize that the steering wheel we're holding is less than a joke? The real controls were taken from our hands and in their place they put toys. Maybe yours is an iPhone, or an iPad. Maybe you're holding a Nintendo DS-3, or a Kindle-HD, or maybe it's just a crappy fake plastic steering wheel? How much is that money in your wallet worth? If you quadruple the dollars in circulation each dollar is only worth two-bits.

If you were wondering how Obama plans to pay for all the things he's promised the people, wonder no more. He plans to print more money. This unprecedented fiscal legerdemain requires a distraction to be successful. Look over there! It's rich people. They're not paying their fair share. Obama's a circus ringmaster and this shabby vaudeville three-ring circus comes complete with bread for the fans. It's zanier than a Sunday afternoon of professional wrestling complete with Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker. Don't worry about learning to read, Obama will tell you everything you need to know during the six o'clock news hour and everything you need to buy during the commercial breaks.

Gradually, step by step, we the people have been stripped of our Constitutional rights. More recently, the state is moving to seize full power and eliminate the threat of armed insurrection by mobs of crazed Constitution waving, Tea Party voting, NRA member, Bible thumping maniacs.

The state doesn't care about illegal guns. None of these gun control measures they're talking about instituting following the recent Sandy Hook massacre are designed to protect civilians from mass murderers. They are, without exception, all designed to identify the real potential trouble makers—the people who still labor under the deluded misconception that they have constitutional rights. Lets take a look at those rights. Get out your black Sharpie and your bill of rights and start at one.
  1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
  3. No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
  4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
  6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
  7. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
  8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
  9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. [you didn't know about this one anyway]
  10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
As the Federal government gradually becomes a fascist state, scenes like this will become more and more common place. Apparently not only was Joe McCarthy right on target, he was already too late.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have you forgotten why we send our best to stand in harm's way?

God speaks to us every day if only we'd listen. Often an amazing confluence of events that we like to call "coincidence" has a lesson to teach us. Today my lesson is humility, gratitude, and remembrance. You see above these words an iconic symbol. You see an American soldier limned in the resplendent light of the Sun or perhaps even the light of Heaven itself. He stands before this our utmost symbol of American pride, the American flag. When the wolves circle in the primeval night, it is he who stands as our guardian. He stands between us and the enemy who would do us harm if not for soldiers like this one. Is the soldier afraid? Yes, he's afraid! On the battlefield he's a taut bowstring that is thrumming with tension right to the edge of the snapping point. Is he proud? Yes, he's proud! He's been through hell already, and of all the men on Earth it is only he who stands athwart the evil design of the enemy. He's been trained and tested to a point that is incomprehensible to me, to most Americans. Only those like him, his comrades in arms, his fellow soldiers, his brothers and sisters could ever understand where he's been, what he's done, what he's capable of.

My wife—ex-Army MOS 77F—reminded me today of their sacrifice. So today I want to express my most humble gratitude—to you out there on the front lines especially. If you soldiers justifiably feel pride, know that your pride is reflected back a million-fold, because we Americans are even more proud of you. Thank you, and thank God, for you.

Last night on Netflix, I watched the final episode of a four part miniseries called The Stand. For those not familiar with the story, a super-flu has wiped out nearly everyone on Earth. A few people survive, but they must come to grips with a shattered society, and cities filled with rotting bodies. It's not really a story about a disease, although at first that's what you might think. It's a tale that succeeds in capturing the essence of the human spirit, our inherent greatness that comes out when things are at their very worst. It's a tale told by one of the great storytellers of our age, a tale spinner who with masterful ease, has so often kept an audience spellbound, caught shivering on the edge of their seats. It's mystery, wonder, spectacle and dread. The reason The Stand is so powerful is because it's something we've been expecting for nearly two-thousand years.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

—W.B Yeats
I find it amazing that there are so many Christians who proudly profess their belief in God, their love of Jesus, yet somehow they've forgotten that there is a pitiless enemy who waits and who longs for the end of us all. Satan has his claws sunk deep into this world. He waits and hatches his plots. Sandy Hook was the latest outrage in a long string of catastrophes designed to do one thing: break us, break our spirit, turn us one against the other. United we stand, divided we fall. The devil knows that those words are true and he works tirelessly to pull the fog of forgetfulness over our eyes.

I truly believe we are living in the days prophesied in Revelation. I'll tell you something that I bet you never thought of. It's harder to believe in God today than it ever has been in history. Never before in history have so many people worked so hard to prove that God doesn't exist. I wonder why that is? Could it be that we're down to the wire? Is the timer winding down? Is this incredible push to heap scorn on everyone who professes their belief in Christianity some kind of Hail Mary pass thrown by Satan to even the score in these our final seconds?

My wife this morning told me about a terrible outrage that occurred on a Delta flight:
On Dec. 13, 2011, Marine Lance Cpl. Christian Brown was leading his squad on a foot patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand province when he stepped on an explosive device that blew off both his legs, one above the knee, the other below his hip. He also lost part of his right index finger.

Last Sunday, almost exactly a year since those grievous injuries forced him to learn to walk on two successive pairs of prosthetic legs, Brown was “humiliated” to the point of tears on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Washington after being clumsily wheeled to the back row of the plane, according to a complaint sent to the airline by an outraged fellow passenger.

Worse yet, according to retired Army Col. Nickey Knighton’s detailed “customer care” report to Delta, efforts by several fellow vets to shift Brown from coach to a first class seat offered by another flyer, were rebuffed by the crew. Flight attendants insisted no one could move through the cabin because the doors were being closed for takeoff, she wrote.
So here today I tell you of this incredible chain of coincidence that God has placed before me as though they were footstones set to guide my path in the dark of night.

Step one: Last night I cried as I watched The Stand. Four men set out with nothing but the clothes on their back to do battle with The Enemy. Theirs was a familiar story: a few men sent to battle the enemy on the enemy's turf. Sent because it was the right thing to do. Sent because this Enemy if left to work his designs will one day succeed in destroying everything and killing everyone. They were sent to do battle because evil must be battled. They were sent to die because sometimes God demands sacrifice, and of all of us they were the best, the strongest, the most courageous. They were sent to stand before the Evil Enemy because it was God's will that they do so.

Step Two: Last night my wife cried when she found out what had happened to a soldier named Christian. [How's that for a coincidence? The soldier's name is Christian!] He's a legless amputee on a Delta flight. He made his stand and the enemy cut him down. Now he no longer can stand. We ought to be grateful, don't you think? We ought to thank him with tears running down our faces; thank him for making his stand, for making his great sacrifice. Instead, he was deliberately humiliated. And if you don't think that this was Old Scratch himself working another of his evil designs, trying to break us down, split us up, divide us one against the other, then you haven't been paying attention. Wake up!

Step Three: After the disastrous 2012 election I turned off the TV for good. Satan has blinded so many of us with movies, with magazines and paparazzi and Honey Boo Boo Child, that we've forgotten why this country was founded. We came here because we wanted to be free. We wanted to be free, but today only a couple of centuries later we sit down on a comfortable sofa with a beer in our hand and we watch pretty lights come out of a box, while it whispers the lies of Satan right in our ears. The box teaches nothing but vulgarity, violence, jealousy, and hatred. If you wonder why you're here today in this world, I can promise you that it's not so you can voluntarily enslave your own mind and worship this abomination that is your own television set. Turn off the television set and open your eyes America! Wake up! I turned off my television last month, and this month I found Someone who I'd forgotten. I prayed for faith—in my loss and sorrow over the state of this dying country—and when I did, these strange coincidences started happening.

Step Four: my wife begged me to write about this strange epidemic of disrespect that is being shown to our soldiers: active duty, wounded, recruits, and retirees. She told me how she cried when she heard about what had happened to Christian Brown, and then she told me about all these websites she'd found that were hateful and openly disrespectful to American soldiers. She thought I could put into words what she was feeling, but as I write this, I must admit in all humility that I can't. I was never a solder. I can only imagine what being one is like. What I could never imagine is how I'd feel if my legs were sacrificed to protect a stewardess who would then go on to treat me like an old suitcase that wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment. No, I could never imagine how that would feel.

Nevertheless in spite of the spitefulness, in spite of the thoughtlessness of some of my fellow Americans, I too feel American pride. I too, feel fear at an uncertain and ever more dreadful seeming future. I too, well remember the day when the enemy attacked our twin towers. And I know too well, why our soldiers are sent—every day—to make their stand against this our implacable enemy.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tell me again why can't I buy a Twinkie?

Hostess Brands, formerly Interstate Bakeries, was founded in 1930 and is the company behind Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and Devil Dogs. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2004. In early 2009, the company became a private company in a deal financed in part by private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings.
Looking at a murky financial picture, what is evident at first glance is that even before this last straw that broke the junk-food laden camel's back, the company was already practically done for. Cheap snack foods from every corner of the industrialized world have flooded the market in recent years, and not only that, but there's also a national push—perhaps epitomized by the First Lady—to start getting healthy. Junk food and empty calories are what Hostess is best known for. They sold a selection of breads and muffins as well but these were a small and low-profit segment of their mostly junk-food catalog. Whether we're discussing Hostess, Blockbuster, or the Turner and Cook Buggy-Whip Manufactory, the list of failed businesses which at one time seemed American institutions will continue to grow. This is the cycle of life, as well as the cycle of free enterprise. If you can't sell your product for more than it costs to produce it, you don't stay in business.
WASHINGTON — While current and former executives at bankrupt Hostess Brands Inc. decide how to spend millions in bonuses, hourly workers are discovering their final paychecks will be short several hundred dollars in promised vacation pay.

According to a bankruptcy-brokered Employee Retention Program at Hostess, workers taking part in the shutdown of Hostess facilities and those workers displaced by the closings will not be paid for vacation time accrued during the past year.

The workers previously were told their earned vacation pay would be included in their final paychecks.
This was a game of chicken and both sides lost when they hit head on. I don't know what the take away from this is. Several things strike me. First and foremost, obviously the Hostess hourly workers who lost their jobs are definitely the biggest losers. I don't imagine there's a single person who'd disagree with that. As the liberal headline from The Ohio Dispatch proclaims, the executives who ran the company are probably going to do just fine. There's a big part of me that wants to sneer at the thought of a gang of ticks crying because they killed the dog and now they're out of a job. I guess that's just the cynic in me. Then again, there's another part of me that thinks these workers lost their jobs because they were misled. They were tricked, cajoled, led along the primrose path to their own destruction.

I want to ask BCTGM a question. I want to ask the Hostess workers who're out of a job a question. Finally I want to ask Hostess management a question. The question in each case is the same: if you had it to do over, would you do anything differently?

Of the three groups I'd ask the question to, I'm almost certain that the workers would have done things differently. I doubt Hostess management was able to do things differently. They were caught between a rock and a hard place. They could either manage a company that could turn a profit or they'd be forced into plan B: sell it for what they could get. The Baker's union decided to call management's bluff. BCTGM went all in and forced Hostess management's hand. The executives at Hostess did the only thing they could do: They folded. In the process Hostess executives—very smartly—took the remainder of their winnings and they cashed out. Game over. The End.

If you look around the poker table and you can't tell who the sucker is, I've got news for you pal, wonder no more. So these Hostess workers were sold a bill of goods from a crooked union that made out like the bandits that they are. Of course you won't see that news in newspaper headlines. You won't hear about the third side of this little business triangle because the Democrat-media-union complex doesn't want you thinking dangerous thoughts. They don't want you to be thinking scary thoughts about evil middlemen milking the rich, skimming the cream off the top for themselves and then feeding you pigs the thin and tasteless remainder. If you started really looking at union bosses and Democrat kingpins and if you started wondering why it is that they all drive fancy cars and live in mansions, well, you might start to wonder who the sucker at the card-table really is. Not to worry, turn on your television and look at the light going back and forth...back and're getting very sleepy...the rich get richer. Repeat after me...the rich get richer...

I get so tired of that. I'm not rich. How come I'm not jealous? If suddenly every rich person on Earth became poor, that still wouldn't make me one penny better off, not one stinking penny richer. If you're the kind of person who says "The rich get richer" with that same breathy resignation in your voice and the unmistakable note of bitter jealousy in your tone, then I wonder where your parents went wrong. Because they did you know. Maybe jealousy was fed to you in your own mother's milk, and she in her mother's before her, but jealousy is just so incredibly stupid, so pointless so unworthy. I can't understand why people don't see that.

Jealousy is the most useless of all emotions. It's the same emotion that caused Lucifer to rebel and turn against God. It's the same emotion that caused Cain to kill his brother Abel. Not once in the annals of human events has jealousy been termed noble, useful or worthy.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Our Commander and Chief ran on a platform of being the Redistributer and Chief. When he speaks of tax breaks for the "rich" you can almost smell the stink of his self-evident jealousy right through the TV screen. It's sickening. It's disgusting. Our President is an evil man, a man as wholly unworthy as any man on death row, a man as unworthy as Cain back in those first days, and so it's not even ironic that this twisted homunculus of a human being's favorite line is: "I am my brother’s keeper." We are not livestock to be "kept" Mr. President. We don't need you to "keep us" and if we were livestock to be kept, I would only wonder when would come the reaping? Why Obama, must the rich do more? Can you explain that to me? We're just to take it on faith that because the rich are rich they must "do more." Why? Do they owe more to society, to the planet, to civilization? It seems self-evident to me that the reason that they are rich is because they already did do more than everyone else. But that's not what you mean, is it Obama? You mean that the rich owe more. So I just want to ask: if the rich did borrow their riches from the poor, from the little guy, from you Obama, when did this happen? How much did they borrow. What were the terms of the loan? No, that's not it. The rich didn't borrow their riches from the poor. So I wonder, why do they owe, and to who, and how much? Obama you're a jealous small man. You're a jealous alley dog that does nothing for any man except to bite the hand that feeds it. If there were any justice in this world people like you would be put down, put down for your own good and for the good of us all, and I could go to the store and buy a God-Damned Twinkie!

Friday, December 28, 2012

God talks to us in the langauge we best understand

And actions speak louder than words.

If you're like me, you've sometimes wondered why God allows bad things to happen to good people. I've often found myself questioning God's plan, wondering if there even is a plan. Two stories in the Bible were always particularly troubling to me. I'm no Bible scholar, and perhaps that's actually to my benefit. I'm starting to believe that the people who think they know everything are the ones who still have the most to learn. Shortly I'll be discussing my own personal exegesis of two stories that have troubled me, but first I need to make clear my own personal understanding of faith in God.

What I've come to believe is that God talks to all of us in the language that we best understand. I really believe that. He doesn't speak to me in Latin, or Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic, he speaks in English, but not just in English. God speaks in actions, insights, strange coincidences, hints, and small miracles. He speaks in the kindness of strangers. He speaks in life's joys, and also in its sorrows.

The stories of the Crucifixion in the New Testament and the story of Job in the Old Testament make me wonder: Why did God allow Jesus to be brutally tortured? Why did God allow Job to lose everything? Why was all this suffering necessary? It often seemed so pointless, so barbaric, and so primitive. Most of the Bible seems that way to me, like it's just chock full of war, cataclysms, sacrifices, and blood. A modern man like myself, reading these words from ages past...I just can't understand the thinking of these primitive writers. It's almost like watching cavemen bash each other with rocks and throw themselves off of cliffs at the spectacle of a solar eclipse. That's the trap though, isn't it? It's so easy to fall into this that most common of snares for people who think they know everything—you can't tell them anything.

So then concerning these two Biblical stories, there are two things I wish to make clear. The first is that the stories in the Bible are still as relevant and important today, as they were back on the day that they were first written. However these stories use different words and different languages today than when they were first written. And it's not only the words themselves that have changed since they were first written; the stories too have also changed. Finally, our modern outlook has likewise changed. Therefore the meaning and morality that we today are able to take away from these Bible stories is completely different from that of those ancients. This too is part of God's plan.

The second thing I want to make clear is this: I believe that if I would learn God's plan, then I must understand that he speaks to me in the languages that most directly move me. When I ask questions, he answers me not only with words from the Bible but with concrete actions, signs, portents, and coincidences. Therefore if I would listen well, I must listen with more than my ears. If I would understand, I must see with more than my eyes. My intuition and my faith along with my five senses and the knowledge and wisdom I've gathered in my lifetime together form the gestalt language that God communicates to me with. It's a language that is completely personal and unique to me alone.

A Bible scholar who speaks the old languages and has researched the history of ancient times is justifiably proud of himself. Perhaps he considers himself a detective on the hunt for clues, or perhaps he's that master riddler who imagines that he's at the cusp of answering life's biggest riddle of all—why are we here. Meanwhile, here's ignorant little old me, who comes along and thinks: he's off on the wrong track. God's not speaking to people in Aramaic anymore.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer? God was speaking directly to the people of that time. He was teaching them in that language that they alone best understood. Today we not only don't speak that language, we don't understand that culture, the knowledge of the people, their experiences, their hopes and fears, the day-in day-out things that only a people like those Jews in those days could ever hope to understand. I could learn Hebrew perhaps if I wished. I could probably learn Latin and Greek and even Aramaic, but I don't imagine that I could ever come to fully understand the lesson which God was teaching those people on that day, because it's not just Greek to me, it's completely unfathomable.

Finally, I come last to that incomprehensible tale which is the testing of Job. Here's the man who put his faith in God. He did everything right. He owned a prosperous house and had a happy and healthy family. He had satisfied workers. He had wealth, and prosperity. Everything was going great and then Boom! Satan came and took it all away. It seemed almost like betting on a dogfight, immoral. It seemed so small and petty. When I read these words it didn't fill me with confidence. It didn't convince me that God is a just and loving God. A good man had great wrong done to him and apparently done with God's connivance. How can something like this ever be justified? The lesson for me is that this again was a lesson God was teaching. God was speaking in the language that was best able to influence the one for whom the lesson was intended. For me the lesson is this: God hasn't given up on anything. He hasn't given up on us. He hasn't given up on the world. He hasn't even given up on the evilest one of them all! I believe that God was hoping to teach Satan a lesson, and the thing about lessons is this: we only teach lessons to those we believe can learn from them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cannibalism Happens...

Americans, Europeans, Africans, Asians, wherever you're from, I'm afraid we're all in the same boat. Yes, this boat was mostly built by America, launched by America, and captained by America, but it's not one country's voyage, it's the voyage of us all. We the passengers are starting to become aware of the fact that after a non-stop party wherein both passengers and crew alike, indulged in gluttonous feasting and intemperate alcoholic consumption, somewhere along the way we've lost our course. We're all becoming aware of the fact that this boat—civilization itself—is now in completely uncharted waters. Now, it may be that you want to blame America or this person or that one for this, our situation, but you were there partying with the rest of us. You were there drinking the Kool-Ade just like everyone else. Climb down off your hobby-horse and get a whiff of your own stink before you start pointing any fingers.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

That prayer is the one that they recite at Alcoholic Anonymous in every meeting, so perhaps it's appropriate to offer now. It's appropriate now that we're all starting to sober up and realize where we've come to, which is nowhere recognizable. This desolate location would be recognizable to civilizations which no longer exist, but not to us, today.

You've probably experienced that uncomfortable feeling of being lost before. If there are stores and gas stations around then it's no big deal, but that uncomfortable lost feeling is a lot more frightening when there's nothing in sight but miles and miles of nothing at all. Trust me when I tell you that being lost with no gas-station in sight is even scarier when that fuel gauge needle is on empty. Imagine, if you can, how much more frightening it would be if you heard your engine's final sputter happen not on some desolate road, but lost in one of the biggest deserts of them all, the middle of the ocean. Wake up my fellow travelers. Wake up and smell the ship's last cup of coffee. If you think it looks bad today—really bad?—in my own humble opinion fellow traveler, you ain't seen nothing, yet...

Right now everyone is arguing about whose fault it is. One clear and concise accusation can be found at American Thinker.
The Case Against Public Education:
If public education is allowed to survive, all efforts to resuscitate the inert husk of modern civilization will fail. It is time to unravel the most wasteful and destructive entitlement program of all. Cancer cells do not divide into healthy cells. A corrupted, power-intoxicated political class will not willingly raise a freedom-loving, self-reliant populace. Governments must no longer be allowed to pre-determine their nations' fates, by mass producing the populace that serves their interests.
I think Daren Jonescu the author of that article has a valid point; there are some things that a central government shouldn't try to do. In my opinion a perfect government would be like the fire-department. They'd sit around doing nothing until there was a fire somewhere to be put out. The government would be there to handle emergencies and hostile foreign incursions, and the rest of the time we wouldn't notice them. All other needs of our society could be handled by the private sector using the lubricant of free-enterprise and fueled by a spirited working class living on hope and prayer and everyone realizing that it is only through work, hope, and prayer that the American dream can be realized.

There are many things that the government has no business trying to do. One of those things is going into business for itself. In an earlier post I mentioned the inherent inefficiency of the United States Postal Service. It is inefficient and will always be inefficient because it was designed by bureaucrats in committee. It is inefficient because there was never any pressure put on it to become self-sufficient and to start turning a profit. When the Postal Service doesn't turn a profit and instead runs billion dollar deficits, they just turn around and get the money to keep going from the state.
A 1976 New Yorker cartoon expressed what could be the Postal Service's new motto, "Neither lethargy, indifference, nor the general collapse of standards will prevent these couriers from eventually delivering some of your mail."(63) The Postal Service has a monopoly so that it can be a "public service," but its very monopoly status destroys its incentive to serve the public. The Postal Service's standard for mail delivery appears to be to provide the minimal service short of provoking a public riot or cessation of the postal monopoly.
I could keep going and going, offering up example after example of things the central government shouldn't be doing but is doing, nevertheless. It's why we've arrived at the place where we are, the middle of nowhere. Look around, as you flip through hundreds of channels of nothing much of anything. Look around as you drive along, while people—on the day before Christmas?—honk at you and flip you the bird because you were going faster than they were, slower than they were, some other direction than they were, or maybe even had a bumper-sticker they didn't agree with...etc. Listen as your children come home from school and they tell you that there's no such thing as God, that God's a myth and that the Universe was created by the Big Bang. Look around as you wait in line at the grocery store and realize that not only are you the only one paying for your own food—everyone else has one of those American Flag food-stamp cards—yes, you're paying for everyone else's food, too.

The party's over but meanwhile the band is still playing. The party's over but meanwhile the crew is still dancing in a conga line. The party's over but the captain has the boat turning circles on autopilot meanwhile he's playing golf on the ship's built-in golf course. In answer to passenger fears he has this to say: Did you get your coffee and breakfast bagel? What's your problem? You ought to be grateful.

Meanwhile, shipboard law-enforcement is searching passenger cabins for any firearms that may have been smuggled aboard. Meanwhile, Cruise hospice caretakers are quietly dumping their charges off the side. Meanwhile, shipboard community organizers are compiling lists of who does—and who doesn't—go with the flow. They need to identify and isolate the troublemakers first, make sure they don't cause a panic, make sure they pay their fair share. When the food stores are finally exhausted, the passengers and crew are going to get hungry. The pound of flesh which the Captain will demand of these troublemakers is dearly bought. 'Tis his and he will have it, because you know...when zombies run the ship sooner or later cannibalism happens.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why pay people not to work and then complain about unemployment?

Government stimulus and The Parable of the Broken Window was going to be the subject of my post today. Luckily for me, that work has already been done. The idea that central government spending can fix a broken economy, and furthermore that this spending can be a more efficient use of scarce resources than is possible within the private sector is the driving force of Keynesian economics. The recent 800 billion dollar stimulus plan that was passed in 2009 was full of pork....I know, I could have knocked me over with a feather, too. What was the reason behind the stimulus? Wikipedia has this:
The rationale for the [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] was from Keynesian macroeconomic theory which argues that, during recessions, the government should offset the decrease in private spending with an increase in public spending in order to save jobs and stop further economic deterioration. Shortly after the law was passed, however, Keynesian economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman while supportive of the law, criticized the law for being too weak because it did not "even cover one third of the (spending) gap."
The stories of $5000.00 hammers are unfortunately true. If you wonder at government efficiency, wonder no more: the government always counts workers, never work. When you watch bureaucrats who actually are working, you'll notice a strange torpor about them. They remind me of those marathon runners at the start of a race who stay together in a pack, pacing each other with nobody really even trying to break out into any kind of substantial lead. The difference between those runners and these bureaucrats is that at some point the runners will start pushing the pace, while the bureaucrats will start slowing it down.

The United States Postal Service is the closest thing to free enterprise the government has attempted. They provide postal service for a fee, yet despite having an army of workers, and the full weight of the Federal government behind them, they've operated in the red to the tune of billions, year after year after year. Since the days of the internet the need for the United States Postal Service has declined, but even in their heyday they were a source of continual embarrassment. Read the following Cato institute analysis written in 1988, which was before the routine use of email.

Obviously public sector unions—which appear insidiously overnight like mushrooms in some swampy stinking cow pasture—are the main culprits. People who go to work for the government apparently believe that they're entitled to a life of ease after they've worked for Uncle Sam for twenty years or so. By the way, these unfunded government employee retirement programs are a major part of the unfunded liabilities that are the reason why we're almost bankrupt and why bankruptcy now seems inevitable.

We've borrowed sixteen trillion dollars, which is 107% of the annual gross domestic product of the United States of America. Unfortunately that number is just the tip of the iceberg, because it doesn't include our unfunded liabilities which are many times more than this 16 trillion in current debt. These future debts when they come due will add perhaps as much as 55 trillion dollars. Some argue that these unfunded liabilities may never be owed because Congress can change the nature of the deal for retired seniors anytime they have the votes to do it, however it's unlikely that seniors will ever decide they want this deal changed. The percentage of seniors who actually vote is much higher than for any other demographic. Old people vote, period. And when they vote they're going to be voting for the people who promise to leave Social Security and Medicare intact. Furthermore, the number of elderly voters will continue to increase because the median age of all Americans continues to rise due to the birth slow-down that followed the post WWII baby-boom.

Our politicians mortgaged America to the hilt betting on Keynesian economics, then when they lost that bet they borrowed the money to go double or nothing. Keynesian economics is exactly like opening your front door to let the heat out, because you think it's too cold outside. It's exactly like paying someone not to grow crops. It's exactly like throwing rocks through windows because the people who make windows will benefit, it's like cash for clunkers, it's like a farm bill with a trillion in it for food stamps, it's like handing the unemployed a monthly check for as long as they don't get a job. It's like getting a dime's worth of solar power for a dollar. It's like growing enough corn to feed the world and then after letting it rot, filling up gas-tanks with the residue.

I've got a million dollar question for all the PhD equipped R-tards running around with their pet theories and pouring money out like it was water and they were a maniac trying to flood the Sahara. If these brainiacs with their advanced economic degrees are so smart, so savvy, so worldly-wise and in tune with economics, finance, and such, then I wonder why they aren't running a million dollar business? Such is the insanity inherent in the system. The people who make our laws are good at running campaigns not running the country. The people these professional campaigners hire to actually run the country are good at memorizing, passing tests, and bullshitting their way through a dissertation defense, but they've never once in their lives managed a successful business. To say that these economists are clueless is an insult to people who merely lack a single clue. Someone who was genuinely clueless might accidently, for once, do the right thing!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Courage = (pride + faith + fate) - fear

Turn the other cheek never made sense to me. I could get with the love and harmony and peace on Earth stuff, but never that turning the other cheek business. Like you, I had been taught a false exegesis of Matthew 5.
Matthew 5
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Jesus was giving commonsense advice to his people: Jews who'd been conquered by the Romans. He was advising them that open defiance was not the answer, but more importantly than this, he was advising them of ways to be defiant while still at the same time obeying Roman law. In those days only the right hand was used to "smite." Their left hands were only used for dealing with that messiest of businesses at the back end of the alimentary system, because of course they didn't have anything like toilet paper. To understand "turn the other cheek" you first must understand that in this culture at this time the following two things were true:

1.) Only slaves were ever backhanded.
2.) The left hand was only used for one thing...wiping.

When Jesus told his followers to turn the other cheek, he wasn't telling them to quietly submit to violence without even the hint of protest, he was telling them the exact opposite of that. He was telling them how they could silently protest the abuses of evil men. Only a slave was ever backhanded, and if someone turned their cheek the only way to hit them was with a backhand. So, turning the other cheek was a nonverbal message in those days: it was the same as saying: I'm not your slave. It was defiance. Jesus wasn't teaching his followers submission; he was teaching them defiance. When you understand the culture and the lack of sanitary facilities, you'll understand that turning the other cheek was never meant by Jesus the way they teach it to everyone now. Jesus intended turning the other cheek to be the quintessence of defiance!

Learning that fact was a milestone for me. The Christian belief system ingrained in my childhood and dismissed as a young adult was suddenly and miraculously both turned on its head and at the same time displayed in a totally different light. Jesus wasn't saying to his followers—to me—submit to evil men, he was telling his followers to fight back in the only way that a conquered people can fight back, by silently protesting, by mocking evil men without cracking a smile, by making sweeping gestures that were sheer hyperbole, that were so farcical by their very nature, that they could only be taken as mockery.

The Romans, in those territories they controlled, laid down oppressive laws which were designed to keep a conquered people from rising up, and further, to aid the Roman legionnaires in their bid to make further conquests. When a roman soldier walked down a road with his pack on his back, if he saw a man out farming or mending a fence or doing any of the things that peasants and countryfolk do every day, that soldier could, by law, require that peasant to take up the soldier's pack and carry it for a full mile. This law allowed the Roman legionnaires to arrive at the site of an impending battle without being completely fatigued. Jesus told his followers to carry that pack two miles. Why? Because doing something like that was an extravagant mocking protest. It was a way of telling that legionnaire that Jews were not slaves, but free men.

Defiance, truth to power, standing up for something, these require two things which every person has to some degree or another, they require courage and pride. It was the lack of those two things in every sermon I heard that finally drove me away. In actuality, pride and courage are almost two sides of the same coin. You can't have much of one without some of the other. Our pride gives us courage and our courage gives us pride, you see? It was this turning the other cheek and walking the extra mile business that just never fit, never made sense to me. A man with the courage to be eaten by lions must by definition have pride beyond comprehension. Now, finally, I understand why someone with both the courage and the pride necessary to be eaten by lions would turn the other cheek.

Finally, between pride and courage there is a buffer, which—depending on the outcome—is called wisdom or folly. When an eighteen-year-old graduates from high school and signs up for the Unites States Marines, a lot of people would say that he's a courageous American doing what Americans have done since time immemorial. Others—including his mother—would probably say he's a deluded fool. They wouldn't give him credit for courageousness, no he's not courageous; he's just an idiot. But of course mother and soldier-son are both right and they're both wrong. There's a certain folly inherent in any courageous act. If everything works out the way you hope it will, you're a hero, otherwise, well you're an idiot. Jumping down into the lion cage to rescue the toddler is going to land you on the front-page or the obituary page. So finally, the last quotient in this odd emotional equation reveals itself: luck or fate.

If all these emotional and cultural concepts could be distilled down into an equation it might look like this:
Courage = (pride + faith + fate) - fear.

First I found faith; then I lost it, before I finally regained it. What a long strange trip it's been! The equation finally balances and finally, at last, I get it. God Bless us, every one!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff and the Art of War

Generally the one who first occupies the battlefield awaiting the enemy is at ease; the one who comes later and rushes into battle is fatigued. Therefore those skilled in warfare move the enemy, and are not moved by the enemy.

Getting the enemy to approach on his own accord is a matter of showing him advantage; stopping him from approaching is a matter of showing him harm. Therefore, if the enemy is at ease, be able to exhaust him; if the enemy is well fed, be able to starve him; if the enemy is settled, be able to move him; appear at places where he must rush to defend, and rush to places where he least expects.
With this fiscal cliff problem, we have no leverage, no way to move the immovable object known as Obama and the Democrats. With Obama intransigently standing in the way, it's no use yelling and screaming at him. He likes that. Either figure out a way to go around him, or failing that, just go back the way you came and wait for advantage. Getting impatient and caving is what Obama counts on. Don't do it.

People keep saying that elections have consequences, but I don't think they understand that elections have consequences! You voted for Obama, well goody for you, and hey, by the way, these are your consequences you mouth-drooling imbecile. Bon Appétit.

Words mean something. The problem is that they mean different things to different people. For instance the word "rich," is probably the most contentious word in the English language. It's completely relative to changing circumstance. To an Ethiopian I'm rich. To a billionaire I'm a pauper. Take for instance this hypothetical example:

A family of four wanting to purchase a modest home of perhaps 2000 square feet in San Francisco is probably going to pay upwards of a half-million dollars or more for that home. A basic rule of thumb for how much house a family can afford is anywhere from 150% to 400% of that family's annual income. Splitting the difference gives us CNN-Money's figure which is 250%. When you add in the higher cost of everything in San Francisco County, from taxes, to gasoline, food, entertainment, dining out, etc, a middle-class family of four hoping to live in a modest home in San Francisco would need to make enough money that it would fall under Barack Obama's definition of "rich," i.e. people who make more than $250,000 a year. Now then, here's the magic question: are they rich? Perhaps if they were living in Marion County, West Virginia they'd be rich, but they're living in San Francisco, California, and even a moron should be able to understand why that makes a difference.

There's been a whole lot of talk coming out of Washington DC about the fact that raising the tax rates on those individuals making north of $250,000 would hurt small business, and an equal amount of talk saying that it would only affect the top 2%. Depending on who you talk to you'll either find out that it will affect less than 3% of small businesses that pay individual rates, or you'll find out that these new higher marginal rates will hit the small businesses that employ half of the people that work in small business.

All of that back-and-forth bickering merely serves to obscure the basic fact that America is pretty much done for. America is just like that lucky family that won the lottery seven years ago. We got rich quick and started buying everything in sight: big house, fancy car, elegant furniture, expensive designer clothing, and on and on and on. When we suddenly realized we'd spent up our yearly lottery allotment, we went to the bank and borrowed against next year, and the next and the next. Now the bank wants its money and all we have left is lots of material things that aren't worth nearly what we paid for them.

America foolishly squandered its post-World War II windfall. We were able to get rich quick because after the biggest war in history, all the other developed nations of the world were forced to spend their time and resources rebuilding their shattered cities, while we were able to invest our time and resources in new factories, new skyscrapers, electronics and computer research, new airports, etc. For a couple of generations we had little to no competition. It was a seller’s market because we were the only store. And, just like that lottery winning family, we threw lots of parties. Look at Detroit and tell me it doesn't look like the aftermath of one wing-ding of a shindig! Profligacy became our way of life, and today there aren't many people left alive who can remember what it was like when it wasn't so easy, and none of those who can remember are in any position to change the direction we're going now.

America is that lottery winning family who's still got the banks thinking everything is fine because they haven't started talking amongst themselves, yet. But they will. At some point they're going to start putting two and two together. They're going to look at our GNP. They're going to look at our taxes and our debt. They're going to look at our unfunded liabilities and they're suddenly going to realize we're not a very good credit risk, at all! This is what rating agencies do, and even with the downgrade, they've been very lenient with us so far, but that won't continue. Solving our debt crisis requires a complete reworking of Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and now of course Obamacare. It also requires tough love to the corporations, banks, cities, and even states that’ve been living far beyond their means.

We all understand that a tax hike on the "rich" won't bring in enough revenue to change anything. Here's an image for you: Hurricane Katrina is here. The ocean is pouring through a broken levee and we're told to go fill some sandbags. What a pointless waste of time! It's too late for that. We should've made sure the levee was sound while the weather was nice, but of course that would've required work, character, foresight, initiative, all those things that Americans used to have, before we won the W.W.II lottery.

The thing that is the most amazing to me is this: the Democrats admit that raising taxes is just a gesture. It's a formality, a ritual performed for the sake of appeasing the masses. It will do nothing whatsoever to alleviate our debt burden and will in all likelihood put further recessionary pressure on the economy. The Democrats have drawn their line in the sand. They want "fairness" more than they want a vibrant economy. Fine. Here's my plan...plan C. We go over that so-called financial cliff. At some point there will come a day when again all the money is spent. And again Obama will say: raise the debt ceiling. At that moment Republicans will have the leverage to make some changes. Absent that leverage we look like the Washington Generals facing the Harlem Globetrotters. Of the three stooges, we're the dumb one.

It's a strange game. The only way to win is not to play. So they go over the cliff or whatever you want to call it. They go home and they wait for the moment to come when that vote to raise the debt ceiling is finally asked for. Then the fun begins. That's when the worm turns. That's when the Democrats get to taste some of that yummy medicine they've been prescribing. It will be a good day, a righteous day, a day to be savored with all the Schadenfreude sauce we can pour, because on that day, when they want to raise the debt ceiling we just vote no. No. NO! NO!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last one over's a rotten egg!

When my reason was only that all the other kids got to do it, my mother always used to ask me the same annoying question: If everybody else jumped over the edge of a cliff, would you jump over too? Yes, that line is probably the lamest parental cliché in the history of lame clichés, but not only that, it's also entirely brilliant! It is the quintessential Reductio ad absurdum argument in its most basic form. Ask yourself this question: if everyone believes a theory to be a fact does that absolute belief somehow make of that theory a fact?

Most scientists believe in the Big Bang. They believe that Man evolved from one-celled organisms that were themselves spontaneously created from a fortuitous bolt of lightning, or perhaps on the back of a lucky crystal. Does the popularity of a theory prove that theory's validity? What if everyone—every single person on planet Earth—what if everyone believed that the Earth was flat? You go sailing out across the ocean and you never come back. That's because you fell off the edge of the world you stupid ninny. Everybody knows the Earth is flat. If everybody knows it's true, does that make it true?
Parenting is hard. Here's why: you can't control your children when you're not watching them. They leave your care and go outside to play. They leave your care and go to school, or to camp, or to soccer practice. All you can do is hope and pray; hope you've taught them well, and pray that God will keep them safe. I bet you don't want them smoking or drinking? I bet you don't want them having sex? I bet you don't want them experimenting with drugs? If you're the kind of person reading this blog, I bet you're the kind of person who knows that:

1. God watches out for fools and children.
2. God helps those who help themselves.

These two statements are not contradictory, because only fools and children can't help themselves. God knows parents can't always be there; that's why he watches out for the children. God even watches out for the children of fools who can't even help themselves. Fools and children would gleefully stampede off the edge of a cliff playing follow the leader. The rest of us should know better. Finally, this brings me to the incredibly destructive behaviors that everyone is now saying are okay for adults to engage in, but if this popular wisdom of children and fools is followed, we’re going to end up going right over the edge of the cliff.

A vigorous., vibrant, and prosperous nation requires children, lots of children. Not a few children, lots and lots and lots of children! In the beginning God told us to: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. In recent years we have failed to follow God's very first commandment.
The U.S. birth rate slid by 8% in recent years, reaching 63.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2011, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. That is half the peak birth rate recorded in 1957, which was smack in the middle of the baby boom. This is the lowest rate since at least 1920, the earliest year for which there are reliable numbers.
Why do you think our birthrate is falling here in the USA? Do you suppose it's because we're having less sex? No, that's not very likely in my opinion. It's probably because of birth-control and abortion. There is of course one other thing that's happening and it's something that absolutely destroys any society when it begins to become commonplace. I'm talking about homosexuality. Two men can't have babies. Neither can two women.

Maybe you've noticed the big push to turn everybody gay? Apparently there's this major overpopulation problem? They say it's not a problem yet, but everybody knows that sooner or later, unless something is done, it will be. So I guess everybody has decided that turning gay will solve the overpopulation problem...that we don't have yet. You ask what my problem is with two consenting adults doing what they want to do? It's this: How dare you? If Republicans give up on the sanctity of marriage then I don't think there's anything left. Once the edge of the cliff is behind you, there's not much else left, except to let gravity finish the job.
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a "marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state" -- the latter being acceptable.

"I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with," he said, noting that the debate's dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. "It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states -- and it will be more after 2014 -- gay relationships will be legal, period."
Forget the Bible if you want to. Forget morals and character and time-tested human sexuality. Forget—if you can—the scourge of sexually transmitted diseases that are most prevalent wherever you find men and women fornicating in the most sinful and degrading ways that you can possibly imagine, and many ways that you'd never even dream of. You—yes, I'm talking to youyou owe it to society to not only have children but to raise them, and raise them properly. You rode mommy's and daddy's coattails for at least eighteen years. They let you ride them because they too in their time owed society children. Every generation owes the previous generation the next generation. This is a sacred debt and a solemn duty. It's a debt that you can't shrug off. It's a debt that must either be paid or you can just kiss America good bye.

Do you really believe that America can continue like this? Do you believe that children should be taught that fornication to the point of abomination is acceptable? Do you really and truly believe that just because someone has reached the age of consent—whatever that age happens to be in your state—they should be allowed to engage in vileness and depravity beyond even the imagination of the Marquis De Sade? If your daughter tells you that she's eating her lesbian lover's feces, that she enjoys it and furthermore everybody's doing it,'s too late to explain why it's not okay. I'm sorry dear parent, you've failed in this, your most sacred duty, raising up a child of God. When I turn on my television—which is more and more seldomly—I see a nation whose parents have failed.

Hey, don't beat yourself up over it. I'll tell you what, let's all just move to Colorado, and we'll all spend the rest of our short but blissful days smoking bong hits and fornicating with each other. After all, we're all adults here; we can do anything we want to, can't we? Everybody else is doing it.
President Barack Obama says his administration won't go after recreational marijuana users following passage of pot legalization measures in Washington and Colorado -- but he carefully avoided saying whether he'd allow widespread legal sales of the drug in the two states.

In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters that was released Friday, Obama said that "we've got bigger fish to fry" than to go after marijuana users.

"It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said under state law that it's legal."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Everyone has their Kryptonite

Superman, if you recall, had only one weakness, kryptonite. It's therefore no surprise that practically every single issue of the Superman comic-book had a villain equipped with a supply of it. The list of super powers that Superman supposedly possesses, continues to grow to this day. At some point it just became absurd. In the first Superman movie they had Christopher Reeve flying around the Earth at relativistic speeds and turning back time itself. So let's come right out and say it; this isn't Superman; this is God-man. He has only one weakness, kryptonite. It's too bad one of Superman's powers isn't the ability to detect kryptonite at long range.

Larry Niven wrote an amusing article wherein he illustrated the basic incompatibility of Kryptonians and humans. It's called Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex. Buried within the humorous narrative is a seed of truth which I wish to explore. It is the understanding that some people are just not compatible—can never be compatible—with others of a different kind. Thus divorce is inevitable. Therefore, recognizing the kind of kryptonite that can affect you and learning to detect it at long-range is the best defense, especially when it comes to long-term relationships.

Imagine, if you will, a conservative business man, and hobbyist gun collector. We'll call him Adam. He meets a smart, attractive, and vivacious young woman—who's also a true-blue liberal—let's call her Eve. They fall in love, naturally! Why, they're practically a match made in Heaven. Eve is attracted to Adam for his strength, his financial stability, and to a lesser degree his intelligence, looks, and sense of humor. At first she resists talking about politics, and Adam is fine with that. They talk about work and school and hopes and dreams, perhaps about movies, plays, sports, any number of trivial things with absolutely no significance outside of their small insular community. But never imagine for one moment that our dyed-in-the-wool liberal has lost sight of the ball.

In my experience women think of themselves as kind of like quasi-lapidarists. Our business man is a diamond-in-the-rough and Eve is in no hurry. First she must acquire him; next will come the cutting, shaping, and polishing.

In the normal course of human nature, a woman has something that works the same way to most men, as kryptonite does to Superman. The funny thing about a woman's kryptonite is this: it's most powerful if it's never been used before. Once she uses it on a man, it doesn't work against him again for a little while. Additionally, her kryptonite grows less and less powerful as the years go by, until finally it no longer has very much power at all. You guys are probably wondering what kind of kryptonite works on a woman, and I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but it's not what's dangling between your legs.

So in my little hypothetical story we have our pretty little lapidarist who's lassoed herself a big old diamond in the rough. She plans to make him give up his gun hoard and invest in an engagement ring. What arguments do you suppose she can use to influence her man to give up his guns? She'll try logic: "Handguns are only meant for one thing, putting a man six-feet in the ground. Is that what you want to do? Kill somebody?" Her logical theme-song as sung by Lynyrd Skynyrd might sound a little like this:

Hand guns are made for killin'
Ain't no good for nothin' else
And if you like your whiskey
You might even shoot yourself
So why don't we dump 'em people
To the bottom of the sea
Before some fool come around here
Wanna shoot either you or me

Well, it's a good argument in the respect that basically it's true. Handguns are made for killing and they're not good for much else. You can target shoot with them, but then again, if you want to hit targets, why don't you go bowling? Or throw darts?

It's only when conducting the thought experiment—what if there were no guns—that you realize that the world would be a truly evil place without them. Yes, the world would be a twisted hell-on-earth, a dark soulless place filled with fearful men and women subjugated by powerful men with swords, or clubs, or whatever handheld weaponry we're allowing in this, our stupid and pointless little thought experiment.

If tomorrow gunpowder stopped working, men would immediately start hunting for the longest knife they could find. At some point a knife is long enough to be called a sword, and I would argue that a sword is made for killing, ain't good for nothin' else...etc. Do you know how to use a sword? I know...I know...stick them with the pointy end. I wish it were that simple, but suppose they have a shield? Suppose they have not only a shield but armor and a battle-trained warhorse? The picture that is starting to come out of this fetid left-wing Petri-dish of a gunless world thought-experiment looks an awful lot like that period of time that we called the dark-ages. A gun is evil-tyrannical-overlord kryptonite. It's dictator kryptonite. It's bully kryptonite.

Eve's logical argument fails. Adam fully understands that killing is what a gun is good for. He explains to Eve that not only would he give his life for her, but he would take someone else's as well—if he had to.

Eve knows that guns are bad. She has trouble putting her certainty into words but she knows what she knows. Her logical appeal failed so next up is her emotional appeal. This is a potent argument because it makes full use of her kryptonite. "Adam...I don't like all those guns. They're scary evil things and they make me so afraid. They make me afraid of you, Adam, I don't know if I can stay with someone I'm afraid of. If you give them up, your reward will be...well...your reward will"

There is only one defense against this argument that I can think of: righteous anger. Adam turns it around. "Thanks Eve, but no thanks." His defense against Eve's kryptonite is found in the Bible.
Corinthians 6:
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
When Adam is properly married, then and only then, will Eve have the opportunity to see how far she can move Adam away from his conservative standpoint. Adam should let Eve know that her reward should only be offered, and can only be accepted once they're properly married. Once that fact is understood and the power of her kryptonite is put aside, the following becomes his argument:

"Eve, I need my guns. If evil men try to take that which is mine, or hurt me or mine, then these guns are my only protection. Without them I would be afraid. Without them I would be afraid for you. Eve, I don't know if I can marry someone who wants to bind up my arms behind my back and make me helpless against my enemies. I don't know if I can marry someone who believes I would do them harm out of evil or malicious intent. If you say a gun in my hand frightens you, then, mustn't you be equally afraid when I hold a knife, a bat, or even a pencil?"

Keep your selfness in mind as you listen to arguments that sound logical but seem wrong. Let your intuition be your guide. Don't react in anger; don't react in a hurry. Consider carefully what you believe. Never give up your sword and let the Bible be your shield. God knows every man has a weakness. Aren't we blessed that he gave us so many tools to make up for them?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Who are these Agents of Change?

Today, life in Iran is wonderful! Everything is perfect and all of Iran's citizens are happy. The women are free to stay at home and bear children instead of being forced to attend useless schools of higher education which would only confuse and probably contaminate their tender little minds. Women in Iran are placed on a pedestal and if they know what's good for them that's where they'll stay!

The government of Iran is very supportive of the one thing that Iranians consider most important, above all else. So supportive in fact, that 30% of all government spending is devoted to this, Iran’s national pastime. No, not football! The state religion—Islam—is the lucky beneficiary of all that government largess. It's a demanding religion requiring prayer five times per day. Commerce and industry basically just shuts down five times a day for about ten to fifteen minutes each time.

In addition to the five daily prayers there is also the obligation to undertake other voluntary, lengthy, and arduous hardships. During the month long religious festival of Ramadan for instance, from the moment the sun rises until the moment the sun sets, devout Muslims let neither food nor drink pass through their lips. The economy basically shuts down for a month every year. Finally, there is the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca. This costly obligation must certainly be an exciting journey for Muslim pilgrims, albeit also incredibly dangerous as well!

Once you get past all that fusty religious zealotry however, you'll discover that Iranians are just like everybody else. They too have their hopes dreams and fears. Just like those of us in the west, they too believe that hard work and excellence in education should be rewarded with higher paying jobs and more rewarding opportunities. That's why, upon graduation, the best and the brightest move on to bigger and better places with greater opportunities, and perhaps even freedom.

Those left behind in Iran are very excited to still be a nation that will very soon become a member of a very select club, the nuclear club. Unfortunately their excitement is not shared by those countries who're already members of that club. Economic sanctions imposed by the international community—especially the United States—have caused significant hardship for the common Iranian citizens. Of particular concern to these common folk, is the stratospheric inflation rate which is nearing 50% annually.

Even though economic and military policies have been of particular concern of late, because Iran is a democracy and periodically has elections during which its leaders are elected, the Iranian people have chosen to stick with the devil they know rather than experiment with one that they don't. In the most recent election Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected with a stunning and overwhelming majority of the votes—62.6% of the votes cast, in spite of a variety of popular polls which indicated that the opposition had a commanding lead. In that election an incredible 85% of the voting age population cast ballots. We in the west can only dream of experiencing a voting participation rate so high!

Finally, as we in the west look on in amazement at the changing fortunes of this once mighty Persian Empire, there is one industry that Iran absolutely commands so dominantly that it practically holds a worldwide monopoly. That industry is of course terror. It's a dirty thankless job, but if they didn't do it, who would? For thirty-three years the highly trained, highly skilled professors of terrorology in Iran have toiled diligently and tirelessly to train and equip young men from all over the world, as they endeavor to instill heartbreak, fear, pain, and terror in the hearts and minds of those of us who live here in the western hemisphere. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these agents of terror from the swift completion of their appointed bombings.

That's the way it is in Iran now, but seeing the whole picture requires a long look back.

The last Shah of Iran—Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī

I'm looking behind us now, across the count of time, down the long haul, into history back.

There was a time, a period of mere decades, when women in Iran were allowed to go to school, encouraged even. They were allowed to work at jobs and careers. They could even go to the beach in a swimsuit if they wanted to. They could go dancing and vote in elections. They were permitted to go to college, and they could get married or not, according to their own wishes. What terrible and awesome freedoms women once had before the Iranian Revolution of 1979. If you have an hour or so to kill, I urge you to watch the following ten videos which chronicle the downfall of the Shah of Iran. If you don't have that much time, my impression of the sequence of videos is written below.

Part 01 —— Part 02
Part 03 —— Part 04
Part 05 —— Part 06
Part 07 —— Part 08
Part 09 —— Part 10

The last Shah of Iran wasn't stupid. He spoke English, German, and Arabic at the very least, but he probably also had understanding or perhaps even fluency in several other languages. He understood the importance of capitalism, free trade, and education. He valued western art, music, and cuisine. He befriended Israel when the other regimes in the region remained Israel's implacable enemies. The Shah drank champagne with President Jimmy Carter and discussed with him current events in the world as well as other concepts relevant to the intelligentsia as well as the avant-guard.

Because of his apparent westernization and anglophilia, The Shah's detractors considered him weak and decadent. They were furious that he allowed women to vote and hold office or be represented in any area of government. The Shah took American money and with it he advanced Iran's military capabilities to the point where Iran was indisputably the big kid on this particular block. Nixon during his term was pleased to have Iran as a buffer which effectively checked the USSR's unremitting push to expand its territorial boundaries, and for a while it seemed as though Carter would continue this tradition.

Something happened less than a week after President Jimmy Carter's visit in December of 1977. It was something quite odd, when you think about it. It was this moment that the Shah made the biggest mistake of his life. Mustapha, the son of Ayatollah Khomeini had been mysteriously killed months earlier in late October of 1977 in the city of Najaf. He'd been found lying dead in his bed. The religion of Islam does not allow autopsies, and therefore the cause of death is still unknown to this day. The word on the street however, was that agents of SAVAK had killed him. So it is somewhat curious that only a few days after conferring with President Carter, the Shah decided to publish an article in Ettela'at which was the state news agency. The article was intended to rebut the common perception that SAVAK had killed Mustapha. Moreover it also went on to accuse Khomeini himself of being in actuality a British agent. [Watch video #5 at about the 2:50 minute mark.]

The people of Iran went berserk! As the BBC video describes it, the planted news article had an incendiary effect. The people rose up. They protested, and if you wonder what it was like, you've already seen the like lately in Egypt during what the press has dubbed "The Arab Spring." The similarities of the Egyptian revolution and the Iranian revolution are just too striking to dismiss with only the barest mention in a short article like this one is meant to be.

There are several mysteries which I'll just briefly mention in closing, although it may be that I'll be interested enough to explore these questions further, one day in the future:

1.) What was it that caused Mustapha's death? Was it murder? Who was it that put the word out that it was the Shah's own SAVAK agents who'd done the dirty deed, if indeed a dirty deed had been done?

2.) Why did the Shah decide to plant the ridiculous and defamatory article that he did, and this within only days of his meeting with President Carter? Could this have actually been Carter's idea? If it was Carter's idea—and I'm not saying it was but it is curious—what could have been Carter's intent? One thing is certain: When the Iranian people turned against the Shah, Carter wasted no time joining their ranks.

3.) The Iranian revolution was the first revolution where the battles were waged not on battlefields but in front of news cameras. It was arguably a news organization's article that started the revolution, and it was arguably the news industry and reporters who were the ones that exerted the pressure which finally ousted the Shah. I thought that reporters were supposed to only report the news, but here we see evidence that they were actually making the news. Again, the striking similarities found with this revolution and the Egyptian revolution are startling. The press has seemingly taken upon itself the mantle of agent of change. In both Iran and now in Egypt it was news stories which started both wars and then eventually ended both wars. Don't you find that a little bit troubling? It makes me wonder who's really running the show?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You say you'd die for something, but would you kill?

This morning I was reading my blog list as I do every morning when I clicked on: This Ain't Hell, which is a military blog with a conservative point of view. A gentleman named "Claymore"—I assume he's a gentleman—had posted a selection of links from Democratic Underground. I clicked a few to see what they were about and what do you know, it was all about gun control and doing away with the 2nd Amendment. It was about the evil of guns and if you want a mental picture which summarizes the gestalt it is this:

The first link was from a substitute teacher who—after the Newtown massacre—was filling in as a substitute teacher—subbing—and she found herself looking around in the classroom, trying to identify hiding places to stash children in case the worst were to happen. Here's the one salient point this teacher makes:
Because, see, those are the first thoughts of the vast majority of teachers, including my parents before they retired. How to shield, protect and save their students. Putting the children first, not themselves. Even if it means directly confronting gunmen while keeping your kids safe and hidden, and even if it means being gunned down yourself while those same young children are waiting terrified inside the closets and cabinets, safe to live their lives because of your sacrifice.
I had a friend once who used to say "Man, I'd take a bullet for you." Luckily perhaps for him—but probably for me—neither of us ever had to find out whether that was true or not. Today I'd like to ask both my old friend Randy and this substitute teacher at Democratic Underground the same question. It's a question I'd like to ask every American. It's a question that separates the wheat from the chaff, and yes, the conservative from the liberal. It's where the work is either done today or left for someone else tomorrow. It's where the rubber meets the road.

You say you would sacrifice your own life doing what you believe is right, and I think we can all agree that that is an admirable and noble commitment for you to make, but what is needed most of the time in a situation like this is not another martyr. What is needed is a hero. You say you'd hide the children in a cabinet and then confront the gunman? When he shoots you—and he will shoot you—what do you suppose happens next? Come on this is horror-show 101...a classroom full of terrified kids hiding in cabinets hears their teacher confront a gunman, then they hear the thunder of a gunshot. Do they all remain as quiet as little church-mice? Do none of them cry?

You say you want to "shield, protect, and save" those in your care? You've looked in cabinets and shelves and closets. There is only one place you have not looked for the answer and it is there, only there, where you shall find the hero.

For me, the answer is childishly simple. It's an intuitive answer that just wants to leap out of my throat. If we were truly a nation of cattle, if we were content to chew on grass all the live long day, if thinking or making decisions was unnecessary—or impossible—and all that was ever required was finding a fresh patch of grass, then I could begin to understand why this concept might be hard for people to grasp. But last time I checked, we aren't in fact a nation of cattle, sheep, deer, or any other multi-stomached herbivore. Humans are the deadliest predators on the planet by an order of magnitude, if not more.

Now the following part should be in all caps, but I'm channeling my mother today. There was a day long ago when she protected me from my raging stepfather who was screaming the things he was going to do to me. On that day she whispered in a voice of ice-cold fire the promise of certain death into his ear, and I can assure you, he believed her. She was my hero that day, because she stopped him. She didn't hunt for places for me to hide. She didn't suggest that I run. She became a stone-cold killer in her heart and she let my step-father see his death in her eyes. So like her on that day long ago, to all you conservatives, to all you liberals, to all you who call yourselves Americans, I whisper this fundamentally simple question:

You'd say you'd sacrifice your life for someone else, but don't you see, another dead body doesn't help us? I want to know if you'd kill for someone else. The answer to gun-control is found in that answer. If you'd kill to save another then you already understand that the number of rounds in the clip, or whether it's a semi-auto or bolt-action weapon is immaterial, as is the shape of the bullet or length of the barrel. The reason that the argument is pointless and immaterial is because the ones who are killed by however tightly controlled the weapon, are no longer able to care about the ones who aren't.

You took God out of the classroom, America. You sowed the wind on that fateful day. All the killings, childhood pregnancies, drugs, drop-outs, welfare, foodstamps, ghettoes, and lives filled with hardship are the result. We've not yet seen the whirlwind, but I greatly fear it's coming.

h/t This Ain't Hell.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our problem is hubris

It was considered the most deadly and greatest of sins to commit, “hubris”; wanton insolence or arrogance resulting from excessive pride or passion, especially towards the Gods. It was the classic temptation of the ancient Greek mortals who, finding themselves in roles of leadership or their own successes, started to view themselves as impervious to disaster and even worse, on an even keel with the Gods. One of the most vivid examples of hubris in ancient Greek literature is that of Icarus, who used wings fashioned from feathers and wax by his father, Daedalus, to try to escape an earthly prison. But, intoxicated by the achievement of flight, Icarus disregarded his father’s warning and flew so high the sun melted his wings and he fell to his death.
I've been struggling lately with identifying the underlying cause of all the mistakes everyone keeps making. Why is everyone always doing the worst possible thing? Our nation re-elected Obama! What a calamitous mistake! Some of you will rue your terrible mistake and the rest of us will suffer for it. Whether it's the rash of school shootings, the widespread drug use, the economic collapse we're about to experience, the mountain of unsupportable national debt, or the trillions of dollars now swelling our next existential economic threat: the looming student loan bubble, the cause in every case is the same: hubris. I came to that realization while I was reading Temple of the Winds by Terry Goodkind. I came to a certain part in the book with the following passage:
Nadine stared off in thought. “Sometimes a woman would tell me that it seemed like it would never happen, that it seemed unreal. She’d wait, knowing it would happen, but never really believing it, dreading the things she’d heard about how hard it would be. Dreading the pain. Sometimes they think things will change, like they’ll wake up one day and not be pregnant, or something.

“Then, the baby would come. Suddenly, she’ll be in a panic. The time has come. She’ll be terrified that it’s really happening, at last. Sometimes they’ll scream just from that fear, the fear of the pain. That’s when I can help them. I’m there with them. I reassure them that it will be all right.

“For the first time, for some of them, they finally believe it’s happening. I guess it’s only natural to dread such a profound change in their lives. Until it’s over, until the day is upon them, some of them are miserable with dread.”
Suddenly it struck me; our society has gone about the process of systematically eliminating all the negative consequences of irresponsible behavior. Can you imagine having a baby in the old-fashioned way, without hospitals, without sterile surroundings and equipment, without an epidural? I don't think it's possible unless you've been through it. Consider also, how we separate and shield our children from understanding these consequences. In days-of-yore the daughters of the household would be enlisted in the birthing process, not shielded from it. They would hear the agonized howls of unendurable agony; they would smell the blood, shit, and all manner of foul birthing fluids. They would see the stark grimace of pain and they'd feel the shaking storm of consequence that once attended every birth in the normal course of human events. In all likelihood these young girls would be horribly shocked! They'd be repulsed, appalled, and probably make a solemn vow to never never never allow themselves to fall into this same terrible trap.

Giving birth is supposed to hurt! It's supposed to be an agonizing event as terrifying and as painful as death itself, and God made it this way for good reasons. But we know better don't we? We're smarter than God.

Modern medicine has become a shield that permits us to engage in all manner of sexual promiscuity with little or no consequences. Sexually transmitted diseases and babies were once a terrible consequence that once served to keep most young women—and young men—on the straight and narrow path, the path that God intended us to tread. We've paved over that path and the world is now a vast amusement park filled with every distraction we can think of. So is it any wonder our children have stopped growing up?

Before today, I thought that the Hippocratic oath stated: do no harm. In fact, it doesn't say that, and I think that it's a shame it doesn't. Instead, it's a long-winded legalistic and quite pompous sounding litany of proper professional behavior expected of a physician. There's more in there about doctor-patient confidentiality than there is about helping the sick. There's nothing in the new version at all about not doing harm. You'd think that cutting off a perfectly healthy penis and turning it inside out and suturing it up inside a man's pelvis would be a terrible violation of the Hippocratic oath, but nope.

You say God made a mistake and you were born in the wrong body? Let's see if we can fix that little problem for you. Too fat? You don't have to diet or exercise; how about a little liposuction instead? God make your breasts too small, breast implants will make you happy. Tummy tucks, stomach staples, sexual reassignment surgery, there are whole classifications of surgery that are nothing but harmful. If you disagree, think about that poor deluded specimen once known as Michael Jackson. Do you think if he'd known how terribly it would all turn out he'd have gone under the knife in the first place? I don't think so. We train doctors to give the patient what the patient says he wants instead of what the patient really needs. There's a whole segment of the medical community that think they're smarter, maybe even wiser than God.

No fault divorce and child support are two more terrible ideas that eliminate consequences. Mother can eat her cake and yet somehow still have it. She can get rid of the person who supports her for no reason at all, and yet somehow still make ex-husband continue to support her. Daddy becomes a wage-slave working to pay for a moment's mistake and rarely, if ever, spends time with his child. The mother can—and does—build a string of these wage slaves like she's running some kind of ghetto plantation.

Food-stamps, welfare, public housing, etc, are further examples of pridefully eliminating the consequences of foolish and short-sighted decisions. You don't have to learn anything in school. You don't have to be able to get or keep a job, get or keep a husband. All you have to do is know what to say to your case-worker. The underlying cause of our every problem is hubris; the symptoms are found wherever you see doctors or the state attempting to shield the imprudent from their justly deserved consequences, and the ineluctable results can be read again and—horrifyingly—again in every new heart-breaking headline.