San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My New Year's Resolutions For You

The Welsh are, by nature, an uncontrolling people.  By that I mean we almost never make any attempt to control the behavior of those who are around us.  There are many reasons for this.  We tend to be small, weak and frail when it comes to physical stature and attempting to control the behavior of others, especially the Irish, can often end up in fistfights.  We always lose fistfights so we endeavor to avoid them at all costs.  We are also a sensible people.  We know enough to know that it is truly impossible to control the behavior of other people, so why try?  We believe that all efforts at control should be self directed.  As a result we make our best attempt at control by seeking high levels of self-control.  Whether we are successful at that endeavor is for others to judge.   The mere fact that I am known as the Mad Welshman and the fact that I confess to being in a rage most of the time should tell you much about my success in the matter of self-control.
Today I am going to depart from Welsh tradition and engage in a feeble and pathetic attempt to control the behavior of others.  I realize that this blog has very little impact in the grand scheme of things.  I also realize that what I am about to do is utterly futile.  Nobody will change a single behavior as a result of what I write here today.  Still it makes me feel good to do it and today my motto (taken from Napoleon Dynamite) is to "do it if it feels good."  Writing a series of New Year's resolutions that I would love to see every person reading this blog follow makes me feel good so here goes.  Without further ado, here are my resolutions for the readers of this blog:
  1. Resolve to never participate in the political processes of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika again.  This includes voting, campaigning for your favorite candidate, putting signs in your front yard and running for office yourself.  All of the levels of government in this sad land are evil and destructive to your life and property.  All levels of government exist for the expressed purpose of curtailing your freedom and enslaving you.  Make a clean break and never go near government in any form again.
  2. If you have children and your children are enrolled in government schools, take them out immediately.  It does not matter if you home-school or enroll them in a private school of your choice, but you must get them out of the government indoctrination factories.  Government schools exist to create willing subjects for career politicians to command.  Government schools are enormous propaganda machines designed to indoctrinate and brain-wash your children into becoming worshipers of government.  Don't let that happen.
  3. Anytime a career politician promises to do something for you you must first ask this question, "How is this going to be paid for?"  Once you have asked that all important question you must ask one of two follow up questions.  Those questions are, "Why should I be forced to pay for something I do not want?" and "Why should my neighbor be forced to pay for something I do want?"  Once you have answered those questions I believe you will know which path to follow.
  4. Resolve to make yourself more aware of the crushing burden of government regulations in your life.  The citizens in this sad land have become so accustomed to the onerous weight of immoral regulations they have become the proverbial frog in a hot pot of water.  Never allow yourself to say that regulations are good because they might save someone's life.  Just today I read that the federal government is considering enacting a ban on inexpensive Christmas light strands.  Do you know why?  Because somewhere, sometime, somebody plugged too many of them into a single outlet and a fire was the result.  Now we all must pay for the foolish decision of one person.  The proposed Christmas light ban should throw you into an uncontrollable rage.  If it does not, work on it.  Build the rage, it will be good for you.
  5. To avoid a potential visit from the FBI, the CIA and Homeland Security for the last sentence I penned, I also hasten to point out that your goal in life should be to suffer in silence.  Government is here to judge us for our sin of worshiping government.  The more we worship government the more government we get.  The more government we get the worse our lives become and the more our freedom is destroyed.  That is the price we must pay for sinful idolatry.  Do not take up arms against our oppressors.  Do not rebel against authority.  When it comes to dealing with the government and its many evil agents you must keep your head down, your mouth shut and suffer in silence.
  6. Strive to overcome the deadly effects of envy.  Envy will destroy your life.  Envy is the basis for practically every political decision made in the SDA.  Envy will cause you to spend your entire life trying to control the behavior of others to the complete neglect of your own.  Avoid envy at all costs.
  7. Realize that all men are sinful and prone to sinful behavior.  Both politicians and the people who vote for them are sinful.  Both cops and the people they shoot are sinful.  Both you and I are sinful.  Given the reality of sin in this world you must adjust your expectations for your fellow human beings.  In particular I would encourage you to expect nothing.  Remember this axiom, "Everyone always and only thinks and talks about themselves" and you will go far in life.  Your goal should be to get to the metaphysical point where you are surprised by kindness rather than shocked by cruelty.
  8. Study the law of the land with the goal being to see that the law of the land and moral behavior are not the same thing.  Conservatives love to talk about the "rule of law" as if the law itself is moral.  Recognizing that the law is often the exact opposite of morality will help you to see that the rule of law is more often nothing but vindictive and petty tyranny.  When the law of the SDA intersects with true morality it is a mere accident.  If you seek true moral law, study the law of God found in the Bible.
  9. Your body matters.  The mind/body interaction is important.  If you want your mind to operate at high capacity your body must do so as well.  Your body, just like your mind, needs daily exercise.  Make sure that you get it.
  10. Your soul matters as well.  If you have not repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior you desperately need to do so today.  Make this the year you join the heavenly throngs in worshipping the God of the universe forever.
  11. Put down your PED (Personal Electronic Device).  PEDs are death.  They destroy relationships.  They destroy inter-personal communication.  They render their users incapable of seeing anything around them.   They turn you into a mindless automaton.  Keep your PED turned off unless you need to use it for a specific reason and then, after you have finished your work, turn it off again.  Come back to the real world.  It is filled with fascinating and beautiful things, things far more amazing than what you see on your PED screen.  Put down your PED and live.
  12. Above all else, never try to control the behavior of others.  It is a complete waste of your time.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading.
 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Governor Cuomo Attributed With Omniscience

I read a very interesting letter to the editor of the Denver Post last week.  The author was a fellow named Jerry Katz, of Englewood, Colorado.  Jerry is, I believe, a perfect example of the the mentality of those who oppose hydraulic fracking.  His opposition is not based upon any material evidence that fracking is harmful to anyone or anything.  It can't be because there is no material evidence that fracking is harmful to anything or anyone.  Confronted by this harsh reality Jerry does what all wild-eyed environmentalists do.  He consults with his god.  His god is government and its pantheon of career politicians and regulators.
As many of you are probably aware, New York state has enacted a ban on fracking throughout the entire state.  Kate Sinding, director of the Community Fracking Defense Project, stated that, “Governor Cuomo has kept his promise to let only sound science — not pressure from powerful oil and gas companies — be his guide on fracking.”   Strangely however, Governor Cuomo said this about his scientific understanding of the alleged dangers of fracking, "“I’m not a scientist, let the scientists decide. It’s very complicated, very controversial, academic studies come out all different ways. Let the experts decide.”  Despite the fact that Cuomo acknowledged that "studies come out all different ways," he took the forceful step of banning all fracking.  So much for integrity of character and dedication to the scientific facts. I guess you can do anything you want when you are omniscient. 
What have the experts decided about the potential dangers of fracking?  That depends entirely upon who is paying them.  Not surprisingly, those who are being paid by various environmental organizations that want to ban all fracking have concluded that the process is extremely dangerous and responsible for dozens of negative impacts around the country.  People are getting sick, hair is falling out, cattle are falling over dead and little children are getting cancer all because a well site is located within a hundred miles of someone.  Fracking proponents argue that fracking has been going on for decades and, to date, not one single bit of hard evidence has been produced to show that the process creates a risk to man or beast.  But the debate over the potential risks of fracking is not the point of this blog today.  I want to consider the mentality of those who oppose fracking instead.
Jerry begins his letter to the editor by recounting that, "Your editorial criticizes New York state for banning fracking because of health risks."  So far, so good.  He goes on to betray his basic presuppositional bias in the final sentence of his letter.  He writes, "There is no science to suggest that any state can allow fracking without long-term health risks."  Did you get that?  Do you see how Jerry has framed the terms of the argument?  Read his last sentence again if you need to.  Got it?
The scientific basis for Jerry's argument in opposition to fracking and in favor of Cuomo's ban on all fracking in New York is the ridiculous belief that any profit seeking business that wishes to engage in any dominion activity must first prove that actually engaging in that dominion activity will never have any negative outcomes prior to being permitted to act.  Jerry does not cite any scientific evidence in support of the position that fracking is doing real harm to humans and their property.  On the contrary, the lack of scientific evidence in support of his position becomes his strongest argument against fracking.  He believes that any company that wishes to engage in fracking must first prove, in advance, that fracking will have no negative consequences upon humans or their property.  That, of course, is impossible.  Since it is impossible for a profit seeking oil company to guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen as a result of fracking, Jerry believes that all fracking should be banned forever.
Applying Jerry's argument to other historical situations yields some humorous results.   According to the Jerry Principle, Hoover Dam should never have been built.  People died while constructing the dam.  People dying is a negative outcome.  Allowing the construction of the dam certainly did not consider the "long-term health risks" of the people who lost their lives in the process.  It should never have been allowed to proceed.  Neither should the trans-continental railroad.  People died on that project.  Neither should the mission to the moon have been allowed.  People died in that project.  Neither should the space shuttle have been permitted to go forward.  People died in that project.  Neither should the interstate highway system have been constructed.  People died, and continue to die, as a direct result of the interstate highway system.  Indeed,  I am hard pressed to come up with any example of a dominion activity (both those engaged in by the free market and the government) that has not resulted in someone getting killed.  Under the Jerry Principle government should have acted to suppress all of those activities on the grounds that it was impossible to guarantee that someone would not be hurt in the future.
Jerry's argument is typical of all believers in environmentalism.  They consistently flee to the argument that nothing should be allowed to take place unless those who are involved in the process can first prove to government that there will be zero negative consequences.  Since proving zero negative consequences in future outcomes is impossible, the environmentalists always win the argument.  When government steps in and enacts a ban upon things like fracking it is making a strong assertion as well.  When Cuomo banned all fracking in New York, despite the fact that he admitted he had no scientific evidence for doing so, he did so because he is a strong believer in the omniscient power of government.  He and his followers believe they have actually saved lives as a result of his ban.  They believe they know for certain that the negative outcomes that would have occurred under fracking will now not occur and lives have been saved.  Praise be to government and the career politicians who have once again saved us from evil, profit seeking businessmen.
Will fracking have negative outcomes in the future?  Of course it will.  All dominion activity has some degree of negative outcomes.  When I build a house I must first cut down a tree. That is a negative outcome for the tree but I am happy to accept that negative outcome in light of the benefits of the positive outcome of a new home.  When I buy a car I must first mine iron ore from a pit mine in Arizona.  That is a negative outcome for those who live next to the open pit mine (assuming they do not find the pit aesthetically pleasing, as I do) because they might have to experience some slight increase in particulates in the air and higher levels of noise pollution.  But those negative outcomes are far outweighed by the fact that I get a new car and hundreds of people have gainful employment in a career they enjoy.  Everything in life is a trade-off. Everything that is undertaken involves taking natural resources and doing something with them.  By definition that produces pollution.  The decision as to whether the negatives outweigh the positives is a decision best made by the free market, not some bureaucrat allegedly endowed with omniscience.
Perhaps most ironic in this entire situation is the fact that government action always has negative outcomes and yet worshipers of government never call for restrictions or bans upon government activities.  Every law, every bill, every regulation created by government creates winners and losers.  The losers are almost always in the top 49% of the income population who are unable to protect themselves via the vote because they are perpetually in the minority.  I do not know if fracking will someday be shown to be more dangerous than beneficial.  I strongly suspect that it will not but I am willing to wait and see what happens.  I do know that every time a career politician or a career bureaucrat creates a new law or regulation I am going to experience a real loss.  I also know that the alleged gains from the wealth redistribution plan being enacted will always have both long term and short term negative consequences.  All government action is always harmful, no matter how hard the politicians try to make it otherwise.  Cuomo's proclamation has already created hundreds of negative consequences in New York.  Those negative consequences, of course, will not be reported in the media.  The jobs that are lost, the income that is not earned, the development that will not take place, the increase in the standard of living that will not happen will all be ignored.  That is the way it is with government and those who worship it.  This is life in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Oil Companies Are Greedy And Evil

We all know oil companies are greedy and evil.  They seek profits, which automatically makes them evil.  They produce oil and gas, which automatically makes them evil.  Besides the seeking out of immoral profits at the expense of the world's ecosystem, oil companies have only one goal in mind.  That goal is to rape and pillage the environment.  Oil company executives, and the lackeys they employ, take fiendish pleasure out of drilling holes in the ground to extract a product they know in advance will pollute the land, water and air.  Even the process of drilling itself brings them pleasure as they seek to do as much damage to the geology of the earth as possible through their process of fracking.  The more gas they can filter into ground water supplies the happier they are.  My pantheon of evil people and things has to be expanded.  First is Hitler, of course.  Second is anyone who smokes and third is all profit seeking oil and gas companies.
It would be so easy to write garbage like the paragraph above.  I believe this blog would explode in popularity if I put up a daily stream of word vomit like the above paragraph.  All of the misinformed, envy-filled sinful people in this sad land would join in my anti-corporate chorus as we sing happy ditties about the evils of corporations dedicated to the extraction, processing and distribution of products we all happily use hundreds of times every day.  But this is not really the point of my blog today.  Let me get to the point.
In the Socialist Democracy of Amerika it is the case that the majority of the citizens believe that profit seeking businesses, like oil companies, are evil and government, in all of its forms, is good.  Government, by definition and contrary to all empirical and historical evidence, is assumed to be morally pure while business, also contrary to all empirical and historical evidence, is assumed to be immoral.  Whatever a profit seeking company sets out to do is inevitably designed to exploit the consumer, which explains why the citizens of this land clamor for more and more restrictions and government regulations to be enforced upon those corporations.  When corporations actually realize a profit most citizens believe that profit has been gained by cheating, lying and ripping off the consumers who purchased their products.  It is only fair and reasonable, under those circumstances, for the government to tax away all of those ill-gotten gains and distribute them to the poor and needy citizens in this land.
Allow me to introduce you to a bit of reality.  The following quotation and graph was taken from Exxon-Mobile's website.  Read it:

$9.8 billion – This is ExxonMobil’s U.S. tax expense for 2013, a figure exceeding our U.S. earnings of $9.1 billion. That’s approximately $817 million for federal, state, and local governments each month. I’ll break it down further. That’s a U.S. tax expense of nearly $27 million every single day of 2013, and it’s why a recent analysis identified ExxonMobil as the top corporate taxpayer in the United States.  
35 percent – ExxonMobil’s effective U.S. tax rate in 2013. 
5.5 cents – That’s how much ExxonMobil earned in 2013 for every gallon of gasoline and other products we refined, shipped, and sold in the United States. Compare that to 40 to 60 cents per gallon collected by the federal, state, and local governments in gasoline taxes.




http://www.exxonmobilperspectives.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/API-US-Map.jpg


Did you get all that?  Exxon made $9.1 billion in earnings in SDA operations last year yet was forced to cough up $9.8 billion in taxes to the SDA Treasury.  Please explain to me how that is fair.  Why should a company be forced to pay more in taxes than it actually earns?  Exxon pays more in taxes to the Treasury of the SDA than any corporate entity in the universe and still the environmentalists, career politicians and general assortment of extremists and wackos continue to hate the company.  How about taking a moment to thank Exxon for its contributions to the Treasury.  The $9.8 billion contributed to the SDA Treasury in 2013 went a long way towards killing terrorists around the world.  You should be thankful for that.  Indeed, if you see an Exxon executive on the street, stop him, shake his hand and thank him for his service to the country.
Even more interesting to me than the gross amount of taxes paid by Exxon is the comparison of its corporate profits to government fuel taxes.  Exxon made 5.5 cents for every gallon of product it shipped in 2013.  At the same time, the federal government made 40 cents for every gallon of product shipped.  The federal government realized a profit on oil company products that was seven times more than the company itself.  Additional layers of government add additional taxes to the shipments.  California added an additional 31 cents per gallon while New York added 28 cents to each gallon of product.  Who is really profiting here?
How can any person in his right mind look at the truth about Exxon's taxation and not come to the conclusion that the biggest beneficiary, by far, of Exxon's operation is the federal government?  For every gallon of gas that is produced Exxon makes 5.5 cents while, at the same time, the federal government makes 40 cents on that exact same gallon.  Unlike Exxon, which absorbs all of the costs of production prior to bringing the gasoline to the market, the federal government levies the tax at the point of sale.  The net result is that all consumers end up paying the tax directly to the government.  It is a huge windfall for the taxing authorities in the government.  Government grows rich at the expense of the taxpayers while the taxpayers grow angry with Exxon for the price of its fuel.  It is the perfect setup.  How many times have you heard anyone complain about the amount they are paying in gasoline taxes?  Right.  Never.  How many times have you heard people complain about high fuel prices?  Right.  Anytime they go up.  And who do they blame? The evil oil companies of course.
I conclude that the biggest beneficiary of the corporate oil industry is the federal government.  If the corporate oil industry is greedy, immoral and evil, it necessarily follows that the federal government is equally greedy, immoral and evil.  Strangely, the citizens of this disgusting land continue to despise the oil companies and worship the government.  Go figure.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Most And The Least Disciplined Groups In The SDA

I read a blog post last week, found here, that disturbed me greatly.  For you to understand why I was so upset you first need to understand my presuppositions about the matter.  I believe that personal discipline is something an individual does to control and guide his life.  Some people have great levels of personal discipline but most people have little to no personal discipline at all.  There is a general correlation between how much a person loves freedom and his level of discipline.  In general those who love freedom the most are the most disciplined. Conversely, those who love government the most are the least disciplined.  This should not come as a surprise to any of us since lovers of government are like passive infants constantly looking to mother government for their sustenance.
Personal discipline can be expressed in an individual's body weight.  Now I have to tread carefully here since there are several groups of people who have high body weights who do not suffer from a lack of personal discipline.  Those groups include those with glandular problems, those with a low metabolism and those who are mentally ill and forced by their various mental diseases to eat against their will. Gaining or losing weight is a relatively simple concept to understand.  Over the course of a day you will burn a certain number of calories.  Over that same day you will ingest a certain number of calories.  Those who burn more than they consume lose weight. Those who consume more than they burn will gain weight.  It really is that simple, except for members of those three categories I already mentioned.
People with glandular problems find that their glands cause the 100 calories they consume each day to somehow turn into something more like 3-4000 calories.  That is why they can say that they didn't eat at all but still managed to gain weight.  A similar thing happens to those with a low metabolism.  These folks only burn about 100 calories a day, no matter how active they are.  They could run a marathon and still their bodies would only consume a couple of hundred calories.  And, of course, those who have mental illnesses that cause them to gain weight are never personally responsible for the fact they are overweight.
Now that we have eliminated the three groups that are fat because of reasons other than a lack of personal discipline, allow me to come to my point.  A group of people did a survey that compared a person's profession with his body mass index.  Many people were tested and the results were tabulated.  The conclusions derived from the survey about the five fattest and the five leanest professional classes are startling.  Since I believe that being overweight is generally a sign of a lack of personal discipline I can conclude that those in the five highest body mass index professions are the least disciplined groups of people in the SDA.  On the other hand, those in the five lowest body mass index groups are the most disciplined groups of people in the SDA.  So, without further ado, I give you the five most disciplined groups of people in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika:
  1. Economists, scientists and psychologists.  Those who conducted the study grouped together various professions that were very close to one another in body mass index.  That is why you see  more than one profession listed in the number one slot.  The fact that scientists are the most disciplined group of people in the SDA does not surprise me.  Nuclear particle scientists can spend an entire career in search of one elusive sub-atomic particle.  They are so obsessively looking for that particle they have no time to eat.  No wonder they are so skinny.  On the other hand, I would need a psychologist to figure out why psychologists are so disciplined.  As an arm-chair economist with a moderate body mass index myself, I can heartily agree that economists are highly disciplined individuals.
  2. Artists, actors, athletes and reporters.  Why do all these left brained people show up in the second most disciplined group of people in the land?  Since most all of the members of those four groups are also bleeding heart liberals who love government it does not aid the conservative cause to confess that they could actually be more disciplined than the conservatives.  I can't believe that those people are actually disciplined so I choose to believe that they all suffer from the mental illness of obsessive compulsive disorder.  That means they can have a low body mass index and still be personally irresponsible.  I like that.
  3. Physicians, dentists and nurses.  This category surprises me a little bit since it seems as if most doctors and nurses are really overweight.  Maybe it is just the physicians and nurses that I visit who are fat.  I am always amused when I get a lecture about my eating habits from a doctor who is both younger and heavier than I am.  On the other hand, it does take a lot of personal discipline to prepare for any of those careers so kudos to them.
  4. Cooks, bartenders and waiters.  Now that comes as a shock, does it not?  I am trying to figure out how the people in these professions could have so much discipline and still be in these professions.  Maybe it is true that all aspiring artists, actors and writers have to pay their bills by working as service personnel in restaurants. 
  5. Janitors, maids and landscapers.  Ah....finally I get to my profession.  I thoroughly expected janitors to make the top five list of most disciplined groups of people.  Despite our shiftless appearance and carefree demeanor, we janitors are an ambitious lot who are committed to personal betterment and self empowerment, whatever that means.  What cannot be denied however is that we are a pretty disciplined group of people.  It takes an extraordinary amount of discipline to dedicate oneself to a lifetime of service cleaning up the messes of others. 
The next list of five are the professions that make up the least disciplined people in the SDA.  I will do this list in count-down fashion, starting with the fifth and proceeding down to the number one most undisciplined group of people in the land.

      5.  Bus drivers, truckers and garbage collectors. No surprises here.  Any career that involves
           sitting on one's bum for eight hours a day while stuffing Little Debbie snack cakes into
           the mouth will inevitably result in a large increase to the body mass index. 
      4.  Architects and engineers.  This is a bit surprising to me.  I hold engineers in high esteem.
           Without the services of engineers we would have very little in the way of technological
           advancement in the world today.  The handful of engineers I have known were highly
           disciplined people.  They had to be to succeed in their careers.  So maybe this is an
           exception to the rule.  Maybe engineers are the fourth most fat group in the SDA because
           they are so dedicated to their work they have no time to eat or exercise.
      3.  Home health professionals and massage therapists.  How ironic it is that those who travel
           to our homes to advise us on healthy living end up being the third most fat group of people
           in the country.  And what is it with massage therapists?  How can they be so overweight?
           I suspect that if the body mass index was taken exclusively from information derived from
           the fingers we would discover that massage therapists are the skinniest people in the
           world.
      2.  Social workers and pastors. I don't know much about social workers.  Thankfully I have
           never had any dealings with them so I am unable to make any snide remarks about how
           undisciplined they are.  I have had lots of experience with pastors and this criticism is spot
           on.  Christians in general, and pastors in particular, are undisciplined brutes who love to
           eat.  I think that so many pastors are overweight because they deny themselves other
           physical and sensual pleasures in life.  After all of that denial they have to do something
           to experience pleasurable physical sensations so they eat.  Of course the fact that
           overeating is the sin of gluttony is lost on them. 
      1.  Cops and firemen. This is the only reason I wrote this post today.  When I read the article
           that declared doughnut eating cops and firemen to be the most overweight group in the
           SDA I just had to laugh.  Cops and firemen desperately attempt to project an image of
           being in superb physical condition.  Much is made of the strenuous physical tests they
           must pass to become cops and firemen.  But when all is said and done, cops and
           firemen are the most fat and least disciplined groups of people in the SDA.  That does
           not surprise me one bit.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas To All?

Christmas has not been a merry time for most of humanity throughout most of human history.  Here are three reports about the relative merriness of the Christmas season in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria today.  The full story can be found here.

"For the first time in more than 1,000 years, reports the Washington Post today, 'the plains of Nineveh and its provincial capital of Mosul have been virtually emptied of Christians.' Where there had been religious and cultural diversity for centuries, the destruction of Iraqi society brought about by US intervention has left only the most hardened of extremists to terrorize what is left of the population. Already six in ten Christians have fled Iraq, leaving churches empty and a way of life that dates to the time of Christ a distant memory."
"Christmas will likewise be a somber celebration for the estimated 500,000 Ukrainians who were forced to flee their homes as the US-backed regime in Kiev destroyed much of eastern Ukraine. Again it is a question of cause and effect. The US mainstream media will blame the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine for the violence, but will ignore the precipitating factor: the US-backed coup in Kiev that ousted an elected government and put into power an unelected regime hostile to the eastern provinces of that country....Many residents of eastern Ukraine will be spending Christmas (which falls on January 7 according to the Orthodox calendar) underground in Soviet-era bomb shelters. They will have neither running water, sanitary facilities, nor privacy. Their homes have been destroyed by the US-backed regime in Kiev."
"In Syria, where the US has backed Islamist extremists in a three-year effort to overthrow the secular Assad regime, Christianity has also been nearly eliminated. In Aleppo, home to one of Syria’s largest pre-war Christian populations, citizens are split between a government-controlled sector and a rebel-held sector in the east. A few Christians remain in the government-held areas where families from government-controlled districts gather every Sunday evening in the church, which is brightly lit thanks to its generator, a major draw in a city where frequent power cuts plunge homes into darkness."

Christmas is not only hard for many Christians alive today,  it was hard for people in the past as well.  Christmas started as an extremely unmerry event for the citizens of Bethlehem under the rule of King Herod.   I am sure you all know the story of the "slaughter of the innocents."  The wise men from the East had informed Herod that they were heading to Bethlehem to worship the King of the Jews.  Since Herod considered himself to be the King of the Jews and since he would tolerate no competition, he dispatched an army to Bethlehem with orders to kill all of the male children under two years of age.  The army did what it was told and the result was what is today called the slaughter of the innocents.  I wonder if the citizens of Bethlehem appreciated the fact that Jesus was born in their town?  It is an interesting observation that the first major event in Jesus' life revolved around His battle versus the civil government.  Civil government never has and never will tolerate Christianity.  Whenever the two clash you can be certain of one thing, Christians will be persecuted and many will die. Bethlehem was just the first of many slaughters of the innocent.
Things are no different for the great majority of people living today.  I am amazed by the fact that God-hating unbelievers constantly wish Merry Christmas to each other.  Christmas is not a merry time for a pagan.  Christians worship the Son of God and celebrate His advent at Christmastime.  Non-Christians hate the Son of God and do everything they can to suppress the truth He taught and the Church He planted.  What unbelievers fail to realize, or actively decide to suppress, is that  little baby lying in the manager in Bethlehem is the same God-Man who will judge them and send them to the Lake of Fire for eternity one day.  Every single human being will one day stand before that baby in Bethlehem, only when we stand before Him He will be the God-Man who will either act as our judge or our savior.  That is not merry news for most people.  Christmas should be the saddest of all holidays for unbelievers.  It is a day that reminds them that they are doomed for eternity if they fail to repent of their sins and worship the Son.
There is only one group of people for whom Christmas is merry.  Christians celebrate the first advent of our Lord at Christmastime.  We also profess belief in His second advent and joyfully anticipate that day as well.  The Son of God has redeemed His people from sin and purchased them for Himself so that they might enjoy eternity with Him and all of that primarily for His own glory.  For those whom God has redeemed Christmas is quite merry indeed.  For all others it is death.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sony

I read that Sony has decided to release the movie The Interview on Christmas Day.  It will be a limited release as many theaters are still unwilling to assume the risks associated with screening the film.  I found the reaction to Sony's earlier decision to pull the film off the market after receiving veiled threats from the North Koreans to be most interesting.  All of a sudden the career politicians and patriotic citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika rediscovered the First Amendment. Many loyal subjects of King Obama declared that Sony should proudly and vigorously declare its First Amendment rights and distribute the movie as planned.  How ironic, I thought to myself.
A couple of years ago I was standing on the Appalachian Trail.  It was there I saw my first "First Amendment Free Zone."  The trail had crossed a pass, or gap as they call it in that part of the country, and there, alongside the highway, was an area enclosed by a couple of signs informing me that I was free to speak my mind provided I stood between the two signs.  The clear and obvious message was that I was not free to speak my mind outside of the artificial boundary created by the signs.  I remember wondering to myself how it was possible that I could have the right to free speech when that right was restricted to zones designated by the federal government.  Apparently very few loyal citizens of the SDA recognized the inherent contradiction in the signs.
The First Amendment guarantees my right to free speech but if I were a college student at many colleges in our country today I would find that my right to speak freely is seriously curtailed in many venues.  For example, I could not create a "white" newspaper.  The blacks can create their own newspaper but creating a newspaper for whites is deemed racist and not permitted.  Many of the classes that I might attend would most certainly not allow me to point out that after the two white cops were killed in New York City last week no white people were seen speaking on the television urging their fellow white people to not take to the streets and riot.  Indeed, no rioting has taken place at all.  No gangs of whites have descended upon the white businesses in the area, breaking windows and looting stores.  There have been no round the clock reports on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC about the huge parades of white people blocking traffic as they march through the streets in protest.  I am reasonable sure that I would not be permitted to point any of these facts out without being subject to censorship.
We are not far from the point where any person who says anything negative about heterophobes (homosexuals is another term for these folks) without being prosecuted for a hate crime and thrown into prison.  Pastors who preach the historic Christian doctrine of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior have already been attacked by high profile politicians.  I expect more to come on that front.  Where is the First Amendment in those instances?  Obviously the First Amendment only applies when government wants it to.  Otherwise it is thrown away with the rest of the Constitution.
All of this is just an introduction to what is really on my mind today.  What follows are two quotations.  The first is taken from the CNBC website.  The second is taken from the Denver Post. 

"Sony made a mistake in pulling The Interview earlier this week, according to President Barack Obama. 'Sony's a corporation that suffered significant damage, there were threats against its employees,' Obama said on Friday. 'I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced, but having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.'  He added that he wished 'they'd spoken to me first, so he could tell them not to set a bad precedent by caving into hackers' threats.'  Obama also emphasized that the U.S. will retaliate in some way against North Korea—which the FBI fingered as the attacker earlier Friday.'They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond. We will respond proportionately, and we will respond at a place and time and manner that we choose,' he said."  (cnbc.com December 18th)

"Sony Pictures' capitulation to threats related to its movie 'The Interview' marks a new low in corporate cowardice....Since when does Hollywood allow foreign thugs to censor its product?...Cinemark (where James Holmes gunned down a dozen fans of Batman, MW) dropped plans to show the film.  After all, Cinemark is still battling lawsuits whether or not it should have foreseen that a man dressed as the Joker and wielding a small arsenal would burst into one of its theaters and kill or maim scores of people....The U.S. tort system is unique in fostering such claims, which have already resulted in a federal judge ruling last fall that such a massacre was a 'foreseeable next step in the history of mass shootings.'" (Denver Post, December 18 Editorial)

So this is what we have come to in this sad land?  The King of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika expects businesses to consult with him prior to making business decisions that are absolutely none of his business whatsoever?  Since when is it the business of the King to render judicial decisions about the business decisions of a company that makes movies?  Then, to top it all off, the King declares that Sony has caved in to hackers threats when its executives made the entirely rational decision to pull the movie.  Something is desperately wrong with a country when the King of the land can get away with this sort of bullying.  
The Denver Post editorial was one of the most disgusting cheap shots I have read in years.  Labeling the Sony decision an example of "corporate cowardice" is astoundingly stupid and amazingly immoral.  Sony should file a lawsuit and sue the Post into bankruptcy for such slanderous accusations.  What makes the editor's comments even more bizarre is the fact that he recognizes the reason why Sony made the decision that it did.  And that brings me to the point of today's post to this blog.
Sony's decision to pull the movie was the only reasonable course to take.  I fear the decision announced today to release the film will have grave consequences for the Sony corporation and its shareholders.  Why?  Because of the immoral legal system that exists in this disgusting country.  The newspaper recognized this fact when it acknowledged that family members who had relatives that were gunned down by James Holmes have sued the theater in which the massacre took place on the grounds that the theater should have known in advance that somebody would enter the theater and gun people down.  Amazingly, or maybe not so these days, the judge hearing the case agreed with the plaintiffs and the case is being allowed to proceed.  It is hard for me to imagine a more immoral situation than that.
Why should Sony take the financial risk associated with releasing this film when it knows in advance that if something as innocuous as a fist fight breaks out within a mile or two of a theater showing the film it will be sued for millions and millions of dollars for not knowing in advance that its movie would create that reaction?  If King Obama and the Denver Post really want to do something constructive in this situation they would stop criticizing Sony and start pushing for a total overhaul of the legal system in this immoral country. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Amerikan Cyber-War Hypocrisy

How ironic it is that North Korea has suddenly experienced a total lapse of Internet service immediately after King Obama threatened  King Kim with a counterattack to his earlier attack of Sony Pictures.  What do you think, is it a coincidence or an act of aggression from the Socialist Democracy of Amerika?  I suspect most Amerikans believe that some secret SDA department of cyber-attacking is at work here and I suspect that most Amerikans are feeling an inflated sense of pride over the fact that we have shown those dirty foreigners that we are a power to be reckoned with.  Whether or not the present troubles with the Internet in North Korea are a result of SDA attacks really does not matter to me, although I think it is true.  The SDA has a long history of such attacks over the past several years.  Consider these:
  1. For a general description of SDA cyber-attacks over the past years go to this Washington Post article.   
  2.  For a description of the cyber-wars already started by the SDA against our perceived enemies, go here
  3. For a description of SDA cyber-attacks upon the Chinese, go here
  4. For a description of SDA cyber-attacks upon Iran, go here
  5. For a description of SDA cyber-attacks upon Iraq, go here
  6. If you are still not convinced that the SDA has been actively involved in waging cyber-warfare all around the world in recent years, just Google "US cyber-attacks against enemies" and see what comes up.  We have been quite active, probably more active than you realize, in waging cyber-wars against people and countries we do not like.
 I have a simple question for those who are outraged at the North Koreans because of the cyber-attack upon Sony.  Why?  The SDA has been doing the same thing for a much longer time and on a much larger scale.  Why should the fact that one country actually retaliated to our attacks disturb SDA citizens so much?  Somebody actually gives us a little bit of our own medicine and we scream to high heaven about how unfair it all is.  Does that not seem at least a little bit hypocritical to you?  I am not saying that what the North Koreans did was correct.  It was not. It was an act of aggression.  But why is it good when the SDA does it and bad when anyone else does it?
I have an answer to the questions that I have asked above.  All SDA royalty, career politicians, military heroes and patriotic citizens have the right to do whatever they want to do to stinking foreigners because we are exceptional and they are not.  The definition of exceptional is easy.  Whatever we do is right, by definition.  Whatever we do is right because we are Amerikans and Amerikans are exceptional.  If that seems circular to you, too bad.  Our exceptionalism supersedes logic.  In that sense the rulers of the SDA are just like God.  Whatever they do is morally right simply because they rule the SDA and, by extension, the rest of the world.  And don't try to say that the SDA is not exceptional or you will find yourself on the receiving end of an attack by the military or the cyber-warrior class.  
Does it seem hypocritical to you that the SDA would be crying foul over things that it has been doing on a grand scale to other sovereign nations for years?  Tough.  You still don't get it, do you?  The SDA is exceptional and everything the SDA does is right.  End of argument.  If you persist in arguing this issue it will only prove that you are a prime example of what it means to "hate America first."  You are also worse than Hitler and anyone who smokes. Don't ever criticize the SDA.  The best operating principle is "my country right or wrong" only, of course, your country is never wrong.   The SDA is never guilty of hypocrisy.  The SDA never does anything to anyone else that is not in the best interest of the person or nation being attacked.  It is a strange idea that attacking another country is good for them but it is true, provided the SDA is the country doing the attacking. If anyone else ever attacks anyone else it is always evil and the SDA will respond with omniscient and omnipotent perfection to everything that takes place. 
On another topic.....I just can't figure out why so many people around the world either just barely tolerate or actually actively hate the SDA. Can you?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Teachers, Athletes And Capitalism

Last week Nancy Nowak of Englewood wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post in which she repeated the usual blather about how professional athletes are overpaid while government school teachers languish in poverty.  She was upset about a recent contract signed by a Denver Bronco player.  She then compared that contract value to a government school teacher's average contract value and said, "Most American teachers, who have the most challenging job of all--educating the next generation---also work hard....Our children and our society deserve the best teachers possible."  She then went on to suggest that professional football players "donate a portion of their incomes to education."  She concluded with the question, "Why do sports players deserve to make so much money and teachers don't?"
How it is that being a government school teacher is "the most challenging job of all" was never explained.  How it is that having government employees involved in the process of indoctrinating the "next generation" is the most significant activity of our time was not described.  Why it is that after decades of activism by the government school unions, and hundreds of proclamations about the high quality of government school teachers already on the job, Nancy is able to conclude that the present crop of teachers is not "the best teachers possible" is never elucidated.   I was fascinated by the fact that my neighbor's children suddenly became my responsibility as Nancy described them as "our children". When did that happen?  I can assure you, I had nothing to do with the entrance of my neighbor's children into this world, despite what they might tell you.  Obviously, there is a lot to complain about in Nancy's letter.  And predictably, the complaints soon followed.
A government school teacher by the name of JoAnne points out that real property owning professional athletes pay more to the school system than most of us because they own mansions which are subject to the same real estate tax as the rest of us peons.  She quite properly says that it is wrong to single them out but then goes on to clamor for higher taxes for all.  Like all government school employees, she believes the solution to every problem is higher taxation for all.  JoAnne is seemingly incapable of considering any solution to the government school problem that would include reducing their scope and decreasing their influence.  I wonder why that is?  Jim is a retiree who complains that he can't afford the higher taxes Nancy is advocating.  But Jim is also a self-proclaimed capitalist.  He points out that the free market has set the wages for teachers and professional athletes and, although Nancy might not like it, he concludes that "as long as consumers are willing to pay high ticket prices for sporting events...some athletes will receive ridiculously high rewards."  Jim is not free from the envy that infects most citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika however.  He concludes by writing, "I fully agree that all of our multimillionaires and billionaires should do much more than they do when it comes to philanthropy."  David completes the standard litany of responses to the high athlete-low teacher salary debate by agreeing that football players sadly make more than "teachers, police officers and firefighters", all of whom are government employees by the way, by saying, "Our society says the above named jobs are worth a lot less than that of a football player.  What does that say about our society?  It says we can and should do better."  There, I think I have covered all the bases.  Now it is time to bring some perspective to the issue.
Why are we even having this conversation?  Why are the financial terms of someone else's employment contract fodder for public discussion?  This is nothing more than gossip and should stop.  And I will stop, right after I have had my say.  Why should government employees make more money than those who actually contribute to the capital stock of the world economy?  Participants in the free market do more for the intellectual endeavors of individuals in society than a slew of government employees ever will.  Jim pretends as if government employees actually make less money than those in the private sector.  He should spend some time examining the data.  The fact of the matter is exactly the opposite of what he posits.  Teachers, security officers/police officers and firefighters in the government sector make much more money and have many more benefits than their partners in the private sector.  Compare the salary for a Christian elementary school teachers to a government elementary school teacher some day and you will see what I mean. 
Most of the letter writers had something to say that was correct.  A highly paid professional football player makes what he does precisely because millions of fans are willing to pay for tickets to the games and millions more are willing to watch the games on commercial television.  The individual owners of the various teams are then able to divide those enormous revenues as they see fit and employee athletes according to the current market price for athletic services.  Not all athletic services command the same salary.  Why does a a professional bowler rarely sign a $45 million dollar contract?  Because professional bowling does not have the fan base that professional football does.  Is that a bad thing?  Of course not.  It simply is what it is.  Why do so many believe that nothing is wrong with society when a couple dozen people love a particular sport but then things are desperately wrong with society when that sport grows popular? 
Does the fact that millions of people love professional football and relatively few people love professional bowling constitute a sign of some sort of sickness in society?  If so, please describe what it is, how it got there and how you propose to get rid of it.  "Society" does not say anything about football, bowling, teaching or any other activity.  Society is made up of individuals and the more individuals want to engage in a particular event the more money will flow to that particular event.  The relative number of members in a group who enjoy a particular event tells me nothing about some amorphous entity called a "society".  All it tells me is that a particular event, in this case professional football, is very popular.  Who am I to tell my neighbor that he should not like football?  Who am I to tell several of my neighbors that the fact they all like football is a sign of some sort of sickness that they need to be cured from?  I need to mind my own business and let my neighbor watch what he wants to watch. 
JIm's cheap shot at the philanthropic efforts of the SDA's richest citizens is exactly that, a cheap shot.  He should do his research before he writes his letters.  The fact that billionaires generally do not give the same percentage of their incomes to charity is irrelevant because their incomes are so enormous.  Charitable giving should be seen from the perspective of total amount given and when measured by that standard the rich out give us commoners by a huge margin.  Bill Gates and Warren Buffet give more to charity each year than most of us will earn our entire lifetimes. So give em a break Jimmy boy.
I conclude that entirely predictable discussions in the public forums of the newspaper continually arise because people are envious and like to gossip.  Since I am neither envious nor do I like to gossip I will stop, now. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oil, Rocks And Trees

Environmentalists have been very successful at waging a propaganda war against free market capitalism.  If my experience corresponds in any way with the reality of life in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, most of the citizens of this sad and sinful land are committed to the belief that free markets are immoral.  In conjunction with the belief that people freely producing goods and then trading those goods among themselves is immoral, is the belief that only civil government is able to provide the necessities of life in a morally acceptable fashion.  The fact that government is incapable of producing anything, and only capable of redistributing the goods that have been previously produced by the free market, is lost on those who religiously adhere to the tenets of environmentalism. 
Donald Miklick of Denver wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post last week in which he offered his opinion on a local debate about the relative merits of the University of Colorado's trust fund investments in oil and gas producing companies.  A previous letter writer had extolled the economic value of the drilling and pumping companies but Mr. Miklick was not convinced.  He wrote, "I do not doubt the accuracy of the benefits Giehl claims, but they are irrelevant.  The students do not say these investments are unprofitable.  Rather, because good solid science has now unequivocally shown that the burning of fossil fuels is damaging the biosphere, these profits are immoral."  And there you have it.  According to Donald, any and all profits derived from oil and gas operations are immoral because they "damage the biosphere", whatever that means.  Let's consider that for a while today.
Donald's comments are an easy mark for a diatribe against the stupidity of the theory of global warming.  Global warming was clearly on Donald's mind as he wrote his letter.  But I am not going to pursue that angle today.  I am not interested in proving that Donald's "solid science" consists of nothing more than a bunch of people being paid by the government discovering the one thing that will preserve their jobs and their pensions.  I am more concerned with Donald's view of the free market.  Although the free market as it exists in this country is a mammoth beast encompassing an uncountable number of avenues for the creation of new goods and services, the core of the free market is itself an amazingly simple thing to comprehend.  Practically everything that you see in your life is the by product of human labor being applied to just three basic elements.  Those three basic elements are oil, rocks and trees.
I am typing this blog post using a key board that was made from oil.  The keystrokes carry an electronic impulse to my computer screen via a wire that was made from a rock.  The wire is encased in a sheath that was made from oil.  I watch the progress of my writing on a scree that was made from a combination of rocks and oil.  The chair I am sitting in rolls on casters made from rocks.  The support structures of the chair are made from oil, as is the material that covers the chair and upon which I sit.  My computer sits upon a desk made from trees.  While I sit here typing away I notice that my room is warm.  It is made warm by the burning of an oil by-product in a machine standing in my basement.  The machine is made mostly of rocks.  The room in which I sit is a part of my home.  My home is constructed from trees and covered with shingles made from oil.  The foundation is made from rocks.  My plumbing comes from oil.  My electricity comes from rocks.  My flooring comes from trees, as does my cabinetry.  My carpet comes from oil and my counter tops are pure rock. 
I grew tired of all the sitting I was doing so I went to the store this morning to purchase a delicious cream filled long john.  As far as I can figure it out,  long johns are not made from oil, rocks or trees.  Still, they are very tasty.  I got into my car, unlocking the door with a key made from rocks and oil.  I settled into the seat of my car, made from oil, and put my hands on the steering wheel, also made from oil.  I fired up the engine and reached for the gear shift.  The gear shift is made from a combination of oil and rocks and connects to a gear box made from rocks.  I started down the road on the way to the doughnut shop, cruising smoothly on four tires made from oil while the engine hummed along, lubricated with oil.  The street I drove along was made from oil and rocks.  The traffic light I stopped for was made from rocks.  The front door to the doughnut shop was also made from rocks.
Because of the excessive number of calories I have consumed today I will be going to the gym this afternoon for a workout.  My gym is filled with weight machines all of which are made from rocks.  The carpet in the gym is made from oil.  The televisions suspended from the ceiling of the gym are made from rocks.  The mirrors along the wall of the weight room, where the pretty boys love to admire their guns, is made from rocks.  The paper towels I use to wipe up the sweat after my workout are made from trees.  The people who man the front desk at my gym are humans, as far as I can tell. 
Are you getting the point yet?  No?  Let me tell you some more.  A new Dunkin Donuts store is being constructed a couple of miles from my home.  The framing is up.  Trees were used to frame the store.  Behind the store is a new apartment complex, being constructed with trees.  I noticed that one roof had received numerous bundles of shingles, all made from oil.  The sun was coming up while I was gazing upon the future Dunkin Donut store so I put on my sunglasses.  The sunglasses were made from a combination of oil and rocks.  I turned on my CD player as I drove home.  It is made of oil and it plays CDs made of oil as well.  Being a novice coffee drinker I inadvertently spilled some on my lap when I hit a bump in the road.  The coffee hit my pants, which are made of oil and rocks.  I cursed the cup, rather than its holder, for allowing the coffee to spill out.  The cup was made of oil.  I pressed the button that causes my window to roll down, the button is made of oil and the window is made from rocks, and I cast the offending cup onto the street.  The ticket that I received for littering from the costume-clad government agent shortly thereafter was made from trees.  The ink on it was made from oil. The pad that allowed me to sign it without tearing a hole in the paper was made from rocks.
Where has this superabundance of materials goods come from?  Just look around your house.  Just look around your town. Allow yourself to contemplate the things that you see that man has made.  Look at the homes, the stores, and the buildings that surround you.  Look at the things inside your home, the electronics, the furnishings, and the decor.  If you ever have a chance, as I do, to hike to a high place looking out over a town or a city, do it.  Stop and look. Contemplate the reality that is the free market.  Consider that the free market is solely responsible for everything you see before you.  It is an amazing and marvelous miracle (not the supernatural kind) to realize just how much man has accomplished by simply applying his labor to oil, rocks and trees. 
Now turn your attention to the religion of environmentalism and government worship.  What are three of the most hated demons in the environmentalist pantheon?  You guess it.  Oil, rocks and trees.  Think about if for a moment.  What are environmentalist preachers always decrying as the greatest examples of sinfulness in our world today?  We are told that evil businessmen are raping and pillaging the earth by clear cutting old growth forests for profit.  There go the trees.  We are told that evil businessmen are raping and pillaging the earth by strip mining for rocks for profit.  There goes the rocks.  And we are told that evil businessmen are raping and pillaging the earth by drilling for oil.  There goes the oil.  It is not a coincidence that government loving, God hating environmentalists viciously attack the three pillars of capital creation.  It is not an accident that environmentalists seek to use government to create laws to forbid the extraction and use of oil, rocks and trees in capital creation. 
Donald, the man who wrote the letter to the editor, believes that all profits derived from oil production are necessarily immoral.  In this case he is in lock step with his fellow believers in the religion of environmentalism.  To be consistent he should also believe that all profits derived from the use of rocks and trees are also immoral.  I don't know if he believes that or not, but he should.  Certainly many of his fellow believers adhere to that doctrine.  Regardless, Donald is at least forced to the logically necessary conclusion that all goods produced or derived from the immoral oil must also be immoral.  It is not possible to begin with an immoral entity, develop that entity, sell it to others at a profit and end up with something that is morally pure.  Does Donald have any idea how many of the things he owns and uses every single day exist only because of oil?  I wonder if Donald has a computer?  A car?  A bicycle?  Clothing made from nylon or rayon or spandex?  I wonder if he drinks bottled water? I could go on forever here but I won't.  Donald is a serious hypocrite.  All environmentalists are serious hypocrites.  They need to shut their mouths and leave the serious work of exercising dominion over God's creation to those of us who love our fellow man and who prove our love for our fellow man by pursuing the profits that can be derived from selling that which we produce.  Man hating, God hating, government loving idiots need not apply.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Is Official...Evangelicals Love Torture

The Washington Post just finished tabulating the results of a poll about torture.  Respondents were divided into 21 different demographic categories and then ranked according to how enthusiastic they were about torturing their fellow human beings.  The final results contained some surprising revelations about the propensity of different groups to enjoy inflicting torture upon other members of the human race.  Not surprising was the fact that the group most in favor of using torture was Conservative Republicans, where the Post found that 72% of them think inflicting pain on citizens of other countries is a pretty good idea.  On the heels of that group, with a 71% torture approval rating, were those who called themselves simple Republicans.  What happened next might surprise you.  Or, then again, maybe it won't.
Third on the list of those groups of citizens in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika who would support the use of torture of foreign nationals was White Evangelical Protestants.  69% of Evangelicals believe that torture is biblically permissible.  Remember that an Evangelical is, by definition, a Christian who professes to believe that the Bible is his sole guide for life.  Anything that an Evangelical presumably believes in can theoretically be found somewhere in biblical teaching.  Only 11% of Evangelicals said that torture is never justified.  That means 89% of professing Bible believers, who happen to be white, believe that God thinks torture is a good thing to do under certain circumstances. 
In a rather stark contrast to Evangelicals, people who profess to have "no religion" were in favor of the use of torture much less frequently.  Only 30% of those who do not believe the Bible thought that torture should be used as a part of our foreign relations.  A full 32% of them believe that torture is never right.  The non-religious people were only eclipsed by the Liberal Democrats where we find that 33% of them believe that torture is always wrong.  I can conclude from the survey that Evangelicals are the group that is third most prone to use torture whereas those who reject the teachings of evangelical Christianity are the second least likely to advocate the use of torture.  All of this raises a question in my mind.  What does God think about the use of torture?
Clearly most people who believe the Bible is the Word of God think that God endorses the practice of torture.  Equally as clear is the fact that most people who do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God think that God does not endorse the use of torture.  Does the Word of God say anything about torture and, if so, what does it say?
God believes in torture.  That much we can say with absolute certainty.  How do we know this?  Because He Himself will torture a great many people for eternity.  The word used in the Bible is "torment" instead of our word "torture" but it means the same thing.  Those whom God has designated as reprobate will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire in a state of perpetual torture.  So if we are asking the simple question if God endorses the use of torture the answer must be a resounding yes.  But the question is not quite that simple.
Why does God torture the reprobate?  That answer is also simple.  God tortures the reprobate as a judicial punishment for their refusal to acknowledge Him as God and give Him the worship that He is due.  In addition, He tortures them as punishment for all of their evil deeds, which is every deed performed throughout each reprobate's life.  Some reprobates committed more evil deeds than others but no reprobate ever performed a morally good deed.  As a result, all reprobates will be tortured in the Lake of Fire by a morally perfect God for eternity.  But note, God's torture is a punishment for sin, not a means to extract dubious information from an enemy combatant.  To use the fact that God will torture some men as proof for the argument that we can use torture to extract dubious information from foreign citizens is a different matter entirely.
Does God have an opinion about using torture to extract information from enemy combatants?  I think that He does.  The answer, however, is not what you think it might be.  If torture is going to be morally permissible it must first be within the context of a morally permissible war.  In other words, if torture is ever going to be morally proper, and at this point I am not saying that it is,  it must first occur within the context of a biblically justifiable war.  So the first question that must be asked is this, is the war in which the torture is taking place biblically justifiable?  I have written on this topic previously.  You can find the post here.  In that post I concluded that neither the Vietnam war, the Iraq I war, the Afghanistan war nor the Iraq II war were morally defensible.  You can read that post for the details but the argument essentially boils down to the fact that a morally permissible war must be defensive in nature.  Any war that is offensive in nature is, by definition, immoral.  This is the "just war" doctrine first expounded by Saint Augustine and often held as a standard of truth throughout the history of orthodox Christianity.  Since all of our recent wars have been wars of imperial conquest, they are all immoral and torture is never justified.  It therefore follows that all of the recent examples of torture are immoral.
Evangelicals will disagree with me at this point.  They will scream at the top of their lungs that it was absolutely necessary and consistent with God's revealed will to use torture in order to kill Osama bin Laden.  That is the argument being used by Fox News and other conservative news outlets.  In fact, it seems as if it is the only argument being used in favor of the torture recently committed by the SDA on select foreign nationals.  Let's consider that for a moment.
Osama denied that he was responsible for 9/11.  The FBI, the NSA, the CIA and all of the other alphabet soup intelligence agencies agree that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 events.  If that is true, why was it so important to kill bin Laden?  Indeed, it seems as if the immoral execution of bin Laden was little more than a publicity stunt designed to garner political favor for those who were in power at the time.  Khalid, on the other hand, was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and sent to Gitmo where he suffered through 183 waterboardings.  He is still there.  The alleged purpose of the waterboarding tortures was to obtain additional information about Al-Qaeda and its operatives.  Most Evangelicals believe that torturing Khalid was morally correct because he was an enemy combatant and he had information that was necessary to protect the lives of SDA citizens.  Whether that is true remains to be seen.  He certainly did not provide the SDA with any relevant information about Osama's whereabouts as Osama wasn't found until many years later.  And although he confessed, under torture, to every crime the SDA wanted to pin on him, he provided no information about future attacks on the SDA and there is no evidence whatsoever that any of the information obtained from him via torture was in any way instrumental in preventing even one Amerikan death.  Additionally, it is impossible to argue that any of the information provided by him was instrumental in preventing any additional assaults on Amerikan property.  It would therefore seem quite difficult to argue that torturing Khalid could in any way be construed as a defensive military action utilized during a biblically justified war time situation. 
There is one issue the Evangelicals refuse to consider.  Al-Qaeda is not a country. It is essentially a club, or group of people united under a common purpose.  It exists in many different countries around the world.  As such it is not much different than the Black Panthers, the Black Liberation Army, the Earth Liberation Front or the Symbionese Liberation Army.  These were all "domestic terrorist" organizations that have operated in our past.  Interestingly, the SDA government did not declare war on itself when it set out to eradicate these groups.  On the contrary, it treated them as groups of people subject to the law of the land and went after them by means of a police action rather than a military action.  This historical reality raises an interesting question for SDA citizens in favor of torture.  How did the military attacks upon Iraq and Afghanistan have anything to do with attempting to bring members of Al-Qaeda to justice for the attack on 9/11?  Furthermore, if the scope of the action against Al-Qaeda really is a police action and not a military one, how do you justify using torture in a criminal proceeding? 
The SDA war against Iraq is immoral and all parts of it, including torture, are immoral.  The SDA war against the Taliban in Afghanistan is immoral and all parts of it, including torture, are immoral.  The SDA execution of Osama bin Laden, an alleged criminal, without a trial was immoral.  The SDA torture of Khalid, another alleged criminal, was immoral.  Indeed, I believe a strong biblical case can be made that there is no set of circumstances under which torture is morally justifiable.  This would include the situation where a war is biblically justified and an enemy combatant has been captured who might have information of value to the SDA.  The enemy should be killed, not tortured.  Prior to being killed the enemy could be given the opportunity to give up any information he might want to but he cannot be tortured in order to obtain information of dubious veracity.  During times of war there are no trials and there are no interrogations.  There are also no prisoners.  If a person is an enemy combatant he should be killed, immediately.  There are things that are worse than death and torture is one of them.  No human being has the right to inflict torment upon another human being at any time or for any reason.
So why do Evangelicals find themselves so enamored with torture?  The answer is a theological one so you might want to check out now.  Evangelicals love torture because the evangelical Church in the SDA is a powerful manifestation of the False Prophet found in Revelation.  The False Prophet exists to magnify the glory of the Beast, which is the SDA government and military machine.  Evangelicals love torture because the False Prophet loves the Beast and encourages all people to bow down and worship before the creature that no one can wage war against.  The Beast uses torture to extend its power and sphere of influence so the False Prophet thoroughly supports the use of torture.  It is really that simple and it is really that wrong.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obeying A Lawful Order

I have been thinking about orders recently.  Not the good kind of orders but the bad kind.  I think we all know what the good kind of orders are.  When I ring up Pizza Hut and order a large supreme pizza, that is an example of a good order.  When you go to your favorite restaurant and the waiter asks if he can take your order, we have another example of a good order.  Those types of orders are issued by people who want to buy something from someone else and they are never associated with force of any type.  If the person on the receiving end of the order can't deliver the goods the person issuing the order will simply walk away and take his business elsewhere.  Nobody gets hurt.  The types of orders I am thinking about today are the ones that have been in the news recently as talking heads have repeatedly said something like, "so and so refused to follow a lawful order, so he was gunned down by cops who felt threatened by that fact."  These are orders that always have coercion associated with them.  These are orders that do not end with both parties walking away satisfied from the meeting.  In fact, these days, it seems to be the case that one of the parties to these types of meetings is unable to walk away after the order has been issued because he is lying on the ground in a pool of blood or writhing in pain with a couple of taser needles sticking out of his body.  Let's think about coercive orders today for a while.
There is a class of people who love to declare that they believe in law and order.  Some individuals are described as being law and order types.  Politicians who are seeking to carve out a career in government will appeal to conservative types by announcing that they believe in law and order.  Not surprisingly, the concept of law and order is never defined.  As a result, those who proclaim to be in favor of law and order could be in favor of anything they want that phrase to mean. Usually that phrase means they want to arrest and incarcerate large segments of the population of the SDA, whether the members of those segments have done anything immoral or not.  The fact that SDA prisons are filled with prisoners who are there exclusively for drug law violations proves my point.  The fact that the SDA imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world also proves my point. 
The current United States Code has 51 Titles scattered throughout hundreds of volumes containing thousands of individual laws.  Lawyers have attempted to add up the total number of federal laws in the past but have inevitably given up, announcing that it is an impossible task to accomplish.  The Heritage Foundation announced that there are at least 4,450 federal laws that all citizens are expected to know and obey without question.  It is important to note that the United States Code contains federal laws only and does not include any state or local laws as well as any case law or regulations.  The book that holds all of the federal regulations we are expected to know and comply with now exceeds 170,000 pages in length.  To my knowledge no one has attempted to count the total number of federal regulations. 
Maybe we can get at the issue from another angle.  Just how many people does it take to enforce the laws that we are expected to know and obey?  According to the most recent count that I could find, there are 14,169 agencies that employ 708,569 officers of the law presently enforcing the laws we are expected to know and obey.  Here is where we run into a rather ironic twist in the tale of compliance with lawful orders.  The Supreme Court of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika just rendered a judicial decision (Heien vs North Carolina) in which the justices determined that law enforcement officers may use ignorance of the law to justify their unlawful actions.  You read that right.  When it comes down to the activities of the citizens of the SDA, the courts have consistently held that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Now, however, when a law enforcement officer engages in an  illlegal action, he may plead that he was ignorant of the law and be freed from legal culpability for his actions.  Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.  Citizens must comply with the laws they cannot possibly be aware of but the police officers who enforce those unknowable laws need not worry about such trifles when they detain, interrogate and arrest people.
I conclude that, in the SDA, it is impossible to define what law and order means.  I also conclude that if you want to stay alive through any contact with an agent of the state who has the authority to harm you, you had best comply with his orders whether they be lawful or not.  The simple truth is nobody knows whether what the cops are saying is lawful.  The cops don't know, the citizens don't know and even the judges frequently don't know.  All that we do know is that the cops have guns and we do not.  When someone holding a gun tells you to do something, like dance for instance, you had better do it and dance with all of your might.  Can we be far away from the scenario of cops forcing us to all dance for their entertainment, while they fire round after round into the ground near our feet?
Still, my advice about how to handle a confrontation with officers of the SDA law should cause a person of conscience to take pause and object.  Setting aside the obvious threat to my life for noncompliance, why should I be forced to comply with an order from a costume clad government agent simply because he wears the government costume and carries a government issued gun?  Given the fact that nobody knows what the law is these days, why should I be expected to obey what may or may not be a real law?  Moreover, what if the lawful order I have just received is not moral?  Why should I be forced to violate my conscience and obey a command I believe is immoral?  Certainly we must all agree that many of the laws that are currently enforced in the SDA are not moral in nature.  For example, how can it be moral to smoke marijuana in Colorado but not in Kansas, a scant inch or two across the border?  How can it be moral to sell an individual cigarette to a person in New Jersey, but not in New York City, also a scant distance across a geo-political boundary?  If the laws of this land were based upon moral principles then the laws of this land would be uniform. The laws are nowhere near uniform so we must necessarily conclude that the laws of the SDA are whimsical, capricious and oftentimes immoral.  Now let me ask you a question, why should I be forced to comply with a whimsical, capricious and immoral law?
The key word in the concept of obeying a lawful order is "lawful."  Lawful must mean moral.  If it does not  I am under no moral obligation to obey, regardless of what the costumed, gun-toting government agent tells me.  I recognize that debating the morality of a law with a costumed Neanderthal who is pointing a gun in my direction is probably not a good idea if my goal in that situation is to come out alive.  But from the safety and security of my home, while sitting in front of my computer, it is high time we consider such things.  
Eric Garner was breaking the law because the law says that it is illegal to sell individual cigarettes on the streets of New York City.  The law about selling individual cigarettes on the streets of New York City exists to maximize the tax revenues to the city.  It has nothing to do with public health or welfare.  It has nothing to do with eliminating or preventing crime.  It is a pure revenue raiser and nothing else.  It is also an immoral law.  The government does not have the right to impose restrictions upon the free transactions of free individuals that do not involve the trading of immoral goods or services.  When the cops ordered Garner to stop selling cigarettes on the streets of New York City they were issuing an immoral order.  The order they issued was lawful, but not moral.  When he resisted an immoral order he was killed for noncompliance.  Is this the sort of land we want to live in?
Ultimately it does not matter.  It is the land we live in.  Costumed and armed thugs working for the various branches of government may issue orders with absolute legal impunity that you are required to obey under threat of deadly force.  It does not matter if the orders that are issued on the spur of the moment are based upon the law of the land or not.  It also does not matter whether the orders are issued upon a law that  is moral or not, since the enforcers are not required to know the law of the land and they certainly are not expected to know anything about morality.  All that matters is that an order has been issued and you are expected to comply or be harmed.  Law and order types believe this is a good state of affairs.  Because I believe in freedom I am forced to disagree.  But because I want to live the next time a cop orders me to dance I have only one question for him....a jig or a waltz?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Newtown Hypocrites Worship Government

Did you see the report?  According to the Denver Post today, "The families of nine people killed in the Newtown school massacre filed a lawsuit against the maker and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the shooting, saying the gun should not have been sold for civilian use because of its overwhelming firepower."  The report went on to say that, "to continue profiting from the sale of AR-15s, defendants chose to disregard the unreasonable risks the rifle posed outside of specialized, highly regulated institutions like the armed forces and law enforcement."  The basic argument of the families filing the lawsuit is that the manufacturers and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle "could or should have known" that their gun would be used to kill a human being someday, somewhere, and that that knowledge should have caused them to stop making and selling the rifle.  Now that is an interesting argument, don't you think?
We are all familiar with this type of lawsuit.  They are extremely popular these days, primarily because they work.  Greedy lawyers and the equally greedy people they represent go after profit seeking corporations because they know there is an extreme bias against profit seeking corporations among the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  Stealing money from profit seeking corporations by means of a jury of SDA citizens being presented a series of fabricated legal charges is as easy as stealing candy from a baby.  The plaintiffs all get rich and the cost of their enrichment is born by millions of consumers who have to pay a couple of pennies more for the goods and services they purchase over the next year.  Who notices a couple of extra pennies?  Nobody and the scam works perfectly.
Using the argument of civil negligence because of what someone could or should have known has become quite popular.  In essence the Newtown families are saying that any company that manufactures guns should know in advance that one of their guns will someday be used to kill another human being.  Since they continued to manufacture those guns with the full awareness that one or more of them would one day be used to kill another human being they are guilty of some sort of civil equivalent of accessory to murder.  Then, in a bizarre twist of logic, they allege that the proper remedy for the families of the children who were killed is for them to receive boatloads of cash, even though none of them were actually murdered.  Let's get one thing straight.  If a person murders another person he should be executed and that is the end of the matter.  Giving cash to the families of people who have been murdered makes no sense at all.  Taking cash from the companies that made the guns that were used to kill people is equally senseless.  Let's all admit it, shall we?  This is just another way to punish profit seeking companies and enrich people who desperately want to see themselves as victims of one sort or another.
If the principle of civil liability about how finished goods are used by those who purchase them is to be applied consistently, we open an entire Pandora's box of dilemmas.  Automobile manufacturers know in advance that some of their cars will be used by the people who purchase them to run over and kill SDA citizens.  Why are they not sued into oblivion?  Knife manufacturers know in advance that some of the knives they make will be used by the people who purchase them to stab and kill other SDA citizens.  Why are they not sued into oblivion?  Rope manufacturers make ropes that will be used to strangle people, plastic bag manufacturers make plastic bags they know will be used to suffocate people, candlestick makers make candlesticks they know will be used to crush the skulls of other people; why are none of these businesses sued into oblivion?  Answer:  because they do not manufacture guns.
None of what I have written so far gets to the point I want to make today.  This has all just been an introduction.  In the title to this blog post I accused Newtown citizens of worshiping government.  What I have written so far does not make that case.  So let me make that case now.  The families in Newtown who have filed this suit are alleging that making and selling the Bushmaster rifle to SDA citizens is immoral.  That is the central core of their legal argument.  All profits realized by Bushmaster manufacturers off the sales of their guns are also alleged to be immoral profits.  In general, the families in Newtown want us to believe that gun manufacturers are a very immoral group of people, with one huge exception.
Did you notice the language in the lawsuit?  The families who filed the lawsuit do not want to stop the manufacturing and sale of Bushmaster rifles.  They only want to stop the manufacturing and sales of Bushmaster rifles to citizens of the SDA.  But they want Bushmaster rifles to continue to be made and sold provided the only people buying them are government agents.  Now isn't that fascinating?  The lawsuit alleges that Bushmaster rifles in the hands of civilians pose an "unreasonable risk" whereas the exact same rifle in the hand of a soldier or police officer does not pose an unreasonable risk.  How did they arrive at this conclusion?  They do not say.  The Newtown families believe it is immoral for a profit seeking gun manufacturer to sell guns to citizens but, at the same time, it is highly moral to make and sell the same gun to a government agent.  The only difference between the two examples is who is purchasing the weapon.  In other words, they tacitly admit that the gun itself is morally neutral, which they then turn around and proceed to specifically deny when they file suit against the gun makers.  That is known as a logical contradiction, but they don't see it since they are so blinded by greed.
There is a reason the founding fathers of the United States of America wrote a provision in the Bill of Rights that recognized the God-given right of citizens to arm themselves.  Citizens were allowed to arm themselves to protect themselves from the government agents who would come to deprive them of their lives, freedom and property.  My how things have changed, at least in Newtown.  In Newtown the citizens believe that only government should be allowed to arm itself.  Only government agents should be permitted to have Bushmaster rifles.  Why do they believe this?  Because they believe that government can protect them from homicidal maniacs in the future.  Can government protect them from homicidal maniacs?  Of course not, but they continue to believe that it can because their beliefs are religious in nature.  The hypocritical, immoral and greedy citizens of Newtown actually worship government.  Imagine that.