Friday, August 18, 2017

Don't Trust Your Feelings Luke!

This is not politics, nor religion.
Call it philosophy or education or philosophy of education. Whatever!  I keep getting called ugly names by people who don't know me because of my political orientation. If I had an alternative sexual orientation I'd have been alright. The persons in question would, in fact, have defended me for that, but because my "label" makes them feel uncomfortable. It can't be right.

I blame George Lucas and the Romantic Poets. For many generations now we have been telling kids that feelings were important. The romantic poets started it off with the inane idea of courtly love - 90% emotion and 10% stupidity. George Lucas finished it off by having Obi Wan Kenobi give Luke Skywalker the second most inane idea "Trust your feelings, Luke."
Feelings cannot be trusted unless properly trained. Let me 'splain.

You want to learn to hit a baseball but you've never done it before. You take a swing. It feels awkward. You swing again, your brain working feverishly to try and adjust the trajectory of the bat by making adjustments to your finger pressure on the handle at the opposite end of the bat from the end you are trying to hit the ball with. It's a difficult task and at first it appears awkward.

But after repeating the process over and over and over again, eventually you get good at connecting with the ball. When you do finally get it right, when you swing correctly it just feels right. It's actually a positive emotional response that lets you know more quickly that you're doing it right. It saves your brain time by building thicker neuron pathways that trigger proper bat swinging. It skips the upper brain pretty much altogether and goes straight to the brain stem. After that, you swing the bat almost without thinking. When you feel good about the bat and ball coming together, you're probably swinging the bat correctly and way more likely to connect with a solid hit.

We train all our emotional responses that way. Even responses to labels, political opinions, religious beliefs if processed repeatedly come to feel "right".  The more we reinforce our belief systems, the more emotionally attached to them we become and anything that challenges those belief systems provokes a visceral response. The more firmly held the belief, the more powerful the response. So what we have now are people who feel first and then think and often they never quite get to the bit about thinking.

This is how holocausts happen.
Feelings are, for the most part, trained responses. Nine out of ten "feelings happen as a result of a previous series of "thinkings" Feelings are designed to be a backup to reasoning. As we encounter facts and ideas, process them and decide how we feel about them, our brain thickens pathways to the matching neural responses (feelings). If we agree with an idea or experience enough times we soon automatically feel good. Soon the limbic system stops sending incoming stimulus to the thinking part of the brain and short circuits it to the brain stem and triggers "feelings" If we train ourselves to believe that something is bad, we soon automatically have bad feelings about it. Obi Wan, in some ways was wrong.

You can only "Trust your feelings, Luke" if those feelings have been properly trained. One of the hazards of eliminating all contrary ideas from a child's training is that the child learns an emotional response to certain "facts" if those facts are incorrect or lies, the child still learns to skip the reasoning bit and go straight to a gut feeling that certain things are wrong and certain things are right. We create precious snowflakes that way - unable to tolerate a difference of opinion because it doesn't feel right and therefore it must be wrong.

It's why liberal-trained college students react so viscerally to anyone who challenges the Marxist ideas they've been trained to believe through positive reinforcement from their numerically superior numbers of Marxist college professors. We are no longer teaching young people to think (which makes them more resilient) but to feel (which makes them less mentally tough). Why do you think colleges deploy counselors and safe spaces every time college students are exposed to ideas different from what liberal professors teach?
It's just sad.

© 2017 by Tom King

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Do I Want to Be Associated with Nazis and the KKK?

The 1924 Democratic National Convention
Affectionately known as the Klanbake!
There is a fiction that all conservatives are somehow allied with white supremacists and Nazis. I had one gentleman honestly ask me if I really wanted to call myself a conservative and be associated with Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK.  He said it as if I had some kind of choices. First off, I choose to be a conservative, not any of those three vile things. To associate conservatives with Nazis and the KKK is patently false.

The truth is the Nazis, KKK and alt-right are closer to the radical left than they are to people like me.  The left doubles down on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals in that they label their political enemies  as extremists. I am a solid conservative, not an extremist.  I love everybody. I believe in free enterprise, equal opportunity for all, personal freedom and that the government should serve the people not vice versa. I believe in small government because power attracts the corruptible.  I'm a strict constitutionalist. I believe in freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I believe in freedom of speech, assembly and the rest.

I constantly get called racist, a Nazi, etc.. While there are those kinds of people out there, I find just as much of it on the far left as on the far right. The prejudices are simply different. About the only prejudices they seem to have in common though is that they both hate the Jews for some reason.

I don't hate anybody, but my politics are thoroughly conservative.
In all my time with the Tea Party, I never met a racist in the bunch, although I met more than a few fake racists pretending to be Tea Party folk. I worked for years with bipartisan advocacy groups, so I knew the local leftists and recognized the little buggers.

I find "progressives" paternalistic, divisive in the way they promote what they call "diversity", and their foreign policy and military policies to be misguided if not downright dangerous.  But I don't call liberals "communists" unless they've actually signed up on the party and I don't appreciate being called a Nazi or white supremacist if I have given no evidence that I am.

Do I like being "associated" with Nazis or the KKK?  Hell no, but then I'm not the one doing the associating. It's liberals who insist on associating perfectly lovely people like me with Nazis and the KKK.

Besides Nazis were socialists and the KKK were Democrats. I'm a free market capitalist and Republican and therefore neither of those.

© 2017 by Tom King


Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Free Market Manifesto

For Bob

My wife's cousin, Bob, a loyal union man and Democrat whether he admits it or not, has a new talking point. It's actually the same old talking point from the last election that says conservatives only complain and that they have no "solutions". He concludes by suggesting that "you (that's me) spend less time on points indicating you are well read and pose solutions to the ills and maladies that you think are holding us back as a nation."  I keep quoting people who also have good points. He seems to find that troubling. Apparently I shouldn't appropriate the ideas of others, but rely only on original thoughts. Sorry, but I don't get talking points from the RNC or some George Soros sponsored media advisory nonprofit. I get my opinions and ideas from original sources and it's my habit to give credit where credit is due when I can. That's just my style. Not trying to show off.

Bob demands I pose solutions to the ills and maladies that are holding us back as a nation. Okay here's my manifesto on the subjects he suggests:

  1. Healthcare - Get the government out of it as far as possible. Put Medicaid and Medicare on a more business-like basis.
  2. Taxes - Reduce the size of government and reduce taxes accordingly so as to stop punishing economic risk takers who are the builders of a healthy economy.
  3. The environment - Make whoever makes a mess, clean up after themselves. Stop using the EPA to punish political opponents or to suppress economic development.
  4. Minimum wage increases - Quit artificially jacking up the minimum wage. It's an entry level wage. The economy will be healthier if we quit trying to solve income inequity. Workers will learn skills and go get better jobs and the shortage of minimum wage workers will inevitably raise wages for entry level jobs because employers will have to compete for entry level workers. Shut off illegal immigration so we don't have a fear-based slave worker population which keeps entry level wages for unskilled labor artificially low.
  5. Public works - Interstate highways are crucial to the movement of troops so is part of the defense responsibility of the federal government. Ports are essential to defense. Air traffic control and airports are crucial to defense. Parks and wilderness preservation is essential to helping maintain a healthy environment. That's a federal responsibility. Protecting interstate commerce is a public work. That's about it.
  6. Education - None of the federal government's business. States and local communities need to keep their tax dollars for education and handle education there instead of sending a hundred bucks to Washington and getting less than 50 bucks back for education.
  7. National security - We have too many bloated, self-important security agencies. Stop creating new ones but combine and reduce the size of them and have them actually enforce the law instead of deciding what we will tolerate for political reasons and what we'll enforce.  Make it cost less and work more efficiently.
  8. Worker protections - It's a state job, not a federal one. Workers are quite capable of protecting themselves. States are far more effective at protecting workers. Quit spending money on feel good programs, cut the DOL down to bare bones and let states handle their own business.
  9. Civil rights - The federal government has the duty through law enforcement to protect the rights of citizens under the constitution. Just enforce the law for crying out loud. 
  10. Untreated mental illness - Get the federal government out of it. Back in the 80s the Democrat congress passed a law making it virtually impossible for families to hospitalize their mentally ill family members. You practically have to kill someone to be committed anymore. This federal approach to mental health, backfired badly and resulted in millions of seriously mentally ill people signing themselves out of treatment centers and creating a massive homeless problem almost overnight.  
  11. Defense - (I added this one to Bob's list) This is a federal government responsibility. The military is to protect us from foreign and domestic enemies. This does not include American citizens unless those citizens attack their fellow citizens. They are not to be used for law enforcement in general. They are strictly here to protect American interests and security from foreign enemies and to protect Americans in the world. It's one of the few things the government does well, although politicians have used military funding to provide pork for their home districts. That needs to be dealt with. Reducing the size and scope of government will help the media and government watchdogs to spend more energy on those kinds of abuses of power.
  12. The economy/unemployment - (I also added this one to his list).  Quit diddling with the economy. Keynesian economic theories have resulted in more than half a century of economic meddling by government, often with disastrous results. Nixon's price fixing intervention through us into a recession. Carter inherited a  recession when taking office and proceeded to tryto various Keynesian style government interventions and only succeeded in making the whole thing worse. Inflation and interest rates soon reached their highest levels since the second world war. GHW Bush went along with Democrats on taxes and triggered a recession. Fortunately, Clinton had the good sense to not mess with Republican avoidance of meddling and tax reductions and saw the recession end and an extension of the Reagan boom for another 6 years. GW Bush allowed his Democrat congress to meddle with the economy in order to preserve funding for the war on terror and got a nasty recession for his troubles. Obama took over with a Democrat congress and proceeded to go full Keyensian, trying stimulus, taking over industries like healthcare, and increasing taxes on the rich. Unlike Clinton, he failed to cooperate with a Republican senate and house and extended his inherited recession by another. He proceeded to declare that five million unemployed had actually left the workforce on their own accord in order to create the illusion that unemployment was reduced. The solution to the economy is for the feds to quit diddling with it. I don't think they can do that. 
Basically, the solution for all of this is to reduce the size and scope of the federal government and make it more effective. I don't have a lot of hope that that will happen. Power attracts the corruptible and the federal government has become very powerful. We may have reached the tipping point to totalitarianism.

© 2017 by Tom King


Monday, July 17, 2017

Nonprofits - You've Got Them All Wrong

Turns out churches do feed the hungry, clothe the naked and
care for the widows, orphans, and people with disabilities.
Some trouble-maker posted a question on Facebook today, no doubt hoping to stir up a hornets nest.  The question?
  • Should churches be tax exempt? 
The outcry from the left was instantaneous and predictably lop-sided. These precious snowflake progressives cried out loudly that churches should only maybe be allowed exemption for the actual feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless they did and NOTHING else. This reveals a stunning lack of understanding of what churches do and what a nonprofit is and why they are tax exempt. Let me 'splain...
First of all, not every 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit is involved in feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless. If that were the criteria for tax exempt status, you'd have to shut down most of the nonprofits in the United States. Here's what the regulation for tax exemption says:
  • To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.
There are, of course, other 501(c) nonprofit organizations that have different requirements, but for this question we're talking about churches. A 501(c)(3) organization may be tax exempt if its primary activities are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering amateur sports competition, preventing cruelty to children, or preventing cruelty to animals.
The United States Government has determined that it is far less expensive to defer taxes to groups which perform these types of activities than it is for the government to do them. I might add that it's a danged sight more effective too. It's far easier for groups of local folk to identify community needs and problems and create programs and organizations to deal with them than it is for a bunch of politicians thousands of miles away in Washington DC to guess what those needs might be and create a one-size-fits-all government program to solve all those unique local problems. It's the "if all you've got is a hammer everything looks like a nail" conundrum.
Nonprofits perform missions on behalf of groups of people that are working for the betterment of their community in some way. Some provide counseling to those with mental illness or those who are bereaved. The church does this too. Some NPOs provide recreation for the disabled or for groups of individuals who have a shared interest. The American Legion and VFW are nonprofits that provide a lot of support for their members in a lot of areas. 
Recently Obama's IRS went after veteran's organizations because they had balked at providing private information about their members that the IRS is not supposed to be privvy to - like social security numbers and private information of that sort. The VFW and American Legion both felt they did not want to be responsible for recording their members social security data. 
Groups like Sierra Club get tax breaks for a portion of their work that is not direct lobbying even though their primary purpose is actually lobbying. They and the World Wildlife Fund spend surprisingly little on actual animals. Mostly they pay lawyers. They get around that by providing legislators with "educational material". They neither feed nor house the homeless so, by the reasoning of the anti-church contingent, they should be taxed on pretty much everything they do.

Churches do many things, often more efficiently than the government. Food pantries in my home state did so well that the feds cut the Food Stamp budget for East Texas by $800,000. The local bureaucrats had a fit and started a $150,000 marketing campaign with the message "Food Stamps are not part of welfare reform." Turned out they just needed more application. It's not like they were going to lower the threshhold for admittance to the program or approve any more application. They just wanted to demonstrate "need" so they could get their budget increased so they wouldn't have to lay off a bunch of suddenly useless bureaucrats.

Churches minister to the spiritual needs of their congregations. You may, instead, prefer to rescue abandoned gerbils, donkeys, tigers elephants or boa constrictors. There's a nonprofit for each of those. You may want to host Renaissance Faires to promote chivalry. There's a nonprofit for that. You may want to save the whales, the owls, or the art of quilt-making. There's a nonprofit for that.
The point of having nonprofits be tax exempt is to allow Americans to band together for a cause they mutually believe in, collect a few assets with which to perform their mission, and to do some good without the tax man getting all up in your business and taking from money from you that people gave you to do something else with. The group's members and supporters, wise heads in government (an oxymoron if there ever was one) decided that these sorts of endeavors were things which should not be taxed.

Being not-for-profit has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with the fact that no profit is distributed to stakeholders, board members or shareholders. Every penny gets plowed back into the work. If you aren't making a profit and doing those things listed above, then you are and should be tax exempt and it doesn't matter whether I like what you are doing or not so long as your supporters do.
You may dislike religion. You may just dislike my religion. So what? I'm not fond of snakes, but I will defend to the death, your right to rescue them without being taxed for your selflessness. Sometimes I think some of my liberal friends have forgotten that it's not all about what they like or want. Some people may like or want different things than you like or want. That doesn't mean you get to punish them by taxing them or banning their activities. I'm not a fan of some environmentalist groups. They still get to exist and they still get to try and do good things that they think ought to be done. Heck, I might even show up with a trash bag for one of their beach cleanups. We don't have to be enemies simply because we differ on how to solve a problem we both often agree needs to be solved. You don't have to like me or my opinion. You just have to leave me be to have it as I leave you be to have your opinion, however wrong-headed it might be.
So, if you happen to be driving by my church on Saturday morning and see me there, and don't like it, guess what?  You can keep on driving and neither your rights nor mine, neither your enjoyment of the day nor mine needs be threatened.  Live and let live is a pretty good motto. Otherwise you could find the IRS taxing you for saving spotted owls and snail darters. They tend to take a mile if you give them an inch.

© 2017 by Tom King

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Guidestar, "Neutral" Arbiter of Nonprofits, Swings Openly Left

The venerable* nonprofit organization rating website Guidestar has apparently become comfortable enough with its venerableness to openly shift to the left. This week it came out with a list of "hate group"nonprofit organizations that was long on conservative values and short on actual hate. Not surprising given that the list came from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that would be genuinely surprised that anyone would NOT consider virtually any conservative Christian nonprofit organization a hate group. SPLC's definition of "hate" seems to be anything that disagrees with the progressive agenda. One Target  on SPLC's list is the American Family Association, a conservative Christian group that opposes redefining marriage, promotes Christian values, and opposes pornography, transgender bathrooms, and abortion. This according to SPLC and now Guidestar makes it a hate group.

Let the pandering to the socialist left begin....

As a semi-retired nonprofit professional, I read trade publications for the industry and utilize websites like Guidestar. Mostly I'm trying to keep organizations I consult with out of hot water with rating sites like Guidestar. Guidestar's
raison d'ĂȘtre is ostensibly to serve as a guide to philanthropists, donors, and funding organizations as to the fiscal health and financial responsibility of nonprofit organizations that approach them for donations. Guidestar has, over time, become the most powerful arbiter of legitimacy in the nonprofit world.

Now that it has that power, like other "venerable" nonprofit journals I won't name, Guidestar's leftist underpinnings are beginning to show. One would think that a nonprofit organization should be judged by whether or not it is responsible with its funding and whether it is accomplishing its mission. If it's mission is to promote the creation of a socialist/communist state in America, so be it. Does it accomplish that mission? If you support that mission, then that's something you will want to know before you give them money.

As to the value of that mission, Guidestar should have no judgmental power, at least if it is going to claim "neutrality" in its assessment of America's not for profits.
It is not Guidestar's business to arbitrarily apply labels like "hate group" to the charities it rates, especially when their criteria appears to be that the group is conservative. Otherwise, Guidestar needs to label itself "The Liberal Guidestar" in the interest of full disclosure.

I'm just saying.

© 2017 by Tom King

* Or at least as venerable as anything gets in the digital age.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Twenty-One Things Donald Trump Has Done That, As a Conservative, I Like

I remain skeptical of our new president, but he has done some things I like and I have to admire the man for keeping his promises to conservatives. And there is one really big reason to like the man, but here is a list and I'll save the best for last.

  1. Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination and appointment. The man’s a rock-ribbed conservative constitutionalist. He won’t always make the right happy, but he’ll always do the right thing.
  2. Rex Tillerson – New Secretary of State is going about business without any regard for the tender feelings of the international socialist movement. Turns out, we’ve got an American for a Secretary of State. How cool is that?
  3. Ben Carson – I just love that he makes the left so nuts. Here’s a black man who believes that poverty is a state of mind. He’s right. One can escape poverty, but you have to not mind working without a net. Carson speaks the truth! And he’s shining a light on the corruption at HUD and cleaning house.
  4. Mad Dog Mattes – New Secretary of Defense.  ISIS is missing some people and we’ve delayed trying to go out and recruit sexually confused people until 2108. Note he didn’t cancel it. Simply delayed it till cooler heads hopefully prevail some time in the next 200 years.
  5. Betsy Devos – Secretary of Education.  Charter schools, competent teachers, getting the feds out of the education business. Love this lady!
  6. Elaine Chao – Secretary of Transportation. Loved her as Bush’s secretary of labor. I think she’ll bring the same level-headed cut-the-crap approach to the mess over at transportation.
  7. Jeff Sessions – Attorney General. It is such a relief to have a guy as the nation’s law enforcer who makes decisions based on whether a thing is legal and not on whether it makes lesbians, gays, transsexuals, Muslims, Democrats, communists, or Russia unhappy, but rather on whether it violates the law.
  8. Donald Trump talks around the mainstream media straight to the American people.  It’s not quite the way Ronald Reagan did (which also made the media frantic), but it’s fun to watch. He does not let the media define him and he’s willing to call Beezelbub by name. This makes the media insane, the spectacle of which I find quite entertaining to watch!
  9. The five-year ban on White House officials making a living by lobbying. Long, long, long, long overdue measure to stifle corruption.
  10. Popularized the term “fake news” and shined a bright light on the closet “making up the news” industry and named names. A president isn’t supposed to do that, but this one did. I’m sorry but I get a sadistic glee watching them skuttle for cover.
  11. The infamous travel ban!  Trump blocked travel from several countries that support terrorists (Obama wrote up that list) until we could get better security into place to screen out jihadis. Lib judges are still trying to find a way to block that.
  12. Cut money being sent over seas to fund abortion and repealed the Obama order forcing states to fund Planned Parenthood (a misnomer if there ever was one).
  13. Funding cut to sanctuary cities. If your city is defying federal law, it seems logical that they don’t need federal money. I’m not sure I’d have handled it so politely.
  14. Withdrew from the Paris "Climate" Accords – That so-called climate deal basically laid all the cost and work on the United States and transferred a boatload of American dollars into the pockets of the worst polluting nations on the planet, while wrecking the American Economy and doing nada for the climate.
  15. Did NOT bow to any foreign kings. WAAAY more presidential than the previous president who basically bent over and stuck up his bottom for King Abdulla to pat and tell him he was a good boy. It was pathetic. I noted he did not bow to Queen Elizabeth and gave her a book he wrote and returned a bust of Winston Churchill England had presented a previous president with.  Trump is way more class if you can believe. And his wife is very gracious out on the road.
  16. He cut about 7 million bucks worth of unnecessary folk from the White House staff. Melania will be polishing her own toes it appears or paying for that out of her own pocket. It sets a good example.
  17. Withdrew from the Trans Pacific Partnership. The badly lop-sided trade deal essentially transferred sovereignty over American economic interests to foreign nations. Bad for us, great for them. We needed to drop that turkey and Trump did.
  18. Approved the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. Took a lot of oil out of Warren Buffett’s more expensive choo-choos and tank cars (which, surprise, is why Buffet supported Obama’s ban on the pipeline), and put them in safer, pipelines rather than moving all that flammable material on our nations roads and railroad. Stationary pipes are safer than vehicles moving through our neighborhoods.
  19. Illegal immigration dropped like a stone after Trump was elected. It fell by 72% in the month after he was sworn in. Apparently the border patrol got the okay to step up enforcement. And they haven’t even built a wall yet.
  20. The economy kicked back into gear. I’ve got work again in the past six months. Now if he’d ditch Obamacare, maybe I could afford some health insurance and could get off Medicaid. I’m tired of being forced to be poor to avoid IRS fines.
  21. Last but not least, WE DO NOT HAVE HILLARY CLINTON AS PRESIDENT AND BILL BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE CHASING INTERNS UP AND DOWN THE HALLS. That alone gives me a lot of patience with the Donald.

Donald Trump was not my first choice, nor was he my second or third. I didn’t vote for him, nor did I vote for Clinton. I’m still skeptical as all get-out about his sudden outbreak of conservatism, but he has at least racked up a pretty impressive opening salvo. I think he needs to become more skilled at using Twitter, but hey.  It’s entertaining and makes the media frantic, and, as I previously mentioned, this pleases me.

 © 2017 by Tom King

PS:  Make that 22. He just gave his first paycheck $78,000 to historic battlefield preservation - namely the Antietam battlefield.  Donors matched his donation to the tune of more than $265,000 and more than 7.2 million dollars in grants have been received toward the project according to the Secretary of the Interior.  Not bad Donny boy. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Left Continues to Ramp Up Its Frantic Attacks on Ride Share Companies

And the liberal left continues it's attacks on the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services. It's amazing to watch how "progressives" defend the status quo, especially when it's their status quo. And wouldn't you know it would be the city of San Francisco leading the charge.

These new ride-sharing services having expanded rapidly, capturing a consumer market long ignored.
It is a market transit has been trying to figure out for a long time. In some parts of the country, especially in rural areas with aging populations, up to 20% of citizens over the age of 16 cannot drive a car or do not have access to one.  It's too expensive to run buses around to pick them up. Most live too far from bus routes for that to be a viable option. What Uber and Lyft have done is create a clever way for regular folk to make a little money hauling their neighbors who cannot drive around on errands they cannot accomplish with fixed public transit systems.

I'm one of those customers Uber was designed for. Without them I'm left with unaffordable, often unpleasant choices for purchasing transportation services. So, of course the left wants to take Uber down. They are hoping to force people to move into town next to bus lines. You think I'm kidding? I've sat in on the meetings and that's precisely the goal. 

Politically, I can see why the left would want that. They keep losing elections to people living in small towns and rural America.  I guess they figure if they can force us to move into human hives, walled up in cities, we'll just naturally become liberals.  It seems to be working for the Democrat party certainly.

"So, why don't you just call a cab?" Uber detractors ask. Okay since you asked:

(1) Cleanliness - I've never ridden in a dirty Uber car. I've seldom ridden in a clean taxicab.

(2) Cost - Taxi rides cost half again as much. I can give the extra to the driver as a tip and it's clear profit for him. Uber doesn't require or even encourage customers to tip, but I usually give 20-25% or more to my driver because the service is really really good. I give it to him in cash and since he doesn't have to report it to Uber, well, the IRS doesn't have to know either. I'm a big fan of the black market. Cab drivers meanwhile demand a tip for rides in unclean vehicles, that take too long and are overpriced.  So I have to tip drivers who often don't earn it AND the cab company and Uncle Sam take a piece of it from the drivers.

(3) Atmosphere - I have never had an unpleasant ride in an Uber. The last two consecutive cab rides we had with the taxi service, our driver yelled at someone on the phone in Farsi all the way to our home. My wife said it felt like being abducted by terrorists. I kept waiting for him to yell "Allahu Akbar!" and drive into a crowd of people. Honestly. It was an unpleasant trip.

(4) Drivers - I've never had a driver who didn't like his job with Uber. And I ask them how they like their jobs. Most are doing it as a second job or using it to make their car note. They choose their hours and pick their customers. Our cab drivers don't seem nearly as happy. Though some cabbies seem to be making the best of it, I don't detect a lot of joy like I do with the Uber guys.

(5) Satisfaction ratings - With Uber you get to rate your driver and the quality of the ride. I've yet to give anyone less than 5 stars with Uber. Also my driver rates me as a passenger. Since my wife and I are already nice people by nature, we seldom have any trouble getting a ride. I suspect I've got a five star rating too. The Uber drivers see that and are more comfortable picking me up than a customer who is nasty to drivers and gets a consistently low rating. With taxis, you take what you get, both driver and customer. That explains why the Uber experience is better I think.

(6) Availability - I've waited for hours for a cab to come and find me. I think with Uber my longest wait was 20 minutes on a busy late Friday afternoon. It's usually under ten minutes.

So the killjoys in San Francisco and other liberal cities want to take Uber down. They are under the mistaken impression that if Uber goes down, customers will accept less attractive transportation options - options that pay a piece of the action to the city. What they miss is that if customers don't have an easy affordable way to get around, they don't patronize shops and restaurants and other businesses in town that DO pay taxes to the city. Transportation done right can feed local business if you don't try to gouge people for a piece of the action. Liberal city leaders remind me a lot of a criminal syndicate in the way they operate. I can imagine the council meeting where they hired Arnold "One Ear" Giovanni to "....make 'em an offer Uber and Lyft can't refuse."  Except they can refuse and have already abandoned more than one unfriendly town, much to the dismay of merchants and consumers, between whom, business has since fallen off.

© 2017 by Tom King

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Still the "Greatest" Generation

There's been some second-guessing out there among the blogs on this Memorial Day with regard to whether or not we should have bestowed the title "The Greatest Generation" on our WWII veterans and the Americans who grew up during the pre-boomer age. Predictably this is, in large part, coming from the left side of the aisle, or as I prefer to call them, "The Sameness Coalition."  Apparently, our fathers weren't so great or they would have spent more time in therapy after they came back from the war.

"God bless 'em," as our grandmothers used to say before they criticized someone's actions or opinions. The precious snowflake generation learned their craft at the feet of second generation spoiled children of the Greatest Generation. In an effort to rub out the horror and privation of war, the Greatest Generation sought to shield their own children from the ugliness of war. They were, in a couple of words - over-protective and it shows. Their grandchildren are a gang of precious snowflakes who need safe spaces and regular counseling just to deal with the horrors of not always getting their way. 

It's hard to blame our parents for that. War is, as they say, hell and who wants your children to experience the trials the you went through. Their instinct was to protect us from all that. Leftist academics made it worse by telling us not to "stifle" our children's creativity, though Dr. Spock, not the Vulcan one, himself once expressed regret that parents may have taken him too literally after a group of protestors trashed his campus office. Our parents eagerly overprotected their kids on the advice of counsel. They'd seen the worst that man could do. Who wants their children to see that.

In our grandparents' day, one simply did not come home from the war and dump a lot of horrific stuff you experienced in battle on your loved ones. It was thought to be a parent's and especially a father's duty to stand between home and the ravening wolves that circled menacingly out in the darkness. So they took up their posts as human shields as they believed was their duty.

These were tough men and they handled their "angst" the way that American men do (or at least did). They didn't want to dump a bunch of emotional rubbish on their families. Some repressed, which is not good, but many simply handled it alone or with trusted friends. I knew an Air Force colonel who used to land C-47 on jungle strips during the Vietnam war. He said it sounded like a popcorn popper inside the plane with all the small arms fire striking the plane as they came in. He had never told his family about it. He did tell us at the day hab program he went to after his stroke. All we did was let the guys talk and talk they did. We were safe to talk to. We heard some incredible stories and many times these stories had never been heard by the children and families of these brave men.

To lessen the value of their courage simply because they didn't run home after the war looking for safe spaces and counseling is shameful, but that seems to be the direction this argument is taking us. Our fathers weren't great because they didn't express their emotions and visit therapists?  What a flying load of horse manure!
The "Greatest Generation" is not a misnomer. These guys did a hard and ugly job because they had to. They did it without self-pity and whining. They bore the burden of it with dignity.All of them believed that was how it was supposed to be done. They protected their families not only from the enemy but from the horrors of war even after the war was over and done.

I honor them for that.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, May 27, 2017

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Irene Morgan Paved the Way for Rosa Parks

Bet You Didn't Know This:
By Source, Fair use,

In 1944, A twenty-seven year old Seventh-Day Adventist black woman, Irene Morgan, made the gutsy decision to refuse to leave the "white" section of an Interstate bus and was arrested in Virginia under state segregation laws eleven years before Rosa Parks' famous refusal to give up her seat on an Alabama local bus. She was a little more spirited than Rosa however. She kicked the Sheriff in the groin when he tried to arrest her!

She landed two highly skilled lawyers on her defense team, one of whom was no less than future Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Irene won her case before the Supreme Court. In 1946 in a landmark decision, the Court ruled that the Virginia law was unconstitutional, as the Commerce clause protected interstate traffic. 
Irene's stubborn singular defense of her rights strengthened the WWII era U.S. anti-discrimination law prohibiting segregation on all interstate transportation and influenced public opinion against Southern racist segregation laws. Unlike Rosa, whose protest was part of a planned challenge of the segregation laws, Irene simply stood up for herself all on her own. With Irene, the NAACP was running along behind her shouting, "Wait for me I'm your leader!"

  2. "Morgan v. Virginia (1946)". Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  3. Lamb, Yvonne S. "Irene M. Kirkaldy; Case Spurred Freedom Rides," The Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2007: n. pag. Print. 
  4. "Morgan v. Commonwealth (June 6, 1945)". Retrieved 2015-11-04.
 © 2017 by Tom King

Friday, May 26, 2017

Taking Prophecy Seriously


Saw an article today warning Christians not to take Bible Prophecy too seriously lest we stop trying to fix the problems we have in this world. The writer worries we'll just all sit on our duffs and wait for Jesus to come and let the world go to hell in a handbasket.

I sharply disagree with the author on this one. While we're convinced the world IS going to hell in a handbasket and very soon, that only makes us work that much harder to do good in the world.

For instance, my own church, which includes the Second Coming in its very name, at the same time has the second largest parochial school system in the world, one of the largest mission programs of any church, and a first rate hospital system and medical university. We were the fastest growing denomination last year and are growing faster out in the third world than we are in the States. 

Seems to me that people who believe Jesus is coming are busily trying to make the world a better place AND they aren't just sitting around talking about how we should take rich people's money, give it to the government and hope they'll do a good job taking care of the poor (the never do).

Those who believe Jesus is coming soon are the very ones showing up at disasters, digging wells for third world villages, teaching nurses, doctors and teachers, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick, clothing the naked and lifting up the lost and downtrodden, and even more so as we see the end approaching.

So "NO!" Let's by all means take the Bible prophecy seriously. It means we only have a short time to save as many souls as we possibly can before He gets here and we personally do the work. The closer it gets, the harder we will work. That may not be how it's done in "higher" social churches or among progressive socialists, but it's how God's children do it.

by Tom King

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

That Awkward Moment......

Ariana Grande discovered that loudly proclaiming "I hate America," doesn't protect you from people who really do hate America. Sadly for the left, appeasement is truly like feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last only to discover that he tends to bite off the hand that feeds him.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, May 13, 2017

DNC Proposes New Cheese Labeling Standards

Proposed New Labels to Prevent Cheesy Micro-Aggressions*

Washington, DC, May 13: Democrat minority leader Nancy Pelosi proposed a House bill today that would address micro-aggressive labeling by American cheese-makers. The specific type of cheese targeted bears the label "White American Cheese Slices".  Under the new law, this product would be labeled "International Cheese with Pigmentation Impairment."  This new labeling would address the America-centric micro-aggressions that non-Americans might experience as well as the Caucasian-specific racial overtones engendered by the product label. LGBTQ Advocates have also requested a rider removing the term "Singles" due to the hetero-sexual micro-aggressions engendered by the sexist term "single" which implies a difference between unmarried and married persons, especially between hetero-normal individuals and non-traditional gender embracing persons. The LGBTQ Alliance further seeks a ban on the term hetero-normal, though for the life of them, they couldn't think of another word to use for straight people (other than "straight" which is also a micro-aggression to gender creative individuals.

Former speaker Pelosi further proposed a ban on the term "Pigs in a blanket" when referring to a popular U.S breakfast food. The DNC has petitioned the food and drug administration and the Federal Communications Commission to purge all such references from Internet food websites, recipe books, product labeling and school lunchroom menus, replacing the term with the more educational and progressive term, "white cops in a straight jacket" in order to promote awareness of the need to rein in our out of control law enforcement officers, and in particular, white officers. The petition is also supported by the National Organization of Women, The Service Employees International Union, The National Education Agency, Black Lives Matter, the International Communist Party and the former Pope Benedict.

© 2017 by Tom King

 * Just a reminder for those of you in Rio Linda, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. This post is satire. It's meant to be funny, not truth. Please do not pass this news item to your friends and fellow social justice warriors. I made it all up to make fun of you. I'm sorry, but when I was making breakfast and saw the White Cheese slices sitting there, my twisted mind was off to the races (which PETA would not have approved of, but hey). Please accept this in the spirit in which it was intended. Or better yet, you could sit on your sofa, watch old episodes of The West Wing and Madam Secretary and wallow in self-pity till your fingers get all pruney. whichever makes you feel better (or worse if that's what you are going for). Enjoy! And leave a nasty comment below if that will help. I can take it.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Filmmaking as Confused Propaganda

We get all sorts of dystopian and post-apocalyptic movies aimed at teenagers these days. They all have a theme - an oppressive large government controls everyone's life either before the apocalypse or after it. Either way, the brave young post pubescent teens run away or starts guerrilla warfare against the repressive government. Somehow the filmmakers throw in little suggestions that the evil central government is somehow Republican or conservative.

Case in Point:  The Thinning

This progressive filmmaker attempts to sell the idea that Texas has submitted to a United Nations demand that it reduce it's population by 5%. Really? Texas submits to a UN mandate? Then, the Texas governor institutes a system of culling through testing in schools. Low-scoring kids are killed (thinned). Everyone (in Texas mind you) goes along with the idea without a lot of fuss. Before the test, kids are shown a propaganda film (the sort liberals like to use to explain why capitalism is bad to school children).  Kids who fail are carried out of the test center by people in black wearing hockey masks.

They may have actually filmed it in Austin. After all, Austin is one of the cities where we store out liberals in Texas where we can keep an eye on them. But the idea that Texas has somehow disarmed its citizens and convinced them to quietly accept the systematic slaughter of their children is probably the most ludicrous premise for a film ever.  Eugenics is NOT a popular idea in Texas. Hell, we don't like abortion. The idea that anytime in the next 50 years Texas is going to go full eugenics under a conservative Texas governor is incredibly stupid. And to think the conservatives in Texas would put supposedly thinned kids into some corporate work program or organ harvesting program is ludicrous, though this is what the ending led us to believe.

I don't get it. The very people that make these types of films are the first to go out and vote for progressive Democrats, the same people who want bigger government, more population controls, and a more powerful regulations. Progressives have long been believers in "improving" the human race. The "message" in these kinds of films is so screwed up. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a progressive if there ever was one stated that it was a sign of intelligence to be able to hold two opposing ideas in one's mind at the same time and believe both. If that's true these rudderless filmmakers are freakin' geniuses.

Myself, I suspect these college brain-washed children have some vague idea that some smart people in government will take care of all their needs so they can indulge in sex, drugs and rock n' roll without having to take any real responsibility for anything. In such a world, anyone who advocates for a world that requires some kind of serious work for your reward is anathema. While such folks themselves put in an incredible amount of work it's true, they also see themselves as part of the privileged elite who will manipulate the dim-witted masses to keep them content and obedient. Like I said, I don't get it.

© 2017 by Tom King


Thursday, May 4, 2017

A New Twist on the Facebook Con

And now we have a new modern twist on the Miss Lonelyhearts con, using low tech, easily learned skills and Facebook. 
The trick works like this.

  1. The con artist (male or female) creates a brand new new Facebook account.  The con selects a person with a Facebook account who looks the part they wish to play. Usually they pick some mature looking guy in uniform if they are going after women. If they are going after men, it will be some busty young woman.
  2. The con artist makes up a name that is similar to the person whose account is being cloned. Then the con person steals candid photos from the target person's photo album and posts the pictures as their own. 
  3. Once the account is set up, the con artist friends a person who does a lot of cutting and pasting and other things that require extra steps. They particularly go after people who pass along posts that they have been bullied or made to feel guilty for not posting. These they mark as easy targets or "marks".
They particularly like playing older military guys, contractors particularly in the oil business or pilots when going after women. They like to play successful attract women when going after older men (the sort with disposable income).  

This kind of fake account is most effectively used to roll widows and lonely-hearted women and widowed or shy men. Inevitably the con artist flatters them and portray themselves as well off potential romantic partners. Then one day the con tells them they are stuck somewhere without a credit card and they ask the mark to wire them money, promising to pay them back when some money gets transferred to their account until they get their replacement credit card. 

When they get the money they disappear.  That's why they need a fake account. They disappear once they get the money. They need to steal your pictures so they look authentic with lots of friendly pictures. Most of the time they don't choose any pictures with a spouse. If they do, they tell the target that their spouse has recently died and they are so terribly lonely.

If you do get approached by one of these people, watch for these signs:

  1. They will be overly familiar, calling you pet names and telling you how handsome or beautiful you are.
  2. They will seek to become more intimate relatively quickly.
  3. They will tell you how well off they are and how much money they make. It will be rather a lot.
  4. They will tell you how much you mean to them and ask you for small favors at first.
  5. They will offer to give you money or some kind of help.
  6. THEN they will ask for money from you.

These people are truly despicable. Don't let them in. Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.

© 2017 by Tom King

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ESPN Catches a Lot of Karma

The face of ESPN - 2015 ESPY winner Caitlyn Jenner
Business Rule #1 - Do Not Offend Your Customers

You wonder if today's ESPN sports journalists attended the same leftist university journalism schools as the rest of the mainstream media and never met any actual sports fans before taking up sports reporting. Let me 'splain. You see, sports fans, the kind who burrow down into statistics and player lives and the mechanics of professional sports, the raison d'etre for ESPN's very existence in the first place, tend to lean hard to starboard. That's nautical-speak meaning "to the right" for ESPN reporters who don't cover the America's Cup. 

ESPN laid off a hundred people the other day. Many more are expected to follow. ESPN boss,  and all their PR guys attribute ESPN's massive employee layoffs to a "changing media landscape" and other high-sounding marketing jargon laden excuses. I suspect what ESPN is experiencing is what liberal's who embrace Eastern mysticism call "karma". 

Interesting that ESPN doesn't credit the past year or so worth of increasingly leftist reporting and conservative bashing by the sports network as having anything to do with the staggering loss of conservative ESPN viewers. Turns out a lot of sports fans tend to be conservative, a demographic data point ESPN's marketing people seem to have missed. Not many mainstream news outlets are talking about the possibility that the recent shift to the leftward at ESPN may have fueled the loss of 621,000 subscribers in October 2016 and a full 7.2 million since.

ESPN tries to spin the layoffs as "not my fault" and some sort of cagey business decision. They should have seen the handwriting on the wall when they took back dismal Marxist Keith Olbermann from MSNBC and then had to explain why they fired him again with the usual "taking a different direction" excuse for his abysmal ratings. Since failing with Olbermann's in-your-face leftism, ESPN has allowed it's mainline reporters much more latitude in expressing their political opinions and disdain for all things conservative and Republican, perhaps expecting sports fans to accept their Marxism in smaller doses and not noticing it. The It has hurt them in ways I do not think they expected. In the process they discovered that sports fans are not sheep to be led about by the good shepherd ESPN.

Then came the Arthur Ashe Courage Award this year being given to Caitlyn Jenner. Again ESPN mis-underestimated the cringe factor that would come with that pit of political flag-waving. Fans tuned out in droves.

Another under-reported fact about ESPN's declining fortunes is just what the statistics of viewer vs subscriber losses say about fan disenchantment with the network. It is significant that ESPN has lost more far more viewers than subscribers in the past year.  While 7.2 million lost subscribers may be a relatively small percentage of ESPN's subscribers list, the loss of viewers says much more about viewer revolt, especially if you happen to be an ESPN advertiser. This disparity between subscriber and viewer loss is largely due to the fact that to "unsubscribe from ESPN" you often have to dump your entire cable package. ESPN is included in many basic cable/satellite subscriber packages or in special sports packages. To lose ESPN means you lose the other stuff as well.  As a result, many viewer have not dumped the network. Many sports fans just quit watching ESPN altogether and shifted over to Fox Sports or other less political sports news sources.

This Newsbuster story is a fair treatment of the consequences of ESPN's going hard left and viewers not liking it. They go into the numbers in more detail than I want to get into. The mainstream media have remained relatively quiet about ESPN's troubles, generally accepting the self-proclaimed World Leader in Sports' spin on the problem. One wonders whether the folk at ESPN will actually hear the message or is their political ideology so important that they will cling to it and content themselves with a smaller left-wing sports fan base.

Karma, as they say, is an angry female canine.

© 2017 by Tom King

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Religion Gets a Bad Rap

Some friends posted a video recently (see below for the link) by Jefferson Bethke entitled "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus. Jefferson is young, cool-looking complete with leather jacket with hoodie (in case he wanted to use it to accentuate his cool).  Do I sound cynical? It's probably because I am. I listened to the video out of respect for my friends. What I saw worries me.

You know I hear that "hate religion, love Jesus" meme a lot - usually from people who don't like to go to church or pay tithe or do good works for the church. Often they are young, good-looking millennial types like Bethke. They are fond of making the case that religion is bad. They accept the militant atheist/socialist's argument that religion is a bad thing in and of itself and they try to make the case that Jesus came to end religion. In fact, Bethke makes this very point when he ends the video with "It is finished" and says Jesus meant that religion was finished. 
Trouble is, there is no evidence that Jesus wanted to end religion. He certainly went to church weekly. He practiced the Jewish religion meticulously. And nowhere did he ever say to forsake your religion and follow him. He might have said forsake your Playstation III or forsake sleeping late on the Sabbath or forsake going to I-Hop during services so you don't have to wait in line so long because of the after-church crowd. He did say those who practiced a form of religion for their own purposes were like white-washed tombs, pretty on the outside but full of corruption within. Note Jesus was here talking about people, not religion. There were people among the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes who followed Him in the end so His condemnation was not a blanket condemnation of religion practiced with an honest heart. His disciples after his death proceeded to set up the Christian religion complete with bishops, apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and the like. Paul specifically said not to skip church as the manner of some is. Apparently, the early church had its share of folk who claimed to be "spiritual not religious".

I believe it is Satan's purpose to slander the idea of "religion" to drive apart Christians. Organized Christians are a threat to his progressive agenda.  Religion is, after all, simply a systematic belief system for practicing your faith. You could compare it to an army, the Red Cross or an nonprofit organization.  Religion isn't the Illuminati or the Bilderbergs or some evil secret cabal.

You cannot "love Jesus" and not practice some form of religion; it's built in to the faith. This young man's rejection of "religion" is a religious belief in and of itself. You cannot escape it no matter how many verbal gymnastics you perform and no matter how "spiritual" you claim to be. Virtually everyone practices some form of religion. Politics for that matter, has all the earmarks of a religion. People love to say, "I"m not religious, I'm spiritual." I believe Satan would rather we adopt that sort of touchy-feely sense of moral superiority over our brothers and sisters who kneel before God in church to worship him, than to adopt a pure religion, even a flawed one.

Jesus isn't a rap song. He did not come to destroy religion. He did not come to make you feel better. He came to make you a better person - one fit to live forever. Jesus and religion are not opposites. Jesus is the object of our journey. Religion is the road. Religion simply provides a framework for people on the road to finding God. This young man's "system of belief" is every bit as much "religion" as exists in any of the more organized denominations with buildings. If you read the scriptures, God always organizes his people for mutual support and to make their efforts toward a lost world more effective. We are intended to do good in the world.

And what half-blind historical revisionist can say, "Religion doesn't feed the poor"?  The truth is that for millennia, the church was virtually the only institution that took the trouble to feed the poor. Admittedly there are some political powers who have absorbed and corrupted specific churches and committed atrocities in the name of Christ. These "religious practitioners" are false Christians. There have always been those who practice true religion. Satan would prefer you not know that and instead of seeking the true, Lucifer would prefer we seek the comfortable - the anti-religion of good feelings, rap songs and youthful self-righteousness.

This rap song contains all the elements of the final deception being perpetrated on the Christian religion. It deals in absolutes - claiming that religion started all the wars, for instance, when religion has done no such thing. Except for a couple of notable exceptions where religious leaders actually had armies, wars are almost universally started by governments. It accuses the Christian religion of building churches and neglecting the poor when for the majority of the actual Christian church (excepting Roman Catholicism), churches are built by the people (poor included) as a place of worship. These churches are physical and spiritual aid stations in the war with the armies of evil, providing healing and comfort, food and often shelter to the lost, poor and displaced. Missionaries supported by religions with their brick and mortar churches have improved the lives of literally billions of the worlds poor, wretched and starving.

Given the excellent production values on the video, and the direct attack on Republicans, I suspect this was funded by progressive socialists or Democrats directly and is part of the sudden onslaught against Conservatives, especially Christians. Bethke's message here is in line with the socialist agenda and relegates Christ to the same status as a good joint - makes you feel good without any need to do anything in exchange for your high. I didn't hear this guy talk about what he intended to do about the poor or needy. He took a shot at Republicans, so I assume he's a Democrat, which means he won't have to worry about the poor because the government will take care of it. One wonders if this is what he thinks Jesus would do. Funny I don't recall Jesus letting his followers off the hook for caring for the poor, the widows and the orphans.

The liberals have pulled out all the stops to attack Christian and conservative moral values. I am reminded of a passage I read years ago which described the desperation of Satan as he sees the end coming. He has begun what I believe is a full on assault. It is time we take up arms to resist it lest we be over-whelmed by the forces of darkness.

Here's the video. Note the themes of Democrat socialism and the "hate speech" toward religion.  Can I be offended now?

Note the use of the word "Hate" in this video. And we people who have a religion are supposed to be the "haters".  The irony thickens!

© 2017 by Tom King