Friday, December 31, 2010

Global Warming - Sensible Solutions that Stick it to the Corporations!

Big Idea Number 1

In the midst of what for many in the U.S., Europe and Asia is a record-breaking winter of unrelenting ice storms and blizzards, I think it's time to talk about sensible, bi-partisan solutions to the problem of global warming. For liberals, talking about doing something is just as good as actually doing something, so this ought to make them happy because we're going to talk about it aplenty.  For conservatives, this idea won't cost taxpayers any money and in fact will save them plenty if the globe ever decides to warm up for real.

One of the great worries that global warming alarmists talk about is the flooding of coastal areas like Rosie O'Donnel's neighborthood by the rising oceans. Millions will be displaced we are told and it will cost the government trillions of dollars in federal flood insurance claims. If you look carefully, you can see already where I'm going with this.  This is the idea:.


The federal flood insurance program is a program that makes flood insurance affordable for people who build houses on flood plains or in coastal lowland areas. Affordable flood insurance encourages people to live in these areas where EVIL CORPORATIONS buy up the land for a song.  They get it cheap because, after all, the land IS located on a flood plain.  Then they build fancy houses, condos and shopping malls there, giving potential customers a false sense of security. Then they convince people that buying property on a flood plain is smart, since the federal government offers them affordable flood insurance if they live there. After all, there isn't any real the risk in building someplace where everything you own can be swept away in seconds, if you have good flood insurance.

Oh, those tricky evil corporations!

Now here comes the bi-partisan part.  If you get rid of federal flood insurance, the government can lay off a ton of bureaucrats who administer the program, they stop making paperwork and other agencies can lay off people who no longer have to handle federal flood insurance program paperwork AND you don't have to pay claims when floods actually flood the flood plains and wipe out millions of people. Conservatives are happy since the only thing conservatives like better than paying lower taxes is seeing lots of people drown.

But wait!  I promised some good old fashioned stick-it-to-the-corporations action for my liberal friends too and boy howdy do we got some of that.  By ending the federal flood insurance programs, we remove all incentive for greedy corporations to build permanent structures on flood plains and areas soon to be innundated by the rising oceans.  Boo-yah!  The only people who will buy homes and businesses on flood plains will be those too stupid to care about having flood insurance and the super-rich who have so much money they don't care about the odd house or two that gets washed away.  Since stupid people are primarily conservatives and Republicans anyway, according to MSNBC and Ariana Huffington, then only good can come from having several millions of them washed out to sea as the sea-level rises. As a bonus, the corporations get stuck with a lot of undevelopable land and have to give it away to the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy for a large tax write-off, since no one will want to buy it. The rest of the uninsurable properties become slums inhabited by stupid conservative rednecks who are divorced, don't wear shirts and their pants fall off. The rising oceans would be a blessing to those people - put 'em out of their misery so-to-speak.

For pro-eugenics progressives, the rising oceans efficiently, cheaply and dramatically reduce the number of slow-witted folks from the gene pool. Talk about a final solution.

For the practical moderates and mainstream environmentalists out there, the process of getting a home mortgage without flood insurance will frustrate the efforts of those trying to get loans for lowland properties threatened by global warming.  Fewer houses, cities, industries and businesses will be built in those areas because they can't borrow the money to build.  Less building allows the land to return to its natural state.  As those sea-levels rise, much of this land will become wetlands which is something wildlife conservationists and environmentalists all say we don't have enough of.


Crisp, clean and (for the militant nutritionists out there), no caffeine.  Let's review:
  1. Evil Corporations wouldn't be able to use taxpayer dollars to make billions in evil profits.
  2. The wetlands would return naturally.
  3. It wouldn't cost anything to do it - in fact you could save more polar bears with the government money saved.
  4. Super-rich Republicans would be washed out to sea in large numbers.
  5. And lots of rednecks stupid people and global warming deniers would also be drowned after the seas rise.
I say it's a win/win all around.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Tyler, TX

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Obama Claus is Comin' to Town

by Tom King
(with apologies to Gillespie Coots)

Oh, you better watch out
You better not rant
Better not complain
I'm telling you you can't
Cause Obama Claus is coming to town

They're making a list
Down at the FCC
They got Glenn, Rush and Hannity
Obama Claus is shutting them down

They watch you when you're surfing
The Internet at night
They know if you've been bad or good
And if your blog leans left or right!

O! You better watch out!
You better not write
Criticism of the Left
Or support for the Right
Obama Claus is coming to town
Obama Claus is coming to town

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ask George the Third about "Tea Party Morons"

(c) 2010 by Tom King

A Republican friend of mine called me a moron today.  Well, not me individually, but me as part of the Tea Party Movement.  He was saying we blew it because we supported Sharron Angle in the Nevada senate race against Harry Reid and now that's we've got all this junk going on in Congress.

I have a message for Republicans.  You go right ahead with the anti-Tea Party, "Tea-baggers are morons" rhetoric. THAT is exactly why the Republicans keep missing big opportunities to fix things. The Republican leadership continues to play politics, hoping to husband a little more power and a little more power, instead of risking doing the right thing whatever it may cost them.

NEWS FLASH TO THE GOP:  The Tea Party is not about political maneuvering. The Tea Party is about standing up to those who want to gut the Constitution and steal our liberties from us.  Have Republicans lost because of Tea Party action.  YOU BET!  So what?  Mistakes are part of the process of any revolution. George Washington looked for all the world like he was losing the war, right up until he won it! Movements driven by the people tend to be messy and without much in the way of "style".

But such movements are inexorable if they are right!

The essential message of the Tea Party movement is the same as that behind the original Boston Tea Party.

It is an expression of righteous anger and frustration. The Tea Party is NOT about making sure the Republican party controls the Congress. Au' contrere! I'd settle for control by conservative Democrats and so would most of the folks in the Tea Party movement.

Movements are often about sending a message to your own party (or at least the one perceived as most sympathetic to your cause).  The message we're sending is that we have had quite enough thank you and that if Republicans want us to help them achieve political power, they damned well better address the issues we care about. If they don't, we'll do it without them.  Whether we succeed or not at first, we are true believers, just like the socialists, Islamist, Zionists or whatever "ist" you want to name. We will not bend in the name of expedience. Boy do I hope I am right about that too.

I once had a T-Ball team made up of kids from a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. We played as a team and everyone was skeptical as to whether the kids would be able to function out in the public, especially something as highly charged as a ball game.  Before we started, I told the kids what standard of behavior I expected and what the consequences of poor behavior would be.  The kids turned out to be the best behaved team in the league.

Then one day, a local bully picked a fight and three of my boys unloaded a string of profanity at him. He doesn't know how lucky he was that they stopped with profanity and didn't rearrange his face with baseball bats.  As a result of the incident, I suspended three of our best players for cursing in public. At our next game, we were losing badly as my three disgraced players watched in misery.  One of my direct care people, apparently elected for the job by his fellow staffers, approached me.

"Why don't we put the suspended kids back in the game?" he asked. "It's bad for the kids to be losing like this."

To my surprise, one of the suspended boys who was sitting within earshot spoke up.

"He can't let us play," the boy explained patiently to his counselor. "It wouldn't be fair."

That boy taught us a powerful lesson about right and wrong. He had accepted the conditions under which he was allowed to play ball. He knew cursing would get him a suspension. He lost his temper and violated that condition of play and therefore, under the rules, had to miss a game. That was perfectly right and clear to him.

Remember, this kid came from a horrific home and neighborhood where there was no order and no sense of right and wrong - only what was expedient for survival. Domination by whoever was the most powerful bully in the immediate area was his reality. Rule by mutually agreed upon law was to this boy a relief and a revelation. His counselor's suggestion that winning a baseball game was worth subverting the rule system he had come to depend upon for stability in his world was just too awful for him to contemplate.

We went on to lose that game, but we won the war- with this boy at least.

We may lose some battles, some seats in Congress and even some liberties along the way, but I pray to God the Tea Party movement continues to stand rock solid for the principals outlined in our constitution and that we remain unwilling to compromise those principals in order to gain a little political power for a party that has for too long looked down its nose at the very people who are the party's base.

In the end, it will be those who stand on principle and not on what's best for the party's political position who will prevail. We will not march lockstep with the country club Republicans who seem to think they are our betters, if not our masters. We will not take orders from plastic-haired politicians who consider themselves the elite of our nation and qualified by their money and position to manipulate the rest of us for our own good.

Instead, we will keep on pitching tea over the side, even if it does turn the harbor green; even if we have to do without iced tea for a while. And we will keep pitching until the gold-plated jackasses in Washington, in our state houses and in the mayor's offices hear us. We don't have time to play politics. We have businesses to run, families to care for and T-ball games to coach.

And if Republican know-it-alls want to call us morons, so be it. You guys just try and win your power back without us. In my book you're no more on our side than are the Democrats. At least they make it clear that they have no respect for us and that they want to turn our country into a big old socialist gulag. If it's a choice between "Gulag" and "Gulag Light", I choose "none of the above".


Friday, December 10, 2010

No Virginia, There Is No Obama Claus.....

December 8, 2010 - We received the following letters to the editor at "The Nosy News" from 10 year old Virginia.  Virginia asks hard questions.


Dear Editor:

Conservatives believe in helping themselves at the expense of others; Liberals believe in helping others at the expense to themselves. Everyone knows that.  So, why don't you people believe in the Obama Claus?

Your Friend,



Dear Virginia,

You have it all wrong. You assume that only conservatives are greedy people.  There are greedy people of both political persuasions that believe in helping themselves to other people's money (see redistribution of wealth and Ponzi schemes - which are the same thing).  In fact, Bernie Madoff, convicted of the largest Ponzi scheme in history (he defrauded his clients of billions of dollars), was a heavy donor to the Democrat party and was a major Obama supporter.

Percentage wise, conservatives actually give more to charity than any other group. They give more foreign aid annually than the federal government - it just goes to people that need it instead of to greedy warlords and corrupt third world government officials.

You say "Liberals help others at the expense of themselves."  Really? Who is it that wants to take money from the wealthy (not themselves) to fund all this giving? Liberals claim to represent the poor and downtrodden, who are, by definition, from lower income groups.  Folks with no money probably don't pay any taxes anyway.  So I have to ask myself, Virginia, from whom is all this largesse, that liberals supposedly give, going to come from?

When we give to charity directly, to our church or to people who need our help directly, all the money goes to help people in trouble, not to support a fat bureaucracy that generates more paperwork than help.

Obama Claus is, after all, a myth designed to convince us we don't need to to be generous - that someone else will do it for us.

Your Friend,

The Editor


Dear Editor

My family donates hundreds of dollars and hours to our church. They haven't exactly offered to help us with my Dad's unemployment or my sister's medical bills. They did however, ask us to make an extra, "end of the year" ...donation to make sure they make budget.

I love my church and it provides me with spiritual guidance and education, but I don't quite see how it is going to help us find a job. It did teach me that I should feed the poor, comfort the hurting and help the sick, but that sounds too much like medicaid and healthcare reform.

Exactly what are we supposed to ask them to provide?

Your friend,



Dear Virginia,

I don't know what church you belong to, but in mine, I'm actively involved in the process of deciding where the church budget should go. If you want to feed people or help people who are struggling , be part of the decision-making process when you grow up. Get on the church board. Become a deacon or volunteer to run the food pantry or soup kitchen. When you have a home of your own, give a homeless person a room till they get on their feet.

You talk about your church as "them" in the same way you talk about the government in the third person - as though both church and governments were some kind of magical god-like creatures that are supposed to fix our problems for us. The government and the church are "us", Virginia.  Both organizations are run by people with various philosophies and values systems.
The question then is, dear Virginia, "Do you trust your pastor and the church elders or the politicians and the bureaucrats." My money's on the church folks.

And "What exactly do we ask them to provide?"  The answer is, "Whatever you think your church should be providing."  It is, after all, YOUR church.

Though I think sometimes the government is helpful for stuff like this, I'm not sure they are the most efficient way to dispense charity. 

Besides, I think the Obama Claus is up to something, myself.

Your friend,

The Editor

Friday, December 3, 2010

Separated at Birth?

James Carville and Lord Voldemort?

J.C.:  Trust me, they'll improve your aim a hundred percent, Bro.

L.V.:  How do you keep these things on?

J.C.:   Hey, you're the magician. Conjure up yourself a nose for cryin' out loud!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Did Some Good Come Out of Wiki-Leaks

One thing Wiki-leaks recent document dump may have inadvertantly done is blown away the liberal fiction that the United States has acted the bully in the Middle-East all this time and that our presence is not wanted in the region.

As it turns out, apparently the leaders of the surrounding Arab nations are just as creeped out by folks like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Saddam Hussein as Western nations.  Arabs, as has been pointed out by historians and as many Arab commentators themselves have explained, the Arabs are basically businessmen. The political aspirations of tyrant powers like Iraq and Iran are destabilizing to the region. An unstable Middle-East is bad for business and many local Arab diplomats have, apparently, expressed their concern about Iran's leadership over the years, even to the point of suggesting the U.S. "cut off the head of the snake". 

Sadly, these concerns have all been expressed in private. Publicly, the leadership of Iran's neighbors have been conspicuously silent all these years. Liberal pundits and politicians have seized on this silence to criticize Republican presidents for becoming militarily involved in the region.  What has not been revealed clearly before the recent Wiki-leaks dump is how heavily the more peaceful Arab nations of the region depend on U.S. military might to back their own security.

They'd never say it, but secretly, I bet many Arab leaders (and a significant portion of the U.S. diplomatic corps) would really love it if Israel would bomb the heck out of Iran's nuclear facilities. That way the threat would be eliminated and everybody could blame the Israelis for "over-reacting" and make the the villains in the piece.

It appears from Wiki-leaks, that the U.S. understands how to play Islamo-politics better than most liberal pundits would ever admit.  The name of the game for the Arab nations in that volatile region is to get the U.S. or Israel to slap around the local bully-boys, while they register "official' disapproval for our actions. They are like the kids on the playground that won't challenge a bully for fear of attracting his attention to themselves.

In a region where people blow themselves up and you with them if you make them mad, it's little wonder local Arab leaders avoid criticizing thugs like Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. It's a good way to get yourself personally blown up.

Business people can't do business if you blow them up.  So a practical businessman wants to avoid that sort of thing and as we all learned on the playground in elementary school, the best way to avoid drawing the attention of bullies is to either remain silent or laugh at their jokes. Everyone is always relieved when the teacher shows up to enforce the rules.

Anti-American Wiki-leaks founder, Julian Assange, may have inadvertantly helped America in posting all those documents.  If that's the case, you can bet the documents will soon "disappear" or be universally ignored.  Can't have United States policy proved to have been correct, now can we? I'll bet old Julian is really unhappy about that.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Problem Is, Isolationists Don't Understand Bullies!

 I watched an interview with President Bush last night.  He was unapologetic for taking us into Afghanistan and Iraq.  God bless him.  He took the responsibility for the decision, a rare thing for a politician to do.  Lately he's been taking the responsibility for all President Obama's screwups too.  I admire him for his patience in not speaking out in his own defense.  GW is a class act. He understands the proper balance between the Golden Rule and a leader's charge to protect his people from thugs and bullies.

I was reminded of his policy of preemptive military action, when a reader of my last weblog took me to task for defending the principle on which Bush based his military action.  I've written extensively about how the "fortress defense" as proposed by both Liberals and Libertarians, is absolutely wrong and won't get us anything but overrun in the end.  I believe you have to go after your enemies when they go after you.  You don't respond to military style attacks (machine guns, bombs, missiles and projectile aircraft) by sending police to arrest people.  It's stupid and doesn't work.

My friend responded saying, "Probably would not be a good idea to try that tactic on the playground..... "striking your potential enemies". Good way to start a problem.... and would def. not solve the problem. I think the counsel given in the NT might be better."

That all sounds reasonable on the face of it, but I can tell you from hard experience, the playground analogy doesn't work.  In fact, it proves my very point.  

On every peaceful playground there is one superpower - the teacher. To keep peace on the playground the teacher intervenes right now or else bullies and thugs reign supreme and the little ones are persecuted unmercifully.  When I was a teacher, I had a peaceful playground because I practiced President Bush's doctrine of strategic response.  I watched the kids closely and I picked off the bullies before they could get started. Having been on the receiving end of bullying, I recognized it when I saw it happening and took immediate preemptive action.  At the first indication that one of my young hoodlums was going to torment a smaller kid, I caught 'em up by the scruff of the neck and set them down the playground wall.  They soon learned to play nice or they wouldn't be allowed to play at all.

I grew up in a school with an unsupervised playground. The teachers often stayed inside to grade papers for the first 15 to 20 minutes of recess.  It made for a miserable time of it for the smaller kids.  I didn't bother anybody (according to my friend's and the New Testament's suggestions).  I was skinny and small and made good grades.  I might as well have worn a target on my chest.  The local bully boys tormented me until I finally either got tired or (in one case) bloodied a nose.  I finally decided I didn't mind getting beat up for standing up to them  If I stood up to them, my beating usually was spectacular enough to draw the attention of a teacher and they'd get in trouble and have to miss a few recesses which made for a few days of precious peace.  Since it discouraged them from messing with me, I figured being on the receiving end of a little pain was worth it.  I went home bruised and bloodied many a day, but the local thugs finally got tired of getting a few bruises of their own and winding up in detention for their trouble.  The teachers knew I was a peaceful kid and was being bullied, so I never got in trouble for defending myself.  The bullying kept up till eighth grade, after which, they finally left me alone for the most part.  That was partially because I grew big enough that they thought I might have become a threat to their own noses.  

Ironically, the reader who made the playground analogy, actually went to my elementary and high school and knew the bullies I was talking about. Somehow, though, he missed the lesson I learned all too well.  Bullies do not forgo bullying just because you leave them alone or try to be nice to them. They are predators and only understand a rapid and forceful response - usually by whoever is the local superpower.

There was one guy in particular that one afternoon took a basketball away from a bunch of the smaller guys that were playing at the other end of the basketball court.  Without the ball, we couldn't play any more.  He did it for no other reason than to spoil our fun. Mr. Pauly, our PE coach and principal hadn't come out onto the court for PE yet, so we were unsupervised and at the mercy of the school bullies.

I had got tired of their thuggery and went after the ball. My nemesis snatched it back.  I got nose to nose with the guy and explained rather heatedly that he had no right to take our basketball from us. I told him exactly what I thought of him.

He hit me square in the face with a hard right.  I put my hand to my face. It came away with a considerable amount of fresh blood.  I glared at him eye to eye, then turned and walked away just as Mr. Pauly came out of the building.  He saw my face and asked why I was bleeding.  I mumbled something about a basketball and went inside to clean up.

For some reason this particular guy didn't bother me much any more after I stood up to him and took a punch in the face.  I think he was ashamed of himself for attacking me.  He was also scared of the consequences if I told the principal who had hit me.

Like Pres. Obama suggested the U.S. ought to do, I "absorbed the attack".  It probably protected the younger and smaller kids from bullying at least for that day.  After he hit me, he threw the ball back to the others and Mr. Pauly watched them like a hawk.  The principal knew what had happened even without proof and all the playground thugs knew what would happened if they gave him any excuse to punish one of them.

You see I had this guy's fate in my hands.  If I'd told Mr. Pauly, he'd have been in far more trouble than he wanted to be.  He was already in trouble most of the time anyway.

Mr. Pauly, as principal of the school, was the superpower you see.  This young man knew the principal would take action if there was any more nonsense - severe and stern action that would make this boy very uncomfortable indeed.  They still used paddles in those days and Mr. P had a powerful arm.

Roosevelt had it right.  "Speak softly and carry a big stick!"  If the local bully boys know you'll use that stick, it makes for a much more peaceful world for you and everyone about you.

People who don't understand that may simply have had such really good teachers that the bullies were kept in line.  They might have been too young to understand why their world's were so peaceful and sheltered when they were children, so they take it for granted that being peaceful insures others will be peaceful to you.

Either that OR they were running with the bullies themselves and still, as grown adults, don't recognize the harm and misery they inflicted on their classmates with their thuggery.

I am a devout practitioner of the Golden Rule.  I have often "absorbed attacks" rather than retaliating because it was the right thing to do.  I get that whole New Testament advice and apply it on a personal level.

However, the role of a government, a teacher or other type of leadership is to protect its charges from those who would, without just cause, attack them.  God, Himself, called upon kings and rulers to defend his people.  That's what soldiers do and it is an honorable profession if you take up the sword reluctantly and only to defend those weaker than yourself. It's not a bad job for those who are strong and tempted to be bullies themselves - a way to exorcise those demons by protecting rather than attacking.

Or as King Arthur said, "Not 'Might is right,'  but 'Might FOR right!".

That's my opinion whether you like it or not.

Tom King - Tyler, TX

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"California, there it goes!

California has definitely proved it is the land of fantasy.  As business and people who actually want to work for a living by choice flee the land of pixie dust politics, the rats rejoice as the ship goes down. The only thing that would have made it perfect would be if Prop 19 had passed.  The resulting mass immigration of pot-heads would have been spectacular and sent the state into an even more massive downward spiral, if such a thing can be imagined.

If you have recently fled to Texas from California, welcome.  You have found your weblog in Texas!

I'm just sayin'

Tom King - Tyler, TX

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who Should We Watch on Election Day? - Vote Here

Everybody's nervous about voter fraud in the upcoming election.  Who do you think is more likely to be the culprit if voter fraud happens?  I thought I'd put up a survey poll and find out what you think.

Just schooch over to the poll box to the right at the top and vote for who you think we most need to look out for.  You can vote for more than one if you think there is a second party to watch out for.  I realize some of those listed aren't political parties, but hey, they call themselves parties.

If you think of any parties we should add, let me know and I'll update the poll if I can.


Mention Israel and These Guys Come Crawling Out of the Woodwork

Have you noticed how all you have to do is mention Israel in any kind of favorable light and the "I'm not anti-Semitic, but I hate Israel" folks come crawling out of the woodwork.  My last encounter called Israel "imperialistic" and suggested that Israel had picked a fight with its neighbors for the express purpose of having and excuse to seize more land from the poor mistreated Palestinians.

These guys remind us that unreasonable racial hatred is alive and well in the world. 

I'll be honest with you, I'm sympathetic with the Israelis for taking some land.  Take the Golan Heights, for instance.  If you live in the valley and your enemy takes the heights above you and starts lobbing artillery at you, does it not make sense for you to take those heights in order to protect yourself and stop the artillery from cutting you to ribbons.  Every Israeli expansion has come at the end of an unprovoked attack by its neighbors.

"Wait a minute!" the closet anti-Semites protest. "How can you say it was unprovoked?"

"Oh, I forgot, they are Jews after all and how provoking is that?"

Look, the area that is now Palestine was part of Jordan before Israel took it.  There wasn't a Palestinian homeland. The whole thing's a mess. Whatever else happens, until everyone else lays down arms too, Israel will hang on to its precarious hold on its territories and will do so by aggressively defending its territory. They are too small to "absorb" the kind of abuse a large nation like the U.S. can absorb. Look what happened when they gave up the Golan Heights. Hamas set up missile launchers up there and started lobbing them at schools and markets. How do you EVER learn to trust people like that? Everything the Israelis give up, they get punished for by the people that they gave something up to by treaty.

The Israelis can't afford to take the approach Obama has chosen as a response to terrorism and "absorb the attacks" and hope the terrorists get tired of blowing up things one day? Ain't going to happen.

For one thing, the Israelis know their enemy. Unlike our ideology-driven leadership here in the U.S., Israel can ill-afford to delude themselves that their enemies are "not really that bad after all".  The Israelis know that the moment they lower their guard, their enemies will drive them into the sea.

As long as the Arab world is an oligarchy of strong men whose policies impoverish their people, these men will continue to blame Israel and the United States for the misery they themselves have created and their poor and distressed people will swallow the bull and strap bombs to their bellies to lash out at people who aren't poor and miserable because someone has convinced them that if someone is rich and you are poor its because they took that wealth from you.


And the spoiled unhappy children of our nation who loathe their own land and carry irrational guilt because they live in the most peaceful, secure society on planet Earth, give aid and comfort to our nation's enemies for no better reason than that someone forgot to teach them the Golden Rule. They choose sides against their own because it's cool and because it upsets the little old ladies in church that used to point their bony fingers at them and tell them they were naughty.

Our country's heritage is deeply Judeo-Christian. What better way do these guys have to get back at your ancestors for the sin of giving you wealth and comfort without introducing you to He who is the source of our pleasant lives.

It amazes me that one can look at the governments of the world and draw the cock-eyed conclusions they do. Which of those countries produce the highest levels of wealth and happiness for their people? Is it the democracies with free markets or is it the governments where power is centralized in the hands of an elite. Which populace winds up being exploited?

The richest people in communist or totalitarian countries are the leaders. The poorest are the workers. The richest people in democracies are people who work. Our leaders draw a salary commensurate with their work if they were in business. Is this not better than semi-feudal tribal government that abuses its people, sends them out with bombs to blow up people shopping for their supper.

I believe that if the Muslim world would stop trying to kill the Israelis, the sane people over there would soon create an economically healthy middle east. Arabs themselves are business people by nature without all the hatred of their religion lathered on. The Israelis are business people. The western democracies are business people.

It's not all about religion (before all the closet anti-Semites and militant atheists out there start blaming it on religion). Power hungry would-be kings always blame it on religion while manipulating religion to serve their own power. Remember the 'divine right of kings' - a doctrine not found in scripture. The thugs and bullies of the Earth are always trying to use religion, patriotism or prejudice to accumulate power for themselves.

Why can't we seem to understand that human gods are dangerous. The best we can do is stick to the one God and take care of our own little corners of the world and do a little good where we can. The government that governs best is that which governs the least. People can either be trusted to care for themselves or they can't.

No human is smart enouigh to control anything as vast as an economy, a culture or a religion. When they try they just cock it up. Rule by strong man is always a mistake - whether the strong man is a Democrat, Republican, Socialist, Communist or Mullah.

God sends us the occasional strong leader when we need it.  In our country's history, we've been blessed at our darkest hours with leaders who laid down the mantle of power when they were done.  Washington, Lincoln, Reagan (The Revolution, The Civil War and the Cold War) all walked away when their work was finished.  Lincoln would have had he not been martyred. Even FDR and Wilson who were powerful, albeit dangerous, leaders during the great world wars, did served their nation well. Notice one thing, though.  When the wars were done, however, both men died before they could do any more damage (League of Nations, burgeoning socialism). Wilson had a stroke.  FDR died just before the end. Had this not happened, I fear we would be farther down the road to socialism than we are already and based on the history of those two men, I fear we'd have been far less supportive of Israel, given the subtle anti-Semitism that has always been an undercurrent of the progressive movement.
As Forest Gump would say, "That's all I've got to say about that."

I suspect the only response I'll get from my friend who wrote me, rapping my knuckles for my "stupid support of Israel"  will be long on "Oh, yeah?" and short on substance. For the record, I actually pointed out the Anti-Semitic tone of my friend's post. And it is anti-Semitic or at least Anti-Israeli, which is, of course, a Semitic country.

I'm not anti-Muslim before any of you go there. I am anti-totalitarian. I am violently opposed to any group of people who believe they have the right to meddle in the day to day lives of ordinary people. I believe in freedom. You should work as you please, worship as you please, live as you please. The only legitimate function of government is to help us do what we cannot do ourselves (defense against powerful enemies, building roads and highways, protecting our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that sort of thing. If we can do it ourselves, we shouldn't be giving a responsibility to the government simply because it's more convenient.

Why? Because there are always human parasites hanging about ready to latch onto any means to power that is possible. It is an evil thing that religion seeks to root out. Remember the Golden Rule. If everybody did, it would be a merrier world indeed.

I hope as we go to the polls this week that we send to Washington, the state house, the county courts and city governments across our land, people who understand the full implications of the Golden Rule for politicians.

I'm just telling you what I think.

Tom King - Tyler, TX

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Supreme Court to Rule on Tax Credit Scholarships and the Establishment Clause

Just after the November election, the US Supreme Court is set to hear an Arizona case challenging an Arizona law that opponents say violates the Constitution's Establishment Clause. The law allows individuals and corporations to receive a tax credit for donations to nonprofits that provide scholarships to public school students to pay for private school tuition. The tax credit applies equally to organizations that provide tuition to non-religious and those that exclusively fund religious private school tuition.

The argument is that the Arizona law is an establishment of religion by the government because some of the nonprofit scholarship programs only award scholarships to religious schools.

I hope the Supreme Court continues to view the separation of church and state in the same light that the framers of the constitution intended – not as a prohibition against religion, but as a safeguard of religion. The law allows scholarship organizations to donate to any private school they want to, religious or not. This seems to me to cover the spirit and letter of the “Establishment” Clause, so long as the government does not specify a specific religious denomination or limit scholarships to specific faiths. Limiting scholarship agencies to non-religious schools, a practice with which the plaintiffs in this case don't seem to have a problem, would, for all practical purpose be an establishment of non-religious institutions in the same way that limiting government tax credits only to a specific religion would be a violation of the establishment clause.

After all, what is a religion except a system of beliefs. Atheism or systematic avoidance of religion is in fact a system of belief. It presupposes that a certain set of facts or ideas are of value and that others are not or, at least, should be avoided.

So long as the Arizona law does not specify what type of private school the tuition may apply to, I see no “establishment of religion” in a law that seeks to provide public school students access to alternative educational opportunities. Under this law, any group could specify what schools they wish to fund. Muslims could fund Muslim schools. Buddhists could provide scholarships to Buddhist schools. Atheists could fund scholarships to schools which teach categorically that there is no God. The level of funding is immaterial. If Christian schools receive the lion's share of these tax-credits, it is because there are more citizens who wish to fund those tax-credits up front – probably because there are more Christians in Arizona than any of the other groups.

So what? The Establishment Clause is about freedom to choose, not about making sure every group receives the same dollar amount. It's not about “fair” in the sense you meant it when you were 8 years old. It's about free.

You see, freedom is truly fair in the sense that fully mature grownups understand it. Freedom of choice means that if you have a good argument, you may win the debate. You may attract more followers. It means that the majority of us may celebrate Christmas and not spend much energy or cash on Ramadan or Hanukah celebrations. That's okay and fair. The Establishment Clause merely guarantees that if you wish to celebrate Ramadan, Hanuka, Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice, your right to do so is protected by the government – but not funded by it.

In this case, a tax-credit program for a specific purpose – promoting high quality education beyond the level of public schools – allows scholarship agencies to provide scholarships to any private school whatsover. It is not appropriate that the government should limit which types of schools may receive those scholarships and which may not. THAT would be an “Establishment” indeed.

I just hope the Supreme Court sees it that way.

Tom King – Tyler, TX

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Does the Constitution Separate Church and State?

Christine O'Donnel got a lot of flack the other day for saying, in a debate with Democrat Chris Coons that "there is no separation of church and state".  The audience ridiculed her, pointing to the Establishment Clause for proof.

So what does the Establishment Clause actually say?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Sounds straightforward doesn't it and, I believe, an open-minded person would have little trouble understanding what the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were getting at.  For quite some time an organized group of Christians has been referring to the principle outlined in this section of the first amendment as the principle of "separation of church and state".  This group refers to a Thomas Jefferson letter to a group of pastors which describes the Establishment Clause as a wall separating church and state.

These days, however, it's not the usual Christian groups calling for recognition of separation of church and state, but progressive socialists who use this same phrase to support recent efforts by the government under the guise of enforcing separation of church and state to establish "freedom FROM religion" in the public square, rather than "freedom OF religion". 

Okay I get why conservatives are saying the Establishment Clause doesn't call for separation of church and state.  However, as a member of a Christian church whose free exercise has been repeatedly trampled upon by government in the past 150 years, it makes me nervous to hear you say there is no "separation".  When political lobbyists from Christian churches in the past talked about separation of church and state with reference to the Establishment Clause, we meant that the government should be separate and not controlled by any religious denomination or vice versa.  In that respect there is and should be a wall of separation. But the wall we refer to, only prevents interference by government with religion or religion with government.  It does not mean we cannot vote by our religious principles if we are elected officials.  It does not mean we cannot pray in public places or acknowledge religion's role at the very bones of our country.  It doesn't mean taking "God" out of things.  It only means we will not have priests and clerics running our government nor our government running our churches.

Once again the wisdom of our fathers is aimed squarely at those who lust for power and would imperil our liberties by seizing more of it than they are very wisely limited to by the constitution.

I just as vehemently object when progressives apply apply the establishment clause in a way that forbids any kind of religious practice in the public square.  This essentially establishes a kind of formal atheism, in effect, as our state religion.  It violates the establishment clause as surely as it would if the president started taking orders from Joel Osteen or Pat Robertson (or Mullah Omar for that matter). 

It is as wrong for the President to issue mandatory sermon topics to pastors as it would be for bishops to dictate US foreign policy.  I belong to a church whose members have been imprisoned for laboring six days a week because "laws" declared it was the wrong six days (remember the Blue Laws).  When a sheriff can drag a simple American farmer out of his field and jail him for months because powerful church leaders forced passage of a religious law, there is something not right. Clearly this was a violation of the establishment clause. These laws were resisted and after more than 70 years on the books these laws were repealed.  Still, every few years for decades since, some well-meaning someone trots out a proposed bill to formalize in law, what they believe is the correct day of worship. Such laws would enlist  government aid in enforcement of a tenant of religious belief that has no basis in natural law.

Personally, I think if Blue Laws ever do come back, they are more likely to come from the left than the right, but then not everyone agrees.  If conservatives are the party of liberty, then let's just make it clear what we mean when we make statements like the one O'Donnell made.  She badly needed to explain.  Such blanket statements as "There is no separation of church and state," make me nervous. The speakers sound like folks determined to re-establish the old theocracies that we fought so hard to free ourselves from.  I know that 99% of conservatives are not out to codify religious belief in the law of the land. Most of us have learned our lesson about what ills that can cause.

Glenn Beck is always telling us to look at history.  Well, when you do, you'll discover that 'social gospel' progressives were the ones that rammed through some of the more draconian of the Blue laws at the turn of the last century.  For the "good of the workers", people actually went to jail for plowing fields on Sunday, even though they had been in church the day before.  The folks who coined the phrase "separation of church and state" were the ones who ended such laws.  They are devout Christians and most are very conservative.

Let me be clear. I don't think conservatives are the greatest threat to establish a state religion.  I think conservatives do need to make it excruciatingly clear what they mean when they say there is no "separation" of church and state. Let's try not to sound like we're fixing to bring back the Inquisition and witch trials.  Unfortunately, some of our less thoughtful brethren aren't so careful with how they present their views on church and state issues.

Even church leaders like the Pope have called for codifying church doctrine in law.  A papal letter a few years back called for good Catholics to force passage of laws to protect Sunday as the day of worship in their own countries.  I read the pastoral letter when it came out. That would be problematic in the U.S. because of the Establishment Clause. 

There's where the wall should be built. We need that wall to tell church leaders where lie the limits of their authority.  We need that wall to also tell the government where they have no right to diddle with the free exercise of our religion.

The test of our belief in the establishment clause will come when a Christian judge posts a copy of the ten commandments on his wall and next door a Muslim judge posts a passage from the Koran on his and the Buddhist next door to him sets a little golden Buddah on his desk.  Will we protect each man's "free exercise" of his religion and trust him to make rulings according to the law alone and not to his personal belief?   I would hope so.

As a judge, I'm sure I would find it difficult to rule in favor of someone who is right under the law and yet wrong by all that's holy.  Judges do it every day, though - because of the wall that separates faith from mere human law. That wall protects those on both sides of it.  One day, this world will end and no such wall will be needed.  Till then, thank God for the Establishment Clause.

Just one man's opinion,

Tom King - Tyler, TX

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Should Conservatives Try and Take Over the Republican Party?

Simple answer:  NO!

I think trying to take over the Republican party is a mistake. I think what we need to do is take control of our own representatives. If we hold our congressman's and senators' feet to the fire, we better control what's done to us by Congress.  We need a second party to use as a whip to steer our legislators.

If my representative is a conservative, then I vote for him, whatever party he belongs to. This tells BOTH parties what I want. If the Republicans want our vote, they need to prove they'll do what we ask them to. As Tea Party members, we put the screws to the people we vote for with the threat of the vote.

It's a waste of time and, I believe, may be a mistake altogether to try to take over the Democrat or Republican party - at least for a typical American voter who's running his business and trying raise a family.  Who has time for party politics?  It's much better to whack 'em on the nose every couple of years with a rolled up ballot and then get back to work and let them figure out why their noses are swollen.

Parties care about keeping the party in power and the Republicans have shown as much lack of courage as the Democrats in that respect. Frequently they have shown even greater cowardice than Democrats in standing for principle, preferring instead to take nice media-safe positions, compromising principle in order to hold onto their elective offices.

As a mainstream American, I vote for the person. If a Democrat will do ya' better, send a message to the Republicans by voting for the one who believes most like you do.  Once the representative or senator (or whatever sort of representative he or she is) gets moved into his new office, then, you hold his or her feet to the fire. That's the beauty of the two party system.  If they don't do what you want 'em to, you vote 'em out.  If we all do that, you can bet the parties will get the message. 

It's up to us as voters to be decisive about what we want.  As few as a dozen phone calls and letters have been known to change a politician's vote.  Write 'em.  Call 'em.  Raise hell in their local offices. Threaten to give money to their opponent. As much as they might take lobbyist money, it doesn't take many letters from real voters to get them to back away from their lobby favoritism if they know that real voters are watching with disapproval.

I once was asked by a senator if I had organized some sort of letter-writing campaign about an issue when he got bombarded by letters and calls from voters about an issue in his committee. The thing that got his attention was that each letter was individual and NOT a form letter.  A dozen handwritten or composed letters and phone calls trumped hundreds of contacts obviously spit out of a fax machine or e-mail spammer by a professional lobbyist.  I told him I'd simply told friends about the bill they were considering.  He was impressed with the response and the bill passed from his committee to the state house floor and was one of the few local community issues acted on and passed by the house that year.  Support was bipartisan and individual.

Don't waste your time signing on to fax blitzes.  Know who your representatives are and write, e-mail or call their local offices when you care about something they are doing. 

Politicians' ears are particularly sensitive to the sound of the villagers gathering at the gates with pitchforks and torches and tar and feathers. 

Just one man's opinion,

Tom King - Tyler, Texas

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dems in Dissaray - What Does it Mean?

Stephen Colbert's confusing testimony before Congress last week demonstrated rather pointedly the confusion into which the Left's favorite party has fallen.  The Democrats have always been highly organized and focused so long as there was a Republican in power somewhere that they could besmirch.  Now that they own the White House and Capitol Building the Dems seem confused as to what to do with it.  All their smug assumptions about how people would dance in the street and sing their praises once they overpowered George Bush and the evil Neo-Cons.  For some reason, soaking the rich with new taxes, creating a massive everybody-gets-healthcare system and ending the war in the Middle-East (sort of) and making everyone on earth love Americans (if anything, they hate us more) did not draw forth the adulation of the masses they had expected.

Reminds me of the train wreck that was the end of the Carter administration.  Much as I disliked Bill Clinton, he had the sense not to let the moonbat leftists in the Democrat party dictate policy. While I don't believe Clinton was the smartest president in the past half century, I think he was probably the smartest Democrat president anyway despite what Jimmy Carter has to say about his own superiority as an ex-president.

In fact, I will even kind of agree with Carter on one point.  I think he's far more superior as an ex-president than he ever was as a president - though I do think Amy Carter had it spot-on about new-kee-ur weapons. Thank goodness her Daddy didn't have four more years to mess that whole thing up too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Sarah Palin a "Mere" Cheerleader

One of my Facebook sparring partners recently dissed Sarah Palin as a mere cheerleader and unfit to be president. I immediately jumped back to the early 80's in my mind, remembering the incessant criticism of our president by both the left and the "intellectual" right.  Ronald Reagan was also criticized as a "mere" cheerleader if you'll remember.  They said he was an "empty suit", unfit for the intellectual challenges of being president.  My buddy, Dennis had the same criticism of Palin. He wants somebody "smart" to be president.

Well, you know what, I think we could use a cheerleader in the oval office.  How long has it been since we had someone in there who believes in the basis goodness of the American people AND believes in getting the government out of their way is the road to prosperity. I am sick to death of all the so-called "smart" people up in Washington, diddling with the economy, the health care system and our liberties in a futile attempt to plan all our lives out for us.

Even, notorious smart person, Albert Einstein, whom I respect as a scientist, fell victim to the misguided belief that many "smart" people do-- that somehow, smart people should be able to figure out how to run all our lives for us so as to eliminate poverty, want and disease.  He like other smart people over-estimated the capacity of human intelligence to manage something so blindingly complex as an economy, a culture or a vast collection of humans, each with free will and their own self-interest.  No small group of people have the collective brains to manage it.  That's why I believe that the government which governs best, is that which governs least.  

It doesn't take a towering intellect to lead. It takes courage, determination, humility and the willingness to lead from the front by example. We've had too many "smart" people try to micro-manage government. Carter did it. Johnson thought he could do it. Obama is doing it. Clinton, thank goodness, was too busy skirt-chasing to micro-manage and let the Republican congress open up the economy so that individual Americans could get it charged up and going again.

God d
eliver us from "smart" people. They think entirely too much of their own ability to do all the decision making. I say this as one of the so-called "smart" people (if you go by IQ testing I'm a flippin' genius). I understand as well as anyone that Intellect (with a capital "I") is not everything.  There's a lot more to leadership than book smarts. It took years of study, personal errors in leadership and a careful observance of outstanding leaders like Ronald Reagan, Patton, Eisenhower, Lincoln and Grant for me to learn how best to lead. I learned that great leaders first point the way and then get out of the way so the people can get on with the job. Great leaders delegate. Great leaders don't second guess. They don't micro-manage. They give the broad overview of the plan, then trust their generals, captains, lieutenants and especially their sergeants and privates to carry out those plans.

Obama's great sin is an entirely too great an admiration for his own intellect and a distrust for the collective intelligence of the American people. He trusts himself first, his advisors second and the American people dead last. That's a recipe for poor leadership and a discouraged, disorganized country. Under his "leadership" the American business community is reduced to sitting around on its collective butt, waiting to see what's the next "brilliant" idea that's going to come out of Washington and screw things up further.  Instead of getting up and going forward and making things happen, the very folks who could kick start the economy are keeping low, watching the economic weather. Passivity on the part of the business community will not save our economy, but that is exactly the behavior this administration is encouraging with its incessant micro-managing.

So Palin's lack of intellectual credentials bothers me not at all. Sometimes all we need is a cheerleader. Remember Reagan's "City on a Hill" speech. What was that, if not, cheerleading, but it was an effective technique for rallying the troops and dragging us away from the depression that Jimmy Carter and the Democrats were brewing. As a cheerleader Reagan was brilliant and oh, how the intellectuals whined that he delegated too much authority, that he didn't know "what was really going on". Remember the blistering criticism he took and how the American people paid no attention to it.

When he walked out of the summit in Iceland, the smart people railed that Reagan's "stupid" rejection of cool diplomacy had doomed the world to nuclear annihilation. The next year the Russians came back and the result was the first treaty that actually got missiles pointed at somebody else.

Reagan was called stupid for deploying Pershing missiles in Europe. Next thing you know both the Russians and us were scrapping ICBMs right and left.

The smart people excoriated Reagan for saying "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall!" out loud and in front of Germans no less.
They said it would destabilize Russia and set back relations with the Soviet Union for years. Within just a few years the wall was torn down and the Soviet Union was no more.

Please, I implore the voters of America. If some pundit tells you such and such a candidate is the "smartest" man or woman in America......RUN!

Go straight to the voting booth and vote for his or her opponent!

Just one man's opinion.

Tom King
(c) 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Promises We Made - Remembering 9/11

There were two reactions that day in September - fear and anger. The fearful curled up and hid somewhere, hoping they would not be next. The angry stood up and did something, even if it was only to go outside and hang a flag out front of the house in defiance. I remember hanging my second flag (I already had one up), looking around the neighborhood in defiance and thinking, "Bring it on, wherever you are hiding. Here I stand!"

Maybe John Edwards was right. Maybe there are two Americas, but I doubt it was the two Americas he envisioned.  I think the two Americas are inhabited by the fearful and the brave. Like children on a playground, the fearful surrender and submit in hopes that the local bully won't hurt them much. The brave stand up to the bully and take a pounding if they have to, but they refuse to submit or surrender.  The cost of cowardice is far too high to pay and you will never cease to pay that price.  Its not just we who pay the cost either. It will be our children and our children's children who will pay the price if we are too fearful to stand up to the bullies of this world.

God placed us in this land to create a refuge for the bullied peoples of the world. He blessed it so that those refugees now live in the most prosperous, peaceful land in the world.  We didn't steal it our prosperity from others.  We dug deep, worked hard and held on against those same bullies and thugs who would follow us here to prey on us in this new land.  Our forefathers taught us to fight tyranny, to fight the bully boys of the world that our children might enjoy the blessings of liberty. We fought tyranny during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. We fought it again during the Civil War, and World War II. We owe our fathers and our children a toe to toe, knock down drag out fight like this world has never seen to preserve our sacred liberty in this generation.  There are those among us who would surrender our liberties to the very same thugs and bullies that generations of Americans fought so hard to free themselves from, mainly because they are too afraid to fight.  Dylan Thomas' famous poem says, "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage against the dying of the light."  Good advice for this generation of Americans for we are in danger of slipping quietly into the long night of tyranny in exchange for bread and circuses and the illusion of peace and safety.

It is well on this anniversary to remember 9/11 and what can happen to us if we cease to be vigilant.  It is better that we remember the promises we made to ourselves and our posterity in the days after 9/11 when the horror of what was done to us was still fresh in our minds.

Tom King, Tyler, TX

* Image available at:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Enemy Among Us

We live in a complex world that we know relatively little about, despite millenia of accumulated scientific data, observation, history and experience. And yet, in our arrogance, there are those among us who believe they have it all figured out - all wrapped up in their own personal "theory of everything".

It's not just physicists chasing that particular chimera.  Politicians, theologians, sociologists, conspiracy theorists and anthropologists are looking for it as well as every back porch know-it-alls and shade tree philosophers; anybody that has a Facebook account and Internet access runs the risk of setting up shop as an expert on "how it really is".

The truth is that not one of us can say for sure how the world works.  At best we can set up a little paradigm for ourselves and collect evidence to prove its validity.  If we're an atheist, we collect evidence to prove there is no God.  If we're a believer, we look for evidence that there is.  That's not necessarily a bad way to go about it, but it is a painfully slow way, for as we accumulate evidence for our pet theories, bits of data flow past us that may disprove our theory.  If we collect enough of this evidence, we experience a sudden "jump" or, what Thomas Kuhn called a "paradigm shift" in which we suddenly reset our theory of everything to include the new data and begin collecting data to prove the new theory.

Learning is not a smooth upward climb for most of us. It's more of a series of stair steps.  It would be far too frightening to run through this world soaking up information and not putting it into a framework by which we can understand it.  We view life against a background of our own construction.  We can only distinguish new ideas or data or experiences against the backdrop of our beliefs.  It's like the person who was born blind and suddenly has his blindness cured.  His first look at the world is apt to be frightening because he cannot distinguish foreground from background. He has no idea of perspective. If something moves it frightens him because he cannot tell how far away it is and whether or not it is a threat. Some newly sighted have to put on a blindfold and take a break from seeing in order regroup their senses.

The devil our adversary, said Christ, walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  A lion's roar is designed to confuse and frighten his prey so they cannot act in a coordinated way to oppose him. By stampeding a heard of buffalo, he can pick off one of their number as they run away, something he could not do if they were to stand together and trample him into the dust.

Whether on the political left or right, the Christian, Muslim, Neo-pagan or Atheist viewpoint, the devil walks among us all. I identify myself as a member of the so-called Christian right.  I have a personal definition of that which does not at all resemble the mainstream media's definition. I have spoken about the devil on the left.  My greatest concern is the work of the devil on the right.  It follows a predictable pattern.  If you're the devil you stick with what works.

1.  You work your victims up into a lather over some issue, real or imaginary, either serves his purpose. This is the roaring lion bit.

2.  You provide the targeted group with a nice theory of who is to blame for all of the trouble.  It may be George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Nancy Pelosi, Frances Fox Piven or the Illuminati.

3.  You convince your victims that this person who is to blame has almost mystical powers to do evil works and (even better) that this person is after them personally.

4.  You convince the victim that a certain group is the only one that has the proper magic to save us all.  Give that group as narrow a vision of God or the Universe and everything else as possible.  If it's a religious group, make their concept of God as narrow and as repressive as possible.  Give them special underwear or something like that for the "true" initiates to wear as badges of belonging.

5.  Make them see both their enemies and their friends as potential traitors and underminers of the faith (or, in the case of atheists, lack of faith). Formalize their peculiar brand of belief.  Give it rock solid fundamental beliefs.  Heat up their paranoia as much as possible.

6.  Suggest to the victim that violence may soon be necessary and make them come to cherish the idea of pulling the trigger, swinging the sword or wielding the battleaxe. In rare cases you can convince them to long for martyrdom for the cause.

7.  Begin organized guerrilla attacks on those "infidels" who dare to disbelieve. Have them start with their own friends and neighbors and former colleagues.  Start with verbal attacks and angry rhetoric. Move on to punishment of those who have fallen away from the faith.

8.  Pit the paranoid group you've organized among your victims' opposites directly against your paranoid group.  This will solidify both sides in inexorable hatred of one another

9.  Convince the victim that the group needs to do something "big" that will make people listen. At first only a few will make the attempt, but as the reaction to the "something bigs" grows you can gain group support for acts they once would have decried as "monstrous".

10. Set off the bomb, conduct the air raid, murder the innocent - conduct whatever horror you've convinced them they need to conduct to "show them". Don't let them think about who "them " is or to see them as human beings in any form or fashion.  Once "the enemy" is dehumanized, you can keep the war going on for a jolly long time.

More often than not, one paranoid group ascends to the pinnacle of madness well in advance of the others - Germany ahead of Russia in the 20's and 30's for instance.  We got dragged unwillingly into that whole mess in order to save ourselves and the world from a truly evil threat. Don't get me wrong, there are wars worth fighting. Even great pacifists like Charles Lindbergh came to see the justice of our cause in that war.  But it was the communist bogey man that did more to propel the Nazis to power than anything. And remember this, both the communists and national socialists were on the same side in the beginning.

We must be wary of those amongst us who are so anxious to get their minds around some idea that explains it all that they would even limit the power of God.  These folks develop theories such that God needs us to do things for Him that He cannot do for Himself.  Such a God is not permitted to be great and unknowable at least not to the leaders of the movement. The leaders of such groups will say God is great and unknowable - for you ordinary folk - but they, because of their education, breeding or special underpants claim to understand all about God will be happy to tell you what God wants them to do.  If this is an atheist group, then instead of God insert "how it really is" in place of "God".  They always have a set of books or DVDs to sell you about "what really is going on".

It is impossibly arrogant of us to believe we know everything there is to know about anything.  Even the governance of a nation has proved time and again beyond the power of any one person to govern alone. When we diddle with the economy to make it better, we always make a mess of it.  There is an infinite cosmos out there we've never even seen except at second hand.  Even the starlight we see at night is thousands of years old for the most part.  We have no idea what's really going on in the universe and as soon as we think we understand, we discover we had no idea.  The sooner we come to accept that, the sooner we will find ourselves seated comfortably at the feet of God, our minds open and ready to learn.  And, by the way, the sooner we'll be able to work together with each other, our individual cosmic paradigms notwithstanding.

I'm just telling you what I think.

Tom King (c) 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Why do Christians Hate Muslims?

I found this question on a Yahoo forum.  It was asked, apparently sincerely, by someone in Iran, who says she does not understand why Christians hate Muslims.  She says, " We respect all religions. All divine religions.Including Christianism.We don't want to kill you or anything ! Where did you get this rubbish from?"

Sadly we get it from Muslims.  Muslims on television, Muslims on radio in their own country, Muslim terrorists who blow themselves up on the outside chance they'll take a few of us with them and Muslims on the Internet who broadcast the beheading of a young American engineer live and in color and shouted "Death to America!"

Here is my answer to her question:

First, your question assumes a falsehood.  Christians do not hate Muslims. God forbids us to. Here's the problem.

Your faith seems to many Christian observers to have been co-opted by the Mullahs, fanatics and terrorists in your ranks. They have done a systematic and thorough public relations job over the past two decades to convince others that we must needs fear the wrath of Islam and have proclaimed "Jihad" against us.  It has, unfortunately, achieved its purpose. We fear Islam.  If by Christians you are talking about American Christians, we really don't hate the Muslim people. Our country is open to Muslims and they are allowed to worship as they see fit.  In the wake of 9/11, it was the main body of Christians who called for calm and asked people not to persecute Muslims in our midst. But there is a disconnect here.  There doesn't appear to be a corresponding call for tolerance from the Muslim community.  Terror and horror by Islamic fanatics is greeted with a resounding silence from the Muslim community, other than a few scattered spokesmen for Islamic "protection" organizations who seemed more frightened than outraged by the 9/11 attacks.

Were we not at risk of our very lives just by traveling to the Middle East, most of us would love to travel in the part of the world that was the cradle of Western Civilization. I'd love to see the pyramids, but I'd rather not be blown up or beheaded for my troubles.

As the bully on the playground soon discovers, if you make people fear you, they will not like you for it. I had a child in counseling once at a children's mental health center who wanted to be elected dorm captain by his peers.  He came to me complaining because nobody would vote for him. "I've beat up everyone in the dorm," he explained, "And they still won't make me captain." 

That's what the fanatic element of Islam has done. They want to be leaders of the Muslim world apparently (we've read about the Caliphate) and they go around blowing people up to prove their worth as leaders. Then, they cannot seem to understand why nobody, even their own people, like them very much. I know that ordinary Muslims deplore the violence and bloodshed.  So do Christians.

Unfortunately, we have members of the Christian community who are just as fanatic as your own terrorists. One blew up a building in Oklahoma and killed a bunch of people.  Isn't it odd how these folks do more killing of their own people than they do of the "infidels" and "pagans" they oppose?

Ultimately, no decent Christian hates Muslims, whatever we think of Islam as a religion. Christ forbids us to do so.  We disagree among ourselves as a faith and have fractured into dozens of denominations, as a result, so we can obey Christ's command and worship according to the dictates of our own consciences without fighting amongst ourselves.  We'd rather be smaller and peaceful than to have a massively large and powerful church that is at war with itself.  The opposite seems to be the case with Islam.

We, Christians, actually love peace.  It takes a whole lot of provocation to get us into a war most of the time - like attacking Pearl Harbor without warning or blowing up the World Trade Center (and even then we didn't start anything till the second attempt succeeded).  We got into it with Saddam Hussein because he attacked and conquered Kuwait, a sovereign nation and even then we restrained our hand from finishing Saddam once we liberated Kuwait, which is again a sovereign nation. If we hadn't feared he was trying to get weapons of mass destruction, we'd have probably let things go. Despite propaganda to the contrary, his unwillingness to let us freely examine his weapons programs was what led us to the second Iraq war. You don't walk around with your hand in your bulging pocket threatening people, unless you expect them to think you've got a gun. And you shouldn't be surprised if someone shoots you because they are afraid of you.  It's a lesson Iranian leaders should have learned.  Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists could start a nuclear holocaust and Iran's willingness to supply arms to terrorists gives us more cause to fear.

Our country has made mistakes in the Middle-East, no question, but that's our nation, not our faith.
Nations are run by men and men make mistakes. Our faith says treat all men as you would have them treat you and the majority of Christians do that.  Please do not blame the hate speech that gets reported on endlessly by the media on all Christians. These people are our particular fanatics and we oppose them up front and loudly.

If Islam would proclaim that we have the right to live and worship as we see fit, I promise you Christian America will support the same for you - in fact, WE ALREADY DO.  If we were to stop having to rescue Arab Christian converts from Middle-Eastern countries who have a death sentence on them for converting, maybe we wouldn't be so afraid of Muslims. We grant Muslims freedom to worship in our own homeland even to the extent that nobody really wants to force the Imam in New York to move the mosque elsewhere - we'd rather he just respect our feelings and move it voluntarily. When is Christianity and Judaism ever going to be tolerated to the same extent by Islam?

We do not pretend to understand the endless squabbles you guys get into over patches of dirt, holy and otherwise.  We do not understand why so many Muslims want the Jews dead and pushed into the sea and the nation of Israel eliminated from the face of the Earth. Christians have not demanded that you to return all the ancient Christian and Jewish holy sites over which your faith has built mosques (St. Sophia, The Church of Job and the temple mound in Jerusalem are all Christian holy sites where conquering Islamic nations have erected mosques to celebrate victory over the infidels. The Christian faith sprang from the Middle-East. We count Abraham as our father just as Jews and Muslims do. Why can we not share access to the holy ground we all share in common?

I will tell you why.

Islamic leaders call us infidels and deny us access for that reason alone. According to even tolerant Muslims, a Christian or Jew would, by mere presence, pollute those holy places.  Now, a Muslim could freely walk into almost any Christian church or cathedral in the world so long as he or she is respectful without fear.  You cannot say that is true for any mosque - at least that is not the impression I have been given by your leaders, apologists and by tourist guidebooks which warn Christians sternly against "violating" Muslim sacred sites.

If you treat people like they are unclean, how can you expect them to love you for it? There are certain Christian churches I have no patience for because of attitudes like that.  I stay away from them. I publicly disagree with them if they spew such venom in the press or on-line.

The only hope of friendship between Christian and Muslim is for the mass of believers to come together to oppose evil on both sides.  As a Christian I do. When a terrorist claims to be a Christian, the true Christian community rises up and denounces their evil deeds.  We do that because in our country, we will not lose our heads for doing so.

One of the things we Christians do not understand is why Muslims do not publicly oppose the fanatics that you claim are not true Muslims, but some kind of fringe group that we should not judge you by.  And yet the silence from the Muslim community in the wake of their continued outrages is deafening.

Why is that, if I may ask a question myself? If it is fear of terrorists? Your leaders? The disapproval of your neighbors?  I do not understand why the body of Islam remains silent and the mullahs do not speak against such evil-doings. In my country and in my faith, we believe that to see injustice in your own house and in your own neighborhood and to remain silent is to condone that injustice.

There are plenty of times that Christians have remained silent because of fear. We think it's shameful when they do.  There are also plenty of Christians who have died or suffered persecution for standing against evil too.  It's a hard world and not one in which you can have principles without risk.

Maybe if Muslims and Christians who believe every man has a right to worship as he pleases were to join forces, we could stop some of the foolishness.  We shouted down the misguided Preacher who wants to burn the Koran - Christians did that!  We do not believe it is right to intentionally offend people of other faiths.

So when do we hear outrage from Muslims about the proposed Mosque that overlooks the site of the World Trade Center?  It offends many Americans, Christians or otherwise, not because we hate Muslims, but because, like the construction of the Mosques at the Dome of the Rock, St. Sophia and the Church of Job, this Mosque cannot help but look like another incidence of Islam celebrating a victory over the infidel (us) - especially when so many Muslims danced in the street throughout the Middle-East in celebration on 9/11.  How can it hurt to move the site as a gesture of peace to Americans whose lives and families were shattered by a group of madmen flying the flag of Islam?  Out of respect.....

We went first and raised our voices against the Koran burning and persecution of Muslims.  It's your turn. We love you guys.  It's what Christians do.

Tom King - Tyler, Texas

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Digging Out the Speck - Nonprofit Quarterly Questions Beck/Palin Associates

Nonprofit Quarterly's Jeff Cohen this week wrote a piece this week about "Glenn Beck's Nonprofit Ties" that had surprisingly little to say about Beck's ties. Cohen wrote, "....some of the lesser known players wandering past the dais at Beck’s Restoring Honor gathering last week should be of interest to the nonprofit sector if they have questions about the nonprofit values underlying the rally." Jeff had to do some serious digging to find the wisp of dirt he "uncovered". 

His concern was about two players, members of Beck's so-called Black Robe Regiment, Pastor John Hagee, a fiery San Antonio-based preacher who believes the Apocalypse is upon us and Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Apparently, Hagee has a poor opinion of the Catholic Church as an organization and Lapin was once friends with former shady lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. The list of sordidness can be found here. It's mild sordidness by usual Washington DC standards and drags us clear to the Marianas, over to a parochial school in Maryland and "by association" to former Republican Congressman Tom DeLay. It's petty, to say the least, and doesn't list any actual indictments or criminal charges that have been incurred by Rabbi Lapin or Reverend Hagee due to their opinions or friendships. According to Cohen, they are apparently shady characters because of their opinions and friends. 

Look, Hagee is entitled to his opinion re: the Roman Catholics Church whether any of us agree with it or not, and Hagee, himself, denies any animus toward individual Catholics. His problem is with the church organization itself and he is entitled to that opinion. The Catholic Church certainly has opinions about non-Catholics like Hagee and me (did you know, for instance, the Pope holds the opinion that non-Catholics like Hagee and me will burn in hell forever-tortured for our sins in pain for all eternity). Despite my own repugnance at that idea, I think the Pope is entitled to his opinion and to teach it in Catholic churches. Then there's the whole Spanish Inquisition thing, Joan of Arc, Huss, Jerome, Wycliffe, Galileo and others running a centuries long history of church sponsored violence and bloodshed. Hagee didn't have to search nearly as hard as you did to find that sort of dirt on the Catholic Church and isn't that what this article was - a dirt-digging expedition? Wasn't Cohen's article designed chiefly to cast aspersions on Beck and Palin and to impugn the motives of the folks at the Rally?  It certainly seemed that way to me.

Other pastors there have as harsh an opinion of Hagee and his church as he does of some of theirs. But this wasn't about religious opinions. The point of the day was that people like Rev. Hagee could stand side by side with people of many faiths in support of a common set of values - free speech, free assembly, free religion, free press, free economy, etc.. That was a monumentally significant gathering of diverse and peaceful people. No violence at all. Even those who came to incite violence were surrounded quickly by peaceful participants and when they couldn't get a fight started, they became quiet and drifted away.

These were nice people at the rally, up front and in the audience; regular folks from every economic strata, every culture, every race and religion (there were Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Buddhists in the crowd and on stage). They agree that we should return to the values we once espoused in this country, no matter how imperfectly we may have practiced those values. Maybe we'll get it better this time, who knows? But it was a stunning achievement AND it raised a bunch of money for the foundation. I defy you to check out the backgrounds of the leaders and organizers of a typical mall "rally" and find a pristine record of personal ethical behavior, let alone ethical behavior by organizations at second and third remove or folks who happened to wander by the dais.

You certainly won't have to go to the Marianas and, "by extension" to a congressman you don't like, to find corruption. If you are going to look for a speck of sawdust in your neighbor's eye, you might want to check out the log sticking out of your own side's collective eyes. I could name names and connections, but this comment is not about "we said, they said". It's about a fair treatment of everyone. If you are going to select folks "wandering past the dais" as brushes with which to negatively paint Beck and Palin and the whole Restoring Honor Rally, then I challenge you to review with the same intensity the backgrounds of say, the folks who performed at the big concert for 9/11 families, or the organizers of Al Sharton's “Reclaim the Dream” Rally held just down the street on 8/28. Otherwise you appear biased towards a political view and I thought Nonprofit Quarterly was, at least in part, about holding Nonprofits to a higher ethical standard.

I don't think the Special Operations Warriors Foundation did anything wrong, even by association and they were the recipients of the funds raised. Their wrongdoing would be relevant to Nonprofit Quarterly. I don't see how someone who offered prayer or presented an award have anything to do with the ethics of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin anyway.  Lots of folks with unsavory pasts help raise money for U.S. charities and I haven’t seen a lot of complaints at the Nonprofit Quarterly (I could have missed them). The people cited as fishy in this article had no control over or financial ties to the Rally which was, in essence, a fund-raising event. The fact that someone with a connection to a nonprofit has in the past got hooked up with something that may or may not have been ethical has nothing to do with the rally or the foundation’s ethics. I defy almost anyone with a long history in nonprofit and fund-raising work, not to have taken funding from or made an association or connection to something or someone that could be considered shady.

Does that then condemn you to eternal separation from nonprofit fund-raising activities if someone "wanders by the dais" who has a blot on his or her past? If so, the ranks of nonprofit leadership would rapidly be decimated. We can, at best, try to insure we, ourselves, and our organizations behave in an ethical manner. We can turn down money from shady sources. But what our brothers, our volunteers or our partner agencies do outside our events and programs is beyond our power to control. Have you ever been outvoted on a board of directors and stayed to try to correct the error you believed your brother and sister board members were making? If we cut and run, resigning every time there's a problem, we aren't being ethical, we're being cowards. There is a time to dig in our heels and stand for what’s right. We shouldn’t be tarnished for doing so. If we want brave and ethical people at the helm of our nonprofits, we should be a little more reluctant to rush to tarnish reputations on no more than what is "guilt by association".

I think it's irresponsible to do these kinds of snarky hit pieces if you are a website and newsletter promoting ethics among nonprofits. If you have evidence of wrongdoing against the Rally organizers, Beck or Palin, fine. Give evidence.  If someone is misappropriating money, okay. Show us how. But all these charges amount to are an attempt to throw mud.  This type of one-sided "journalism" opens Nonprofit Quarterly up to charges of bias towards a single political viewpoint, to witch-hunting and to light slander (in my church they call it gossip).

Had Mr. Cohen continued with a broad examination of the ethics of the leaders of these kinds of fund-raising rallies, he'd have had a fair article.  This was a hit piece, nothing more and a poorly aimed one.

I'm just telling it like I see it.

Tom King

* Al Sharpton image from The Austin-American Statesman: