Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Newt Gingrich, the Christian Right, War, and Israel

In the ninth Chapter of Luke, the Samaritans insulted Christ as He passed through their territories.  In response, James and John asked "do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them like Elijah did?"   In verses 55 and 56 Jesus rebuked them saying "You know not what manner of spirit you are of.  The Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."  
Just like the disciples in those early days, I believe that many in the Christian right do not know what manner of spirit they are of.  This has manifested itself in many ways, three of which I would like to discuss here.  The first one is their turning, in near desperation by this point, to Newt Gingrich as their preferred Presidential candidate.
Newt Gingrich is arrogant, unfaithful, treacherous, a slave to his physical appetites, and hypocritical.    His life reads like a record of everything Jesus Christ is against.    Oh, I don't judge his salvation, for the salvation of any of us wretches is a function of God's grace rather than our merits.  But I do judge his fitness to lead because he is implicitly asking us to do so by running for President of the United States.

 His personal life has been a disgrace.  He left public office in disgrace.  His work since then has been disgraceful.  A creature of the beltway, since he left office he hired himself out to some of the same people who have been bankrupting this country.     I find it amazing, even after their previous four or five choices have all blown up, that Christians are considering supporting Newt Gingrich.  It's pathetic.  It sickens me to even think about it.

 Why not just say the system has failed?  Why not just say you are not backing anyone in the primary because there is no one worth backing?  How low will you go to stay "a player" in this awful system?

But of course, there is someone worth backing in the race.  There is someone who can be the "anti-Romney" candidate for voters.   He has lived an impeccable life of Christian virtue.  He is humble and gracious, faithful to both his family and those who elected him, supremely self-disciplined, and remarkably consistent.   Most of his philosophy of government is taken right from the pages of scripture.   The rest is taken from the Founding Fathers.

So why wouldn't Christians back such a man?  Because he doesn't want to kill people unless they are a legitimate threat to the United States.  Because he does not want to start a war with Iran to add to the several we have going on right now.   Because he is more concerned with preserving our civil liberties than growing the police state.   He's just not bloody enough for some of the Christian Right.

Will Iran get nuclear weapons?  Eventually.  We can't permanently keep the Muslim world in a pre-1944 level of technology.  We can, and are, going bankrupt trying, but it's not a realistic policy objective.   All we can do is keep borrowing money from China to try and suppress them until they either do it despite our efforts or China cuts off our funding.  

But if you were in their shoes, wouldn't you try to get them too?   The dominant global power has conquered the nations on either side of you, has military bases to your north, and a carrier armada in the sea to your south.  They have shown they are willing to use violence to overturn even Muslim governments who have been cooperating with them for years.   They are talking about going to war with you, but not the North Koreans who have the bomb.  Wouldn't you want the bomb to, in order to try to deter future aggression?

Iran, known as "Persia" in the scriptures, is a civilization that is thousands of years old.  They were the United States of the Old Testament, the dominant military power and a culture that was quick to adapt customs from other cultures- a melting pot.     I don't believe they are in a hurry to terminate their 4,000 year old civilization by starting a nuclear war with either the United States who has thousands of deliverable warheads, or Israel which has hundreds.    Especially since a nuclear war with Israel would leave the Middle East a radioactive wasteland for 1,000 years, eradicate most of their race and religion, but only eliminate a minority of the Jews - the majority of whom live in Europe and the United States.

Some might say "Oh the leader of Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off the map."   His statements in Farsi have been badly mistranslated.    A better interpretation is that he wants to do to the Israeli "regime" (not nation) exactly what most of the Christian Right want to do to the Obama regime, make it vanish via an electoral process.    He is being mistranslated by those beating the war drums.

But of course "we must stand with Israel."  The same folks who say welfare is bad for residents of the ghettos and should be ended insist that it is good for Israel and we must keep them on the dole.   Paul is consistent- government dependency is bad for everybody.

I am not sure about the theology of "standing with Israel" anyway in terms of dropping bombs on anyone that  is a threat to the nation of Israel.    I understand blessing the descendants of Abraham, including the Jews you may know right here in the United States, because in the Old Testament God told Abraham "I will bless those who bless you."  I get that.  What I don't get is the unique form they want this blessing to take.  Who else do we "bless" primarily by killing people for them?

In the book of 1st Timothy Chapter two, Jewish Apostle Paul writes that we are to pray for kings and those in authority for the very purpose that we might live a "quiet and peaceable life of honesty and godliness."   If that's the Biblical goal of government, I find it odd that so much of the Christian Right spends its time loudly advocating that we go overseas in search of wars and military occupations.  "Standing with Israel" in the governmental sense did not seem to be high on the prayer list.   And if ever there was a time when the physical security of the nation of Israel should have been on the prayer list, that was it.  Most Bible scholars place the date this epistle was penned to be around 65 A. D. - only a few years before Jerusalem was sacked and the Jewish people butchered and sold into slavery.

Maybe one of my brothers or sisters could explain these contradictions to me.  I would think that Bible believing Christians would look to the Bible to inform them on public policy rather than FOX News.   I would think that they would, given the choice, choose a man who has lived the kind of life they preach we ought to live rather than one who loudly talks about its virtues while practicing the exact opposite.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Supercommittee Successful Failure for GOP

It worked.  The "Super Committee" did what the Republican Congressman and Senators who sold you out wanted it to do.   Oh, it did not solve the budget crisis.   It did not really reduce spending, except shaving some of the size of the increases off a budget that is already too large.   It did not "work" for helping the country.  It never had a realistic chance at that.  It did not work for its publicly stated purpose, but it did work for its real purpose.

Conservative activists, think back to just before the time when your Republican Senator or Congressman voted against your wishes to cave on the debt ceiling.   In my state, that was all of them, Boozeman, Griffin, Womack, and Crawford.   They all voted to raise the debt ceiling.  

Remember what was going through your head just before that.  Right up until they came up with the "Super Committee" idea, you were ready to hold them accountable if they caved on the debt ceiling.  Then they cave on the debt ceiling, but in the guise of passing the buck to this "Super Committee."  A few months later, you have probably forgotten about their feckless vote to maintain the status quo right up until they break the economy.  Why?  Because you are so outraged at the "Super Committee."   Your anger has been transferred from your own "representative" to those terrible politicians on the "supercommitte."  Ahh, loser, but you don't get to vote for them!

Brilliant isn't it?   I can picture the strategy sessions in my head, "Gee, the natives are getting restless, why don't we pick a dozen of us in safe seats and punt to them.   That way, people will direct all their anger to them and forget all about our sellout vote on the debt ceiling."

Congratulations to Republican strategists for keeping your base bamboozled one more time.  You can probably leverage this deceit into another term of "public service." Maybe that will be long enough to get rich through insider trading before you crash the economy for all us little people.

Monday, November 21, 2011

OWS and the Public School System

Protester learns this is not like back-talking Mr. Kotter.

I am not one of those to think that the young people at OWS events are some sort of nefarious enemy (though some of the people setting this up might be).   They are mostly confused young people who are angry about some of the same things I am angry about, but do not understand what to do about it.   Some will be conservatives after ten years working a steady job and having two kids anyway, so maybe talking to them now would speed up the process.

As a former public school teacher though, one aspect of this does seem familiar.   Public schools have lost all sense of moral principle.  Whoever makes the most noise, whoever complains the loudest and shows themselves able to cause the administration the most hassle, is "right" under our current system.   They are the ones that are appeased.   They are the ones that the system accommodates.    I believe that the young people out making noise and trying to hassle the government have picked up on the feckless nature of our current public school system and are simply trying to stir up a stink in order to be the ones that are appeased.

The unwritten rules of the current government school model are that there is no fixed moral principle, little accountability for defiance and disrespect (and why should a young person respect such a system?), and accommodation of the trouble-makers at the expense of the rule-abiding.  But they have been mislead by their public school experience.    The youth of OWS are currently learning the hard way that those rules do not apply to citizens who make trouble for the real source of power in this country.  That would be the multinational banks and the global corporations that have grown up around them.    The jack-boot of government force is truly reserved for citizens who challenge that power.

Whilst the government may coddle and accommodate ordinary criminals who only victimize ordinary citizens, they will use all means at their disposal to prevent ordinary citizens from taking action against the super-criminals who have set up our fraudulent financial system.   As Cecily Barber has said, we are working harder and harder, when we can still find work, yet we are being systematically stripped of our wealth by a financial system which has been designed for that purpose.   The young protesters will find that while challenging your teachers brought no real consequences, challenging the real authorities will result in a night-stick in the face.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wisdom of the Departed

There are those who feel like the wisdom of persons alive in this current age is somehow superior to the wisdom of all those lived before us.  In their view, those who lived a hundred, two hundred, a thousand or even two thousand years ago were ignorant and unenlightened compared to us today.    By extension, their precepts are to be shrugged off and their admonitions disregarded.  The only wisdom that counts in this view is the conventional wisdom of our present day.  The scriptures and holy books that our ancestors studied are held to be without value, except as quaint relics of antique and inferior societies.   

Modern people who accept this prejudiced view of prior generations will prove to be the biggest fools in all of human history.   The principle they assume is true is that the current generation which just happens to be alive and walking around today is somehow smarter and wiser than the vast multitudes of souls which lived before it.   This assumption is often made without even any thought or reflection over whether or not it makes any sense.    Why would all wisdom be present only in the generation which happens to be alive when you are?   How is it that the wisdom of the ancients, accumulated through the ages, and passed down from generation to generation because people across centuries of time found it had value, is suddenly to be dismissed out of hand?

Our technology has improved exponentially over that of previous generations, but that does not mean that our morality has.   It does not mean that our wisdom has.   We have better tools, but that does not mean that we are better men.

Eratosthenes was a Greek- Egyptian who lived over two hundred years before Christ, but still over a thousand years after Egyptians had constructed, without power tools or computers, the mighty pyramids.     Among his many accomplishments, he calculated the diameter of the earth within 2% accuracy.  It occurred to him how this figure might be arrived at by observing minor differences in the way that the Summer Solstice sun shone on two different wells in two different Egyptian cities.    Hundreds of years before that, King Solomon described the Water Cycle in Ecclesiastes 1:7.    Hundreds of years before that, Israel was the first known democracy in human history when the Israelites first chose their own judges (Deuteronomy 1:9-13).   

That system lasted well over 300 years, longer than our Republic has.  It ended when the people grew corrupt enough that they decided that the burden of self-government required too much effort.   They thought that selecting a King to do all their governing for them would make their lives easier.   The prophet Samuel explained to them (in 1st Samuel Chapter 8) in detail the troubles they would bring on themselves by rejecting the principle of self-government under God in favor of a strong executive.   Self-government is not a new idea, nor is the idea of turning control of your life over to some government power in the hopes they can rule over you better than you can yourself a new idea.  

In all areas of life, the same wisdom and the same foolishness has been tried before.   Each wise person learns the lessons of those who have trod the earth before them.  Each fool either ignores those lessons, or believes they do not apply to them.   Contempt for the past leads to disaster in the future.   Modern adults arrogantly dismiss the ideas and values of our forefathers, and then wonder why their children dismiss their own wisdom.  

Modern society is spinning out of control, and our arrogant dismissiveness towards the ancient wisdom is a big part of the problem.   The new wisdom looks a lot like the old foolishness to me.  Just as I would listen to you or another honorable man who was trying to tell me something, and give it all due consideration, so would I pick up a book and listen to the words of the dead and give what they have to say due consideration.    

Too many today feel that scripture must be wrong simply because it’s old.  Too many dismiss the words of our Founding Fathers as “dead white guys.  ” Such fools as that may consider the opinion of Lady Gaga to be more relevant than that of Thomas Jefferson, but I would council my friends against such a bias.   Because of our modern creation of mass media, it is much easier to listen to the views of those alive today than to seek out the opinions of the departed, but that does not make them more correct.

Framing Ahmadinejad

For those of you who, like me until a few days ago, believed that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" might ought to take a look at this article to find out what the statement he made in Farsi actually means when translated to English.   Basically it is about the same as what the Tea Party wants to do to the Obama Administration.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drowning in State Debt

We all know about the outrageous debt that our federal government is racking up, but it turns out that state governments are deeply in debt as well.   Arkansas has over $26,000 in state debt liabilities for each private sector worker, and that figure is less than the average!  I dare any debt apologist to explain to us how this is sustainable.

Debt will be the death of this Republic.   The government will become a ravenous beast scouring the country for any citizen with any wealth, that it might loot them in order to keep the unsustainable game going one day more.

All you need to know about Government Bureaucracy:

All you need to know about Government Bureaucracy:

** Pythagorean theorem:....................................................24 words
** Lord's prayer:...................................................................66 words
** Archimedes' Principle:.......................................................67 words
** 10 Commandments:.......................................................179 words
** Gettysburg address:.....................................................286 words
** Declaration of Independence:........................................1,300 words
** US Constitution with all 27 Amendments:........................7,818 words
** US Government regulations on sale of cabbage:.......26,911 words

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bella Vista Bypass From Obama Stimulus

I was looking over the various government boon-doggles from Arkansas' share of Resident Obama's 2009 "Stimulus" program.   They weren't all terrible ideas, but most all of them were a mis-allocation of resources.  Most of it fell into the "nice to have if you can afford it" category- which we can't.

A couple of things stuck out at me looking at the highway spending.   It re-emphasized how much we did not need to roll over the bond issue that 5% of the voters approved in a special election while the rest of us were looking elsewhere (I believe it was an example of manufactured consent).   There were tens of millions, nay hundreds of millions, of dollars in projects very similar to what the bond debt was supposed to do.    That was a program the Highway Commission could not have known about in 1999 when they planned their road maintenance program.   So how could they have misjudged things so badly that even $235 million in unplanned federal money falling from the sky still left them needing (they claimed) to borrow just as much money as they needed before?

The other thing that stuck out was that even though over 90% of all 2009 "Stimulus" money was spent, there was one big project was left until last on the list.   That was the Bella Vista Bypass.    That project had over 93% of its budget left to spend, while all other projects had already spent about 93% of their budget.  NWA, where the car traffic is the most dense, gets put at the end of the line.   Just remember NWA, when they start work in earnest on that bypass, it is NOT the result of the bond issue.   The money came from Obama's stimulus program (borrowed against our national credit card), and our wonderful State Highway Commission decided to keep you on hold for three years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Selected, Then Elected

click on pic for larger view

CBS is owned by Westinghouse, one of the largest military contractors in the nation.  The "debate" they sponsored is a perfect example of how corporate media selects candidates and de-selects others.  The so-called "debate" was little more than an infomercial for the current media-anointed "top tier", and for a belligerent policy of military interventionism that will keep billions flowing from our pockets to the pockets of Westinghouse and their ilk.    
People think that candidates get momentum because folks on the ground start liking them for one reason or another, but for the most part this is not quite what is happening.    What is actually happening is that the media provides billions of dollars in free publicity for candidates they favor.   Over time, that media attention turns into a surge for that candidate, which then allows them to cover the surge as if it was a grassroots phenomenon rather than a media-induced outcome.
The CBS debate was about foreign policy.   Ron Paul was allowed only a minute and a half in that hour long televised debate.   He spoke 258 words.    Romney got well over a thousand words, as did Perry.  Gingrich got almost a thousand words.  Next came Santorum, who has insignificant poll numbers but is an enthusiastic proponent of our current policy of borrowing as much money as the Chinese will loan us and spend it on bombing a growing list of countries.     
The top three plus Santorum endorse basically the same position.   Only Paul has a contrasting position, but CBS chose to let these four echo one another. CBS gave each of them an average of five times as many words as they allowed the dissenting views of Paul.   
 In fact, Paul spoke fewer than half as many words as the candidate who spoke the next fewer number of words- Paul 258 vs. Huntsman 565.   Huntsman has almost no poll support, and no money except that which comes from his own pockets.   Ron Paul is #3 in fundraising, and has more donations from active duty military than all other Republican candidates combined.    If it was really a debate, instead of an infomercial for selected candidates with positions that will get Westinghouse billions of taxpayer dollars, then shouldn't a candidate like that get at least as much opportunity to present his views as the others?
My point is that people who think they have heard Paul's postions refuted have been fooled.  He hasn't been refuted, he's been shouted down.   His opponents get 20 times the chance he gets to explain their views and condemn his.   You haven't heard him explain his views, you have only seen him silenced on stage while his opponents are able to launch one misleading attack after another on his positions while he has virtually no time to explain where they are wrong.   He is excluded from the debates even while physically present.
Voters in Iowa are paying a lot more attention that voters nationwide.  Because the Iowa Caucus comes so early and is so important, candidates spend a lot of time on the ground there, and try hard to get their messages out there. People get a better measure of the real candidate instead of an image fashioned by corporate media.   In other words, Iowa is less influenced by the drumbeat of corporate media coverage and more based on old fashioned retail politics.   While Paul may not get a fair shake from the national media, in Iowa where things are decided by real people on the ground, Paul is winning.    Not only is he in a statistical tie for first among likely Republican caucus goers, he has a large advantage among those who have definitely made up their minds as to who to back.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recent Events Prove Debt Based Currency Incompatible with Self Government

"The system of banking is a blot left on all of our constitutions and laws which, if not corrected, will end in their destruction." - Thomas Jefferson
 "...the borrower is the slave of the lender." - Proverbs 22:7 
Recent headlines have confirmed the truth expressed by both Scripture and our third President.   Freedom and self-government are incompatible with a debt-based monetary system.   You must pick one or the other.  In the long run, you cannot have both.

The situation in Greece and Italy remind us that those two contradictory systems (freedom and debt-based money) cannot co-exist for long.  Given this truth, shouldn't we at least be talking about which of those two systems we wish to jettison?   Where is the conversation?

In Greece, government overspending produced a crisis.   They needed to borrow more money.  The European bankers demanded Greece basically turn over control of its domestic spending to them, as well as pledge some of their hard national assets.  What would the Greeks get in return? More debt-based money that those bankers created from thin air.

The Greek Prime Minister agreed to the banker's demands.   The folks back home rioted at the idea of the bankers running their government.  The Prime Minister backtracked and said he would hold a referendum on whether or not to take the banker's offer.    The bankers were outraged.  Before a week had passed, that Prime Minister was out, as was any talk of a referendum.   The people would not get to choose whether or not they wanted to turn control of their government over to the financiers, or take their chances without a future line of credit.

A similar situation occurred in Italy.    Where as most politicians have wealthy patrons who they answer to, the guy running Italy was a billionaire in his own right, with his own media.   He was a rascal, but he was an independent rascal.    With him, there was a risk that his ego would cause him to buck up against the idea of handing the reigns over to people outside of Italy.    Now, he is gone- replaced by a man who has been an adviser to Goldman Sachs.

The borrower is slave to the lender.   Once you give a select group of people (banks) the power to issue a nation's debt-based currency, then your nation's slavery to that group is assured.   It is only a matter of time.   In time, they will use the power to create money out of thin air to buy off your politicians, own your mass media, and eventually dictate terms.   The global media's negative reaction to the Greek's brief attempt to hold a referendum on whether to turn over control of their government to the bankers tells you where the media is on this.

No political party can long resist the banker's offer to keep the good times rolling by offering artificially low interest rates.   Governments can overspend and pass the costs off to the next generation- for a while at least.   If someone does oppose them, they can create money from thin air to buy them out or wipe them out.    Once a private group, such as the banks that comprise the fed, gain the power to issue debt based currency from thin air, no other power- including the power of the people, will long matter.

The Europeans are just a little bit ahead of us on the new road to serfdom.    Our last hope is to learn by their example, and support only elected officials who understand the threat and will act to end it before it is too late- even as Jefferson and Andrew Jackson before them did.   Sadly, most candidates have their allegiance  with those who control the magic money machine.   They won't even direct your attention to the issue, much less do anything about it.   Those who will are a rare jewel, worthy of support.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time to Consider Paul

Many conservative Republicans have tried looking at anyone except Ron Paul in their search to find an alternative to Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination.    They have faced repeated let downs.   I argue that it is time for them to give Paul a serious look.  Let me take a few minutes to explain why here.
While the other candidates pretend that the biggest domestic problem we face is the way tax revenues are collected, Paul understands that the real threat is the amount that is spent.   His plan reduces government spending by one trillion dollars in the first year, and eliminates five federal departments for which there is no constitutional authorization anyway.    The others babble on about changing the way government collects taxes and steer clear of how many dollars they will cut from federal spending immediately.
It is junior high school thinking to believe that Herman Cain’s “999” plan will make any difference in drawing America back from the precipice of financial ruin.    That “plan” is the initial conditions setting on the video game “Sim City.”      Teenagers who play the game are expected to build a better virtual city by improving on those initial conditions.   It is delusion to entertain the idea that this will improve the economy.   Instead, it will add a burdensome new tax for businesses to collect that will make it the federal government’s business to track every dollar you spend (to see if tax has been paid on it) without first eliminating the income tax (which makes every dollar you earn their business).   Herman Cain is a likable, entertaining, good talker who lacks the public policy acumen to make a good state representative, much less President.  As much as I dislike the current system, President is not an entry-level elected position.
Texas Governor Rick Perry also tried to make it about the way taxes were collected rather than the amount that was spent when he floated a flat-tax plan.    When that could not get traction, he tried to rip off a lite version of Paul’s spending cut plan.   His would have only eliminated three federal departments instead of Paul’s five.   Perry could not even remember the name of the third department he wanted to eliminate!  
Ron Paul will never have that problem, because his ideas are part of the same philosophy of government he has been preaching and practicing for 30 years.    He knows what departments are unconstitutional and ought to be eliminated because he has been targeting them for decades.   It’s not just something thrown together by his campaign staff because it played well with focus groups two weeks ago.  If Paul just got religion on reducing government spending during the campaign like the rest of them, the system would not be so afraid of him.   His problem, from their perspective, is that he means it. 
One likely reason Perry was so late to shift focus from how taxes are collected to the amount that is spent is that he has a very poor record of spending in Texas.  State government spending and debt grew enormously in Texas under his administration.  Ron Paul has never voted for an unbalanced budget and returns a portion of his office expenses to the Treasury each year.    Four years ago, Paul was mocked at the debates, now in every area except foreign policy, they are shamelessly ripping off his ideas as their own despite their record of doing the opposite.

The same thing goes with the Federal Reserve and the consequences of monetary policy.    Rick Perry started talking tough on the fed for the first time when he ran for President, but I see no indication he has any depth of understanding on the issue.  Herman Cain is worse.   He claimed there was no housing bubble a week before the collapse started.  Ron Paul predicted it in 2001, seven years before it occurred.   The best crisis managers are the ones who understand the big picture well enough that their company never even enters the crisis.
Newt Gingrich is at least within shouting distance of Dr. Paul in intelligence, and far better at presenting the ideas which he holds.  When he rips off Paul’s ideas, unlike Perry he grasps them well enough to make it seem as if they are his own.    But he has also held some very bizarre ideas and that very recently.  
More fundamentally, Gingrich has exhibited a persistent pattern of immorality.    There is a good reason he fights so hard against the media’s attempts to get the candidates throwing stones at each other- he sits in a huge and delicate glass house that will be easy to blast to bits at the media’s leisure.   All available evidence shows that in terms of personal morality as a husband and father, Barack Obama is a far better man than Newt Gingrich.   Until now Gingrich has been so far down in the polls that he has not been worth attacking, but that may change if his poll numbers keep rising.  If it happens, Gingrich won’t last long enough to be the next flavor of the month.
This brings us back to foreign policy.  I said that the other candidates mocked Paul’s policy positions four years ago, now they are stealing them except in foreign policy.    Five years from now, it will be obvious that Paul was right on foreign policy too.   We simply cannot afford our current foreign policy, which amounts to borrowing as much money as the Chinese will loan us in order to initiate multiple undeclared wars at once.    This policy will soon leave us bankrupt, out of bombs, and facing a very angry world full of people that we have bombed and occupied thirsting for vengeance.   In other words, it makes us less safe and is not sustainable even if it did.  Ergo, the policy must end.
I am well aware of Paul’s short comings.   I wish he had a better speaking voice and had better hair.  I wish he were prettier.   He doesn’t.  He is just right almost all the time and the times he is not right he means to leave the policy-making to the states anyway.   He’s not perfect, but Ron Paul is the adult choice for President.    The sooner conservative voters face this fact the better chance our nation has of survival.

Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them. “
Joseph Story 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Smear Campaign on Hold

Ever wondered what happened to the rabid smear campaign against Sec. of State Mark Martin?   The first few months of his administration, you could almost see the spittle flying from leftist lips as they hurled one charge after another at Martin in rapid succession.    Once the redistricting process ended, the fevered media attacks ended as swiftly as they began.

One theory about why the attacks vanished is that people began to be aware of the lack of substance to the attacks.    That only explains part of it though.   Some of the people doing the attacking very likely knew at the time that their attacks were bogus.   A more through explanation is that the frenzy of accusation-hurling served its intended purpose- to pin down and paralyze Martin's office so Beebe and McDaniel could ram through a redistricting plan in secret without a credible person to start a public battle over it.

For that to happen, they needed to make the public question the other person on the redistricting board- Martin. They needed for Martin to be so under a media siege that his office could have no strategic leverage to call the public's attention to Beebe's secretive farce of a redistricting process.

Now that they have rammed through their plan, they have temporarily quit throwing tons of mud.   It stuck long enough.   While Martin was the only one of the three who presented the public with maps in time for true public feedback, he was not in a position to call them on their backroom skulduggery each and every week of the process.

When not bound by a sense of honesty, integrity, or scruples, it is possible to implement some pretty effective tactics.  Next time, hopefully more people will remember and see these things for what they really are.

Not that they deserve the time of day, but if anyone cares to revisit some of the bogus attacks, here is an audio about it...


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Arkansans Vote Yes to More Debt

Congratulations to supporters of the bond issue.  You were victorious in the election.  Time will tell if you are correct in the policy.  

To my fellows who worked against adding more debt:  We lost the election, and badly.  I don't want to sugar coat the political realities of it.  Nor do I want those political realities to outweigh the more important moral and intellectual realities surrounding this issue.   I still believe that we did the right thing and in five years or so it will become apparent that we were right.   Few worked harder than I did against this debt.  Was it all for nothing?  No good deed is ever for nothing, no matter what result may come after it.   Fighting against this debt was right in itself, apart from the question of victory or defeat in a political contest.

This election will have some positive benefits for conservative activists, if we are courageous enough to take up the lessons it offers us.   For one thing, we know our limits.  We are not yet strong enough to take on the establishment in a state-wide contest.    They control the print media, and the Republican and Democratic parties in this state.   They can call up hundreds of thousands of dollars to put into the effort.   The North Little Rock sales tax increase on the other hand, was defeated.    I believe the lesson here is that we should eschew state-wide efforts for the time being and concentrate on local projects.   We cannot yet meet the interests who control the state newspaper and the political machinery of both major parties head-on in a state-wide effort.  If we learn that lesson, we can then focus on battles that we can win.  

We have also learned that there is a core of voters, about 100,000 in the state, who can be counted on to vote for almost any pro-government measure.   They dominated in early voting even more than election day voting.   I will call them "the court house crowd."   If we can't turn out at least 100,000 voters, we are going to lose to the pro-government courthouse crowd every time.

It was also very useful for determining who is really a fiscal conservative and who simply enjoys playing one at "Tea Party" events.  Some grassroots groups, such as Secure Arkansas and the Washington County Tea Party, worked hard to try and stop the debt.   Others dithered.  A few even picked up the pom-poms and cheered for the Beebe-Webb position of more debt.   While it's sad to see people whose actual behavior is so dissonant with their self-image, it's a learning opportunity for the rest of us.  Slapping the term "Tea Party" or "Conservative" on a group does not mean that they are.  Conservative is as conservative does.

In the years to come it will also give us credibility as the rosy predictions about the joys of better living through debt lose their luster.   One of the unfortunate phenomena of mass media is that people tend to listen to the people they have been listening to in the past, even if those people are shown to have been wrong.   People tend to dismiss those the media dismisses even if events show them to be correct.  

My view is that this tendency will be less pronounced going forward.  As the consequences for continuing to listen to those who have led the country to fiscal and moral ruin become more pronounced, people will begin to realize that the costs of just listening to those that the establishment media make it the easiest to hear are too high.  At that point they will cast around and begin to seek after the counsel of those that have been right in the past rather than simply amplified by the media in the present.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Two Party Hustle

The two political gangs headquartered in D.C. that have captured the government of the United States from its people collude to ensure that none of their upper tier ever have to face justice for their criminal actions. By mutual consent, high level members of either gang simply won’t get prosecuted no matter how serious their crimes. Ordinary citizens like you and me on the other hand, must constantly live with the anxiety of running afoul of their expanding lists of edicts over every aspect of our lives.

 I was most lately reminded of this when a friend texted me to the effect that now that we know that the Bush administration was also funneling guns to Mexican criminal gangs, the Republicans would lose their taste for prosecuting “Justice” Department Secretary Eric Holder for doing the same thing (under the banner of operation “Fast and Furious”). Some of the guns funneled to the Mexican drug cartels under this program were used to murder U.S. law enforcement officials, and numerous Mexican civilians.

 I replied to my friend that Holder would not have been prosecuted even if the Bush side of the two-party system had not done the same thing, because no one that senior in either political party ever gets prosecuted regardless of what they do. We have a two-tiered system of “justice” in this nation where the ruling elite who run both major parties form one group that makes the laws over us, but are for all practical purposes exempt from those laws themselves.

If you think about it, this arrangement between the members of the two political clubs, the Republicans and the Democrats, makes a lot of sense for the higher ups. If one of them ever prosecuted high ranking members of the other party when they were in power, they might find the tables turned on them the next election. To avoid the prospect of unpleasant payback, its best for them to just pretend to make members from the other side follow the law, but not actually hold any of them accountable to the same rules they jointly impose on us peasants.

I first realized this was happening back when Bush Jr. beat Al Gore. I thought that at least some of the crimes perpetrated by high-ranking members of the Clinton administration, including perhaps one of the Clintons themselves, would be investigated and prosecuted. As soon as G.W. Bush took office, he announced that he wanted a “new tone” and that they were not going to worry about which Democrats broke what laws. Since that time, members of the political class have been more and more brazen, while even the pretense of accountability is becoming rarer and more hollow each year.

 The establishment press covered for the powers-that-be, as they always do. They hailed it as an example of how America is superior to third-world countries where every time a new group comes to power they use the law for political prosecutions of the group that was just ousted.

Well, excuse me, political prosecution of the ousted group is one type of corruption, but there is also the opposite kind: political non-prosecutions of the ousted group, as a quid-pro quo for future non-prosecutions for your side’s team. Our rulers aren’t less corrupt than the third world governments the media was disdaining, just more sophisticated in the form that corruption takes.

 The only way they can get away with this is if Americans continue to be fooled by the two-party hustle. That’s where you think all the problems in our government were caused by the other team, and if only your team gets in there then everything is alright. As long as they have you thinking only inside that box, they are safe.

 In case you think I am just defining the problem but not offering any solutions, here is a 25 minute audio that moves to solution.

Zombie War is Perfect

This explains so much.

And so does this, about why the current global financial system is not capitalism....and it goes way beyond cronyism.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

No Child Left Behind

For many years I have been critical of the Bush-Kennedy federal education plan called "No Child Left Behind."

Here is some of what I said about it in 2006...

The second problem with NCLB is that the provisions of the act cannot be met. Do you understand me? They can't do it, even if they turned the entire nation into an absolute dictatorship police-state whose sole purpose was meeting the provisions of the "No Child Left Behind" act. Even if they did that, they could not fufill the goals of the act. What they are asking for is not attainable by government means.
The feds offered the states money if they would agree to do something that is impossible by 2014. Since it seemed so far away, they took the cash. Now the time is drawing near, and it is obvious that they are not getting it done. Nor can they. The goal is impossible.
It takes a vast view of government power, almost a communist idea that man can be shaped by his environment, to believe that anything Washington can do will ensure that each and every child will be proficient in reading and math by 2014 regardless of the home life, inate skills, or even level of desire to learn, of that child. A certain percentage of any group will be unable to meet the stated standards. A larger percentage of children will simply not be willing to put forth the effort required for them to do so, and any efforts to bring "pressure" on them and their family is a lot more likely to backfire, bringing ill-will and intransigence to the educational process.
 Sure enough, states are now screaming that they want waivers. Look, the whole unconstitutional program ought to be scrapped at once.  As I have maintained since 2006, the goal is not attainable by government means- and even if it were, it is not desirable.  Do we really want Washington D.C. to pick the destination?  Why do we trust them with our children's educational future when there is nothing else we trust them with?

When not every parent and student wants to go to the destination that the federal overlords in Washington select for them, "No Child Left Behind" is just a cute way to describe a forced march.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Isn't That Special? (Elections)

Who is behind pestering taxpayers with one "special" election after another?  Maybe SATAN?  Well, isn't that special!  Church Lady wags finger at debt peddlers, says "VOTE NO, PAY AS YOU GO!"
Early voting has begun for yet another "special" election.  Are you fed up with politicians scheduling "special" elections asking for you to give them more money?   I am, but I know why they do it- it works for them.   Most folks don't bother to show up for a special election, but the special interests who will benefit from the money do.
When it comes to debt and taxes, special elections are for special interests.   They will do it to you as long as it works.   The only way to stop them is to make a "special" effort to vote them down every time.  As you read this, early voting is already underway for a "special" election for more highway bonds on November the 8th. 
I don't recall when I have ever seen a less necessary "special" election (and they cost tax payers over a million dollars each).   They want to issue more bonds as the current bonds get paid off, but the current bond issue does not even get paid off until after the general election next November.  Some of them are not paid off until 2014.  There was no reason at all to pony up for a special election except they were hoping that most of you would skip voting, leaving the outcome to a small group that would benefit from the program at the long-term expense of the rest of us.
Sure we need good highways, but that's not the quetion.   The money they want to pledge as collateral for bonds is money that is going to come in anyway.   We will have highway money coming in either way.  The only question is whether or not we promise to use it over the next 12-15 years against an up front loan or pay as we go.   Based on the numbers from the last issue, paying as we go would save us over $200 million in interest on the $575 million bond issues.   It will take three years to issue the bonds, and if we just let the money from designated sources come in then we would have over half of it in only four years. 
In the mean time, the federal program they are counting on to pay off most of the bonds without a tax increase is reportly facing pressure for some massive budget cuts.   So much so that the bondtrader website reports that bonds from this program, called GARVEE, are facing a cut in their ratings.    We have also recently learned that the state has put us far deeper in debt than previously believed.   Arkansas taxpayers owe over $25 billion dollars in unfunded state liabilites.   In the middle of a severe economic downturn, they are asking us to go another $575 million in debt for these highway bonds.
The grassroots organization Secure Arkansas, of which I am a member, has launched a campaign opposing the bond issue.  Almost every Tea Party in the state has joined with them.   Its time to stand up for ourselves against these politicians scheduling one special election after another trying to get in our pockets.  Make it a point to "Vote no, pay as you go" on November 8th.   If Tuesday is bad for you, go down to the court house and early vote.  I hope you make a "special" effort to teach them a lesson!