Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Bad Idea, and Evil to Boot

Here is an excellent article that came out today:

The Lehman Brothers Plan

You should read it and think about it – it is not long at all.  Just to whet your appetite, here is a big:

People often ask me, "What do you think the government should do instead of QE inflation?" My stock answer is that the government should not try to fight the depression with government spending and cheap credit. Trying to stop the market from correcting the errors of the past only delays the consequences and makes them much worse.

Government should balance its budget. There should be no new credit expansion by the Federal Reserve. Most importantly, government should not meddle in markets to try to soften the consequences of the correction. Specifically, that means no bailouts, stimulus packages, or new public-works projects. Do not prop up wages. Allow competition to lower the prices of land, labor, and capital. The only positive steps for government to take are implementing tax cuts and spending cuts, eliminating regulations, and allowing free trade.

One attendant point that the author does not add is that because of the repeated, failed attempts of government to avoid recessions, our latter-day ones have become more severe.  But apart from that, this is a very serious social ethical matter.

One of the main reasons governments try to lessen the effects of recessions (and remember, this does not work – it only postpones and aggravates the problem) is because politicians have for many decades now claim to have done things like “create jobs” and “help the economy.”  Governments can do nothing direct that will help any economy.  They can be frugal, as the author of the article recommends.  But EVERYTHING else governments do supposedly to “help the economy” makes the economy worse.

And this is an ethical problem because ALL the mechanisms governments use to “help” economies are violations of the Biblical Eighth Commandment – inflation, government works programs, you name it and it is more than a bad idea, it is a moral evil.

Have you ever heard a sermon at your church about something related to that?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some Thoughts On Tornadoes

Headline from The Washington Post:

Obama to visit Missouri Sunday; deadly tornadoes on the rise

Kent comments:

A deadly tornado wipes out much of Joplin, MO.  What does The Washington Post notice about that?  What else?  Obama will pay them a visit.  Obama’s whole public persona rather turns my stomach at bit, but even apart from our beloved leader, I have always found government officials visiting disaster cites amusing.  Once  a strong storm came through where we live.  The next day I was out repairing the house and cleaning up the mess.  Did I care if the President, or any other official drove by to have a look?  Not really – unless he was prepared to get out of his expensive ride and do some work to help – which such persons never are, of course.  (Yes, I know they are sometimes willing to send other people’s money to ‘help’ – but that is another matter.)

But our story continues, and as I read, I wondered when the ‘global warming’ angle would show up.  Oddly, the next point was this:

An emerging body of research points to a cyclical drop in temperatures in the Pacific Ocean as part of the answer. Called La Nina, the cycle lasts at least five months and repeats every three to five years. This year La Nina is pushing a strong North American jet stream east and south, altering prevailing winds. The jet stream’s river of cool air high in the atmosphere pulls warmer, more humid air from the ground upward, forming thunderstorm “supercells.”

You mean the Pacific Ocean getting cooler could help create more deadly tornadoes?  That’s what some think.  But The Washington Post were not just going to leave those chips on the table.  The very next words were:

The climate-change factor?

“Climate change could be boosting one of those ingredients [for tornadoes], but it depends on how these ingredients come together,” said Robert Henson, a meteorologist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Well, they tried to get ‘climate change’ in the mix, but their experts weren’t really biting this time.  I can just see those reports overcome with disappointment.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don’t Say ‘Shotgun’

Shotgun Club raises alarm on campus

Published on February 09, 2011.
By Cassie Stone

A new club forming at Northern Kentucky University and its promotional materials are raising safety concerns for some students.

The Shotgun Club is a registered campus organization designed to bring interested students together to compete in trap and skeet shooting competitions, but the new club’s name choice made some students concerned that it might be promoting personal gun use . . .

Kent comments:

This is a ‘story’ from The Northerner, the official, university-sponsored student newspaper at Northern Kentucky University.  I don’t know Cassie Stone, and I am not picking on her in particular.  NKU is just ‘my place’ so I pay attention here.  But if you have ever wondered why it is that reporting is biased, you can see that it begins early, and appears to be encouraged by those who teach journalism.

Now, to be completely fair (something journalists don’t always bother to do), this story does go on to quote a university official who attempts to disarm (maybe a little pun intended here on my part) these “concerns”.

But notice how this story begins.  Our attention is supposed to be arrested by the concern of “some students.”  Who are these students?  How many students?  None of these questions are even recognized in the ‘story’ – let alone answered.  One wonders if the “students” who were concerned might be just Cassie Stone and some one person she knows.

But, whoever they might be, notice also exactly what “concerns” these students:  the name of the club.  These students are “concerned” that a group is named “The Shotgun Club.”  A name like that worries me to the point of sickness – how about you?

Can’t you just picture this little group of concerned students (assuming they exist) huddled in some corner of campus, worrying about the name “Shotgun”?  Imagine someone passing by whispering the word “shotgun” – at the sound of which the group faints dead away in fear.

And why does this very troubling name “concern” these (perhaps two) students?  Because “it might be promoting personal gun use.”  What other kind of gun use is even possible – “group gun use”?  And what, exactly, is wrong with persons using shotguns?  Does out little concerned group want everyone to vote?  (I am willing to bet the answer is ‘yes’.)  Then why not desire that everyone exercise his right to keep and bear arms?

The attempt to raise false – and somewhat idiotic - concerns about a non-issue in this way is just what recent “journalism” has become.

Cassie should expect offers from The New York Times or The Washington Post at any time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Control Education, Control Society

Parts of what follow are from “The Patriot Post” received today. The point of the piece is to mount an attack on Obama and his policies.  But in all fairness, this is not just about Obama.  Plenty of ‘conservatives’ want the state to control most education. 

According to the Communist Party Education Workers Congress, "We must create out of the younger generation a generation of Communists. We must turn children, who can be shaped like wax, into real, good Communists. ... We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them. From the first days of their lives they will be under the healthy influence of Communist children's nurseries and schools. There they will grow up to be real Communists."

So far, this effort has generally been successful.  That is not to imply that everything and everyone involved in the governments schools are overtly Communist.  But the worldview that prevails in Departments of Education around our country are generally in line with the aims of many varieties of socialism.

Benjamin Disraeli, the conservative 19th-century British prime minister, noted, "Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery." His contemporary, John Stuart Mill, warned, "A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body."

As long as we continue to allow the state to be the main providers and controller of education, we can never hope to recover from the current statist, socialist bent our society.

Are We All Communists Now?

Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev once said, "We can't expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have communism."

Of course, as some communists like to point out, the Soviet Union was never really communist.  It never made it past the “dictatorship of the proletariat’ stage that communist advocates claimed was necessary to reach true communism.  But according to Lenin, this dictatorship would need to be implemented by that elite part of the proletariat, the Communist Party.  And the party would need to be “guided” by the party elite, that is, one dictator, or a very small oligarchy of dictators.  All of this is necessary because even the proletariat does not know what is good for it.

So how are we doing in regard to Comrade Khrushchev’s prognostication?  This little news item comes to mind in this context:

Boeing Corporation decided to build a new assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina, in order to produce the 787 Dreamliner. The NLRB (which is responsible investigating unfair labor practices) got wind of the decision and last month filed a complaint against Boeing, alleging that the company decided to build the plant in South Carolina out of retaliation for union strikes at its Washington state facilities.

So now it appears you might not be allowed to build a new production facility where you want it.  You must build it where the State (caps on purpose) wants it.  Before the “New Deal” that would never have been an issue.  And we have come a long way – in the wrong direction – since then.

“Until they awaken one day to find that they have communism . . .”  Old Nikita was a bit vague.  What he should have said (and probably really meant) was, “until the awaken one day to find themselves under a dictatorship of the party elite.”  We arrived there a long time ago.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This, that, and the other thing:

Newspeak – our Beloved Leader has an interesting new term for tax rate cuts:  "spending reductions in the tax code."  While not quite as blatantly propagandistic as that, pay attention to talking heads talking about recent price increases.  These will usually be referred to as “inflation.”  While it is true that the word has come to mean “rising prices” it is good to remember the original denotation of the word:  “an increase in the supply of money.”  Such increases in our system are the result of governments, which are the creators of our money, creating more of it.

This becomes important because the same governments will typically blame those who sell things for “inflation.”  Our Beloved Leader’s administration recently launched an investigation of oil companies for “price gouging” in the sale of gasoline.  It is a convenient 1984-style way to cover the fact that prices increase that are the result of inflation are also the result of what the government has done in its never-ending creation of money.

Mind Control – Is anyone else tired of hearing state governments whine about not having enough money to “fund” the government schools?  As it turns out, “While schools annually spend an average of about $10,000 per student, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that only 60 percent of these expenditures are instructional.”

This means, of course, that schools could cut up to 40% without touching “instructional costs.”  Another and better solution would be to get governments out of the schooling business.  Just give eligible students vouchers for, on average, $6000 per year.  This is a hard-sell because as it is governments and their union allies get to control schooling.

Even better but less likely to be implemented idea is to come to our political senses and realize that no one has a “right” to schooling at the expense of others.  But that’s just crazy talk, of course.

The Culture of Lies – Hershel Shanks, editor of The Biblical Archaeology Review says, “J’accuse! I accuse the television program 60 Minutes of unethical and irresponsible reporting.”  You can see the story details here, but the problem is that 6o Minutes dubbed words into the mouth of a man to make it appear that he confessed to something that he did not.  As Hershel goes on to complain, “60 Minutes supports and demands transparency in government. It seems that 60 Minutes is in favor of transparency except when it comes to 60 Minutes.”

Hershel, Hershel, why are you so surprised?  60 Minutes is just trying to catch up with Dateline NBC which way back in 1992 rigged a truck to explode to help them “make” their point about how a GM truck might explode.  The problem was that they did not bother to inform anyone that their example was rigged.

It’s just the way network news works these days.  They are just trying to stay in tune with their Beloved Leader (see above)!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Could Design be ‘Intelligent’?

Politicians Sway With What They Say

Rob Kyff

"Intelligent design."

Journalist Stephen Poole calls terms such as these "Unspeak," and that's the title of his compelling book about the manipulation of language.

While politicians have traditionally used euphemisms and doublespeak to conceal the truth, Poole explains, Unspeak seeks instead to convey an unspoken argument . . . "intelligent design" makes divine creation sound like an empirically validated scientific phenomenon.

Kent comments:

This is from Kyff’s column which he calls “The Word Guy.”  It comes once per week from ArcaMax, which carries many things, including comic strips.  Kyff’s weekly is usually very interesting and even helpful, but this week it has much in common with the comic strips.

In spite of what “Journalist Stephen Poole” says, the point of putting “intelligent” in front of “design” is to describe a view in a way that distinguishes it from “accidental design” or perhaps “apparent design.”

Note to Rob Kyff – apparent design (which according to its proponents turns out to be accidental) is a very popular view.  One alternative is “intelligent design.”  The point of the label is not to presume that this view is intelligent.  The point of the label is to indicate that, according to this view at least, there was “an intelligence” behind the design, and thus the design is not merely apparent.

It appears that both Poole and Kyff are either unaware of this, or choose to ignore it just to create a supposed example of “Unspeak.”  I now need to read Kyff’s column with more scrutiny.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead

I am reluctant to come even near this topic because I think it has received far too much attention.  The topic:  the death of Osama Bin Laden.  What interests me is the reaction to his death.

That reaction can best be described as “hand wringing” – and it is on display everywhere.

Two periodicals I read regularly, Christianity Today and the Christian Standard were nearly worried sick over the fact that someone might gloat over Bin Laden’s death.  At church this past Sunday the minister had written his weekly article about something related to Bin Laden, and even the communion meditation was most about the death of Bin Laden – and all with at least a little worry and a hint of guilt about the possibility that someone might rejoice at Bin Laden’s death.

And this fretting was not limited to Christian publications or other public forums.  The whole country seemed almost phobic at the thought of someone celebrating the death of Bin Laden.  Even our current President – whose last name was unfortunately often mistakenly inserted in place of Bin Laden’s first name in reports of the death – was careful to remind us that we should not rejoice over this death.

So I went poking around cyber space looking for contemporary reactions to the death of Adolph Hitler.  Here are some samples:

“Mussolini is dead, Hitler is dead – but what’s the difference?  There are lots more.”

“Why waste words on Hitler?”

“I wish I was the guy who killed him.  I’d killed him a little slower.  Awful slow.”

“Yeah, I guess he’s dead.  But so are a lot of good guys.  And you just remember that.”

Without necessarily endorsing anything said about Hitler, I still must ask:  what has happened to us since 1945?

For one thing, those people as a group are not “us.”  They are or were our parents or grandparents.  They seemed to have a very different way of thinking about bad guys than we do. We tend to think that bad guys are bad mostly because of something bad we have done to them.  Our forebears did not tend to agree.

I am not about to throw a “Ding dong, the Bin Laden is dead” party.  But I don’t feel bad that he is dead.  Instead, I am a bit relieved.

But I still have to ask:  Why the difference from the reactions to the death of Hitler?  Was it because Hitler was responsible for the death of millions of innocent people while Bin Laden was only responsible for thousands of innocent people?  Did Bin Laden simply not hit some modern psychological threshold of innocent deaths that would qualify him for our unqualified collective scorn?

I don’t know.  I think we just might have become weenies, but of course that is not at all insightful.  But I will admit to some degree of agreement with some of those sentiments from 1945, and would reword them thus:

Bin Laden is dead -  but what’s the difference?  There are lots more.

Why waste words on Bin Laden?

Bin Laden is dead.  But so are a lot of good guys.  And you just remember that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It Just Might Be

Which, by the way, just might be why they have never wanted us to have them.  It might also be why they try to invent so many circumstances when we cannot have them, even in the face of “shall not be infringed.”

It might be.