Perhaps We SHOULD Amend the Second Amendment After All

We Want You To Support the Second Amendment

Recently, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens made a statement decrying how, in his absence, the Supreme Court has chosen to affirm the individual’s right to keep and bear arms for their own protection and safety.  He even proposed that it would be best that we amended the Second Amendment to specify that the only rights people have to keep and bear arms would be while serving in the Militia.

Nice.

The general thought from there would be that a conglomeration of Federal and State regulations would be used to control people’s ability to purchase firearms – and it is assumed that such regulations would do so in a much more stringent manner than we see today.

A recent article in Yahoo News examined Justice Stevens’ remarks and pretty much complained that the political state of affairs that we see in congress today would preclude ever seeing a proposal for such a change appearing for a vote in front of Congress.  The author then goes on to say that we could use the “alternative” method of amending the Constitution which is first initiated by the states.  He goes on again to whine that there is probably little hope that enough states would call for a convention and that even if they did, what might come out of such a meeting might backfire on those who would love nothing more than to see more gun control in our nation.

The entire article was a liberal sulk-fest.  There was obvious confusion on the part of the author.  He can’t seem to come to grips with the fact that a powerful majority of Americans want MORE access to guns, not less.  They want to be able to carry them EVERYWHERE they are lawfully able to go.  They do not want to find themselves saddled with a hodgepodge of regulations that require them to get out of their car and subsequently unload and case their pistol when driving through a certain area (be it a city, national park, or school zone) and then stop and re-arm themselves after passing beyond the opposite border of said area.

Anti-gunners actually believe that more people in America identify with their own feelings on this issue than don’t.  They believe that it’s captain obvious to everyone (even the pro-gun crowd) that we need to see guns completely removed from public possession and that “common sense” (read “harsh”) gun control regulation should be viewed as a steep compromise.  In their minds, those who stand in the way of “progress” and deep-down know that it’s only a matter of time before guns are relegated to the dustbin of history.  Yet, enamored with our guns and Bibles, we fight against progress.  Say they.

In fact, though, we pro-gun types don’t believe in the gun-free utopia where guns only exist in the hands of law enforcement officers and the military.  Deep down we really do believe that taking guns from the people is the first step to a totolatarian federal government that is hell-bend on the oppression of (even the elimination of) those who do not get on board with their “progressive” (i.e. liberal) ideology.

Original Assault RifleTruth-be-told, I wouldn’t mind seeing a change to the Second Amendment myself.  The ability of the people to resist tyrannical overstepping of federal power (as seen in the Nevada cattle ranch standoff) only exists if they have the arms to make a revolutionary final stand a reality.  If the Militia is representative of an ad-hoc group consisting of all men able to take up arms should the states need to throw off a government that has overstepped its bounds, then the militia should be able to be armed in the same manner as any standard company of infantry regulars would be.  After all, if the shooting started, it would be infantry regulars that would be ordered to fire upon the American people, correct?

Let’s consider some of the weapons assigned to infantry units while I myself was serving as an infantry rifleman in the Marine Corps.

  • Automatic M-16 – this rifle was equipped with a 3-round burst shooting mode which lands it in the “full auto” category according to the BATF.  Access to fully automatic assault rifles goes without saying if the Militia is to stand their ground and fight a guerrilla war against a federal government run amok.
  • Light Machine Guns – the M-249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) was hands-down my favorite gun that I was assigned to carry as a Marine.  This belt-fed weapon has a nice rate of fire and is light enough to be handled by infantry soldiers going house-to-house on foot.
  • Heavy Machine Guns – Marines MOS-assigned to machine gun teams specifically got to fire the M-240G.  This is a crew served weapon that traditionally requires more than one person to properly employ.  The 50-caliber BMG (Browning Machine Gun) also falls into this category.  A good number of Americans should have these in their possession at all times in case they need to be mustered to stand and fight against oppression.
  • Grenade Launchers – these come in different flavors.  The most common is seen in the hands of a squad-leader affixed to the bottom of his M-16 rifle but fully automatic versions which are attached to vehicles should be easily accessed by law-abiding citizens as well.  After all, if it’s issued to the infantry, it’s fair game for the Militia.
  • Shoulder Fired Rockets – these come in single-use packaging.  Pop up the sighting system, disengage the safety, aim at target, ensure nobody is behind you, and fire.  Might need a few of these if the Feds send in armored vehicles against the people of the United States of America should a Second Revolution be necessary.
  • One-Man Missile Systems – in the Marine Corps they used both the Predator, TOW, and Javelin missile systems.  These were expensive smart weapons to be primarily used against tanks and enemy soldiers holed up in fortified positions.  They were issued to Infantry Marines so they belong in the militia.  Portable S.A.M. weapons are also issued to infantry regulars and would be needed by a new generation of American freedom fighters.

Now that I think about it, maybe the states calling for a convention to amend the Constitution wouldn’t be so bad.  The anti’s can propose Justice Stevens’ verbiage and the pro-gun camp will offer up their own change which could read as follows:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State and of consisting of all able-bodied men who are both 18-years and older and free of past felony convictions, the individual right of the people to keep and bear Arms including but not limited to those commonly assigned to infantry regulars, shall not be infringed.”

If the current string of victories is any indication where the people of America stand where gun legislation is concerned, I’m thinking that there is more chance that the above version come out of a Constitutional Convention than the one Justice Stevens would see us shackled with.  So maybe amending the Second Amendment isn’t such a bad idea after all.

The Fort Hood Shooter’s Motive

Fort Hood Shooter Motive

This second shooting episode is undoubtedly going to have people all over America asking, “What was the Fort Hood Shooter’s Motive?”

The news coming out of the Texas Army base seems to indicate that Ivan Lopez was actually a pretty good soldier that did not have a history of violence or discipline issues.  So why did he go on a shooting spree that killed 3 other people and injured 16 others?

It’s important that we try to peer through the lines here because everyone who has something to lose (or gain) in regards to this highly-publicized event are going to try to conceal anything that might undermine whatever cause they have spent years fighting for.

Currently, we are hearing the term PTSD thrown around a lot.  The key phrases that the media keep repeating over and over again is “self-diagnosed” with PTSD or “being evaluated for” PTSD.  That means that at some point the guy told someone somewhere that he thought he might have PTSD and perhaps that he had initiated the process for getting officially diagnosed.

PTSD being the contributing cause of this tragedy seems unlikely to me.  PTSD requires one to present with very specific conditions in order for a positive diagnosis.  One of these is that the person must have been involved in a rather socking (traumatic) event. While Ivan Lopez does seem to have spent time on active duty in Iraq, he was assigned to a Motorized Transportation unit and, at least from what we known currently, was never placed in harms way while serving.

To say that this man may have done what he did because of PTSD is really disrespectful to those who HAVE been in traumatic events.  We’re talking about being shot or seeing friends shot.  Walking away from a roadside bomb blast with or without injuries.  Being in a supposedly safe place like ones Forward Operating Base (FOB) in close proximity to explosions from unexpected mortar fire detonate just a dozen meters from where one was standing.  These types of things.

The rush to “support the troops” had created a weird cultural phenomenon where any soldier/sailor/Marine who has said that he thinks he might be suffering from PTSD…well if he says he has it, then he has it.  After all, who are you to question?  You weren’t over there.

Such thinking is both silly and unproductive.  You don’t get to say that you suffered “trauma” which triggered PTSD just by BEING in Iraq.  Anyone who believes that such a low standard of “trauma” could induce PTSD better plan on eliminating the boot camps experience from the Marine Corps completely.  I assure you that my experience on Paris Island was more “traumatic” than driving a truck around in the middle of the most secure bases in Iraq.  Oh, and don’t question me.  You weren’t ON the Island.

The really important implications in this event are related to the fact that being quick to point the finger at PTSD and then be done with it takes the focus off of what we REALLY need to be investigating.

We need to be looking at Anti-Depressants.

You see, while the media keeps saying that this Lopez fellows was “self reported” as having PTSD, they ALSO keep saying that he was “being treated for depression”.  This is really quite huge.

Having recently completed  my studies in Psychology at the University of Michigan Dearborn, I can confidently say that it’s common knowledge in the mental health community that antidepressants can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies – especially in adolescents.  This is why psychologists will often hold off on prescribing SSRI drugs like Paxil and Prozac.

Here’s the connection that nobody seems to be making.  Or rather, it’s the connection that THEY (the pharmaceutical oligarchy and those who support them) don’t want the public to make.

Doesn’t it make sense that if a drug can cause a normal person to all-of-a-sudden have thoughts of suicide (killing someone else) that it’s entirely plausible that they would also be likely to have thoughts of killing someone ELSE? (homocide)

Of course, there’s no science on this, right?  And why would there be?  You think that some drug company is going to sponsor a study that comes to the conclusion that taking antidepressants might remove the natural restraints which keep from people from killing each other?  Do you think that so-called “impartial” universities are going to conduct such a study when they receive so much funding from the pharmaceutical sector?

Think about this from a public perception standpoint.  A university comes up with research that shows conclusively that antidepressants cause some troubled teens to kill themselves.  Everyone shakes their head and feel a bit bad but do they require the drug be banned?  No.  After all, it’s not THEIR kid which is killing themselves and the kid is only a threat to themselves – not to others.

Of course, if we flip that around and all of a sudden we find out that the troubled teens who take antidepressants are not just a threat to themselves, but ANYONE of ANY AGE are at risk.  And not just at risk for killing themselves but risk for killing any number of OTHER PEOPLE!

THAT, my friends, is something to raise a hue and cry about.  It’s not just your kid at risk when they take Paxil but it’s my kid too?  It’s not just your husband at risk when he takes Prozac but MY husband too?

Such revelations would cause a public panic which would end up in new regulations on these drugs.  It would upend our trust that these SSRI drugs are the “holy grail” for millions of depression sufferers.  Such broad usage as we see today would come to and end which would also cut into the profit margins of Big Pharma – heavily.

Now consider what we’ve seen with Ivan Lopez.  The guy killed HIMSELF didn’t he?  Isn’t suicidal ideation and tendencies something we know to be associated with drug treatment for depression?  Why would we not think that his killing of OTHERS was part and parcel to the same series of side effects emanating from the taking of antidepressants?

Mark my words – within 50 years everyone will “know” that SSRI antidepressants can cause people not only to kill themselves, but to kill others as well.  We’ll recognize that we will never find the Fort Hood Shooter’s motive because Ivan Lopez didn’t have one.  The drugs he was taking for depression simultaneously removed his internal restraints against killing himself and killing others.  With those out of the way even the slightest irritation could have enticed him to pursue the unfortunate course of events that we saw two days ago at Fort Hood, Texas.

The Law on Noncontradiction and Marriage

I got married to my wife Christina back on November 2nd, 2012.  It’s pretty easy to remember because we started dating right around the time of 9/11 when I was home on leave while serving actively in the Marine Corps.  In fact, I was suppose to fly back to Washington D.C. on 9/11!  Obviously, those plans got put on hold.  (I was actually stuck in Michigan for a full week before I could get a flight back).

So we were married a little bit over a year later in November.  What does all this have to do with the law of noncontradiction?  A lot.

It’s about the experience.  You see, I really do love Christina.  I should probably love her even more than I do, but that’s probably the case for everyone who’s married, right?  We’re going on 12 years of marriage now and in hindsight, I’m glad that we didn’t fall victim of the plague of divorce that has touched the lives of many of the close friends whom I grew up with.

When I think about our marriage I recognize that there are shortcomings.  There really are.  The level of passion isn’t quite where it needs to be and if you had asked us when we first got married what our standard of living would look like 12 years down the road – well I’m thinking that we’ve fallen a bit short of those expectations.

That being said, I’m really glad that we’re married.  Christina has a great head on her shoulders, is a good mom to our kids, and can get a lot of things done that, at one time, she probably didn’t see herself as being capable of doing.  I bet she could even do a lot more if the constraints of our life were not there, but again, that pretty much applies to all of us, right?  She’s a beautiful woman and she’s very special to me.  She means more to me than she did 12 years ago, but on a deeper and more meaningful level.

The point is that I really hope to be married to this woman for the rest of my life.  Just like I said I did when I asked her to marry me.  I want the experience of being with the same person for life.

I’ve spoken with some older men at my Church and they’ve told me their own war stories about things going wrong in life and how they persevered through it and have come out the other side.

Christina and I have gone through some of our own tough times already.  Tougher times than I ever really wanted to see.  Being that this is my honest blog where I can speak from the heart, I would have to admit that the last 5 years or so have changed us – and not for the better.  Not for the worse either.  I guess that I feel a little bit like I’m less of a person.  Almost as if someone took an ice cream scoop and dished out parts of my soul.  Like I’ve lost pieces of myself; parts of me have been left behind in the mire of the swamp of life.  I’d stab at a guess that Christina feels very much the same way.

Yet one thing we’ve been blessed with by God is the fact that through the entire series of disappointments that we’ve traversed, we are still together.  She’s still there to talk with every night.  When she has a particularly bad day, she can tell me about it.  And I listen a lot better than I used to.  Because I know that sometimes people just need to share which means that  sometimes you need to be the one to listen.  So I listen.

We’re really there for each other and I like that.  I like the fact that I will be able to relate that fact to my kids when I’m older.

You see, if we had given up at any time because things have not been all rosy for us, if we had abandoned our vows and chosen to break faith with God and each other in regards to our marriage, then we would not be able to talk of victory in the midst of adversity to our children at a later time.  It’s not possible to share experiences about weathering the storm if you do not in fact weather the storm.

That’s the Law of Noncontradiction active in marriage.

I’m interested in finding out what life looks like at the end when you’ve been married to the same woman for so long that you can’t really remember what life was like before she was there.  You can’t have that experience and NOT have that experience.  You have to choose to do whatever it takes to preserve and protect your marriage if you’re going to be able to see the world from atop that mountain.

Pay Attention to the Details

DNA From Scratch

I think that the primary purpose of Yahoo News is to act as a brainwashing outlet that pushes two ideas upon the public.  The first is convince us all that gay marriage is right because there is nothing wrong with what gay people do behind closed doors and the second is to continue to beat the drum that says that we all exist by accident after a long series of genetic mutations.

Last night I read an article entitled, Scientists just took a major step toward making life from scratch.

There is still cognitive dissonance in the mind of the average American where the idea of us arising from dust sloughed off the side of mountain eons ago clashes with the idea that this simply cannot be true based on the known data which shows that hardly any mutations are beneficial and thus billions of years is not enough time to randomly come up with the variety of intricate life that we see today.

Articles like the above are suppose to connect with the atheistic side of this “conversation” that is held in suspense in the minds of the people an reinforce the idea that, yes, it DOES make sense that we could have arisen from rock dust given enough time.

Think about it.  What’s the closing statement of the title?  ”…from scratch.”  And don’t the scientists say that evolution clobbered together the DNA strands that allow life as we know it to exist…from scratch?

There’s only one problem.  The article does NOT describe the scientists as having come up with whatever they’ve done “from scratch.”

Consider the following excerpt:

This careful planning is what allowed the researchers, along with 60 undergraduate students, to painstakingly string chunks of DNA together and insert them into living yeast cells.

Wait a minute.  They manipulated EXISTING DNA sequences and then inserted them into EXISTING yeast cells?  I thought they did it “from scratch.”

Obviously – they didn’t.

This is why it’s important to pay attention to the details.

They’re Getting Desperate

Earlier this week I read some post on Yahoo News about how some scientists at the bottom of the world have finally found “proof” of the Big Bang.

Of course they did.  You never thought that they would come out and say, “Sorry everyone.   We were wrong.  We don’t know WHAT the heck happened in our past and are just as clueless as ever!”  No…you’d never hear that.

Today I skimmed through Digg and found a second reference to that study and then further down the front page more prattle about us existing in a multiverse.  Complete with pretty pictures of universes in bubbles that one.

Let me tell you what is going on.

They/them/they.  The powers that be.  The new high priests of science.  They are desperate to have the world jump on the atheist bandwagon.  So they follow a very clear playbook.

That is to simply say the same thing again and again from as many media channels as possible in order to attempt to convince everyone that everything we see around us, all the order, can be explained as having happened by accident.  A random series of atoms crashing together.

Let’s talk about a few of these recent engineered talking points:

1) The Higgs-Boson Particle – remember reading about that one?  The world spent billions on an underground super-collider in order to find this thing.  Do you think that THEY were going to spend that money and then NOT find it?  Of course not.  So they declared victory prematurely.  Go ahead and go back and review the stories.  They all were framed with this little parenthetical disclaimer noting that the “initial findings” had to be verified but the experts were quite sure that it would be handled.  Has anyone heard about whether or not this has been confirmed?

2) There are Other Planets Out There – another billion dollars probably spent on the super-telescope designed to find planets orbiting stars in our universe.  Of course they found them.  They even found them in the “Goldie Locks” zone where water can be found.  Read these news reports and it’s pretty clear that you’re being set up to believe that with so many stars and the fact that we’ve ALREADY FOUND planets where life COULD be that certainly life has to have shown up on one of them!  Right.

3) Birds are Really Dinosaurs – I also recently read an article about some new-found dinosaur that supposedly looked like a chicken.  In the article you see the finders holding the skull of the creature.  You also see the skull again in its own frame against a black background.  You never see any of the other bones and you don’t see any other fossil remains.  You certainly don’t see fossilized feathers – yet the artistic impression of this creature shows it looking just as much bird as lizard.  Interesting how all the pictures of dinosaurs these days are getting frocked with feather fringe, isn’t it?  Maybe if we all see pictures of dinosaurs with feathers, we’ll believe that it was actually possible to convert scales to feathers through random mutation and natural selection regardless of the fact that the digital blueprints for feathers are about as different from scales as a submarine is from an oil rig.  Sure both submarines and oil rigs are found in aqueous environments and feathers and scales sprout from skin, but it’s as unlike that one pair evolved through random mutation as the the other.  Pay attention to stories about dinosaurs going forward.  Watch and see how many of them show the great lizards of the past with feathers and ask yourself if someone is trying to shape and mold your thinking on this issue.

4) Big Bang Is REAL! - here we go.  You’d think that the atheists would have thought that they had done a good job convincing everyone on this point.  Why do they need to go back and do it all over again?  Obviously because not enough people believe it.  Why so desperate to get everyone on their band wagon?

This leads us back to the “multiverse” nonsense.  Let’s get one thing straight:

No matter how many stars there are in the universe and no matter how many planets orbit them, it is mathematically impossible for random matter to arrange itself into detailed design information coded into the 4-character digital blueprint through natural selection and random chance mutation alone.

This is a fact.  It is done.  Finished.  Those who look into it know that it’s true.  We know that 16 Billion years simply isn’t enough time to do the impossible – which is why the paragons of science are pushing this multiverse funk into the popular science media streams so heavily.  Just have the “smartest people on the planet” say the same thing over and over again and eventually the world will believe it.  Or so they think.

The only way to get around the mathematical impossibility of evolution via mutation is to appeal to the infinite.  If there are an infinite number of universes, all with a similar number of galaxies and stars and planets as ours, then in the middle of all that infinity, ONE of those planets is going to have life, right?  We just so happen to be it.

Of course, we can all pretty much acknowledge that such nonsense is really talk that sits square in the middle of the zone known as “the supernatural”.  It’s not testable and it never will be.  But it’s a good story and keeps alive the dream of us getting here by random chance.

Know this, everyone.  Deep down inside, every human being knows that they were created by a Supreme Designer.  It is the wise who have become fools.  They tell themselves lies over an over again so they don’t have to deal with the reality of the supernatural and the divine, but then they come crashing back to it full circle in another way.  Strange that they embrace this silly multiverse idea.  Whatever THEY say, their pretty words simply mask the nasty truth.  Deep down, they hate God and they will do everything possible to eradicate him from the world.  Yet all their appeals to authority are not really working.

They’re getting desperate.

What Would Happen if We Tied Executive Pay to the Minimum Wage?

The world as we see it seems to be broken.  We are constantly being told about how the rich have become so much richer than we can possibly imagine.  If you listen to the Left, then apparently what we need to do is claw back those riches and give them to people who have less through one channel or another.  The Right says it’s better in the hands of the rich because, as Captains of Industry, they are the ones that create the jobs via injecting capital into the system.

While I lean right on most issues, I do believe that the widening income gap seems to indicate that things are getting worse for the Average Joe while those at the highest levels continue to thrive.  It might be attributed to the fact that income derived from labor has flowed out to cheaper sources overseas which has resulted in higher profits which has boosted the income levels of the rich.  I tend to think that the reality is a bit darker than that.

My theory is that, to a significant degree, the rich use their riches and power to game the system.  If they could tweak the rules of the game so that the outcome was that the guy looking to start his first job at McDonald’s was told that the starting pay rate was $1.00 per hour and anywhere else that guy looked for work he was offered $1.00 per hour, with the extra $7.00 worth of “savings” being converted directly into profit…they would do that.

Essentially, the goal of the uber-wealthy is squeeze as much profit as possible and pressing wages down as much as possible help achieve this goal.

The reason that this is a problem is that corporations (and mega corporations in particular) hold to the whole idea that the purpose of the Executive Team and the Board of Directors of any company is to simply maximize profits for shareholders- employee quality of life is of no concern.  Just profit.

Must be nice to be a stock holder.  Must be nice to be rich enough to have your money work for you and have people standing by at attention to do everything in their power to keep that money working for you while you enjoy a life of luxury.  Must be nice to see your “top talent” in the corner office doing your dirty work of finding way to “legitimately” reduce the quality-of-life of those working for the companies you invest in to a level that floats just above dependent slavery.  Rant done.  Moving on.

So the problem with our current model is that with a sole focus on maximizing profits for shareholders, it causes the guys calling the shots in the board room to look at the paychecks of their workers with greedy eyes.  Once all other areas of inefficiency have been trimmed, it makes it difficult to talk up your continuing great achievements to The Board and The Shareholders.

But what if you could cut worker compensation by 90% (or any significant percent for that matter) or hold it steady so that as the prices for the Corporation’s goods/services rose, the cost to produce them stayed the same – where labor is concerned.  Now THAT is something that will show some PROFIT!

It is this type of thinking combined with the power to pursue such ends which makes me wonder if Adam Smith and his foaming followers got it slightly wrong.  What would happen if we created a business environment where the CEO of the company doesn’t have just one mission (do whatever it takes to increase profits) but had a second one too?  To improve the quality of life for the worker by increasing both his compensation and value.

This is where tying the minimum wage to top executive pay would come in handy.

(Please don’t start talking about tethering the pay of top athletes, musicians, and actors…were brainstorming for solutions here, not obstacles.)

If top executive pay was tethered to the minimum wage at a rate similar to what we saw in the 1950′s, it would create a framework where the CEO would both focus on increasing the profits of the company but only while doing so in a framework that puts employees first.

Success books like the Go-Giver are always telling us how we need to find ways to help others and put their goals first.  In doing so, it creates an effect which turns around to benefit you in the long run.  Lets let executives to start adopting this philosophy.

A CEO that wanted to make more money would push to find ways to back the increase of the minimum wage.  He’d try to find way to pay, not just his OWN workers, but ALL workers more.  It would be in his best interest and he set about to find ways to do this while still building a company which is profitable in spite of the new focus.  Of course, the shareholders would not like to hear about how the minimum wage is increasing labor costs without those people bringing more value to the company.  The wouldn’t like it at all.

The result?  CEOs would come together formally and informally to find ways to invest in people so that they became more valuable to companies as a whole so that they could justify to their boards backing an increase in the minimum wage.  Or they would just back it outright and skip the justification completely.

Think this sounds crazy?  I don’t.  Think the idea would never work and that companies that are forced to work from the confines of a business environment where the little guy gets paid more is doomed fo fail?

Then let’s consider CSX and the other railroads.  I know people that work in the railroad industry.  It’s one of the last places you can get a job where you get great benefits, great retirement plan, and great pay…all without having a college degree.  That’s because there is “something” in place to ensure that this happens.

Now, let me say right now that I don’t want to underscore what the people working at the railroad do, but the reality of the situation is that without the railroad Unions being involved, the pay rate for all the non-management jobs would be cut by 40%.  You can look at the job descriptions and you’d know that if the flood gates were opened to allow more people in with no Union standing in the gap propping up wages, then instead of the typical pay for a railroad working ringing in at about $24 p/hour…it would shrink to somewhere closer to $15.  And someone would take it!

Now my point here is that people fight to get these jobs because they pay good.  CSX and the other railroads are turning a happy profit WITHIN A FRAMEWORK which keeps wages at levels where a family can be raised on one income – like in days gone by.

Now the dark side of that coin is that if the Union were EVER to be removed from he picture, then those wages would be pressed down.  The Executives would justify destroying the pay base and the quality of life of those workers and their families by talking about how they only have an allegiance to the shareholders and all that kind of crap.  This means that right now, the shareholders and their Executives are (whether they admit it or not) staring at what they consider to be “excess pay” being doled out to their work force with greedy eyes.  That gap between the $15 p/hour which represents what they think a lowly worker is REALLY worth and the $24 p/hour that they actually are getting paid is profit that should be going to shareholder, not workers.  They want it and if they could take it right now – they would.

Tethering executive pay to the minimum wage would turn this on its head.  Executives would want a raise (just like everyone wants a raise), but they couldn’t do so without getting the minimum wage boosted.  They’d have to be willing to put a whole lot of other people first and find ways to justify backing the minimum wage boost in order to buy that new villa in Tahoe that they want.  So they’d be innovative and find a way to throw their hat in the ring for the little guy.  They’d also do it in such a manner which they would justify to the shareholders.  They would seek a balance between their dual allegiance.

The result would be that wages would increase.  Period.  Companies would still turn a profit just like CSX does.  That level of profit would be tempered though and the result would be better lives for a lot more people.

I’m interested in what others think about this.  Obviously, there are tons of purists who would say that such a change would destroy capitalism, but my response is, if CSX can turn a profit that is satisfactory while paying workers at a much higher level then pretty much any other industry outside of the tech and medical fields – then why can’t other companies do the same?

Religious Freedom vs. Gender Equality

Islam vs Homosexuality

(Image courtesy of: Bare Naked Islam)

I just came across this blog post about how a lesbian woman was refused service at a Muslim-owned barbershop that only services men.  When asked why they refused to cut her hair they said that it was against their faith to cut the hair of a woman – so they only serviced men.

Of course, the lesbian (who looks oddly like a man) was offended by this and is filing a complaint with the Canadian government.  Typical.

As is usually the case though, the comment section was more interesting than the article itself.  There Stephen said:

“Islam is a threat to humanity, but any business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason, without apology or explanation.”

Back in the day I generally would have leaned this way myself.  After all, shouldn’t we just let The Market decide?  The Market will weed out the weak.  If this barber shop wants to refuse to serve lesbians, then won’t word get out that the proprietors are bigots and the bad word-of-mouth advertising would cause the business to lose customers and fail, right?

Wrong.

Seriously.  Think about it.  A Muslim barbershop that put it out there that they were “standing up against the forces of darkness” by refusing to serve homosexuals would PROBABLY have a ton of new customers from the Muslim community streaming through the doors and high-fiving the owners.  The scores of men waiting for hair cuts would talk about how they should go back to the old days and just kill the homosexuals outright like the Koran and its supporting books originally called for.

The entire concept of “letting the market sort it out” is flawed in these types of circumstances where there is a distinct power gap between the majority and those being discriminated against.  It might even be true that the market WOULD sort it out…it’s just that it would take more than 100 years before it bothered to get around to it.  That’s a problem and we realized that we couldn’t wait a century to assure colored Americans that they can eat at Red Robin or any other restaurant they wanted to.  This is why laws which made it illegal to open a business which only catered to white people were put on the books.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, the market would NOT have run such companies out of business over the last 50-some years had we left well enough alone.  The majority of such establishments would have remained open and profitable without any significant recompense from market forces due to their refusal to serve anyone who was not white.  In fact, any extra business gleaned from minorities which a competing business might have gained by advertising that they served ALL people regardless of color would be offset on the books at the racist restaurants by repeat business from white supremacist types.

All the while, blacks and other people of color would have felt like crap every time they dove past the white-only eateries knowing that they were being treated as second-class citizens, that it was wrong, and that nobody was doing anything about it.  They would be VERY aware of the fact that the only thing needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

This is why laws banning discrimination based on race (and other protected classes) had to be put in place.  That’s why red lining in the real estate world has been outlawed with the establishment of Fair Housing legislation and other laws meant to level the playing field and restrict the negative influence of both the overt and covert influence of white-power types in our nation.  They exist so that we, as a society, can skip the 200 years worth of slow progress while 20 generations of minority millions die waiting for the day when they can go eat at Bubba Bob’s restaurant without fear.

So Isn’t There a Similar Parallel Between
People of Color and Homosexuals?

The similarities between race-related discrimination and all of the those related to the homosexual community are significantly different.  There is no religious creed which tells you that it’s evil to be black.  There are multiple religious faiths which are rather clear that homosexual practices are both evil and sinful and will lead to a degradation of society as a whole.  Thy should be shunned and they should be stigmatized.  They should be called out for what they are.  Festering rot dressed up in fine clothes for the express purpose of passing off evil as a legitimate lifestyle choice.  At the very least, those who want no part in the current madness should not be forced to participate as the people fashion a new golden calf and get up to play.

The most famous example right now in this regard is the bakery which is being run out of business because they refused to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple.  Apparently, the owners of the small, family-owned bakery felt that helping furnish the cake for a gay wedding would be akin to them participating in their evil act of fist-shaking against Almighty God.  If they owned a hardware store they would probably refuse to sell high-tech safe cracking hardware to a known thief because God is against stealing. If they owned a sign printing company they would probably refuse to print up a sign emblazoned with the words, “Satan is God” because God is against both Satan and blasphemy.  If they owned a video equipment store they might just refuse to sell their gear to someone who came in with a shirt that says, “I Make Porn” because they don’t want to enable those who are pimps for virtual prostitutes.

Christians are NOT going to help people imbibe their blatant sin.  And deep down inside, we all KNOW that they should not be forced to – even the gays know it.

The fact that the homosexual community is working to literally force Christians to act against their own conscience is really perverse.  Seriously.  If I owned a bakery and two sodomites told me that they wanted me to make their “wedding” cake, I would feel as if they were saying,

“Look dude.  We don’t give a flying flag at a donut rolling down a hill what your “god” has to say about our lifestyle.  We’re getting married and we’re going to have a bunch of passionately perverse gay sex after the ceremony is done, and you’re going to help make that whole shebang memorable by baking the cake to help us celebrate our orgy of evil!”

Sounds a bit fear-charged, right?  They’re just “expressing their love” for each other, right?  Putting words in their mouths just goes to show that I’m homophobic, right?

Say what you want, but that’s exactly how I’d feel.  I wouldn’t fear the homosexual, but I WOULD fear the reaction of the Creator God who rained down fire from heaven and burned up two cities because they were steeped in this type of sin.  It would be clear to me that they were looking to force my hand to participate with them in committing evil.  As a Christian, I’m told to call people out on this stuff and vocally encourage them to repent.

I can even see myself as a photographer forced into a similar situation being forced to photograph a gay wedding but when they got up to the altar and were about to say their vows I wouldn’t be able to stand it and would just start yelling out, “NO!  I’m NOT going to forever hold my peace!  Don’t do it!  It’s evil!  Repent from this!  Turn from sin to the Savior.  His name is Jesus!  Be done with this sinful path which is leading you down to destruction!”

That would go over well.  I can see the headline now,

“Christian photographer ruins gay wedding
and is being sued.”

There very much IS a clash between religious freedom and this crazy-train to hell that our culture has hitched up to.  I’ve got a bad feeling that since each passing generation is finding more and more reasons to justify gobbling up every form of evil in the name of “progress” – we’ll see it become the norm.  Christians will be told to just shut up and help others sin.  Conscience be damned.  Their feelings on these issues is just based on bronze-age myths anyway so it can be marginalized.  Oh, and if one day we as a nation decided to legalize infanticide and a large sub-culture decided that it makes sense to start sacrificing children to Moloch, then Christians better keep their feelings aside on that one too and bake a cake for the child-burning ceremony.

And yes I’m using hyperbole here to make a point.

I will say that I AM interested to see how this whole thing with the Muslim barbershop plays out though.  In both the U.S. and Canada the powers-that-be go out of their way to embrace the Islamic faith and do whatever is necessary to help them avoid pressures to integrate into our culture in favor of letting them live at odds with our values.  Now we have Muslims clashing with queers – which side will the champions of progress side with?  My guess is that they’ll just try to hush it up in general so that they can save face and continue pushing for both to see greater and greater prominence in our culture.

The “True Scotsman Fallacy” and Christianity

My first encounter with the “True Scotsman Fallacy” came in the form of a debate with an old friend from the Marine Corps who brought up the subject of the evils perpetrated by Christians during the Crusades.

Assigning the responsiblity of the Crusades to Christians is a pet peeve of mine.  There is a failure to differentiate those who are part of “Christendom” and those who are true followers of Christ and are saved by his grace.  The Crusades thing is the most obvious example of this.

I brought to his attention that the Crusades were a military campaign championed and authorized by the Catholic “Church” and pointed out that most Catholics (especially in those days) were not really Christians.  This based on the fact that Catholicism requires the addition of man-made traditions in addition to the Bible, the quasi-deification of Mary, instituting praying to the saints when God never directed us to do so, and a whole host of other “added stuff” which transformed the Catholic Church into a gigantic cult a long time before that institution dreamed up the Crusades.

He accused me of committing the True Scotsman Fallacy.

Though I was a junior at the University of Michigan at the time and had already taken a critical thinking philosophy class where many fallacies had been discussed, this one was new to me.  So I did the quick research and found this from Antony Flew’s Book “Thinking About Thinking“:

Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”.

Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”. The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly.

This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”.

The flaw in applying the True Scotsman Fallacy to Christianity was easy to identify.  I can demonstrate this by rewriting it in the following manner:

Kelly Wylan, the director of a local charity that helps feed homeless children and a vegan, is watching the evening news where she sees Thomas Grass, the Director of Health and Human Services for her state, giving a press conference praising the health benefits of veganisim and stating that he himself has become a vegan in hopes of living a longer, healthier life.

Later that week, while hosting a fundraising dinner, she notices that Mr. Grass is gorging himself on a steak so large that it hangs off the side of his plate.  She confronts the man saying,

“Mr. Grass, I had heard that you had gone vegan.”

To which he replies, “I have.  I am a vegan.”

Kelly’s reponds stating accurately, “No TRUE vegan eats meat.”

Notice how the two stories play out very differently.  In the first, the absurdity Hamish’s final conclusion is obviously absurd.  In the second, it seem perfectly clear that Kelly is right in calling out Mr. Grass for his lie in professing to be a vegan then eating meat.  Why?

Because everyone KNOWS that vegans don’t eat meat.  Living a lifestyle of NOT eating meat is part-and-parcel to being vegan!

In the TSF scenerio, we all know that being  Scottish is a matter of familial ancestral origin and descent and one’s sexual practices have no bearing whatsoever on whether a person is included or excluded in the group comprised of those who are “Scottish.”  In fact, no behavior of any type can either include or exclude a person from being of Scottish ancestry.

Vegans on the other hand are a group this is defined, not by ancestry, but by a pattern of living.

A person that professes to be vegan and then goes about eating eggs for breakfast every day, cheeseburgers for lunch, and prime rib for dinner is NOT a vegan.  Whatever he may say about his veganisim can be disregarded outright because of his pattern of life goes contrary to that adopted by True Vegans.  He is, in fact…

…A Liar.

This differentiation is simple to see in the case of a meat-eating vegan, but it becomes a little bit more complex when we evaluate Christianity and atrocities attributed to Christians through a similar lens.  This is because Christianity is a faith defined by both a series of beliefs and a set of actions which flow from these beliefs.  Veganisim is defined purely by a set of actions – unless one takes into account beliefs about achieving better health through avoiding the consumption of meat.

 

Landfills Full of Plastic Bottles and Other Silly Things Not to Worry About

Plastic Water Bottles

(Image Courtesy of Elmovitar.com)

Whenever you drink water from a disposable plastic bottle, do you feel a tinge of guilt?  Are you worried about the fact that you’re complicit in the unabated swelling of our local landfills?  Do you wish you had brought a large PBA-free plastic water bottle with you, or better yet, a stainless steel one?  When someone share a blog post on Facebook about clever new inventions that make drinking tea a better experience but are made out of plastic, do you complain about the material in the comments section of the article?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  There’s lots of “conversation” out there about the evils of plastic water bottles and how using them is helping wreak havoc on “the planet” that we all should worship, err, I mean “respect”.  In fact, videos like this one do a good job helping you feel bad every time you drink some clean, pure water from a plastic bottle:

So apparently, the lion’s share of plastic bottles are NOT recycled.  They end up in landfills.  Don’t you see how drinking water from plastic water bottles is helping to build those mountainous monuments of human consumption?  Furthermore, the process of manufacturing the bottles requires millions of gallons of oil to begin with and then pumps bad greenhouse gasses into the air in order to transform that oil into the plastic water bottles.

Bad. Bad. Bad.  It’s all bad.  Let’s wage war on water bottles!

But wait!  Let’s inject a bit of common sense here and reconsider our hair-trigger desire to crucify the plastic bottles.

So the big fear is that plastic bottles end up in landfills.  That’s bad, right?  We don’t wan to be burying millions of tons of plastic underground, do we?  After all, it will take tens of thousands of years  for those oil-derived, single-serving drink containers to break down.

But WAIT!  Where did the plastic bottles come from in the first place?

Well, being PLASTIC bottles, they are made from plastic.  Where does the plastic come from?  From oil.  Where does the oil come from?  It’s pumped up from under the ground.

Let’s say that again.  It comes from

Under. The. Ground.

It was pumped up in the form of crude oil.  Stuff that is highly toxic and volatile.  Stuff that was locked away under the ground.

It was then TRANSFORMED into a substance (plastic) that is NOT highly volatile and isn’t even highly reactive.  That’s why we USE plastic bottles for all kinds of stuff, even packaging of sensitive products like pharmaceutical drugs in liquid form.  We use plastic because it doesn’t shatter like glass and it, well, just STAYS THE WAY IT IS.  It doesn’t break down for a long, long time.  In fact, except for the BPA nightmare, professionals don’t worry about parts of plastic bottles seeping into the liquids that they hold.

So, someone explain to me why we should be upset that we pump a highly volatile and toxic substance up from under the ground, transform it into a non-toxic and non-volatile substance known as plastic, turn that plastic into bottles, use the bottles, and then return them back – Under The Ground.  Because it will take a few thousand years to break down?  Who WANTS it to break down?

There are LOTS of things that I do NOT want to break down.  Like the steel structure that keeps skyscrapers standing.  May it last 10,000 years.  People complain about bottles not breaking down because they believe that waste sinks like landfills should function like giant compost piles.  They are not.  The world is not a compost pile.  If some stuff doesn’t “break down” but instead just stays the way it is for a long, long time…that’s just fine.  It’s SUPPOSE to do that.

Now I will admit that the fact that so much plastic finds its way to the oceans and just starts floating all over the place is not something to wink at.  In my home we do typically recycle all of our plastic items as our city makes it easy to do so.  I’m not against recycling, but living life in a state of tension because drinking water from plastic bottles might be “hurting the planet” seems silly to me.

I’m pretty sure we’re being sold a bag of goods by well-intentioned people who are making an issue out of something that nobody should really be concerned about.  It came from under the ground and we put it back under the ground.  Either way, it’s underground and in its plastic bottle form, the same bit of oil is less toxic.

This doesn’t seem like a problem to me so next time you drink a bottle of cool Aquafina, go ahead and throw it in the trash and enjoy the feeling of sending that oil-derived plastic back where it came from.  It was probably homesick anyway.

 

 

Truant Tuesday

Fishing with Dad

(Image: Hook & Camo)

I am not not pleased with the implementation of the Common Core school standards by the educational combine.  Truth be told, I don’t know ANYONE who is singing its praises while a lot of people are up in arms about it.  I’ve never heard a single person (other than those speaking in front of the press trying to gin up its virtues) who has had even a single good word to say about it.  My wife, who currently works as a parapro teacher’s aid at my children’s school, says she’s never heard anyone there say anything good about it either.

I’m pretty convinced that the powers-that-be have gotten it completely wrong where educational success is concerned.  The crux of this issue, I believe, is that the home enviornment and the health of the relationships between mom, dad, and kids has a much  more significant effect on a child’s success in school than anything else.

Of course, the “home factor” can’t really be tested for which means that it can’t be measured.  If it can’t be measured it can’t be put into convenient graphs and charts and “studies” which the educational oligarchy love to use to chart the future educational paths for millions of children in America.  So it’s shunned.  Also, it’s a factor which is pretty much completely out of the control of school officials.  If you can’t control it anyway, then you might as well focus efforts and dollars on what you CAN control, right?  So again, the home factor is shunned.

But what if you knew that relationship building activities between parents and children (like fishing with dad) carried 85% of the weight in the success of a child in school because the emotional and psychological effects of having a superb relationship (vs. a standard or sub-standard relationship) with one’s parents permeates the entire person and comes to bear on every aspect of the child’s life – including their ability to learn?

I’m thinking about subjecting my own family to a multi-year experiment on this front.  I’m going to call it Truant Tuesday.

Two or three years ago, I was responsible for getting our kids to school on time.  We were not as organized as we are now and it was pretty common for our kids to be 5 minutes late.  I didn’t know that whenever our kids were tardy they were marked down as having been absent for a quarter of a day.  Four tardies translated into an unexcused absence day.

Eventually we received a surprise letter in the mail that told us that our children had been absent for a total of 8 days and that if we reached the point where our kids were absent for 20 days in one school year, the school would have to send notice to the state for the truancy board to review.

Of course, this little letter had the exact OPPOSITE effect on me than intended.  Instead of putting the fear-of-God into me and convincing me that we better not get to 20 days worth of absence on our kid’s part, I said -

Skipping School for 20 Days

This actually makes sense.  I remember when I was a kid that one of my classmates in 3rd and 4th grade would dissapear for two weeks and go to Africa.  His grandparents were missionaries and the family would go to visit them every February.  I guess that if you’re going to take on the expense of flying an entire family to Africa, you might as well do it for 2 weeks.

Apparently, the parents decided that family came first and they had no worries that missing some school would negatively impact their kids’ educational development while they WERE concerned about their kids having a good relationship with their grandparents – even if they lived half-a-world-away.  It didn’t hurt that this was one of the top two brainiacs in the class.

Hmmmm….he skipped school in favor of family activities and was one of the top achievers in the class.  I wonder if there’s a relationship there.

So here’s my little idea.  I’m thinking about pulling each of my kids out of school to spend the day with me once per month to go fishing for the day.  The oldest would know that the first Tuesday of the month would be the day she gets to spend with dad fishing.  The second oldest would know that the second Tuesday would be her day to spend with dad and the youngest would look forward to the 3rd Tuesday as his time to go fishing.

The kids are in school for a total of 10 months out of the year (only July and August are they not in school) so this would mean that each of them would only rack up 10 unexcused absences for the year – the same number that my friend in grade school would have accumulated on his trip to Africa.

I’ve got a feeling that not only would my kids NOT fall behind for missing a day of school each month, but I bet that they would actually see their scores IMPROVE over time.

What do you think?  Is Truant Tuesday a good idea or am I setting my kids up for educational suicide?