Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More Fire Insurance Saves Lives

Obamacare Has Not Saved American Lives | National Review:

Being a Democrat means never having to consider if your statements have any remote connection to reality, the MSM will make it seem like they might.

BOcare was about INSURANCE, not medical care! The fire department doesn't check your insurance before they come out, nor does the emergency room when you are there for something serious. Nobody asked for insurance information as I went in with my paralyzed wife in the ambulance last summer.

It is quite likely that a BUNCH of BOistanis have and will continue to die because of what BOcare did to health insurance, but repealing it at this point isn't likely to fix that. What it did was HUGELY increase deductibles, which means that for many (most) BOistanis, they effectively have NO HEALTH INSURANCE of the kind that they think they need. Most people's deductables and co-pays have risen from a few hundred dollars to $5K or more, which for many people means that they effectively are uninsured in ways that count.

First, since the vast majority of BOistanis have no concept of basic economics or personal finance, a little background:

INSURANCE -- Something you buy to protect you against losses that might ruin you. A rational person NEVER purchases insurance against losses that they can afford to cover, because it is obviously not to their economic advantage since the insurer is making a profit in selling you insurance and betting that you will not have a loss -- he has all the statistics and is making a smart bet or he would not be in business. The normal place you see this is on consumer electronics -- they REALLY want to sell you the extended warranty because it is nearly pure profit for them!

"Affordable" -- Most financial advisors recommend that you keep 6 months family income in savings, so if you are a "reasonable person" and have a $50K income, you should have $25K in savings. This means that you can "afford" losses up to $25K max, although $10K would be a more reasonable level -- you are really holding the savings to guard against losing your job.

Health BENEFITS -- Most Americans really didn't have health INSURANCE, they had health benefits. Since payments for medical care could be deducted by an employer, and were not charged as income to an employee,  it was a great way to give employees a benefit unencumbered by taxes. Typically, a family would have to pay "30%" of the cost of a doctor trip up until they had a total family bill of "$300", and then "insurance" (benefits) covered it.

Unfortunately, most BOistanis are financially illiterate because the schools have helped encourage financial illiteracy, so they have ZERO savings. Therefore, when you go to buy anything you get offers for "maintenance contracts. Since people have ZERO savings, they envision (and the salesperson helps them envision) a car repair of "$2K", or broken $1K TC, and with the consumers zero savings and likely tapped out credit lines, they see it as a "good deal", since they can't afford an unexpected $2K bill.

So back to health insurance. In the BOcare world, typical deductibles and co-pays are thousands of dollars, so all the people that have effectively no savings have NO HEALTH INSURANCE. If they go to the doctor, they need to pay THOUSANDS of dollars before they get any help from insurance. They don't have thousands of dollars, so unless they have an emergency they are unlikely to seek medical treatment unless they feel they have to.

Clearly, BOTH the old system and the current system are INSANE. I've covered some ideas on how to fix  them before, but the "big picture" is:

  • In order to be a free people, the population MUST understand basic finance. I'd argue that after age "21", having 6 months living expenses in savings ought to be a pre-requisite for voting! How can anyone be a "responsible citizen" and not be able to financially care for themselves?
  • People need to realize that basic healthcare is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY ... pick a suitable % of income number by age "6% for young, 20% for elderly" and assume that is going to be the YEARLY healthcare cost. Put it in a tax free savings account to level it out over lifetime.
  • Work to change the healthcare system to RESULTS BASED vs fee for service as it is now. Allow competition for "all the standard stuff", so you see what it costs for a given RESULT and can shop (it is YOUR MONEY after all).
  • Reform medical liability. Medical errors are "fined" to a max of $10K a pop, and on the "3rd" in an x year period, the Doctor (or other health practitioner) is reviewed for remedial education or removal. No more ambulance chaser ads on afternoon TV! 

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Care Of The Spiritually Disabled

Peter Singer Thinks Intellectually Disabled Less than Pigs | National Review:

Singer is a an easy target for anyone with remote conservative or religious leanings. He is a purely godless materialist philosopher of "ethics", so his "morality" has things like:
  • "humanity" is pure intellect, so your "value" is how smart you are. 
  • All "life" has the same value ... any other view is "speciesist". 
From these basic premises, he concludes that abortion or infanticide are both fine up until the child  reaches some level of appropriate intellectual capability for Peter to call "human". Sex with animals is fine as long as it is "consensual", but eating meat is morally wrong. Downs children, elders who have lost cognitive function to some level, or any traumatic brain injury that drops the individual below Pete's standards also warrants extermination. Keeping them alive is "immoral". And so it goes. 

As a human with a sinful nature, my first reaction to Peter is not particularly Christian:

I imagine Peter in the wrong bar, a couple large gentlemen hearing him out in his pronouncements, informing him that they are brothers and their other brother is a Downs person. They deck him, drag him outside and tell him that they are giving him a wonderful chance to test his theories. First they will give him a beating he has a chance to recover from, then they will ask him some easy questions -- who is the current title holder in the WWE, who won the last Indy 500, which bourbon is better, Jack, Makers or Jim (and why), and who sings "Bad to the Bone'.

If he wakes up, and gets the answers all right (as any sentient human "should" using their "standards"), then he just got a cheap lesson in getting along with folks. If not, well then he is in for a long night, but his worries will be over by the time the sun rises. Naturally, he MUST agree with them that they are being "moral", because it is "all about intelligence" -- and he is obviously significantly less smart than he had estimated as judged by those with the power he is currently subject to!

My second reaction however is that Peter is clearly Spiritually Disabled -- in the extreme. His condition is more severe than many in our world, but not unusual. It comes from "losing your sense of small".  Loki may think "he is a god" ... he may be immortal even, we really all are after all. Spending eternity in a small cell with the Hulk would likely make him question if immortality was really quite as wonderful as he first thought.

As an aside, I believe that our belief in eternal punishment is a requirement for us being (imperfectly) created in God's image, to believe in God's justice. If we don't see justice as being ultimately certain, we will feel ourselves forced to judge in the here and now.

However, I believe that God cares enough for the Spiritually Disabled (which is ALL of us) that he was willing to sacrifice his Son to give us hope of recovery from our much more serious than Downs disability. Through the gift of Grace, we are to love the fellow Spiritually Disabled and repent of our natural reaction to treat them in a manner similar to the way they would treat us given the chance. Being able to recognize that we are all Spiritually Disabled, immortal, and DESPERATELY in need of Jesus is really all that is important to "get" in this life!

Why have transcendent values rather than human selected ones? Well, because Pete, the bar guys might be the ones deciding who lives and dies rather than you if you leave it up to mere human generated "values" -- the only one that actually counts without God being "Might Is Right"!

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Fake News, Pornography

Fallen SEAL's dad slams Trump - CNNPolitics.com:

The "worst flub in Oscar History" barely edged out the return of the "let's have bereaved parents say bad things about the Commander in Chief" gambit.  In BOistan, even our admittedly fake tinseltown can't get it's known to be manufactured awards show right. Somehow it seems fitting that our fake news media stacks that failure on top of the old "bereaved parents" pornographic fakery.

In review, pornography is direct presentation of that which should be hidden for civilization to exist. "Obscenity" is an even better word -- showing what ought to be "off stage".  Sexual porn is just the most familiar. Showing extreme violence, pain, emotion, etc publicly is also pornography -- the killing of the Christians in the Roman colosseum was pornography. We are DAILY hammered with emotional, violent and painful porn, that is far more damaging than the sexual porn because:

  • We are primarily emotional and rational beings, not merely sexual, violent, abusive, etc.
  • The fact that our population is not SCREAMING to shut down the daily pornographic manipulation shows that the media manipulators have been so successful, most don't even realize it is pornographic and destroying their natural desire for the proper distancing required to have a civilization.
  • When combined with constant direct manipulation for profit and political purposes, the human capability to know what is REAL and what is fake / created / dramatic / voyeuristic is damaged to the point where the basic ability to detect "propriety / distance / wisdom / decency" is lost.  

Bereaved parents are bereaved. They are in great pain, they can be prompted to say lots of things. Their emotions are raw, open ... when pushed, it is possible to get nearly any angry statement you would like against ANYONE they remotely see as responsible for the death of their child from many if not most of them.

As of last spring, over 2500 soldiers had died during the BO administration. Our fake media would like you to believe that NOT ONE bereaved parent could be induced to say something bad about BO by a professional fake media pornographer out of over 2500. Not ONE, and this is when the WaPo believes that the military voted 2 to 1 for Trump!

When Trump got going on his "Fake News" campaign, I thought he was way out on a beach head too far. Now I am beginning to really wonder if he isn't actually at the heart of the matter. I've railed agains the level of media bias and how they use that bias to shape public opinion on  daily basis way too often, but only after Trump picked up the Fake News battle did I really start to see the true scope.

It took the media awhile to get the upper hand on Reagan, but they did. They had HW from the git-go, and then did all they could to cheerlead Slick Willie. W was a punching bag from day 1 and never really got his footing, and then we had the 8 years of hyperdrive cheerleading for BO.

I too often forget how we are bombarded with selective tear jerking stores if bereaved military parents, families affected by immigration policy, selected sexual perversions and of course the house fire, car wreck, starving child, etc.

Our humanity has been increasingly damaged by living in the largely fake, always pornographic UNreality show of the BOistan fake news machine. Perhaps it takes a "reality star" to see just how damaged we all are.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Journalists and Lefties, Goose and Gander

Naturally, when BO targeted the media, including jailing some, it was "all good", after all, his heart was always in the right place, and anyone that disagreed with him was racist, homophobic, etc ... you know, "deploreables".

When Mr. Obama was elected in 2008, press freedom groups had high expectations for the former constitutional law professor, particularly after the press had suffered through eight years of bitter confrontation with the Bush administration. But today, many of those same groups say Mr. Obama’s record of going after both journalists and their sources has set a dangerous precedent that Mr. Trump can easily exploit. “Obama has laid all the groundwork Trump needs for an unprecedented crackdown on the press,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the nonprofit Freedom of the Press Foundation.
BO also made it frequently clear how much he disliked Fox news. Naturally, since the left hates "Faux News", they approved heartily.

When one is a lefty, the assumption is not only that your positions are right/good/moral/etc, and the other side is wrong/stupid/evil/etc, but also (and importantly!) that you should be protected from even having to hear those positions, other than to be aware that "wrong/stupid/evil/etc" exist out there in "flyover country".

Your definition of freedom means freedom FROM having to be exposed to alternate viewpoints including signs and symbols of Christianity. Typically, you are so sheltered that as your own lefty president targets media, you are not even made aware by the same media that you believe to be "unbiased", and then you have a cat when the shoe is on the other foot.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Republicans Wishful and Stupid

GOP Senators Embrace Awkward Russia Probe That Could Hurt Trump - Bloomberg:

I looked at this column in disbelief and the only thing that came to my mind is Hank Williams Junior.

The only thing I can conclude is that "it's a Republican tradition".

Republicans sign on to the weirdest most useless "investigations" in history with some radically misplaced idea that Democrats are somehow "reasonable people", dedicated to some goal beyond the advancement of their own political power.

What can Republicans even IMAGINE that undertaking an investigation of "Russian Hacking" does for ANYONE, let alone any hope of building a lasting majority and at least attempting to turn the tide on the coninued massive growth of government and loss of Constitutional Rule of Law? Do they actually even believe at all in what they once claimed they did? A written Constitution, Rule of Law, smaller (limited) government, lower taxes, individual freedom and responsibility, hard work, religions freedom ...

Let's cover some thoughts:
  • I assume that the BIG objective here is for some prima donnas like McCain and Lindsey Graham to show their "maverick colors" and "clip Trump's wings" ... no matter the cost to any prospects of a recovery from BOistan. Many party Republicans are very happy with global control from Davos and living in the failed state of BOistan. Apparently it is enough to go off on another bogus "investigation".
  • Some number of Republicans have an imaginary vision of some "perfect party" that borders on  "The Party's"  (TP-D) vision for the utopian world controlled completely by their power. The Republican vision tends to be quasi-religious in thinking that "somehow", Democrats will see the "example" set by the Republican party in being "willing to investigate their own" from Watergate on, and will say "wow, what selfless moral people! We want to be just like them!".

    Let's review:
    • Watergate -- R's worked with D's to take down a president over "lying to the American public" over a 2-bit burlary. Result? D's took the WH with a weak ineffective president, the economy tanked, foreign policy blew up,  the Russians marched into Afghanistan and we lost Iran to the mullahs, igniting the horror of Islamic states we deal with now.
    • Iran Contra -- R's worked with D's to try to bring down Reagan based on an unconsitutional law called "The Boland Amendment" -- indictment of Cap Weinberger a couple weeks before election in '92 likely handed election to Slick Willie who stained the WH forever.
    • Clinton Impeachment -- Democrats proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they thought Republicans to be exactly the idiots they are for thinking a Democrat EVER cares one whit over "lying, obstruction of justice or other bullshit". Giant R loss.
    • 9-11 ... Republicans again are complicit in attempting to shoot their own president. Dems firewall Slick Willie from any blame. W takes hit for Slick Willie focused on BJs vs terrorism. Slick had a chance to shoot Bin Ladin, declined, went for "big hair" and the rest is history.
    • Valerie Plame -- A special prosecutor over nothing at all. A woman who drives to CIA HQ is "outed" as someone who works at the CIA. She was outed by a long time left wing State Department hack named Richard Armitage -- a complete waste of time for anything other than weakening W.
    • Libya, Syria, losing Iraq, Benghazi, Lois Lerner IRS, Hillary e-mails, Clinton Foundation, Solyndra, the 800 billion "stimulus" that was a political payoff, BO tells Russian Ambassador he will have "more flexibility after election" ON TAPE in 2012, etc, etc. R's basically do nothing, D's call them partisan for ever asking any questions, and there is very little in the way of any investigation. What there is ... largely Benghazi, the Democrats stonewall 100% and complain bitterly about the "waste of money".  If the R's had got busy after 2014, picked a couple of the jucier ones and played hardball with 
And so, here we are. There is definitely some truth in the common ding of the R party as "The Stupid Party". Can Trump shape it into a party with some BALLS?  It's a party that needs to learn the meaning of NO, HELL NO, and take a flying leap! 

It is just plain STUPID to play into TP's hands. You KNOW what they are up to, yet the lesson is never be learned -- OR, at least for most of the R party, they really prefer BOistan and want to stop Trump just as much as TP. 

Why are they spineless, and why to they keep being stupid? It's a family tradition! 

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The Briefing Room Squirrel

White House hand-picks select media outlets for briefing | TheHill:

So it's a limited set of chairs and some more standing space. It's in the White House, so the president ultimately decides who sits there -- sounds like they have had "a group" that has decided for awhile.

The "Trump way" seems to be to get those that are "hyper interested" in government (mostly the left) to have their heads explode assuming every move he makes is of "earth shaking importance".

For the rest -- his base, the "silent majority", and ?? at least me, it becomes clear that this is how he operates. He has been sucking all the air out of all media for over a year now with the same techniques (more effective now that he is POTUS).

I never knew or cared how this particular arcane feature of politics / media operated (WH briefing room), although I did wonder how the old crank / biddy Helen Thomas was near the front row when Reagan was president.


Now I sorta know, and I realize I don't even sorta care. Is that a Trump win? Does it matter to ANYONE except the folks who lost a chair on this round of musical chairs? Does ANYONE know if it is "good / bad / indifferent" for anything other than the creation of controversy?

I realized about this time last year that I did NOT understand how Trump operates -- I read Scott Adams who interpreted pieces of it for me, and he had predicted that Trump would win the WH in the summer of 2015. I still don't understand, but I'm into calmly observing and learning at this point. Trump obviously wants major parts of the nation and the world on "constant high immediate alert" -- SQUIRREL!

My "guess" is that he really does have a "meta shaping strategy" and constant heads exploding is part of that strategy. I HOPE the goal of that strategy is "Making America Great Again" ... or it could be making Trump a dictator, blowing up the world, putting all the muslims in gas chambers, or something simiarly nefarious, or even innane (assuming he is as insane as many on the left think). Or maybe there is no strategy, it is just a random interaction of a strange billionaire personality with an electorate that put him in the office, and now the pot boils on.

In general, I'm now willing to let the squirrels run, watch them and the actual world as well as possible by a varied media diet and occasionally check on somebody screaming this particular squirrel is carrying a grenade rather than a nut.

Just another squirrel people.

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First Spillway Use Since 2006

Stare into the Abyss of the Mesmerizing 'Glory Hole' Spillway:

The video of water going down the massive pipe spillway on this dam is kinda cool. So the fact that it is being used means that area of California is the wettest it has been since 2006.

How many times have we heard that California drought is caused by "Climate Change"? Lots.

So now that the water levels in some parts of the state are at levels not seen in over a decade, is that also evidence of Climate Change? I suppose so -- if dryer is evidence, wetter may be as well and thus evidence of Climate Change!

Small problem -- a theory that explains everything explains nothing, but never mind.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Climate Dump


The article has a lot of nice charts, some of which I've read books on and am somewhat convinced of. The bottom line is that C02 doesn't historically correlate with temprature, climate has been cycling for millions of years, and all the climate models have and continue to be spectacularly wrong.

Some thoughts on this issue in this time of everyone on every side being certain.

First, Our lives are but an instant. Our childrens lives a bare 20-30 years longer, our grandchildren another 20-30. Predictions made for a century or more into the future have been laughed at for generations as the current generation looks back at the predictions of the last. Global famine, flying cars, living on the moon and mars, artificially intelligent computers, everyone dead of nuclear war, the petroleum supply of the planet utterly depleted, Christ returning,  the USSR controlling the entire planet, Japan ruling the planet economically, a new ice age and now the inverse. Such are the predictions made over the course of just my lifetime.

Some of them are still out there, and some of them I believe. I certainly believe that Christ will return. Everthing I know aobout climate (covered in some of the charts above) indicates that we WILL have another ice age at some point. We have been warming since the last one (in general, it is like the stock market, ups and downs but generally up (we HOPE in the case of the market!), the only real big picture climate questions are how warm it will get before the next ice age, and when will it start.

Second, Argument with "true believers" on predictions is futile at best and often downright nasty. If you wanted to convince me that I was a fool for believing that Christ will return, what would you use as evidence? As Yogi Berra supposedly intoned "Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future".

So far, all the climate models have been very wrong (plenty of info on that in the dump if you want to look), but has that really changed any minds? Do you expect it to? We are talking about FAITH here, not anything remotely related to "science". The fact that the continued failure of the predictions on Global Warming forced a branding change to "Climate Change" have changed few minds tells us that we are dealing with FAITH. There were few people that gave up on Christ's return after the "Great Dissappointmnet of 1844" as well.

So third, We ALL live by faith, the only difference is if we want to acknowldge that fact or not. We also are all going to DIE, as is everyone we love -- either before or after us ... yet another fact we choose to ignore. BOTH of these facts are facts like 2+2=4. They are irrefuteable. You might think you could refute the first, but what is your evidence? How would you "prove" that you are a human that DOES NOT live by faith? You might "believe" it, but, like well ... that is just your opinion man!

Like I believe that I'm going to have dinner in Des Moines tonight -- I BELIEVE that, but since it is the future, I may die, the vehicle might break, I might have an accident that prevents me from getting there, or any of the people that are to be at the dinner might have something come up that prevents it -- sickness, sickness of a loved one or child, THEY might have an accident or die, Des Moines might be wiped out by a meteor ... we could go on and on to events both great and small that would destroy my "factual prediction about the future".

Our beliefs about the future are useful if they help us live our lives today. Believing in Christ's return helps me deal with the fact of death for myself and loved ones. It gives my temporal life eternal purpose  -- eternity makes the next moment, year, decade, millineum small in comparison to my hope for the future.

"Climate Change" provides much the same purpose for the secularist today. It gives their life meaning -- they are "saving the world" by being "believers", voting accordingly, maybe even saving a bit of energy themselves when it is convienient. Their belief in Climate Change allows them to have a "shared transcendent value" that puts them on the side of "good" and allows them to contrast themselves with "deniers" who obviously are evil and have no concern for the future of the planet. All the while being able to convince themselves that their "belief" is "truth" -- which of course everyone always does with all their beliefs, just don't tell secularists that!

Their beliefs are not beliefs, but rather FACTS and TRUTH to them -- and in that, they prove their humanity while they try to deny it. Don't expect that any sort of "data" will have any effect on them but to increase their resolve. That is how faith works -- look into your own soul, you know it to be true.

I'm certain of it!

Krugman, In Praise Of Trump

Things Can Only Get Worse - The New York Times:

Or in this case, typically all of the above!

I love the title, a fantastic job by former Enron advisor Paul Krugman. The opposite of his predictions are to be firmly believed (night of Trump election, "the markes will NEVER recover").

He is consistently the sound of a left hand clapping, he is but a one handed cheerleader for the left.

Why does the Times employ a man whose modest claim to expertise died when he took 50 grand from Enron and wrote glowing about them -- and then they promptly collapsed. and he disparaged W for taking campaign contributions from Enron?

Because the NY Times and Krugman are of a piece. They are fake to their very core -- there is "no there, there" in either case. Their entire existence is to blow with a leftward breeze no matter is happening in the real world.

Their hatred of Trump is a major proof of his goodness. For a leader, having the right people hate you -- STRONGLY, is every bit as important -- and maybe more so, then having people who love and support you.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Flynn Flammed

What was the Flynn affair? | Power Line:

This column has a good set of links to other articles that lay out the details of the strange ouster of Flynn, it is worth a read, as are some of the linked columns. My concerns boil down to:

  1. The Administrative State / alphabet agencies are in open revolt and perfectly willing to commit open felonies in their attack on Trump. Leaking transcripts of conversations like the ones leaked is a Felony and possibly Treason. We need to see some very high level people being locked up forever or possibly excuted to turn the direction the BOistan KGB lest we end up with our next president being someone high up in todays CIA / NSA / etc. In a police state, the intelligence agencies more or less rule -- directly or indirectly. They need to have their wings "clipped" at the joint ... as in surgically, or more violently REMOVED or BOistan will move from a failed tribal state to a police state.
  2. WHY Trump decided to remove Flynn is a major conundrum. His normal urge is to fight -- given the current situation, that seems like a much better path than throwing someone under th bus.

The subtext of the excellent Victor Davis Hanson article is that Trump, like the cheese, stands alone. The #nevertriump forces on the right were just as anxious (if not more so) than the left to defeat him in the election, and are now just as anxious to remove him. They got used to BOistan and found ways to butter their bread quite nicely as the perpetual minority party -- they were not very happy to be wrong about Trump not being electable, and they are especially unhappy with the prospect of him being president for 4 years or longer!

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Monday, February 20, 2017

The BOistan KGB, The Deep State

There is a good reason that Putin is the head of Russia today -- he got there the old fashioned way for a totalitarian state. By working for the KGB, getting the goods on the people he needed to take down, blackmail, etc. Chuck Schiumer knows how the game is played in totalitarian states, of which BOistan is one.

As a general rule, it’s probably unwise to pick a fight with spies, a point Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made in early January. “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” he said. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”
As we saw during the BO years, the IRS attacked  conservative organizations, then took the 5th and walked away. The donor lists they got and handed out to "The Party" were used to shake down more people that failed to bow to TP, as in Wisconsin

Even The Atlantic has a rudimentary understanding here of the threat of the Administrative State we already have. 

Yet Schumer’s warning, even if realistic, is chilling: Not only does it raise the possibility of unelected, faceless bureaucrats using classified information to retaliate against a duly elected president, but that comes in the wake of the intelligence scandals of the Obama years. Edward Snowden’s revelations showed the vast powers that the NSA had accrued and could use, even on American citizens, with little or no oversight.
Naturally, The Atlantic makes some odd connection between our massive Administrative State and Turkey (of all places) and concludes that "nothing to see here, move along".

The idea of a “Deep State” constraining Trump was not new. Back in February, when the idea of a President Trump still seemed wildly implausible, Megan McArdle wrote that he wouldn’t be able to do that much damage even if he won, thanks to bureaucrats who could slow-walk or even block his priorities. “This is the reality: Most of what you want to do to Washington won’t get done—and neither will much of what you want to get done outside of it, if you insist on taking Washington on,” she wrote. After the inauguration, some liberals took new heart in that idea.

This is OLD news -- Reagan was beset by pieces of the Federal Beauracracy that simply ingnored him, and this was even after PATCO. The ability of a president to fight the Administrative State is more limited today than it was then -- if Trump can do it, he is a complete genius.

There is no reason that the FBI should have been inestigating Flynn  ... so it was an internal government move to get him out. The most worrisome thing for me is that Trump went for it.
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trump, The Joy Of Rebellion

Are Liberals Helping Trump? - NYTimes.com:

I remember the line from "Risky Business" quite well.

I'm not a huge fan of profanity, but there is definite truth there. One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things you have always done and expect different results.

When I went to see Risky Business in 1983, I was single, in my 5th year of employment at IBM and very much in the Tom Cruise mode as he gets this lecture of "not wanting to screw up". About this same time, a person that I knew would leave IBM to go to work for Microsoft! I thought they were CRAZY ... they may as well have gone out and hired a bunch of hookers to try to make a big monetary score. The person that left retired from Microsoft in their 40's with I'm certain 10's of millions of dollars.

At the time, IBM was TOTALLY SAFE ... nobody was laid off, salaries were rising. If you could hang around 30 years (and likely less), you could retire with 2/3 of your salary and full medical benefits for the rest of your life. Sometime in the late '80s a buddy and I were up fishing at Mille Lacs and ran into a couple of guys who had retired from IBM recently that were in their early '50's (I hit 30 years at 51) who had super nice motor homes, a great boat, and had been reeling in big walleyes on Mille Lacs for a MONTH STRAIGHT!

I certainly didn't want to "screw up", take risks, and jeopordize that! One would have to be a FOOL to do so!

By the time I was fired in '12, the pension had been cut to a scant 1/3 of salary with minimal medical benefits to pay for medical costs that were skyrocketing. My wife that started at IBM in '84, who I would marry in '85 will get like 1/10th salary when she retires.

In the late '70s, some of the people that had retired the early '70s were coming back to work. They had gotten what were SUPER pensions at that point that were not indexed for inflation (neither is mine). Thanks to Jimmuh Carter, their pensions were essentially worthless by '80 due to inflation, and anything they had invested (in other than IBM stock) had pretty much earned nothing in the stock market. The Dow hit 900 in January of 1965, in November of '83 it finally went above 1,000 ... stocks were not the answer in those days.

The linked NY Times article points out that politically, saying "What the F" on Trump is considered to be a lot more morally suspect by the left today than pimping for your high school buddies was in '83. Many males may not agree with the morality of buying a hooker, let alone being a pimp, but they certainly understood the concept. Something like half the country today finds the idea of even taking a shot at opportunity to be immoral in the extreme -- so extreme they often can't even associate with such a person.

How will Trump turn out? No idea. My "sense" is that he is a lot more like "going to work for Microsoft" vs sticking with IBM was in '83 than any of the other current analogies. Maybe he is more like hiring a bunch of hookers and charging your high school buddies for sex ... which if you believe the movie, might work out better than one would expect assuming an amoral world and nothing afterward. (which IS the standard assumption of post Christain BOistan).

However, if one believes the left, we live in a HIGHLY moral world. A world more like the Baptist church I grew up in, or even the Mennonite churches around where I grew up. You MUST be "morally pure" ... as in follow all the dictates of "The Party", or you need to be "shunned". Lose contact with friends, co-workers, possibly even family.

I knew some kids like that from the Baptist church -- rebels. Openly drank, smoked, chased (and at least claimed to "catch") girls ... maybe even turned "atheist", or at least cursed the people who put all the moral strictures on them. I was of course quiet and bookish before I met my wife ... so we won't go into that here. I did however at least feel the thrill of rebellion -- I went to PROM, which involved DANCING, causing embarrassement for my father a deacon at church, and my mom a good baptist woman. Dancing, movies, smoking, drinking, long hair and a few other things were bigtime sins in the church ... I had long hair as well. I was a REBEL! (sort of ... a very limited rebel)

At age 60, it seems just plain surrealistic to see millions of people so locked into a secular humanist "morality" that they shun others over political views, or basically "taking a risk" ( on a 70ish multi-billionaire with great kids). I guess in a lot of ways I've never really changed -- mostly I keep my mouth shut about politcs day to day because I realize how bad it makes many people feel that someone they know would vote for Trump. I did the same back then ... I "sinned", but other than prom and long hair, I was pretty quiet about it.

In strange ways, my Christianity has become my "open rebellion" now. When I was in high school I was embarrassed about being a Baptist. I couldn't defend young earth creation, nor really understand why our church didn't allow dancing, drinking, etc and so many of the "world churches" did. Since I had been raised that way, it "felt" like the only way to escape hell was to be "saved" which if properly done would "change me" so I no longer desired any of the worldly things.

It never really seemed to "work" ...  "wanting" girls in the days of the miniskirt was an obstacle that prayers never fixed for me. I wanted to be somewhat popular at school ... and the kids that were able to do a better job of following the Baptist strictures were definitely UNpopular at school. The only "proper path" was to go to Pilsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatonna Minnesota to become a minister or missionary, or to settle in to farming or working at the turkey plant or some other local business, marry one of the good baptist girls, and settle in for what looked like a longer life at that point than it does now. Perhaps that WAS the only way "home" (to heaven) for me ... those were the cards that I was dealt by God and I walked away from the solution that was presented me -- I failed to honor my father and mother and follow the road that God put me on. "The judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether".

I don't spend a lot of time on that -- it crosses my mind with a lot of other things. It comes with my belief that God truly is SOVEREIGN -- even if he puts me in Hell for eternity because I failed to follow the simple clear path he set before me since I felt I was "smarter than that". He is STILL sovereign! I don't feel / believe that will be the outcome -- I believe that Christ died with the promise to save me by GRACE, and those thoughts are just late night nightmares. It is part of honest thoughts that come form being raised as I was raised with the wetware and spiritware that I have.

While I went through a conversion to conservative, Lutheran "process Christian", philosphical wanna be, half the population (+ 3 million HRC voters, so a MAJORITY!)  formed a new religion that kinda reminds me of "Stranger In A Strange Land" which I just realized I ought to re-read. Perhaps Secular Humanism really is the Fosterite cult where all manner of sex, drug use, and wealth aquisition is "blessed" as long as the cult of government is held supreme, the planet at it's existing temprature or colder is venerated, Satan (Trump) is cursed, and those that refuse to kneel before the power of "The Party" (TP-D)  are cast out into utter darkness. There have been stranger religions.

Science fiction appealed to me a lot in high school and through college, but after my conversion to conservatism as a reaction to Jimmuh Carter, I've found history, philosophy, theology, physics, biographies and such to be much more surreal than what people can make up. From my perspective, we really are trapped on an ancient intellectual and spiritual starship with nearly nobody understanding how we got here.

Is Trump "risky business"? Sure, and maybe to some extent we Trump voters really did sorta say "WTF", but from most of our perspectives, we had an even worse choice than Tom Cruise. I wonder if the folks in the the Secular Humanist / Fosterite religion remember what it feels like to be a rebel? As they forgot their sense of small, did they also forget "the will to power" and decided to "play it safe" like I did at IBM?

For me, listening to lefties heads explode on MPR / NPR day in and day out is just TOO much fun! After 8 long years, it is now the lefts turn "In the Barrel", and it is impossible for even a 60 year old me to not take a good deal of joy in that!

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Gigapixel Trump Inauguration


One of the rather amazing things of our time is the ability to shoot a picture with a BILLION pixels! You can click the link and go look around at the various people ... kinda funny to see some of the expressions and how much you can zoom in. I don't really care about the numbers. As the picture shows there were LOTS of people there, and LOTS of red "Make America Great Again" hats.

When I think of the effort required to attend such an event, it makes me realize that a LOT of people are a whole lot more dedicated to poltics than I am -- which I see as GOOD in both senses. It's great they care enough to be there, and it is especially great that I and millions of others feel we don't have to care that much. That is what freedom looks like.

America was a land of LIMITED GOVERNMENT, which meant that the level of intrusion of government on anyone's life was intened to be LIMITED. Both in the ability of the government to give you what you want and to force others to give it to you was to be strictly limited. Since the government does not produce anything, certainly not wealth, that is really the only question that needs to be considered. Who makes and who takes.

If the government has enough power to "give" you more than it takes from you for "some charge" to you, the only way that can happen is when it TAKES what is "given" to you from somebody else.

When you go to the grocery store, you understand the transaction fairly well -- you walk around the store, pick up what you want, and then pay for it as you leave. The money you pay keeps the store operating and returns some level of profit to the company running the store after the store has paid for it being built, keeping the lights on, employees to stock and do check out, and of course a large part of what you paid goes to the whole system that moves the products from farmers, fishermen, bakers, processors, etc  through processing plants, trucking, packaging, advertising, etc, etc.

Everyone in that system makes some level of profit from what they do -- usually very low single digit percentages ... for groceries, it can be LESS than 1%, since 1% is the average. So if one guy owns the grocery store / chain, he needs to do 100 million dollars of business a year if he wants to have million dollar income.

Yes, some of what you pay in taxes goes for the government to make sure everyone "plays fair" and "plays safe" ... the folks that built the store, provided the power, grew the food, processed the food, etc, etc all live under some level of "regulation". Regulation is pure overhead, if everyone was honest, dedicated, competent, etc, there would be no need for regulation. Some of the money for regulation comes out of everyone's taxes, some of it you paid at the checkout because it was a "cost of doing business"  for the myriad of "farmers, processors, truckers, etc" that it took to get those products on the shelf.

When Obama was elected, the vast majority of the people in the crowd were hoping that he would tip the scales so that they were going to GET more from the government than they had gotten in the past. I'm quite certain that the vast majority of people standing in red hats assumed that Trump was going to shift the balance so that the govenment TOOK less from them and the rest of the country on the assumption that lowering the overhead of govenment would allow them to keep more in their pockets, and hopefully GROW the overall economy at a higher rate than it has in the last 8 years so that the entire pool of wealth to be spent, re-distributed, wasted, invested, etc was greater.

That isn't a very high bar. Obama was the first US president in history to never have a year of 3% growth or better, and even that pitiful level was highly suspect given the amount of changes he made in how the calculations are done. My guess is that there was very close to ZERO actual growth if the lowered value of money (inflation from "stimulus", "quantitative easing", deficit spending, etc) was accurately figured in.

So did less people show up to support the opportunity to MAKE more than showed up in '08 to TAKE more? All the people that told us that Trump would certainly lose tell us that is that case. In many ways, I hope they are right -- if there is more opportunity now, it is better to be out creating wealth than standing and watching the new guy be installed to try to make that happen!

Brokaw and the Liberal Detector

Tom Brokaw, liberal Democrat | Power Line:

Bill Buckley's boast that he could always detect a liberal got my brain a whirring. I've had one case for sure in my life where I had pegged someone 100% as liberal and turned out to SPECTACULARLY wrong. Nice looking, single woman few years younger than me, walked to work rather than driving a car, happy, outgoing, intelligent, obviously caring -- she just looked and seemed, well, "liberal". She was and is not --  mostly likely to the right of me a little bit (not that there is anything wrong with that)!

The term "Gaydar" might we related -- I've had to be told on multiple occasions "they're gay", when it never crossed my mind. Oh, sure, the flamboyant obvious case -- "Liberace, Elton John, etc", but Rock Hudson? Nope. Lesbian, no hope, I'm totally oblivious.

Here is what I believe.

I suspect that females have "Gaydar" that exceeds even the gay. They are wired to realize if they are "being checked out", and to realize if another female is being "checked out", especially by "their guy' (targeted or captured). Much like it is claimed that our 688 attack subs would figure out where our "boomers" (missile subs) were at because there was a "sonic hole in the water" (we built them TOO quiet, they were a sound screen), the "Gaydar" is really detecting that the male in question isn't giving off any level of female attention reading for ANY woman in the group ... ergo.

I believe that the default person is "liberal", meaning that they believe that humans are generally good, or if not good, easily educated to be good. When someone has been properly educated and socialized, they will as a matter of course be a fellow liberal. The more intelligence, communication ability, creative ability, artistic ability, social grace, etc a person has, the more likely it is that they are liberals. Liberalism is the natural state of political belief for a healthy happy human that wants to get along in society and be successful. Given basic intelligence, a normal desire to get along with others, and even fairly minimal education, any sentient person is liberal. It is a core liberal matter of faith.

As a conservative Christian, I agree liberalism is the natural human state. People like to see themselves as good, and they like to see those that agree with them as good. I was a liberal until I was 21 myself -- it is often said that if you are not a liberal when you are young, you have no heart. I agree with the generalization humor in that, but I disagree with the other part that if you are not a conservative by "40", you have no brain. I believe that high intellect and especially a high level of education, skill in a field, and even financial success (depends on type, small business will tend to turn people conservative) will generally encourage one to be and stay a liberal. The increasingly leftward direction of the US to BOistan, where liberalism is increasingly the state religion as well as just a good idea, makes it painful to not follow the crowd in especially the coastal areas and large cities.

My belief is that the biggest differentiator is belief in God ( the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God). Certainly not all conservatives are Christians, but in order to be a conservative, you need to hold to a set of values that can't be constructed by reason. They have to be, "felt, intuited, discrned". Modern brain science shows that unless we are a psychopath, sociopath, asbergers, etc person, we all DO feel the moral impulse.

Where does it come from? As we might all guess, that is a matter of faith. Hard work has been put into coming up with a narrative that might allow evolution to create it (eg "group selection"), however at best, that is always going to be highly speculative (as an atheist would say religion is).

Modern BOistan has gotten so lost that there are indeed a number of people who are supposedly God believing "christians" who don't believe much of the Bible or in the diety / redemptive power of Christ. Brokaw may even be one of those. It allows one to intellectually call themselves "chrisitan", while believing none of the tenets of the faith (Christ is Gods son, died for our sins, which we admit to, and will save us if we accept his life, death and resurrection and follow him as a result). The "secular christian" is essentially no different from the "secular humanist" in thinking that there may or may not be an afterlife, but since I'm certainly better than most people, I don't need to worry about it.

Again, this is a GENERALIZATION, so there are definiely "many" cases where it doesn't apply -- atheist conservtives, actual political liberals that somehow manage to correlate that with real faith (although I can't explain it, I'm not the judge, Christ is), the point is that in general, the conservative view follows quite naturally from "looking for God" ... or at a minium, the transcendent. The idea that this isn't all there is.

So as a conservative, I believe that man is flawed -- he has a moral nature, but he has an animal nature as well, and that is too prone to take over and cause short term evil that tends to begat longer term evil (cover-up, attachment to the evil, attempts to justify, etc). Also, without faith in a higher power, attention to long-term gain and willingness to accept short term pain for the long term benefit is difficult at best. Eternity is the longest of long term -- so foregoing questionable earthly pleasures in light of eternal gain makes a lot of sense to people with that outlook, obviously NONE to people without it.

If we didn't die, get sick, have to work in order to be fed clothed, etc, then liberalism would be the clear ticket. No responsibility (at least none except voting for "good people"). A world with a TON of "rights" ... freedom to say exactly what you want and recently to not have to hear anything that you don't like, free health, free education (to learn how to have greater pleasure ... like study the Karma Sutra), free shelter, free food, free beverages and recreational drugs (at least they SHOULD be covered!), guaranteed respect and participation trophies, freedom from war, violence (unless beating up a conservative for pleasure), etc, etc. A good reality if you can get it.

As PJ O'Rourke once said, liberals believe in Santa, conservatives belive in God. The only problem with liberalism is that there is no Santa!

It is clear why the young tend to be liberal -- in BOistan up to 21, and lately even 26 and beyond, many of their lives are close approximations of the previous slightly whimsical description. For a wealthy guy like Brokaw, it at least "seems" like the proper alingment of large beauracracy just "might" be able to keep things rolling in general, and it has certainly worked out GREAT for him! Yes, the "sickness and death" thing has started to intrude, but modern medicine helps keep the sickness thing as somewhat less horrible than formerly, and at least mostly hidden. Death is a nagging problem, but it MUST be kinda OK -- everyone does it, certainly it has to be graded on a curve at the very least, and "I'm OK". Why, even if it did somehow turn out that I was "personally responsible" (insane, but this nagging feeling ...), hey, I talk way better than just about EVERYONE, and when you get right down to it, I AM a pretty darned nice guy!

After all, I turned down NIXON (of course) ... in the unlikely event there is a hell in Brokaw's mind, I'm certain he sees Nixon as justifiably there. He LIED to the American people! He erased a tape!

Do I think I can usually spot the conservative in the room? Sure, the same way as a 688 attack sub spots a boomer, or a woman a gay. Because there is the absence of "standard liberal chatter" from that person. They avoid politics just a little bit more than is even the average. They never bring up SNL, and laugh only uncomfortably about "the great skit that really put Trump / Sarah Palin / W in their place!"

For some strange roll of the dice, I'm an even rarer breed, the "conservative inconoclast'. I keep silent not because I would not be perfectly happy to have the give and take, but because of the level of discomfort, hatred, and down right leaving the room screaming that will be ingnited if I expose myself is truly terrible. For some reason, the comination of large size, relatively glib tongue, not being totally stupid, and being decently aware of liberal positions as well as COUNTER positions is especially incendiary. if I dragged my knuckles, they could look the other way and go cluck cluck, but as it is, well, "they can't normalize pure evil"!

My thinking is that the reason for this is that it makes them question their assumption that "anyone reasonably intelligent / well read / emotionally able to communicate", MUST be a liberal! Certainly they at some level know this is not the case -- Buckley after all was WAY more intelligent, well read, glib tounged, etc than I, but my sense is they feel that anyone with even a wisp of that sort of madness ought be clearly marked, and not allowed to just walk around in the open. Perhaps the "outlier conservative preserve" should be formed in the interest of keeping liberals safe.

So I stay stealthy. At my workplace, I'm sure there are suspicions ... they know that I'm an Elder and a LCMS church! They haven't heard me say anything nasty about Trump! I've only laughed minimally and probably detectably and uncomfortably at nasty things said about Trump and Trump voters at the office where politics are to be STRICTLY off limits! Of course the executive director went out and marched in the woman's march, a couple of the people have "Vote Democrat" on their cars and in some strategic not too public spots in their office. After all, when you ARE a good person, you have to be just a little proud of it!

... and that's the way it is! As another noted liberal used to say. As a rather funny postscript, I went off to find a Youtube of Walter doing the signoff (easy to find if you want), but instead explained that he came up with it because "other distinguished broadcasters had one, why shouldn't he?" even though his boss correctly pointed out that it might well not be true -- they may have made mistakes, not gotten all the information, drawn wrong conclusions, etc. But, "people liked it" -- as many DO tend to like "authority", so it became part of the liberal manufactured "reality" of the US -- "fake, but true", or at least accepted as "true". "Uncle Walter" was always right, and we could all believe him ... as he signed off each night with something that was suspect at best, and in many cases, a direct lie.

Americans have enjoyed fake news for a very long time!

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Column That Agrees With ME On Tribalism

Why Both Left And Right Are Political Hypocrites And What To Do About It:

Most of us like to be agreed with. Nothing particularly interesting about this column, It could have been written by me ... just linking it here to show others are just as stupid, smart, right, wrong, as I am.

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The Fourth Way, Hugh Hewitt


I got sucked in on this one, not a bad book, but VERY wonky. It's objective is to present a clear path as to what Hewitt thinks will allow Trump to avoid losing ground in the midterms and to establish a lasting "Republican" majority. Strangely, it also talks about how likely it is that Trump will be impeached.

He bases that rather odd little chapter largely on a David Brooks column from Nov 11 that brought up impeachment (Brooks is the NY Times "conservative" columnist!), and the fact that "Republicans have done it before". The way Hugh wrote it I suspect that he is essentially threatening Trump to "keep his nose clean, or else". Yes, yes, we Republicans have principles, however in my opinion it is way PAST time to realize those principles are being used against us and become as Matt 10:16 "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." We need to focus a LOT more on the serpent part!

So Hugh's "plan":

  • Do a "stimulus" that is 1/10th the BO stimulus, so $85 billion, and have it be "seed money" to get a bunch of low income clinics, basketball courts, swimming pools, etc built around the country in partnership with appointed "boards", majoring in low income areas. (this seems "fine")
  • Do a bunch of navy ship building in the great lakes states that Trump flipped (fine)
  • Do teeny tiny tweaky tax reform staying completely away from any sort of "flat tax". It needs to be read, but he makes a good case for not getting rid of home mortgage / chairitable deductions. In my opinion he makes a lot less of a case for continuing to allow state income taxes to be deducted. He asserts that it would "lose WI, IA, MI, PA etc, for what? Winning FL and TX TWICE?".

    My thought would be that a lot of the Trump voters, and the most likely potential Trump voters to add don't pay much in state taxes anyway. In any case, I hope someone has a better plan than Hugh.
  • Appoint good judges (duh) He thanks Harry Reid for making it very likely that Trump can be successful at this. Yes, thanks Harry!
  • He has a lot of tweaky defense ideas. I HOPE that Trump has some people that have a lot more innovative ones -- like massive containers full of 100's of thousands of tiny drones each with a little "c4" that can hit people, equipment, gang up and hit buildings, etc, etc with the computerized command and control capabilites to use them on subs, planes, and even from satellites. 

And that is about it. Very ho hum. Not recommended.

Sally Yates Gets a Scalp, BOistan Cheers

Sally Yates’s legacy of injustice | Power Line:

Howard Root sinned agains the Administrative State. He created a medical device company with 650 US employees, a billion in sales, and over 100 new medical devices in it's product line. The Administrative State took a run at him last year and failed. He decided the deck was stacked against him, so he "retired" at 56 this year. A "win" for the Administrative State.

BOistan is a nation that encourages the productive to give up in any way it can, it has been quite successful at it.

It appears that the Dakota Access Pipeline is "safe" now via Trump executive order. Consider a nation where companies and investors put up $4 billion, get ALL the approvals to build a pipeline, and when they are down to the last few miles, a bunch of lefties show up, block it, and the "chief" of BOistan decides to side with the protestors and shuts it down.

Why are 3rd world countries 3rd world countries?

Because investing in them is a fools errand -- you NEVER know if your project with be stopped, nationalized, bombed or whatever.

America was a nation with a Constitution and the Rule of Law. If you followed the rules, got the approvals, built "things, value, inventions, etc", you had a decent chance of not only creating some wealth that you might keep, but also creating a business that paid taxes, employed people that paid taxes, built homes, had kids, that sort of old fashioned stupid stuff.

BOistan went a long way to stamping that out, and the election of Trump was a reaction -- but BOistan isn't going down without a fight. It HATES families, invention, success, education rather than indoctrinaton, building things, generating electricity and CERTAINLY the creation of good jobs in the private sector. The kinds of people involved in those activities tend to oppose "The Party".

Will Trump even get a chance to govern and shift to even a "slightly more predictable BOistan"? The jury is definitely still out and it is obvious that "The Party" is no longer interested in anything but 100% opposition to Trump. When you have been able to take down guys like Howard Root and put the fear of massive losses into the hearts of investors that want to put money into BOistan, TP has had a VERY good day!

The creation of a totally immoral and dependent population with their hands out for alms and their heads bent in subservience to TP is the goal -- and ANY means of movement toward that goal is all that matters to TP.

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Special Tribal Wars, Fix Your RINOs

Bring On the Special Prosecutor - The New York Times:

The "news" of the surreal keeps coming.

We knew during the election that the left had gone around the bend, this is really not that surprising. The question that begs is if the Republican party wants to allow a twiddle of the dial from BOistan back toward the Constitutional Republic we used to have ... "America" I think it was called, or if they really want to sign on fully for the slide to a total pagan tribal state.

Based on the tail spreading of the peacock John McCain, it is certainly easy to see how a few RINOs could easily side with "The Party" and snatch a defeat of gigantic proportions from the infant cries of a new administration that won a victory of truly epic proportions.

As he as evidenced over the last 30 years though, John McCain is a man of a extremely strong principle -- he only has one. It's all about John, and John ALWAYS knows best. He is VERY loyal to John -- everyone else ... meh.

What he loves best is attacking a president of his own party -- he was fine with BO destroying America and creating the tribal state of BOistan. If BO's campaign plane had crashed in '08, McCain would have probably have renamed the country "John" or possibly "Songbird", supposedly his nickname at the Hanoi Hilton because he liked to talk to the Viet Cong so much. It is no wonder he likes "The Party" -- he probably thinks Schumer is Ho Chi Min.

Damn. If Trump is really a bad ass, finding a nice skeleton in McCain's closet and getting him drummed out of the Senate would be one of the very best ops to pull. Arizona is reliably Republican, it wouldn't change the balance in the senate.

It's been obvious since at least February 12 1999 (the day the senate failed to convict Slick Willie) that it is time for desperate measures ... the past 8 years made that abundantly clear.

Now, there is a chance, all be it a slim one, of moving the dial away from our current failed tribal state.  We have to expect the dominant tribe, TP to fight hard and DIRTY. It's all they know. Baggage like McCain needs to either muzzled TIGHTLY and QUICKLY, or better yet, removed.

Fix McCain, Collins and Murkowski, and I think we could reliably tell the NY Times to take a timeout with Fauxcahontas.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Fake News Vs Imaginary News

Imaginary News | Scott Adams' Blog:

A good one from Scott Adams.

Essentially, all any of us ever sees of ANYTHING is "imaginary". Science is now fairly certain that the data arriving to our brains from our eyes, ears and other senses is WAY too sparse to create the movie, much less that meta-narrative that we are all CERTAIN that we "see". We are all living in our imaginations.

For 10's of thousands of years, our movie was our own little area of nature, our family, our tribe, our meta-model of how the "gods", "spirits", etc that surrounded and even lived in us interacted with all that was part of our existence.  Everyone we contacted in other than a battle shared our model ... and if they didn't, they were typically sent packing or simply killed.

 It was an incredibly rich model ... everything fit together. Our place, role, task, meaning, understanding, destiny, purpose, etc all made perfect sense to ALL of our tribe. We lived, we died. Our prey and the plants lived and died, the seasons lived and died. The stars and symbols they represented lived, died and came back each year! Our lives might go on in a "happy hunting ground", or our spirits might return to inhabit the area we lived, the creatures we hunted, or even other family members in future generations. We KNEW our place and our destiny!

Or we were created a shorter time ago, or by a longer term directed process with the same "wetware / spiritware / consciousness" ... we will never know the answer to that question in this mortal coil.

What we do know is that we were NEITHER evolved or created for the "reality" we find ourselves in. If we consider "The Matrix", a Black Lives Matter march, Obama promising over and over to "close Gitmo on day one", the media level of certainty that it was impossible for Trump to win, or virtually any discussion with Trump, it should be very clear that we no longer live in a "shared reality".

Not so long ago we were a Christian nation, we nearly all lived in a created universe that had meaning and purpose. Families were generally made up of two parents, a man and a woman, men were men and women were women. There was once a time when CBS news would not even consider using a forged document to take down a sitting president, and a president having oral sex with an intern in the oval office was unthinkable, and certainly career ending were it to occur.

We don't live there anymore. We live in a tribal state where "truth" is tribal -- as it was for most of man's history if you are an evolutionist. In any case, our nature and grasp of reality is very oriented toward tribal truth.  There are now no transcendent values, so there is no transcendent truth -- truth is whatever your tribe says. You have to agree with that, or you are no longer part of your tribe.

So, as I've beaten to death, in one tribes imagination, how good a fighter pilot W was 30+ years ago was "news", while in the other tribe it was a matter of no concern. 25% of the Democrat tribe considered 9-11 to be an "inside job". A similar number of the Republican tribe considered BO to be a Kenyan (according to his book, he was a Luo tribesman, but who knows, it's all imaginary anyway). We were once told that "if we liked our healthcare, we could keep it". In various imaginations, all of these things were "real / true / important / etc" ... and some of them still are. It all depends on what the imagination of your shaman is.

Outside of trivia like "2+2=4", reality is actually quite obscure and "culturally (tribally) determined". In Native American culture, hearing voices is a GOOD thing -- not so much in what used to be Western civilization ... I'm not all that certain in "post Western civilization" that it won't be just fine again.

So which press conference did YOU see? It is all a matter of your "tribe". I didn't watch the whole thing, but what I saw I kinda liked. The other tribes heads seemed to be exploding, which in a tribal state is always a good thing! (as long as it is the OTHER tribe!)

We worked VERY hard to get here. No shared transcendent truth! Everyone is FREE, FREE, FREE!  If Bernie was elected, even the beer and weed would be FREE, FREE, FREE!

It is all just grand! We have been assured for decades that this is exactly the way it "really is". Truth is an illusion. Your imagination is REAL! Long live Post-modernism and the fruit of it's loins -- Trump!

** Note, again, as a Christian Burkean conservative, I don't REALLY have a tribe. However, I AM a human being -- so I certainly feel the pull of the tribe, just as I get a shiver at Lambeau when the crowd chants "Go Pack GO!". When we used to have a nation to be proud of, I got that same shiver when Star Spangled Banner was played. I'd love to see is get down to the hard business of moving BOistan back toward what we once were ... I have no idea if that is even possible, let alone if there is a ghost of a chance for Trump to start that journey. The fact that pretty much half the country has decided to not honor an election isn't a good sign however.

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Making Sense of God, Timothy Keller


My love affair with the writings of Timothy Keller continues. I covet his level of intellect and especially his ability to lovingly yet strongly make significant philosophical and theological points with absolutely no regression to snark and put-downs. It is a level of intellectual maturity that I gaze in wonder at, and which puts me to such shame that I cry out for God's help to better emulate Reverend Doctor Keller's example.

For those familiar with how I read, this book now has a forest of tabs sticking out of it, and the inside is extensively marked. I find it to be nothing less than a potential basis for a igniting a new 21st century revival in the west to correlate with the rapid rise of Christianity in China, South America and Africa. The brokenness of North America and Western Europe in spirit, philosophy and community is glaringly obvious. This book provides a strong laymen's case for:
1). Why belief in God is rational as a basis for society
2). What happens when such belief wanes
3). Why the specific God -man Jesus Christ is the only basis for faith that works in our age (or any age)

The book is heavily sourced, so I'll try to give pages for specific quotes that will often have been sourced into the book ... I'll leave it up to the interested to run down the original authors.

p13 "The ideals of freedom ... of conscience, human rights and democracy are the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. ... To this day, there is no alternative to it". 
What we believe is always built on faith in SOMETHING. Morality must be based somewhere or it does not exist. What the west holds to be "self-evident" is only so because of our Judaeo Christian heritage.

Everyone needs to spend some quality thought time on the idea of the "Critique of Doubt" on page 38. Were this understood, everyone's level of smug would have to drop a ton, and that is ALWAYS great for the prospect of community!

"Polanyi agrues that doubt and belief are ultimately "equivalent". Why? "The Doubting of any explicit statement denies one belief in favor of other beliefs which are NOT doubted for the time being." You can't doubt belief A except on the basis of some belief B you are believing instead at the moment. So for example, you CANNOT say, "No one can know enough to be certain about God and religion," without assuming at that moment that YOU know enough about the nature of religious knowledge to be certain of your statement!

Page 74 reaches the following sad summary of current western culture than goes into a few pages of how it is that Christ is the "logos" (meaning) the Greeks intuited ... to which I would add "Man's Search For Meaning" as a worthy sourcebook.

"Western societies are perhaps the worst societies in the history of the world for preparing people for suffering and death, because created meaning is not only less rational and communal, but also less durable." 
Why is this the worst? Because without shared meaning, there is nothing to say to the suffering, dying, and bereaved. There is no shared community meaning of life, but rather the lack of shared meaning kills any sense of even real community. Thus, many suffer completely alone, bereft of even family as they struggle to seek blessing from the faceless government bureaucracy they realize they ended up worshiping by accident.

On page 105, in the midst of discussing why our attempt to make "freedom" the only moral value ... "Today, it is said, the only moral absolute should be freedom and the only sin should be intolerance of bigotry.", Keller points out  ... "Even in our supposedly relativistic culture, value judgements are made constantly, people and groups are daily lifted up in order to shame them, public moral umbrage is taken as much as ever. It is hypocritical to claim that today we grant people so much more freedom when we are actually fighting to press our moral beliefs about harm on everyone."

As Reagan put it, the secular left will "defend your right to AGREE with them to their dying breath". They will however not acquiesce to your right to DISagree with them, and will seek to silence you by any means including violence  -- because your lack of agreement is a threat to them and makes them feel moral umbrage. They have no admonition in their secular religion against judgement -- in fact, their judgement is one of the things they are most certain of.

On page 125, "We need someone we respect to respect us. We need someone we admire to admire us. Even when modern people claim to be validating themselves, the reality is always that they are socializing themselves into a new community of peers, of "cheerleaders", of people whose approval they crave."

Even more sadly, the requirements of conformance in your secular group are always increasing -- maybe you were fine with everything up to gay "marriage", or even transgender", however you were uncomfortable with that next step. Perhaps you are an atheist who finds Islam no more, and possibly less acceptible than Chritianity. You looked at it's tenets and see that as crusade era Chrisianity was, Islam can be violent, and you feel that it is obvious that a "progressives" should point that out.

You will likely run into this situation somewhere and find that compliance is NOT optional -- if you want to continue to be accepted by your group, sworn to the statement that  "individual freedom is all that matters",  you MUST comply with ALL their positions! Typically, you most often will shut up and comply, but at least subconciously you no longer really believe the group practices what they preach. (No Christian church or Christian does either -- that is why we repent and take communion over and over, we accept that perfect human consistency is impossible).

I'm getting long. The SUMMARY of this book is "simply":

  1. It is every bit as "reasonable" to believe in God as it is to be an atheist. Increasingly, even MORE reasonable if one is bothered by the "anthropic argument" (we are here because we are here), or the latest physics asserting that there "must" be something like 10**500 UNIVERSES in order to support our existence being "likely".
  2. If you want community and morals, there is scant basis for these elements of human existence outside of religion, and in the format we are familiar with in the west, outside of Christianity. Throwing the "baby" of shared values and community out with God/Christianity for the hope of "perfect freedom" is fraught with peril.
  3. It's all about Christ. There is a really good reason that history is split into BC and AD. That difference is the divine person of Jesus Christ.
Outside of Christ, the world quickly descends into weeping and gnashing of teeth. It's going on all around us today -- families fall apart, people kill themselves to end meaningless lives, any tiny sense of community is trashed over smaller and smaller issues -- it is the politics that makes me cry when I look away from Christ. The Jim Jones cult of our age is the worship of the secular state. 

Christ is the BEST summary of the book -- keep looking at Christ and the Cross. Pray for your family, friends and community who have fallen into faith of the secular. 

The Truth Lament Strolls On


I've been observing for a very long time that the concept of "truth" in the West has fallen on hard times. Knowledge of Philosophy and Theology are at all time lows. Very few can tell much about the relation between fact, dialectic and rhetoric, understanding of which would help the author of this column a good deal.
During his first week in office, Mr. Trump reiterated the unfounded charge that millions of people had voted illegally. When challenged on the evident falsehood, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, seemed to argue that Mr. Trump’s belief that something was true qualified as evidence. The press secretary also declined to answer a straightforward question about the unemployment rate, suggesting that the number will henceforth be whatever the Trump administration wants it to be.
So in a nation where many states have no voter id, what would qualify as "evidence". Here is some from a 2012 Pew Study:
  • About 24 million voter registrations are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.
  • More than 1.8 million dead people are listed as voters.
  • Approximately 2.75 million people are registered in more than one state.
So that is an OPPORTUNITY of 27 million. If 10% of the opportunity voted, that would be 2.7 million. Up to now, nobody has really looked for voter fraud, nor do we still have a good mechanism. My son voted in Colorado, when I voted in MN, there was his name right above mine. MN requires no voter ID ... anyone that knows his name and the fact that he is registered could have walked in, voted as him, and be completely secure against prosecution and likely detection (they would have to do a cross-check between MN and CO). 

Of course, if one knows about fact, dialectic and rhetoric, they realize that is NOT the point. What Trump engages in, what the linked column engages in is rhetoric -- unidirectional convincing speech. If the author of the column and I engaged in a debate, that would be dialectic, and in both, we may or may not attempt to use "facts". I used a few (assuming you accept Pew as a source) in my response to his rhetorical response to Trump's rhetoric in which BOTH of them conclude that "the number will we what **I** say it is!" ... NY Times columnist asserts zero, Trump and minions assert "millions". 

NY Times columnist asserts that he is believable and Trump is not based on -- er, well, "bluster". A very common tool of rhetoricians.  

The Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov drew upon long familiarity with that process when he tweeted: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Exactly, always has been, always will be. What difference did it make if W Bush was a great national guard fighter pilot or a mediocre one? None, but the idea of it was enough to take down Dan Rather. What difference did it make if someone "leaked" that Valeria Plame, who drove into CIA HQ everyday actually worked there? None ... but it occupied a lot of media pages for over a year anyway.

The point of rhetoric since Plato and Aristotle has been to convince humans at a level "beyond factual" ... because humans actually never do anything for purely rational and factual reasons, and they never have. As long as "your side" is winning, the standard human tendency is to never even observe the difference between factual basis and rhetoric.

When "your tribe" loses and you understand nothing about truth, philosophy, dialectics or rhetoric, you are suddenly adrift. Your "moorings" are slipped, and it is obvious to you that "the others" have somehow changed.

This may explain one of the more revealing moments from after the election, when one of Mr. Trump’s campaign surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, was asked to defend the clearly false statement by Mr. Trump that millions of votes had been cast illegally. She answered by explaining that everybody now had their own way of interpreting whether a fact was true or not.

It turns out that everybody has always had their own way of interpreting wether a "fact" was true or not -- it's just that the column author recently notices that less people than he thought were navigating the shoals of truth and falsehood based on the rhetoric of the NY Times.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Oroville Versus Flint, $840 Billion


It appears that loss of the Oroville dam in CA will be headed off. The 200K people that were evacuated have returned, we hope for good. Interestingly, the population of Flint Michigan was once 200K people as well.

Remember 2009 when BO assured us that he was going to "invest" $840 billion in "shovel ready" projects? We never really did hear a lot about what happened to that money "Cash for clunkers", $500 million lost on Soyndra, a few crony payoffs to ACORN and others. While the media is quick to find the shortest path between a government failure and a Republican in office, $840 billion can be thrown to the winds of political graft by a Democrat and nobody even expects that it will be linked up to fixing things like water systems in Flint or giant dams in California.

It isn't hard to find out a trail of what has happened at Oroville.

In 2005, DWR applied for a renewal of its operating license for the Oroville hydroelectric generating facilities. During the relicensing process, Friends of the River, Sierra Club, and the South Yuba River Citizen's League filed a motion to intervene in the relicensing. These groups alleged that the emergency spillway in Oroville should be classified as an "operational/auxiliary" spillway and should be armored with concrete, citing the potential for erosion and downstream runoff impacts. During the proceeding, FERC confirmed that the emergency spillway was properly designated and that it met all FERC engineering guidelines.

We all know the government of California is 100% lefty ... yes, yes, they elected Schwarzenegger, however he ran and governed as a Democrat with an R next to his name, and since the legislature was all Democrat, he really had very little choice. Unsurprisingly, Oroville is a near disaster that seems devoid of political recrimination.  The other underlying reason that we hear little about it is because the "extended drought in CA due to global warming" has been in the news for years, and they haven't figured out how to spin the end of it yet. The Oroville situation shows that the drought is over, which if one was rational and consistent would be a statement on global warming. It is of course not to be taken as such -- drought proves global warming, heavy rain proves global warming.

How is it though that when organizations like the Sierra Club are filing suit in 2005, such a project never gets funded as $850 billion is getting sprayed around? Nobody cares -- "BO was a great president, Trump is a disaster", thus saith the NY Times.

Michigan government is more varied than I would have assumed -- a pretty decent mixture of D and R.  They voted D for president from '92 on up to Trump. So since '92 they have been considered mostly a blue state. However, after the really heavy D cities -- like Detroit and Flint, went into bankruptcy (how does THAT happen?), they ended up electing an R (Snyder) to clean up the disaster as governor. Part of that cleanup involved putting managers in to try to fix the city finances, which resulted in moving to Flint river water in 2014 that ended up leaching lead out of old pipes -- which nobody expected.

Naturally, since a Republican was in the governors office, perfect knowledge of potential problems is supposed to be assured, and when something bad happens it is nearly assuredly due to "racism" -- NPR liked to run shows with crying black mothers talking of how the Republicans purposely poisoned her children. What would one expect?

The moral of the story? Government screws up a lot -- and often in BIG ways. It's a bi-partisan problem -- but don't expect anyone to connect at least half the dots for you.

Prediction though -- if Trump does any sort of a "public works / stimulus, etc", it will be a DISASTER according to the news!

When R's screw up, the media lets us know -- it is because they are nasty, racist, incompent, etc.

When D's screw up it isn't really a "screw up" --- it is like an "act of God", except D's generally don't believe in him, so it is "bad luck". Nothing to see here folks, move aloing.

A cynic like me looks at this and says "elect Republicans" ... at least they will get a TON of oversight from the media, and there is a "chance" they might improve because of it. They will still be working with a unionized beauracracy with no competiiton, protected jobs, etc, but at least THEIR jobs will not be guaranteed, so they might yell lounder at the union folks that they can't fire!

It isn't much, but at least it is SOMETHING!
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