Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sarah Palin, Hate Crimes and Halloween

I have written in the past about how I disagree about the concept of "hate crimes". I have written that crimes should be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the nature of the crime itself. Punishment should not be more sever if the motivation for the crime is deemed to be bigotry. Crimes of vandalism, violence and those that incite violence, are serious crimes, and should be prosecuted and punished zealously, regardless of the motive. I believe that it is wrong to dole out additional punishment in order to appease certain minorities groups and be more lenient to other criminals due to political correctness.

A good example of why hate crimes are intrinsically unfair, is an incident that is occurring in Los Angeles this week. A "waste of human flesh" (I hope that I did not commit a hate crime with that description),decided to decorate his house for Halloween. This decoration included a mannequin, that was made to resemble Sarah Palin, hanging in effigy from the top of his house. Of course when this "waste of human flesh" was interviewed, he said that his display was merely his expression of art.
video

This display is not considered a hate crime, despite the recent outcry that displaying a noose, is an expression of hate against African Americans. These claims of noose related hate crimes were stirred up by the controversy and misinformation circulated about the Jena six, and subsequent nooses that turned up around the country, many of which later proved to be hoaxes. These random nooses, were all investigated as hate crimes.

Surprisingly,many commentators have agreed that if Barack Obama was hung in effigy, that would be considered a "hate crime", because Obama is black. Current law classifies hate crimes as crimes that are specifically targeted against people because of their race, religion or national origin. Women are not protected under hate crime laws.

Interestingly, the man who decorated his house for Halloween, with a dead replica of Sarah Palin, swinging from a noose, appears to be a homosexual, a minority that is not currently protected under hate crime laws. However, if proposition 8 fails in California on election day, homosexuals could become a protected minority under hate crime laws. Homosexual activists feel that churches, that preach that homosexual behavior is sinful, would like to see these churches and their ministers prosecuted under hate crime laws. The US senate is considering a bill that would expand hate-crime legislation to include homosexuals. Legislation is being proposed in England, allowing parishioners to sue ministers for preaching that homosexual behavior is a sin.

What will come next? Will preachers be charged with hate crimes for preaching that premarital sex is sinful? Will preachers be sued for preaching that adultery is sinful? Will Christianity be banned due to its "hateful" beliefs? This is absurd, because Christianity promotes love and fellowship between all men an women. Christianity preaches love, compassion, forgiveness, self improvement and helping your fellow man. Christianity acknowledges that all men are sinners, and offers us a path to eternal salvation. Christianity does not stand for hate in any way, shape or form.

I believe that laws already exist on the books that outlaw public displays that are abhorrent, repulsive, detestable, obscene. It is obvious to anyone with common sense, that this display of Sarah Palin hanging from a noose, violates these laws. Calling this "art" for a Halloween display, is convoluted logic and defies reason. It is obviously a political statement that crosses the line, because this display is abhorrent, repulsive, detestable and obscene.

As well as being a vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin is also someone's daughter, wife and mother. How would you like to see your loved-one hanging in effigy, as part of someone's twiated idea of a Halloween display? Would this so-called "artist" stand for a likeness of his lover hanging from the roof of a neighbors house, who merely claims that he has the right to express himself with that kind of a Halloween art display? I think not. Allegations of gay-bashing and hate crimes would likely ensue. Hate crime laws are unfair. They are not necessary, if we merely enforce the laws that already exist, dispassionately and reasonably.

To go down a path that prosecutes crimes to appease vocal minorities, while ignoring others, is dangerous, unfair and un-American. We should be judged on our behavior, rationally and reasonably, not emotionally. Justice should be dispensed dispassionately and without prejudice, according to the "actions" of the perpetrator and not the emotions that his crime stirs up.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

John McCain and the Mainstream Media, Shill for Obama

The following is a great article, from greensboro.rhinotimes.com , about the root cause of the meltdown in the mortgage market and the deliberate misreporting of the truth by the mainstream media. The facts in this article are exactly in line with what I have been hearing on most all conservative talk radio programs that I listen to. These facts and names are blatantly missing from most mainstream media reports, and also, surprisingly missing from John McCain's talking points that I have heard in his stump speeches and debates with Obama.. Only once did I hear McCain implicate Congressman Barney Frank [D] (Chairmen house banking committee) and Senator Chris Dodd [D] ( chairman, Senate committee on banking) , in this financial meltdown. This was in response to an irate supporter at a McCain rally, who demanded that McCain tell the truth about the root cause of the meltdown in the mortgage market and demanded that McCain name names. McCain also conspicuously omits speaking about his own role in pushing for legislation to reign in the out of control GSEs (Government Supported Enterprises), of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two years ago. It seems to me that McCain actually wants Obama to win the election. It is clear to me that the mainstream media, and even John McCain himself, are influencing this election in favor of the Democrats.

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?
by Orson Scott Card
October 20, 2008

An open letter to the local daily paper -- almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor -- which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house -- along with their credit rating.................

Click here for the link to the entire article by Orson Scott Card.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber

I had written the following article just prior to tonight's third and final presidential debate. The name of an Ohio plumber was mentioned 20 times between the two candidates. I was very disappointed as the debate progressed, to find that neither candidate was able to truly understand the perspective of plumber Joe and the strengths of capitalism Vs. socialism.

Last week, at a recent Obama campaign event, an unscripted question was asked by an ambitious hardworking plumber named Joe Wurzelbacher. This ambitious plumber says he works 10 to 12 hours per day and lives in a modest 90 to 140 thousand dollar home. He asked Obama: "I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year, Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"

Obama's surprising response was: "It's not that I want to punish your success, I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too ... When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Click on the video below to hear the entire exchange between Obama and "Plumber Joe"
video

Obama's response is wrong on many levels. What is worse is that Obama does not understand what motivates this plumber to work so long and hard, sacrifice for so many years and risk everything he has for a chance at success.

This plumber has clearly sacrificed for years, in terms of his time, effort, lifestyle and the saving of his money to purchase the company that he now works for. His motivation is clearly that if he works hard, long and honestly, and sacrifices fancy cars, clothing, houses, fancy meals and expensive vacations, he has a chance to become wealthy. Of course the chances are just as good, that after all of his sacrifices and hard work, he loses it all, and must start over from square one. This is what is meant by "risk Vs. reward". This is the fundamental principle of capitalism. Our capitalist system often rewards those who are motivated to offer their customers better service and value than their competition, and accommodate their customers by finishing jobs on time, even if it means working evenings and weekends and charging less than their competion. Democratic capitalism is capable of motivating people to do “the extraordinary”, while providing jobs, innovation and wealth for their community and their country. American capitalism has led to innovations that have truly raised the standard of living worldwide. Risk Vs. reward is at the core of American capitalism.

Innovation, honesty, hard work and excellence in service are used by a motivated individuals, in order to surpass their competition. Obama clearly showed his ignorance about American capitalism as well as human motivation when he said: "It's not that I want to punish your success," I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success, too ... When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

The last thing that this plumber wants is for his competition to have an advantage that he never had nor needed. He got where he is today by working harder, smarter, longer and better than those behind him. He wants them to continue to be behind him, that's how he gets ahead. Staying ahead is what motivates him to get up earlier than his competition, work longer than his competition, and offer a better value than his competition.

If the guy behind “Joe the plumber” wants a chance at success, all he has to do is to wake up earlier than Joe, work harder than Joe, be more innovative than Joe, hire better employees than Joe and offer his customers a better value than Joe. Joe knows this, and that is what motivates him to “walk the extra mile”. Millions of people like Joe, who walk the extra mile, is what has brought America the prosperity that we now enjoy. Obama is asking people like Joe to share the wealth, without asking others to share the risk, sacrifice, talent and priorities. Taxing a man's sacrifices, hopes, dreams and ambitions and giving the money to those who are less ambitious and averse to risk, is tantamount to larceny. It can also crush one's spirit.

When you “spread the wealth around”, you de-motivate people like this plumber to do extraordinary work, come up with extraordinary innovations, and demand excellence from employees in exchange for better wages.

By taking from the successful people and giving to people who “haven't made it”, you are rewarding mediocrity and punishing excellence. It is extremely clear to me that there can only be one end result. That result is more mediocrity and less excellence. This is exactly what you will get with socialism.

Democratic capitalism leads to innovation, high wages, efficiency, motivated workers, high rates of employment, good wages, excellent products, opportunity and greater wealth for all classes of society.

Socialism promises equality, which has never been attained. But more importantly, socialism guarantees mediocrity in goods, services, pay rates, employment opportunities and individual motivation. Most importantly, when you take from the rich and give to the poor, you end up with less rich people and more poor people.

Democratic capitalism provides greater wealth for all classes of society. People all have the opportunity to find their own way to the top if they choose to make sacrifices by spending their own money, time, effort and their natural God-given talents to improve their own lot in life. Most people do not choose this “tough row to hoe”, but those who do, have a chance at success. This is the very definition of freedom. The best, brightest, most innovative and hardest working people will rise to the top. Any system that leads these type of people to the top, will lift up everyone in the system. They have provided wealth for all of the people who work for them and the companies who they purchase goods from in the course of business. When a plumbing company succeeds, it also helps the company that manufactures and sells pipes, toilets, water heaters, etc. When a plumbing company succeeds, it also helps all of the people who enjoy the goods, services and innovations that it provides. Not that long ago, plumbers invented and made available, toilets, water heaters and indoor plumbing.

Each and every advancement was made by people like Joe, who were striving to get ahead by staying ahead of their competition. Obama says that Joe should want to help the people behind him. In fact, people like Joe, spend every waking moment trying to stay ahead of the people behind him, not trying to help them. Obama does not understand capitalism, business nor human motivation.

It is paramount that we educate all Americans to these truths. Unfortunately, many schools and universities are teaching our children that capitalism is corrupt and unfair but government regulation and social engineering programs, including “spreading the wealth”, is fair and helps the little guy. In this sense, our educational system is harmful to our economic well being and the future of our nation. Politicians use this theme to win elections because there are more little guys and less wealthy people. There have always been more common people than wealthy people. This is the way it is, and the way that history shows it has always been. Outcomes will never be equal because human motivation, passion, competency, priorities and desires vary among all of us. History has shown that human passions and motivation can only be stifled by government. Our individual abilities, passions and desires are given to us by God and are boundless when left unfettered by government regulation and taxes. Democratic capitalism, restrained and tempered by religious morals as exemplified in the Judeo-Christian ethic, is what has led to America becoming the freest, most prosperous and most powerful nation that this world has ever seen. America's wealth, innovation and compassion has improved the lot of people worldwide. Obama's socialist ideas of “ spreading the wealth around”, actually insures that there will be less wealth for everyone and will create regulations that breed corruption, waste and inefficiency. Our individual and collective prosperity can only increase, if government stands clear of plumber Joe's noble passions. Government may be able to redistribute existing wealth, but only motivated people like plumber Joe can create it.

Click on the video below to hear Neil Cavuto interview "Plumber Joe"
video

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Character and Adversity

During the great depression of the 1930's, the crime rate was relatively low despite 30% unemployment and widespread poverty. The reason for the low crime rate was that people, for the most part, believed in a power greater than themselves and practiced spiritual principles. I have heard many stories from the great depression era where a child would steal food, and bring it home to share with his hungry family. In most cases, the child was admonished by his parents and instructed to return the food to it's rightful owner and admit to, and apologize for his shameful thievery, while his family went hungry that night. The child was punished so that he might learn the lesson that "one's character" is his most valuable asset in the eyes of God and his fellow human beings. This generation of Americans grew up to be called "the greatest generation" and went on to make sacrifices on the battlefield and back home, during the second world war. Their sacrifice led to peace and prosperity for the next generation, the "baby-boomers".

On the other hand, today's generation, for the most part, does not know the meaning of true sacrifice, self-discipline, restraint, patience, "God" and "reward in heaven". Their whole life has been spent during a period of peace and prosperity. Even today's so-called poor, have all of life's necessities and many luxuries, provided for them. We live in a time material prosperity combined with spiritual bankruptcy.

Should our economy slip into a depression on the scale of the great depression of the thirties, I predict that widespread looting, lawlessness and anarchy will result from a generation that was never taught that are things more important than beauty, intellect, physical talent, popularity, personal success, happiness and self-esteem. We will be selfishly fighting over food, fuel and the scraps of a once great society.

How will you react if a deep depression strikes our country? True character always comes to light during times of adversity. I hope that Americans will rise to the occasion, if adversity strikes. However, without enduring spiritual principles to guide us, we will likely turn into collection of angry mobs who are just out for ourselves, our kin and our kind, during a lasting period of hardship where food is scarce.

However, adversity might be the thing that is needed to temper our collective souls and bring us back to the principles that made our nation and our people great during past periods of nation-wide hardship.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Spiritual Root Cause of America's Economic Woes

I believe that all problems can be boiled down to a simple root cause. To effectively fix a problem, one must find and fix the root cause or else the problem will reoccur. Not only is this common sense, I also learned this principle in Ford technician training school. It was drummed into my head during every class that I took.

I was taught that every problem had a root cause that must be corrected or the problem will reoccur. For example: if I diagnosed that an electronic module was malfunctioning, what was the root cause of the malfunction? Was there condensation from the A/C system dripping water on the circuits? If I would replace the module, without fixing the root cause(the water leak), the problem would reoccur. If I diagnosed a defective fuel pump, what was the root cause of the failure? Was the fuel filter plugged causing excessive back pressure that overloaded the pump? If I replaced the fuel pump, without fixing the root cause (replacing the filter), the problem would reoccur. If a fan belt was prematurely worn out, what was the root cause? Was a bearing in an idler pulley defective causing excessive wear on the belt? If I would slap a new belt on, without fixing the idler pulley, the problem would reoccur. One time, a van was towed in, with a drive shaft that was severed in half. I found the root cause to be a plastic drainage hose, from a piece of equipment permanently installed in the back of the van, was routed through a hole in the floorboard and was rubbing against the top of the drive shaft. If I didn't fix the root cause (re-routing the drainage hose) the problem would reoccur. A simple root cause can often lead to severe damage if not fixed.

I can boil the root cause of our current financial turmoil down to one sentence. The bible says: in times of plenty, we must prepare for famine. You may call this idea overly simplistic, however, I believe it to be the root cause that will ultimately impoverish America, if not heeded, on a grand scale. The rest of this article spells out why I believe that we all have lived during "times of plenty" and now we must prepare for "times of famine". If we do not address this simple, root cause, the results could be devastating.

My whole life has been lived in a time and place that has arguably been the most prosperous and "safe from danger", that this world has ever seen. Proof of this lies in the fact that the world has never before been able to support such a huge population. There are 6.7 billion human inhabitants on planet Earth and the population is still growing. Even the poorest citizens of our country have more food available to them that they could possibly eat. Modern day homelessness is mostly voluntary. Homeless people have chosen to live in a way that is incompatible with society. Most homeless people are drug addicts, alcoholics or mentally ill with antisocial behavior. No one dare take them in, lest they risk harm to themselves, their family and their property. I know this from personal experience. Not as a sympathetic do-gooder volunteering in a soup kitchen, not as a college student doing research for a thesis paper, but from my personal experience living as a homeless person myself, as a consequence of my long time drug addiction.

People who claim that they are a paycheck away from homelessness, in this "time of plenty" are blatantly lying. These people would surely be taken in or helped by family, friends, The Church, or government if they do not practice anti-social or illegal behavior. If you were to become homeless and penniless today; Would you be sleeping on a park bench, or would you find a friend or family member to house and feed you, and help you get back on your feet? In today's America, homelessness is a mental and spiritual problem, not an economic problem.

The US currently has, arguably, the most prosperous homeless class, and poor class that the world has ever seen. Poor people in today's America have more food, property, living space and leisure time than average people in times-gone-by. The simple root cause of poverty, illiteracy, crime and homelessness, in this prosperous land of limitless opportunity called America, is of a spiritual nature, not of an economic nature. However, liberals often call for equal outcomes, rather than equal opportunity. This corrupts man's spirit by encouraging victim-hood rather than courage, self-discipline, restraint, honor, humility, faith, perseverance and patience (all spiritual principles). I constantly hear politicians, activists, educators and the media obfuscate these simple and obvious truths with complicated and nuanced messages that are convoluted, inconsistent, and contrary to reason, common sense and my personal experience. During this presidential campaign, which I have been following for almost 2 years now, I have not heard one candidate suggest that the root cause of many of our nations problems, is of a spiritual nature, which requires a spiritual solution, not a political one.

Universal spiritual principles are constant and unchanging through-out the ages. They are just as valid today, as they were during biblical times. The same spiritual principles that this nation was founded on, and led us to become the greatest nation on earth, are still valid today. You need not believe in universal spiritual principles, for them to have influence over you. Just as you need not believe in the law of gravity, for it to have influence over you.

We currently live in the most prosperous time and place that this world has ever seen. There is no excuse for our government and citizens not to save for a rainy day. To the contrary, our government is spending more than it takes in. Government borrows huge sums of money to make up the shortfall. Citizens are also spending more than they earn. For the first time in US history, personal debt has exceeded personal savings. We are collectively living in a time of plenty and spending beyond our substantial means.

Just like with the housing market, our government and citizens are highly laden with debt. The national debt is over 11 trillion dollars, plus an additional 55 trillion dollars in the unfunded obligations of Social Security and Medicare. A moderate downturn in the economy is liable to render the federal government insolvent. Yet most of the politicians are calling for more spending, more borrowing and punitive taxes on business and investment.

The insane solution that the government has recently implemented was a 160 billion dollar economic stimulus package, which gave 600 dollars to most adults, and encouraged them to spend it, in order to stimulate the economy. Also, over a trillion dollars was appropriated to bail out the troubled financial markets. Since the country is operating at a deficit, all of this money must be borrowed. The root cause of today's economic turmoil was people and financial institutions borrowing and spending beyond their means. The insane solution that the government is implementing, is to borrow and spend beyond it's means, and to encourage the people to do the same, in order to stimulate the economy.

Today, 70% of America's Gross National Product, is represented in the service industries. A service industry that includes hotels, casinos, restaurants, nail salons, party planners, dog walkers, night clubs, auto detailers, interior decorators, yoga lessons and karate lessons, will not see us through hard times. The U.S. needs to produce wealth if its citizens are to continue to enjoy wealth. Wealth is not a number on a balance sheet. Wealth requires people producing physical things such as : factories, food, clothing, automobiles, electronic products, machinery, machine parts, fuel, lumber, minerals, appliances, buildings, building materials, houses, aircraft, ships, trains, pipes, plumbing parts, wires, steel, aluminum, plastics, fabrics, roads, bridges, tunnels, damns, power plants, refineries, steel mills, lighting, and weapons for time of war.

The US economy is living off the wealth of a previous era by liquidating entire industries, and allowing infrastructure to fall into disrepair. We are also borrowing from the future with huge budget deficits, in order to finance today. It is clear to me that this can not go on indefinitely. This is the exact opposite direction we need to go in as a country. We need to live within our means as a nation and as individuals. We need to encourage, manufacturing, exploiting our natural resources, and producing food and energy, not more casinos and nail salons. Saving should be encouraged, not borrowing to buy extravagant things beyond our means. Personal debts as well as the national debt must be payed off.

There are tens of millions of people who manage their finances properly. They carry the economic burden of this nation on their back. The top ten percent of all wage earners pay over 70% of federal income taxes. Soon their backs will no longer be able to carry the load. If our government and citizens do not manage their finances, we will undoubtedly devolve into a corrupt and impoverished third world nation with a huge peasant class. Step back and look at the big picture, I see no other outcome.

The bible says: in times of plenty, we must prepare for famine. Simple? Yes. Can this simple root cause, lead to economic devastation? Certainly