Archive for February, 2012

Looking to the Future: The End of Statism

February 27, 2012

I have long ago felt that the arguments for statism have failed. You can see this because no one dare engage in an honest debate with an anti-statist such as myself. You can also see this because whenever a statist runs for office, they have to mask their statism. Take, for example, Obama’s pledge to lower taxes and cut spending, along with his promises to reduce our military presence in the world.

What is statism? It is the idea that the state, not the individual, is supreme in our society. It is the idea that change in our society can be initiated by government, or that even changeshould initiate with the government. It is the idea that the state has powers that the people do not have. It is the idea that people who work for the state are angels, while those who do not are not.

These ideas are exactly contrary to common sense. Individuals are the atomic ingredient of our society, and the entire purpose and origin of our society. The government is not the master of society, but its fearful servant, a creation with one purpose and one purpose alone, a guard dog who, if he snaps at the children, should be drug out into the street and shot.

The state has no power that the people do not relinquish it. What could the IRS do to collect taxes from someone who does not wish to pay? How can a man who refuses to be imprisoned by imprisoned? How can a man who refuses to be silenced be silenced? These things cannot happen. All interactions with the state are ultimately voluntary, even the criminal who stands before a judge and accepts his punishment or the man who seeks legal counsel to ensure that he doesn’t tread on any laws the state has arbitrarily invented. The state has no guns when the people do not hold them. The state has nothing unless the people give it.

People who work for the state are no better, and the argument can be made, may be generally worse, than the people who do not. The state attracts people of a certain mindset, and just like any successful company changes the attitudes and perspectives of its employees and clients, so to the state changes the people who work for it, to believe in the grand lie that the state is an entity at all, with powers that do not derive directly from the people.

The debate today is really, “Who should be the next president?” The options are not “a republican” and “Obama”, it is really “Mitt Romney”, “Ron Paul”, and “Someone Else.” Only those two candidates — Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — have distinguished themselves as capable of organizing enough voluntary support as to claim any type of right to the presidency.

The fundamental difference between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, or rather, their supporters, is that Mitt Romney fans believe the state should largely continue as it is, with minor adjustments, while Ron Paul supporters want radical change.

If it were possible, I would advocate radical change. However, I don’t think it is possible to get enough political support to do something as necessary and as impractical as abolishing the Fed.

What could happen, if the supporters of both candidates is smart, is that we can capture the vast majority of political support from America itself. A Ron Paul – Mitt Romney alliance would center around less state and more freedom. This message would carry the win, attracting both moderate and radical supporters. Reagan has already shown that the political will exists to support anti-state efforts. A Romney-Paul win would prove that it is possible every single time it is tried.

The debate then becomes one of degrees: how small, how quickly? Mitt Romney has changed organizations entrenched in their ways, and he will know how at least to change the culture enough so that the idea of radical change will be welcome. Ron Paul knows how to verbalize the radical changes that are needed. That is what we need more than anything else.

After a Romney-Paul win, control will pass from one anti-statist to another, provided we can redefine the political landscape as one of less radical abolition of statism with more radical abolition of statism. and give each their own political force to reckon with. Those who advocate more statism will only win when the anti-statists refuse to unite after contention. We must not make the error of spiting the good because of the better. That is, if it turns out a Romney-type candidate has the organization and popularity to win, then the Paul-type supporters must support him, and vice-versa! I am certainly willing to support a Ron Paul-type, if such a candidate were viable. (Ron Paul is not, but I don’t want his supporters to stop organizing themselves and supporting him!) Come 4, 8 years from now, the Ron Paul wing of the Republican Party may settle on an electable Ron Paul -type, perhaps even Rand Paul. Guess where my voice of support and my checks will go then?

If the moderate wing of the Republican Party finds such a candidate despicable, at least they will find him less despicable than the statist the democrats would put forward, and hold their noses and vote for him, the same way Ron Paul supporters will hold their nose and vote for a Romney.

No, we do not get exactly what we want, but our goals are broad. We want to see less government and more liberty. That’s the direction the vast majority of Americans want to move towards, and only the Romney-Paul alliance can provide it.

 

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Democrat, Republican, or Independent: Go to your caucus!

February 27, 2012

I don’t care who you are, or what party you affiliate with, if any at all, or whether you agree with all of my political ideas or not.

I do care that you exercise your God-given rights by showing up at a caucus and having your voice heard. Perhaps, even, you can be elected as a convention attendee, and have a voice in shaping the future of American politics.

One of the secrets behind the TEA Party is that it refuses to align with any one political party. If you are a liberal democrat or conservative republican it doesn’t matter; if you want to see the federal budget cut, then you are part of the TEA Party. The TEA Party works simply by getting its people to participate in their political processes, no matter what party they belong to.

The ideal future is one in which we have democrat and republican candidates pining for TEA Party support, or better yet, where TEA Party support is assumed and they debate all the issues the TEA Party doesn’t care about.

By so doing, the TEA Party activists are able to “buy” seats of power in congress. Normally, congressmen expect you to tow the party line when it comes to controversial issues.
“If you want X, then you need to stand with me today to support Y.” Well, TEA Party supporters don’t fall in that trap. They do not tow any party lines. They, in fact, are quite fickle. If they elect a representative, and he renegs on his TEA Party promises, then come re-election time, he’ll face the TEA Party in the primaries. If both parties are claiming to be with the TEA Party, then even if the anti-TEA Party representatives wins the primary, they risk losing in the generals.

Congressmen know this, which is why they do not like the TEA Party, especially if they got elected by the TEA Party. They are hamstrung—incapable of going far from the reservation.

This is the kind of activity we need in this country.

Don’t go to the caucus because you support the party. Go to the caucus because you do NOT support the party, and you want to CHANGE the party to support you!

What is your fair share in taxes?

February 27, 2012

President Obama is running around the country talking about people paying their “fairĀ  share”. I think we all know what he means: He wants to take money from the rich and give it to the poor.

But let’s think for a moment: What is the most truly fair system of taxes we can imagine?

If we consider that in our country, no person is above another, then we could conclude that every person should pay the same amount. It doesn’t matter, rich or poor, you are equal in the eyes of the government. The government doesn’t protect the rich more than the poor, or vice-versa, or at least it shouldn’t.

This is a per-capita tax. It’s a very rare tax in the United States but it is the first tax recorded in the nation of Israel. In order to raise funds to build the tabernacle, Moses was ordered to collect the same amount of money from every child of Israel. The rich were not allowed to pay for the poor.

Imagine what such a system would look like. Anything you earned beyond a certain minimum amount was yours to keep. There is no reason why a smart or talented person shouldn’t go on to earn millions, billions, or trillions. Of course, we know that in order to make a buck, a businessman needs to help the people he helps make at least a buck back, if not more. Consider what it took Bill Gates to convince millions of people to give him billions of dollars: he had to give them back something worth much more than the money they paid. So when Bill Gates goes home at night, with billions left over after paying all of the costs it took to make that money in the first place, what he actually kept was a fraction of the wealth he created for other people.

The surplus from these enormous wealth earners ends up in the hands of the laborers. No money goes into Mother Nature or into any other piece of the economic puzzle. Every dollar spent is a dollar earned by someone, whether it is the lumberjack who cut the tree down or the technician who keeps his chainsaw running, or the man working the mining equipment that was used to extract the ore and fuel needed to make the chainsaw in the first place.

Of course, we feel bad because no matter how small of a sum we set for the per capita tax, there are going to be a lot of people who, today, cannot make enough money to pay it. Well, there’s a rather simple solution to the problem. Disregarding those who have no economic worth to our society (and who are usually under the care and supervision of someone who is competent to provide for themselves), there are a great number of people who could work in the most menial job and make some degree of earning. Even in their case, a per capita tax would be inspiration to work a little extra hard for a few dollars extra at the end of the day. They would have a dramatic invitation to make much more of themselves than they currently do. It could be argued that those people who cannot make even a small amount of net profit in a year probably don’t belong as an independent and equal citizen in our ranks, and like those who are physically and mentally incapable of work, should be put under the care of someone who is responsible.

A per capita tax is the most fair tax system imaginable. It reinforces the concept that no person in our society is better or more important than another, and no one is more or less deserving of their one share of ownership of our government.

Of course, the likelihood of implementing such a tax in my lifetime are nil. I propose, instead, the negative tax policy.

The way it works is as follows. Congress retains for itself the power to issue currency and coin. Then congress look at the economic growth of America and issue just enough currency to ensure that the total money available is roughly stable, so that there is no inflation or deflation. They should err on the side of caution, and perhaps program in a 1% or 1/10% inflation year-to-year as a baseline. This leaves Congress with vast sums of money.

How much money? I would imagine that with no taxes whatsoever, the United States would grow anywhere from 5% in a year to 20% in a year. With our current GDP at about $15 trillion, that equates to about $750 billion to $3 trillion in new cash that Congress must issue into general circulation. This is enough to cover the cost of government if you completely eliminate all entitlement and retirement programs, and work on a cash-only basis, that is, never making a promise to spend in the future, but paying all balances in full immediately.

Of course, with the economy growing at such a rate, in 20 years time, we would have even more vast fortunes that must be spent, just to keep the currency stable. That means that $20 20 years from now would buy about as much labor as $20 today. It is foreseeable that congress simply runs out of things to spend the money on, and simply writes a check of the surplus to each American alive.

Would such a system work? Absolutely. It’s worked in the past, and it will work today. It sounds crazy, but that’s only because you’ve been programmed to live with debt as your constant companion. For most of our history, debt was an evil that no one dared court if they could avoid it. The only reason banks exist today is because they, not the government, are allowed to print money and spend it as they see fit. We call this “fractional reserve banking”, and it means that banks get to clone the money in their vaults and pretend it is theirs to loan out. What a stupid system we live under! Why not allow the government to benefit from the increases in the economy, and divide the spoils first on those things that benefit everyone equally, and then to reward all Americans for their hard work?

A good instance of this working is the issuance of Greenbacks in Lincoln’s day. Lincoln simply invented a currency, had Congress print it, and then bought what supplies he needed to fund the Civil War with it. That’s all it took—no borrowing of any sort required.

The trouble is that the rich tend to want to see deflation, since deflation drives coins and bills into the hands of the rich, who can wait out lean times. So the rich encourage congress not to print enough money to match economic growth. The solution is rather simply: Make the House of Representatives the people’s house by giving every 30,000 people their own representative. No rich person or group of rich people could ever hope to sway 10,000 congressional races, where every voter in the race either knew the candidate personally or knew someone who knew the candidate personally. Instead, they would have to focus their time and attention to buying up the senate and state legislatures, which is the way it was intended to be from the beginning: the rich oligarchs run the senate, while the people at large run the house, and never the twain should meet.

Anyway, these are radical ideas, ideas enshrined even today within our constitution, ideas that made America the greatest country on God’s earth long before the rest of the world realized how powerful America really was. America became a super-power long before World War I. World War II was simply America flexing its muscles for the first time the in its history, and the entire world shook at our might. It was not our rise to power, it was simply the rest of the world realizing what had already been true for over a hundred years.

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul?

February 23, 2012

I had a terrifyingly good thought.

  • I’ve heard whispers that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have developed a sincere and close friendship.
  • I’ve seen how Romney and Paul treat each other. When they do take a swing at each other, usually it’s a quick jab, never followed by an uppercut.
  • When someone gets to the top of the pile that isn’t Romney, Ron Paul does an expert job at cutting him down to size by saying what needs to be said.

All of this suggests that Romney and Paul are really on the same side.

Questions:

  1. What if Romney chose Ron Paul (or Rand Paul) as his running mate?
  2. What if Ron Paul sent out a newsletter telling you to support Romney because he supports many of the principles Ron Paul stands for?
  3. What if Romney openly spoke about how he agrees with Ron Paul that we need to have a formal declaration of war and how we need to bring our troops home and protect our own borders?
  4. What if Romney came out and said that the reason why we have these cycles is because of the Fed, and we need to investigate and perhaps shut the Fed down?
  5. What if Romney came out and said that he intends to make the Constitution of the United States the supreme law of the land, and he’d start by limiting what his administration does to only those things congress is authorized by the constitution to permit him to do?

Would you support Romney if one or more of the above happened?

Unlike many republicans, I’m not afraid to say that Ron Paul has an honest chance at winning the entire election if nominated. I believe he can get support from across the board, bring in many people who would not otherwise vote, and put the democratic candidate into a little hole that would be all but indefensible. I believe Romney has a better chance, and would be a better president overall (even though secretly I think I agree more with Paul than Romney), so I support him. But I’m not afraid to say that Ron Paul is a very good candidate and his supporters deserve a full seat at the political round table.

I think it would be fantastically awesome if the new face of the Republican Party were dominated by Ron Paul supporters. Although they seem a little immature at times, I can easily explain that away with their youth and inexperience, which means I’d have no beef with them if they matured as all political people do. A Romney-Paul presidency would give them a huge boost, and set up America for 8 years of Rand or Ron Paul after Romney’s done.

Why Muslims Can’t Have Their Own State

February 23, 2012

In Tunisia and Egypt, it’s becoming very apparent that when Obama allowed the people to overthrow the government, he allowed muslim radicals to dominate the countries and rise to power. This is very, very bad for the world.

If you don’t understand why, if you’re one of those people that think everyone has a right to self-rule, then help me inform you.

I’m going to divide Muslims into two groups, based on one discriminating factor that is easily identified. The factor is this: do they respect the rights of others? Do they allow others to worship, to live, to do what they think is best? Or do they try to impose their ideas on others by force and without regard to what is best for the people around them?

Maybe it would help if we took the discussion of rights back to where it was five hundred years ago, when kings were everywhere and they claimed rights from God to rule. Why would some kings seem to do just fine while others couldn’t seem to get a grip on their throne and scepter? It’s rather simple. One group of kings understood their rights and responsibilities, two faces of the same coin, while the other group thought they could have one without another.

In those days, if a king rose up with a proper respect of his rights and responsibilities, and organized his nation under his leadership to be more peaceful, more just, and more effective in battle, and especially more wealthy, the people would celebrate him as a wise and just king, and would gladly lay down their lives to defend his position. If a king rose up with a different idea, that his rights entitled him to special privileges and didn’t demand justice for the people, then the people would gladly support whomever came along to replace him when the time was right.

Consider each man a king, each man in the world today endowed by God himself to rule on a throne of power. Some men will take that power and use it responsibly. These are the people who can self-rule and who can build societies with a republic form of government. Other men will abuse their rights for selfish purposes, not respecting the rights of the others around them. These are people who cannot self-rule, and when entrusted with the power to self-rule, end up harming themselves and the people around them.

Many Muslims in the Middle East are perfectly responsibly, ordinary salt-of-the-earth types. I don’t have a problem with them. Indeed, we need to treat them the same way we treat endangered species. I wouldn’t mind if America and the rest of the civilized world boldly declared that any fair-minded person in the Middle East who’s rights are not respected would be just cause for war. That is, if one person gets their hands chopped off without due process, one woman gets stoned to death without something resembling a fair trial, then we get to go in and invade the country.

You may think this is extreme, but it’s really not. In days past, we could easily contain threats from countries dominated by people who simply don’t understand that with rights come responsibility, or people who are incapable of acting responsibly. Geography and technology separated us. In these days, there is no such barrier.

And when you get a government run by these kinds of people, they will think little of taking bold action to kill people in other nations. We’ve already seen this, repeated, multiple times.

Which is why we need to unify behind whatever government we can to dominate these countries dominated by men incapable of governing themselves, whether they are popular or not. If there is a government of unjust men in some country in the Middle East, we need to overthrow it and replace it with an American-backed state. If there is any hope of one day a Muslim nation actually being dominated by responsible men, then we need to do it for the sake of the just in those countries.

If we admit that such a goal is too lofty, then we need to take a different stance with these countries. Rather than nation-building, we need to pursue a doctrine of perpetual destruction. Whenever one warlord rises to power, we play the other warlords to crush him, and ensure that they can never unify more than a few people at a time. That’s how Europe survived until now, despite the overwhelming capability of the Muslim nations to overthrow them.

Again, if the radical Muslims weren’t so numerous and weren’t so bent on abusing their rights, we wouldn’t need to have this discussion at all.

Occupy Wall Street in Tacoma

February 21, 2012

 

 

 

Santorum and Romney, Religion and Government

February 21, 2012

In the state of Washington, we once nominated a governor candidate that reminds me of Rick Santorum. Her name was Ellen Craswell, and she probably put our party back a good 10-20% for as long as I can remember. Even today, we are still suffering for it.

A person I know through a technology circle is a proud democrat. When I go down the laundry list of issues, there’s nothing, not one thing, he agrees with the democrats on, except for the idea that the government should not impose religion on the people. In all respects he is conservative, but he disagrees so much with what Ellen Craswell did, that he will forever vote democrat because the Republican Party scares the bejeebers out of him.

To be honest, people like Ellen Craswell, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum scare the bejeebers out of me. These are people who mean well, are very religious, but cannot understand the different roles that religion and government play in our society. Like any good stool, each leg has its own purpose, without which we have firewood. Our society can’t survive without religion, nor can we survive without government, but their roles are almost completely opposite one of another, just like the legs of the stool are clearly independent and different.

Rick Santorum has been making comments that lead me to believe that he is not qualified for any position of power in government. These comments make me think he wants to run for Pope of America, whatever that would look like. Romney, on the other hand, and Ron Paul, have both got the right message. So did Ronald Reagan.

Let me explain to my evangelical and so-called “social conservatives” what I mean. (I’ll explain why I put “social conservative” in quotes through this explanation.)

We all disagree on a lot of things. I believe God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings. You probably do not. I believe that to believe anything but what I believe is not only wrong, but will damn your soul to hell. The doctrine you believe is of the devil, a vicious lie invented to keep us separate from the true God.

Your blood is probably boiling right now, as it should. I don’t want to argue about what I just said, but to say that we have legitimate and deep religious disagreements that will not be resolved in the next ten minutes. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to debate this to no end. After all,there are souls at stake!

Now, let me go into some other beliefs that I have that are part of my religion:

  • I believe that we are all fundamentally the same, or in other words, equal. No one of us has a right to rule over the other, no one of us deserves more or less respect as a human being than any other.
  • I believe that fundamentally, we all have rights to believe what we like, to say what we like, and to do what we like. Of course, these rights are not unlimited. When we start interfering with other’s rights, or when we abuse our rights for the intent of harming ourselves or others, we’ve gone outside of the rights and we’re into territory where people around us should step in and stop us.
  • I believe that we need to have some form of government to govern our society, and that government, no matter what form it is, exists only to protect our rights.
  • I believe that when our government has abused its powers, it’s time to change the government, and that change can only come from the people so governed.
  • I believe that we can arrive at a very decent and handsome compromise, whereby we all agree to operate under laws and do things in order. That’s the constitution of our several states and our federal government, and the laws and regulations that go along with that. I believe that even though some of the laws are unjust and do violate our rights, that we can fix them in due time and that we’re better off obeying those laws now rather than having constant chaos.

I could go on. These beliefs constitute what I call our national religion. These are things you must similarly believe to really call yourself American. If you disagree with some of these things, like, say, for instance, the idea that government should protect the rights of individuals, or that people are fundamentally the same, then you’re obviously not American and probably really don’t like our country.

Keeping separate things separate is what these two sets of beliefs imply. The same guy I call damned is the same guy I’ll elect to hold office. Why? Because we’ve agreed that certain things simply don’t belong in government, namely, pushing a particular establishment of religion, IE, a church or a particular set of beliefs.

Let me phrase it a different way. If Romney becomes president, and as president, in an official or semi-official capacity, ever says, “I think people should believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet”, I will ask that he be impeached. I swear I will do it. That is not appropriate, not even in the slightest. However, if a President Romney goes to his church, and bears his testimony that he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet, and he believes other should as well, he is clearly not abusing his office to promote a particular establishment of religion.

By the same token, if President Romney shows a preference, in any way, to those people of a particular establishment of religion, including the LDS one, then I will be alarmed. I hope he will bend over backwards to find people that he trusts who are not Mormon to appoint to high positions and on his staff. I don’t want the president in ANY way, nor any elected official anywhere in our country, promoting a particular establishment of religion.

Why do I say “establishment of religion” and not just “religion”? Well, as I’ve said, we have a national religion, and we demand people adhere to its beliefs. That’s a religion the president must support, because he is our president! So if President Romney starts advocating that national religion, saying things like, “I believe people have natural rights, and that government’s job is to protect those rights” then I’m all for it! I’ll be whooping from the stands in agreement. It is the job of the government to promote that particular religion.

Now, President Romney may neglect certain national beliefs. That’s his choice in office. He may try to change some of our beliefs, which he can attempt but ultimately won’t be very successful at. But he really has to be the spokesperson for our national religion by virtue of his office. We believe government reflects the people, not the other way around. We believe government should serve the people, so let it serve and not rule.

Now, back to Ellen Craswell, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. These are people that have abused their position even before they were elected. Rick, I’m sorry, when you speak as a candidate, I don’t want to hear about your particular establishment of religion, I don’t even want to hear about Christianity in general. Stick to our national religion, the religion that gives us our government and our liberties. Unite us with your defense of the common religion we almost all agree in. Don’t turn the president into the pope.

To say it is “socially conservative” to talk about your establishment of religion in an official capacity as an official or candidate in any way shows you are trying to fundamentally change the way America is supposed to work. You are not advocating a conservative position at all: you want to change something into the way it was not. You are a liberal!

Now, let’s talk about some sensitive topics: Homosexual Marriage, abortion, birth control, contraceptives, etc… These are issues that are religious in nature. They are vitally important to our national religion, the government supported one, and to our establishments of religion across the country. They blur the line, so to speak. It is imperative that candidates for office do not blur the line anymore than it already is. In fact, they should do the opposite, drawing a clear line between establishments of religion and our national religion, helping people see what is OK to legislate and what is not.

What do I mean? I mean, when a candidate Romney gets up and says something like, “Personally, I believe abortion is wrong. But I do not intend to overturn the law of the land.” he is demonstrating he understands where that line is. Yes, the national religion may come to believe something you do not personally believe, but you will be asked as a representative of the people and thus the national religion to defend it. It is imperative as an elected official, you take the back seat and do your job of representing the people, not trying to use the government to change things. The LDS religion allows this. While we do not drink alcohol, we do not have any rules against serving of selling alcohol, or being in the presence of people who imbibe. While we will never encourage someone to get an abortion, you won’t find us bombing abortion clinics. I can’t say the same for all religions, but I hope most religions can allow their adherents to represent the people even if the people demand something contrary to their personal religion.

Let me elucidate some more. If Romney did decide as Governor of Massachusetts that his job was to overturn Roe v. Wade, then what kind of arguments should he use?

  • “Since I believe children are literal spirit children of our Heavenly Father, and since our purpose on earth is to grow and experience whatever life has to offer us, so that we can develop into beings like Heavenly Father, then we cannot support abortion as a nation, and I support this bill that does XYZ.”
  • “Since it is in our state’s interests to see that all life, even the unborn, is protected, and since we know that there are plenty of people waiting to adopt, I am putting my efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, and support this bill that does XYZ.”

Do you see the difference? One argument is based on purely religious grounds, not the national religion, but the establishment of religion Romney happens to be part of: the LDS church. I will freely use that argument to convince as many people as I can, but I am not a representative of our government! I am free to push my religion on whomever’s willing to endure me. The second argument is based purely on our national religion, arguing from grounds that we all (roughly) agree on. This argument isn’t nearly as effective as the previous, but it is all he can rely on.

If he can’t argue based on our national religion, then it’s best to wait until he national religion changes. People like me and others can see to it that the vast majority of the people come to believe that abortion is inherently wrong. When we all come to agree on something like that, then the government can follow suit and make a similar change, based purely on our national religion.

There are some of you who think we can live a life free from religion, but this is absurd. We have to believe in something, even if it is the believe that we can use logic and reason to govern our lives. And as a society, we have to have something that binds us altogether in a common goal and purpose. So I’d like you to seriously consider what I am saying.

Those of you who are still ticked that Romney didn’t make abortion a priority as governor of Massachusetts need to think whether or not you are really a social conservative at all, or whether you are a religious fanatic trying to use government force to impose your ideas on others. If you end up as the latter, then know this: Even if I agree with your intent, I oppose your method. Hitler may have wanted to create a peaceful, just society, which I agree with, but he went about it in the wrong way and ended up creating something far, far worse. So too, your noble intentions will end up causing irreparable harm for many generations, and you’re not smart enough to see that right now.

If you care about the budget, you cannot elect a democrat to our state legislature.

February 21, 2012

I think I speak for most, maybe all, of the people of the State of Washington when I say we want a sane government with a balanced budget. We may not agree on how to get there, either through spending cuts or tax increases, but we all know that the way to a positive future is not in spending tomorrow’s dollars today.

When I see things like the House Democrats and their $405 million budget trick, I get really, really nervous. The sad news is even the republican proposal (which will never see the light of day) still only provides for a 2.1% reserve against what most people agree should be a 5% reserve.

The even sadder thing is that there is a $2,000 million shortfall coming at us in the near future.

We need to substantially change the way we budget in Olympia. Whatever we are doing is not working, and our kids are going to end up paying the price, both with today’s education dollars and tomorrow’s repayment for our mistakes.

Got an Education Reform Idea? Too bad.

February 21, 2012

Mark Knapp in Federal Way writes about his ideas to reform education. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very good ideas I wish our districts would adopt, but I hate to break the news to him: these kinds of things will never happen.

Why? It’s simple. Education is a political football, just like senior care. Politicians use it to raise money and get elected. The teacher’s unions across our country use it to fatten their paychecks and accomplish their ends. Once a thing becomes a political football, we voters are just strung along, our emotions abused, and we never see what we hope.

The solution is rather simple: Take the football out of the hands of the politicians. That would mean putting the school board, the local residents, businesses, and parents, in complete control of education in their area. With the football firmly in the hands of the people that actually care about the issue, things will happen when they need to happen.

How do we get there from here? First, we have to stop funding education with federal dollars. This gives the federal government some of the political football, because they control how much money is spent and how that money is spent. If the federal government were firm in giving nothing to education, the teacher’s unions, the education reformists, and the politicians wouldn’t even think of going to Washington DC to accomplish their end.

What needs to happen next is getting the state governments out of education. I understand that people feel like we need to tax people in Spokane to fund education in Tacoma, but the problem is that you get into a budget fight in the state house rather than in the schools across the state. The same problem that involving the federal government applies to state governments as well.

State governments should provide the legal constructs that districts need to raise their own money, but I don’t believe they should handle the money at all. State politicians should be focused on state issues, not local issues like schools. It makes no more sense to have the legislature work on zoning issues than to have the counties and cities work on the state budget.

One of the arguments against this kind of broad reform is that people are too stupid to manage their own school. The classic case is the poor single black mother. I think this idea is idiotic, misanthropic, and at worst, racist. There is no person more devoted to education reform than the parents of the poorest kids in our schools. They know that the only hope for their kids is to get smart and get off the street, and they know the only way that can happen is with school reform. Politicians may tinker at reform to get votes and money, but they are not in the same situation as a poor, black single mother in the nation’s poorest and most crime-ridden areas. In a common saying, who’s the chickens and who’s the pigs? Which do you think cares more about what’s for breakfast?

Our nation has a history of being #1 in education. The reason why we were is because poor, uneducated farmers and members of the lowest classes in our inner cities ran our schools. They might not have know much about what it takes to hire good teachers or build good schools, but they were motivated more than any other to see to it that those things happened to their kids.

So, my message to any education reformer: If you really want to reform education, you need to change the system fundamentally. Get politicians out of the mix, meaning, get education out of government and into the hands of the people who care about it most.

Oh No! The Mormons Baptize the Dead!

February 19, 2012

There is a lot of hay out of Mitt Romney’s religion coming from the left now that it’s all but certain he will be the nominee. (Psst! Mitt Romney’s a Moooooormon)

One of the silliest attacks I can imagine is an attack on our doctrine of salvation for the dead, or in other words, the ordinances we perform “for and in behalf of” the people who have gone before us.

There are only two possibilities: Either the Mormons are who they claim to be, God’s chosen people who have a duty to bring the gospel to the earth in anticipation of the Second Coming, holders of the same priesthood keys that Peter had, the sealing power to seal and loosen in heaven, or we do not.

If you believe we are who we claim to be, then we are doing the most illustrative great work since the foundation of the world. We intend, with no exaggeration, to baptize and perform other essential ordinances for every human who ever lived on this earth, or ever will. Thus clothed with these ordinances, they will be able to, if they desire, stand with us and the righteous hosts from the history of the world before God and be crowned as kings and priests unto God forever. We will rise together, as equals and peers of Christ, to unimaginable glory and eternal life, a life like God has now.

If you believe we are who we claim to be, and you oppose our work, then you are obviously an instrument of that great destroyer who wants to drag down all of mankind to an eternal hell. You stand opposed to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

If you believe who we claim to be, and have an ounce of desire for good, then you will join us in our efforts, be baptized into our church, live worthily so that you can perform the saving ordinances for your ancestors and the ancestors of people from across the world.

If you believe we are not who we claim to be, but something else, even something malevolent, then you have nothing to worry about. We cannot change one thing either in this world or the world to come. God is not amused with our sacrilege and supposition, and will surely throw us into hell to burn for eternity.

However, even if you think we are wrong, you must admire us for how we think of our fellow beings. We like what we have, and we intend to share it with everyone.

If you believe you can opt out of baptism for the dead, either for you or your family, you are going to be sadly wrong. See, at some point in time, someone, maybe a descendant, maybe a distant relative, is going to ask us to do the work on your behalf and for your ancestors. While you are free to refuse our gift, you are not free to not be offered it. We will honor your request not to do your work, at least until someone living who can speak on your behalf will permit us, because we are nice people, and it is not our intent to anger people. We do not believe God will hold us guiltless if we leave even one person unbaptized. Indeed, we believe that if we cannot show up with a complete record of every living soul to be born on this earth, with a complete set of saving ordinances, then we will be just as damned as that person who lacks the ordinances.

No other religion offers what we have. No other religion can explain God’s justice and mercy, and show how they are both in effect at the same time. No other church can explain why it isn’t a tragedy to have someone live their life in complete ignorance of the gospel. No other religion can offer to save not only people who accept the gospel in this life, but everyone who ever would accept the gospel. All those who admit God is just must also wonder why God would “unjustly” cause people to live and die without an opportunity to repent. We don’t wonder about those things, because we know how everyone will be saved if they so desire.

What does this have to do with Mitt Romney? Nothing. Mitt Romney is not our church leader, does not set our church policy, and is no more or less important than me and millions upon millions of other members.

Mitt Romney is asking to be president of the United States, not the pope, and not the Mormon ambassador of the church.

These stupid attacks on his religion are pointless and absurd. The fact the left attacks our candidate this way must mean they believe attacking a candidate’s religion is a valid way to criticize a candidate. Well, Mr.. Obama, do you support or reject your pastor’s comment, “God Damn America!” If it is going to be a war of religions, then I say, bring it on. I would love to tell you why Obama’s religion is actually a real threat to America, and why the LDS one will save us by providing us with even greater religious freedoms.

If you think Mitt Romney believes it will be his job to impose his religion on the people of the United States as president, then you are calling him a bald-faced liar, and you must believe he is a covert agent who governed Massachusetts the way he did because he was expecting to become president later, and only then, will he reveal his secret Mormon agenda to take over the government of the United States. If you’re the type of person who believes this sort of thing, please do us all a favor, go find a good psychiatrist, lay off the weed, and don’t vote until you are sane again.