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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Okay, I've Had IT!!!!

I'm getting tired of the spleen being vented against President Bush by the media, left wing bloggers and every self-appointed arbiter of the American conscience. I can hardly turn on the TV or open a paper without someone screaming about what a horrible president that George W. Bush has been. He gets blamed for the economy which, seemed to be coming back up until about 18 months ago when what exactly happened?


That's right, the sheep who make up the American electorate decided that it was time for a change and elected a Democratic majority to the House and Senate. It takes about a year and a half for the effects of a new congress to be felt in the economy.

But President Bush, who cannot pass any bills or laws on his own hook, gets the blame for the collapsing stock market (which hasn't collapsed yet despite the hysteria) and the housing market and soaring oil prices. OPEC is merrily sticking it to us and guess what the Dem's want to do? Hey, let's revisit the 70's and do a Windfall Profits Tax to punish the evil oil companies.

We've got a gang of chuckleheads running things in Washington who have initiated policies that have strangled energy companies by prohibiting new oil exploration, new refinery construction, new nuclear energy projects and other sensible approaches to increasing energy availability and saddled us with expensive bio-fuels, windmills, geo-thermal and solar energy schemes that are nowhere near ready for primetime. Remember who was in the White House last time they tried ethanol? That's right - James Earl Carter. Remember the gas lines?

They still blow off the Iraq war as some sort of insane plot to get oil for Haliburton. That evidently didn't work. There's no recognition that the Iraqi people want us there, that our soldiers are defending those people from attacks from Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other of their Arab brothers. I believe that it is a good thing that we are there. With the other Arab countries sending bombs and foreign terrorists in a stead stream across Iraq's border, somebody needs to help those people win back their country from the sick fundamentalist Islamo-facists that would turn their country into a genocidal bloodbath if the U.S. pulls out.

There is some evidence in scripture that an alliance of Arab countries and a powerful nation to the north will strike out against Israel and a nation that never did them harm. Interestingly, the only nations not mentioned as members of this attacking alliance are Iraq and Egypt. It's found in Ezekiel and it's really interesting.

For the first time I can remember, the national news media is asking on the air, "Is the end coming?" I heard a news anchor talking about Jesus coming the other day. It's incredible.

I believe the vitriol that's become endemic in our politics today is evidence that the end is at hand. Jesus said at the end of time, the world's people would be divided into sheep and goats. I think we're seeing that happening right now. I think we're seeing it manifest as the irrational hatred of one political viewpoint or the other. Christianity is ridiculed and attacked openly in the media, on the Internet and throughout the Arab world. You read things and see movies and TV shows that foster the idea that all Christians are vicious, self-righteous, gun-toting bigots.

Our president is on the receiving end of a lot of that kind of anger. It makes me think he must be doing something right.

Is the Iraq and Afghanistan war hard on us? Yes. Is it worth it? Well, I haven't seen any planes flying into large American buildings lately. Why?

Is it because terrorists think we're nice people all of a sudden? No. It can't be that because the left says that President Bush's policies make everyone hate us. So why, if they hate us more, have we not been attacked?

Could it be because we're decimating Al Quaeda's ability to make war. Is it possible they are destroying themselves trying to attack us in Afghanistan and Iraq?

No that can't be because that war is a "disaster". Nothing good can be coming out of it says the press so it therefore must be a disaster. NBC says it is so.

I'm sick of the stupid rhetoric and even more sick of the way people sit slack jawed in front of the boob tube and accept utterly blatant self-serving propaganda dished out by folks that obviously have an agenda.

Therefore: I'm going to continue my practice of praying for the safety of this country. God put us here to protect the remnants of his people from oppression and the evil designs of those who would wipe them off the face of the earth. The very existence of the United States is the reason that the Christian church remains alive in any form whatsoever. No one would attempt a total genocide of Christians simply because the U.S. might do something about it and the bad folks are afraid of us.

But once U.S. voters hand the leadership of this nation to those who hate us, hate God and love themselves above all, then the end will come soon. Without the existence of the most powerful Christian nation in the world, it will be open season on the people of God.

Fortunately, the cavalry is on the way and Jesus said we shouldn't worry.

So I won't. I may complain in this blog a little bit, but I won't worry.

Just one man's belief...

Tom King

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stanley Steamers, The Wagner Act and the Perils of a Managed Economy

Fuel prices are ridiculous and it's getting ridiculouser! I say we bring back the Stanley Steamer. All you need is a heat source. Heck I have a couple of cords of wood in the back yard - I could get up nice head of steam.

History Lesson - draw your own conclusions.

The Stanley was taken off the market because of false rumors (wonder who'd make up false rumors?) that their boilers would explode. One Stanley did nearly 200mph in a Daytona Beach test once back in the 20's. Another wrecked with a full boiler on that same beach going full out. All the boiler did in the wreck was come loose and roll down the beach blowing steam. I bet I could run one on alcohol. I had an uncle who still knows how to make moonshine. That stuff was potent. He says they used to run their Model T's on the stuff during prohibition!!

Only legit complaint about the Stanley I ever heard was that it gave off an ultrasonic whistle that drove dogs nuts!

I think there was some legislative effort to make them illegal (wonder who would want to do that).

This all happened about the same time that Sam Rayburn (D, Texas) and FDR got together with lobbyists from Goodyear, GM and Standard Oil to write a law that banned electric companies from owning public transportation (remember those electric trollies that ran all over the place in the 30's). The electric companies that were making piles of money off electric streetcars were forced to sell them under the newly passed Wagner Act.

Guess who bought the streetcar companies?- A company formed by a partnership between (you guessed it), Firestone, GM, Standard Oil and, I think, Phillips Petroleum. And what did they do first thing. If you saw the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" you know about the deal. They scrapped the electric streetcars in favor of gasoline powered, rubber tired buses! Shortly after that, they decided that public transit was not cost effective and they scrapped the bus companies right and left. They did this because the new mega transit company and their allies in the government thought it would be a good way to stimulate the auto, rubber and oil industry - so they meddled a little with the free market - all with the best of intentions, of course.

The folks on the left want to blame somebody, so they point boney fingers at the so-called "greedy consumer" - those of us driving SUV's and pickups and such. Somehow it's our fault.

That's a bunch of bunk. We drive cars because that's the system we got stuck with thanks to Sam and Frank's manipulation of the transportation system "for our own good". The over the past half century, we've been sold the on the idea of big cars, the freedom of the open road and the promise of eternal cheap mobility by legions of ad agencies for more than half a century. We designed the roads and transportation systems for private cars when oil was cheap and plentiful and we were trying to fix the problems with railroads. So, we developed a transportation system fueled by gasoline and diesel.

It's just that somebody else saw how well we were doing and decided to siphon off the profits from out economy. Guess who?Same guys that had us standing in line at the pumps back in 1979! Personally, I wish Texas would secede from the union and join OPEC! As long as we're siphoning money.....

The Wagner Act forced a change in our transportation system that deliberately pushed our economy toward reliance on personal cars for transportation. Sam Rayburn (D. Texas) and FDR thought it would be a good idea. Henry Ford and Mr. Firestone thought it was a pretty nifty idea to. J.P. Morgan was wild about the idea.

The point is that the whole streetcar thing was an incident where an attempt was made to control an economic system "for our own good". A bunch of smart guys got together, decided what was "best for America" and wrote some laws to force the changes they thought would be best (and, coincidently, make them all richer).

The great temptation for wealthy and powerful people is to simplify complex systems so that a group of planners, industrialists, or a government can control the economy, the transportation system or the monetary system. What inevitably happens is an exchange of one problem for another.

In fact, the more complex and open economic systems are, the more healthy and stable they are. Whenever you get groups whether governments or corporations or unions or international cabals, trying to control things, they only mess it up. It doesn't matter if they are let, right or centrist, it's the attempt to control what is too complex to control that gums up the works.

Our benevolent leaders deliberately made us dependent on cars and gasoline and oil so that when we were no longer able to produce enough oil for ourselves, we became vulnerable to those that had it and could control the flow of it. We managed ourselves into a lovely trap.

So now, we're looking at a range of political candidates who all tout schemes for managing our way out of the mess we're in, when we got ourselves in this mess in the first place by trying to manage another mess we'd got ourselves into (railroad monopolies and electric company monopolies) which we got into because we tried to manage ourselves out of another mess we'd got ourselves into before that.

Ironically, if we would just quit trying to manage everything and opened up the markets to all sorts of new ideas, opportunities and markets, we might have a shot at digging our way out of this big old mess we're in!

It's not about politics, it's about unleashing the energy of the American people to solve problems. It's like someone pointed out to me the other day about the food shortages. It happened because we decided to pursue bio-fuels by legislative fiat rather than by letting innovation happen as a matter of course. All of a sudden all the corn was going to bio-fuel and acreage was not being planted in wheat and other important crops.

Even then, if we'll get out of the way of American farmers, it looks like small farmers will be able to spring up to meet the need using long abandoned smaller plots of land scattered and lying unused since small farms began to fail thanks to previous government attempts to manage agriculture "for the good of the American people".

Like Ronald Reagan said, "The most frightening sentence in the world is, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help!'"

The end of the great streetcar plot was that a few oil and auto execs were convicted of illegal manipulation of the markets and fined $5,000 each - chicken feed compared to the kind of money they made on the whole deal.

It's kind of fun that GE (the remnant of Thomas Edison's electricity empire and a major loser as a result of the Wagner Act) stands to make a monumental fortune off the whole Global Warming movement which is at the same time crucifying the American auto industry in favor of high mileage foreign made cars, flaying the oil industry for "profiteering" and advocating a return to light rail (non rubber tired) mass transit!!!


They're going to start writing laws again. As the Russians used to say, "The Cossacks are coming. Take off your watches and hide your wives!!!!

We can figure out a way to fix things, if we just quit trying to figure out how to fix things so that they benefit only a certain narrow group of folks or according to the ideas of a tiny group of "leaders".

If we learn anything from nature it ought to be that eco-systems and economic systems are too complicated for us to diddle with. Every time we try, we just muck it up. When are we going to learn the lesson our mother's taught us when we were little.

"Stop picking at it! You'll only make it worse."

Just one man's opinion

Tom King

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wooly Hats and Wooly Heads

A friend from the (BHO) invited me to join a Yahoo group for banjo players - one without the pesky BHO rules structure. Me being in trouble a lot over there, I figured, why not give it a shot.

The discussion was interesting if a little technical.

Then it started. We had two guys get into it about how "old-time" bands dressed. One argued for a less formal dress style while another argued that old time bands wore their best clothes. The whole thing went rapidly downhill from there (for me), especially when they got into hats. Evidently there were certain hats that were more authentic than other and that some banjo players and fiddlers wore wool hats which tended to show their age more rapidly than some (i.e. get hairy as they get more worn).

The argument had been going on with increasing heat for more than a week and then - a revelation. These two guys are COLLEGE PROFESSORS! I promply went out and got myself a wool hat and bailed out of the discussion till they get it out of their system. I figure I'll check back sometime in 2009.

I graduated college in 1976 and vowed never to associate with college professors willingly as long as I lived. I went back to grad school in 1991, was asked to leave in 1993 and vowed never to place myself in subjugation to another college professor as long as I lived. I went back to another grad school in 1994 and ran out of money (I'm still paying student loans). I decided that I didn't want anything to do with college anymore.

I had forgotten just what arguing with a college professor was like till this last week. I just decided not to go back to school for my PhD after all. Thanks guys!

Please understand that there are some lovely folks who are college professors and I have friends who are college professors. I just don't argue with 'em.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One More Year to Go.....

Yesterday was my birthday, the last one before I become eligible for the senior citizen discounts at all the stores and theaters in town. Last week I took my sweetie (who is older than me by 3 months) to Taco Bueno for lunch. The youngster behind the counter gave us the senior citizen discounts without even checking my ID. He said he figured Sheila wasn't eligible yet, but he was pretty sure I was eligible enough for the both of us.

As that famous philosopher Indiana Jones once said, "It's not the age, it's the mileage!"

In a way, I'm looking forward to the special treatment I'll get for being "hoary with age". How cool is it that they'll knock a few bucks off my lunch just because I outlived my old man by a couple of years.

Of course, Dad didn't die of natural causes. A lot of the men in the King ancestry died hard and young. Great Great grandpa Thomas Archibald King got kicked in the head by a mule and died at age 49. Great Grandpa Joe Henry King pined away in a sanitarium scarcely a year after Great Grandma Doney died suddenly. He was 51. Grandpa Thomas Adolph King was 79 and he died of heart failure- the first male King in 80 years to die of natural causes. My dad, Adolph Wilmot King died at 52 of a shotgun blast at close range delivered by my step mother. My brother died at 16 of a shotgun blast at close range delivered by a friend who claimed it was an accident. So far, I'm running second in the longevity race.

I plan to live to be ancient and decrepit, but I'm told I need to lose about 60 or 70 pounds if I want to do that. I'm going to take a shot at it again. I lost 40 pounds last time I got serious. I'm going to eat only two meals a day and do a lot of walking to see if I can pull it off. This time I think I'll do it a little more slowly so I can keep it off.

I do have some good genes on other sides of my family. Grandpa Bell lived well into his 90's. My grandmothers both lived into their 90's. My grandmother King's dad lived into his 90's. There were a lot of really old folks in my family, so I figure I've got a fighting chance of living till Jesus shows up, especially if we elect any one of the three candidates we've got running for president of the U.S..

I just want to get my bunker built before it gets too rough. I'm calling it an "Earth House", but it's going to be a bunker complete with a moonshine still for fuel, a windmill and a generator, a serious garden and enough musical instruments to entertain myself when the TV goes off the air and that little target deal with the Indian comes on the TV screen to tell me I can find out what's going on by tuning to something called the Emergency Broadcast System.

I'm just going to wait on the porch and duck inside when the bright flashes start going off over toward Shreveport and Dallas.

I'll probably bring in the cat, but not if she's going to keep clawing up the furniture....

It's late. I'm tired and I'm job hunting. I should think about what I'm writing before I start typing.

Just one man's opinion,


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spy vs Spy - The Great Capitalist / Socialist Debate

The problem with the capitalist system is too many greedy chiefs, not enough productive Indians.

The problem with the socialist system is too many greedy chiefs, not enough productive Indians.

Two things destroy productivity.

1. Greed - Too many want something for no investment of time, energy and effort and believe they have a right to it. Too many people who have plenty want more simply because they can get it - it may be more money, it may be more power. It doesn't matter. It sucks the life out of a nation.

2. Lack of incentive - When greed runs rampant, the haves go out of their way to protect their position. They usually do that by preventing the have-nots from becoming haves. The socialist overlords do it by creating a system that punishes anyone who excells. The capitalist overlords do it by creating a system that sabotages competition.

The thing that drives me bats is that the great debate of our times as it's being delivered in the American media is between two groups of rich people protecting their turf!!! Sadly, whoever wins the debate, the ordinary American loses.

Ironically, the folks who are Reagan conservatives and Woodie Guthrie style Socialists are seeking pretty much the same thing - opportunity, freedom from want, public safety. If we could ever agree on how to get those things, the upper caste in this country and worldwide would collectively wet their pants. So long as they keep us all fighting their battles for them, their position is safe.

The nobility of the middle ages used to run wars once in a while just to keep the peasants in a perpetual state of fear and to thin the herd of uppity commoners. The same thing is going on now. Wealthy scions of the upper crust judiciously spend their money playing a vast game of political power chess with their peers using voters and politicians and activists as pawns and knights and rooks. I believe it's being done in cold blood, in the full knowledge that what it's all about is making sure you have so much money and so much power that God Himself couldn't knock you from your well cushioned perch at the peak of society.

It's like the Spy vs Spy cartoon in Mad Magazine. Two sides working busily at blowing each other up. Ultimately, it's all a big old game and none of us matter to them.

If somehow, ordinary, non-greedy, power-hungry people could organize and take over, the world would be a better place. The problem is that the whole structure of the world's vast right wing/left wing conspiracy spreads through the human race like some incidious spider's web. It's too big.

The only thing left for those of us who live on the outside and who genuinely don't care about being filthy rich or fantastically powerful is to wait for it. Jesus must be coming soon. I've got my thumb out....

Just one man's opinion.

Tom King

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Punisher Cometh...

Boy howdy did we get a little peak inside Obama's head this past weekend. In a memorable shoving of the foot in the mouth, the Senator from Illinois said that if his girls ever made a mistake he wouldn't want to "punish" them with a baby.

Predictably the pro-life folks are way up in arms at the idea of a baby being punishment. While the whole tenor of Obama's comment makes me a little crazy too, pro-lifer's have a wee bit of a problem getting irate about the baby as punishment idea. After all, it comes straight out of the Bible.

When Adam and Eve bit the big one, God tossed them out of Paradise and commanded, "Go forth, be fruitful and multiply!" He was mad at them when he said it. I can hear God mumbling under His breath, "See how you like it when those little rug rats grow up and break YOUR heart!"

Children are the instructors God has presented us with to teach us how to be like Him. You want to learn how to be unselfish? Have a kid! You want to learn about self-sacrifice? Have a kid! You want to know how to give though it's breaking your hear? Walk your baby girl up the aisle with a little Mozart playing in the background. Want your faith to be tested to its limits? Watch one of your children suffer an illness or lose them to death.

Are kids a punishment? You could say that, but I think they're more of a teaching tool. It's how God molds our character. He gives us the most precious gift in the world when he gives us a child and he shows us how to love without limit, to give without asking the cost and to be willing to lay down your life for another person without even thinking about it.

My wife and I have been grieving for more than two years for our precious son. We understand how hard it must have been for God to watch his own son die.

Obama is looking at it all wrong. Kids are not a punishment. They are a gift. It's nice that the senator wants to teach his girls morals and values but without consequences for your actions, morals and values aren't worth much. Like faith without works, a vague sense that someone somewhere ought to be chaste and faithful and unselfish and honest is dead if there are no consequences that tie my behavior to those values. Having kids as a result of participating in an act of intimacy teaches you that love is something serious and important, not something you do just because you're bored some weekend and had too much tequila.

Just one man's opinion...

Tom King