Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All things being equal

All things being equal income in the U.S. is not one of them. That being said things are never exactly as they seem. Take the chart above that I quickly put together as a visual aid. As a matter of clarity the green line actually goes far higher, but the point is made. Clearly there is something behind this 1% thing the Occupy Wall Street movement rallies against.

The actual number of one percenters is a tiny fraction, there just aren't that many of them. In that number along with Wall Street, corporate and industrial chieftains are your athletes, actors and rockstars. They get paid so much as a percentage of what the rest of us are paid because they presumably deliver commiserate value to their organizations. There are a few sports fans who might dispute that notion. The value of a good CEO, however, is undeniable and the value they bring potentially enriches thousands, even millions. For the sake of this article I don't want to focus on the rarefied air of the one percenters, they are an outlier to this argument.

For the rest of us who bring in less than $300,000 a year (most of us far, far less) the traditional way income is calculated is misleading at best. When Census Bureau data is used to define income which excludes transfer payments like Medicaid, Medicare, nutrition assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and even employee benefits such as health insurance the real picture is skewed. When someone who brings in $100,000 a year is taxed and deducted his real spendable income is far less. On the the other hand someone earning $20,000 and takes advantage of all the "aid" available (and no Federal taxes deducted) the gap in real spendable income narrows considerably.

The higher earner may have advantages like the ability to obtain credit and leverage future earnings to improve his lot. But he also pays more taxes, interest and fees on those obligations further eroding his spendable monthly income. While he might get a health plan from his work, he still pays a considerable premium with co-pays and deductibles. The person with public assistance pays no property taxes, little in maintenance and fees and a pittance for his premiums and co-pays on public health assistance. The fact of the matter is the data commonly used to measure income inequality routinely ignores our highly progressive income tax system and the plethora of benefits and transfer payments. When the effect of taxes and transfer payments is taken into account, according to recent studies at Columbia University inequality actually declined 1.8% during the 16-year period between 1993 and 2009.

When the President and the hard core liberals complain about this raw number inequality there are not only dishonest with the numbers they are dishonest about the remedy. They want pay caps on corporate executive income and corporate income (actors and athletes not so much) and also wealth transfers which, of course, would be filtered through the government. The data they choose to ignore is that economic growth is the best remedy for all - particularly the middle class. This has been demonstrated time and time again. The problem the liberals have with that is two-fold. One, the wealthy will get wealthier, and two the poor will need less government - both unacceptable.

Nearly all of what the current government has tried is either a lie or misguided. The 800 billion dollar stimulus package (pure debt) signed in 2009 saw 7/8 of it go to transfer payments like food stamps, Medicaid expanded unemployment and of course to bogus "green" initiatives. None of it generated any tax revenue or stimulus. Worse, these transfer payments "steal" money from real investments and real research that would actually improve economic prospects. Add in the fiasco and unfunded liability of the Affordable Care Act and the nation is poised to take another economic hit. Private companies that have a cumulative trillion or more to invest sit on the sidelines because of the track record of the current government and the tax implications of repatriating overseas earnings. It can only be one of two things - total incompetence or it is a plan.

It seems so obvious to me and many others that government policy (pushed by huge corporate interests) have conspired to ruin the most exceptional thing about America - a powerful middle class. When the industrial revolution brought people in from the countryside an entirely new phenomenon, unseen in world history emerged to dominate the western world. The middle class was fostered by people like Henry Ford and even some of the so-called robber barons at the turn of the 20th century. Obviously inequality existed - as if ever didn't exist - but more people were pulled out of poverty than ever could have been imagined.

Today it seems that mega-corporate and government interests are not so secretly conspiring to create a two tiered society - namely the serfs and the elites - which is precisely where we started centuries before. In this scenario the middle class is the problem.

With high tech innovation and automation deleting good paying middle class jobs there is, of course, the continued globalization of manufacturing in low wage nations. Aided by government policy to support the transfer of labor from middle class nations to Asia it is clearly is a prime strategy of corporate and government elites. Using income disparity an it's transfer payments from the earners and producers to the lower class is another. Neither of these hurt the elites and the politicians who benefit from them. Both political parties in the U.S. regardless of what the pretend to claim for themselves practice this most destructive form of crony capitalism. The rest of the people can see this and hate both parties for it. The individual politicians are powerless to resist either through the seduction of power and money or palpable fear.

I am sensing thoughtful people are sick of it. The people on the center/right are completely disgusted with the Republican party. Not because they aren't conservative enough, but because they offer nothing to the middle class that we can cling to and seemingly stand for nothing - in the very least they have a major communication problem. The people on the center/left can see the train coming off the tracks and can't or won't believe it's their guys that are steering us wrong, but they are sick of it as well. The Democrats at least use their rhetoric to pretend the care, even if it is all bullshit.

The right wingers, morons though they might be, have got to be better at slowing the destruction the left wingers are currently foisting on us, am I right?


Friday, December 27, 2013

Mustang Run

My newest painting:

"Mustang Run"
24 X 36 acrylic
by Craig Willms

Here's something a little different for me... It's my first attempt at impressionism. It was quite difficult for me not go into extreme detail. I was almost like forcing myself to be a little sloppy. Despite my reticence to call it done I was really happy with the way this came out. It is a gift for my sister, a horse owner. 

Be sure to see my other paintings at: http://www.static-art.blogspot.com/


Sunday, December 22, 2013

ACA: Schadenfreude

1. pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.

It's an awful sentiment this schadenfreude, but it's part of mankind's fallen nature. I mean who doesn't love a little slapstick or vaudevillian humor? Even my children laugh at their father when I step on the business end of a rake and the handle comes up to whack me in the face. Imagine how the NYC creative class felt when they received their health insurance cancellation notices recently. After all they were shocked to find out that what was good for thee was not good for we. Me, I smiled. Schadenfreude.

In his column on PJMedia's Unexamined Premises site Michael Walsh describes a classic schadenfreude moment. We all know that the artists, actors and cultural elites in NYC are all big supporters of liberal causes and of course their messiah Barack Obama, and by all means the Affordable Care Act. They were all happy with the health insurance coverage they obtained through their professional associations at far better rates than the individual insurance market. Imagine the fear and rage they experienced when they opened the cancellation notices. You see their plans didn't meet Obamacare criteria and had to be discontinued. The schadenfreude comes from the pitiless attitude you know they had when they heard stories of the rubes in flyover country losing their insurance by the millions. Boom!

Eventually leftism eats it's own. Every time it happens throughout history the presumably untouchable are shocked. When they find out that their agenda boomerangs on them it's a shock that those in the ivory tower see them as part of the unwashed masses too.

By and large the average politically liberal voter has solid personal principles and just wants to do good. A few are malevolent, but most of them just don't think things all the way through. The unintended consequences of principled "policies" are often far worse than any good that comes of them. They refuse to factor in human nature. I mean why would young people forgo buying affordable health care instead of paying a fine? Why would rich people who can easily afford higher taxes move business or expensive purchases overseas rather than pay a little more in taxes? It's human nature. They do it themselves after doing gyro-dance of rationalization.

Put the shoe on the other foot. Why would these cultural elites not be happy to pay higher premiums if it meant that the insurance pool for the poor and less advantaged was increased? Because they don't want to or can't actually afford higher premiums.

Personally, I'm OK for another year having an employer sponsored health plan. My out of pocket costs are shy high now, so I am not not unaffected mind you. This can all change next year. I, however, won't be shocked.


Monday, December 16, 2013

I am not a racist...

are we allowed to oppose Barack Obama and not be labeled racist?

Where I live, where I've always lived here in the upper Midwest of the United States it has always been a sea of white faces. Obviously that has changed quite a bit over the decades, but in 1980 at my suburban high school of the fifteen hundred students fourteen hundred and eighty three were white - and we all spoke English. I didn't know anything different, it was not right or wrong, that's just the way it was. The only racism I was exposed to on a daily basis was when I got home and listened to my father say derogatory things out loud.

Eventually I grew up and entered the real world. As the demographics changed in the inter-city where I worked and bought a home I interacted with people from all walks of life, every race, creed and persuasion. It never dawned on me to treat people differently just because they didn't look like me. Sure I had to shed the stereotypes as I went along, but we are all victims of stereotypical thinking at some point. I also never felt anything was "given" to me because I was white. Call it white privilege if you want, but I was oblivious if it ever really happened.

I could go into chapter and verse of how my children have grown up in a color blind way, that my daughter's maid of honor is a Korean woman and how I have a niece and a nephew that have married people of Indian (India) heritage, or that one my dearest friends at work is a delightful African American man. That in my immediate neighborhood there are hispanic, black, hmong and nordic denizens all around me. No need to go on and on.

My point here is not to say racism doesn't exist, that's imbecilic. My point is that I think it's absolutely remarkable how little the racist phenomenon intrudes into my daily view. That is, until Barack Obama came along. If you oppose Barack Obama on ideological or policy grounds it's because he's black. To that I say rubbish. Pure rubbish!

Personally, I think it's a lazy way to argue. Let not the facts get in the way, just toss the racist bomb. Early on when the opposition party declared that their number one mission was make sure President Obama failed, could it have been because of his policy declarations and not his half-black skin? You can say - and I'd agree - that's a lousy way to govern, but it isn't necessarily racism. Infer anything you like, but actions speak louder than words, what measurable way can be demonstrated that the opposition to the administration is racially motivated? Crickets...

When I read What Will It Take? by David Solway on PJMedia I was struck how in this blistering indictment of Barack Obama not once did word "black" appear. Neither did the words African American. The only mention of race was in this passage which only reiterates the entire point of my post:

I wondered why anyone would want to “fundamentally transform” a country which, for all its flaws, perched atop the pinnacle of success in comparison to any other country.

Everything Obama has done since then has only served to confirm what was originally a deep suspicion and soon grew to become a complete certainty. Dozens of meticulously researched books have been published to the same effect. And yet very few people seemed to be paying attention. No less disconcerting, those who argue that to criticize Obama is a sign of deep-dyed racism are, of course, relying on slander and misappropriation of language to protect their chosen standard bearer and his Marxist/progressivist/utopian project.

The last person to fundamentally transform this country was FDR during extraordinary times. Many still argue his New Deal reforms made the country better, others strongly disagree, but the country survived and indeed thrived. The things Obama wants for this country will make us weaker, poorer and divided. I challenge anyone to dispute that. Nothing in Obama's language, in his policies or even his outward persona indicates anything but a loathing for most of what America is. If that's a racist statement so be it.

I am not a racist.


Monday, December 09, 2013

Without Borders

When I saw "without borders" was the title of the message at church one Sunday I got worried. While I wouldn't call my church a typical liberal Christian church I would call it a strident anti-conservative church, which it clearly is. It is entirely anti-evangelical-conservative in word and deed. This does not bother me in the least. I too am wary of potent evangelical movements for many reasons, one because they bore me, but mainly because they are almost always Biblical literalists. I find nothing more off putting and inimical to the life and love of Jesus Christ than evangelical rantings taken from literal readings of the Bible. Jesus himself was not a literalist. My church, a phenomenal teaching church, goes to great lengths to keep politics out of the realm of the Kingdom, but it's not difficult to ascertain that the church culture leans liberal left - considerably so. A topic for another day.


Whenever, wherever we hear the phrase without borders we should be worried. Simply because in utopia without borders is a laudable goal, but we don't live in utopia. Until we do, borders, nation-states and the law of the land is necessary, vital even. I'm happy to say the message in church that day had nothing to do with political borders or advocating the erasing of national borders as I had feared. It was merely the rightful notion that Kingdom of Heaven knows no borders as it spans a truly cosmic realm.

In recent weeks I've read several interesting pieces in the blogosphere about the damage unfettered (and illegal) immigration is doing to some countries and cultures. Also other stories about the coming collapse of otherwise peaceful, orderly societies due to lawless, frustrated and racially motivated uber gangs that are growing up in over-crowded slums around the world offer a frightening glimpse of our future.

Over at Mangan's a piece called "Immigration from low-trust societies is theft" talks about how immigrants burrowing into a mature society pay nothing for the infrastructure they inherit and take a disproportionate share of out of a society compared to what they contribute - amounting to literal theft. There was a difference a century ago when immigration was controlled and by and large the newcomers started contributing almost immediately. It would be hard to argue that the quality of the "stock" we get now with uncontrolled immigration is not inferior in comparison.

In Europe with the one-two punch of stagnant economic growth and mass immigration entire nations are slipping into economic and cultural depression as described in this interesting piece at theAtlanic.com called "Are Europeans Giving Up on Europe?". The countries hardest hit by the economic downturn - Italy, Spain and Greece see the EU experiment as a failure, contributing to the malaise. The EU is also being blamed in England for the mass immigration the Brits see destroying their culture. Poll after poll in Britain show a disaffected populace, upset that EU immigration rules are forcing the island country to open their doors to more and more low value immigrants, many  - if not most - headed for the dole.

In fact all advanced Western countries with the exception of Japan are being impacted by a flood of immigration both legal and illegal. The native populations by and large are wary and even hostile to the trends and for good reason. Its not just economic - as if that's not enough - its also the loss of cultural norms. All over Western Europe huge sections of the major cities have developed into "no go zones" where even the police dare not enter. In these zones the law of the land is not enforced and a complete culture imported from some - pardon the language - shit hole has been established. This is happening to a smaller extent in America, Canada and Australia too.

Eventually this less than integrated sub-culture will burst out and with discontentment and rage and will lash out in one wave of violence after another until the natives are forced to live in walled off communities or flee to a country not yet destroyed.

Africa is already the model for this new world order. Scarcity, hopelessness and disorder are the catalysts. It has already happened in most sub Saharan nations, and with the so-called Arab Spring northern Africa has quickly caught up. Africa is essentially ungovernable.

The die is cast, the future set. If this exhaustive article by Robert Kaplan doesn't send chills down your spine then you're already numb or you don't care. "The Coming Anarchy" isn't about the end of the world, but it is about the end of civil civilization. While it's clear Africa and much of the Arab world is already aflame we see evidence of this in our own country. Think south Chicago, south LA, parts of Detroit and other cities in Michigan where immigrants have instituted their shit hole cultures in entire subdivisions.

No culture or civilization is immune. China's cities are already bursting at the seams and millions more are coming from the countryside every year. Developing countries are seeing their poor rural citizens flood into the cities. When the over population meets scarcity explosions happen. India, Pakistan, Brazil, all of southeast Asia are potential powder kegs. The West may be able hold it off for a time but eventually our day will come.

The West is courting suicide with this defacto without borders posture. Unfettered immigration is not good for anyone. Why the leaders (of both parties) can't or won't see this is frightening to me. No matter how poetic it sounds this is not one world, not by a long shot.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Obama does whatever he wants - who's gonna stop him?

important primer - see this excellent piece; Front Man - by Kevin Williams

When I restarted this blog I vowed not to get into personality politics. The aim was to comment on broader themes that spoke to the evolution  - or - devolution of the country and the culture. When one man has the power, or rather takes the power,  to remake the country then it's fair game here.

While we like to look back at simpler times and claim the mantle of the good old days we have to admit in many ways life is getting better. That's unfortunately only part of the picture. Obviously in other ways the train is wobbling on the tracks and every one knows it.

If you think about the country like a bucket of water that's teetering back and forth, the water sloshing about with some violently flying out. The water hovering toward the bottom half of the bucket is happy as a lark, knowing not what's happening up near the top. For this layer of water everything is fine until the day the bucket tips over completely. When that happens there will still be a little water safe within the bucket. For sake of the analogy we'll liken this water to the very rich and the bureaucracy. The rest, the poor and the vast middle class spills out onto the ground to evaporate into the ether, forsaken.

The result conjures a picture of a third would cesspool for me. By then it will too late to examine how and why it happened.

What set the bucket teetering back and forth?

I think the answer is rather obvious. The very rich and the bureaucracy. Face it, the very rich don't really care about poor and middle class Americans any more than they care about poor and middle class Africans or Australians. Their concern is maximizing profit, as long as there is a growing middle class somewhere that's all that matters.

The bureaucracy needs helpless multitudes to herd about, and the more the better. The old mantra in business to grow or die is just as valid for the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is by far the largest growth industry there is in America. Thus the point of this article... The bureaucracy has its ultimate front man, his name is President Obama.

In his piece on the National Review website Kevin D. Williams details the actions and attributes of Barack Obama better than anyone I've read before. I think he actually sums it up neatly by implying Obama is the ultimate front man for the liberal bureaucratic train that's been barreling down the track at us since the turn of the last century. Far from having any grand vision or even a few big ideas Obama's politics are utterly conventional managerial liberalism. What makes him the perfect man for the job is his decent oratory skills and a blanket of protection afforded by his half black skin. Oppose him and you're a racist.

Nothing is worse for your career than being labeled a racist. When he has the full force of the New York Times and the major television networks ready to defend him at all costs wielding the sledge hammer of racism how can he lose? He can't.

Therefore, he does whatever he wants - who's gonna stop him? The Congress? Ha. The people? They can't unelect him. The media? And admit their worship was misguided? Not gonna happen.

American democracy, such as it is, will face death by a thousand cuts, not felled by one grand action. The national will, the hard working, the patriotic, the exceptional will be sliced and diced by the liberal bureaucracy until it no longer resembles the constitutional republic we learned about in school.

Mr. Williams lays it all out there. With the healthcare law alone the administration was given a rough framework in which his "team" got to fill in the blanks. With that the bureaucracy had years to prepare. Because it's a problem ill suited for a bureaucratic solution it threatened to derail a nascent economic recovery so the President chose to delay parts of the law (unlawfully so) and grant exceptions to his supporters (unions, per se).

When Congress failed to enact the DREAM Act which was intended to give the minor children of illegal immigrants legal status he simply enacted it by decree - again unlawfully.

When the citizens of Egypt staged a coup d’état all military aid was to be cut-off as required by American law. The Obama administration refused to obey the law.

The President cannot legally have American citizens assassinated, yet he does. The President is not allowed to use agents of the government against his political opponents, yet the IRS was used during a critical phase of the 2012 election to suppress political action groups allied against him. He blatantly makes recess appointments when Congress is not in recess. His cabinet secretary for Health and Human Services blatantly ignores the Religious Freedom Restoration Act - the law of the land - and forces institutions and individuals to act against their consciences by requiring them to cover abortifacients and birth control pills in their health insurance plans. I could go on... Really.

Congress has plenty of blame for this state of affairs. With Harry Reid acting as the gatekeeper for any real action by the Congress, regardless of what the Republican led House does, the President acts with near impunity. The media whose job it is to hold powerful feet to the fire has abdicated all credibility when it comes to Obama. The loyal opposition is perhaps the sorriest joke of all. Other than a few - Ted Cruise, Rand Paul - no one in the Republican party is saying anything about this executive branch power grab. The headless Tea Party movement made some inroads before they were crushed by major media's character assassination.

In a sense we are stuck with a defacto one party system, in practice there's not a dimes bit of difference between the parties. It's the bureaucracy stupid.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Post Modern Lunacy

The tag line for this blog is "Up is down. That's just maddeningly unhelpful. Why are these things never clear?" The problem is that so many things are clear, what is right and true vs wrong and ridiculous is often as plain as the nose on your face. Yet popular culture, your teachers, your leaders, your bosses and even your family and friends ignore it or outright deny it. Or... They are too afraid to say it. It is an ancient problem, the story The Emperor’s New Suit was not written yesterday.

Many things have been written about the rise and fall of empires. As empires go the United States is the oddest by far. That it is an empire is not really in question. Since the end of World War II America has clearly been the prime influencer of the world. Initially this was simply the result of the devastation of world war. The U.S. was largely intact and ready to help rebuild the Western world - which it did. Even as the Cold War raged the influence of the U.S. trumped the Soviets wherever a modicum of freedom was present. The Cold War ended with whimper rather than a bang and the default for the world was one where business, trade and the successful exploitation of natural and human resources reigned. This came about not so much by the military conquest of the U.S. but the 800 pound gorilla clearly dictated the general outcome.

Glubb Pasha, a British soldier, scholar and author famously generalized about empires having seven stages: (1) the age of outburst (or pioneers), (2) the age of conquests, (3) the age of commerce, (4) the age of affluence, (5) the age of intellect, (6) the age of decadence, and (7) the age of decline and collapse. Now if we were to place America circa 2013 we'd probably choose stage 6 or 7. Stage 7 is probably terminal - the question is: is stage 6 terminal too?

The good news is civilization itself will not end with the fall of a post Obama America -- any more than it ended when the British Empire collapsed or the Roman Empire faded or when the Pharaohs succumbed to invaders. The torch that was lit at the dawn of human civilization will be picked up by someone somewhere else, and the human race will eventually move forward again. Is it better that the world be dominated by a profit seeking state like the United States or a totalitarian state like China or a dysfunctional state like India, a theocratic state like the Caliphate of Islam or a dying state like Russia? (Gee, America doesn't  seem so bad does it?)

This post modern lunacy we see before us now is very sad news for America & the West. It didn't have to be this way, we have been betrayed by the leaders we allowed to grab power. Perhaps it is inevitable anyway, I don't know, perhaps Glubb Pasha is exactly right. Empires rise and empires fall.

Part of me blames the people as much as the leadership - we get the leaders we deserve. It's clear that poor leadership and poor parenting has failed us and our children. We also bear responsibility for the apathy that has permeated society. Sure life has become complicated and its hard to stay on top of the millions of issues that face modernity, but there is no excuse for the belief that we can do well enough in life despite exerting no particular effort to learn the truth behind the issues. By accepting what politicians, scientists and the media tell us without questioning or even having a modicum of curiosity - then indeed, we get the leadership we deserve.

What is really astonishing is how the U.S. has structured itself into a well educated elite ruling over the poor and stupid. But the odd part is that the really stupid are the well educated elite. What Obama says, what so-called Republican leaders say is more often than not vacuous nonsense. What the talking heads on TV say is often worse. They are not intellectual giants, they are master manipulators that's all. Our true intellectuals may be technically brilliant, this does not necessarily make them suitable to lead the world or even a car wash. What we end up with is the lunacy of ego.

It's the average people acting with the freedom of their own self interest that gets things figured out. Entire systems grow up and function without central planning, and if there is value it sustains, if not it dies. Government has a role in keeping the playing field level and mediating disputes through practical law making and through the courts if necessary. Unfortunately government is used to tilt the playing field in favor of its cronies and to feather the nest of the politicians.

They do it by creating one artificial crisis after another. The energy crisis, the population bomb, the S&L crisis, the education crisis, the Gulf War, the global warming crisis, the terrorism crisis, the Gulf War, the mortgage crisis, the debt crisis, the health insurance crisis, the looming entitlement crisis. Almost to a "t" these are actually a failure of leadership and made-up political crisis'. The solutions are nearly always worse than the problems and lo and behold the rich and connected come out smelling like a rose - every time.

Are we in last stages of decadence and decline? Are we in stage 7?

Economics is only part of the picture...

In past empires the people often thought most highly of the athletes, musicians, and actors, regardless of how corrupt these celebrities’ private lives were. Sound familiar? The precipitous decline of sexual morality, a dearth marriages in favor of “living together,” and a skyrocketing divorce rate all hurt family stability - the very bedrock of any healthy society. This is what happened to the upper class of the Roman Empire in the first-century A.D.  The birth rate declined, abortion and infanticide became common and family size was deliberately squelched. Is this that much different than what has happened here and now? It was clearly one reason for Rome’s decline. This is followed by gay sex becoming celebrated as publicly acceptable, such as it was among the ancient Greeks before Rome conquered them - is that not also happening here and now?

These patterns repeat, piling one on top the other. Maybe we can defy the odds. It's not looking too good.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Climate Change Deniers ARE Stupid, right?

Not to drag out the old standby "Climate Change" to fill a blog post, OK that's exactly what I'm doing... Below is a back and forth I had a year ago when I came across an article on some greenie website. The interesting thing was that the responders absolutely hit on every single contradictory cliche I accused them of while trying to come off as reasonable, intelligent and patient.

For instance, at one point one of them put down a bunch of links to studies (proving his point) and when I suggested I could find a bunch of links that would say exactly the opposite, he chided me saying links that any fool could post prove nothing.

I stayed on and had some fun with it anyway...

Note: I interjected a few comments in [brackets]


Craig said...

Oh for God's sake who is denying climate change? No one is denying climate change. Informed, educated, well-intentioned people disagree about "global warming" and more specifically what can or should be done about it - if anything. Treating skeptics as flat-earthers and fools only diminishes you. The climate is going to change, that's a fact. What is causing it is way too complicated to distill down to humanity burning fossil fuels, and specifically the emitting of carbon dioxide.

I am sick and tired of the debate being waved off as if we who question proposed drastic measures are knuckledragging protohumans. There is a legitimate debate to be had about what should be done.
Reply07/16/2012 at 01:01 PM

Ted Lee Eubanks said...

Craig, I wondered how long I would have to wait before one of the denier birders would speak up. You comment that "treating skeptics as flat-earthers and fools only diminishes you." Nonsense. Undermining you are the histrionics about the subject and your inability to actually offer a "legitimate debate." So here is the invitation, Craig. Gut it up and show us your data. Let me see the peer reviewed studies that would argue otherwise. Give us your case that argues against this being "way too complicated to distill down to humanity burning fossil fuels, and specifically the emitting of carbon dioxide." Don't just snivel. Debate.
Reply07/16/2012 at 02:00 PM

Ted Lee Eubanks said...

For those like Craig who are nonplussed by climate change (what a way to rain on a parade?), here are a few current papers related to the science rather than the politics. http://certiclean-certified.com/lcs/docs/2007_Climate_EOS_Projection.pdf  http://www.discoverlife.org/pa/or/polistes/pr/2010nsf_macro/references/Parmesan_and_Yohe2003.pdf  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC23258/

If you are not up to reading these papers, at least read this last one. As the authors state, "But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen." http://leisureguy.wordpress.com/2007/09/04/the-scientific-consensus-on-global-warming/

Craig, anthropogenic means caused by man. Your comment that climate change is "way too complicated to distill down to humanity burning fossil fuels" is contrary to the published science. We await your data.
Reply07/16/2012 at 09:49 PM

Craig said...

Gee, thanks for the vocabulary lesson on anthropogenic, I never knew... This is exactly what I mean, by the way, about the arrogant superiority complex you folks display toward anyone who differs with you. Consensus, scientific or not, isn't necessarily the truth. I can get a list together of nice links that will say exactly the opposite - if I must. (I'd start with http://wattsupwiththat.com/)

One question that has always bothered me and none of you can answer without a hockey stick. How did medieval man "cause" global warming? And even more important how was it bad for humanity? Everything I have read points to nothing but good coming out of warmer temperatures for health and well being of mankind.

But let's just say you're right about absolutely everything. What should we do that's practical, rational and dare I say actually doable. Wasting billions on carbon sequestration and other redistribution schemes is none of these. As Lomborg suggests the rational thing to do is to learn to adapt to warmer temperatures just as mankind learned to adapt to colder temperatures a few centuries ago. Science and technology will continue to advance just as it has since the dawn of the industrial revolution and practical solutions will arise - yes, before it's too late. Or, just in time for the next anthropogenic ice age.
Reply07/17/2012 at 02:12 PM

Joshua said...

Craig, a few things. First, your statement "Everything I have read points to nothing but good coming out of warmer temperatures for health and well being of mankind." You apparently need to read something a bit less biased. Warmer temperatures are likely to be disastrous to mankind for a number of reasons, starting with tropical diseases like malaria and dengue spreading over wider areas of the globe. Agricultural pests will similarly spread more readily from the tropics into temperate zones. Throw in increased demand for electricity and water, demands that many communities are already struggling to satisfy. That assumes that warmer temperatures actually happen. It's called "global" climate change, not "your neighborhood" climate change, for a reason. A temperature 5 degrees (F) warmer in any one state or even country would be barely noticeable. A global change of 5 degrees would just about end life as we know it. But a global change is not going to change every single place on the planet by the same amount; some areas will likely get cooler. And the changes of real significance are likely to be in areas indirectly affected by temperature, such as precipitation, evaporation, ocean currents, etc.

As for medieval man, they were certainly capable of burning wood, which on a per-unit-of-energy basis is thought to generate more climate change than burning fossil fuels. They also had livestock, considered a source of atmospheric heat-trapping gases including methane (more potent than carbon dioxide). They clear-cut many forests which releases a great deal of carbon from organic forms into the atmosphere. And really, the data on the medieval warming period indicates that it was milder than the current one, [no, sir, no it wasn't. Ugh] and possibly not even global. 

Adaptation is a fine idea for those who can do it. Unfortunately, adaptation requires money and resources. Many countries lack those. So the poorer countries wind up stuck with that other, less pleasant sort of adaptation, the Darwinian natural selection sort, where the fittest survive and everyone else dies. For the wealthy countries who have generated most of the greenhouse gases, and profited hugely from doing so, to fret about the monetary cost of carbon sequestration and other climate stabilization strategies, is not going to be received well if people in poorer countries are dying and think that we made most of our money while causing it. I'm also surprised how much that you, ostensibly a birder, emphasize the survival of humans. If climate change takes place as predicted,
we are going to see an avalanche of extinctions of birds, mammals, fish, and other life forms across the planet. Our adapting does nothing to help other species. Some of us care about that.

Not surprised that you mention Bjorn Lomborg. Unfortunately, the man's area of expertise is political science; both his Master's and Ph.D. were in that area. He lectured a bit on statistics within the political sciences, but never earned any degrees in that area. And everything that he knows about climatology and the rest of the natural sciences, he learned after he had already made up his mind to
oppose environmentalism, which allowed him (maybe conciously, maybe not) to cherry-pick the bits that supported his preconceived notions and conveniently overlook the parts that were contrary to his personal views. To get a degree in a field, you have to learn the entire thing, not just the parts that you find agreeable.

Which brings me to your claim "Consensus scientific or not isn't necessarily the truth. I can get a list together of nice links that will say exactly the opposite" A collection of links vs. scientific consensus. Links come from websites that Ted, or I, or you, or anyone else could put up. I could pull a bunch of numbers and graphs out of my behind and post it on a website. More to the point, I could post my opinions somewhere even if they were based on a complete misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the facts. Scientific consensus rides on publications, which each have to make it through a long and arduous process of quality control involving dozens of people before they make it into print. Misunderstandings and misinterpretations get corrected by this process. If any conclusion seems wrong, other scientists can repeat the steps of the study and try it out for themselves, and if they find out that the previous study was wrong, they can publish that too. Contrary to the conspiracy theories, it happens all the time. So, links vs. scientific consensus? Not much of a choice there.
Reply07/18/2012 at 10:39 AM

Craig said...

Why is everything I read biased? Because it disagrees with your "consensus"? Don't even try to tell me there hasn't been shenanigans played with the science behind these theories. There is a lot of money riding on making global warming scary - we must do something NOW. Billions have been thrown at scientists and there are billions more at stake. Scientists need to eat too and this research has been an incredible boon monetarily. Sorry if I don't trust the ultimate motives behind all this. (You of course are above reproach) Call me a conspiracy nut if you must.

My point is there is probably not much man can do - reasonably - that would make a difference considering the cost/benefit ratio. Mankind has adapted to climate change way before the evil ones drove their cars and fired up their power plants. Populations soared during the Medieval Warming Period and plummeted during the Little Ice Age - people suffered. I'm sorry but warmer is just better.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking all reasonable measures to mitigate the junk mankind throws up into the air. But going backward economically will never get us there - ever. How does a economically weaker "West" make the world a cleaner, greener place? Poverty stricken countries and emerging countries like China and India are belching cesspools, yet they were never going to be required to adhere to the standards the West was facing. In my view advancing science and technology from a position of economic strength is going to do far more good than forcing the West to reduce our wealth through direct confiscation and the high prices of false scarcity.

Joshua said...

Craig, to answer your question "Why is everything I read biased?" You said before that "Everything I have read points to nothing but good coming out of warmer temperatures for health and well being of mankind." There is an avalanche of evidence pointing to warmer temperatures being disastrous to mankind for a wide variety of reasons, some of which I already listed. If you have not read any of that material, then what you have read is presenting only one side of the issue. That is a dictionary definition of "biased".

A little light reading for you:
This is not a scientific article, but the author is at least familiar with the scientific basis of climate change and the predictions it makes for human welfare. I do not necessarily agree with 100% of the article's content, but it's certainly closer to reality than what you've been reading. The population numbers from the medieval warming period and little ice age do not apply to our current situation. World population then was a tiny fraction of what it is now. Populations boomed during the warming period because we were making advances in agriculture, medicine, exploration. Populations plummeted after the warming period because, oh yeah, the Black Death, among other things. The climate was not driving the population changes.

If you really want to stay buried in your conspiracy theories, then nothing I say will penetrate the sand in which you've buried your head. But just look at your own statements like "There is a lot of money riding on making global warming scary" and think about that. How much money is there in making global warming *not* scary? Several million times more. Scientists' grants are a pittance relative to the revenue pulled in by the industries that extract, process, sell, and consume fossil fuels. [BS, the money shoveled into "climate change" by governments alone dwarfs that of industry by orders of magnitude, add the free media trumpets and you're comparing apples to blue berries]

Now, if you want to make the arguments about affordability of the various schemes to stabilize the climate, or about the fairness of deals that demand the West make changes while exempting rapidly developing countries with far higher populations, you might have valid arguments there. Unfortunately, any points you make in those areas have been sorely undermined by your disputing the scientific evidence. When you make claims that are unsupported by the facts, it casts doubt on your opinions in the areas where facts may actually exist to support your case. [There you go, the science is settled - the facts are in. Not quite]
Reply07/24/2012 at 01:15 AM

Craig said...

Conspiracy theories??? Ever hear of ClimateGate? Cmon. There have been numerous fallicies that have come to light as the pushers ramp up the fear mongering. I am neither a scholar nor a scientist (probably obvious by now) but I am a bullshit detector. All up and down the cast of characters pushing this notion are bullshit artists and profiteers along with the serious scientists. These folks have the megaphone of the major media and the money of superpower governments so the constant drumbeat against the "oil companies" and the "Koch Brothers" bank rolling the opposition is falling on my sand-filled deaf ears.

There is BS and dishonesty on both sides of this debate. Just like anything else identified and embraced by the left-side of the political spectrum the elements of truth and rightousness are buried in the rubble of the sledge hammer they (always) employ. This is probably why the opposition is so adamant. Cooler heads and wiser men could probably come to a compromise that would work for both sides. Me, I still think technological advancements (not friggin' windmills) will make most of the pollution/spewing elements of this debate just go away. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but eventually.


The sheer arrogance and condescension of these guys is what struck me. I continued with this far longer than I should have or needed to. Neither ceded any of my points to any degree - they, along with the science and the scientists were above reproach and had nothing but pure scientific motives. These guys along with all the other anti-capitalist crowd fails to acknowledge that it is capitalism that is the engine that drives science, scientific advancements and scientific progress for all kinds of reasons. All of which needs the power and the strength of strong economies - economies that rely on increasing energy consumption. I say clean it up where ever possible, but to purposely kill the economies of advanced societies for this theory is the epitome of denial. It isn't going to happen.

(AKA Craig)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Roosevelt Security

With all this talk about ObamaCare also known the Affordable Care Act something serious is getting lost in the noise. As bad as ObamaCare seems to be it pales in comparison to the culturally pervasive and universally accepted Roosevelt Security Act. ObamaCare could only hope to be a tenth as successful as the Roosevelt Security Act.

Never heard of the Roosevelt Security Act? How about Johnsoncare or Johnsonaid? Of course not. That's not what they are called. Neither Roosevelt or Johnson would have stood for it, not for one minute. ObamaCare, it just seems so damn pretentious. I realize that it didn't start at the White House, but the President has embraced the moniker wholeheartedly. Of course now his detractors are hoping he wears it around his neck like the albatross it is, but he could have insisted the news media called it by it's rightful name - or at least never allowed his personal army of talking heads in and out of government from referring to the ACA by its nickname.

This phenomenon of derisively re-labeling programs and legislative bills probably started in earnest with overly cute nickname given to Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a missile defense system. It came to be known as Star Wars - brought to you by Ronnie Raygun. But President Reagan didn't call it Star Wars, no one in his administration called it that.

As for the reality of what ObamaCare is and how it came to be it probably should be perpetually tagged to one of the most partisan and constitutionally subversive figures to ever come to power in the history of the United States. Its seemingly inevitable failure should serve as a lesson, but it probably won't. More likely it will serve as a model to get what you want in Washington. F--k the opposition party!

Was this legislation really written by the health insurance industry? No one knows, because there were no negotiations, there were no hearings on the final bill. It was finally rammed through the Senate on Dec 24th 2009 on the last day of the session without a single Republican vote. No one had read the bill that they passed - no one. Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said "you'll have to pass it to see what's in it". Let's just imagine this happening when Roosevelt was pushing Social Security, or with Johnson when Medicare or the Civil Rights Act was passed. Something this big needed careful consideration, give and take, and bi-partisan support.

Even after it was the law of the land, upheld by the Supreme Court and frankly inevitable do you suppose it became transparent public policy? No and hell no. So paranoid was the Obama Administration they held the whole thing close to the vest - failed to hire the best and the brightest to craft and develop a system that would touch the lives of every single American in one way or another. What were they afraid of? Well, I think they were afraid of the truth coming out about the total BS it really is until it was too late. I'm afraid it's too late.

So far more people have lost their insurance than have been added to ObamaCare's roles. It doesn't look like it will get better anytime soon. The technical issues with the website and the integration with the states and the insurance carriers is just the tip of the iceberg. Its success hinges on getting enough people - particularly young, healthy people - signed up to offset the cost of the poorest and sickest. It doesn't seem it's likely to happen, at least not until it is buried financially.

Some believe that was the plan all along. The system will get in so deep that a government rescue will be in order - that will mean a single payer system which of course will be the Federal government - the one institution the most ill-equipped to handle it. This doesn't really sound like a good deal for the health insurance industry, does it?

The true believers will pin this failure on those evil Republicans. Sorry folks, that dog won't hunt. Even if some of the provisions in the law are old Republican ideas it doesn't mean the Republicans had any say in this monstrosity. They were constantly and continually shut out. I'm not saying the ever vigilant strategy of trying to overturn or de-fund the law was good and right, its just that human nature eventually clicks on when you been whipped and kicked to the curb over and over.

Yes, by all means and measures there were - are - serious problems with access and cost in the American health system. There are some good ideas - even Republican ideas - to help the situation, but I am doubting Obama and the hard left were ever interested in fiddling around the edges where experimentation might unearth a good model. Total control is the only goal.

ObamaCare is a disaster precisely because it was designed to be a problem not the solution. It may be too late to fix it if the make up of Washington doesn't change soon. I just don't see that happening.


Friday, November 01, 2013

Hell no GMO will never go

A product comes along - maybe a process is a better word - a process comes along that solves a number of problems plaguing modern man, huge problems, and instead of rejoicing and singing its praises the reactionary left cooks up a boogieman and riles the masses into a frenzy.

Once again the pro-science crowd who revels in accusing their religious and conservative opponents of being knuckle-dragging luddites ignore the facts, ignore the actual science and promulgate lies to further an anti-human agenda. GMO derangement rivals climate change hysteria for the pinnacle of all manufactured doomsday scenario's.

Just as the concept of global warming has caused the average person to change his or her behavior (as well as lightening his or her wallet) the reactionary left has succeeded in turning the advantaged class against a literal miracle that would help the world's disadvantaged in a most profound way.

GMO food and GMO crops have already changed the world for the better. Not one person has been poisoned, not one stream has been polluted, not one bird has fallen from the sky because of GMO. It may surprise you that every respected scientific organization that has studied GM crops including such institutions as the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization, and others have found GM crops both safe for humans for and the environment. Yes, it's impossible to prove anything is completely without risk, it's worth noting that none of these organizations is in the tank for big agribusiness, yet they all agree that there’s simply no evidence that it’s dangerous to eat genetically modified foods. Notoriously skeptical science-oriented publications including Nature and Scientific American have also concluded there’s just no evidence that GMOs are bad for us.

So why the hysteria. Frankly, excellent marketing by the same types who brought you two terms of Barack Obama, the tar and feathering of the Tea Party and conservatism in general. While both sides cherry-pick evidence to support the positions they expound, the left slathers on the pure emotion of scare tactics that seem to work every time.

So successful have been the scare mongers that entire continents have banned GMO's. Ignoring actual benefits that could save millions from malnutrition and death the scare tactics are having an effect on the very nations and regions that could benefit the most. GMO's offer the farmer, any farmer, a cost benefit by reducing chemical usage, fuel usage and potentially larger yields due to less loss to insects. There is also the benefit to the poorly nourished by the injection of nutrients - such as vitamin A into rice - grown in regions where the deficiencies have a profound impact on the poor.

It would seem that with 7 billion humans to feed with a couple billion of them going hungry day after day that the benefits of GM food would outweigh the bull horn people. But it doesn't look that way. I think there a couple of reasons for this that have nothing to do with rational arguments. First, it is very hard to get the masses to rally around big -business. Pop culture in the West has made big-business literally toxic, deserved or not. And yes sometimes it is deserved. I will not stand up for some of the practices of agri-giant Monsanto. They use blackmail tactics and lawyers to gain and maintain market share in a way that would make the mafia's protection racket look like a boy scout jamboree. Business does what business can get away with and Monsanto and the other giant agri-business players have the best politicians money can buy. It doesn't necessarily mean their products are dangerous.

Secondly, many nations and regions see big agri-business as an extension of the United States. Cutting off your nose to spite your face is a long held tradition when it comes to protecting the home town team from being swallowed or crushed. American business can be a bit of a bull in a China shop so to speak. It still doesn't mean their motives beyond making profit are purposely destructive. That makes no business sense at all.

Finally, just like with "Climate Change" my belief is that the leftists have a far more sinister set of motives than any evil corporation that has ever existed. The anti-GMO crowd rather than being out to protect humanity from evil is bent of the reduction of the human population by orders of magnitude from today's numbers. GMO has the potential of allowing us to feed the world, pulling billions out of mere subsistence to thriving abundance - just as a warmer world is better for the survival of human beings than a colder one.

I don't think GMO foods or crops will go away anymore than nuclear energy did with a similar onslaught. However, poor safety practices in places like Chernobyl and Fukushima give the doomsayers ammunition, and rightly so. GM products have to be tested and studied with extreme vigilance - and that is the sliver lining provided by the rabid opposition.

Put that GMO tobacco in your pipe and smoke it!


PS: I have no stock (that I know of) in any agri-business. It's not that I trust big business all that much, I just distrust leftists that much more

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saving the world... On your dime

I am constantly amazed at the parallels between socialism/liberalism and Christian religiosity. It's all the more curious since hard core socialists and liberals seek to destroy religiosity (and Christianity in particular). As if Christians haven't done a good enough job all by themselves.

All good theologians, priests and pastors should be reminding the flock that we, the children of the Kingdom of Heaven, are in this world but not of this world. We are of God, children of God, whose job it is to bring to this world, here and now, as much of the Kingdom as we can - to do his will on Earth as it is in Heaven. So too for the progressives, so alienated from America as to feel themselves in it but not of it. Politically their sensibilities lay with European or Canadian socialists much more than with middle America. In their hearts they believe America can be redeemed, not by Jesus mind you, but by socialism via a nanny-state government.

So convinced of their mission, seeing themselves as saintly, pious and anointed they alone stand between all that is righteous and the very nexus of evil - the conservatives, the patriots and the capitalists in Red State America. Since ordinary people cannot be allowed to think and act in their own best interest it is up to the progressives to lay out (and insist on) the course for your life. In order to complete the progressive kingdom of heaven on earth they, the progressive elites, must control where you live, what you do, what you eat, what you drive, what you earn and particularly what you say, lest you say something politically incorrect. Remember, they do this all for your own good.

On top of all that they absolutely need to control what you think. Honestly it's just best that you don't think - let them do the thinking for you it's easier that way. Because if you stopped to think about what they "do" for you then you might start to realize that what they actually do is destroy what is good. Good intentions aside, their solutions, their antidotes, their plans don't work. They never work. And that's the rub, it doesn't matter what the results are. Results are in the past, the past doesn't matter - only the future matters!

Reasonable people have known for eons, that humanity consists of dual natured beings, with good and evil coexisting in each of us. The progressives, however, believe that society with its individualism, capitalism, class-ism, sexism and racism is what's evil and the people by nature are inherently good. When they start with this faulty premise they are denying human nature itself. All their good intentions and righteousness fall flat when the results of their "works" destroy what is good and leave wreckage in its wake. What it means is that they end up hurting the very people they claim to be helping. As if by making society and the culture perfectly equal people will be equal too.

Religion or Christianity if you will, knows that mankind is flawed, fallen, consisting of dual natures. It also wants people to fly right, just like the progressives do. Full of good intentions as well, the Church offers help, spiritual as well as physical help. The Church knows what you should do and how you should act for a good life here on Earth and more importantly for your eternal salvation. The Church also screws up to be sure, however, religion is wholly voluntary and voluntarily funded (in America). Not so for the progressive utopia. It is funded by you and me and a ton of debt. It is also not in the least bit voluntary. We are forced by the power of the state - which they control - to comply with the progressive vision of utopia regardless if it works or not.

Oh, it's not as bad as all that, you say. Oh, but it is. Just look at two areas dominated by liberal/progressive ideology - education K through university and social welfare.

No one can possibly argue that progressives do not control every aspect of the education landscape in the U.S. They have a literal stranglehold on funding and mandates. It dominates all local budgets. In the case of post-secondary education and the complete and utter take-over of the student loan program by the federal government the debt being piled on the next generation is soul crushing - and unsustainable.

Public education in America is in terrible shape, almost no one argues with that. Public school teachers send their own kids to private schools at a far higher rate than the average parent. Why? They know public schools fail children. And it's not the lack of money - it's a lack of real education. Self esteem, ecology and social justice issues dominate the classes were history and critical thinking are taught. At university liberal ideology dominates everything. Any ideas not straight down the socialist line are shouted down, often by the students themselves, so indoctrinated by this stage in their education. An open forum for differing ideas is not welcome on most campuses.

However the most damaging aspect of the public schools is not necessarily the curriculum, as bad as that is, it's that the kids and their parents are held accountable to nothing - not much is expected of them. Not even that they graduate. This is the crux of the problem as well with social welfare and public aid. Nothing what so ever is expected of them. Yet the recipients of social welfare expect that check, that EBT card the rent subsidy etc etc without them having to lift a finger. In the 90's welfare reform swept the nation and for a while things got better. It has now slid back. The real issue is the generation over generation trap such government welfare programs set. By extending it to the children of the children of the children it creates a perpetual dependency that ultimately serves society very poorly.

What drives socialism and the liberally minded? Is it the desire to help the less fortunate, save people from poverty, further social justice? Perhaps, for some of them. The fact of the matter it's about control and power. For 1400 years it was about control and power for the Christian religion too. For the last few hundred years there has been a changing of the guard. The Church is slowly returning to a pre-Constantine Jesus centered paradigm. Socialism is gradually grabbing control of every consequential organization and bending it to serve it's cause - a cause of simple domination.

In the wake of all this so-called care for social justice is human destruction. Many public schools as previously mentioned are terrible, pouring out millions of uneducated pre-adults. The urban black community is in shambles as a result of the very welfare state created to "help" them. City, state and federal budgets are busted by social spending (including corporate welfare). The baby boom generation set to retire will drain every dime of the nation's wealth because the social security systems were poorly handled and the money spent faster than it came in. The causes of environmentalism, unionism, incentivism, crony capitalism and over-regulation - all backed by liberals and socialists - have helped drive the wealth builders overseas depriving Americans decent jobs and driving them right into the arms of socialism's handout parade.

Unlike the Church's works of charity and it's voluntary social welfare system, government socialism pays for it by taking from those who earn it, filtering through government systems that are designed to perpetuate the poverty and then hand out the rest to those who do nothing - whether or not they can work.

Socialism is a religion where the elites are the gods. Having such a low opinion of the masses forces them to take control for the good of society. Some are actually sincere, they actually care, but don't trust the rubes enough to make good decisions. Others just want the power to control and find it easier through the avenues of government than the world of business. The multinational capitalists with their Cheshire grins play both sides against the middle, placating each just enough to rake in their billions.

In the end there seems to be no escape from socialist domination of the world. The Church is retreating, for better or for worse. The real blame is laid on the loyal opposition in every country socialism dominates, in particular here in America. The Republicans and conservatives cannot seem to articulate, well, well, anything. As Michael Walsh said in a recent article over at Unexplained Premises on PJMedia.com:

Any party that cannot successfully sell freedom and personal liberty doesn’t deserve power. The trick will be to explain — by word and deed — that the Democrats’ Manichean choice (Big Brother or the orphanage) is a false one, that less can be more, and that the restoration of a Republic of self-reliant citizens will benefit all Americans — not simply the government class and its clients.

That pretty much sums it up.


Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Hero's Savior

Check out more of my art here:
 "Hero's Savior"
20 x 24 acrylic
by Craig Willms

This was commissioned by my friend and co-worker Al. A long time fireman Al has lots of great stories of his time in the hot coals and falling ashes. He came up with the idea based on 2 different paintings he liked. I cannot claim the concept or the original idea, I unfortunately don't know who the artists are.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Hey Ho Western Civ will die slow

For the last 70 plus years you have been lied to. You may say, yeah so, tell me something I don't know. The thing is we have grown accustomed to being lied to by every one (even ourselves) that we're just as likely shrug it off than to even care about the consequences. The consequences are huge, so huge in fact you don't even see it when it's stomping on your feet and grabbing your wallet. America is on the very precipice of being lost and most Americans are too busy watching Breaking Bad or Dancing with the Stars to even give a damn.

What are you talking about fool?

Conspiracy theories of course. You know, the Soviet take over of the U.S.

Huh? The Soviet Union is dead, man get with the times.

Is it? 

Many years ago the list of communist goals for America was culled form a book called  "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen and brought to the attention of Congress in 1963. The reality of what has happened to this country in the interim is a testament to the power of the long view held by the true believers. In 2008 they had reached the very pinnacle by putting a neophyte (and true believer) in the White House with the help of a media complex that literally looked other way or outright lied to ensure his victory - twice. 

There have been bumps in road, I would say the era's of Eisenhower and Reagan slowed things down a bit, but it has been a slow steady march that has lead us to the deathbed of the West. It is amazing how many "goals" the communists (or socialists if you prefer) have achieved. 

I present nothing new here that we haven't heard before, but it doesn't mean the hand wringing over these cultural losses are any less serious especially when viewed together. Here in no particular order are the biggies...

- Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks. 

-  Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

- Permit free trade between all nations regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

- Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

- Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

- Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.
- Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
- Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

- Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
- Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man." 

- Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
- Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use "united force" to solve economic, political or social problems. 

  • - Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."
  • - Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."
  • Since all of these things have come to fruition and then some it's hard to look at this and say - well these things represent a natural progression from a under educated agrarian/religious paradigm to a modern view of things. That's rubbish. This was planned. Planned by the Soviets a century ago and carried out by a carefully cultivated progressive movement over the decades through emotional arguments. This is how we've wound up in today's politically correct, multicultural, morally relativistic, socialist swamp. 
  • It was born in the 1930's under the Roosevelt administration. 

  • We all know the greatest generation looks on Roosevelt as the Savior of the Nation. Was he? Roosevelt worked and lived side-by-side with a "co-president," Harry Hopkins and others, knowing or suspecting that Hopkins and a whole cadre of Federal officials were almost certainly communists. Hopkins probably determined much of U.S. policy for the during that time. In the early part of the twentieth century communism was not seen as the horror show we now know it is. Today, as the last of that generation dies off a few sober eyes have taken a look at what really happened during the 1930's and how World War II was fought to provide an edge not to the U.S. and it's western allies, but for the benefit of Stalin and the Soviets. Since the social progressive movement survives to this day the push back of these revelations is fierce.
  • The real shocker is that Joe McCarthy was right about all his conclusions about communist infiltration of the government (and Hollywood and thus the culture). It unsettling to say the least that most every thing we've been led to believe about America, about the goals of presidents and representatives, about our very belief system has just about all been lies.
  • The fact is Marxism has made more of an impact on the culture in the United States than most people want to believe. This while the media and academia actively promote Progressive Marxism as a myth. If we are ever to recover our Constitutional Republic as it was founded, we must be told the truth. What is the truth? Would we even know it if we heard it? I don't know...
  • So are we to be cynics about everything? Are we to shrug it off and plow forward with our own lives and let the chips fall where they may? Good questions. Simply putting politicians in office who claim to be against social progressivism (read Marxism) seems pointless since they are for the most part liars themselves. 
  • I would say first stop lying to yourself. Then gently, with kindness call out lies when you hear them. That's all one person can do.
  • Ugh

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Inferiority Complex: European Americans vs American Americans

    It's not exactly news that Americans actually live in the Un-united States of America. We have Red States and Blue States, East Coast and Left Coast and whole lot of red-necks in between. The electorate as a whole over the last four or five national elections has been very close to a 50/50 split between the two parties. Then there are millions who don't consider themselves Republicans or Democrats - in fact those people may now be in the majority. But the real divide is between those who think we should be more like Europe and those who think we should be America, ruggedly independent and unique.

    The Media and Hollywood mostly fall on the America-should-be-more-like-Europe side, and have been for decades. I think back to the James Bond movie in the 70's "Live and Let Die" where England was, of course, well represented by James Bond - the dashing Roger Moore in this case. America was represented by Sheriff J.W. Pepper a tobacco chewing red-neck Louisiana lawman. Actor Clifton James did an admirable job portraying every stereotype imaginable of the fat, stupid American. This treatment of a southern hick lawman was not written into the movie by accident. It was done to create a contrast, and that it did.

    Millions of Americans see Sheriff J.W. Pepper as an apt representation of what America looks like to the rest of the world - and they may be right. I don't think it's accurate, but who am I to argue what others think.

    I doubt Europeans care what I think of the trajectory of European culture. It makes me sad actually. It seems to me it's a culture that has decided on suicide. It's sad because so much of what makes America what it is comes straight from our European heritage. Many American's see our brash arrogance as an unfounded superiority complex while at the same time holding an attitude of our inferiority to our elders in the old world. The supposed European maturity and reasonableness stands in stark in contrast to the cowboy culture of can-do, no holds barred America.

    Yes, there is probably some truth in that assessment, but what difference does it make when the writing is so clearly on the wall. In two crucial and critical areas Europe is throwing in the towel and therefore the wonderfulness of the mature and erudite European culture will cease to exist anyway. First, white Europeans have stopped having babies. No babies, no future. Having babies is a sign that the people believe in the culture and in the future. Obviously Europeans don't. Second, Europe has decided culturally on energy starvation. Without abundant energy and plenty of babies there can be no great future.

    In America the pragmatic and sober in government and business have thus far thwarted the daffy Al Gore-rites. The shale gas and shale oil boom are beginning to transform the largest energy consumer into a legitimate big-time energy producer. If the Obama team can be held off for a few more years, there's an actual shot at something that has been thought an impossibility. That being energy independence from the Middle East. Now, I understand the global chess board will never actually let that happen, but having real leverage is plus for the U.S.

    On the other score unlike much of Europe the U.S. is still a very religious country. Like it or not religion seems to help people believe in a future worth living. Religion is also family oriented and so is having babies. It's not to say there isn't a problem, white Americans aren't having enough babies either, but certainly far more than Europeans.

    America is poised to grow, to achieve, to be relevant if Washington politics doesn't derail it, however I'm not so confident in the great European cultures. Right now Europe is a huge and relevant market, but the trajectory in terms of population, debt and energy is frightening.

    Many Americans - the European Americans - see the health care systems and welfare systems in most European countries as something to be admired, without opening their eyes to the fact that they are unsustainable. Neither are they sustainable in this country without strong and robust economic growth. Current policies on both continents are not fostering strong and robust economic growth. Energy seems to be the difference - if the U.S. doesn't (completely) fall prey to the "climate change" insanity gripping Europe then America stands a chance.

    How obvious does it have to be that alternative energy is a joke. They like to call it sustainable, but it cannot, will not ever sustain a modern economy. Wind and solar, both strategies that Europe has bet the farm on, are never going to be a consistent high output solutions. A child should be able to see that, yet the powers that be and apparently the people of Europe are willing to pay outrageous costs for some kind of feel good principle. Wind is just plain inconsistent and the Sun, well news flash, the Sun sets everyday - for many hours at a time.

    The act of labeling CO2 as a dangerous pollutant may help them justify this insanity. It is not a pollutant but rather a vital element necessary for life on Earth.Water vapor is by far the greatest of all greenhouse gases, however mankind and his SUV's don't put water vapor into the atmosphere. Their SUV's do put CO2 into the air and thus the irrational focus on a trace element.

    Sure plenty of American's believe this tripe too, but so far rational men have not allowed it to kill our future - so far. It's no coincidence that a number of large European companies - many from Germany - are building huge facilities in the U.S. precisely because of energy costs. Among the companies setting up shop in the U.S. we see Airbus going to Mobile, Alabama. Siemens, to Charlotte, North Carolina. BASF, to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Michelin, to Greenville, South Carolina. BMZ GmbH, to Virginia Beach. SO.F.TER Group, to Lebanon, Tennessee. Prufrex Innovative Power Products, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Thomas Magnete GmbH to Brookfield, Wisconsin. Wacker Polysilicon, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kayser Automotive, to Fulton, Kentucky. British-based Rolls Royce to Prince George County, Virginia for producing engine parts. The Kűbler to Charlotte, North Carolina. The Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine AG to Corpus Christi, Texas. Royal Dutch Shell to Pennsylvania.

    That's a veritable who's who of  major European companies. The German government in particular has committed to alternative energy, to the point of doubling down in recent years. Their corporations have taken notice. They may argue that lower labor costs can be found in many of these southern U.S. states, but even lower labor costs can be had in any number of places - it's reliable energy at reasonable costs that are attracting these German titans. I have also heard rumblings that some American companies are seriously considering bringing manufacturing home from China for the very same reason.

    None of this will ever convince European American's that America need not emulate European socialism. It's not say there aren't many, many admirable things about Europe. The rat race pace of modern American life borders on it's own form of insanity, but we will mature, because our culture will survive. It's not that certain that great cultures of Europe will survive in any recognizable form.