San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Exercise Practices Of Yuppies

I changed gyms about a year ago.  The gym I used to belong to never seemed to have very many members.  Or maybe they had a lot of members and nobody ever used the gym.  Or maybe people just went to the gym at times other than when I was there.  It doesn't really matter.  When I was at the gym I saw a lot of people just like me.  The folks I would work out with were mostly old men who had nothing better to do than go to the gym.  Not much "working out" took place but there was a lot of talk about the Broncos and the Rockies.  Whether the guys ever broke a sweat or not did not seem to matter to them.  Everyone seemed to have a good time and everyone was friendly.  Most significantly for this post, there were no Yuppies in my old gym.
I switched gyms for a variety of reasons, none of which are important here.  The first thing I noticed about my new gym was that it was full of Yuppies.  Although the two facilities are only a mile or so apart, the culture of the new gym is completely different than what I was accustomed to.  My new gym is almost always filled with people.  The people do not talk very much and do not seem to be very friendly.  Most of them have rather harsh looks upon their faces as they go through their exercise routines with their bodies flailing about and their headphones covering their ears.  Unlike my previous gym, these people all look and smell good.  Nary a beer belly can be seen, other than my own.  Nary a bad aroma arises from their gym clothes, other than my own.  Everyone looks and smells better than me.  Yep, I am surrounded by Yuppies.
Yuppie exercise practices mystify me.  Let me tell you about a couple of them.  The first thing that amazed me about the Yuppie exercise program is that it starts in the parking lot outside the gym.  It seems a bit strange to me but when a Yuppie goes to the gym it is vitally important that he get the closest parking space to the front door.  A Yuppie will sit and idle with his turn signal turned on for minutes to try and get a parking space that he expects to be vacated by a person walking towards the car parked in that space.  Frequently the Yuppie will circle the parking lot, hoping for a space closer to the front door to open and then rapidly darting into that space before some other SUV manages to occupy it.  I think you can where this is going.  If I am going to the gym to work out why is it important to get a parking space that is 50 or 100 feet closer to the front door?  If the purpose for being there is to exercise would it not make more sense to take the parking space the greatest distance from the front door and thereby increase my total calorie burn for the day?  But Yuppies do not think that way.  Getting parking spaces close to the entry of wherever it is they are trying to go is a Yuppie cultural tradition and the fact that they are going to the gym does not change anything.  The parking lot contest must go on and each Yuppie must do her best to win it. 
Once inside the gym the Yuppie has two primary goals, both of which are related to the only reason she is there.  The only reason a Yuppie works out is to look good.  Getting into better physical condition in order to be able to do things like climb a mountain or ride a bike or go for a cross country ski trip is irrelevant for the Yuppie.  The only reason a Yuppie takes out a gym membership is to use the gym equipment for the purpose of improving the appearance of his body.  For Yuppie women that primary means getting stick-like upper arms that they can display all year long with sleeveless shirts.  For Yuppie men that primarily means getting massive pectoral muscles that will ripple under their tight shirts when they move.  In order to get the bodies that they want, the Yuppies will divide their workout routine into two daily goals:  cardio and weight training.
Weight training, especially short intense intervals with the weights, has become the current Yuppie exercise fad.  The "latest research" tells the Yuppie that he needs to spend no more than 20 minutes doing high intensity weight training to get the look he covets so ferociously.  Both male and female Yuppies work the weights as they each try to sculpt their respective body parts into the Yuppie ideal of the perfect human being.  Numerous grunts, groans and the loud clanging of dropping weights emanate from the Yuppie as he vainly attempts to get the other Yuppies to watch what he is doing.  That, of course, never works.  Yuppies never look at each other, they only look at themselves.
I once spent an hour on a treadmill that was located right in front of a large mirror that separates the cardio from the weight section of the gym.  I decided to watch what happened as the Yuppies would walk in front of the mirror.  Over the course of that hour probably about 100 Yuppies strolled past the mirror, several of them going back and forth multiple times.  With no exceptions, every single Yuppie took a long and loving look at himself as he walked past the mirror.  Some actually stopped in front of the mirror and posed while gazing adoringly upon their own physiques.  No doubt they thought everyone else was gazing enviously at their physiques when, of course, they were not since everyone else was similarly occupied.
I have noticed that most Yuppies prefer to use the cardio equipment prior to going to do their weight training.  An entire ritual of exercise practices has evolved in relationship to each cardio machine.   There are basically four machines:  the elliptical machine (which mimics cross country skiing to a small degree), the treadmill, the exercise bike and the revolving staircase or step machine.  The goal to be attained by means of the cardio machines is weight loss by burning the maximum number of calories.  Only as the calories are burned off with cardio work can the work that is being done on the muscles with the weight training  be seen.  All of the machines have programs that tell the user how many calories she is burning.  The goal is to get the maximum number of calories burned in the minimum amount of time.  To accomplish that goal almost all Yuppies do the same thing.  I call it the "prop."
The "prop" is the practice of draping the Yuppie body on a cardio machine such that the machine itself supports most of the weight of the Yuppie.  This allows the Yuppie to perform the desired activity without really having to carry his own weight and, thus, makes it much easier.  The calorie readout on the machine, however, does not know that the Yuppie is propped and gives him the same number of calories whether he is actually burning them or not.  Each machine has its own prop technique, most of which involving locking elbows and arms in ways that most certainly must do harm over the long term.  Not to worry, most Yuppies do not work out that long....about 15 minutes for cardio by my reckoning.
I worked out on the stair machine today.  When I finished working out the machine was covered with sweat and little pools of my sweat had formed underneath the machine as it dripped off the revolving stairs as they went by the floor.  There are about a dozen stair machines in my gym.  All of them were in use while I was there.  When I finished I walked down the line of machines, most of them still in use, looking for a drop of sweat.  I found none.  I never do.  And that is another thing that mystifies me.  I cannot work out without sweating profusely.  Yuppies have figured out how to work out and never break a sweat.  I don't know how they do it but they do.  Good for them.
As I left the gym today, shivering in the cold wind as it whipped around my sweat drenched clothing, it occurred to me that the Yuppies must be pretty smart.  They go to the gym regularly just like I do.  But, unlike me, they never seem to work very hard.  Nevertheless, they all have much prettier bodies than I do.  The women have stick arms (I do too but that is not something a man should brag about) and the men have enormous pectorals.  They also look good and smell good, which I most certainly do not.  I don't know how they do it but they do.  Maybe it is in their genes.  If a Welshman was ever able to break into the Yuppie gene pool and cross breed with them we could find out the answer to that question.  But no Yuppie is ever going to cross breed with a Welshman.  I don't think it is even physically possible. 

SDA Citizens And Politicians Are Paranoid

Paranoia can be defined as that state of mind in which one believes he is being observed by others filled with sinister intentions toward him when, in fact, nobody gives a hoot what he is doing.  Paranoid people think everyone is out to get them.  Paranoid people, and nations that may legitimately be described as paranoid, believe that everyone else in the world wants to do them harm.  Paranoid people cling to their paranoid beliefs despite clear factual evidence which proves that nobody is out to get them.  They also cling to their beliefs in situations where it may be the case that others are out to get them but those enemies have no real chance of ever doing them harm.  Paranoia is not a good thing.  Those who practice it are fools at best.  Paranoia leads a person, and a country, into expending tremendous sums of time and money on defensive programs in response to a threat that does not exist.  The citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika and the career politicians who lead them are suffering from a gigantic case of paranoia.
One sign of paranoia is an obsessive need to gather information on others that you believe might be planning you harm.  Herbert Hoover is infamous for the fact that, as a paranoid little man, he kept a list of dirty secrets on thousands of power brokers in Washington, all the while protecting those little secrets so he could use them against the enemies that never came.  He died a foolish and broken man.  Everyone with a brain recognizes that Hoover was a perfect example of paranoia but then turn around and seem utterly incapable of perceiving paranoia in other situations.  Let me give you some of those situations.
The SDA government has 17 separate "intelligence" gathering organizations.  If you want a job working for one of those organizations you can go here.  Almost all SDA rulers and citizens believe it is a good thing to have 17 different spy organizations.  Given the fact that there is no foreign country that even comes close to posing a legitimate threat to our national security and given the fact that there is no reasonable cause to believe that we are about to experience domestic insurrection, why is the presence of 17 huge bureaucracies, all dedicated to spying on everyone in the world, not an example of extreme paranoia? 
These 17 spy bureaus create a lot of documents.  In 1995 the various bureaus created about six million documents that were labeled as "classified."  That means that a government issued security clearance must be presented prior to being able to see the contents of those six million documents.  Documents are classified because they allegedly contain information that is important to keep out of the public domain due to national security concerns.  In other words, government spies believe that if one of their classified documents was to be posted in the Denver Post someday that action would likely result in the SDA being attacked by foreign enemies.  Do six million documents sound a bit excessive to anyone but me?  Does it sound like SDA spy agencies are a bit paranoid to anyone but me?
But it gets worse.  After 9/11 the level of paranoia in this country increased exponentially.  Since 9/11 there have been approximately 500 million documents created and classified as secret by the various spy agencies.  92 million new classified documents were created last year alone, with 26 million of those receiving the "top secret" level of classification.  Six million secret documents were created in 1995.  Twenty six million "top secret" documents were created in 2013, plus an additional sixty six million secret documents.  Has the world really become that much more dangerous?  If each document created last year contained just three separate secrets that means that almost 300 million new secrets were discovered last year that need to be kept from the Amerikan people.  That is a lot of information we know nothing about.  Does it not strain credulity to believe that there are over a billion pieces of information since 9/11 that, if leaked to the press, would immediately result in the death of SDA citizens? 
Edward Snowden, a hero in my book, is being castigated by neo-cons and other state worshipers for the fact that he managed to steal some of those secrets and release them to the SDA media.  He allegedly got away with 1.7 million classified documents.  That makes up about only 2% of the total classified information gathered last year alone.  Interestingly enough, the information released so far mostly deals with "classified" information describing how the 17 different spy agencies are spying on SDA citizens.  No wonder they did not want us to know about it.  And the last time I checked, the leaking of that top secret information had not resulted in the deaths of any SDA citizens, although the information that was released did result in a lot of red faces on SDA career politicians. 
The SDA continues to wage a "war on terror" all around the world.  One of the primary weapons used in this war on a noun is the bomb-dropping drone.  These weapons go anywhere the King sends them and are used to kill anyone the King wants dead.  When we ask the King how he is using them he tells us that he cannot tell us without exposing the lives of SDA citizens to foreign attackers.  That is paranoia, pure and simple.  Our King is the King of the Paranoid.  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated Thursday, February 20th,  that King Obama will not be releasing any more information about the use of drones.  Here, in part, is what he said:
“This is not an open-ended process. This is a specific and unique accommodation in this circumstance. The fact is, when it comes to public disclosure, we have been publicly discussing these matters at the highest levels of government for the very reason that I’ve given, which is the President understands that these are core issues about how we conduct ourselves in war, how the President of the United States — any President — balances his constitutional obligation to protect America and American citizens, and his obligation to do so in a manner that is lawful under the Constitution and reflects our values.  The President takes these issues very seriously, and he believes that the conversation about this is valid and that the questions about it are legitimate. And that’s why he has been leading this process internally to provide public information as much as possible, mindful of the fact that we are talking about here very sensitive matters, and that these kinds of things — they’re classification — information is classified for very legitimate reasons that go right to our national security interest.  But within that, there is an effort underway to provide Congress information — those who have oversight over these matters — classified information as well as unclassified with the white paper and the public information as much as possible.”
Did you get all that?  Orwell could not have written a better speech.  I challenge you to read that speech and come up with one point of actual substance.  It is nothing but words that say nothing.  That speech is indicative of an extremely high level of paranoia.  Anyone who agrees with that speech is suffering from paranoia.  Ladies and gentlemen, we are a nation of paranoids being led by a cadre of paranoid-schizophrenics.  This not a good state of affairs.  There are no legitimate threats, either outside or inside the SDA, that justify this sort of expenditure of time and money to protect the national security of the SDA.
I can hear the howls of protest in my puny little brain.  You are screaming at me.  You are saying things like.....You have no idea how many people are out to get us......Everyone is out to get us, you just don't realize it......The only reason we are still here is due to the fact that we are being protected by these 17 spy organizations......we just need to trust our leaders......and, our leaders need to keep everything they do secret in order to protect us.  Those statements, my friends, are all examples of extreme paranoia.  You are paranoid and you are not even aware of it.  That is even a worse state of affairs to be in. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Should We Do About Ukraine?

Let me be upfront with you today.  The answer to the title question is simple.  Nothing.  We should do nothing.  I could stop here and post this brief article to the blog and I would be done with what needs to be said about Ukraine.  Of course I won't do that, but I could.
Many folks are asking the question above.  Most folks have no idea what they are asking when they ask it and even less of a clue of what they are doing when they answer it.  Who is "we?"  People use the "we" word all of the time as if there is some sort of popular consensus that determines what it is that should be done.  I suspect most people would say that "we" means the "United States."  But who, or what, is the "United States?"  If pushed I suspect most people would eventually be driven to say that "we" means King Obama.  He is our King.  He is responsible for doing the things "we" want him to do.  And once again we are back to "we."  I don't want King Obama to be involved with Ukraine in any way.  You probably do want him to be involved in some fashion.  So who wins?  Which one of us represents "we?" 
In a democracy "we" is the 51% of those who take the time to vote.  The remaining 49% of those who vote are meaningless and valueless shadows.  Since career politicians have to pander to the 51% of the people who vote in order to maintain their personal fiefdoms, it is pretty much a guarantee that whatever 51% of the voting public wants is what we all will get.  I object to that.  It is almost never the case that what the 51% wants corresponds to what I want.  I want to be left alone.  I want government to stay out of my business.  I want minimal government at all times.  Almost nobody wants what I want so I never get what I want.  No doubt I will also not get what I want in regards to Ukraine.
I want the Socialist Democracy of Amerika and King Obama to ignore Ukraine completely.  I want CIA operatives who have been sent there to destabilize the pro-Putin government to come home.  I want our King and his minions to stop talking about what is going on in Ukraine.  I want all nations who have an opinion about what is going on to keep their opinions to themselves.  I want every nation to mind its own business.   I want the media to simply report what is happening and not tell me if it is either good or bad.  I most certainly do not want any sort of embargo or system of sanctions imposed upon a people who have not attacked me.  Of course I will not get what I want.  The sanction war has already been declared, without a congressional declaration of course.  The pro-Putin government of Ukraine must fall because Putin made our King look bad in the Iranian affair.  This is about national pride and allowing our King to save face by proving that he is still a bigger bully than Putin.  It should not be this way but it is.
What is the worst possible thing that could happen if the SDA stopped meddling in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations?  What would happen if the SDA immediately withdrew all military personnel from all foreign lands?  What would happen if the SDA immediately closed all military bases on foreign soil?  What would happen if all career politicians in the SDA no longer paid the slightest attention to what takes place in other sovereign nations?  I know the answer most people will give to this series of questions.  Most people say that if the SDA did the things I am suggesting it would only be a matter of months before we were attacked by some combination of Russia, China, Canada and Paraguay resulting in our becoming enslaved to a totalitarian dictator.  Utter nonsense.
If the SDA became isolationist only good things would follow.  Whenever the word 'isolationist' is used it inevitably conjures up images of a destitute people huddling in a corner too fearful to do anything but beg passersby for food and spare change.  Amerikans do not want to live that way.  That image is completely incorrect.  Isolationism refers to military and political actions exclusively.  Going hand in hand with political and military isolationism is free trade with every single geopolitical entity on the surface of the earth.  That can hardly be deemed isolationist, can it?  On the contrary, the citizens of the SDA would be far more involved in the lives of people all around the world under universal free trade.  The difference between that and what we have now is that under free trade our interactions with others would be voluntary and mutually profitable.  As it is now we bully and enslave citizens of other nations and both sides of the transaction become economically worse off.
Imagine we leave Ukraine alone and the pro-Putin President puts down the rebellion and remains allied with Putin.  Imagine that Iran and Syria remained allied with Putin.  Then imagine that the Ayatollahs assume power in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Somolia and any other Muslim country in the area.  Then imagine that Venezuela finds another dictator like Chavez to rule it.  Imagine all South American countries find similar dictators.  How does any of this harm the SDA?  The SDA has a military force that is by far the biggest in the world.  The ability of the SDA military to protect our own shores is unparalleled in the history of the world.  Nobody is even remotely a threat to the security and domestic tranquility of the SDA.  Even if Putin, the Islamists and South American Communists are able to assume total control of their respective regions, it would have no impact upon SDA national security.  Even if they all declared war upon us simultaneously they would be incapable of overcoming our defensive forces.  We are secure and would become even more secure if the SDA military confined its activities to what it is constitutionally required to do. 
Guess what?  Putin and the Ayatollahs are not going to work together.  Iran and Iraq are not going to work together.  Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are not going to act together.  Misunderstood, ignored or purposefully suppressed by SDA career politicians and the popular press is the fact that almost all sovereign nations hate all other sovereign nations.  In addition, almost all quasi-governmental groups (called terrorists by our King) hate all other quasi-governmental groups.  The basis of almost all political interaction between sovereign nations and various terrorist groups is mutual distrust and hatred.  How else do you explain the fact of perpetual war?  The idea that Putin and an Ayatollah will join together to attack the SDA with adobe-clad submarines armed with salami warheads is absurd.  Those folks hate each other with a passion. If the SDA military was not involved those nations would be at war with each other almost immediately.  If the presence of the imperial SDA army in the Middle East was withdrawn it would be only a matter of hours before the dozens of waring Islamic factions were turning upon each other in a struggle for control.  The only reason they present a seemingly unified front is due to the galvanizing impact of the presence of the SDA imperial army.  Remove that and they turn upon each other like a pack of hungry wolves.
Thomas Jefferson, as was so often the case, had it right.  Entangling alliances with nobody, free trade with everyone.  What should we do about Ukraine?  The answer is the same as to what we should do about Libya, Syrian, Iran, Venezuela and North Korean.  Nothing.  Now would be a good time to start.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Deflation Is Your Friend

Chris Rugaber of the Associated Press is not very smart when it comes to economics.  Unfortunately he is often called upon to write articles about economics.  He is dead wrong about income inequality as I show here.  He is a Keynesian who never met a government spending proposal he didn't like, as I show here.  I was irritated to see that he has written another article for today's Denver Post entitled "The Downside of Curbed Inflation."  In this article he presents the standard platitudes of Keynesianism and attempts to convince his readers that inflation is good and deflation is bad.  Of course the exact opposite is the truth.  Let me tell you why.
The standard Keynesian response to the cause of the Great Depression is that an ever worsening spiral of declining prices brought it about.  As prices declined, we are told, people stopped making purchases because they were waiting to buy the same good at a lower price at a later time.  When people stopped making purchases business built up excess inventory and had to lay off employees.  Wages were slashed, jobs disappeared, prices collapsed and government had to ride to the rescue.  The government, we are also told, saved the economy of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika by declaring war on Germany and Japan thus ensuring that deficit spending would reach levels, measured as a percentage of GDP, unknown in the history of the SDA before or since.  This massive program of government spending created the inflation that was necessary to counteract the destructive deflation which had encompassed the economy and brought about such suffering.  That is the standard view you were taught in college.  That is the standard view that is believed by just about every citizen of the SDA today.  It is also totally wrong.
Deflation is good, despite what Chris Rugaber thinks.  The Great Depression was not created by deflation.  Quite the opposite is the case.  The Great Depression was created by the profligate monetary creation of the Federal Reserve Board during the 1920s.  Remember, the Fed was created in 1913.  It did not take long before it was inflating at a massive rate.  That resulted in the artificial boom of the "roaring 20s" as well as the economic correction that became known as the Great Depression starting in 1929.  Chris believes that the current rate of inflation in the SDA is too low.  As measured by the Fed, the rate of inflation in the SDA last year was 1.1%.  After pointing out the current rate Chris goes on to bemoan the situation and make his best effort to scare his readers into desiring more monetary creation.  He says, "What is wrong with very low inflation?  Lots.  When prices barely move, many people postpone purchases.  Why rush, if the same price -- or lower -- will be available in six months?  Collectively, these delays slow consumer spending, the economy's main fuel.  And too-low inflation raises the prospect of something worse:  deflation -- a broad decline in prices, pay and the value of stocks, homes or other assets."   Well there you have it.  The Fed needs to keep creating money at its present 7% rate in order to keep us from falling into another Great Depression where prices for everything fall precipitously.  Everything Chris wrote is wrong.  Let's take it one piece at a time.
The observation that people will wait to make purchases when prices are falling is simply not true.  Yes, if you know that a sale is going to start  tomorrow you might want to wait until then to save 30% on your purchase of a new pair of shoes.  But the idea that people in general wait to purchase goods until prices start to rise is ridiculous.  In the same article Chris wrote how "...cellphone service has gotten cheaper, breakfast cereal prices have dropped the past two years.  So has the cost of bedroom furniture and TV prices which have plummeted 29 percent in since 2012."  Last time I checked cell phone companies were not filing for bankruptcy.  Last time I checked General Mills was making a lot of money selling Cheerios.  And if the number of big screen televisions I see in my neighbor's homes is any indication, sales of televisions have not "plummeted by 29 percent" while the price for them has.  Although it sounds right to the uncritical ear, the notion that people will not buy things when prices are dropping is not backed up with empirical data.  In fact, just the opposite is the case.  Dropping prices motivates people to purchase more of a good, not less.  Still, even that observation is irrelevant since consumer spending has nothing to do with economic growth. Chris repeats the ignorant economic doctrine that consumer spending creates economic growth.  I have addressed that idiotic concept many times.  Go here, here, here, and here to read arguments which destroy the fallacious concept that economic growth is created by consumer spending. 
Chris then moves on to the horrific specter of deflation, or a "broad decline in prices, pay and the value of stocks, homes or other assets."  How can I possibly believe deflation is a good thing?  How can a decline in pay be good?  How can a dramatic drop in the value of your stock portfolio be a good thing?  Clearly I must be an idiot to write that deflation is your friend.  The mistake being made by Chris, and all others who believe deflation is the boogeyman, is not looking at the monetary side of the equation.  Let's consider money, and its relative value, for a minute.
When the Fed creates money, thus creating inflation, the value of each dollar steadily declines.  The flip side of the coin when the value of the dollar declines is the price for goods goes up.  Pay goes up.  Home values go up.  Stock portfolios go up.  The problem is, none of the increase in value created by inflation is real.  The price increases merely reflect the devaluation of the dollar.  The opposite takes place when deflation occurs.  A contraction in the supply of money brings about a decrease in prices and an increase in the value of each dollar.  As the value of the dollar goes up, the prices for things like homes, stocks and wages go down.  Does this represent a real loss of income and value?  Of course not, it is merely an adjustment to the supply of money.  In real terms the value of goods either remains the same or rises.
Which situation would you prefer from the two that follow:  1)  Your dollar loses half of its value due to inflation and the price of a big screen television rises from $1000 to $2500, or 2) Your dollar doubles in value due to deflation and the price of a big screen television drops by 50%?  According to Chris the first situation is the superior situation.  All Chris sees is how much more money is being made by people who sell televisions.  That money then allows them to expand, hire more people and pay more wages, which creates even more demand, etc.  What Chris misses is that televisions have become $500 more expensive relative to the value of the dollar.  The second situation, which terrifies Chris because it involves dropping prices, is the superior situation because the price of the television is exactly the same after adjusting for deflation.
A strengthening dollar is always a good thing.  When the dollar becomes more valuable it is necessarily the case that prices for things purchased with dollars will either decline or increase less quickly.  Those are good things.  Conversely, a dollar that is constantly losing purchasing power due to the depredations of monetary inflation is economically harmful to everything it touches.  It does not matter that your home has doubled in value when the value of the dollar has halved.  It does not matter that your annual income just set a new record when, after adjusting for inflation, you actually made less money than before.
In an economy with a stable money supply, such as one based upon a gold standard, we will experience generally decreasing prices and a general increase in the value of the dollar as economic productivity creates more goods for lower prices.  Such an economy, however, does not allow for government manipulation of the money supply.  Government creates central banking institutions in order to get free money from the central bank that is created "out of thin air" in order to finance its wars and give away free things to people who vote for the career politicians in power.  Chris Rugaber shows himself to be nothing more than a lackey for the career politicians and the central bankers who feed them a steady diet of newly created dollars that end up destroying the wealth of people like you and me. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hate Is Good

I was reading my paper this morning when I came across an entirely predictable response to the "coming out" announcement of former Missouri football player, and future NFL player, Michael Sam.  For those of you who are unaware of the situation, Sam announced to anyone who would listen that he is a homosexual.  Why his sexual behavior should be any of our business was never explained.  Why, if homosexuality is a normal and natural act practiced by millions of citizens in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, it should be worthy of a public announcement was not described.  Why his announcement should be met by anything more than dull stares and tired yawns was not detailed. All I know is that in today's politically correct society any person who decides to describe the intimate details of his private sex life is considered to be a hero, especially if he is black, plays football and homosexual.
Brad Haynes of Littleton just returned from visiting the University of Missouri where his son will be matriculating this fall.  While he was there he witnessed two events.  The first was a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church complaining about the glorification of homosexuality in our culture.  The second was a response to that protest in which "thousands of students and some faculty and administrators lined the opposite side of the street for a half a mile and peacefully turned their backs on the haters and their hateful messages."  Brad went on to declare that he was "proud of the school and every single person who was a part of that wall against hate."  As I was reading Brad's hateful comments it occurred to me that "hate" is getting a bad rap.  Hate is a good thing and it is time for me to stand up and defend it.
My defense of hate is very simple.  I begin with the presupposition that God is good.  Now, let me tell you a few things that God says about Himself:
  • There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him.  Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies and one who spreads strife among brothers.  (Proverbs 6: 16-19)
  • God hates all who do iniquity (Ps 5:5), He hates the assembly of evildoers (Ps 25:5), He hates those who regard vain idols (Ps 31:6), He hates the work of those who fall away (Ps 101:3), He hates every false way (Ps 119:104), He hates the double-minded (Ps 119:113) and the false way (Ps 119:128).  
  • God exhorts us to hate others.  Psalm 97:10 says to "hate evil, those of you who love the Lord."  Psalm 139:21 says, "Do I not hate those who hate you?  I hate them with the utmost hatred."  Proverbs 8: 13 says that "the fear of the Lord is to hate evil."  Amos 5:15 tells us to "hate evil and love good."  Micah 3:2 rebukes the people because they "hate good and love evil."
What sorts of people and or things does God describe as evil and, therefore, necessarily command us to hate?  Revelation 21 contains a list of people who are going to be eternally tormented in the Lake of Fire.  They are described as being cowards, unbelievers, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and liars.  Those who love God are expected to hate those who belong to those groups.  I Corinthians 6 has another list of people God hates.  It includes fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, the effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.   Paul writes that the members of those various groups will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
There is another list of people that God hates.  Members of this list are folks who commit sins for which God demands they be executed.  The purpose of the death penalty, despite popular opinions to the contrary, is to immediately usher the soul of the sinner into the presence of God in order to receive His immediate judgement.  Executing the sinner separates his soul from his body and gives God the opportunity to judge the sinner in His court.  Here is the list of behaviors that God demands the death penalty for:  murder, kidnapping, adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, witchcraft, habitual criminality and blasphemy.  God hates all people who fit into these groups who continue to practice their sin and refuse to repent of them.  In addition, God commands His people to hate those who fit into these groups who continue to practice and refuse to repent of their sins.  Are you beginning to understand that the blanket prohibition against hate is not a good idea?
Pietistic evangelical Christians and other soft-headed types will often try to make a distinction between the sin and the sinner.  The popular refrain, "I love the sinner and hate the sin" is often on their lips.  Too bad that phrase is not biblical.  God does not love the sinner and hate the sin.  He hates both the sin and the sinner.  You will search the Scriptures in vain for any example of loving the sinner and hating the sin.  That is a category that simply does not exist in the biblical texts.  On the contrary, hating the unrepentant sinner is a good deed.  Hating sin and sinners is consistent with the morally perfect nature and character of God and His people must emulate His character in this world.  We are commanded to hate and we refuse to do so at our own peril.
God hates a lot of people.  The various categories of those whom He hates makes up a long list of sinful human behaviors.  Those whom God hates will pay the punishment for their sins by undergoing eternal judgement after they die.  I think it is fair to say that, unless things take a dramatic moral turn for the better, the great majority of people walking around on the earth today are going to be subject to the eternal wrath of God.  It seems pretty clear to me that God hates most folks.  That being the case, how can hate be such a terrible thing?  I have a simple syllogism for you:  God hates most people.  God is morally perfect.  Therefore the practice of hate can be a morally correct action.  In other words, hate can be good.
So, should we condemn those who publicly protest the public glorification of the practice of homosexuality?  Are the members of the Westboro church hate mongers?   The answer is yes and no.  The members of the Westboro church are preaching hate and can legitimately be called hate mongers.  In this case, however, their hate is morally good.  They are only declaring what God has already declared; He hates the practice of homosexuality and those who glorify it and continue to practice it are His enemies.  
For my part I am not interested in participating in any public protests against homosexuality, although I think those who do participate are doing a good thing.  I would much rather be a part of a protest against adultery.  Casting the wide net of adultery will catch many more sinners than the net cast against the practice of homosexuality.  If surveys are any indication of the truth, over half of the citizens of the SDA are going to be subject to the eternal wrath of God for their practice of adultery.  Far more people will be in the Lake of Fire for the sin of adultery than the sin of homosexuality.  So if we are going to conserve our energy and focus our attention, how about going after the adulterers instead?
Then again, adulterers, for the most part, are ashamed of their sin.  We don't often hear of parades being staged in support of those who commit adultery.  Rarely are people called to attend a rally in support of those who practice adultery.  I can't remember ever watching a news report in which a perpetrator of adultery is described as being a heroic and highly moral human being.  I don't think I have ever seen anyone say they want their kids to grow up to be adulterers, if that is what it takes to make them happy.  I know I have never been told that I should weep when an adulterer decides to take his own life.  So maybe the Westboro folks have a point.   Maybe we should focus some hate upon homosexuals after all.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Summit County Colorado Robs Its Residents

Summit County Colorado is seeking to steal the mountain cabin of a couple by means of the immoral principal of eminent domain.  The story can be found here.  I suspect everyone is familiar with the constitutional principle of eminent domain.  Invoking eminent domain gives the legislative branch of the federal government the right to take the private property of a citizen of the land provided it is used for "public use" and provided the landowner receives the fair market value price for the stolen land.  The immoral principle of emiment domain originated as a means to protect private property holders from outright theft of their entire estates anytime the government decided it wanted to take it.  In that sense it was an improvement over the existing law and practice.  However, because the principle is founded upon the erroneous economic assumption that "infrastructure" cannot be built by profit seeking businesses, it allows for government to continue to steal from its citizens although on a sharply reduced scale.  Wikipedia describes the process of eminent domain as follows:
"The power of governments to take private real or personal property has always existed in the United States, being an inherent attribute of sovereignty. This power reposes in the legislative branch of the government and may not be exercised unless the legislature has authorized its use by statutes that specify who may use it and for what purposes. The legislature may delegate the power to private entities like public utilities or railroads, and even to individuals for the purpose of acquiring access to their landlocked land. Its use was limited by the Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, which reads, '...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.' The Fifth Amendment did not create the national government's right to use the eminent domain power, it simply limited it to public use.  The Fifth Amendment imposes limitations on the exercise of eminent domain: the taking must be for public use and just compensation must be paid. Some historians have suggested that these limitations on the taking power were inspired by the need to permit the army to secure mounts, fodder and provisions from local ranchers and the perceived need to assure them compensation for such takings. Similarly, soldiers forcibly sought housing in whatever homes were near their military assignments. To address the latter problem, the Third Amendment was enacted in 1791."
That constitutional limitation to "public use" did not last long.  Several years ago a landmark case went to the Supreme Court and it was determined that local governments can exercise eminent domain to confiscate property to increase their tax revenues.  Wikipedia went on to say:  "The Supreme Court's decision in Lelo v. City of New London (2005) affirmed the authority of New London, Connecticut, to take non-blighted private property by eminent domain, and then transfer it for a dollar a year to a private developer solely for the purpose of increasing municipal revenues."
The Constitution is not a perfect document.  Only the Bible is perfect.  In this case the Constitution is flawed.  Allowing the state to steal private property, regardless of the purpose behind the theft and regardless of the amount paid in compensation, is always theft.  It is always wrong.  It should not surprise us that as career politicians and bureaucrats grow more and more indifferent to the real life situations of those under their authority that they would seek to expand their power over the citizens by using the power of eminent domain in new and creative ways.  The case in Summit County Colorado is a case in point.
Many thanks to a reader of this blog who sent me the link to the story about the act of theft taking place in Summit County.  The story says, in part, "The view from the deck of the small, century-old cabin was a dream come true for Andy and Ceil Barrie -- a sweeping panorama of 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks towering above the forest of centuries-old bristlecone pines. It convinced the couple to buy a 3-bedroom home in a subdivision below, where they could live year-round, and the 10-acre parcel surrounding the cabin in the midst the White River National Forest.  Now the county government, alarmed that the couple drives their ATV up a 1.2-mile old mining road to the cabin, wants to take the Barrie's land — and it's doing so by claiming eminent domain. Rather than using the practice of government seizure of private property to promote economic development, the county is using it to preserve open space.  The move shocked the Barries. They have allowed hikers to travel through their property, had no plans to develop the land and were negotiating with the county at the time it moved to condemn the property."
The property owned by the Barries is not in official wilderness and, therefore, not subject to limitations on how it may be accessed.  The story goes on to describe how the problem developed.
"The U S. Forest Service told the Barries they couldn't use a motorized vehicle on the road to access their 10 acres, which float like an island in the 2.1 million acres of the White River National Forest. The Barries countered that they had a legal right to traverse the old road and prepared a court challenge. Summit County contacted the Barries and asked to buy the land. The Barries said it wasn't for sale. The county commissioners voted to condemn the property on Oct. 25, endorsing a staff report that found that 'public motorized access' to the property could damage the alpine tundra and streams, as well as habitat for the endangered lynx."
Isn't that amazing?  One of the original purposes for the inclusion of the principle of eminent domain in the Constitution of the United States was to allow landlocked landowners the legal right to access their property.  Now, in an amazing twist of logic and events, that same principle is now being used to prevent a couple of landlocked landowners from having legal access to their property.   Why?  Because the career politicians and power hunger bureaucrats who sit on the Summit County council want to make sure they do not see any motorized vehicles while they are cross country skiing through the forest.  Do they admit that that is the real reason why they want to forbid the couple from accessing their property?  Of course not.  They come up with a very different excuse.
According to Summit County, the mere act of driving an ATV up a snow covered road results in damage to the alpine tundra (none grows on the road and the house is below timberline where there is no tundra), pollution to the stream in the valley (hard to see how that could happen anymore than what happens during the summer 4x4 season when hundreds of Jeeps use the road) and, most seriously, causes a lynx to have to somehow change his path when walking through the snow one day.  We can't have that!
The Summit County abuse of the principle of eminent domain is precisely why the founding fathers attempted to limit the use of the principle in the first place.  By not enacting an outright ban on the practice they foolishly ensured that these types of events would take place today. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dead As A Result Of Attempted Murder

Only in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika can a person end up dead as a result of  the act of "attempted murder" while the person who shot him is not convicted of actually murdering the person he killed.  Confused?  So am I.  Let me try to explain.
The Associated Press reported today that "Michael Dunn, a white 47-year-old software developer, could face 60 years in prison after his conviction Saturday on multiple counts of attempted murder for shooting into a car full of teenagers outside a convenience store in 2012.  Jordan Davis, a black 17-year-old, was killed in the shooting, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict on the first-degree murder charge against Dunn.  A mistrial was declared on that count."
So there it is.  Dunn was found guilty of attempted murder when he fired several shots into a car full of teenagers which ended up killing one of them.  Nevertheless, he was not guilty of murdering the teenager he killed.  What a strange land we live in.  How is it possible for a man to try to murder someone, then successfully murder someone and then not be guilty of murdering someone?  Only under the immoral and contradictory laws of the SDA could this result come about. 
The press, as you would expect, has been playing this story up as "Zimmerman II."  Dunn's defense was that he saw a shotgun being brandished by one of the youths in the vehicle and believed that his life was in danger.  After concluding that his life was in danger he drew his gun and fired several shots into the vehicle, resulting in the death of Jordan Davis.  No gun was found in the teenager's car and the jury did not believe his story that a shotgun was being brandished.  How did this situation ever come to be?
Dunn was sitting in the parking lot of a Kwik-E-Mart when the car full of teenagers pulled up beside him.  As is often the case, the teenagers had their car stereo turned up very loud and Dunn took offense at the noise.  Instead of doing what I would do in those situations they started shouting at each other.  Emotions flared.  Dunn felt threatened and killed Davis.  This whole situation could have been avoided if Dunn had taken the Welsh approach to the problem.
When a Welshman is surrounded by cars, each radiating offensive rap music at a very high volume, he always resorts to the same tactic.  He lowers his car's windows and turn his music up to the highest level it can go.  Generally unknown to outsiders, the Welsh are aficionados of classical music and Welsh folk songs.  When auditorially confronted by Handel's "Water Music" or a rousing performance of "Peer Gynt" the average teenager becomes dumbstruck (not a hard thing to do actually).  Once they have been rendered dumbstruck we quickly switch CD's to a Welsh folk song like "Wouldn't You Rather Be In Cardiff?" or "Mount Snowdon is Snowy on a Snowy Day."  These songs bring tears to the eyes of Welshmen.  They have a very different impact upon teenagers.  They make them run for cover.  Situation defused.
Apparently in the course of the argument Dunn had made the comment that the car was full of "thugs" playing "thug music."  Maybe you are not aware but "thug" is the new "nigger."  I read something the other day that informed me that "thug" is a word that may no longer be used in reference to black people.  In fact the author of the article spelled "thug" as "t***."  I was not aware that "thug" had become the new "nigger."
I use the word all the time.  There are thugs everywhere.  Sometimes they are white and sometimes they are black.  They are never Welsh or Welsh-Americans.  In fact the Welsh race is a perfect example of what it means to be anti-thug.  We deplore violence.  We avoid violence at all costs.  The primary reason for our abhorrence of violence is that we are a physically weak race and any physical altercation inevitably results in our blood being spilled all over our opponent's fists.  Nevertheless, the Welsh are never known as thugs.
I frequently refer to athletes as thugs.  There are thugs throughout the NBA.  They commit cheap-shot fouls and attempt to injure players on the other team.  The NHL is filled with thugs.  One hockey game, a couple of weeks ago I believe, began with all of the players on both teams immediately dropping their sticks and pummeling each other shortly after the puck was dropped.  The ice that night was covered with nothing but thugs.
Thugs always try to act tough.  There are neighborhood kids who are thugs.  They will force old people like me to move off the sidewalk and into the street when we pass just to prove that they are tough. They are thugs.  They wear official gang apparel in order to look tough and thug-like.  I always have to stifle a laugh when I see a rosy-cheeked 15 year old with peach fuzz on his chin and a stud in his ear trying to look tough.  I want to tell him that he is trying way too hard but I know my words will fall on deaf ears.  I call those fools wannabe thugs.
So the fact that Dunn referred to the black teenagers as thugs is sufficient proof that he is a racist.  The media loves that angle and is doing its best to compare Dunn to Zimmerman.  But there is no real comparison.  Dunn was not attacked.  His shots into the car did constitute an attempt to murder its occupants.  The fact that one of the bullets killed one of the occupants also means he is guilty of murder, despite the verdict of the jury on the issue.  He will no doubt spend the rest of his life in prison so it really does not matter that he was not convicted of murder.
What I find most interesting in this entire story is what would have happened if Dunn had been a cop?  I believe if Dunn had been a cop he would have been put on paid administrative leave and eventually exonerated for the murder of Davis on the grounds that he was a cop who felt "threatened."  And therein lies the rub. When a regular citizen of the Socialist Democracy of Americka feels threatened, either rightly or wrongly, he is guilty of murder when he defends himself.  When a cop feels threatened he is always justified in using deadly force, regardless of the actual circumstances of the case.  A group of thugs in a car playing loud music can threaten a single white male and he is not allowed to do anything.  That same group of thugs can be justifiably killed when the single white male is a cop.  Now where is the justice in that?