Sunday, June 28, 2015

Oh, Now I'm a Conspiracy Theorist!

El Guapo
Someone called me a conspiracy theorist for suggesting that NASA might have an agenda for global warming. You do not call El Guapo a conspiracy theorist!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone!

This sign, along with "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" were prominently posted in business establishments all over when I was growing up. Probably to keep the damn hippies from infesting the place.

Forget religion! This is a First Amendment right. Government cannot force anyone to associate with or perform service for anyone, for any reason whatsoever. If I want to opt out of someone else's celebration, I should be at liberty to do so. I don't care who or what they are.

You can have your gay wedding, but no one should be able to force me to participate for any reason, religious or not, even if I were the last pizza shop on earth. Someone would step up. But if you just want to make an example of me, then this isn't about discrimination; it's just bullying.

Let's suppose our government says we are compelled by law to participate in activities in which we do not wish to participate. And let's suppose that we are a caterer. And suppose that caterer is forced to provide food for your activity. Do you really want them making your food? Chew on that that for a moment.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Better Pledge of Allegiance

I have always objected to the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. A flag is a graven image. It represents something, but it doesn't define anything. I think the Constitution of the United States is the thing that all Americans, not just politicians, in their all too soon forgotten oath of office, should be pledging allegiance to, and pledging to uphold and defend. We can still stand and salute the flag while we're saying it, but here's what I think we should say:

I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America. And to the republic, which it defines: One nation, with individual liberty, natural rights, and equal justice for all.

I deliberately omitted the words "indivisible" and "under God".

I omitted indivisible, because the Constitution does not deny states the right to secede if they believe the federal republic is destructive to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness (including property rights) of the citizens of those states.

I omitted "under God" in favor of "natural rights", which has the same meaning to everyone, regardless of faith. Natural rights come from nature, or nature's God, and not from government. Government cannot grant rights; it can only protect them. Government cannot create new rights; they already exist. They're natural. "Under God" means "natural rights" to Christians, but not everyone else "gets it".

Also notice that I changed "justice for all" to "equal justice for all", to distinguish it from "social justice". Social justice is a form of social engineering that uses the government to redistribute wealth according to how a select few think it should be distributed. Equal justice means everyone is treated the same under the law, and it is up to individual citizens to decide how best to care for one another.

The Constitution cannot uphold and defend itself. We the People must demand it. Repeating the pledge of allegiance to the Constitution at every public gathering would go a long way towards reminding people to demand it, and our public servants to heed it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pro-Choice, or Anti-Vaxxer?

One of the battle cries of the pro-choice movement is, "keep your government out of my body!" Nevermind that one of the legitimate functions of government is to protect the rights of every citizen (of course, the preborn may not be citizens). Still, I'm pretty sure murder is illegal, even if no citizen is involved. Nevertheless, the concern about how much jurisdiction government has over one's own body is legitimate.

Which brings us to mandatory vaccination. Sure, it's a public health issue. Unvaccinated people may pose a greater risk to the general population. On the other hand, can government literally inject pathogens, dead or alive (attenuated), directly into our bodies, with the intention of modifying our immune systems without our consent? That is just about as invasive as you can get. 

Having handily survived chickenpox, mumps and both kinds of measles as a child, I can tell you that a full infection of those diseases is quite survivable, and could provide better lifelong immunity. Though there is risk, it is certainly nothing like pertussis, smallpox and polio, for which I was immunized. 

I think it is probably best to be immunized against certain killers. It may be better to be immunized against the less severe diseases as well. I can accept the idea of mandatory immunization in order to be admitted into various public and private institutions, such as schools, as long as conscientious objectors still have alternatives (such as home schooling). 

This is not anti-science: I have been a lifelong student of science, and I know perhaps better than most, that although modern science and technology is nothing short of miraculous in many respects, science still doesn't have everything figured out. Biological systems, including our immune systems, are not well understood. Vaccines are not without risk. We don't have long term data for the newer vaccines. By definition, that won't happen until the vaccines have existed for one average human lifetime. Our immune systems are unpredictable, and can be triggered to react violently and badly. Autoimmune diseases are difficult to treat. It is not irrational to not want to risk it. But it is tyrannical to mandate the exchange of one risk for another. We should have a choice.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

When In The Course of Human Events ...

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article entitled, America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President. Now, maybe you're not a Christian, and maybe you're not even religious. That's beside the point. The thing that struck me about this article is the similarity to another document. See if you can guess what it is.
When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions. 
Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith. 
1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:
  • December 2009-Present - The annual White House Christmas cards, rather than focusing on Christmas or faith, instead highlight things such as the family dogs. And the White House Christmas tree ornaments include figures such as Mao Tse-Tung and a drag queen.
  • June 2013 – The Obama Department of Justice defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God, and another youth program because it permits a voluntary student-led prayer.
TL;DR, you can go here to see the rest. Now, here's the comparison. 
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
TL;DR, you can go here to see the rest.  Now, the list of grievances against the present King of Great Britain President Barack Obama is limited to religious freedom and an attitude, but the real list goes all the way back to the Great Imprognation, starting over 100 years ago, ca. 1913. And that list is much, much longer than the list enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, and spans more than one president.

I will re-iterate: Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. 

My question is, what is our new breaking point? How much shall we endure? Are evils still sufferable? We are supposed to be a free country, but from my perspective of almost 60 years, I can see a very monotonic diminution of our freedoms. I can no longer do a great many things that we used to do without thinking 40 years ago. I could make a list of what those things are. They would take a form very similar to the two lists I just presented. GHUA.

The Great Imprognation

The Great Imprognation is the process starting over 100 years ago, ca. 1913, when 'progressive' ideas began infiltrating the American Republic. The year the Constitution was sullied with the 16th amendment (progressive income tax), the 17th amendment (direct election of senators), and the 18th amendment (prohibition). Prohibition was the only one that we repealed. I guess we're more worried about protecting our booze than protecting our freedom.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

That Which Shall Not Be Named

The White House refuses to call Islamic terrorism "Islamic terrorism", on the (convoluted) grounds that it isn't "accurate". As their story goes, "These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam in their own deviant view of it."

Well, sort of. Actually, there are only two possibilities:
  1. These terrorists are taking the name of Allah in vain, and in so doing, besmirching an entire religion, and their God. 
  2. The Islamic doctrine really does teach that violence in the creation of a worldwide caliphate is justified. 
I don't think it is too illogical to assume that someone taking the name of someone's God in vain ("Allahu ackbar!") and besmirching their entire religion would make the devoted followers of that religion rise up in great anger, denouncing these barbarians. The fact that there is no such blowback suggests to me that option 2 is more likely. This is consistent with what I have learned about Islam and the Koran in the years following 9/11/2001. 

Islam has no concept of the separation of church and state. Islam is more like the Holy Roman Empire, where the Catholic church ruled most of Europe in the Middle Ages and died out in early part of the Age of Enlightenment. The key word is "enlightenment". Clearly, the Obama Administration is unaware of this detail. A political movement doesn't need to justify its actions by invoking a religion when the religion is the political movement!

The founders of the American form of government included the non-establishment clause in the Bill of Rights, to avoid something like the Holy Roman Empire, or even the Church of England from ever occurring in America. Simultaneously, they also provided the free exercise clause, subject to the non-establishment clause. This makes Islam fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution of the United States, because to freely exercise Islam requires Shariah law, which would be an establishment of Islam, in much the same way that prayer in schools has been deemed unconstitutional. 

We westerners are hesitant to judge other people, races, cultures and religions, although self-loathing is a national pastime. There's a big difference between judging a person or race, and identifying flawed doctrines in a culture or religion. Even a non-religious person can make an objective decision about which religion he would rather associate with. Even a non-believer can compare the life and lifestyle of Mohammad vs. Jesus; the Koran vs. the Bible; Allah vs. Yahweh. Atheists tend to think Allah and Yahweh are basically interchangeable. Nope. They're polar opposites*. Jesus said, "Judge not, lest you be judged." However, Jesus certainly expected us to recognize the difference between good and evil. We absolutely must call evil by its real name. We cannot defend against an enemy we cannot name. 

Now, am I saying that 1.6 billion people in the world are murderous monsters? No. I think they simply are not devout Muslims, just as a great many people in America who call themselves Christians have no real personal attachment to any Christian denomination. They just think it's good to be a Christian, so they say they are one. They've never really read or studied the Bible. Muslims are probably no different. But the fundamentalists are a different story. It is rare for Christian fundamentalists to go on a murderous rampage (it does happen rarely). It is quite common for Muslim fundamentalists to go on a murderous rampage. So much so that it is a worldwide problem. We absolutely must call evil by its real name.