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Friday, January 25, 2008

The Wrong Ron

My choice for next president has withdrawn from the race. Fred's thrown in the towel. I think he's relieved. Taking up Ron Reagan's mantle is an intimidating thing. It's hard stand up in the harsh light of the inevitable comparisons and Fred doesn't have Reagan's charm, wit and magnetism, let's face it.

Now that Fred's gone, though, the Ron Paul people are jumping all over Fred Thompson supporters begging them to come on over to the Ron Paul pool - the water's fine! As though, that makes any sense at all. You know, it's utterly amazing to me that people can be so thick.

Don't get me wrong. On several issues, Ron Paul has some good ideas, but like every pseudo-conservative left in the race, he has that one big fatal flaw.

Ron's isolationist foreign policy is suicidal. You can't build a big wall around America and keep out the bad guys forever. It doesn't work. Never has and never will. No fortification in history has ever withstood all seiges. Inevitably, the walls come a-tumblin' down.

A strong offense is the only defense that will ever work. It's one thing George W. got right. It's not a coincidence we haven't seen a mushroom cloud over an American city since 9/11. It isn't because they didn't want to. It's because most of the hate-filled old geezers who planned and helped execute it are either dead or hiding in a cave somewhere.

The anti-war people love to rattle off bogus statistics and everyone loves to try and paint Saddam as innocent and not responsible for 9/11. Well, so what if he wasn't. He did a little dance of joy on TV when he heard about it. For that alone, we should have knocked him on his butt! Oh, and by the way, he was in violation of virtually every condition of the peace agreement from the first war. All he had to do to stop it was let us look at his weapons stores to make sure he didn't have anything nasty - AND HE REFUSED! It would have been foolish for us to have ignored that.

Oh and another thing! The first thing Saddam did in the first Iraq war (which he started if I remember right) was ship his really valuable weapons across the border to Iran and Syria. Want to bet where his really nasty stuff went to when we ran over his sorry butt with tanks?

Hopefully he sent his WMD's to someone who's smart enough to realize that using them against the US would result in his sitting in a puddle of melted glass wondering where his skin went to.

What would happen if we put an isolationist like Ron Paul in the White House? Well, immediately after we build the wall around our country (I'm not talking about a border fence either), everybody outside goes to work trying to figure out how to breach the wall. You think these guys will be happy creating a Muslim paradise amongst the sand dunes? They weren't last time they started one. First thing they did was start conquering Europe and Africa. Why should they be content among the dunes this time around? Read their literature people.

And I promise you, the war outside the "Great Isolationist Wall of America" that Ron Paul wants to construct will soon overflow our own walls. When the world looks round at the ashes of their own countries, they're gonna want to find some green space. The only way we can ever protect our American way of life absolutely is to pick us all up and move us to another planet and don't tell anyone here on Earth where we went.

And that will only help so long as they don't build a starship and come find us. Fortunately, I think Jesus is going to move us good guys off planet pretty soon and once that happens, I suspect the folks that are left won't take too long before they start pressing the little red buttons and creating their own private hell on Earth. I, for one, don't believe God has to make a hell. Just leave us alone and we'll make our own thank you very much. If we didn't have divisions of angels holding back the winds of strife right now, we'd all be in big trouble.

We're at war folks and saying we're not doesn't make it not so. This is good versus evil stuff. Pick a side. Oh, and you don't get to not play. Ignoring the people who want to harm you doesn't help protect you. I learned that in junior high school. The world's thugs and bullies always beat you up anyway, even if you try to leave them alone and mind your own business. That's what's wrong with the Ron Paul foreign policy plan!

Why is it that someone like Ron Paul, who does have some good ideas, always has to have that little touch of insanity that makes them an unacceptable candidate.

Dang it, I miss Ronald Reagan.

Just One Man's Opinion...

Tom King

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I remember standing in my backyard as a kid one sultry day in late autumn. We lived in Texas on the edge of the Great Plains and it had been an unusually warm spell. The sun was going down, but you could still feel the moist heat rising up from the grass.

Not a blade of grass moved. Birds weren't even chirping. If you grew up in Johnson County, you knew what was coming without checking the weather report. When it came, it was a blast of frigid wind that cut through the thin T-shirt I was wearing like little knives. The temperature began to drop rapidly and black clouds boiled up out of the north.

For some reason we call them "Blue Northers", perhaps for the color it turned your skin. The weather itself was more black than blue and used to frighten me. Our house was a hundred years old and the wind whipped through the walls and pushed up through the floor making the linoleum breathe like some sort of living thing while the wind groaned outside.

But what I most remember were those eerie minutes before the front hit. You knew the signs. You understood what was about to happen, but you just stood there mesmerized, waiting. Like watching the opening scenes of a horror movie.

Lately, I've been watching the news, reading the papers, books and magazines; watching history unfold in front of my eyes. It feels like watching a 'Blue Norther' roll in.

You can see it coming and you know you can't do anything about it. There are forces in the world that wish to determine what we all think, what we all do and how we all behave. These individuals believe that a highly intelligent elite (namely them) can and should make decisions on our behalf so that the world will be a safe and orderly place for us all (and particularly for them).

They call themselves conservatives. They call themselves liberals. They hide in plain sight. They meet in secret to determine which way the world should go. You only see evidence obliquely. When it appears that events are inevitable no matter how much ordinary people may want things to go differently, you see the collective wisdom of the elite at work. They are a vast, unwieldy bureaucracy, but they are all true believers.

Have you noticed that no matter who is elected to govern us, things never change. Here in America, the last bastion of liberty, we are rapidly falling victim to the very ills that led to mass migrations from Europe, Asia and practically every place else on Earth to America. That illness is and has always been the acceptance by the general populace that there is a "ruling class" who control by birthright. In Europe it was taught to children in fairy tales about "real" princesses and princes who, once they discovered they were truly noble, immediately ascend to rule the kingdom and all the peasants are made happy. Tragically, most of our Old World ancestors kept on believing in the divine right of kings even as the royalty became more inbred, effete and insane and brought bloody war and disaster down upon the very people who propped them up. The ones who realized that the divine right of kings was absolute balderdash, loaded up the truck and moved to America as fast as the cattle boats could take them.

Tragically, in our country, the general populace is now beginning to believe in an American ruling class. We obsess over celebrity princes and princesses as surely as any Old World country's citizens have ever obsessed over the doings of their dissipated nobility. We faun over the scions of powerful political and financial families as though they should naturally assume positions of power by right of birth. The Hiltons, Kennedys, the Rockerfellers, the DuPonts - all represent a powerful American nobility who are routinely summoned to councils, forums and working groups to share their thoughts on what should be done to bring order to the messy world we live in. We call actors and musicians to testify before Congress and TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY. It's slightly more democratic than the old world nobility, but only slightly.

The trouble with people treating you like privileged royalty is that pretty soon you begin to believe your own propaganda. The trouble with that is that nobody's that smart. No group of people, no matter how gifted can possibly control the "vast unwashed masses" well enough to insure a secure and happy society. It's a tempting idea, but it won't work.

It's like the feeble attempts we make to engineer complex eco-systems. It doesn't work. Eco-systems are so complex we can never allow for all the unintended consequences of our interference. Apparently only God has the capacity to balance something so vast and complex as a forest or jungle or prairie.

It's the same with human society. No matter how much we try social engineering, we create more problems than we solve. The war on poverty only locked more people into poverty. Efforts to manipulate the economy through price controls failed dismally. Efforts to transform the transportation system through laws that favored one transportation provider over another only succeeded in making us vulnerable to foreign influence and control. We're crippling our small business community through oppressive regulation and a Byzantine tax code that favors large corporations that can afford teams of lawyers and accountants to game the system to their advantage.

The worst governments in history have been those with strong and powerful leaders and lots of laws to "benefit" the people. When the people aren't actually "benefited" by those laws and controls, the people who mention that things aren't going so well get lined up and shot, hung or beheaded. When someone tells you they're doing this for your own good, you want to watch your wallet and your liberty.

America has always been something of a free-wheeling refuge for the tired, poor and huddled masses - a land of opportunity for the world's liberty-loving nonconformists. These guys were tired, poor and huddled precisely because they were trapped in oppressive, top-heavy societies that cared more for order than for liberty. America was the world's last refuge for those who wished to be truly free. America then proceeded to leak freedom to the rest of the world.

The problem with being the last bastion of freedom is that if America falls, there's no other place left to flee to.

Don't get me wrong; I don't believe there's this huge conspiracy to steal our liberties from us. It's not an organized conspiracy - not that at all. It's more of a confluence of desires. These guys want to make sure ordinary people are quiet, compliant and above all, do not rise up and murder the rich folk in their beds. They mean well, but there's also another element in play here.

Wealth and power tends to naturally select for folks who rather enjoy the acquisition and holding of wealth and power. I believe what we're beginning to see happening in the world is the working out to its logical conclusion of the original sin! No, not the tasting of an apple in a quiet garden. It's the one that took down Lucifer, the proudest of the angels - the lust for power! The inexplicable need to be like God- or more precisely to actually be God.

Why do you think our universities, the media, politicians and captains of industry love the idea of socialism so much? It's about control. It's the best scratch for the itch for power. It's smart, rich people keeping the peasants quiet and calm, herding us like cattle.

Well, I'm from Texas and I know what's waiting for us down at the end of the cattle chute and it ain't an all expense paid trip to Cabo San Lucas!

Something is in the wind, folks and when it comes down, I believe it will happen so fast that most of us won't realize we've lost something precious.

When that happens, I for one will start looking for the rescue fleet to arrive....

I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready to go home. This experiment's just about done and it's a time for God to stick a fork in it.

Just One Man's Opinion.....

Tom King

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Streetcar Named Politics

Glenn Beck is wrong. I really enjoy Glenn's radio and TV shows and generally find him one of the more sensible conservative commentators around. So, I was disappointed when I read one of his "illustrations" of the power of free markets. The section is called "A Streetcar Named Corruption" (page 104).

The story goes like this. In 1914, electric streetcars were 100% of mass transportation in US cities - even in cities of very modest size. Sensing an opportunity to take over the industry and make money, 3 companies from 3 industries came together - automobiles, oil and rubber. Over the next 40 years, streetcar companies were bought up, dismantled and replaced with buses built by the auto industry on rubber tires burning oil. Once the streetcar and the Interurban electric rail system became extinct by 1950, the consortium that started it all, shut down the new small town bus companies, calling them unneeded and too expensive. By then, the American culture had moved away from reliance on mass transit toward private auto ownership.

In citing the story, Glenn says, "Far better than any government agency, private industry can lead us through another transportation, but it needs the right incentives." Here's where he loses me. Glenn assumes the whole thing happened without government intervention as a result of private industry responding to a transportation crisis in our country.

The truth is more infuriating and he shouldn't have used that story to support a plea for free market competition. Quite the opposite is true.

What happened was this. The three companies in this story faced a nation that had cheap transit and no strong need for private automobiles. Interurbans and streetcars provided cheap transportation virtually anywhere you wanted to go. Even small towns were linked up. How could they sell more cars and oil and tires?


The streetcar companies WERE ALMOST ENTIRELY OWNED BY THE ELECTRIC COMPANIES!!! The electric companies had plenty of low cost electric power and the transmission infrastructure to support it. For them, it was another way to make money off of electric power delivery. The auto, tire and oil industry understood that so long as Americans depended on cheap streetcar travel, their industries would not grow as quickly as they wanted them to. They formed a company called National City Lines (NCL).


The auto/rubber/oil consortium approached Texas Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, the powerful Democrat Congressman who ran roughshod through the halls of power back in the day. Rayburn with the help of then president, Franklin Roosevelt pushed through a law (The Wheeler/Rayburn Act) that they told everyone was passed in order to "protect consumers from the evil electric company monopoly". The law forced electric companies to divest themselves of their streetcar companies. So, streetcar companies went up for sale at fire sale prices and practically the only buyer who could afford to pick them up was NCL.

Within weeks of purchasing the streetcar companies, NCL began replacing streetcars with rubber tired, gas burning buses built by the auto industry. Operating costs increased dramatically and over the next couple of decades, many of the smaller bus companies folded up. As transit became more unreliable, people began to (guess what) buy more personal cars. Executive of Standard Oil and GM actually went to jail for conspiracy over the deal, but by then, the damage was done.

Without cheap streetcars, in no time, Americans all had bought personal cars and developed a massive appetite for oil. Unable to produce enough to meet the need, oil companies began buying it overseas.

So, thanks to Democrats trying to manipulate the transportation industry through laws that limited competition in favor of one industry over the other, we wound up dependent on foreign oil.

The Moral of the Story:
When the government starts restricitng business competiton for the good of the American Public, everybody grab for your wallet - someone's after your paycheck.

Glenn, give me a call. I can help you with your research for the next book. It's embarrassing to be praising behaviour you obviously disapprove of - even it's by accident.

Just One Man's Opinion

Tom King

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Civil Discourse Under the Sun

Global Warming should be an issue within the scientific field of climatology. Instead it's become more like a doctrine of scientology. Global Warming has become science as religion as politics. As the scientific tools improve in climatology scientists and pundits have rushed to use the new toys before they've quite understood how they work and even whether they work. To show how smart they all are, they then rush to draw conclusions that safely support what everybody else already believes. Thomas Kune's landmark book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" shows that science progresses from paradigm to paradigm through a series of often traumatic pardigm shifts. I think we just saw one in the field of climatology when climatologists went from predicting an Ice Age to predicting a global heat wave. I think I'll wait for the shift to complete before I believe that global warming is a "scientific fact".

A lot of scientific facts have fallen by the wayside over the centuries. It was once a scientific fact that the space between the stars was filled with ether. Then it wasn't. Now some folks are not so sure that nothing is really nothing. The clearest evidence that a scientific belief is fixing to go down in a big dusty pile of rubble is that "Everybody knows it" and there are some serious scientists starting to question what everyone knows. I feel a shift coming on - either that or I'm just full of shift.

In the case of global warming, it's a case of science being co-opted by a political agenda that has created a virtual religion that to meet its ends has stopped cold any healthy scientific inquiry into alternative theories. Thomas Kune discussed the role of scientific heresy in pushing paradigm shifts in science. It's always a messy process to drive a paradigm shift like the one I believe is coming in the field of global climatology.

In Harry Nillson's rock opera, "The Point", the Rock Man says, "Ya see what ya wanna see and ya hear what ya' wanna hear, ya' dig?" Unfortunately, that's true in science where it should particularly not be true. Science has become a tool of self-proclaimed prophets like Al Gore. The apparent warming of our planet as a reuslt has become a political concern as well as a scientific issue. Global warming is a doctrine of the new politico-religion and to disagree with so-called "established fact" risks career damaging charges of heresy for scientists and for others in a surprisingly wide range of fields.

I really don't want to start another political row over whether mankind is "killing the planet". I just want to point out that in any field of human endeavor, it's always foolish to try and squelch voices of dissent in any field whether it's the study of climate or banjo picking. When you stop civil discourse in any field, the field stultifies and progress drags to a halt.

The use of phrases like "everybody knows" or "everybody agrees" as a discussion-ender is a sure sign that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. There's nothing more uncertain in this world than a proven scientific fact. Newton's 3 laws were a proven fact till Einstein began turning Sir Isaac on his head. An atom was the smallest particle of matter - scientific fact - until someone showed it could be split and then, someone did it!! The world was flat till someone circled it. That Earth was the center of the universe was a fact that nearly got Galileo killed when, in his day, science became about politics and religion.

I think we all ought to keep our minds a little more open, that's all. The thing that influences Earth's climate more than anything else at all is the big flaming nuclear explosion going on at the center of our solar system. At any moment, sunspots and big radioactive clouds are blown into space. Someday, a particularly nasty explosion could lick out of the sun's coronosphere, brush the planet and burn everything on the day side of Earth to a crisp.

As I write, the sun could have exploded 5 minutes ago and we would never know until we woke up at the gates of heaven wondering who was taking flash pictures in the middle of the day. I'm not arguing one way or another about global warming here. Don't care who or what caused it. I'm saying let the scientists work on it without anybody shouting anybody's ideas down. Someone could be wrong you know. It's happened before. I'm just saying.

Just one man's opinion..

Tom King

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Generations Pickin' Together

This is a snippet of our Tyler Youth Sabbath School Song Service showcasing our new young band members alongside a couple or three old geezers. My job is to train 'em up. When they get good, the Praise Team swipes 'em and I have to find new youngsters to train up to play in the band. It's nice work if you can get it even if you don't draw a paycheck for it.

You can find another bit at this link -

In this one, I lead the kids astray - starting out with the wrong version of Away in the Manger. The kids are very patient with their doddering old song leader, waiting for me to catch the mistake. I just love these kids.

Makes me happy to see the kids learning their craft.