Dumbest (uncorrected) Choices in American History: Shortlist

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My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:

Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food

Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument

The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Public Sector Unions

Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity

Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent

Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race

Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor

Campaign donations by businesses

Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech

Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs

Letting Lawyers advertise

Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration

Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education

Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)

Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages

Bilingual Education as a policy

Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders

Peer promotion in school

Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?

Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all

Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama

Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom

Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract

Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either

Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury

Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday

The Writer’s Strike

ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease

Forget Faith in Jesus or Mohammad – I Believe in Bugs Bunny

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One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism.  This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s).  For those of us to who seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.

To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident; belief is what built civilization as we know it.

Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by conflicting scriptural testimonies; this is a fool’s game at best!

Pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of the tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with an un-questioned authority to follow – just so that they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.

It is not enough, their preachers say, to believe in the bridge over the canyon, you must have and prove absolute faith that it is there…

The next sound you hear is the sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon; and if the snake-oiled social-system-from-perdition that they are selling fails the test in the real world they have an escape clause; it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”; you know who I mean, they are most likely a victim of the situation for which they are receiving (divine sanctioned) blame!

As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God, and lead others to know God better! Mea culpa; I still care. But, at some point I recognized that all the “Organized Religions” have long since been co-opted by pirates, parasites and reactionaries – who are their own enemies as well as everyone else’s; never thinking, believing then acting – just fighting the others while stealing as much power over people’s souls as possible.

Oh, let me point out that yes, Atheism is a faith; it takes a lot of ego-based, un-founded faith to KNOW that “our reality contains no form of anything that might be called God, period, debate closed; it is not even possible you know, why even bring it up in ‘intelligent’ company?”

Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” enough to listen; even though for years you might not have the “faith” to gamble on your premonitions being something other than a coincidental case of indigestion!

I have beliefs, I have very little faith; I like it that way.

Faith has to be blind; the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.

Of course many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful!

In a documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India with full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing given by an honest healer. But instead, he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies.

Of course, the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to ‘have FAITH ™’, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would have worked with a holy head-start, and he might have found healing; I do not disagree but, I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than a swift escalator to horrific abuses ( ones that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man, and treat them solely according to their “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!

The bottom line is that true lover’s of God are recognized despite their religion, not because of it; mostly everyone stays for their entire life in the religion that they were born into; in some religions it can be fatal to become an Agnostic let alone change your religion; so much for an honest quest for God.

Yet there are good, godly, devout people wherever you find human hearts and human tears.  You can’t avoid that simple, obvious truth; unless you cling to “faith” in the notion that God made a special effort to make sure that you were born in the faith that you “happen” to believe in – all just so you could be “saved“! Of course, anyone not so favored was chosen by the ‘Infinite Power and Mercy of Deity’ to be born in an “un-Godly cult” that destines them to almost certain “damnation”!

If you do believe that this is true, then there is a quote from the Christians’ Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept“!

Calling Yourself Liberal and Religious won’t MAKE You a Good Person

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Today we have two re-writes of older articles that seem very relevant today:

First, we will take the “Liberals” as well as the “Conservatives” to task for partisan hypocrisy…

Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative; I often use it that way myself for good reasons.

Yet I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left, and 60% of it complaining and worrying about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be/ have been worse. But the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn entire schools of thought to a mature mind.  This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.

 Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity.  They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history, and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation.

 They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came.  Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!

 In American history, every time the religious culture has had a profound positive influence (as judged by successive generations) on changes in society those influences have their roots in the Liberal-to-Radical churches. They most certainly did not come from the Conservative ones!

 The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights.  Yet the Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halos with the contributions made for the most part by the Liberal Churches of the past.

This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means.  A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society, but will refuse to see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it.  Find a Conservative Imam, and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries.  But if you remind him that blind faithfulness to Islam’s Conservative philosophy had nothing to do with the various periods of (heretically liberal) Islamic glory that he is polishing up for you to admire; he may even take offense.

  In every case where religious and political power intermingle the things that modern world civilization would call progress has only come when the dominant Church(s) is(are) liberal to the point of being heretical (to the parent dogmas and doctrines), tolerant and more focused on understanding, accepting and spreading the “love behind the Law” rather than promoting a zero-tolerance attitude regarding adherence to the “Letter of the Law.”

But only stagnation and decay ensue when the Churches are conservative and cling to a memory, or fictitious ideal, of “the way it should be.”

 It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a greatly positive influence on society but, that usually the effects remain chiefly negative.

 Witness: the defense of slavery, and the stances of “Godly” preachers and priests against child labor laws, and minority civil rights laws.

Witness: the attempts at forced, coerced and violent conversions directed at any people of another religion that are under the influence of a politicized religion (theocracies, inquisitions, shari’a states).

 We all admit that Conservatism is designed to be highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. Who but a fool will deny that there is a true virtue most times in maintaining most of the status quo; Leftists take note of the qualifications and keep your straw men to yourselves – I am not Christian, and never have been a Republican, or supporter of either Bush.

 But, it also must be admitted that Conservative governments and organizations have a poor track record when attempting to grease those wheels, to make accommodation for the fact that seems “odd“, “weird“, “different” to the average mind; whether the ideas are good ones or not!

When the going gets rough or to be a creative inspiration for the people who bear the main burdens of pushing the cart of civilization further, faster and safer than our ancestors ever believed it could go Conservatives can be of more a drag chain when they should be acting like the regenerative brakes that go with a hybrid engine.

 Conservative ideology certainly does not allow real flaws in the basic social system to be changed without a protracted, and often ugly, fight with the liberal mindset who are busy finding things that are not really broken to make into really nasty situations with well-meaning new laws and more, and more, and more tension from enforcement, and less and less elbow room for the well-intentioned citizen just trying to get along and improve their lives.

 Without a Liberal element in society, one that has enough influence to smack the current bosses on the head now and then but, not enough to dominate society  a person lives in what is at best a well upholstered slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.

And…

Without a Conservative element at the core to give perspective and balance a people will… well, just look at the aftermath of every single revolution in the past – the American revolution was actually a colony revolt – it was an independently evolving, functioning society that broke away from the parent nation/culture rather than an indigenous movement to topple all the central power structures and replace them ad hoc with unproven or dis-proven but, “much better” institutions; not long after they succeed the real bloodshed is just beginning!

 Who was it again that decreed with proven ‘Holy Authority‘ that all human problems can, and may, only be solved by a totally Left-wing or totally Right-wing ideology? When did admitting that your Party’s platform cannot solve all problems if followed by “good” people?

The voting public needs to take off their trendy, strait-jackets/sheep-outfits, grow up, and look at reality – of the real kind, rather than the oh-so-importantly-unimportant political sort – and then find the ideal solutions, not the solutions that serve your political tribe while walking over everyone else’s Lives’, Liberties, and frantic Pursuits of Happiness.

He Said, She Said.

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She stood at the kitchen counter slicing food for dinner while he watched her from his perch on an old wooden stool with green legs that he took with him wherever he went. He smiled as he watched her and played with some magnetic balls on the table with one hand while the other rubbed his neck.

He was dressed in his usual comfortable jeans with an old, homey t-shirt with an out-of date political slogan emblazoned on the front. His socks were rather loud, an argyle in fact, but warm and comfy on his tired old feet. Freshly bathed and groomed, as groomed as a naturally almost hairless man need be, he seemed cheerful but troubled.

She noticed his hand on his neck, a sure sign of tension, and asked “Is something bothering you Dear?” in a voice that left no doubt in a hearers mind that she felt nothing but affection for the old man before her.

“I am not bothered.” He replied, “…just don’t get it.”

Long training at keeping a perfect poker-face kept the hitch fro her voice, this conversation had been repeated many times before; she prayed, as much as it hurt her, that it would be repeated many more… or something like that.

“Do you need to get it?” she asked, trying a new approach.

“Well, no, I guess I don’t.” He re-lied, “I mean it is not like it is something bad I want to get, I like that you take such good care of me, treat me so nice.” He smiled at her, “Just don’t get it. It is not like I help you, I like it here but I don’t understand why I don’t have to work like the people on the television.” He shrugged, guess if I don’t get it I might stop doing what I am doing to deserve it.” He paused for so long she thought he had drifted into other thoughts. “ I wouldn’t like that.” He finally said softly, and went back to smiling and playing with the Buckey balls as she fought back sudden tears.

She tried, but she could not leave him in uncertainty, not because it might build up into a “bad day”, but because she loved him, and wanted the rest of his life as happy as possible, he deserved that much. “You have already earned it!” she said with warmth, you … used to be a person who helped many people understand things, you gave to others, and you wanted nothing but to love them all.” She faltered, “You ‘did that which you should have done and you did not that which you should not have done’. Don’t let it worry you; it makes me happy to make you happy, period, o.k.?”

He smiled brightly, “okay!” he said. There was a short silence, then, “But, why are you crying now?” he asked with his eyes welling up in sympathetic response. “Because I am sad I cannot give you back what it was that earned all this for you.” She said waving at the home around them. “And why I am here with you; I always will be.”

He said with a smile in his eyes, “I am happy, and I love you ‘Baby Girl’.”

He paused.” why do you like that name, anyway? You are an old woman, well, 60 at least!” He pondered. “Maybe, I say it because it tastes right in my mouth, ‘Baby Girl’!”

“But,” he said, “If I did good things, and we have all this because of it, isn’t that a good thing?” “And I don’t want to be that again if it means having to make my head hurt and worry, like you do.” He looked uncertain. “I really did all that stuff that you do… and real good?” He grinned, ‘Oh, the horror’ he said in a mocking voice,” I am the lucky one. I like simple. I must have won a prize or something”

Rinsing some glasses to cover her emotions she then turned and smiled at him. “Don’t worry about ‘getting it’ anymore, that is my job now, your job is to be my husband, and to be loved.”

She wiped her hands on the dish towel. “If you can wait a few minutes on dinner I need to go to the ladies room, I will be right back.” He nodded brightly, engrossed in whether a fly would find the escape of an open window; without seeming to look he swatted her on the bottom as she passed, and her pace quickened though she smiled; he began making bets with himself about the fly in different accents, his worries gone.

She made it to the bathroom and managed to lock the door and even run some water in the sink to cover the noise before she began to cry, but dinner was late that evening; he did not mind, he had found a re-run of Dancing with the Stars to critique.

Huffington Post’s Reverend Kimball Bears False Witness Against Christianity and Judaism

 Who would Jesus behead?

This, Virginia, is why I do not put any great weight on my own ordination; any fool can be ordained and seeking God has nothing to do with it; witness the blatant bearing of false witness to further a political agenda exercised by this so-called minister. Here a so called minister of God is even bearing false witness against his own religion, if you can believe it!

Here we have an analysis of the ranting’s of one Charles Kimball, the director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a Baptist minister regarding the culpability of Christians and Christianity for the Oslo massacre and bombing by mass murderer (alleged, I think we are supposed to say Virginia) Anders Breivik.

The horrific events in Norway this past weekend provide yet another powerful teachable moment in the ongoing and increasingly dangerous saga of religion becoming lethal.

I can’t imagine how. Unless the good reverend’s point is somehow that the actions of non-Christian religious folk caused Breivik to snap I don’t see the point.  Breivik very pointedly explained that he was not, would not be, and did not recommend being a religious Christian; to him “Christian” seems to be no more than a catch-all term for non-Muslim of European culture! He also never used Christian theology in his writings to base his actions upon.

Indeed it would be hard to find any Christian “church” today, anywhere, that would be able to propound a theology based in the teachings of Jesus that would support the killing of anyone merely to make a point, let alone try to justify the slaughter of children to make said point. Even Fred Phelps and his sad band of haters do not promote violence, other than making decent people wish for an excuse to righteously kick their asses. Sadly, Phelps and Co. have been too clever so far to give the rest of us an excuse to use our laws to put them away… This is the price you pay for freedom.

Reality aside, facts aside, respect for his own religion and co-religionists aside, the good Rev. wants to use this as a teaching moment. Such aggressive compassion surely must be a good thing, right, Virginia? Right?

The murderous rampage by Anders Behring Breivik brings several important lessons more clearly into view.

Indeed, it does, but not in the way you seem to feel, Sir!

First, religion is an extraordinarily powerful and pervasive force in human society. Throughout history, people within various religions have been motivated to their highest and noblest best actions. At the same time, some of the worst things human beings have done to one another have been done in the name of or justified by religion. Religion is a powerful force inspiring constructive and destructive behavior among believers.

Right, but what does this have to do with a man, Breivik, who justified his evil with secular arguments, and did not use any religion’s message or theology to base his horror upon?

Second, we live in a world with many weapons of mass destruction. Quite apart from the horrors associated with chemical, nuclear or biological weapons, we now know that a devious plan can utilize automatic weapons, fertilizer, box knives and commercial airplanes as weapons of mass destruction. Attacking a summer camp for youth vividly reminds us that there are many ways people bent on doing great harm can accomplish their goal.

As far as I can tell that last paragraph was no more than background music for an ongoing apologia for the “free speech is good, but it can go too far” crowd who equate free speech with inoffensive (to them) speech.

Third, we now know with certainty that it doesn’t take many people to wreak havoc on a wide scale. Breivik may have acted alone or within a small circle of cohorts, as did Timothy McVeigh. Nineteen men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11. Small numbers of zealots who are convinced they know what God wants for them and for everyone else are capable of almost anything.

Notice how the oh, so honest Revd. throws in McVeigh, another secular terrorist who explicitly rejected any theological grounds for his crimes against humanity to balance the unarguably theocratic 9/11 terrorists, among others too numerous to count. What this compulsion he shares with other Leftists, to beat his breast and declare “We are just as bad!” instead of solving the problems, is all about is simply beyond me.

I can’t think of any modern religious terror committed by other than lone madmen at all except for the Islamic kind… Even the Irish terrorists who divided on religious lines never used Christianity to justify what they did, nor did the clergy in any way justify or support them, in fact for the most part they were Marxists whom the local Catholic clergy would not trust any more than they would Protestants!! The same can be said about abortion clinic bombers, they are lone wolves and, are not backed up by mainstream theology or communities in any way.

Not surprisingly, many preachers and pundits who have spewed hateful rhetoric and fanned the flames of Islamophobia are now scrambling to disassociate themselves, their published statements about Islam and Muslims, and what some call “true” Christianity from the actions of Breivik.

No my dear wolf in minister’s clothing, you are the one who is scrambling to tar innocent people with the taint of Breivik’s evil in order to further your own agenda  That is the very epitome of bearing false witness against your neighbor! I highly doubt even one of the people you seek to demonize ever called for violence against Muslims in any way; certainly none of the “influential” ones have; they certainly did not promote violence against the enablers of Islamism, which seems to be what Breivik thought he was doing in the dark buzzing cloud pretending to be his soul. At the same time, others quoted by Breivik have promoted violent and totalitarian schemes… but they are never mentioned by the oh, so righteous Reverend.

But words matter. Examine the path taken by violent extremists claiming inspiration from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism and you can trace connections with the fiery rhetoric of influential, sometimes self-appointed leaders in madrasas, in books, at religious rallies, on websites and the like. There are consequences when cocksure Christians or Muslim militants proclaim God’s truth while stoking fear of the “other” in the minds of their would-be followers.

Here “Rev.” Kimball is bending over backwards until his spine snaps to attempt to “level the playing field” between Islam and other religions when it comes to directly inspiring violence. He fails to make his case.  Show me the violent Christian, Jewish or Buddhist movement, in the lifetime of this nation, that was encouraged by “fiery rhetoric” from “influential” books, churches, synagogues and leaders? Can you think of any in the last two hundred years? I can’t, just a handful of nutjobs who are universally excoriated by their own co-religionists.  No-one complained about what kind of burial Jim Jones got, no Christian thought it important how a lunatic mass murderer should be buried!

Meanwhile, the good reverend goes back to his “free speech is bad in the wrong hands” theme. The wrong hands here of course being hands that are possessed by someone who disagrees with the enlightened view of Revd. Kimball.

While there are no easy answers or simple solutions, there are constructive ways to move forward in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world community. It begins with education.

Study programs in schools and colleges, churches, mosques and synagogues are essential. Interfaith dialogue and engagement with people of different religious and cultural backgrounds are invaluable ways to dispel generic fears and help humanize the “other.” All across the U.S., Christians, Muslims and Jews are working together to build Habitat for Humanity houses and work on common problems such as crime and drug abuse within their communities. These kinds of intentional efforts at education and cooperation are vital at the local, national and international level. We need more and more such endeavors in the U.S., not only for the well-being of our communities, but also as a way to model the kind of healthy religious pluralism our future requires.

The truly sad part about Kimball’s misguided view is that the above actions are not being done, and never will be done by the kinds of religious extremists he worries about; not the handful of Christian ones and, not the thousands upon thousands of Muslim ones. At most they will use such activities as a smokescreen while they pursue their theocratic agenda’s unmolested.  I can only assume that either Mr. Kimball’s seminary did not offer a real course in history or, that he flunked it.

He also seems to be guilty of the sin of Liberal Racism. To that mindset the “underclasses” of past racist philosophies have not vanished, they are poor, helpless children that must take under protection, for their own good.

Because they are “of the oppressed”, a state of permanent victimhood, their actions do not make a difference compared to the actions of the evil, dominant White Man from Europe and America that is Kimball’s real devil, and God.

He will never compare the fruit of Muslim and Christian fairly, because then he would be forced to speak of Islam (from the perspective of any devout Christian clergyman) as a religion that might stem from God but, that has been mired for most of its existence in a theo/political system of worldly evil.

The path to a more hopeful and healthy future also requires people of faith and goodwill to speak out clearly and directly against extremists of all stripes.

I can’t argue with that. That is what the Heretics Crusade is.

Although most of us were taught by our parents not to talk about religion or politics in public, the stakes today are far too high for deferential silence or casual indifference. Ignorance is not bliss; silence is proving deadly.

Once again, I agree, I don’t think anyone reasonable would try. But, that is not the pitch, that is just the windup with a lean to the left to imply a slider, this next bit is the pitch; a spitball, knuckleball covered in tar.

Just as many people continue to call on Muslims to speak out forcefully and unambiguously against violence and extremism, so too must Christians and Jews openly challenge those who advocate extremism and foster hatred in the name of religion. This means, for example, naming names and identifying the theological and political positions of Jewish fundamentalists and Muslim extremists who block potential paths to peace in Israel/Palestine.

The problem with this little gem is that the Jewish and Christian communities in this country as a whole have always stood against anyone who used violence and extremism to advance or defend their faiths! It has been held a virtual truth that to do so is to abrogate that faith entirely!

Just what more is it that they are supposed to do when the mainstream Islamic community complains about how Osama Bin Laden was buried after assuring us for years that he was not a “real Muslim”?

For me, as a follower of Jesus and a Christian minister, it means strongly disagreeing with TV preachers with political clout such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley. They have every right to espouse their religious and political worldviews. But their ill-informed and hateful rhetoric about Islam and Muslims, as well as their certainty that Jesus will be arriving in the next couple of weeks, has very real consequences.

That is nice Chuck, when are you going to do it? This whole piece reads like it is aimed against free speech and, to me, seems to be intended to gently brush Oslo/Breivik tar on anti-Jihadist bloggers and writers who have never propounded, or invoked, an ideology of violence; yet gives a pass to Breivik “inspiring” figures and writers (in his own words) who happen to be on your side of the war in your mind. You haven’t even given us a clear idea of just what they say that you oppose! If that last paragraph was really the point of your post then, I have to say I think your point fell flat.

The mind-boggling terrorism manifest in Norway will continue to provide hard but important lessons about the dangers all around us and the need to find more constructive ways to move forward in the 21st century. It is a stark reminder that we share a fragile planet where ignorance, hate and fear can link easily with religious worldviews and produce horrific consequences.

Yes Virginia, the world is a dangerous place, especially if you equate the evil acts of lone scumbags with the evil acts of organized and ideologically driven scumbags who are numerous and active instead of isolated and sporadic.

How to Reform Politics: What Your Politician Will Never Tell You

Guy DeWhitney's Heretics Crusade: Defendng Western Civilization

You hear it on the Left, you hear it on the Right, you hear it from the Third Parties – Reform Campaign Finance; Reform Congressional Lobbying, Reform Labor Relations and Unions! But, you never hear solutions, at least not solutions that amount to more than “things would be wonderful if those people over there (labor, management, government, you and me, etc. ad nauseum) were not allowed to participate in the process at all!!!“.

And the sad part Virginia, is that the solutions are so damn simple anyone can see it the moment they drop their “but, we have to win”/zero sum perspectives.

How do we reform campaign finance? We can’t, so we don’t.

That is, we don’t reform it, we eliminate it! It is nothing but a source of potential corruption and cannot be “fixed” by any means available to man, so let’s drop it. All election campaigns should be financed from a pool of government funds; if politician A gets X number of signatures qualifying for a place on the ballot for the office of Y he/she would get the same exact amount as every other andidate who qualified for that ballot.

I eagerly await anyone who can show me that this is a bad idea, except for the fact that their side, the good guys, can’t use it against the evil bad guys, their opposition, whoever they may be at the moment.

That takes care of a huge part of the inefficiency and corruption of modern politics at one fell swoop; how about we go after most of the rest with our backhand?

Congressional lobbying, bending the ear of Senators and Representatives, is quite arguably inseparable from a meaningful freedom of speech or a responsive government, so how do we reform what we cannot eliminate? We pass a law making it illegal to pay (in goods or services as well as money) someone to do it for you, that’s all.

Both of these ideas put central the concept that money is not equal to speech;a nonsensical conclusion to anyone who is not desiring to benefit from corruption before it is shut down if I ever eard one!

Think about it Virginia, if Citizen A has 10 dollars his political voice is only ten dollars “loud” but, if Citizen Y, or worse, Corporation M and foreign national R, with ten million dollars have voices that make Citizen A virtually invisible on the political stage; surely this is not what any of our founders
envisioned!

Which brings us to the unions! SO much has changed since the heyday of the teens and twenties of the last century. Remind me again, in this day and age just what purpose do Union Leaders serve… other than their own?

My proposal once again is very simple, organic and even elegant: when a union ends a despite and signs a new contract they immediately disband.

That’s it. If a new issue arises and the workers vote to form a new union to deal with it all is well and good. And when a new contract is signed the leaders go back to work instead of sinking their fangs into the real worker’s necks and riding them until they die, or their industry is killed instead.

Now, take those three, simple changes, all of them unassailable on Constitutional grounds, and project the country past two presidential election cycles; does your mind boggle at the possibilities for real improvement? Does a shiver run down your leg?

Then take it and run with it! The beauty of our system is that no matter how much a pol does not want to do something, if enough people get an idea in their heads the pols have to go along and pray to survive the next election.

All of these changes have one thing in common, reality, they make the government deal with facts and voters, not special interests and corporate funds; and that Virginia, is really all this country needs to be a strong and beautiful as it can be.

Economics 001 a Remedial Course for Modern Monetary Morons

Economics is more than just money

Today there seem to be few people, let alone economists, who actually seem to grasp the basic  ideas of monetary theory upon which they build their roads to whatever fantasy land their prejudices predispose them to believe in. Economists pronounce, politicians spout and pundits pund but, how many of them really grasp, and apply, a basic understanding of what money is; how many have a clue how far everyone has strayed from reality?

Come Virginia, let us begin at the beginning; what is the difference between coinage historically (which is not like coinage in the modern world) and paper “monies“, and just what money really is.

I will be analyzing monetary theory without being bound by any politically oriented school of “economics“, instead I will attempt to put money in the same light that Newton put moving objects; money follows laws that do not respect any political need or opinion and I hope to merely describe what it is and what it is not irrespective of what anyone wants it to be.

Let’s start with coinage, a concept that still holds its place at the head of the parade despite vanishing as a concept by the 1970’s.

Historically, coins were what people now mostly think “money” should be, a portable piece of actual wealth, something “worth” just what its face declares. Don’t forget though that all value is relative, if no-one wants gold, it is “worth” little, if they crave it, it is worth a lot.
Cash monies on the gold standard promised payment in hard coin with value of its own.

At first glance this seems a good system, though it does carry hidden “costs.” If the gold or silver or copper in a coin is “worth” exactly its face value the person or group who minted that coin will lose the amount of “value” (manpower and resources) represented by the minting of the coin from bullion.  No matter how cheaply a chunk of bullion quality metal is turned into coinage that amount of value will be lost to the minter if they receive the “face” value in goods or services in return for their shiny, new coins.

This does not change with banknotes; printing costs plus the cost of the raw materials simply replaces the minting costs; remember, the raw material of a coin is the value of the coin.

For a long time banknotes represented actual bullion in a vault, or somewhere in the control of the issuer of the note, while coins represented actual wealth themselves. But, the ability of coiners to debase the metals they used producing coins “worth” less than their face value, and the fact that not all promissory notes represented an honest promise of actual coinage made the system far from perfect.

Enter “fiat” money. Bitterly fought, this is what “money” is supposed to be, though the transition is far from over globally and nationally.

A “currency” based on the exchange of gold and silver etc. is not in fact a real monetary system, it is barely one step up from barter. In barter or specie based economies not only must a person, or society, have the wealth and productivity to fill their own basic needs, they need to accumulate extra goods (coinage) simply to be able to participate in the system that provides those basic needs and services. Then they must accumulate even more if they wish to enjoy a level of “comfort” far below what is consonant with their current efforts to add productivity and wealth to their communities.

Barter ecomonies belong to an uncivilized past. Coinage was a simple, brute force answer to the problem of trusting someone when you have no way of enforcing that trust. Cash on the barrelhead as they said. Hopefully we have grown a bit beyond that, at least in the Western (civilized, modern) world.

Here is the bombshell Virginia, it is so simple that the “intelligentsia” just can’t get it: In a civilized society the function of money is to serve as counters in the games of economics, nothing more, nothing less. Money is not a commodity as it has no value of its own. Money is supposed to represent the wealth and productivity of the issuer only, not to be “worth” anything at all on its own!

Ideally, if a government wanted a bridge built and had the spare raw materials and manpower to build it, all the gov needs to do is print the right amount of money, and pay for a new road.

They do not make anything appear by doing so, they do not cause “inflation”, they just tossed counters in the game that were needed to let the players turn raw materials and idle bodies into a bridge thus creating wealth, not diminishing it! Or not creating as such, but acknowledging, since keeping the money level in balance with the national productivity is the whole goal.

Ideally, within a nation, it should be practical to pay each citizen with new, non-inflated money in tune with any growth in GDP, just like dividends to stockholders in a corporation. Infrastructure improvements (bridges, roads, universities and research facilities, etc.) would only be “unaffordable” if they used so many resources or manpower that they caused a significant rise in prices and wages in the private sector; wouldn’t that be so terrible, we couldn’t build a road one year because there was no unemployment and people were selling what they made as fast as they could make it!

Practically, especially with the current rats nest of insanity that we call economics worldwide, that kind of system would be almost impossible to implement; more the shame on us for letting things get so messed up.

Simply put, we should not be borrowing the money the government has the sole right to print/mint and regulate!!! The amount of dollars in circulation is supposed to be enough, theoretically, to buy all the goods and services produced this year, instead we treat money as though it is coinage and create a pre-broken system that invites inflation, deflation and puts everyone at the mercy of molehill booms and mountains busts.

Where the Wild Things Are: Heretics Around the World

 

I was playing around with the stats for the blog today; lots of fun information there.

Here is a partial breakdown of the most common countries viewing Heretics Crusade

PERCENTAGE COUNTRY NAME  
64.60% United States United States
15.20% Canada Canada
4.80% Australia Australia
4.60% United Kingdom United Kingdom
1.20% Spain Spain
1.20% Slovenia Slovenia
1.20% India India
0.80% Tanzania, United Republic Of Tanzania, United Republic Of
0.80% Sweden Sweden
0.60% Albania Albania
0.60% Saint Lucia Saint Lucia
0.60% Egypt Egypt
0.60% Israel Israel
0.40% Russian Federation Russian Federation
0.40% South Africa South Africa
0.20% Kuwait Kuwait
0.20% Malaysia Malaysia
0.20% Poland Poland
0.20% Netherlands Netherlands
0.20% Bosnia And Herzegovina Bosnia And Herzegovina
0.20% Finland Finland
0.20% Iceland Iceland
0.20% Lithuania Lithuania
0.20% Germany Germany
0.20% Korea, Republic Of Korea, Republic Of
0.20% Italy Italy
0.20% Turks And Caicos Islands

Here is the breakdown by City

  PERCENTAGE CITY Region Country Name    
5.20% United States United States
5.00% Washington District Of Columbia United States United States
2.80% Peoria Illinois United States United States
2.60% Toronto Ontario Canada Canada
1.80% Bolton Bolton United Kingdom United Kingdom
1.80% Oshawa Ontario Canada Canada
1.80% Dallas Texas United States United States
1.60% Calgary Alberta Canada Canada
1.60% Launceston Tasmania Australia Australia
1.40% Perth Western Australia Australia Australia
1.40% Louisville Kentucky United States United States
1.20% Málaga Andalucia Spain Spain
1.20% Atlanta Georgia United States United States
1.20% London Ontario Canada Canada
1.20% Vrhnika Bohinj Slovenia Slovenia
1.00% Kingston Ontario Canada Canada
1.00% Pittsburgh Pennsylvania United States United States
1.00% Newport Beach California United States United States
1.00% Riverside California United States United States
1.00% Texarkana Texas United States United States
1.00% Arlington Texas United States United States
1.00% San Francisco California United States United States
1.00% Tampa Florida United States United States
1.00% Lincoln Park Michigan United States United States
1.00% Ottawa Ontario Canada Canada
1.00% Plano Texas United States United States
1.00% Lancaster Texas United States United States
1.00% Los Angeles California United States United States
0.80% Dar Es Salaam Dar Es Salaam Tanzania, United Republic Of Tanzania, United Republic Of
0.80% Saint Peters Missouri United States United States
0.80% Sacramento California United States United States
0.80% Valencia California United States United States
0.80% Bronx New York United States United States
0.80% Little Rock Arkansas United States United States
0.80% Houston Texas United States United States
0.80% Columbus Ohio United States United States
0.80% San Diego California United States United States
0.80% Chagrin Falls Ohio United States United States
0.80% Denver Colorado United States United States
0.80% Markham Ontario Canada Canada
0.60% Conroe Texas United States United States
0.60% Seabrook Texas United States United States
0.60% Cornwall Ontario Canada Canada
0.60% Lake Placid New York United States United States
0.60% El Paso Texas United States United States
0.60% Kalamazoo Michigan United States United States
0.60% Cairo Al Qahirah Egypt Egypt
0.60% Sydney New South Wales Australia Australia
0.60% Sycamore Illinois United States United States
0.60% Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Israel Israel
0.60% Milwaukee Wisconsin United States United States
0.60% Castries Castries Saint Lucia Saint Lucia
0.60% Hamilton Ontario Canada Canada
0.60% Stockholm Stockholms Lan Sweden Sweden
0.60% Penticton British Columbia Canada Canada
0.40% Tucson Arizona United States United States
0.40% Sarasota Florida United States United States
0.40% Moscow Moscow City Russian Federation Russian Federation
0.40% Fort Worth Texas United States United States

And here is probably the most interesting breakdown: By ISP

PERCENTAGE ISP                             CITY          Region                Country Name
3.20% U.S. House Of Representatives Washington District Of Columbia United States United States
2.00% Research In Motion United States United States
0.60% U.s. General Accounting Office Washington District Of Columbia United States United States
0.60% United States Senate Washington District Of Columbia United States United States
0.60% Link Egypt Cairo Al Qahirah Egypt Egypt
0.60% Golden Lines Cable Tel Aviv Tel Aviv Israel Israel
0.20% University Of Arizona Tucson Arizona United States United States
0.20% Fbi Criminal Justice Information Systems Washington District Of Columbia United States United States

You Can Have “Faith” in Jesus or Mohammed: I Believe in Bugs Bunny!

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One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism.  This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s).  For those of us to whom seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.

To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident, belief is what built civilization as we know it.  Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by certain scriptural testimonies; this is a fools game at best! 

This pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of that tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with authority to follow; just so they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.  It is not enough, their preachers say, to belief in the bridge over the canyon, you must have absolute faith that it IS there… sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon.  And if the snake oil social system from perdition they are selling fails the test in the real world then it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”!

As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God and lead others to know God better! mea culpa.  I still care,  I just recognized that all the “named religions” had been co-opted by pirates, parasites and otherwise religious reactionaries who become their own enemies fighting the first two. 

Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and yes, even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” in it enough to listen; even though you have not had the “faith” for years to gamble on it not being coincidental indigestion!

I have beliefs, I have no faith; I like it that way.  Faith has to be blind, and the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.

This is not to say that I do not think that many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful; far from it!  In the documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India in full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing; but he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies. 

Of course the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to have FAITH, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would still have worked and he might have found healing; I do not disagree, but I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than an escalator to horrific abuses that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man and treat them solely according to “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!

Bottom line? The true God lovers are recognized in spite of their religion, not because of it; every one mostly stays in the religion they were born in, in some religions it is almost impossible not to, yet there are good, godly people wherever you find human hearts and human tears.  Unless you want to have faith in the notion that God made you to be born in the faith you believe in just so YOU could be “saved”, while anyone not so favored was caused by the infinite power of Deity to be born in an unGodly cult; if you do, there is a quote from the Christian’s Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept”!