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Whenever you are talking to someone about politics, pay attention to what they mean – not what they say.

Modern day liberals claim to want people to have equal opportunities as everyone else, but typically they want to use the power of government to make this come about. Government by it’s nature is force. Why do you need to use force to give everyone opportunity?

One reason is because one person (Person A) is in a position to deny another person (Person B) to take advantage of opportunity. That is all well and good, but unless A actually denies B his liberty, then A has done nothing wrong. To bring sanction against A preemptively is an over-reach of force (government). If A actively denies B of his liberties, then A should be stopped and punitively damaged so as to set precedent to discourage similar future acts by A and anyone else who decides that what A did was a good idea. Otherwise, let people have freedom of association and deal with each other on the merits of their own situation. Punish the bad guys who do bad things, but leave the good guys alone. Also, assume everybody is a good guy until they prove themselves otherwise. Innocent until proven guilty, and all, ya know.
The modern day liberal is against this idea. The modern day liberal wants to convict you because of where you ARE, ignoring what you did to get there. Because of what you HAVE, ignoring how you got it. Because of what you take, ignoring what you give.

If you have more than they think you should have, they want to use force to take it and transfer it to those who have less. Forget all the physical or mental work you did to get it, there are people out there who need it and you have more than what they determine you need. Bring in the guys with the guns.

If you have plenty, should you, by some moral compass, decide you should give to those who don’t? Sure, but YOU are the one who knows what you need and what you want to give and who you want to give it to. The modern liberal doesn’t trust YOU to do with what you have earned what they want you to do with it. They only trust the people who can lie well enough to the requisite number of people in order to get the sanction of the populace to use force to hopefully do what they want. See, a modern liberal DEPENDS on forcing others to do what they want done. They’ll condemn you for not “giving to the less-fortunate” then take your money so you can’t. They depend on force; not freedom, not choice not compassion. They want you to do what THEY want, not what you or somebody else wants. So they co-opt the only legal use of force available – government.

Many modern day conservatives do the same thing. Where the liberal wants the state to enforce his fluid definition of right and wrong, the theological conservative thinks he has God on his side and wants the state to enforce his idea of what God says is right and wrong. Both sides have lost sight of the fact that it is not a legitimate function of government to determine morality. The only legitimate function of force is to prevent or punish illegitimate force. In other words, government is supposed to protect the citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and property.

Determining who a citizen freely gives property to is not a protection of liberties. Determining if one citizen owes another property by contract IS a protection of liberties. By the way, Property = Time, Labor, Money, Goods, and/or Services.

Determining what one citizen charges another for goods or services provided is not a protection of liberties. But making sure one person delivers what they promised for what they charged IS a protection of liberties.

Telling one citizen that he cannot freely choose who he associates with in commerce or trade is NOT a protection of the freedom of association. Making sure one or more people do not interfere with the ability of someone else to freely associate with whom they choose, IS a protection of the freedom of association.

Preventing a person from expressing religious beliefs or mandating that religious beliefs be expressed is not a protection of religious freedom. Preventing someone from mandating or suppressing the free expression of religious beliefs IS a protection of religious freedom.

Mandating who one person can or cannot marry just flies in the face of freedom on every level. I have no idea what the anti-gay marriage folks think they’re doing to further freedom by trying to prevent two people who want to get married from getting married. That being said, it shouldn’t matter to the government whether you are married or not. In a legitimate government, what business of theirs is it if you claim to be married or not?

Mandating what a person chooses to ingest, drink, smoke, or whatever is not a protection of freedom. Preventing an intoxicated person from presenting an unreasonable risk to others IS an protection of freedom.  Also, determining which days or times a person may purchase or indulge in those behaviors falls right in there with the rest of it.

It is natural to want to prevent people from doing what you think is wrong. But before you get on some bandwagon and start calling for a use of force against that person for their choices, ask yourself, “Does his choice present an unreasonable danger to the rights of anyone else? Is he engaging in a fraud that will cost someone else their time, labor, or property without some agreed upon recompense?” If the answer is “No”, then feel free to speak out against what that person is doing. Criticize him and ostracize him if you will, but don’t fall back on the use of force to stop him.

Because pretty soon, he and a bunch of like minded people could possibly gain political power and bring sanction against you for doing things you do that doesn’t hurt anyone but that they don’t like. And they will use the precedent YOU set against you.

Ya know, it’s high time I “got my write on”.  For those who care but don’t know ( as opposed to those who know but don’t care – a much larger group, I’m sure), I have been on “assignment” for over a month. I’ve been living in a motel about 250 miles from home, working on a project that I have been involved with for about two years.  It’s been fun and a constant mental exercise so I have had precious little time to blawg. Even before I came up here, I had a lot of preparation to do for this job.  I had to study a lot of things and go back and dig up past experiences so I could look like I’m as smart as the guy who writes the check expects me to be for the invoice I send him. That’s pretty tough when you have a lot of other stuff going on but it’s just one of those things you gotta do.

I know I have been vague about the project to those who have asked and that is not only intentional, but for good reason. The Customer is writing a big check to a lot of people in hopes he can have a machine to do what very few people in the world are doing. He has lined up many resources to make this happen. I am not privy to his marketing plans as that is none of my business. Suffice it to say, what ever they are, I have hooked my wagon to his horse and it is in my best interest that his horse runs right where he wants it to. If he wants the world to know what he’s doing – he’ll tell them. I am just a cog in the machine, so to speak, so it is not up to me to release that information.

But relax, regardless of what he decides to do, this is not earth shaking stuff to very many people. You will not see anything about it on the news. If you did, you wouldn’t care. But to me and the customer, this is a big deal and we are very proud of what we are doing. We are trying our damnedest to make something work for our own benefit. As a by-product of our selfish greed, there will probably be openings for two or three more jobs in Customer’s plant. Jobs that flat out DO NOT EXIST right now.  Somebody, somewhere, is sitting at home right now with no job that will be working in the coming months because of what I, along with MANY people much smarter than me, have been working on for a couple of years. The people who will find new jobs because of this may not even work in the plant this machine is in. Probably not for the same company. But the people hired to work on this new line and work because of this new line will not be among those taking other jobs they might otherwise have taken. That will leave a vacancy in those jobs that others will have to fill. In other words, the guys that will work on this line I’m helping build would have had a job regardless because they are going to be better than average people. The other jobs they DO NOT have to occupy that they otherwise would have, have to be filled by someone and that someone is probably sitting at home praying for a job right now. Does this make me a soldier of the Lord? Maybe so, but if so, it is because I like the money I’m making right now doing what I’m doing. Truth is, I like what I’m doing and would, given the opportunity, do it for free. But SWMBO would not be pleased and so that is all academic. Also, I like the bucks.

While the unemployment rate dropping by 3 people will not make the news, nor will the couple million dollar addition to GDP for the US, it is undoubtedly going to lend a positive bias to the employment and productivity numbers of the present economy. This is misleading because this thing has been in the works for over two years. No recent program or policy made this project happen. It was mainly inertia of past policies and the influence of recent and, hopefully, present market conditions that made this happen. I can assure you that no “stimulus” money played into this. And there was not a damned nickle of Cash For Clunkers ever even SAT next to a reason for it.  But those in power will take all the credit and none of the blame for what happens regardless. The “buck” no longer “stops here” – it stopped with the last guy that was here. There are very few, if any, presidents or other gov’t officials who accept responsibility for their policies any more – just a bunch of  “we inherited  the worst economy in {fill in the blank} years {or decades or centuries, blah, blah, blah}. In other words, The buck stops somewhere else, “…don’t blame us and also don’t blame us if we totally screw you up in our desperate attempt to fix what we know JACK SHIT about. It’s the other guy’s fault so leave us be.”

Tangent. I got off on a tangent. Who saw that comin’?

Anyway, I am home right now for Thanksgiving and have enjoyed being with my family. We put the tree up today and, as is tradition, went through about two or three bags of pork rinds in the process. Nothing says Christmas like fried pig fat with artificial Bar-B-Q seasoning. How that tradition got started is a WAAY more boring story than you might think it is, but suffice it to say, it got started. We always get the tree down on what many might call “Black Friday” because we are at home and might as well put up the tree that day. SWMBO used to go shopping with my mom on that day before we had kids but that tradition gave way to common sense and they both stopped doing it long ago. Now, the closest thing to a line we stand in is waiting for the page to load at amazon.com.

Amazon has a wing named after me – I just know they do. I first started shopping Amazon when few people had ever heard of it. It was an online book store with a great selection and great prices. Books. That was it. Then they started selling music. Then clothes. Pretty soon, they were doing it all. I remember when they teamed up with Target to have a ‘brick and mortar” presence. I remember how relieved I was they had done that. They wanted to focus on what they did good and partner with someone else to do what they did good. It’s a little trick in business that often works out well. It lets you know the guys at the top of that company are taking a long term view of things. How? Well, look at it this way: Amazon wanted to sell what Target was selling. Target would like to get a big internet presence. Amazon would like to have the ability to sell an item and let the customer pick it up at his leisure. So, either Amazon throws out tons of money to have a brick and mortar presence that will never come close to the market penetration of Target or Wal-Mart, or they partner with someone who already has that presence. Why not Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart has proven itself to be dedicated to one thing and one thing only – low prices. Low prices mean lower margins but volume makes up for that if the margin is steady. WalMart will throw it’s vendors under any bus to shave a nickel off the price. I’m not criticizing Wal Mart here because sometimes I take advantage of that low price commitment. But if you are a company looking to maintain as high a margin as possible and make your name in service over price, you are better off partnering with a company that shares those values. Target and Amazon were a perfect fit.

Can you get stuff cheaper than at Amazon? Yep, everyday. Not a lot cheaper but it’s not hard to shave a nickel off their price. Can you get better customer service than you get at Amazon? Maybe, I don’t know. But I can tell you that anytime I have ever contacted Amazon about an issue on a purchase I made, it was resolved in no time with no problem. Not only that, whether I called or communicated via email, I communicated with a real live Homo Sapien (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I knew a long time ago that Amazon would be the future of retail. With the hassle of crowds at retail outlets and the marked lack of customer service after you have traveled to a store to spend your money, it is no surprise that many brick and mortar stores are having increasing difficulty staying viable. Sure, some retail outlets will always be there. There are the places that sell items you just have to touch, feel, try out, etc. There are some places that rely primarily on the personal retail experience to sell their wares. There are some places that cannot be done over distance. But many typical retail stores are in more trouble than they may want to believe. The times, they are a changing and though old habits die hard, they do die.

How long ago do you think it was when people were thinking that people would ALWAYS have to go to the bank? And not just go to it, but go INTO it.  Then, in Atlanta, at least, came Tilly the All Time Teller. Along with ATM’s came direct deposit, online banking, debit cards, added to drive through windows and when is the last time you went into the bank? Do you think you go into a bank half as much as your parents or grandparents did? Banks offer a lot of services they didn’t 30 years ago but my guess is there are less than half as many “feet on the floor” per branch as then. Sometimes you have to go into a branch but with technology making it easier to stay out, why go in unless you have to? True, there are some who are set in the old ways. They go in and probably always will. I, myself, who likes to think of himself as an eager adopter of technology in all areas where it increases efficiency have used ATM’s for about 30 years but have yet to make a deposit in one. It just never got that necessary to me. But I probably will one day, if I ever get a check and can’t get to a drive-through window in a reasonable amount of time.

My point is, retailer beware. If you want to buck the “Virtual” trend, you better have a hook; an angle that makes people WANT to come into your store – almost NEED to. Otherwise, the customer will be at your competitors website, spending money galore and all the pretty decorating schemes in the world won’t get a nickel out of them. You sell clothes and think people will never go to buying clothes without trying them on or touching and feeling them? You may be right. They will come to your store and touch and feel and try on your inventory, and then go home and buy it. They may buy some from you, but they will look at a lot more than they plan to buy from you and order the balance from your online presence or competitor in a heartbeat. And remember, some people WILL buy clothes without laying eye nor hand on it ahead of time. As people get used to buying everything else sight unseen, they’ll have very little problem doing clothes the same way.

OK, tangent #2 I guess but the whole point of this post was to let you folks know I didn’t die or drop the blawg or anything. I’ll be here and hopefully with more frequent updates.

See ya later!!!

From: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racist

  • : rac·ism
  • Pronunciation: \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm alsoˌshi-\
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1933
  • 1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

OK, I looked up racist and it gave me the definition of “racism”, fine. It follows, that a racist is one who adheres to the belief described in the above definition. Now, let us look into that a little.

It is very easy to find people of the same race on polar opposites of any sociological, political, or behavioral spectrum. With white people, you have Billy Graham and Adolf Hitler, Asians have Indira Ghandi to Pol Pot, Black people have Martin Luther King and John Muhammed. We could go on all day. Now, the thing we see in these comparisons is that although two people share a common race, they could be mass murders or people of peace. So, it follows that while a man’s CULTURE may be a primary determinant of that man’s traits, his race is not.  Even culture is not an absolute determinant as we see stories of people growing up in crime infested neighborhoods every day that go on to be police, preachers, philanthropists, CEO’s, etc.  While culture arguably has a much bigger influence than race on a person’s intelligence and moral compass than race, it is still subservient to individual initiative.

I believe the hierarchy of the primary determinant of a person’s traits and capacities is, going from most influential to least (in part) as follows:

  • Personal initiative
  • Cultural influence
  • A WHOLE lot of other stuff
  • Race

It follows from this that if one believes the above list to be upside down, they are irrational. Furthermore, this would indicate that racists are irrational.

Now, here’s a funny thing about irrational people – They can’t be reasoned with. In order to “reason” with someone, both parties have to respect “reason” or logic. Let’s look at the definition of irrational (Again, merriam-webster.com):

(1) : not endowed with reason or understanding (2) : lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence b : not governed by or according to reason

If our chain of logic holds, then a racist is an irrational person and an irrational person is lacking mental clarity and is not governed by reason. My postulate is that if you TRULY  believe someone to be a racist, you are wasting your time trying to argue with them about anything. You may as well try and convince a fence post to agree with you because without a capacity for reason and logic, neither the fence post nor the racist can be swayed.

OK, why this little diatribe? Simply because the liberals are living up to their old tricks they’ve used with various effectiveness in the past – they disagree with someone so they attribute it to “Racism”. This automatically brands their target as irrational and dismissible. The problem is, if they really believed that, they would just dismiss all those that are racists and go about their business. But they don’t…

The left has always thought that just branding someone a racist would cause that person to shut up. It worked in the past. Someone would oppose a social program based on philosophy and the left would couch their argument until it looked like the opposition’s purpose was primarily to keep a minority race from being “helped” and the opponent of the program would be silenced because anything he said just looked like a justification to keep from giving entitlements to minorities. This worked so well in fact, that along with the Republican Party’s effort in the late 80’s and beyond to become a “Big Tent” party, that many so-called “conservatives” actually subscribed to this thought process. All the sudden, a policy initiative or proposed program could not be debated in terms of legitimate government function or enhancement or degradation of individual freedom, the primary concern was ‘who stood to get what’. ‘Who it came from’ was of no concern (unless it came from a protected class) and whether it was Constitutional or a legitimate function of government was immaterial. If you opposed a program even from the supply side, you were painted as opposing it on the demand side.

Example: Senator A proposes a program to give all poor children shoes in the US. He wants to pay for this program by taxing all families making over $50,000 a year in the amount of $75.00. Senator B opposes the plan because he believes it is not a legitimate function of government to take money through threat of force from one family to give that money (or other property that money is converted to) to another family. Senator A would claim that Senator B just wants to keep poor children from having shoes. Senator B would argue that his problem with the program is Constitutional and philosophical. Senator A would equate “poor” with “minority” and call Senator B a racist because more people making over $50,000 per year are white and a higher percentage of poor children are minority. Senator B, being a member of a spineless, weak-kneed, “Big Tent” party would lose support for his position from both sides of the aisle and would cave. Besides, it’s only $75 per family and “The Rich” spend more than that on country club memberships, anyway.

See how well that works? And it gets better. Let’s suppose that eventually a somewhat reasonable majority is attained in the House and Senate and some people look at that program and realize it was a bad idea. They vote to cancel the program. The left goes apoplectic and holds it up as a racist cut to entitlements AND a tax cut for “The Rich”. So, they would say the congress wanted to take shoes away from minority kids so that “The Rich” could have an extra latte from Starbucks everyday. In this way, just the mere proposal of a program can be the “gift that keeps on giving” in that if you oppose it to begin with, you are racist, and if you try to stop it afterward, you are racist AND in the pocket of “The Rich”.

Back to where we started from. If you are one who TRULY believes that people who oppose the plans of the current Congress and Administration are racists, then you are obligated to completely ignore the opposition. No sense in arguing – we’re irrational. It’s not that I think that the government taking over our health care system is wrong philosophically or Constitutionally, it is because a black man is in the White House. You would have to believe, then, that if we had a white president, I would just be peachy keen to turning over my health care and 1/6 of the American economy to government; That I would be thrilled to see the government pumping trillions into failed banks, car companies, and financial institutions; That I would be positively giddy to see the unions payed off with huge chunks of private enterprise and with laws such as the EFCA. If only  a white guy were president, there would be no opposition to those things at all.

If you believe that, you should have quit reading this a long, long time ago.

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