Thursday, April 28, 2011

Change We Can Believe In

Lately, I have been assaulted by a number of self proclaimed prognosticators who have told the world that the world is soon coming to an end unless we go to our nearest tree and hug it and apologize for all the nasty things we have done to it's environment. Failure to hug said tree will result in the catastrophic failure of our planet to sustain life (complete with Hollywood effects).

Now of course, the opposition to those who are not ready to embrace every far fetched environmental law that comes to us through scientific wannabees like Al Gore are characterized as selfish capitalists who wallow in their industrial waste. Truth be told, I don't think even the most hardened of CEOs gets up every morning and sees garbage or smells the latest chemicals wafting though the morning air calls his wife to come and smell the beautiful toxins in the air. Truth be told, I love the dream of a pollution free world but I don't believe we can get there. Most real solutions to problems are ones that accept certain lesser evils and realize that no all things happen over night because we want them to.

One of the most unfortunate truths of the modern world that many social engineers rite large (ex. Barack Obama) is that people have to live. We have to eat, have a roof over our heads and have clothing on our backs and yes, perhaps even some of the niceties of life. The second corollary and unfortunate truth is that to insure all of us human carbon footprints have a life is that we have to use energy. Last time I checked, farm machinery goes not run on the hot air coming from Al Gores rhetoric, however self congratulatory.

We also forget what he have. You know those things call light bulbs (or if you have them the toxic florescent equivalents). Well, they require energy and yes, even an electric car provided by Obama motors requires energy and yes, that nasty black stuff we call oil (all greenies turn away and sigh).

Truth be told, I support green initiatives as long as they work. Here is what I mean by work. I have a simple test case. Let's just consider for a moment running all of New York City on wind or solar or even a small city like Buffalo (why Buffalo - it's the first city that came to mind). Is it possible? I don't know but I don't hear about any such projects. What I fear is that companies are going to be kept going that build products that can't even come close to powering even a smaller city.

I also like the idea of electric cars, I really do. But I can't use one. I have to drive distances that would preclude me from using one. Some talk about recharging electric cars quickly but unless all our gas stations (or at least some) are ready to do this and we have the technology (which we don't have) electric cars are not realistic for many.

Hybrids I like a lot better but they are not cost efficient for many including myself, yes I have done the math, and most poor families can't afford them and most greenies like the poor don't you? I would love to see all these green organizations give poor people vouchers so they can buy electric cars or hybrids. That would be putting ones money where their mouth is but of course that is not going to happen is it?

No, what is going to happen is that billions of taxpayer dollars are going to be pumped into companies filled with people who dream big but don't have real solutions. Are real solutions out there? I think so, in time, but let's be realistic. Even those nasty oil companies have some of those solutions and people with real technical skill who can find them (a lesser evil).

Already the United States is seeing a dramatic increase in fuel costs and food costs which if it gets bad enough will result in rioting. All this because greenies don't want drilling and more and more they want the restrictions to increase and not decrease. What this does is decrease supply and drive up prices (I get that from the nasty inconvenient truth called economics). Demand is relativily inelastic. People will cut back on driving to grandmas or the favorite hotel casino but probably still have to drive to work. Most states also don't have major transporation systems to handle all those people who can't afford to fill up their tanks.

To all greenies. Why don't you go out to the country and build yourself a community build entirely on alternaltive fuels. Best of luck and believe me, if you succeed I will join you. I would love to see you succeed but my instincts tell me that its going to take a while to live free of fossil fuel and in the meantime, those inconvenient truths called poor people need to eat (nasty carbon footprints that they are).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Lies Beneath

I think as Americans, and perhaps as part of some universal human condition, we tend to see the world through a limited lens which can prevent us from seeing sometimes what is really happening in another corner of the world.

Many in America are not rejoicing in Egypt's new found freedom and many also rejoice that it has been the Internet that has taken a role in this. Many feel that they are part of this revolution and that only good things can come of it.

I have to admit that I am far less optimistic. Having been not to Egypt but to Israel and to many other parts of the world, I find that not everyone thinks as we do and that they are part of cultures and religions that are far more ancient that all the means of social networking that are available.

Egypt may well get some form of democracy n the future but is that what they are looking for? The vast majority of Egyptians are Muslim and while they may claim that they do not want Shariah law and an Islamic state I think that some of those comments are filtered through the lens of the American media.

A large amount of oil flows through the Suez canal controlled by Egypt. Egypt also has been a peaceful neighbor of Israel in the Middle East which has been a stabilizing influence.

I can almost see the sneers of those who will say, aha, so it's all about oil. Well, yes, in a way. The worlds economy is driven by energy like it or not. If the oil supply of the Middle East is threatened 3 dollar a gallon gas will seem like pennies on the dollar. The US economy will largely go towards paying for gas for our cars and oil to heat our houses and I suspect, air conditioning will become a thing of the past because families will be struggling to pay for energy bills.

The US economy as a result will be thrown into a deep deep depression as will the world.

And if Egypt does become an Islamic state terrorism will also increase and the Islamic jihadists will see it as an opportunity to find ways to bring about at least limited Islamic rule in the US perhaps starting with small communities which is what has been seen in Europe.

In Egypt, if its under Islamic rule, Christianity will be banned and many Coptic Christians will have to flee.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Talking Points

I want to be up front about a series of tweets I sent to a, well, how should I put this, this, less than informed young Obama supporter Mr. Gibson. I have found that over the years, having some educational background in philosophy has been very helpful because it helps me to see where ideas come from. I have watched with almost disbelief lately at how political discussions have been either mud slinging sessions or "talking points" slinging sessions. Politics has is no longer about reasoned discussion about the validity of ideas and their effectiveness in government and the private sectors but rather an angry exchange of the same old talking points expressed again and again.

The truth is that many of the ideas we find in the political arena or elsewhere, have come from philosophical systems. If this nation is to have true political debate then we must find out where these ideas come from and what assumptions they are based on.

Barack Obama did not grow up learning how to be resourceful in a business environment. He grew up in a very strongly politically charged world and the world of ideas devoid of a sense of history, of where those ideas came from. Many of these ideas he learned in the university. Allan Bloom wrote a very popular book titled "The Closing of the American Mind". If a person truly wants to understand the philosophical roots of many of the political ideologies that are so much part of the "talking points" that are bantered about almost like weapons today, then reading this book is a good place to start.

I also posted in my series of tweets a biography of a Mr. Peter Singer. You can see in Singer's ideas much of what is driving Obama's positions on the current health care debate. I am not saying that Obama's positions are coming necessarily from Singer, but many of the poltical ideas that are to be found in the university are driven by a strong "ultilitarian" perspective.

The roots of Singers philosophy go back much further to the enlightenment which Bloom also talks about. I would take this a step furtther and state the they are rooted in the dualism and idealism of Descartes or even the philosophical nominalism that came before him. Such philosophies in many ways attempt to remove the existence of a creator and any sense of ethical absolutes. They also deny any sense of absolute truth but rather express that all things are relative. This moral relativism can be traced all the way from a period 500 years ago to our current times and the "talking points' that are now bantered about.

So when I get accused of being a spokesperson for conservative talking points I have to laugh. No Mr. Gibson (yes you), my believe system is rooted in much deeper things.

The truth is that our founding fathers (and no, this has nothing to do with Glen Beck) understood and discussed philosophy. When they founded our nation they understood the influence and importance of having a firm philosophical foundation for our nations constitution. In our current times, this is lost. People are lost in a world of ideas and buzz worlds that have lost any firm philosophical basis even though they are rooted in it. The problem is that those who use them really don't understand the basis for what they are saying. There ideas, being based only in their mind, become a kind of prison because they don't believe there is any firm foundation to root them in other than their feelings. Politics then is based more on the cult of personality and in the US, the Messianic figure of Barack Obama who is certainly no Messiah. We also listen more to entertainers like Oprah Winfrey than to those to have studied the great philosophies of the world and understand their basis.

Those like Mr. Gibson have been sold a product that like any other product that the television sells based on nothing more than an appeal to the senses. The promise of a world in which pain is minimized and pleasure is maximized. That is classic Peter Singer but of course, My Gibson would rather spend his time attacking people rather than really learning what he is being sold. If you eat a lot of sugar Mr. Gibson, you get diabetes and in time, if that is not taken care of then your organs die. That is what is happening to our nation. Those foundations most importantly the constitution, care dying under the corruptive influence of relativistic poltiical ideologies.

Believe it or not, people like me are not part of some Republican conspiracy. To be honest, I don't like either party. Tea party is also a term invented by the left. I don't even vow any ties to the tea parties but I do think that the people who go to these rallies are just ordinary Americans who grew up in a country that they loved and want that country and its values to remain. I to love this country and it deeply pains me that people have been sold a product that will in the end destroy this country. Call me whatever you want but at least I know the basis for my beliefs and you Mr. Gibson, can go on believing the lie but don't be surprised when the bill collector comes to your door and there will be no one to save you, because the nation that gave you freedom and liberty has been "fundamentally transformed".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On Hypocrisy

Lately, I have noticed an incredible degree of hypocrisy from those trying to defend the building of a mosque near ground zero. I realize that this post, and others like it, are met with the accusation that I, and others like me making similar arguments, am far right bigots. Call me what you want. That is just a label and means nothing without the facts to back it up. Here are a few.

First, I accept the right of any religion to build a house of worship on private property. As far as I can see no one is arguing that mosques should not be built in NYC. In fact, there are many of them. I am looking at a map of Manhattan that shows 8 of them right now

Obama ran his campaign based on the phrase "yes we can". The problem with this phrase, and I would argue that in many ways it is the problem with his whole political philosophy is just because we can do something does not mean we should.

The Imam for this mosque, or at least those defending his decision to built on that property, have said that he is trying to promote understanding. Well, if that is what he is trying to do, building near ground zero is not a good way to start. In many ways, I see it much like the yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Are ones first amendment rights absolute? Does this imam not see that the building of this mosque might incite tension more than peace between the Islamic community and the rest of Manhattan?

I very much believe that for all faiths to be respectful of one another, it is necessary to be open. The last thing that this Imam has been is open about his positions. Two concerns that have been raised about the mosque is why it had to be built at this location and also, who is going to fund it. When asked about funding from countries like Iran, the Imam refused to answer. Clearly this does not create the kind of open, respectful environment that is necessary for peace between this potential mosque and it's neighbors.

I also love some of the invective that has been used against those who oppose this mosque. Here is one of the latest:

The argument is because Timothy McVeigh was raised Catholic that no Catholic Churches should be built in the area. This argument is faulty to the point of absurdity. I don't want to give this much credence since it's not even worthy of a response but I will provide one. The Imam is not someone who grew up a Muslim, rather, he represents what would be a very large Islamic community in lower Manhattan, a community that has been secretive and unwilling to come to the table about alternative locations.

What really amazes me is that the Greek Orthodox Church has been trying to rebuild
St. Nicholas Church, destroyed on 9/11 and yet, the city has put up many roadblocks and seemingly is resisting it's construction. Odd that the mayor of NYC has bend over backwards for Islam to the point of making a statement on national TV as has the president of the United States but the Greek Orthodox Church that only wants to build a small church is being denied. Here is an article:

The latest bit of political irony in the extreme is Nancy Pelosi who now vows to investigate the finances of those who oppose the building of this mosque. I guess I better have my bank statements and tax returns ready for her when the government comes knocking on my door for this blog. The irony is, that funds for this mosque may very well come from Iran or Saudi Arabia or at least, the Imam has made to assurances that they will not. He has called for Sharia law in the United States (or at least laws that are more compatible with it). So there is some cause for concern that there may be some very questionable things about moderate he really is.

My point here is simple. Many of the arguments made in favor of this mosque are mere attacks against those who oppose it and none of the concerns that I hope I have expressed here in a rational, reasoned way, have really been addressed. When Nancy Pelosi assures me, in a transparent and honest way, that the funding of this mosque is not going to come from Iran or Saudi Arabia and that there is a reason why it has to be built on this location, then I will support the building of this mosque as well. Until that happens, I guess I am going to have to be investigated.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Flip Side of the Coin

I read a quote this morning about how even Google and Apple are evil and how Microsoft is an underdog. I have been rather surprised lately by the demonization of companies. The funny thing about companies is that there is a mechanism in capitalism that insures that if a company stops making what the people want, they will not survive.

The government is not like this. Sure, in the United States we elect people to our government but not until they have been vetted by a political system which involves funding for campaigns and that involves making decisions that help a minority of people such as corporations and special interests. The Obama administration is epitome of this. Unlike for example, the Carter administration who realized that the American people did not want government run health care, the Obama administration simply, and arrogantly, ignored the American people who have been publicly berated like little children told that they don't know what is best for them. I beg to differ.

Perhaps some of the anger that people feel about companies that make the things that they want like IPads and IPhones, is that they are not part of the decision making process. The funny thing is that in a way they are. Whenever I go to a store and buy something, I vote for that product. The capitalist system is, while slow to react at times, the most democratic system of all.

For those products that we all need, there is not that much differentiation. A rich person probably is not going to have that many more I phones than a person with less money. So their vote for that product is about the same. Now a poor person or even a middle class person can't buy a Lear jet or a yacht so his/her vote for these products, is no vote. But this makes sense. Those people who can afford to buy certain things, get the votes because they are the ones that use them.

Why should we not all have the same amount of money and spread the wealth as Obama puts it? Truth is that it's human nature to become lazy without some impetus to be successful in life. In a capitalist economy, the individual is motivated to help other people. To make things and do things that others want. You don't have to legislate this, it happens naturally.

Now the government wants to step in and say, you, evil and bad company, I don't like you and then proceed to take control. GM is a classic example. What happens here is that money has to keep being pumped into the company on a regular basis because it can't run at a proit. What happens is that there is no motivation any more to make products that the people want. Rather, the motivation is to make products that the government wants like golf carts (sorry, I meant electric cars). By the way, oil has to be burned to make the electricity to charge those cars right? Just saying. Must be some kind of Obamanomics that lowers the carbon $s here. Never did understand the economics of green.

So, are Apple and Google evil? I don't know but I tell you this. If they don't make what people want they will not be in business long. Perhaps that is not as idealistic as wanting to save the planet from the evil companies but in the end, I think it works a lot better for our nation. But perhaps, I just don't understand and like a child, I need to be educated by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, govern nanni. Of course that would give me nightmares. How about you?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Does Glen Beck Attack People?

I have been receiving tweets lately commenting on how Glen Beck has attack and even destroyed people. I try to be an objective person so if someone is saying this I would like to hear why. It seems to me that Glen Beck does a few things. First, he uses a lot of video or quotes from people on the Obama administration. These are people's own words not Glen's interpretation of them, although he does obviously comment on what was said but many of these clips are very revealing about the ideologies of many on the Obama Administration.

Glen also makes connections. He sees how different people are related. That's where all the conspiracy stuff comes in. Is there a conspiracy? I think there are people who have certain ideas who talk a lot to one another and who have a lot of power and political clout. Is that a conspiracy? Call it what you will. But when a group of people who are in power want to drive the united states in a very different direction then I think it's something to be concerned about.

Beck points out the debt a lot. Is that a problem? National debt, especially when it approaches GDP is a really really serious problem. All one has to consider in recent times is Greece. Why would a president want to drive the US into hyperinflation. Why in a time when there is high unemployment does he want to raise taxes. Why in a time when Americans have less and less resources does he want to burden even poor homes with higher energy costs? These questions make any reasonable person wonder what is going on? Do I think there is a conspiracy here? Id don't know? Let the reader tell me? Does Obama honestly think all these polices are going to end well or is there something else going on here?

Beck also talks a lot about the founding fathers. What is wrong with that! He even talked about African Americans who should be in the history books but are not who made a very positive contribution to our nation.

What I don't see is a man who is seeking to destroy. I think he wants to uncover. Isn't transparency a good thing? I can tell you as an American that I feel afraid for our country right now and not just because of the recession. I feel there is something going on that is being concealed from the American people. Believe me, I am not a conspiracy theorist and I don't say this because of Glen Beck.

My suspicion is that Barack Obama really has no great love for the United States. Now that is not Beck. "The Post American Presidency" is one book on this. There are many others. There is a line of thought in academia that people must think more globally and the United States has exploited many people over its history. I believe that Obama sees himself on the forefront of a global revolution. He wants the US to fit into a global picture even if that hurts our nation. The size of many of his bills disturbs me and the congressmen and senators who keep saying "don't worry about it" or "You will like it when you see it" bother me. They sound to much like used car salesmen trying to sell a lemon. Or perhaps, I just don't trust the esteemed speaker of the house enough.

So is Glenn Beck destroying anyone. I think he is shining a light in the darkness and you know when that happens the roaches scatter. Sorry, I guess I broke my own rule of not using "ad hominum" but I just could not resist that one.

What Do I Fear

I wanted to post this blog to address a few issues brought up by someone on a chat room that runs alongside a political commentators radio show.

First, I want to address Obama' czars. I am well aware that other presidents have had people that they have appointed outside the cabinet incl. Reagen. However, what bothers me is the number of Obama's czars compared to previous administations which far outweighs any other president. This appears to be a way to review congressional review which combined with the background of some of the czars leads one to have some anxiety about the goals of the administration. It is also clear that many of these czars have radical ideologies. I don't say this because I watch Glen Beck. I understand this because I know the line of thinking that they get their ideas from. I do read G. K. Chesterton and I highly reccomend anyone reading this blog to do the same. He addressed progressivism far better than Beck.

Second, I want to address the difference between socialism and communism. In many ways, I think those are old terms that no longer apply to current economic realities. It would be a very long blog post if I explained my love/hate relationship with capitalism but believe me, I don't think everything that is capitalist is good. However, I think if it comes down to a choice between large government bureaucracies and capitalism, as flawed as it has been, I will choose capitalism any time. Socialism implies large governement bureaucracies which are destructive to the future health of the US economy. History has shown this to be the case. If you don't believe me, ask the Europeans or the Greeks for that matter.

For a nation be prosperous it has to make something that is valued by others not just something that appeals to a certain poltitical ideology. If you have 10 people on an island and they spend all their time thingking and talking about how to organize their island culture and gather food and make shelter they will all perish because nothing useful will be made. Hiring people to study the migration patterns of a snail (I exaggerate but only slightly) does not make anything. Much of the stimulus money did not help to put people back to work by helping companies make things, it was spent on academic boffins talking about how to build a better moustrap. Putting most of our green eggs into the solar energy basket, for example, is also a waste of taxpayers money because this technology will no produce anything that does more than put a drop of water in a ocean of energy needs. In time, perhaps but for now, its an economic dead end.

Third, I want to address social justice. I am very knowledgeable of the bible and just believe me when I say that I don't need Glen Beck to teach me the bible or what social justice is. However, when Glen Beck speaks about individual salvation and collective salvation he is right on target. I am a devout Catholic and the Catholic Church has strongly condemned liberation theology because it is not consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church. It takes a view of the bible that in my humble opinion is simply not there but is projected by those who have agendas other than those of Jesus Christ. Christ taught about the transformation of the human person not of society as a whole. For Christ, transformation was from the inside out not the other way around. He also walked away when they wanted to make him king. It was also Judas who betrayed him because he was (to put in modern terms) not progressive or social activist. He said that the poor would always be with us.

Forth, I have to admit that I have never lived though a time or presidency like the current. I never feared Bill Clinton and in fact, in some ways I think he did a decent job especially with the economy. He was a pragmatist. When he saw that the American people did not want health care he dropped it. What I fear about this president is that he is acting more like a dictator than president. When I made a few comments in that chat room yesterday, everyone jumped on me as some right wing ignorant lunatic. That frightens me because it looks a whole lot like the fascists in Germany. Those who did not salute the fuhrer with gusto were seen as enemies of the state. The term Obama Zombie is not one coined by Beck. The fact that Obama ratings have drooped like a rock has very little to do with Beck. The anxiety that people have has little to do with Beck.

I fear what I see now not because of Beck's conspiracy theories, I fear what I see because something does not add up for me. I have spent 12 years of my life in the financial field. I also have a masters degree in statistics and have taken classes in both macro and micro economics as well as poltical science. I know longer work in the financial field but I carry that knowledge to this day. I can tell you that the out of control spending in our nation now does not have a good trend line. It can't be sustained and its headed towards something like we see now in Greece. I don't get this from Beck but my own knowledge of economics.

I also fear that government is taking over everything. I recently heard that the head of the Consumer Protection Agency wants the government to confiscate everyones 401K and redistribute the funds through something like the Social Security Program which has failed (as have Fannie May and Freddie Mac) due to government mismanagement.

I fear the administrations desire to control all forms of media especially the Internet. I fear when the government wants to attack people because of descenting political opinions like this blog. I fear when I see people being intimidated and beat up because of their political views and I fear more than the administration and more importantly the press, with the exception of Fox News, which seems blind to it.

Look, I'm not saying that Beck is a scholar. I probably know more about economics than he does. But Beck talks to people. He is trying to put things together and understand what is going on rather than simply being anxious and afraid. Does he get it right? Not all the time no, but I find it interesting that the administration and the press don't even want to address some of the issues he brings up and realize that many times, all he is doing is using their own words, ex. Van Jones. The administation also does not call that phone he has. Why not debate him if they are non the right side of things? What are they afraid of?

I listen to a lot of people so don't label me as anything. I think for myself and believe me, so do most of those who watch Glen Beck. I am not so sure I can say that for those who watch some of the other networks. Realize that turnabout is fair play right? Even the White House got stung my its own rabid racial politics.

I grew up in a country that believed in itself. We used to be a creative people that made things that the world wanted. We believed in a moral code and people used to sit at the dinner table every night and go to Church on Sunday. So yes, I want these things for our nation again. If that makes me a radical then so be it, label me if you must but if you want to argue with me, then disagree with my comments and ideas. Calling me names does not bother me in the least but it also means that I can't debate you any more than I can debate a brick wall or a zombie, Obama created or otherwize.