San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, December 27, 2013

Rand Paul's "Economic Freedom Zones"

Rand Paul is a Republican senator from Kentucky.   He is a son of well know libertarian and former candidate for King, Ron Paul.  Rand is popular with Tea Party Republicans and, occasionally, people over at Fox News.  Some folks think he might make a run at the White House the next time the Kingdom is opened up for the appointment of a new King.  It would be very entertaining, from the perspective of a blog writer, to have him square off with Hillary for title of King or Queen. I hope it happens.
For a man who is reputed to have a sharp economic mind, Rand has come up with an extraordinarily stupid economic idea.  Maybe you have heard about it.  Rand wants to have the federal government create something he calls an "economic freedom zone."  He announced his proposal for legislation in support of these zones at a speech delivered in that bastion of economic vitality known as Detroit earlier this month.  I learned about his proposal on one of the Fox News shows.  He was being interviewed and the talking head doing the interview went ga-ga over his proposal.  He thought it was a great idea that would revitalize the economy of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika and, most importantly, get a Republican elected King in the next election cycle.  Has everyone gone crazy?
Think about it for a moment, will you?  What is presupposed when the federal government has to create an economic freedom zone?  Is it not obvious to all but the most dim-witted among us that the legislative creation of economic freedom zones presupposes that everywhere else in this tortured land is not economically free?  How can the government create a free zone if the country is already free?  Clearly it can't.  The mere proposal that zones should be declared free is a powerful tacit admission that there is no economic freedom in this country.  That, of course, is the problem.  The solution to the problem is not to create limited zones where I can behave freely.  The solution to the problem is to return to the freedom I was promised by the founding fathers of this country in a little document called the Constitution.  That, of course, will never happen.  The Constitution was abandoned by both political parties long ago.
The proposed creation of economic freedom zones reminds me of the "free speech zone" I saw while hiking along the Appalachian trail several years ago.  I was parked at a gap above Gatlinburg, Tennessee when I noticed the sign.  There it was, clear as could be.  It informed me that I was free to speak my mind as long as I stood in the area designated by the sign as a free speech zone.  Of course, if I spoke of things not previously approved by my federal handlers anywhere outside of that proscribed area, I would be arrested.  I was aghast.  I had heard of these beastly things but had never seen one before.  I finished my hike and got out of there as quickly as I could.  I did not want to be continually reminded that I no longer have freedom of speech in this sad land. 
Any decent economist can immediately predict what will happen if the economic freedom zones are established.  The creation of such a zone will bring about a slew of unintended consequences that will hurt the economy and expand the size of the regulatory government we are oppressed by today.  Let's consider a couple of them. 
Any zone that is created is going to have a border.  Those on the inside of the border will be given "economic freedom", whatever that is, and those on the wrong side of the border will,  I assume, be forced to continue to live under the current conditions of economic slavery.  As a result, how the border is drawn will be of greatest importance.  Everyone will be clamoring for the border to be drawn in such a way as to include him and exclude his neighbor.  Everyone will want a share of the government largess.  Can you imagine more fertile soil for political corruption than this?  Career politicians are already grossly immoral and corrupt.  Why should they now be entrusted with the task of drawing the line which determines who will be economically free and who will be an economic slave?
It is not hard to predict what will happen immediately after the border is drawn.  Capital will flow from the slave zones to the freedom zones.  The poor man who just happened to locate his business on the wrong side of the border will find it very difficult to compete.  He will still be a slave.  He will still pay taxes.  He will still have high regulatory burdens.  As a result, his goods and services will cost more.  In a society in which mobility is not yet restricted, guess what will happen?  That is right!  Customers will vote with their feet and shop in the economic freedom zones, leaving the economic slavery zones to wither and die.  The end result will inevitably be that those who have been favored by the government will prosper and those who have not been favored by the government will suffer.
A very strange thing will happen, totally unexpected by the career politicians and bureaucrats who craft the rules and regulations for the freedom zone, when the areas immediately proximate to the freedom zones suddenly quality for consideration as freedom zones themselves.  Conversely, those areas where men were given freedom will no longer need protection as economic freedom zones.  So career politicians will be called in once again to redraw the lines.  Does anyone think that process will be fair and objective?  New lines will be drawn, new winners and losers will be chosen and the process will start all over again.  It will never end.
Republicans who profess to believe in the Constitution of the United States of America are excited about Rand Paul's proposed economic freedom zones.   I would like for them to explain to me how blatantly unequal and unfair taxes are constitutional.  I want to know how it is that one area can be exempt from regulation and another is not.  I want to know why people are not treated equally before the law.  I want to know why some men are declared to be free and others are forced to remain slaves.  Perhaps most important of all, I want to know why we can't all be free.
Think about it for a minute.  These Republicans believe, and I think they are correct, that economic freedom zones will prosper.  But if prosperity is the immediate result of personal and business freedom, why not go the whole way and declare the entire country to be an economic freedom zone?  Why is it that what is good for Detroit is not also good for the entire country?  Imagine the prosperity that would inevitably result if all citizens of this corrupt country were truly free to pursue their economic self interest without government intervention.  So, I want Mr. Paul to explain to me why I can't have a bit of that freedom?  Why must freedom be limited to those who are government approved?  I want my freedom back.  I want my country back.  Don't tantalize me with freedom zones and tell me you are doing something good for me.  That is a lie and you know it.  Despite all of the talk about freedom coming from Senator Paul's mouth, this is still all about government power, control and regulatory expansion.  That disgusts me and it should disgust you.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Am A Slave With Many Masters

What is a slave?  I suspect most people conjure up images, accurate or not, of the pre-civil war south when I ask that question.   The term itself is essentially pejorative.  I don't believe anyone ever uses it in a positive fashion.  To be a slave is not a good thing.  I asked the internet for a definition of the term.  Here is what I found:
A slave is "a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them."  Another online dictionary said that a slave is "a person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something."  I would like to add a definition of my own.  I believe it is fair to say that a slave is a person who is forced to give the fruits of his labor to another person or entity.
How much of your income do you have to surrender before you can properly be called a slave?  In the biblical book of Genesis the Egyptians describe themselves as slaves of Pharaoh when they were required to give up 20% of their annual income to him.   Some people might consider that a bit of a stretch.  After all, isn't it the case that slaves should have to give up all that they produce?  Isn't that the very definition of slavery?  Well, not exactly.  No slave gives up everything he produces.  He has to eat, drink and rest.  Those things require money. Even if everything is turned over to the master, the master has to spend some of the profits to take care of his slaves.  In the middle ages the practice of serfdom was common.  From what I can determine, a serf would usually pay somewhere around 33% of his annual income to the lord.  So I am not sure if I can define slavery by a percentage of income that is stolen from the slave.  Let's just say it is a lot of money.
The other aspects of slavery contained in the above definitions focus upon the lack of freedom experienced by the slave.  He is described as being "forced to obey" his master."  He is also described as being "strongly influenced and controlled by something."  Based upon these definitions, and the impetus of history, I will conclude that a slave is anyone who is forced to give up 33% or more of his annual income to people he is forced to obey.  That being the case, I am a slave with many masters.  If you do not like that terminology, at least admit that I am a serf with many lords.  That is inescapably true.
I just conducted an estimate of the taxes I am going to pay for 2013.  When I totaled up my various tax bills it came to a grand total of 33% of my income for the year.  A full 1/3 of everything I made this past year has been taken from me, against my will, and given to a list of masters that is exceedingly long.  They will use my money for a long list of activities, most of which I find morally objectionable.  My calculations were not exhaustive.  I am sure I have left out many hidden taxes.  In fact, I only totaled up my bill for six popular taxes.  They are:  social security tax (12%), federal income tax (10%),  state income tax (4%),  medicare tax (3%), real estate taxes (2%) and general sales taxes (2%). Let me tell you a little bit about each of these six masters and what they do with the money they have forcibly extracted from me.
My most powerful oppressor is Social Security.  He takes 12% of my income, and threatens to take more each year.  There is nothing I can do to escape this master.  He tries to appease me, as he is picking my pocket, by informing me that the day will come when he will give some of my money back to me.  I don't believe him.  Even if he does return a pittance someday, it pales in comparison to what he has taken from me over the years.  Social Security takes 12% of my annual income and gives it to people that he likes who do not want to work for a living any longer.  He calls them "retirees".  Many, if not most, of these retirees have received far more from Social Security than they ever paid to him.  As a result, they really like him.  They will do everything to make sure the funds keep flowing.  And there are a lot of them.  Those of us who are not retirees have no chance at ever changing the terms of our serfdom.
Some of my fellow slaves have hatched a plan that they think will help them get some of their money back.  They have decided to spend everything they have left over after the master takes his cut on present expenditures.  They are going to save nothing.  They are going to invest nothing.  They have decided to make sure that at some random age in the future they have absolutely no way to financially support themselves.  Then they will qualify for some money from the master.  Then they will be totally enslaved to him.  They think that is a good idea.  I don't.
Federal Income Tax (FIT)  takes 10% of my annual income.  I have it lucky.  There are a lot of people who make much more money than I do.  Those poor folks can have up to 30% of their annual income taken from them by FIT.  Still, many folks like myself who only have 10% of our income taken away continue to clamor for FIT to take even more income from the men and women who make more money than we do.  They call it  their "beggar thy neighbor" policy.  It sounds like a bad idea to me.  I don't see how asking FIT to take more money from my neighbor is good for anyone.  But they don't see it that way.  These folks tell me FIT should take more of our money because he spends it on such worthy projects.  Here are a few of them:
  • A significant portion of my stolen income is used to pay for the men and women who fill the enormous bureaucracy that FIT employees to do all his good deeds.  My money pays their salaries, their pensions, their health insurance benefits and their disability programs.  That means I have tens of thousands of masters, all of whom have a moral claim on my money to pay their bills.  Strangely, FIT tells me that many of the sub-masters I pay money to are "non-essential."  If that is so, why am I paying them?
  • Another large chunk of my annual income is used to pay for the military that ostensibly exists to protect me from foreign invaders.  They must do an extraordinary job.  I haven't been invaded yet.  Maybe that is because they are extremely proactive.  I pay for 164,000 soldiers to live in 150 foreign countries to make sure that none of those foreign citizens come to the Socialist Democracy of Amerika to attack me.  I guess I should thank the soldiers for their service.  Oh wait, I almost forgot, I also pay for the lifetime health care needs of these soldiers as well as lifetime pensions for the more important among them.  That seems like thanks enough to me.
  • If my neighbor decides he does not want to go to work anymore, I pay him a monthly stipend.  If my neighbor decides that he does not want to spend his money on food anymore, I pay him a monthly stipend.  If my local farmer decides he does not want to plant his crops this year, I pay him an annual stipend to leave the fields fallow. All of these payments go through good, old FIT.
  • As a young child I was terrified that I might one day be scalped by Indians.  I guess I watched too many television westerns.  Well, the day has come and it is true.  I pay for all of the medical bills of people who are called "Indians" through a program known as "Indian Health Services".  I really am getting scalped after all. 
State Income Tax (SIT) takes 4% of my annual income and gives it to such nice folks as government schools, local colleges, prisons, judges and an entire host of state government employees who force me to work for them every single day of the year.   I don't see why I should be forced to pay for government schools that teach children things I believe are morally wrong, but who am I to protest?  I certainly do not see why I should be providing room and board for prisoners, but SIT knows better than I do. I also have a hard time understanding why my money should be used to pay for the Public Employee Retirement plan (PERA).  Thanks to the funds that I cough up, PERA is able to deliver annual market-beating returns on its pension funds.  That is easy to do when your investment account is subsidized with taxpayer dollars.  Oh well, who am I to complain?  SIT must know what he is doing or he wouldn't be my master.
Medicare Tax takes 3% of everything I make.  He uses that money to pay the medical bills for all those retirees.  Apparently it is not enough that they receive retirement pensions until the day they die.  They also are entitled to use my money to pay for their medical bills.
For the privilege of living in my home I must pay Jefferson County an annual real estate tax.  He calls it a tax but it is really just a rental payment on the land that he owns.  You see, I don't own my home.  Even if I owned it "free and clear" and without any mortgage, I would still not own it.  How do I know this?  It is quite simple actually.  If I do not pay my annual rental fee to Jefferson County he will send one of his "peace officers" to throw me off my property and then proceed to auction it off to the highest bidder.  How can I claim to own something when I can lose it simply by not paying the rental fee?  In exchange for my serfdom to Jefferson County I receive more bad teaching from the local government schools as well as the privilege of employing thousands of bureaucrats at the county level. They enforce myriad rules and regulations in regards to my home, car and personal property.  They tell me they are keeping me safe but I don't feel that way.
Anytime I spend a nickel of the money I am permitted to keep I have to pay an additional tax to various masters.  Sometimes it is to SIT.  Other times it is to Jefferson County.  Sometimes it is to another master I have never met called RTD.  In fact, so many masters collect my money through the sales tax I do not even know who all of them are.  I trust they are all good people doing good things with the money they have stolen from me.
So there you have it.  My various masters keep telling me that I am a free man and that I should thank them daily for my freedom.  They tell me that things are much worse everywhere else in the world and that I should thank them for their protection.  But I don't feel very free and I don't feel very protected.  All I feel is oppressed. I am strongly influenced and controlled by my masters.  I am forced to obey my masters.  I give up at least 1/3 of my annual income to my masters.  I disagree with just about everything that my masters do with my money but I am required to obey them and to continue making my payments to them.  That is why I am forced to the conclusion that I am a slave with many masters.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Sensitivity" Police Persecute Christians

We are all way too sensitive.  I know that in today's therapeutic state it is unpopular and politically incorrect to believe the old truism but it is still true...sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.  Modern men disagree with the essential truth of that classic assertion because everyone today wants to attain official victim status and the privileges conveyed upon their class by government simply for being a member of a victim class.  Homosexuals and blacks are two groups that are especially dedicated to pursuing victim status and its related fruit.
Justine Sacco is a South African who posted a comment to her Twitter account just prior to boarding a plane from the Socialist Democracy of Amerika to South Africa last week.  Here is what she posted, "Going to Africa.   Hope I don't get AIDS.  Just kidding.  I'm white!"  Her comments were picked up by some busy body who took offense at them and quickly went viral on the internet.  The response to her comments has been utterly predictable.  She was fired from her job.  Her Twitter account was closed by Twitter against her will.  I just saw a report on CNBC television about her comments and the three talking heads on the screen all alleged that she was a bigot, an idiot and "highly insensitive" as evidenced by what she wrote.  They all agreed that any and all punishments short of execution were suitable for her egregious offense. Just like the Duck Dynasty boys, all the media types are talking about the tweet and there is near universal agreement that Ms. Sacco is worse than Hitler.  All of this just because of a couple of comments about Africa, AIDS and her skin color. 
All of which she wrote is true, by the way.  She was going to Africa.  Indeed that is her home.  She is white, as many South Africans are.  She does not want to contract AIDS.  Who would?  The AIDS epidemic is more severe in Africa than any other place in the world.  It is more severe among black Africans than anywhere else in the world.  Rampant sexual promiscuity is the primary reason for the out of control AIDS epidemic in Africa.  All of these things are objective facts that should not cause offense to any objective observer.  Sadly the world today has very few objective observers in it.  Most folks are looking for something to become highly offended by in order to obtain their cherished victim status and all of the government transfer payments and privileges associated with that classification. 
Sacco quickly issued the obligatory public apology.  She wrote this to her local South African newspaper, "Words cannot express how sorry I am, and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of South Africa, who I have offended due to a needless and careless tweet.  There is an AIDS crisis taking place in this country, that we read about in America, but do not live with or face on a continuous basis. Unfortunately, it is terribly easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that one has never witnessed firsthand.  For being insensitive to this crisis -- which does not discriminate by race, gender or sexual orientation, but which terrifies us all uniformly -- and to the millions of people living with the virus, I am ashamed."  Blah, blah, blah, the apology seemingly went on forever.  I grew tired of her groveling and clicked to another web page.  We all are aware it does not matter how much she grovels now.  She is a member of the pariah class known as "the insensitive".  She is doomed.
On the other hand, Christianity has been labeled "the opiate of the masses" by a famous economist and political theorist from the past.  Christians have been endlessly criticized for engaging in the crusades waged upon presumably innocent Muslims in the Middle East of the past.  Many people in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika share the belief that Christianity is responsible for the death of millions of innocents throughout the ages as people were persecuted when Christians were in power.  Christians have been accused of supporting black, chattel slavery in the southern US.  Christians have been accused of oppressing women, children and racial minorities.  Christians are routinely portrayed in movies as weak-minded numbskulls who are so detached from reality they have no conception about how to live in the real world.  Christians are regularly cast as those who narrow-mindedly  oppose anything that is new or progressive.  They are regarded as idiots, fools and second class citizens.  
It is fashionable to criticize, mock and ridicule Christians and Christianity in the Social Democracy of Amerika.  Christian belief in the immorality of adultery and fornication is cast aside as old fashioned and judgmental.  Christian belief in the immorality of homosexuality is re-classified as hate speech and subject to prosecution by the civil authorities.  Christian belief in the miracles of the Bible is called superstitious and any who profess to belief the Bible are regarded as sub-intellecutal and unworthy of participating in intellectual discussions.  Christian beliefs about creation are forbidden to be taught in government schools and those who profess those beliefs are ridiculed mercilessly by those who believe in the doctrinal tenets of the government religion of Evolution.  The Christian belief that Jesus is the only way to God is deemed hateful and hated by all who are not Christians.  
There are endless streams of comments available on Twitter, Facebook and the internet that disparage, ridicule, persecute and try to offend anyone who professes to be a Christian.  Google "stupid Christians" or "idiotic Christians" and just look at what comes up.  Here is one representative example.  (read the entire page if you want a surprise ending) It is entitled "Myth Begins Where Knowledge Ends".  This is what a kind, thoughtful, warm, caring and sensitive person has to say about Christians:
"We are so sick of hearing those ignorant and self-righteous Christians complain about the problems in our society.  Boo stinkin’ hoo. They’re too stupid to know they’re the ones causing all the problems. They’ll fight to keep a fetus alive, but then they refuse to support single mothers or provide birth control.  Hypocrites. They try to shove their morality down our throats, but in reality they’re a bunch of self-righteous bullies who probably watch kiddy porn on their computers, pick up prostitutes by the airport or solicit sex in public bathrooms. Christian women? A bunch of frigid Betty Crockers who clutch their pearls and demand censorship if they hear a top 40 song. You have to cut them a little slack, though. Their husbands treat them like crap and most likely beat them into submission. These idiots cling to the Bible like it’s a how-to manual. Yeah, right. A book written thousands of years ago about a magical sky god has relevance today. They love talking about their Jesus, but they won’t do what he says. Jesus talks about not judging others, yet these frauds are the first ones to throw stones. Christians are a hateful, mean and nasty bunch of losers. Thankfully, there are some folks who are using social media to fight back against these ignoramuses and pointing out just how stupid and hypocritical they really are."
Well, what do you think about that?  Christians are purveyors of pornography who routinely visit prostitutes. Christian men beat their wives.  Christians are hateful losers.  Christians are responsible for all of life's problems.  Those are the personal beliefs of the author of the article.  And, as he points out, he is not alone.  The internet is filled with similar sites and sentiments.  Now, let me ask you a question.  When is the last time you saw a media report about the insensitivity displayed towards Christians on Twitter, the internet and television?  When is the last time you saw media talking heads universally agreeing that what was written above is wrong?  Yep, that is what I thought.  I have never heard nor seen a report of that type either.  So one woman makes a one sentence joke (you can decide whether it was good or bad) and it becomes a national media sensation.  All the blacks of the world unite in condemning her.  One Louisiana duck hunter paraphrases a Bible verse about homosexuality and it becomes a week long media circus in which practically everyone comes rushing to the defense of homosexuals and homosexuality.  Yet people who hate Christians and Christianity write and speak endlessly about how evil Christians are and nobody gives a rip.  Now why do you think that is the case?
I am a Christian and I believe the author of the article is free to say whatever he wants.  His words do not hurt me in any way.  I am in no way offended by what he has written.  I am not running to the national media or the federal government asking for their support of me and my cause.  I believe in the First Amendment right of free speech.  I believe he should be able to write and say whatever he wants.  I am not his judge, God is.  I am not calling for his arrest.  I am not calling for his prosecution under the provisions of the hate speech statutes. I am not even mad at him.  This is what I expect out of people who live consistently with their non-Christian beliefs.  The Bible has already told me that this is the way pagans will treat us believers and I an neither surprised nor offended by it.  Not only am I not doing these things, none of my fellow Christians are either.  We are all strangely silent when it comes to asking for media and government support, protection and authentication of our position.  We take our verbal licks and go on.  Nobody who is a Christian seems to mind.  We all know and understand that sticks and stones will break our bones but mere words will never hurt us.  We also know and understand that throughout history, and in dozens of countries around the world at this very minute, Christians are being beaten with sticks and stones.  They are being ordered to recant their beliefs or die.  None of this surprises us.  The Jesus so many talk about on this day has already told us who follow Him that these things are going to happen.  We are prepared for it.  We expect it.
Can we all admit the truth?  As real Christians around the world celebrate the incarnation and birth of Jesus on this day and millions of pagans celebrate the winter solstice, materialism, or whatever it is pagans celebrate when they pretend to celebrate Christmas, let us all admit that there is a huge double standard in the SDA when it comes down to "sensitivity".  Christians are expected, under penalty of law, to be "sensitive" to homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, liars, worshipers of the government (aka idol worship), blacks, women and dozens of other groups given special privileged status by the government.  At the exact same time, it is open season on Christians and their beliefs.  There is nothing that can be said or written about Christians or Christianity that will ever been deemed "insensitive".  It is impossible to commit a hate speech offense against Christians or Christianity in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  Christians know why this is the situation today.  It is because we have the truth and the world and all of its members hates the truth with a passion.  Of course, what I just wrote is, according to the world's legal system, a prime example of hate speech and is highly insensitive to the government protected classes.  Oh well.  Amen ("Amen" means "so be it" for those of you who do not know our secret code speech).

Immediately after I finished writing the above post three new talking heads appeared on CNBC.  Guess what their feature story was about?  Yep, the Sacco tweet.  All three agreed that Sacco's actions were "indefensible" and "reprehensible".  Meanwhile this comment was posted on a website called "Godlike Productions", "Christians are idiots. 99% of these people who believe the Earth is 6000 years old, don't know the sun is a star and don't know why the moon shows up in different places in the sky are Christians. Christians can not even put up a good argument about why their religion is true, I've asked a few Christians about how their religion is true, most of the responses I got were 'It's because Jesus died for your sins!', 'Satan and demons are getting to you man!', 'Believe in Jesus or you will go to hell!'"  To this man I say, go ahead, don't believe in Jesus.  It is no skin off my back.  Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Don't Blame Target For Being Raped

By now everyone is aware of the fact that the retailer Target was the proverbial target of computer hackers who managed to steal credit and debit card information from 40 million customer accounts.  A story on CNNMoney yesterday had this to say about the crime:
"The major hack of discount retailer Target that stole credit and debit card data from 40 million accounts was still reverberating several days later.  Target acknowledged the hack on Thursday -- three weeks after customer data was first scooped up on Black Friday.  On Sunday, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company had notified millions of affected customers for whom it had email addresses."
This is not the first time a profit seeking business has been hacked by criminals intent upon obtaining credit card information.  Once the credit card information is obtained it can circulate around the black market.  The information itself is valuable and it can be bought and sold by members of the criminal underground.  Additional unscrupulous fellows can then use the information they purchase to run up bills on other people's credit cards.  Even worse, in the case of debit cards, criminals can clandestinely enter the bank accounts of the debit card holders and empty them.  That happened to a lady in Atlanta over the weekend.  Here is her story:
 "'You think you have money in your account, and then you have nothing. You have beyond nothing,' said Gina Sekula. 'It's incredibly frustrating.' Sekula says she is out of more than $400 after she shopped at Target right after Thanksgiving. The money was stolen from her hacked debit card.  Sekula says there were three separate fraudulent transactions from her banking account – two smaller ones and then one large transaction.  'Debit is probably worse because they can take your cash,' Sekula said. 'With credit they are taking your credit. With a debit account, they get everything that is in your checking account and then more.'"
She makes a good point, although I do not know how a thief could actually take "more" than what was in her account.  A stolen debit card really can be much worse than a stolen credit card.  The story went on to report how she was responding to the crime. "Now that her checking account is wiped out, she can't pay her bills.  'Those checks bounced and I had overdraft charges from those checks. So on top of everything else, I have these bills that I paid, and now the checks are bouncing,' Sekula said.
All is not lost however.  The story concluded by saying, "the New Hampshire Attorney General's office says if this happens to you, you're likely to get your money back. 'If a consumer reports the loss immediately, the consumer should not lose the money that's in that credit card loss, but the bank that owns that credit card will have to eat that loss,' said Richard Head of the New Hampshire Attorney General's office."
Now I find that very interesting, don't you?  A criminal steals a lady's debit card number and wipes out her bank account.  It should be quite clear to all objective observers of the situation that the person who stole the debit card number is the perpetrator and the woman who had her bank account emptied is the victim of the crime.  What is the status of the bank in this criminal event?  It should also be obvious to all that the bank, at the very worst, is neutral in the criminal event that transpired.  It is logically possible to see the bank as an additional victim of the thief's criminal activity.  It is impossible to see the bank as an additional perpetrator of the crime, no matter what the circumstances.   Yet the Attorney General of New Hampshire steadfastly asserts that "the bank that owns the credit cared will have to eat that loss".  Why should the bank have to suffer the loss?  The bank does not "own" the credit card, as the Attorney General alleges.  The customer owns the credit card. The bank merely issues the credit that was stolen or, in this case, provides the bank account for the customer.  In the case of a debit card the bank is an unwilling bystander to the criminal event.  In the case of a credit card the bank is an additional victim of the thief's criminal activity.  In no case is the bank a perpetrator of the crime and yet the bank is required to suffer the loss. Outrageous!  Only in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika could the victim be held responsible for the crime committed against him.  But it gets worse.
How have people responded to the criminal attack upon Target?  Has there been an outpouring of sympathy for the discount retailer?  Have feel-good news stories filled the local nightly news broadcasts telling the story of how innocent Target was savagely attacked by evil computer hackers?  Have the citizens of this land expressed their outrage at the criminals who perpetrated the crime?  Have there been repeated calls for the FBI to make this a top priority investigation?  Have there been politicians stepping forward who are promising to craft legislation that will make such criminal events subject to the death penalty and thereby create a powerful disincentive for unsavory persons to do this in the future?  No, none of those things have been taking place.  In an bizarre twist of events that defies logic and that could only take place in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, Target has been classified as the criminal in the event that took place and is being subjected to persecution and prosecution for its actions.  Again according to the CNNMoney article, here are just a few of the things that have happened since Target was viciously attacked by yet unknown criminals:
1.  Two U.S. senators jumped in with demands for investigations. The goal of the investigations is to get the senators reelected and find some way to prosecute Target for the fact that the company was the victim of a criminal attack. 
2.  Chuck Schumer called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to report on whether retailers should be required to encrypt customer card data. 
3.  Richard Blumenthal called for a Federal Trade Commission probe, saying "it appears that Target may have failed to employ reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect personal information."
4.  Plaintiffs in California sought to bring a class action lawsuit and claimed that Target "failed to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices." 
So let me get this straight.  Target is the victim of a computer hacking and SDA senators are busily preparing legislation and crafting investigations designed to punish Target for what happened to it?  Others are calling upon the federal bureaucracy to create reams of additional rules and regulations that would all be imposed upon Target, the victim of the attack, in the future.  Others are calling upon a federal bureaucracy to try and establish the legal precedent that Target should be held responsible for its own victimization.  And, of course, the lawyers have gathered together to sue Target because it was the victim of a criminal attack.  What is going on here?  Has everyone gone insane?
Imagine the outrage that would be expressed if the circumstances of this crime were just slightly altered.  Imagine for a moment that Target was an innocent young woman who was brutally raped on her way home from work.  Do you believe that SDA Senators would be calling for investigations into her behavior to discover what she did to provoke the attack?  Do you believe that Chuck Schumer would be calling upon the federal bureaucracy to create additional laws that would force all women to carry guns to protect themselves from rapists?  Do you believe that Richard Blumentahal would be calling upon the federal government to investigate the situation with the goal of proving that the woman brought the rape upon herself because she did not "implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices"?  Of course not.  None of those things would happen.  Yet that is precisely what is happening to Target.  Why?
Certainly Target, despite being one of the victims of this criminal act, has done everything it possibly can to help those who have had their personal information stolen.  The CNNMoney report concluded by saying that, "Target said it would offer affected customers a free credit monitoring service and set up a telephone hotline. It also offered a store-wide 10% discount on Saturday and Sunday.  The company said it 'began investigating the incident as soon as we learned of it' through a 'leading third-party forensics firm.' The company said it also notified banks and law enforcement."  Target, a victim of this cyber-hacking, is doing everything it can to help the other victims of the cyber-hacking.  What do they get for their good deed?  They get prosecuted by the government, subjected to congressional investigations, buried under a forthcoming body of onerous new regulations and sued by the very people they are desperately trying to help.  Again, I must ask, why is this happening?
I believe we have all figured out the answer to that question.  We all know why Target is being blamed for its own raping.  Target is being blamed because under the terms of injustice routinely administered in the SDA the actual perpetrator of a crime is rarely, if ever,  held responsible for his actions.  This is especially true if he is hard to capture and unlikely to have any money in his pockets if and when he is actually captured.   We must never forget that we live in a socialist society.  Socialism worships the State and persecutes the free market.  Socialism hates profit seeking businesses and Target is a successful profit seeking business.  So what happens when a member of a pariah class in our society gets raped?  Nothing.  Just like black women in the pre-civil rights south could be raped at will by their white masters, so government bureaucrats, career politicians, lawyers and envy filled citizens can rape Target at will.  If Target cries "foul", it is blamed for its own raping.  Profit seeking businesses are evil and get what they deserve, we are told.  There should be no sympathy for profit seeking businesses when they are raped, we are instructed.  They were asking for it, is the steady refrain.  They had it coming, is the final conclusion. 
Are you a profit seeking businessman?  Expect persecution and prosecution from both the government and your customers.  It is the American way.  As we all join our hearts together to celebrate this holiday season let's all remember the vibrant and essential fact of Amerikan life.....all profit seeking businesses are evil and they all owe us big time.  Happy holidays to all except Target, for it is worse than Hitler.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wrong Reactions To The Arapaho HS Shooting

In any given year about 40 people will be murdered in Denver.  That is just the number of people murdered in Denver proper, it does not include the entire Denver metro area.  Try as I might, I can't find a number for the murder rate for the entire metropolitan area.  So I will have to extrapolate.  I did discover that Aurora, a Denver suburb, averages around 20 murders per year.  Given the size and population of Denver relative to the rest of the metro area I would estimate that someone is murdered in the metro area about every three days.  That would mean the Denver metro area would experience about 100 murders per year.
Last week a selfish, arrogant and hot-tempered teenager, who was upset with his debate coach for suspending him from the debate team, took a shotgun to Arapaho High School and shot an innocent young lady.  His goal was to kill the debate team coach.  The young lady just happened to get in the way as he was trying to find the coach in the library.  As of this time she is in critical condition.  He shot her at point-blank range with a shotgun directly into her face.  The armed guard stationed at the high school was on the teenage gunman immediately.  When confronted by the armed guard the cowardly teenager shot and killed himself.  The entire event was over in a couple of minutes. 
You can just imagine the media coverage since then.  Images of Columbine and the Aurora theater massacre have been incessantly conjured up.  All of the usual suspects have had their time on the nightly news to say how they feel about what happened and what should be done in the future.  Everyone agrees it was a terrible tragedy and that there is something government can do to make sure it never happens again.  Of course, their opinions about what government should do to make sure it never happens again vary wildly and often contradict each other.
As usual, I do not know how to react to the shooting.  When I think about her, which I do not do very often, I feel very sorry for the innocent young lady who was shot in the face.  I watch the television news coverage and hear how the "city is mourning" for the young lady.  I don't know how a city can mourn.  I wonder how far the mourning boundary extends out from the school.  At what geo-political line is the mourning boundary drawn?  Is it wrong for those on the inside of that line to not mourn?  Is it wrong for those on the outside of that line to mourn?  I don't know.  I just know that the nightly news informs me that everyone around is mourning for the young lady.
I am amazed and confused over the message I hear that I am expected to mourn over the shooting of a young woman I do not know and not expected to mourn over the other people who are murdered every third day in the Denver metro area.  I rarely hear about those folks.  I am sure people cared about them as much as they care about the young woman from the high school.  Are they all drug dealers and therefore not worthy of mourning?  I don't know.  That would be hard to imagine.  Still there is something about the shooting of a teenager at a government school that seems to captivate the minds and emotions of people who live near the area and hear the story.  Is a teenager's blood more righteous than anyone else?  Do I have a moral duty to care about the lives of teenagers more than the lives of anyone else?  John Denver once asked this question in one of his songs.  He sang, "Is a hero's blood more righteous than a hobo's sip of wine?"  I don't know.
There is one thing I do know about this situation, however.  I know that when things like this happen people of all sorts are compelled to speak on behalf of God.  For some reason many folks feel a need to defend the name of God when some deranged teenager goes on a homicidal rampage.  That seems very strange to me.  There is a doctrine called the sovereignty of God.  It is an old doctrine and associated with that hated theological system known as Calvinism.  Very few people believe it today.  The doctrine of the sovereignty of God asserts that God is sovereign over all things that come to pass.  All things includes what people generally refer to as bad things.  In other words, everything that happens is God's will.  Nothing happens that is not God's will.  You can see why so many people hate the doctrine.
What is strange to me is how people need to continually assert that God is not sovereign.  In other words, folks keep telling me that when bad things happen God is not involved in them.  Rather, He is just a passive by-stander to the events.  He may have strong feelings about what He is witnessing but He does not do anything about it.  If that doctrine is true (we can call it the doctrine of the impotence of God, if you like) then why should people spend so much time and mental energy defending God against charges that could never be leveled against Him?  It seems to me that the only reason to try to defend God in the face of horrific events is because one already knows and understands that He is sovereign.  Otherwise, what is the point of the defense against a baseless charge?
Reverend Michael Carney of Centennial wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post about the Arapaho high school shooting.  Here is what he had to say about what happened, "God weeps at these tragedies and is present in the midst of shock, pain and grief."  I bet you most people who read his letter agreed.  I bet a few tears were shed.  This is the standard response to all things we like to label as a tragedy.  God saw it but could do nothing about it but emote.  But what if God really is sovereign?  What if God really did will for the shooting to take place?  Then it is hard to imagine that He would be weeping over something that He decreed to take place.
You are probably very angry with me right now.  Even suggesting that God would have anything to do with a high school shooting is anathema to you.  It shouldn't be.  If you are angry it is because you, either knowingly or unknowingly, subscribe to the doctrine that asserts that human beings are morally good and innocent.  If human beings are innocent then God is unjust when He decrees bad things to happen to them.  However, if the opposite is the case and human beings are actually morally bad and guilty of sin, both original and actual, then it follows that God is completely just when He decrees bad things to happen to us.  I happen to agree with Church history and the Church fathers.  I believe the orthodox Christian doctrine of original sin is true.  I believe the doctrine of total depravity is true.  I believe we are all deserving of death for our sin.  That includes old folks like me, teenagers and the newborn babe.  The question that we should be asking at this time is not "why did this horrible tragedy happen?"   The question we should be asking is "why did this not happen sooner?"   Or perhaps, "why did this not happen to me?"  Or perhaps, "why does God allow me to draw a breath given how offensive I am to him every single day?"  But nobody asks those questions these days.  Even bringing them up is an example of "hate speech" I suspect.  Write your congressman.  Maybe she can craft a law making the preaching of the doctrine of original sin illegal.  We sure don't want anyone walking around feeling bad about himself as a result of hearing someone tell him he is a sinner in need of redemption, do we?
I need to write about one more wrong reaction to the high school shooting.  Another letter to the editor showed a photograph of a billboard across the street from the high school advertising a "Gun Show" to be held in downtown Denver on December 21st and 22nd.  Under that photograph James Tugman of Centennial said, "If you still don't think guns require reasonable regulation, then perhaps you are the problem."  Now that is a very interesting to say.  As most of you know, Colorado just passed a whole series of new gun regulations (motivated by public outcry about the Aurora theater massacre) that  were designed to make sure that what just happened at the high school would never happen again?  How did that work out?  All the politicians who passed the new regulations said that they were "reasonable" and did not infringe on anyone's right to bear arms.  And guess what?  They didn't work.  It happened again.  So what do we do now?
James seemingly believes that the Colorado legislature needs to pass another bill filled with all sorts of new "reasonable" regulations.  Based upon the photograph above his letter, I believe one of those regulations would decree that all guns shows are illegal.  Anyone who does not believe that all gun shows should be made illegal is a "part of the problem".  I am not sure what that means but it does not sound good.  I don't think guns shows should be illegal.  Does that mean I am guilty of shooting the young woman at the high school?  I don't see how that could be but I tend to not see a lot of things when it comes to arguments for more government rules and regulations.
I won't pretend to tell you how to react to the high school shooting.  It is your business.  I will endeavor to mind my own business.  But when people start telling me that God is weeping over something He decreed to pass and that I am guilty of attempted murder for not wanting to ban gun shows I have to speak up and disagree. Those two reactions are just plain wrong.

PS.  The young lady mentioned above died over the weekend.  My condolences to her friends, family and to all those who cared about her.  What a sad world we live in.