San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, December 21, 2012

A List Of Lists

I have noticed that many blog authors will resort to using "top ten" lists in order to gain wider readership.  Today marks the entry into my second year of blogging.  I have seen a steady rate of increase in the number of page views over the course of the last year and I would like to try and increase my page views even more this year.  So, for no reason other than trying to increase my numbers, I present to you my list of twenty "top threes":

Top Three Books On Economics:
 1.  Man, Economy and State by Murray Rothbard.
 2.  Human Action by Ludwig von Mises.
 3.  Democracy, The God That Failed by Hans Hoppe.

Top Thee Colorado Fourteeners:
 1.  Capitol Peak.
 2.  North Maroon Peak.
 3.  Mt. Aeolus.

Top Three Colorado Thirteeners:
 1.  Teakettle Mountain.
 2.  Storm King Peak.
 3.  Ice Mountain.

Top Three Dumbest Congresswomen:
 1.  Nancy Pelosi
 2.  Diane Feinstein.
 3.  Diane DeGette

Top Three Worst Presidents:
 1.  Abraham Lincoln.
 2.  Franklin Roosevelt.
 3.  Woodrow Wilson.

Top Three States To Visit On Vacation:
 1.  Colorado.
 2.  Utah.
 3.  Arizona.

Top Three States To Avoid:
 1.  California.
 2.  New York.
 3.  Oregon.

Top Three Blues Songs:
 1.  Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughn.
 2.  Have You Ever Loved A Woman by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman.
 3.  Red House by Jimi Hendrix

Top Three Vinyl Albums:
 1.  Layla and Assorted Love Songs by Derrick and the Dominos.
 2.  Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones.
 3.  Pronounced by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Top Three Guitar Anthems:
 1.  Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
 2.  Green Grass and High Tides by The Outlaws.
 3.  Boogie No More by Molly Hatchet.

Top Three Movie Westerns:
 1.  Pale Rider.
 2.  High Plains Drifter.
 3.  Shane.

Top Three Television Westerns:
 1.  High Chaparral.
 2.  The Rifleman.
 3.  The Virginian.

Top Three Television Comedies:
 1.  The Simpsons.
 2.  Get Smart.
 3.  Laugh In.

Top Three Overrated Baseball Players:
 1.  Alex Rodriguez.
 2.  Troy Tulowitzki.
 3.  Barry Bonds.

Top Three Pitching Staffs:
 1.  1971 Baltimore Orioles.
 2.  1993 Atlanta Braves.
 3.  1965 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Top Three Pitchers:
 1.  Walter Johnson.
 2.  Greg Maddux.
 3.  Sam McDowell.

Top Three Baseball Players:
 1.  Babe Ruth.
 2.  Willy Mays.
 3.  Larry Walker.

Top Three Theologians:
 1.  John Calvin.
 2.  Jonathan Edwards.
 3.  John Owen.

Top Three Places To Stand And Enjoy The View:
 1.  The "Narrows" on Long's Peak.
 2.  The "Knife Edge" on Capitol Peak.
 3.  The "Sidewalk in the Sky" on Mt. Aeolus and
      The "Highway" on Kit Carson (tie for third place).

Top Three Truths That Will Never Change:
 1.  Men will continue to sin against each other.
 2.  God will continue to forgive the sins of His elect.
 3.  Compared to eternity, our present lives are but a brief moment in time.

By the way, I will be taking a brief vacation from this blog.  I am off to tropical climes for the Christmas holiday.  If all goes well this blog will resume on Monday, January 7th.  Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  And thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ignore The Tears, Obama Hates Children

King Obama's recent appearances before the camera where he has been seen shedding tears of grief for the bereaved in the Connecticut grade school massacre are hypocritical at best.  It appears that the King has decided that now is the time to exploit recent events for the purpose of creating his "legacy" as a great and caring king.  With no additional terms of office available to him there is little political reason to get before a television camera and stage a fake emotional breakdown.  Career politicians, on the other hand, still have to manufacture an image that tells potential voters that they "care" and "relate" to their puny little lives.  As expected, politicians are falling all over themselves to come up with "solutions" to the problem of massacres.  They profess to believe (although I suspect none of them really do) that they can do something so that another school massacre will "never happen again".  What fools.  They care about one thing and one thing alone.  They care about the expansion of their power. Let me give you some examples to illustrate my point.
On April 19th, 1993 Janet Reno, appointed US Attorney General by President Bill Clinton, ordered the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to stage a violent assault upon a private residence in Waco, Texas.  The property was home to a group of private citizens who referred to themselves as the Branch Davidians who, besides teaching a wide variety of strange religious doctrines, were most famously known for simply wanting to be left alone.  Rumors circulated throughout the area that these folks had illegal guns.  Additional rumors circulated about alleged sexual abuse.  The rumors were never substantiated and even the government prosecutor eventually admitted that the charges were filed primarily to build a public relations case against the Branch Davidians in order to justify a military type assault upon them.  Ostensibly to protect the children in the home from abuse, Janet Reno ordered the assault on it and it was soon destroyed by tanks and gas attacks that resulted in a massive conflagration.  Seventy six people were killed.  Twenty one of those killed were children.  Based upon their behavior, and not their words, we can conclude that Clinton and Reno worked harmoniously together to protect the children in Waco by executing twenty one of them.  Clinton and Reno, as well as many of the ignorant citizens of the SDA, agreed that the deaths were necessary to protect the children and teach upstart citizens like David Koresh that the government is the supreme power in the land and will not be mocked by people who prefer to mind their own business.
Andrew Kehoe was Treasurer of his local school board in Bath, Michigan.  After losing an election for Township Clerk he became enraged by the fact that he was not advancing politically as he desired.  In retaliation against those who did not vote for him, he placed bombs all around an elementary school and, on May 18th, 1927, he blew them up.  Forty four people were killed, including thirty eight children.  The Bath bombing remains the country's greatest death count by a crazed killer.  This government agent did not care about the children he was supposed to serve.  He killed many of them because he was frustrated in his attempt to become more politically powerful.
Maybe you thought I was a bit harsh when I called King Obama a hypocrite.  I don't think so.  Since assuming the office of king, Obama has personally ordered 302 drone missile attacks in Pakistan alone.  Those drone missile attacks have killed approximately three thousand people.  Of the three thousand human beings that have been executed by US drone missiles, at least five hundred of them have been determined to be innocent bystanders.  Of greater significance for this blog post is the fact that 176 of those 500 people were children.  One hundred and seventy six innocent children have been executed by Obama's drones.  One famous drone attack was successful in blowing up a home where a birthday party was taking place, killing all the participants.   I know, I know....they are Pakistani children.  They don't really count.  They are not Americans!  The deaths of foreign children, even by our own bloody hands, is irrelevant.  So maybe I should modify my statement about Obama.  He appears to have some emotional response to the massacre of children when it is done by an unauthorized civilian and on our side of a geo-political boundary.  On the other hand, when 176 children are slaughtered by SDA government agents in a land on the other side of the geo-political boundary, they deserved to die and their murderers deserve medals for bravery.  No tears for them.  They probably would have grown up to be American-hating terrorists anyway.
Iraq was subject to economic sanctions from 1990 until the time the SDA invading forces annihilated the country in search of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.  Bush Senior, Bill Clinton and King George II all conspired to starve Iraqi children under the thin veil of justification that doing so would cause them to rise up and revolt against the satanic Saddam Hussein.  Instead of rising up against their leader the Iraqi children starved.  Conservative estimates say 170,000 children died of starvation during those years.  More liberal estimates by the folks at UNICEF claim 500,000 died.  Secretary of State Albright, in an 1996 interview on 60 Minutes, was quoted in response to the allegation that 500,000 children had been starved to death by saying, "we think the price is worth it."  Who cares about foreign children?  They are enemy children.  They live in the wrong land.  They were in the way of our expansion efforts.  The Bush regime did not care about children.  It cared about expanding power.  The price was worth it.
Under Obama we have 22 nations presently subject to US imposed sanctions.  Probably the most serious economic sanctions are being imposed upon Iran.  Sanctions have been in place against Iran since 1979.  I was unable to find any estimates as to how many children have died as a direct result of the sanctions imposed against them.  I think it is fair to believe that if we were successful in killing 170,000 kids in about 14 years in Iraq, we should be successful in killing at least another 170,000 in Iran since 1979.  Of course those Iranian children are irrelevant.  They live in a foreign country.  They speak a foreign language.  They eat strange food.  They will probably grow up to be terrorists. For some inexplicable reason that nobody can understand, many of them will grow up hating the Untied States!  It is good for them to die.  After all, the SDA has a vital national security interest in Iran.  Those children must be killed.  No, the truth is this that state sanctioned executions of foreign children is really all about expanding state power.
Politicians have seized upon the grade school massacre as justification for expansion of state power and reduction of our personal liberty as well.  New gun laws will be enacted.  There will be press coverage of career politicians signing legislation to make sure it never happens again.  Then, of course, it will happen again.  Perhaps even more fearful than the collapse of the Second Amendment is the coming storm related to your right to be different.  Federal and state governments have already declared their intentions to dramatically expand the definition of "mental illness".  Coinciding with this expanded definition comes an expanding right for the state to involuntarily hold (incarcerate) anyone the state believes to be a threat.  Being a "threat", of course, is never defined.  If you walk down the street talking to yourself, as I often do, you can be picked up by the loonie-patrol and thrown into prison for a mandatory three day hold.  Comply!  Comply!  Comply!  Do not make the mistake of being different or you could find yourself under permanent psychiatric care in a mental hospital (prison).
Laws will be passed, personal liberties will be reduced, and children will be no more or less safe than they are today.  However, government will have significantly expanded in power and influence.  The career politicians will be successful in what they are really trying to do.  They are just  not willing to tell you what it is they are trying to do.  By the time you fine out, it will be too late.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sex, Sex, Sex

The following post was written on April 16, 2012.  According to my page view tracker, only one person bothered to read it.  I thought it was a pretty good posting to this blog.  So, in order to try and get more people to read it, I decided to entitle this post "Sex, Sex, Sex".  Some folks have recently told me that I can get more page views of my blog if I use particular keywords that come up frequently in Google searches.  Consider today's post to be an experiment to see if that is true.  The following post was originally entitled "Feudal America".  Although it has nothing to do with sex, I still think you will enjoy reading it.

Feudal societies of the Middle Ages were characterized by three main things:  1) high rates of taxation, 2) compulsory military service, and 3) the frequent recitation of fealty oaths.  As I was sitting at the Colorado Rockies home opener last week it occurred to me that we have become a feudal society.
In the Middle Ages a vassal would be permitted to farm a parcel of land owned by a lord.  The vassal would work the land and then turn over the produce of the land to the lord at the time of harvest.  From what I could find in some quick Internet searches, it appeared that most agreements stipulated that the vassal would owe his lord somewhere around one third of what he produced.  As I was pondering this historical truth it occurred to me that tax liberation day falls on April 17th this year.  Tax liberation day is the day the average American has to work to in order to pay off his federal, state, and local tax burdens.  April 17th is roughly one third of the way through the year.  Interesting.  The average American has to turn over the same amount of his income to his government as a feudal vassal of the Middle ages turned over to his lord.
Things were tough during the Middle Ages.  The life of a peasant would be miserable, brutish, and short.  In exchange for their freedom most peasants were willing to pledge their lives to a lord who, in turn, promised to protect them from outsider invaders.  Able bodied males were expected to take part in the wars waged by the lord.  Women, children and the elderly were expected to support the lord and his warriors in some fashion.  When the lord declared war upon his many enemies, everybody was expected to be involved in the war effort..
The draft has been abolished for many years now.  Every once in a while some Congressman will resurrect the idea of reestablishing the draft but the proposal is usually shot down pretty quickly.  But, does it follow that simply because we no longer have a draft that we are not, somehow, subject to a form of compulsory military service?  As I was sitting at the home opener for the Colorado Rockies last week I noticed how militaristic the opening ceremonies had become.  It all began with a parade in which about a dozen ROTC groups marched around the field to the cheers of the fans.  That was followed by an honor guard that brought out the flag to great cheering.  That was followed by dozens of people spreading out a gigantic American flag that covered the entire outfield.  That was accompanied by great cheering.  That was followed by the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner", which was followed by raucous cheering.  As the national anthem was being completed a barrage of fireworks were set off just as a fighter plane "fly-over" roared over the stadium.  The people screamed in delight.  As I observed the ceremonies it occurred to me that, in many ways, we, as American citizens, are still compelled to serve the military.  I pondered how often I have seen the bumper stick exhorting me to "Support Our Troops".  I wondered, if one holds a particular military action to be morally unjustifiable,  just how is it possible to morally support the troops who are waging the war?  I realized, of course, that that was a stupid question.  I must, I must, I must support the troops, right or wrong.  I then realized how much we are like the feudal societies of the Middle Ages.
In the Middle Ages the lord would frequently ride out to visit his vassals.  A contact with a vassal usually contained the same order of events.  The lord would be identified as the vassal's supreme authority.  The lord would instruct the vassal on his duty to pay his taxes and support the military ventures of his fiefdom.  The lord would conclude the meeting by having the vassal swear an oath of loyalty to him. 
As I was sitting at the home opener of the Colorado Rockies last week a thought occurred to me.  It was during the seventh inning stretch.  Ever since 9/11 the seventh inning stretch has become "patriotized" (I realize that is not a word.  I just don't know how else to say it.).  In the old days most folks would stand up to stretch their legs and sing a refrain of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".  We did so because we loved watching baseball.  At this game we were instructed by the public address announcer that we had a moral duty to stand, remove our hats, and sing "God Bless America".  We were then ordered to do so.  As I sat there I wondered.  Is it a safe thing to invoke the blessing of God upon a nation that murders millions of its own children?  Is it a safe thing to invoke the blessing of God upon a nation that steals from its citizens on a grand scale (through excessive taxation)?  Is it a safe thing to invoke the blessing of God upon a nation that has a political system that operates almost exclusively on envy?  I did not think it was a safe thing to do so I did not do it.  I expected to be doused in beer by an outraged fan for my lack of loyalty to my country.  Fortunately that did not happen.  I did, however, realize that I now live in feudal America.  It was not a pleasant realization.  The Rockies also lost.  What a sad day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rumors About Obama's Evil Plans Abound

I never cease to be amazed at what people are willing to believe.  I can struggle for hours trying to convince an otherwise rational person that he should buy stocks when they are low priced.  Stocks, of course, are always low priced when they are unpopular and nobody wants to buy them.  The usual reason nobody wants to buy them is due to the fact that a decline, or maybe even a bear market, would have been recently experienced in the stock market.  So, despite the fact that every single person in the course of human history believes and agrees that one of the best ways to make a financial profit is to buy stocks when they are low and sell them when they are high, almost nobody will make the decision to buy stocks when they are low priced.
The same person who is unwilling to make the difficult, but rational, decision to buy stocks when relatively few people want them is also most likely to be the person who will believe the most outlandish rumors.  It does not matter that the content of the rumor is utterly irrational.  It does not matter that it requires a gigantic leap of faith to assign credulity to even the smallest part of the rumor.  No, these people jump in with both feet with it comes to a wild rumor.  In fact, it almost seems as if the more ridiculous and absurd the rumor is, the more likely they are to believe it.  There are two rumors that are presently circulating about King Obama and Congress that fit into this category.  The first rumor is that Obama is going to issue an Executive Order allowing himself to run for a third term for president.  The second rumor is that Obama and Congress are going to pass legislation that will decree that all assets in tax qualified retirement plans (IRAs and 401ks) are to become the immediate property of the federal government and used to pay off the federal debt.  It is worth taking some time to consider these rumors.
Can King Obama issue an Executive Order decreeing that he can run for a third term as king?  Of course he can.  He can do anything he wants.  After all, he is a king.  Besides, the majority of the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America believe that the King should be able to do anything he wants.   The more important question is what would happen if Obama did issue such an order?  Would it become the new law of the land?  Not likely.
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (you remember, that is the country we used to be prior to the adoption of the principle of rule by the majority) limits the president to two terms.  It was added to the Constitution in 1951.  For King Obama to issue an Executive Order that would directly change an amendment to the Constitution would be unprecedented.  It is one thing to issue an order telling a Christian employer that he has to pay for "health" insurance that pays for the abortions of his promiscuous employees.  It is another thing to unilaterally change the Constitution. 
The Constitution provides the means for its own amendment.  To amend the Constitution requires a bill that must be approved by a super-majority (67%) of both houses.  That bill must then be submitted to the fifty states.  75% of the states must ratify (by a simple majority) the amendment in order for it to become law.  People who are running around willy-nilly asserting that Obama is about to amend the Constitution have forgotten their history.  Since 1985, during the reign of King Reagan, there have been annual attempts to change the amendment.  For different reasons each year, somebody in Congress decides that a good way to make a political statement would be to introduce a law that would repeal the 22nd Amendment.  Without exception these proposals have failed to make it out of their various congressional committees.
2013 will be no different.  Folks who love Obama will find some Congressman willing to offer up such an amendment.  It will be sent to a committee which will then vote it down.  That is called "business as usual" in Congress.  The sponsors of the bill will claim they tried to help the nation and those who kill it will claim the same thing.  Each side will get what it wants and there will be no real threat to the 22nd amendment.  It is all political theater and only a crazy person would believe it has any correlation to real life.  Don't be a crazy person.
The second rumor is that King Obama and Congress are going to take a pen and write a law that all assets presently sequestered safely in 401k accounts are to immediately become the property of the Treasury.  Now let's think about this for a moment, shall we?  To shed some perspective on this rumor consider our present situation as we face falling off the imaginary "fiscal cliff" (see the November 9th posting to this blog for the fallacy associated with that erroneous belief).  Congress and the White House are battling one another over what amounts to about $100 billion in tax/revenue for 2013.  King Obama wants to raise taxes on the top 2% of taxpayers and the congressional Republicans want to cut spending.  These poor fools can't even come to a meeting of the minds over how to divvy up $100 billion and some folks are crazy enough to believe they will come to a meeting of the minds on how to confiscate $3 trillion in 401k assets?  Are you kidding me?
There are 50 million taxpayers who presently own 401k accounts.  That makes up 36% of the taxpayers in this country.  Do you honestly expect me to believe that Congress and the White House are going to agree to anger 36% of the voting public when are presently unable to agree on how to steal from a measly 2% of the voting population?  Preposterous.
Allow me to propose a far more realistic idea on how our ruling authorities might decide to creatively steal from us. The money supply in this country (M2) is presently at $10 trillion.  If the Fed simply decided to inflate the money supply by 10% in 2013 (the rate of inflation for 2012 is 7.3%), the government could create $1 trillion in new money (funny, that sounds exactly like QE infinity that Fed Chairman Bernanke just announced).  By following that simple policy for three years the Fed could create as much money as presently exists in all 401k accounts in the land.  Furthermore, they could accomplish their goal of $3 trillion in new money without angering any taxpayers.  Quite the opposite is the case.  Since most citizens of the SDA believe in the Keynesian principle of creating wealth by creating money, the career politicians would be praised for their efforts.  Why would a politician put his career and pension at jeopardy by passing a law to confiscate large amounts of money from 50 million people when the same goal can be accomplished by doing nothing but what is presently being done?  Of course, it makes no sense.  And that is why it will not happen.
I appreciate the motive behind the rumor-mongers. They believe all politicians are liars and thieves.  They want to warn us about their behavior.  That is all well and good.  But don't insult my intelligence with these ridiculous rumors. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Do We Experience Massacres?

Another day, another massacre.  It is on everyone's mind.  It is on all the airwaves.  It is what everybody is talking about.  It seems as if everybody is asking the same two questions:  why did this happen and how do we prevent it from happening yet again?  Allow me to answer those two questions.
The answer to the "why" question that is being given to us by almost all of the popular media outlets is that we do not have sufficiently strict gun control laws in this country.  These people believe that a more strict regimen of gun control law is also the answer to the second question.  The grade school massacre took place because of easy access to guns and no more massacres will take place if guns are strictly regulated.  It is all so very simple.  It is all so very easy.  All it takes is a stroke of the pen and, presto-chango, no more massacres.  So they tell us.
The main argument against the popular media's assertion that gun control laws are the solution to our problem of mass murder is that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  Regulating guns will not solve the problem since the problem is the people who are shooting the guns.  As far as I am aware there have been no new laws proposed, and nobody calling for such a body of law, that would regulate people who are intent upon mass murder to prevent them from doing so.  Perhaps most folks have the common sense to realize that it is impossible to regulate what goes on in another man's brain.  Perhaps most folks realize that it is impossible to control the physical behavior of our neighbors.  So we are back to the old argument....since we can't control murderers, we must regulate the guns the murderers use.  Somehow, perhaps mystically or by some amazing power of moral suasion, new laws will control the thoughts and actions of men intent upon killing others.
We have an empirical example of the results of stricter gun control regulation.  In 1997 Australia passed a series of gun control measures designed to prevent the further occurrence of massacres.  In April of 1996 a man by the name of Martin Bryant shot 58 people, 35 of whom died, in the Australian city of Port Arthur.  Public outrage to the massacre was so strong the government of Australia passed a series of gun control laws that are today considered to be some of the most stringent in the world.  Fifteen years have passed since the laws were passed.  Is there any evidence that they have been effective in reducing gun related criminal activity?  Since 1997 the incidence of armed robberies in Australia has increased by 69%.  Assaults involving the use of a gun are up 29%.  Murders involving the use of a gun are up 19%.  Although the Australian authorities are still trying to define the term "home invasion", where an armed person invades a personal residence, they are up 21% in the last fifteen years.  (http://youtu.be/p8RDWltHxRc)
Now, we all know that correlation and causation are two different birds.  It is possible that these four categories of gun related crime have seen an increase in incidence due to factors not related to the gun control laws.  However, what does common sense tell us?  If some of the strictest gun control laws in the world are incapable of reducing violent crimes committed with guns, are we not forced to question their efficacy?  If crimes committed with guns actually increase after the passage of gun control laws, does it not make sense to question their value?  Does it not make common sense to believe the old maxim that "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns"?  Is it not clear that the physical destruction of over 600,000 guns has not resulted in a decrease of gun related violence?  Australia is a fine example of an experiment with gun control regulation.  The conclusion we are forced to draw from the example of our neighbors down under is that gun control regulations do not reduce the incidence of gun related violence.
There is a very simple answer to the "why" question. It is, however, a very unpopular answer.  It is an answer nobody wants to hear.  It is an answer that, despite being abundantly obvious in all aspects of life, is continually denied.  It is a theological answer and that goes a long way toward explaining why it is also a hated answer.  Why do individuals make the decision to commit mass murder?  Men commit murder because they are depraved sinners.  Like it or not, men are not basically good.  Nobody wants to hear this truth despite the fact that its evidence is plastered on the front page of every newspaper every single day.  Men suppress this truth despite the fact they know it to be true about themselves.  Ever since the fall of man, all mankind is incapable of doing good.  Even worse, all mankind is bent upon doing evil.   The doctrine is called "total depravity" and it explains everything about the evil things men do. Not surprisingly, the doctrine of total depravity is one of the most hated of all Christian doctrines. Indeed, the majority of people who would call themselves Christians do not even believe it.  But it does answer the "why" question.
The grade school gunman murdered over two dozen people because he wanted to.  He did it because it was fun for him to do.  He enjoyed it.  He, like the rest of us, is guilty of both original and actual sin.  He, like the rest of us, is totally depraved.  Although he was an extreme example of homicidal rage, the shooter is in many ways no different than any of us.  If looks could kill, how many people would you have killed by now?   I mean it, how many?   How many people would you have killed on the roadway if you could do so with impunity?  If your middle finger was a loaded gun, how many dead would be in your wake?  How many enemies do you have that you would like to eliminate?  We are all built from the same stuff and that stuff is exceedingly depraved.  We hurt others because we want to hurt others.  It makes our depraved minds feel good.
The second question on so many minds is how do we keep this from happening again?  The answer to that question is simple....we can't.  Nobody can control what goes on in the minds of others.  Aside from having a personal guard physically assigned to every person who is alive, and erroneously assuming that that guard is himself not subject to total depravity, there is no way to prevent future occurrences of mass murder. Still, men and women want an answer to this question.  They want security.  They are not satisfied with the truth that nothing can be done to stop sinful men.  Last night King Obama delivered a speech in which he said that "we will have to change".  His tautological assertion is correct.  We do have to change.  Those who want to murder others need to stop wanting to murder others.  The question, however, is how do we bring about that change.  Obama continued when he said, "What choice do we have?  Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"  The answer to that question, Mr. King, is a resounding "Yes".  We are powerless.  There is nothing men, including politicians, can do to stop other men who are bent on killing from killing.  Only fools and politicians believe otherwise. 
In the face of our total inability to prevent such massacres, I am aware that many people turn to their gods and petition them for help.  One man, quoted in Saturday's Denver Post, petitioned his god when he asked, "When are you, Mr. President, going to do something?"  Others, prayerfully petitioning their various deities in Congress, are calling for the passage of new laws, as if the simple stroke of a pen can change the nature of man.  Career politicians are not gods.  Despite the fact that the majority of the citizens of this country believe that they have god-like powers, they are utterly incapable of preventing murder.  Turning to them at a time like this is utter folly.  Don't be a fool.
The only way to prevent future mass murders is to take away the depraved nature of man.  Taking away the depraved nature of man is a job for God.  Does such a God exist?  He does indeed.  We celebrate His birthday in a matter of days. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sports Fans Stupidly Sue MLB And The NHL

In a Reuters report written by Jonathan Stempel and Liana Baker last week, it was reported that a New York federal judge had "allowed sports fans to pursue a lawsuit accusing Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and various networks of antitrust violations in how they package games for broadcast on television or the Internet."  In addition, it was reported that the plaintiffs sought damages because of sales agreements they said resulted in "reduced output, diminished product quality, diminished choice and suppressed price competition."  In particular, "U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan said the subscribers could pursue claims that the packaging has reduced competition, raised prices and kept them from watching their favorite teams located outside their home markets."  Boo Hoo!  The plaintiffs are nothing more than a bunch of silly cry-babies who are trying to use the coercive power of government to force business to give them what they want, when they want it and specifically how they want it.  Business does not work that way.  They need to grow up, get over it, deal with it, and mind their own business.  Let me explain.
Some rabid sports fans relocate from one city to another.   That is a part of adult life.  Sometimes you have to move.  When some folks move they find it more difficult to watch what used to be their home sports teams.  Whose fault is that?  According to these crazy people, it is the fault of the sports program television companies and Major League Baseball.  They were the ones who made the decision to move.  Nobody forced them to move to another city.  They should have been big boys and realized that when you move from one city to another sometimes things change.  Sometimes you can't always get what you want (apologies to Mick and Keith).  But apparently some sports fans believe it is the fault of the sports network providers that they are unable to see every game of their favorite team, regardless of which part of the country they live in.  Think about this realistically for a moment, do the cable and dish television providers of sports programing have a moral duty to provide every game to every fan everywhere in the world?  I have a hard time seeing how that could be true. I have an even harder time understanding how this could ever become the object of a lawsuit and I find it incomprehensible that a federal judge would allow a suit of this type to go forward.  What possible law could be violated in this situation?  What possible moral principle could be involved here?
According to Wikipedia, antitrust law is designed to "keep companies from becoming too large and fixing prices, and also encourage competition so that consumers can receive quality products at reasonable prices.  These laws give businesses an equal opportunity to compete for market share.  Preventing monopolies ensures that consumer demand is met in a fair and balanced way."  Now that is a mouthful of gobbledegook.  What does it mean for a company to "become too large"?  How do the enforcers of antitrust law distinguish between a company that has become large because it serves the public well (Wal-Mart) and one that has become large because it has government-granted monopoly privileges (U.S. Post Office)?  How did Judge Scheindlin determine that Comcast and Dish TV have become "too large"?  If they have become too large is it time to break them up into smaller parts?  Who knows?
Antitrust law, so we are told, is designed to "encourage competition so consumers can receive quality products at reasonable prices."  Who determines what quality products are and who determines what reasonable prices are?  Are those things not best left to the voluntary negotiations of the interested parties in an open and free market environment?  Why should those voluntary negotiations over what will be put on the air waves and how much it will cost to view those air wave transmissions become subject to judicial review?  Perhaps most importantly, why should an individual citizen have the right to sue a television sports programer for not having a show simply because it is a show he wants to watch?  I want to watch every stage of the Tour of Italy and the Tour of Spain on ESPN from now on.  ESPN does not carry either of those fabulous bicycle grand tours.  My local cable provider does not carry either of those tours.  Should I now sue them for not doing so?  What if I want to watch my 12 year old son's baseball game from the comfort of my living room?  Can I now sue the local television station for refusing to send a cameraman down to the little league park to televise my son's games?  Where does this all end?
The impetus for this lawsuit was the fact that a couple of good old boys were upset, no doubt after putting down several six packs of adult beverage, that they could not purchase individual coverage of a baseball game of their favorite team.  In order to purchase the game they wanted to watch they had to purchase a package of several games that included the one they wanted to see, which, quite expectedly, cost more.  They were mad.  They wanted the television companies to give them exactly what they wanted, exactly when they wanted, for the price they wanted to pay.  Apparently these deluded soul's mothers never taught them that the world does not revolve around them. 
Maybe it is true that sports television companies have the technical ability to provide coverage of every single professional baseball game in every single town in the country.  I don't know.  Even if they do, it still does not follow that they are morally required to do so.  It most certainly does not follow that they breaking any law when they do not do so.  Using the long arm of the law to force a company to personally serve my individual wants is an extremely dangerous precedent to establish.  Judge Scheindlin has opened a can of worms that should have been put back on the shelf.  Does she really want to allow every upset consumer in the country to have the legal right to sue any company in the business of providing goods and services anytime the exact good or service, as determined by the consumer, is not instantaneously provided?  If so, I am going to sue Hostess for going out of business.  I am going to sue ESPN for not giving me coverage of the Tour de Italy.  I am going to sue my local Fox network for not covering my son's baseball game.  I am going to sue the local independent station for not broadcasting my personal round of golf for my friends to enjoy.  The list is endless.
Maybe it is time for people and judges to realize that some things are best left alone.  Not everything should be the subject of a lawsuit.  Maybe it is time for those same folks to realize that if providers of sports programing can make a profit providing a particular type of coverage, they will provide that coverage.  If they cannot make a profit providing that coverage, they will not provide it.  Using the coercive power of government to force a television company to provide coverage to a group of childish, selfish jerks and that will end up costing the company money is a gross misuse of the judicial system and should not be tolerated.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Superior Economics Of Batman

I finally got around to watching "The Dark Knight Rises" last night.  It is the final installment in the latest Batman trilogy.  I was too cheap to go see the movie in the theaters when it first came out.  I prefer to wait until it shows up in the cheap movie theaters.  I was checking out the latest releases on my Comcast pay-per-view list last night and the movie showed up on the list for only $4.99.  I ordered it immediately.   While watching the movie I was highly impressed and very surprised by the portrayals of economic truth found within it.  Allow me to point a couple of them out.
First, as you all know, Batman is Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire industrialist without apology.  He lives in a mansion.  He has a hired servant named Alfred.  He has a garage full of fancy sports cars.  He attends high society functions.  Despite all of these obvious trappings of extreme wealth, nobody in Gotham City, except the bad guy, has anything bad to say about Bruce Wayne.  He is an honored and respected member of Gotham City society.  Aside from the evil bad guy who is plotting his destruction, we find the ordinary citizens of Gotham City treating this billionaire with the respect and dignity that he deserves.  Most refreshingly, Bruce Wayne is not the subject of sinful envy.  A billionaire who is not portrayed as the object of envy by "good" people is extremely rare in Hollywood movies these days.  I poured a glass of wine and sat back to enjoy the rest of the movie.
The bad guy, in this case a fellow by the name of Bane, is a true bad guy.  He hates private property.  He hates those who are successful.  He hates the rich.  He hates the material possessions associated with wealth.  He hates the New York Stock exchange and those who work there.  He hates Bruce Wayne and his company, Wayne Enterprises.  But what is delightfully refreshing is that Bane is a bad guy, not a good guy.  In most movies these days what I just wrote above would be a description of the hero in the movie.  The hero is the one who hates rich guys and corporate America.  The hero plays Robin Hood.  Not so in the Batman movie.  Batman believes Robin Hood to be immoral.  The rich guys are good guys and those who hate the rich guys are the bad guys.  Wonderful.
Batman, Bruce Wayne's alter-ego, can only exist because Wayne is rich.  If Wayne did not have the luxury of time he would be incapable of going around Gotham saving the citizens from dastardly fellows who are bent on their destruction.  In this case the rich are not characterized as the idle rich.  No, Wayne is a very active rich man.  Even more, he is not just active in the sense that he jets around the world playing the role of the billionaire playboy.  On the contrary, Wayne is obsessed with doing good.  His Batman character exists exclusively for the purpose of doing good deeds for the citizens of Gotham City.  When was the last time a rich industrialist was portrayed in that fashion in a Hollywood movie?  I can't think of any examples other than the last Batman movie.
The immense wealth and power of Wayne enterprises allows Batman to create a plethora of mechanical and technological gadgets that aid him in his fight against crime and the evil madman Bane.  Rather than taking the standard environmentalist view that technology is evil because it consumes energy, destroys the rain forests and makes rich people even richer, Batman embraces technology and uses it for good.  The good folks at Wayne Enterprises are working around the clock to come up with new and better products and technologies to serve the citizens of Gotham.  Capital is created and technology is celebrated.  Wow.  This movie just keeps getting better.
Batman is no fool.  His company has created a nuclear fusion reactor (cold fusion I assume) that could provide the energy needs for the entire city in perpetuity.  Wayne, however, made the decision to not bring it to the market.  Why, you might ask?  Normal socialist movies would have said that he was doing so to perpetuate dependence upon foreign oil and keep the citizens of Gotham under his control.  This is no ordinary movie and it is certainly not socialist.  Wayne decided to keep the fusion reactor under wraps because, of all things,  he believes in original sin.  He believes that there is too great a risk of the reactor falling into the wrong hands.  He knows that there are evil people in the world so he makes the decision to keep the reactor out of the public eye until a more opportune moment arrives.  He does not want the bad guy stealing his technology and using it for evil purposes.  He is an industrialist with a heart , a brain and a keen sense of human nature.  How many Hollywood movies deal with the issue of original sin?  Not many.
Of course the bad guy becomes more powerful and there is the explosive final scene where Bane and Batman confront one another.   Batman wins because he is morally superior.  What a nice twist.  Then, in one of the final scenes of the movie, we see much of the vast wealth of the Wayne estate being distributed to charitable functions.  What a joy.  How many Hollywood movies recognize that it is the wealthy who so often fund the most significant and important charities in our land?  And, to top it all off, Batman does all of this anonymously.  He takes no credit for what he has done.  He gets no key to the city from the Mayor of Gotham.  He rides off into the sunset, quite by himself.  As he flies away he tells Police Commissioner Gordon that he is not a hero.....and he means it!  Now that is humility.  Mothers, let your children grow up to be Batmen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michigan Union Members Are Ignorant Hypocrites

Everybody knows the statement of Jesus when He said "Judge not, lest you be judged."  It is a favorite phrase of those folks who love to judge others but are unwilling to submit to judicial scrutiny themselves.  They spend great amounts of time rendering informal judicial decisions about the life and actions of others around them.  However, the moment the light of truth shines on them they exclaim that others are not permitted to judge them since Jesus had said that they should "judge not".   Those who understand His words in that fashion are on the exact opposite side of the fence from the truth.  What Jesus was actually condemning was not the act of judgment itself.  He was condemning the act of hypocritical judgement whereby one man holds another man to an ethical standard that he does not simultaneously hold himself to.  All of this brings me to the case of union members in Michigan.  Let's consider them for a moment.
As most of you are probably aware, the Republican majority in Michigan state government has rapidly pushed through a "right to work" law that guts many of the powers and state granted privileges of the various unions found throughout the state.  As you would expect, union members and their representatives are outraged at their loss of political privilege.  In light of the present situation, let me ask you a simple question.  Bear with me for a moment as this question may not immediately seem to have anything to do with my topic.  Do you believe most union members would be in favor of monopoly?  No, I don't mean the game from Parker Brothers.  I mean, do you believe that most folks who belong to a union also believe it is a good thing for corporations to have state sanctioned monopoly power?  In general, do union members and their representatives speak in glowing terms about those companies that have monopoly power or do they call for the government to break up those same companies?
I believe most of us would recognize that union members, with some possible exceptions that would establish the rule, believe that monopoly power is a means by which the evil corporations allegedly try to hold down the worker and justify paying lower wages and fewer benefits.  I believe we would be hard pressed to find any historical examples of unions that were strongly in favor of government supported and created corporate monopolies.  Indeed, I believe it is fair to say that most union members would consider government established corporate monopolies to be immoral since they artificially depress the noble workers pay scale.  We have to go no further than the ongoing story of union opposition to Wal-Mart to prove what I am arguing here.  Union members universally believe that Wal-Mart is a monopoly that uses it monopolistic power to abuse the regal worker.
I was working out at the gym yesterday when a report came on the television.  My treadmill was in front of the television that was broadcasting Fox News and I was treated to a report on the present state of affairs in Michigan in regards to the new "right to work" law.  As I listened to the report I pondered the nature of a labor union.  I know enough about economics to know that labor unions exist for the purpose of trying to obtain wage rates for union members that are higher than what the free market would bear in the absence of the union.  As I ratcheted my treadmill up to a 15% grade and increased the speed to 3.4 miles per hour it occurred to me that labor unions attempt to establish a monopoly over the supply of labor in order to extract a higher price for their labor than what the market would generally pay.  In fact, it all became quite clear to me, despite the sweat that was pouring into and stinging my eyes....labor's opposition to "right to work" is entirely based upon its position that it should exercise monopoly control over all supplies of labor.  No man should be free to sell his labor to a company at a price each voluntarily agrees to.  No, that type of autonomy does not allow the labor union to exercise monopoly control over all sources of labor.  Make no mistake about it, the goal of the labor union is not higher wages for its members.  That might occur for a select number of members only as an unintended consequence of its actions.   No, the goal of the labor union is to become an all-powerful monopoly that controls all supplies of labor in the geo-political area.
Historically, the leaders of the monopolistic labor unions knew that they could never force every individual provider of labor in a particular geo-political zone to join the union.  So, they went in search of politicians who would give them the second best option.  In exchange for campaign contributions, the unions purchased career politicians who crafted laws that required all laborers to pay union dues, whether they were members of the union or not.  These laws were anti-right to work laws that forced all providers of labor services to pay money to the politically connected representatives of the union against their will.  No labor provider in the area would be permitted to enter into a voluntary contract to provide labor to a company without first paying an extortion fee to the local union.  In this fashion the unions could accomplish their real, unpublished, goals.  Despite the fact that the union propaganda machines continually crank out insipid literature designed to convince the stupid and ignorant that they ceaselessly strive to improve the lives of the worker, the fact is unions exist exclusively to perpetuate themselves and grant fat retirement pensions to their leaders.  Union members who are dumb enough to believe the propaganda become unwitting dupes in the scheme.  Up to a point I feel sorry for them. But only up to a point.  They are still immoral.
Judge not lest you be judged.  Union members continually judge for profit businesses and find them morally lacking.  Union members continually judge corporate entities and find them guilty of desiring government sanctioned monopolistic privileges over their competitors.  Yet, when the light is shined upon themselves, they see nothing but pure white driven snow.  Hypocrites!  All union efforts to prevent the passage of a right to work law are nothing more than union efforts to protect their government granted monopolistic control over the supply of labor.  Hypocrites, all of them.  The recently passed right to work law allows sellers of labor services in Michigan the right to sell their services to the highest bidder without having to pay an extortion fee to the local labor union.  That is a good thing.  The fact that the unions, and their representatives, attempt to cast the right to work law in a negative light only indicates how far their ability to discern moral behavior has devolved.  As is so often the case with self righteous habitual hypocrites, these folks are beyond rehabilitation.  Make no mistake about it, Michigan union members are not paragons of virtue.  They are nothing more than petty thieves and ignorant hypocrites.  Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be union members.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dana Milbank Really Hates Mitt Romney

Last week I read an article by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post Writers Group.  It was not enough for Dana that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election.  Dana continues that long established tradition of kicking a man while he is down.  I know it is hard to believe but Dana takes Mitt to task for retiring from politics.  He writes, "Romney's post-election behavior has been, in a word, small.  Never again, likely, will his voice and influence be as powerful as they are now.  Yet rather than stepping forward to help find a way out of the fiscal standoff, or to help his party rebuild itself, he delivered a perfunctory concession speech, told wealthy donors that President Obama won by giving gifts to minorities, then avoided the press at a private lunch with the president."  Call the police! Bring in the FBI!  Romney is the most immoral man who ever lived simply because he has retired from politics.  Romney should be arrested because he lost the election and is now behaving like a man who is not the president.  Doesn't he know that, according to Milbank, he should continue to behave as if he won?
Milbank continues to pour it on.  He writes, "The nation is headed toward the fiscal cliff but have no fear, Mitt Romney is coming to the rescue----of Marriott International Inc....he announced that he was rejoining the hotel chains' board of directors....It was emblematic of the tone-deaf, I-have-some-great-friends-that-are-NASCAR-teamowner' moments that contributed to his loss.  The country is in a crisis, political leades are in a standoff, and Romney is joining his buddy's corporate board."  Wow, Milkbank's hatred for Romney knows no bounds.
Let's examine some of Dana's comments.  Somehow Dana believes that a man who was just defeated for the office of President of the Socialist Democracy of America is now at his most powerful and persuasive peak.  How can a man who just lost the election be at his most politically powerful moment?  Dana does not say.  In reality, Romney is now at his most politically impotent moment. He holds no political office. The majority, which rules the SDA, has spoken and spoken clearly.  The majority wants nothing to do with Mitt, his policies or his ideas about how to solve the fiscal cliff.  He has no power at all because he cannot persuade the majority to agree with any of the things he believes.  If he could he would be the president. How that makes Mitt's "voice" as "powerful" as it has ever been is a mystery to me.
Dana also believes Mitt needs to "step forward" and solve the "fiscal cliff".  How in the world is a regular citizen of the SDA supposed to do that?  Mitt has no power.  Mitt holds no political office.  Mitt's ideas on how to resolve the fiscal cliff have already been rejected by the majority of the voters.  How can Dana possibly believe that Mitt now has a responsibility to somehow seize power for himself and lead the nation out of the fiscal cliff boondoggle?  Dana's ideas border on the insane.  I wonder....do you think Dana supports Obama?  I think he does.  And if he does, why does he not believe that the all-powerful Obama is sufficient to lead us out of the fiscal cliff crisis?  Could this continuing to beat up on Mitt be nothing more than a powerful admission that he has no confidence in his own choice, King Obama?
To his credit Dana admits that "Romney is a private citizen now and free to do as he chooses."  Dana should have concluded his article with that statement and moved on.  He desperately needs to leave Mitt Romney alone.  But Dana, riddled with envy and hatred for a man who has more money than he does, cannot stop.  He continues by saying, "But its not as if he needs the money:  the $170,000 in cash and stock that Marriott directors received in the most recent year reported is but a sliver of the $20 million or so Romney takes in annually from his investments."  So there we have it.  We have now arrived at the heart of Milbank's criticism of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is financially successful and Dana hates that truth.
Dana's Washington Post colleague, Philip Rucker, decided to join forces with him in his envy and hatred for Mitt.  Rucker writes that Romney "is exhibiting the same detachment that made it so difficult for him to connect with the body politic through six years of running for president."  The "detachment" Rucker writes of is simply the fact that Romney has become a private citizen and is now minding his own business and tending to his own affairs. After all, is that not what the American people wanted?  Is that not what the majority ruled in the last election?  Why, oh why, should Mitt be castigated for not continuing to act like a politician when he is no longer a politician? Why, oh why, should Mitt be criticized because he has gone back to what he does best....running corporations?  Both Rucker and Milbank willingly ignore the fact that Romney no longer has any civil authority whatsoever.  Why do they do this?  Because they hate Mitt Romney.  Why do they hate Mitt Romney?  Because he makes more money than they do.  Disgusting, isn't it?
Milbank's hatred for Romney spills over to hatred for political conservatives and believers in limited government in general.  While criticizing Mitt for returning to the private sector he writes, "But this is a crucial time for the country and particularly for Romney's Republican Party, which must unshackle itself from the far right or become irrelevant."  Wow!  How does Dana know that the Republican party is "shackled" to the far right?  How does he know that this shackling is going to make the Republicans "irrelevant"?  Even more preposterous, when did the Republican Party become Romney's personal property?  Furthermore, why is it any of his business what the Republican party does?  Clearly Dana is not a Republican. Why does he then proceed to tell the Republicans what to do? 
Dana Milbank has a serious problem.  He is a man of extremely low moral character.  He is filled with envy.  He is filled with hatred. He minds the business of others and ignores the development of his own character.  Dana Milkbank needs to leave Mitt Romney alone.

Monday, December 10, 2012

CDOT Opposes Women's Right To Choose

In an article in the Boulder Daily Camera last week, reporter John Aguilar informed the citizens of Colorado about the fact that the Colorado Department of Transportation has taken an official position against a woman's right to choose.  I was shocked that a positive report endorsing CDOT's position would be written in a liberal newspaper like the Daily Camera.  I was even more shocked that CDOT would be so forthright and come out with such an outrageous position on a woman's right to choose.
Now if I understand anything about a woman's right to choose, and I probably don't, then I believe women stridently support their right to make choices about what to do with their own bodies.  Of course, there are many things that a woman can choose to do with her body. She can choose to take it for a walk or fill it with hamburgers.  She can choose to dress it up in fancy clothes or adorn it in sweat clothes.  She can choose to  put it on an airplane bound for the Bahamas or she can choose to go for a drive in her car.  Women quite properly believe that they have the right to make these choices about how their bodies function and behave.  I am in full agreement with them.  I fully support a woman's right to make these choices without the long arm of government interference opposing her.  That is why I was so shocked to read the report about CDOT's tyrannical oppression of female choice.
To be completely accurate, it is not CDOT which has initiated this reign of terror against a woman's right to choose.  CDOT is complicit in the affair but it is the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) that is to blame for this act of misogyny.  CDOT could exert its superior authority over the roadways in the State of Colorado and put a stop to the tyranny of DRCOG but chooses to remain a silent partner in the oppression instead.  What has DRCOG done?  According to Mr. Aguilar, "DRCOG aims to reduce single-occupancy vehicles from 74 percent of all trips in metro Denver today to 65 percent by 2035....Commuters in metro Denver are getting their first glimpse of a cheeky new ad campaign with the tag line 'Stop Being an SOV'---single occupancy vehicle.  Regional transportation planners hope the campaign, costing $250,000 to $300,000, will lead to fewer single-occupancy vehicles on the road and more trips by transit, van pool, carpool and bike."
So there you have it.  Women make up 51% of all drivers on metro Denver roadways.  Women frequently drive alone.  Now DRCOG, with the full support of CDOT, is spending at least $250k of taxpayer money to tell them that they do not have the right to choose to drive alone in their SUVs.  Tremendous pressure is being put on women to try and force them to stuff their bodies into cars with other women and, perhaps, even other men.  In an outrageous breech of governmental authority the jack-booted thugs at the DRCOG have suggested that women should place their bodies upon bicycles and use those bicycles to get around town.  This gross endangerment of female lives is unconscionable.  This slap-down of a woman's right to choose to drive alone is unbelievably immoral.  This in-your-face use of the self-described "cheeky" slogan, "Stop Being an SOV", is highly offensive to all women.  Women are already regularly verbally abused by means of the "B" word.  Now they have to suffer abuse at the hands of the government and be slandered as "SOVs"?
In an attempt to put a soft face on the terrorist like activities of the DRCOG, Agulilar reports that "Steve Erickson, DRCOG's communications and market director, said the ad campaign is meant to be 'playful' and is not an attempt to 'point our fingers at vehicles or people who drive them as evil.'"  Yeah, right.  Despite his protestations to the contrary, it is abundantly obvious to anyone who has a brain that DRCOG ardently desires to enslave the female population of Denver and force them to sit in close proximity to other human beings, thus violating their right to choose to sit alone in a vehicle of their choice.  Calling this concentrated campaign of propaganda "playful" is straight out of 1984, where every term means the exact opposite of what it has historically meant.  Verbal abuse directed at women designed to eliminate their right to choose to drive alone is about as "playful" as a slap in the face or a kick in the stomach. 
Oppressive billboards have been erected along Denver metro area highways and are spewing forth the foul message of female enslavement.  To add insult to injury, female taxpayers are the ones who are being forced to bear the brunt of the cost for these billboards.  A woman cannot even drive to the grocery store without being assaulted by the message that she is inferior and immoral simply because she exercises her right to put her body into her vehicle and drive to the store by herself.  What is this world coming to? 
DRCOG does not hesitate to describe its goals.  It wants to reduce female single occupancy vehicles from 75 percent of those on the road to 65 percent of those on the road by 2035.  In other words, women take note, some of you must be willing to sacrifice your right to choose to drive alone in order that others may retain their right to choose a solitary form of  transportation.  In a devious and underhanded attack upon feminine fraternity, the DRCOG has now put the burden of responsibly for compliance with their ridiculous law upon the female population in general.  Could a more calculated and vicious attempt to destroy female solidarity be conceived?  I don't believe so.  Women are going to be forced to debate among themselves and determine which of them will be sacrificed for the cause.
Women of Denver.....arise and throw off the shackles of oppression.  I suggest you pick a day early next year in which all of you will take to the streets of the metropolitan area and drive alone.  If all of you do it they can not arrest you all.  Rise up and tell these petty bureaucrats that they can not and will not take away your right to choose to drive alone.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Are You Undertaxed?

As career politicians scramble to justify their desire to raise taxes they are producing a stream of propaganda designed to convince us that we are actually under taxed. John Schoen of NBC news has bought into the lies and written an article about how the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America are desperately under taxed. He writes, "The problem with the budget is that Americans don't pay enough taxes.  The case isn't hard to make.  The U.S. federal tax burden, relative to gross domestic product, is lower than its been in half a century.  Americans pay lower taxes in relation to the size of their economy than all but a handful of developed countries, including Chile and Mexico....As a percentage of their total income, though, Americans are paying less than they have in more than half a century.  Since 1960, the government's total take has been remarkably steady at about 18.3 percent of gross domestic product, give or take a percentage point."  Naturally, I had to check and see if Mr. Schoen's facts square with reality.  Here is what I found.
Mr. Schoen is correct that the amount paid by all citizens and corporations in the SDA in the past year is somewhat lower than the average amount paid for the previous sixty two years.  Since 1950 the average total federal tax receipts as a percentage of gross domestic product has been 17.6%. Over the past year total federal tax receipts have made up 15.8% of gross domestic product.  That means this past year the total federal tax receipts have been about 10% less than the sixty two year average.  In that sense we are "under taxed".  However, there is a question that Mr. Schoen fails to ask.  Who determined that 18% of revenues is the "proper" tax percentage?  If there is some moral principle that dictates that the federal government has a moral right to 18% of the GDP of the country's citizens, then we are clearly under taxed.  But if there is no moral principle that states the federal government has a right to 18% of the GDP of its citizens, then it necessarily follows that the term "under taxed" is meaningless.
I also did some checking into the assertion that SDA citizens pay less in taxes than citizens in other developed countries around the world.  To conduct this survey I wrote down twenty four developed countries that I selected at random.  I selected countries from every continent except Africa. In other words, this is not an exhaustive survey; although it should be generally representative of conditions around the developed world.   I then gathered data on the total taxes paid by citizens in those countries as a percentage of their GDP as well as GDP growth rates for each country.  Here is what I found.
The most heavily taxed countries on my list were Denmark, France, Austria, Germany and Italy (and we wonder why Europe is in trouble?).  The average rate of total taxation in those five countries came to 44% of GDP.  The average rate of GDP growth in the past year for those five countries was +2.0%.  On the other hand, the least heavily taxed countries on my list were China, Ecuador, Egypt, Hong Kong and Peru.  The average rate of total taxation in those five countries came to 15% of GDP.  The average rate of GDP growth in the past year for those five countries was +5.7%.  In other words, the rate of economic growth in the least taxed countries was 185% higher than the rate of economic growth in the highest taxed countries.  For comparison purposes, the SDA has a total tax rate of 27% of GDP and our most recent annual rate of economic growth was 2.5%.  That puts the SDA almost exactly in the middle in terms of total taxes paid and somewhat below the middle in terms of economic growth.  So Mr. Schoen is correct when he says we are presently paying somewhat less in taxes than we have in the past but he is wrong when he asserts that we pay less in taxes than most other developed countries in the world.
I reworked the data I was examining with the goal of determining the average tax rate for the fastest growing countries in the world.  The five fastest growing countries in my survey were China, Argentina, India, Peru and Hong Kong.  The average rate of economic growth in these five countries was +7.7%.  I was not surprised to discover that the average rate of total taxation for these five countries is 20% of GDP.  There is an unquestionable direct correlation between the rate of taxation and the rate of economic growth.  As investment guru Ken Fisher likes to say, "when you tax something you get less of it."  When governments tax wealth and income, they get less wealth and income.  The way to get out of a fiscal mess is not to increase taxes, it is to lower taxes and encourage economic growth.  That last sentence, of course, is the flash point of the debate.  Most career politicians disagree with what I wrote.  They believe some combination of tax increases (which will most certainly happen) and budget cuts (which most certainly will not happen...see yesterday's post) are the solution to the problem.  They believe this because they are notoriously short-sighted in their time horizons.  Allow me to point out some facts.
Let's assume that the GDP of two countries is $1000.  In one case a country will have a total tax rate of 44% while also experiencing a 2.0% annual rate of growth.  This is consistent with the data I listed above for the heavily taxed nations.  The second country will have a total tax rate of 20% while experiencing a 7.7% rate of annual growth.  This is also consistent with the data I listed above for the lowest taxed countries.  Now, when a politician looks at these numbers he argues that taxes need to be increased on those who are dangerously under taxed.  He points out that 20% of $1000 is only $200 in annual revenue.  The higher taxed country is generating $440 in annual revenue for the state.  What the politician ignores is a long term perspective on the impact of economic growth upon tax revenues. 
If both countries keep their tax and growth rates intact, in ten years things will look a bit different.  The high taxed country would have grown to have a GDP of $1220 whereas the low taxed country would have grown to $2100.  Tax revenues from each country are now $537 from the high taxed country and $420 from the low taxed country.  Add another five years to the equation (fifteen years from the start date....an eternity in political time) and the situation has reversed.  Due to higher rates of economic growth the low taxed country now has a GDP of $3120 and is generating $624 in annual tax revenues.  The high taxed country has a GDP of only $1350 and is producing $594 in annual revenue.  In fifteen years total government revenue has increased by a whopping 212% in the low taxed country and by a miserly 35% in the high taxed country.  You can see that the higher taxed country is now generating less tax revenue for the state than the lower taxed country.  This illustration gives us the solution to our fiscal woes.  Politicians need to reduce taxes and reduce regulatory burdens on business so GDP can grow quickly.  In time the government will get more revenue than it will under present policies.  Will that happen?  Of course not.  Politicians are not in the business of thinking long term.  They only think as far as the next election cycle.
If you do not like numbers and hypothetical illustrations your eyes have probably glazed over by now.  I get that response from a lot of folks when I write this way.  So let me give you another item to consider in regards to the issue about our allegedly being under taxed.  As I wrote at first, nobody that I know of has ever come up with a moral answer to the question about the proper level of government taxation.  In fact, the only answers to that question that I have ever seen are always utilitarian in nature.  Tax analysts do ask the question about the "proper" tax rate but they do it in the exclusive framework of maximizing state revenues in the next year.  They are pure utilitarians in their ethical systems.  They do not care if something is right or wrong.  They only care if it will maximize the revenues for the next budget year.  In this sense they are all basically playing the same game.  Political budget makers are all involved in plucking the golden goose.  They want to extract the maximum number of feathers while incurring the minimum amount of fuss out of the goose.
Allow me to suggest that there is a moral answer to the question of taxation percentages.  My argument is a simple one.  I begin with the belief that the Church is a more important and significant institution in this world than the State.  I do not have space to argue for this belief so I will simply posit it here.  God demands that His followers deliver up 10% of their income to the Church.  It is called the tithe and God states that any of His followers who does not give Him the tithe is guilty of theft (Malachi 3).  If the most important institution in the world is able to operate on 10% of its member's income, then the State should be able to do the same.  I would therefore argue that the moral limitation for state taxation is 10%.  Anything the state takes in excess of 10% constitutes theft on the part of the state against its citizens. Any politician who advocates taxation in excess of 10% is behaving immorally and will be judged for his acts of theft and robbery.
The above paragraph may read like the wild ravings of a lunatic until you consider history.  History tells us that citizens of the SDA never paid more than 10% of their incomes to the taxman until WWII came about.  Check it out for yourself if you do not believe me.  The government did just fine on receipts that were less than 10% of GDP until WWII came along.  It was only the creation of the modern welfare/warfare state that caused government revenues to be dramatically increased.  It costs a lot of money to play Robin Hood.  It costs a lot of money to be the world's policeman.  It costs even more to pay for every citizen's health care and retirement income.  Welcome to the Socialist Democracy of America, where everyone has his hand in his neighbor's pocket. 


 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Obama Pays Off Christie For His Endorsement

I was reading my Denver Post this morning when I came across a short article in the national news section of the paper.  The headline said, "Obama seeks $50 billion more in hurricane aid".  Get the joke?
Obama has been haranguing congressional Republicans for their allegedly stubborn refusal to enact legislation that would significantly raise taxes on those politically defenseless people who, due to their higher productivity,  have greater than $250k in adjusted gross income.  He has been indefatigable in his crusade against the looming fiscal cliff.  Like all career politicians he is loath to actually reduce government spending so the only way he can conceive of to get out of a budget mess is by increasing taxes.  The actual budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 come to $109 billion in 2013.  So here we are, on the edge of the fiscal cliff, desperately in need of finding $109 billion in budgetary fat to cut, incessantly debating the relative merits of raising taxes on "the rich", and Obama has the unmitigated gall to go down to Congress and ask for new, un-budgeted government handouts in the amount of $50 billion!  His hypocrisy is astounding.
As written in the article, "Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that the administration is working on a request for a supplemental spending bill to provide the aid and expects to send it to Congress this week."  Secretary Donovan is quoted as saying, "The president isn't going to leave New York, New Jersey or the entire region to fight for itself."  Am I the only one who sees what is going on here?  Why is there no popular outrage against this request?  Why is Fox News not offering round-the-clock negative commentary on this issue?  Why does it seem perfectly normal to the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America that Congress and Obama would attempt to trim $109 billion dollars from next year's budget while, at the same time, spend $50 billion that it does not have today?  Has everybody gone insane?
If Congress approves the additional funds for New York and New Jersey then an additional $50 billion has just been added to the budget.  That means Congress will have to cut $159 billion from the budget next year.  Or, it means Congress will have to raise taxes enough to generate an additional $50 billion next year just to cover this particular shortfall.  The money that is likely to be taken from the taxpayers of the SDA and given to the big-shot politicians in the states of New York and New Jersey (to be distributed to their politically favored and connected partners, in exchange for a vote of course) does not exist.  There is no money in the budget to give.  In fact, the federal budget is already billions of dollars in the negative.  How can Obama possibly justify giving away $50 billion he does not have under these circumstances?
I think we all know the answer to the last question.  Obama reflects the will of the majority in this country.  The majority of the citizens of the SDA want to do something that will make them feel good about themselves that also allows them to convince themselves that they are morally superior beings.  Giving $50 billion in aid to the state governments of people who experienced hurricane Sandy is a way to bring about this warm-fuzzy condition.  Of course, that same majority has no desire whatsoever to actually part with any of its money.  No, no, that will not do.  The individual members within the majority of the folks who believe government money should be sent to NY and NJ have no intention of actually parting with any of their hard earned cash.  They see themselves as being the "working families" that all politicians constantly pander to.  No, the money must come from the evil "rich" people who live next door.  They are "undertaxed" and don't need all of that money anyway.  Take it from them and give it to NY and NJ.  Indeed, these poor, sinfully deluded souls believe in the myth of Robin Hood. They believe it is a morally proper thing to steal from the rich to give to the poor.  Or, in this case, the not so poor who just happened to be lucky enough to be living in an area where a hurricane came through so their state government can get some federal funds to spend on whatever it wants.
So Obama will preach his tax the rich sermon over and over again.  He will, no doubt, get his wish and taxes will be raised on "the rich".  Meanwhile, he has continued to increase federal spending with no attempt being made to reign in the practice of stealing from one group to give to another.  That is the American way because that is the way the majority wants it to be.  The property of the wealthy minority is never safe.  Anytime some politician wants to rally the troops of envy filled citizens against the wealth and income of the most prosperous minority, we know how things will turn out.  This time will be no different.
The folks who live in the areas where hurricane Sandy struck have no moral claim on the money of the taxpayers of the SDA.  Read my posting from 11-1-12 for the argument against taking my money and giving it to those people.  This has nothing to do with being hard-hearted and everything to do with being moral.  The Constitution of the United States (an ancient document universally ignored by all modern politicians) clearly states that the rights of the minority to their life, freedom and property must not be infringed.  It does not matter that the majority believes it can steal from the minority with impunity.  It is wrong and it is immoral when the state plays Robin Hood.  There is never any moral justification for the type of action that Obama has just proposed.  Obama should be removed from office for this blatant act of theft.
Stepping back and considering the big picture involved here shows us just how bad things have become.  Politicians are posturing and doing everything they possibly can to look like fiscal conservatives.  They are blaming everyone and everything but themselves for the fiscal mess we find ourselves in.  They are talking tough and trying to garner the adulation and respect of the voting populace by creating an image of themselves as hard-nosed budget makers who will stick to the financial realities of the budget no matter what.  Then, when a simple request for a new, un-budgeted spending item that makes up half of what they are trying to save comes along, they fall all over themselves trying to approve it.  What hypocrisy!  Shout it from the highest hills.  These men and women we have elected are all hypocrites.  Political hypocrisy has reached an all time high....and just in time for the holidays.
Oh, by the way, did I hear someone say, "This is nothing more than political payola to Gov. Christie for his de facto endorsement of Obama in the last election."?  Hummm...interesting theory.