San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Russian Obsession

Neo-cons (Cheney, Rumsfeld), warfare statist Republicans (Romney, Rubio, McCain), vote-seeking moderate Democrats (Hillary, Kerry)  and the military-industrial complex (nameless faces at the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc) all love Russia.  More precisely, they love to hate Russia.  It seems like everybody hates Russia, and its charismatic leader Vladimir Putin, except King-elect Donnie Trump.  Even the present King of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, Barak Obama, now hates Russia.  At one point in the not so distance past, four years ago to be exact, King Obama liked Vladdie, even telling him that after he won the next vote contest for the Kingship he would be able to move forward with cordial relations between his country and ours.  Now all of that has changed since the various spy organizations that operate on SDA taxpayer dollars have declared that Russia influenced the last election.  It does not matter that they have produced absolutely no evidence in support of their claim (just trust them, they tell us).  All that matters is that King Obama now hates Russia as well since, according to him, the evil Putin kept Hillary from becoming the first Queen of the SDA.
I find all of the firestorm surrounding the allegations that Russia influenced the SDA Kingship elections most amusing.  Even though there is absolutely no reason to believe we are being told the truth, I will grant that Vladdy was able to use his amazingly expert computer skills and hack into the DNC servers.  But, as the cops like to tell me all the time, "why not let us look around if you have nothing to hide?"  Hillie certainly would not have voluntarily allowed people who did not support her to look around her emails so Vladdy did us all a favor and revealed them to us on her behalf.  Once again I must ask, why all the brouhaha if Hillie and the DNC had nothing to hide?  Most folks in the SDA have abandoned and abolished the 4th Amendment based upon the belief that nobody should complain about being searched by government agents unless they have something to hide.  Clearly Vladdy is not the problem here.  The problem is the content of Hillie's and the DNC's email messages.  Why should Vladdy be blamed for what Hillie said and did?
Did Vladdy "influence the outcome" of the SDA voting contest?  Absolutely, if you believe revealing information about the various candidates that is true can be responsible for influencing how people will vote.  I am not privy to the information contained within the heads of hundreds of millions of SDA citizens but I can conceive how it is possible that many millions of them decided to vote against Hillie because of what they read in her emails.  But it was not Vladdy who changed their minds since he was simply the conduit for the information.  It was Hillie who changed their minds.  Her arrogance and elitist attitude could easily have turned off many of those who might have voted for her if she had been successful at keeping up her public image intact while distracting folks from what she is really like.
I find the media to be somewhat less than morally pure on this topic.  Conservatives, moderates and screaming liberals alike are maligning Vladdy for what he allegedly did.  Do they also expect me to believe that the "news" they reported to me during the election cycle was unbiased and not designed to favor a particular candidate?  Give me a break.  The only difference between what Vladdy did and what Fox News, CNN and MSNBC did during the last election cycle was....uhm....ahum.....well.....as I think about it.....I can't think of any difference.
JFK refused to go to war with Cuba, angering the hawks in Washington DC beyond belief.  He was dead a scant couple of years later.  Donnie refuses to go to war with Russia, even daring to befriend Vladdy over the protestations of the hawks in Washington DC.  Donnie would be wise to watch his back.  I can easily see how those in power who need to continually foster a hatred for Russia could be persuaded that it is good for one man to die so that the rest of them might continue to prosper.  (Note to the FBI agent reading this blog, oh how I flatter myself, this is not a threat.  Nobody should ever take up arms against their rulers.  Read the other posts to this blog to see that I have continually preached this truth.)
Those of you who hate Russia, I have a couple of questions for you:
  1. Why do you hate Russia, and Vladdy?  What has he ever done to you?  Be specific, what has he really done to you?
  2. Why are Russia's excursions into Ukraine and Syria any of our business?  If they are our business, please explain why it is not our business to defend the citizens of North Korea.
  3. What is the constitutional basis for the argument that the SDA has a responsibility to police Russia as it operates around the world?
  4. Since the only reason I can think of to vilify Russia as an enemy is directly tied to the belief that the SDA is morally required to be the biggest and baddest empire the world has ever seen, please explain why it is morally proper, or required, for the SDA to be the biggest and baddest empire the world has ever seen.
  5. What difference does it make if Russia becomes the next great world empire?  So what?  Who cares?  Why not let Russia deplete its economic resources maintaining a world-wide empire as we are doing today so the SDA can go back to business and produce things that people around the world want to purchase?
  6. Do you really and truly believe, as my Dad used to tell me, that we have only two choices:  either live in the greatest and most brutal empire the world has ever seen or suffer deprivation, torture and death under the rule of a communist dictator?
I predict that if the SDA withdrew militarily from all parts of the world not contained within the 50 states that make up the SDA we would never be attacked or harassed by Vladdy in any way.  Of course my prediction will never be tested.  The one thing all Amerikans agree upon is the primary importance of the protection and expansion of the Amerikan empire.  Shall we admit this truth this Christmas season?  Shall we joyfully proclaim peace on earth and good will towards men provided they first bow down before us?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Another Sermonette, Free Of Charge

Titus 3:3 describes the moral condition of all people who are not true Christians.  It says, "For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another."  What a complete and accurate summary of the nature of unregenerate man that sentence is.  Let's consider it for a moment today.
I could preach an entire sermon on the various characteristics of sinful men found in the above verse.  But this is a sermonette, not a sermon, so I will focus on just one part of the sentence.  What interests me today is how God-hating reprobates spend their lives in "malice and envy,...hating one another."   I think it is especially appropriate during this time of year when so many have words like joy, love and peace on their lips to consider the true nature of human nature.  All human beings, in their natural state, are filled with malice, envy and hatred for their fellow men.  This is an incontrovertible fact and easily shown to be true by looking at the real world of human relationships.
Malice is defined as "the intention or desire to do evil."  Envy is defined as "the desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to someone else."  Hate is defined as "intense or passionate dislike."  Be honest with yourself and consider the relationships you are most familiar with.   Do not these three words characterize them perfectly?  If it were the case that good will towards men, joy at another's wealth and charity for all were the primary behavioral characteristics of men in this world we would live in a very different world than the one we do.  I think it is time to cease being hypocrites and admit the obvious.  Generally speaking, we are filled with hate, malice and envy for the people we know, especially those we know the best.
Let me get a bit more specific. Specifically, let's consider envy for a moment.  Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and, in the minds of most theologians, ranks second only to pride in its vileness.  A citation in Wikipedia states that, "According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the struggle aroused by envy has three stages: during the first stage, the envious person attempts to lower another's reputation; in the middle stage, the envious person receives either 'joy at another's misfortune' (if he succeeds in defaming the other person) or 'grief at another's prosperity' (if he fails); in the third stage the term is hatred, because 'sorrow causes hatred.'"  I think that is a pretty good summary.
In the first stage the envious person defames his target.  The rich are evil.  Enough said. In the second stage the envious person rejoices when the rich are fleeced by a new law and wail unceasingly when the rich become even richer.  Enough said. In the third stage hatred for the rich is a virtue.  Enough said.
Can anyone who has made the voluntary decision to vote tell me how the act of voting can ever been seen as anything other than an act motivated by envy or, conversely, an act motivated to protect the voter from the envy of another?  In every instance that I can think of during my lifetime, an affirmative vote for some candidate has always been based upon what that candidate promises "to do" for the person voting for him.  By definition a career politician can do nothing without funding and, also by definition, all government funding originates from taxation or inflation.  When an envy-filled person votes for a candidate who promises him free health insurance he is actually voting for a person who promises to take money from another person and give it to him.  When a person desirous of protecting his assets from depredation votes for a candidate who promises to not allow the civil government to create a law giving people the right to have free health insurance he is voting defensively against the envy-filled voter.  Has anyone ever seen any other type of vote or voter other than what I am describing here?  If so, I would like to know when, where and what it was.
Last month my neighbors voted to increase my property taxes in order to pay their government school teachers more money to babysit their children.  They won and I lost.  I will now be paying more money in taxes as a result of the fact that I lost.  Please explain, in moral terms, why I have not been robbed.  Please explain, in moral terms, how envy was not the root cause of the plan to raise my property taxes in order to generate funds to pay government school employees to babysit my neighbor's children.
Why are "the rich," whoever they are, demonized while the "working families" of this immoral land are canonized?  Because of envy, of course. Why is a person's moral standing in the universe determined by his net worth or his income?  Because of envy, of course.  Why is it considered to be a good thing to have civil government and career politicians enact laws to take money from one group and give it to another?  Because of envy, of course.  Why is income inequality (except in the case where government employees make more than those of us in the private sector) considered evil?  Because of envy, of course.  Why are the voting contests that are held annually in this land so hotly contested? Because of envy, of course.  Envy is the basis of all political action in this immoral land.  The only thing worse than envy is the pride seen in the actions and words of the victors of the annual voting contests as they make plans about how they are going to violently beggar their neighbors so long as they can retain the power to do so.  So please, don't talk about "goodwill towards men" this holy-day season.  It makes me sick to hear it. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The First Shall Be Last

Jesus said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave..."  Let's think about those words for a while today.
The immediate context of the passage is that of a conflict between the disciples of Jesus as to which one of them would be the greatest when He established His earthly Kingdom and put them upon 12 thrones to rule the world.    It would apply to civil leaders in our time as well.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely and limited power corrupts as well.  There is not one man in a thousand who can be entrusted to use legitimate power without becoming corrupted by it.  Jesus describes it well when He said that "the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them."  Those in power almost without exception become intoxicated by that power and begin to consider themselves superior to their underlings.  It does not take long before those in power come to believe that they are better than everyone else and, since they are superior human beings, they are entitled to extra privileges.
The entire political process in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is infected, through and through, with this mindset.  Those in power use it to suppress and harass their enemies while those who seek that power will do anything necessary to obtain it.  Everyone knows and understands that those who win get the right to boss everyone else around until their term is up.  Then, whoever wins the next round of voting gets to do the exact same thing to their enemies.  The entire process has devolved to putting various power-mad people into positions of authority for various periods of time and encouraging them to beat up on the losers for as long as they can.  This truth accounts for the utter despair experienced and proclaimed by those who lose a voting contest.  They know that, for a time at least, they are going to be lorded over.
As regular readers are aware, I live in the midst of Yuppies.  I made the voluntary decision to buy a home in the midst of Yuppie-ville so I cannot complain about my predicament.  Living among Yuppies is a difficult and trying experience.  One of the most trying aspects of life with these poor souls is tied to the fact that they are all Type-A Obsessive/Compulsive personalities.  Yuppies are driven.  Yuppies are always in a hurry.  And Yuppies must always be first.  Let me tell you a few stories.
There is a two lane left turn near my home that leads to an arterial road that immediately leads to an Interstate highway.  Due to the accidents of geography most of the people who use the two lane left turn lanes intend to turn right onto the Interstate highway shortly thereafter.  I would estimate that it is about a quarter mile from the two lane left turn to the junction with the on-ramp to the Interstate highway.  When it is my intention to use the Interstate highway I use the right lane of the two lane left hand turn lanes.  That makes sense since it puts me into the right lane on the arterial, thus allowing me to merge on the on-ramp to the Interstate highway without switching lanes.  Guess what the Yuppies I live with do at this two lane left turn?  You got it!  Yuppies live life in the fast lane.  That means they use the left lane of the two lane left turn lanes and then scream forward, turn signal flashing, and force themselves into the right hand lane to merge onto the Interstate highway.  I cannot make this left turn without this happening at least once each time I am there.
Today I was heading out on to the road for a Dunkin Donut.  I stayed in the right lane as long as I could to avoid being overrun by Yuppies in their Lexi (plural of Lexus).  At the last moment, when there was nobody in sight behind me, I moved to the left lane in order to turn into the donut shop.  Immediately a Yuppie driver in her SUV was on my tail.  I don't know where these folks come from.  One minute they are not there and the next minute they are on my tail, clearly indicating they want me to get out of the way.  Not wanting to be rear-ended (it has happened to me before) I moved to the right, allowed the lady to scream past me, and missed my turn into the donut shop.  Not to worry, I circled around and got my donut.
My wife and I were leaving the local Costco a month or so ago.  It was a Saturday and the place was chock-full of Yuppies.  Costco, in case you do not know, is a "warehouse" store where items can be purchased in bulk and often at superior prices.  Before leaving the store each customer's cart is checked by a Costco employee to ensure nothing is being stolen.  Typically there are two lines that form as people are being checked on their way out of the store.  This day there were three lines.  As we were patiently waiting in line one highly agitated Yuppie male started shouting at the customers trying to leave the store, ordering them to get into the various lines in such a fashion as he could get out more quickly.  He clearly had little patience for people like us.
I was driving home from work in the late evening a couple of days ago when a Yuppie in an SUV came up quickly on my left side.  I was driving on the right lane of the road as he approached so I stayed put so as to avoid impeding his progress.  He was significantly exceeding the speed limit as he aggressively approached the rear bumper of the car ahead of him, also in the left lane.  He repeatedly honked his horn but the other Yuppie would not move over.  So he quickly changed lanes, moving to the right, and sped forward in the right lane.  At this point a stop light on the road ahead turned yellow and the Yuppie accelerated to get through the intersection. Flying through the now red light at a high rate of speed the Yuppie was quickly on the rear end of another Yuppie car, this time in the right lane.  He honked his horn aggressively as I watched the cars disappear over the hill and as I stopped for the red light.  If this were an isolated occurrence I would not mention it.  Unfortunately, this happens all the time where I live. 
I could go on and on with tales of fights for a place in line at the store, of races to the most prestigious tables in restaurants, of outrageous driving habits that indicate the Yuppie is the true center of the universe and of the general "me-first" attitude that dominates the people where I live.  Unlike my Yuppie compatriots, one of my goals in life is to stay out of the way of other people.  I will purposefully inconvenience myself to avoid getting in the way of the hot and bothered.  I will pull over or off the road multiple times each day to allow a hard-charging Yuppie to pass.  Being first in this life means very little to me.
As I witness the incredible level of selfishness evident in the lives of the people I am surrounded by, (I sound very self righteous, don't I?) I often find myself recalling the Bible verse I quoted at the start of today's post.  That verse gives me a powerful motivation to be last in this life.  I don't want the admiration of the public.  I don't want to even think about what others might think about me.  I don't want the biggest house or the fastest car.  I don't want to be at the head of the pack.  I don't want people to step aside to let me through.  I don't want to lord it over anyone.  I am pleased to do my best to stay out of the way for all of you who are clearly much more important than I am.
I will tell you what I do want however.  I want to be first in the Kingdom of Heaven.  That sounds awfully arrogant and selfish too, doesn't it?  It is not that I expect to be first in the Kingdom of Heaven.  That is a ridiculous belief not based upon any empirical evidence or spiritual facts.  But what I do want to see when I get to Heaven is those who spent all of their lives trying to be first among us being told that their time for prominence is over.  Psalm 23 says, in part, that God will prepare a table for His children in the "presence of their enemies."  He will do that to exalt them over the people who have lorded it over them during this life.  Who will you be, assuming you are a Christian and will get to Heaven?  (Non-Christians are doomed to the Lake of Fire and have no hope.)  Will you be one who Jesus invites to come forward or will you be one who Jesus instructs to move to the back of the room?  I am trying to live my life today in last place, hoping that the day will come when I will be invited forward. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Who Makes More: Government Or Free Market Employees?

According to a “News Release” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor dated December 8, 2016:
“Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $34.15 per hour worked in September 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $23.42 per hour worked and accounted for 68.6 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $10.73 and accounted for the remaining 31.4 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $32.27 per hour worked in September 2016. Total employer compensation costs for state and local government workers averaged $45.93 per hour worked in September 2016.” 
Here is a graphic comparing employee compensation for private sector workers and federal government employees:

                


As a young lad growing up I was repeatedly told that people gravitated to government jobs because they were secure and likely to last a lifetime, fully recognizing however that they would be paid much less than the equivalent job in the private sector    I believed that mantra, until recently when the facts forced me to change my mind.  According to the government’s own statistics, government workers, on average, make 40% more money, in both cash and benefits, than their free market counterparts.  That is a startling higher rate of compensation for performing the exact same job.  Indeed, the disparity of pay between the two groups is evident in all levels and types of employment except for those who hold professional degrees or doctorates.  Even there, however, the case can be made that wages are higher in the private sector for doctors, lawyers and the like only because they enjoy the benefits of a government monopoly subsidizing their incomes.  It seems like no matter how you cut it, government employees are always better off.
Why should government employees make so much more than their free market equivalents?  I can think of no logical, economic or moral reason why this should be so.  On the other hand, I think I know why things have become so distorted.  Let me explain.
The free market is subject to economic expansions and contractions.  Wages in the free market are directly tied to market conditions at the time.  The colossal decrease in wages that occurred in many jobs during the Great Recession set the rate of progress in wage gains dramatically backward for several years.  Only recently have wage gains recovered and exceeded their previous highs.  Government jobs, on the other hand, never experience any real world conditions.  Since revenues are provided by the twin pillars of inflation and taxpayer dollars there is no reason for government jobs to ever take a pay cut.  As a result, government jobs have continued to pay higher and higher rates regardless of market conditions.  Given enough time it is inevitable that government jobs will eventually pay more than the free market.  We are now there.
What should be done about this income inequality?  Where are the complaints from those who ceaselessly complain about income inequality in the free market? Where are the calls for government intervention like the ones we hear about CEO compensation and the wage gap between rich and poor?  Why is income inequality in the free market evil but good in the world of government?  I have no answers to those questions.  If you know of anyone who does please let me know.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Elise Metzger Expresses Her Concerns

Elise Metzger, of Glenwood Springs, is worried about many things.  In fact, she is so worried about so many things she took the time to write a letter to the editor of the Denver Post to express her concerns for readers like me to see.  Let's consider her concerns for a while today.  Here is her letter, in its entirety:
"It is great that we are predicted to get more jobs in the state, but construction jobs are not permanent.  Will the state have some type of plan to make sure that people coming in from other areas have work once the construction is complete?   Colorado's unemployment rate is currently one of the lowest in the country.  It would be too bad if that were to change due to the influx of people to fill these construction jobs.  Additionally, how does the state plan to keep up with this growth? Rent prices are high in most areas and there seems to be a shortage of places to live.  Where will these new workers stay?"  Let's consider some of Ellie's worries, comments and questions here today.
Elly, as her friends call her, is pleased to see that profit seeking corporations involved in building things in the geo-political zone known as Colorado have been hiring people to perform labor services for them.  Although she is pleased that new construction jobs have been created by the free market, she is very worried that these jobs created by the free market will not be eternal.  She knows that when profit seeking corporations no longer need labor to conduct their businesses the jobs associated with those activities will cease to exist.  This worries her.  She wants to know what should be done about the fact that jobs created by the free market are not eternal.
Elly puts her beliefs in the form of questions.  She does not ask why the profit seeking corporations do not create jobs that last forever.  Instead she ask the god of civil government what it is going to do about the fact that evil profit seeking corporations are unwilling to create jobs that are eternal.  She believes that by invoking her deity of civil government, and with unlimited taxpayer subsidies, it is possible for her god to create jobs for unemployed construction workers that will last forever.  I am putting Elly on the spot today not because I believe she is a weirdo.  I am putting Elly on the spot today precisely because I believe she is a perfect example of a citizen of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  She believes that every person has a civil right to a high paying job that lasts forever and if that state of affairs does not exist it is the job of the people who rule over us to create them, at taxpayer expense of course.
Elly is pleased that the geo-political zone known as Colorado has an unemployment rate, determined by government paid economists, that is one of the lowest in the nation.  She is worried that that might change.  She believes that people with construction skills who migrate to Colorado to engage in a voluntary contractual agreement to provide labor for profit seeking corporations are going to end up on the government dole when those jobs expire.  So on one hand Elly is happy the free market has created jobs but sad that those jobs are not eternal.  I wonder where her belief that jobs should be eternal comes from?
Elly acknowledges that the free market is responding to housing market conditions by engaging in a plethora of new building projects.  These projects are being undertaken by profit seeking businessmen who desire to give consumers what they want....affordable housing options.  I am sure Elly is in favor of affordable housing options but, at the same time, she is very worried that too many people will move to Colorado and drive up the price of housing.  Elly is worried that all of the construction workers moving to Colorado will have no place to stay while they are working on the new projects.  She also seems to be worried that they will stick around after the jobs are complete and still have no place to stay.  Elly does not seem to realize that the free market is already responding to and answering her questions.
The free market is serving consumers as businessmen hire laborers to build homes.  That drives down the price of housing, or causes it to rise less quickly, and provides homes for people who want them, include the people involved in building them.  Elly is confused, frightened and worried because she is either unwilling or unable to conceive of how it could be that the free market can do such magical things.  She looks to her god, the god of civil government, and expects some sort of action to keep all of these bad things at bay.  That is the heart of worship of civil government and Elly is just like the great majority of the citizens in this ignorant, sad and immoral country.