Friday, May 4, 2012
Monday, June 21, 2010
Over the past ten years, I've worked on behalf of several candidates at the national, state and local level. I'm very particular about who I choose to work and vote for. This year, I'm endorsing/supporting four candidates: Susan Lynn, Heather Scott,Tim Burchett, and Carl Whitaker.
I first heard about Susan Lynn in 2002 from a fellow libertarian Heather Scott when both of them were running for office (Susan for State Representative; Heather for Wilson County Commission).
Susan has demonstrated an independent streak in the legislature. She is one of the most open legislators who is active on Facebook, maintains her own blog and regularly sends out newsletters. Lynn has used her position to advance the issue of state sovereignty and led an effort in the House to protect Tennesseans from having to conform to the new federal health care law, an effort that failed in the House but nevertheless bolstered Lynn’s reputation as a Tenth Amendment advocate. She is chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, and serves on the Calendar & Rules and Commerce Committees as well as the Small Business Sub-Committee. She has been Chairman of the Commerce Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council since 2007.
With an out of control federal government running amok, principled legislators are needed more than ever and principled legislators are hard to find at all levels. Susan is one of a few.
Heather Scott who is running for the 57th District which is occupied by Lynn says she’s seen how programs come down from the state and federal government that may or may not be right for a particular county, yet local governments have to enact them and cover the costs that come with them.
She recalled how a couple of years ago the Wilson County school system needed $1.5 million and that it looked like a tax increase could be involved. But she looked at the schools’ budget and saw an undesignated fund balance of $3 million. When she pointed out the schools had the money they needed, she learned the schools were required by the state to keep 3 percent in an undesignated fund balance for emergencies, so the commission, without her support, voted for a tax increase.
“It’s a trickle-down effect. Government should be strongest at the local level. More tax dollars should be kept at the local level. We send our income tax to Washington then have to beg for it to come back to local communities, and then they usually have strings attached. That money should never leave our community in the first place.” Scott said.
Scott said the election laws in the state are set up in a way that make it difficult for a third-party candidate to run (such as not being listed by the party name unless it is Democrat or Republican), so she opted for the independent tag.
Tim Burchett is running for Knox County Mayor which has been occupied by Mike Ragsdale. I've known Tim for ten years. He has served admirably in the state legislature and even sponsored legislation in 2000 to allow the TN Libertarian Party to run under its own party name basically as an experimental concept. Over the years, he has shown to be an open and independent minded legislator who isn't afraid to upset the apple cart when necessary. He has been a small business owner and this experience has helped him to understand the issues that they deal with particularly in relation to government matters.
The Knox County government has been in need of a major housecleaning for years and the County Mayor's office most of all. I will just say that the office has been operated by politics as usual. The good ole boy and girl network has hamstrung the county with bloated budgets, wasted millions of dollars for pet projects doled out to friends and family, and vendettas against those who oppose such waste and mismanagement. Clearly what is needed most of all aside from a new direction in policy is honesty and efficiency.
I'm generally not impressed with the candidates that the GOP and Democrat party have to offer in the 2010 Gubernatorial race. So I'm supporting Carl Twofeathers Whitaker independent campaign for governor. He has never held public office before, so there isn't much to elaborate on as far as what he has done as a public official. I also have the impression he isn't interested in a professional career in politics which always ranks as a plus in my book. He isn't connected to the power brokers that generally comes with being a legislator and will exercise independent judgment.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
If you are trying to make sense of the events that have transpired in the Middle East over the past 100 years or so, don't feel alone. What is driving the conflicts in the Middle East isn't due to any prophecy from the Bible as some people have claimed. John of Patmos didn't have a time machine or a crystal ball.
A major movement that is obviously affecting the events in the Middle East is called dispensationalism. It is a heavy influence in many of the churches and synagogues which while wearing the skin of a lamb, underneath lies a wolf. Much of what we THINK we know about the Bible doesn't come from the Bible, but from modern culture shaped along with our own political and personal belief systems. This would include "Good Sunday", Adam and Eve, and Who Killed Jesus?"
Modern day proponents of this movement are Hal Lindsay, John Hagee, Pat Robertson to name a few. People just assume that if they see it on TV, well it must be true. If an "authority figure" says it, it must be true. This gives people an excuse to not take responsibility for their lives. A genuine faith in Christ is an active faith. Allowing others to do the thinking for you so you don't have to think for yourself or take responsibility for your life is quite contrary to 'The one who is righteous will live by faith.'
Taken to its logical conclusion, dispensationalism would mean that its followers need to commit suicide like the Heaven's Gate cult did. Yet they won't. It goes to show that despite their claims that God is on their side, they actually don't believe in God's promise to Abraham about being a blessing to all nations. Dispensationalism denies Jesus as Messiah and it denies God's sovereignty.
The notion of being raptured up to heaven is dependent on destruction whether natural or man-made for it to work. So they go about trying to make it work by supporting war, persecutions, animal sacrifices among other things. Quite contrary to the doctrine that God so loved the world that he sent his only son to save us.
What was the point of cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit when it was not even in season? See Matthew 21 particularly versus 18–22; Luke 13:6–9 and Mark 11:12–21.
Pay attention to how the parable of the fig tree is bracketed with the cursing of the temple. That was done so that the reader would not miss the point of cursing the fig tree in the first place. If something is broken, you replace it. Jesus is the new temple (albeit spiritual temple in a spiritual kingdom).
More to the point, Matthew re-orients eschatological expectations away from the earthly city and temple and onto the resurrected Jesus. This theological shift away from the earthly city is painted literarily by the evangelist who concludes his Gospel with Jesus appearing to the disciples on another mountain, a nondescript location in Galilee (Matt 28:16). The exact geographical region is irrelevant; the significance is not on the place but on the person of Jesus. The ingathering of “all nations” will indeed take place, not through an earthly restoration but through the apostles’ ministry of baptism, through which the disciples will experience in the presence of Jesus, so that in being regathered, the restoration at the new temple is realized.
The Jews expected a messiah that was similar to King David or the Macabees. Something along the lines of a warrior king or politician driving out the Roman Empire. Instead, he come to us born, living and dying in poverty. Jesus lived amongst us, the blind, the loss, the oppressed, etc... Instead of driving out the Roman armies, he drove out the religious frauds who had occupied the Temple and lead people astray with their false teachings and empty motions of religion. This messiah had to bring himself to the lowest levels in order for us to have the chance of experiencing God's redeeming grace. This speaks to the nature of who God is. This is a far cry from the portrayal of a God that is only interested in death and destruction.
Monday, May 31, 2010
I took a three hour round trip to Pall Mall (pronounced /ˈpæl ˈmæl/ pal mal by residents) in order to a pay visit to the Sgt. York Historic Park. It was long overdue.
Most people are already generally familiar with York's exploits during World War I in large part due to the movie plus some general readings here and there. To get more in-depth about his life, I suggest checking out "Sgt York: His Life, Legend & Legacy". Much of his later life was spent seeking to improve the welfare of his fellow beings through improved education, economic opportunities and sharing the gospel of Christ. He stated once "When I die, I had rather it be said about me that I gave my life toward aiding my fellow man than for to be said that I became a millionaire, through capitalizing on my fame as a fighter. I do not care to be remembered as a warrior, but one who helped others to Christ".
Not much more needs to be said about Clint Eastwood's career. It pretty much speaks for itself. I remember an interview he did with Parade Magazine in 1992 around the time Unforgiven came out that he likely wouldn't ever retire. He is still going strong at 80. Not bad when most people want to retire in their 60's. Of course, Ronald Reagan, Bobby Bowden, and Joe Paterno would be comparable in that regard. The fact he has been on top of his game for around 50 years is a testament to his love for the craft and his ability to relate to this audience.
Like many people, I enjoy the "Dollars" trilogy with "For A Few Dollars More" being my favorite of the bunch. I enjoy the on-screen partnership with Lee Van Cleef most of all. Of course, aside from this, his most famous role is Harry Callahan. Since the 1980's, most of Eastwood's work has been behind the camera. He has be able to re-invent himself from the macho movie star to a competent director/producer/composer. That shows he is not afraid to take on new challenges and embrace the possibilities. Most people see themselves only doing one thing their whole lives and it traps people into a vicious cycle of dead-end jobs, just punching the clock, pay the bills because it has to be done. If you are going to dedicate the majority of your life to work, you might as well do something you enjoy anyways.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The issue of immigration has really been on the front pages this year. Whether it is purely for political purposes or come as the result of realizing that has gone awry is anyone's guess.
Of course, if we truly wanted to be consistent about immigration, legal or illegal, how come nothing is being done about the immigration coming from Canada, Europe and Asia? I am sure the natives would have something to say about that. To really understand the root cause of this, one must first understand the rather unfortunate state of affairs south of the border. A little history is in order.
"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents." Smedley Butler, "War Is A Racket"
The pre-dominant economic system in the Eastern and Western Hemisphere is one that is a mix of fascism aka the corporate state and communism aka the poor person's statism. I do agree with some that NAFTA to a large degree has played a role in the economic collapses that we've been witnessing lately. But it was merely a symptom of the problem, not the cause of the problem. As Alan Greenspan so succiently put it (before he went over to the dark side): "In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves."
Folks, while I don't enjoy upsetting your apple care (then again, I've done it quite a bit over the past 10-15 years), the economic problems we are experiencing isn't because of the free market, but in spite of it. We are in fact witnessing the end results of the welfare state. The economies of welfare states inevitably collapse. It has happened in numerous other countries and yes, it has been happening in the United States, the land of the free and the home of the brave. But I've been having my doubts as to whether we are as "free" and "brave" as we like to claim. Perhaps I should insert "the few" along with the free and brave.
While we address this "immigration problem", don't ignore the underlying causes of it. Otherwise, we are just going around in circles. Only by embracing liberty-oriented options can it be solved. We must be careful to not adopt statist measures to address a problem that was caused by statism in the first place.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
As much as I love movies and stars from Hollywood's Golden Age, much to my surprise, I've not written once about John Wayne. Shame on me, but I make amends on his birthday. Below is the scene that made Wayne the recognizable face that is known all over the world. Yet, he received second billing to Claire Trevor. But as they say, the rest is history. There aren't many people whose image is bigger than the human being, but John Wayne is. He is as big if not bigger than Superman and Mickey Mouse.
But what many people may not be familiar with is that aside from "The Big Trail" which was a huge flop then is that for almost 15 years, he was basically a struggling B-movie actor who worked in about 100 movies until "Stagecoach". Then from 1940 until he retired in 1976, he made another 100 movies or so almost always as the star or co-star. He certainly had a tremendous work ethic. It probably didn't leave much time for anything else. In particular I enjoyed his brief role in "Baby Face" where Barbara Stanwyck had his way with him. Just trying to get my head around Wayne wearing a suit and tie, working the 9-5 grind as a banker in the Big Apple takes a leap of imagination. He certainly belongs out west. It disappoints me that Barbara and John never made another movie together. She could have been the sidekick of sorts that Maureen O'Hara would later fulfill. I also would have liked to have seen Wayne and Clint Eastwood in a movie. I read once that Eastwood once commented that he pitched a story idea to Wayne once, but Wayne rejected him out of hand because he felt Eastwood's movies were too violent.
Plenty has been said about Wayne's life and career and I won't need to add anything more. I do however find Wayne's career following a similar trajectory that was going on in national and international affairs. He goes from being an upstart who took on whatever job he could get, finally broke through after earning his stripes, stayed on top for a long time and ended it in a proper fashion with "The Shootist". That is just the way he would have wanted it.