Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Abbot and Costello on the unemployment statistics

A friend just shared a transcript of a conversation between two eminent economists discussing the current high unemployment statistics:
COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.
COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.
ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8%.
COSTELLO: Wait a minute! Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?
ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.
COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, Obama said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are out of work!
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.
COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are all out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how Obama gets it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. He doesn't want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.
COSTELLO: That would be tough on his reelection.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have Obama's supporters stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like the Obama Economy Czar.
COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like Obama.

Threat or mistake?

Congress creates an average of one new federal crime every week! The mindset that all Americans are presumed to be as corrupt as congressmen is carried throughout government agencies at every level. So, federal regulatory agencies add even more federal crimes, unchecked by a corrupt and incompetent Congress. The same behavior is repeated at the state and local levels. The result is that, statistically, the average American commits three felonies per day!

There are countless examples of how this affects us commoners in daily life:

A campaign staffer for presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul was transporting several thousand dollars of recently donated campaign funds. While checking his personal effects for threats to aviation safety, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) found the money. Instead of asking themselves how this find related to their job (protecting the safety of the flight), their mindset (let's catch this guy in a crime) took over. They presumed that any person with substantial cash is a drug dealer, bank robber, or terrorist and must be punished. The traveler had other characteristics that The DHS (Department of Homeland Security, parent agency of the TSA) and other government agencies have determined to be typical of terrorists:

It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitution Party, Campaign for Liberty or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr. -- Warning to law enforcement issued 20 Feb 2009 by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (DHS has issued similar notices)
Nobody ever asked the simple question, "Is this guy a threat to the flight or is this an honest mistake or is this even legal and proper?" That is, after all, the TSA's job!

A wise person with a concealed firearm permit uses that permit daily. He or she is in the habit of carrying a gun everywhere allowed. It becomes as natural as putting on socks when getting dressed. Occasionally one of these poor souls inadvertently carries that gun into an area where the gun is prohibited. Some of those gun-free areas make sense. Others are purely arbitrary. When a person who is in the habit of carrying a gun at all times is found doing so at an airport, the TSA pounces on him as if he is a living Mohamed Atta. Nobody ever asks the simple question, "Is this guy a threat to the flight or is this an honest mistake and can we simply have him put the gun in his checked luggage?" That is, after all, the TSA's job!

What is the root of this let's-find/create-a-criminal-at-all-costs mindset? A desire to control the people and the evils of asset forfeiture -- a topic for another blog entry.

Reject the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The US already does more than any other country to ensure equal rights for its people. The rights of Americans with disabilities are well protected under existing law. These rights are enforced by a wide range of state and federal agencies. Joining the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) merely opens the door for foreign "experts" to interfere in US policy-making in violation of the principles of American sovereignty.

The treaty doesn't even define disabilities, but says that "disability is an evolving concept." This is consistent with the nature of UN treaties, which often extend the organization's reach beyond the original treaty concept.

The treaty attempts to guarantee certain economic, social, and cultural "positive rights," such as the right to education, health care, and "an adequate standard of living for [persons with disabilities] and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions." In other words, instead of relying on the charitable nature of Americans (a characteristic most politicians -- especially at the UN -- either despise or fail to comprehend) to help the disabled and truly needy, the treaty would guarantee another new man-made "positive right" of forcing you to pay another person's bills through taxation and "wealth redistribution" -- if that is the current mood of government.

Neither the UN nor any other country can begin to compete with the safeguards America already has in place for the disabled. As a global traveler, I see how poorly even the most advanced foreign nations adapt to the needs of the disabled. Inviting the UN and other international groups to come in with authority over America's treatment of its citizens would not help people with disabilities and would have many harmful and costly consequences.

The CRPD is nothing more than another tool for the UN to interfere in American law and liberty. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must be soundly rejected. As a disabled military veteran, I urge every US Senator and every US citizen to aggressively work for its defeat in the Senate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The symbiosis of politicians and government unions

In most cases, government workers are paid more than private-sector workers with similar skills, experience, and responsibilities and they get better benefits. Nevertheless, federal employees are asking for even more money from taxpayers.

I predict that government workers will get their pay increase because they only have to justify the increase to the very politicians they helped get into office -- unlike private-sector workers who must justify pay increases to owner(s) of a business that needs to make a profit to survive. Those politicians who make the decision are only accountable to, and were elected by, a majority of the voters. That majority of voters is composed of:
1 - Government workers who will benefit from the pay increase, 

2 - Ignorant voters, 
3 - Voters who vote based primarily on race and/or political party affiliation, 
4 - Voters who vote based on feelings rather than sound reasoning and facts,
5 - Government-dependent voters, or 
6 - Voters who have two or more of the above characteristics.

It is that group of voters that is responsible for our out-of-control government. Some of the voters who voted for the politicians who cheerfully throw more money at already over-paid government workers will say that none of the above five characteristics fit them. But, they do -- probably three or more of those characteristics.

We need smarter voters.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Divisiveness in the US and what to do about it

Leading up to recent presidential elections, some celebrities have promised to leave the United States if the other guy wins the Whitehouse. Other Americans have threatened violence.

Since the 2012 election, the Whitehouse has been flooded by petitions for secession of all 50 States.

These phenomena are only two indicators of serious, possibly fatal, divisiveness in the nation.

All this talk of secession is silly. Ain't gonna happen. And, it avoids the real problem: Voter ignorance, apathy and immorality.

Most voters are ignorant of the Constitution and what it would do for them if followed. Even worse, they don't care -- so long as they get whatever they perceive to be benefits of big government. Worst of all, too many voters want the government to force someone else to pay their bills -- that's immoral.
Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. -- John Adams
Those who say the US Constitution is obsolete or that it should be interpreted according to modern, evolving standards -- not according to the original intent of those who wrote and ratified it -- are making a tacit confession that we are the immoral people in Adams' warning. Hence, divisiveness.

We have a lot of divisiveness in this nation -- divisiveness that is fomented by, and only benefits, those in power in big government. And, the divisiveness is rooted in the immoral desire to have free stuff -- lots of free stuff. Statist politicians of both major political parties are only too eager to oblige and exploit the voters' ignorance and immoral selfishness.

In spite of the divisiveness, and although they don't realize it, most Americans really want the same things:
1 - We want and need the government to leave us alone as long as we respect the rights of others and
2 - We want and need the government to protect our rights from encroachment by immoral people.

I said most Americans above because far too many people think freedom means free stuff from the government at somebody else's expense and confuse liberty with libertinism.

Contrary to what most people seem to think, bipartisanship is not the antidote to divisiveness. Bipartisanship is generally where the politicians in the two major political parties agree to team up against the People (eg No Child Left Behind, Patriot Act, various Gun Control Acts, etc).

When a solid majority of voters know and understand the Constitution and vote only for politicians who will follow the Constitution as originally intended we will have what we want and need from government:
1 - A government that leaves us alone and
2 - The protection of our God-given rights.

If the government were limited to those two essential roles plus the small handful of others listed in the Constitution, our taxes would be minimal, our opportunities would be increased, and we'd be better able to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. But, if we keep voting the way we've been voting for the past several decades, we'll keep on getting what we've been getting: Divisive big government.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein
We need smarter voters.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Government mission creep

Our nation's founders established a constitutionally-limited central government with the idea that the proper role of government is limited to securing or protecting our rights. They designed a constitution that left most governing to the States and to the People themselves. (Wouldn't it be nice if we, the People, would simply govern ourselves?)

Then, do-gooders expanded government to a vague "the role of government is to do for the people what they can't do for themselves".

That further evolved into the government wanting to do everything for everyone. Give a bureaucrat a job and he'll soon find a way expand and perpetuate it beyond all original intent.

Here's one more of countless examples:

The Leisure Services Department of Cedar City, Utah is hiring a tumbling instructor to go along with other taxpayer-funded leisure activities that include archery, basketball, swimming, kayaks, golf, zumba, and theater.

Every town in America has a long list of similar examples of government mission creep. C'mon! Are any of these activities really "things the people can't do for themselves" or that couldn't be satisfied through private enterprise?

How can an entrepreneur possibly expect to be successful when he must compete with the taxpayer-subsidized deep pockets of his own government?

We need smarter voters!

68 new federal regulations each day

The Obama administration has posted 6,125 regulations and notices over the past 9 days – an average of 68 a day!

Ya got enough government yet? Apparently, half the voters didn't think so last week -- just they haven't for decades.

Sixty-eight new regulations per day is prima facie evidence of an out-of-control federal government regardless of whether the Administration is headed by a Republican or a Democrat. It is so out-of-control that even Obama admitted that "you can't change Washington from the inside."

Only the voters -- people on the outside of Washington -- can fix Washington. We failed to do that last week, just like we fail every two years. We keep electing and reelecting congressmen and presidents who don't have the will or integrity to do what needs to be done.

That said, here are some Party-related statistics:

Two-thirds of Democrats think the government should do more while 82 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of independents say it's doing too much.

That attitude toward having government fix everything little thing tends to influence how a person votes.

More Party-related statistics:

Why can't Obama "change Washington from the inside?" Bureaucrats. No matter how we vote, the bureaucrats remain. (Our form of government isn't a democracy, republic, autocracy, plutocracy, theocracy, or monarchy. It's an aristocratic bureaucracy.) What does that have to do with Party-related statistics? A significantly higher portion of federal, state, and local bureaucrats are Democrats than are Republicans. As shown above, Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to want government to do more (ie make 68 new federal regulations each day). There is no better way to get that done than to be a Democrat bureaucrat -- a force not even Obama can -- or wants to -- "change...from the inside."

This isn't just a problem of out-of-control kleptocratic bureaucracy. (Most bureaucrats don't see themselves as bureaucrats but as government employees or public servants. Admit it. Those are merely different names for the same thing.)

● It is a problem of a Congress that consistently refuses to read the bills it passes.
● It is a problem of a Congress that produces such complex legislation that it cannot be comprehended or managed.
● It is the problem of a Congress that consistently delegates to the Executive Branch the authority to write the laws -- even though Article 1, Section 1 of the US Constitution clearly says, "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States"! Congress keeps shrugging the power and responsibility off to bureaucrats in the Executive Branch!

The solution is really quite simple, but painful: follow the Constitution! Conduct an audit of every federal agency, law, rule, policy, and judicial decision and purge everything that is not in full compliance with the Supreme Law of the Land -- the Constitution.

This is why I say, we need smarter voters.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Director of Taxation

My employer has a "Director of Taxation." In filling this position, the company's goal is to identify ways to mitigate the adverse impact tax law and tax policy has on company profitability and even on company survival. Even self-employed people have a "Director of Taxation" (that'd be the entrepreneur himself). Tax law and policy have a very real and crippling impact on business plans -- including hiring.

In addition, nearly everyone working for my employer worries about compliance with tens of thousands of pages of laws and regulations in addition tax law and tax policy. Dealing with the government constitutes a very severe handicap for "free" enterprise.

A business succeeds and grows by spending its time finding ways to better serve its customers and by finding more customers to serve. Government only gets in the way of those two essential business functions.

Relatively few who work for government (that includes you who work for government schools from K through college) have any comprehension of the impact of taxes and regulations on private enterprise. Many of those in government who do understand the problem think regulations and taxes are always good or simply don't care.

Every two years, we vote to perpetuate the problem.

Ya got enough government yet?

Personal moral failure in the US Armed Forces and in the nation it serves

The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the central government from establishing a state religion and from interfering with the religious beliefs of anyone.

Thanks to the perverted agenda of the "progressives," that restriction has morphed into a bizarre prohibition against moral God-believing people having any influence on the character of the nation -- the opposite of what the founders intended.

That, and the failure of parents to parent, has all but destroyed the moral fabric of the United States and most, if not all, other "progressive" nations.

Except when unwisely restrained by politicians, the US Armed Forces have always had a reputation of leadership. On the other hand, although a significant portion of our servicemen are moral and decent men and women, our Armed Forces have never earned a reputation as a haven of celibacy and marital fidelity.

Recent efforts to ban God from the Armed Forces such as:
• marginalizing/reprimanding officers who profess Christianity,
• indoctrinating servicemen and servicewomen to embrace politically-correct social causes and
• even prohibiting Christian chaplains from preaching and praying in the name of Jesus
cannot possibly be good for the moral character of those who serve or for the nation they serve.

Look around at the depraved condition in which we live -- from graffiti so ubiquitous that we don't even notice it anymore to organized crime to school and church shootings to covetous Americans who think the government (taxpayer) should pay their bills to disgraced politicians (who get reelected) and generals (who retire).

The perpetrators didn't learn that stuff in Sunday School. It all has its roots in progressivism and its institutionalized rejection of religion in the public square.

The immoral eventually get purged from the military ranks. Rarely do the immoral in politics get purged -- if they're "progressives." That is what we vote for every two years. If that's what the voters want, how can the nation possibly become more moral?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pastor Richard Jeffress and the 2012 presidential election

I enjoy listening to Wallbuilders podcasts. I find them informative and uplifting. However, the November 5 edition entitled "Voting: Doing What's Right" with Pastor Robert Jeffress was troubling.

Several times during Rick Green's interview with Dr. Jeffress, the pastor alleged that we Mormons are not Christian. Mr. Green did not challenge him on the veracity of that allegation. I assume, therefore, that Mr. Green accepts this assertion.

It is true that we members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (note the wording of the correct name of our church) do not fully subscribe to the popular description of God, the Father; His Son, Jesus; and of the Holy Spirit. We take our understanding of the Nature of these individuals from the Bible and from the teachings of men we believe to be modern-day prophets.

The Nicean Creed, on the other hand was created by a committee of theologians and church bureaucrats assembled by the Pagan Emperor Constantine some 300 years after the death of Jesus. That committee was assembled to negotiate disputes already arising in the Church over the true nature of God.

There are thousands of sects professing to be Christian. They all have differing interpretations of the Scriptures, yet they all -- Mormons included -- claim Jesus as their divine savior. Mr. Green surely knows that. Dr. Jeffress surely knows that.

I believe that to claim that any Christian sect is not Christian simply because they deviate from a committee-created "politically-correct" description of God is unfair at best; bigoted and unchristian at its worst. Would I be correct to say that Dr. Jeffress, David Barton, and Rick Green are not Christians simply because Mormons might think that their understanding of God is wrong? Of course not! Well, we Mormons deserve the same respect.

Over the year leading up to this week's election, many evangelicals said they would not vote for Governor Mitt Romney because countless evangelical pastors have, like Dr. Jeffress, told their congregations that Mormons are not Christians but members of a cult. These pastors have consciously and maliciously spread ignorance and bigotry among the very people who trust them the most. This sinister and reckless influence of pastors like Dr. Jeffress may very well have turned this week's election over to Barrack Obama. That is inexcusable.

Those on the Left who are perceptive enough to see what happened surely must be laughing at the so-called "Christian" voter and his ignorance, gullibility, and consequent bigotry.

I urge Wallbuilders to take a closer look at the status of Mormons as followers of the Christ and accept us into the fold of Christianity. I also urge Wallbuilders to vigorously challenge merchants of dishonesty like Dr. Jeffress who oppose that fellowship.