Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A proposal for peace in the Prop 8 wars

There's a lot of anger over Prop 8 in California, which passed narrowly, banning gay marriage and is danger of being overturned by the Attorney General. As an opponent of Prop 8 who seeks a compromise acceptable to both parties, I propose the folowing amendment to the California Constitution: Homosexuals shall not pay California income tax as long as Prop 8 is the law of the land.

Special priviliges for a minority, you ask? Not at all. Since homosexuals, who are here legally and pay taxes, are being denied rights that heterosexuals enjoy, they should not be forced to pay taxes to a government that treats them as second-class citizens. Let's use a historical anaology: Should blacks in the early 20th century in the South have been forced to pay taxes to governments that denied them rights? I say, unequivocally, no!

So, my conservative friends, here's a deal: you can stop what you consider the horror of gay marriage, but the state's finances will suffer. But, surely, paying a little more tax is worth it to keep these sinners from getting married?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sore winners in the gay marriage battle

I strongly opposed Proposition 8, the initiative in California that banned gay marriage. It did pass,however, and I concede defeat. I oppose Jerry Brown's attempts to nullify the results of the election. Having said this, I am very upset over a news report that says advocates of Prop 8 want to retroactively ban all gay marriages. Even people already married before the unfortunate passage of Prop 8 may have their marriages invalidated. This should offend anyone with a sense of fairness and decency. What harm has these marriages done to anyone? The term "sore losers" is widely known; perhaps "sore winners" will enter the lexicon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama seeks health care reform

Apparently, President-elect Obama is seeking advice on what to do about the health care problem—yes, there actually is a problem, contra George "everyone can just go to an emergency room" Bush. I highly recommend this book to Mr.Obama and everyone else interested in a solution to our mess: Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America. The author, Dr.Ezekiel Emanuel, proposes a radical solution: every American should get a health care voucher equivalent to the benefits members of Congress receive. No one would be denied care because of a preexisting condition. Dr.Emanuel's plan would not be identical to Canada's "single-payer system," because he believes those plans encourage fraud and long waits. My only quibble with this book is that he proposes a VAT tax to pay for his plan, and I'm not sure people would accept this. Notwithstanding this flaw, this is still the best health care book I have read. I also suggest Melvin Konner's Medicine at the Crossroads—which endorses a single-payer system.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Liberal intellectual establishment takes control

A must read at Academic elites fill Obama's roster. For the next four (at least) years we will be ruled by what Noam Chomsky calls "the liberal intellectual establishment." If you're looking for any real diversity of viewpoints, abandon all hope. As the article says: "Of Obama's top 35 appointments so far, 22 have degrees from an Ivy League school, MIT, Stanford, the University of Chicago or one of the top British universities." This raises the question: does an Ivy League degree truly confer wisdom upon its recipient? I know what my liberal friends will argue: It couldn't be worse than the last eight years! Perhaps, but my standards are a little higher than most. Change? Well, if by change you mean a return to 1993, I suppose you're right. It looks like Bill Clinton's third term, minus a few Arkansas cronies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Journalists don't know logic

From The San Diego Union Tribune , October 29,2008, defending Sarah Palin's position on illegal immigration," Boringly sensible":

Now, in a recent interview with Univision, the Spanish-language television network, Palin has staked out a perfectly reasonable position. We know that her position is reasonable not because she agrees with our point of view, though she does, but because she immediately came under fire from the extremes at the right and the left.

No, esteemed journalists of the Tribune, we do not know that to be true. You're committing a logical fallacy called the middle ground fallacy. The centrist position is not always correct, and sometimes the "extremists" are right. Would the Tribune argue that in 1860 we should have taken a middle ground between freeing the slaves and leaving them all in bondage? Maybe Lincoln should have only freed half of them. Perhaps—dare we say it—he was an extremist! He wasn't in the sensible center! What about genocide? How about in Darfur we let half of the people die. That may sound horrible, but we don't want to be extremists!

Please don't post comments on the merits of Palin's position. That's not the point

Sarah Palin—Socialist?

Alright, my Republican friends, here's a test of your intellectual honesty. If you're against "spreading the wealth," how can you vote for a candidate who says: "And Alaska—we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs." (Source is The New Yorker, 9-22-2008). I'm curious how you can vote for a socialist like Governor Palin.I know what you're saying: This is different—well, because she's a Republican.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama supporter makes great case against him

I highly recommend this blog. The blog is written by a brilliant man, Melvin Konner, who is an anthropologist,professor at Emory, an M.D, and author of numerous books, most recently a history of the Jewish people. Like me he doesn't like either candidate. But he is very reluctantly voting for Obama. (I am endorsing Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party). But, in the blog explaining his vote for Obama, he makes very strong criticisms of the Democratic candidate:

Obama, I believe, is not ready to be president. He is objectively the least experienced nominee for president in over a century. He has said much, but done very little. He has policies and rhetoric, but no experience. He went to Harvard and excelled there; he gave up a chance at a lucrative law career and did good work in the streets of Chicago. I know many people who fit this and similar descriptions. This doesn’t qualify them to be president.

He served as a state senator and performed acceptably. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in an easy race and he did practically nothing in the Senate before he began the all-consuming run for the White House. His greatest accomplishment by far is winning that race (so far), and I don’t find that reassuring.

As for his eloquence, I find it rather empty. I am not persuaded that he is capable of standing up to the truly evil men in this world, and I am not persuaded that he is a true friend to Israel. With the exception of his initial opposition to the war, I think he has been wrong on Iraq for years now. I think he is foolish to propose negotiations with Iran at the level of the presidency, and I doubt that he has the resolve to do what may be necessary to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

I agree completely with Dr.Konner's assessment of Obama, though I wish he would join me in voting third party. I would urge anyone voting for Obama to read those paragraphs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My take on the mortgage crisis

I'm feeling somewhat tired so I'm simply going to reprint a letter I wrote to my local paper(responding to a conservative who blamed it on ACORN and minority lending.):

Many of the institutions that spurred the massive growth of the subprime market were companies such as Argent and American Home Mortgage, which were generally not regulated by the Federal Reserve or other entities that monitored compliance with the CRA. As the conservative but honest American Conservative magazine has asked: Did community organizers really force lenders to infect all financial markets by repackaging their bad mortgages into securities? Did poor blacks invent credit default swaps? The mortgage crisis is the fault of the easy credit policies of the Federal Reserve and industry recklessness; it is absurd to blame it on loans to poor minorities.

There are lots of villains in this crisis: Barney Frank, who was bought off by Fannie and Freddie, President Bush, who stopped state attorney generals from going after unscrupulous lenders,homeowners who took out loans they couldn't afford, irresponsible lenders, the Fed which lowered rates way too much and caused overspeculation, etc.. Not a lot of heroes here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chuck Baldwin for President!

Finally, an endorsement from me for President! The world has waited so long. My candidate is not anyone who can actually win, alas. Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party— is my choice. While I have some disagreements with the platform, it is still far superior to either of the major parties. The Constitution Party stands for low taxes, secure borders, a constitutional foreign policy (i.e. war will actually be have to be declared),sound money, and fiscal responsibility. I can support a party even when I have a few disagreements with them. I urge any reader to vote for Chuck Baldwin for President.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin the big tax andspender

Some statistics, courtesy of Michael Kinsley at Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 2 1/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. Furthermore, Palin has slapped a windfall profit tax on the oil companies. Kinsley asks an obvious question that Joe Biden needs to ask: Why is a windfall profits tax good for Alaska but not for the rest of us? Grover Norquist, are you paying attention?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lunatic VP candidate

Sarah Palin is a religious lunatic who is extremely dangerous. Doubt me?
See this. Oh, and for the record, here's a list of some of Palin's religious based beliefs:
1. supports teaching creationism in schools
2. is against abortion even if cases of rape and incest
3. supports abstinence only programs that have proved to be unsuccessful (e.g.,see her pregnant 17-year old daughter.

When you combine her religous lunacy with McCain's neoconservative beliefs and bad temper you have a scary combination.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Irrelevant news; "managing the economy"

Breathtaking news! From Reuters: WASHINGTON - In a sharp turnaround, Republican John McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race and is seen as a stronger manager of the economy, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

McCain leads Obama among likely U.S. voters by 46 percent to 41 percent, wiping out Obama's solid 7-point advantage in July and taking his first lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll.

That's a great story, hard-working journalists of Reueters, but I have a few questions. When was the Electoral College repealed and replaced by a nationwide popular vote? If it wasn't, why does it matter who leads in the popular vote? Shouldn't Al Gore be just ending his two terms of office—he won the popular vote in 2000 pretty easily?

Another question—what does it mean to say McCain would manage the economy better? How would one person "manage" the transactions of millions of people? Isn't managing the economy (wrongly in my opinion) left to the Federal Reserve Board?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mediocre minds think alike; do I have a soul?

For some reason I can't fathom (probably either masochism or an utter lack of a social life) I watched a little bit of Bill O'Reilly's show last week. His guest was a local—and incidentally awful—newspaper columnist named Ruben Navarette of the (San Diego) Union Tribune. O'Reilly asked Navarette if he was a Democrat or Republican and then Navarette responded that he wasn't sure if O'Reilly was a Democrat or a Republican either. Hmm... Let's unravel this mystery, Mr. Navarette. O'Reilly takes the conservative side of about 95% of the issues facing our country. On this basis, I'm going to assume he's a Republican. Yes, he calls himself (a little too often) an independent, but that don't make it so. Anyone who doubts he's a Republican should contrast his rough interview with Hillary Clinton with his softball interview with John McCain. If you haven't seen them they're probably available on YouTube (what isn't nowadays?)

Just to prove stupidity is bipartisan,incidentally, check out this comment to me on in response to my negative review of Keith Olbermann's recent book:

If after that, you still are of the same opinion, knowing (or maybe not knowing anything at all) that each of his comments come from the facts of the incidents of their time, then you Sir, are not interested in the truth, but merely intent on living in your world of denial and self deception. You'er not outraged by the bush crime family, because 1) you aren't paying attention, or 2) have no soul.!

I pay pretty good attention, so it must be option 2. I have no soul! Well, that's literally true, as I don't believe there is such a thing as a soul. But it's safe to say my correspondent meant to make a much harsher point than that metaphysical claim.

To give the devil his due, Olbermann has not yet claimed to be an Independent.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A solution to the immigration problem? OK, probably not.

I'm not one of those libertarian types who thinks government is always stupid and inefficient, but this story may make me reconsider. The "solution" is, courtesy of my local paper, the North County Times:

REGION: Illegal immigrants asked to leave voluntarily


Immigration officials in San Diego say they will start a pilot program Tuesday asking people who are in the country illegally to leave voluntarily, a plan that advocacy groups on both sides of the issue said probably will not work.

The program was designed to give illegal immigrants who have been ordered to leave by an immigration judge an opportunity to work with officials to ease their deportation, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego.

San Diego is one of five enforcement offices around the country that will be taking part in the trial program, which is scheduled run through Aug. 22. The other offices are in Santa Ana; Phoenix; Chicago and Charlotte, N.C.

The program will give people up to 90 days to make arrangements to leave the country, Mack said. It also will help people avoid the expense of being arrested and deported by immigration agents, which some immigrant rights groups say can be traumatic for families.

(I'm not commenting; I feel that would be superfluous.)

For the whole story see here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

May we leave now?

According to this very good online magazine Michael Yon ,the war in Iraq has been won. Mr. Yon puts it well:

I would go so far as to say that barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What's left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it's time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.

I agree with Mr.Yon. Great news! As George Aiken, a former Republican senator, once said about Vietnam: Let's declare victory and get out. I'm not supporting Barack Obama for President, but I agree (mainly) with his position on Iraq. He favors (at least until his next flip-flop) a withdrawal lasting about 16 months with a residual force that will be left behind. He is somewhat vague about how big the force would be-I have heard it could be as much as 85,000, which seems awfully high. Whatever his plan's weakness, it is far superior to his opponent's. McCain seems to favor an endless occupation. It is not in our national interest to keep 100,000+ troops in Iraq for many years. There are too many other dangerous areas in the world.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

States taking over on mortgage debt crisis

The federal government's utter failure to aid homeowners hit hard by the mortgage crisis has not escaped the notice of the state governments. Many of them, according to an interesting article in USA Today, have been taking measures into their own hands. All told, about 20 states have launched foreclosure intervention or prevention initiatives.

"There's a lot of frustration with Congress," says Chris Kukla of the Center for Responsible Lending. "States are looking at every avenue they can. When they go home to voters this fall, they'll be asked, 'Why didn't you do more?' "

These measures may not be enough, but it's something. Too bad our elected representatives and the President can't do anything at all.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

McCain gaffe not a gaffe

John McCain has made a lot of foolish statements recently. I found his joking about Iranian civilian deaths to be offensive and not at all funny. But one statement he made is defensible; he said: "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed."

Perhaps "disgrace" is a strong word, but why is it taboo to criticize the way Social Security is funded? Allow me to quote a friendly biographer of Franklin Roosevelt, William Leuchtenburg: "It was an astonishingly inept and conservative piece of legislation. In no other welfare system in the world did the state shirk all responsibility for old-age indigency and insist that funds be taken out of the current earnings of workers." (Source is Walter Karp's great book Indispensable Enemies), p.130. I believe Jimmy Carter in the 1970s proposed funding Social Security through general revenues, an idea which makes a lot of sense. Why can't the subject be discussed? Is the present system sacred?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My ten point plan for saving America

No reader of this blog is going to like all of these, so bring on the complaints (calmly and rationally please):

1. Secure the southern border with Mexico while allowing for a path to legalization for those already here (yes, AMNESTY, if you want to use that word)
2. Abolish the Federal Reserve and put the dollar back on gold. That's how we can stop inflation.
3. Insitute ASAP a single-payer health care plan, like France's. No more spending billions on overhead for private health insurance companies.
4. Decriminalize drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and LSD. Regulate and tax it. Users will be sent to treatment, not to jail. We didn't have drug laws until the beginning of the 20th century. Were we a nation of zombies before 1910?
5. Move gradually to nuclear power. It is much cleaner and safety concerns are overblown. Just ask the people of France. Not every factory manager will be Mr. Burns from the Simpsons.
6. Simplify the tax code, while still keeping it progressive. Only deductions should be charitable contributions and mortgage interest. Perhaps a top rate of 25% for those making $500,000 plus, 15% for $125,000 to $500,000, and 10% for all others. (I'm flexible on the numbers).
7. Payroll taxes should be abolished. All revenue needed for government functions can be paid out of the general revenue, rather than taking it out of the worker's paycheck. That would create jobs and cut taxes on the working poor.
8. All "social" questions such as gay marriage and abortion should be left to the people-not the courts- of the individual states.
9. All racial preferences, a.k.a. affirmative action, should be abolished, for all groups.
10. All candidates for federal office who refuse public money should be entitled to public financing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why aren't we dead already?

There's an interesting article in the Nation magazine this week on global warming. Note I said interesting, not coherent. The author, Mark Hertsgaard, makes the following curious statement:

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere in 2007 was 385 parts per million and climbing 2 ppm a year. Alarmingly, Hansen's study concluded that 350 ppm is the maximum level compatible with a livable planet. In other words, humanity is already in the danger zone and must reverse course rapidly.
(He is referring to James Hansen, a scientist very vocal on the dangers of global warming).

Hertsgaard wants the reader to think: "We're past the breaking point- the end is near if we don't massively cut CO2." But it seems like the article avoids a key question: If we're well past 350 ppm already, and we're not in an unlivable planet, doesn't that indicate that Hansen is being an alarmist? If we are OK on 385 ppm, why is 350 ppm the breaking point? Is it remotely possible that the link between CO2 and temperature is overstated? Just asking...

In a completely unrelated note, Hertsgaard has written the best book I ever read on the Reagan presidency, On Bended Knee.

One article on global warming I highly recommend is Alexander Cockburn's Dissidents Against Dogma. He is a leftist skeptical of the anthropogenic global warming theory, which is hard to find.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Candidates and their colorful preachers

Barack Obama has gotten (fairly, in my view) tough coverage over his pastor's insane, anti-American rantings. Now it's time for the media to cover the insane rantings of John McCain supporter John Hagee. Hagee has recently said Hitler fullfilled God's will. He is the leader of a group called Christians United for Israel. This name may suggest a harmless group; they are anything but that. They are urging a very hard line on Iran, perhaps hoping that a war with Iran would lead to Armageddon and the Second Coming. Maybe we need to take a hard line with Iran; I am open-minded on that subject. But we do not need religious lunatics pushing us into war to fullfill their insane fantasies.

There cannot and should not be a double standard here. McCain needs to reprimand the comments of Hagee immediately. I believe firmly that religious extremism is the greatest threat to the survival of our planet. The fact that a person is the leader of a church or religious movement does not, at all, make his ideas ipso facto respectable. In fact, it's safe to say that the more religious a person is the less logical he becomes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

California supreme court overreaches

While I have no objection to gay marriage, I cannot endorse the recent decision of the California Supreme Court declaring it a constitutional right. Gay marriage is a question that should be decided by the democratic process. As Justice Marvin R. Baxter so eloquently opined in his dissent, the majority, "not satisfied with the pace of democratic change, now abruptly forestalls that process and substitutes, by judicial fiat, its own social policy views for those expressed by the people themselves." I hesitate to use the word "activist judges," as that is a grossly overused term, but in this case I think it's accurate. In November California as a whole will vote on the issue. I will vote to keep it legal.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Political idiot of the week

It's no contest; Senator Arlen Specter, R-PA is the idiot of the week. (I should tell my Republican readers this is a non-partisan blog so don't assume I'm out to get Republicans). While his constituents are losing their homes, jobs, and health care, Specter has other priorities. What is his main focus today, you ask? Spygate. For those of you who aren't football fans, Spygate is the name of a "scandal" involving the New England Patriots taping the football practices of the New York Jets in the beginning of the 2007 season. Why is a U.S. Senator getting involved in an NFL matter like this? I have no idea, and no one I know seems to have any idea either. His constituents (hopefully) are starting to wonder why their Senator is wasting time and resources on something completely trivial. I have one word for the people of Pennsylvania: Recall!

Liberals vs. Obama

There is a great political rant by a liberal against Obama at this great blog I just saw called The Liberal Rapture. This is an excellent case against Obama. The blogger, rightly in my opinion, calls the Obama movement a cult. My favorite line from the blog: "He has willfully associated with bigots, slumlords and terrorists to further his career. (Yes, William Ayres is a terrorist.)" At my local paper's discussion forum (, the Obama fanatics launch the most absurd, unfair attacks against you if you dare criticize their hero.

Paul Krugman, liberal New York Times columnist, also had an excellent column on Obama May 9: (registration required). Krugman points out that Obama is not connecting with blue-collar white voters. Whether because of racial reasons or his elitist comments last month, Obama lost North Carolina and Indiana whites by over 20 points. My guess is that he doesn't do much better in November among these people. I predict (I stress I am not making an endorsement) is that McCain beats him solidly.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Right-wing fool of the week

Congratulations to Laura Ingraham, talk show host, author, and guest host on The O'Reilly Factor (strange how his hosts are never liberal or moderate). She stated, responding to O'Reilly's statement that Iraq was a "mess", that Iraq was doing great and that there had been much progress in that country. Really? How does Ms.Ingraham arrive at this conclusion? Was it the result of careful, dispassionate analysis? Or was it, as I'm inclined to believe, her dogmatic, mediocre mind seeing what she wants to see? In fact, there has not been progress at all. Anyone who reads the newspapers (which would not include President Bush) can easily see that the situation in Iraq is getting worse every month. Unlike Ingraham, I'll produce some evidence to support my assertion:

"U.S. death toll reaches 7-month high, 50 personnel die in April," (San Diego Union Tribune May 1, 2008. (This was the day before a suicide bomb killed 35 more people). The article further says: "Iraqi civilian deaths also remained high following the Iraqi crackdown on Shiite militias." There's a lot more bad news in the article, but the point is--I believe--made. Wake up and smell the civil war, Laura.

I'm not partisan by any means. I'll try to have "left-wing fool of the week" next week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

More media love for McCain

Romeo and Juliet had nothing on the love the mainstream media have for John McCain. Even liberal newspapers who don't see eye-to-eye with him ideologically can't stop praising his (supposed) political courage. This is a segment of an editorial from the LA Times:

"Far from pandering, John McCain tells financially hard-pressed voters what they don't want to hear." It goes on to say that McCain is bravely standing up for NAFTA and rejecting the evils of "protectionism." (NAFTA was not a free trade treaty, but expecting a newspaper editor to understand that is too much to ask.)

Wow, what courage. Preaching the conservative gospel of "free trade good, government bad," to factory workers who have lost their jobs is somehow an act of great virtue. the media's worship of McCain is reaching new heights. I highly suggest David Brock's brilliant book on the love affair, Free Ride:John McCain and the Media .

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Disaster in Iraq

The war in Iraq has, incredibly, gotten worse over the last month. From the local paper's excellent coverage ( The San Diego Union-Tribune) there were two excellent if depressing articles:

1. "Dozens killed by bombings in four cities." Nearly 60 people died. As the article stated (cannot find link) "the bloodshed struck directly at U.S. claims that the Sunni insurgency is waning and being replaced by Shiite militia violence as a major threat. The deadliest blasts took place in two cities where the U.S. military has claimed varying degrees of success in getting the Sunnis to turn against Al-Qaeda in Iraq." (Kim Gamel, AP).

2. "Against U.S. pleas, Iraqi soldiers flee posts." (Michael Gordon, New York Times). The justification -such as it is- for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is that they would train the Iraqis to defend themselves and then we could depart. Alas, the Iraqis don't care enough to fight against al-Sadr. As the report put it: "Many of the American soldiers (were) wondering about the tenacity of their Iraqi allies."

I would not have used the word "allies", but OK. The point is that the Iraqis have no desire whatsoever to fight for us and never will. They do not want to take orders from foreigners directing them to kill their countrymen. When will our leaders wake up to the fact this occupation is a tragic waste of lives and money? Nothing is being accomplished. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winning economist, estimates that the war will cost $3 trillion when all is done. The words that come to mind are two: catastrophic mistake.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Worst column of the year

Even Ruben Navarette would be embarassed to write a column this bad: courtesy of Timothy Egan of the New York Times here. There are so many absurd statements and logical fallacies it's hard to know where to begin. Question to Mr. Egan: Who is calling for the deportation of 12 million illegal immigrants? Please name these people. And--this should be obvious-- the fear of Jeremiah Wright is not that he is a black preacher, it is that he is spewing anti-American, anti-Israeli propaganda. I notice Wright, in Egan's eyes, is not a demagogue,merely a victim of demagogues.

The candidate of ignorance

John McCain doesn't seem to know a whole about-- well, anything. He openly admits he doesn't know anything about economics. He doesn't know the difference between Iranian Shiites and Al-Qaeda Sunnis. He also has no clue how to solve the mortgage crisis- other to repeat free market shibboleths. He does know, however, that Islamic terrorists are bad. No argument from me there. I'm reminded of the Sam Cooke song: "Don't know much about history, don't know much about geography.." See this link at the San Diego Examiner.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is this the best we can do?

It seems likely that the Presidential election will be between Barack Obama and John McCain. I can't in good conscience vote for or endorse either of them. Obama's connections to radical preacher Jeremiah Wright and his wife's obvious anti- Americanism disqualify him. On the other hand, McCain's neoconservative positions (hard line with Russia and Iran) and embrace of the spurious doctrine of supply-side economics (i.e voodoo economics)make him unacceptable. There is no way for an independent like myself to vote for either of these men.

I would like to start a third party. Perhaps we can call it the Populist Party. (Not original, but a good name nonetheless). Our philosophy will be simple. We will stand up for the vast majority of the people against the powerful lobbyists. We will be champions of true democracy. We will eschew dogma of both the left and right. If we only had a candidate...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Priorities out of whack

Let's see what the main issue facing Congress is today. You might,naively, think it's health care, immigration, terrorism, the economy, or the war in Iraq. You would be wrong. The main priority of Congress is prosecuting Roger Clemens for steroid use and possible lying about it. Congress has suggested the Justice Department investigate Clemens' possible deception. Have we lost our minds, ladies and gentlemen? Is this worth one cent of the taxpayer's money? (That's not a rhetorical question; the answer is no). When Al-Qaeda surrenders, the borders are secure, the war in Iraq is over,and everyone can get health care then we can focus on the moral failings of Mr.Clemens.

This insane lack of priorities would be funny if it wasn't so dangerous. How many real criminals will not be investigated by the Justice Department because it is focusing on Roger Clemens' possible steroid use? The government's resources are limited. Go after the real criminals: terrorists, felons, et al. Give me a break from this steroid obsession.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No to ideologues

Although I am an atheist, I do not believe that the greatest danger to our country is religion. The greatest danger to our country is dogmatic ideology. What I mean by dogmatic ideology is simple: belief in things without evidence. I highly recommend James Burnham's book The Suicide of the West even though it was published years ago. In it, he defines ideology as the belief in something in spite of conflicting facts and evidence. He mentions several examples: anti-Semitism, segregationism, extreme paranoia about Communists in government (e.g. the John Birch Society), and a few others. Burnham points out that arguing with an ideologue is a waste of time because an ideologue will never change his mind no matter how much evidence contradicts his a priori view of the world.

Take global warming, for example. Is there any evidence that could convince Al Gore that global warming is not occurring, or Senator James Inhofe that it is? Of course not. Any contradicting evidence will be explained away. In fact, many advocates of global warming actually claim, with a straight face, that the extreme cold winter we are experiencing is more proof of global warming. They use the intellectually dishonest trick of renaming global warming "climate change" and claim that extreme cold weather confirms their theory. Of course, this is absolute nonsense. A theory of climate that is vindicated by any weather change is unfalsifiable and consequently bogus science. Global warming is false. The evidence shows that the world has not warmed since 1998. But its advocates don't accept defeat gracefully. They slander their opponents, falsely (and irrelevantly) accusing them of being bought off by the oil companies. A letter writer to the local paper has accused me of being "a dupe of the energy profiteers." This is a fairly typical ad hominem response. I'm not even surprised.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ann Coulter's silly argument

Right-wing talking head and author Ann Coulter has declared she will vote for Hillary over McCain. She believes, sincerely, that Clinton is to McCain's right. (No, really). See here for video from Huffington Post. Of course, as you might assume, this is preposterous. It is demonstrably false. I took a quick look at the American Conservative Union's web site ( They rate all Congressmen and Senators on a 0-100 scale. Let's look at their numbers:

For the year 2006:
McCain 65
Clinton 8
Lifetime rating:
McCain 82.3
Clinton 9

How can anyone seriously argue that Hillary is more conservative than McCain? You can't. Coulter has merely exercised her right to be thought a fool. Not surprisingly, she has previously written that evolution is a lie, pushed on a credulous public by atheistic biologists. Reality called, Ann. It misses you.

Also, see here the ratings from liberal website Americans for Democratic Action, for the year 2006:
McCain 15
Hillary 95

End of argument; case closed. Under no circumstances, should anyone--whatever their ideology-- trust anything Coulter has to say.