Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm more confused than usual...

The headline reads "Treasury, Fed to Unveil Major Lending Program...aimed at making it easier for people to borrow money."

I thought the primary cause of our self-proclaimed economic meltdown was because we made it too easy for people to borrow money - people who really couldn't afford to borrow.

Will someone with some economic talent in my family or from among my two or three friends (pretty much the only ones who might occasionally read this blog) explain the wisdom of this policy?

Let me guess first. I do realize economics, particularly, the concept of value, credit, and prosperity, is an illusion. Yes, Dr. Nicholas (my very competent college economics professor), economics is an art and not a science. I'd go one step further, professor - economics is a shell game. Money, err, CREDIT gets shifted around in a way that no one really knows who owes what to whom. I'm suspecting even the mover of the shells has lost track.

The purpose in all this?

To maintain the illusion of value, while the real value of value gradually ebbs away as the nation becomes less and less productive and more and more obsessed with consumption. To the best illusionist goes the spoils.

It will be interesting to see how much longer that macro-economic philosphy will well-serve the minions.

Your helpful explanations are sincerely hungered for.

A confused child of the system.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Parable of the Talents, Liberals and Conservatives

I recently had a discussion with friends about the meaning of the Biblical parable of the talents (see Matthew 25:14-30.). While “talents” at the time of the writing of this parable referred to a denomination of money, by coincidence of language, it could also apply to the current meaning of “talent” , that is, the innate or “God-given” ability to accomplish great things with what you are given.

My initial impression of the parable was that it was mean-spirited against those who lack God-given abilities. It gives preference to and rewards the wealthy or “gifted” among us. It condemns those without much ability to “outer darkness”, which in Bible-speak, means outside of God’s light, presence or grace – in another word, they are condemned to hell. Isn’t that a bit over the top?

Here is the quote of the entire parable:

13 “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. 14 For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability [underlining added for emphasis]. Then he went on his journey. 16 The one who had received five talents went off right away and put his money to work270 and gained five more. 17 In the same way, the one who had two gained two more. 18 But the one who had received one talent went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money in it. 19 After a long time, the master of those slaves came and settled his accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came and brought five more, saying, ‘Sir, you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ 21 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 The one with the two talents also came and said, ‘Sir, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more.’ 23 His master answered, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered, ‘Evil and lazy slave! So you knew that I harvest where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter? 27 Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” [underlining added for emphasis.](Matthew 25:13-30)."

Initial impressions do not necessarily result in correct interpretations. My initial impression tended toward the passive-aggressive, siding with the third slave. "If the Master (or God) is going to do that, he really is mean!" Our worldly biases and experiences often cloud our understanding, unless additional time and reflection is invested in understanding. This is true of my understanding of this parable.

Several points of understanding were gleaned from spending some time trying to understand this parable.

1) Knowing God. The third servant misunderstood the nature of God, as revealed when he told his master “You are a hard man…so I was afraid…” He was unnecessarily fearful because he didn’t know the nature of God. Fear is the bane of our existence. Fear makes life miserable – especially fear of God, our “Master.” Yes, Scripture encourages us to “fear God”. But I’m afraid that is where context and translation of ancient languages fails us. There are two different original meanings associated with our present day usage of “fear.” “Fear God” is used in the sense of exercising awe and reverence. Being “afraid”, a form of fear, is a waste of energy and emotion if you truly know God.

2) Using what you are given. The first two servants effectively used what they were given. The value doubled – compare that to today’s “value added” provider. The third did not use what he was given at all. He just buried it. There was no value added. When someone is given money, raw materials, talent (todays definition) and does nothing with it, what does that say about the person? What words come to mind? The words Jesus used were, you “evil and lazy slave.”

3) Be creative and show initiative. Apparently God likes us to think, to be creative and to show initiative. He doesn’t like excuses. He doesn’t like us to find fault with our master (‘Sir, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground) and then use that as the basis for doing nothing. This principle applies to our secular responsibilities as much as it does to our relationship with our God. Actually, a current day term for the behavior of the third worker might be “passive aggressive.” I guess the Master was lucky the slave found what he buried!

So, how might this apply to Democrats and Republicans; liberals and conservatives, the “entitleds” and the producers? Here it is: The Democrats, liberals and entitleds are going to hell. The Republicans, conservatives, and producers better not become passive-aggressive just because they are pissed at the Democrats, Liberals, and entitleds for being lazy SOBs.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The "Affirmative Action for Stupid Ideas" Doctrine

The Fairness Doctrine is another name for affirmative action for unworthy ideas. The advertised reason for promoting the Fairness Doctrine has been to balance liberal and conservative ideas in broadcast media.

The belief of proponents of the Fairness Doctrine is that any idea unable to gain a voice on the public airways deserves affirmative action.

Let's see. What are some of those liberal and conservative ideas that require affirmative action - aka mandatory publicity on the public airwaves - because their proponents believe such ideas benefit society and aren't being heard enough.


The advantages of the gay lifestyle
Why gay sex in public ought to be tolerated
Why public funds should be used to support abortion rights
Why sick or old people should be put to death because they are inconvenient or embarrassing.
Why we should not support the war
Ways to sabotage our military industrial complex by Bill Ayers
Why the free entry of illegal aliens is good for America.
How your family pet can fulfill your sexual fantasies.
Why we should place a huge tax burden on productive people and give it to those who don't want to work because it is work Americans don't want to do.
Why Islam is the religion of peace.
Why people who associate Islam with violence ought to be put in jail.


Why killing babies in the womb is wrong.
Why "declaring Darwinian evolution is the only correct science" and "scientific creationism is wrong" is bad science - see Expelled.
Why we need to be suspicious of Muslims and those with Muslim associations.
Why forcibly taking from the "haves" and giving to the "have nots" through taxation is bad social policy compared to encouraging voluntary contributions.
How "rights" come with "consequences."
Why the Fairness Doctrine is bad for free speech.

The second set of opinions will eventually be heard without the fairness doctrine because they are based in common sense. The first set of opinions should not be forced on the American people.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pray for Consequences for Irresponsible Behavior - Auntie Zeituni Update

So now she is fighting her deportation order.

...Auntie "believes someone leaked information about her immigration status to try to hurt Obama's candidacy." Ahhh yes. Others are at fault for her trying to sneak through the system.

..."She's upset that people could just hurt her like that ... use her to try to hurt Barack..." Uh huh. Blame others for her own stupid behavior - no responsibility for her own illegal actions.

...She "has been sickly since her immigration status became public, and Wong [her attorney] said she would not immediately make her available to speak to a reporter." Bring on the pity. Yes, people become sickly over getting themselves into trouble. Key words: "getting themselves."

..."She and her lawyers could argue her risk of harm in Kenya is even greater than before, because of the international attention brought to her case." Yes, throw out any slimy supposition to see what sticks! Again...consequences of her own actions.

The words "personal responsibility" and "law abiding" defy understanding by an increasing number of folks.

Quotes from http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/08/obamas-aunt-fight-deportation/

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why Obama Won...

Here is one guy's analysis of why Obama won...

* He is a great orator.

* He was the beneficiary of the historic financial meltdown that occurred two months before the election and was seen as preferred over McCain because he articulated solutions better.

* Voters ignored Obamas past and significant radical associations and were enamoured by his rhetoric.

* He appealed to the younger (under 40) voters who, generally speaking, are not up on history and government, are accustomed to success without much hardship and need for personal responsibility, and are consumed by the entertainment industry which shares the same counterproductive values.

* He appealed to the many Americans who were unhappy with existing politics and policies even though the alternative remains nebulous and likely worse than what we have in the long run.

* He appealed to those who want "something for nothing"; promises of paying off mortgages, tax cuts, free health care, government assistance for this and that, bailouts and rescues. His economic policies were more tittilating than McCain's. It was a carnival midway-like come-on.

* He was considered Black (even though he is more caucasian and Arab), triggering a 95% turnout among blacks, despite the fact that many of these voters may not agree with his policies. It was race over policy. This is the converse of what one prominent black leader explained, one of the 5% who did not support Obama: "I didn't want to have race trump friendship", referring to his loyalty to Hillary.

* A gradually left-moving voter base.

And why McCain lost...

* Many of his policies were not that much different from Obamas' rheteoric despite his attempts to appear more conservative. For example, his desparate attempt to balance the ticket using Sarah Palin as a prop did not overcome his generally left leaning policies, especially his promotion of illegal immigration, and government bailouts. Ann Coulter amplifies this problem here.

* His age

* His mediocre communications skills

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tugging at Liberal, Law-Evading Heartstrings

So, Barack Obama's Aunti Zeituni is living in taxpayer funded public housing as an illegal alien.

This is a unique situation on several fronts. I'll point out the obvious.

* She is an illegal alien, flaunting the laws of her host nation.
* She is receiving public taxpayer assistance while violating our immigration laws.
* She is the poverty-status aunt of an affluent presidential candidate who calls the rest of America "selfish" for "not sharing our wealth with those in need."
* She is not unknown to Mr. Obama - he mentioned her in his book “Dreams From My Father.”
* Understandably, she is called "an exemplary resident" by the very bureaucrats who make their living off of providing taxpayer dollars to those who break laws and don't work.

This is the change we can look forward to in the coming years: Polices that discourage the dilligent and successful and enable (in the self-destructive psychological sense) those who need the most motivation to help themselves. Providing handouts (public or private) to lawbreakers and unmotivateds is not the path to motivation. This is the certain path to destroying our nation's productivity, quality of life, and greatness as a nation - growing the pool of lawbreaking entitlement recipients and reducing the pool of law abiding producers.

An Obama victory is the beginning of democracy's "tyranny of the majority" - the majority being those who see the chance for more government entitlements at the expense of those who have been the most productive because of the incentives to personal effort freedom used to offer.

An Obama victory will truly be a momentus occasion for this country. It represents the first time in our history that tax policy isn't just used as an equitable system of raising revenue to fund critical federal government programs, but as a conscious policy of shifting wealth from the haves to the have nots - " from each according to their ability, to those according to their need" as Karl Marx was fond of saying. As Frank Miele in the preceeding linked article opined, Mr. Marx may have lost the the battle but it appears he is winning the war. Thank you, Mr. Obama and all the voters seeking government entitlements and those who feel guilty for being motivated and successful. We've had affirmative action based on race. We will now have affirmative action based on degree of indolence.