Thursday, April 28, 2005

It's Not My Fault!

Just to lighten things up a bit, I thought I would post this article by Mike Adams. Mike is a college professor for a law school somewhere in North Carolina. It's a collection of some of the responses he sent to students who requested help in their grades.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Culture War

I've been involved in some pretty heated debates on other blogs lately involving issues of religion, judicial powers, abortion, gay marriage, and filibusters. It seems to be the hot topic for this media cycle. On one side you have people like myself who believe God rules all and the evil nature of man means he cannot be trusted to rule himself. On the other side you have those who suggest the rules of man must take precedence to protect us against those who kill and oppress in the name of God. These are complex issues that seem to be taking center stage today, but they are not new issues. In 1992, Pat Buchanan, gave his famous Culture War Speech at the Republican National Convention. At the time he was laughed at by the media. He was labelled an extremist. A radical. A fundamentalist. Whether or not you agree with his positions, you have to agree he was a visionary. Take the time to read his speech and you wouldn't be able to tell it was written 13 years ago.

We are involved in a culture war. It is being faught on several fronts in several venues every day. The major issues are: abortion, gay marriage, socialism, moral values, separation of church and state. We think they are all separate topics that should be debated independantly. But they are all held together by one major point. It all comes down to one principle. Do you believe in God?

If you believe in God, then you must believe in heaven and hell. If you believe in God then you must believe that he represents all that is good and pure. Afterall, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden after sinning and polluting their bodies. So clearly God has an intolerance for anything un-pure. So if you believe that God represents all that is good, then you must believe that there is an anti-God. An evil force in the world that works to undemine God's work. So in short you must believe in good and evil if you truly believe there is a God. There is no middle ground.

In the context of our Culture War, the debate is not a struggle between good and evil. What we are seeing is an argument about whether or not there is a good and evil, or if we truly live in a Godless world where everything is relative.

Those who believe in relativism are threatened by the thought of God. They abhor the thought that their actions could be classified in one of only two catagories: good or evil. They detest those who judge them based on the teachings of a God they do not believe in. So they work to undermine the name of God. They try to remove him from the public view. They dress up their agenda with catch phrases like "civil rights" and "freedom of choice". And they attack those who believe in God by calling them extremists, fundamentalists, and radicals. But most of all they try to establish the rules of man above the laws of God. As such they turn to the governments of men. These are their God's. These are their institutions. These are their temples. These are their weapons.

If you could sum up the position of the seculars in one phrase, it would be "separation of church and state". This is their primary goal. They say they don't want one religious group dictating their values on the rest. But what they really want is ideals of good and evil removed from government. But if you don't have a government based on principles of good and evil, right and wrong, what do you have? You have a government set up to allow people the freedom to do as they choose without fear of being judged or punished. And as I said before, when men are allowed to govern themselves nothing good can come from it because we are all selfish by nature. The founders of our country new this. In the Declaration of Independence it says "all men...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men." They understood that our rights come from God first, and that governments, who derive their powers from God, are only instituted to protect these rights.

So taking this into the context of what is happening today. The seculars in this country are trying to convince us that this is a new fight. The "religious lobby" in this country has just all of a sudden decided to band together and take away the rights of anyone who does not believe as they do. But this is not the case. Clearly it goes back as far as 1992 as evident with Buchanan's Culture War speech. But it goes back even further than that. In fact it has probably been going on forever. There have always been doubters of God. Those who believe that this life is all we have. What a depressing view of life. I was watching Larry King the other night and they had an interesting discussion called "What Happens After We Die?" He had a panel of several religious leaders of diffent religions. Included in the panel was an atheist who held firm to the view that this life is all we have so just live every moment for what it is. I can't imagine how someone gets the drive to get up and go to work in the morning with a view like that. But it's no wonder why these people tend to be pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, socialist, and anti-war since they worship community and love their fellow man.

So I guess to wrap this up I'll just throw out a little thought for you to go away and chew on for awhile. Let's say the atheists are right. Let's say there is no God. Let's say all we have is this life. We're free to do as we please without fear of ever being judged when we die because all that will happen is we will cease to exist. At the end of their life they die and that's it. Now suppose the atheists are wrong. Which side of the fence do you want to come down on? If you choose not to believe in God, folks, just be aware of what you may be signing up for.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Confirm Bolton Now!

I've put off posting on this issue because I was out of town and not really following it for awhile when the media started to run with it. Now I've done my research and I'm ready to comment. I think we all know the history here. John Bolton has been nominated by President Bush to be the next Ambassador to the U.N. The Democrats say they are fighting this nomination for a few reasons. Among these reasons are:

1. Bolton once made a statement saying a hurricane could wipe out 10 floors of the U.N. building and nobody would know the difference.
2. Bolton is opposed to the entire notion of the U.N. based on critical statements of the U.N. and Kofi Anan he has made in the past.
3. Bolton once yelled at a subordinate while chasing her through a hotel lobby and throwing paper at her.
4. Bolton once scolded another subordinate and then worked later to get him fired.

Let's look at these issues individually. The statement Bolton made about the hurricane was obviously a light-hearted jest suggesting there is too much bureaucracy at the U.N. I don't think there is anyone who would disagree that there is alot of bureaucracy at the U.N. If anyone wants to eliminate some of that, I applaud them.

The second issue is Bolton's public criticism of the U.N. Personally, I would like someone to stand up to the U.N. on behalf of the United States and call them out when they are wrong. Clearly they have messed up alot. Look at the Oil for Food scandal. While we were trying to liberate 20 million people in Iraq, France, Germany, and Russia were too concerned about keeping their sweet oil contracts. Many people were profiting by giving kickbacks to Saddam. Money that was supposed to feed the people of Iraq was used to build Saddam's palaces. But it doesn't just end with Oil for Food. Look at the way the U.N. handled the genocide situation in Rowanda. Or how about the horrors in Darfur? Then there is the LOST treaty where the U.N. wants to grab control of 75% of the earth's surface. Add to that my recent posts about the U.N. wanting to take control of the internet and we have a power hungry organization getting out of control. We need someone who will call a duck a duck and put their foot down on our behalf.

Another interesting thought on this, since when is criticizing an administration a crime? The democrats have been criticizing the current U.S. administration for the past 4 years. Does that mean they are anti-American? According to their own argument they are.

Issues 3 and 4 are really quite silly. Everyone in a management role loses their temper sometimes. But let's look at them anyway. The first example with the woman, it turns out she is now the president of an organization called Mothers Opposing Bush (MOB). Clearly her political motives have to be questioned. But from what I've heard of this story, she was insubordinate and probably deserved a tongue lashing. The second example of the young man, apparently this young man was supposed to translate a press briefing concerning the State Departments stance on Cuba into Spanish. The young man took it upon himself to change some things in the speech which in effect changed the State Departments stance. This young man should rightfully have been reprimanded and even fired. But it's unfortunate that with everything going on in the world with mass genocide, international scandals, the international criminal court, the Kyoto treaty, and the LOST treaty we're stuck hearing about how Bolton treats his insubordinate subordinates instead of how he would deal with these issues.

Now, let's get into the real reason the democrats want to oppose this nomination.

1. They oppose everything George W. Bush does. But being in the minority they can't win legislative battles so all they can do is filibuster.
2. They don't want someone who will actually speak on behalf of the Administration. They have successfully convinced the media that people in the State Department should be independant from the President and have their own agenda to keep the President in check. This is why the left loved Colin Powell so much. The worst thing we can have is someone in the U.N. with their own agenda separate from the Administration. It only undermines the Administration in the eyes of foreign countries, which is what the left wants.
3. They love the United Nations. They invision a day when global government rules all and there is peace and harmony on earth. Maybe someday we'll get there, but we're definitely not there yet. Not as long as Cuba, Syria and Iran are on the human rights council. The U.N. has a lot of cleaning up to do before I'm willing to give them more power. But the left will oppose anyone who seeks to keep the powers of the U.N. in check.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Violent Youth

A few years ago, maybe it was right after Columbine, I was walking out of a post office when I walked past a lady standing at a table. She was obviously looking for signatures for a petition. I glanced at her to see what it was she was protesting. She looked like she just stepped out of a time machine from 1969. She looked like a hippie with the long flowy blouse, the bell bottom pants, dreadlocks and hemp jewelry. She made eye contact with me and asked me to sign her petition banning violent video games. I politely told her no I wasn't interested and started walking away. Then she shot back, "What's the matter? Don't you worry about our children learning how to kill from these games?" That perked my interest because I've been a gamer ever since I was a kid. I turned around and told her, "No. I like playing those games. I played violent games as a kid." I again turned around and started walking away. Then she actually said, "That's why your a loser. You're the reason this country is so screwed up." I just kept walking away. As I did I thought to myself, "You're the one dressed like a flower child standing outside a post office all day and I'm the loser?"

The reason I bring all this up is a read an article today by Brent Bozell about violent video games. Like I said, I like playing these games. I have a Playstation 2 and I love the Grand Theft Auto games. My all time favorite game is SOCOM 2 U.S. Navy Seals. I play it online against other people. It's a total blast. I've played games like this ever since I was a kid, and now as an adult today I don't feel the slightest urge to kill anyone or even be aggressive against anyone.

But every time a kid takes a gun to school there is a new push to keep these games from kids, and some people even want to ban them entirely. I don't think it's right to blame a computer chip when kids kill kids. Obviously, the question has to be asked, "Where are the parents in all this?" I think each parent should handle their child as they see fit. Kids have a tendancy to act out things they see on tv and video games. If a parent doesn't want their kid playing violent games, I totally understand and support that. I probably won't let my kids play them until they are 15 or 16. But you still have to talk to your kids about it, because if they can't play it at their own house, they'll just go over to Joey's house and play it. Parents have to talk to their kids and instill in them a sense of right and wrong. But don't blame the video game industry on your disfunctional family issues.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Porker of the Month

This week the Citizens Against Government Waste named Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) the Porker of the Month. Senator Inouye successfully added $40 million in pork to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the War on Terror, and Tsunami relief. Much of this money is to repair flood damage to the University of Hawaii and put provisions in place to prevent future flooding. Included in this bill were $10 million for a library and $3 million for a tropical agricultural research project. He also secured a $675,000 homeland security grant for a bus system. When was the last time you heard of a suicide bomber blowing up a bus in Hawaii? For the fiscal year 2005 Hawaii has received $574 million in pork which comes out to $454 per person. Compare this to the national average of $33 per person and Mr. Inouye has earned the title Porker of the Month. Oink oink!

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Cold War (Part II)

My friends, conventional wisdom says the cold war ended back when the Berlin Wall fell. While the fall of the wall was a significant event in the course of our planet, it was not the end of the Cold War. Communism still thrives. Mostly now it can be found in Europe and the far east. The head of the octopus (the U.S.S.R.) has died, but it's tentacles(Europe and Asia) still move. Today our biggest threat is China. (Oh, excuse me, The People's Republic of China. Do they think that fools anyone?) It lies dormant like a volcano now, but rest assured they are plotting. They are planning. They are studying the free world and they are taking notes. They are noticing our weaknesses. They are noticing our strengths. And they are coming up with ways to exploit them. They see how we have overstretched our military. They notice how we rely on satalites.
All of this is coming to a head soon. Probably not for a few years, but I bet most of it will see it in our lifetime. Tension is growing with the situation in Taiwan. China doesn't have the support or the capability to invade Taiwan and deal with the reaction from the United States. But they are getting closer to that goal every day. I have read several articles in the past months about how China is researching ways to shoot down American satalites and sink American aircraft carriers. Troubling behavior from our so-called "ally".
But they're not just trying to compete with us militarily, but also economically. China is a country numerous with people, but few on resources. They are going around the globe buying up petroleum to anyone who will sell it to them. They purposely deflate the value of their currency to make their goods more attractive to foreign consumers. They have succeeded in pulling their people out of poverty, which would be commendable if that were their goal. But their goal is more than that. Their goal is global domination. They invision a world where they are the only superpower. They invision a world where they dominate foreign policy in every nation.
Now that I have sufficiently scared you to death, let me tell you why we shouldn't worry about this. First off, we have no control over it. It's up to our elected officials to deal with it. So all we can do, personally, is elect leaders who will stand up to China like Reagan stood up to the "Evil Empire". Secondly, we have an important force on our side. Freedom. Given the choice, people will always choose freedom over oppression. Third, we will never be invaded here by another country. Thanks to the Second Ammendment, no country will ever put their ground forces on our soil. How can you wage a ground war against us when every little town can form an armed militia in a few hours? Fouth, China lacks the resources to support a war effort on their own. They import most of their petroleum and steel, two things you need for a war. This was how we won WWII. With our powerful Navy we can block China from getting these resources.
So folks, it's going to be tough. It will test a generation. Eventually we will clash with China. I can see it. But I have confidence we will prevail.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Free Trade Argument

Some of you may be shocked to hear this, but there are some issues within the republican party that I do not agree with. The other day Scott was talking about how the republican party was starting to tear itself apart over smoking bans. While I don't quite think we'll see a third party split off over this issue, there are other issues that are ripe for the taking if the democrats could get their act together and move on them. One of them is free trade.

Last week Jack Kemp wrote an article in favor of free trade. This seems to be the going sentiment in the republican party these days. For a conservative to suggest putting a tariff in place goes over just about as well as saying you're pro-life at a NOW convention.

In direct response to Kemp's article, Pat Buchanan wrote an article in rebuttal to Kemp. Buchanan has always been in favor or protectionism to the point many people call him an isolationist. It cost him the republican nomination more than once to take this stand.

Both men make sense to me. They both make great arguments. So that tells me the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. For my own beliefs, I think free trade is good for everyone and is the best practice in a perfect world. I took more than a few economics classes back in college and I studied all the models. On paper, free trade is best. The problem is the world doesn't live on paper. (Kenny Mayne would say the world lives in a little box in my living room that I like to call a television, but I digress) So I think you have to balance free trade policies to reward countries who participate in free trade with us and penalize countries who don't.

Many people say we can't get into a trade war with China because they would retaliate and the consequences would be disasterous. To that I say, why? China never really became a major power until about 10 or 15 years ago. I can remember as a kid when I would flip a toy over and if it said "Made in China" it meant it was junk. We got along for the first 200 years of our republic without China, so I'm pretty sure we could do it again. We seemingly walk on tip toes to avoid a trade war with anybody because we're scared to death we won't be able to buy our french wine for less than $20 or we won't be able to buy our DVD players at Walmart for $40 anymore. But I think America would adapt. We complain about lousy unemployment (even though our unemployment rate is roughly half of any European country) and how the jobs we do create are only minimum wage jobs at Walmart and Wendy's. Well the best way to improve the quality of jobs would be to make foreign goods more expensive than ours. This would make it attractive for companies to open plants here in the States and thus create better jobs.

But don't let what I just typed make you think I'm in favor of tariffs. I don't know the answer. Like I said, I think it's in the middle somewhere. Putting tariffs in place would raise prices and prevent people from buying more stuff which would also have an effect on the economy. It's all a tradeoff. A guns and butter issue. Right now Americans want their butter, except for Ted Nugent who always wants more guns. At this point I was going to go into what effect a war with China would have, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Big Brother's Watching

For anyone who values the First Amendment, this article should frighten you to death. Combine this with my earlier post referencing this article and you can see a grave threat overtaking free speech and the internet. For those of you too lazy to actually go and click on the links, the first article talks about efforts China is undertaking to filter what their people can view on the internet. The second article talks about an effort by the U.N. (lead by China, Syria, Egypt, Vietnam and South Africa) to bring the interet under the control of the U.N. Interesting that of the countries behind the push at the U.N., two of them are communist nations and two of them are dictatorships. Do we want a bunch of representatives from tyrannical regimes deciding what you can and can't read on the internet? It is a sure way of destroying free speech as we know and enjoy in this country.

Slow Week

I guess it's a slow news week this week. With all the excitement over the past few weeks with Terri Schaivo and the Pope dying I guess there's a small letdown in the media. Things are going well in Iraq, the economy is chugging along, and life is just good in general.

I guess that's why this thing with Tom Delay is getting so much attention. I must admit I have not been following very closely. I was out of town last week and didn't really follow the news much. But from what I gather he's in a new pot of hot water over having some family members on his campaign payroll. When this first came out it sounded bad, but now it turns out some 30 members of Congress do the same thing.

Personally, I don't like Tom Delay. When I hear him talk I feel like I'm listening to a used car salesman trying to sell me a 1972 Nova with 250,000 miles. But you gotta hand it to the guy, he gets the Republican agenda rammed through the House. The guy has never lost on a major piece of legislation. The President comes up with a plan and Delay gets it moving.

I'm not sure what will happen to Delay. I don't think they have enough to bring him down and make him resign, but I think he's going to take a less prominent role in the party similar to what happened to Trent Lott. I think his dreams of being Speaker of the House are over. It's just a shame the media doesn't hold the democrat leaders to the same standard as they do the republicans.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Filibuster (Part II)

In response to my earlier post on filibusters, Scott wrote:

What's the rush to make new laws? Let some of the new laws already passed sink in a bit. That's the benefit of the filibuster. If it's important enough, it might take a year or two to (pass), but it will.

In my post I was not referring to filibusters to block laws. I was referring to filibusters to prevent judicial nominations. I agree there should be some check to keep a 51% majority from running over a 49% minority. However, I don't think this should be the rule when it comes to approving appointments by the President.

Our Constitution is very clear in its language. In Article II, Section II, Subparagraph 2 it clearly states that Congress shall "advise and consent" the president in judicial nominations. It does not say the Congress will have power to approve or overrule nominations. And it sure doesn't say the Congress has the power to stall nominations to prevent vacancies from being filled. So really if anyone is using a nuclear option here, it is the democrats. What they are doing is preventing judicial appointments and putting one branch of our government in a crisis situation.

The people have elected their president. He has the power to make judicial nominations as stated in the Constitution. Congress should not prevent him from making his choices.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Generational Divide

A couple posts ago I talked briefly about the difference between baby boomers and Generation X. I thought it might be interesting to elaborate some on that topic. If I sound slightly pro-gen X it's probably because I'm an X'er. I suggest a good book for everyone to read would be Generations at Work. It's a quick read. Maybe 200 pages. I read it a few years ago when I took my first managerial role in my company. The people I was put in charge of managing were mostly millenials (people born after 1980) and gen x'ers (people born between 1960 - 1980). The people I reported to were all boomers (1945-1960). I was finding the younger employees weren't responding well to a strong authoritarian style of management. I had to give them a lot of slack to be flexible and express themselves. This drove my boomer bosses nuts. They thought the work place should be militaristic with a top down command structure and those on the bottom should just keep their mouth shut and pay their dues. So I bought Generations at Work and read it hoping it would help me out. Boy, did it ever. It completely changed the way I looked at my co-workers, my family, my friends, the world, and myself. I highly recommend it.

Without going into too much detail, the premise of the book, which was written by a couple psychologists and working professionals, is that we are all affected by the things we observe in our youth. For Veterans (people born before 1945) their greatest influence in their youth was the Great Depression, being poor, and WWII. From these experiences they learned the only way to survive was to trust our leaders and our government. So they tend to respect authority and not question those in charge. Consequently they have a tough time with those who do questoin authority. The boomers were the promised generation. Born after WWII into a world that was supposed to be peaceful and prosperous. But for boomers, their greatest influence was the civil rights movement, vietnam, and the cold war. As a result boomers tend to value equality and hard work. Boomers have always been looking for "the great challenge". Their parents had the Great Depression and the Great War. Boomers had nothing like that. So most of them turned to their jobs and became work-aholics. They devoted their attention to their careers unfortunately at the expense of their children, Generation X. Generation X grew up in the tail end of vietnam. They saw watergate and Nixon. We grew up in the age of the energy crisis, the hostage crisis, and the inflation crisis. What we learned was you can't trust the government. You can't trust people in charge. Just because they are in charge doesn't mean they know everything. We learned to question. We learned to analyze. We learned to watch out for ourselves. We had to. Our parents were too busy working to spend time with us. We were the original latch-key-kids. Our parents didn't have time to come to the little league games. Many of our parents were divorced. All we had were our friends. When we came of age in the 80's and started entering the workforce, all the companies started laying off to compete with the Japanese. Boomers forced us out and didn't let us in. Many Gen X'ers had college degrees but worked at the Gap and lived with mom and dad. We developed a distain for anyone over 30. We got a stigma. The "do nothing" generation. We were lazy. We had no motivation. We didn't respect authority. Why should we be loyal to those in charge when they weren't loyal to us? If you want to watch the movie that sums up our generation, watch The Breakfast Club.

At the time I read the book, it was too early to determine how the millenials (post 1980) will turn out. But so far, the major influences in their lives are the Challenger crash, the booming 90's, and parents that give them everything they want to make up for everything they didn't have as kids. You can now also add 9/11 to that list (the book was written pre 9/11). It's only a guess, but the book suggests millenials will have a tough time handling rejection as adults. They have grown up in the age of "no child left behind." Everyone passes. Nobody keeps score at little league games. It's the effort that counts and everyone gets a trophy for participating. They have overbearing parents. One of my favorite lines in the book is "Mom shows up for Johny's first day of work to tell his supervisor about his special needs." But it's hard to tell if this is true or not. I'm sure 9/11 has impacted them greatly. I think younger people today are much more engaged in the world around them than Gen X was. The book also says the millenials have a strong sense of right and wrong and a desire to fight injustice. Hopefully this is true. Like I said in my previous post, I don't think the Gen X'ers will ever hold power in this country. It will be passed from the boomers to the millenials. I can't wait to see what they do with it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Sky is Falling

I don't know if you caught it a few days ago, but the U.N. put out a report about the state of the planet's natural resources. Not surprisingly, the U.N. report stated we are on the brink of the end of the world. According to the U.N., we have used up 1/3 of all the earth's resources. It was a doomsday prediction that soon we are going to use up everything this planet offers. I haven't read the report, but I'm sure it listed the United States as the bad guy in all this, consuming natural resources and replacing them with all kinds of nasty pollutants and toxins.

Johan Goldberg has a great article on today. Take a minute to read it.

There are a lot of interesting statistics there about how forests and wildlife in America have thrived in the past few decades. Why aren't the environmentalists dancing in the streets? How come all we hear about is how evil American corporations are destroying the planet?

Let's face it. The U.N. is just a collection of third world countries trying to cash in at the expense of the United States. They don't really care about "saving the planet." They are hoping to force larger countries into accepting environmental standards on their industry. This will drive up the price of goods made in larger countries and make it easier for third world countries to compete. The Kyoto protocol only affected the larger countries. Third world countries are allowed to emit as much green house gas as they please. Why the special rules for them? It's all about money. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.