Monday, December 28, 2009

Time, oh, time.

My blogging has been on the back-burner for a while. It happens that later in life one is called on to do things differently than one has been doing for a life-time.

It is also the time that things change.

It is also the time that one realizes one's mortality.

It is also the time that one considers the value of things not seen.

Taking full-time care of a loved one means changes have to be made to almost everything. I cannot just pick up the phone and call in an in-home care facility to take care of the changed circumstances. The family has to readjust and make things work. That's what family is for, among other things. Especially after having built and sustained this family for more than 40 years.

The business, which had its ups and downs, has been taking care of us since about 1974, but it depends on me being out of the house and with customers. Not many customers in our line of business are comfortable having the production of their work happening off their premises and not under their supervision; and nobody can blame them for that. Our work is expensive and needs to fit into other parts without fail and on time.

For decades now we have grown accustomed to the feast-and-famine cycles of our business, but having to re-engineer it so that we can take care of our responsibilities at home and stay afloat, is not an easy assignment. It turns any feast into famine in quick order.

But, we have to do what we have to do and we will persevere.

Such are our prospects for 2010.

We wish you all a very prosperous 2010 and may the best of 2009 be the worst of 2010.

I liked that since I heard it for the first time a long time ago.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ocean Ditching

I believe after 35 years the statute of limitations may have run out on one of the stupidest things that I have ever done. One of the stupidest because there are a few others that I cannot recall right now, but that they occurred is etched in my mind. Eventually, something will trigger their recollection, I know.

The ditching at night, of all things, of a medical mission flight off Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean, about 1,200 nautical miles North West of Australia, after the pilot failed to make a successful instrument landing after three attempts to land in poor weather, brought this particular incident to mind. It took a while to convince myself that I should tell the story.

I flew my Twin Comanche with friends down from the Johannesburg region to Plettenberg Bay (FAPG-PBZ) in the southern Cape in South Africa. The friends with whom we would be staying for the weekend indicated that they’d like to see Plett, as the coastal town is affectionately known, from the air. I didn’t hesitate to take him and his wife up because, after all, they were our hosts for the weekend – it was the least I could do.

We took off, flew a typical sightseeing routine and then flew about 100 miles inland over the mountains to the north. Notorious for sudden changes in the weather, I found myself on top of a layer of cloud that covered the entire area when we returned from our inland excursion. The top of the layer must have been at about 3,000 feet with rain clouds further out over the ocean.

Instead of electing to fly back inland and overnight somewhere else, I elected to descend through the cloud layer by flying out over the ocean tracking a nearby ADF beacon outbound. (I said it was stupid.)

After passing the ADF beacon abeam, to make sure that we were over the ocean before entering the cloud layer, I maintained about 150 knots and a rate of descent of 500 feet per minute. I knew my altimeter was reasonably accurate since I set the QNH at the airport before takeoff according to the airport’s elevation, but the change in weather probably changed that a bit, so at 500 feet above the water I gradually slowed my descent rate. By this time it started to rain heavily reducing the visibility to less than half the wingspan of the Comanche. There, with the inside of the cabin and the drone of the engines the only visible clues that we were somewhere, sat the three of us and I am the only one knowing what’s happening. I must say, my passengers were awfully quiet. That was fine by me because it was no time to recite poetry.

As the altimeter wound down to about 100 feet above zero, I brought the rate of descent to about 25 feet per minute, which would get us to the water in four minutes. Knowing my vertical speed indicator to be very accurate, I could reduce the rate of descent to less than the width of the zero-line on the instrument, guessing the actual rate to be about 10 feet per minute. Then, peering outside through the side window between the left engine and the fuselage past the front of the wing, I waited. We waited. Soon, the ocean would show itself.

As the altimeter almost touched the zero line the ocean appeared through the grayness of the rain and I immediately climbed back up to 100 feet waiting to fly out of the rain. I wasn’t prepared to turn around towards land until I could see where I was going so we continued to plough through the rain for about 5 more minutes when suddenly the skies opened up and we popped out of the shaft of rain in which we descended. The overcast was about 1,500 feet above sea level giving us ample room to fly back and land at Plett, which is at 465 feet.

By the time I turned around and flew around the rain, there was no land in sight. The first thing my friend said was, ‘where are we?’ I pointed to the ADF needle pointing dead ahead and it wasn’t long before we were safely on the ground. To them, I performed a miracle. You don’t want to know what I, quietly, called myself.

Seeing the ocean appear almost within touching distance, skirting it at more than 250 feet per second, was brought to mind when I heard that the pilot of the medical mission ditched the Westwind Jet in the ocean under controlled flight. I couldn’t help but wonder if he, too, saw the ocean appear in the cone of his landing lights, and, unlike in my situation, knew that the safety of the cabin would very soon be destroyed, by choice.

I am glad I didn’t have to make that decision.

Good thing they all survived.

We did, too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Fool and the Professor

The time has come where the elite of our society, college professors, are being laughed at and ridiculed. That’s both a blessing and a shame. A blessing because fools ought to be ridiculed when they mislead people from positions of power; A shame because we expect those who specialize in certain fields to be honest brokers of their positions and to pass that honesty on to their students.

By no means are college professors the only class of elite who are generally being tolerated with a snicker and dismissal. Elites of all fur are falling prey to that perception.

I read an Op-Ed in the New York Times1 today by Professor Ray Madoff2 (I don’t know and don’t care if she’s related to the infamous Bernie) about the estate tax reduction that congress enacted in 2001 under President George W. Bush, which would make the total eradication of all estate taxes permanent in 2010. Not doubting that it is any administration’s right to repeal the acts of a previous administration, the premise upon which Professor Madoff argues is false, has always been false, and will remain false regardless how many times ridicule-worthy-elite like Ray Madoff repeats it.

Or should I say that they have never been in touch with reality. Safely ensconced in their ivory towers of tenure they can afford to walk around with blind spots, which they hold over the truth here and there whenever they choose to do so without any threat of accountability.

Wouldn’t I just love to drag her into the Court of Dishonest Opinions and throw her into the dungeons of having-to-work-for-a-living?

Professor Madoff’s premise on estate taxes are pretty much defined by her using words such as “the farmer/heiress riddle” and “move our tax system closer to the values on which the country was founded…” and here is the kicker, she continues, “…that hard work should be rewarded and power should not be conferred by birth.” What?

And she is a Professor teaching trusts and estates, estate and gift tax, estate planning and she cannot get a simple fact about this country straight? Not taxing estates is a “giveaway” to the rich?

The government has no money to “give away,” Professor Madoff. Government takes money from people under threat of penalty and incarceration and then blows it away on others who should be in the dungeons like the rest of us.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Riskless Society

What Does Riskless Society Mean?

According to Investopedia, a riskless society can be defined as A fictional society in which the world markets become complete and sophisticated enough that every imaginable risk can be mitigated by insurance. The notion of the riskless society was developed by Dr. Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu, which has led the way to further progress in the risk management sciences.

Granted, the premise of the fictional society is that market equilibrium is possible, which is an assumption that opposes much of the practical evidence we see.

However, why someone would create a model with such obvious flaws is rather baffling, unless there are some issues that are above my pay-grade, which is quite probable. Dr. Debreu won the Nobel Memorial Prize for this in 1983, which also says something about it, I suppose.

One aspect that I found particularly flawed is the notion that a market would be complete and sophisticated when every imaginable risk has been mitigated by insurance. Those are irreconcilable forces. Insurance, by its very nature, spawns risky behavior because the consequences of the behavior have been sold to an underwriter liberating the risk-taker to engage in even riskier behavior. Unfortunately, as insurance mitigates more risks, risks become greater at an accelerated scale, rapidly overtaking the ability to insure them.

A couple of years ago, there was an issue with our auto insurance, which only came to my attention after receiving a cell-phone call while I was driving 70 mph on one of the busiest freeways in the country. With gazillions of cars going in all different directions whizzing past me sometimes with only inches to spare, I suddenly realized I might not have insurance.

I immediately slowed down, made sure there was more than ample room between my car and the guy in front of me, scanned the instruments, rear-view mirror, side mirrors, traffic on the other side of the concrete median, everything, like a pilot on Instrument Flying Rules scanning his old steam gauges. If someone a mile away from me acted suspiciously, I knew about it and already planned a counter action to avoid any collision or incident. If someone cut in front of me, I gladly made room and let him in as long as he didn’t think that my intent was malicious and engage in road rage.

Damn! I just need to get to the office unscathed to sort this mess out.

It dawned on me that that is the way everyone should be driving with or without insurance. But that’s not reality, that’s like seeking a riskless society. It’s a fallacy and like trying to prove that a cat cannot sustain level flight under its own power. You know that already.

There was no problem with our insurance after all. I got onto the freeway to go home and as I sped up to 70 mph again, gave what just happened a brief thought.

That was all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Storm Clouds

We are, indeed, living in interesting times.

The clouds of trouble are thickening in the sky, nobody can deny that.

Someone who has been around thunderstorms (not the ones spurting up in California) for a while knows that the air would briefly and unexpectedly pluck at one’s clothes like warning scouts going before the king’s arrival. Heat and cold dance around the advancing mass and small twisters scatter ahead like yapping mad-dogs, kicking up dust here and there clearing the field for the oncoming carnage.

Who do we support, who do we trust? Some say go with Change, go with Hope. Some say No, this is self destruction, we will never be the same again.

C.S. Lewis once said, “We all want progress. But, if you are on the wrong road … the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

Just as I imagine the people around me to be those who were around when my dad was born 100 years ago this year, to get a perspective on families, old folks, cousins, brothers and sisters, playful teens, and so on, with whom my grandparents lived, so I imagine the people around me to be those who lived before the Second World War. They, too, looked at their political landscape and saw the beginning and rise of the Third Reich and couldn’t always clearly determine which direction to go with the clouds of trouble thickening in their sky.

With the advantage of a retrospective view on history it’s easy to judge those, while sitting in the peace that was brought about by so much carnage and death, who went one way or the other, especially in the beginning.

By the yardstick of history, many went the wrong way and others just didn’t go anywhere believing things will sort themselves out on their own as they usually did. They got caught in the rapids of the forces that were unleashed upon them; forces that were craftily positioned beforehand so that they would rouse the least suspicion as to their real intent. The orchestrators pieced together a strategy in which they alone would be hailed as the emperors having invested the necessary blood-capital to exact the bow and prostration of everybody else.

It would be hard to deny that the pre-Second-World-War era is in the mirror of history especially as to the arrangement and magnitude of the forces aligned against the orchestrators’ adversaries, who are the blood-capital of the future.

In the mirror we see the intent: to invest this blood-capital to elevate One to the level of world-emperor.

In the mirror we see that it failed.

In the mirror we see the sea of blood that it cost.

In the mirror we see one factor that could have prevented the terrible cost: Time.

The Time it took to recognize the plan and restrain the orchestrators. Without the mirror of history we may be excused for not knowing. With the mirror of history, there can be no excuse.

Look around you. See your family and other families’ family. See who of them you would choose to be the blood-capital to elevate One to be the emperor. Emperors almost always come back to the fount for more blood as the desire to conquer and rule becomes easier and more profitable.

More blood-capital will be needed to reverse that and overthrow the emperor. Look around you again for more families.

Time. Use it wisely. Use it soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November 11

Today is Veterans Day in the US.

This date is remembered all over the world as the day on which World War I ended. The ceasefire was reached on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was known as Armistice or Remembrance Day until 1954 when President Dwight Eisenhower changed it to Veterans Day to pay tribute to all veterans of all wars, which I thought should have happened much sooner. It got fixed anyway.

On November 11 many things happened in history, such as: St. Silverius’ reign as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church ended on this day in 537; Turkey and Austria signed the Treaty of Zsitva-Torok in 1606; Massachusetts was the first state to pass the U.S.’s first compulsory school attendance law in 1647; In 1778 Iroquois Indians killed 40 in the Cherry Valley Massacre in New York; In 1851 Alvan Clark patented the telescope; Washington was admitted as the 42nd state in 1889; Construction of the navy base at Pearl Harbor began in 1909; The tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington was dedicated by President Harding in 1921; The first great dust storm called “Great Black Blizzard” kicked up in Great Plains in 1933; Jews were forced to wear the Star of David in Kristallnacht in 1938, which was the first sign that something terrible was about to happen in Germany; Kate Smith first sang “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin in 1939; The Willys Jeep was born in 1940; Seals Stadium in San Francisco was demolished in 1959; Cassius Clay knocked out Floyd Patterson in Las Vegas in 1965; Gemini 12 with Lovell and Aldrin on board was launched into space in 1966; The Dow Jones Index moved above 1,000 for the first time in 1972; Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975; Van Gogh’s “Irises” sold for a record $53.6 million in 1987; and 11-11-1999 was the last upside-down date until 1-1-6000, which I gladly will not see.

The event that I probably will never forget that happened on November 11 is Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence from Britain in 1965 by Ian Smith, Rhodesia’s Prime Minister at the time.

Why would anyone remember that particular day, you may ask, since I am not from Rhodesia and had no family there either. Well, I was a cartographer in the South African army at the time and we were already in 1965 preparing maps for anticipated hostilities in Angola and South West Africa, which became Namibia after independence. One of my draftsmen was a Rhodesian who came down south to seek a more peaceful life and on November 11, 1965 he listened to Ian Smith’s speech announcing the unilateral declaration of independence, which became known as UDI, on his transistor radio. Dutifully, I asked him not to listen to the radio during working hours but he protested that history was in the making and I ought to listen to it, too. I listened and soon realized that I will probably remember this day as long as I lived. So far, I have remembered it every year.

UDI led to worldwide sanctions against Rhodesia as the world protested against it in its struggle against communism and anarchy.

Within 15 years, however, Rhodesia succumbed to the pressure as South Africa, who gave Rhodesia access to ports and a lucrative market during the sanctions era, also increased pressure on Ian Smith to strike a deal with the opposing sides. Huge deceptions hoodwinked the Rhodesians and in the end Robert Mugabe came into power driving the country into the ground with communist-socialist policies.

It became a common slogan: Previously one could go to Rhodesia and visit the Zimbabwe Ruins; lately one can go to Zimbabwe and visit the Rhodesian Ruins.

There is a lesson in it all for us here in the U.S., especially in today’s economic and political climate: Socialism by nature is corrosive and destroys. The Judeo-Christian economic model is the only model that spawns universal wealth, prosperity and justice.

The beauty is that one doesn’t have to believe in the doctrine to practice it and share in its bounty.

Friday, October 30, 2009

America and Liberalism

I haven’t written on my blog for just over a month now due to pressures on time that I just couldn’t avoid.

Another debt that will remain unpaid for a little while longer is the final posting on the separation between church and state.

Today, however, I’d like to comment on America’s recent history because no one can deny that we are going through history-altering times as has rarely been seen.

One can hardly deny that the current administration is bent on changing this country into a state that is hardly recognizable as the one born from the Constitution. The president and his team, friends and advisors are on record as stating that it is their goal to materially “transform America.”

This administration has admitted more overtly than any administration at any time in the past what their intended goals are. Previously, all shifts away from the constitution were done stealthily, piece by piece with sleight-of-hand and rhetoric designed to desensitize the voting public to course changes. Up till now.

Many years ago I griped about the integrity of politicians who campaign from the center and as soon as they get elected they govern from the left.

Now, don’t get me wrong; the “left” and “center” references in that sentence remain valid regardless how one switches them around. It just so happens that the shifts were to the left, or should I spell it out: to the liberal side of the spectrum when one turns around and look back at the drift that occured between the language and intent of the Constitution and our present position. It becomes clear that some folks have tampered with our compass and caused us to drift off course as a nation.

If it is only evident today that we have drifted off course, it means previous tampering with the nation’s compass had to be done in backrooms in darkness, miniscule degree by miniscule degree. Today, the professors of “change” climb on their podia, grab their lecterns and shout out instructions how to steer this nation further off the course plotted on its map. There is no more stealth. It is finally in the open: The captain calls for course changes through a bullhorn.

What’s wrong with a change to liberalism? one may ask. Well, let’s look at liberalism and see if we can determine why it’s toxic for any nation to become liberal. Or should I say “progressive” as its proponents chose to repackage it after it lost its hue when people wised up on it. Incidentally, changing its name from liberalism to progressive may buy them a few years, at most, before folks realize it’s the same snake oil in a different wagon. It's that time now.

Liberalism mostly took hold in Western culture in the 17th Century, which recognized the individual’s freedom, especially liberty from monarchies and established religion. The concept of individual liberty was, back then, in its infancy and cultural traditions were heavily contradicting the new ideas, such as the ownership of slaves. The American initiative led to the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the other Founding Documents that recognized all the tenets of 17th century liberalism and even countered slavery. Yet, it took another century and a bloody civil war to get the country to realize that the Constitution meant liberty for ALL people. Not only for some.

With such lofty credentials one would expect that liberty-loving people would seek out the compass of the U.S. Constitution, especially as time wore on and the Judeo-Christian moral and economic models it embraced yielded such phenomenal fruits. Never in the history of mankind has a nation in such a short period of time reached such high levels of universal liberty, prosperity and justice as did the United States of America.

So, where did the monarchs, bishops and elitists who viciously opposed the establishment of liberalism go? They realized that liberalism was toxic to their power and wealth. If the people could read and write, they could argue and disagree. If people could own property and be free to work for whom they choose and gather wealth and power the elite will have to compete with them rather than enslave them. God forbid that they would become the elite’s landlords or employers!

Liberty, and especially the United States of America, was the death-nail in their very existence. As monarchs and noblemen, they would never survive in a land where the populace is free to compete with them on an equal footing.

Are we totally clueless to believe that the aristocracy would just go away and fade into history? Are we, after all, so backward that we believe them when they claim to embrace liberty with us? We ought not to be, lest we fail to detect their plans and scheming to take away the one thing that set us free: liberalism. Not the recent variety but the 17th Century one that spawned the United States of America.

Sadly, liberalism has died a long time ago when it was hollowed out from the inside, brick-by-brick until only the shell remains today. It was hollowed out by the elitists and slave owners of yesteryear. They have never forgotten what liberalism has done to their spiritual forefathers and they are ready to put back into shackles those who dared to practice that which was their right alone.

So, when you hear speak about liberalism today, it is the hollowed-out variety filled with hateful men and women who has nothing but utter contempt and disgust for you because you had the audacity to claim and live as if you were free.

In the pre-liberalism era, the monarchs, bishops and elites were the destroyers of nations while the people were the ones who built and produced; even while chained in the shackles of the aristocracy. If this was not so, then those nations would have excelled in the world of economics and technological endeavor. But these nations were gutted by their kings and bishops who cracked their whips harder on the backs of the producers and builders.

As soon as a nation came along that accepted that there would be no king or bishop ruling them, the people of the United States collectively excelled beyond what even the most creative cleric, soothsayer or scientist could ever have predicted. A superpower in less than 200 years? Impossible!

Let me leave you with this one famous quote:

John Hancock: [reluctantly] God save the King.
Samuel Adams: God damn the King!
Benjamin Franklin: [happily] God bless the King. Who else could've brought such a spirit of unity to the Congress?

Who else, indeed, could’ve brought such a spirit of unity to the people of the United States as this administration has done?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Separation of Church and State Part 6

This post is probably the last of a debate that I had with (what appears to be) atheists who claim to be champions of the doctrine of the Separation of Church and State. One can only show so much patience before the obvious becomes clear and one has to move on. Remember the participant who calls himself yahweh, solely to ridicule and insult believers? I unpack him in this post.

I will post the final presentation on the separation of Church and State in the next post. That ought to illustrate my perception of the problem, its threats and hopefully the solution as I see it.

The disappointment level of the collective intellectual depth of this group is certainly rising and you accuse me of not reading your posts? I only missed Albatross’ gender.

Not once did I comment on a preference or otherwise for Christianity or Judaism, or any other religion for that matter and yet you posted stock answers and inaccuracies about the subject matter that smells of intellectual dishonesty. Really, people. You should be able to do better than that. If you had said you were high-school dropouts, I would have understood some of your ignorance, but you bragged about your two decades of study and prowess in constitutional law. And you have this to show for that?

I pointed to the fact that you ignore the significance that a religious institution’s form of government holds for a civil government. I posted statements that anyone can look up and verify if you were not so locked up in your own thought-inbreeding.

Looking at a religious institution’s form of government would show several things:

1) That religious beliefs in general are the primary influence of civil governments.

2) Drilling down point #1 above: religious institutions with theocratic forms of government are the primary threat to civil governments.

3) That a theocratic form of government is identifiable by a hierarchical structure, i.e. some are more or less worthy in the religious institution that others.

4) That the U.S. constitution has neutered the natural tendency of most of the theocratic religious institutions, which operate in the U.S., to threaten the civil government. This means we have nothing to fear from theocratic religious institutions such as the RCC or the Church of England as long as the separation of church and state is vigorously pursued.

5) That it is pointless quoting the Framers in opposition to or support of the separation of church and state unless we recognize the real threat to the separation of church and state.

6) Since religious institutions are the direction from where an attack on the civil government will most likely be launched again, it behooves the protectors to recognize the enemy and discern the signs of imminent mobilization. Failure to do so, as you do in your drunken stupor of self satisfaction, is suicide.

There are many more REAL threats to the separation of church and state, which is evident and in your face, but your haughtiness blinds you to the realities of those threats.

I pointed out that yahweh’s derision of Christians, which he gleefully repeats as often as he can, is just a charade and cover for a personal vendetta.

He calls himself a champion of the protection of church and state, which cannot be further from the truth; he is rather a saboteur of the constitution deriding fellow Americans under the cover of the First Amendment while the First Amendment protects him only from being prosecuted for his utterances. The First Amendment doesn’t protect him against the exposure of his foul character and covert intentions to poison the constitution. If it were not so, he wouldn’t have displayed such great pleasure in assuring that the most foul language is used to describe the dearest treasures of fellow Americans. So much for E Pluribus Unum in his understanding of the U.S. constitution.

He has no clue what a Christian or a Jew is and is even more clueless how to identify a hypocrite from a true Christian or Jew, yet, the insults and derision of a people whom he doesn’t know and doesn’t want to know is his banner-speak.

If he had any inkling of knowledge about the people whom he derides, he would have known that taking for himself the name of the God for whom these people are willing to die, even for the mere mention of that name they are willing to be burned alive, he would have realized they are not in the least offended by his particular abuse of that name.

He would have realized that the people who revere that name know their God intimately and a cheap fake like him is a joke because the followers of the God with that name have an Olympic-style fitness recognizing real threats and dangers from infinitely more sophisticated enemies than him. All he has accomplished was to expose his inadequacies and flawed character, which is evident in his reasoning, too. That is far more profound seen in the light of his profession being a champion for the constitution.

I tried to point you to the real threats of your stated cause, showing an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, making the complex simple and easy to comprehend, and you respond like fools who are kicking stones in a sewer not minding one bit the stench that surrounds you.

I don’t mind debating anyone but fools tax a person’s patience. Perhaps the saying, “don’t argue with fools because bystanders would not be able to tell the difference” is aptly applicable here. Craig, I must admit, attempted to engage in a debate.

Are you really as intellectually bankrupt as your postings suggest? If that’s the case and the separation of church and state depends on you, it is in serious jeopardy.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well.

Now I wish to move on.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Separation of Church and State Part 5

This post is basically a continuation of a debate that I have with (what appears to be) atheists that claim they are champions of the doctrine of the Separation of Church and State. Remember the participant who calls himself yahweh, solely to ridicule and insult believers? I refer to him in particular.

I am taking care of a family emergency, which explains my absence.

However, briefly, the atrocities of the Anglican Church against the Presbyterians and Quakers were due to the systemic tyranny that lies within theocratic religious institutions, erroneously corralled together with all Christians. The Church of England is nothing but a derivative of the RCC, which Henry VIII created for very selfish reasons, having retained all its hierarchies and tyrannical trappings only neutered by the establishment of a democratic parliament. The RCC suffers from a similar neutering of its tyrannical DNA by the U.S. constitution. Calling the Church of England Protestant is patently false and ignorant.

Only religious institutions that have a non-hierarchical form of government pose no threat to civil governments, because the Bible clearly teaches the separation of church and state and true Christians (those are the ones who hold to sola scriptura) believe and practice that. You didn't know that, huh? The Framers did.

It should be obvious to atheist, agnostic, Jew, Muslim and Christian alike that their actions are governed by the doctrines to which they subscribe. yahweh, you, too, should be able to recognize that the Christian doctrine is enumerated by one thing only: the Bible because Christians choose for it to be so for reasons that are none of your business, nor of anyone else's. Similarly, the RCC's doctrine is enumerated by three things: the Bible, the Magisterium and Church Tradition (theirs) because they choose for it to be so for reasons that are also none of your business.

What is our business, however, is the form of church government to which a religious organization holds. A theocratic form of church government is part of the RCC’s DNA, which is also so of Islam and the Church of England to name only a few. Theocracies are de facto hierarchical forms of government, which are totally intolerant of civil governments since they recognize only their papal head as both head of state and of the church. It is this singular tenet of the theocratic form of church government that inescapably leads to tyranny as history has shown.

Ignorami like you (not meant pejoratively) fail to grasp the deadly threat that this poses to civil governments. If you did, you would recognize that deriding Jesus and the other tenets of Christianity is of no value to you or anyone else and all it accomplishes is exposing your personal lack of understanding that derision of fellow Americans is not only counter-constitutional but it sows the seeds of tyranny. The same deriding words you use in your speech against Christians were used, almost word-for-word, by the judges of the Inquisition, Popes and bishops to condemn Christians (who dared to speak out against the brutal practices of the RCC) and then burn them alive, cut their guts open so animals could finish them off, dash children against trees, rape and murder women and children and so on. Your behavior might have found favor with the Roman Catholics 500 years ago, yahweh, but the U.S. constitution rebukes you and casts you out for attacking fellow Americans who happen to believe otherwise than you do.

Regarding Jefferson's perspective on the Bible, Jesus and other Christian elements, there is only one question that needs to be answered when we talk about the constitution: Would Jefferson have deliberately crusaded to remove the "good works" doctrine of Jesus, a doctrine which he admired, from the premise and mindset of the constitution? There is overwhelming evidence that he would have not. This good-works doctrine of Jesus motivated him so much that he even proceeded to produce his own version of the Bible, which is an anathema to true Christians, but that’s beside the point. It explained the conviction with which he approached life and his influence on the formulation of the constitution.

His stated love for Jesus’ good works doctrine was a primary motivator for his entire conduct and life. So, did Jefferson envisage a "secular" (no such thing IMO, which I will prove in another post) constitution or did he envisage one founded on his perception of the Christian tenets? The latter is staring you all in the face, even evident in yahweh's quotes.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Church and State Part 4

I know I promised to write about the objections of the AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State), but while I was doing research on them, I stumbled across their comments page about the separation of Church and State on their site. I read through all their comments, some 130 of them, to get a feel for both sides of the issue. Needless to say, all but one subscriber were pro the AU position, which is not surprising. However, I found interesting comments from a subscriber who called himself yahweh (lower case "Y") obviously to taunt Christians and Jews, as his comments indicated.

The arguments mostly revolved around the constitution and whether the Framers of the constitution were Christian or not. Quotations from Framers proving both positions were cited, which I didn't verify. However, yahweh's comments seemed to deserve particular attention. My comments that I posted on their site are below.

I couldn’t find any rational argument about the constitution. What is rather sad is yahweh’s blatant disrespect for Christianity. The constitution was drawn up to prevent tyranny from both religious as well as secular quarters. Judging by your taunting disrespect for Christianity, whether you believe it or not, place you, by your own admission, squarely in the secular-tyranny corner against which the Framers drafted the constitution. (They also made sure that the constitution does not frame a democracy but a republic, to protect the nation against mob-tyranny.)

The Framers were not all Christians although they proclaimed Christian virtues. Why? Because they recognized that the Judeo/Christian civil/economic model is the only model in the history of mankind that provides universal liberty and prosperity. There has never been and never will be another civil/economic model that will be able to surpass the Judeo/Christian model in its virtues. It’s recognition of that reality on which Christians claim that the Framers were of the Christian persuasion; and it’s their contra-Christian statements that non-Christian proponents use to claim the contrary. Both are correct. Basically, it’s not important of what particular religious conviction the Framers were.

The Framers recognized that there is no such thing as a secular form of government. Once a government has claimed ’secular’ status, it is firmly on its way to become tyrannical. Similarly, once a government has claimed ‘religious’ status, it, too, is firmly on its way to become tyrannical.

So, what, then, is this we have here in the U.S.? Is it a Christian constitution or a secular constitution? The Christian and non-Christian Framers realized that the constitution can be neither. It has to be a civil/economic model that leverages the precepts of the Judeo/Christian doctrine without requiring its practitioners to become converts.

We have a model of government that was founded on Judeo/Christian principles, for which participation is not seated in the belief in the doctrine, but it is seated in the application of its precepts.

This principle was not invented by the Framers but it is a generally accepted principle throughout history. It is equally applicable to civil and criminal law. The thief sits in jail because, while knowing the precepts of the doctrine of the law, he was not obedient to them and suffered the punishment that follows disobedience. It is irrelevant whether he believed in the law or not. The honest man avoids prison for fear of the punishment and shame that a conviction brings, whether he believes in the law or not. Obeying the doctrine is the sole prerequisite for the obedient to reap rewards and avoid punishment while disobedience is the sole cause of punishment and loss of rewards for the violator. Believing in the doctrine is not required.

So, yahweh, (purposely not writing your name with a capital letter because you apparently believe it’s a statement of belief if you should write Jesus’ name with a capital “J”, which is a requirement for proper syntax) there is really no need for you to ridicule other people’s religion since it doesn’t concern you and it is, quite frankly, none of your business what others believe. Islam is an exception on this rule: the terms of their doctrine, like Christianity, is accessible by anyone, clearly defined and comprehensible. Their doctrine, unlike Christianity, teaches that the one, who doesn’t believe it, should be killed. Muslims in the U.S., who are enjoying the liberty and prosperity that our constitution brings, are caught in the middle: they don’t want to sacrifice the liberty and prosperity that the Judeo/Christian civil/economic model brings, but they are terrified at the wrath of the “true” Muslims, those who are clearly identifiable by their doctrine. (Incidentally, the attacks on 9/11 struck a huge chasm in Islam, too.)

The important thing, if you wish to be obedient to the constitution, is to accept and become obedient to the Judeo/Christian civil/economic model without the necessity to believe in its doctrine. It is clear you despise (not only don’t believe) the doctrine of true Christians and their God, which is fine. That’s your prerogative. But you should refrain from openly injuring them by your blasphemous (to them), public outcries purely to demonstrate your disdain for their doctrine. To Christians, Jesus is God Almighty, the prophesied Messiah, Son of God. You are not pressured, enticed or discriminated against to believe it but you are, by the constitution’s spirit and call to unity (E Pluribus Unum) prohibited from injurious actions against them. If you continue to act out your disdain for Christians in this way, you are a proponent of tyranny of the secular kind, which makes you an enemy of the constitution and thus, an enemy of America. And, it appears, so is AU. I am still catching up on their modus operandi and beliefs, so I will reserve judgment on that.

Let’s just get something else out of the way. The “Christian” part of the Judeo/Christian economic model, excludes theocratic religious doctrines, such as Roman Catholicism (Pope is the boss, Cardinals, Bishops and Priests are the “informed” and the regular folks are the laity), Mormonism, Islam, and Scientology. The classic accusation of so-called violence in the name of religion lies at the door of theocracies, not true Christianity. Not everyone who claims to act in the name of God does so in the name of God.

Well, how do we know what is true Christianity or Judaism or a true of anything for that matter, even a true American? You have to look at the doctrine. The doctrine must be clearly defined and freely available for all to read. For those who claim to be Christians, you must look at the Bible and the Bible only. It is clear for all to read and judge whether someone is a Christian or not. Reading it to determine if someone claiming to be so is a true Christian doesn’t make you a believer, so there is no need to fear reading the Bible. Roman Catholicism, for example, has additional doctrines added to the Bible, such as the Magisterium and Church Tradition. So, they cannot really claim to be “true” Christians; they are, rather, “true” Roman Catholics. Similarly, Mormons cannot claim to be true Christians either, because they added the Book of Mormon to their doctrine. They can, at best, claim to be “true” Mormons. In the same vein a true American is someone who is obedient to the U.S. constitution. Anyone is free to judge a professing Christian by the Bible; a professing Roman Catholic by the Bible, the Magisterium and their church’s traditions; an American by the constitution; and so on.

Judaism shares with true Christianity a crucial element in the understanding of governments and that is the calling: “Do whatever you do as if you are doing it for God and not for men.” Therein lies the foundation of our constitution and the requirement that all, believers and unbelievers, partake in the precepts of this doctrine, not to enslave it’s adherents, but to liberate them and make the bounty of its fruits a reachable pursuit for all who are obedient to it. From that stems the highly successful and rich doctrine of capitalism. Those are the tenets of the constitution of the United States of America.

Having “one nation under God” and “In God we trust” publicly displayed should not offend anyone because it’s not there to shove Christianity in anyone’s face but it’s the free expression of the people, some believing it expresses their faith in God and others acknowledging the precepts on which our constitution was founded. (Incidentally, that taxpayer money should pay for license plates of any nature is wrong. Why can you and I not pay for our own license plates, regardless of the inscriptions on it?)

People who speak like yahweh does, are saboteurs of this truth; ignorant at best. I don’t mean to insult you, yahweh, but I want to bring to your attention that your utterances are destructive and counter-constitutional, despite your apparent defense of it. Rather show respect to all Americans, not only those who sing in your choir.

Finally, folks, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments.



Friday, September 4, 2009

Church and State Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 have been archived in the August 2009 heading.

Even though I focused on the declarations of the AU (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) thus far, there is no intent to attack them or single them out in particular but I rather want to use them as an example of the general prevailing mood in this respect.

The AU declares their support for the following issues:

1. The free exercise of religion. I’ll go along with that.

2. Separation of church and state. I’ll go along with that provided we define what that means, as I shall discuss in a following posting.

3. Judicial nominees that strongly support separation of church and state. I’ll go along with that with the understanding of point 2 above.

4. The right of each religious group to define marriage on its own terms.

What? I thought that marriage was a civil institution. Listen to what the AU is on record as saying, "The government must also recognize that while many couples choose to be married in a house of worship, marriage itself is ultimately a civil institution; access to it should not be defined or limited because of religious strictures."

The way they phrased that statement, "...marriage is ultimately a civil institution..." clears up many misconceptions about this. Religious groups should be able to define marriage on their own terms but they, too, are ultimately subject to the Civil Kingdom. That's not only what it sounds like, Folks, but experience teaches us that the Civil Kingdom has found ways to increasingly exercise control over the Religious Kingdom with the same bribes and sweet talk with which they invaded it in the past.

To attack the schools with lawsuits, as Messrs. Falwell and Robertson did, claiming schools have religious foundations while that treasure is in the hands of the Civil Kingdom, was futile and no court could have consented to such an initiative without ignoring the law.

That public sentiment is overwhelmingly in favor of a religious bias in schools is indisputable not only because of the poor results education in the hands of the Civil Kingdom delivered, but also because of the increasing influence over the minds and perceptions of the youth steering them in an anti-American direction.

What is the one thing common to all non-violent takeovers of any civilization? Education, and in two parts: First, dumb it down so that graduates would not understand the rhetoric; and second, get to the kids at as young an age as possible, preferably already in kindergarten. These parts are already in place and what does the Religious Kingdom's generals do to stop these invasions? Nothing. No concerted effort from the Religious Kingdom to stop these raiders from repeatedly breaching the "wall" to drag off more treasures every day.

What should Jerry and Pat have done, instead? There is no easy answer since the colt has bolted and the barn door can only be closed behind it.

Perhaps, when they had the support of the people they should have attacked the real causes, getting the Religious Kingdom's treasures back: Removing education from the government and returning it to the people where it had been and where it belongs, so that future generations would inherit the character and traditions of the people, not bureaucrats. And, while they were at it, bring marriage back to the Religious Kingdom by removing any and all government benefits, incentives, and discrimination from the law that involves marital status.

In Part Four, I will look at the things that the AU opposes. There are some interesting stuff to explore there.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Church and State Part 2

In Part One of this series I said that marriage is a religious institution. There are many who believe marriage is a civil institution but that perception was formed on the pillars of the meddling of civil laws in the marriage institution.

One wouldn’t have to look too far to confirm that marriage was already a religious institution back in the days of Moses, long before anybody doubted its origins and long before any civil magistrate had the authority to allow or disallow marriage, prescribe benefits and regulate contracts based on a couple’s marital status.

The common perception of “the wall of separation between church and state” is that it is used to prevent religion from encroaching onto secular society. The opposite is rather the case. More often than not, civil initiatives meddle in the affairs of the religious trying to subvert it, as I shall show.

James Madison referred to the separation between church and state as the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms. In the same spirit I’ll refer to the two sides of the argument as the Religious Kingdom and the Civil Kingdom.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization founded in 1947. They claim to have Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and people with no religious affiliation as members, including Democrats, Republicans and independents. Let’s assume their claim of members from a broad spectrum of beliefs is true.

Reading through AU’s historical record one finds that they were initially mostly correct in their defense of the First Amendment, especially efforts to introduce theology into public schools. Losing these cases earned religious groups the unfortunate, non descriptive pejorative of “Religious Right,” a term that Jerry Falwell himself used to describe his Moral Majority at its dissolution in 1989 in Las Vegas. He didn’t realize, foolishly I might add, that the term Religious Right was already firmly ensconced in the minds of the people as a kook-fringed fanatical organization. It was brought about entirely because of Messrs. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others’ poor judgment and failure to recognize the futile legal position they were advocating. “Religious Right” became a label under which religious groups unfairly suffer today not having a rational response – aimlessly trying to defend or explain it, without success.

What did Jerry Falwell do wrong in the 1970’s and 80’s? What did Pat Robertson do wrong in the 1990’s?

For starters, they wanted to introduce doctrines belonging to the Religious Kingdom into establishments belonging to the Civil Kingdom, a blatant violation of the First Amendment. The courts couldn’t have sided with any of these initiatives and be faithful to the law regardless of the judges' personal beliefs. Pursuing these initiatives without due regard to the legal principles governing reality not only made a mockery of honest Christian initiatives but allowed religion’s enemies to define and demonize it.

Had these gentlemen sat down and realistically analyzed their position, the course to pursue to succeed, the outcomes may have been very different. Many families destroyed and generations lost could have been saved making wasted talents available for liberty and prosperity. It appears, judging from the advantage of distance in time, as if their morally acceptable goals were doomed to fail from the outset because of rather silly and perhaps self-serving strategies.

If the Civil Kingdom’s intruders had not scaled the “wall” and invaded one of the Religious Kingdom’s domains – the education of its children – and had the Religious Kingdom’s gatekeepers not fallen for the bribe of “free” public education, the problem Messrs. Falwell and Robertson tried to rectify would never have occurred in the first place. “Free” education wasn’t free at all. The cost of the ignorance and misery which that invasion brought about is incalculable.

In my next post I will look a bit more at the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Church and State Part 1

There is enough confusion to last us a lifetime when we start discussing or deciphering this concept. Without proper citation no justice can be done to a study of the separation of church and state, either. And since that is so, I’d like to state only a few points here, which, hopefully, would provide some food for thought. Many resources are available on the Internet and elsewhere if one would like to self-study the matter.

The obvious place to start would be the wording of the Constitution or more precisely, the First Amendment. This Amendment has two basic concepts, which are called the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Let’s look at how it’s phrased:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson was the first to refer to this clause as “a wall of separation between church and state” when he wrote to a group called the Danbury Baptists. As one studies the relationship between church and state in history, one sees a common thread in the argument for a state religion as well as the one against it: the church side is referred to as the spiritual or sacred side while the state side is referred to as the secular or civil side.

Why is this of any importance? In my view both the opponents and proponents recognized that the state shouldn’t be in the soul-saving business prescribing how, who or where people should worship. Similarly, the church should not be the civil administrator of the people, making and enforcing laws that regulate civil society. The relationship between these two concepts, the civil and the religious, have been referred to in history as the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, first articulated by Martin Luther and later adopted by James Madison.

So, if a perfect application of this “wall” has been established, say, then nobody should be concerned or threatened by people praying or expressing their faith in public, neither should the government prescribe to parents how they should raise or educate their children. There should also be no concern when people express their absence of faith in anything, or how they raise and educate their children. Regardless of one's religious belief or absence thereof, the civil laws are instituted to maintain outward order and peace, making everybody subject to the civil law.

Why, then, would one ask, is prayer, for instance, prohibited in schools by citing the First Amendment? Because the people, who were supposed to protect the First Amendment, failed their duty in keeping the government out of the education of our children. Once we mandated that the civil government would be the Pater of our children’s education we foolishly demanded that the civil magistrate should also be a person of religion, violating the First Amendment.

Similarly, churches are dependent upon 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status here in the U.S., thereby avoiding having to pay taxes on tithes and other gifts the churches receive to run their operations. Both a tax-exempt and a tax are yokes on churches principally violating the First Amendment. In some cases this exposes them to reprimand and punishment from the government if they should preach certain “unacceptable” doctrines from the pulpit, which could be defined in legislation putting them at risk of violating the civil law.

In the same manner government was allowed to differentiate between married people and unmarried people by providing married couples with tax incentives and certain contractual benefits over their unmarried counterparts – another violation of the First Amendment. Marriage is a religious institution, which became dependent upon the civil magistrate’s licensing and approval and for favors and incentives. A violation of the First Amendment.

Many other violations of the First Amendment have been introduced into our society and the keepers of the gates were asleep at their posts when one would have expected them to remain loyal to the simple language of the Constitution. Were they duped by the benefits such legislation bring to their religion causing a blind spot over the admonition of the Constitution against it?

Perhaps one shouldn’t be too hard on them for not grasping the unintended consequences of seemingly innocent legislation, but it is never too late to petition and succeed at the reversal of these atrocities against the Constitution. It is also never too late to learn from their mistakes by reading into the simple language of the Constitution things that are not there. Those gate-keepers should be removed from their posts lest they, too, would impose unintended consequences on our posterity. "Unintended" is not an excuse any longer.

Religion or the absence thereof is an unalienable right of each individual and no coercion by incentive or threat of punishment should be tolerated from the other Kingdom. Ever.

To be continued.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thanks Mom

The following article was published in the Afrikaans magazine Die Sarie in South Africa written by Marisa Haasbroek.
I translated it as best I could.

“You cannot wear a T-shirt to your graduation,” I complained.
Eric pulls his robe closer to try to hide the T-shirt but I can see there is no shirt collar.

“And on how many graduation ceremonies were you, mom?”

That was a low blow; he knows how I am troubled by having a less than adequate education.

When Eric turned fourteen his dad decided to trade me in for a younger model, one without stretch marks. When I called him to know if he would attend the graduation ceremony, he barked, “I have another commitment.” I didn’t really want to invite him; it’s not as if he contributed a penny to Eric’s education.

When Eric turned fourteen, he started listening to that kind of music: no real tune with a repetitive boom-boom-boom. Sometimes I regretted having not given his dad the HiFi, too.

“Are you done?” I ask. “The ceremony starts in an hour and we still have to find parking.”

“Relax, I am going to have breakfast first.”

“No, you will ruin your clothes. Drink coffee and eat a biscuit instead.”

In his fourteenth year he got some new friends. Guys with long hair who never look you in the eye, always wearing black. Why are these teens grieving all the time? About their own or their parents’ lost lives?

All his friends have richer parents than I and when he said he would also like to go to university I was scared. Eric studied as CPA. One thing is certain, he got his head for numbers from me. Of the clerks at the office I am the most accurate.

To earn extra money I started baking and selling to a local home industry outlet. Every night till two in the morning. Eric got a job as a waiter. Between the two of us we managed to scrape through paying for his tuition.

We fought about everything. Girls, because he didn’t study more, he didn’t want to go to church, his earrings, the tattoo he wanted to put on his arm – an idea he abandoned when I threw a fit.

Just as we are fighting today.

“Don’t overdress, Ma. The people will think we aren’t used to anything. Do you have to wear that pink outfit? It makes your cheeks look reddish.”

“I still say you shouldn’t wear a T-shirt under your robe.”

“Sharrup, Ma,” he retorts.

We fight over who should drive. He wins. We fight over the route he takes and because he drives too close to the cars in front.

When we walked into the great gray building I noticed the other students with their robes and white collars.

“See, all the other students have shirts with collars.”

Because I am alone getting a seat was no problem; there are always ample seats for single people scattered all over the place. Organ music plays – softly as in the church.

I look for Eric’s name on the program and find him between the other Groves. I look for him among the rows and rows of students and see him from behind because he looks just like his dad. I swallow hard on the lump in my throat.

Everyone rises when a long line of professors walk from the back of the hall to the front. Only two continue on to the stage. The students string like a long line of ants through a side door, walking one by one onto the stage as their names are called, first stopping at the official photographer.

Every one gets a roll of paper.

There are many students that receive the B. Com degree and when the professor announced “cum laude” the audience claps a bit louder.

When the G’s started my stomach turned. What if Eric trips or something.

“Eric Grove!” announces the professor.

Eric waits for the photographer to finish and then walked to receive his degree. Instead of walking to the professor, he walked to the middle of the stage and ripped open his robe.

The audience audibly draws their breaths.

Then they started applauding, first only a few and then a roar as they all stood up. Even the professors applauded.

I remain seated.

I bit my lip but I cannot stop the tears.


was painted in large, black letters on his T-Shirt.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The things we know

I haven’t written to my blog in a couple of days due to work pressure. My mother would say, that’s good, be thankful, you have work that pressures you.

I suppose she is right. In my mind I cannot help playing games having enough money to pursue the things that I want to. But, unfortunately, human nature being what it is, I know that I would pursue very different things when there is no driving need to work. That’s where my mother’s admonition would have gravitas.

So, I sat myself down this afternoon and decided to write about things real and what I should accept rather than dream about. And then, get back to the salt mines because with the economy the way it is, I cannot afford to lose a single customer, lousy or not.

It’s about that time during the debate, which was raging in my head, that I considered what it is that we claim to know. How do we really know things?

Considered critically for a moment, I don’t even know that my mom and dad are really my parents. What I mean is I don’t know that at the same level that I know I am writing this here and now. My knowledge, who my parents are, has to be derived from other sources, which testify to me that the people who headed up our household since I can remember are indeed my parents. There are my older brothers, extended family, familiar resemblances with other family, which is genetic, and, of course, behavioral traits that are dead giveaways who my ancestors are. But still, I have to consume all this data supporting the fact that my parents are the ones who gave me life and whose genes I carry before I can claim that I know that.

Of course, unavoidably, my thoughts also wandered to other things that I don’t know for sure but have to rely on accessory evidence testifying that they are true. I concluded that I really know very little and the vast majority of what I know was made up of judgments that I made. I can, following this path of reasoning, only truly know those things with which I have been personally involved; all others are judgments that I made to fill in the mosaic of my knowledge.

One can go on and on citing many examples, but some things are more demanding to be considered in the light of this than others at this time in our political climate. One of those things is the current healthcare debate and specifically the question whether there would be “death panels” who would decide whether certain people would be best left to die than given medical care. Nobody can quote anywhere in the healthcare bill a reference to such a panel, so some say it’s nonsense to claim it’s there. Others say it’s in there. I cannot claim to know either; I have to make a judgment based on the preponderance of the evidence.

If another 47 million (let’s just use that number as given) people are going to be added to the healthcare system without an increase in service ability or patient throughput, if you will, common sense teaches that the first thing that will happen is that quality will be short-circuited to increase the number of patients that can be processed.

Another piece of evidence that needs factoring is the promise that costs will be reduced. Okay, if we increase the load but force the cost downwards to process that load, where is the pressure going to go? Doesn’t common sense teach that if you increase the volume of production or processing, that costs will go up accordingly? Even your local school kids’ lemonade stand will testify to that fact.

So, from where will the reduction in costs be funded? It has to come from somewhere. And here is where we have to make a judgment, because we don’t know. Fortunately, most adults have experienced a situation where one has to forego the pleasure of having something due to the constraints imposed upon it, such as a limited budget, limited skills, or limited time.

Thinking… Hmmm. What would a healthcare system forego due to limited resources? Quality of care? Yup. That’ll go because what the system needed to do in 30 minutes must now be completed in 20, say.

Anything else? What about rationing of care? If we consider that 25% of medical care goes to folks above 50 years of age and the percentage increases as they get older, it seems as if the talk of “bang for the healthcare buck” begins to formulate my judgment on this.

If human beings can be considered as machinery for the sake of the argument, it would make good sense to retire a piece of equipment when its maintenance costs are becoming equal to the replacement cost of a new piece of equipment. But, our old folks are people, not objects or machinery, who have constitutional rights equaling that of people at any other age; they have a right to life without compromise from anybody.

So, even though the words “death panel,” or its formulation appear nowhere in the health bill, one can easily know that it’s in there by the judgments we make based on the evidence given by the authors and proponents of the bill.

And mother's common sense.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A bit of humor

What'll we do without a bit of Humor.

A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious.

On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert, and as first aid was given to both men the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum bag who got what he deserved, and he yelled back that Ted Kennedy is a fat, good-for-nothing, left wing liberal drunk who doesn't know how to drive.

So I said that Osama Bin Laden dresses and acts like a mean-spirited hooker!

He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well, so does Nancy Pelosi!"

"And, there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Extreme Golf

Extreme Golf: Million Dollar Par 3

The Extreme 19th hole on Hanglip Mountain at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in South Africa.

Above: leading golfers Sergio Garcia, in the red shirt, on the tee and below, Retief Goosen lines up his shot.

Forget pitch and putt - this tee-off point on top of a 430m mountain in South Africa is the hardest golf shot in the world, and more than $US1 million awaits the player who can score a hole in one.

Players must take a helicopter to the top to play the longest - and highest - par three on the planet. Taking the shot also requires courage - a player needs to teeter terrifyingly close to the edge of the mammoth hillside. Indeed, the Extreme 19th Hole is so high the ball takes almost 30 seconds to reach the ground.

See a short video of golfers attempting the 19th hole.

Channel Nine cricket commentator Mark Nicholas recently joined an elite list to have the shot in just three swings. "It was awesome, riveting and phenomenal," he said. "It's like the end of the world when you get up there and it's an awful lot of fun. "It's such an adrenalin rush taking the helicopter up and then rushing back down."

The hole is based at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort, within the Entabeni Safari Conservancy in South Africa 's north-eastern Limpopo Province . The other 18 holes were designed by world golfing legends including Trevor Immelman, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington and Australia 's Robert Allenby.

A round of golf - including a buggy and lunch - will set you back R450 ($60. USD). The Extreme 19th costs is R6700 ($850. USD) per four ball, that includes helicopter ride, souvenir cap and glove and a DVD of you playing the hole.

So far, no one has even come close pocketing the million-dollar prize, but Harrington became the first golfer to conquer the hole within par. Harrington said: "This is the type of innovation and excitement we need to get more people playing golf. "There aren't many new innovative ways to play the game but this is certainly one of the best. "I think this hole is awesome - I love the whole experience, the helicopter, the views, the drama and having the green the shape of Africa . "And now I've got bragging rights over all the other professionals who have played this and not managed to make a three. I love everything about it."

Ok, folks, see you there to pick up your million bucks.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Liberal Activism

It is not often that someone’s haughtiness overwhelms him to the extent that he would admit on national television of past misdeeds – criminal, perhaps.

As campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s presidential run in 1984, Bob Beckel (Wikipedia) admitted that he infiltrated town hall meetings with planted liberals to disrupt conservatives’ meetings or to swing the opinion of the meeting. That may be politics as usual for some, but for me it’s loathsome behavior indicative of an amoral character of the highest order. Admitting it with a smirk as if it's something everybody does should be shunned by all Americans, regardless from which quarter of the political arena it comes.

Here is the video clip.

Bob’s admission is clearly not aimed at redeeming his previous behavior; he is trying to cast the legitimate gathering of people to express their anger at their political leaders as a revelation that these people are guilty of equally loathsome tactics.

Bob, not everybody practices what you preach. Moreover, you didn’t follow someone else’s lead in this either, you say. You claim to be the inventor of this underhanded method of intimidating voters and falsely influencing political opinion.

I hope that there is an outcry against you and your cohorts who have demonstrated that you have no real concern for America, her people, her Constitution and laws. Basically, no morals, Bob; at least not what this country could count on.

One thing is certain; no town hall meeting organized by liberals can ever be above suspicion again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We, the prophets

I gave an award-winning speech to a Toastmasters Club on Tuesday, which I’d like to share with you.

What is the general image one conjures up in one’s mind when one hears the word “prophet?” Isn’t it an image of someone who can foretell the future? Someone who has knowledge of the future? Yes, it is.

Wouldn’t it be something to have someone who can accurately foretell what it would be like next month or next year? But, I don’t need a month or a year; I need only 10 seconds. Ten seconds! With knowledge of the next 10 seconds I will be able to clear out any casino that I can lay my hands on.

But, it doesn’t work that way. I want to tell you a few stories.

Hypothetically, if I want to right a wrong and do it in court on my own, I would read up on the law, read other cases that are similar to mine and make sure that my speech to the judge would be well rehearsed, right? Let’s assume that I casually mention that to a lawyer friend who listens to what I want to do and says, “You’ll lose.” So, I went to court and lost. I asked my friend, “How did you know?”

Let’s say you see a child play with matches and you say, “Put down those matches, you’ll get burnt.” The child continues to play with the matches and soon enough he got burnt. He asks you, “How did you know?”

My daughter is a Cordon Blue pastry chef and when I try to mock up something in the kitchen, she is quick to tell me that I can’t do this or that. “Why not?” I’d ask. “Because it will taste like leather.” I continue, not heeding her warning, and my creation tastes like leather. I ask her, “How did you know?”

What is the major difference between our general perception of a prophet and the stories that I just told you? The cause and effect have been switched around. Our general perception of a prophet is that knowledge lies in the future and prophecy is in the present. Reality tells us that knowledge lies in the here and now and prophecy lies in the future.

In these stories my lawyer friend prophesied when he said that I’ll lose my case. You prophesied to the child about getting hurt. My daughter prophesied to me that my cooking efforts would fail. Or, to put it in the language of our contemporary perception of prophets, they all foretold the future, which they couldn’t have done unless they had intimate knowledge of the subject matter.

In the case of my lawyer friend, there were two conflicting prophecies, right? I mean I also made a prophecy, that I would win. So confident was I about my foretelling that I invested a lot of time and effort in the initiative. My friend had a much higher level of knowledge and could instantly render a much more accurate prophecy than I could.

What does this mean? It means that the more knowledge we have about something in the present, the future about that something will unfold accordingly.

If you flew to New York from Los Angeles, the captain usually announces over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard our flight to New York. We are climbing to 35,000 feet, our cruising altitude, and our flight time would be five hours and 50 minutes.” What did the captain do here? He prophesied, foretold the future, based upon his experience and knowledge. Or, his wisdom.

I want to inspire you today to rather expand your knowledge and apply it productively to unfold the future than looking for some mystical revelation.

We, the prophets, are the people who make things happen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

NBC wants harm to come to Obama?

Here is a news network, NBC, which shamelessly propagates the lies of Frank Schaeffer about events in our country today and thereby putting our elected officials at risk.

Here is the video clip:

There is a good reason, Frank, why people are angry. Their elected officials are trying to convince them that a bill that they haven’t even cared to read is a good thing. People didn’t elect aides and lawyers as their representatives, Frank. They elected the official in that office. The least elected officials can do is become familiar with the bills they vote on. They get to town hall meetings and give their constituents information that they know is false. Why would they do that, Frank? And why would you perpetuate the fraud, Frank?

What are the people supposed to do in the face of such indignant insults? There is no debate when the professors of the doctrine (of health care) represent a false perspective of the bill. How can there be? Surely, the doctrine must be understood factually before a debate is possible. It appears as if the facts of the bill are better known to the constituents than the elected officials, which kind of took them by surprise. What an insult.

Frank equates the killing of three policemen in Pittsburg, Dr. Tiller, and other assassinations with right-wing conspiracies, or, as he put it, code language for murder. The three policemen in Pittsburg were gunned down by a criminal, Richard Poplawski, Frank. Dr. Tiller was shot by a crazed man who didn’t know squat about Christianity and the fact that he shot Dr. Tiller in a church doesn’t mean he was a Christian, Frank. A person of right-wing conviction he definitely was not. Conservatives respect life and liberty. History teaches us that bigotry and slave ownership is in the play-book of liberals not conservatives and they haven't given up on that even today. So, your integrity is in serious question, Frank.

But, apparently, being angry at people who are supposed to act in the best interests of their constituents is code-speak for Richard Poplawski, Scott Roeder, Lee Harvey Oswald, and others to go out and kill people. Or, as you put it, Frank, the code-speak is like leaving a loaded gun and anyone who picks it up, that’s good for us. You self aggrandizing opportunist.

Here is Rachel Maddow's interview with Frank: Frank Schaeffer

To all my readers I say this: There can be no benefit in the slaying of anyone. It is a crime that cannot be justified; it always creates more problems than it solves and it is forbidden in the Christian doctrine, ergo, God forbids it and to link so-called "right-wing" extremists to Christianity is blantantly dishonest. Inciting violence by inference is also against the law, Frank.

The anger that people display now has everything to do with the fraud that is about to be perpetrated against them. The notion that it’s code-speak for violence against the president is an insidious tactical maneuver that was clearly initiated by the liberal clan propagated by NBC, as can be seen here.

I wonder why they would start such rumors?

Shuttling the Shuttle

Forwarded by Tyler Hall. Thanks Tyler.

Comments on carrying the shuttle by Triple Nickel, NASA Pilot.

This was circulated in email at work, from United Technologies corporate. A quick "trip report" from the pilot of the 747 that flew the shuttle back to Florida after the Hubble repair flight.

A humorous and interesting inside look at what it's like to fly two aircraft at once . . .

(I have decided to adopt one of "Triple Nickel's" phrases : "That was too close for MY laundry!")

Well, it's been 48 hours since I landed the 747 with the shuttle Atlantis on top and I am still buzzing from the experience. I have to say that my whole mind, body and soul went into the professional mode just before engine start in Mississippi, and stayed there, where it all needed to be, until well after the fact, I am not sure if it is all back to normal as I type this email. The experience was surreal. Seeing that "thing" on top of an already overly huge aircraft boggles my mind. The whole mission from takeoff to engine shutdown was unlike anything I had ever done. It was like a dream...someone else's dream.

We took off from Columbus AFB on their 12,000 foot runway, of which I used 11,999 1/2feet to get the wheels off the ground. We were at 3,500 feet left to go off the runway, throttles full power, nose wheels still hugging the ground, copilot calling out decision speeds, the weight of Atlantis now screaming through my fingers clinched tightly on the controls, tires heating up to their near maximum temperature from the speed and the weight, and not yet at rotation speed, the speed at which I would be pulling on the controls to get the nose to rise.

I just could not wait, and I mean I COULD NOT WAIT, and started pulling early. If I had waited until rotation speed, we would not have rotated enough to get airborne by the end of the runway. So I pulled on the controls early and started our rotation to the takeoff attitude. The wheels finally lifted off as we passed over the stripe marking the end of the runway and my next hurdle (physically) was a line of trees 1,000 feet off the departure end of Runway 16. All I knew was we were flying and so I directed the gear to be retracted and the flaps to be moved from Flaps 20 to Flaps 10 as I pulled even harder on the controls. I must say, those trees were beginning to look a lot like those brushes in the drive through car washes so I pulled even harder yet!

I think I saw a bird just fold its wings and fall out of a tree as if to say "Oh just take me". Okay, we cleared the trees, duh, but it was way too close for my laundry. As we started to actually climb, at only 100 feet per minute, I smelled something that reminded me of touring the Heineken Brewery in Europe...I said "is that a skunk I smell?" and the veterans of shuttle carrying looked at me and smiled and said "Tires"!

I said "TIRES??? OURS???" They smiled and shook their heads as if to call their Captain an amateur....okay, at that point I was . The tires were so hot you could smell them in the cockpit. My mind could not get over, from this point on, that this was something I had never experienced. Where's your mom when you REALLY need her?

The flight down to Florida was an eternity. We cruised at 250 knots indicated, giving us about 315 knots of ground speed at 15,000'. The miles didn't click by like I am use to them clicking by in a fighter jet at MACH ....94. We were burning fuel at a rate of 40,000 pounds per hour or 130 pounds per mile, or one gallon every length of the Fuselage.

The vibration in the cockpit was mild, compared to down below and to the rear of the fuselage where it reminded me of that football game I had as a child where you turned it on and the players Vibrated around the board. I felt like if I had plastic clips on my boots I could have vibrated to any spot in the fuselage I wanted to go without moving my legs...and the noise was deafening.

The 747 flies with its nose 5 degrees up in the air to stay level, and when you bank, it feels like the shuttle is trying to say "hey, let's roll completely over on our back"..not a good thing I kept telling myself. SO I limited my bank angle to 15 degrees and even though a 180 degree course change took a full zip code to complete, it was the safe way to turn this monster.

Airliners and even a flight of two F-16s deviated from their flight plans to catch a glimpse of us along the way. We dodged what was in reality very few clouds and storms, despite what everyone thought, and arrived in Florida with 51,000 pounds of fuel too much to land with. We can't land heavier than 600,000 pounds total weight and so we had to do something with that fuel. I had an idea...let's fly low and slow and show this beast off to all the taxpayers in Florida lucky enough to be outside on that Tuesday afternoon.

So at Ormond Beach we let down to 1,000 feet above the ground/water and flew just east of the beach out over the water. Then, once we reached the NASA airspace of the Kennedy Space Center, we cut over to the Banana/Indian Rivers and flew down the middle of them to show the people of Titusville, Port St.Johns and Melbourne just what a 747 with a shuttle on it looked like.

We stayed at 1,000 feet and since we were dragging our flaps at "Flaps 5", our speed was down to around 190 to 210 knots. We could see traffic stopping in the middle of roads to take a look. We heard later that a Little League Baseball game stop to look and everyone cheered as we became their 7th inning stretch. Oh, say can you see...

After reaching Vero Beach, we turned north to follow the coast line back up to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). There was not one person laying on the beach...they were all standing and waving! "What a sight" I thought...and figured they were thinking the same thing.

All this time I was bugging the engineers, all three of them, to re-compute our fuel and tell me when it was time to land. They kept saying "Not yet Triple, keep showing this thing off" which was not a bad thing to be doing.. However, all this time the thought that the landing, the muscling of this 600,000 pound beast, was getting closer and closer to my reality. I was pumped up! We got back to the SLF and were still 10,000 pounds too heavy to land so I said I was going to do a low approach over the SLF going the opposite direction of landing traffic that day. So at 300 feet, we flew down the runway, rocking our wings like a whale rolling on its side to say "hello" to the people looking on! One turn out of traffic and back to the runway to land...still 3,000 pounds over gross weight limit. But the engineers agreed that if the landing were smooth, there would be no problem.

"Oh thanks guys, a little extra pressure is just what I needed!" So we landed at 603,000 pounds and very smoothly if I have to say so myself. The landing was so totally controlled and on speed, that it was fun. There were a few surprises that I dealt with, like the 747 falls like a rock with the orbiter on it if you pull the throttles off at the "normal" point in a landing and secondly, if you thought you could hold the nose off the ground after the mains touchdown, think again...IT IS COMING DOWN!!! So I "flew it down" to the ground and saved what I have seen in videos of a nose slap after landing. Bob's video supports this! :8-)

Then I turned on my phone after coming to a full stop only to find 50 bazillion emails and phone messages from all of you who were so super to be watching and cheering us on! What a treat, I can't thank y'all enough. For those who watched, you wondered why we sat there so long. Well, the shuttle had very hazardous chemicals on board and we had to be "sniffed" to determine if any had leaked or were leaking. They checked for Monomethylhydrazine (N2H4 for Charlie Hudson) and nitrogen tetroxide (N2O4). Even though we were "clean", it took way too long for them to tow us in to the mate-demate area. Sorry for those who stuck it out and even waited until we exited the jet.

I am sure I will wake up in the middle of the night here soon, screaming and standing straight up dripping wet with sweat from the realization of what had happened. It was a thrill of a lifetime. Again I want to thank everyone for your interest and support. It felt good to bring Atlantis home in one piece after she had worked so hard getting to the Hubble Space Telescope and back.

Triple Nickel
NASA Pilot

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Space Video

I watched a lot of NASA's video feed from Space Shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station last week and edited some of the feed into a short video.

I am a fool for speed, power, energy, altitude, and a vista of creation.

I am in awe of the contemporary language using words like space, orbit, space station, return to earth, and so on. When we grew up those were just fantasies and science fiction. Now, it's real.


(If you cannot view it here, watch it on Youtube: Earth Video)

Mid-Air collusion

I am watching the constant news feed on the mid-air collusion over the Hudson River in which 9 people died today. It's been nearly eight hours already and it's still wall-to-wall news cover.

It is a sad that it happened and it would be irresponsible to try and lay blame for the accident before all the facts are known.

What I want to rant about today is the level of coverage that we see for an accident of this magnitude; a national disaster it is definitely not. I mean, take the case of the 36-year old woman, Diane Schuler, who killed as many people when she drove on the wrong side of the free-way and hit an innocent on-coming car while stoned and hopelessly drunk. There was news cover at the time and the regular news analysis later, but wall-to-wall, 911-type cover there was not and correctly so.

But, why the hysteria and the repetitive, empty words of anchors to keep the clock ticking, dragging witness after witness and telephone interview with any Joe Soap and his room mate who happened to be in Manhattan today on the air?

I wonder what their motives are.

Just asking.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Well, Folks, I just got back from having surgery. It was nothing serious (provided you catch it early like I did) and was completed in the doctor's office. I developed a Basal Cell Carcinoma right in the middle of my forehead and it was removed by Moh's procedure. It should have lasted all day as they cut, analyze and cut again until all cancer has been removed. Only two cycles were necessary to get it all. So, I was out early.

That's one part of my story. The other part is the conversation I had with the doctor when he was done. "You want me to close up the hole or let it heal by itself?" he asked.

"You decide," I responded.

"No, it's your choice. Here are the ups and downs. If you let it heal by itself, it could take several weeks to heal completely and it could leave a scar, smaller than the size of the hole but larger than if we should close it up. Closing it up could take about 10 days to heal with a very small line-scar. You pick."

"How much is it going to cost me to have you close it up?" I asked, because, as you know, I pay cash. (The doctor also knew and we pretty much fixed the price before I showed up.)

"Oh, I see there's more work on your face later, so I'll close it up for you at no cost. And, I'll cut you a break on the price because we caught all of it pretty quickly."

"OK," I said in the face of such a good offer. "Close the sucker up, Doc."

He spent about 35 minutes doing some fancy suturing and I was out to pay the girl up front. She showed me the cost-worksheet and this is how it went down:

Closing of the wound:$750.00 (No Charge)
Discount on surgery:$250.00-
Total due:$1,000.00

So, a $2,250 bill became $1,000. She said I am good to go; they will send me a bill. My first thought was, that's unfair because I have nothing that the doctor can repossess should I not pay. Is he going to put my carcinoma back? Then, she added, unless you want to make a partial payment today...

She made me proud. Good girl. That's how capitalism is supposed to work. It's not cold-hearted and one-sided. It's compassionate and honest. Ask for money if you are owed any. Don't offer to send a bill if you are not prepared to wait for your money.

For the cash-for-medical-service to work it is crucial that the doctor take cash in that day, otherwise it becomes nothing but a pay-later medical scheme. (I almost wrote 'scam'). So, I offered to partial-pay $500 on the spot.

Since the money is in the bank, I'll pay the bill as soon as it arrives. I want the doctor to be happy to see me again and in-profit to continue providing his best service to me.

We are both happy: provider and consumer. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Welfare questions

I don't know if this is true or not. Enjoy it for it's humorous value if for nothing else.


I am forwarding my marriage certificate and 6 children. I had 7 but one died, which was baptized on a half sheet of paper.

I am writing to the welfare department to say that my baby was born 2 years old. When do I get my money?

Mrs. Jones has not had any clothes for a year and has been visited regularly by the clergy.

I cannot get sick pay. I have 6 children. Can you tell me why?

I am glad to report that my husband who was reported missing is dead.

This is my eight child, what are you going to do about it?

Please find for certain if my husband is dead; the man I am now living with can't eat or do anything until he knows.

I am very much annoyed to find that you have branded my boy illiterate as this is a dirty lie. I was married to his father a week before he was born.

In answer to your letter, I have given birth to a boy weighing 10 pounds. I hope this is satisfactory.

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and my 3 children, one of which was a mistake, as you will see.

My husband got his project cut off 1 week ago and I haven't had any relief since.

Unless I get my husband's money soon, I will be forced to lead an immortal life.

You have changed my little boy to a girl. Will this make any difference?

I have no children yet, as my husband is a bus driver and works day and night.

In accordance with your instructions, I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.

I want my money as soon as I can get it. I have been in bed with the doctor for 2 months and he doesn't doe me any good. If things don't improve, I will have to send for another doctor.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

History Lesson

Forwarded by Dave Fitzharris. Thanks, Dave.

It's the birthday of the man who wrote: "The rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there" — Francis Scott Key, born in Frederick, Maryland (1779). In 1814, when he wrote the words that became our national anthem, Francis Scott Key was a 35-year-old lawyer. When Congress had voted in 1812 on whether to go to war with Great Britain, he had spoken out against the war and argued for diplomacy.

It was a hard time for the new United States. The British had set fire to much of Washington, D.C., and President Madison had to flee to safety. Now the British were attempting to destroy Baltimore. Key learned that a friend of his had been detained aboard a British ship, and he offered to help negotiate the man's release. By the time he had convinced the British to release his friend, they were planning their bombardment of Fort McHenry, at the entrance to the Baltimore Harbor, and Key was forced to remain aboard an enemy ship and watch the city be attacked.

The British used rockets, which were a new military weapon adapted from Chinese technology. Key was horrified as he watched these rockets fall on Fort McHenry. He later wrote, "It seemed as though Mother Earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fire and brimstone." He watched all night, and it seemed impossible that the fort could survive the attack.

But just after sunrise he saw the American flag still flying over the fort. In fact, Key might never have even seen the flag if the fort commander, Major Armistead, hadn't insisted on flying one of the largest American flags then in existence: 30 feet long and 42 feet high.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" actually contains four verses, although we rarely sing the last three. They are:

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

About Me

Seeking the truth until I find it.