Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Campaign to Foist Biased "Economics" on the Public

I have to believe that it started with Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics.  If you have NOT read it, I beg you, get a copy.  I absolutely HATED Economics in college, found it boring (it takes a special talent to make money - something we all want - boring).  Sowell's special talent is to make his explanation of the basic mechanisms of economics READABLE, entertaining, and fun.  When you finish this book, you will be well qualified to follow the public debate on taxes, business, government spending, and policy.

There's a new campaign to "explain" economics to the average person - look for distillations of this wretched thinking - which thinks lack of a large social state that controls everything - is the cause of all the ills of the USA.  I'm REAL sure that teachers will be indoctrinated with this at workshops, given curriculum that draws upon it, and encouraged to be "socially responsible", and teach it to their kids (in this context, "teaching" means pushing kids to agree with the outcome, if not the thinking).

I haven't the time to wade through all of Thomas Picketty's book; but I don't have to.  The blogger on An American Manifesto has, and it covers the topic throughly enough for you to understand what's at stake.

So, how DO we solve the debt problem of the USA?

One way to do so is to sell off unnecessary land and buildings.

Some of that land is owned by the states.  And, as this article about SC's state-owned land shows, government may be overleveraged with property.

But, that's just one state.  How much land/property/buildings does the Federal government own, and what does it cost us?  Approximately 1/2 the land in Western states is "owned" by the Federal government (BTW, the land in dispute by Bundy is just such land).

According to Wikipedia,
As of March 2012, out of the 2.27 billion acres in the country, about 28% of the total was owned by the Federal government according to the Interior Department.

Here's a report of SOME of the land managed by the Federal government.  Although it's long, it isn't that difficult to follow.  One of my arguments for reducing the size of federal lands is that they do such a poor job of it.  MANY of the western forest fires begin on Federally-owned land, and is a direct result of policy decisions - AND the continued holding of land in public trust.

My position:  if the property is so extensive that it cannot be maintained without risk of fire, it's too big a holding.

Does that mean that the Feds should look to reduce the size of some of the parks?  Yep.  The public doesn't benefit if the park is in flames; better to have a smaller park, and fewer fires.

Here's a link to a map showing excess federal property (not being used).  See how many are in your state.

BTW, that link was from the White House - NOT a partisan site.

2 problems with holding so much land and property:

  1. The land and property costs the taxpayer - if not in use, it deteriorates.  A lot of money has to be spent to patrol it, keep it up, and provide basic maintenance.  See the NPR (Yes, THAT NPR!) report at the link.

  2. That land is NOT taxable property - as it would be in private hands.  Each acre/building is removed from the local tax rolls, and that state is poorer for that.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

Political Opponents are NOT Klingons

...who must be CRUSHED if they cross the line.

He/she is a HUMAN BEING - made in the image of God.  They are not perfect; some may use sharp language in arguing their beliefs.  They may delight in the foibles of their political opponents - laugh at their pratfalls, enjoy the scandals, and gloat over their defeat.

That doesn't excuse you from doing the same.

We're SUPPOSED to follow the Christian example - turn the other cheek, return abuse with a gentle smile, act decently, even when reviled.

Yeah.  That's NOT easy.  For me, I have to work - HARD - to avoid using intemperate language when insulted.  My natural inclination is to give it back - with some extra spin on the ball.  Particularly aiming at the face.

Sometimes, you might argue, it's not possible to respond without some venom.  That opponent, you say, has EARNED the biting retort through their nasty speech.


Let's examine one such case, and consider the FULL story.

Forbes Magazine had a recent look at Sarah Palin's bringing up the Ukraine in the 2008 debates.  The first line reads:  Sarah Palin may not have been able to see Russia from her house, but she might have been right about Russia invading Ukraine.

BTW, Palin NEVER said she could see Russia from her house - that was Tina Fey.  She DID say, correctly, that from some parts of Alaska, you could see the shores of Russia.
“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,” Palin claimed in 2008, during her vice-presidential bid alongside John McCain.

Are the Liberal media falling over themselves to apologize for mocking her earlier words?

Don't be ridiculous!

Has Sarah gone a little over-the-top in crowing about her prediction coming true?

Well, yeah, she has rubbed it in.

Can you blame her?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Would YOU Do? What WILL You Do?

She's being called "the bravest woman in the world".

She is Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian who refuses to convert to Islam.

Her father was Muslim; he abandoned the family when she was 6, and her Ethiopean Christian mother raised her.  She married a Christian in her church, gave birth to one child, and is currently pregnant with another - in jail.

Her brother brought the attention of the authorities to the "problem" (guess holiday dinners will be strained).  If your father is/was Muslim, ALL his children HAVE to be, as well.  And, for women, there's another trial - they CANNOT marry a Christian, as Meriam has.

She has been sentenced to flogging, then execution.

She could stop it - IF she converted.

This, she refuses to do.

Let me see - the media is FILLED with "scandals":

  • An elderly owner of a sports team made disparaging remarks about Blacks - no one's life is in jeopardy

  • An athlete made mild remarks about a public, STAGED kiss between 2 men - no one's life is in jeopardy, although the athlete is being fined, and will be sent to re-education camp (Gee, shades of the totalitarian Communist regimes!)

  • Sundry other "scandals" are hitting the headlines

But, not this.  It's right out of the New Testament - where are the preachers, priests, and rabbis?  Why are none of the sermons asking for help for this woman - contacting our own government - at the White House, reaching the Dept. of State, writing a letter to the legislators (if your Senator/representative is running for office, it may be most effective), reaching Amnesty International?


We don't even have to make that decision NOT to convert; although many of the songs we sing on Sunday claim that we would bravely resist, even to the point of death.

We just have to take a few SAFE actions, to try to persuade our government to get involved.

For most Americans, not happening.  Not as important as sports, entertainment, or otherwise goofing off.

And we CALL ourselves Christians.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Liberalism as Myth

There is a thread that looks at the Power of Myths - it started with an article on Why Myth Matters.
To the scientific man a myth is a curious but valueless cultural artifact from a superstitious age. The worthlessness of myth is rooted in the work of several academics from the turn of the twentieth century.

I tried to snip excerpts from the article, but couldn't without ruthlessly violating copyright - I strongly suggest you read the whole thing. 

I grew up on myths - as a kid, Superman was almost as real to me as my neighbors.  It wasn't just the popular TV show of the time - the costumes were cheesy, even to my eyes, the plots weren't as well-crafted as the comics, and the lack of color made it, in retrospect, as exciting as a Soviet documentary.

But the comics!

They engaged me.  They guided my developing sense of right and wrong, instilled my belief that the weak and poor were to be protected (which later led me to youthful Liberal ideas), and were a powerful source of moral certainty.

I don't mean to ignore other influences - my mother and father did their part, and not only sent me to Sunday School, but discussed current issues at the dinner table, allowing me to apply what I'd learned to real life.  Schools openly supported the values of the time - patriotism, belief in God, responsibility, obeying the law - all were grounded in what we now call "Juedo-Christian" values.

My influences extended beyond my neighborhood.  I went to school with children whose families had fled Nazi horrors, Soviet oppression, and the Holocaust.  I learned from them of the power of the State to cause great evil, as well as good.

And, not only that, but I imbibed the fashion sense of super-heroes, which might explain some of my more questionable clothing choices.

I read widely.  At around 12, I had finished all the books in the Children's section of my local library (I may have missed a few, but not many), and wandered into the adult section.  When I realized that no one was going to chase me out, I started taking out books from there, starting in the Z's (that section abutted the Children's section).  For a while, I worked alphabetically - wonder if I was slightly OCD?

Eventually, I would find an author I'd hear about, and read everything that person had available on the shelves.  Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Austen, whatever.  Fortunately, the fad for filling shelves with popular bestsellers, rather than classic literature, had not started, so I got a wide smattering of modern, and past, literature.  Some junk, too, but trying to check out a quasi-smutty or more adult book got you the fish-eye from the librarians.  They exercised their authority by suggesting that you wait a few years to read that one.

Imagine that!  A non-related adult exercising moral guidance!  Without being sued by the parents!

At home, my parents didn't censor my reading choices - they figured that if I could read it, I must be old enough to absorb the lessons within.  For the most part, it worked.

I liked mythic novels, which is why I've read ALL of Sherlock Holmes (the literary character, not the insipid TV character),  From that, and similar works, I absorbed the concept that even deeply flawed people could be capable of great things.

Today, Liberals sneer at myths - IF those myths are Conservative ones.  They have, however, imposed their own myths:

More Later.