Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Deep is the Red Spot?

As our nation agonizes over how to avoid the devastating impact of an unprecedented financial crisis caused by decades of irresponsible government borrowing and spending, the big spenders at NASA are poised to blow another $1.1 billion plus on a space junket to the planet Jupiter to find out how deep is the red spot.

NASA scientists are touting the mission as a key to unlocking secrets of how our solar system was formed by investigating what lies underneath Jupiter's atmosphere. “And that is why it is very interesting to us,” said NASA official, Scott Bolton, about the mission. He wonders about how much water is in Jupiter; whether the planet has a heavy metal core; and how deep is the red spot.

So the Space Mission Juno satellite project, a $1.1 billion dollar space lab, a decade in the making, will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 5th atop a powerful and expensive Atlas V rocket, on a four year odyssey to planet Jupiter to satisfy NASA’s burning curiosity about a red spot.

NASA sent the Galileo orbiter and space probe already to Jupiter in 1989. It entered the planet’s orbit in 1995 and plunged to its destruction inside the gas ball in 2003. Voyagers 1 and 2, Ulysses and New Horizons, also NASA spacecraft, were launched to perform flybys of Jupiter costing more billions of taxpayer dollars. And that’s not all. Juno will be followed by other deep space missions, a whole series of new multi-billion dollar missions, to answer more questions about Earth’s origin and the evolution of our solar system.

That’s essentially it. That’s the most the American people can expect to receive from these huge expenditures of billions upon billions of dollars – more information about how the solar system was formed and how deep is the red spot. Maybe we’ll get some information; I’m sure we will, but it’s a certainty that we’ll never see those billions of dollars again. It will all be lost in space.

Now, I’m just as curious as the next fellow about how the solar system was formed. I’d like to know how deep the red spot is too, and why it’s red, and why it’s lasted so long, and how fast the wind is blowing inside it, and on and on. It’s all very interesting and fascinating and awesome too, but if it’s going to cost billions of taxpayer dollars to find out, I think the answers can wait – at least until after we know whether our nation can survive financially. After all, Jupiter’s been out there for billions of years and it’s not going away.

There’s a lot of interesting questions I’d love to know the answers to but those answers simply aren’t worth the cost of billions of dollars to find out. Right now, for example, I’d like to know how far the U.S. dollar is going to fall before it will take a wheelbarrow full of them to buy a candy bar. It would be good to know whether, within my lifetime, the credit instruments of the United States of America will attain the same status as junk bonds. Trillions have been spent so far on these questions and I fear that the answers are coming soon.

This debt and deficit spending crisis has been going on forever; proposals have been bouncing back and forth between the president and the house and the senate like ping pong balls, all ending up the trash bin; and still no one has a clue about what spending will actually be cut, if any.

Why doesn’t some smart politician suggest scrapping the Juno Mission and using the $1.1 billion saved to pay down the debt? Why not put the entire space program on ice, along with thousands of other wasteful government projects, until we can claw our way out of this financial hole and get back into the black? 

With all due respect to NASA and the interests of science, there are a whole lot more important questions facing our country right now than how deep is the red spot.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Dr Keith Ablow Doesn't Understand About Liberty: Part 2

“Men Should Be Allowed to Veto Abortions” announced Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist and chief resident psycho-babbler on the Fox News Channel Medical A-Team.

In Part 1 of “What Dr Keith Ablow Doesn’t Understand about Liberty,” I explained how he was excoriating the life and mission of recently deceased fellow physician, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, because of Kevorkian’s courageous stand on the liberty issue of physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

Dr. Ablow has religious objections to that form of liberty so he reviled and ridiculed Dr. Kevorkian, refusing even to acknowledge his qualifications as a physician.  

Now Dr. Ablow believes that men should be allowed by law to force women to bear their children. If the father is willing to take full custody upon delivery, he declares, “the pregnant woman involved should not have the option to abort and should be civilly liable, and possibly criminally liable, for psychological suffering and wrongful death should she proceed to do so.”

Religion always trumps liberty in the minds of believers, even the so-called scientists among them. Dr. Ablow evinces no exception to this rule as he fervently believes: “It’s time to give men their due as fathers—from the moment of conception. Allow men who want to be fathers, and who could be good parents, to compel the women they impregnate to bring their children to term.”  

What Dr. Ablow just doesn’t understand – again – about liberty, is that you own your body; and as a fundamental principle of personal liberty, you own the inalienable right to direct the course of it, and your life, as you choose. That is the nature of liberty. That’s what individual liberty is. It’s such a simple concept, yet so hard for some intelligent people to understand, much less to tolerate.

If you are a woman, you own yourself, your body, your eggs, your uterus, and the liberty right to reproduce with it or not as you desire. If you are a man, you own yourself, your body, your sperm, and the liberty right to keep it or give it away; but once you deposit it inside a woman’s body, that’s it; you have given it away; it belongs to her, and you cannot, by reliance upon any liberty right, have it back. Now it’s all up to her – naturally, and that is as it should be. It’s a female prerogative.

Of course, I sympathize with the occasional man who suffers emotional discomfort when the object of his affection aborts his potential offspring for this reason or that without his assent, but his feelings can never, under any circumstances, justify forcing a woman to bear his child.

Parents can force each other by law to financially support their children, but neither can force the other to visit, or love, or bond with them. It’s simply a matter of personal liberty. Too bad and so sad sometimes, but without it we are nothing more than slaves.

A man can legally contract with a woman to bear his child, but should she choose to breach that contract, his remedy at law would be strictly limited to money damages only; he would have to prove a financial loss or be satisfied with whatever liquidated amount of damages was specified in the contract.

But Dr. Ablow, all things considered in his religiously oriented mind, believes that the mere deposit of his sperm in a woman’s uterus should allow a man to gain control over the life and liberty of another human being:

“I understand that adopting social policy that gives fathers the right to veto abortions would lead to presently unknown psychological consequences for women forced to carry babies to term,” he casually admits. “But I don’t know that those consequences are greater than those suffered by men forced to end the lives of their unborn children.”

Well, I for one do know, Dr. Ablow; and lovers of liberty everywhere know.

It’s a no-brainer for us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It’s All the Same to Me

Dust on the streets of Oslo from the recent terrorist bombing and murderous mayhem hardly had time to settle before some pundits were jumping to conclusions, blaming it all on Al Qaeda and radical Muslims. A July 22, 2011, Investors Business Daily editorial called the incident Norway’s 9/11,” declaring that it has “all the markings of radical Islamic terrorists.”

The piece goes on and on about how nice Norway has been to the Arab world and Muslims over the years, allowing thousands to immigrate there out of “deep humanitarian concern,” hoping to turn them into good Norwegians, but, instead, they are still “largely self-segregated, unassimilated and disgruntled in the heart of Oslo, a fertile breeding ground for terrorism.”

“We are at war with and under constant threat from Islamic fundamentalism,” the author concludes. “…we in the U.S. would do well to be especially vigilant. In the greater jihad waged against the West, Oslo may be just a warning shot across our bow.”

Of course, this Christian oriented pundit is absolutely right … except, that is, for one ironic detail: He’s unwittingly warning us about one of his own. The terrorist bomber and ruthless murderer here is not a fundamentalist right wing radical Muslim. He hates Muslims. In fact, he shares all the fears and paranoia expressed in the IBD editorial point for point. He’s a fundamentalist right wing radical Christian.

Bill O’Reilly was livid on his TV program today because the confessed criminal, Anders Behring Breivik, was described by the New York Times as a Christian terrorist. “No Christian would do something like that,” fumed O’Reilly. I can always tell that Bill O’Reilly is full of baloney on this or that issue when he gets mad. He always gets hopping mad when his religion is implicated in shame.

Breivik’s rambling 1,500 page right-wing extremist manifesto reveals, not only that he hates Muslim’s; he hates Norway's liberal “multi-cultural society,” the "cultural Marxists," who allow thousands of them to come into the country. That’s why he massacred his fellow citizens; he hates them because they tolerate Islam. 

He declares that: "These suicidal traitors must be stopped," and calls for a "European civil war" leading to the execution of "cultural Marxists" and the banishing of Muslims. Meeting Breivik was "like meeting Hitler before World War II," recalls a member of the conservative Fremskrittspartiet party, who knew him well. 

The greatest threat to personal individual liberty is the deliberately promoted deception in consciousness imposed by religion. Religion, since the invention of consciousness, has caused far more harm than good to human civilization. Communism and other manifestations of the state as God are included within the broad meaning of religion. Religion and politics, of course, are but two sides of the same coin.

That is the premise of my Book, AUTHORITY! …Implications of Consciousness and the Reality of Existence.” It was true long before Judeo-Christian biblical times, from the endless massacres and genocides of antiquity, to the murderous crusades of the middle ages, to the insane inquisitions and witch trials thereafter, to the Nazi Holocaust, and the genocidal purges of the Soviet Union, communist China, and Cambodia, right up to the current War on Terror today – religion lurks in one way or another behind it all.

Whether the terrorist is a radical Islamic or a radical Christian, both fervently believe that they own culture, and they aren’t the least bit afraid to force their version of cultural Authority down our throats by whatever means are available. They view culture as a static entity over which they demand control. They become frustrated when control eludes them and often resort to violence and terror in an attempt to regain it.

Now, please don’t take me wrong, this is not to say that everyone who believes in religion is a raging criminal terrorist. Not at all; it’s the radicals among the religionists who we have to worry about; the ones who would quash your personal freedom given half the chance.

Radical Islam or radical Christian – It’s all the same to me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Remove the Parasites

The cost of feeding legions of parasites both within, and dependent upon, the executive branch of the United States government is a big reason why our nation is inundated in federal spending deficits and burdened with over $14 trillion in debt.

When I say parasites, an admittedly a harsh characterization, I mean persons and entities that consume vast sums of national financial resources while providing little or no substantive value in return to benefit the common people or the nation as a whole.  

Remove these parasites and the financial health of the United States would be completely restored; the overall health of the nation greatly revitalized.

The sheer size, breadth, and scope of the executive branch are staggering.

In addition to his 15 bloated cabinet level departments, the U.S. President, our chief executive officer, employs 17 separate offices, including his own White House Office, and the Office of the Vice President, to serve his administration. 

The President’s 15 cabinet level departments all together today bring with them 400 separate agencies, administrations, bureaus, offices, boards, organizations, missions, corporations, groups, institutes and services, most of them consuming while not producing or providing.    

Then there are also 75 independent non-cabinet status entities, offices, bureaus, agencies, authorities, councils, systems, foundations, endowments, corporations, companies, commissions, boards, and services; 12 separate quasi-official entities; together with 5 large government business enterprises.

That brings the total to roughly 524 separate executive branch entities, not including many hundreds of additional sub-entities and favored beneficiaries, all feeding voraciously from the government trough.

At least 75% of these entities, by my own conservative estimate, could be surgically removed, and their essential responsibilities reassigned, without doing any damage to the overall effectiveness of government. Oh, yes, the parasites would scream loudly and squirm violently, but the United States of America and the common people would prosper as we never have before.

Did you know that there is an Office of the First Lady supported financially by the executive branch of government? Yes, the first lady has aides, secretaries, and staff with which to pursue her own nonessential agenda – usually a government meddling agenda. But the first lady is neither an elected official nor a necessary agent of the United States government. We’re not supposed to pay for White House queens in America.

Then there’s the president’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, created by George W. Bush, and continued by the Obama administration. The sole purpose of this executive branch office is to dole out taxpayer money to, and cozy up in partnership with, religious organizations.

Of course, all of this mixing of politics with religion is in violation of the Constitution, but the Supreme Court has ruled that no common person has standing to complain. Congress, for obvious reasons, is not going to complain. Congress loves mixing religion with politics.

There’s the president’s office of AIDS Policy, Drug Control Policy, and Technology Policy, all firmly attached to the government teat. At least 9 of the 17 entities within the executive office of the president could be scrapped and few people would notice except the hungry parasites.

The United States Department of Agriculture could be entirely eliminated after some of its responsibilities were transferred to other departments. That would eliminate all 19 separate entities, along with their sub-entities, which now benefit only a tiny fraction of the common people. Likewise, the Departments of Education; Housing and Urban Development; Labor; and Veterans Affairs, should be dismantled, and essential responsibilities transferred, thereby eliminating 69 more nonessential parasitical entities, and their sub-entities from government.

At least 7 of the 16 separate entities, along with sub-entities, within the United States Department of Commerce could be scrapped; 4 of 28 within the Department of Defense; 9 of 13 within Health and Human Services (while saving Medicare and Social Security); 42 of 73 within Homeland Security (including the dreaded TSA); 5 of 12 from Interior; 40 of 59 within Justice; 28 of 56 within the State Department; 3 of 12 within Transportation; and 12 of 18 within the Department of the Treasury.

Of the 75 independent governmental entities, including the CIA, FEC, FCC, and GSA, all but 15 are wholly unnecessary. We should therefore rid ourselves of freeloaders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and 55 others which consume much while contributing little.  

Of the 12 quasi-official entities, only the Smithsonian Institution is worthy of its existence. That means that the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Symphony Orchestra, and 11 other parasite warrens should be eliminated.   

That leaves the 5 government enterprises, including Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and 3 other government created Frankenstein monsters that consume taxpayer dollars by the train carload while helping much to ruin the free market economy. Needless to say, they all should all go straight into the dustbin of history.

This country rose to the zenith of its power, prosperity, and international prestige with far less than 25% of the current executive branch of government. Today, the additional 75% has been the agent of our decline.

To President Obama and the Congress of the United States at this time of financial crisis affecting our beloved country, I can only say:

Remove the parasites and your unburdened nation will rejoice.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Who’s the Worst President of Them All?

Barack Obama is doing his level best, but has so far by a wide margin, failed to eclipse George W. Bush as the worst president in the 235 year history of the United States of America. Other chief executives of recent times have been abysmally bad for the nation’s welfare, but in the final analysis, Mr. Bush takes the prize as worst of them all.  

His presidency started out well enough; peacefully, and with considerable monetary surpluses left over from the great economic boom of the 1990’s; however, it was his reckless, emotional, and foolhardy response to the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, and the ensuing aftermath of sheer governmental panic on his watch, which started his country down the path to ultimate political and financial disaster.

Granted, the 9/11 terror attacks called for prompt, thoughtful, and reasoned responses; measured responses; focused responses – the same kind of responses which eventually brought Osama bin Laden down, for instance.

They did not justify a decade long military war in Afghanistan. They did not justify a war and subsequent military occupation of Iraq. They do not justify U.S. military involvement and political meddling in Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and the rest of the hopelessly tumultuous Middle East.

United States government incompetence, stemming directly from the Bush administration blunders, has so far cost the American taxpayers upwards of $4 trillion dollars for nothing whatsoever in return, over 6,000 dead and 70,000 wounded American soldiers; in addition to the deaths and wounding of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians caught in the lethal crossfire, as well as substantial diminution and damage to individual liberty and constitutional rights at home.  

The American people will be paying a steep price for George W. Bush’s malfeasance in office far away into the future. President Obama, with the help of his gargantuan administration, and a Congress, consisting of both irresponsible Democrats and Republicans, is only making the situation worse.

All of them share responsibility for the easy credit policies, real estate value implosion, unemployment disaster, massive deficit spending, out of control debt, and national economic meltdown of the last decade, which has the United States on the edge of default and bankruptcy.

There are precious few, if any, political personalities on the radar screen today who have what it takes to turn this unwieldy American ship of state around. Both of the major political parties have demonstrated time and again that they either can’t or won’t do it.

Congratulations to you again, former President George W. Bush. You own the dubious distinction of being worst of them all. You deserve it.

I can’t give you all the credit though. You certainly have plenty of bad company.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Government Spending is Spending -- Not Investment

Politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, love to justify their profligate spending binges, with money which does not belong to them, as “investments,” as if the money will not only be repaid in full, but with dividends and interest to boot.

But if that were so, this nation wouldn’t be close to default on more than $14 trillion in debt with virtually nothing of value to show for it. If government spending were actually investments, this country would be awash in surpluses and the common people would be enjoying prosperity beyond their wildest dreams.

That's because the result of investment is creation of value, while the result of spending is consumption of value. So when politicians talk about spending as “investments,” they mean precisely the opposite of what they are saying.

Last March, for example, the United States quietly deployed a special radar-equipped warship to the Mediterranean Sea for the purpose of protecting Europe against a possible nuclear threat from Iran. It’s only the first installment of a four part comprehensive anti-ballistic missile system spending plan over the next decade to deploy both sea and land based radars and interceptor infrastructure hardware in several European locations for the protection of Europeans at a cost of billions of dollars to American taxpayers.

Is this an investment for the safety and security of the United States, or is it merely spending on something which primarily benefits Europe, and for which there will be no return in either interest or principal to us hapless Americans?

Clearly, whatever value which will result from this spending, (probably none at all) will be wasted to foreign beneficiaries in the same fashion as most other so-called defense spending. Cash in the trillions simply disappears never to be seen again. If the Europeans, and other foreign nations, want security from potential Iranian missiles, they should buy it themselves.

Meanwhile, Federal officials, having practically driven the nation’s drug makers out of the business of bringing new drugs to market, have reportedly decided to start the “National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences,” their own multi-billion-dollar government drug development center to help create medicines. (Fox News)

The irony is that, with the reckless spending of our precious tax dollars on dubious FDA regulations and the like, the government has jacked up the costs to private drug makers of bringing a single drug to market to upwards of $1 billion or more. Consequently, private research productivity has been declining for years to the detriment of all of us.

Now the drug makers are unable to come up with new drugs so the government, which caused that problem in the first place, is getting into the drug making business with your tax dollars and calling it another “investment.”

Our Federal government’s recent “investment” in the hated Transportation Security Administration (TSA), purportedly for the safety of the American flying public, has been a loser since its inception, and now thousands of TSA airport security screeners will soon be unionized, demanding even more billions of taxpayer dollars to perform their worthless services.

Thanks to “investments’ like this, the government now has more labor union members than the private sector, and all of them are clamoring for more and more taxpayer money the nation can’t afford to “invest.”

The list of government spending and financial boondoggles is endless. Things like multi-million dollar National Science Foundation research into having shrimp walk on tiny treadmills to measure the impact of sickness on crustaceans; $2 million to analyze 38 million photos on Flickr and cross-reference them against the site's social networking service; a $315,000 study on whether playing the Farm-Ville game on Facebook can help adults develop relationships.

And, how about $80,000 to examine why the same teams always end up leading March Madness; and a $1.5 million grant for scientists to design a robot that can fold laundry -- at a rate of one towel every 25 minutes. The National Science Foundation had a $6.9 billion budget in the year 2010 with which to engage in such folly, as well as outright overlapping of services, fraud, malfeasance, and mismanagement. (Fox News)

As his nation slides slowly into the financial toilet, Obama administration officials demand only the very best when it comes to luxury travel and accommodations. The number of limousines owned by the federal government reportedly rose by 73 percent during the first two years of President Obama's administration; vehicle of choice: Cadillac DTS. The State Department was the recipient of most the new luxury vehicles in the federal fleet, totaling 412 in fiscal 2010, up from 238 in fiscal 2008. (Fox News)
It’s no secret that The United States is providing billions of dollars in foreign aid to countries that it borrows billions from, according to The Congressional Research Services, Congress's own research arm.

In 2010, a total of $1.4 billion was handed out to 16 foreign countries which held at least $10 billion in Treasury securities, including China ($27.2 million + $1.1 trillion in T-Bonds), Brazil ($25 million + $193.5 billion in T-Bonds), Russia ($71.5 million + $127.8 billion in T-Bonds), India ($126.6 million + $39.8 billion in T-bonds), Mexico ($316.7 million + $28.1 billion in T-Bonds) and Egypt ($255.7 million + $15.3 billion in T-Bonds). (Fox News)

We’re actually sending taxpayer cash to foreign nation’s who turn around and lend it back to us at prime interest rates. We’re spending money into the Twilight Zone so that we can owe it to them as debt. We stupid Americans get nothing in return but the privilege of paying them interest for our largess.

Now Moody's and S&P Investor's Services are poised to downgrade U.S. debt from its current and longstanding top grade investment status to a lower status requiring higher interest payments on new debt. We’ll soon be paying our foreign friends even more.

U.S. government spending – and this is only the tip of the iceberg – is not investment, and it just doesn’t get any more irrational than that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Faith Healer for President?

Michele Bachmann seems like a very nice person; a kind person; an intelligent person; solid citizen; the type of person you might enjoy having as your next-door neighbor. I like her.

She has many admirable qualities, especially the fact that she raised five children of her own along with 23 foster children. That is the mark of a noble and generous human being in my mind. She is also a trained lawyer and was elected to the United States Congress, both of which are no small accomplishments.

Now Michele Bachmann is a Republican Party candidate for President, and the question for the nation is whether she is suitable to be Commander in Chief of the armed forces, leader of the executive branch of United States government, and ostensibly de facto leader of rest of the so-called free world.

I think she is not.

I fear that a potentially menacing and irrational form of fundamentalist evangelical religion trumps law, politics, kindness, intelligence, solid citizenship, and all the other beneficent human qualities in the heart and mind of Michele Bachmann.

She has described herself in her campaign in flattering terms as a small business owner and job creator before serving in congress as a Republican representative from the state of Minnesota. She’s been a business woman. That’s another good thing, I thought.

The fact that she didn’t readily reveal the exact nature of her small business seemed not so important to me, and was consequently overlooked until I learned only recently about where this nice lady is coming from.

According to CNN, her “job creating” business, which is still in operation with husband Marcus at the helm, is called Bachmann and Associates Inc., a Christian counseling service, billed as a “therapeutic clinic,” located in Lake Elmo MN, near the city of Minneapolis.

Among the many “clinic” and counselor specialties listed on the Bachmann web site are “Individual, Family, and Group Therapy” for “Men’s and Women’s Issues,” a polite euphemism for a course of Christian based “therapy” which aims at changing the sexual orientation of gay’s and lesbians.

Though the web site, for understandable reasons, says nothing about the sin of homosexuality, this “clinic” seriously engages in Christian “therapy” -- what might be called a form of gentle exorcism -- designed to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals with a little help from Jesus and the bible. Bachmann claims that parents of gay teenagers can turn to religion for help.

In a radio program interview, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, president and chief counselor at the “clinic” explained: "I think you clearly say [to the distraught parents of gay kids] what is the understanding of God's word on homosexuality… We have to understand barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined and just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean we're supposed to go down that road."  Gays are “barbarians” in the mindset of Dr. Bachmann.

One former 17 year old “patient” of the Bachmann “clinic” told CNN that his mother referred him there to talk to a counselor about his homosexuality. "It was therapy that would help me change from being homosexual to straight,” said the boy. "If I did this… therapy program, God would perform a miracle and I could no longer be gay," he was told.

The “therapy” consisted of prayer, reading Bible passages, and mentoring with a purported ex-lesbian minister healing. The counselor actually told him that: "Not acting out on my same sex attractions and living a life of celibacy," would be best for him if the treatment didn’t work.

This kind of faith based “healing” and other forms of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation, has been repeatedly denounced by the American Psychological Association as unscientific and insufficiently supported by empirical evidence of efficacy.

Not surprisingly then, both the congresswoman and her husband have declined repeatedly to discuss their small business practices with the general public, except to say: "We're very proud of the business that we've created.” A sign on the “clinic” door says "no media."

As I noted earlier in a recent post, congresswoman Bachmann, along with other ultra right-wing Republican social conservatives in government, has displayed an almost pathological obsession with the sex lives of her constituents.

Michelle Bachmann is especially disdainful of homosexuality, abortion, and gratuitous sex between unmarried persons, having signed the Iowa Family Leader "Marriage Vow" pledge; and in 2004, she called for an amendment to her state constitution that would block gay marriages in other states from being recognized in Minnesota.

This nice lady wants to use her political power if elected president to amend the United States Constitution and the laws of this country to conform to her personal religious values. She favors government sponsored Christian religion and the teaching of biblical creationism in the nation’s public schools. She has no regard for any science which conflicts with her bible. Religion -- not reason and logic -- motivates her official as well as personal decisions.

I like Michelle Bachmann for several good reasons, however, a person whose primary business interest is faith healing is not suitable for the high office of President of the United States.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Housing Bubble? What Housing Bubble?

Let’s say you are a member of an ethnic minority living on the edge of poverty in a big American city, have no job, no money in the bank, and a lousy credit history. Suppose further that you are collecting public assistance benefits, food stamps, unemployment compensation, or other welfare payments.

You’re the last person who should qualify for a bank home mortgage loan, right?


It’s easy credit time again in the Obama Administration. The Department of Justice is once again admonishing banks to suspend their normal mortgage underwriting standards and approve home mortgage loans for minorities with poor credit. The Feds are cracking down on alleged discrimination against poor minorities. Poor white folks need not apply.

The DOJ is prosecuting several banks in court, and investigating several others, for illegal “loan discrimination” practices. Most of the banks are caving in and settling because they want to avoid being labeled racist. What you or I would call sound lending practices, the DOJ calls discrimination.

The Feds have even ordered banks to post notices at all their offices informing minorities that they won’t be turned down for home loan mortgage credit just because they have no job, receive public assistance, welfare payments, food stamps or unemployment benefits.

You see, the friendly Obama Administration counts welfare as ordinary income – the same as a job -- for credit purposes if you are a minority. If you are a minority with no job and a blemished credit rating, you’re entitled to a prime rate mortgage with favorable interest rates and even down payment assistance.  If you are not a minority – forget it.

This is precisely the same easy lending government policy that created the housing bubble crisis which gutted residential and commercial real estate markets nation wide. In many areas of the country homes are barely worth half their value of only 4 years ago and foreclosure rates are still at epic levels. There is a glut of houses on the market in America and we have the Federal government to thank for it.

Until about four years ago, banks were being forced over several years to lend money for housing to people with bad credit, i.e. people who had no reasonable hope of making their monthly payments on a sustainable basis. Anyone who wanted a home could buy one, whether they were creditworthy or not, which resulted in a huge housing boom.

When the economy stumbled in 2007, and unemployment shot upwards, thousands upon thousands of mortgagees defaulted on their loans causing home prices to plummet, the market to bust, and the housing bubble to pop.

Now the cycle is starting all over again. The government is long on easy loans and short on memory. Those bad loans of yesteryear were backed by the United States government, which means that they are now part of the $14.4 trillion outstanding government debt, which means that the American taxpayers are left holding the bill.

Any respectable moron knows that you shouldn’t lend money to someone who can’t pay it back.

Monday, July 11, 2011

GOP Marriage Vow Pledge: Obsessed With Sex

Social conservatives in America’s Grand Old Party today are pathologically obsessed with sex. They fervently believe that their own sex lives, as well as yours and mine, are the business of government. And now they won’t endorse any candidate for political office unless he or she signs a formal pledge affirming that they too are religiously and pathologically obsessed with the sex lives of all Americans.

Can you imagine the founding fathers demanding a sex life pledge from aspiring politicians? If they were obsessed with anything while forming our nation, we know that it was independence, personal freedom, and individual liberty. The last thing on their minds was government meddling into the people’s private sex lives.

“The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and Family,” is a socially conservative sex life pledge drafted by an Iowa religious organization called the Family Leader. Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have both shamelessly pandered to the group by signing their pledge. The other candidates can forget about any endorsements from the religious right in Iowa unless they also sign on the dotted line.

Politicians who pander to the religious right have always believed that the United States of America should be a republican theocracy in which strict sexual conformity to biblical scripture is mandated by the force of law.

“Faithful monogamy is at the very heart of a designed and purposeful order–as conveyed by Jewish and Christian Scripture … Enduring marital fidelity between one man and one woman … protects the liberties of all American citizens under our republican form of government,.” they insist, because their Christian God planned it that way.

According to these religious zealots, there can be no liberty in America without the opposite of liberty -- pious legally enforced sexual purity. “Our exceptional and free society simply cannot endure without the transmission of personal virtue, from one generation to the next, by means of nurturing, nuclear families comprised of sexually-faithful husbands and wives, fathers and mothers,” they declare.

Though the Family Leader group has since apologized for some of it’s incredibly stupid and bigoted positions, it originally claimed that blacks were better off during slavery than with present day equality, because: “sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African- American baby born after the election of the U.S.A.’s first African -American President.”

Still, they demand that all candidates solemnly vow to affirm all their other half-baked claims that the institution of marriage in America is in “great crisis,” due to the “debased currency of marriage,” characterized by: “adultery; ‘quickie divorce’; … non-committal co-habitation; exemplary infidelity and ‘unwed cheating’ among celebrities, sports figures and politicians; anti-scientific bias which holds, in complete absence of empirical proof, that non-heterosexual inclinations are genetically determined, irresistible and akin to innate traits like race, gender and eye color; as well as anti-scientific bias which holds, against all empirical evidence, that homosexual behavior in particular, and sexual promiscuity in general, optimizes individual or public health.”

And, that’s not nearly all:

Those who sign this pledge must also promise to support only “… the elevation of none but faithful constitutionalists as judges or justices”“faithful” in this instance meaning only judges or justices who are both politically and religiously suitable to enforce the sex life laws of their planned Utopian theocracy.

“Vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage; faithful monogamy between one man and one woman through statutory, bureaucratic, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.,” is likewise part of the pledge, as well as: “Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that married people enjoy better health, better sex, longer lives, greater financial stability, and that children raised by a mother and a father together experience better learning, less addiction, less legal trouble, and less extramarital pregnancy.”

Furthermore, the pledge candidates must support: “prompt reform of uneconomic, anti-marriage aspects of welfare policy, tax policy, and marital/divorce law, and extended “second chance” or “cooling-off” periods for those seeking a “quickie divorce,” and: “… bona fide legal advocacy for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the federal and state levels” together with: “Steadfast embrace of a federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in all of the United States.”

In short, they want their candidates to promise changes in the Constitution and the laws of the United States which will enforce their sex life policies upon us all.

Not wanting to leave any stone unturned regarding matters of gratuitous sex, and other so-called forms of “stolen innocence,” the group also demands a vow to protect “women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children – from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.”

“… Self-centered adult egos and agendas in American families must be subordinated to the long-term interests of America’s children,” proclaims the Family Leader, and those who sign their pledge. “… Robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.” They don’t think that adult Americans should have their own “agendas.” They think child bearing is for the purpose of economics and national security.

To this group, individual liberty means forced selflessness and sacrifice to the greater good of the collective; especially the children who are also expected to grow up and sacrifice their sex lives to the thing. The people (including you and me) exist solely for the benefit of society and these religious zealots what to make it the law.

“… society’s interest in a healthy, vibrant, and growing indigenous population and workforce to drive economic growth and actuarially support public and private pension, benefit and entitlement systems is [not] in any way advanced by undermining the institution of faithful, lawful marriage as between only one man and one woman,” concludes this transparently fascist inspired sex lives pledge.

The pledge does exhibit one useful purpose, however: it identifies the nuts of the G.O.P.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Abortion Rights Hypocrisy

When statist politicians start flapping their lips about the benefits of this or that wonderful new law, too often they like to claim exactly the opposite of what they mean. In this instance, a new law restricting the rights of pregnant women to make decisions privately with their medical professionals is touted as a measure to advise them of their reproductive rights.

Bobby Jindal, the ultra-conservative Republican governor of Louisiana, boasted recently about all the benefits to women the new bill he signed into law created which requires all women's health clinics in the state to post signage notifying patients of alternatives to abortion.

As far as I know, there is only one alternative to a pregnant woman having an abortion, and that is not having an abortion; it’s one or the other. So this new law is just another poorly disguised attempt by committed anti-abortion meddlers to try to talk vulnerable women out of exercising their first alternative, i.e. their right to seek an abortion.

"When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights," the governor explained with a straight face at the signing ceremony. "Now if we're giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion."

Thus, the sanctimonious anti-abortion Republican governor Jindal, who boasts that he supports a "culture of life," (whatever that means) is not the least bit afraid to admit publicly that he thinks women who seek abortions are the equivalent of criminals who need the state of Louisiana to tell them their reproductive “rights,” as if any woman on the planet doesn’t already know, and he’s going to use the force of law in his state to see that they are sufficiently informed.

You see, Jindal, and other anti-abortion-anti-liberty authorities claim that, with this law, they only want to prevent medical professionals from coercing women into having abortions. Right. It’s all those crafty doctors out there twisting their patient’s arms and “coercing” them into terminating their pregnancy’s by falsely advising them that they have no other choice.

If governor Jindal were truly concerned about women knowing their reproductive rights, he would start by observing and protecting their fundamental liberty right to seek an abortion, or not, as they choose with the private assistance of their own medical health care professional.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Straight Talk on Gay Lessons in Public Schools

Compulsory education in America makes captive audiences of children and parents who have little or no choice in the matter of what the state decides they should be taught. The state decides what is relevant. The state decides what is important. The State – not the parent -- decides what children should think.

As far as I know, there are no laws in this country mandating lessons in public schools on the United States Constitution. There are no laws requiring instruction on free market capitalism, critical thinking, logic, or implications of individual liberty. No state has decided that those subjects are worthy of compulsory education, regardless of their importance.

But now, the state of California, upon the insistence of gay rights advocates, is poised to implement The “Fair Education Act,” making compulsory the teaching of "gender sensitive" history; i.e. lessons on the contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people in America.

Similar laws of appeasement have already made mandatory the teaching of African American, Mexican American, female American, and other so-called “over-looked” group’s contributions.

Now please don’t get me wrong; I’m all for gay rights. To me, gays are the same as straights within the meaning of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Sexual orientation should not affect equality in America. Nor is sexual orientation relevant when the subject is historical contributions.

I don’t, for example, give a fig whether George Washington was gay or straight or bisexual. Why should anyone care? His preferences for sex partners don’t matter to me when I consider his contribution to American history.

If he was heterosexual, that fact is not a necessary part of the lesson. That is not what school children should be taught about George. If he was homosexual or bisexual, the relevance would be the same – zero. He deserves his place in the history books for his contribution to society, not what he liked to do in the privacy of his bedroom.

Martin Luther King, Jr. deserves his place in history, not because he was African American, but because he was a leader in the cause for civil rights. Likewise, if slain San Francisco politician Harvey Milk made a significant contribution to the cause of civil rights, he also deserves his place in history, and no law is necessary to make it so.

History and social studies should not be used for the sole purpose of promoting personal lifestyles to a captive audience. That is not education; it’s indoctrination.