Archives For Politics

Explain That

Steve —  11.3.2010 — Leave a comment

Q: What is your interpretation of the results from yesterday’s mid-term elections?

The Vote 2010

Steve —  11.2.2010 — Leave a comment

I had a great experience this year voting. Mainly because I didn’t have to wait AT ALL and I felt prepared. There was one thing that made me pause though and those were the amendments to the State Constitution.

Issue 1 would provide that Arkansas citizens “have a right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest wildlife subject to regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management.”

Issue 2 would effect interest limits and issuance of government bonds for energy-efficiency projects.

Issue 3 would lower the threshold for issuing state bonds to attract major industries.

I voted against all three.

Issue 1 formalized a right to harvest wildlife in accordance with government regulations and when you give the power to someone to grant a right formally, you conversely give them the power to take it away. Additionally, this gave oversight into how that right could be exercised.

Issue 2 &3 had language in them that seemed give greater amount of control to the government to spend more taxpayer money to advance certain agendas that I simply don’t believe are worthy investments. Again, giving more control to the government is dangerous when you can clearly see it is intended to advance agendas.

I also gave pause when voting for Governor. I’m a Conservative and typically vote Republican, but I’ve liked the level-headed approach Beebe has taken to his role as our state’s leader; however, in the end, he is still a Democrat and with that come some fundamental differences in philosophical approach. I voted for Keet, but don’t expect him to win because of Beebe’s popularity.

One document that really helped me was the Arkansas voter guide put out by Family Council (http://www.arkansasvotersguide.com/). I had a copy ahead of time, but there was a copy at my polling place that I used to look up candidates in some of the minor races that didn’t indicate a party.

Whatever your affiliation, it is important that you exercise your civic duty to vote. As of the writing of this, there are still 4 hours left until the polls close. Remember, if you don’t vote, you forfeit your right to complain about the outcome. It is literally the only option you have to making sure your voice is heard.

Rain God Complex

Steve —  6.10.2010 — 2 Comments

I’ve held my tongue for way too long on the issue of climate change. As a scientist and a default approach to life via a scientific viewpoint, this issue is so NOT about science that I can’t even believe it continues to be couched that way.

Do you know how I know? Money. If you would consider just for one second the motivational aspect behind the “debate” – you’ll soon conclude that stirring people up about climate change is just another ponzi scheme orchestrated by environmentalists that have long been frustrated about the lack of credibility they have been able to muster. That lack of credibility has resulted in very little capital investment, which has hampered their ability to advance their cause.

So, they got their heads together and got a spokesman who spent time in the White House, made a movie or two and created a script that everyone read verbatim ad nauseam everywhere from the nightly news to the cartoons on public television. I have my 4 yr. old son telling me about turning off lights to save the planet because Sid the Science kid’s Teacher Susie is preaching it every day from 7:30 – 8:00 am.

And it’s working – government subsidies for alternative energy sources have soared through the roof. We have windmill fields cropping up everywhere and driving people out of their homes due to the 80+ decibel noise each mill creates. We have electric cars that have a range suitable for a trip to the grocery store. We have solar panels that generate enough wattage to recharge your iPhone. All of which can’t make enough sense to consumers to get real funding and consequently have no real incentive to produce any tangible results.

Sorry – didn’t mean to get sidetracked by government spending and lofty goals with no accountability. Anywho – back to climate change.

Fact: the climate does change. The biggest influence on our weather is our sun and a star has a life cycle and goes through patterns of change, which are influence everything from temperature to magnetic pole strength. Do some research sometime on solar flares – fascinating stuff!

Fact: our planet has gone through both warmer and cooler seasons ever since we’ve had the capacity to keep track and, guess what, we’ve been in a warm one.

Fact: most high-profile environmental activists live very wasteful lives. Al Gore has several houses and flies on private jets all over the world. Why not sell some of those houses and give the money to solar panel or energy storage research? BECAUSE HE DOESN’T BELIEVE IT EITHER, but it sure pays well!

Fiction: mankind has the power to influence nature. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see us develop technology to control the weather like on Star Trek. Need rain for the corn crops in the midwest – no problem, I’ll just submit a request to the weather satellite. Wouldn’t that be sweet!

Simply put – human nature is fond of making itself out to be God and to think we can control the system (either destroying or fixing) He put in place is ludicrous and arrogant. It is the oldest lie we’ve ever bought and now, we’re being sold it again. Some of us are able to recognize it for what it is and deny it any place in our lives. Others…well, are buying it hook, line and sinker – even (and perhaps more poignantly) our kids.

Do we need to ramp up the development of energy alternatives to replace a finite resource like oil? Sure. That’s called being prepared. And there is a right way to do it – it’s called Capitalism and using the Free Market Economy to prove your idea has merit rather than work everyone up in a frenzy about how life on this planet is in peril unless we help those who refuse to contribute get a free ride putting up wind farms in our back yard.

I feel a point of clarification might be needed. I am and desire to be a good steward of the resources given to me. So, I turn off lights, use CF bulbs and turn the water off while I brush my teeth – but not because my heart breaks for a polar bear’s habitat melting. I do it because for every watt of electricity and gallon of water I’m punished financially each month when I get my bills.

Don’t be fooled and don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Remember, if you can find anyone benefiting financially from a crisis – resist the urge to call it a crisis. If it was, help would be free and clear and nothing about climate change is free and it is anything but clear…

Betrayal

Steve —  6.3.2010 — 2 Comments

The long-standing alliance with Israel is on shaky ground today because of one man – President Barack Obama. Let me explain:

Israel has been under the direct attack from terrorist organizations for many months. And when I say direct, rockets have been blowing up buildings (schools, hospitals, homes, etc.) – it doesn’t get much more direct than that. In an attempt to stop the attacks without just annihilating the enemy (which Israel can do), they set up roadblocks and naval blockades to facilitate inspection of humanitarian supplies.

Did you get that? Israel is looking for weapons that will be used directly against them. All other supplies are allowed to pass the blockades. Sounds reasonable to me. This has been an ongoing process for the past four years and the rules are simple. If you are asked to stop for inspection, you cut your engines and prepare to be boarded and your full cooperation is expected.

The other day, at least one supply ship didn’t follow the rules – they didn’t stop when asked to. So, the natural conclusion is that this particular ship doesn’t want to be inspected because they have something to hide. In a blockade situation, you don’t get to hide anything.

So, the Israeli navy forcibly boarded the ship and was met with active and aggressive resistance. Again, another violation of long-standing rules. In response, the Israeli solders defended themselves with lethal force. Their lives were in danger and they had a right to protect themselves. It’s easy for the media to portray this as a trigger-happy killing, but anyone with any military knowledge understands that lethal force is the last resort. You give enemy combatants every opportunity to prevent it, but there comes a time when it becomes you or them. Those are the rules.

So, we have a ship that didn’t stop when told to – STRIKE ONE.
We have a crew that didn’t cooperate with the inspectors – STRIKE TWO.
We have active resistance with weapons designed to prevent the inspection – STRIKE THREE.

Israel’s response was done by the book and in accordance with the PUBLIC rules of engagement for the blockade. The supply ship’s crew decided to disregard those rules and they paid the price. It is no different from my son choosing to disobey – he knows the cost, but does it any way and he has to suffer the consequences because of it. There’s a chain of events set into motion because of one choice.

Change the location of this conflict to NY harbor. The blockade is managed by the US coast guard and a supply ship from a known enemy sympathizer doesn’t stop for inspection. What would you expect to be the Coast Guard’s reaction? Do they use all necessary force to ensure a potential deadly cargo doesn’t get into the hands of people meaning to do you and me harm or do they allow the ship to go by. We stop them and we enforce the rules.

The latter invalidates the entire blockade and shows the rest of the world that it is a farce. I guarantee you that any other ship captains that are considering running the Israeli blockade are thinking twice about it right now.

And here comes the betrayal part of my story – President Barack Obama doesn’t tell the world that the US stands behind its ally Israel and reinforces the reason for the blockade. Nope – he condemns the action and hangs the only ally in that part of the world out to dry.

If you have any questions about the makeup of Obama’s character, look no further than this one incident. It isn’t complicated and doesn’t require a PhD in political science. An ally is someone you support – even in the face of unpopular opinion – especially when you know they are justified in their actions, which any reasonable American should be able to see.

UPDATE: Just saw this video of Sec. of State Clinton clearly condemning what happened.


Moral Authority

Steve —  4.22.2010 — Leave a comment

Today, I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about how he doesn’t think “positionally” when he thinks about politics. He was describing how he doesn’t think about the need to elect/appoint people based on filling a quota or making sure some sense of positional “fairness” is obtained.

This made me think and immediately disagree with El Rushbo based on the fact that we (conservatives) do desire people in office that subscribe to and believe in a moral authority. Let me explain what a moral authority is. Morality is our sense of right vs. wrong and is built in us from a very early age most notably from our parents. Their morality is impressed on us and shapes our morality and somewhere along the way, we build a moral authority in our minds that then helps us filter decisions based on right vs. wrong.

The problem with individual morality is that there is no consistency from one person to another and that leads to what seems right to one person is heinously wrong for another. It is in that tension where trouble is born. This discrepancy played out in politics is the recipe for corruption and closed-door deals that are not in the best interest of the majority.

The way through this seemingly natural difference between what is right and what is wrong is to agree to subscribe to a higher moral authority – one that isn’t subjective and based on our own experiences, but rather objective and based on timeless principles. For followers of Jesus Christ, this moral authority is God and His Word.

Even without the proclamation of faith in Jesus, we see proof of a even more basic moral authority and the evidence of that is when we can all look at something and all identify it as wrong. Take the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks of 2001. The majority of Americans identified that attack as wrong and most went on to call it evil. How on earth were we all able to agree on that if it weren’t for some basic moral authority we all subscribe to?

What separates that morality from the morality of God is the source from with the determination of right vs. wrong is made. General morality is man-based and isn’t universal. Again, look at the WTC attacks – apparently the terrorists that carried out the plan didn’t think that was wrong and it is that kind of disconnect that prevents us from being able to trust general morality to ensure we all make the right decisions – it is still subjective because it is a construct of man.

The morality of God is a construct of the One who exists outside of time; who is completely consistent; who is all powerful; and who isn’t surprised by anything. So when He says something is wrong – we can all trust that it is.

So, when we vote people into office without looking at whether or not they subscribe to God’s moral authority, we should not be surprised when they act in a way that is inconsistent with how we would act. Their decisions are based on a personal moral code.

So, Mr. Limbaugh, I disagree that we shouldn’t elect/appoint people based on positional qualities. I do agree that we shouldn’t care about their race, color or gender; however, we should care a great deal about their character and to which moral authority that character submits. Most notably, you’ll find submission to the higher moral authority in people that profess to have a faith in God. In light of this, religious position must be a characteristic by which we choose candidates. At least then there is hope that they will act in a way that is consistent with an objective standard of right vs. wrong. No guarantee, but still hope nonetheless.

Entitlements FTW…

Steve —  4.20.2010 — 2 Comments

Most of you know where I stand politically, but for those of you who don’t, I’m a Constitutional conservative. I believe in small government, personal responsibility, strong national defense and a free market where competition is the driving force that keeps things balanced.

Ever since I became sensitive to the political climate in this country, I’ve been intrigued at the strategies of liberals. In a recent post, I reveal what I think to be the motivations behind their actions and today I want to add some fuel to the fire.

This new facet of the liberal agenda stems from their intense desire to give something to people who do not deserve it according to the foundational principles of this country. We call these programs to give where it isn’t warranted “entitlement” programs. Welfare and unemployment benefits are two programs that readily come to mind.

Embedded in that very term is the idea that these programs have become “rights” by which they can and should never be taken away. See that? What was designed to assist someone in a hard spot has become a right, not a gift or a loan or even a gracious provision. The implications are staggering.

On the surface, these programs look like a good idea – they are designed to bridge the gap for those less fortunate in times of need. On paper, they look great because they were designed to be TEMPORARY programs – a hold-over until one could get their feet back under them.

What was not considered when these programs were still ideas is the human heart and its propensity to desire something for nothing. We love to get presents and gifts and unexpected surprises that we don’t deserve or have to pay (in any way) for – it’s in our nature to desire this.

And what’s missing is an incentive to wean oneself from these programs. Sure, they don’t provide much money when compared to what a full-time job offers, and that should be enough to get back in the game. But when combined with other programs and exceptions to other rules, one can (and does) survive solely on the handouts from the Federal government, which is really those of us who work hard and pay our taxes.

And the long-term problem with these programs is that they:

  1. Produce a lazy and expectant segment of our population that will just want more and more
  2. Pave the way for other entitlements (can anyone say health care?) to be created for the same reasons
  3. De-incent people to work hard, earn a commiserate wage and contribute to the principles that make this country great
  4. Become a template for use in the state government to further “protect” the less fortunate

Before I conclude, I want you to know that I am all for helping those that need it. I have been the recipient of unexpected gifts and, likewise, been the giver. I realize there are certain situations where temporary help might legitimately turn into permanent help (e.g. injury sustained while protecting this country in the armed forces), but these should be the greatest of exceptions and, sadly, they are not.

As the political landscape in Washington becomes more liberal, the number of social programs continues to rise and we are primed and ready to turn these programs into rights that cannot be taken away without much pain. Let us not forget, the government (Federal or State) does not create any wealth – all of the money they spend comes from the people by way of taxes.

So, for each new program that comes out or an extension of existing programs (e.g. unemployment benefits), the taxpayer (individuals and businesses) will be called on to fund them. The implications of taking that money out of the private sector and putting it in control of the government will have catastrophic implications on this country’s ability to respond to the ever-changing global landscape.

There’s a reason that a 235 yr. old country is viewed as the most powerful, influential and desirable destination in the world – innovation in everything we do. If you want to know why I am so against big government, it is this one point. Taking money away from people and businesses to fund programs designed to make people dependent on the government kills innovation because it kills the spirit needed to push past the pain and sacrifice to obtain the dream of freedom and liberty.

It’s been a slow boil (frog reference) and along the way we’ve been collared and harnessed to serve the government all in the name of compassion. We’ve become slaves to our government and liberalism the master. More programs means that freedom becomes harder to see because the carrot of a free ride becomes more and more enticing.

More people see that entitlements are easier than fighting every day for your wage and don’t realize that with each bite, the water temp goes up. But this isn’t just a problem for them, it’s a problem for us all. Nobody is immune to the effects of big government – especially if you are a hard working wanting to obtain financial independence (a form of freedom).

This is a philosophical fight that has real-life implications and the long-term good isn’t found standing in the line at the unemployment office:

  • it’s found in taking personal responsibility for your actions
  • it’s found in doing what’s right in the face of intense opposition
  • it’s found in making sure the next generation has more opportunities and options than you do
  • it’s found in punishing the corrupt and rewarding the righteous so others will see where we stand and what we value
  • it’s found in the freedom to choose what to do with the hard-earned money in our pockets

it’s found in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

The time is now to decide to stand up and say with a loud voice that you desire the long-term good over the short-term salve that never leads to true healing. Don’t know how to make your voice heard? With your vote in November. With your e-mail and phone call to your elected official. With your voice online. Just start flapping those gums and people will listen…you did after all.