Monthly Archives: June 2013

Global Warming Facts…

And by facts I mean scientific studies that show, maybe the hype about global warming and climate change is a bit over done.  The end is not near, mankind is not killing the planet, the world will keep turning and climate will keep changing as it always has with or without humans.

P. Chylek, et al. 2004″Global warming and the Greenland ice sheet,” Climate Change 63, 201-21. “Since 1940… data have undergone predominantly a cooling trend…. The Greenland ice sheet and coastal regions are not following the current global warming trend.”

Doran, P. T., Priscu, J. C., Lyons, W. B., Walsh, … and Parsons, A. N., 2002, “Antarctic climate cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response,” Nature 415: 517-20.
From 1986 to 2000 central Antarctic valleys cooled .7 degrees Celsius per decade with serious ecosystem damage from cold.

Comiso, J. C., 2000, “Variability and trends in Antarctic surface temperatures from in situ and satellite infrared measurements,”Journal of Climate 13: 1674-96.
Both satellite data and ground stations show slight cooling over the last 20 years.

Joughin, I., and Tulaczyk, S., 2002, “Positive mass balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica,” Science 295: 476-80.
Side-looking radar measurements show West Antarctic ice is increasing at 26.8 gigatons/yr. Reversing the melting trend of the last 6,000 years.

Thompson, D. W. J., and Solomon, S., 2002, “Interpretation of recent Southern Hemisphere climate change,” Science 296: 895-99.
Antarctic peninsula has warmed several degrees while interior has cooled somewhat. Ice shelves have retreated but sea ice has increased.

Petit, J. R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N. L., … and Stievenard, M., 1999, “Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica,”Nature 399: 429-36.
During the last four interglacials, going back 420,000 years, the Earth was warmer that it is today.

Anderson, J. B., and Andrews, J. T., 1999, “Radiocarbon constraints on ice sheet advance and retreat in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica,” Geology 27: 179-82.
Less Antarctic ice has melted today than occurred during the last interglacial.

Liu, J., Curry, J. A., and Martinson, D. G., 2004, “Interpretation of recent Antarctic sea ice variability,” Geophysical Research Letters 31: 10.1029/2003 GLO18732.
Antarctic sea ice has increased since 1979.

Vyas, N. K., Dash, M. K., Bhandari, S. M., Khare, N., Mitra, A., and Pandey, P. C., 2003, “On the secular trends in sea ice extent over the antarctic region based on OCEANSAT-1 MSMR observations,” International Journal of Remote Sensing, 24: 2277-87.
Trend toward more sea ice may be accelerating.

Parkinson, C. L., 2002, “Trends in the length of the souther Ocean sea-ice season, 1979-99,” Annals of Glaciology 34: 435-40.
The greater part of Antarctica experiences a longer sea-ice season, lasting 21 days longer than it did in 1979.

Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 774: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Same as above. Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change, p. 330. “Natural climate variability on long time-scales will continue to be problematic for CO2 climate change analysis and detection.”

C. Landsea, et al., 2000, “How much skill was there in forecasting the very strong 1997-1998 El Nino?” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 81: 2107-19. “… one could have even less confidence in anthropogenic global warming studies because of the lack of skill in predicting El Nino… the successes of ENSO forecasting have been overstated (sometimes drastically) and misapplied it in other arenas.”

Fred Pearce, “Africans go back to the land as plants reclaim the desert,” New Scientist 175, 21 September 20021 pp. 4-5. “Africa’s deserts are in retreat… Analysis of satellite images… reveals that dunes are retreating right across the Sahel region… Vegetation is ousting sand across a swathe of land stretching… 6,000 kilometers… Analysts say the gradual greening has been happening since the mid 1980’s, though has gone largely unnoticed.”

Paul Reiter, et al, “Global warming and malaria: a call for accuracy,” Lancet, 4, no. 1 (June 2004).”Many of these much-publicized predictions are ill informed and misleading.”

Roger J. Braithwaite, “Glacier mass balance, the first 50 years of international monitoring,” Progress in Physical Geography 26 no. 1 (2002): 76-95. “There is no obvious common global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years.”

The fallowing quotations is from the IPCC.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Examination of meteorological data fails to support the perception [of increased frequency and severity of extreme climate events] in the context of long term climate change.”
“Overall, there is no evidence that extreme weather events, or climate variability, has increased, in a global sense, throughout the twentieth century…”
“No long term trend events” for tropical and extratropical storms, and no systematic changes in the “frequency of tornadoes, thunder days, or hail.”

Nature 22 (October 2003):395-741, stated that, with Russia signed on, temperature affected by Kyoto would be -.02 degrees Celsius by 2050.
IPCC models estimate more but none exceed .15 degrees Celsius.

Thank you Dr. M. Crichton for compiling this list.

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Filed under Environmentalism

I hate Zombie stories…

Fox Mulder: How come when people come back from the dead, they always wanna hurt the living?

Dana Scully: Well, that’s because people can’t really come back from the dead, Mulder. I mean, ghosts and zombies are just projections of our own repressed cannibalistic and sexual fears and desires. They are who we fear that we are at heart. Just mindless automatons who can only kill and eat.

Fox Mulder: Party pooper.

Resident Evil.   The Walking Dead.  Warm Bodies.  28 Days.  Zombieland.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I am Legend (which is worse because the short story it’s based on is actually a very deep vampire story).  All crap…piles and piles of crap.

So this week I’m going to review World War Z, which is a bit of a problem because I hate zombie movies.  I like most of Brad Pitt’s work, but just from the trailers this does not appear to be his best work and this film has been mired in production problems. But to give the movie a fair shake, I need to vent my loathing for zombie flicks first.

The Zombii, originally a bizarre side point of African Vodou and Caribbean Voodoo, zombies were originally people killed and revived by a sorcerer called a bokor to be used as a slave for bokor.  Not that this has anything to do with Hollywood’s mindless version of the zombie, a mindless flesh and brain eating monster that seems to be animated by some bizarre virus.  Honestly when was the last time you saw a zombii that was true to the legend, a being animated by voodoo priest?  Weekend at Bernie’s II?  Clearly not a popular plot line with Hollywood…and if you think my complaining about not being true to legend is a just whiny and elitist just consider first we had non-Voodoo zombies, which gave permission for sparkly wimpy vampires and chip’n’dales werewolves.  See what happens when you corrupt the original legends?  See why this has to be stopped?  Why the line must be drawn here!

Zombies are dumbBut zombie movies are dumber for other reasons.

The first being the spiritual side of things.  Back to the opening quote, “zombies are just projections of our own repressed cannibalistic and sexual fears and desires. They are who we fear that we are at heart. Just mindless automatons who can only kill and eat.”  I think there is something to this.  This is what we fear we are like when our higher reasoning is taken away that we are an utterly violent, completely unthinking, monsters. The Freudian ID on crack.  The problem with this is it serves one of the greatest lies about humanity that there is: that we are all corrupt. That we are all evil.  That we are all unworthy at our core.  Where you find fanatics on any side you find this lie, that at your core you are nothing but a monster and must subvert yourself to something else, specifically whatever the particular brand of fanaticism is.  Of course different for two reasons.  The first is that you are your soul not your body, and the soul is perfect, not corrupted, so this is the absolute opposite of the what is at your core…and to try and convince you of that is a very dangerous lie.  Okay you say, but what is the body like without the soul?  Still not like a zombie…because I can easily point to millions, billions of bodies that where the soul has little to no impact on brain or the body.  Most people. Most people ignore their souls, most souls try to be ignored, and the mindless, plodding people straight out of Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the argument that you are nothing but the mindless zombie at the core is nothing but “a tedious argument of insidious intent.”

 

 

And if attempting to desecrate the soul of humanity wasn’t enough, there is always the second half to almost every zombie picture: the survivors. Let me run down the formula for just about every plot of survivors in every zombie movies. People band together for protection, one or more of those people is corrupt, they try to take over and you have an even smaller group of survivors fighting both the zombies and the evil humans. Yes there are variations, but almost without exception, the survivors follow a Hobbesian view of humanity, a war of all against all, where there is no reason or humanity governing people, just the survival of the fittest.  So the zombies are bad but real people are worse.  Yes, wonderful inspiring message.  I’m so glad this is the genre that has captivated millions, the belief that no matter how you cut it people are terrible.

And let’s not forget what a hopeful genre this is.  When was the last time you saw a zombie film with a happy ending? Never.*  The entire premise is that everyone will eventually be turned, no matter what they do, no matter how hard they try.  Human society will collapse, there is no hope, there will be no rebuilding or rebirth.

The Seventh Seal Death

When this is more hopeful than a zombie movie, then clearly the genre has issues…

I’ve seen Ingmar Bergman films that aren’t this nihilistic.

This genre is without any redemptive points.  Yeah there are a few that are mindless brain candy, but there is nothing worth focusing on here since every aspect of it is wrong, at a deep ethical and metaphysical level.  It’s reveling in fear and lies.  It shouldn’t attract the attention of so many people in so many venues.  Oh look there’s a documentary on the National Geographic channel about the Zombie Apocalypse. WTF?
People grow up and put this depressing trash and the philosophy that is at its core behind you!

Okay, that’s out, let us hope Brad Pitt shows me something more to this genre.

“No one knows why, but second only to eating the brains of the living, the dead love affordable prefab furniture.”

“IKEA,” chanted the dead.  “First we feast, then IKEA.  First we feast, then IKEA.”

–The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore

*Okay there is I am Legend.  But, again, originally a vampire story…that and the movie sucked, does anyone remember when Will Smith made good movies?  And the short story has a much better ending.

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Filed under People Are Stupid, Popular Culture

Republican’s Slighted Reputation and How They Should Respond

“Reputation is an idle and most false imposition, oft got without merit and lost without deserving.”—William Shakespeare, Othello

 

So there is a new report out from the College Republicans on how Republicans can make new inroads with younger voters.  While some of their points are obvious* and some are just a little naïve**, one of the points being most centered on by a lot of the media is:

It is not that young voters are enamored of the Democratic Party. They simply dislike the Republican Party more. In the focus group research conducted in January 2013, the young “winnable” Obama voters were asked to say what words came to mind when they heard “Republican Party.” The responses were brutal: closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned.

[…]

The descriptions of the Democratic Party were more charitable. While some respondents viewed Democrats as “soft” or as supporting big spending, most noted that they were “tolerant,” “diverse,” and “open-minded.”

Now response to this has been two fold.  One is most on the right are looking at this with the attitude of ‘oh wow, 20 somethings who have never done anything think the Republicans are evil, shocker that naïve, inexperienced, overgrown children know shit about shit;’ the response from the other side is ‘gee you’re doing so well, don’t you think this is the time for self reflection.’

Let’s deal with those attacking the GOP and calling for self-reflection. Specifically let’s deal with the point of Republicans are “closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned” and Democrats are “’tolerant,’ ‘diverse,’ and ‘open-minded.’”  Exactly what in that statement, which seems to be the thrust of most of the argument, exactly calls for self-reflection? If I accuse Obama of eating the still beating hearts of children and it causes his poll numbers to drop, should he do some self- reflection on his behavior…no not really.  While there are many other points he should think about, dealing with bullshit accusations requires little to no self-reflection. And let’s be clear those comments are such a worthless pile of bullshit it’s not even funny. But let’s take a moment to look at a couple of them.

Republicans are close minded and Democrats open minded.

Yes, Republicans the party of fiscal conservatives, RINOS, social conservatives, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, the Tea Party, rational libertarians, and some people I’m not even sure why they’re here is the close minded party.  The party of Chicago School economics, Austrian economics and some bizarre Neo-Keynesian economics, all tearing at each other.  The party that questions its own, attacks its own, has not one single philosophy, and every primary eats its own…yeah we’re the close minded ones.  Meanwhile the Democrats have one philosophy, Keynesianism.  They have one goal… larger government.  They march lock step behind whoever controls the party and there is little to no dissent.

Republicans are racist

Yes, this is clearly what a party of racists and bigots looks like.

Republicans are racist and Democrats tolerant.  Republican, the party of those who marched for civil rights like George Romney, Charleton Heston, and Martin Luther King Jr., versus the Democrats who were turning hoses and dogs on the Civil Rights marches.  The Republicans who voted for Civil Rights when the Democrats didn’t.  The Republicans who have at every turn opposed the welfare state that is destructive to the growth of the middle class for all groups.  But the Democrats who blindly support Planned Parenthood, a racist eugenics group designed to destroy minority groups, are the tolerant ones…even I who am very pro-choice find Planned Parenthood a disgusting organization.

MLKJr RepublicanRepublicans are old-fashioned and Democrats are new and hip and want change.  Republicans go with what is true and what works.  Just because something is new doesn’t make it good.  And also Republicans believe in real change (in the 80’s we were for amnesty but when we saw that didn’t work at all we’ve dropped that idea) whereas Democrats are still peddling the same big government line they always have, they just keep giving it a new coat of paint to make it seem new and exciting, when it’s the same damn failed idea it’s always been.

I could go on, I have time and time again, but let’s face it  Democrats look only only look at people based on what minority they’re in, they don’t see people they see groups.  They don’t seek solutions, they seek the same solution they always have: control. They tolerate difference, open-mindedness or dissension.  They embrace “diversity” only as a tool to divide and conquer. They are the most racist group out there, the most close-minded, the most vicious, the most rigid and the most despicable.

Young people and idiot liberals believe this not because of facts, but because of propaganda and a lack of actually being open-minded enough.  There is no factual basis for these claims against Republicans, thus no amount of soul searching will help us fix it.  You can’t respond to slander through logic—it’s why individuals are allowed to sue for damages, because nothing will ever get you back your good name even if the charges aren’t true.

Now someone out there is probably going to point out idiots like Todd Akin.  Yes, yes that man was stupid beyond the War on Womentelling of it. He also got the nomination because liberals in the state’s open primary put him as the winner of the primary because he was easier to defeat—they weren’t wrong.  But you know what.  I don’t care if you can point out examples of this racist that misogynist or some such homophobe.  Why?  Because the Westboro Baptist Church is a bunch of registered Democrats (if they were Republicans it would be the lead story every day, but as they’re liberal the story gets buried), because liberals kept electing a man who killed a woman in cold blood (Teddy Kennedy) and a rapist (Bill Clinton) and also kept re-electing a member of the KKK (Robert Bryd…also don’t forget the Klan was an invention of the Democratic Party).   Yeah we have some screwed up people, but at least we don’t have idiots too dumb to understand ‘tweeting a picture of my !@#$% might not be the brightest idea’.  If the media were honest, on every point the Democratic Party would come behind every time.

As the quote that began this blog points out, reputations often have nothing to do with reality.  The reputation of the good is often maligned by the vile without a factual basis for the claims.

Democrats are the racist ones

Yeah, the Democrats are just a bastion of tolerance.

Now should this study be completely ignored?  Not entirely.  But when you consider that they tried to get a sense of how 20-somethings and small business owners felt about government regulation, their genius move was to ask 20-somethings if they had dreams of starting a business…yes this is the group I should listen to, to understand how the law and economics should be set up, people in their 20’s who want to be their own boss…while I’m at it why don’t I go ask a quarterback on a high school J.V. team how to manage a pro football team at the Super Bowl, both think they’ll one day be in charge and both know nothing about anything…what I’m most surprised at is that they found people in their 20’s who didn’t dream of being their own boss and starting their own business one day (that’s sad when you think about it). So perhaps the study’s methodology was a bit off.

But flaws of the College Republican poll aside,

the fact does remain that conservatives have a problem with young people. Because young people are ignorant and stupid.  The human brain doesn’t stop developing until 25 or 26 and we were dumb enough to give every 18 year old the vote. Short of doing the intelligent thing and raising the voting age to 30 (which would pretty much guarantee perpetual defeat of leftist ideology)…no really I’m serious, we need at some point to overturn the 26th Amendment…and the 17th while we’re at it…what can we do for now.  Well one of the reasons young people are so unbelievably dumb is the propaganda machine the left has going.  I’ve already gone over ways we can get the free market to help put the kibosh on that font of bile.  The next point would be education, educated people tend to be less liberal…but since homeschooling and charters are up, so I’m not terribly worried there either, if someone learns to think early on, they’re less likely to be indoctrinated in the later years of formal education that mistakes letters after your name for real knowledge.

Honestly, besides actually just growing a spine, continuing the growth of new media, challenging liberal lies, and convincing one person at a time through reason I don’t see much else we can do.  Yes we need to do a better job of getting our message out, but that is something we need to work on at a media and personal level, not at a RNC level.   And certainly we could do a better job at keeping idiots like Akin and Santorum out of the public eye…but again the Democrats have worse than we do, and it’s just the media protecting them that makes this appear to be a problem in our favor. Young voters aren’t some special interest group we should change our tactics for, that’s the liberal way of divide and conquer…either we hold to the truth of our principles or they mean nothing.

*1) Focus on the economic issues that affect young people today: education, the cost of health care, unemployment.

2) Capture the brand attributes of intelligence, hard work, and responsibility.

3) Don’t concede “caring” and “open-minded” to the left.

** 4) Fix the debt and cut spending, but recognize that messages about principle and “big government” are the least effective way to win this battle of ideas with young voters.

5) Go where young voters are and give them something to share.

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Filed under Conservative, Education, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is useless, liberal arrogance, People Are Stupid, politics

Cable TV, A La Carte Purchasing, and its Political Implications

 

Cable TV

And maybe 3 things to watch among the entire bunch…

So there has been a lot of talk lately about the bundling of cable TV stations. For those of you who don’t know, bundling is that part where your cable provider makes you buy all those cable channels in a block whether you want to or not…you want FoxNews, you have to get MSNBC too…you want the Comedy Central you have to buy Animal Planet and quite a few others as well. All of this is opposed to a la carte ordering…I want TNT, USA, FoxNews, and well that’s it. And it looks like bundling’s time has come. Intel and other companies are looking into new technology. Major distributors are pushing for cable companies to not bundle channels. Even that worthless idiot John McCain is pushing for a law that would require cable companies to unbundle their channels.

Before we get into all the implications of this let’s first deal with McCain the Moron’s plan to outlaw bundling. Even when he’s right, he’s wrong. King of the Idiot RINOs, John McCain, is proposing legislation to stop your cable companies from forcing you to buy packages of channels. I like the idea of cable companies selling station A la carte for many reasons, and deeply wish to see it happen. However, USING UNCONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT POWER TO FORCE PRIVATE COMPANIES TO DO SOMETHING is about as immoral, illegal, and idiotic as you can get…in other words everything we have come to expect from this corrupt piece of shit. Market forces should and are already bringing forced bundling to an end, expanding government power is not the answer now, nor should it ever be the first option of convenience rather than the option of last resort when all else has failed. Between Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, online TV shows, Intel developing a device that would allow for people to buy channels a la carte…there’s plenty of incentive right now from the private sector. Even major content producer Time Warner is slowly pushing away from bundling. We needed bundling in the beginning to allow for the infrastructure to take off, but now that that is set it is becoming economically viable to stop doing that and soon you will see the collapse of bundling. Without government intervention! But even if there wasn’t then still the government shouldn’t get involved. You don’t have a right to cable. You can always choose to not buy, and just because RINO McCain thinks that’s unfair it does not give the government the right to say what a company can and can’t sell you.

But while I’m sure McCain’s idiocy is going to die before it ever has a chance to become law, it is all but inevitable that bundling will end. With the success of Netflix shows like Arrested Development’s 4th Season as well as the steady increase in web series, the cable networks themselves will soon demand a la carte options just to stay alive (ESPN, TNT and FoxNews among others are not going to allow themselves to die just because people don’t want to pay $30 for a host of channels they never watch). Unbundling is inevitable.

 

So what does this mean? Well once you get a la carte purchasing, while I’m sure you will still be able to buy bundles if you want all the channels, in reality 90% of us are just going to buy the 5 channels we actually watch. I don’t care if unbundled networks are only about $2….there are dozens of channels people are going to go ‘eh, I just watch one show on that, and it’s not that great, I can live without it.’ Within 6 months of a la carte programming you will see networks die because people just aren’t watching them and they can’t make budget. Is this a bad thing? No. First, because this means that the networks that survive (and especially the ones on the edge of surviving versus not surviving) will buy up the shows that actually do attract ratings. Which means that there will no longer be networks that survive on only one show, but rather you will see extended primetime lineups of good shows. You will also see the death of shows that people might watch if there’s nothing else on (reality TV I’m looking at you) but which might not actually stand up in head to head battles against real programming.

Of course this also means that now with cable channels probably offering better or at least on par programming with the regular networks, and available at rock bottom prices for everyone…you will likely see a much larger than usual hit to regular TV. And what this means is that at least one major network will probably die…hmmm…I wonder which one…probably NBC which had to just cancel half of its lineup for the new season because so much of what they put out is crap.

But, let’s ignore all of that. I said this has political implications. What are the political implications?

Mainly in the fact that this introduction of free market principles will kill the left’s propaganda machine. Think about it. Comedy Central isn’t a strong network. It doesn’t make the top 20 of overall viewers and it only makes #17 during prime time…why? It has exactly two shows people watch. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. How many people do you think are going to look at paying for a whole channel just for two half hour shows? Comedy Central will take a hit. And I’ll bet you anything those two shows will be one of those shows that gets moved to another network (probably to Viacom’s higher rated Spike network)….but in addition to make it a more marketable product (because right now they don’t have to compete for you to actually buy the channel, they’re there if you buy basic cable) they’ll tone down some of the overwhelming leftist tripe (I’d even go as far to say that while The Daily Show will likely survive, Colbert could easily find himself once again just Stewart’s sidekick without a show of his own).

MSNBCAlso, if a la carte buying causes a contraction in the number of networks, you will almost certainly see a contraction in number of cable news networks (i.e. Al Jazeera buying Gore’s Current TV may actually be dead before it even starts). And what cable news network is already falling like a rock and thus most likely to hit the chopping block in this situation: why none other than the ideological inheritor of Joseph Goebbels himself: MSNBC. MSNBC and it’s “The left can do no wrong, and the right is nothing but a bunch of racists” string of lies will die with the advent of a la carte purchasing (and CNN will probably have to be become a little…ahem…fair and balanced…if they too wish to survive). This is especially true as I pointed out that their parent company NBC is also dying…(don’t believe me, they’ve so completely run out of plots they have a show called, “Dracula” coming out next year…I wonder how that ends…but I’m sure there isn’t any scrapping the bottom of the barrel over at NBC…oh they have a show about pirates too!) I’d lay money that the NBC name will be dead by the end of this decade.

 

So without MSNBC spewing lies and Stewart constantly making fun of conservatives 90% of the time, what does that leave the left as a propaganda tool? Well there’ the L.A. Times…oh wait the Koch brothers are buying that and will probably turn it back into a news outlet instead of BS propaganda…and I guess there’s the N.Y. Times which is about to die from lack of sales. Air America? No that’s been dead for years. The fact is that the death knell of leftist hold on media is coming. Now that does not mean that we should embrace all their sins on the right, but we don’t have a track record of it. As biased as the FoxNews or the Washington Times gets the left is a thousand times more biased. We are looking at being very, very close to not having to fight such a biased war of propaganda and rather letting arguments and facts speak for themselves.

Just imagine a nation where the majority of the media doesn’t try to hide the fact that the coward-in-chief left 4 people to die in Libya. Where a reporter who would dare to interject her incorrect opinion into a presidential debate would be fired immediately. Where Rachel Maddow is never heard from again (honestly that alone is worth it).

So what can we do to hasten this?

You’re not going to like it, but, call your cable company and stop all non-news cable channels (you still need information)…or if you’re comfortable getting your news off of clips from the website and reading most of it online…just cancel your cable entirely. And when you do make it very clear you are cancelling because of having to purchase channels you do not want. Explain that you will be more than happy to buy cable channels if you are allowed to purchase them a la carte but until that time you will not buy cable.

If everyone who reads this does this, and shares it with all of their friends and convinces just 2 or 3 of them to also cancel, I’m not going to say we’ll bring the cable industry to their knees…but if we could cut into 5% of their revenue, they’d notice, they’d respond to the already building forces in the market. Come on you’re so behind on your reading (you know you are) and there is enough crap on Netflix to keep you busy for at least two full years. At least. Isn’t missing the newest episodes of this show or that show for a couple years worth dealing a death blow to leftist propaganda?

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Filed under Art, Capitalism, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is useless

Movies that show the rich as good #2: Meet Joe Black

“Should I be afraid?”
“Not a man like you.”

Meet Joe Black is a great movie for several reasons. A powerful love story. An insightful look at what life is about. And oddly enough a story about a businessman making sure his life work remains great. (Also the only time in history the IRS was even tangentially heroic…and not, you know, worthy of the treatment at the end of Braveheart).

Meet Joe BlackNow some might think that the story about the businessman trying to keep hold of his business when he knows for certain he will die in the immediate future is really a secondary plot line—that the love story of Death (Joe Black) and Susan is far more important than Anthony Hopkins business tales. And people who edit movies for TV and in-flight movies would agree with those people. However the director Martin Brest thought that it so ruined the movie that he got the Director’s Guild to agree that his name could be removed from the cut without the business story line—the Director’s Guild receives hundreds, some years, thousands of requests to have directors names removed because the director was unhappy with the result…virtually all of them are denied.* So that this was granted tells you that this plot line involving Hopkins’ character of Bill Parish is absolutely important.

Why? Or as Death puts it:

Joe Black: Bill, why at this juncture are you letting yourself be so concerned by business matters?
William Parrish: I don’t want anybody buying up my life’s work! Turning it into something it wasn’t meant to be. A man wants to leave something behind. And he wants it left behind the way he made it. He wants it to be run the way he ran it, with a sense of honor, of dedication, of truth. Okay?

Because this film shows us that life isn’t just about love. It is about life. The big and the small things (like peanut butter). And this movie shows the depth of love, not just romantic love, but the love of parents and children, of friendship, of siblings, and of life itself. Love is one of those massively important things…but so is accomplishment. In fact, if you look at the needs of people’s accomplishments, achievements, the attainment of goals is, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, is the next thing we need to achieve in our quest for Happiness.

Now the liberals out there are probably rolling their eyes when they hear attainment of goals or achievement, as theyMeet Joe Black Dance think that you attain goals you must do so by taking from others. They see a world of static wealth and prosperity, where if I am to be successful another must fail, where if I am to be wealthy another must be poor, where if I am to be happy another must be miserable. Which is why they must tear down the strong, the successful, the happy, because in their warped mind those people are taking strength, success and happiness from others. Reality tends to be quite different. Whereas historically most economic and political systems have done the liberal thing and only shifted money and resources around, or at best created wealth at an astoundingly slow rate…capitalism literally creates wealth where it did not exist before. It takes work, ideas, creativity, individual and cooperation, risk, and planning to create wealth…but capitalism is the only system that can sustain long term innovation to create wealth out of what was previously worthless. Wealth thus has no limit, so long as there is liberty and drive to keep creating it. It parallels the other thing we seek for constantly in life: love. Just because I love my spouse doesn’t mean I have to love my parents, my siblings, or my children, or my friends less…they may all be different kinds of love, but an increase in one does not diminish the others. And the movie is quite clear; we need love in our lives:

Bill Parish: Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I’m not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there’s no sense living your life without this.

To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

But again back to the Maslow’s hierarchy, life isn’t complete with just love, we also need accomplishment. And the character of Bill Parish certainly has accomplished as the founder and chairman and CEO of a multinational media empire. As he discusses his business he states:

Meet Joe Black ConfrontationSee, I started in this business because this is what I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t going to write the great American novel, but I also knew there was more to life than buying something for a dollar and selling it for two. I’d hoped to create something, something which could be held to the highest standards. And what I realized was I wanted to give the news to the world, and I wanted to give it unvarnished. The more we all know about each other, the greater the chance we will survive.

Sure, I want to make a profit. You can’t exist without one. But John Bontecou is all profit. Now if we give him license to absorb Parrish Communications, and he has his eye on a few others after us, in order to reach the world you will have to go through John Bontecou. And not only will you have to pay him to do this, far more important, you’ll have to agree with him.

He veers almost into the territory of an Atlas Shrugged hero there…Yes I love making money, but I love making my creation more and you could offer me all the money in the world to scrap what I have built and I would throw it in your face. He is a man of morals which are more important than just money. Which is something else that correct philosophers from Aristotle to Maslow understood, while there are charlatans that can make money, they often can’t keep it going and can’t create. Yeah there are terrible businessmen out there, but the majority of the rich, from the so called Robber Barons to Mitt Romney the rich who come to their money through work and achievement are among the most generous people in the world (Please see Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks for further proof).

And it is this mixture of accomplishment and love and morality that makes the character of Bill Parish so admirable that even Death views him as someone to learn from.

The man from whose lips fall “rapture” and “passion” and “obsession”? All those admonitions about being “deliriously happy, that there is no sense in living your life without” all the sparks and energy you give off, the rosy advice you dispense in round pear shaped tones. […]It requires competence wisdom and experience, all those things they say about you in testimonials. And you’re the one.

And as we see through the course of the movie as he cares for his family and their happiness more than his business, and the achievements he has made more than just buying another day or two of his life, why when right before Death takes him he asks, “Should I be afraid?” The obvious reply to someone who has built and accomplished and loved the only answer can be, “Not a man like you.” Bill Parish stands out as a man who has excelled in every aspect of his life…and it’s amazing that Hollywood would show such a character as being.

Meet Joe Black Death

*If you ever see a movie directed by Alan Smithee, there is no Alan Smithee. That’s the name the Director’s Guild puts on films they allow the real director to distance themselves from. Producers or a studio have to ruin beyond the telling of it a director’s film before this is ever granted.

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Filed under Capitalism, character, Death, Faith, Fear, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Love, Movies, Movies for Conservatives

Bi Weekly Meditation: Fear, Emotions, Choice and Control

After Earth Stupid statements

And let’s also ignore all those times that fear is present when danger isn’t real…a common habit among people. It’s a terrible sign when you can spot more than a dozen errors about human nature on a poster that contains less than a dozen words.

I know I’ve covered fear before, but after months of seeing that stupid After Earth poster it seemed time to deal with it again.  What am I referring to?  Why the dumbest line I have ever seen on a movie poster or in a trailer:

Fear is a choice.

I’m sorry but this is perhaps one of the dumbest things I have ever seen Hollywood say.

Fear, is an emotion.  All emotions are real.  They are our subconscious’ way of telling us about the trillion and one pieces of information it took in and doesn’t have time to tell you about all the information and all the calculations, so it gives you a quick assessment in the form an emotion.

If danger is real and you don’t feel fear you are either too stupid to not see the danger or insane.  Fear is not a choice.  How we choose to react to that fear is a choice.  How much we choose to let that emotion have control is a choice.  But to act as if our emotions themselves are a choice is wrong.  To act as if we should in someway shut off our emotions like fear (or any and all other emotions as it appears everyone has in that movie from the trailer). Further this is endorsing insanity.  It’s saying you shouldn’t have a natural reaction to danger.  Courage isn’t not feeling fear (again that’s called insanity); courage is feeling fear and choosing to go forward.  By saying fear, or sadness, or any emotion is a choice will eventually lead to problems because people will feel inherently inferior because they can’t control their emotions. *

Emotions are in and of themselves not necessarily positive or negative.  Even anger, hate, and rage are seen in saintly figures. The question is not what emotion you feel, but are you feeling the right emotion because you understand the situation and value the right things, and are you letting the emotion take control of you to the right degree.  Yes fear is not something we should usually let take hold of us…unless you’re being chased by a rabid dog, then, I suggest giving into fight or flight, because only the adrenaline that comes from the fear is going to save you.  Or as Aristotle put it:

For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle, e.g. to find the middle of a circle is not for every one but for him who knows; so, too, any one can get angry–that is easy–or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.

Nicomachean EthicsBook II, Chapter 9 1109a26-29 [Italics Added]

Emotions are neither good nor bad except when they are not in the proper degree.  The degree is your choice, the emotion itself is not.  Now all too often we give into certain emotions more readily (fear, anger, rage, desire) than we should.

Yes fear can be more destructive than most emotions when you give into it too much, which is why I have spoken about it before and why it must almost always be quelled when it comes up, hence the older statement that “fear is the mind killer”…but the quote comes with the point “I will face my fear” not I will simply not fear as if fear is a choice, but rather treating fear as a real thing which can be faced, dealt with, and not given into.  Fear is real and isn’t a choice.  The choice comes in how we deal with it.
But don’t we often say Happiness is a choice?

Yes, but we’re not referring to the temporary emotion of being happy, we’re referring to the culmination of all life worth living, Happiness with a capital H.  It is part of a slipshod way of speaking that people are all too fond of.  When people say we choose happiness it’s not because we choose one emotion or another, it’s because we choose thoughts and actions that cause the emotion we want over thoughts and actions that cause emotions we don’t want…but we can’t just change our emotions…we can train our brain to see certain things, and we can train it to feel certain ways, but we cannot just turn emotions off and on.

You can choose the thoughts you focus on, the situations you put yourself in and how you choose to act in those situations. But you cannot just choose how you feel.

So why is this a mediation?

Because all too often that annoying Ego of ours, our mis-creation that keeps trying to keep us from returning to God, using our propensity for emotions in the wrong degree against us. When in a frustrating situation it whispers to us to focus on the anger, when we are in a situation it nudges us to be centered on the fear, when under stress it tells us to focus on desires we don’t necessarily need (like stress eating).  The emotions themselves are not creations of the Ego, but the Ego wants us to focus on them because by focusing on these emotions at the wrong place and at the wrong time to the wrong degree keeps us from being centered and attaining Happiness.  And then as a coup de grâce the Ego tells you it was all your fault because fear is a choice, which just makes you feel even worse about yourself.

Litany Against Fear--I must not fear, fear is the mind killer

The proper way to handle fear…acknowledge it, deal with it, don’t dwell on it.

So for the next two weeks I want you to analyze your emotions at least once a day (If you can find three or four times a day to do a review even better).  Ask yourself if during every incident if you focused on the right emotion for the situation and to the right degree.  Was there an emotion you felt that you didn’t focus on, but would have resulted in a more positive outcome?  Did you focus on the right emotion but too little or too much?  The first step to changing how you react to your emotions is recognize when and where you’re making a misstep, it’s a long process, even a lifetime isn’t enough to perfect it.  But the first step is to look at your emotions and see if you are reacting properly.  And that is your mediation for the next two weeks.

*I could probably insult another work of science fiction here for depicting a race without emotions…but I’ve beat up on that franchise enough lately, and will say that at least they gave the excuse that this particular race’s emotions are typically so powerful and erratic that it was the choice between suppressing them entirely or giving into the chaos.  Not a great excuse, but at least it’s better than “Fear is a choice.”

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Filed under Faith, Fear, Free Will, God, Meditation, New Age, Prayer, Spirituality