Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Proof that I am A Horrible Person

If you would like to see a good sample of what our University system would consider the absolute best in writing, you can check out this essay by SaltCycle. The thesis of the essay is:

As a global citizen, car ownership is one of the most resourcefully irresponsible and socially divisive means by which one can accommodate daily needs.

In summary: If you own a car; You are a horrible person.

The post doesn't say wasting fuel frivolously is bad. It says ownership of a vehicle is bad.

The writer of the above post is young, and probably doesn't realize that the same logic can be (and has been) applied to just about everything.

Most Americans do more harm to the environment by owning a house than by owning a car. Living in single family houses can also be labeled divisive. Living in a single family unit reduces the influence tribal elders have on individual live.

People living in single family homes outside the control of the local commissar is socially divisive.

Renting from someone who owns a building just transfers guilt. The only way to live is in a bunk owned by the government and in direct view of a big brother who can judge the actions of the individual in regards of the power of the whole.

So, home ownership is worse than car ownership. Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Most of the work done by Americans is far more resource intensive than their personal lives. I can explain this with a funny story: I used to work dispatching trucks. I would peddle my Schwinn Varsity to work (saving less than a liter of gas in the process). I would then work with trucks that consumed more than my annual consumption of energy in day. My little energy savings from daily cycling commute wouldn't get a big rig a mile.

On the whole, our jobs are still more resource intensive than our commutes. Have you ever been to a medical facility and seen the stuff they consume? The government consumes more than most industries.

We don't feel guilt for our careers because, as a society, people are growing more and more distant from direct ownership of the means of production. The guilt from what we consume in our careers ways less in our minds.

There used to be a very large number of independently owned small mom and pop owned small businesses and farms. A few generations ago, these business were declared by the intelligentsia to resourcefully irresponsible and socially divisive. A few generations ago, the left colluded with government to destroy small farms and manufacturing firms. They lauded a new ideal called the "Organization Man."

We used to be a country of small businesses. Some may remember the tinkerer praised in Mark Twain's "A Connecticutt Yankee in King Author's Court."

Were Hank Morgan to appear in our modern Camelot we would look down on him from our elevated perspective as global citizens and spit in his face for living a socially irresponsible resource intensive life.

The racist Mark Twain is no longer in vogue (Sam Clemens was a naughty boy who used the N word); so my literary reference probably went past most readers.

Car ownership seems to be such a big problem, because we've driven most industry from our shores. Since most stuff these days is manufactured in China, the environmental cost of our other possessions is just an illusion.

After reading SaltCycle's post I felt horrible about myself for owning a car. I actually feel horrible about myself most days. I can remember most of the dark hatred spewed the lips of professors at the U as they systematically condemned every aspect of American life.

I followed their logic for many years, and I hated everything and everyone around me.

While I've never been able to shake the hatred I feel toward myself, I've lessened the hatred I feel towards others.

Occasionally, a little classical liberal voice speaks up in my head. The classical liberal voice lauds car and home ownership. The little voice tells me that ownership of resources is great. What matters is how wisely people use the things they own.

My little voice says: If you use your resources to make life better, then you are a good person.

The little voice tells me that the solution to our energy problems might actually be more ownership. I would love to see a solar panel a top every house.

The voice tells me paradoxical things like: we could reduce fuel consumption by owning more cars, not fewer cars. I read a study once that showed that if you only owned one pair of shoes at a time, you will go through more shoes in your life than if you owned two to three pairs of shoes.

Imagine if we drove something like the 150MPH Loremo for short commutes and had an SUV or van for when we traveled in groups.

I think the key to making althernative energy rock is the greater distribution of ownership of energy resources.

The elite Professoriat tells us that societies where the little people are allowed to own things is horrible.

I am willing to believe that of myself. SaltCycle post makes me feel horrible for owning a car.

When it comes to my judgings others, however, I find that I will listen to my inner classical liberal voice. I simply say that when people live their lives well and work to make the world a better place, then they are good people. Car ownership is great because it magnifies our ability to do good.

I think it is great that people in India, China, Brazil, et al., are starting to own cars. I wish health and prosperity on all.

To sustain prosperity, we need to be mindful of how we invest our resources. That happens naturally through the free market. So, in response to SaltCycle's post, I will just sit here and feel horrible about myself, but I will wish everyone else health and prosperity.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Partisan Analysis of Propaganda

This is a flow of conscious blog. The form of the blog is that I see something in the news or community, then write out a stream of thoughts. Often the thoughts are contradictory because I explore different view of the subject.

I usually don't edit things. When I do edit things, my wonderfully long posts end up painfully short. So, I wrote a long flow of conscious post to continue thoughts on propaganda started in the last post. When I was done editing, all I had was a single sentence:

"A partisan analysis of propaganda is, by its nature, propaganda. It is a form of propaganda that can be more divisive and destructive than the bungling propaganda under analysis."

Having edited the post down to two sentences. I then feel compelled to do something to beef up the post so that it would be, like, four paragraphs long. In other words, editing is overrated.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Happened, or not

buy at Overstock.comSounds like the soon to be released book "What Happened" by former Whitehouse press secretary Scott McClellan will be the big read of the political season. I predict that this will be the single most quoted book of the year, if not of the decade.

Apparently the gist of this book is that the Bush Administration engaged in propaganda and we are to be outraged. I doubt, however, that the book will actually reduce the use the number of times that the rich and powerful misdirect people to gain more power. I suspect that the primary use of the book will be groups using it to project their methods onto the Republicans. Bush did this; therefore, I am justified in doing that ...

In many minds the book justifies the far left's anti-Bush propaganda campaign that took place during the war. Since Bush engaged in the lead up to the war, we are justified to engage in anti-Bush propaganda while the troops are fighting the war.

Quite frankly, I think the book is an nonevent. Both George W. Bush and Scott McClellan went to modern schools where they sat through numerous classes where the professor bubbled on and on about propaganda. Propaganda is, after all, the preoccupation of the modern age. Not surprisingly, when Bush and McClellan were in power, they used the techniques they learned in school.

It is unlikely that Bush or McClellan would have used traditional logic in their administration. Logic was yanked from the curriculum before they were born.

Back to propaganda ... I've tried in the past to point out that there is no objective definition of what is or is not propaganda. To those who become preoccupied with propaganda, everything becomes propaganda. So the question is not if someone engaged in propaganda, but how successfully one engages in propaganda.

From this perspective, McClellan's story is that the Bush administration engaged in propaganda in a way that clouded their decision making process, and left them exposed for propaganda attacks by their partisan enemies.

The left engaged in effective propaganda by pullint the trick of supporting the war during the decision making process and turning against it while American soldiers were in harms way. When you accept that everything is propaganda, then it is all about how you time the propaganda.

The book is destined to be the most cited book of the year. But I think I am going to pass on it. I find the mincing of partisan propaganda tedious. Since this book is having Harry Potter style success in the stores, I really just wanted to put up an affiliate link and tell everybody that Overstock has the lowest price on the title, and they have $2.95 shipping. (Yes, I would get a commission from sales.)

A note to any student reading this: The way our school system works is that you get extra points when you use Republicans as negative examples; so this would be a valuable source material.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Save the Childen Abuse Report

Damn, according to this report by David Clarke, Save the Children UK just issued a report about widespread abuse by peacekeepers.

Two days ago, I tried to defend the United Nations Peacekeepers.

My post was saying that I reject the idea that the UN leadership is intentionally promoting rape as a tactic, just as I reject the indictment that the US leadership wanted for the stupidity of Abu Greib to happen.

The very fact that Save the Children underwent a multi-year survey and issued a scathing report criticizing misconduct under its watch indicates that the leadership of relief efforts don't want the abuse to happen.

The report talks of a concerted efforts to encourage people receiving aid to report abuse. They have training programs like 'Safeguarding Children Policy’ in place. The UN regularly spouts out with things like the 2004 Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (pdf). Stop Violence Against Women lists some of the UN efforts to address abuse. I am a bit dense, but it seems to me that the Stop Rape Now by the United Nations is saying that the UN wants to stop rape and abhors groups that use rape as a tactic.

Even after reading the Save the Children report, It appears to me that the primary cause of abuse in disaster relief efforts isn't the moral defects of the peacekeepers. The primary cause of the abuse is the vulerability of people after disasters. People in dire situations are extremely vulnerable. Vulnerable people are prone to bad choices and abuse. Peacekeepers are responding to that vulnerability. The reports says: "Without parents, many children are forced to use transactional sex as a survival tactic."

As mentioned in my apologetics post for the UN, there is almost always a boom in births following a disaster. Abuse and bad decisions follow disasters. Such is the nature of disasters. The need needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.

Save The Children recommends including more child protective services efforts in disaster relief efforts. They want better procedures for reporting and prosecution of abuse. UNFPA wants to help address the problem with concerted family planning efforts (including distribution of contraception) in disaster relief. I believe that a multifront approach that included both the conservative and liberal efforts would help reduce the child abuse and population booms that follow disasters.

Online Apology

I owe Rachel Strate an online apology. She feels that I accused her of being a conservative. She firmly states: "I would never describe myself as conservative."

The tag I put for her site said: "This is the blog for mild mannered analyst Rachel Strate who, on the weekends, becomes Wasatch Girl." When I first found the site it had posts on business and on climbing. I wanted to point out the interesting duality.

The climbing posts now are on a site called The CragBaby.

It was not my intention to accuse Ms. Strate of conservatism. I was trying to make an allusion to an obscur 1930s comic character named "Clark Kent." The character Mr. Kent came from a town called Smallville. He worked as a news reporter in a city called Metropolis. During his off hours, Mr. Kent doubled as an action hero called "Superman." The character has a similar duality to the business analyst/rock climber thing going on with Ms. Strate.

Some recent TV shows and movies build on this Clark Kent character.

The problem might be that I used the term "mild mannered."

I do not associate the words "mild mannered" with conservative. Accepted synonyms for conservative generally incorporate snarl words like "hard-headed," "close-minded," or "intransigent." "Mild-mannered" is a purr word. One uses purr words for progressives. You a sentence about a progressive might say: "Mild mannered Obama reasoned about climate change..." Articles about conservatives contain snarl words like: "closed-minded McCain hissed about climate change."

Perhaps the problem was the allusion to superman. Some contemporary thinkers have tried to tag the meme "America as Superman" to the view "George Bush is a Fascist."

However, it happened. I feel simply awful that Ms. Strate took the link to her blog to mean I thought she was a conservative. I really meant to say that I admire people who work hard at their jobs while pursuing the enjoyment of nature.

I apologize sincerely. I would never intentionally insult a person by calling them "conservative." Well, unless they were some sort of nut-job that actually courted the term.

Writing Updates

In the last weeks, I've been working on reworking the structure of the site and hope to start populating it with content. The one piece of content I really don't want to write is the admission that I flunked out of the University of Utah.

I flunked classes that members of the Football team took during game season!

Having been flunked out of school pretty much disqualifies me for everything but computer programming and manual labor.

I finished the about me page. Followers of this blog would note that I started this page a year ago. Standing up and telling the world "I am a loser who everyone should ignore" is not a pleasant task.

People who wish to refute any posts I make on this blog need do little more than point at the fact that I failed "Political Indoctrination 101" and they will win.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Steel Fabrication

I was looking through the Members List of the Utah Steel Fabricators Association, and it struck me how much this technology had evolved in my lifetime. I used to associate steel fabrication with quonset huts, oil refineries and the Darth-Vader-style, soulless office buildings.

Megaplex TheaterIn the last decades, people have really pushed the design capabilities of steel. The picture to the right shows the new Megaplex Theater in Ogden. all over the place I am seeing steel used for more than just the box frame of a building.

Salt Lake City proper used to have a more vibrant steel industry. This was before the city's socially active political leadership chased most of the local industrial base to China. The surviving steel fabricators hide in suburbs and rural communities.

As people realize that you can do cool things like build lightrail lines, community centers, monorails and really cool looking buildings with steel, fabrication might come back in vogue.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Applying the Right Answers at the Right Time

Michelle Malkin's site has people enflamed because (gasp) the UNFPA provides contraceptives in disaster relief efforts.

While I think the family planning ideology in the United States often goes overboard, I have to side with the United Nations Population Fund on this one.

There is almost always a population boom following a disaster. When a family that just lost everything has a child, you can pretty much guess that the child was unplanned. Irrational forces are at work when people have babies at times when their ability to care for the child is in doubt.

In many cases, the post disaster population boom magnifies the hardships of the crisis. For example a high birth rate in refuge camps will hamper efforts to feed and relocate the refuges. The message to the people in a refuge camp is to get strong and prepare for relocation. Now is not the time for having children. Here are ways to not have children ...

Population booms often feed cycles of war. Wars often follow a 20 year cycle where the children born during the last war ride off to avenge their fathers!

Intervening in a post disaster population boom makes sense. In times of turmoil, people make irrational decisions involving children. A very strong message for family planning (by promoting abstinence, contraception or both) is in order. The message is that people should recover from the disaster before adding new family members.

Disaster relief is not not the time for a culture war. The goal is to get people back on stable track after which they will make their life choices. The right and left need to work together to find ways to encourage people not to have children until they are in a stable environment.

Both the arguments and technology employed during a time of crisis should be different from times of stability. While I would be morally outraged about a group distributing contraceptions to American high school students, I would not be troubled by the same efforts to people who are in a state of turmoil after a disaster or war.

Several of the comments on Michelle Malkin's blog claimed the reason the UN was giving out contraception was so the peacekeeping forces could rape the women.

Such comments are an example of completely unfounded, unprincipled speculation.

The allegation that UN Peacekeepers engage in mass rape is similar to unfounded allegations made against US soldiers. Both the US Army and UN Peacekeeping forces have law enforcement elements that aggressively punish soldiers for misconduct.

I know this allegation is false because there are better explanations for UNFPA's efforts: The better explanation is that, during past disaster relief programs, people have identified a need for handling family planning questions during the relief effort.

The other reason I don't think the contraceptive are given so UN Peacekeepers can rape the disaster victims is that the contraceptions were given by UNFPA and not by the Peacekeeper army. If the army was planning on mass rape, the army would be doing the preparations.

Instead of this blanket criticism of the United Nations Population Fund, the right would do better to participate in the effort to help promote moral methods of family planning.

People can have their culture war battles in the planning stage for disaster relief. The arguments made in the planning stage should be driven by past experience of the needs of people involved in the disaster and supported by fact.

Label: United Nations.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Battles Over Labels

I've been working on the publishing platform on the domain. The theme article I just finished is called "labeling".

Yes, I am wasting time on negative terms.

My hope is to quarantine the discussions on negative terms in the themes folder. That way, I can reduce the appearance of negative themes in my other writings.

The basic idea I want to convey about labeling is that, while examining the effects of words is a good thing, the preoccupation with redefining labels for political or social gains has proven a net negative. A primary reason our discourse is so shrill is because people keep redefining terms for political ends.

BTW: While reading up on Deviant Behavior Theory, I thought it would be fun to see how the theory would pan out.

So, to finish this post, I traveled into the future and snipped the following section from the 2014 California Thought Officers Manual:

How to Handle Accusations of Rape

In the failed regressive conservative societies of the past, people would use the accusation of rape to stigmatize certain acts (and the people engaged in such acts) as "deviant." These regressive labels were used by the regressive-conservative-world-order to maintain an oppressive hegemony.

Our enlightened progressive society recognizes that deviant behavior is not the result of acts of individuals. Deviant behavior is the result of social norms. If there are no social norms; there is no deviant behavior.

In regressive conservative societies, people stigmatized by the label "rapist" would behave in an antisocial manner. The secondary partner in the encounter would feel violated for having had an encounter with a "deviant."

In an enlightened progressive society, there would be no stigmas. The primary party of the encounter would retain self-esteem. The secondary party would not feel violated, because there would be no words for expressing feelings of violation.

Our enlightened progressive society uses a new "judgment-free" speak. We refer instances where the first party initiates a physical encounter with the secondary party as a "consent-free-physical-encounter." We believe that people with a compulsion to consent-free-physical-encounters (formerly called serial rapists) should not be stigmatized for acting upon natural instincts. Great care should be taken to avoid lifestyle judgments, and to preserve their self-esteem. The primary actor in the encounter should not be detained. You might praise initiator of the encounter for using contraception.

The concern of a thought officer during an accusation of rape should be the re-education of the accuser. The thought officer should present the accuser with the correct gender neutral/judgment free language of the new enlightened progressive leadership.

If the secondary party persists with accusations of rape; the thought officer should detain the accuser to be sent to a re-education camp for enlightenment.

PS: To help save the Bureau of Socialized Healthcare the cost of a "fetal-contraception-procedure," the thought officer should, in gender neutral terms, confront the secondary party and give him or her an "embryonic contraception pill" so that he or she does not get pregnant.

Oddly, it appears that action leads to reaction. Apparently, there was another transfer of power sometime between 2014 and 2032. I clipped the following from the 2032 California Police Manual.

The victim of rape is a valued member of our society who deserves comfort, counseling and support. The rapist is a perverted bastard, and if you accidentally slammed his face into the doorjamb of the squad car during the arrest … well, we can overlook a few bruises.

Changing the language didn't change things after all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Preoccupied with Propaganda

A guy named Jason The dropped a really bizarre comment on my blog a few days back. I will comment on the comment below. First, Here is a link to Horowitz' BookTV speech:

A few days ago, I wrote a flow of conscious post after reading David Horowitz's new work called "The Party of Defeat." The post took maybe five minutes to type out. Yes, I can type as fast as I can read. My post begins by saying that I am talking about propaganda. The's comment begins:

I don't mean to undermine the efforts you've put into this post, but after reading, my only honest response is Wow! Talk about propaganda!

The opening phrase is odd, as Mr. The's blog appears to be partisan. I cannot see into Mr. The's mind; So, I will take his word that he is authentically trying to provide constructive criticism. Oddly though, he is off mark on his assertion that I through effort into the post. I read a book and dashed off a flow of conscious in response to a question that Mr. Horowitz presented in the book.

The really odd thing here is the leveled accusation of propaganda. Horowitz wrote a book about propaganda. I opened my post with an acknowledgement that the post was propaganda. Mr. The then levels an attack that the post is propaganda. That is odd.

Taking The's word that he is providing constructive criticism, I actually spent a whole day reading up on propaganda. Judging from the wide variety of definitions, my observation is that know one really knows what is and is not propaganda. You can push the definition to the point that everything is propaganda. For example, the posted speed limit is a concerted effort to influence people's driving behavior, hence, it is propaganda. Every advertisement is propaganda. News articles are propagandistic in their choice of what to report or not report.

Some people seem to claim that objectivity is the opposite of propaganda. However, there is no objective test to separate propaganda from non-propaganda. Even worse, the most effective propaganda is propaganda made to appear objective. Dropping purr and snarl words in a news article has a bigger impact on opinion than a strongly worded statement.

The next part of The's comment are odd. He starts:

We need to better educate ourselves before we attempt to speak out on an issue, otherwise we only serve to mislead others into the same fallacy prone logic exampled in this post filled with vast assumptions, proven inaccuracies, and huge generalizations that do little to further intelligent discussion of an issue that effects each and every American, and more directly effects soldiers under fire abroad.

I am accused of not making an effort to educate myself for writing a blog post after reading a book. Does anyone else find that one odd. Mr The then fires a barrage of accusations of fallacies, and generalizations, but fails to point them out. I had a person who's studied logic for 40 years read the post. That person pointed out a sentence that could be read as a generalization; I thought about removing the sentence, but that would be unfair to Mr. The; So I blogged-me a post on that sentence.

Mr. The openly claims that my blog post negatively affects the soldiers in the field. Oddly, a major portion of Horowitz's thesis is that irresponsible statements by leaders in the Democratic Party had direct negative impact on the soldiers in the field. The death count shows that under 200 US soldiers died in the war to dispose Hussein. Some three thousand American soldiers died after the Democratic Leadership took the calculated risk of opposing the war.

Horowitz differentiates between what party officials and folks in influential posts (like journalists) do from irresponsible, unread bloggers like me. Jason The ends his attack with the barb:

As a long-time supporter of the military (having family members and friends - throughout my entire life - who have, or are currently serving), I find what you've written here grossly offensive.

In conclusion, I am an uneducated, propagandist who Jason The finds offensive.

BTW, I added Mr. The to my blogroll. This blogroll is designed to show the diversity of opinion in the Mountain West.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How Radicalization Works

Typing fast means errors. Jason The pointed out a statement in my last post could be read as a generalization. The quickly typed sentence was: "In the years following the war, the radical left has been able to completely take over the Democratic Party. The Republican [Party] has been marginalized both as an [spp] political force and intellectual force."

If you read the paragraph as: "All Democrats are Radicals" then what you see is a blatant generalization. Of course, this is neither the intent of the statement, nor is it the intent of the statement.

The statement is actually an observation of the nature of radicalization.

The word "radical" comes from the Latin radix which means root. Radicalization is a process that happens at the foundations of a system of thinking that ends up dominating the system of thinking. Radicalization is an effort to force a dramatic change of a system by manipulating it as a subliminal level.

Radicalization, by definition, is something that transforms a system.

One could make a strong argument that Bush's "unilateral" invasion of Iraq radicalized the Republican Party as it made supporting the war the central issue of Republicanism and the conservative movement.

Republicans have a very big problem. Republicans tend to be for a smaller federal government, fiscal responsibility and moral leadership. Something radical appears to have happened in the Republican leadership that made it the opposite of what Republicans believe.

Radicalization is dangerous because it completely transform a system in ways that cannot be predicted. The general trend is that it raises the rogues into power. Moderate and antiwar Republicans were marginalized in the party.

The statement that "all Democrats are radicals" is a generalization, the statement that radicalization "completely takes over" a system is not.

If my goal in this blog is to influence, people in a particular, I would not have included the sentence. But this blog is intended for flow of conscious style writing. This type of writing is meant to link together different ideas.

PS: I reject the argument that Bush intended to radicalize the Republican Party. I would not be surprised if some of the neocons in his administration were thinking along these terms. I think there is a strong case that the people who flew the planes in the World Trade Center and Pentagon were doing so in hopes of creating radical change. Horowitz makes a good case that the Far Left has radical intentions.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Radicalized Left

David Horowitz was a committed propagandist for the far left in his early years. He learned all of the propaganda techniques of the new think style of writing. After watching a few murders, he realized that his approach was doing more harm than good, and switched sides.

People who switch sides can provide very interesting insights.

Since leaving the far left, Horowitz has dedicated himself to showing how the far left manipulates debates.

The downside to Horowitiz's writing is that he often uses some of the propaganda techniques he learned as a leftist in his attempts to argue against the far left.

A reactionary often bears an imprint of what he is reacting against. Horowitz does a great job discussing methods of radical propaganda, but is not as strong in helping us find a way out of the cycle of radical and reactionary thinking.

Horowitz's new work, Party of Defeat provides a nice compact compilation of efforts taken by the left to undermine the US war effort.

Anyway, with this book as a reference, I now feel that I can express why I opposed the invasion of Iraq.

The radicalization of Islam is simply one notch in a long string of radicalized ideologies that include things from Stalinists, Fascists and Nazis.

The problem the world faces is not simply radical Islam. The major problem the US faces is that a very large portion of the American professoriat and the US media learned these radicalization techniques as youth and are still enamored with the visions of the Marx. This is not surprising. It is what people learned in their youth.

The danger Bush faced by expanding the war to Iraq was that the radical left would behave as they did. Al Qaeda was negotiating with Hussein for WMDs. Unfortunately, we needed to wait until Al Qaeda took out a city or two before we could act. Otherwise the professoriat and radicalized left in this nation would turn on the United States, as history now show they did.

In the years following the war, the radical left has been able to completely take over the Democratic Party. The Republicans has been marginalized both as an political force and intellectual force.

We are now in a worse strategic situation than we would have been if Bush took a more subtle approach to the problem. I really wish that he had concentrated on the bribes taken by UN members in the Oil for Food program. It is hard to miss $30 billion in bribes. Also it was obvious that members of Kofi Anan's immediate family was living well beyond their means.

But, of course, we can't change history.

The Troop Surge was one of the most brilliant and gutsy moves ever supported by a US president.

This blow by blow account of the way the left manufactured the current climate of dissent is fascinating. In the off chance that the United States is still around 50 years from now, I think historians will assess the Democratic Party, and the legions of brownshirt bloggers that have dedicated themselves to the destruction of the West among the great villains of history.

END NOTE: The reason that some hundred thousand people have been killed after the Iraq invasion is that there are people who believe that killing large numbers of people is the path to power. This belief has been fostered by radicals on the left in a grab for power both in the US and abroad. Bush was wrong for trying to do the Saddam Hussein regime change in the current rational climate. Yet, the blame for the deaths has to lie with Bush, the intellectual community that created the belief that killing large numbers of people is the path to power. Above all, it belongs with the terrorists who actually partook in the killing.

We don't have a Democratic Party with clean hands and a Republican Party with blood stained hands. We have a world infected with radical elements that are adept at raising political issues into intractable dichotomies that rip society apart and lets the rogues of the world ascend to power.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Themes Project

I am not happy with the Blogger "label" feature. I had been hoping that the label feature would build an index for this blog. Instead, it simply feeds a weak search function.

So, I decided to make an external index. The advance of an external index is that I will be able to index more than just this one blog. I could include articles posted on other sites and forums. I will put the themes on the site (notice the dash).

To make the index a bit more useful to the web surfing public, I split it into several main categories:

  • The Abstract Themes section lists abstract philosophical themes like true and paradox.
  • The Current Events section indexes articles on current events and politics.
  • photo indexes articles that involve taking pictures.
  • The local directory includes articles about the Community Color project.

I am building this same index structure into the backend program used by The Roots of Sound Rational Thinking and other research projects.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Riverpark in South Jordan

RiverParkI finished labeling the pictures I took of the Riverpark area in South Jordan. This is a massive complex with two universities, a variety of class A office space and mix use facilities.

NOTE, I googled Riverpark, but did not find an official web site for the development. If anyone knows of one, please drop a comment.

The Facility is on 10600 South just West of the Jordan River. I doubt it entered the minds of the developers, but the people working in the complex have a nice bike path and walkway near their building. I wonder how many people bike to work ...

Office framed by Twin PeakAs a building buff, I am always happy to see quality new construction. I am especially happy to see mix use facilities. The Riverpark includes a variety of fast food and elegant restaurants. My first reaction was that the development was a bit like the DTC in Denver.

My second reaction was sorrow that this development did not take place in Salt Lake City proper. I feel sad that most of the development is happening in the South Valley. During the DeeDee Corradini and Rocky Anderson dynasties, there was almost no development in Salt Lake. It is true that in the last few years, SLC finally realized that WVC, South Jordan and Saint George were on a path to ecclipse the capital city in economic relevance. So, the city has reluctantly allowed some construction.

Neumont UniversityI have always rooted for Salt Lake City. Rooting for a loser results in a cynical attitude toward the world.

During my picture taking excursion, I was surprised to find that there was a new University in town called Neumont University. Neumont University's site says that they work directly with businesses partners to provide relevant education. Utah is in desparate need of new private universities if we wish the state to maintain a leading role in business and technology. I hope they do well. There is also a branch of the University of Southern Nevada. Go figure.

I love the mix use concept that is taking into place in developments like the Riverpark. I am sad that the development is not quite as well connected with the valley as I would want. Most people have to drive to go to work, and you really can't see the profile of the big buildings from the freeway, as it is in a gulch.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Deliberative Reform

I should have called the last post "Deliberative Reform."

"Comprehensive Reform" is the process where, every 30 years or so, Congress passes a massive bill that tries to set immigration policy for the next 30 years.

"Deliberative Reform" is the idea that Congress must address a problem each year. Rather than one big bill, Congress would address the immigration problem each year. They would pass separate bills that set the immigration quota, the temporary worker quota and a final bill that addresses humanitarian and law enforcement issues that popped up the previous year.

Going into a multi-year deliberative process would allow us to break the expectation of amnesty while giving us the ability address the immigration mess in a humane manner.

Comprehensive Reform is the Problem

Last year I supported the efforts for "comprehensive immigration reform." I did so because I felt it was necessary to include the sticks in the same bundle as the carrots.

Watching the comprehensive reform bill fail, it struck me that it the comprehensive reform process itself that is the failure. The way Congress goes about bill writing these days is they overload every bill with earmarks and special provisions that they become a convoluted mess that no-one can understand.

The worst part of the comprehensive reform approach is that it puts out nation on a cycle of having to reform the last comprehensive reform every thirty years or so.

The Reagan Amnesty bill was a reform of post war comprehensive packages that favored European immigration.

The problem with the Reagan Amnesty bill was not that it gave amnesty, but that it created an expectation that there would be amnesty with the next comprehensive reform bill. If enough people immigrated without permission, it would be possible to force the US into a new amnesty.

Amnesty in and of itself is not evil. If done correctly, amnesty can restore the rule of law.

The problem with the Reagan Amnesty is that it was made with an expectation that immigration policy would take the form of an amnesty every thirty years or so.

The expectation of future amnesty accelerated the breaking of the law.

With Congress tied in the rut that looks for comprehensive solutions, we've been mired in a rut.

Don't you see? Comprehensive reform fails because the "comprehensive-reform-mindset" is the problem.

The answer to this current problem might be to do something rather simple: Rather than having a comprehensive bill, Congress should face the immigration mess in small deliberate bites. Rather than passing one bill with an immigration quota, temporary worker quota and law enforcement provisions. Congress should pass each provision separately.

Each year, Congress should produce a bill that sets the immigration quota for the year, a bill that sets the temporary worker quota and a bill that updates the law enforcement efforts.

The problem is not the people who want to immigrate to the United States. The problem is that we have a broken political system;

A disciplined effort that addresses the problem each year with clean, deliberate, earmark free bills would do more to solve the problem than any fence or amnesty.

The goal for 2009 should not be to pass a comprehensive reform, but to start a deliberative multiyear effort.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Weather Report

Myanmar is one of the most progressive nations on earth. They have progressed to the point where the ruling junta with absolute control over the country. One of the most notable features of a progressive society is that the media is owned by the peoples.

According to First Lady Laura Bush, the state run media failed to tell the people that a cyclone was on the way. The cyclone is reported to have killed some 20,000 people in the impoverished country.

Anyway the failure of the state run media to warn people about a cyclone got me thinking about the nature of the free press. There is a market for quality weather information. The free market does a very good job of delivering that information. An added benefit of this the market for weather information is that the press has developed extremely sophisticated mechanism for collecting, analyzing and predicting weather. The free press led to a system that can provide enough warning of impending natural distaster to reduce casualties.

A state run press, however, answers to the needs of the political ruling class. Its primary concern is in dosing out information such that the junta stays in power.

I wish this was understood, but when people are the market for a service, the service does a better job serving the people.

When the desires of a political class is the primary market, then the people go underserved. In Myanmar, people died because state run media failed to provide the information that a privately owned media would have provided.

Monday, May 05, 2008

UN Green

The United Nation's Building renovation will cost $1.9 billion. The result will be a building that is pretty much the same as the current one. A big reason for the run up in in cost is an effort to make the building green. The renovation will improve the efficiency of the building by 30%.

The article does not say how much energy the building consumes; however, I find it safe to guess that the $1.9 billion dollar renovation effort will consume far more energy than the efficiency gains.

Sadly, I fear that the UN renovation is symbolic of the international left's effort to stop global warming through government funding. Resources consumed by the left's stab at controlling nature is likely to be equal if not greater than the resource savings. The economic costs will dwarf the economic benefits. Finally, the primary beneficiaries of all the hot air blown by the efforts will be the elite core. As with the majority of efforts dreamed up by the left, the elitist will reap the rewards from the effort and the people will languish.

I like the UN. I wish that we had opted for the lower cost effort that would have involved building a new UN building. Moving the Bureaucrats, then renovating the old UN building. The smart path would have given us a second building for the massive investment. The UN may not be popular, but it is worth the effort to keep as much of it in the US as is possible.

Back to alternative energy: It seems to me that Natural Capitalism by the Rocky Mountain Institute is a better approach to the energy problem. Natural Capitalism wishes to make resource consumption a bigger part of the cost equation. With the cost of resources taken into account properly, the market will find ways to adjust to the new equation.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Welcome Geniuses

I wonder if they are just stroking my ego, or if they are simply livid about my use of complex sentence structures. Anyway, the blog readability test tells me that this is a "genius level" blog.

blog readability test

They probably just picked up on the fact that I don't spend enough time editing posts.

The funny thing, though, is that I actually like complex sentences. If I did more editing, it would be to fix mistakes and not to dumb down the writing.

It takes a complex sentence to convey a subtle idea.

One of the reasons that I detest the public schools is that they have been systematically dumbing down both our language and our population. The modern public school has actually convinced millions of people that thinking and writing on a fourth grade level is a good thing.

Schools teach students to sit down with a grammar checker and work until they've pulled all of the beauty from the language. What gives what that?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Reduce Government Consumption of Energy

(The point of this post happens halfway down)

It was fun taking a ride on the FrontRunner.

While riding the train is fun recreation, I can't see how this thing is going to solve the current energy crisis. Back of the envelop calculations tell me that government subsidized transportation will never be the most efficient means of getting around.

On this note, it is interesting that the UTA used the publicity blitz surrounding the grand opening of the FrontRunner to demand a rate hike. The press release notes that UTA will consume 6.1 million gallons of deisel a year. The amount of fuel consumed by UTA is increasing dramatically with each year. The article doesn't mention the amount of electricity, natural gas and gasoline they consume.

We don't solve the energy crisis simply by switching the mode of energy consumption from a private to public entity. Organizing one's life to use public transit does not necessarily reduce one's carbon footprint.

Organizing one's life to get the maximum return from the resources invested does. Biking and walking does the trick.

As for UTA. The UTA tells us we have an either or choice. Either they raise prices or cut service. Rising prices pushes mass transit out of the reach of many people in the valley. So, the either or thinking really doesn't hack it.

We need to have our eyes on the total consumption of fuel. As such, the UTA should be cutting inefficient routes regardless of what they do with the pricing.

Now to the Point

As mentioned earlier, McCain's tax vacation does not address the cause of our current energy crisis.

If our government wished to take a positive step to addressing the current energy crisis, what it should undertake a major effort to decrease the government's consumption of energy.

If the government wanted to make a positive impact on the economy, they should look at government consumption of energy. Imagine an emergency program where the US government program sought an immediate reduction of 5% of its consumption of fuel. If our governments were to cut their consumption of energy, it would reduce the deficit and ease pressures on prices. Its impact would be substantially greater than a gas tax holiday.

Unfortunately, what we seem to be doing is leaning more heavily on public consumption of energy as people try to find ways to curb private consumption of energy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

FrontRunning to Ogden

FrontRunner Commuter RailI appreciate free; So, yesterday -- April 30th, 2008, I jumped aboard the new FrontRunner Commuter Rail that runs between Salt Lake and Ogden. The new route opened on April 26th. UTA offered free rides from April 26th to April 30.

(I was planning on going to the opening ceremonies on April 26th, but went to a Rock Garden Show instead.

My orginal plan was to get off on every stop and take pictures of the environs. Unfortunately, as the train was standing room only, I decided to beeline it to Ogden and back.

Ogden City BuildingIn Ogden I took a walk up historic 25th, then down Washington Boulevard to the new Solomon recreation center. I then zig zagged my way back to the train.

Sadly, it takes longer to label pictures than it does to take pictures.

On the train, I engaged in several conversations about how things like architecture and our overall well being has improved in the last 8 years, followed by other conversations about how everybody hates George Bush and yearn for some indescribable change.

It is really amazing how the media has been able to convince so many sheep in America that the continued boom America has experienced since the Reagan revolution is a depression.

The way I see it ... life is not about how much we love or hate the glorious leader in a distant city. It is about the quality of life in our communities. During the Great Society of LBJ through Jimmy Carter, people turned toward Washington for answers. The local communities got worse. The trains disappeared during this era.

During the era from Reagan to Bush, people realized that Washington was not the answer and local communities started getting better. Like most of the stuff in our lives, the train has nothing to do with the President. It is odd, but Republican hostility toward mass transit helped improve it.

Paul Reverette

I was listening to Paul Reverette, aka Hillary Clinton, in one of her shrill calls for recession.

The funny thing is that the US economy was in a more precarious situation at the end of the dot com bust that occurred during the Clinton dynasty.

In the 2000 campaign, there was a great fear that the Republicans would start screaming recession, AS CLINTON AND BARACK ARE DOING AT THE MOMENT, and that Republicans screaming for recession AS CLINTON AND BARACK ARE DOING would actually lead to recession.

The Republicans could have gained political advantage in 2000 if they screamed recession.

Other than a few Conservative drones like Glen Beck, the Republicans did not scream recession in 2000, and there was not a major domestic and international effort to short American companies and our currency.

Anyway, my stomache is turning because Clinton is using the divisive techniques that her administration claimed to be unfair in Al Gore's presidential bid.

BTW, what is super surprising is that our economy is still doing well despite all of the shorting and top of the lung screaming of the word "Recession" done by Barack and Clinton and the legions of sheep that scream in unison with their master.

PS, A few posts ago, I criticized McCain's tax vacation as a bad idea. Clinton jumped on that band wagon. Obama did not. Barack seems a little bit more skilled at sniffing out bad ideas than the other presidential candidates.

I am not quite sure if he would be adept at coming up with good ideas though.