Monday, December 22, 2014

The Tragic Hacking of North Korea's Internet Connection

Apparently some American hackers have re-discovered their patriotic gene. North Korea is being hacked!  :-o

Despite our collective wish that the president might have discovered his own inner tough guy, it's unlikely that the US government is taking North Korea offline (at least not with the president's blessing anyway).  Some members of the press are expressing fear that such a retaliation might set a dangerous precedent. This confuses me. Are they advocating that we set the no less dangerous precedent of allowing attacks on our infrastructure to go unanswered?

Might as well paint a target on ourselves and invite the world to take out its frustrations on us. That would be a very Obama-like position to take, though, in the wake of the president's World Apology Tour.

Let us therefore extend to Kim Jong Un the Handkerchief of Pity and to the North Korean government and military (the only ones allowed to actually use the Internet in North Korea) our deepest heartfelt sympathy for their loss. It must be a wrench for the generals and Communist Party operatives to lose access to the Asian porn and free pirated Western movies that make the great burden of leadership bearable.~

© 2014 by Tom King

Thursday, December 18, 2014

All's Right With the World In Spite of Evidence to the Contrary

God is in his heaven and all will come out as it should. 

It is important to believe this if you believe at all in God for the devil your adversary will hound you as long as you place your faith in God. Once the devil has got you, he may leave you alone or he may destroy you for the fun of it, but until the devil has taught you to worship yourself, he will never cease to come after you. God on the other hand leaves you your right to choose. He doesn't hammer you into submission. And he promises to make it all come out right in the end.

To take the name of Christ - to call yourself a Christian - is a momentous thing.

If you're not serious about it, you'll be better off becoming a Crip or a Blood or a Rosicrucian. Sign up with the Illuminati if you're looking for success and can find a recruiting office. Become a communist or a Democrat (one of those who hissed and booed at the mention of God during their last convention). Be anything but a Christian. Don't join up with the body of Christ if you're still looking for power, wealth and influence in this world. Don't sign up if you don't intend to treat others the way you want to be treated or to obey the commandments to the best of the ability God gives you. 

Don't embarrass the rest of us.

The truth is that if you don't love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself, you're probably giving us all a bad name. God, Himself, says you'd be better off cold than lukewarm toward Him. If you're cold, you may be convinced you need Him and surrender your heart into His hands. If you're lukewarm you think you're pretty good and don't need anything. Jesus said about those kinds of people, "They have had their reward."  In other words, you might as well pat yourself on the back. Nobody else will. 

We listen for the still small voice.

There's something about taking to your knees once in a while and asking for a reboot. Like computers, we humans accumulate bits and pieces of stuff in our minds and hearts that collectively slow us down and make our behavior buggy. Prayer time is a kind of reboot that flushes the system of all that unexamined nonsense that floats around in our brains and allows us to start over with a clear head. By making every day a do-over and trusting that God will work it all out for the best in the end, Christians become some of the most resilient, stubbornly decent people in the world.

How cool is that?

© 2014 by Tom King

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ron Klain is.............Czardoz!

Klain is amazing. Faster than a speeding bullet, he dodges questions from Fox News reporters with lightning speed and agility. More powerful than a Goldman-Sachs vice-president, he twists news media to his will. Able to leap to totally unwarranted conclusions in a single bound. It's a lawyer. It's a spin doctor. It's Czardoz!  - The Huffington Post

Strange creature from Harvard Law School, Czardoz and his willing accomplices in the media wage a never-ending war against truth, justice and the American Way!    - Al Gore

When I saw him step out behind that podium, a tingle ran right up my leg. - Chris Matthews

I want to have his children!    - Gwyneth Paltrow

© 2014 by Tom King

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Building Sidewalks

Sidewalks don't need to be this fancy or expensive
nor require a federal grant or expensive "program".
Just build the danged sidewalk!
Community "Issues" Aren't Always What the Community Organizers Tell You They Are

One forgets sometimes how insular is the life of many a pundit, reporter, editor and publisher that we rely on for information and opinion in our daily news consumption. I saw a case in point this morning in an email from Ruth McCambridge, editor of The Nonprofit Quarterly. She was announcing the addition of a new cadre of on-the-ground reporters to broaden the coverage of nonprofit activities in the Good Old U.S. of A. and explained a bit about what she saw as their role in the new and improved NPQ.

  • We believe in the intelligence of those who are doing and negotiating the grounded work in communities. You are the ones who have to understand the patterns of your operating environments—what it will mean if this philanthropic leader leaves her post, or if that organization embarrasses itself, or if such and such city decides that the CDBG money is needed for sidewalk repair instead of housing. You watch all of these interconnected dynamics, and if you are worth your salt, sometimes you understand what that will mean for the work you do. 
Ruth has an excellent point. The only thing dangerous is in listening to only one of those on-the-ground voices. I suspect that, given the left lean of NPQ, that the editorial staff may jump on reporting by on-the-ground voices which echo their own sentiments before they accept opposing voices. They may not even hear opposing voices, I suspect, as many of those on-the-ground voices don't even read NPQ or know that they are looking to hear such voices.

To be fair, NPQ has attempted to report opposing viewpoints. They've even published articles by me (unpaid, of course), so they can claim to include views from both sides of the political spectrum – me being unabashedly conservative and all. Even then, there is a danger of getting things wrong. That's why reporters who really do want to get their facts straight and unbiased should probably, almost always, do a part 2 to any controversial article in which they do follow up investigation with reference to the criticism their first article received in the comments section. That's how I'd do it if I were the editor.

Case in point: McCambridge mentions an issue in which the city decides that Community Development Block Grant money is used for sidewalk repair instead of housing. CDBG is a federal block grant for cities. Cities have relatively broad latitude so far as what to do with CDBG funds. Housing is one of the areas CDBG goes for. Transportation is another. Infrastructure repair and upgrade is another. While a lot of community activists might get their hackles up if money were diverted to sidewalk building and repair instead of housing and let out a howl, it would be wise for any reporter tempted to wax critical of the city to stop and take a deep breath and TALK TO SOMEBODY ELSE.

I worked as a transportation activist in a small urban center where this issue came up. The city was originally laid out along old trails and cowpaths. Roads were narrow and, as it was Texas, house lots were large. As cars came along, roads were widened, but there was a limit to how far you could widen them. In the oldest part of town, there were sidewalks that connected the neighborhoods that surrounded the city center to the old Interurban trolley stops. Citizens who wanted to go anywhere, walked to the trolley stop on sidewalks that kept them up out of the horse manure and mud. Once the Interurbans were shut down and everyone began to drive cars, roads and new suburban neighborhoods went up. No one thought much about poverty and disability during the oil boom years because it wasn't much of an issue. No one needed sidewalks because they drove cars, so sidewalks were deemed an expensive luxury that nobody would use.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Jogging is popular. Twenty-five percent of the adult population cannot drive because they are elderly or disabled. More people live through accidents with disabilities thanks to modern medicine. They can get motorized chairs and scooters, city buses are accessible, but people with disabilities have to drive their scooters in the street to get to the bus stops because there are no sidewalks or curb cuts throughout most of the city. While all city buses are wheelchair accessible, the bus stops are miles away from many older neighborhoods and accessible bus service is expensive. In my town, housing was important and the housing advocates shouted down any idea of improving the sidewalks or worse building new ones.

It was hard to make people see that $2000 worth of asphalted trails or concrete sidewalks could, in time, save the city many more thousands of dollars annually by creating a safe path for elderly, low-income and disabled individuals to get to the bus routes without having to call for expensive para-transit buses. In addition, the sidewalk network would mean that instead of waiting for the city to build expensive accessible housing for seniors and people with disabilities, a majority of them could remain in their own homes and access goods and services they need by sidewalk and bus at very low cost to both the users and the city. I hope that NPQ and other news agencies who report on community issues and activities will take the time to think outside the usual liberal activist box. Sometimes there are other ways to do things than simply by squabbling over who gets what federal funds. Communities often come up with very powerful solutions all on their own without any advice at all from the graybeards in Washington DC.

My friend Darrel, for instance, lived in a small East Texas town with lots of old people living around the area. Most were on fixed incomes. Many were fast losing the ability to drive. Darrel got busy, rounded up some old school buses and with the help of the local churches, began running a twice a month "trip to town" for retirees on the dates that social security and VA checks came out. They'd pick them up early in the morning. Walmart would host a bingo tournament in the McDonald's providing the game callers and even some prizes. The bank inside the Walmart had a bank location, a beauty salon, a pharmacy and Walmart's wide selection of grocery and retail goods. If the folk wanted to visit downtown or any other stores, the volunteer driver's were very flexible. They even rigged one of the buses to be wheelchair accessible. The thing ran until Darrel's death and I think may be running yet. They didn't get any federal money. Each church adopted and shared a bus. They didn’t charge a thing to passengers. Drivers were all volunteers. They did things that the "official" rural transit system refused to do or claimed was impossible.

Those are the "Little Engine That Could" kind of stories I'd like to see NPQ and other media report on. The only thing is that most of such organizations that do what Darrel (not his real name) did don't want the publicity lest some activist spot them and report them for not doing it the "right" way. What they usually mean by that is the way that brings in federal or state dollars that they can control. Forgive me for being a cynic, but 40 years in the nonprofit sector has taught me that.

As a member of the local disability issues review board in my town, I once suggested what I thought was a clever and economical solution to a disability issue we were discussing. The other members, more seasoned fellows than myself, told me it would never work.

 "Why?" I asked

 "Because," they answered, "It makes too much sense."

 Which is why I've changed my status from that of nonprofit professional to nonprofit amateur.

© 2014 by Tom King

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Puffer Fish Problem

Kim Jong Un - the only fat man in North Korea.

Korea's in turmoil again and the diplomats are all a-flutter. Unfortunately, given the apparent philosophy under which our current diplomatic corps operates, we may see the situation escalate rather than improve if the Obama State Department tries its usual disastrous tactics.

The administration is fond of a tit for tat strategy of diplomacy with us being the "tat" and the tat being too little, too late. Tit-for-tat is also sometimes called mirroring. It’s a mistake to use mirroring as our primary diplomatic strategy, especially with N. Korea. Such an approach places all the power in the hands of the North Koreans.  They know now that we will only do back to them exactly what they do to us.  Kim Jong Un figures he can win a conflict like that because his people will see the US as the bad guy and rally behind him. By luring us into a retaliatory game of tit for tat, he expects to inflame North Koreans against the US by casting us as the aggressor. He assumes that his people will endure any damage we do to him.  He also believes, like the Japanese did prior to the Second World War, that Americans will not tolerate having their hands spanked, but will surrender almost immediately and give the aggressor whatever he wants. Why not? It's worked for Hamas.

Mirroring as a diplomatic strategy makes the misguided assumption that your opponent wants the same things you want. Americans want freedom and prosperity through our own efforts. North Koreans are starving,  Kim Jong Un wants the international version of food stamps. North Koreans don't have the same ideals that we do. It’s woefully short-sighted to believe they do.

A couple of  examples from history show where the politicians got it wrong by expecting their nation's rival nation-states to want the same things their own citizens wanted.
  • Chamberlain wanted peace.  Hitler wanted conquest.
  • The US wanted peace.  Japan wanted conquest of the Pacific.
  • Queen Elizabeth I wanted open trade and competition for colonies in the New World. She was willing to divvy things up with Spain. King Philip wanted world domination.
It all led to war.

Many small dictatorships and leaders like Kim Jong Un adopt what I call the Puffer Fish Tactic when dealing with large Western democracies.  Like the puffer fish, they blow themselves up to look far larger and more dangerous than they really are in order to win concessions from their enemies.  They assume that our leaders are working from the same motivation that they are – the acquisition and maintenance of personal power.  If there is an imbalance between what motivates the two sides in any negotiation, mirroring becomes a useless negotiating tactic.
This happened to me last year with a client.  I made a proposal for a grant-writing project. The Client accepted it and then proceeded to negotiate a 20% decrease in my hourly rate and rejected my retainer fees.  I tried to accommodate the client assuming the client was interested in writing a good grant and turning it in on time.  After I went ahead and invested 30 some hours of unpaid time, the client canceled the grant and proceeded to trash me to my agency.

I thought the client wanted the same thing I wanted – the success of the grant.  I acted from that assumption.  I bent over backwards to make the thing happen, invested time and energy to insure we could hit the ground running.  My client’s motivation as it turns out was evidently not the success of the grant.  I trusted the client. The client did not trust me.  There’s nothing more frustrating than arguing at cross purposes.
The experience was not without value, however.  In my work on the feasibility part of the grant, I discovered that the grant was likely to fail.  The work that had supposedly been done had not been done. The financial capacity of the partner was limited and there appeared to be some problems with its operational history that the client was anxious to gloss over.  It appears to me the client, who said she was a grant writer, wanted to hire some help because she was in over her head. I think she had charged the lead agency for her services and needed me to turn in work so that she could turn in work and be paid for it.  It would explain, given the tiny budget of her unregistered nonprofit agency, why she was unable to pay my retainer and why she was reluctant to have me talk with the lead agency.

My purpose was saving the grant.  I mirrored her behavior based on the assumption that her purpose was the same.  Her purpose seems to have been saving her ass and that’s why my actions made no sense to her.  I was not helping her save her fuzzy butt, so she turned on me.
There is a powerful lesson there with regard to diplomacy.  The error to which the liberal left and the libertarian Ron Paul right fall into is assuming that Islamic dictators, terrorists and Islamo-facists want the same thing we do – peace and prosperity.  Ronald Reagan understood far better than any president since Teddy Roosevelt and possibly Dwight Eisenhower how to deal with evil people.  When Libya bombed an airliner full of civilians we didn’t conduct an embargo, file a protest and leave it there.  We didn’t shoot down one of their airliners.
We flew a bunch of F-111s to Libya, wiped out their air defenses, left them defenseless and bombed Muhammar Ghadafi’s house to boot.  Colonel Ghadafi shut up, quit running terrorist ops against Americans. When GHW Bush ran Iraq out of Kuwait, Ghadafi promptly apologized for the Pan Am bombing. When GW Bush overran Afghanistan and Iraq, Muhammar publicly disavowed his nuclear program and started trade negotiations with the West.
That’s how you negotiate with evil men and evil governments.
There isn't anything else that works.  The Libertarian policy on defense and foreign policy is wrong-headed.  It's basically the same policy as the liberal left.  It presumes "they" want what "we" want.  If you pay attention at all to history, you'll quickly see that this is not true.

  • We wanted peace and free trade, the Japanese wanted to rule the Pacific and Asia.  The result -  Pearl Harbor.

  • Neville Chamberlain wanted peace and assumed Hitler did too.  Result - the Anschluss, blitzkrieg, Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain.

  • America wanted to restore nations and have peace and free trade and Russia wanted to "bury" us.  The result - almost 50 years of Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation.

  • We assumed China wanted peace and would work out its own government.  Chairman Mao wanted to run China according to his own peculiar ideology.  Result - the Great Leap Forward and hundreds of millions dead.

  • We want peace and free trade and the libs (both kinds) assume the Islamic world does too.  The beating heart of Islam wants the coming of the Caliphate and the submission of all nations to Shariah Law (read it, it's in the Koran).  The result - repeated attacks on Israel, terrorism and the political expansion of the Muslim world in every corner of the globe.

If our global neighbors were like us, we could stand down our armies and cuddle up together behind our borders without fear.  Unfortunately as more than a billion people discovered too late to save themselves in the 20th century - not everyone out there loves peace and free trade.

That's just how it is.  The diplomatic tactic of tit-for-tat or "mirroring" only gives a tin-pot dictator like Kim Jong Un a tool for manipulating the United States into a conflict of his choosing.  If we do that all over the world, we get another Cold War and buy time for the lunatics out there to rebuild their strength.

Reagan had the right idea.  Don't mirror.  Do as Sean Connery told Kevin Costner in the movie "The Untouchables", "If they come at you with a knife, you bring a gun.  If they send one of your men to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue."

The Chicago Way turns out to be an effective diplomatic tool as demonstrated in Libya and with the ending of the Cold War. As a great power we're really the only ones on the planet who can maintain any sort of peace. Really, we're the only ones who can do it, and if God gives you a job, you shouldn't refuse it just because it is hard.

Much as many of us hate the idea of a Pax Americana, what's the other choices?  A Pax Russia? A Pax China? Worse yet, a Pax Islam?  When Islamist say their religion is a religion of peace, they are talking about the kind of peace that Napoleon, King Philip, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, the Caesars and all the rest wanted. No ten-toed steel and clay United Nations is ever going to be able to insure peace. Their soldiers don't carry loaded weapons and they wear helmets that make them easier to see. How's that going to work?

© 2014 by Tom King

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Secret Service Takes One in the Name of Diversity

Secret Service Director Pierson. One wonders whether she can
open the president's limo door........or not.
Enquiring minds?
The United States Secret Service, one of the most storied United States federal law enforcement agencies has been in the news of late due to several rather spectacular failures that have drawn attention to a steady breakdown in management, morale and performance at the agency. The clearly deteriorating condition of the United States Secret Service has forced the resignation of the director, Julia Pierson, whom the president hired to fix the most pressing problem at the agency - the lack of diversity. She pretty much had to fall on her sword in the wake of growing problems and incidents involving Secret Service.

  • Omar Gonzales, a 42 year-old Iraqi War veteran jumped the White House fence, overpowered an agent and made it to the East Room armed with a knife
  • Secret Service agents preparing for the president's visit to Columbia apparently hired prostitutes and threw themselves a party the night before the president's arrival.
  • Ronald Kessler, author of In the President's Secret Service, claimed one female Secret Service agent on the president’s detail is "so out of shape that she literally cannot open the heavy doors to exit the president’s limousine."
  • At a White House state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, presidential staff insistence, that people who looked like they belonged at the party not be "harassed", contributed to Secret Service uniformed officers’ reluctance to turn away anyone who showed up at the event and allowed two uninvited guests to crash the party.
  • Agents complain that they are not allowed time for regular firearms requalification or physical training. Agents frequently work 18 hour shifts or more for days at a time. They are told to handle the missing firearms and physical training simply by filling in their own scores to make the paperwork look right.
  • Protective teams have been reduced or told to stand back because staff are concerned that if doesn't look good to have too many Secret Service agents among guests at White House and even on-the-road events. Staff have even insisted that Secret Service agents maintain their distance from protectees on the grounds that the protectees don't like it.
  • Agents complain that the agency doesn't back them. If powerful staff members don't like a secret service agent's security restrictions or if they refuse to violate Secret Service policy on command, an agent can be fired or reassigned. It's apparently happened quite a lot.
None of these things appear to be important to the agency's management, however. Diversity has been the "big problem" faced by the agency since the beginning of the Obama administration. In 2009, the Secret Service said in its annual report - FY2009, our recruitment staff attended 370 job fairs aimed to attract applicants with varied education and experiences, as well as diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Liberal news site, the Huffington Post piled on in 2012 with an article calling for "efforts to close the gender gap" at Secret Service. Huffpo echoed the administration's concern that only about a tenth of field agents and uniformed officers were women. Even though the shortage of women probably had more to do with the travel demands of the job than any pro-male bias, the liberal press, in the wake of the Columbia prostitution scandal, called for recruiting more diverse candidates as Secret Service agents in an effort to prevent the agency from being seen as "unfriendly to women".

Democrat Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, "I can't help but think that there would be some progress if there was more diversity and if there were more women that were there."  Doesn't look like that strategy has helped much - at least so far as protecting POTUS is concerned.

Since president Obama moved into the White House, the Secret Services recruiting mandate has been abundantly clear. The agency has aggressively recruited women and other minority group, initially targeting female-oriented career fairs and sending brochures to college women's groups and organizations.

In the meantime, the agency has encouraged "diversity" by making things easier for agents who meet diversity quotas.  Instead of removing the overweight female agent who couldn't even open the president's car door or at least making her pass the physical fitness test that all agents are supposed to take every three months, Secret Service management, instead, told drivers to "try to park so it would be easier for the vehicle door to swing open for her." To make things even more surreal, the flabby agent is a SUPERVISOR.


Many former Secret Service agents complain that the agency has developed a fixation with diversity. Even though Secret Service has some excellent female and black agents, management assigns some agents who are not well-qualified to guard the president to meet targeted racial, ethnic and gender quotas for the sake of making Secret Service look diverse.  One veteran agent says, “They want the optics to look good, regardless of their actual job skills.
The recently resigned Secret Service director, Julia Pierson was tapped by the president for the job in March of 2013, not to beef up the agency's capability to do its job, but to change the culture of the Secret Service in the wake of the Colombian prostitution scandal. Pierson, herself, is not exactly the poster girl for the fitness and skill levels one would expect of a Secret Service agent, even if he or she was part of management.
Favoritism, incompetent management, disregard for safety of protectees and a general shifting of the agency's mission away from protection toward political posturing has created problems with low morale and high turnover. The Secret Service has deteriorated to the point that their weapons are outdated, competent personnel are in short supply and the agency so politicized that it can no longer do its job as advertised.

And speaking of advertising:

In 2013, there were two movies about attacks on the White House in which Secret Service agents featured prominently. This was NO accident. Hollywood has always been anxious to help out Democrat presidents and causes. In December of 2012, I was asked to write reviews of both movies, neither of which was even out yet. The "reviews" were to be designed to appeal to "twenty-something young men with an interest in video games and action movies".  The contractor? The US taxpayer through the White House. As near as I could tell, the Secret Service was funding it. The effort to stack the movie reviews for these two films was, according to the information we got from the client designed to encourage young male video-gamers and action movie fans to apply for jobs with the Secret Service. I'm not sure how many of these phoney reviews were written, but the content mill publisher I worked for on occasion had stacks of these jobs available before both White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen.

One wonders how many other core Democrat voting groups have been recruited to the Secret Service, not because of their law enforcement, weapons and security skills, but because they look right, are the correct gender or can be counted on to be politically reliable.

How's that working out for you guys at Secret Service. I'll wait for an answer till you get a new director. Good luck finding a Marxist lesbian, black, female, twenty-something gamer for your new boss. And after all, why worry about your primary job of protecting the president. If you do fail at that job, there's always Joe Biden waiting in the wings.

© 2014 by Tom King

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Aim to Misbehave!

The great debate of our time appears to be over how to make people better. One side believes that you make people better by passing laws. The other side believes you make people better by changing hearts. One side believes you can coerce goodness from without. The other side believes you can only create goodness from within.

There is a book that clearly documents the inability of law, in and of itself, to make people better. It's called the Old Testament. The long march of history has confirmed time and again the impotence of law to make people better. 

Law can help define what is and what is not good, but it cannot make people better - even at the point of a sword or through the barrel of a gun. 

Goodness comes from an indwelling of the spirit of God which inexorably changes hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. It works no other way.

Utopia cannot be legislated. Goodness cannot be forced, however many legions of stormtroopers you bring to bear upon the matter. Every time a government arises "for the good of the people", history shows us that those who assume the leadership of those governments and take upon themselves the task of forcing their subjects to be well-behaved inevitably become monsters.

The United States is, essentially, a backward country compared to other countries of the world. Instead of our protection and our rights coming from government, our forefathers recognized that these things were our inalienable right and rather than needing kings and emperors to give its people these rights, instead it should be the people from whom the government should derive its privileges, powers and responsibility.

The US Constitution and Declaration of Independence marked a stunning change in world affairs, arresting for a time the power of princes and potentates. Unfortunately, those who would make themselves kings did not go away. They are still out there, chipping away at the great American Experiment, relentlessly seeking to regain the power to tell us all what we may do and to force us to obey.

I do not hold to that and when America falls back into totalitarian darkness once more....

I aim to misbehave.

© 2014 by Tom King

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Oil, Trolleys, Windmills, Spacecraft and Buggy Whips

When the subject of government meddling in the growth and development of industry comes up, people tend to fall into one of two camps — the folk who thought giving almost a billion dollars to Solyndra was a good idea and those who didn't. The pro-government folk inevitably talk about protecting American industry and jobs. Somehow the government is supposed to protect workers when buggy whips go obsolete.

It's always buggy whips. The buggy whip argument doesn't work very well, however. The buggy whip industry didn't die until the automobile developed to a point that the technology was affordable for the majority of us. Buggies gradually disappeared from city streets and with them, buggy whips (although many parents kept the leftover ones in the woodshed for disciplinary activities). 

Along with the buggies disappearing, a lot of jobs went with them. The number of horses declined in cities and with them the guys that ran around town with these little trash cans on wheels scooping up horse poop. Those guys lost their jobs as did buggy builders, buggy whip makers and used horse dealers. It would have been stupid to try and preserve the buggy whip industry and all those other jobs that went along with it.

What happened was that industry adapted to what American's needed. Technology changes were adopted as they become affordable and the market was able to pay for the new technology. We didn't stimulate the auto industry to create jobs. The auto industry created jobs and workers moved from buggy whips to automobile plants gradually as the market for personal transportation shifted.

The government in the 30s famously tried to shift the public transportation industry from electric trolleys to rubber-tired, gas-fueled buses thanks to a deal between House Speaker Sam Rayburn (who wanted more markets for Texas oil) and FDR. We wound up overly reliant on fossil fuels and personal automobiles and systematically dismantled our cheap reliable public transportation system in the process. Look at all the political misery that's caused, not to mention wars. We're still trying to fix a public transit system that wasn't broken until FDR and Sam Rayburn with the help of GM, Goodyear and Standard Oil tried to "fix" it. The old Interurban rail tracks are long buried under layers of asphalt under downtown city streets.

What we're doing wrong now is creating an artificial panic over fossil fuel-based energy before the next technology is ready for prime-time. It will wreck the economy at the worst or at least make us dependent on a more expensive and less convenient energy source.

Politicians worry that without their wise guidance, we'll face a collapse some day when the oil wells all run dry.

What a load of self-important rubbish!

As oil becomes scarce, whenever that happens, capitalists (if there are any left) will find new energy sources and deploy them as they become profitable.
by profitable here, I mean self-sustaining. People can always shift to new jobs. It's been done before as old industries die and new ones rise to take their place. New markets replace old ones. Companies shift to new products as old ones lose market share.

Where we get into trouble is when we decide a certain job or a certain type of product should be artificially propped up and preserved in situ as though our economy was some sort of museum for fossilized businesses.  Capitalism is a dynamic process - always shifting, changing and adapting as the realities of technology, consumer needs and tastes inevitably change. Capitalism's willingness to cast aside the old in favor of something better in the name of profit is why capitalism survives where more rigid, centrally planned economic systems keep collapsing under the dead weight of their own out-dated practices.

Where governments, industrial associations and trade unions get into trouble is when they try to anticipate future trends and force them to come early on an artificial timetable.
It doesn't work. Change happens when change happens, no matter how much the comrades down at central-planning might wish to slap the process into some type of orderly progression.

Progress is not orderly.
It's messy and rowdy and breath-taking. Anal retentive, obsessive control freaks really hate that and they think it's their duty to clean it all up and make it work properly — smoothly. Not a one of them have a clue how to do that. Economists are about as accurate at predicting how to meddle with the economy of a nation as weathermen are at predicting what the weather is going to be anything more than a week from now.

One government agency that is finally doing it sort of right is NASA. By contracting out its space-taxi business, it's stimulating an incredibly rapid new space race. Instead of racing the Russians, who are basically still operating with 70s era technology, we're racing ourselves - private companies innovating, introducing new technologies and taking risks for the prize. Ironically, they all may actually win, even those who don't get NASA contracts. The "losers" may actually wind up selling in other markets. It will be nice to start making things like spaceships in America to sell to other countries. It will certainly help balance our trade deficit if we do. And how many other industries will turn all that innovation into new products and services?  

I'd don't believe American excellence is dead yet by any means. The only thing in the way is a raft of dim-witted politicians who believe they are smarter than all the rest of us put together. Really, the best thing they could do for us all is to get out of the way and let Americans work. 

There's still time to save ourselves.

Just sayin'

© 2014 by Tom King

The Umbrella Men

Friday, August 29, 2014

Embrace Your Inner Redskin

Embrace your inner cowboy.....
or Redskin for that matter.

The Power of Language to Change Perception - The Washington Redskins Conundrum

As the NFL football season approaches, everybody's all up in the air about whether or not the Washington Redskins should change their name in order to avoid offending Native American people. Some sportscasters have vowed not to use the R-word during broadcasts. Some tribes have sued the NFL. Others have taken the side of the team and call out the PC police for creating what they call a phony issue designed to make another whole race of people into victims.

The authors of the controversy say that changing the team's name will unite Americans in peaceful coexistence and harmony. How's that worked out for them?  Really, all they've managed to do is to divide the country and cast aspersions on people whose politics they don't like.

So, how about letting the people who are being slurred determine whether or not "Redskins" is a slur or not. Let's get the guys out of it who are third parties with no skin in the game other than to make themselves feel better about their own moral superiority over the stupid rednecks who call their football team the Redskins? And don't forget the would-be law-suit millionaires; they'll be suing for "damages" next. They have a vested interest in keeping the issue stirred up.

Not all Indians/Redskins/Native Americans are offended by the name of the Washington Team. Some of us find the name Redskins applied to a sports team, to be a tribute to our warrior ancestors, worthy adversaries who stood bravely against an unjust genocidal war waged against us by the racists and greedy bloodsuckers of the time (You know who you are). We know that the depredations against the red man by whites in the 19th century were by no means approved of by the American public in general. The country was sharply divided. Many people were sympathetic with the plight of Indians and found some of the government's "military" actions to be quite appalling. For the past century or so, Congress has hardly ever passed an appropriations bill or funding package that doesn't include money for the tribes in it. We feel bad about how some of our people treated the noble Red Man (that was the language the whites who sympathized with the tribes used at the time). There were powerful voices raised against our mistreatment of the Indian nations In Congress too (mostly Republicans by the way - just a little historical note).

Every race has its predators. Some of my own Native American ancestors could have handled their relations with whites a whole lot better. The truth is some of the tribes were more like roving gangs of thugs than they were like civilized people. This behavior reflected badly on all the majority of the rest of us who were peaceful. Some of the "warriors" who made themselves famous - were, quite frankly the terrorists of the Old West.

My ancestors lived in tents. Others were abused by the British and hunted across the peat bogs of Ireland. Others stood firm on the bridge at Culloden. My grandparents proudly chopped cotton. Some slept most of their lives under the stars and lived in the saddle. We farmed, we hunted, we preached and we made brooms for a living. One of my kin (to our eternal shame) was an English country squire.

I have enough native American blood that if I had the same amount of black blood in me, I'd be considered an African American by the Social Security Administration. My Indian ancestors have this wonderful belief that if you have even a relatively small amount of tribal blood in your veins, you're one of the tribe. Only white racists believe that a drop of some "other" blood makes you tainted. That's why I dislike being sensitive to the use of Native American symbolism. It smacks of paternalism - the idea that the tribes are so weak and pathetic that we must protect them by making it wrong to use their names and symbols if they're not part of some officially sanctioned Indian organization, group or activity.

What's ironic is that the same group winding up about offending Indians is the same group that calls dumping a cross into a jar of urine "Art" and says we Christians have no right to be offended.

I wouldn't complain much if the team changed its name to something else just to make the whiners stop whining. Let's make it the Washington Rednecks. That tactic would role model how to deal with racial slurs. Instead of whining like little girls, embrace the name and make it your own. Be proud of it. Black people almost did that with the n-word up until whiny white liberals got into the act and made the word unspeakable.

Of course, if we did change the name to "Rednecks", then some ambulance chaser would file suit on behalf of offended "indigenous southern peoples" and there would go a perfectly good word and with it Jeff Foxworthy's career. The PC police are already calling Robin Williams a racist for his "Welcome to Iraq. Help me" joke that Billy Crystal showed at the Emmys.

How about let's take a vote among the tribes? Not the tribal politicians, the ones making their living off of lawsuits and white guilt, but the rank and file members of the Nations. Ask them if they want the image of the Native American forcibly removed from the sides of football helmets. Then shall we get to work on with the logos of the Atlanta Braves, The Kansas City Chiefs, The Cleveland Indians, The Florida State Seminoles and the Chicago Blackhawks? The Golden State Warriors have preemptively removed any Native American symbolism from their logo, so unless bridge-builders or superheroes who dress all in black get offended they should be okay.

83% of American Indian respondents to a Sports Illustrated poll said that professional teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots or symbols. But what do they know? They aren't wealthy white liberals.

I feel the same way about the use of Scots-Irish symbols - The Fighting Irish, The Boston Celtics, The UP Edinboro Fighting Scots and my personal favorite the University of Northern Colorado Fighting Whites!  That last one would probably have to be changed because some moral cop would see it as promoting the idea that whites are racially superior, just like using an Indian team name promotes the idea that Indians are racially inferior.......................................uh, what?.

You see what I'm talking about. It's a descent into madness. I say, we all get us some "I am a Redskin - Hear me whoop!" T-shirts and make some noise. The more our tribes symbols get out there, the more likely we will not fade into historical obscurity.  Who in the world would remember the Illini tribe if it weren't for the Univ. of Illinois "Fighting Illini"?  I say plaster Indian symbols everywhere. Let's remember them and never allow thugs and bullies to ever do harm to any other group of people again.

Look, the other side of my ancestral gene pool managed to turn the classist slur "Redneck" into a badge of pride (and THAT was a word created by nose-in-the-air white liberals specifically to disparage poor Southern working white folk - the same morally self-important folks by the way, who are now having heart palpitations over white people using Indian symbols for sports teams).

To me, Indian-named sports teams are a tribute to a brave people who have been done wrong. The use of the name keeps their memory alive. We have always named sports teams after things we hoped would capture the bravery, physical prowess and skill of the people or animals symbolized and imbue that spirit into the team. The Steelers weren't trying to offend union iron-workers by their choice of names. They were trying to say they admired and wanted to emulate the toughness of the iron-worker.

I don't think the Redskins management was trying to insult Indians. I think they enjoyed the idea that every Thanksgiving, the Redskins would take a shot at defeating the Cowboys. How much fun is that?

I embrace the name "redskin" in the same way I embrace "redneck". Yeah, buddy, I am one and if you don't want me going all warpath (or redneck) on you, you'll treat me with some respect.

If I had a sports team I'd name them "The Nerds" and make them the trickiest, most deviously intelligent team in the league. I'd have a guy with black glasses with tape on the bridge as our symbol. It's a kind of defiance. I wish more people could see it that way. The English Language is one of the best languages in the world for taking words and making them mean what we want them to mean. The best way to neutralize a slur is by making it a source of pride.
The sports world is in an uproar over the name of the Washington Redskins. NFL announcers promise not to use the R-word this season. Some of the tribal leaders have filed suit hoping to collect big on the controversy.

So is "Redskins" a slur? Yep. It was. For some it still is. The jury, as we say, is still out. But if the PC police want to eliminate the name as a racial slur, there is a much better way. Do what Rednecks did. Embrace the slur!

Embracing a slur is the best way I know to silence bigots and racists.

"You stupid redneck!"

"Yeah, and....."

Call me a couch potato and I go out and get a couch potato t-shirt and wear it with pride. You can't use the word "Texan" as a slur (and plenty of people, mostly liberals, have tried). We Texans are proud of who we are. We even named our entire state after a tribe of friendly Native Americans that we admired. They called us Texicans for a while to try and insult us by inferring we were part "Mexican". It did not work. We like our Tex-Mex culture so we didn't mind. Hey, we ARE Texicans. Get over it.

We're also "a bunch of cowboys." The media pundits and diplomatic corps tried to make that word offensive by calling President Reagan a cowboy. Reagan just put on a white hat for the cameras and grinned.

I recognize that some slurs are beyond the pale, but let's save our energies for eliminating those. Personally, I'd like someone to get outraged by musicians calling women b's and h's. People who use those kinds of slurs should lose their record contracts and be shamed out of the public eye. Now that's a political correctness I could get behind.

- Tom

Monday, August 11, 2014

Why I'll Never Support the Ron Paul Conspiracy Theory-Based Foreign Policy

So quit sending me those danged Youtube links!

One of my Paulestinian buddies asked me, "What's wrong if some Russians living in Ukraine want to be Russian again?

Answer: Nothing. Let them move back to Russia.

Ukraine separated from Soviet Russia by popular vote. The Russians living there moved in under Soviet Communism. Saying the Russian separatists have a right to take Ukrainian land just because they moved there and transfer it back to the motherland is like saying the millions of illegal aliens in the US have the right to take parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and hook it back up to Mexico. Or maybe the Italians could take part of Brooklyn and give it to Italy. There are enough Irish in Boston to make the town Ireland's western-most county. The idea that immigrants can move into an established country and then just peel off part of a country for themselves is just stupidity. And before you shout "What about Israel?" that was a special UN sanctioned case done for a refugee population that had been displaced by war and in real danger. Russian separatists aren't in any real danger from the Ukrainian government.

My buddy went on to state categorically that we should not do anything to irritate the Russians, like stand up to them. "Nothing," he says, "Is worth the risk of nuclear war, even a limited one."

I've got to ask. What are you, Paulistas anyway? French? Do you have any idea what that would mean as a foreign policy simply to let every third rate would-be dictator with an army to run wild?

It means the same thing it does in a junior high classroom where the teacher is weak. The bully that is willing to be the craziest, most violent, most cynical and evil rules unless someone is willing to get beaten up to stand against him. Back in my junior high, we had one particularly aggressive 8th grader who enjoyed tormenting younger, smaller kids. He once punched me in the face for objecting to his taking a basketball away from a group of smaller kids. I told him to his face he had done wrong and I may have used less than diplomatic language. He cold cocked me.

I stood there and took it and even turned the other cheek, but I did not lose eye contact. When Mr. Pauly, the school principle came out and saw my bloodied face, he asked who had done it, I didn't rat my tormentor out. I said I'd been hit by a basketball and went in to clean myself up. Mr. Pauly let it go, but he knew better. The boy left me alone after that, but I had had to take the risk of being punched in the face to make him stop. Even though I wasn't big enough to survive a fight with him, his own over-reaction to being confronted nose-to-nose and the consequences he endured as a result in terms of general disapproval from the rest of the class and a few words from Mr. Pauly encouraged him to greater self-control in the future. It didn't last. He wound up shooting up a bar, killing some folk and ending his short life in Angola prison's Old Sparky. Those in attendance said he wore a look of surprise on his face as they strapped him in.

My Uncle Art taught 8th grade for years and one year he had this huge gentle boy name Harold in eighth grade. Harold was big and muscular, but he wouldn't willingly harm a fly. He was a friend to all the underdogs in the class. One day one of the school toughs started to torment a younger kid who was a friend of Harold's. Harold approached and instructed the young thug to let the kid go.

 "What are YOU going to do about it?" the bully sneered. He woke up flat on his back with a very bloody nose and the entire schoolyard cheering for Harold. Uncle Art had a strict rule about fighting, but he knew what had happened. He told Harold he'd have to be punished. Harold said, "I understand, Mr. Bell." Uncle Art couldn't bear to give him swats for rescuing a younger child from a bully, but his law about fighting was written in stone. He tried to make it easier on the boy and gave Harold the option of serving detention instead of taking swats. Harold said, "No, Mr. Bell. I knew I'd get swats for it. I'll just go ahead and have those now and get it over with."

Uncle Art didn't go easy and the kids in the schoolyard heard three loud pops clear out in the schoolyard. When Harold walked out standing straight, his jaw firm and steady, he became a legend. Word got round among the bullies that Harold would punch you in the face and take swats for it if you messed with any of the little kids. Uncle Art said bullying disappeared from the school almost overnight.

And that's why I have the attitude I do with regard to isolationism - that and I do read history. I'm never going to change my attitude about it. I'm tired of being called stupid by dim-witted ideologues. I was invited to become a member of MENSA for crying out loud and I do qualify. I have the intellectual chops to figure out what's so and what ain't. I will never support the idea that the United States of America, the only decent country on the planet that anyone can even halfway trust and the only power left that could actually stand up to any sort of geo-political threat, should sit back and let the worlds bully boys have their way. Ain't gonna happen. You Paul-bots are wasting your delusional emails on me. All this conspiracy claptrap and twisted ideology is unconvincing and has yet to survive even half-hearted scrutiny on my part.

What I'm concerned about is that the loony left and the loony right are now the craziest people in the room. My fear is that if we don't some of us stand up to them, they're going to rule and that's when the world will sink back into semi-feudal barbarism.

I would like to thank my Paul-bot buddies for the blog post material, though. You guys stop by often and remind me how stupid I am. I get advertising dollars every time you do.

© 2014 byTom King

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Still Training Our Kids for the Arms Factories

Only in an obsessive-compulsive nation could you get
this many people to stand it neat lines waiting to be killed.
© 2014 by Tom King

Does it bother anyone else that, after nearly a century of evidence that it isn't working very well, we continue to educate our children in a school system designed by the same folk who gave the world extermination camps that conducted a ludicrously rigid accounting of every comb, button and gold tooth of every human being they murdered?

In the early 20th century, we, in the United States, adopted the German graded education system with division into classes by age, not by ability and standardized testing and number grades instead of measures of skills mastery.

The German Kindergarten system was designed to teach kids to show up on time, sit down, shut up, do repetitive work, conform and obey orders. Perfect if you are training future workers for the Krupwerks Munition Factories. Not so perfect for training the children of America, most of whose parents left their countries of origin in the first place in order to avoid raising their kids in just such societies. It's little wonder our kids are still having trouble learning a hundred years later. We've got a generation of restless, independent, genetically ADD American children crammed into a school system originally designed by obsessive compulsive Prussians to insure their own children understood what obsessive compulsive behaviors were expected of them.

And care to guess which nation does more scientific studies than any other on the subject of what to do to make ADD kids settle down and conform?

Yup. the Germans!

Just sayin'

Tom King

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Aim to Misbehave: The Myth of the Unbiased Media

I kind of went off on an old friend today. A Ph.D. who apparently took the left path at some point, he posted the poem about "you tired, your poor and your huddled masses" and basically indicated that the concern of the right over the whole immigration issue wasn't "American". In a follow up comment he expressed a desire for a return to the days when reporters were taught, "...that a good reporter never showed his/her personal bias."  Sadly, he said, those days are gone.

Sadly, my friend, those days were never here. Every reporter, even good old Walter Cronkite came to the task with his own personal druthers. Cronkite was an old leftie and everybody knew it. I used to watch him. I liked him, but I was never in doubt about his slant on the story. My friend pointed out that 28% of Fox News viewers also watched MSNBC as though that somehow diluted Fox's influence.

The reason people watch both Fox and MSNBC is because they are pretty much the only two news outlets that are clear as to what their reporters biases are. Fox is at least honest about it. With MSNBC, it's just so blatant you can't miss it, whatever they claim about being unbiased. What I like about Fox is that when a reporter is a conservative, you know it. When he's a liberal you know it. And Fox has both varieties of reporter. More importantly and the reason for their dominance of the news market is that Fox gives conservative viewers the chance to hear a reporter ask the questions that they would like to ask for themselves.

I, for one, do NOT long for the good old days when we got fed whatever the top 1 or 2 newspapers, television or radio stations thought we ought to hear. There was no conservative media, then, except possibly for William F. Buckley whom the stations kept around and trotted out once in a while when they wanted us to know they were being fair or when some politicians on the left weren't living up to their potential and they wanted Buckley to spank 'em. They crucified Barry Goldwater in the media and they had no shame about doing it. The only way Reagan got himself elected was because he was able to bypass the news media and appeal directly to heartland America.

I actually studied journalism back in them good old days and what the books were teaching was how to diddle stories to reflect a Marxist agenda. It was that open. Marxism was what the cool guys believed. The assumption was that if you were a journalist, you were a liberal. I withdrew from graduate school psychology because my professors demanded that I not only not believe in God and stop being a Christian, but also that I give up on all this silly monogamy stuff. The three top department heads had all wound up divorced during grad school and thought that if you didn't get a divorce while in grad school, that you weren't working hard enough. Not wishing to abandon my marriage in order to collect my degree, I left higher academia.

I am left with a deep and abiding mistrust of the motives of the left. I have good reason. I have seen them in action and however much most claim to be altruistic and want peace, love, sex, drugs and rock n' roll, underneath it all, the most ardent of leftists have a profound lust to exercise power over those they consider beneath them - the fabled teeming masses. The self-appointed great thinkers of our country think they are superior intellectually and that we cannot manage our lives without them. They think of us in nice statistical groups that, if only they have enough data, they could manipulate us like so many puppets - for our own good, of course.

Since the Garden of Eden it's been all about "being like God" for these people. The only real reason the progressive left has for feeding the starving, clothing the naked or housing the homeless is to relieve their own guilt and to pacify the rabble so they don't rise up and murder the privileged classes in their beds.

Progressivism is nothing less than the ancient idea of the divine right of kings morphed into the divine right of the smug and self-serving pseudo-intellectual wealthy upper classes. America undercut the notion of inherited nobility. The new would-be nobility must undermine America to restore what they see as their right to rule, to look down on a passive motley rabble and order them about as it suits them.

I know that sounds harsh, but every time I bore down into the progressive argument, I find the same creepy smug sense of entitled superiority.
I could get along with these people. My IQ is in the top 2%. All I'd have to do is buy into the idea of the elite class and adopt the same ideas they all share for managing the ignorant proletariat and I'm in.  Trouble is, I've thrown my hat in with the proletariat. I'd rather be free with regular decent people than one of the cool guys who think they ought to run things because, according to Marx and Darwin, smart people can make us all better and happy.

Once in a while the proletariat does rise up and reassert its right to not be meddled with - like in the 80's. Trouble is, then we all go back to work and the meddlers start it all back up again. They think that somehow if they pass enough law, hand out enough bread and circuses, they can make people..................better. By better, they seem to mean more submissive.

Maslow was wrong about the whole hierarchy of needs thing. Altruism and productivity doesn't inevitably come as a result of being fed, clothed and housed adequately. Sometimes altruistic is just who you choose to be.  People often stand by their principles even while the priests are piling up wood about their feet and waving torches.

The progressive left believes we smart people can somehow make people better. 

As my favorite spaceship captain, Malcolm Reynolds once said, "I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'.  I aim to misbehave."

© 2014 by Tom King

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Making Other Countries Feel Good About Themselves

Well the United States is out of the running for the World Cup again. This time Belgium kicked our butts. Belgium! I'm beginning to think the US Soccer team has the same kind of goals President Obama had with the whole World Apology Tour and his Middle Eastern Policy disasters. Same goal for that matter that NASA has with its new mission to "Make Muslims feel better about their contributions to science." 

I'm starting to think that we play soccer in order to make everybody else in the world feel better about themselves!

That's probably why the Ft. Worth Paper was complaining about the low TV ratings for the World Cup in Dallas and Fort-Worth. Liberal editors. What's the point of spending all that money sending a soccer team to Europe if Americans aren't going dutifully sit down in front of their tellies and see how much better the rest of the world is at something for a change.  Dallas-Ft. Worth is a conservative town. I'm not surprised nobody watched. I mean who wants to watch Americans being whipped by bloody Belgium? Even the illegal immigrants don't enjoy their new country being whipped by Belgians.

© 2014 by Tom King