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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let's Get Real Mr President

Sometimes I feel when watching the morning news that I am in some sort of alternate universe where one and one add up to three but only on a Wednesday afternoon when it rains. No doubt, there is not an American who does not cringe when the news comes on and tells us all how many more 100s of thousands of barrels of oil have leaked out of the well that is clearly almost to deep for anyone to deal with including BP and the US government (Obama's boffins included).

Here's my confusion. My understanding is that BP is drilling a mile below the surface of the ocean because that is the only place they can drill. The reason for this is that no one wants to drill in Alaska and other locations right? The argument against drilling in these places is that the environmental damage would be to great. Right now, we have environmental damage that is making the Exxon Valdez look like an oil can was leaking. We are going to be cleaning this one up for years and it's doubtful in my mind if the shorelines of some states will ever recover along with thousands of jobs (remember, the pesky thing that the president says he is also concerned with).

Now when someone makes a decision they must weight the benefits and concerns. Clearly, the risk of drilling one mile below the ocean has farm more potential to cause ecological harm than does drilling in Alaska. If I am wrong I would love someone to rationally explain why this is not true.

Also realize that the current philosophy of the country is that government is good and very effective. Really? I thought there were regulators that looked after things like, I don't know, maybe drilling in locations one mile under the ocean. I guess the president and the beloved US government was just a few graduates of our wonderful liberal education institutions short when the committee was put together on why it's not a good idea to drill in a place that resembles the movie the Abyss.

Now the president's solution gets me even more angry if that were possible. Stop drilling offshore. Really Mr. president. Did you not get your breakfast or that first cut of coffee this morning? The problem is not drilling offshore the problem is drilling a mile under the sea. Get it Mr. President? I guess not. There is a difference. Have someone introduce you to the concept of distance. Start with a ruler.

Now the solution. Take a large number of US dollars and funnel them into other nations because their GNP is not as large and call this cap and trade. Simple economic fact Mr. President. Perhaps you can have those boffins take a course in economics 101. Any economy in the modern world needs energy and the primary source of this energy is oil. Having a large GNP (which by the way employs people) means needing oil.

Now the green solution. Look, I don't want to live in an industrial bucket of waste any more than the next guy. I don't! But we have to be realistic. Having a bunch of windmills off the coast right now or having a bunch of solar panels is not even going to come close to powering a city like New York let alone the rest of the country. Should we put money into these technologies? Absolutely! And I really do hope that the day will come when they make it realistic to use them to power our cities but we are not there yet and any amount of dreaming and theorizing is not going to make it happen.

There is however a solution. It's called a nuclear reactor Mr. President. They have lots of them in France to the point where France exports energy and no one in France glows in the dark. Truth is, that safeguards can be put in place that will work a lot better than the safeguards, or lack of them, that have turned the US into a oil spill.

I know, I'm bad because I am not green and I have insulted our poor president with some inconvenient truths but I guess I need to understand more about how complex this world is and yes, one a Wednesday afternoon, after it rains, one plus one really does add up to three. Believe that, and you will believe that Al Gore conserves energy in his personal life.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Reason and Politics

I rarely post anything on politics because I find that people tend to get angry when discussing politics and I really am not into anger, it gives me heartburn. I prefer the more pleasant side of discussing music where it seems that usually, people can agree to disagree on musical tastes a bit more easily than politics.

None the less, I read tweet just this morning that expressed great anger than somebody would criticize president Obama over his handing of the BP oil spill. Many others have gotten angry over Tea Party people calling them terrorists. Why all this anger?

I suppose many would call me a radical as well for my conservative political views but let me make then as clear as possible.

First, I don't see capitalism as always a good thing but the problem in many ways with the world is not capitalism but greed. Frankly, those like Michael Moore who long to call one another comrade should simply read up on the cultural revolution of China and the killing fields in Cambodia of Pol Pot or many other such atrocities. Frankly, I will take greedy CEOs any day to that nightmare.

My position is rather simple. It's good for people to create. Early 20th century capitalism was born of many people who wanted to make the world better by making good things. The problem is that the things and the money became to the focus. If it helps a person to make it home quicker by driving a car rather than riding a horse, so they can be with their families, great! This is a good thing and this is what capitalism has brought to the world.

But if the kids are all in electronic la la land watching some video game that involves killing the most people in the shortest period of time (granted only cyber people) and mom and dad both work and want to make more money to get a bigger house to put more things in rather than spending time with their kids who have a cyber baby sitter, then sure, something is wrong in the land of capitalism.

Bottom line. I don't believe capitalism needs fixing as much as how we use it. Good products are not evil but if they change our lifestyles in a negative way then we need to reexamine how we do things. However, goverment can't change this but only people. Better for the kids to have a bike or go play baseball then to be glued to the TV and better for mom and dad to make less money and be able to spend more time with the kids. I guess this makes me a dangerous radical conservative because I would rather have the kids and mom and dad become the village rather than the other way around but if that's how its percieved then so be it, I'm a dangerous radical.

I guess I also get concerned when I see so many of our industries being effectively nationalized such as the auto industry, the banks and medicine. Government ownership of the means of production is by definition Communism right? Or did I not listen that day in class. I am not being radical here, really I'm not and if I offend people by attacking Obama, then understand where I come from. I grew up in a free country and for my family and me, capitalism has not bee a bad thing, not at all. We ate dinner together and I did not even have video games until around high school. But when my government wants to control more and more it makes me a bit jumpy. If that makes me a tea party person or a terrorist then so be it. I guess I would rather like to see our country find its roots rather than be transformed into a country where big brother is always watching.

On the environment. Look, I don't want to see the environment destroyed any more than the next guy but energy is strongly tied to our economic health as a country. Unless we all want to go back to the stone age, we have to find some way to care for the planet better without destroying everthing in the process. We have to be pramatists here rather than idealists. I just don't think that tripling energy bills for families that are already struggling and sending US dollars to other countries is the way to go. Again, if that makes me a radical, a tea party person, a terrorist then I guess that those who would feel this way are entitled to their opinion.

To end this, let me just say this. "Yes president Obama, I kind of like the country the way it used to be. Can't we find a way to get it back? I'm not sure that I am all that ready to go boldly forward into the brave new world if it costs me my freedom and in the end, is that not what America is all about".

Sorry if I offended anyone.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Won't Get Fooled Again

It never ceases to amaze me how people continually want to create an earthly utopia. It would seem that some bands of the past have realized that this is not that easy. A few examples here:

The Who - "Won't Get Fooled Again" -

And the Beatles - "Revolution" -

And now it seems that many young new revolutionaries have become hypnotized and memorized by Mao and others like him who need I remind anyone killed and tortured thousands, millions. Well, that is just history and that can be re-written to fit into whatever ideology one wants right?

For the most part, I don't blog about political or religious things. I have other avenues where I do that so my internet presence is mostly about music as even this post is to come extent (see above). but as I said, it would seem that some bands had a bit more wisdom than we might give them credit for.

My position is pretty simple. I read the newspaper (or at least peruse it) a bit every day and the news is always the same. Man's inhumanity to man lived out time and time again and the greed that seems to dominate so many people. The problem for me is that I don't experience that in the world I live in at least to the extent that I see it on TV. Are there greedy people out there? I know this might upset some but to borrow a phrase from Sarah Palin: "you betcha". But for the most part I see a lot of good people. Really good people and it affirms my belief in two things.

First, the people are basically good. I get that a source that many hate, the bible. Does that shock some of my followers? An experimental music composer reading above all things, the bible. You betcha!

In those first few chapters it says that man is good (in fact) of all the creations only man is called very good (it does not say that about the earth by the way just man - odd isn't it?).

It also says that something happened that caused the ideal relationship between God and people to change forever. That needed fixing (that is what the rest of the book is about). So something went terribly wrong and from that time on, evil and chaos entered into the world. So when I see people doing bad things, I realize where it came from.

Now here is the kicker. Rather than looking to bring about global change and yell catch phrases like "yes we can" and carry pictures of chairman Mao, I concern myself with the world around me that I can change. First, myself. Who am I? What evil lies inside me? How have I treated others? Wow, now that's a revolution! I sometimes quote the movie the Matrix when Neo said "Free you mind" because in a kind of secular way, it is not so different when "Jesus said: "If the Son of Man makes you free than you shall be free indeed".

For the most part, I am usually happy. I love my faith, my job (frustrating as it is at times) and my music. I guess I don't' need a revolution because I have come to realize that the real revolution is inside me. So when people talk about fundamentally transforming things I guess I echo the words of the Beatles - "when you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out". I don't want to change the world, just me so that the world around me will change no matter where I go.

I end this rather unusual blog with a music video. Those who can, might make a connection:

When do we ride into Jerusalem?

I guess we just keep reliving the past.

Bottom line - when people try to change the world things get pretty ugly:

Remember - Hitler wanted to make the world a better place to but he turned it into a nightmare to every night, I get on my knees and I pray, we won't get fooled again.

Free you mind and then you won't need a utopia here on earth, I guess in the end its that simple for me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On Health Care

One of the reasons that I rarely post to the political part of my blog is that I find politics rather, well, unpleasant because in the end, its all about who you stand with. It becomes more about ideologies than reality.

In some sense, and some would find it surprising for me to say this, I am apolitical. I don't believe in any one party. I am a very strong Catholic and yes, my religious beliefs do effect what I support and do not support. I don't apologize for that in the least.

So some might ask then, why I do not support Obamacare. After all, if I am a Christian, why would I not want people to be taken care of. The answer is I do. I don't like double tonged politicians and one of the common political tools that is used is the false dichotomy. The concept is that someone makes a statement, I don't believe in A. The respond is, you must believe in B. The fallacy is that A and B are the only options.

Here is a practical example. I say, I don't believe in Obamacare and someone responds: then you don't believe in health care. The truth is that I believe that people with pre-existing conditions should get health insurance and I believe that everyone who is in need of medical care should get it with some exceptions.

But, I don't' believe in Obamacare and I think that its a colossal mistake for our nation. One which has the potential to collapse our economic system and even send our nation into a state of civil unrest.

Why? Am I a a lunatic right wing fanatic? No. The truth is that I am a realist. I have worked a lot with finance in my life and I also have many opportunities to speak with medical professionals (not as a patient). First, let me say that to demonize those who dedicate their life caring for people and to claim that they only want to make money is grossly unfair. Do I think all doctors and nurses are saints? Far from it. But I do believe that they have to wade through a garbage dump of insurance regulation every day and then balance what they know about sound medicine with the fear of being sued and families that often will agree to anything as long as they think there is a glimmer of hope of keeping a patient alive.

I don't' want to go into a lot of detail but frankly, I see nothing in the Obamacare bill that will cut costs except for health care rationing which I do believe has to happen. Why? Finance is simple. Think of it like a pipe. Whatever amount of water goes in the pipe (let's call this revenue - insurance premiums) is what comes out (medical care). Now insurance is also a large pool. The purpose of insurance is simple. It's easier to pay for small accidents (let's say I break my eye glasses) but large costs (let's say I need a major operation or have a long term disability or illness). The more people you put int he pool the more you can distribute those costs and dramatically reduce personal bankruptcy. If certain groups of people who we know are going to be costly (such as those with pre-existing conditions) are excluded from the pool then insurance will be cheaper which is the motivation for this. I am not saying its a good thing but no one complains about the lower insurance rates do they?

So the trick should be to need less water (money) coming out the other end of the pipe (reduce costs). Adding large bureaucracies does not help costs but only adds to the burden of paperwork for doctors and nurse therefore giving them less time to spend with patients.

OK, I could go into more detail here but I am a realist. Just because I want something to be true does not make it so. I don't want people to die of cancer but they do. I don't want people to get sick and go to the hospital but they do. To some extent people can be healthier but many healthy people get sick and when we get old, even the healthiest people are less healthy. One ways to cut those costs is not pay for the older people and that is what is happening right now. How do I know? Because I don't listen to ideologues but friends who are afraid that they will lose their doctors because they will not accept Medicare. Many doctors may not practice medicine much longer because of the bill passing. Rationing will happen not because people want it to but its just like the pipe analogy. Less doctors in the system, less medical care out. Or more poeple in the system, less medical care for each person. I don't understand why this simple math is so hard for people to understand.

I guess I am trying to simplify something very complex but I do get upset when people defend Obamacare as the only option. I think its short sighted. I would rather see realists who want to deal with the current realities of health care and insurance as unpleasant as those might be and to find solutions that truely reduce costs and insure that those who need medical care can get it.

So that is what I have to say on the subject and I will debate anyone who wants to post here as my timer permits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Googleside - Time to Throw Capitalism to the Dogs?

There was a recent decision of Google to shut down several blogs without apparent warning from Google. This decision has generated a lot of controversy and some degree of anti capitalist rhetoric. One comment I read recently said "capitalism is eating itself". As an amateur musician and composer, I don't like to see blogs regarding music shut down without warning. This blog provider that I am using is one as well. However, to see this recent actiion as some deep dark capitalist conspiracy against music or bloggers I believe is stretching the limits of credibility.

First, I would like to point out that this decision involved only a few sites and there may have been reasons behind these decisions. Not knowing the details of why this was done, I don't believe I can speculate on motivation only as to make a general statement that the most like reason is that Google does not want to be involved in a lawsuit.

I find it amazing that the very same people who rally against decisions like this are often the very same ones who remain silent against the extremely negative effect of lawyers on all of capitalist society. I honestly believe that one of the great negatives of capitalism is the effect that lawyers have had on our society this being only one example. Might I point out as well that at least one of the major components of the high cost of health care is medical malpractice insurance. The cost of all products we buy also reflects the expense of companies carrying liability insurance and yet the same moralists who rally against capitalism remain silent when it comes to tort reform.

I would also like to point out that these blogs were free right? I think its part of the agreement that the Google, and other free blog providers, that they reserve the right to shut down a blog. If this blog were shut down I would not be happy about it but I would not rally against the company providing it because its a free service. If one wants a guarantee that their blog will remain then make a contract with a company to insure that. Sure, that is going to involve that oh so nasty word these days, at least in current administration circles, money but that's how capitalism works. If you want a service, you pay for it or you accept the conditions imposed by a free service.

Some have suggested that Google be boycotted. That's fine but realize that boycotts are a capitalist tool are they not? Look at it this way. If someone does not like Google they go somewhere else. If Google or any other company wants to survive they have to keep people happy. While capitalism is not perfect in any sense, this kind of control is automatic. If one does not keep their customers happy then they don't survive.

It's also important to realize that in a socialist or communist system, you don't have anywhere to go if you don't like what the government does. There is also no built in safeguard that is motivated by the profit. The government has no motivation to keep its citizens happy other than votes but even that has its limits. The decisions of politicians are often based more on special interest and big business that provide campaign financing than they are the will of the poeple. Perhaps if there are faults in the system, that would be a good place to start looking. If we give more and more power to the government and throw capitalism under the train then our ability to vote will also be taken away and who will people boycott then.

I guess all I am saying is that there are more sides to this issue than those voiced by reactionary anti capitalists who are ready, willing and able to throw their freedom away.