Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sin In The Garden Of Science and Philosophy

When was the last time you thought about sin? Probably not recently because I think very few people think about sin on a regular basis and certainly not outside of church. I rather think that few people ever consider sin, theirs or others, much less what the ramifications would be in a world without sin. Of course sin does exist, at least for those people who believe in God, but in case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of people around who don’t believe in God. These atheists have probably always been around but they seem to be growing in number and influence. Dr. Benjamin Wiker addressed how atheists view humanity and the ramifications of Godlessness in his book “Ten Books That Screwed Up The World”. In this book Dr Wiker deconstructs a total of 16 books which view humanity as animals without moral boundaries and the enormous harm these books have done as a result.

The first book he considers is “The Prince” by Machiavelli, who views those who seek power very objectively and without regard to whether or not his recommended actions are immoral. Machiavelli makes no judgments, he is simply offering a pragmatic description of how to achieve and keep power. But when implemented his actions lead to deceit, duplicity, lies, and even murder. In effect Machiavelli describes a world without any moral boundaries – a world where God is not a consideration. But this leads to the question “Does God Exist?” Descartes and his “Discourse on Method” starts by questioning everything and arrives at his famous conclusion “ I think, therefore I am”. Dr Wiker points out the essential flaw here is that Descartes could just as easily have said “I smell therefore I am”. In effect Descartes has ceased to view himself or man as being in the image of God and through rational analysis he concludes he exists – independently of God.

From this starting point Dr Wiker begins to build his case regarding sin, morality, materialism, and immorality through the writings of Hobbes, Rousseau, Darwin, Hitler, et al. These people all share a common thread, which is the denial of sin through the denial of God or that any moral boundary should constrain their actions. Hobbes and Rousseau build a case for materialism and the natural state of man which they see as unbounded by anything other than pleasure and pain, a world in which good and evil does not exist. If man is simply an animal that through chance happens to be more advanced that other animals, then there are no limits on actions other than those that are self-imposed through self preservation but not through any false concept of right or wrong outside of pain or pleasure. All of these proto-atheists were speaking in philosophical terms, but it was Darwin and his books that moved the discussion onto a pseudo-scientific foundation.

Darwin’s book “Origin of Species” was actually not scientific at all but merely a set of observations and some conclusions that described environmental adaptation from which others have concluded the evolution of species. But it was his companion work “The Descent of Man” that described man as an animal descended from apes. This is the work that describes evolution but it also describes man as being composed of what could be “sub-species” with European Caucasians as being the supreme evolutionary result with other races as inferior. This work of Darwin’s is virtually ignored today and when the Darwinians like Richard Dawkins are challenged regarding Darwin’s “science” the response is a facile “he was a product of his time”. This may well be true but it does not excuse his lack of scientific method or demonstrable proof of what he has concluded. Nevertheless it was Darwin’s junk science that was seized upon by Sanger and Hitler to justify their efforts to improve the human race by eliminating “defectives”.

By the 1920”s it had been well established through belief and repetition that man was an animal, descended from lower animal forms, unbounded by morality but in need of improvement. This improvement would eventually be accomplished via evolution, but with the advances of “science” it was now possible to purge the human race of those deemed sub-species, defectives, or undesirables. This idea was first postulated by Margret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. It was she who thought parents should be selected and individuals deemed as inferior or undesirable should be sterilized so they could not reproduce. Notice that this is not voluntary but directed by the state and there is no mention of moral boundaries, God, or sin. Her objective is to improve the human race much like you would selectively breed animals. Naturally her position and support of eugenics led inexorably to Hitler’s decision to eliminate all undesirables from the human reproductive chain. That this led to mass murder was not considered by him in moral terms – it was simply applying science to the problem of racial improvement—i.e. moving toward the superior Caucasian as described by Darwin and Nietzsche.

Following the failure of the eugenics movement, the atheists moved in a different direction but still relying on junk science. Alfred Kinsey decided that his views of human behavior were sound and employed an astounding level of junk science to demonstrate that every weird and perverse sexual preference he had was totally normal and since man was an animal there was no moral constraint that could be applied and thus no sin.

Today the atheists continue their assault on morality and sin as they deny the very existence of God. In their eyes man is an animal, descended form lower life forms, with no purpose, no future, and not obligated to recognize any moral constraint or boundary. I think the time has long past for mankind to look critically at the murders and damage done by the atheists and their denial of sin and God.

Monday, December 07, 2009

America In Afghanistan

At the risk of being viewed as a “cut and run” anti-war activist, I think it is time for a review of President Obama’s Strategy and some historical perspective. Afghanistan is a fractious nation if in fact it could even be called a nation. Imperial China rarely had more than nominal control of the country and the reality was that the country was actually under the control of various warlords and this persisted until Mao centralized control in Beijing with a communist government. Although with his death modern China is increasingly looking more and more like Imperial China with a different name. But the point is that Afghanistan has always been a central government with only loose control while the real power was – and is – held by various war lords. Historically Afghanistan has been at war with the various warlords battling each other over various slights real and imaginary. While it may appear that the Taliban had total control over Afghanistan they did not. The Northern Alliance was not under their control and it was the Northern Alliance that worked with the NATO forces (read American) to over throw the Taliban. What has been lost in all of the subsequent rhetoric is that the objective was never the overthrow of the Taliban it was the destruction of Al Qaeda and had Mullah Omar agreed to turn over Osama bin Laden the Taliban would still be in power. Unfortunately, Mullah Omar stood by bin Laden because to do otherwise would have been a serious breech of Islamic hospitality which could have jeopardized his hold on the country because the Taliban were not popular, and his power rested on his strict adherence to Islamic Law and Custom.

So historically Afghanistan has been a series of tribal areas run by Tribal Chiefs with only loose loyalty to any central authority and the only unifying force has been Islam. It must be noted that Islam is not just a religion but it is the supreme authority over government. While the west likes to pretend that there are Islamic “nations” the reality is that these “nations” are actually shells which are under the control and direction of various Islamic authorities in the form of Mullahs and Imams. This means the US strategy of establishing a representative government in Afghanistan has always been somewhat misguided for several reasons. First Islam directs Muslims to not make or honor any treaty with non-Muslims. So any US efforts to establish anything from bureaus to schools will always be on shaky ground because Muslims are forbidden to accept or interact with infidels. Even if this can be overcome, any government will always be under the tacit control of Islamic authority, which means Karzai and his government will always be on shaky ground. So the US and President Obama are faced with a very thorny problem without any clear cut path to any sort of reasonable conclusion – given that withdrawal is not an option.

We are caught up in an insurgency, meaning that we are facing a light infantry guerilla force that melts into the population and attacks at will. Efforts to locate and destroy them inevitably leads to civilian deaths as they deliberately leak misinformation to the US which leads to attacks and the intended civilian deaths which causes the population to blame America. In the meantime efforts to locate and attack the Taliban are only marginally effective because when put under pressure they simply move across the border into Pakistan. Some might move into Iran but the real sanctuary is in the Pakistani Tribal areas where the Pakistani government has little authority and the Taliban enjoy the Islamic protections of hospitality and are supported due to the Islamic directive to kill infidels – meaning the Americans. So to these Pakistani Tribesmen – the Taliban are doing God’s (Allah’s) work.

Whether or not President Obama is sending one or 100,000 troops is almost beside the point because the probable outcome would be to force the Taliban across the border and into Pakistan where they can regroup, rearm, and raid back across the border – as these tribes have done for centuries. That would lead to a never ending war until the Americans tired of it and gave up and left at which time the Taliban would return and a civil war may or may not occur. So the troop surge is more of a tactic than a strategy, but unless the Pakistani’s step up to the plate and aggressively root out the Taliban and keep them in a vise between their military and the Americans, then the surge is just a waste of lives and treasure. But the darker side of this is can the Pakistani’s carry out their campaign against the Taliban? The answer is a very problematic maybe.

The Taliban are an irregular force, meaning they have no uniforms and cannot be distinguished from local population. It has already been demonstrated that the Pakistani military is not free of hidden Taliban agents, meaning any Pakistani military operation could be and to date has been-- betrayed. The Pakistani Intelligence Agency has been deeply infiltrated by the Taliban which means that both Pakistani and joint American operations are unlikely to be highly successful since the Taliban will be warned in advance by their hidden sympathizers. Before any really successful operation against the Taliban can be mounted the Pakistani military and military intelligence will have to be purged of Taliban plus the Pakistani intelligence agency will have to infiltrate the Taliban. While American surveillance techniques are superb they only go so far and cannot ensure victory in the long term. If victory is to be achieved it will only be possible through the Pakistani’s – not through more American Troops.

The other part of the Obama strategy is to bring the Afghan military up to a level where it can defend the country against the Taliban. But this means that the Afghan military must be free of Taliban sympathizers and it has already been demonstrated that it is not. This does not mean that all is lost and the situation is hopeless, but it does mean that the situation has no easy solution. The key is Pakistan. They must force the Taliban out of Pakistan, Pakistan must purge its military of Taliban sympathizers and Islamic extremists and the Afghan government must purge itself of corruption, Taliban sympathizers, and infiltrate the Taliban in order to gain better intelligence. And finally – the source of the Taliban’s military supplies and funding must be located and destroyed because without arms and ammunition they will exhaust themselves and if the troops are not being paid they will leave – because they too have families that must be fed.

So President Obama is faced with a situation that has no easy answer and more troops may not be the best answer. The real answer lies in diplomacy and strategy, let’s hope that the Pakistani government can finally gain control of their country – all of it.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Darwin Dawkins and Evolution

The focus has for years been on Darwin’s “Origin of Species” while his companion work “The Descent of Man” has either been ignored entirely or sort of lumped into his general Theory of Evolution. Of course the thrust of Darwin’s second view of evolution is that human beings were descended from apes who in turn were descended from still more primitive animals. This is a heavily flawed book whose flaws are explained away today by pointing out that Darwin was a “man of his times” and “science” has come a long way since the book was written. Darwin never actually addressed the “Origin of Species” nor did he ever address the origin of life. Instead those issues were left to modern believers, like Dawkins, who totally excludes God and embraces his religion of Evolution and his Darwin as his God replacement. So Dawkins goes where Darwin feared to tread and the logical end of this evolutionary thread is that man is a direct descendant of pond scum. If you have seen Dawkins you can see the family resemblance. But suppose Dawkins is right, that all of humanity is descended directly from lower animal forms and thus subject to the laws of evolution. What are the ramifications of this?

The ramification of course is according to Darwin and Dawkins the strongest and fittest survive while the weakest perish under the relentless action of evolution. It was Darwin who stated that more individuals in a species are born than can possibly survive, so it is natures way to eliminate the weak through their struggle to survive thus those individuals who have even the slightest advantage are naturally selected. The implication of this when applied to humans would indicate that the evolutionary path of humanity would lead to a superior form of human both physically and mentally. Males would get larger and stronger while females would become more fertile and attractive. Alas – even a casual look at humanity would show that some at taller, some weaker, some less intelligent, and certainly some are less attractive, but these are all subjective evaluations and really don’t address the variations in skin color, body types, eye color, hair color, or appearance.

The logical conclusion is that humanity today is the logical result of “breeding” and not necessarily the evolutionary result of the survival of the fittest. The implication is that mankind is result of breeding much like dogs and cats or any other animal. It then follows that humanity can be improved through programs where only the “best examples” are allowed to breed. Of course this was a policy adopted in ancient times and is best exemplified by the Spartans who only allowed the strongest babies to live. A more recent example of this approach, now given the name “Eugenics” was carried out by Adolph Hitler. Both of these programs were public policy but Darwin himself noted that the “civilized people” were eliminating the “savages” through their superiority, where superiority was defined through intellectual achievement and living standard. The shallowness of this position is generally ignored today but Darwin’s basic position remains intact in the eyes to people like Dawkins, who pick and choose their facts while ignoring those that don’t fit their belief.

This brings us to those variations which according to Darwin are the result of natural selection and for Dawkins the result of mutations caused by cosmic rays. The corollary here is that any mutation that failed to improve the chance of survival would fall by the wayside since the mutant would be eliminated and off spring would not survive. This immediately leads to the conclusion that all of the observed variations are evolutionary changes that have improved humanity’s survival ability. But for Darwin, there was the gorilla, the Negro (savages), and the ultimate top of the evolutionary scale – the Caucasian. This is one of those Darwinian things that Dawkins chooses to ignore; instead he leans toward mutation and sexual selection. But then which is which? Are blonds more attractive than brunettes? Is black skin more attractive than white? The argument is that skin color, hair color, and curly hair versus straight are in fact evolutionary advantages. But this brings us back to survival of the fittest. Certainly the record of man shows that the barbarian, the one who is stronger and has the morality of a sociopath is the preferred evolutionary form. The logical path indicates that morality, sympathy, empathy, or any deep emotion must be weaknesses that cannot lead to a stronger human form, but must be eliminated through natural selection since the men with these characteristics would not be allowed to mate. Clearly this isn’t the case, so these must be traits that describe the strongest and fittest human. But realistically – does the ability to care for another human being, or to have a conscience enable an individual to survive a drought, a famine, or a war?

Darwin simply stated that man was descended from a lower form and was an animal subject to the same rules of evolution that other animals are. What is missing is any real proof that evolution as described by Dawkins is a fact. Darwin never addressed speciation and Dawkins explains speciation through cosmic rays and mutation but offers no empirical proof whatsoever. In fact the fossil record seems to support environmental adaptation which accounts for the variations in humans, but it does not indicate how one animal morphs into another or how pond scum became human.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The ABC's Of Liberalism

The term “Liberal” and “Liberalism” is being bandied about in so many contexts that its actual meaning seems to becoming lost. The fact is that most people today – at least Americans are “liberal” the problem lies not in the philosophy of liberalism but in its interpretation and implementation. Liberalism is actually a philosophy that emphasizes individualism, equality, and freedom – things which I think the typical American stands for and believes in. The problem starts almost at the outset because as a “theory” liberalism describes how things ought to be rather than how they actually are. In practice the liberal wants a government that perfectly embodies the three basic points of liberal philosophy, rather than accepting the pragmatic reality of the government we have.

Liberals and non-liberals alike want government to secure the rights of individuals the problem comes in the implementation of that goal. Both want every individual to be treated equally but for some that equality is equality under the law but for others that kind equality is not enough because equality cannot be had if some are richer than others. For these people the clear responsibility of government is to redistribute the wealth so that equality among all citizens can be achieved. While some people believe in the basic right to individual ownership of property others think the government has the responsibility to secure goods for every citizen, even at the expense of others and their property rights. This leads to the progressive income tax, housing subsides, affirmative action, income tax refunds to those who pay no income tax, and more recently the seizure of private property for developers to build malls and buildings for the “good of all”.

While most Americans would say they believe in freedom, in practice they do not. In fact the typical American believes in limited freedom and the number of limitations on our freedom increases daily. In fact this may actually best illustrate how liberalism in practice has so deviated from liberalism as a philosophy. Some would think that “freedom of speech” has been expanded beyond what was intended by the founding fathers with the acceptance by the Supreme Court of pornography, profanity, and the desecration of Christian symbols. But Christian theology and symbols are banned from schools and public buildings while Islamic and other religious symbols and theology are not. Huckleberry Finn cannot be taught in schools because the word “nigger” is used. The government has banned smoking which is a direct infringement of individual rights – justified by liberals on the basis of “the common good”. Car seats and seat belts are mandatory and indeed they may be very useful but the reality is that compulsion to buy them and use them is a direct abridgement by government on individual rights. So while most Americans believe in the liberal philosophy the implementation has strayed so far afield as to border on fascism.

This idea that the government has an obligation to provide for the individual was the motivation behind Karl Marx and his communist philosophy. Even though communism has caused more harm than good and has cost millions of lives, the basic belief that government must provide for the individual lives on. It lives on with the universal healthcare bill before congress today. It lives on in the “tax the rich” ideas prevailing in congress today. It lives on as the individual right not to be offended. The government now protects the rights of minorities at the expense of the majority when the whole purpose of the American Republic was government by the majority. We have come along way from that ideal. What started as a government for the people has morphed into a people subordinate to the government whose objective is to provide first and foremost for the individual at the expense of the majority.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Super Freakonomics

Recently the sequel to “Freakonomics” has been published as “Super Freakonomics” once again authored by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. While the original book was a sort of tongue in cheek view to six questions with sharply differing topics, but the authors tied these together by mining data from various sources. This sequel is similar but poses only five questions which are fascinating in and of themselves but with a variety of related answers. While the first book clearly was intended as a sort of semi-serious entertainment, this one is sort of and entertaining response to some semi-serious questions. For example the first question posed is “How is a street prostitute like a department store Santa?” This question does eventually get answered but not before the authors wander off to discuss how women have historically been punished just for being female. They explore wage inequities, the punishing of witches, the limited career opportunities for women, and of course prostitution. Certainly these are all interesting and important questions which eventually lead to the fact that prostitution can be very lucrative for a very small investment in time and that it is essentially seasonal in nature – much like department store Santa’s.

Each of these questions posed by Levitt and Dubner is used as the basis to address various incentives and their impact but to explore other related aspects which frequently reveals some very odd and seemingly unconnected answers. Perhaps the most serious of these questions and answers is “Unbelievable stories about apathy and altruism”. However, the actual question posed is “Why did 38 people watch Kitty Genovese be murdered?” This question is used as a launching pad for a whole series of tangential but related questions like “How the ACLU encourages crime? “What caused the 1960”s crime explosion?’ or one of the most interesting of these “Why don’t real people behave like people in the lab?” This latter question illustrates the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty in relation to people or how people react when observed versus unobserved.

Clearly this book is more serious than the first one and while the authors continuously refer to economists this book really has little if anything to do with economics. It is mostly an examination of various topics of general interest and how they impact society and in some cases our economy. Perhaps the two most interesting topics they address along these lines is how the required car safety seats do not add safety to a child and in some cases are actually more dangerous than just using seat belts. Of course the economic tie here is the actual saftey results versus the legal requirement for the car seats and the financial advantage for the manufacturers. But the authors have a real sarcastic romp with Al Gore and Global Warming – errr – Global cooling – errr Climate Change. How the scientific facts do not support Al Gore’s inconvenient truth and some of the crazier ideas associated with counteracting climate change. They scoff at the windmills, the myth of carbon dioxide as the driver, and how volcanoes are more than just interesting landmarks. But then they go on to discuss some actual solutions – given that some corrective action is necessary. Of course some of these solutions while technically possible fall into the category of solutions looking for problems.

All in all this is an entertaining book but not the quality of the first. Still I highly recommend this book just for the section dealing with “What do Al Gore and Mount Pinatubo have in common?” That chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama Strategy?

As the decision relative to Afghanistan continues to wait on President Obama, perhaps it is time to ask precisely what his strategy is relative to America and American foreign policy. During one of his overseas trips, President Obama was asked about the exceptionalism of America. Specifically Ronald Reagan viewed America as “A shining city on a hill” and how did President Obama see America? He was very clear in that he did not see America as unique or with any interests above or different from those of – say – Cuba, Greece, or Venezuela. This startling view was reflected in the mainstream media as a refreshing change from the jingoism that has characterized America. Newsweek almost got the vapors in their fawning over President Obama’s stance that America is no longer chauvinistic and parochial, but we stand as equals with the world and that Obama stands above the country – even above the world – “he is sort of God”. I think even with his overweening ego, President Obama might be a little embarrassed by that quote. But it does raise the question of exactly how does President Obama see the US and where does he think our interests lie?

The United States never intended to be world power much less a super power. America never set out to create the Pax Americana – that role was forced upon us by the continued Machiavellian machinations of Europe. It was the nationalistic policies of Europe that initiated the First World War and it was they who dragged America into it. It was they who set the stage for World War II with the Treaty of Versailles and it was they who so destroyed their own countries that they were left defenseless in face of USSR imperialism. So it was the very people who today criticize the US, accuse Americans of being arrogant, and who work against our interests at every turn while relying on the American Military for protection. It is these Europeans who continue their devious and self-destructive policies as they strive to gain control over America and American power through a world government. Is NATO necessary any longer? What benefit does the US gain from NATO other than to annoy the Russians? Does the UN provide any benefit to the US given its domination by Islamic countries and almost universal anti-American stance? This is the situation and questions that face President Obama and how he deals with these is vital to America’s long term interests.

If President Obama has any over arching strategy, it is one of negotiation and withdrawal – ironically this is analogous to the isolationist position the US had in the early 20th Century. If any policy exists today it seems to be to negotiate with North Korea, Palestine, and Iran while abandoning Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems that President Obama has been asleep like Rip van Winkle because he is unaware of the diplomatic efforts of Presidents Clinton and Bush, who have tried negotiating with North Korea, Palestine, and Iran with virtually no effect, although Arafat did stab President Clinton in the back. So what is Obama’s new diplomatic strategy that he plans on using to negotiate? He has leaned on the Israeli’s and supported the Palestinians only to leave both angrier so what is his new basis for negotiation? Perhaps someone should point out that negotiation is not a policy or even a strategy – it is a technique or process that is used in order to accomplish some objective. Both Presidents Bush and Clinton established objectives of disarmament and failed but President Obama’s approach seems to be encapsulated in the term “negotiation” which really reflects the almost total lack of experience both he and his administration have in international affairs. An objective of “peace” doesn’t seem to be very specific and this has been the objective for 16 years without any noticeable change, other to spend millions of dollars which have gone to fund terrorism and into Swiss Banks. So is the current plan to continue the failed policies of the past are does he intend to set new objectives?

So what about the other part of what appears to be President Obama’s over arching strategy of negotiation and withdrawal. It seems that he promised to withdraw the troops from Iraq because they had no business being there in the first place, but this promise seems to have been made to his liberal constituency without any knowledge of the real situation. Iraq is Islamic and has historically been dominated by the Sunni’s who were a minority. The Shiites are the majority and supported by Iran – a Shiite dominated country. The focus seems to be on withdrawing troops rather than a stable government in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal of American troops could easily throw Iraq into a civil war and destabilize the entire region as the US would be seen as unreliable, intransigent, and defeated by radical Islam. This would greatly strengthen Iran and Hezbollah while dramatically increasing the threat to Israel. Iran has been pushing for a causus belli because the current government is very unstable and they need a unifying force. A perceived defeat of the US by Islam, which is what a withdrawal by the US would be viewed as, would certainly help Iran and would throw Iraq into even greater chaos. But the real problem lies in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan itself is really not the issue, the issue actually is Pakistan. The Taliban supported Al Qaeda who used Afghanistan as a base of operations to attack the US and to spread terror across the world. So the invasion of Afghanistan was actually an attack on the guerilla group known as Al Qaeda who fled into Pakistan. A large part of Pakistan is tribal and only loosely under the control of the central government. It is in these semi-autonomous regions that Al Qaeda found a home from which they launch attacks into Afghanistan and across the world. Once the US began to attack Al Qaeda in these tribal regions the whole area has erupted into chaos and the Taliban is attempting to destabilize Pakistan and to take over the country much as they did in Afghanistan. This is a real threat because in Islam the true Muslim is first and foremost a Muslim with no allegiance to his nation. In Pakistan the government is heavily infiltrated by these radical Muslims who are first Muslim and only secondarily Pakistani. If Pakistan cannot root out these radical forces and establish control then it is possible the substantial nuclear arsenal in Pakistan would fall into the hands of the Taliban and then into the hands of terrorists. Currently the American forces in Afghanistan in association with the Pakistani Army have Al Qaeda and the Taliban caught in classic pincer. But the American Military says they need more troops because the NATO troops there are little more than a token force. The border is very porous, the Pakistani’s hard pressed, and the Americans can’t be everywhere. But President Obama’s liberal supporters are anti-war and want him to withdraw American troops entirely. Apparently he intends to try to satisfy both camps and send some troops into Afghanistan but not the number requested. This of course is the worst possible solution and is a reflection of his total lack of military experience, knowledge of international affairs, and failure to grasp the difference between policies and action.

To date Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons while laughing their way to Obama’s negotiating table. More importantly they are using their diplomats to drive a wedge between Israel and the US because Israel is the only country outside of the US with a military force capable of confronting the Iranian military. The Iranian strategy seems to be to divide and conquer. The North Koreans are playing Obama just like they have played the entire international community into providing them with whatever it is they want at the time, but this is really just a side show and Obama seems to be just going along like Bush and Clinton before him.

So does President Obama have a strategy? Will he make a decision in America’s best interest or does he plan on fulfilling his election promises to his liberal constituency? He no longer has time on his side – he must show his plans now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Oil Profits and Energy Independence

Recently I have been hammered by people who are once again accusing “Big Oil” of making obscene profits and gouging customers. These accusations seem to be just a knee jerk reaction to gas pump prices fueled by various politicians who find Big Oil to be a Big Target. But efforts to explain the fluctuations in oil prices or even how business – any business – operates seems to fall on deaf ears; therefore I guess this is a lesson in elementary economics -- the law of supply and demand. Economics has laws that are as immutable as the laws of physics but for some reason the laws that govern our economy are rejected out of hand by glib politicians and those who can't look beyond the immediate impact to discover the force behind that impact.

Wealth and Taxes
It is always popular for a politician to demand that the rich pay more, that we should tax the rich. Ignoring that these politicians almost never describe who is rich, but lets just follow that reasoning to its conclusion, which is that higher taxes lead to lower revenues! How can that be? The reality is that taking money (capital) from the rich (the capitalists) and giving it to the poor means the rich have less money to invest. With less capital available businesses cannot expand and add new jobs and may actually have to contract and lay people off. With fewer jobs there are fewer people earning money and paying taxes and many may become non-tax paying or even consumers of tax dollars in the form of unemployment benefits. Once the rich have had their capital reduced through taxation they have less to invest and so their income goes down and the taxes they pay are reduced. If the government responds by raising taxes even higher then we enter a downward spiral leading to greater unemployment and reduced revenues and a declining standard of living. Once this spiral begins it is very difficult to reverse because politicians are allergic to the solution which is lowering taxes.

Revenues and Profits
The favorite target here seems to be big business but especially the oil companies who are accused of making obscene profits. Of course this accusation of obscene profits comes from politicians who are almost always lawyers with no experience whatsoever in business and the man-on-the-street who just sees the price of gas at the pump. All he knows is that the ignoramus he voted for is telling him the cost of gas is because of greedy oil moguls and not the taxes they put on the gas or the restrictions they have placed on the oil companies, or the distinctions between profit and revenues, those are ignored.

Yes the revenues of the oil companies are substantial but surely most people know that their annual salary is only a fraction of what they take home in their paycheck. So the annual salary is the revenue, the paycheck is income after tax, and the take home pay is the profit. This is very analogous to how business operates. Those so-called obscene profits are in reality the gross revenues. Once the taxes have been paid to the federal authorities, the state, and local governments (and in some cases foreign governments as well) the companies have their after tax revenue, then they must deduct their expenses, which include exploration, salaries, transportation, environmental costs, etc etc. The actual bottom line profits have historically been in the 10% to 12% range and this is over decades. Even though this information is readily available from the Federal Government the politicians don't want to acknowledge that because it might draw attention to their regulations and taxes that lie at the heart of the cost of gas at the pump.

Law of Supply and Demand
The complaint has been that oil companies are cutting back on production and the cost of gas is sure to rise because the oil companies are run by greedy businessmen who are out to gouge the consumer. In reality this is an example of "The Law of Unintended Consequences". Like all businesses the oil companies are governed by the law of supply and demand. The Department of Energy, the Environmentalists, the EPA, and of course all of the politicians have been pounding the drum and beating on GM to reduce gas consumption. Surprise!! This is actually working and the result has been that OPEC is wallowing in oil because the demand has gone down as refineries cut back their production as the demand for gas goes down. Is there cheering in the streets? Is GM up for any medals from the DOE? of course not -- the hue and cry is that the price of gas may (or is) go up. Well the taxes haven't been reduced, the restrictions on the oil refineries hasn't changed -- just the demand for a finished product. This is where mass production comes in -- the more units I produce the lower the cost per unit and as I reduce the number of units produced the cost per unit increases. So as the demand for gas declines the refineries cut back on production and as the volume decreases the cost per unit increases. These changes in volume and revenues do not fall to the bottom line because all of the parameters remain the same. So in effect the environmentalists have succeeded in reducing the demand for oil but were unprepared for the success of their program. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again as the demand goes down the price goes up.

Energy Independence
The cry has been that America should be Energy Independent and this is the mantra of most politicians because it is popular with the people. Although the DOE was created for the sole purpose of making America Energy Independent no one seems willing to point out how bloated this organization has become in spite of it total failure to achieve its objective.

Generally when this subject of energy independence comes up, it is interpreted to mean independence of imported crude oil and independence of OPEC. However it is the Federal Government that has prevented the development of proven reserves or offshore exploration while foreign governments are actively exploring the very areas the American companies are seeking to explore. So it is the Federal Government that is directly increasing our dependence on foreign oil by placing environmental restrictions and legislative roadblocks on the American companies that prevent these companies from actively adding to the domestic supply of oil.

But suppose the US stopped importing any oil what would happen? Certainly the price at the pump would decline since the price would be determined by the domestic market but the real impact would be on those countries that currently sell oil to the US. Canada and Mexico would be hurt but Venezuela would be devastated. If the US were to suddenly become oil independent it would have destabilizing impact on the world economy, so even if the US did have the ability to be oil independent this independence would have to be phased in.

But there is another dimension to the price of gasoline and that is the dollar. The American Dollar is the reserve currency of the world and the price of oil is tied to the dollar so as the value of the dollar declines the price per barrel goes up and this translates directly to a higher cost of gasoline. The value of the dollar is driven by many factors but not the least of which is the supply of dollars. As the supply increases the value declines so as the government continues to fund these huge stimulus packages and social programs by printing dollars, the value of those dollars decreases, which drives up the cost of everything including oil. If the government were to reduce the supply of money then the value of the dollar would rise and the price of oil would decline since a dollar would buy more.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

America – Europe – Peace

The Europeans can’t stand America because America represents their lack of ability to protect themselves or even to sustain their economies independent of the United States. The Norwegians awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama in some bizarre hope that Barrack Obama will revert to some previous Presidential policy that will consult with them and actually allow them to guide if not directly veto American foreign policy. I think what the Norwegians are missing is the same thing that Western Europe is missing and that is how fed up the average American is with the Europeans.

During the 19th Century the Europeans invaded and colonized most of Africa. Actions which they either choose to ignore or see as a benefit to the Africans. What they did was to create totally impossible countries which have led to seemingly endless bloodshed in Africa as one tribe fights another and the national borders are ignored because of their artificiality. This European arrogance carried over into the 20th Century as the Europeans continued their centuries old internal battles and squabbles. By 1914 these squabbles led to WW I and the horrendous slaughter as a whole generation was wiped out. It would have even been worse had not the power of the United States interceded and brought the war to a close.

But European arrogance didn’t end with the first war, they continued their age old games of diplomacy as they divided the spoils and laid the foundations for WW II, the Iraqi wars, the Jihadist War now under way and the wars between Israel and the Arab World. It was the European nations that stood by and watched Hitler rise to power along with Lenin and Stalin. From 1919 until 1939 it was peace at any price in Europe and the Nobel Peace Prize went to Neville Chamberlain for his claim of “Peace in Our Time”. The world wallowed in the Great Depression as Europe watched Communist Russia rise fearful that Marxism would spread and hoping Hitler would be a counter force. Finally Hitler made his move and so once again Europe turned to the US to bail them out of a mess that they created, but this time things had changed.

The US became a world super power facing the Russian colossus over a prostate Europe. With the end of WW II the former European powers of France, Germany, and Britain no longer mattered or at least didn’t matter very much. The relationship between the US and Britain suffered a total reversal. Instead of Britain being Lord of Seas with the US being a client, now it was the US who was Lord of the Seas and Air while Britain was – and continues to be – a client. By 1947 what Europe wanted or didn’t want really didn’t matter, the US consulted them but acted on its own. Europe never recovered its military strength or even its economic power. Europe sank into a socialist funk where the people wanted the government to take care of them. They just wanted to be comfortable, to sit in their cafe’s and watch the world go by – which it has. Western Europe is virtually irrelevant today since they have little to no military power and rely on the US for protection – all the while criticizing America for its bellicosity, materialism, and untrustworthiness.

Since the liberation of Europe by America, the Europeans have been rebuilding their economy but they are no longer the great mercantile nations they once were but have become welfare states with high taxes and a work force more interested in vacations than in wealth accumulation. They are terrified that their great protector – the US – will embroil them in a war. They can no longer rely on American to honor their wishes relative to foreign policies. They still consider America to be run by cowboys who have no sense of history or the value of their more sophisticated world view. The Europeans liked Kennedy because he said things they agreed with ignoring his brinksmanship with the Russians and Viet Nam. But since tha time they have hated virtually every other President but they particularly hated George W Bush because he acted unilaterally. They were stunned when he consulted them after 9/11 but then ignored their advice.

Now we find the Norwegians awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama solely on the basis that he isn’t George Bush. They forget that if it weren’t for those American Cowboys who saved them they would be speaking German. They ignore the fact that it was America who rid Europe of the USSR who had been a threat to them for 70 years. They ignore the reality that Eastern Europe is moving away from socialism and sides with the US on the world stage while Western Europe is in decline due to their heavy socialist programs. The Nobel Committee saw in Obama some one who they think shares their view of socialism and America’s place in the world. That place being where it was in 1914 – subordinate to the will of Europe. Alas those days are gone – never to return no matter what the Norwegians would like to see happen.

President Obama is locked into the reality of the world. He is faced with two wars which he cannot lose because it would threaten world stability for years. His socialist programs are under heavy attack at home and his economy is in a shambles partially due to his attempts to push his socialist agenda. Then he is faced with the economic reality of the rise of India and China both militarily and economically. So while the Norwegians are glad that George Bush is gone what they thought they got may not turn out to be what they wanted, because they represent the past while the US must face the future and President Obama cannot ignore these realities.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Congressional Waste and Self Serving

Here is a letter that needs to be sent to every Republican Congressman. There is no point in sending this to any Democrat or any media outlet because they are in denial. I'm not sure the Republicans aren't in denial as well but at least here is a wake up call. It seems clear to me that the people are being ignored by the congress -- and that goes for the entire congress. When I heard John McCain say that the Healthcare Bill needs "tweaking" I almost barfed!!! The man is totally out of touch with reality. I hear Michael Steele blather on and on being politically correct and not willing to attack the administration or voice any inconvenient truth. It seems to me that the entire elected political structure is totally out of touch and needs to be replaced in its entirety. The idea that you can "spend your way to prosperity" is so ludicrous that you have to question the intelligence of the entire gang in Congress and it isn't just the Democrats that have lost their way -- the Repubicans are just as bad. Shouting that "You lie" to the President means nothing other than bad manners unless the congress is willing to act and so far the only action I have seen has been self serving -- from all of them. The linked letter calls for the impeachment of the President, which I think is not just extreme but a bad precedent. The "people" (incuding a lot of dead ones registered by Acorn) elected this man but it is the Congress who truly holds the power -- power they seem incapable of wielding in a responsible manner and in response to the people whom they are alleged to represent. I'm not even sure that most democrats think they are being properly represented. If nothing else comes from this congress the evils of a one party system are clearly evident. Send this letter to your Republican representative and call for action -- loud, clear, and forceful ACTION!!



On the first page of your website you have a section that says something to the effect, “tell me what you think.” OK, here it is. How much longer do “we the people” have to sit out here and wait for you to do something? Where is your voice? Where is your spine? Why does a talk show host/entertainer have to do your job? Where is the leadership of the Republican Party in Congress?

If the United States of America survives past 2009 it will certainly not be because the RNC and the congressional leadership stood firm and held news conferences and produced YouTube videos, to keep us, the citizenry informed. What a sad state of affairs when the media controls what we get to hear from you, the elected officials. Are you fearful of what they will call you? Have you no power? Do they own you?

The grassroots have been fighting since April to voice our opposition to what is happening in our government. We have held tea parties, town halls, rants in public places, we have all become proficient on Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. We stay up most nights trying to Google information, watch Glenn Beck, read and re-read our constitution. We have been like blind people trying to put a puzzle together and now that we are succeeding in seeing what is being done to us, it’s a frightening thing. I can only speak for myself but there have been times in the last six months that I have to pinch myself and ask if I am still in my country.

We have spent time calling, writing, emailing, petitioning our elected officials and we are called un-American, terrorists, mobs, dangerous, right-wing extremists, kooks, etc. I don’t hear national voices calling the main stream media to task for attacking us. I have only heard of one congressman who is going to the Library of Congress before the session begins to look up information on “redressing of grievances”. Why hasn’t the entire Republican congress called a meeting to ask the same thing?

We begged the Republicans to stop cap and trade and they did not. I can’t believe that any thinking person would even be talking about trying to pass something as heinous as HR 3200. When I hear a Republican, especially McCain talk about tweaking the bill and then passing it, I want to scream! What could these people be thinking. The only thing that could help this bill is for it to be flushed!

Do you watch television? Do you watch Fox News? Do you watch Glenn Beck? I’m appalled that there has not been a movement from the Republican Party to impeach this man who is living in our White House. Don’t even try to tell me that we can’t do that. We must impeach him. Are you aware that Van Jones, the green job czar, whose organization, the Apollo Alliance wrote the stimulus bill and is receiving tax dollars to dismantle our country? Van Jones is a self-avowed communist! Those are his words. This man is an advisor to the President? How can that happen? How can any elected official stand by and let this happen? Who is representing us?

What about Cass Sunstein? This man is a fascist nut. Yes, I did say fascist. I’m sick of not being able to speak truths because we’re fearful of not being politically correct. Guess what? We are out of the p.c. closet. Sunstein is a proponent of the ‘nudge’ philosophy – Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Our decisions, our health, our wealth and our happiness. No thank you. This man thinks animals should have the right to take people to court??? This is not a fairy tale.

Now we hear that our internet may be taken from us through legislation. SB 773. Will this be carried out through martial law? I have not heard one Republican official say that they are not going to allow this to happen.

Are all the conspiracy theorists correct when they say that the Republicans are just as instrumental in destroying our country as the liberal fascist arm of the Democratic Party are?

The President is destroying the United States of America. If a Russian Professor can see it, and write articles about it, why can’t you? What do we need to do to start the impeachment process? I could list numerous other things that he has done that I believe are in direct opposition to our constitution but I don’t have the time or the space. You could contact Glen Beck, he will fill you in.

I am going to put this letter on Facebook, Twitter, blogs; I’m going to email it to every address I can get my hands on. I will send it as a press release to every media outlet I can think of and who knows, maybe one or two will print it. I’m going to send it to talk shows and I’m also going to email it to you. I certainly hope I receive an answer and if I do, I will also send that out to all the above mentioned sites.

Thank you for your time and I pray that God will Bless America.

Pat Wright
Sealy, Texas

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rome - America - Capitalism

This lengthy essay is in response to a comment posted by Susanna.

Thank you for your comments regarding Ancient Rome. Yes it is true that Roman society was sharply divided between the wealthy and everyone else but the society did function. The Gracchi’s did attempt to land reform but as you may know it failed. Nevertheless land was constantly being allocated to former members of the military and the majority of Roman Society lived better than they did after the Romans were eclipsed by those who desired their wealth without actually earning it. The result was grinding poverty and marginal living for virtually all of society. So eliminating slavery and redistributing land and wealth didn’t actually improve things.

While in college my history class addressed the issue of land reform as a means of wealth redistribution. The idea was that most of the land and wealth was in the hands of a few so various “Presidente`s” elected to take the land from the wealthy land owners and give it to the peons. This was done several times and it failed every time. Within a very few years the wealthy land owners once again owned the land and the peons were back working it. The root cause was not greed or even predatory practices – the fundamental issues were that not everyone is a good farmer so some simply failed to work the land properly and had to sell it in order to eat. Others could farm the land but could not make enough to feed their families because they didn’t have enough land. Eventually these farmers also sold their land and within a few years the land was back in the hands of the wealthy, the government collapsed, and a new Presidente` was in place.

Now you note that 90% of the wealth of America is in the hands of 10% and you say this as if this was wrong. In my work I travel extensively and I have noted that virtually everyone owns a car, has housing, eats regularly, has a TV, and most have one or more computers. I would say that everyone I meet on a daily basis is not “rich” nor are they in that rarefied 10% so your statistic is really meaningless. I also have in my circle of friends 3 people who do in fact reside in that 10% and probably in the 5% range. One man escaped from the communists and came to the US with no money whatsoever. He worked as a carpenter, saved his money, bought land, and today owns homes all over the world, contributes heavily to the Republican Party and commented recently that the very words used by President Obama were the exact words the communists used when they seized his family’s farm and livestock. Another man sold tools out of the trunk of his car. He gradually built his business and recently sold it for $57M and retired. One my oldest friends left the Navy and worked as door to door salesman. He borrowed money to buy one share of the business he worked for. Twenty years later he bought the last share of that business and today he owns it and is worth millions. All three of these men contribute heavily to charity and employ hundreds of others. So opportunity exists for those who choose to work. Those who choose not to work have no right to the wealth of others.

Since you are student of Roman History you might check Emperor Severus. As I recall he tried the Obama approach of taxing the wealthy in order to raise revenues. Paradoxically the higher he raised the taxes on the rich the lower his revenues dropped. You cannot take from the wealthy and give to the unproductive without reducing the total revenues and lowering the standard of living. This was made very obvious with the various communist regimes in the 20th Century.

I do agree that there is a growing underclass in America but I disagree with your implied root cause. You state that this underclass is the result of a lack of education, housing, and healthcare. Public schools are available throughout the country. The schools are routinely destroyed by the children of the underclass whom they are serving. These children do not attend, do not do the work, assault the teachers, and destroy the property. Rather than take responsibility for the poor education their children are receiving they blame the government, the wealthy, the whites, anyone but themselves. So the education is there if they choose to take advantage of it and many do. I am not responsible for the bad decisions of the underclass regarding their education. The government has routinely built public housing for the underclass who have just as routinely destroyed it. The government has torn these projects down and built new ones with the same result. The government then offered programs so the homeless could buy houses with no money down. This allowed hundreds of people to buy homes they couldn’t afford which forced them into bankruptcy and the ill advised government program to spend trillions of dollars keeping companies out of bankruptcy after the government forced them into this ridiculous program to start with.

This brings us to the question of healthcare which you apparently think is some sort of right of the underclass. The actuality is that every hospital in the country is required to provide service to the indigent without charge. The cost of this service is borne by those who have (and pay for) health insurance. So the reality is that there is no one in this country who must go without healthcare and that includes millions of illegal aliens who are slowly bankrupting the welfare system.

Some how you have concluded that the social welfare programs initiated by Roosevelt and expanded by every President since, have not worked because of greed. Precisely whose greed you don’t mention, but I suspect you attribute the woes of society to those who actually work for a living and those businesses that strive to make a profit while employing others. Making a profit is not greed and taking money from those who earn it and give it to those who do not, is communism in its purest form. I think this philosophy has failed repeatedly. I

In the late 1990’s shortly after the fall of the Communist Regime (USSR), I was part of a university program dealing with Russian professionals. The objective was to give them insight into businesses being run for profit. This was an astonishing experience for all parties but those that visited my home never grasped the size of my home and the quality of my life as the result of how hard I worked. They were accustomed to not working and drinking constantly. Prior to this program I was on a tour in Denmark of manufacturing facilities. The other American and I were appalled at the gross inefficiencies and commented that we could increase production and decrease costs by at least 50%. The tour guide stated that the objective of the socialist government was employment not profit or efficiency.

Now you think that people who work hard are doing it solely so they can have more money than their neighbor. I have no idea where you got that idea from – perhaps it is your personal motivation – I don’t know but I do know most of the people I know work because they like to work. I know I do what I do for fun and the fact that I make a lot of money doing it is a by product not the driving motive. In fact I would turn this around and say that those people who you view as the underclass are there due to their own decisions. They are the ones who didn’t like school. They are the ones who don’t have a trade because work requires you arrive on time, follow directions, don’t take drugs, and don’t drink. These simple rules are too stringent for most of those whom you see as the underclass. They are the ones who make these decisions that prevent them from enjoying the fruits of their labor. Instead they whine and appeal to politicians to give them something from the government. Of course most politicians seem to forget that the government doesn’t make money it extorts it from those who do work to give it to those who don’t. The current economic collapse is a direct result of these government run attempts to satisfy the demands from this underclass who are there because of their own bad decision making.

Do I despise and distrust the elected representatives? I certainly do although not as much as I distrust the Judiciary. Beginning with FDR the congress and the judiciary have step by step and inch by inch distorted the Constitution and Declaration of Independence into something totally unrecognizable. Apparently you think this battle over healthcare reform is the main issue – it is not. The Congress and the liberal community based on the West and East Coasts have so lost touch with the temper of the country that they really don’t understand this ground swell of anger or how to cope with it. They keep tying it to healthcare which has little to do with it. The anger begins with affirmative action which has led to quotas and reverse discrimination. It starts with the idea that prayers cannot be said in public, that we are not a Christian Nation, that atheists can dictate how we live and worship, that politicians are distorting the Constitution to restrict guns, that the courts give more rights to criminals than they do to citizens. That the President can by pass congress and appoint czars to run the businesses which he is illegally seizing. The great majority of the population is tired of being ignored and having the very fabric of the country eroded by thoughtless self-seeking politicians and judges with their own agendas.
Now to return to Rome for a moment, the reality is that the Roman Empire encompassed the entire Mediterranean Basin. The vast majority of people in the empire lived happy productive lives. The bread and circuses really was a City of Rome issue and not an issue in the Empire per se. In fact an argument could be made that a lot of loafers and idlers gravitated to Rome for the simple reason they could get handouts from the government. This welfare system was unique to Rome. It didn’t work there and it isn’t working here either because it still rewards idlers and loafers. Corruption for the most part is a government institution and enjoyed by those politicians who need to be turned out of office. Just look at the current administration – it is filled with jail birds, tax evaders, and officials totally out of touch with the people.

I urge you to read:
“The Law” by Frederick Bastiat
“ The Worldly Philosophers” by Heilbronner


Monday, August 31, 2009

President Obama and Chancellor Hitler

From the outset of the Obama Presidential Campaign I was fascinated by the cheering crowds of people. There were hundreds or even thousands of people cheering a man about whom they knew virtually nothing. He was black and that seemed to be the only criteria for the cheering, the opportunity to show that we white folks weren’t racially prejudiced. Here was a man who promised change without ever actually specifying what that change would be or even should be. The crowds were filled with emotion but never seemed to know precisely what they were cheering for or about. However, I remembered the old newsreels showing Hitler speaking before crowds of cheering thousands, people who were cheering a man about whom they knew little but a man who was promising change. Of course things in Germany at the time were very dire, unemployment was high, the economy was in collapse, and national debt was high due to reparations and Hitler was preaching change – changes for the better. When I first raised the issue that people seemed to be cheering Obama with virtually no knowledge of what they were cheering for other than he was black, I was roundly castigated. I was accused of calling Obama –Hitler when in fact all I did was to point out the crowds cheering Obama were eerily like the crowds cheering Hitler.

Since my initial observation Obama has been elected President apparently on the basis of emotion – much like Hitler – because Obama had nothing to recommend him for the job as President. He was an unknown with no experience in any area normally associated with a President. But now that he has assumed the reins of power, perhaps it is time to once again review the parallels between Adolph Hitler and Barack Obama.
The economic conditions in Germany after World War I were horrible. Hitler promised to put people back to work and to restore the economy. Hitler was not very specific regarding what he intended to do but he seemed to know who to blame. The economic conditions in America had suffered the collapse of the High Tech Bubble and had barely recovered when the financial markets collapsed creating chaos and rising unemployment. Obama was never very clear how he intended to change things or improve the economy but he knew he could blame the preceding administration and did and continues to do so even though it is increasingly clear his policies – founded in ideology and not experience – have failed.
Adolf Hitler honed his oratory skills and became a superb speaker. It isn’t necessary that you understand what Hitler is saying because just watching him speak is mesmerizing. Obama isn’t quite as good of as speaker as Hitler was but he is very polished. Of course everything he says in read from a teleprompter so perhaps it is more accurate to call Obama an accomplished reader than a speaker.
Adolf Hitler surrounded himself with thugs and Jew haters. Obama has surrounded himself with tax evaders, Jew haters, and thugs (SEISU).
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis blamed the Jews for their problems. The Obama administration blames everything on the preceding administration and some like Rev Wright blame the Jews and certainly the administration has turned away from Israel.
Adolf Hitler spoke of change and a new Germany. Obama speaks of change and a new America. What goes unsaid is that the New America will be a Socialist America. Hitler was head of the National Socialist Party.
The Nazis burned books to eradicate records and contrary thoughts. Obama hasn’t gone so far as to burn books but his administration attempts to suppress any dissent. While Hitler used his Brown Shirts to bully and intimidate any who opposed him, Obama uses ACORN and the SEISU thugs to bully and intimidate any opposition. This has been very apparent at the Town Hall Meetings where citizens have been intimidated and called Nazi’s and un-American for exercising their rights of free speech.
Hitler was opposed to communism while Obama surrounds himself with people like Bill Ayers and Van Jones who are not only un-American but avowed Marxists. But just as Hitler gradually established one man rule we see Obama doing the same thing as he appoints one Czar after another answerable only to him. This President represents the greatest threat to America, to capitalism, and individual freedom since the British left.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Dark Energy Darker Science

While empirical science continues to exist, it has largely been replaced by pseudo-science based on statistics. As we have dumbed down our schools and shifted our universities into centers of political correctness and indoctrination, science is under attack from the intellectually lazy who resort to writing papers that make outrageous claims with no factual basis. These have largely been restricted to the medical field where are regularly treated to claims that mayonnaise causes cancer, that poverty causes crime, and apples will kill you, all based on statistical analyses of a sample of four. As low as the medical field has sunk, it seems that other scientific areas are succumbing to the need to make ridiculous claims just to keep the public aware and the money from Washington flowing.

Carl Sagan seems to have launched this trend of stating theories as facts, with his passionate defense of evolution, the origin of life, and interstellar life. To hear Sagan you would think that evolution is an absolute fact, especially since he was successful in convincing the majority of the media. The reality is that Darwin’s book “Origin of Species” never actually addressed the origin of species and all of the examples used to substantiate the claim of evolution are in fact examples of adaptation and not speciation. Then the claim that there is life on other planets is based entirely on the statistical probability that given enough planets around enough stars, that some must be oxygen/carbon based and thus life must have evolved. Of course the a priori position here is unstated and that is that life evolved on this planet and thus must have evolved on other planets as well. Now indeed, it may have but there is no proof of that fact and many people today believe that life on this planet is unique and divinely created. Certainly there is no proof of this position either but in that case neither position should be viewed as factual. But all of these are really topics for another day, because this creeping destruction of science seems to be impacting physics and quantum physics as well.

Cosmology and Quantum Physics exist in a realm where proving anything is almost impossible so those who study these areas rely very heavily on some very esoteric mathematics to describe and substantiate their theories. At first glance this seems to be not only logical but should lead to hard answers, but does it? Do these equations actually describe reality or do they describe a reality that only exists in the equations? First you must agree that science has indeed been able to determine the weight of every object in the universe and the total amount of energy existing in that universe. Of course the assumption here is that the speed of light is a limitation and that we can see to the edges of the universe, which of course we can’t. So if the universe is expanding and accelerating objects at the edge would be invisible to an observer on Earth. Therefore, these equations must rest on assumptions that cannot be verified except through the balancing of these equations. So what’s the problem?

The problem lies in the fact that the equations require some fudging in order to balance. This means that constants (of whatever value is necessary) are required but even with these constants the scientists are left with some big problems – assuming their initial assumptions were correct. The equations indicate that only 5% of the observable universe is visible. There is not enough energy nor is there enough matter to account for what the equations need to balance. This leads to that great flaw in modern science which is to name the unknown and thus give the impression that it exists and that we know about it when in fact it only exists in the minds of these scientists and their equations. These two great unknowns have been given the names of Dark Energy (70%) and Dark Matter (25%), of course these could be called anything but the term dark was chosen because they cannot be observed. The irony here is that Dark Energy could just as easily be called the “Mind of God” and Dark Matter “the Souls of Man”. I am not saying this is the case, I am merely pointing out that the latter nomenclature is just as valid as the former because neither can be verified and the equations would work either way.

But current physics and cosmology all begin AFTER the Big Bang. The belief (it is belief and not factual) is that at some point and with no other causative factor the universe sprang from a primordial speck that contained all of the energy and matter in the universe today. Precisely where this speck was is unknown because space did not exist prior to the Big Bang. Of course there is the POSSIBILITY that God exists and that the causative factor was in fact God. But this would mean there is intelligent design to the universe and life, which is totally rejected by science even though increasingly science is faith based rather than factual.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Faith and Science

It seems that what passes for science today is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from religion although the religious community is quite open about their reliance on faith while the scientific community is in a state of denial. We are treated every day to new statistics showing the ever growing number of “smoking related deaths”. What is missing of course is any proof that any of these deaths were related to smoking, this is merely a claim based on no facts whatsoever other than some statistical analysis which is never divulged. The actual fact is that no death certificate has ever been issues showing the cause of death to be from smoking. In fact there is no empirical evidence that smoking has any relationship to cancer or any disease other than some statistical correlation, which may or may not be real. This is particularly significant since the incidence of lung cancer has not shown any decline in correlation to the decline in smoking. This is merely one example of how science has ceased to rely on empirical evidence but has shifted to a belief system.

Evolution is another example where science has shifted from facts to belief. The loudest supporter of Evolution is Richard Dawkins who has simply stated that Darwin’s “Origin of Species” is correct, that Intelligent Design is bunk and a code word for “Creationism” which is laughable. Now Evolution may indeed be correct or at least partially correct but outside of the evidence of environmental adaptation there is not proof of speciation or transitional fossils. However, periodically and now almost daily some scientist lays claim to have discovered “the missing link” or the “transitional fossil” that proves Evolution. But saying something is so doesn’t make it so and these claims of transitional fossils are all based on opinion and a belief that what is claimed is so – or in other words – faith. But the question of speciation is the real problem because there is no example of how one species becomes another. How a rat becomes a horse cannot and has not been demonstrated. Instead the scientists assure us that speciation is simply the result of a mutation – a random mutation at that. So the “belief” is that some random cosmic particle impacted one animal – say an ape – and this ape reproduced passing this mutated gene on to its descendants. Then over millions of years this ape became a humanoid who became a human, this is the belief, but there is no evidence other than it must be because there is no alternative. You can hear the Hallelujah’s

But there are even greater questions that the scientific community ignores or attempts to explain with ever greater stretches of the imagination. My particular favorite is the scientific theory that the origin of life on Earth came via some primordial life form arriving on Earth aboard a meteorite. This is viewed as the answer to the origin of life on Earth which of course doesn’t explain the origin of life at all. Another good one is that life on Earth was introduced by Space Aliens which doesn’t really explain the origin of life either although it does seem to support Intelligent Design as the origin. But the major theory is that the primordial ocean was filled with chemicals of all kinds which were constantly being bombarded (as we all are even today) by cosmic particles which caused these chemicals to react and transform into more complex compounds which ultimately resulted in an organic carbon based molecule that became (how is unexplained) self-replicating and evolved into pond scum and then into humankind. Unfortunately this miraculous process seems to have ceased once the miracle of life was achieved, but the true believers have total faith in this miracle and never see the irony between their theory and belief and those who believe in intelligent design.

However, the scientific community generally avoids any discussion or theory regarding the situation prior to the big bang. Apparently there was NOTHING, and certainly there wasn’t any space because space and time didn’t exist prior to the big bang because it was the initiating event. So there was nothing and then – in a flash – there was space, time, and all of the energy ever to exist. What initiated this event is never discussed – but it is believed this is how it happened; of course a careful reading of Genesis might shed some light on the subject. But Dawkins, the Atheists, and science cannot even address this question of the creation of the universe because it opens the door to a Supreme intelligence and with THAT comes credibility for intelligent design and THAT shakes the very foundation of their belief system – a system called “science”.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Founding Fathers

From time to time I encounter various quotes attributed to various members of the Founding Fathers of America, you know that group of self-serving hypocrites Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin. More recently as the new Messiah, Barrack Obama, has ascended to power, the number and frequency of these quotes is increasing, especially those attributed to Thomas Jefferson. So precisely what did this slave owning rich hypocrite do – what are his beliefs?

It was Jefferson who inserted into that revolutionary document that forms the very basis of our nation the statement that has stood as a stumbling block to all tyrants and would be tyrants:
“ ...all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these rights Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Americans are the only people in the world who have the RIGHT to the pursuit of happiness. Not very specific but it was meant to be imprecise because it represents the first separation of government from individual rights. As long as the individual does not break the law Jefferson intended that he should be free to pursue his own pathway to happiness. Even though Jefferson’s words laid the foundation for the elimination of slavery the fact that he owned slaves forever brands him in the eyes of the modern revisionist history professors – a hypocrite and unworthy of admiration or even study, even though he was a driving force behind the Bill of Rights. It is this Bill of Rights that buttress the Constitution, spell out and guarantee the very fundamental rights that Americans take for granted, but it is this same Bill of Rights that is under attack by those Oligarchs in Washington. Perhaps it is time to review these basic rights, which have been so interpreted and distorted by the Congress and the Supreme Court as to be virtually unrecognizable.

Article 1
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note that Congress is prohibited from making any law the curtails or restricts the free exercise of religion. It does not state that religion or God should be separate from the government if those governed desire to worship God. Congress cannot abridge the freedom of speech but it says nothing about “hate speech” or the use of profanity but the Supreme court acting unilaterally has declared profanity and pornography protected by free speech but God and racial slurs are not. Precisely who is the hypocrite today?

Article 2
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

Of course this Article is under heavy attack as the Congress and those Oligarchs seek to expand their power. It is to their benefit to disarm the people and it is this precise risk to our freedom that his Article was inserted. The argument is that only the “militia” can be armed which is interpreted as the “National Guard” but it was the Minutemen Farmers who fought and won our independence and it is the well armed citizenry that will and can maintain it. The Constitution specifically spells out this right because the Founding Fathers wanted to protect the people FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

Article 5
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This article has been quoted and employed to great effect but more recently the little phrase at the end regarding private property seems to be routinely ignored by the current administration. We see the government taking over private industry and determining unilaterally the value of the property being taken from the share holders and bond holders. The Bond Holders in particular had a contract that guaranteed them “just compensation” but the administration gave preferential treatment to the labor unions – their big supporters while giving the investors – the capitalists—pennies on the dollar-- Jefferson and Madison be damned!!

As President Jefferson reminded America that our happiness and prosperity rested on a wise and frugal government and a government that would remain free of regulating business and industry and that government “shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned”. The time has long past for Americans to return to those fundamental rights and limitations established by the Founding Fathers and increasingly ignored by Congress, the Supreme Court (and Ninth Circuit Court) and the current Administration who are by passing Congress entirely in their drive for power never intended by the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


The human mind cannot imagine nothingness. Try as we may (and most of us do) we cannot conceptualize the end of our own existence. We ask ourselves: “what would it be like to not exist?” as if to imply we would be capable of observing ourselves in the state of non-existence. The question itself represents our inability to comprehend non-existence. In the words of the author William Saroyan in his final moments of life he asked: “now what?”. Like Saroyan, we also ask this question because we cannot accept the end of learning, enjoying, thinking or life itself.

We not only ask “now What?” but also we ask “Why?” Why does life come to an end and why did we exist in the first place? But most importantly we ask “what?” What was the purpose of our existence? What benefit was there in us existing and finally what value do our lives have?

These eternal questions motivate us to search for answers. We turn to Science, Philosophy and religion in an effort find answers. Science and philosophy often fall short in providing us with answers to these questions. It is only religion that even attempts to provide us answers with responses like:
• We live to do Gods work
• We live to procreate
• We live to better mankind
• We live to progress
• We live to learn
• We live to improve ourselves
While these are profound and noble statements they are not only vague, but they imply that we are here for improvement or to make things better. Perhaps more significantly is the implication that if we are for improvement then there must have been a previous effort that fell short and the current one is imperfect and therefore requires another attempt. Of course the logical conclusion then is that we have lived before and will live again. Most religions and philosophies are rooted in the premise that our existence is less than perfect. The presumption is that man and woman alike have the ability to improve and the goal of this improvement is to bring us closer to perfection. The premise is that we are imperfect and flawed by nature to begin with and through the pursuit of perfection via the adoption of morals, laws, religion, philosophy, etc. we will fulfill our destiny, achieve perfection (although a clear understanding or model for perfection has never been agreed upon) and thereby justify our existence.

Inherent in our mental composite is the belief that there is a purpose to our lives. To live without this belief would render life devoid of hope. It is hope that leads some to believe that life does not end after death. The universal desire to understand the purpose and meaning to life must be considered in our effort to explain existence. It is not possible to examine our reality or perception of our existence without asking the primary questions of any scientific inquiry:

What is existence made of? (what)
How does it function? (how)
What is our purpose and why do we exist in the First place? (why)

The human experience (as we know it) incorporates many obvious tangibles that can be measured and agreed upon. But our existence also has two very clear boundaries, which are the primary representations of the intangibles of our existence. These boundaries are the Speed of Light and Absolute Zero. Beyond these boundaries life cannot exist, and yet we can agree that these are the boundaries of our mass oriented life experience.

However, given that these are limitations of our observable universe does not exclude an existence outside of our space/time continuum. Of course this possibility of another level of existence is automatically rejected because it cannot be observed via any scientific method. But illustrations of these higher energy levels abound in the form of clairvoyance, prescience, psychic phenomena, ghosts, reincarnation, and even near death experiences. All of these things have been observed and demonstrated throughout history but since they exist outside of our existence they cannot be proven via our science, which is limited by our mass boundaries. Simply because these high energy phenomena cannot be demonstrated and proven does not mean they don’t exist.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Evolution Rears Its Head Once Again

The Scientific Community is once again in a dither over the discovery of an almost complete fossil of an ape believed to be 47 million years old, placing it in the middle of the Eocene. What makes this fossil so exciting is that it is complete, which that in itself makes it unique but the excitement is over the fact that this ape has an opposable thumb. Now this ape was roughly the size of a small dog and was found in China and not in Africa, nevertheless we are told this is THE ancestor of humans. The basis of this conclusion is the belief that man is descended from a common ancestor of apes and this ape has that opposable thumb. Of course the operative word is “belief” because there is no empirical evidence to this belief and in fact the entire tree of life from the Pre-Cambrian pond scum to now is riddled with belief and speculation but very little evidence connecting the various members of this evolutionary tree. This tree of life shows that man is a direct lineal descendant of pond scum.

The descent of man from a common ape-like ancestor rests on the discovery of various hominid bone fragments in the Olduvai Gorge by the Leaky family who seem to have created a family business. They have constructed --based on these bone fragments -- a complete hypothetical family tree for Homo sapiens, which must now accommodate the “Link” as this new ape is called. But including this ape, which is dated at 47 million years in the human family tree established by Leakey introduces a problem because the Leakey fossils are dated at approximately 2.4 million years. The problem is that during this 44 million year span this ape must migrate to Africa from China and in the process evolve from ape to hominid. However, the distinction between apes and monkeys is relatively fuzzy but one of the major distinctions is that monkeys are smaller and have a tail. This new ancestor of man is quite small and has a very long tail. So even though the scientific community is calling this fossil an ape and precursor to man, the evolution must also accommodate the transition from monkey to ape to hominid. Of course none of these transitional fossils exist so this 44 million years of evolution are blank. While the 44 million years may be sufficient for this “evolution to occur it does stretch the imagination to accept that this (monkey) ape evolved into Homo erectus or Homo habilius with no corroborating fossils dating from that transitional period.

Of course this opens the door to the additional question of “speciation” So when did the first ape branch off from other apes and precisely when did those apes fragment into the species called Hominids. In fact what proof can be provided that these Hominids are of the Human Species? In order to be of the same species the possibility of inter-breeding must be present and there is no empirical evidence that this happened or was even possible.

So we are left with a fossil called an ape, which looks suspiciously like a monkey which has been labeled a precursor to humans solely on the basis of its opposable thumb. The next available fossil is of an ape-like creature called a hominid on the basis that it appeared to walk upright. The actual timeline is unclear but the first step in human evolution appears to have been between 4 and 6 million years ago but the first actual human is dated to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, leaving a very large gap with many gaps and few fossils. Somehow the entire story of evolution appears to be speculative and not really supported by any hard evidence but relies on belief.