Dr. Forbush Thinks

Look at the world through the eyes of Dr. Forbush. He leads you through politics, religion and science asking questions and attempting to answer them....

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Location: California, United States

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How the Republican Coalition Works

I love this story because it illustrates how the Republican coalition of the religious right and the wealthy conservatives worked on the issue of Indian Casinos. The Indian Casinos paid Ralph Reed to stir up the anti-Gambling religious conservatives in order to quell the gambling competition. The established casinos and the religious right both win. Well, unless you really believe that gambling is bad….


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Communist Threat

When I grew up in the middle of the Cold War the fear of nuclear war came to mind from time to time. This was mainly because the Soviet Union and the United States had so many nuclear weapons that they could destroy each other, and the innocent bystanders many times over. The “many times over” phrase was always puzzling. Actually the motivation itself was puzzling.

I tried many times to understand why two countries would like to destroy each other and the world, civilization as we know it rather than let the other side “win.” Something was so important that civilization could not go on with the “other side” surviving.

One time I asked my dad what the Soviet Union would do that was so bad that it would be worth living. Of course my dad tried to explain the horrors of living under the rule of the Soviet Union. “For example, he said, you would not be able to have a car that you liked. Instead, everyone in the country would have exactly the same kind of car. And, it would be black!” Oh, horrors, I could never be seen in a BLACK car.

Obviously, my dad didn’t know that very few people in the Soviet Union had a black car, and they were in the Communist Party. I was young and I was trying to understand the world. Surely people wouldn’t want to destroy the Soviet Union, and risk being destroyed ourselves because they might make us all drive around in black cars.

Some time later I pointed out to my dad that there was inherent unfairness in the American economic system. Some people down the street had a boat and went water skiing every weekend in the summer, and they went snow skiing every weekend in the winter. We were lucky to get a steak on Sundays. I pointed out that some people who lived in the poor section of town would pull a knife on you if you looked like you might be carrying cash. Why would they risk being put in jail just to get a few bucks for a six pack of beer? I pointed out that there were plenty of things that needed to be repaired in their area of town, and if we just paid them to fix up their section of town they would have their money for their beer and they would be living in a nicer section of town. Of course, my dad told me I was talking like a Communist. And this made me wonder once again, what is so wrong about helping the poor that our country would risk nuclear war and the destruction of the planet?

Well, I was listening to an old time radio program from the 1950s. The show was called, “I Was a Communist for the FBI.” It was about a guy who went under cover to infiltrate the Communists in America so they couldn’t spread their evil Communism around our county. In one episode they portrayed the Communists simply as anti-American. One plan was to use a Red Cross blood drive to recruit new members to the Communist Party. But, the Communists were against the Red Cross, and therefore they could not help the Red Cross because of principle alone. So, after the blood was collected they needed to find a way to destroy the blood so the Red Cross couldn’t use it. They came up with an elaborate plan to hijack the blood truck. Of course, the guy working as an under cover agent was caught in the moral dilemma between blowing his cover and destroying the blood. But was it really worth destroying the world in order to prevent the Communists from destroying the Red Cross? And, was the Red Cross really working against the principles of Communism where the goal was merely to redistribute the wealth?

Then I was thinking about the old cry of “Godless Communist.” I actually thought of this when Ann Coulter brought up the accusation of liberals being “Godless.” Was the Cold War really a religious war? Obviously America wouldn’t wage a purely religious war, but maybe the threat of the Communists was two-fold. Maybe the wealthy didn’t like the idea of redistribution of wealth, and the religious thought that they were fighting the Godless Communists. Maybe this is why the coalition of the Right Wing Extremists has become so strong after the fall of Communism. They no longer have the evil Communists, so they redirected their hatred toward the godless liberals that offer the same fear factor. Like anything else this was just an insight into our world that doesn’t really make much sense on the surface.

But, I am not the only one thinking along these lines. The other day I was listening to a political talk show. An expert on Middle East strategy was explaining how the threat of Islamic Fascism grew during the Cold War. She said that we supported them in Afghanistan and in Saudi Arabia and around the world. I knew that we had supported the insurgents in Afghanistan, because they were fighting the Soviets. But, as the speaker told us, I didn’t know that we supported these religious sects around the world because they had religion, not like those Godless Communists. Apparently, during the 1950s and 1960s the United States had calculated that religion was better than Communism, so we sent money top these groups in any country that we feared might fall to the Godless Communists. And since we feared Communism in just about any country we might have been sending money to these groups in Italy and Germany as well.

But, now it finally makes sense. The Cold War was a religious war and it brought the extreme religious conservatives in the US into a tight union with the wealthy. It was worth risking the entire world in a nuclear battle, because it was about religion, which covers both life and death. And, the victory in the Cold War freed up the imagination of these people to attack the liberals in the United States with the same anti-Communist rhetoric. And groups of people who are willing to risk nuclear war that could destroy the world certainly are dangerous, and even worse when you are their enemy.

It is about time that this country takes the risk of the Religious Conservative Threat seriously.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Monday, June 26, 2006

George W Bush Looks Like a Fool, Once More

Today at the White House George W Bush was quoted in an answer to a question about Global Warming spurred by the recent unusual weather in Washington DC saying the following.

"I have said consistently," answered Bush, "that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary … to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil…"

Bill Blakemore of ABC News reports this as another occurrence of George W Bush claiming that scientists are still debating whether Global Warming is manmade or a natural phenomenon. But Mr. Blakemore finally does the right thing; he calls the Presidents bluff and tells us that President Bush is with the Flat Earth society in his opinion. President Bush tells us that we need to get beyond this debate, when the truth is that he looks like a fool supporting the doubt being spread by oil executives for 15 years while the rest of the scientific community agrees that the only way to combat global warming is to stop emitting CO2 and plant trees to absorb as much CO2 as we can out of the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels is playing with fire, heating the Earth into a climate that humans have never lived in.

For too long, the oil companies have spent millions of dollars in paying “scientists” to create doubt in the public’s collective mind that global warming is not the fault of the increase in man made CO2 from burning fossil fuels. But respected scientists have been say that it isn’t a question for debate any longer. The heating is above the “noise” level and the question is now what can we do about this problem?

We need to tell the President to stop pretending that there is a debate, it makes him look like a fool.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Politics in America is all about the marketing. This is because the entire American culture is based on marketing. If the average person would stop for a minute after they watch an ad on TV for the latest movie and say to themselves, “It will be out on DVD in three months, I can wait,” then American would be one step closer to being a thinking society. Instead, what we have in America the reacting society. Americans are influenced to buy sugar water with flavoring in the hopes of meeting the opposite sex, simply because they have been told that this will happen. In a society where the majority of Americans sit in front of the TV watching ads every 10 minutes, how could we expect anything different?

The truth is out there, but few Americans have the motivation to look for it.

Politicians from both political parties have been using the media to convey their messages for quite some time now. In the past it was always assumed the politicians would bend the truth a bit by not mentioning certain sticky issues. But, it was generally assumed that any politician that lied would certainly been exposed as a liar and become unelectable. This was one method that our Democracy could be protected from propaganda and deception.

The founding fathers worried that the masses could be incited to riot and virtually any law and order could be destroyed if the majority willed it. This was why only white, male, property owners were given the right to vote, because they had a stake in maintaining the status quo.

Since that time the rational for having a stake in maintaining the status quo had come into question quite a few times. The status quo was believed to be flawed and other members of the society had a right to express their views and make society fairer for everyone. It was believed that education would be the key to maintaining law and order and preventing a total upheaval of the current system. Therefore, by educating our children it was intended that our children would learn to love the democratic republic that they inherited and make sure they maintain it.

Unfortunately, I believe our education system has not taught the value of our current system over the last forty years and we have a population who no longer understands the system of government we have, or the purpose of many pieces of the system. This lack of education could simply be exploited by those who care to change the system for their own good. And, I believe that this has been happening over the past twenty some years as the conservatives have spread lies and deception to those young adults who never learned to understand and appreciate how government functions.

Of course we all know how Ronald Reagan came to power to shrink government, and he cut taxes and raised spending which mainly helped the wealthy class by letting the wealthy keep their money and taxing the middle class in the long turn to pay back the debt. The spending was believed to help the economy, but those who made money were mainly the wealthy while Ronald Reagan fought to lower wages by keeping unemployment high and then adding more jobs to the service economy. The intention was to create a bit of worry among the middle class, so they would work for lower pay in order to keep their jobs instead of loosing their jobs and be forced to work for minimum wage at McDonalds or other low pay service industry job. Over time we have seen the results of this policy to make the wealthy richer while the poor and middle class get poorer. In order to catch the wealth bandwagon one needs to invest in stocks and bonds and own property.

The 401K and IRA plans of the Reagan administration actually played in to this strategy as well. These plans encourage the average employee to contribute to a retirement plan that would be protected from taxes until it is withdrawn. In this way many people who never owned stock before have been able to own stock. This is good, but if you have a large number of people purchasing stock on a regular basis it is quite clear that these regular purchases create demand where it hadn’t existed before and force the stock prices higher. But, just because stock prices go higher does not mean that stock value goes up at the same rate. Those who own stock early in the scheme will be able to sell their low value stock at a higher price than they would otherwise be able to. This type of activity certainly may have lead to the stock market bubbles we have seen.
But, conservatives argue that this is great for the average American, while study after study still shows that average Americans are actually getting poorer while wealthy Americans are getting richer.

In fact, if you look at the conservative policies as a whole over the last twenty years they seem to be creating a wealthy group of Americans at the top of the economic scale, while they are creating a group of cheap labor at the bottom of the economic pool. If we add to this the corruption of the conservatives in both industry and government by looking at the examples of ENRON, Global Crossing, Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay and the others we begin to see a picture of America moving closer to the Mexico. It would certainly be ironic if America were to continue down this path while Mexico and other Latin American countries begin to shed their legacy of the elite wealthy class and government corruption.

Unless the American people begin to draw themselves away from the media that markets to them and they begin to think for themselves America won’t be much different than Mexico in a few short years. Maybe this is how the conservatives plan to solve the immigration issue, with Americans migrating to Mexico looking for freedom and employment.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Friday, June 23, 2006

Karl Rove is Back with a Vengeance

Now in the world of Karl Rove and backroom dealings of the Republican Party no one can know exactly what has happened and how people have been influenced. But through the little bit of information that we do know from the Jack Abramoff case and the Tom Delay case and the Valerie Plame case and the some of the critical unified Republican voting in Congress that Karl Rove unifies the party through intimidation. And, we had witnessed that while Karl Rove was under close investigation in the Valerie Plame investigation Karl laid low and the Republican congress lost some of its uniformity.

So, when I heard that the Voting Rights Act was no longer going to be renewed I knew that something must have happened behind the scenes. In fact, everything was set for the renewal of this legislation until late Thursday. Suddenly some key members of the Republican Party changed their minds and the law will not come up for a vote until, … until what?

It turns out that some key Texans believe that the voting rights of minorities no longer need to be protected. These Republicans have determined that southern states who were once the key abusers of voters rights no longer feel that they need the federal government to assure protection of minority groups from this particular abuse.

Apparently they would like to avoid questioning into the types of voter rights violations seen in the 2000 Florida elections or the 2004 Ohio elections. The Voters Rights Act is simply a potential road block in the solidification of the American One Party System.

It sure seems obvious that Karl Rove is back…


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Protection of the Unborn

One tactic the anti-abortion crowd uses in their debate is the proposition that the unborn are people too. Since they are people they need protection from the government. However, as it is often pointed out they very same people that make this claim are the first to cut funding of protective services for women and children once they are born. These are the same people who believe that the mothers who use food stamps to buy food for their children are abusing the system.

Well, I also think that they aren’t all that serious about protecting the unborn either. If they really cared about that life within the potential mother and they believed that the government was the tool needed to protect these unborn children they would certainly need to approach the unborn in a different way.

First of all, the unborn child is more sensitive to toxic chemicals in our environment than at any other stage of our development. Toxic chemicals have been linked to the cause of many birth defects and disabilities. The exposure to these toxic chemicals at times may be severe enough to cause a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage early in the pregnancy. Certainly a group that cares about the well being of the unborn would want to spend money exploring the types of chemicals that cause this to happen. Certainly a group that cares about the unborn would want to clean up toxic areas were companies have dumped pollution into the air, water and ground around their plants. Certainly a group that really cared about the unborn would want these mothers to live in a safer location once they are pregnant. Perhaps they would like the government to put them up in a hotel for the first three months of their pregnancy in order to protect the unborn.

But, there is more to protecting the unborn than keeping their environment clean. The unborn child is sensitive to the diet of the mother. A poor diet will result in poor development and the child, once born, will be off on the wrong foot. Unfortunately many of the pregnant women in our society can not afford the best nutrition for themselves, let alone their unborn child. And, when they become pregnant they certainly will eat even more calories because of the demand of the unborn child. Certainly the people who care about the unborn would want that child to have the best nutrition. What better way than to have the government provide the food at the hotel that they are putting these women in for the first three months of their pregnancy.

Food and nutrition are good, but many women might choose to put other things in their bodies that will certainly effect the unborn child. Perhaps the women at the facility would need to be keep there so that they would not slip out and drink a beer or smoke a cigarette. In fact, friends might try to bring something in to them, so visitation would certainly need to be monitored. Perhaps some guards walking up and down the halls would provide the needed security for the unborn child.

And, the three months may actually be to short a time. Many things can actually happen in the last six months as well. If we keep the women in the facility until the child is born we will simply keep it safer. After all, it is for the protection of the unborn.

But, how do we get the women to go to the facility? Obviously we only have the protection of the unborn child in mind. Perhaps we could have the women report to the government when they think they might be pregnant. However, many of them might not know and not care to find out. The simple solution is that every time that they have sex they should be required to go to the facility until they have menstruated. This would be very easy to implement, a judge would be required to inspect the menstrual blood sample and a women would be free to go. But, would the women report that they had sex? Probably not, so it would also be required for the men who had sex to report their activity as well with the name and address of the women they had sex with. If the women refused to go to the facility within a few hours, then the police could easily just go and get them. This would certainly be for the best protection of the unborn.

This would obviously have some positive effects, women wouldn’t have sex very often and we would be protecting the unborn.

Are there any conservatives out there willing to tell me why this isn’t a good solution?


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Our Environment

Dennis Prager wrote a piece yesterday claiming that he knew the reason why liberals were so concerned about global warming, and the conservatives were not as concerned. Then he proceeded to point out his caricature of a liberal being a hysterical person afraid of everything. Obviously this caricature is a bit of an exaggeration, much like the caricature of the typical conservative being a Bible thumping evangelical warming of the coming of the rapture.

Caricature aside Mr. Prager makes some interesting observations. He also sets up the classic conservative false choice of conservative want to protect America from the terrorists while liberals want to protect America from global warming. What happened to the people that actually want to protect America from all threats?

My question is why are conservatives so concerned with protecting America from imaginary threats formed in some overactive bought of paranoia, but so easily dismiss threats that are supported with scientific evidence? Obviously the overactive paranoia of the CIA created the “false intelligence” that lead us into an unnecessary war in Iraq. I don’t need to go into the amount of blood and money that has been wasted on this adventurism, only to say that even half of that money and no blood being spent on the development of alternative fuels would have both reduced the threat from the Middle East by reducing our dependence their and slowed the build up of excess CO2 in the atmosphere. It seems to quite obvious to me, but why isn’t this obvious to the average conservative.

I could easily resort to the typical caricature of a conservative mouth-breather who can not read anything over the sixth grade level, but that would be just as useless as the liberal caricature created by Mr. Prager. I would tend to believe that the average conservative would actually want to defend America from the dangers of global warming if Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity told then that it would make America stronger. If the preachers in the pulpit told their congregations that we are stewards of the Earth and it is our responsibility to protect it, then the conservatives would band together to create smart ways to turn the tide on our slowly changing planet.

Maybe it is just that global warming, pollution and other threats to our environment just isn’t that apparent to the average person. Maybe it is just like the world before 9/11/01, when conservatives didn’t take al Qeada seriously. We knew about them, the terrorist training camps, the mullahs and even Osama bin Laden. But since that didn’t fit into the cold war mentality of a threatening state they were not taken seriously. Since we weren’t about nation building, we didn’t see the need to win the hearts and the minds of the people around the world. So, the people around the world were left to their own to build their own hatred of the United States based on the non-friendly activities of the American companies and American military based around the world. The conservatives sat up and took notice on 9/11/01 and they rallied the troops to fight these people head on. But, unfortunately that aggression simply reinforces the image already formed in the minds of many of these people.

Maybe the same thing will happen some day with global warming. As the weather changes the farmers will find that their crops will fail, because the weather will no longer support the traditional crops. However, if the farmers change their crops they will adapt and perhaps everything will be fine. Unfortunately global warming doesn’t work that way. Over some period of years the climate will change in some unknown ways as the Earth continues to heat up. The time period is long and the typical religious conservative may just chalk up their “bad luck” to the “will of God.” Unfortunately, planning for the long-term health of the planet isn’t part of our culture. Since conservatives by definition rely on proven techniques passed down by generation they are unlikely to adopt the idea that man is responsible for the planet. Nature has been relegated to domain of God, and God alone. So, if it isn’t obvious that man is altering the environment then it is hard to argue to do anything that is in the domain of God’s will.

Of course, as I have said before the conservatives are a coalition of religious or social conservatives and the American Aristocracy. The messages and money controlling the direction of the Republican Party come from those that have control and money. That would be the wealthy. The religious or social conservatives provide the votes. I have shown how the social conservatives could easily accept the idea that global warming is not a serious problem based on the ideas they are readily willing to accept. They are willing to dismiss scientific evidence at the drop of a hat, because scientific evidence does not support their known truth in the Bible. The easy supposition is that science is wrong about evolution and creation, hence it must be wrong about the environment and global warming as well. But why would the wealthy care about the direction of global warming. Wouldn’t they want to protect their assets?

Well, the wealthy aren’t like you and me. They certainly have insurance that would replace any loss that would result by the weather created by global warming. They certainly have multiple homes in places both affected by the weather and also unaffected. In fact, the wealthy are in the best position to take advantage of any changes in global warming. And, certainly the oil companies which have a major voice among the wealthy continue to profit as more and more is taken out of the ground it becomes rarer. The development of alternative fuels at a quicker pace would strip profits from the oil companies just as the prices continue to go up. In the current state of energy oil is the monopoly and those who control it will profit. If alternative sources of energy are added into the mix all bets are off. And there isn’t anything worse than being left holding the oil bag when everyone runs over to the new energy on the block. It is in the best interest of the wealthy to continue with the status quo.

Unless we learn how to communicate the message of global warming to the conservative and moderate voters in a less hysterical way we will never get their support. The image painted by the wealthy “message makers” has created the global warming “preacher” as a zealot preaching about the end of the world. And, hysterical preaching has a long history of never panning out. We owe this to the history of the actual religious zealots preaching the end of the world. I believe that the religious right has just taken this image and turned it around for their advantage.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Democrats Criticize Everyone - Republicans Follow the Leader

Why does it always seem like the Republicans know what they are doing and the Democrats always just react to the actions of the Republicans?

The problem is that the Democrats don't have an organized plan and objective. The Republicans organized themselves with a plan to protect their wealth and protect the American Aristocracy. They devised a plan to achieve their goal. And this is what they did.

The first thing that they did was find a group of voters to appeal to, because the small group of wealthy Americans comprising the American Aristocracy could never win elections without a loyal based to be lead around by the nose. This group has plenty of money, but so few votes. They rely on getting their message out to the potential Republican voters.

They achieved this by appealing to the Religious Right. This group of people was gullible and they would believe just about anything thrown their way. After all, this is the same group of people that have been continuously manipulated by the tele-evangelists, preachers and the home-shopping network. In fact, with this group of people there is an added bonus, they will easily part with their money for any scheme that sounds like a good deal. The wealthy discovered that they didn’t even need to foot the entire bill themselves, they could appeal for contributions that were aptly rewarded.

Then they found issues that would appeal to the base voters and they exploited the issues by using fear to scare these people into the “save America” mentality. They started with the issue that was already floating around in the churches at the time - abortion. They found that if they promised to fight the activist judges who had recently upheld abortion as a right they found that they could sway large numbers of voters to their cause. However, when the Republicans found that they had a majority in the House, Senate and they had won the White House they began to worry that abortion might actually become a settled issue and they feared a loss of power. They needed more issues to power their cause, like gay marriage.

Unfortunately the Democrats don’t have a uniform base of voters willing to be lead around by the nose. The Democrats have many ideas and perspectives on a wide variety of issues. Democrats believe that there are many different ways to achieve the objective of making the world a better place. Each subgroup of Democrats have their own issues, and they prioritize their issues and the more universal issues in their own way. But, they do agree on one thing, and that is that America should not have a small group of people that make the rules for everyone else.

Democrats generally see through the veil of the Republican Aristocracy. They see the wealthy oil companies trying to control their wealth and power by manipulating environmental laws, drilling laws and foreign countries. They see large corporations, controlled by the Aristocracy manipulating wages and benefits so that the poor employee continually looses buying power while the wealthy owners continually add to their assets. They see the power of the wealthy being used to push around the lower class, which are generally recent immigrants and the traditional working class. They see the rights of the many being trampled by the greed of the few.

Of course that is the general idea and the specifics are generally meant to cloud your mind so that these differences don’t seem so apparent. And it is your job to see through the veil and vote on what you see.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Monday, June 19, 2006

Obvious Lies, Subtle Lies and Stupidity

Sometimes people lie and they can argue that they didn’t know the truth. For example, before the Iraq War Dick Cheney told the press that he knew the exact location of the Weapons of Mass Destruction. When asked the specifics he said that they were north and south and east and west of the city of Baghdad. It was quite obvious from the tape that Dick Cheney either knew exactly where the WMDs were, or his CIA intelligence was wrong. After all, with the sighting of those specific locations it was clear that Dick Cheney knew exactly where those WMDs were. Why should anyone have doubted the intelligence of the United States of America? So, it is quite plausible that Dick Cheney must have been given bogus intelligence by the CIA or his creator.

Some lies are more about what they don’t say than what they do say. For example, the truth about abortion is not as clear as either side would have you believe. The anti-abortion crowd would have you believe that seconds after conception there is a fully formed child in the uterus that is entitled to the same rights as a baby that is just born. Any thinking person knows that it isn’t the case. The person that knows this better than any other person is the mother who carries this child. Once the baby begins to kick within the womb the mother knows that she is carrying a living thing. What person could kill a living thing but a psycho that goes and kills kittens in the back yard? Does anyone really want a psycho to raise a child? A mother who wants an abortion at some late stage knows in her heart why and why should we question someone who is so certain about this crucial issue.

But, the lies are not as clear-cut from the pro-choice side either. They tend to make it sound as if every woman is able to make this serious choice at any age alone with only the help of the center who wants to perform the abortion. Obviously this is not the case either. Any young mother needs to have the support of their support group whether it is friends or family or husband. And, the specific situation for every case needs to be brought to mind.

But, the main point about abortion is, do we want the government to intervene? Republicans have been telling us forever that the government isn’t equipped to make complex decisions in complex situations. Isn’t the case of a woman’s abortion one of the most complex and complicated situations that any of us would ever face? Why would we trust this decision to the government? Isn’t the woman with the help of her support group the method we should trust in making this decision? After all, there are some people who believe that a fetus conceived one minute ago is equal to a newborn baby. If this is the case and we were to pass a law to the effect that this was the case the government would be responsible to enforce the protection of this “child.” This would mean that anyone who is potentially pregnant would need to be screened for any potentially harmful toxin. Do we want the government to check our crotches to learn whether we might have had sex? Do the Republicans really want laws prevent people from drinking and smoking? I thought that Republicans were against these types of laws, but since fetuses are the most susceptible to these toxins they would need to be protected.

But, instead of having the debate about this hot button issue people on both sides of the issue tell these subtle lies that are meant to persuade the other side to their cause. Obviously the other side can see through the lies and they hold with even more resolve to positions. Instead of being reasonable about the debate we hear about women forced to bear children from the product of rape or incest. We are told stories of women killing their children. We are told stories about women dying because they were forced to carry a child to delivery. We are told women can’t make their own decisions, because they can’t be trusted to make the right choice. We are told that only the government knows what is right for these women. Come on conservatives, you have already told us that the government doesn’t know what’s best for us when it comes to seatbelts, and safety and pollution. How is it that the government knows what is right about abortion?

There are still more lies that don’t make much sense. In fact, the very people who told us that Clinton shouldn’t have gone into Bosnia to protect the people from Slobodan Milosevic told us that we needed to go into Iraq to protect the people from Saddam Hussein. Is that stupidity or just an obvious lie? And, these were the same people that told us that we were not in the business of nation building, but they are in the middle of nation building in Iraq. In order to have such wild swings in these statements there must be more to the truth than these statements. Unfortunately the politics won’t allow the politicians to tell us the truth and come clean. Helen Thomas gave George W Bush the opportunity to come clean, but he continued to propagate the lie and Helen Thomas was made the punching bag for the supporters of the administration.

The lies go on and America continues to suffer.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Running on Empty

I was thinking about the idea of running and exercise. What a crazy idea that someone would need to exert physical energy to stay healthy after all of the inventions of modern labor saving devices. In my case I get up every morning with the sunrise in order to exert myself for over an hour to burn calories that I save by riding in my car to get to work. Well, of course I could never actually walk or ride my bike 50 miles to get to and from work every day. I guess modern society is full of contradictions and choices that we are forced to make.

But, aside from the nonsense of the idea of running or swimming every morning there is the advantage of physical exertion for no reason. (Of course, aside from the health aspect of exercise.) Running on a treadmill has become a type of mental yoga to me. For more than an hour I run on the treadmill thinking of almost nothing but my pace and my ability to continue at that pace. In yoga the idea is to block the problems of the real world in order to be able to sense your oneness with the Universe. Similarly running on a treadmill takes those same thoughts out of your mind and makes it possible to think about ones place in the Universe.

And, since my family knows me they knew that I would appreciate the book, “The Meaning of Life” by Bradley Trevor Greive. The book is brilliant. Obviously it isn’t perfect, but it was great. It is a small picture book with some great pictures of animals illustrating the text. This book was part of my father’s day present yesterday, and when I opened it my kids begged me to read it to them. It was wonderful, both reading the book to the kids and the content of the book.

So, when I went to the club this morning I thought about the point of my running. Could I use the energy that I burn in exercise on a more efficient project? If so, what could that project be? Maybe this blog could use more energy? Maybe walking door to door campaigning for some worthy candidate? Maybe spending more time with my kids. (Actually the exercise relieves some of the stress caused by the kids.)

Then I realized that I come up with some of my best posts when I am exercising at the club. I think about the state of the world and I realize that the problems of the world need to be described. Sometimes the solution to the problem becomes apparent and it needs to be publicized. Most of the time there isn’t a solution, but writing about the problem helps my readers know what the problems are. I have some smart readers and they tell me what the solutions are. And, I have some smart readers that tell me where I don’t quite understand the problem. But, most importantly, if I didn’t exercise you wouldn’t get half the quality posts that I post.

Of course, you’d still get the crap like this post.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit


Pope Benedict XVI is currently preaching the power of love to bring men together. When did I first hear about this? Was it 1967, The Summer of Love? Was it the song, “Love is All You Need?” This is quite an interesting turn for the conservative Pope who was once the “Defender of the Faith.” He also appointed a less conservative Bishop to the Washington DC diocese, that has some conservative Catholics upset with him.

But, maybe this is just a sign that the Pope actually gets it. He understands that politics has a tendency to tear people apart. It tears people apart unless these people keep in mind the point of the mission. In the Christian religion the point is the worship of God and informing people of his love for us all.

The Pope points out that politics is an organization of man and has potential for evil as well as good. He tells us that priests should not be preaching politics from the pulpit. He tells us that priests should be preaching God’s love and not politics. Does this mean that we won’t have fundraisers to raise money to fight abortion any more? I don’t know. This is because the focus of Pope Benedict is more along the lines of social justice. The teaching of “liberation theology” was something that Pope Benedict never liked.

Liberation Theology tells us that all people have dignity, and therefore the church should use its power to encourage the poor to rise up against their oppressors. This sounds just a little bit to Marxist for the conservative Pope.

However, there may be hope in this action. Maybe the Pope has realized that there are good and bad politics on both sides of the political spectrum. There is hatred and love greed and charity in all of these political efforts. Maybe the Pope has realized that man uses politics to make the world a better place. The problem is that it isn’t always clear whose world is made better and whose world is made worse. The effort to make the poor’s world better could certainly be misguided if Robin Hood were leading the charge. The Poor might be happy for a short period while they spend the money of the wealthy, but unless they invest it and make it grow the money would soon be gone. The wealthy also would have a worse time, as they become the “new poor.” Robin Hood certainly would have his work cut out for him as he goes around determining who is rich and who is poor.

Obviously the way to short circuit the inherent problem in politics is to realize that God’s Love is the guidance that the politicians need to make the right laws and make the world a better place. And that is what the Pope has been preaching over the last few weeks.

I don’t think that the Pope will be wearing love beads and tie-dye tee-shirts anytime soon. Maybe he won’t be listening to John Lennon singing “Imagine.” But if the Pope is true to his word we may not have any more sermons on the politically sensitive issues of abortion, birth control, social justice, liberation theology and instead we will be instructed to follow God’s Love and come up with unifying solutions to these issues outside the doors of the church. Of course it means that they won’t preach against the evil of war and the need to protect the environment either. Then again we may be told of some exceptions to the rules.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit


Insane Responses

A reader calling himself Paul posted one response to my recent post called “Godless Insanity”. I have included most of his comments although he did include quite a few more Bible quotes that I cut in an effort for brevity. Throwing Bible quotes in an incoherent effort to swat the flies of an argument isn’t really that helpful. If you believe that the Bible is the inerrant truth, then the argument doesn’t even need to be made, because you already know where the argument is going and what the outcome is going to be.

The commenter begins his argument basically by say that he doesn’t like my position on abortion. Of course my post does not even talk about my stand on abortion, but for some this issue puts the blinders on the discussion of every other issue.

With that said, I will present my response to his comment here for all to read.

In our society today, who is the Most poor, the Most innocent, and the Most defenseless? What answer could there be other than the unborn child, but of course.

OK, so you are against abortion. My post doesn’t mention my position on abortion, but since it is important to you… Personally I would never encourage anyone to have an abortion. That being said, I also don’t believe that it is my right to deny someone the right to make their own choice on this issue. Your understanding of when life begins is your personal understanding. Someday the activist judges may choose to determine when life begins, but right now the law does not determine this universally and a woman has the right to make her own decision.

Faith and Reason go hand-in-hand. Are you really after the heart of God? Is he not our Father? If so, what do you suppose is most important to God, our Father? Yes, pray for a miracle. But, how can you say that God rarely intervenes?

I say that God rarely intervenes from observation. If God intervened regularly then you would see the laws of nature violated on a regular basis. If the laws of nature are not being violated, then the supernatural is not acting. God’s actions are supernatural by definition, because He is beyond nature. Occasionally things happen that seem to violate nature, but even these claims rarely are proven to be beyond nature.

Next you offer the idea that scientists are speculating the theory of evolution. Without offering much other that suggesting that finding a dinosaur bone that hasn’t fossilized is proof that it could not be 65 million years old. I am familiar with the bones you are talking about. You fail to mention the fact that the bone was fossilized on the out side sealing the center and therefore preserving it. The fact that some DNA was preserved on these very large bones was remarkable, and the DNA sequencing actually supports the idea of evolution. This data actually shows how the changes in DNA occur over time and it supports the date of the bone being more than 65 million years old. Don’t worry more data will come out of this research and make the specifics of evolution clearer.

However, one thing God has given to man apart from the rest of His creation is what’s called “Dignity”. We are ensouled creatures. We are God’s greatest creation since we draw a bridge between both the physical and spiritual realm.

This may or may not be true this is a philosophical argument based on speculation. We have no evidence of the supernatural world. We can assume that it is true and make arguments assuming it to be true. But those arguments can not prove that it is true.

God respects us so much, in fact, that he is not going to force His will on us like a tryannt king. That is why man has been given freewill (dignity). Yes, we make our own choice to love God. And, if we choose to love God, then one really discerns as to what is MOST IMPORTANT to HIM and NOT to US.

I have never heard this idea that freewill and dignity are equated. I agree that freewill is quite important and that using your freewill to make society better is the key to our response to God’s love. In fact the whole idea of social justice for all humans is based on this idea. And I suppose that using your freewill to make life better for the least of us gives dignity to those people.

As for God intervening, when he does so, it’s always out of His mercy. Did he not establish the marriage Covenant between Adam and Eve, and was he not merciful to them despite them being seduced by Satan?

This is an excellent example of religious nonsense. There isn’t much more I can say about that.

Did he not find righteousness in Noah and his family and establish a Covenant with them? Did he not establish a Covenant with Abraham and through Abraham all the nations of the world were blessed and his descendents are like the stars of the sky? Did he not choose a nation of people and bring them out of slavery in Egypt by the hand of Moses? And, did he not a establish a Covenant with Moses and his people despite all of their rebelliousness and unbelief? And, what about David? Did not God say that He would establish the throne of David and it would last forever? If this is true, then, who do you suppose is seated on his throne today? Was it not a psalm of David that reads: ”the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool.”? Jesus himself brought up this psalm when talking with the Pharisees and asked them, ”How can they say that the Christ is David’s son?”…”David calls him Lord, so how is he his son?” And, what do you suppose the crucifixion was about? Jesus broke bread the night before and said “This IS my Body, and then also the cup, “This IS the cup of MY BLOOD, the Blood of the NEW and EVERLASTING COVENANT”. And, he didn’t stop there. He also said, “do this in remembrance of Me”. St. Paul (along with the rest of the apostles carries on the tradition of the Eucharist) in his letter to the Corinthians and asks, “the chalice of benediction which WE Bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not the communion of the Body of Christ”…..”brothers and sisters I received from the Lord Jesus Christ what I also Handed on to you, that on the night he was betrayed he took bread…” Believe me, Bibles didn’t just fall out of the sky, they came later as another tradition through the authority of His church.

And, like I said in my post if someone is to deny the facts that God has laid before us in his miraculous creation of the Universe we have to assume that the creation was devised to deceive us. And if God is capable of this deception, then He is also capable of deception in the Bible which is claimed to come from God. Why should we believe that it is more than a suggestion of how we should live incorporated with the reality of the Universe that God has created for us?

But, is not God intervening in our lives even to this day?

I don’t know, show me the evidence. Like I suggested He could certainly be intervening in giving people the strength to do what they need to do in the name of God and His love for us.

And, then you quote the Bible some more and many of those quotes may or may not be true.

I invite you to examine the Church Universal (Catholic Church) yourself. No, I mean really examine it. And, perhaps even you will have a change of heart.

And, I am Catholic. I have been Catholic all my life. I went to Catholic grade school, High School, and a Jesuit College. I took religious courses and I believe that you need to revisit some of your ideas about what the Church teachings are. The Pope recently responded to the idea of politics in the Church and he has discouraged the preaching of politics by the clergy. He has suggested that politics should be replaced by the preaching of the love of God. Perhaps concentration on God’s love for us will help Catholics unite and find positive ways to make the world a better place.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit


Friday, June 16, 2006

Godless Insanity

Insanity is doing something the same way repeatedly expecting different results. This is paraphrased from Albert Einstein. Why would Einstein say something like this? He would say this because he is a scientist. Science is the observation of nature and the description of those observations. If nature were to behave differently under the same conditions science would not be worth the study. And, human life would be subject to the whims of chance and sanity could not exist.

Scientific experiments are based on the idea that they are repeatable. Under controlled conditions experiments can be repeated and yield the same results. Based on careful observations the nature of the Universe is being unraveled and understood little by little.

God is beyond nature, by definition. Assuming that God exists He created everything that exists. He created the mechanism, principles and nature of nature. God has the option to break the laws of nature as often as he wishes in whatever means He chooses. But, as we have observed, he chooses to break the laws of nature rarely. Because if he chose to break the laws of nature often, then we would see the world as a random jumble of incoherent actions. Breaking the laws of nature means that one would observe different results whenever one would repeat an experiment or action. No one could predict the outcome of any action, because the will of God would continuously interfere with the will of man. But, by the observation of nature we know that God interferes with the Universe rarely if ever. God is happy with this and man should realize and be happy with this as well.

Prayer, intercessions, voodoo, curses, spells and magic are all attempts to circumvent nature by using the supernatural. The supernatural of course is what is beyond nature. God, Satan, the dead, the saints or the spirits are beings believed to be beyond nature and potentially able to alter nature. Attempts to use the supernatural to alter the natural world has been declared to be profane, unless it is God himself you summon. But, God himself is believed to be the one and only supernatural being, unless there are others. Some would have you believe that Satan is the evil supernatural being. Some would have you believe that Satan is “evil” nature and God is the “good” beyond nature. The truth is that no one really knows anything beyond nature, because by definition it is unknowable. The supernatural is unknowable because it is unpredictable and unrepeatable. If you know it one day it is different the next because it is beyond nature and hence unrepeatable.

What we do know about nature is what is repeatable. What we do know is what we can expect and what we can predict. We know what the world of science gives us through it record of observation of nature. Imagine for a moment that God created the world 5000 years ago. I wasn’t around 5000 years ago, so it could very well be true. But he created it in a state in which it implies a previous history. There is oil buried in the ground as a result of dead plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. God may have chosen to create the fossils and the oil and the rest of all the evidence that points backward to a previous history. But why? Time is nothing to a God that was never born and lives forever, so what difference does it make. Any act by God that disrupts that natural flow of predictable natural events is supernatural, beyond nature. To create a world 5000 years ago in a state that was flowing forward in time and assumed a pre-history is easy for a God that is beyond nature, He would just need to give every atom and particle in the Universe the same initial conditions that they would have if history had played out as scientists have observed. But, if God did this, then what difference does it make to a thinking man or a scientist? A scientist simply reports what he has observed. And, why would God do this? A religious person should ask this kind of question in order to understand the nature of God.

The scenario where God creates a Universe that is already in motion actually means that God is creating a complex lie. And, if God is “good” should an act of deception be considered a “good” thing? There are obviously people who believe that lying is a “good” thing, when an authority lies, so this is possible. But if we assume that our God lied to us once, how do we know that He won’t continue to lie. How do we know that the Bible sent down from God isn’t a book of lies? How can a God be deceptive in his actions be trusted to be truthful in his writing? So, it is clear that the Bible and the actual creation can not be reconciled in a non-interpretive way. Reconciliation between the written word of God and the actual creation can only happen if we assume that the Bible is written to be interpreted in order to understand deeper meanings. Obviously to do otherwise would require insanity, where we expect different results from the actions of God.

This brings me to Ann Coulter’s assault on the Godless Democrats as she calls them. She assumes that science is a religion that liberals pray to. Her entire argument is based on the idea that science is somehow used by liberals to live their lives. But, since science is based on the observations of how nature behaves, we should expect that everyone lives by scientific rules. We know that if you drop a rock on a china doll the doll will be broken. It is a scientific observation of nature that leads us to this conclusion. To expect that God would reach out his hand to protect the china doll would not be rational. To drop the rock and pray that the doll be saved would be a misuse of the power of the divine. Jesus warned us about this in the Bible. So, I ask you, when are we supposed to live our lives without regard to our observation of nature? When should we ignore what we expect and expect God to intervene instead? I would suggest that living your life the same way and expecting different results is insanity, like Einstein said. When a person’s life is going down the wrong path, do we pray that he change his ways, or do we use the courage and strength given to us by God to help the person change their ways. Praying alone means that the person will continue to do the same things and live the same way unless God intervenes. And, from our observation of nature God rarely intervenes. It would be insane to assume that He would intervene. Instead we are called as Religious people to change things by our works and pray that we have the strength to do it. The effort and the strength needed for our tasks on Earth has been given to us by God and we never know how much we have. If God chose to act in any supernatural way increasing the amount of strength we have surely could never be perceived by any observation or measurement. This is why some people are saints, because they pray for strength and do amazing things. These things could be seen as outliers way above the mean by any scientific observation. In a way this is the supernatural action of God in our world.

If the Godless Democrats are trying to pull people together to make a difference in our society I don’t really understand how that harms society in any way. I believe that the Democrats of the 1930s knew this and they worked to pass the laws that created a society with safety nets. They worked together to build projects that brought electric power to the dark corners of our country. They did amazing things and they understood the meaning of working together to make things better. But, I believe that this message has been lost and the people born after this time see their taxes being spent in ways they question. The Democrats who believe in these programs need to renew the message and tell us how we need to work together on new projects. And Democrats do need to pray for the strength to spread the message importance of working together to complete these huge projects and save our country. Strength is what God gives us and if we have it miracles can be done.

So, are you ready to make any miracles today?


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit


Thursday, June 15, 2006


Over the last year or so I have noticed that some liberals and some conservatives have become civil again. I don’t get the regular vile remarks and comments on my blog that were once the mainstay of blogging. These hateful comments cause many people on both sides of the political aisle to turn off their comments and write their own version of what they believe to be true.

Turning off the comments in the blogosphere is the same as turning away from the political dialog. This basically means that you have decided that you are right and it just doesn’t matter what the other guy has to say. I have never turned off my comments although there have been a couple of comments that I did delete about a year ago. These comments were personal attacks that had nothing to do with the post, at least in my opinion. But, I’m sure that most of us agree that there is a line out there and each of us knows when the line has been crossed.

Turning off the dialog is actually a two way street. When people make personal attacks it forces the target into a defensive mode. The only way to make progress is to attack the idea and not the person. But, when people become desperate they resort to an “anything to win” strategy. These include personal attacks, attacking sacred cows, violence, and finally self-destruction. I am not saying that either side has resorted to suicide bombing in the American political debate, but I am pointing out that this is a path of political recourse that we are familiar with. When two sides are close together on the major issues, then compromise and discourse are part of everyday politics. In the current polarization of American politics the extremists had divided the middle and created a large gap devoid of moderates.

This polarization had lead to many attacks from both sides and had poisoned much of the political debate. But recently I had seen a number of people reaching out across the middle of the political spectrum. These are just everyday Americans, bloggers beholden to none. These bloggers had proclaimed themselves liberal or conservative over the years, but they were coming to at least discuss the other points of view. This is a good thing for America, even if the extremists would have you think differently. The political parties would like you to believe that each group is different as night and day, but the moderates don’t believe that. I began to think that perhaps some Americans were going to work together and make America better. I even wrote about the Unity ’08 group that is trying to get moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans to work together.

But in the last week it has become apparent to me that this hatred is back. I listened to an interview with Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary who has written a new book. She just seemed to be full of anger and hatred. It wasn’t exactly what she said, but her attitude and agenda in how she answered questions about the 2004 presidential election. Well, I thought that she had a right to feel that way, because the fact that she is a lesbian was brought up by John Kerry in the debates. Personally I didn’t like what John Kerry did, but if I took it against all of the unseemly things that the Republicans had done it was just a drop in the bucket. It was politics American style and it was just another attempt at mudslinging. But Mary Cheney’s hatred for Democrats just seemed to be so generalized and poisonous that I felt sad for her. I didn’t know if it was because she was a product of the poison brought to the family through Vice President Cheney, or if it was a deeper poison. Whatever it was I knew that she had a chip on her shoulder the size of the state of Texas.

I didn’t think much more about it until I saw Jay Leno last night. Ann Coulter was a guest on the show with George Carlin. I wanted to see George Carlin, and I have to admit that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about Ann Coulter. I had seen her once or twice before and I wasn’t really impressed. But, she was out trying to sell her book, so I thought that she might say something in her defense. But, I was wrong. Once again I see another female Republican conservative full of rage and hatred. Why?

Of course two data points does not mean that there is a trend, but I am puzzled as to why someone not only ascribes to the conservative ideology but espouses hatred on the Democrats and liberals. Is she some kind of symbol? What could anyone like in what she says or what she does? If this is an example of the new American hero, then we are in for some rough times. The America that I thought was beginning to heal, at least from the middle is being torn apart again by hatred. Surely the moderates can see that this hatred is not good for America and it places hope on the back burner once again.

Someone please tell me that I am wrong.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ignoring the Data

The more people that see this data the better for the world.

This data comes from ice core samples that goes back 400 thousand years. The CO2 is trapped in the ice and preserved for us to measure. In 1959 the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 280 ppm. And, if you look at the graph you will see that the CO2 concentration was about 200 ppm for every ice age in the past 400 thousand years. You will also notice that a concentration of 280 ppm is at about the highest level obtained in the last 400 thousand years. If you have any doubt about when the ice ages occurred you may look at the Antarctic temperatures which correlates with the CO2 measurements. These temperatures were measured in several independent means such as isotope concentrations, dust sediment, and ice volume (snowfall preserved). All of the data correlates to show that we are in a very rare warm period for the Earth and before 1950 the temperature should have begun to decline.

However we also have this interesting data measured in Hawaii. It shows a fine resolution plot of the CO2 concentration.

This is a very nice graph that shows how CO2 concentration is cyclical over the year. But it shows us how the concentration has gone up exponentially since 1959. Recall that the CO2 concentration was 200 ppm for every ice age in the last 400 thousand years. And recall that the highest CO2 concentration over the last 400 thousand years was about 280 ppm. We are currently at about 380 ppm, which isn’t shown on this graph that was made 10 years ago. A thinking person must realize that a change of 80 ppm is about 30% of the CO2 and it caused the ice age. And, a rise of about 100 ppm is a rise of about 25% which is on the scale of the ice age change. What does this mean?

Obviously it means that we are in for much a different climate than we grew up with. The Earth is a slow system and it hasn’t come to equilibrium yet, so it is hard to know what the Earth will be like. We know that millions of years ago the Earth was much warmer and the CO2 concentration was much higher. But we also know that the polar ice caps were melted and the oceans were much higher.

I hope that the thinking people will overcome this inconvenient truth and work together to plan for the inevitable. And, it certainly doesn’t help when Oil Companies are spreading lies intended to created doubt.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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The False Choice

By now I am sure that most everyone has read or at least heard about the Boehner memo detailing the GOP strategy to defend the War in Iraq. If you haven’t, it is posted at Think Progress here.

One of the strategies mentioned is known as the false choice. For example, the famous “you are either with us or against us,” uttered by George W Bush days after 9/11/2001. This false choice ignores the people who disagree with the proposed option. One may be against terrorism and also be against George W Bush’s method for fighting it. But, this false choice determines whether you are a patriot or traitor without the option of George W Bush being wrong.

The majority of Americans find logic difficult. Well, I don’t have the statistics on this, but I know many fellow students particularly frightened of the logic section of the LSAT examine when I was in college. These were smart people that shouldn’t have had a problem with these problems. And, these were smart students about to graduate from college with degrees in difficult subjects. I imagine that those who never attempted college would certainly be intimidated by these logic problems.

So, when the president offers the statement, “You are either with us or against us,” it is easy to imagine that a large portion of the American population didn’t realize that there was a third option that the president had purposely omitted.

The false choice is a difficult argument to fight in a debate. And, I am sure that’s why the Republicans like to fall back to this device. So, it isn’t surprising that this memo emphasizes the false choice between George W Bush’s policy and the hoping that the terrorists just disappear. Obviously the Democrats don’t believe that the terrorists will just disappear. Obviously the Democrats have other options that simply make more sense than “stay the course.” But, the Republicans are going to make the case that there are two choices, either you are with the Republicans, or you are with the Democrats and the terrorists. I don’t know about you, but this makes me sick.

It seems to me that pointing this out to the American people in easy straightforward language should be the key to the 2006 election. We need to point out how we have tried George W Bush’s policy, and look where it has gotten us. The choice is not between being for the Bush policy or being for the terrorists. Instead the choice is between Democrats and Republicans. The Republicans have lead us down a rabbit hole and we are stuck. The Democrats have a third way that makes sense. It isn’t the infamous “cut and run” stratagey, but the measured turn over of control to the Iraqi leaders. It is to garner support from Europe and NATO and the UN. It is to fix the mess that the Bush administration has made, and then put our efforts back where they belong, in Afghanistan fighting the real terrorists.

Maybe the Democrats don’t agree on the details of the new approach, but they certainly need to come together and create the option to be used in the 2006 election, before the Republicans frame this issue as a false choice in the next few days.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Some Questions

If a man is kidnapped and held against his will are the people who kidnapped him guilty of a crime?

But, what if the captive is held for five years and told that he will never be set free?

Are the captors guilty of a crime?

Now, let us suppose that the captors are government officials and the prisoner is never given a trial, then is there any justice?

What if after five years the government decides that they will release the man, but they are waiting for the “right” moment to do so?

What if they don’t tell the prisoner that he is about to be released and they continue to imply that he will be held against his will without a trial forever?

What if he is never given a lawyer?

And what if this innocent man kills himself because of despair?

What kind of government is this? Certainly it couldn’t be the United States of America.

But, what if it is the United States of America?

Click here.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Monday, June 12, 2006

Less than Five Percent

While watching the Sunday talk shows I learn an interesting fact. I learned that less than five percent of the insurgents in Iraq were associated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Adding this information to other things that have been said over the last week it is quite strange how the whole terrorists in Iraq thing is being handled.

I would have to say that I am slightly more informed than the average American, namely because I read my newspaper, listen to various radio programs across the political spectrum and watch the TV news. I could probably do more, but I have to work and blog. :-}

So, after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed last week the various reporters told the back story of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It turns out that Colon Powell used Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as evidence of Saddam Hussein’s terrorist connection when he presented his case for invading Iraq to the UN. At the time Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had met with Osama bin Laden once and they hated each other. They fundamentally disagreed with each other. However, after Colon Powell mentioned Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s name at the UN he found himself with volunteers at his door lining up to fight the Americans. So, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi decided to use the new recruits to form a terrorist cell in Iraq. In order to keep with the recruiting theme he named his group al Qaeda in Iraq, even though it had nothing to do with Osma bin Ladden.

But, even with all of the recruiting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s effort only accounted for less than five percent of the insurgents. No wonder George W Bush is playing down the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. So, even if his death were to disperse all of the terrorists connected to al Qaeda in Iraq they could go to one of the other 95% of the organizations in Iraq. It wasn’t as if 5% of the insurgents were killed. It looks like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death is only symbolic of the man the Bush administration created to put a face on terrorism in Iraq. And, it looks like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi didn’t actually meet with Saddam Hussein either.

I just keep asking myself, when will this nightmare end? Can the Bush administration do anything stupider?


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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World Cup Soccer - Japan vs. Australia

For all those Americans who think that soccer is boring, the last ten minutes of the Japan vs. Australia game is the answer. Japan was winning 1 - 0 with ten minutes to go. Australia tied it up, went ahead, and polished them off to win the game 3 - 1. Crazy exciting….

The great thing about World Cup soccer is that I get to practice my Spanish. The games are broadcast on Univision and ESPN2. Since I don’t get cable or satellite I get to watch Univision. But I just don’t get what the two girls standing next to the between game announcer are supposed to be doing. They just stand there and smile, like he has two puppets growing out of his side. I guess it must be a cultural thing.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

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Monetary Morality or Ethical Economics

I was a bit surprised when I was accused of being a Socialist in a recent comment, but when I read, “I challenge you to produce a logical explanation why tax payers who make more should pay a higher rate than anyone else. It is morally wrong to have uneven tax rates.” Somehow, a person believes that it is morally wrong to have uneven tax rates, so I accept the challenge.

Through out history money has never been about fairness. People have been cheating the system and profiting from it forever. The earliest forms of cheating were the accepted form of what we call corruption today. For example, tax collectors were hired to access what people should pay to the government, and for the privilege of doing this and putting up with the hatred of the people they took their cut off the top. But, how did this work? Was it fair?

Well, the governor of a province or local area was given the task of collecting taxes from the people of his region. If we use the example of the Roman occupation of Jerusalem during Jesus’ time Caesar asked the local rulers to collect a certain amount of money, X. The local rulers needed to spend money on maintenance and local projects, so they needed to collect X+Y from the people. Imagine that they hired 25 tax collectors to gather the money from the people. They would divide the area into 25 places and tell each collector he was responsible for collecting (X+Y)/25 and whatever else they collected would be their salary. Do you think that they collected the same percentage from every household? Chances are pretty good that people who were living on just enough money to get by would not be worth the hassle. The tax collector would obviously hit up the “big fish” in his area first to get what he could to cover his (X+Y)/25 part. Then he would spend the rest of the time going around collecting what he could for himself, until the next bill came due. It is only human nature to go to the people with the money first.

But, actually that doesn’t address the specific nature of the morality of taxes and their inherent fairness. But, it does address which people can afford to cover the cost of keeping the wheels of government and the country turning. It also does not address the inherent unfairness of wages paid to people who do different jobs, but work equally hard. It doesn’t address the inherent unfairness of wages being different for the same work throughout the world. And, it doesn’t address the inherent unfairness of the cost of living and the cost of safety and what people have to put up with to earn their wages. It also doesn’t address the fact that people who “know someone” will get a plum job being paid more and working less than a person who has no connections.

But, first let us address the tax issue. Let us assume for illustration purposes two families, each with three children and two parents. Each family has a father would works and a mother that stays home with the kids. The only difference between the families is that one father earn minimum wage and the other father earns 20 million per year. Since minimum wage is different around the country, I will use $9.00/hour for illustration. This means that this father earns $18,720.00 per year. Obviously the family can not afford to buy a house on this income, so they must rent a three-bedroom apartment at $900/month just to have a roof over their heads. And, this takes $11K from the $19K leaving about $8K for food, clothing, medical to last through the year. And, if we set a tax rate of 20% they would have to pay $3744 dollars in taxes. Do you think that this family of five can afford to eat on $4256, let alone pay for doctor visits, or buy clothing or school supplies? Is it morally right to tax these people $3744?

Let’s look at the other family. The father makes 20 million dollars per year. They have a huge tax bill of 4 million dollars, but they have 16 million dollars to live off of. They buy a house and the house becomes an asset. They can sell it at any time and they get that money back. They can invest huge sums of their money in stocks and bonds which pay dividends and interest, so they make more money off of this money. They can choose to risk their money, or they can spend it on themselves. They live in a house that they could purchase with cash, but they choose to get a low interest mortgage, because the interest can be deducted from their income taxes, so they can pay less and keep the cash in the stock market which goes up on average over time.

Would it be morally wrong to ask the wealthy father paying 20% in taxes to pay 30% in taxes while asking the low income father not pay taxes until he makes enough money to pay for his family’s basic needs? I believe that the father making 20 million per years could certainly get by on 14 million instead of 16 million. The additional tax rate is only going to effect the estate that they amass and pass down to their children. Which brings up the morality of passing wealth down to your children.

The Republicans and the conservatives have always been against welfare. They claim that it is morally wrong to give a man something for nothing, because he won’t labor for money if he gets enough money to live off of with out working. This makes perfect sense, and the government should encourage people who are capable of working to work. But, these same people would like to pass their personal fortunes down to their children so that their children may exist without working. And, the size of some fortunes are so large that many many generations of people will be able to live off of these fortunes without the need to work. So, basically what the Republicans and conservatives are saying is that if I know the people, or I am related to them then they can live the high life without the need to work. They are saying that there is a group of people that does not have to contribute to the welfare of the country through their labor. And, who these people are is determined by which family they are born into. Is this morally or ethically right?

Who makes the fortunes and who does the labor has never been fair through out history. European Aristocracy is the story of families gathering wealth over hundreds of years and paying minimal amounts for the labor that kept society operating. But, in America the American myth is that anyone can break into the upper class by hard work and creative thinking. There are examples of people who have been able to do this. Bill Gates, John D. Rockefeller, well maybe Bill Gates, because John D. Rockefeller inherited his money. Bill Gates fought the odds, and he won. But, even Bill Gates says that his fortune was more luck than hard work. The myth of the American working their way up the economic ladder has very few examples of people who made their way to fortune by hard work. People with good ideas have them stolen by those who have money and lawyers. The true story about radio, FM radio, TV, automobile, and airplane were more about who had the money and the lawyers than who had the best idea. In fact, Bill Gates didn’t even have the “best” idea when it came to operating systems. He had the luck to be in the right place at the right time. Is that morally right?

It turns out that it is not quite arbitrary who makes money. It is the people who have the money who continue to control the money for the most part. Exceptions arise from time to time. Some people make modest fortunes that don’t accumulate to the size that the inheritance tax would actually impact. The fear mongering that the Republicans have spread suggests that a family farm might be subject to inheritance taxes that would force a family to sell the farm that has no basis in reality. Large portions of wealth are still able to pass to the next generation without being taxed, assuring that the benefactor would be able to go to the college of his/her choice, and even establish a small business without ever paying taxes on the money. In this way these benefactors are able to pursue their own American dream with a substantial boost of cash into their dream. The rest of us poor Americans with ideas for businesses need to go out and borrow money to start a business and large portions of the revenue will go back to the investor who finances the venture. Is that morally right?

I find it difficult to see that our current system is more or less morally right that the system that Rome had 2000 years ago. If mankind is to progress I would expect that the wise moral and ethical thinkers of our days would be able to establish moral and ethical monetary policy. And, the Republicans and conservatives that wave the morality flag would think about what is truly moral and ethical.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Friday, June 09, 2006

American Aristocracy

Here’s some food for thought:

The two major taxes the Republicans are Hell Bent on eliminating are:

1) Taxes on Dividends
2) Taxes on Inheritance

If the Republicans succeed a person could be born into a wealthy family, never work a day in their lives, inherit millions of dollars, never pay taxes and have a huge income on the invested inheritance. They call people who are members of this class: aristocrats. As time goes on these people use the infrastructure created and maintained by the government and never pay a dime of taxes. They never work. And, they never contribute to our society.

Is this what we believe to be American values?


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Global Warming

I haven’t seen Al Gore’s new movie, but I have heard him talk about it and talk about Global Warming. I have also read quite a bit about Global Warming. I have seen that data. And, I believe that the Earth is getting warmer. So, those of you who have already decided that you want to keep driving your SUV because it is your right to burn your fuel at any rate you wish can go on to the next post.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is both the title of Al Gore’s movie and the reason that people refuse to do anything about the manmade disaster slowly engulfing our planet. In America convenience is everything. In America people find it easier to ignore the truth than to take an inconvenient action. No one will volunteer to pay more when they can pay less, even when paying less does less damage and protect our future generations. California did this experiment a few years back when they allowed people to decide whether they would pay more for renewable energy or pay less for energy produced by burning cheaper oil, coal or natural gas. The cheaper energy won out. It was just to inconvenient to pay more when there was a choice to pay less, for whatever reason.

I am guessing that if the public knew that some of their cheap products were produced by slave labor, they would still choose to buy the cheaper products. I am guessing that if morality and ethics were the only deterrent people wouldn’t think twice about buying stolen merchandise on eBay. The government laws and regulations are put in place to decrease the motivation to buy these products. And, government laws and regulations are the only way that we will be able to stop Global Warming.

Of course, not everyone cares to prevent Global Warming. If people were forced to burn less fossil fuel the oil and coal companies would sell fewer products and make less money. Since the goal of containing Global Warming is to reduce this burning and hence reduce these companies from selling their products then they certainly must take personal offense at these attempts to limit their sales and profits. The expected immediate response must be to reject the idea of Global Warming which would allow them to continue to sell their products. It is quite clear that there is absolutely no reason for these companies to be interested in a fair assessment of Global Warming situation. In fact, it would be in their best interest to create as much doubt about Global Warming as they possibly could and pay a huge amount to create this doubt. They view the Global Warming debate as a public trial with the world as the jury. Everyone knows that a jury trial can be won if the best lawyer can persuade the jury with flowery language regardless of the facts. Obfuscation can certainly aid the defense in an effort to create doubt in the mind of the jury. And, the complex arguments of scientists can be used against them to befuddle a simple-minded jury.

The problem is that the truth is more important than the outcome of the trial in the Global Warming debate. Getting to the truth may be a complex and complicated procedure that the general public may not understand. Even if they do understand the argument they may not want to believe the results, because the results imply that they may need to take inconvenient actions. They may need to pay more for fossil fuel. They may need to buy more efficient cars. They may need to spend money to do research into new energy sources. They may need to pay more money for alternate energy from these alternate energy sources. It certainly is easier to just believe that the scientists are wrong and the oil and coal companies are right. But, that is a short-term reaction to a long-term problem.

What is the risk if a mistake is made and the wrong choice is made?

If we assume that Global Warming is not happening and we take no action, but Global Warming is actually happening what is the result? If we assume that Global Warming is happening but it is not actually happening what is the result? Who will benefit and who will pay the price for the mistake? The Oil and Coal companies tell us that taking action by assuming Global Warming is happening will cause higher fuel prices that will create a huge economic downturn that would be so bad that we don’t want to think about it. Actually they don’t want you to think about it, because if you did you would realize that the economic pressures would cause people to increase the rate of development of new sources of energy. The prices for these new fuels would come down as they go into production and the overall price of fuel will come down. And the new companies producing the new energy will become the new power brokers. Oil and coal will lose and someone else will win. But, the oil companies know that this is inevitable anyway, because we will run out of oil as it is burned. The cost of oil continues to increase as more oil is extracted from the ground. At some point it will cost more than other sources of energy and oil will go out of favor. Therefore oil companies want to get as much money for the oil that they can before oil gets to expensive to produce. If alternative forms of energy lower the need for oil, then oil will not be sold for the high prices that a rarer product demands. It is all about supply and demand, and new energy sources will yield lower demand for oil. So, if we choose to limit oil burning and develop new forms of energy the oil companies will suffer the most, but the typical Americans will merely have more and cleaner energy at lower prices.

However, if instead we assume that Global Warming is not happening and we fail to react, the oil companies will continue to sell their products until the cost of oil production gets to expensive. Of course new technology to produce cheaper ways to get more oil out of the ground will lead to burning even more oil and hence putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere resulting in an even larger greenhouse effect. Over time the Earth heats up, the ice sheets and glaciers melt and the sea levels rise. People living along the coasts will be forced to move inland to elevations above what is currently 100 feet above sea level. These people will have lost real estate investment and they will demand compensation. The oceans will heat up resulting in more powerful storms happening more frequently. Weather patterns will be altered and traditional crops will no longer grow where they have grown for years. People will need to learn what to grow and when to grow it all over again. Of course this process will be trial and error for many years, because the weather patterns will be chaotic from many years until the new weather patterns are determined 30 or 40 years down the road. Billions of people will be effected because of the decisions made by a few oil company executives.

So, how do we as the people of the planet go forward to prevent this calamity?

I believe that we own it to our children to learn the truth about Global Warming. We need to dig into the data and understand it. We need to tell our friends how we understand the problem. We also need to know who is making the statements about Global Warming and understand what their motivations are. When oil companies tell us not to worry, we need to recognize that oil companies are “special interests” that care about the out come of the debate. We also need to look at the data that shows how the Earth is heating up and how the amount of Carbon Dioxide is increasing in our atmosphere. And, we need to be prepared for inconvenience if it comes our way.


Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit