26 October 2011

The GOP Candidates are Either Lying or Ignorant

OK, I chose that title for sensationalism, but here's what I mean:

In the past few weeks, I've seen reports that candidates are saying they'd "boycott" or "not participate in" the Nevada GOP precinct meetings, AKA caucuses, if the date were moved into January. I've asked what this means, and no one could give me an answer other than "It means they won't participate."

The source of my confusion is that I attended the 2008 caucus, and helped with the 2010 caucuses for my area of the county. I know how they worked then, and I also got the skinny on how they're going to work in 2012. For your edification and amusement, I hereby present
The 2012 Nevada Caucus Primer*
  • The precinct meetings are designed for party organization.
  • The chief responsibility of the precinct meeting is to select delegates to its county convention. In Presidential election years, there is also a "straw" or preference poll for Presidential candidate. More on this later.
  • The county conventions in turn select delegates to the state convention, which selects delegates to the Republican National Convention. A second duty of the state convention is to establish or modify platform planks for the Nevada Republican Party.
  • The National Convention, of course, nominates the Republican candidate for President.
In 2008, the delegates to the National Convention could vote for whichever candidate they wished. I'm not absolutely certain how it works, but I imagine one or two candidates are eliminated in each round until one candidate reaches the required number of votes to be nominated. I also recall seeing on TV that generally in what is expected to be the final round, a state's delegates all agree to support one candidate.

In 2012, the rules are a bit different. Remember that preference poll I mentioned? Let's say the results, statewide, were something like Cain 35%, Romney 25%, Paul 15%, and the rest split the remaining 25% (see, I can count). In the first round of voting at the National Convention, Nevada's delegates will be divided proportionately: 35% will vote for Cain, 25% for Romney, 15% for Paul, etc. After the first round, the delegation is no longer bound and the delegates may vote however they choose.

So you see why I am mystified by what the candidates mean by threatening not to participate in our caucuses. They already do not participate, except as names on a sheet of paper in an informal poll. What do they propose to do, demand their names be taken off the sheets of paper? All that would do is ensure they get no votes in the first round of voting at the Republican National Convention. I don't see them intentionally doing anything that would lead to that result.

All this is, of course, likely academic. The Nevada GOP will most likely set a February date for the "caucuses", according to this AP story. I plan to participate again this cycle, and this time around I will try to be selected as a delegate to the Washoe County Convention. I believe it would at least be a good learning experience.

*Source for the information not in italics is Phyllis Westrup, Secretary of the Washoe County Republican Central Committee.

20 October 2011

Riding a Pale (Dark) Horse

Jon G. (@ExJon) on Twitter Thursday night announced a mini-rant about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) phenomenon and how it relates to Barack Obama's campaign for reelection. With his permission, here are his tweets (with minor editing):
  • OWS isn't about today, it is about Election Day 2012. Here's the political strategy behind it (IMHO)...
  • Leftists saw how Tea Party incubated over a year before delivering an election. Stunned by Tea Party's success, the Left wants to mimic it.
  • ...by starting 13 [or 14] months out, OWS is merely prepping the battlespace for November 2012.
  • To have any chance of winning, Obama must 1) deflect blame for the economy to a scapegoat. 2) portray himself as the only man who'll fight it.
  • Obama has long expected Romney to be the GOP candidate. Of course, Romney famously led Bain Capital which is identified with Wall Street.
  • So the economic scapegoat was obvious: Wall Street. These financiers will be demonized through next November with an ever-growing negative drumbeat.
  • If and when Romney gets the nomination, Obama and the MSM will make him the personification of the reviled, despised, and marginalized Wall Street.
  • QED, Obama's "miraculous" re-election victory. Granted, it's a Hail Mary play, but it's the only play Obama's got.
  • The Dems want to cast this election in stark, black-and-white terms: Are you with Wall Street or are you with Obama and the forces of light?
I have no way of knowing if this analysis is correct, but it does fit the facts as we know them: Organizing for America, Obama's campaign organization, is instrumental in creating the Day of Rage which turned into OWS; the ranks of protestors (no pun intended) are being filled out by union thugs and leftist groups; the target of their demands--the ones that seem to have been settled on--are large financial institutions rather than educational institutions and bureaucratic programs that have worked to make them unemployable in private industry.

So assuming the analysis is correct, it is apparent that one way to defeat this ploy is to nominate a candidate other than Mitt Romney. Since the protest is not aimed at government in any way, it would be a bonus to nominate a candidate who has been involved in government as much as or more than private business. That could be Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, or even Ron Paul. Hmm, seems like I'm missing someone. But who?

Of course: Newt Gingrich!

In the past, I have discounted Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate because when I visited the website for his now-defunct "American Solutions" group, about 8 of the 12 proposed solutions were some sort of government program. I flashed back to John McCain's campaign stop in Michigan when he said he would move money from programs that didn't work so well into other programs that work better, or may work better. My thought was, why not just stop taking the money from us in the first place, and let us make it work for us? But I digress.

I have seen so many tweets during and following the debates to the effect of, "Man, Newt really says the things I like to hear, and he'd be great debating Obama! Too bad he can't win." Why not? I seem to recall the same thing being said of Barack Obama--that he couldn't win. And others on Twitter like to point out that the same was said of Ronald Reagan. Who can forget the iconic image of Harry Truman holding the newspaper with the inaccurate headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN"? Sure, Newt has some baggage, but most of the GOP candidates do.

I have not decided on a candidate yet. I do plan to participate in Nevada's precinct meetings (caucuses, about which I plan to write more later), so I'm considering my choices. And the more I consider Newt Gingrich, the less biased against him I become.

Update: Since I posted this, I have learned from World Wide Words that "dark horse" originally meant a race horse that very little was known about, making it difficult to handicap. In this sense, that certainly does not apply to Newt Gingrich. Ignore my title.

05 October 2011

Everyone Else is Doing It!

In Kerry Picket's story regarding Solyndra in the Washington Times yesterday is this statement from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu:
Mr. Chu added that Western Europe, Japan, Korea, and China are also supportive of seeing renewable energy be developed through government spending, so the United States should be as well.
I guess Secretary Chu's mother never said, "If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you, too?"

30 September 2011

Leaders

I read a tweet today that associated being President with being the leader of the American people. I realize I'm in the extreme minority taking the Constitution literally, but I really don't see the President (whoever it may be) as our leader.

According to Article II of the Constitution, the President is the Chief Executive of the General Government (Sec. 1.1). That means he ("he", referring to the President as an Officer, regardless of whether the office-holder is a man or a woman) is responsible for ensuring that the laws of the United States General (Federal) Government are executed as passed by Congress. He has a few powers enumerated in Sec. 2:
  1. Commander in chief of the Army and Navy, and by extension the entire military.
  2. Demanding reports from the Department Secretaries, as any chief officer may do.
  3. Granting pardons, as part of his enforcement responsibility.
  4. Making treaties, with 2/3 Senate approval.
  5. Appointing Federal officers, with Senate approval.
  6. Appointing Federal officers while the Senate is in recess (with certain restrictions).
None of these indicate that the Office of President is to be that of a leader of all the people. Rather, the people, through their representatives in Congress, should be leading the policies of the General Government. (See my earlier post on my argument that our Representatives, once in office, should not spend too much time listening to their constituents.)

15 September 2011

Cherokee Nation v. BIA: National Implications

Apparently Rush Limbaugh was talking about this situation on his show on Thursday. I will try to lay out events chronologically, and present some analysis and conclusions.

In 1866, a treaty was signed between the United States of America and the Cherokee Nation. One of the provisions of this treaty was that the Nation would admit as citizens certain "Freedmen", or freed African slaves.

From 1976 to 2003, the Tahlequah, OK-based Cherokee Nation's constitution contained a provision that required the US Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), part of the Department of Interior (DoI), to review changes to it. In early 2003, the Nation approved an amendment removing that requirement from the constitution. Then in March 2003, they approved a measure excluding the Freedmen (descendants of the original slaves) from Nation citizenship.

In an election on May 25, 2003, Chief Chad Smith was re-elected. Chief Smith seems to be in favor of excluding the Freedmen. According to a May 2007 statement by Asst. Secretary of the Interior Carl Artman, the Freedmen were not allowed to vote in that election (which is logical under the March 2003 law). The Freedmen sued the BIA and DoI over this election (Vann v. Salazar, filed Aug. 11, 2003). The suit was later expanded to include the Nation by Judge Henry Kennedy, citing the 1866 treaty and the 13th Amendment. I'm not sure what the 13th Amendment, which bans slavery, has to do with anything, as the original Freedmen had already been freed, hence the name.

The BIA reportedly reviewed the election issues in 2003, and at first said it would not accept the election due to the exclusion of the Freedmen, but reportedly later changed its decision to accept the election. It was this decision that the lawsuit challenged.

On May 21, 2007, associated with the above-mentioned statement, Artman sent a letter to Chief Smith about the DoI's final decision that it was rejecting the 2003 amendment, thus invalidating the law excluding the Freedmen from citizenship and voting.

Perhaps worth noting is that in June 2007 the Nation held an election for Chief. Opposing Chief Smith was Stacy Leeds, a former judge in the Cherokee Nation who had previously ruled that the Freedmen could not be excluded from Nation citizenship. As of today, Smith is still the incumbent Chief.

On Sept. 9, 2011, the Obama administration DoI's Asst. Sec. for Indian Affairs, Larry Echo Hawk, wrote a letter to Acting Chief Joe Crittenden stating that the DoI has never accepted the "disenrolling" of the Freedmen, and if they are not allowed to vote in the Sept. 24 election (with Smith running for re-election), the Department will not accept it. Of course, this hasn't stopped Smith from remaining Chief since before the constitutional change in 2003.

Now the monkey wrench to throw in the middle of all these works is shown in this AP article published in July 2009. At that time, Mr. Echo Hawk sent a letter to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in which he stated that they were "not the historical Cherokee tribe, which…no longer exists as a distinct political entity." Ms. Leeds, at that time the director of the University of Kansas’ Tribal Law and Government Center, said that the decision outlined in the letter stated the opinion that "reorganized tribes in this century [are] not necessarily the historic nations that the treaties are with."

It appears that Judge Kennedy (or another federal judge) must now decide whether that opinion is legally valid. If it is not, the result is a victory--albeit relatively minor--for the Cherokee Nation in the matter described in that AP article.

If, on the other hand, that opinion is vald, the courts should remove the Nation from the Freedmen's lawsuit, since their inclusion was based on the 1866 treaty. Also, if that treaty is no longer in force because one party no longer exists, it seems to me that the Nation can decide for itself who its citizens are--just as the United States defines laws for naturalization.

21 August 2011

What's Good for the Goose

In his first segment tonight Geraldo Rivera remarked that people in Libya were celebrating the imminent end of power of Moammar Qaddafi (using the Fox News spelling), marking the end of the 40-year reign of a dictator who controlled every aspect of their lives. (I do not recall the exact quote, but it was very close to that phrasing.) Later comments by Geraldo seemed to indicate he believes this is a good thing.

If it's a good thing to end a government that controls every aspects of its people's lives, wouldn't it be even better not to allow such a government in the first place?

16 August 2011

Ron Paul and Han Solo

No, I'm not saying they do or do not have anything in common. I had two thoughts occur to me in quick succession, and wanted to share them.

First, I wonder if the Ron Paul fans are falling into the trap of taking seriously anything Jon Stewart says? I suspect that any motive Stewart may have of highlighting media treatment of Dr. Paul would lie more along the lines of firing up the vocal minority of Paul supporters to cause noise and disruption, rather than having anything to do with affinity for any of Paul's positions.

Second, Han shot first. Think about it. His character development in the story is from being someone who cares about nothing but himself to being someone who realizes there are things bigger than the individual worth fighting for. When we first meet him, he's basically a good guy, but he would have no scruples regarding a "kill or be killed" life. It's only after his experience with the rebels that he is willing to risk himself for others.

03 August 2011

Crisis Theater

Now that the so-called "debt deal" has been enacted, and the alleged crisis has been averted, I wonder what is really in the legislation?

For instance, I saw on Twitter yesterday that members of Congress who voted "no" would not be allowed to participate in the joint committee the law establishes to determine further action. I asked one of the people who posted that claim, and that person believed that prohibition was actually in the law. (If it is, wouldn't that be ex post facto, because the law would in effect be punishing an act committed before it were enacted?)

Remember the analysts and contributors on the news programs saying that even if a deal was reached by Sunday, it would take a lot of work to get it written into legislation by Tuesday? Never mind that legalese is probably one of the larger problems with our laws. I'm beginning to think that this legislation was already written and sitting in someone's desk drawer, just waiting to be introduced. When the PPACA (Obamacare) theater--er, debate was going on, Rush Limbaugh speculated that act was the Hillary Clinton plan that had been sitting in Steny Hoyer's desk for 15 years. It could be that those analysts' claims were red herrings.

I hope some people (who can read legalese better than I can) analyze this legislation, and we see the reports on Twitter. What is really contained in there?


19 July 2011

Redirection

A tweet from @meredithdake brought a funny thought to my head. Her tweet was:

Rather than focusing on Obama, anchors are forcing GOPers to explicitly talk about their nuanced theology on homosexuality.

I thought a good response would go something like this:

Anchor Dave: So tell me, would you rather see homosexuals interned in prison camps, or just outright slaughtered?

GOP Candidate: Well, personally, I don't care if you're gay, Dave, but President Obama does. He wants to treat you differently from everyone else. He wants to create special programs and grant special favors to you. That is, if you're gay, Dave.

29 June 2011

Use the Power of Language

I was reading recent posts on The Gormogons' site today, and this one by GhettoPuter got me thinking about the terms we use.

I realize that the media have to a large degree established a standard vocabulary for political discussion, and it's easy to use that familiar vocabulary. However, I advocate breaking free of the warped definitions they promote.

I'd like to suggest that we stop using the word "government" at all. What we really mean by that is usually one of two things: either the State Bureaucratic Apparatus (SBA), or the people of the United States. (After all, as my former boss likes to say, we are the government.)

Therefore, when referring to the agencies who execute the powers of government, I suggest using the word "bureaucracy", if not "SBA". When referring to who pays for the execution of those powers, including sending checks to beneficiaries of subsidies and social programs, I suggest the phrase "the rest of us."

For instance, the phrase "it's the non-taxpayers who receive government benefits" would become "it's the non-taxpayers who receive benefits from the rest of us." The later paragraph about "government-run economies" would instead speak of "SBA-run economies".

One advantage of using "SBA" would be its connotation of a gargantuan, unresponsive, corrupt, heartless entity. An advantage of using "the rest of us" would be to drive home the fact that it is each and every one of us who do not receive more than we pay, who are paying for that "more" going to those who do.

Now could you all just go back and edit all your blog posts to conform to these suggestions? I'd really appreciate it.

22 June 2011

Chris Christie: Man of the People, or Ruling Class?

Many praises have been heaped on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie by liberty lovers and opponents of the Obama administration. I'm beginning to suspect, though, that what attracts people to him is his blunt and unyielding manner in dealing with critics in the press and other generally left-leaning groups.

Christie drew fire recently for using a State-owned helicopter to travel to his son's baseball game. While family is important, his son was happy he could come, and a State spokesman said the helicopter would be in use for training at the time anyway, it still has the appearance of impropriety.

Now there's a report that Christie has ordered flags in the State of New Jersey to be flown at half-staff on Thursday, to honor deceased saxophonist Clarence Clemons's contributions to the state and its people. Personally, I don't mind honoring Clemons as a great and popular musician. On the other hand, such an order is beyond the provisions of federal law.

The federal law regarding "Position and manner of display" of the United States flag is contained in Title 4 USC, Ch. 1, Sec. 7. Subsection (m) lists the situations in which the President or a Governor may issue a half-staff proclamation. Note that "death of a popular musician" isn't one of them.

Of course, the report doesn't say that the US flag will be flown at half-staff. It may be only the New Jersey State flag, and that may be entirely consistent with law.

After all, isn't a consistent application of the rule of law something all lovers of liberty would want?

21 June 2011

Huntsman: the Un-Republican

It appears the title of this article has been changed, because the title in the URL is "huntsman-to-enter-presidential-race-as-un-cola-republican-in-2012-field". Under the 4th subtitle down, "'No Mainstream Politician'", Mark McKinnon (why does that name seem familiar?) is quoted as saying, "He's the un-cola of the Republican candidates…."

I found the link to that article in this piece by James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal. A bit before the Bloomberg article is linked, Taranto discusses how Huntsman apparently believes in global warming--not necessarily human-caused--as reported in Time magazine by Alex Altman.

I had seen some discussion of Huntsman on Twitter, including the opinion that the simple fact of his working for the Obama administration was not sufficient cause for disqualification as a Republican candidate. After all, he speaks fluent Mandarin. I expect the reader to decide for himself or herself, but I don't think that I could work for this administration, no matter how well-qualified for a particular job I may be.

For what it's worth: another tweet I saw recently stated that one of the MSNBC anchors (I believe) said he preferred Huntsman to Romney.

Update: It wasn't a news anchor. It was Harry Reid, as reported in a tweet from @GayPatriot.

17 May 2011

My Take on What Newt is Doing (vs. Rush's)

On his show today, Rush Limbaugh stated that Newt Gingrich is making statements that are disliked by the Constitutionalist base and by "tea party" activists, but that are exactly what "establishment" or "ruling class" Republicans want to hear. Rush is speculating that Newt is doing this because he knows he won't win the nomination, but he wants to get "in" with the establishment, and possibly obtain a lucrative position at a think tank, if I've interpreted what Rush said correctly. Therefore, Newt is moving from a Constitutionalist position to a more establishment position.

I disagree. I don't think Newt is moving; I believe he did that some time ago. I believe Newt already has an inside-the-beltway, establishment mentality. I've said before that when I first looked at his "American Solutions" website a couple of years ago, his 12 solutions included about 8 that were bureaucratic programs or subsidies.

Newt isn't saying these things just to curry favor with people who might employ him. He's saying these things because he is one of those people.

09 April 2011

Viewing the Brain the Right Way

Cross-posted from The Landmark Report (see link in previous post).

On Thursday, the online specialist journal Current Biology published a study that indicates the brains of Big Government proponents ("lefties") and the brains of Limited Government proponents ("righties") are actually physiologically different. Most of the other pieces I've found about this study are either re-postings of the pretty neutral Agence France Presse article, or lefties' trumpeting it as proof that righties are irrationally fearful and agressive. This article will attempt to present the right perspective.

The study's authors cautioned that it did not show a causal relationship. They don't know whether the affected areas were larger, and therefore cause lefty or righty behavior, or whether environment encouraged certain behavior, causing growth in those areas. Keep that in mind.

The stories state that lefties tend to show more mass in an area of the brain that "monitors uncertainty and conflict." The study says this means it is "conceivable" that lefties "have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts…." Well, duh. The lefty universe is a mass of conflict. I often hear and read fellow righties wonder how lefties can possibly reconcile all the conflicting, seemingly hypocritical positions they claim to support. I've done it myself. This study seems to indicate how that is possible. Lefties may recognize that there is conflict, but they don't mind.

Tolerating uncertainty can be seen in the recent "budget battle", and the fact that the Democrat-controlled Congress refused to draft, let alone pass, a budget for FY 2011. What can be more uncertain than a whole nation not knowing whether its federal bureaucracies will be funded to continue intruding on our lives?

The righties in the study show more mass in an area of the brain that "processes emotions related to fear." This leads to righties' being "more sensitive to disgust" and "more sensitive to threatening facial expressions." Those who lean right also tend to "respond to threatening situations with more aggression". This explains a whole laundry list of things.

The lefties are interpreting the first statement to mean that righties are driven by fear. Just the opposite is true. Righties have greater capacity to process fear and related emotions, and come up with a rational solution to counter the perceived threat. Also, righties will be less hesitant to implement such a solution or respond with aggression. I submit that since lefties have lesser capacity in this area, they are the ones who are more subject to acting irrationally out of fear.

It also offers insight into why certain wealthy families produce left-leaning progeny. After all, if a family is wealthy enough, they can hire bodyguards, accountants, and attorneys to handle their responses to threats for them. It helps explain the arguments surrounding ownership and use of firearms. It sheds light on the current administration's promotion of outreach and apology to those who would see us dead. The sensitivity to disgust manifests itself in righties' vs. lefties' reactions to political corruption and sex scandals.

One last point is that if, in fact, it is a habit of behavior that causes growth in the relevant brain region, it explains why Marxism was not developed until the Industrial Age. Up until that time, people were too busy doing the things it took to live. With industrialization came more and greater labor-saving devices, and more time devoted to leisure, as well as greater political stability and fewer attacks to fend off, at least in Europe and North America. This gave people the time to embrace less focused, more conflicting ideas. It opened our minds to the manipulation of those who would wield power over us.

Please Visit my Other Venues

I apologize to those of you who subscribe, follow, or otherwise regularly read this blog. I accepted the opportunity to write for The Landmark Report, and it seems I have managed to write only one post per week for three weeks now.

I encourage you to go read The Landmark Report. It's much more balanced than this blog is, and covers a wide range of topics, including entertainment and dating advice. My contributions are:

If I get an itch to write just a paragraph or two, it'll most likely go here. Otherwise, you can also see my Miracle Blog, my YouTube channel, or my Twitter stream (including TwitPics).

Update: My Miracle Blog no longer exists, since Posterous turned into a Tumblr wannabe. However, I have since joined Google+.


Update II: I have started a new blog for my travel and adventure photos!

02 March 2011

Follow the (Dirty) Money

It is way too late and I'm tired and cranky, so please forgive me if the tone of this post gets a little brassy. I couldn't sleep without getting this out, though, so here we go.

It hit the news Monday that the "eco-friendly" water-saving low-flow toilets that have been installed in San Francisco--heavily promoted by city/county government--have resulted in a backup of waste material in the city's sewer systems. This is because there isn't enough water flow, now, to push the sludge through the century-plus-old system before it sticks to the old sludge that's there. The backups cause a stench to rise to the streets, especially during the summer when it's warmer. If you've been to a Giants game at AT&T park, you probably know what I mean.

In both those articles, a spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission is quoted as saying that water consumption has been reduced by "about 20 million gallons", as if that is a significant amount. There is no mention of the total consumption, or what part of the total 20 million gallons represents.

Well, over at Lew Rockwell's blog, Jim Brownfield has references and shows his work, and comes up with a figure of 0.08%. Let me say that again. Water consumption in San Francisco has been reduced, since the installation of low-flow toilets began, by 8/100 of 1%, or 8/10,000 of the entire consumption. And that's rounded. The actual figure is around 0.078324%.

I'd also like to point out that Jim uses consumption figures from 2007-2008, which, if you still want to claim the low-flow toilets have had any effect, may already have been reduced. That means the actual reduction percentage would be less than what he calculated.

There could be any number of factors contributing to the reported reduction. It's been wetter than usual here in western Nevada the past few years, and the storms generally come through the Bay area first; maybe people just aren't watering their lawns as much. Or maybe people are getting sick of the nanny-city, or can't find work or afford the taxes, and are moving out. Maybe the toilets really have contributed to the reduction, which is statistically insignificant.

Oh, the articles also mention that over $100 million has been spent so far on sewer system upgrades, with more likely to come. I wonder if some of the same manufacturers or distributors of those low-flow toilets also supply sewer system parts? Or if some of the same people own large shares of companies that supply both?

24 February 2011

DOMA: My 2¢ Worth

Edited and reposted from my Posterous, since people still seem to be getting it wrong.

I firmly believe that a homosexual relationship should not be called "marriage". It may be a commitment; it may last longer than many heterosexual marriages. I may yet be convinced otherwise. But for now, I wish to stick with tradition.

Nevertheless, I firmly believe that the definition of "marriage" is beyond the power of the US Congress. As of this writing, as it has been for decades (if not centuries), the individual States issue marriage licenses. The counties record marriages, but the State sets the criteria for licensing. My true belief is that civil government really has no business in marriage at all, but that's the way it is now--tradition.

It is ultimately up to each individual to decide whether they agree with one or another definition. Having made that decision, they can then decide to live in a State whose definition they agree with. So if, say, Vermont wants to define a woman-woman-dog relationship as a marriage, the people who want to take advantage of that definition (and their dogs) can move to Vermont.

In short, I believe the DOMA is unconstitutional, even if I agree with its intent. Therefore, I agree with the decision for the US DOJ to stop defending it against Constitutional challenges.

04 February 2011

Pondering

I've been thinking about this today, and I can't wrap my head around it.

The Bible says drunkenness and extra-marital sex are wrong, and Christians generally tend to avoid those behaviors, or at least agree that they should avoid them.

The Book of Mormon (I've been told) says that "hot drinks"--meaning coffee and tea--are bad and should be avoided, and the Mormons I know do avoid them. Many of them avoid caffeine altogether.

The Q'uran says to avoid alcohol (of the vine or the grain, according to The 13th Warrior), and devout Muslim do not drink alcohol.

Even outside of the realm of spiritual religion, people who believe that fast food is bad for them generally avoid it. Vegetarians avoid eating meat, and vegans (how is that pronounced, anyway?) avoid all animal products, including dairy, eggs, and animal oils used in foods.

So why is it that people who believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) use electricity? Unless it's generated by nuclear or water power--both considered by many to be environmental hazards themselves--virtually all electricity is the result of burning fossil fuels. Isn't it hypocritical for people to use computers to write about how we should reduce or stop burning fossil fuels? What about going on television? I can't even imagine the power consumed by television cameras, studio lights, transmission towers, let alone all those big-screen plasma sets to tune it in. I'm not even going to mention those who travel the country, or the world, in gasoline or diesel powered vehicles and in jet aircraft, to rail against the very civilization that gave them those tools, for using those tools.

Why don't people who believe in AGW go live on a self-sufficient plot of land far away from electrical transmission lines? Maybe some Amish in Pennsylvania would be willing to sell part of their land.

20 January 2011

Rep. Cohen's Goebbels Reference was Not Inappropriate

At the risk of angering some of my Twitter followers, I wish to disagree with what most of the pundits--professional and amateur--are saying about Rep. Steve Cohen's speech. Fox News has played the relevant part of the speech several times, and it seems to me there was no comparison made between opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or Republicans) and Nazis. Here's what I heard:
  1. Opponents are lying.
  2. Like Goebbels famously said, if you tell a lie long enough and often enough, people will believe it.
  3. This was done with the recently-in-the-news "blood libel" in times past.
  4. This was done by the Nazis to justify the actions that became the Holocaust.
Rep. Cohen may not have stated his points in the best way, but I prefer not to attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity--or in this case, clumsiness of speech. I may be wrong, as I've heard reports that he has not tried to clarify his statements or retract his words. But it seems to me the "big lie" is something a member of the national socialists' party would know all about.

Er, the Socialist Democrat party.

The socialistic Party of the Democrats.

You know what I mean.