Monthly Archives: December 2010

Books for Conservatives: Basic Economics

As I am going over movies that are for the average New Ager, I feel I should also go over things for the average conservative. But to do both movies for both groups seems a little shallow. So for the moment I’m going to go over a book that every conservative should read (and eventually I’ll switch it around and do New Age books and Conservative movies). So what is the first book I’m going to go over for Conservatives? This is actually quite a long list. There are books on the history and philosophical origins of our nation and government, there are great works of art, there are pleasure reads that show our values in action–but I decided to go with something more pragmatic in our never ending debates with Liberals.

“Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell. Why? Because if there is one inherent basic problem in almost all my arguments with liberals it a clear and unquestionable inability to understand the base and fundamental forces that drive an economy. If I could ensure that every person in this world could only read one book, it wouldn’t be Shakespeare or Aristotle, it wouldn’t be Les Miserables or The Scarlet Letter, it would be Sowell’s Basic Economics. The fact of the matter is that this should be required reading for every citizen of this country, if not the world.

I’ll be honest that its been a few years since I last dove into “Basic Economics” but I have never forgotten how it makes clear every major force in an economy and shows how those forces operate in an economy. And quite frankly writing this blog reminds me that I should reread this great work.

Now Sowell, one of the most eloquent economists I have ever read, has a virtual library of great books to read. “Economic Fact and Fallacies” and “The Vision of the Anointed” are two other great books by Sowell, “Basic Economics” is probably his finest work, at least in my opinion.

The basic argument, the economy works in spite of, not because of the government, and nothing good comes of government interference. An economy is driven by incentives, values, prices and policies. (The latter can really mess things up.)

Sowell shows how price controls which are meant to theoretically help people cause shortages and in the end hurt people along with a whole host of other principles on what drives an economy (prices, commerce, work and pay, time and risk) and how when left to their own devices they work quite well for everyone and when the government tries to control these things they ruin it for everyone.

Most importantly he shows why the liberal belief in a zero-sum game is preposterous. If one person becomes rich it is not at the expense of the poor, as the liberal establishment would like you to believe, rather if people are becoming rich then they are likely creating wealth—wealth that will spread to everyone eventually (the rising tide view of economics).

If you ever want to challenge a liberal on economics you need to read this book. (It also makes a wonderful Christmas gift to Conservatives you like and Liberals you would like to annoy).


Filed under Books for Conservatives, Capitalism, Conservative, Economics

The New Age Part II

So last week I dealt with what the New Age is, and defined it as a the moment when the collective consciousness of humanity moves from being focused on a psychology of achievement and materialism of the 2nd chakra and into the more self-reflection and personal power oriented view of the 3rd chakra. It’s not the end all be all apocalyptic final revelation of human civilization…but it is a step. So how do we get there?

Well, first we have to ask why do I say we’re at just short of the line between level two and level three. After all, that doesn’t quite make sense. Isn’t every person on a different level? Don’t we have people who make it to the highest level of conscious and be saints, and Buddhas and Christs of history? And by the token, don’t we have serial killers, and child molesters and other examples of the worst that humanity has to offer? Yes. I’m not going to deny any of that.

I’m going to remind you however that, according to New Age belief, each of us is only a part of a large being’s consciousness, so while we ourselves might be at a certain level, the average level of every person on the planet is more accurately where we truly exist. Most people tend to be at this exact level, mostly because most members are little more than sheepeople (sheep + people) who will bleat on command and they run their lives primarily on autopilot, and that autopilot is set to the prevailing psychology of the grander collective consciousness. Now many of these people might be trying to make a step forward in their spiritual evolution but they are constantly pulled to that average.

So how do we as a planet make that next step? My answer is almost a little too obvious when you think about it, but it’s rational. It is a two-fold answer. One of the biggest hindrances to being able to make a step forward is the forces in the world that pull you back to that average. These are the forces of those minds that are well below the average. (And I don’t just mean the child molesters, rapists, murderers, thieves, and Democrats) Unfortunately anytime you’re angry, you’re frightened, you’re depressed it’s taking energy from those lower levels and bringing the whole average down. So, one of the two biggest things that need to be done is to remove the biggest forces that drag people down. Believe it or not this would actually be the government’s job (one that it sadly doesn’t like to do all too often). After all, what’s one of the biggest forces that is dragging people down right now…that would be the unending recession the governments of the world caused by trying to mess around with the economy. It started to do the exact opposite of everything the President wanted with the economy (less taxes, massive cuts to the budget, fewer entitlements, and more freedom) and low and behold the fear and uncertainty caused by this recession would disappear. The government also stops those major detractors by arresting, convicting and holding those who would cause more suffering in this world. Oh, and then there is that idea that we should be toppling dictators and genocidal maniacs, as they are a major force that brings suffering into the world, but sadly the United States has seldom had the moral clarity to understand that freedom is right everyone has and we should actually fight for it, even if that fight requires to fight for longer than two weeks.

But, I said the process was two- fold. The other obvious part is that whether society and government work to get rid of the negative forces that pull us back, we can individually do our part to bring in countering positive forces. Every thought and meditation on love and happiness. Every act of kindness, no matter how small. Every creative act and job well done is a positive force not only in your own life but the lives of those immediately around you. Those thoughts travel much further than you would think, and they may help someone who is straddling the line with a particular thought turn to something more positive thought. The compounding nature of this should be obvious.

That’s it just be happy and do your best? Yeah, it sounds simple but it’s not. It takes a conscious effort to not run on autopilot, to make every moment a moment where you realize you can choose to be positive or not. And for every step you make, it helps others to make their next step, which in turn is one less person pulling you back down to those lower levels.

I’m not saying this is going to be an overly quick process. But with a determined effort to reduce the negative in the world and to make sure every day you do something, no matter how small, to make the world a better place, the New Age will come about.

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Filed under Faith, New Age

To be fair.

Cavuto argues to give the devil–err, I mean Obama– his due

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Filed under Economics, Obama

Review of "Waiting for ‘Superman’"

Short version: YOU NEED TO GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!

Longer version:
It’s nice to see a movie that makes me feel good about being a teacher. It’s even better to see a movie that doesn’t lump all teachers into the same category of “all teacher are great.” The sad truth is that there are some really bad teachers out there. And the current system we have only protects those who are inept and give the rest of us a bad name.

This movie also provides some much needed points for the entire country to consider.

1. “The Democratic party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Teachers Unions.”
That the teachers unions give more in special interest spending than any other group in this country.

That’s right the oil companies, the gun lobby, toxic waste dumping, the banks, Wall Street, nobody buys off politicians like the teachers unions. Do you think that’s because the membership of those unions are such stellar educators? No it’s because if most of the adult population saw what some teachers and school administrators did in the classroom… … …well I’m sure the words “your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it was justifiable homicide” would follow.

If you ever need a reason not to vote Democrat, this is the most important reason.

Even before seeing this movie I would have said the teachers union was one of the greatest threats to this nation. After seeing this movie the only change I have had in my opinion is that I am now convinced that we need to get rid of the teachers unions before we can even bother to worry about Al Qaida.

2. Some teachers are beyond worthless and an utter disgrace to this profession.
I loved hearing the statistic that a good teacher can get through 150% of the assigned curriculum in a year and that a bad teacher generally gets through only about 50% or less. I loved even more the statement that if we just got rid of the worst 10% of teachers in the nation we’d probably be #1 in the world.

Remind me again who stops the firing of bad teachers? Oh that’s right, the teachers unions.

I just wish that they would have carried this one step further by pointing out that so-called “teacher education is all but worthless.” Yes, many of the things you’ll learn in your undergrad Education minor and your student teaching are useful, but the fact of the matter is that you only learn to be a teacher in your first year of teaching. And it’s not something that everyone can pick up. Teaching is an art not a skill and someone people can never learn this art. But one thing I can tell you will never make a good teacher better or bad teacher passable is teacher in-service and all the asinine continuing education courses that states make teacher’s take. This is a bullshit money making scheme to rip teachers off. It needs to be stopped.

3. More money doesn’t fix a system that is broken.
Public education is broken and just shoving more money into a bureaucratic mess that cannot change and adapt is going to do nothing to help. Only by trying new ways (vouchers, charters, online school, trade schools, magnet schools, etc.) will education be fixed. It’s not a lack of money—it is an overabundance of rules, bureaucracy and set ways.

However I would point out that the movie does make one very glaring flaw in its logic. Waiting for “Superman” follows around several children trying to get into charter schools via those schools lotteries. It accurately portrays these charters as way to ensure that these students will get through all 12 years of school and into college after that. It correctly states that if they stay in public school the odds of these children making it all the way through college are significantly diminished. The one thing that the director failed to see that was more important than the school the student was attending, was the fact that all the children the camera was following had parents who wanted their children to succeed. Unfortunately, this nation is filled with parents who don’t care if their child gets a real education or not, and that is an obstacle that even the greatest of teachers cannot always overcome. Before I would complain about the teachers unions, I would complain about parents who do not push their children to succeed as the primary reason education fails in this nation (but I pick on the teachers unions, whom I would wish to burn eternally in Hell if I believed in Hell, because they cause me more direct problems).

But still, whether you find one of the few theaters that is still playing this movie, or wait to rent it, YOU NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE.

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Filed under Education, Movies, Movies for Conservatives, Teacher's Union

Liberals and thier wacky ideas…

It’s been a while since I’ve brought up this topic, but Paul Krugman is an idiot. I am constantly perplexed at how even a worthless rag like the New York Times could employ a man so disconnected from reality. Given the absolute insanity of his statement and the disastrous policies he preaches this man is more dangerous than Bin Laden and Julian Assange combined, primarily because he has been given a pulpit to weekly spew his drivel out to the nation. My only consolation is that almost no one reads the New York Times besides a few devout liberals and a whole host of conservatives (because we actually do like to listen to the other side and see if they have anything important to say…sadly Krugman has yet to say anything intelligent).

Before I combat his insane central argument, let’s deal with some of his side points.

“Federal salaries are, on average, somewhat less than those of private-sector workers with equivalent qualifications.” Uh-huh. You believe that don’t you. That given the obscene benefits and astronomical pension plans that government workers are making the same as private sector employees. Oh and I would love to know what he defines as equivalent qualifications, because on this planet I live on called Earth for the most part people with qualifications get jobs in the private sector, and people without qualifications get jobs in the public sector. Granted military, law enforcement, maybe even the State Department can attract some of the best and brightest…but really, do you actually believe anyone who could get a real job would be working for say…the TSA, or the IRS, or USDA, or the Department of Education or any kind of welfare program. No, didn’t think so.

Or let’s try this genius quote:
“The actual savings, about $5 billion over two years, are chump change given the scale of the deficit.” Granted it’s small in comparison to the whole budget, but $5 billion is not a small number. There is no single expenditure we can just cut to find $13 Trillion. Even I who loathe Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare with fiery passion know that it would be an economic disaster to just cut those lines from the budget—they need to be phased out over a period of 10 to 15 (maybe 20 years). This debt is only going to die a death of a thousand cuts. And while $5 Billion isn’t even a percentage point of the total debt it’s at least not another $5 Billion we have to pay off later.

How about this preposterously Keysian bit of delusional claptrap:
“Anyway, slashing federal spending at a time when the economy is depressed is exactly the wrong thing to do.” No it’s exactly what you need to do. The interference with the economy is what has caused excessive bubbles and excessive drops. Yes, if you cut the federal budget you will see a temporary slowdown but you will quickly see a major recovery. If you keep spending money you don’t have you will massive inflation, massive unemployment, and all the other wonderful trappings of the last days of the Wiemar Republic before Hitler took over. It would be comparable to a college student taking caffeine for two days to stay awake to finish their thesis. You can either keep pumping in larger and larger quantities of caffeine as Krugman seems to suggest, or you can stop the caffeine have a rest and then actually have a functioning system in the morning. Krugman seems to want to keep shoving caffeine into our economy until it has a massive coronary and can’t be revived. Who wants to follow this idiot’s plan? (Put your caffeine down Mr. President, you’ve already shown you don’t know jackshit about economics…or the Constitution…or public speaking…or diplomacy…or being anything other than an incompetent asshole…go write another children’s book and leave the economy to adults.)

But Krugman’s idiocy doesn’t stop with showing he knows nothing about economics. He has to make sure that he demonstrates he knows less than nothing about economics.
“Meanwhile, there’s a real deficit issue on the table: whether tax cuts for the wealthy will, as Republicans demand, be extended.” Yes, because heaven forbid we actually allow money into the economy. That might actually solve our problems. Couldn’t have that. Does everyone forget that when JFK cut taxes, revenue went up, when Reagan cut taxes revenue went up, and when Bush cut taxes revenue went up? What do you think will happen if we raise taxes? In Krugman’s world revenue will go up, in reality it will drop like a rock and you should start scouting out your place in a bread line.

But Krugman’s insanity doesn’t stop there:
“There were no comparable gestures from the other side. Instead, Senate Republicans declared that none of the rest of the legislation on the table — legislation that includes such things as a strategic arms treaty that’s vital to national security — would be acted on until the tax-cut issue was resolved, presumably on their terms.” One: everyone who actually has studied international relations says that this arms treaty is a joke. Two: But what’s the worst that happens? We don’t sign it and Russia begins to rapidly rebuild their military…cause that worked so well for them the last time. I can live with Putin’s regime collapsing like its Soviet predecessor, can’t you? Three: Republicans weren’t elected to cut deals this time. They were elected to stand strong, give no ground, no quarter, no mercy and utterly destroy everything Obama has done. Good for the Republicans for finally understanding what the voters wanted.

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Filed under Budget, Debt, Economics, Education, Evils of Liberalism, Paul Krugman is an idiot

The Decline and Fall of ….the US?

So I recently finished rereading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (yes I am very weird in my choices of pleasure reading, but I have come to accept that about myself…and quite frankly it is an excellent read that everyone should consider). Now there has always been a strain of historians and political theorists who like to make comparisons between the US and Ancient Rome. And rereading Gibbon some parallels did come to mind.

One of Gibbon’s chief arguments is that Rome fell because of the decay of personal and civic virtue of its populace. In Gibbons argument this led to corruption at all levels, but most evidently in the army. The argument goes something like this: Rome was made great by its armies. Young men of Rome, back in the good ol’ days of the Republic would join the army and distinguish themselves. They joined the army not to personally ransack every future province they came across but the glory and defense of their mother city. This is the mentality that allowed them to recover after the disastrous Battle of Cannae where Hannibal almost crushed Rome once and for all, and for better or worse it is what created a relatively stable empire from the end of the Civil Wars to the death of Commodus. And while the fall of the legions began early on in the Empire it took a long time for the cracks to become noticeable. And the worst of the worst was the part of the army known as Praetorian Guard was the quickest to become corrupt and being willing to exploit their power for personal benefit (Or as the one of my favorite podcasts put it “The praetorians thought they were at the center of the universe.”)

Why do I bring this up? Well if it was the legions of Rome that made Rome great and then held it hostage until they destroyed Rome. So what the does this have to do with America? Well if one of America’s chief strengths was as an industrial nation (and I would like to emphasize was, we really need to move onto the idea that what now makes this country first is our ability to innovate and manage, not just make stuff) then the American worker was key in creating the prestige and power of America. And it is this same class of the populace who has adopted the mantel of modern Praetorian Guard willing to sell us all out for a short lived pay increase.

How have they become the worm in the apple that is rotting this country from the inside? One word: Unions. Teachers Unions, Auto workers Unions, Public Employee Unions…you name it, Unions are a problem. Yes, unions may have been formed back when employers were exploiting people, but that is not quite the case now–now it is the union that is exploiting the worker, and the country along with them.

How do they ruin America? Well let’s look at them. As the recent film Waiting for Superman has shown the Teachers Union is a problem. And I don’t mean it’s a problem like that fly that keeps buzzing around your head and needs to go away is a problem–think more of a dragon burring and destroying the entire countryside and needs to have a sword driven right into its heart kind of problem. The teachers union in America exists for one purpose and one purpose alone, to keep incompetent people who could never survive in the private sector living off of the government dole at absurdly high salaries. They exist to keep useless excuses for human beings in the classroom (not to mention get rid of teachers who don’t march lockstep to their policies) but also work against the best interests of students at every turn. Anti-performance-based-pay. Anti-charter. Anti-voucher. Anti-education. They would rather bleed the taxpayer dead long before they give a rat’s ass about the education of any child. They support training and “teacher-education” that doesn’t help anyone learn how to be a teacher keeping those who can get union benefits dependent on the union to stay teachers, or go near broke trying to keep up with the stupid new classes that are passed by union bought legislators. (In the issue of full disclosure, I’m a teacher, and have seen what the unions do to this profession. Ethically, I’m fine with lining the heads of all the teachers unions against a wall, and well…you know where that image is going.)

And it’s not just the teachers unions, although they are at the front of my list of people to be tried and executed for gross treason against this nation. Why is it again that American auto companies needed bailouts and foreign car companies didn’t? Oh that’s right, the truly obscene wages that union autoworkers make. For unskilled, uneducated labor that I could train a chimp to do, these morons are paid more in a year than I as a teacher probably make in two.

And do we need to get onto the government unions. With their high pay scale for interfering with our lives, and their insane pensions that are literally driving states into bankruptcy.

Obscene wages, low work level, near impossible to fire. This does not for a good economy make.

There was a day when unions were needed as a counterbalance against exploitation. But now it is those very unions that are exploiting the workers (through high dues) and the country as a whole (through buying politicians to make laws that favor them at any and all costs).

I’m not saying getting rid of the unions, if you did you would quickly see the abuses go back to the other side, but the closed shop laws that make the unions a power unto themselves need to be revoked. In most states workers are forced to join unions whether they want to or not. Now if you don’t have to convince people to join, what is the likelihood that you will look out for their best interests after a business goes union—well even a layman’s knowledge of history, psychology, and economics says that it’s roughly about zero. Just as when the Roman legions had no loyalty to Rome, when unions have no reason to fight for the loyalty of their members, and when employees have no reason to put in good work because they’re protected by union thugs, things start to fall apart.

But there is a simple fix to this. Open shop laws. Employees can choose to be in a union or not. They can stop being in a union after joining, it’s up to them. This makes it in the best interest of the employer to offer a job environment that doesn’t make people want to go to unions, it makes unions have to constantly fight to keep their members, and it makes employees accountable for their work and pay. Everyone makes out better…well except maybe the administration of the unions which will no longer be able to become rich off exploiting workers and businesses—and of course those politicians will be getting fewer payoffs (but I won’t be shedding a single tear there).

Of course one of the other reasons for the decline and fall for Rome was the cult of personality around narcissistic emperors like Caligula who would rather glorify themselves than worry about the problems of their nation….but we don’t have that problem here in America….oh, wait….

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Filed under Education, Obama Ceasar, Teacher's Union, Unions

What is the New Age?

The New Age Part I
So I did get one question from my open forum for questions I posted a while back. It was to explain what the New Age is. I can see why this is a very important question in dealing with the New Age movement, after all it is our name. The problem is that, as while all things esoteric and spiritual, it’s not going to be a quick and easy answer if I’m going to do this correctly, so bear with me.

Let me first go on with what it is not. Now back in the ‘60’s the early versions of the New Age movement were utterly convinced that the New Age was upon us. That there would be this complete and total overhaul of the system that everyone would suddenly wake up and come to spiritual enlightenment and that the world would just miraculously begin to live in peace, harmony and cooperation. See the song “The Age of Aquarius” for more of this rather naïve belief. This is as foolish a belief as anyone who thought the battle of Armageddon was going to happen in 2000 or that the world is going to end on December 21st, 2012 because the Mayan calendar said so. (But in the hippies’ defense, they were stoned; what’s the excuse for these more recent beliefs?)

Well if the New Age isn’t a wonderful new level of existence where we’re all living in a perpetual commune and singing Kumbaya what is it? (And this is where the long explanation comes in).

First I need you to consider the nature of human psychology. Now if you’ve studied psychology

the problem is that there are a lot of competing theories for why people act the way they do. Freud says we’re driven by sex. Adler by power. Skinner by conditioning and response to the outside world. Jung by a desire to understand ourselves. Maslow by a desire to reach our highest potential. And it seems depending on the situation and who we’re looking at, all seem to be right at times and wrong at other times. Now they can’t be all right can they? Actually they can if you take a page from Eastern beliefs.

Now many Eastern beliefs hold that there are seven centers of energy in your body called chakras. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you’ve probably heard of them. The first chakra is concerned with gaining physical possessions. The second with pleasures and desires. The third with control over self and power. The fourth with giving and receiving love. The fifth with creativity and expression. The sixth with spiritual sight and understanding. The seventh with a connection with the divine. Each chakra has a positive and negative side. The positive side of chakra one is to find your life filled with abundance, no matter what you have; the negative is to be constantly worried that you don’t have enough and avariciously constantly seeking more. The positive of the third would be to have self confidence and control over your own thoughts, the negative to try and tyrannically control others because you feel weak.

Now whether these centers actually exist on your body in an etheric realm is a discussion for another time. Right now I want to focus on the fact that this series of chakras is also a model for the progression of the spirit up the karmic ladder. That these provide the lessons the soul must learn through multiple reincarnations in the usual order they are learned. For a person stuck at chakra one they will be concerned with only the physical realm, what they have and don’t have, and have little self-reflection into their own inner life. These people are perfectly described by Skinners Behaviorist theories. For people who progressed beyond just the gross physical nature, they have somewhat deeper desires, best described by Freud. For those who have progressed to the third Chakra, they seek power over their own lives, although they project that power incorrectly outward and best described by Adler’s power centered theory of psychology. Jung’s psychology describes the 4th and Maslow’s the 5th. (If you’ve spiritually progressed to the 6th chakra you’re probably a saint and modern psychology really doesn’t go there very often).

But this can describe more than just the progression of an individual soul. Remember as I have described in previous blogs, we are actually all projections of a single divine being as this being works out the logical problem in what is effectively a very complex dream. Thus the universe as a whole is but a projection of that being’s mind, and as we are the conscious part of that mind, one could say the universe is at a certain level on that progression up the chakras. This level is more or less an average of all levels of the individual pieces, our souls. As the universe was working its way through level 1 we experienced on this planet a series of dictators, tyrants and kings all warring and grabbing for land and wealth. Starting about 500 years ago with the Renaissance, I would say we crossed over the line between level one and two and began to be a world dominated by the problem of the 2nd chakra. In more depth, a soul the 2nd chakra is concerned with competition, proving it is the best, achieving, winning, and getting what it wants. And for the world as whole these are currently very pressing issues. Be the best. Be the most successful in terms of money, fame, prestige, and output. Keep up with Jones. Sound familiar? It should, it’s what you see every day on the news.

How does this discussion relate to the New Age? The New Age is that moment when the collective consciousness as a whole crosses that line from level 2 to 3. (Also it is the succeeding progression after that—it took nearly 5000 years for civilization to go from level 1 to 2, but only about 500 from 2 to 3, do the math on how the avalanche of progression follows after that).
Not that the 3rd level will be a paradise, because not everyone will be at that level, but it will as a whole be as profound a change on civilization as the Renaissance was on the Dark Ages.

Now the question remains, how do we get to this New Age? Part II coming soon.

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Filed under Chakra, Faith, New Age