Monday, December 29, 2008

The Possibilities of 2009

Now that we are weary of the "Best of 2008" programming, it is time to turn our attention toward the future. As I write, prognosticators and popular pundits are all making predictions and hedging their bets at the same time.

Instead of giving predictions, I offer possibilities. I recognize the potency of human choice and the permutations that flow from our decisions. Looking at history, have you ever imagined a world

* Where Hitler is accepted into Art School and becomes a successful part of the bohemian scene in the 1920s instead of the demonized dictator of a Nazi regime that results in over 50 million deaths?

* Where the Great Powers negotiate instead of mobilizing in 1914?

* Where Pope Pius XII speaks out loudly and specifically against the Holocaust of European Jews and calls on Catholics everywhere to resist this evil policy?

* Where The Palestinian Authority leaders unambiguously guarantee Israel's right to exist in secure borders and the PA and IDF begin joint operations to root our Hamas and Islamic Jihad?

OK, such are my counterfactual musings on a cold winter's night.

What about 2009? What are the possibilities ahead for the USA? Here is a sampling of possible futures, contingent on the choices of women and men in authority - AND the pressure applied by concerned citizens.

* If we finally agree that guns and butter cannot mix perfectly, let's cut domestic spending by 10%, make sure our military is effective and strategic (there is 15-20% that can be cut without a loss of effectiveness), and call on all Americans to produce more than they consume, we could have the greatest turnaround in economic history. Will this happen? Probably not. Too many politicians and robber barons want our populace on a new road to serfdom.

* If we construct Welcome Centers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas and LEGALLY invite, assess, categorize and integrate our friends who want to be part of our land, we can end the fear and violence and reaffirm the rule of law. Will this happen? Well, the Democrats cry "justice" and want cheap votes and the Republicans cry "free markets" and want cheap labor. Another opportunity we will miss. Besides, we cannot allow US citizens to receive the same in-state tuition benefits that "undocumented" students receive, can we?

* What if millions of Americans call for economic and moral accountability from their elected officials? How about an end to secret sessions, back-door deals and the violations of human and property rights by petty dictators? How about balanced budgets, clear communication, the end of union aggrandizement and corporate rapaciousness? Can this happen? YES! Many voices raised in unity DO make a difference. Countless ordinary neighborhoods are transformed as block-by-block people unite against gang violence, corporate redlining and hopelessness. Imagine hundreds of informed and passionate citizens insisting on an end to both egregious eminent domain policies and the payola schemes of developers!

* What if We insist on private-public partnerships to rebuild infrastructure? There is so much to be done and we need the creative genius of the academy and business and the proper oversight of government to coalesce. Bridges, roads, tunnels, wildlife preserves, sensitive habitats, urban renewal - all need attention. Here is a novel thought - let's stop looking to Washington, D.C. for every solution and re-empower local and state authorities and citizens.

It is too simplistic to say, "let the market run itself." Even Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations in 1776 and the intellectual father of modern capitalism, spent a a large portion of his work affirming the private and public virtues necessary for free enterprise to flourish! Unrestricted capitalism is not a solution. It is also illusory to think that a collectivist-statist economic policy will work. Whatever the ideology or language, an over-controlled economy does not ensure long-term freedom and opportunity. The answer? Real government oversight of the ethics, policies and processes of corporations, but not government administration or micromanagement.

My real hope for 2009 is that all thoughtful people will take an honest look within and without and find the courage to face reality and work sacrificially to solve the consequences of our unbridled greed and selfishness. These problems are beyond the Left-Right shouting on cable television. The great Russian author and dissident, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, challenged his hearers at Harvard University: "The line between good and evil runs down the center of the human heart."

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Advent of Hope

Advent is the Season of Hope as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. Over time, this momentous event of Divine humility has been commercialized, romanticized and sanitized - but the power of the Babe of Bethlehem is never eradicated.

Voltaire prophesied that the Bible and Christianity would be dead by 1850. The faith is dying a slow death in the West, even as it grows exponentially in the rest of the world. Non-Western missionaries are re-evangelizing the lands that originally brought the good news to them.

Why does Advent tug at our hearts? Why does Christmas still speak to millions, even in moments of cultural and economic turmoil?

The birth of a baby is a universal good. It resonates with our desire to see the next generation flourish.

Baby Jesus' parents were hard-working artisans living as a minority in a huge Empire. Their struggles with taxes, shelter and liberty touch the psyches of many in our world.

A dying, paranoid dictator tries to kill Jesus and does not care about the trail of blood and tears in the wake of the soldier's swords. From the Armenian massacres to the Kulaks, from the Holocaust to the Cultural Revolution, from the Killing Fields to Darfur, we see the innocent caught in the snare of ideological totalitarians.

The coming of the Wise Men to see the toddler Jesus reminds us of the universal message of Christmas.

The angelic choirs heard by humble shepherds helps us to remember that those who are condescended to and despised by elites are often the recipients of the greatest insights.

Jesus is announced as Lord and Savior. He is not praised for being a guru, a prophet or a rabbi. He is the final word in the Divine plan of salvation for all people. It is here that Christmas becomes "uncomfortable." As long as we speak in inclusive, pluralistic generalities about universal love and peace, Christmas is "safe."

Jesus of Nazareth was born to die. The creche of Bethlehem became the Cross of Calvary. The Savior announced by angels became the Suffering Servant announced by the Prophet Isaiah hundreds of years earlier. To receive the message of Christmas is to receive Christ as God Incarnate, the Lord of heaven, who, for our sake, humbled himself, took on our nature, died for our sins and arose bodily from the grave offering real hope.

The hope of Christmas is not only the hope of heaven for those who believe. Advent hope fuels our present partnership with God to see justice, love and peace begin to reign now. Advent hope means that humility is the pathway to honor, meekness is the road to majesty and forgiveness is the doorway to a better future.

I invite all who read this to take another look at the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and consider the invitation of God to join Him and all the faithful of every nation to love and serve one another.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sneaky Agendas

I was hoping to publish a warm-hearted Christmas article and get ready for the celebratory season of year-end family activity. I will still publish my gratitude for Advent soon - probably before week's end.

Events compel me to comment on the sneaky and subversive actions going on during our transition to an Obama Presidency. Here are some warning signs that our 220-year experiment with representative government is threatened by ideologues who think it is their prerogative to rewrite our Constitution.

Thomas Sowell, the august Hoover Institute scholar, wrote a book a few years ago entitled, "the Vision of the Anointed." In this work Sowell exposes the superiority complex afflicting the Left. Those coming to power really believe they have the obligation and opportunity to improve the Constitution.

Obama's intellectual and moral mentors are part of a radical, revisionist elite who see our Founders as slave-owning oppressors, our history as one of unimpeded colonialism and our future as a humbled participant in a world government. They are collectivists who believe that a qualified oligarchy should redistribute personal rights and accumulated wealth.

I know this group, because I went to university and grad school during the 1970s to 1990s as our educational establishments fell into the hands of former SDS members, with even Angela Davis getting tenure! As a University of California at Santa Cruz "Banana Slug" alumni, I am proud to say that my history professors were women and men of the highest integrity and their work reflected honest assessment of facts. Yes, they had liberal opinions and enjoyed using some of the tools of social history to evaluate the past. They respected my findings and ideas and none of them believed in creating an artificial narrative to serve political ends.

Alas, the current power-brokers and Obama himself have no problem manipulating history to serve their aggrandizing ends. I am still stunned by the audacity of Barak Hussein Obama's deceit. He insists that he did not hear Rev. Wright's racism and anti-Americanism. His campaign complained when his middle name was used in speech or print. Now it will be part of the Oath of Office on January 20.

Here is a sampling of the demagoguery passing for serious thinking:

For five years, leftist political writers have suggested that the "natural born" citizenship requirement for President be eliminated as outdated and unfair to our "nation of immigrants." This is a brazen attempt to undermine the intent of the Founders and possibly cover for the dubious records underpinning Obama's past.

The call for a Constitutional Convention simmers just below the surface. The agenda for such an unprecedented event is very clear: abortion, euthanasia, wealth redistribution and the redefining of First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights. A Convention in the hands of those educated over the past 30 years is a frightful prospect. By the way, we DO have a legitimate Amendment process!

Every four years the Electoral College comes up for review. If we want to destroy the American experiment in representative government, let's go to a straight popular vote for President. The role of states will be further diminished and the potential for all elections to end up in the House of Representative because of the intrusion of third and fourth parties looms large. Our current system is the fairest and most stable guarantee of balance and liberty.

The most egregious agenda item of the new elite is the geometric rise in government intrusion into the economy. It is a good thing to spend money on private-public partnerships for our infrastructure. It is not helpful to prop up companies that refuse to modernize. It is not right to pander to either Wall Street barons or UAW officials. No Honda or Toyota workers in the USA are complaining about their lot!

As citizens we need to be vigilant and not allow the sneaky political class to steer us away from liberty. We must

Learn our history - the good (The Constitution, the Civil War elimination of slavery and Republicans who started environmental protections), the bad (slavery, "Manifest Destiny" and Latin American interventions) and the simply factual (we have the most stable government in history and we rescued Europe twice in the 20th century).

Know our Constitution. It is a brilliant, sparing document that vests ultimate authority in the people. It also assumes a self-regulating, virtuous citizenry.

Defend for all others the rights we want for ourselves. Apart from direct threats to our nation, we have a system that allows us to debate and live with our deepest differences.

Conservatives lost out in this election season because of their failure to articulate a compassionate and cohesive philosophy. The utter lack of spending discipline, sane immigration policy, the delayed surge, the economic meltdown. and the inability of President Bush to communicate, opened a door to victory that any Democrat could walk through.

2010 is coming.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Straight Talk on Sex

The irrational and irreverent language of the No on 8 mob is a portent of future persecution of anyone of any tradition who attempts to defend morality in the public square.

In my lifetime we have gone from not even speaking about many sexual activities in public to displays of perversion I will not describe.

In the 1970s the gay activists wanted privacy rights and Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill that ended prosecution of consensual private activity between adults. Though I disagree with many choices some adults make, permitting private activity is better than inquisitional, time-wasting activity by law enforcement.

In the 1980s, gay/lesbian partners began to receive inheritance rights as well as benefits from private corporations. We also witnessed an explosion of "gay studies" in universities. Page Smith, historian and venerable founder of UCSC and no conservative, lamented the loss of serious academic and moral reflection with the creation of these nonsensical programs. His book, Killing the Spirit, is must reading for anyone interested in the decline of academics in the USA.

In the 1990s, civil unions and domestic partnerships became the rage. Anyone objecting was branded homophobic, intolerant and out of touch with reality. Gay and lesbian activity was mainstreamed in Hollywood and active recruiting of young people on secondary school campuses began in earnest.

As the 21st century dawned, the radicals set their sights on redefining marriage and Californians said a resounding "No!" to such a notion in 2000. Four radical judges decided to overturn the will of the people from the bench and Proposition 8 became a Constitutional necessity to protect the most important unit of social cohesion known to humankind.

The agenda of the radicals is the complete subversion of all traditional values. Anarchic, communistic, and nihilistic ideologies drive this movement. Any restriction on "freedom" is considered wrong. The irony is found in the intolerance of the radicals for any public dissent.

It is interesting that current protests are not happening outside Black or Hispanic Churches (70%+ for Prop 8), but only outside of conservative churches or Mormon stakes. Another fact should be noted: no orthodox synagogues or muslim mosques have been targeted. Only white-dominated conservative churches. Who are oppressed minorities now?

I do not see any of these protestors agitating for justice in Darfur, concerned about religious persecution around the world, working against genital mutilation in Africa or protesting the treatment of women in Muslim nations.

The fact of the matter is this: The Judeo-Christian and Enlightened foundations of the USA have created such freedom that these affluent, overfed folks have the time to think about gender and lifestyle and the liberty to create any value system they want!

In the 1970s and 1980s feminist and gay writers called gender a "social construct" and promoted freedom for men and women to pursue any behavior they desired. As genetic research increases, there is a frantic search for proof that sexual orientation is "wired" and therefore protected as a civil right. Note to radicals: YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. If orientation is a social construct and fluid during a lifetime, it is a choice and not protected as a natural right. There is no "gay gene" - therefore, the only way to grow a movement is recruitment and the normalizing of homoerotic feelings and actions, especially among vulnerable children and young adults.

The activists rejoice when a previously heterosexual man or woman in "outed" - but they howl in angry protest every time a homosexual leaves they gay/lesbian lifestyle and goes straight. The howls turn to visceral screams and threats if they become a Christian and urge people to repent of sin!

So far this blog may appear to be another review of old arguments. There are, however, several insights that will put all of the above thoughts in a larger context and challenge not only the gay activists but the straight conservatives.

Traditional morality, whether, Jewish, Christian, Muslim or even agnostic/humanist, affirms that sexual intimacy is reserved for the bonds of heterosexual marriage. The fact that some many choose to violate this demanding norm does not invalidate the seriousness behind the commandments. The failure of heterosexual, religious marriages does not make gay marriage right. The divorce rate among straight couples is not an argument for alternatives - it is a call to repentance and reformation on the part of those professing traditional values.

Defenders of Traditional Marriage must unite their convictions with a new determination to end the tidal wave of broken families and immoral, extramarital sexual activity. Celibacy outside of marriage and fidelity within, all in a context of humility, love and respect is the only way forward.

To speak against homosexual activity is not to condemn anyone, but to call forth a higher faith and morality that is better for the person. Homoerotic behavior is a sin - but so is heterosexual arousal outside of marriage. These sexual sins are part of a long list of vices that include envy, greed, hatred and other attitudes and actions destructive of community life.

Without transcendent, timeless morality, there can be no real virtue and without virtue, personal responsibility declines. When this happens, self-regulation gives way to totalitarianism and the center of our republic cannot hold. History demonstrates that a loss of ethical cohesion opens the door for oppression thought impossible just a generation before.

To all conservatives I issue a challenge to humility, repentance and love that embraces all people as eternally valuable while simultaneously refusing to compromise moral standards. For the religious, there is forgiveness for the truly penitent. For the non-religious, there is the determination not to lose personal sovereignty to the nightmare of governmental plutocracy.

To the gay activists I offer an invitation to real dialogue and a challenge - can you live peaceable among those who disagree with you? You have all the civil rights of every other citizen. You even have the right to a religious rite to solemnify your commitment to your partner. But you do not have the right to overturn anthropological, biological, historical, and sociological evidence concerning marriage and the future of our species.

My fellow thinkers, we created this mess forty years ago when we watched no-fault divorce sweep our land. We created this mess as we idly watched Roe v. Wade subvert the fruit of sexual union. We created this anarchy as we indulged in attitudes and behaviors that undermined our own values. As we stand up to these protests, we need to stand on our knees, imploring God for mercy and blessing those who make themselves our enemies. We must also not be weary in well-doing or allow ourselves a moment of compromise. This battle is for the very soul of our land and the hope of freedom for humankind!

By the way, to any radicals reading - it still takes an egg and a sperm to make a human being. Doesn't that say something about Nature's design?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Morning (Week) After

It appears that our next President will be Senator Barak Hussein Obama. I am not happy about this, but the people have spoken and on January 20 we will peacefully inaugurate a new President.

Senator McCain was his normal gracious self in conceding and I am heartened by the skill of a future candidate for the Presidency, Governor Sarah Palin.

The wonderful thing about our system is that we elect our officials for specific terms, not a lifetime. I am already starting to work toward the 2010 elections and I predict that a resurgence of sanity can occur if some of Obama's policies and responses to crises prove disappointing. It is NOT my wish that he or any leader fail, and I offer my prayers and good will that his moves toward the center are sincere. But Reagan's "trust and verify" applies to this most radical of candidates.

I am heartened by the victories for traditional marriage in spite of the palpably dishonest efforts of the California Attorney General and the ACLU national efforts.

How did this happen? Here are some insights on how our nation lurched to the left in this moment in time:

* The vacuum of leadership. In 1860, 1932, 1968, 1980 and 1992 the failure of the sitting President to lead well and communicate inspirationally swept the other party into the White House

* The economic crisis. I still believe some of our current situation was artificially manipulated; however, anxiety about family budgets propels change. The disturbing thing about this election is the willingness of so many to expect the government to bail them out of their own poor decisions. Even today we see the dictatorial powers of a Treasury Secretary beholden to financial and political interests.

* The stranglehold of the Left over most of the media. Even the Washington Post has reported the utter absence of objectivity. No one expects talk-show hosts to be unbiased; but CNN is no more than a shill for the Left and all sanity has departed from MSNBC and several other print and visual organs. By the way, watch out for the "Fairness Doctrine." It seem to only apply to radio. The fact that the Left cannot compete should not be a cause for a violation of the First Amendment. The most painful part of the next four years will be listening to the self-righteous inanities of Bill Moyers!

* The complete failure of the Republican Party to stay true to its basic principles and field candidates that inspire people. In California, the current party machinery is so broken that it needs complete reengineering.

* The effective campaign waged by Obama, including unprecedented amounts of cash (illegally) obtained from foreign sources, utter ruthlessness toward all opponents and a personal and political narrative that changes at a moment's notice. Obama is the first Information Age candidate and the combination of skillful manipulation and thirst for inspiration was compelling.

* The failure of religious communities to see that their dearest principles are violated by the Democratic Platform. I am stunned by the number of Evangelical Christians, Jews and Roman Catholics who voted for hope and change with no regard to Obama's radical positions of abortion, infanticide and forcible redistribution of resources.

* There is another, more subtle reason for the recent vote: The lack of a moral and spiritual "center" that anchors our public discourse. Just 50 years ago Democrats and Republicans argued vehemently offer certain policies. But they agreed on core issues: freedom, representative government, opportunity, patriotism and personal responsibility. For any sane change to occur, there must be an awakening from within, not a nanny-state imposed regime!

It is vital that values voters not despair - let's rest a few days and then hold the new Administration accountable from Day One!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekend Wisdom Before the Election

Journalist Tom Brokaw, appearing on the Charlie Rose Show recently, asserted that, "We do not really know the universe of Barak he really sees the world."

How interesting. After fifteen years of self-promotion, two years of ceaseless campaigning and overwhelmingly favorable coverage from a worshipful media, how can anyone say, "We do not know Barak Obama"?

This confusion is by design. The entire image-making machinery of the last two decades has been deliberately crafted to prevent clear insight, critical thinking and anything resembling clarity.

In contrast, we have the public crucifixions of Governor Pailin and Joe the Plumber, with the bald-faced lies and subversive activities of Obama operatives glossed over.

There are real issues of substance that are being lost because of the Obama strategies of lying, minor retractions, intimidation and outright thuggery. Consider the following:

On Rev. Jeremiah Wright: In 1995 he was hailed as a mentor, pastor and surrogate father-figure. After 20 years under his tutelage, Obama claims that he never heard the racism and hatred of America in his pastor's messages.

On William Ayers: Obama started his political career in his living room, endorsed his book, served together on boards, and worked on educational and political initiatives (which after millions spent, have achieved nothing to improve Chicago). Today Ayers is "just a professor in the neighborhood."

Other examples of playing fast and loose with the truth can be enumerated, but these two are stark examples of Obama's inability to tell the truth. Perhaps he cannot bear telling himself the truth. How sad. He is so much a product of a post-modern media machine that he actually believes whatever he said five minutes ago, but disregards comments from five days ago!

Here is the propaganda process - introduced by Lenin, systemetized by Goerbbels for Hitler and perfected by megalomaniacs and narcissists everywhere:

Tell an outright lie.

When caught, issue a slight modification and attack your opponents for suggesting you are anything but truthful.

Never address an issue directly, but keep speaking hypnotically on vague themes like "hope" and "change."

Deflect all questions about your associations, but paint your opponent as a lapdog of the previous administration.

Make up your own data when convenient.

Appease the Leftists by emphasizing your radical mentors and being anti-war, while deceiving moderates with chuckles and shrugs about being young once and promising to be wise.

The scary thing about this election is the utter ignorance of most Obama supporters. They are so tired of Bush and so mesmerized by the staging that they will follow lemming-like right off the cliff.

The Bush Vacuum

An Obama presidency is only possible because of the poor leadership of both Bush presidents. The elder Bush's failure to prosecute Gulf War I fully and his flip=flop on taxes ushered in Clinton. Younger Bush made similar mistakes. The present surge should have happened right after the capture of the Iraqi dictator. The Republican failure to reign in spending and seal the borders increased the vacuum of leadership. Their inability to inspire us with their speeches further paved the way for Democratic leaders.

By the way, the same type of vacuum was created by President Jimmy Carter, ushering in Ronald Reagan. After four years of Carter's self-righteous malaise, we were ready for real hope and change!

Is there hope for Tuesday?

Yes! Turn off the TV, study the issues, prepare your ballots and encourage everyone to vote.

Do not believe the propaganda - this is a close race. The newest Obama tactics include intimidation and threats of violence if he loses! They are also acting as if the race is over.

CNN ran a tag line a few days ago, "McCain abandons Colorado." AT THE SAME TIME Palin was speaking to thousands in multiple events! CNN is no longer a news agency - it is a Stalinist arm of the Obama machine and anything they say should be taken with an entire bag of rock salt. Just last night, under "Breaking News" they aired a 30-minute Obama speech! Here is a man with unlimited money getting free air time while McCain keeps his promise on fund-raising as is rarely shown!

If all Values Voters go to the polls, we will have the biggest upset since Truman beat Dewey. In can happen - and will if we are unafraid.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bedroom, Boardroom and Breakroom

The moral and religious rhetoric is heating up at we approach the election of a new President. McCain's faltering efforts have been reversed by the galvanizing choice of Governor Palin while the glow of Obama's Olympic acceptance speech has been replaced by sarcastic remarks about lipstick and swine.

Stepping back from the rhetoric, I notice that the ideological Left and Right have their visceral values and core concerns that animate the denunciation of enemies and the elucidation of policy. The ability of each side to eschew critical thinking and embrace caricatures is astounding and unfortunate for an electorate that deserves better.

I am committed to "thinking deeply and acting decisively." I think belief and behavior are inseparable and that moral and religious values are not intended to be "privately engaging but publicly irrelevant." (Os Guinness)

As your "Messenger to the Thoughtful" and a friend of all who want to get to the heart of issues, I offer the following critique of the extremists on both sides of the current debate.

There are profound issues to confront and they require examination of the fundamental way we see the world and adjust our moral compass.

The Right tends to take the ethical high horse when it comes to the morals of the bedroom. Conservatives are deeply concerned about the Left's attacks on the sanctity of marriage, the capitulation of public schools to amoral thinking and the collapse of the traditional family.

I agree with conservatives on many of their values; however, their vision is too narrow. The same folks who renounce premarital sex are often mute on CEO compensation of crumbling companies or how we serve the poor who are buffeted by an ineffective welfare system. Conservatives love to tout the "magic of the free market", citing Adam Smith and his "invisible hand" of economic freedom; however, most have not read the whole book. Writing in 1776, Adam Smith spend a large portion of his writings on the personal and social virtues necessary for a capitalist economy to flourish for all facets of society!

The Left loves to denounce the injustices of the Boardroom, excoriating capitalism and forever scheming on how to fulfill the Marxist dictum, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" without appearing to be Stalinists. The Left is suspicious of business owners, especially successful ones, but they have no problem with illiterate actors making millions manipulating images on a movie screen.

The Left has a different kind of tunnel vision. There is no cohesion on sexual morality, only resignation to Epicurean impulses and vagueness about the fluidity of gender and social mores. The Left wants to affirm that gays are "wired this way" while at the same time allowing individuals complete liberty to choose their gender, regardless of the "gender assigned at birth." (this is an actual phrase in California educational policy!) Money is bad - unless you make it certain ways and give up large portions to government functionaries to distribute to passive recipients.

Both Right and Left claim Jesus of Nazareth as their inspiration. The Right cites the strict moral codes of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus renounces lustful thinking as well as adulterous behavior. The Left tries to transform "turning the other cheek" into anti-military policy.

Jesus transcends ideological categories and frustrates all who try to place him in a box. He will not be turned into a capitalist or a communist. He unites compassion and conviction, holiness and hope and his words and works are not those of either a CEO or a community organizer - though both can learn from him!

To my conservative friends I issue the challenge of holding business leaders accountable for the "compassionate use of accumulated wealth." To my liberal friends I challenge you to call for high moral standards, expecting more of people than mere impulse control.

The Bedroom and Boardroom matter - perhaps we need to learn to debate real issues in the Breakroom and find common cause as we battle ignorance, poverty, racism, sexism and the violence that dominates this planet.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

McCandidate Meets Megalomania

As I observe the current presidential race, I am appalled at the dearth of discourse and surplus of superficiality that pervade the public square. We have serious issues to confront - ecology and economics, immigration and international policies, and a growing nanny state that wants to control our lives from prenatal care to permissive euthanasia. 

None of the serious economic or political issues seem to matter as our first post-American candidate runs for benevolent despot of the planet and his opponent is paralyzed because he is not able to play the maverick against his conservative base. We have a McCandidate in McCain who seems to love our country, but have no visceral convictions that will propel him to oppose the messianic aspirations of the least-experienced and least-qualified person to run for office since General Harrison in 1840.

The press seems more concerned with Obama's antiperspirant than his weather-vane statements of foreign policy and conviction that he will be dealing with the leaders he is meeting for "the next eight to ten years." I guess Barak Hussein Obama is planning on becoming El Presidente for Life by the end of his second term. After all, shouldn't we all be learning Spanish?

Meanwhile Senator McCain, who at least has a real voting record and reasonable abilities, cannot seem to find the guts to defend America from a man who will accelerate our national descent into dependency. 

It is time to drill for oil AND develop new energy sources. It is time to balance a budget, thus strengthening the dollar AND prosecute the war on terror more intelligently. It is time to seal our borders AND welcome all legal immigrants with open arms. It is time to make English the national language AND teach other languages in elementary schools (and perhaps graduate students able to read and write). It is time to call for personal responsibility AND regulate the mortgage industry more thoroughly. By the way, even the most negative statistics have 99.5% of homeowners still in their homes.

Barak Obama is dangerous to the future of our nation. He can not even recite the facts of his own upbringing clearly and his outright lies about his own on-the-record policy statements are cause for deep concern. He does not love America for what is best about her. Obama loves his vision of America - a semi-socialist, world-accountable, Leviathan where enlightened Harvard graduates guide the masses (especially the gun-toting religious ones) into a New World Order just like the EU.  Obama the person and Obama the political product are indistinguishable.

John McCain must find the fire again, the courage to confront and and the decisiveness to declare that the USA has been held hostage long enough and it is time to reclaim our first principles of life and liberty. Obama calls for sacrifice for the world's poor - McCain must call the dictators of developing nations to account. Obama tells us that we must step out of our cars and into mass transit - McCain can invite a new era of American ingenuity. Obama promises trillions in government programs - McCain must promise to cut trillions of waste from future budgets. 

The Boomer generation has seen our national debt increase ninefold in 40 years. Our savings are nil and our economic engines are lubricated with investors who care nothing for our values. We have, in the ancient prophet's words, "sown to the wind and reaped the whirlwind." Our material and sexual indulgence emboldens radical Islam even as it dulls our spiritual and political senses. We must not be the victims of Al Gore's paganism or the materialism of rapacious multinational corporations. 

There is still time to see our nation go "back to the future" by recovering our values and vision. We can have economic growth that is environmentally sensitive. We can make cars more efficient without creating a nation of mass transit drones. We can be generous to a needy world while making sure our own poor are cared for. We can call for personal responsibility by urban dads while ending redlining and stimulating local economies. We can recover moral responsibility without theocratic intolerance. 

How to vote in the fall? I will vote by default for the least dangerous candidate while putting all my efforts toward moral and spiritual renewal of people and communities who care about our future. I ask you to join me in recovering our best history and hope. There are more Trumans and Eisenhowers yet to be discovered. Truman fought Communism; Eisenhower warned about the "military-industrial complex." Both presidents pushed Civil Rights forward while affirming traditional moral values. These men teach us how to argue about our differences while building on our common interests. 

Join me in the opportunity of our lifetime...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Common Sense 2008

"These are the times that try men's souls..." Thomas Paine penned these words in his famous tract. Common Sense. This broadside was published in the bitter winter of 1776 as the American Revolution appeared to be over before it had really begun. Victories in battle were not forthcoming, and volunteer solders were nearing the end of their enlistments. 

Paine's stirring words to the general populace and to the fighting units rallied enough folks to keep the Revolution alive and the cause of liberty moving forward. Paine excoriated the "sunshine soldier" and the civilians whose patriotism adjusted itself to the tides of battle. He called for commitment. He called for courage. He called Americans to realize the epoch-making moment they were creating. 

I do not have the eloquence of Thomas Paine, but I am just as passionate about the historical crossroads faced by our society. If the (apparently) moral majority of California do not rise up in November and pass the Marriage Amendment, we may find ourselves ruled by a small cabal of people who despise the values we stand for and who ultimately want to destroy the liberties our Founders and forefathers labored to endow to us. 

The Marriage Amendment is not about intolerance toward gays and lesbians - it is about defining the most important unit of social cohesion known to humankind. 

The Marriage Amendment is not about creating a theocracy - it is about democracy rooted in a virtuous citizenry committed to family.

The Marriage Amendment is not about Civil Rights - you can not give rights to a chosen lifestyle.

The Marriage Amendment IS about recovering personal responsibility - a commitment sorely lacking for past five decades.

The Marriage Amendment IS about our future. For the past 40 years we have been told that we must limit family size and that the world will not hold up under the strain of overpopulation. Our materialism, narcissism and misplaced idealism are bequeathing a tragic destiny - we are not replacing ourselves! As economic conditions have improved, populations stabilize. This is good. There are, however,  unforeseen consequences to the erosion of traditional values and the increases in abortion rates. Our current Boomer generation has not produced enough offspring to support them in their old age.

The Marriage Amendment is not a single-issue statement, but a doorway for us to reconsider what values will build our future. With much of the world in need of basic necessities, why are we consumed with consuming, with shopping as a recreational sport? We give our children iPods, but they do not know our Constitution. We drive $40K cars, but will not help our school teachers with supplies. We expect the government to bail out our poor financial decisions, but we are not giving our children a good breakfast so they go to class ready to learn.

It is time for some 2008 Common Sense.

Less self-regulation means more government regulation.

We may defend the concept of marriage, but if lust and pride divide husbands and wives, our efforts are only symbolic and self-defeating.

Conservatives are compassionate and generous with their own money, while liberal policies seek governmental redistribution. Why not transcend this difference with personal sacrifice and sound fiscal policy? 

We can not have all the "guns and butter" we want. Fighting terrorism requires lean, mobile forces ready to strike. We will not, however, win the hearts of non-Western nations if we are perceived as a colonizing force. This "off-book" war is a trillion-dollar bill for future generations. The answer is NOT "cut and run" but careful strategic steps to prepare us for the long-term.

Common sense. We can drill for oil selectively AND explore alternatives, with generous tax incentives. We can build a new nuclear plant while hastening the day when no uranium will be needed. We can balance a budget with caps on spending and eliminating waste - if we have the courage.

Common sense. We can defend traditional marriage without oppressing adults who choose different arrangements.

We can support Israel while searching for real leaders who want peace. As soon as a radical leader (like Sadat in 1978) will acknowledge Israel's right to exist in peace, there will be hope.

We will not always be popular with the global elitists who want to put America in her place and force us to submit to "world opinion" (actually the opinion of a few arrogant, wealthy folks who think they know better than the rest of us). 

We can seal our borders and construct "Ellis Island"-style Welcome Centers in California, Arizona and Texas to welcome LEGAL immigrants.

We can improve our local public schools by holding BOTH parents and school administrators responsible for student improvement.

We can reduce teen drug use, pregnancy and other social challenges for young people by introducing a simple notion back into the public square: a moral conscience. We are so afraid of any shame we have forgotten that some sense of responsibility is a moral necessity. When an unmarried teen is pregnant, she and her companion must be called to account - AND helped with compassion and financial support. Young men in particular must be held accountable for their actions.

Common sense. Will we find it is time?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Political Morality

The recent California Supreme Court Decision to support gay marriage is an arrogant exercise in expedience that threatens the foundations of civilized society.

I do not need to resort to histrionics or homophobia - here are the clear issues.

One: No civilization or culture in the history of humankind has ever given equal status to homosexual unions.

Two: there is no incontrovertible proof of a genetic disposition to homosexuality.

Three: Civil Rights are a subset of natural rights - protecting the freedom of people who have no choice about their gender or race.

Four: The radical activists have a visceral hatred for what they see as "heterosexist oppression" and their strategy is to destroy the traditional family and substitute it with government control.

Five: If you are a traditional family man or woman and later "come out" as gay or lesbian, the world celebrates your "discovery." But woe to the gay man or lesbian woman who wants to change - any therapist encouraging such change is subject to professional sanction!

Six: Gay/Lesbian radicals must actively recruit through schools and the media in order to swell their ranks of adherents. They often talk of the fluidity of gender and contrast the "gender assigned at birth" with the chosen lifestyle of later years. Granting Civil Rights to current chosen behavior flies in the face of the universal principles that secure real liberty!

Seven: We are creating generations of confused, narcissistic, and self-destructive people. It is one thing not to prosecute private adult behavior - it is quite another to promote identities and lifestyles that ultimately destroy our future.

Eight: We must decide what actions we are going to permit, prohibit and promote as a nation. Where do we draw the line? How young is too young for "marriage"? How many partners? The California "Supremes" have undermined the unique place of heterosexual monogamy - we now have no standard except the one we "feel" at the moment!

The current (justifiable) outrage at the polygamous cult in Texas reveals a core morality we share: 1) it is wrong to have more than one marriage partner; 2) It is wrong for adults to have sexual relations with minors; and 3) not any family setup is acceptable.

It is morally inconsistent to promote gay/lesbian unions as equal to traditional ones while condemning another group's moral universe!

Here is Insight Nine: The deeper subversion behind the Supremes' decision is the destruction of any religious foundations to morality and another blow to the Judeo-Christian consensus that is the bedrock of law for 400+ years in the West. 

If the Texas group has been a gay-lesbian-transgender new age/pagan/secular commune in the California mountains, outrage would last a day and be forgotten. Eventually the leaders would be the subject of term papers in "gay studies" courses at prestigious universities!

The Texas cult must be shut down and the children given all the help we can muster. The leaders should be prosecuted for statutory rape. 

Throughout history, consenting adults have privately chosen to depart from social norms. When the exceptions become the rules, the collapse of civilization is inevitable.

Please note that I have not quoted religious documents or party platforms. There is no need - thoughtful people will see through the agendas and vote to amend the California Constitution in November. 

Get involved in making sure that the California Constitution recognizes the inherent value of rightly-defined marriage - a monogamous, lifetime union between one man and one woman.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

TEST 05/24/2008


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Observations of the Obvious

Are we in a recession or an adjustment?

Should we bail out folks with sub-prime mortgages or just Wall Street barons?

Israel has received over 500 missiles from territory she relinquished for peace - how many more concessions will it take?

China is buying billions of our Treasury Notes -is that good or bad?

Forty years ago the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis - who can claim his legacy? (Hint: none of the current candidates for public attention.)

We elected "The Terminator" to get rid of debt - why do we have more today?

1975: Global cooling and a new Ice Age; 2005: Global Warming and  looming disaster - maybe.

There is a dirty little secret abut Western Europe and her environmental demands on the USA: Europeans already have - and keep on building - nuclear power plants!

OK - there are lots of problems and much controversy on how to interpret and solve them. What is the big deal? Why devote blog space to the obvious?

Here is why: In my more than four decades of observing and reflecting on our human condition, I have never seen such blatant refusals to deal with reality and apply commonsense to our issues. Consider the obvious with me:

Economic progress comes from courage, not contraction, from faith, not fear. Look for creative and innovative people and companies and you will see the future.

I am old enough to remember a balanced budget and a total national debt at less than a trillion dollars. (It is now $9,000,000,000 and counting). Here is a thought - why not spend less than we take in? The dollar will go up, gasoline prices will go down and resources will be generated through expansion instead of printing more money.

Demand that Arab leaders accept Israel as a sovereign state with full recognition - or there will be no peace.

Martin Luther King appealed to real faith and universal principles, not Afrocentric hatred.

Let's take care of God's world - regardless of popular speculations.

Let's also avoid UN control of anything. At best it is a forum for compassion and negotiation - anything more inhibits real freedom and progress.

Above all, we must not expect Washington to solve every problem!

Earlier I spoke of self-deception. We need to get up from the couch, put down the remotes, the computer mouse, the games cubes, the iPods, the cell phones - and talk to each other, care for each other and stop pretending that "someone else" has to take care of things.

Politicians serve at OUR behest - we can demand change. Incumbents count on our dependence, fear, guilt and ignorance. If we take care of each other, have faith in God and the possibilities ahead, care for the poor and rigorously demand an accounting of OUR money "they" spend - the way forward is much brighter.

The choice is ours - dependency and ultimate subservience to a state and world government interested in control or a country and world enjoying the fruits of freedom.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Green Cool-Aid

Soft-drink companies spend millions in R&D and market research to find the perfect color, taste and image for their beverages. When I was a child, you could choose Coke or Pepsi and maybe "Tab" diet soda if you wanted cola. There was "Tang" (the astronauts drink it!) for the orange-color set and, for every class party and scouting troop, the ubiquitous "Kool-Aid." (OK, remember "Fizzie" tablets?). 

Today, we are overwhelmed with choices in every drink category. Even Coke has multiple formulas for every palate and nutritional fad.

In 1979, however, a tragic identification with propaganda and a soft-drink entered our vocabulary. The horrific mass suicide of the Jonestown followers of Jim Jones involved drinking poisoned Kool-Aid. Every since that moment, pundits have used the soft-drink as a euphemism for blind followers swayed by empty promises and deceived by a dynamic leader. "Drinking the kool-aid" has become a metaphor for blindly following the manipulations of of deceitful leaders.

We are watching a large part of the American electorate drink political poison as Senator Obama wows the crowds on the campaign trail. While Obama has recently distanced himself from some of the unsavory comments of his friends and mentors (former Weathermen Underground terrorists and Afrocentric racist religious leaders), he remains the darling of the Left and the hope of America's enemies abroad.

Let's assume that Obama is sincere in his profession of Christianity, his denunciation of Rev. Wright's anti-patriotic and racist rhetoric and that his patriotism that is so deep he does not need to wear a flag on his lapel. Let's also assume that his wife's incendiary comments about America were overly-enthusiastic campaigning. The "green kool-aid" is still being dispensed. Consider the following facts about Obama:

Fact: He has never been poor and has lived a life of relative privilege. Any racism has been minimal and his rise to prominence rivals any white candidate. Yes, he experienced a broken home - just like nearly half of American children. 

Fact: he has almost no real world experience in business or even in law. "Community Activism" is hardly reality when it comes to understanding the needs of most Americans.

Fact: He cannot bring himself to give unequivocal support for Israel or place an necessary preconditions on negotiations with nations and organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel, and, in the long run, the USA as well.

Fact: He knows nothing about economics, limited government or the real dynamics of delivering goods and services. 

Fact: He is no better or worse that other politicians who have unsavory friends and supporters. What makes Obama distinct is his refusal to engage in any real discussion of his associations or issues that he cannot control.

Fact: Obama has no immigration or NAFTA policies. He is proclaiming the current situation broken while winking at leaders on our northern and southern borders.

Fact: Obama is a brilliant orator in the tradition of JFK and RFK. Contrary to recent comments by Geraldine Ferraro, I think Obama would be successful regardless of his color - the populace is eager for something fresh.

If Obama actually believes all of his rhetoric, he is naively being manipulated by a variety of global forces: EU leaders, global capitalists, leftists who want to see the America humbled and even dismembered and Arabs who believe he is still secretly a Muslim. Obama's comments one year ago that his middle name helps him understand Muslims cannot be squared with the current campaign kool-aid that any mention of Hussein is inflammatory. 

Senator, change your name and change your tune and we might believe you.

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Please Destroy Our Freedom"

The Archbishop of Canterbury advocates grafting facets of Islamic Shari'a Law onto the vine of English Law.

Former President Clinton counsels that the USA needs to "slow down our economy to save the planet."

Arab leaders and the Mad Mullahs of Iran are breathing murderous threats against Israel, in spite of Israel's continual concessions of land for peace.

Democratic Presidential candidates proclaim that they can solve all the intractable domestic  and international issues through revivalistic sloganeering and appeals to "change."

A well-respected professor is denied tenure for suggesting that the Universe may be intelligently designed instead of randomly arranged. 

Conservatives are urged to "forget" the Reagan era, change their heart-felt convictions and gleefully back an "inevitable" nominee.

The latest federal budget over more than $3 trillion dollars still manages to have a 12% deficit. Anyone advocating spending restraint is "starving the children."

"Family" is being redefined, one state at a time - even though no civilization in history has ever defined marriage and family in other than traditional terms.

Democrats and Republicans look the other way on immigration, NAFTA superhighways and economic competition from Europe and Asia.

Personal character - especially marital and sexual fidelity - is labelled "irrelevant" if a leader has "competence" and "vision."
Freedom is now defined as almost unrestrained personal behavior - any objections are seen as "judgmental."

What has happened?
When did morality, truth, virtue and practical work stop being important?
Why is the federal government the answer to local problems?
When did infidelity and immorality become "just private behavior"?
When did we forget that government money is our money?

What we are watching is national self-destruction, one foolish accommodation at a time. 
The erosion of truth and virtue is no longer gradual and imperceptible. It is now a torrent of fatalistic nihilism that will open the door to global totalitarianism unless thoughtful and virtue-loving people intervene.

How do we start? Three steps begin the long journey home to personal and national sanity and stability:
First, each of us must take personal responsibility for our lives and hear the call of conscience to add good to the world every day.

Second, we must affirm that their is real good and real evil in the world. A man recently confronted my condemnation of terrorism with the notion, "Well, we have to understand why some people are terrorists." It sounds so good until we realize that the terrorist leaders threatening our nation and Israel are not just members of the impoverished "Arab Street" but well-educated, well-financed radicals with a thirst for blood and a callous willingness to send the naive to their deaths. This is evil, pure and simple.

Third, we must reaffirm the principles of our Founders - limited government and maximum personal virtue; common moral norms and freedom of religion and the importance of local and state governments to be prudent and wise.

Our reckless moral and political behavior is saying to the extremists - religious zealots and secular elites alike - "Please destroy our freedom - all we ask is that your do it in HD and that we each can play video games while a civilization collapses."

It is time to fight - not with IED's, but integrity. We fight with reason and urgency, not fear and threats. 
A better future is ours to create - one wise decision at a time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Love is Action

In this election year we will hear much of the candidate's love for America and all her people. Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire tears, Barak Obama's eloquent appeals for a new way forward, John McCain's constant reminders of his military service and Mitt Romney's apple pie appeals all speak of their love for the USA. Such rhetoric and sentiments are good, but real love - the love that compassionately puts others first and sacrificially looks to the next generation's good - only counts if there is ACTION. 
I have yet to hear a single policy proposal from any Democratic candidate. I hear what needs to be fixed and I hear vague comments on health care, taxes and war, but there is nothing concrete except visceral hatred for the current President or philosophical platitudes. No one is willing to confront the tough issues of how we pay for our promises and the administrative incapacities of an over-bloated federal government. An ancient writer once encouraged his readers, "...[L]et us not love in word or tongue, but in deed and truth." In other words, what we DO proves the genuineness of our love. 
On the Republican side, I hear more policy substance, but it is still disjointed and needs cohesion and inspiration. Aggressive pursuit of terrorists, lower taxes and immigration reform must be balanced by clear goals, spending restraints and secure borders. There must be new, creative private/public partnerships to rebuild our physical and governmental infrastructure. We need to decentralize and re-empower state and local governments to deliver services in more efficient and humane fashion than Washington. 
Both sides must appeal to the personal responsibilities and virtues that are incumbent upon all citizens of a free society. The paradox of liberty is the self-discipline it demands!
Over three hundred years ago, there was a great debate over the nature of freedom and the role of government. This debate provided some of the principles our Founders affirmed as they created the American Constitution. 
One one side stood Thomas Hobbes, author the famous work, Leviathan and a cynic about human freedom. He believed that humankind needed the firm hand of a strong, controlling, monarchical government. Left to themselves, people were basically animals and needed taming!
On the other side was John Locke, the father of liberty, who believed that the government's primary job was to protect the natural rights of all citizens to life, liberty and property. This is not libertarianism, for Locke affirmed the necessity of personal virtue and the moral foundations of law. 
Our Founders leaned toward Locke, but Hobbes has always been in the background! 
Love is action - wise, practical service for the common good. One of the great actions our federal government could pursue is divesting itself of so much administrative duty and refocusing on creating the conditions that maximize freedom and opportunity, while holding those in power accountable to the virtues that make us great. 
Love means health care for all - but not a single-payer program run by a new generation of middle-class bureaucrats who majored in government in college.
Love means excellent education for all - administered locally to standards determined by states in line with overall principles that prepare our children for 21st century life. This is education in partnership with families, not in place of them.
Love means welcoming immigrants - legally and safely - and making sure the English language and American citizenship is in view for those who wish to live here permanently and reap the benefits of our freedoms.

Love means caring for the most vulnerable - from conception to coronation - by welcoming children and giving dignity to the dying instead of destroying life in the birth canal and suggesting that people have a duty to die.

Love means receiving life as a gift and not playing God with the elements of life. Love means healing disease without trying to clone perfection.

Love means confronting terrorism with moral rectitude and social justice as well as military power and political strategies.

Love means mentoring a new generation in its stewardship of resources - not with a mindset of fear and scarcity, but one of abundance and wisdom. There are enough resources for everyone to live well, if we decide that the welfare of all is a worthy goal.

Love means a return to the "first principles" of life and liberty rooted in truth and virtue. Unrestrained license or theocratic totalitarianism are not options for free people!

Hopefully one or more of our candidates will present a vision that calls for love in action. Let's demand deeds along with declarations, works along with words. Only then can the great potential of our nation be realized. 

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Audacity of Honesty

It is election season! Oh my, the promises that are being made and the visions that are being cast - it is all about CHANGE! We can change America, we can heal the world! We can bring back jobs, find Osama bin Laden, stimulate the economy, provide health care for all and balance the budget! "A vote for me is a vote for change! I will clean up Washington. I will expose pork-barrel spenders. I will fix Social Security. I will...I will..."

The 2008 election is the first one since 1952 to have no former President or Vice-President running. It is wide open and the exaggerations, hyperbole, image-making and remaking and outright lying has begun.

For the Democrats, we have a fresh-faced idealist promising change and offering no actual proposals for how it would happen. We have an angry senator opposing him with "experience" but no real policy proposals. On the other side we have some pragmatists with the beginnings of policy but little charisma and populists with no explanation of how their competing ideas work together.

None of this is new. Politicians tell us what we want to hear and hope we will elect them by conviction ("I like her/him!) or default ("Well, the opponent is worse!").

What makes 2008 different is the sum of serious issues that must be confronted and the need to present a compelling, positive vision of the future. We found out in 1980 that we do not want a schoolmaster telling us about "malaise". We want to hear again that it is "morning in America" and "our best days are ahead."

Here are the daunting tasks the future President and Congress must confront:
  • Continuing the war on terror in a way that keeps the USA from being an occupying power while being able to hit targets quickly and effectively.
  • Balancing the budget so the dollar is strengthened and we can have some authority in negotiating fair trade policies with other nations.
  • Honestly confronting the reality that Social Security is a shell game and a new solution for future retirees is needed.
  • Developing a humane and strong immigration policy that secures the borders, reduces crime and places all potential residents on an equal footing.
  • Creating environmental policies that do not cripple our economy and subject us to world standards that others manage to skirt.
  • Rebuilding the infrastructure created in the 1930s to 1950s through private/public partnerships. Our bridges, dams, levees, and roads all need attention. 
  • Decentralizing as many services as possible by remembering the 9th and 10th Amendments and reinvigorating local and state government. Not every solution has to come through Washington - especially when it involves education, social services and business stimulation!
  • Rediscovering our moral and spiritual center without secular or theocratic ideology muddying the waters. A virtuous citizenry is a free citizenry. Moral ambiguity produces self-centered people who feel they are owed something. Abortion, health care, education and retirement are important things, but they are not "inalienable rights."
As the campaigning continues, listen to the actual policies and see if any candidates are willing to confront this combination of issues head-on. 

We need inspiration, but it in going to take principled perspiration to move forward to a better future.