Monday, October 20, 2014

Common Ground

I recently had a conversation about opposing ideologies finding common ground and willing to view problems facing both sides. Unless we are willing to open our minds to problems facing both sides, then we can never find common ground. No matter if people are left or right, they are still citizens and the Constitution and all laws apply to them equally.

We can take this to an extreme and point to the Civil War. There were two differences of opinion and neither side could find common ground. Because the country had a weak leader who couldn't find a resolution to problems, he resorted to guns. Unless something changes, the USA is once more on that same course.

The USA has two major ideologies and both have been conditioned to hate one another. Most of the time, each side wants all or nothing, whether it's gay marriage or drug legalization. Let's take a moment and revisit history and see what happens when both sides become immovable objects that refuse to change.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Red-Blue Biases and Misinformation

Salon.com posted an article by Alex Henderson, titled: States That Mooch Off The Federal Government Partner. The article listed ten so-called red states that receive more federal dollars than paid out. This argument has often been used to prove that Republican economics don't work. I take offense that free market practices are attached only to republicans, but that's another argument.

Let's first ask where red and blue labels originated. The red label is less simpler as it's the color used for the enemy on a military strategy map, at least according to the New York times. Some think it might have been an attempt to associate republicans with communists. Attaching colors and symbolism to movements is a common tactic. That makes sense if we use history's reference to the red menace, the Soviet Union. The blue state monicker came about because of geographic location. Most blue states are located along the coast, especially Pacific blue states. It was during the 2000 election that states got an official color designation because of how they voted in the presidential election.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 Thoughts

On 9/12, 2009, I stood with 1 million other Americans on the Capitol lawn to remember the feelings we all had the day after 9/11, 2001. The people standing with me knew the problems that led to the terrorists attacking the World Trade Center for a second time. Today it seems few know why 9/11 happened, and I suspect most people don't care.

The reason we were attacked is very simple, religious fanatics who have come to hate America. Our country has become the symbol of the western culture and Christianity. We are the Infidels—the Zionists. History tells us the Crusades lasted nearly 200 years, but truth be told, they never ended. War after war pitted Muslim against Christian.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Prisons – Another Government Failure

The latest news of the day is about Immigration and Customs Enforcement releasing 36,000 convicted criminals who are in the country illegally and legally. This information is being presented as an anti Obama campaign. No matter how bad Obama is made to look he will continue to be president for 3 more years. What's important, is this narrative distracts us from the real message contained in those numbers.

To fully understand the numbers we must know that the initial report listed 87,818 immigrants who were released, 36,007 were slated for deportation. All of my numbers will come from the complete list of 87,818. Of this huge number of criminals, most were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs , of which many were slated for deportation.

When we break the numbers down, less than half of the 87,000 or 36,000 were violent criminals. When it came to rape and murder we find the numbers are much lower. Now this has been reduced to the worst case, let's look into who is at fault.

Homicide -------------------------------- 184
Kidnapping ------------------------------ 228
Voluntary—manslaughter ------------- 14
Sex offenses ----------------------------- 727
Sexual assault --------------------------- 426

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Blogging – The new bully?

I have been wanting to write about the Benham brothers, but facts seem to be elusive. I was also at odds as to what approach to take. As of today it's only the brothers speaking. So far HGTV has been silent on the matter. It is for this reason I can only use the brother's words to base my writing. Now to start at the beginning.

This week it came to light that two brothers were suppose to have a house flipping show on HGTV. The show never aired because of statements made by the brothers. As with Phil Robinson, it came down to their comments about homosexuals. Even though they try to make it about traditional marriage, it's much more. David and Jason Benham have often quoted bible verses as they crusaded against same sex marriage. For this reason they have been saying they were bullied off the air by the homosexual agenda because they are Christians.

I have been looking for evidence of that bullying. Usually some group or organizations is named as the culprit. It was not until last night I learned who these bullies were. Benham said that after the show was announced in New York, “that's when the blogging began.” then referring to HGTV Benham said: “They got bullied.” This made me sit up, take notice, and ask myself, “How can bloggers bully?”

As a blogger, albeit small time, I have spent a decade spilling my thoughts and facts – that I feel are well researched – onto the web. I'm sure I have spoken negatively about many people or groups for something they said or did. Could anything I ever wrote be considered bullying? Of course not.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nineteen Minutes to a Book Banning




Not often do I give a book or movie review, but the novel Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult became news when Becky Ortin complained to the teacher this book had been assigned to her 15-year-old daughter. The teacher quickly assigned an alternative. All was well until a few days later when William Baer blasted the school board for giving pornography to students – including his 14 year daughter.

Becky Ortin said she had read several of Picoult's books and thought them not age appropriate for her daughter. I can understand her feelings. It's only when that book is asked to be banned from school you must first read that particular book. In the beginning I was standing behind the father of a 14 year old girl, William Baer, but once I researched the facts I found him to be completely wrong. The father was escorted out by an officer after he refused to follow the 2 minute speaking rule at a school board meeting. Most news outlets are not labeling this event as a book banning. They seem to be making it about Common Core standards forcing students to read pornography.

Since the book is the basis for the above mentioned incident, let's discuss that for a moment. I received this book for Christmas and was dubious because I wasn't very familiar with the author. It turned out to be one of the most compelling books I've ever read. The book is about a nerd-ish boy who is bullied, while his beautiful childhood friend became popular. She often had to make the choice of being a friend with the bullied boy, or hanging with the popular crowd. She often made the wrong choice. As time goes on he can take no more, walks into the school, and begins shooting those who had made his life unbearable. The total time of the spree was Nineteen Minutes, a period that change many people's lives forever. I'll stop there because it would be a literary crime for me to give away the ending.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Reply to a Salon Progressive

It's been a long time since I read something that demanded answering in detail. I just read, Piketty shrugged: How the French economist dashed libertarians’ Ayn Randian fantasies. The first thing that stood out was that despite referring frequently to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, it's obvious he never read the book. It's also clear he doesn't understand libertarians.

Parramore wrote:

To understand the libertarian view of inequality, let’s turn to Milton Friedman, one of America’s most famous and influential makers of free market mythology. Friedman decreed that economic policy should focus on freedom, and not equality.

Right off I have to address the fact he called the free market a mythology. Friedman and libertarians believe the focus is on liberty as well as freedom. Also freedom doesn't mean you get to harm your neighbor. The progressive's focus on equality is a waste of time because it's unachievable. No matter how hard government tries it can never make us equal. The best government can do is give us equal opportunity to be the best we can and treat us equally under the law.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mob Rule versus Free Speech

I doubt few today do not know who Donald Sterling is and why the NBA just announced that they would force him to sell the LA Clippers basketball team. Everyone is cheering this decision except for a small minority that believes we are watching what amounts to mob lynching. It's possible Sterling is a racist, but for sure a bigot.

I remember watching old Frankenstein movies where they peer from the castle tower to see towns people marching toward them with torches. This same scene has been repeated many times in real life and too often with deadly results. In the short history of the USA, we have had too many instances of mob rule.

The world has changed greatly. Today, instead of towns people carrying torches, they, now, carry pens and microphones. It seems almost daily someone is being tried and convicted by those with the loudest voices and the mightiest pens. There is always a call for swift justice against those who might say the wrong thing, or simply disagree with what was spoken.

In the recent case of Donald Sterling, the 81 year old man who some say has problems with senility, and also has a 30 year old black-Latino girlfriend, has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. Within a day of the release of a recording from a private conversation, the race masters were out calling for the NBA to take away his team. In quick response they have essentially done just that.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Societal Failure – Government Protectionism

In today's world we too often hear buzz words such as multiculturalism and diversity. For some they get a warm and fuzzy feeling from embracing such beliefs. The same people will in turn shout hateful rhetoric at those who might have different beliefs. History will likely show us that segments of the population embrace sub groups they perceive to be slighted, while having anger at those they believe to be slighting.

Everyone seems to be talking about this or that group needing protection, or believing they are victims of society. The reason for this is because most of us have, at times, found ourselves at the bottom, or an outsider in a group. In high school we would search for people who might also be outcasts or similar in personality to form our own group. There are some like myself who could float easily among all groups, but finding a true home with none – not because of others, but because of myself. I truly enjoyed diversity and often filled my life with some of the oddest and insane characters you will ever meet. That has at least made life interesting.

Throughout history we have found groups of people who were bound into slavery. Today, slavery is as prevalent as ever, yet few fight to free these people. We have a media that seems to talk daily about a new victim class, but rarely about today's slaves. With that said, we can never end victim-hood. As long as humans survive they will hold prejudices against their bothers and sisters for a variety of reasons. No law can protect us from prejudice. For the most part, laws have been written to promote discrimination. Demand freedom from government so that you can live your life as you see fit.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Disaster – Government Control of Drugs

As election time nears, discussions of Marijuana legalization or decriminalization heats up. We see leading prospective 2016 president wannabes such as Govs. Christie and Perry expressing their views on Marijuana. Their views are likely to represent the GOP pack, and likely some of the Democratic candidates

Gov. Chris Christie says he will 'never' permit legalized marijuana use while he’s the governor of New Jersey “

He and others cite a study that casual marijuana use could be detrimental to the human brain. This study could be correct, but the effects of drugs on the human biology plays no part in this writing. There are many things legal that do great harm to our bodies, such as smoking tobacco and alcohol use topping the list. Efforts to ban either of those go nowhere. In fact, crime became so prevalent because of alcohol prohibition that an Amendment was passed to once again allow sale.

Christie also said: “I am not going to be the governor who’s going to tell our children and our young adults that marijuana use is okay. Because it’s not.”

While politicians are debating an innocuous drug like marijuana we stand idly by as children are turned into addicts. The greatest number of addicts aren't buying their drugs from scurrilous dealers on the corner, but from those dressed in white with the magical prescription pads. Our greatest number of addicts aren't a result of illegal drugs, but those tightly controlled by the federal government. Parents fear sending their children to the seedy side of town where you find drug dealers, but they will gladly push them into the waiting arms of the drug pusher wearing white – the drug dealer who was given power by the state.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Nation Divided by Angry Rhetoric

I just read the townhall.com article, By 2024, The Democrats Will Be An Atheist Party. I simply don't understand how this kind of rhetoric can win voters and minds away from the progressive agenda. This kind of 2nd grade name calling does nothing to win elections – all it does is alienate those who might be on the line. After reading that piece I have to wonder if they might be intentionally trying to throw the election. Do they hate the GOP so much they would throw the election?

To change the economic course of this country we can't sit around worry about what faith someone follows, or even those who chooses none of the above. We want people to accept our economic system no matter if they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Atheist. If conservatives like Townhall demand we have a Christian only nation then we are not on the same side.

From Townhall.com: “Democrats are waging war on the faithful and are even comfortable booing God on national TV. Give it three more presidential election cycles and the Democrat Party’s platform will be expressly antireligious.

Do you really want politics to turn into some religious war? Religious wars have a nasty history. When discussing politics we want a government that treats all people equally, no matter their religious beliefs. It is very unlikely that the Democratic Party will become anti-Christian. If it should ever take that extreme position then it will be because of such articles as the one on Townhall.com.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Approaching Death of Free Speech

Bundy Ranch, Nevada
We have all been watching the battle between the IRS and Tea Party groups. There is growing, and maybe clear evidence that the IRS has been holding up certain groups for political reasons. There is also evidence that some staffers campaigned for candidate Obama while at work. But there is much more at stake with this – and that is the 1st Amendment. By giving one political group more power than another they can effectively control speech – and possibly elections.

I have been watching the battle between LGTB and Conservative groups over gay marriage. For the most part the battle is only over marriage. So far the process is working, if not at a snails pace. But this piece isn't about gay marriage, but the right to voice your opinion is being placed in danger. A recent headline grabbed my attention, Hate group leader Peter LaBarbera detained at Canadian airport. Until that moment I have never heard of the anti-gay group, Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.

After looking over the website I agree with LGBT groups that this is in part a hate group – not so much because of their stand on marriage, but for a stand against homosexuality in general. With that said, I will defend their right to exist as long as they don't physically harm people. Simply because a group or person might spout hate, that doesn't mean people should listen and act on that speech. Those who act on that speech already had those beliefs.

It scares me that in Canada a person can be arrested for simply speaking out about their beliefs. If they wish to deny entry to people, that's up to the Canadian people. There are those in this country who would love for government to allow only their speech – those people come from both the left and right political spectrums.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Marriage – Until Death Do Us Part

The argument over gay/same-sex marriage rages on to the point people are losing their jobs – as in the case of Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich who was forced to resign for his contributions to Prop 8 in California(essentially banning gay marriage). In every war there are civilian casualties – in this one the greatest casualty might be that of speech and those who love one another. This battle has put family members at odds with one another.

Let's talk a little about marriage, itself. For the first half of this country's history, people simply went to their priest or priestess, depending on the religion, for their marriage or hand-fasting. In some cases couples simply cohabited. These unions were often recorded in the family bible, along with the names of future children. When government began keeping records, this is where they went for information.

After the slaves were freed, and sometimes before in free areas, government began to notice that black and white couples were getting married. There were those who thought this joining might tarnish white purity. For that reason they began passing laws to forbid these unions. It was for this reason government decided to take over marriages from religious organizations. There were instances where government forbade those of different faiths to marry.

Today, a marriage performed by a government bureaucrat, or one by a priest or priestess, are equally legal. The government decides who can or can't take part in these government sanctioned marriages. They decide who can take part in the privileges set aside for those married couples. A Chief Justice noted 1500 regulations and laws that pertain only to married people.

A marriage was intended to be something much more personal than a set of government privileges. A marriage is suppose to be about the combining of two lives. It is about two people falling in love and joining for the rest of their lives. Marriage is not about the potential for children, but two people who wish to show a commitment to one another. A marriage is the promise of life together. Many children are produced outside of marriage.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Progressive – not gay agenda

Occasionally, something comes along that I find completely astounding and outrageous. I will begin this to say that I am a happy Mozilla user, not because of their politics or any other reason – I simply find their products fulfill my needs.

Mozilla's chief executive officer Brendan Eich, was let go this week because in 2008 he donated $1000 to Proposition 8 that sought to make traditional marriage the standard in California. The proposition gained popular vote and passed, that is, until struck down by the courts. Right or wrong, the system went through the process.

The problem comes when an American donated to a particular cause in which he believed and then 6 years later forced from his job for that donation. I personally don't agree with his political choice on this matter, but I will defend his right to disagree with my opinion. In my perfect world, government would not have any say on whom someone married or didn't marry. We know from past experience with interracial couples that government has had poor judgment in this area.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The mistake of government controlled morality

Belle Knox Duke student
I've written often about the word moral. I've talked about how it is too often used to support an argument. The definition of moral changes along with ideology and regional location. If you ask a leftist to to give an example, they will likely tell you that it is immoral for someone to be obese. If you ask a conservative about sex outside of marriage, they will tell you it is immoral. They might say sex during marriage is moral even if it was sanctified by a government representative versus a minister.

Morality has always been a social construct. In the USA, what is considered immoral in the south is often more accepted in the north – or the west. In America's past it wasn't immoral to marry a 12 year old girl, while in today’s society that is absolutely unacceptable. In those times life was about surviving. Male children were thought to be more capable at cutting firewood and plowing fields, while too often the female child was simply seen as  another mouth to feed. 

Female children were married off at or near puberty. Sometimes much older males would pay a diary for the right to marry that child. Arranged marriages are still happening around the world. Some of it might be for the same reasons as in our past, while in many cases it happens simply because it is now a tradition – just the way things are done.

Social standards evolve for a variety of reasons. In the modern American society arranged marriages are seen as barbaric. In today’s world, sex outside of marriage is much more common. In the not so distant past, sex for women outside of marriage was forbidden, while for men it was simply frowned upon. This is likely because it is the female that often bore the consequences for these liaisons. Out of wedlock births often stigmatized the woman and was too often a financial burden that was impossible to overcome. These pregnancies were also a barrier to future relationships. In short, the price for sex outside of marriage was too high. Because of science, out of wedlock births are less likely to occur. While the financial burden for out of wedlock births are still a problem, it doesn't carry the social stigma of the past.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The American Worker

The above photo is a common sight after any major storm. Although in this case Santee Cooper is state owned, something of which I am no fan, the distribution is a member owned Cooperative – the workers are with private contractors. In the rural south nonprofit cooperatives are a common phenomena.

Now that is out of the way let's talk about the photo itself. I might not know the men in that photo, but I personally know many like them. These men and women sometimes left school early, and with determination they managed to get that GED . Some went to a technical college while others simply started at the very bottom. No matter their start they work side by side in mountainous regions or low country swamps.

When there is a major outage these men and women find sleep wherever it can be found. They might be found taking an hour nap in one of the trucks while still wearing their soggy clothing. These are the men and women who make sure your house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

You won't find this labor force filled with illegal immigrants. When you see one of them in a mud filled ditch with a pick and shovel, you will find someone who grew up in the region. Their flesh might be a variety of shades, but they are all Americans and South Carolinians.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Following

There is a television show titled The Following. The story begins when a college literature professor becomes enraptured by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. He teaches these many writings with such passion that students become as enthralled as their professor. In time, they become so consumed by their passion that they explore the dark world of murder. For these people it is not cold and ruthless, but emotional and calculated.

In time, those students grow into adults and become a part of everyday society. They are doctors, lawyers, police, and FBI agents. No matter their current lives they have this attachment to their old professor, Joe Carroll. They do his bidding without hesitation. These former students will gladly die for their leader. This former professor, simply because he had a passion for an author, unwittingly created a cult.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A World of Followers

I think I finally understand the world around me – or at least why it is traveling in its current direction. It was a simple post on Facebook that made me become aware of the entire picture. The graphic to the left apparently circulated enough that Snopes saw fit to add it to its long list of internet myths. When it came to my attention, I was shocked that any single individual could believe that Facebook legal staff could pass laws.

Each day there is something new about which people become outraged. Some of it is fact, some a blend of fact and fiction, and some obvious mis-truths. We have Alex Jones who has a huge following. There are those who accept everything he says as gospel. There are the Art Bell followers who do the same. I'm not here to say what is and what isn't truth from either of those. All that interest me is why do others believe almost 100%.

People love a conspiracy. People love a good mystery novel. I'm sure science can point to an area of the brain that is stimulated by such things. But I think there is more to it than simple mind stimulation. There are the people who are skeptical of everything – to a fault. There are those who often look at events with cold logic.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Government Controlled Economics – A Failure

Coal exports from USA

With the US economy trying to dig its way out of what has been erroneously called the Great Recession – we sit and watch the happenings in Washington. We recently heard a speech by the president reaffirming his desire to defeat climate change. Carbon emissions seem to be the number one item on the Washington agenda. While Congress sleeps, the EPA and other agencies expand their regulatory power.

The American people elected a president who promised to destroy the coal industry. He has the desire to make the coal industry a thing of the past. While use of coal in the USA has dropped, exports to Europe were up 92% in 2010-11, according to Platts. Electrical rates are expected to increase dramatically because of mandates for closing coal powered generation plants. The president said, “Electrical rates will necessarily dramatically increase.” This is all in the name of saving the planet from climate warming that isn't currently happening and was never proven to be caused by humans.

How many of you have taken a cruise? If so, how many of them flew the American flag? There is only one cruise ship operating under American registration, the American Pride. The reasons are simple, that this profitable industry operates offshore – US regulations. These regulations are widespread – everything from labor laws, environmental regulations, to health inspections.

Friday, February 7, 2014

CBO And Other Spin

While listening to all the spin about the CBO report on people leaving their jobs voluntarily due to the availability of insurance. I must say that conservatives have taken the wrong road on this topic. During my 33 years of working I met many people who had after hours businesses of their own and worked the hourly job only for the insurance.

I have also known people that would have retired early had it not been for insurance. People who have lived a thrifty life have set in place everything they need to exist outside a steady job. Some like myself chose this path in order pursue their dreams. I know of others who would, and have left to live off the meager income of their hobbies.

This doesn't justify federally subsidized insurance. This in no way defends any part of the ACA. But if it is the law and will potentially offer subsidized insurance, we must stick only to the facts. I believe in this case the democrats are correctly stating that some of those in the categories I mentioned above will leave their current jobs. This also doesn't mean they will stop working for others. They may simply work part time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Economics – Chickens, Cows, and Money

People place a lot of importance on money, which is understandable. Bartering was once the major method of payment. In some areas something as simple as salt or spices were worth more than gold. The more rare an object, the more its worth in comparison to other goods and services. The more rare the tradesmen, the more their worth.

People can't provide everything they need for themselves. Let's say that a farmer needs a cow for milk. The cow cost ten chickens. Most cows are raised in a different village so the farmer has to haul the ten chickens to that village for trade. Most times he takes 11 chickens because one might die on the way.

Someone decided a long time ago that gold coins were a lot easier to carry around. One gold coin is worth 10 chickens. The farmer doesn't need a wagon to carry a single gold coin with which to buy the cow. He simply sold ten chickens to a village that was closer. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it? Well, it was until the bankers came along.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

UFO Syndrome – Ducking the Truth

 It's suggested you read the original if you haven't.

In UFO Syndrome I spoke to how government uses language to control the actions and beliefs of others. We should thank Edward Bernays, the father of modern day marketing and propaganda for the world in which we live today. Bernays used the woman’s suffrage movement to sell cigarettes to women. He helped elect presidents. Well placed marketing can affect millions of people.

Recently there was Duck Dynasty-gate where the patriarch of the family said some things against gays and blacks that made A&E place Phil Robertson on hiatus. This coincided with with the Christmas holiday Duck Dynasty marathon. Viewership for the marathon dropped 71% compared to the previous week. We will never know if it was simply because they were reruns, it was the holidays, or because of the boycott against A&E for their actions. For the purpose of this writing it doesn't matter.

We might never know how this worked out for A&E, but I saw something important when it came to the Robertson family. Many rallied around the family and began defending them as if they were their own. Those who said anything close to negative about the Robertson's was attacked. What we witnessed was the power of television, marketing, and of words.

People attach themselves to others who are total strangers – be it a sick girl in a hospital, a German family, or wealthy Louisiana business men. Everyone is looking for a victim for whom they can support and protect. This is an instinct of humankind. This protection can extended to politicians who are portrayed as victims. We saw that with Ted Cruz as he was attacked, even by his own side, for his hours long filibuster. It didn't matter that in the end he accomplished little other than he gained a dedicated following. Was this simply a political stunt? It doesn't matter for purpose of the UFO Syndrome. It matters only that it worked to improve his popularity.