Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Vatican Goes Whole Hawg Progressive Socialist

(c) 2011 by Tom King

In the wake of the pope's 2011 call for a central world government "with teeth", the Vatican has decided to throw its considerable weight behind centralizing world financial authority behind a "World Bank".

For those of us already nervous about the papacy's newly revived political activism, this announcement comes at a time when the United States is polarized solidly between conservatives and increasingly powerful progressivist forces pressing for greater centralization of authority and a reduction in national sovereignty in favor of world government. The Vatican apparently favors linking trade unions, world governments, international banking and international political parties (not to mention powerful world churches like Roman Catholicism) in establishing this universal world government. The problem with this strategy is that it leaves out everyone who believes central governments are a bad thing.  This proposal would require everyone in the world to accept what would be the ultimate central planning authority.  No matter that it's never worked before in history, that such powerful central authority inevitably commits atrocities and abuses against its own people.  Even the papacy at its height of power threw a downright bloody Inquisition to support its hold on power.  So much for trusting good intentions.

We are facing interesting times for those who believe in free market capitalism, small government, local planning and problem solving.  Liberty, protection of the right to worship, assemble, speak and bear arms will be the first American values to be squashed. Count on it.

Tom King - A Texan in a strange land.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How I Came to Vote Republican

The first presidential candidate I voted for was George McGovern. I didn't vote for him because I particularly like him. I voted for him because I distrusted Richard Nixon and didn't think he should win by a landslide. He did anyway and proved he was a sneaky bugger in short order.

I next voted for James Earl Carter in 1976 because he was a Washington outsider and I didn't like the way Ford was given the nomination for the Republicans.  I figured Carter for an honest man and a Christian.  I was 22 years old.

Something I overheard standing in line for that first vote troubled me. A young woman in front of me in the line said, "I just marked the straight ticket box. It was easier than looking at all those names I don't know and I voted for McGovern anyway."  The idea that people would vote straight ticket without knowing what any of the candidates believed seemed wrong to me and not very bright. With my Carter vote I came to realize that it takes more than being an outsider to administer the country. It takes genuine, workable ideas.

Over the succeeding (or, more accurately) failing) four years, as the gas lines lengthened and the price controls kicked inflation into double digits and we were humiliated and held hostage in Iran, I began listening to the radio messages of a California B-Western actor named Ronald Reagan.  Reagan was the first man I ever voted for in a presidential election and the first one I was ever completely happy with.  And, sadly, the last.

Ronald Reagan taught me that there were still some folk in politics who actually believe all the high-sounding phrases they use in speeches. More importantly, I learned that if you believe in Americans and get out of their way, they can do incredible things. Conservatism made sense to me. I'd seen creeping socialism rob America of it's spirit. I saw conservative leadership turn that around.

The Democrats had their chance to remold American society and all they gave us was malaise -- the same thing Communism gave the Russians and Chinese in the early days of the movement. Much longer and we'd have got some of the horror of the middle days of Russo-Chinese communism, the heyday of Stalin and Mao. Reagan shined a light on the great flaws of big government socialism and disrupted the Democrat-led march to the left.

My Grandpa became a Democrat during the depression and World War II under FDR. In his later years, he talked more and more like Reagan while he continued to vote a straight Democratic ticket. I never talked him away from his loyalty to the Democrat party, but I think he really liked Ronald Reagan and secretly admired him.

Me too, Grandpa.

Tom King, Puyallup, WA
(c) 2011 by Tom King

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why Perry Was Right on the HPV Vaccine

(c) 2011 by Tom King

Okay, before you flame me, just hear me out.  As conservatives, many of us have developed a knee-jerk reaction around certain issues, especially sex, property and religion. When confronted with certain issues, we often spout slogans without really thinking the thing through.  That tendency among conservative voters has nipped presidential candidate Rick Perry on the backside more than once.

One of the “burning” issues that turns folk against Perry has been the executive order he wrote that would have instituted the HPV vaccine program in Texas. Perry had excellent reasons for doing it the way he did. Had conservatives paid attention, they might have actually agreed with how it was done, but emotion got in the way. 

Knee-jerk conservatives thought:
  1. This is a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease.
  2. This is like handing out condoms in high school. The governor is accusing Texas girls of being promiscuous.
  3. My little girl will never be promiscuous!
  4. This must be political so the governor must be paying off some drug company or something.
  5. Therefore the governor is bad and a tool of the drug companies.

Here’s me thinking it through and putting myself in the governor’s place (a Biblical principle that is ingrained in me):

  1. The vaccine prevents a deadly, horrific and often fatal disease with a single shot for a lifetime.
  2. The vaccine is thoroughly tested and 100% effective. Side effects are very few as vaccines go.
  3. The governor was close friends with a bright, and likable young woman who died from this disease, who could have been saved had she had the vaccine as a kid. By all accounts the governor was greatly affected by her death.
  4. HPV can cause cervical cancer.  Thirty women a day are diagnosed with cervical cancer in this country.  Eight of ten women will contract some form of HPV in their lifetime. Sixty percent of college women have some form of HPV by their senior year. You don’t have to actually have sex to contract the disease.
  5. For those who don’t want to give the vaccine to their daughters, there’s an opt-out clause.
  6. The company that makes the drug only gave a tiny amount to the governor’s campaign – not nearly enough to buy a governor or to make him do something like this totally in the open.
Why opt-out is better than opt-in

Too many conservatives thought the governor was accusing Texas girls of being slutty and, in particularly, their own little girls and they got all offended without thinking it through.  

Now imagine if you will, how it goes down under an opt-in plan:
  1. You as a parent have to decide whether your elementary school little girl is going to grow up to be promiscuous or not – something you have very little data upon which to base such a decision.
  2. If you fear she might, then you have to “sign ‘er up”, thereby publicly declaring that you doubt your daughter will remain chaste. 
  3. You are also telling your daughter you think she won’t be able to keep her pants on when she grows up.
  4. You’ve just condemned her to take the “slut” walk down to the school nurse or the health clinic to get a shot that will protect her when, as you obviously believe, she inevitably loses her virginity in the back of someone’s van.
  5. Or you don’t get the vaccine, an action which does not affirm your belief in your daughter’s future chastity, only that you don’t want anyone to think your daughter is going to grow up to be a tramp.
  6. The inevitable result is that relatively few girls will get the vaccine.

Now imagine the program as an opt-out plan:
  1. The vaccine is one of the standard series of shots that all the little girls are receiving. So everyone gets the shots and there is no stigma one way or the other. It’s just something we all do because the law requires it.
  2. If you are convinced your little princess won’t ever slip and will remain chaste (as will her future husband), until the day of her wedding, you can march down to the health department and affirm your confidence in your child publicly by opting out.
  3. Opting OUT says publicly that your daughter would never do anything naughty and you trust her. Not opting out makes no comment, but simply obeys the law where vaccines are concerned.
  4. Her friends will know. Not opting out allows you to insure against your daughter making a mistake without branding her as the opt-in plan does. And lest you think (mistakenly) that no one will ever know if you opted in, remember this.  Your daughter will know and that knowledge may cause her to make all kinds of mistaken judgments about what you think of her.
  5. Not only that, but young people are a brutal tribal society. Whether or not your little girl has had the HPV vaccine will, inevitably, become public knowledge, because it’s too convenient a way for kids to sort themselves into groups.  Nasty teenaged boys will, certainly, use that information as a way to brand the “safe” slutty girls whose parents chose to have them vaccinated. I mean, after all, if their parents must think they’re going to be slutty, since they went out of their way to get their daughters protected.  It would be no different than giving your teenage daughter the pill, just in case. It brands her as a “safe” target and sets her up for sexual predators and makes it easier for her to make a "mistake". 
Karen Hughes another Texas governor needs you!
The misinformed uproar over the HPV vaccine was because of the word SEX. Because that word figured into the discussion, a lot of people's eyes glazed over and it became just another sex issue to rant about like sex education or free condoms in high school, and it wasn't that at all. 

Perry did what he thought best and got bit for it.  He could have explained it better, but Perry often neglects the PR.  He needs a Karl Rove and a Karen Hughes on his team to help him articulate what he’s doing. Whoever he’s got now, is reacting, not acting and it’s hurting him.  With Palin out of it, I like the idea of a Perry/Cain ticket more and more. It won’t happen unless Perry gets a stronger support system built around him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3000 Cut & Paste Pages of Argument & Ron Paul is Still Wrong!

A deer in the headlights
 What is it about Ron Paul supporters that make them so determined to bury you in cut and paste talking points if you are a conservative, but don't like Ron Paul?  I disagree with Ron Paul's drug policy and defense policy positions. So I get assaulted with Ron Paul's 11 point plan (it should be 12 points, but they always leave out the "legalize weed" one for some reason).  Makes me feel like a back-sliding Baptist hiding from the deacons they've sent over to my house because I converted to another denomination. 
Ron Paul's idea of defense is to bring all our troops home and huddle up behind our borders - to create a Fortress America if you will.  That seems like a poor idea to me.
He seems to think if we leave them alone, the rest of the world will like us. Who does that sound like?  Do the Paulistas really believe every other country thinks like we do? Sure, if you leave America alone, we generally won't bother you either, but can the Paulistas really believe every body else thinks like that, especially when our ancestors got kicked out of every civilized country in the world precisely because we think that way?
Gen. George Patton pointed out that no fortress has ever withstood a determined attack. I might add, especially if everyone behind the walls is stoned.
I'm just sayin'
Tom King
Texan in a strange land.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Do Churches Teach You Not to Think?

The journey that makes the snowflake makes it unique among its brethren for no two journeys are the same.

Up front let me self-identify. I'm a Sevenfth Day Adventist - member in good standing and all that. I know I should leave them alone, but when someone posts a question like this or makes the claim that churches force you to close your mind and accept a kind of forced ignorance, I just can't let the basic assumption behind that claim stand.

A church is, after all, a place where people study and share ideas. Very few congregations have such a rigid structure that there is no exchange of ideas. The sermon alone is a flow of ideas from the speaker to those who hear him. Ministers constantly challenge the comfortable assumptions of their parishioners and invite them to contemplate that which is infinitely beyond themselves. What could be more mind-expanding than that?  What the recipient receives and how it gets interpreted, is entirely up to the listener, but as the Germans say, "Sie gedanken sind frei."  You're thoughts are free.

Holocaust survivor, famed author and psychoanalyst Victor Frankl realized this in a very powerful way when, his family murdered and himself stripped naked and tortured, he discovered that no guard, no SS torturer could reach inside to control who he was in his inner soul.  He discovered that if one has a reason why he should live, if one truly holds love in his heart, he can survive any horror, any trial intact.

Some basic truths I have found:

1. Before a man can clearly look at any set of data, think about it and decide for himself (or herself) what the data means, he must have a mental construct or frame from which to analyze the data and come to a decision as to what to do about it. For some, formal religion or a specific philosophy serves this purpose. Even if you think you don't have a religion or philosophy, you will pick an underlying belief system up from friends or from TV or family -- somewhere, whether you like it or not.  Everyone has a mental framework or belief system. The construction of this framework is the entire work of childhood. Were we not to create a coherent belief system, all the data we absorb would be meaningless. You would be trapped in a kind of perpetual befuddled infancy, unable to decide what was important and meaningful and what was not. There would literally be thoughts you could not think.
2. When that belief system or paradigm is challenged, it causes some level of anxiety.  You experience much greater anxiety if your belief system is fragile or not working very well for you.  You experience far less anxiety or maybe none at all, if you are secure in your intellectual paradigm and can assign meaning to what is happening to you be it good or bad.

3. Shakespeare said, "Methinks thou doth protest too much." When our beliefs are challenged and we are not truly secure in them it disturbs us.  When a challenge to your beliefs is clearly articulated, and you have no ready answer to the challenge it presents, you may experience a fight or flight reaction. Panic may ensue and you resort to fighting, accusation, intimidation or threats against the person who disrupts your comfortable belief system. You do this in order to protect your core beliefs. On the other hand, you may simply flee from it and refuse to look at anything which challenges your beliefs.

4. In truth we all are conservative in our thinking in that we naturally resist changes that threaten the mental structures we rely on to process information. That's why a sudden conversion to a new paradigm can be mentally disorienting and frightening, even if it's a conversion to a better, more stable belief system. 

5.  Ultimately, the strength of our belief system depends heavily upon how much thoughtful work you put into constructing that belief system. If you never examine what you believe; if you never purposefully consider what you believe; if you do not consciously accept ideas that make sense to you and reject ideas that you find through study and research are without value, then you never really develop the ability to resist the instincts of the herd. It's how the Germans both knew about the holocaust, but could claim, honestly that they didn't. Their unconscious belief system accepted the idea that something should be done about the Jews - everyone believed it, didn't they?  At the same time they simply avoided thinking about what that meant in terms of actually doing something about the Jewish problem.

Conclusion: We each begin our search for God or for some kind of enlightenment from exactly where we stand. There is no other way. If God is up there (and I believe firmly that He is), then He is quite capable of locating us where we are and bringing us to Himself along a straight and narrow path. Remember, though that the world is a three dimensional place. We all, if searching sincerely for God, will find Him and meet at His feet. But because we all start in different places, it is conceivable that our paths might never cross except at the end. It's pretty certain, in fact, that no two of us will ever experience the journey in quite the same way. That is why, like snowflakes, no two of us are ever exactly alike.

And that, my friends, is, I believe exactly how God intended for things to work. Our work is to search for truth, to examine our beliefs and to choose whether we wish to love outward or to do the opposite which according to Elie Weisel is indifference. Indifference is what happens when you turn love completely inward and no longer care about anything or anyone outside yourself.
Me, I choose love; the powerful reaching out beyond yourself toward infinite love that transforms the soul and leads you home. I choose love every day of my life. In the meantime, may you find for yourself that path that leaves you strong, self-aware, and truly possessed of free will as God intended.
Till then, I'll see you at the journey's end.
(c) 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011


The word of the day, as sent to me by Miriam-Webster was "widdershins".  It's an old word meaning "in a left-handed or contrary direction."  I just love this word and fully intend to use it whenever I can. It's absolutely perfect. It comes from the medieval belief that demons always approach the devil from the left. A left-handed, counter clockwise or 'widdershins' path was considered evil or at the very least, bad luck for the person who took it. By the 1500s it had taken its somewhat less sinister current meaning.

Were I to use it in a sentence, I'd say, "The United States is totally widdershins and we may soon find ourselves unable to stop it!" 

It's interesting to note that originally, widdershins meant "bad hair" and describes hair that stands out in all the wrong directions. I submit the following photo from the recent "Occupy Wall Street" protests without comment.

article (c) 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NP Quarterly Takes a Swipe at Another Conservative Philanthropist

Got my Nonprofit Quarterly today and found an article entitled, "Art Pope, Bankroller of North Carolina's Republican Agenda, Tells All" by Jeff Cohen. I read it with interest, thinking to hear Mr. Pope's side of the issue. Instead I was directed to a New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer that did everything BUT give Mr. Pope's side of the issue.

Art Pope during his days as a NC Legislator
 Mr. Cohen meanwhile suggested the New Yorker piece would tell you what made Art Pope "tick". It doesn't. Mr. Cohen tried to sound fair, but he did manage to get in a couple of comparison's to the Koch Brothers and used perjorative words like "secretive" and "tea party" (at least tea party is perjorative to liberals, many of whom apparently subscribe to NPQ).  Interesting that Mr. Cohen never touches on the overwhelming contributions by individual liberal cause-funders, many of whom dwarf what conservatives like Pope or the Kochs spend.

In a story by Rob Christensen about Mr. Pope, Christensen quotes veteran Raleigh political analyst, John Davis. "The Democrats have always had the ability to win the close races because they outspend the Republicans 3-1, 4-1, 5-1. That disparity has been eliminated by the new independent expenditure laws," Davis said. "I know the Democrats are frustrated by the fact that they can no longer run over Republicans with their financial advantage, but frankly they have had an undue influence over the legislative politics of this state for decades because they were able to get extraordinary financial advantage."

Davis adds, "Money flows to power, and Democrats have always had the power - the president pro tem of the Senate, the speaker of the House and the governor," Davis goes on to say. "There has never been anyone to stand up to the union support for the Democratic Party and the business support for the Democratic Party,"

Pope, himself, says. "Part of my decision to give more than usual is to try to offset the advantages that the Democratic Party has."

Pope believes his political contributions should be seen in the context of his family's larger philanthropy on a wide range of community projects such as $1 million for a new hospice building and $1 million to help move the new Campbell University law school to downtown Raleigh. His family also gives to local universities, food banks and indigent health care.

"What we give politically," Pope points out, "Is a fraction of what we give to charity,"

The New Yorker story is typically pro-Democrat and basically spends its ink whining because Pope, a North Carolinian with experience as an elected North Carolina legislator, is spending money to help break the hold of Democrats on power in North Carolina.

It's ironic that those who claim to believe so strongly in "diversity", object so strongly to a publicly expressed second opinion when it comes to politics.

Cohen, in the Nonprofit Quarterly article, of course, gets in a shot at the evil Koch brothers who actually have donated to Democrats and to organizations with liberal leanings. He fails, however, to touch on the obvious other side of the coin, avoiding mention of pro-liberal agenda philanthropists like conservative bugbear George Soros, whose charitable contributions are almost entirely about driving a political agenda. Soros and other big name billionaires spend folk like the Koch brothers and Art Pope under the table on political agenda driving.

So, why don't we hear any complaints about attempts by progressives to "buy the government", especially in a publication that bills itself as the Harvard Business Review of the nonprofit world and is supposed to be politically neutral?

The simple answer is, because folk like Jane Mayer and Jeff Cohen approve of money driving agendas, so long as the agenda is one with which they agree - specifically larger government. Since the objective of the conservative groups the Pope Family is funding is limited government, Pope draws the wrath of those who currently have a huge stake in growing their political power. Pope has further angered liberal media pundits and North Carolina Democrats by helping organize and sponsor Tea Party rallies and meetings around the state. (Insert gasp here!)

In the meantime, I don't suppose the nonprofits that are receiving Pope checks are complaining that the Pope family are driving a pro-education/pro-healthcare/anti-poverty agenda with their funding of hospital indigent care programs, hospices, universities and food banks.
Democrats claim Pope supports candidates that are "bad for North Carolina". While it's true that more elected Republicans might certainly be bad for North Carolina Democrats, others, Pope among them, cite the recent record of Democratic rule as one of failure - including corruption cases, a broken probation system, a troubled mental health system, a high school dropout rate, a recent tax hike, and budget problems.

As Pope points out, two senate candidates in recent years Democratic Senate candidates John Edwards and Erskine Bowles each spent far more of their own money on their campaigns than Art Pope has put into North Carolina conservative political groups.  If Art Pope is buying the state, as Ms. Mayer claims, he's going to have to come up with far more than he has so far, because his political adversaries are still out-spending him and have been for a very, very long time.

None of the article I read were by conservatives. The Newsobserver article was at least balanced and gave both sides of the story, allowing the reader to decide what to believe about Art Pope. The American system allows for dissent by American citizens. Perhaps, in recommending an article like the one Cohen gushes over in the New Yorker, Nonprofit Quarterly should also include a link to something that at least gives the other side of the story. Pope may be bad for Dems, but he apparently is generous with nonprofits. The question I'd ask?  Is Nonprofit Quarterly about what's good for a liberal political agenda or what's good for funding our nonprofits?

If it's about funding worthy causes, the Pope Family Foundation certainly deserves a pat on the back for its stewardship whatever you think of its politics.

(c) 2011 by Tom King