The Church of Kharma Futures

The Rev's views on politics, events,faith, and the world. All content copyright Church of Kharma Future 2007-2015 All rights Reserved

Archive for May, 2009

Tough Week, Or: Obie Charms The World Once More

Posted by revkharma on May 31, 2009

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the world. And of course, our leader, the Great and Powerful Obama has been right there, in the thick of things, saving the world.  Let’s have a look around and see what’s been done.

First of all Pres. Obama has continued to strengthen ties with our key allies.  His press spokesman spoke movingly of the integrity of the British press, and in return they lauded praise upon him. After all, we all have been told over and over that “The Europeans Love Obama” and that will make it so much easier for him to solve the problems of the world. Here’s how Mr. Gibbs discussed the British Press:

I want to speak generally about some reports I’ve witnessed over the past few years in the British media. And in some ways, I’m surprised it filtered down,” Gibbs began. “Let’s just say if I wanted to look up — if I wanted to read a writeup today of how Manchester United fared last night in the Champion’s League cup, I might open up a British newspaper. If I was looking for something that bordered on truthful news, I’m not entirely sure it’d be in the first pack of clips I’d pick up.”

“You’re not going to find very many of these newspapers and truth within 25 words of each other,” Gibbs continued.

Of course, this was all just taken in jest, as The Great and Powerful Obama is adored all over the globe. Here is an example of the adulatory response generated by his hilarious spokesman’s comments:

For all its talk of “raising America’s standing” in the world after the Bush years, the  Obama administration is doing a spectacularly bad job of reaching out to its allies. Unfortunately this is the new face of America’s public diplomacy, which will only serve to alienate public opinion across the Atlantic. Congratulations Gibbs – you’ve just made an enemy out of the entire British media, quite an achievement for the man in charge of selling the President’s message.

Yes, he’s building great relationships, and making great decisions all the time. And he’s SOO on top of everything too. We know, for example that he is brilliant. After all, he taught ‘Con law’ and was graduated from Harvard right? His brilliant brain holds so much information. Recall that he has promised to review the federal budget “line by line’ and eliminate any and all wasteful spending. He must know everything there is to know about the government and administration of the United States.  But, then what about all those pesky intelligence and information divisions? How’s THIS for brilliance? While  once more taking the ever vigilant press corps out to lunch at yet another swanky burger joint, our Commander in Chief met someone who works for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. He apparently had absolutely no idea what it is, or that it’s part of the Defense Department charged with developing and interpreting vital satellite imagery for the military and intelligence communities.

Obama: So explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…uh…
Walter: Uh, we work with, uh, satellite imagery..
Obama: Right
Walter: [unintelligible] …support systems, so…
Obama: Sounds like good work.
Walter: Enjoy the weekend.
Obama: Appreciate it.

Ok, so we see how totally brilliant and on top of things our president is regarding the internal workings of the government he says he will run with total control and dedication. How about international affairs with other than Europeans who adore and worship him. ( We see the great affection he’s generated in Britain) How about our critical ally in the Middle East. The Great and Powerful Obama had a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu has been there, done that. He organized a commando squad that fought for the survival of their nation while our President Organized communities.  They had their private meeting where it was anticipated the Great Obama would use his charm to persuade Mr. Netanyahu to go along with plans to meet and talk nice with the various Palestinian and Arab groups which seek to exterminate Bibi’s nation and people. Apparently things did not go the way Obie planned.  The traditional post meeting press conference was a gold mine for students of body language. The leader of the Free World sat stiffly, never glancing at his guest once during the questioning and recounting of their ‘frank discussion’.  He stammered and dodged any questions of substance. Meanwhile, Israel’s leader sat stoically, staring directly at his chastened  counterpart. His body language was more like that of a boxer during a pre-fight press conference looking at the latest tomato can put in front of him before he can fight for the title.  Clearly, he knew he had to put this man in his place. At this point the policy of the United States in the Levant is reduced to something akin to begging that if they decide to go to war against Iran, would they please at least think of calling and telling us before they win so we can claim some credit.

The campaign is long over, yet Obama continues to pepper his policy speeches with finger pointing and blame fixing. ” We didn’t mess this up, the guy before us did it!’  ” We inherited a mess, and we’re not sure what to do yet”. As he is confronted with the reality of events in his role as President of The United States Mr. Obama has begun to shrink and step away from any engagement.  Nations and world leaders are not the same thing as small community groups pleading for someone to help them out. He simply cannot vote ‘present’ when a true crisis emerges. 

Look to the latest fire burning on the world stage in Asia.  The ever agreeable  Comrade Kim decided that talks with the ‘multilateral group’ were not progressing as fast as he wished. So, to increase the spirit of community he set off a nuke and began firing missiles in all directions. He warned the US and South Korea not to ‘provoke him’. Of course this brought swift and decisive action. The Secretary of State of the United States thundered with anger that such actions would surely bring about some serious consequences. Not to be outdone, the UN, that wellspring of decisive action offered to print a statement that would say stern words to the Norks, and might even consider discussing the possibility of potentially increasing sanctions on the already crushingly impoverished nation.

In response to all these  terrifying threats  Crazy Kim Jong Il  puts on a new pair of designer shades and shouts something that translates roughly as : ” Booga Booga BOOGA” and everyone in the world backs up a couple of steps because he’s so scary. Except of course the incredibly calm and reasonable Achmedinajad in Iraq, who inches closer and says, ” Please, please can I have some too!” Kim is not merely making threats, he’s poking a stick in the eyes of the ‘multilateral nations’ and seeing if they will take it away from him or let him sharpen it and try again.  The thing to remember is that in Iran they are watching to see what happens. If Kim and his sunglasses are allowed to bask in the nuclear glow with no restrictions, then Achmedinijad will put on a brand new ‘Members Only’ jacket and set off his own fire crackers knowing that no one has the stones to do anything about it. Once  he opens the throttle it will signal the beginning of a mad race throughout all the other regimes in the area. The various Arab chieftains would all want their own personal glow in the dark kits to balance out the ‘Twelvers’ in Tehran. Mahmoud the Mad in sole possession of nukes in the Middle East is as much a nightmare for the Syrians and Saudis as it would be for the US.  he might just decide it’s time to shake things up for real so his favorite hidden teen age Imam can emerge from some well hidden in the badlands of Iraq and restore the ‘peaceful and beautiful’  rule of his particular flavor of Shiite Islam upon the burning embers of  the post nuke dust that remains.

Boy, I sure am glad that we have such an engaged and powerful leader in the White house right now. He’s done so much to calm things.  Maybe next week he can take the North Koreans out for burgers, maybe that will fix things. After all, why can’t we all just get along?

Keep the Faith!

The Rev.

Posted in International, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Military, Obama, Obama Administration, Politics, White house | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

And…. we’re back

Posted by revkharma on May 30, 2009

I blame Brother Kharma for this, but since his post, I have been interrupted by life. As I work in the real world ( imagine… I can’t make a living doing this!) and work demands come first I have been away from the keyboard for a bit. But I see some daylight, and will attempt to put some electrons to use shortly.

Thanks for staying around.  It looks like Deke and Bro have kept things humming a bit.

Keep the Faith!

The Rev

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

If these were “civilians”

Posted by deaconkharmafuture1 on May 28, 2009

Here is the whole article. 

 Here is the excerpt: 

“A statewide SWAT team exercise at a firing range on the secured grounds of a nuclear power plant in Southern Maryland was halted this month after stray bullets shattered glass and struck a command center near the plant’s reactors, officials said yesterday.

Reactor safety at the Calvert Cliffs plant in Lusby was never compromised, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Constellation Energy Group, which operates the facility. But Constellation closed the range, a popular training site for local law enforcement agencies, pending investigations by plant security and the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, which hosted the exercise.

 

At least five bullets escaped the firing range and traveled more than a half-mile before striking buildings and a vehicle near the reactors, according to the NRC, Constellation and the sheriff’s office.”

 

My thoughts:

 “Reactor safety at the Calvert Cliffs plant in Lusby was never compromised”

The real reason to be upset (to me) is the employees, there, were in serious danger. Shooting without P R O P E R backstop is ridiculous. The folks in the line of fire are what concern me. I mean it hit a car? What if a fellow was having lunch or just parking? Hit Windows too, what about employees at the windows? If they have P R O P E R backstops then why are we getting stray volleys? Uncontrolled bursts from either inept or irresponsible shooters?

Someone’s rump should be in a sling for this one. Bet nothing happens though. Had this been a private range (what I mean is individual owned) and “civilians”, we’d have heard calls for gun control, range closure, lawsuits, “only professionals should have firearms”, and the Brady crew would have been on scene with picket signs and body bagged adults doing die-ins.

Speaking of which… You know I gotta say it.

“I am the only one professional enough to…” (watch the linked video to that, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a classic)

Posted in Civil liberties, deception, Gun crimes, Gun Laws, gun rights, Homeland Security, Just talking, laws, Politics, regulations, Right to Carry, RKBA, safety ninnies, Second Amendment, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Welcome Addition

Posted by revkharma on May 19, 2009

Today we welcome a new member to this crazy crew.  “Brother Kharma” will post occasionally, as his ‘spare time’ allows. ( Part of my job will now become nagging him for more writing!)

I think he’ll bring another view of the world, with a perspective that I appreciate greatly. I hope you will enjoy his insights as much as I have.

Keep the Faith!

The Rev.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

In My Spare Time – Right?

Posted by brotherkharma on May 19, 2009

The Rev and I have had many discussions surrounding this website, and for some reason he still encouraged me to provide input.  My initial reaction was that I would be thrilled to bloviate (apologies to Mr. O’Reilly) on a number of things that interested only me.  I would have no problem driving down the readership of this site.  My next reaction was to agree, as long as expectations were low and the submissions could be staggered and unreliable.  Underwhelmed by my enthusiasm, the Rev did not rescind his invite, which I interpreted as acceptance.

I found myself with a lot of opinions, and an outlet.  This was tremendous!  I mulled over some issues and ideas, wanting my first post to make a splash.  I sat down and began to write something, but the dog needed to be walked.  Well, I’d think about it on the walk and get started the next morning.  Several next mornings and a slew of track meets, softball games, booster club meetings, Taekwondo classes, book reports, leaky pipes, deadlines at work, client meetings (yes, I do actually have to work for a living, I’m not a liberal blogger), doctors appointments and other “trivial” things later, I still had nothing.  I told the Rev I was trying the best I could, but was interrupted by life. 

My next attempts faired slightly worse.  I actually went backwards by completely forgetting what I had wanted to write about.  It was obviously compelling and of a burning urgency to the world.  Somehow, I just could not work up the passion to ignore life to write about politics.  Something must be wrong with me.  I mentioned this to the Rev again and he pointed back to my “interrupted by life” excuse.  He suggested that if I had time (seriously, he did), I might want to expand on that. 

I thought about that for a while, not too long lest I forget what I was thinking about.  Then it hit me.  The major uphill battle that Conservatism faces is our complete and total ineptness at staying “me” focused.  The left has us beat hands down, and have for years.  I was raised by two people (of different genders, actually married – gasp!) who did whatever it took to ensure good things for their children.  Sacrifice was something they did by choice and out of love, not demanded of others to enhance their position.  I have tried to follow that example, because I admire the people who set it. 

There are tremendous issues facing us every day, and there are always important points to make on each one.  There is only one spring choir concert a year, and I am running out of those.  There is only one first varsity wrestling match.  The left can whip up professional protesters and seminar callers in an instant. If they can prevent themselves from being interrupted by life to stay focused on the issue du jour, then they have convinced me I am on the right side (pun intended).  We went through all of this in the 70’s (pending Ice Age vs. Global Warming;  Jimmy Carter and détente vs. Barack Obama world apology tour insisting we are not a Christian country) and survived, even thrived again 10 years later.  This country can get through anything.  I am not sticking my head in the sand and saying pull me out in 8 years, but a lot of voices are starting to sound shrill.  I would love to explain in detail why there is no need for panic, but please pardon the interruption, my life is calling.  Maybe after I pick up a sick kid from school I’ll have time to write it all down.

 

bro

Posted in Big Government, Just talking, Kharma stuff, o'reilly, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

More on Notre Dame

Posted by revkharma on May 18, 2009

( Please make sure to read to the end of this post, as I have added a clarification that some have asked me for. Thanks! The Rev)

Note that I did not title this with any reference to the President of the United States. Despite the headlines this morning, the objections to the awarding of a degree were not an objection to President Barack Obama receiving a degree. There has been much written to imply that this is a political argument with President Obama’s views on abortion. Quite simply, this is not the case, or at least it is only a very small part. The issue is, and has been one of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and the requirement of Catholic institutions to adhere to such teachings. The Bishops in the United States, following the direction of the Pope, and the historic teachings of the Church, have directed that any institution which is affiliated with the Church MUST follow the teachings and doctrines of the Church. For some reason, this angers many academics, who deem this an infringement on their freedom. The problem with this is in a Roman Catholic Institution there are, and should be, regulations which conform to the teachings of the Church which chartered the university.

Had the President been invited to give a commencement address, and perhaps a discussion on the issue of abortion, there would not be an objection.  Had he been speaking at a private college, unaffiliated with the Church, there would have been no objection. ( Note that when giving a similar address at Arizona State University, The President was not awarded an honorary degree)The issue of conflict arose with the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Barack Obama, a strong proponent of unrestricted abortion. This contravenes the direct teaching of the Church on abortion. Abortion is not merely another issue. For the Catholic Church, abortion is a grave moral evil. This cannot be understated. Facilitation of, support for, or public acquiescence to abortion is in a category entirely different than other disordered or sinful behaviors.  While there certainly are objections to the death penalty, and clearly Pope John Paul II opposed the Iraq War, however these issues are simply not in the same category.

All that discussion leads up to a major point, which is simply this: the focus of criticism was, and has been the University of Notre Dame, and the current president, Fr. Jenkins.  All attempts by various media outlets and even by President Obama himself to cast this as a political attack on his abortion views are incorrect, and perhaps an attempt to mobilize support for Mr. Obama and his policies. Father Jenkins also had a strong interest to shift the spotlight toward ‘intolerant abortion foes’ who were unwilling to engage in debate. This change of focus worked for all the parties involved.  Jenkins gets to appear the ever tolerant academic, oppressed by an intolerant Church, instead of a recalcitrant priest, disobeying a fundamental ruling by the Church he professes to follow. The President, instead of giving yet another commencement address can once more draw attention to himself as a noble fighter for freedom and women’s rights against the intolerant right, which will attack him everywhere.

The losers in the whole thing are  the Bishops who now have appear powerless to control a defiant university president who is willing to go his own way seemingly with impunity.  The students at Notre Dame had their graduation exercises hijacked by a wholly unnecessary and far too public controversy which could have been avoided merely had the one of the principle actors acted in a less self aggrandizing manner. Had Father Jenkins thought clearly he would have issued an invitation to give the address, without the additional step of bestowing an honorary degree. There may have been protests, but this is the American way. There would NOT have been such a conflict with the Church.  President Obama could have done something honorable, and upon seeing the unavoidable conflict, he could have issued a statement to the effect that he did not wish to tarnish the student’s graduation with such controversy, and moved on, perhaps returning for another speaking engagement, without the conflict. Neither man possessed the maturity, the grace, nor the respect for others such  an adult gesture requires. Both appear diminished by their quest to be center of a stage, strutting about claiming the role of victim, standing up to intolerance. Both showed remarkable intolerance, and a stunning lack of concern for the cost of their self promotion. 

********************* Addendum****************

Some have asked me to clarify just what is the difference between an ordinary injunction and ‘grave moral issue’ within the Church. I speak only as a layman, and if there is a theologian out there, I would ask for assistance and guidance. So, understand I am speaking from my own knowledge and understanding, here is as clear an explanation I can offer.
One way to illustrate could be this:
Driving on your local roads, you are bound by speed limits. They are posted with the force of law. Should you break that law, you will receive a ticket,and be send on your way, paying the fine, and having the infraction recorded on your license.
However, should you intentionally run down some innocent pedestrian the reaction will be significantly more harsh. You will be arrested and prosecuted for a serious crime.
Clearly there are some rules which are far more serious than others. One can debate the need for a speed limit of say, 40 mph, where the current speed is posted at 25mph. However there can be no debate over the seriousness of a law which which will prosecute you for willfully killing a pedestrian with intent.
Similarly, while there is internal debate on issues ranging from Just War theory to the death penalty to divorce, there is no debate permitted within the Catholic Church regarding the gravity of the moral instructions on abortion, and the requirement that the Church and it’s institutions and organizations should not provide any honors to those who promote abortion.

Keep the Faith!

The Rev

 

For a significantly more educated and eloquent discussion on this topic, take a few minutes and read this essay, by Father Jonathan Morris.  He speaks with far greater authority than I can claim.

Posted in Abortion, Christianity, Culture of Death, Faith under assault, Free Speech, Obama, Vatican | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lindsey Graham, Self Proclaimed Winner

Posted by revkharma on May 17, 2009

Yesterday South Carolina’s GOP held their convention. A new chairman was elected, and  they planned to move forward, building on what is arguably a successful run. Roughly 80% of candidates nominated by the SC Republican party have gone on to victory. This includes US Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham captured the US Senate seat held by Strom Thurmond in 2000. He campaigned as a conservative in the mode of the legendary Thurmond, and was reelected in 2006. Since that time he has taken several rather curious stances. He was among the ‘gang of 15’ that worked with Democrats to move selected court nominees through confirmation. While this had the appearance of a seemingly bipartisan victory, theyactually left many originalist nominees to the federal courts languish with no hearings.  He worked closely with John Mccain and key liberal senators to create an amnesty bill to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the United States with little or no penalties for breaking immigration laws. This was a pivotal decision, which has allowed many to see his true sympathies.  While this was eventually stopped by a backlash among American voters, he has never backed off his stance. He was a key ally of Senator Mccain during his failed presidential bid in 2008.

All this is prelude to Senator Grahamnesty’s appearance at the SC GOP meeting. As he spoke he was jeered by a vocal minority in the audience.  After he spoke for a  while, someone shouted out that he was a hypocrite.

“You’re a hypocrite!” one man yelled.“I’m a winner, pal,” Graham shot back. “Winning matters to me. If it doesn’t matter to you, there’s the exit sign.”“Ron Paul is not the leader of this party,” Graham said, prompting a few jeers. Some people yelled, “Yes, he is!”

It is clear that there is animosity towards Grahamnesty. While it is true that Grahamnesty has won, his stated goal, of winning in  Pennsylvania and Connecticut shows the problem . His concern is not for the people of his home state, he is concerned about the approval of voters in other states who have no vote in his elections. This is a fundamental flaw in the system, which has come to be dominated by national parties, and life long seats for politicians who get the approval of national polls rather than the voters in their home states. Grahamnesty, in order to maintain his ‘national powerbase’ has had to alter the positions which got him elected from South Carolina  to gain acceptance of national party leaders. This reminds me of a rather well known quotation:

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  

Grahamnesty won from his home district, and his home state, and appeared to hold convictions respected by his constituents. His eagerness to hold the office has supplanted his roots in South Carolina. Lindsey Grahamnesty is now just about the same as so many other DC Pols. He will always do the thing needed to win; this is not the same  as doing the right thing.

Compare this with statements from South Carolina’s ‘Junior Senator (that title in itself gives you an idea of the problem with the system of incumbency and seniority in DC) : Jim Demint has been quoted  as saying that he would prefer to serve with thirty senators who held to their core convictions than with sixty who voted only based on political expediency. And Senator Demint has also shown that he is a ‘winner’ just as Lindsey Grahamnesty.  To get a good feel of Mr Demint’s beliefs, check out an essay he wrote in November 2008. Here’s a great quote:

 …let’s end the seniority system that turns too many Republican outsiders into Washington insiders. This requires term limiting our conference leader and appropriations committee members, then choosing committee heads on merit, not seniority…

Finally, we must recruit new leaders. We’re never going to reshape the way Americans see Republicans with the same old faces.  

This shows the way to win is not surrender, but to hold to the views that brought America to greatness.  To simply mimic the views of the liberals, the statists and socialists, and merely say “OK, OK, just not so fast” is a recipie for failure.  To stand and proudly say “This is what I believe”  will give hope and strength to those who also believe that the way to survival lies in individual liberty, and not in state control of our lives.  

We need more of Demint, and less of Senior Senator Lindsay Grahamnesty.  Clearly this is a case where the incumbent should be targeted and replaced. After all, how much worse could another democrat be, Grahamnesty simply follows them, while saying he is holding the line.  He has shown he has lost his way. He should be shown the doorway home.

Posted in Big Government, deception, Democrats, Freedom, Illegal Immigration, liberty, Political parties, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Education, ‘For the Children”

Posted by revkharma on May 17, 2009

One of the debates I have periodically is the nature and results of our public school system. For the most part, teachers are good and decent people, working to enrich the lives of their charges. What could be wrong with that? How could anyone object to that?

Yet time and again the taxpayer funded schools seem to exert more and more control, and to produce class after class of ever more liberal  graduates. If the teachers are simply and only trying to educate the young of our communities why do the schools seem to produce a class of people who simply seem never to even understand the idea of individual liberty or the founding principles of our nation.

Suppose you send your children to a Roman Catholic School. In every classroom you will likely find a Crucifix on the wall. The school is run by the Catholic Church, and will make at least token efforts to inculcate the values of the Church into the pupils. They will have  a vested interest in teaching that the best solution to one’s problems can be found in the teachings and values of the Catholic Church.

Similarly, if your children attend a Jewish run school, they will be taught that the best solution will likely be found in the values and teachings of Judaism. There is nothing sinister with either of these examples, it is simple logic. The various groups are funding and supporting the school, they will certainly reflect their values and ideals in the classrooms.

Now, if your children attend a government run school, funded by taxpayer dollars, staffed by teachers and administrators  who are paid by taxpayer funds, they will naturally be taught to seek assistance from the government to solve their problems.  As federal funding and control have extended deeper and deeper into local classrooms, the interest in representing the federal government as problem solvers and source of assistance has grown.

This is not a sinister conspiracy, it need not be any more complicated than simply acting in self interest. As long as the community at large is convinced of the essential nature of the federal government as the source of help and the solution to problems great and small, the continued funding and support of the public school system will maintain it’s place of dominance and prestige.

If the time should come when the population at large should decide that they can find assistance and solutions from other sources than the government, then their monopoly on education will crumble.  This is simply preservation, self interested survival instinct.  Our children are being indoctrinated in a system which will perpetuate reliance on government as a way of life.

There is also a fundamental difference which is far more insidious. The government has a power not possessed by any other group. Through the law, the government has the ability, and uses it, to compel attendance in school for all children.  More important, it compels that all citizens should fund the schools through taxation.  The parents who choose to educate their children in some other method than that provided by a government run school must pay double.  This makes it extraordinarily difficult to prevent children from receiving information filtered and approved by the government. The end result is that America now has generations who have largely been taught only what has been approved by the government, and have thus grown to believe that government is, and should be the source of information, assistance and direction in life.  Any one who dissents from this worldview must first overcome a lifetime of learning orientation which contradicts this.  Is there any question why Americans now vote for those who promise more government, and find those who seek less government to be dangerous?

Posted in Big Government, Government Power | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Who’s Really Heartless?

Posted by deaconkharmafuture1 on May 13, 2009

  Recently the governor of South Carolina refused to take some of Obama’s stimulus money. Notably, some money that was slated to go to the school system, here in SC. Law makers railed against him and trashed him, while prophesying doom and gloom and teacher cuts. Teacher cuts in a system that has shown behind in the national average sounds bad, right? A system that ranks low (37/51) in national standing would cut teachers? Say it isn’t so!
  There is much politics within the school system as well as surrounding it. What many don’t know or don’t understand is that many teachers coming out of college have to go outside SC to get a job. There are not enough the slots for them available here.
  Why is it that many new teachers must go out of state to get a job? Why is it that we must further cut jobs? One reason is the TERI program. The “Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive” program is what is both filling slots new teachers could have, and also eating into the state budget. This is a problem for new teachers, and the state budget, by allowing a teacher to continue to draw retirement and to earn teacher salary and leave, “at the rate consistent with their years of service”, on top of that. So rather than pay a new teacher a first year salary, also providing a job, you close up the job market and over pay a teacher for doing the same job. “The TERI program is designed for employees who wish to access their retirement contributions from the SC Retirement System, but desire to continue employment with the agency and retain the same position they held prior to entering the program.” Wow, Holy Double Dipper Batman! To boot, depending on which version of TERI, they can have contracts for specific terms so they are paid for the term of the contract rather than working as the need exists. What a deal!
  Another district did away with the TERI program and was then either able to hire new teachers or free up their budget without taking benefits  away from anyone. Hooray for one district to go ahead and open the job market and keep folks insured. Lexington 5 did not. Here is where it gets messy. TERI teachers are still teachers and thus with politics the way it is, and the public at large having the attention span that they do (Ritalin seems required as a whole), if you cut TERI teachers it will be reported as cutting “TEACHERS”. Oh how the Malpractice Media will swoon and faint in horror! But wait, if you cut TERI teachers, then the only thing they have lost is the EXTRA salary. You haven’t cut benefits for them because they already are taken care of, as retirees. You have only taken the EXTRA salary. Here’s how it is presented. Try to read that and see if you can tell if there was any determination between TERI and regular teachers.
  Ok, now that we have TERI out of the way, let’s analyze what happened Monday night at the Lexington 5  School board meeting. Last night Herbert Berg, “interim superintendent”, advised the school board to cut school compliance officers and other jobs that folks depend on to provide not only their meager salaries, but also their benefits. He didn’t cut teachers, the “mascot” of the school system. He cut nameless faceless “jobs”. All the while the double dippers, TERI teachers, can continue to occupy seats that would give young South Carolina teachers jobs and benefits or save the very jobs of those who depend on them for benefits. They continue their cushy job under the politically protective umbrella of the title “TEACHER”. Compliance officers and others, who depend on the salary and benefits, got the boot because double dippers are teachers too in the eyes of the media. Never mind that if they had been cut loose, they’d still have benefits and healthcare. Instead, the board and the superintendent cut those who shall remain faceless and voiceless. The reason was because politics dictated it, not smart fiscal policy.
  So who are the bad guys? Sanford has been demonized as the cause of the whole mess. Sanford only wants the budget streamlined. He is unable to micromanage the school board and their decisions. When bloated budgets and gross misuse of funds abound, who would you blame for looking out for the taxpayer? Perhaps we should even consider the legislative body that ignored fiscally responsible options that would have fully funded police, schools and jails. They ignored a fiscally responsible budget that would have upped the school budget by $2.57 billion. Read this piece at the bottom of the linked page: “It doesn’t have to be this way” By GREG RYBERG and TOM DAVIS, Guest Columnists on Nathan’s News blog site . Nathan Ballentine is a state legislature representative for district 71.
  So who here is ultimately responsible? Really, is it Sanford, or Berg and the school board that played politics with lives and healthcare of the voiceless? Ask yourself, who kept sacred, overpaid, cows when they should be considering keeping the folks who have nothing else to depend on?

Follow up:

  In a necessary follow-up to this, I am adding Florida’s recent legislative abomination. To keep it short and simple, the Florida legislative body has decided two things. First, they decided to raid certain “trust funds”. These are”trust funds” that come from payment of certain taxes and are sequestered to pay for the specific departmental budgets. One of the raided trust funds is the Concealed Weapons permit regulatory budget. Funds are paid into the “trust” to pay for background checks and the employees necessary.  The people’s trust in the legislative body of Florida is violated. Florida is in breach of it’s own laws.

  Second, the legislature has inserted an insidious measure to try and confound and damn any effort, by Governor Crist, to use a line item veto to block these travesties. To add this insult, the legislature has added wording in the legislation that specifically states that should any of their budgetary mischief be vetoed, they will directly remove funds from education to make up the shortfall. Once again education is being used as a blunt instrument with which to beat folks over the head who dare protect the people from extortion and graft by an out of control legislature. Will folks wake up to this in time? Or will we continue to ignore the mismanagement and mafioso tactics of our elected officials?

 

UPDATE: Stimulus money wins in court, but is it as stimulating as we were told?

 It seems Sanford has been told by the State Supreme Court that he must take the money that the legislature has demanded. Hooray for the jobs that will be saved by this money right? The rhetoric is already getting toned down on the ability of this money to save jobs. Already on news outlets, there are reports that jobs won’t all be saved and that indeed taxes may still have to go up and other things this money was supposed to help us avoid, will still happen. 

 Already a source, I have, has mentioned the superintendent has changed his rhetoric that all the jobs would be saved. He has changed it now to “as many as FEASIBLE will be saved”. But wait, wasn’t Sanford the SOLE reason for this bout of job losses? Now that the reason cited for the job losses is gone, why hasn’t the sky opened up and why don’t rainbows appear?

 Maybe this acceptance by Sanford of his court loss was to prove to us it isn’t him after all. Many are saying this court defeat is his way of getting out of the corner he has backed himself into. By accepting defeat he accepts the money, all the while he can remain the small government proponent. I am not so sure this analysis is quite accurate. I think it is, possibly, a shrewd way of showing the taxpayers and teachers exactly who is to blame. Watch and see how many still lose their jobs. I am personally anxious to see if my theory holds out on that. If I am right, watch and see if the news media reports the job losses now. (Below is from “The State” newspaper online)

“Where the money goes..

…K-12 schools $185 million

Lexington 2. Will consider repealing furloughs and salary cuts.

Lex-Rich 5. District had planned to cut 144 jobs, but now will be able to keep some of them.

Richland 1. District informed 150 teachers in April they may not have jobs. How stimulus money will affect those teachers is undetermined.”

Posted in administrative power, bailout, corruption, deficit, economics, governors, media coverage | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Drugs, The Law and Liberty

Posted by revkharma on May 12, 2009

Over at the Columbia Conservative Examiner, Anthony G. Martin has a thought provoking essay today on the topic of legalization of drugs. His writing has caused me to revisit the issue, and I wish to engage directly some of his thinking.

This is an issue fraught with complexities and dangerous ramifications regardless of which side of the issue you come down on. He endorses the idea of decriminalization. He says, in part:

The war on drugs did not work and it appears to be a major waste of tax dollars and manpower.  Surely we can use this money more wisely.

By decriminalizing non-violent drug offenders and making simple possession a non-issue, we can immediately put the crunch on the vast drug underground, defanging the pushers, the drug cartels, and the drug war lords.

No, this would not solve all of the problems involving drugs, just as repealing Prohibition did not solve all of the problems associated with alcohol. But it would be a start.

He also makes the comparison to alcohol Prohibition in the early twentieth century.  I have still not completely settled my own thinking on this subject, as there are so many ways any choice will  change society and individual lives. In an earlier essay, on Libertarianism and society, I talked briefly about this topic.

I still think the State has no legitimate interest, nor  the right to intrude on the personal behaviour of an individual so long as that behavior has no damaging impact on another, or on society as a whole. The problem here is that as a nation, we have permitted our government to reach so deeply into private behaviour that we have essentially insulated individuals from the consequences of ill conceived behavior. A drug abuser will be provided medical and psychological assistance at the expense of the taxpayers should his own choice damage him. In this way, the very act of individual behavior and choice is a direct cost to those who do not make such a choice.  The proper sphere for such assistance is private charity and/or religious organizations. Thus those who truly wish to help can do so without coercion. Those who feel that someone who makes such a decision should pay for it directly, and suffer the consequences of choices made will not be obligated to subsidize behavior which they have avoided.

Similarly, drug use can be looked at as a neutral legal matter. If society permits unrestricted access to narcotics, an individual can avail himself of whatever substances he  chooses. Should someone, while influenced by such substances, engage in destructive, or criminal behavior then that act should be prosecuted by society. There is still an underlying moral component here. What of the moral impact on the individual who engages in such activity. The woman or man who sells their body for sexual favors may eventually become degraded and suffer psychological or medical consequences. The chronic user of drugs may eventually end up  the classic image of the junkie, passed out in an alley, eventually to die dirty and alone. Should someone not step in and aid them?  If your personal morality deems that essential, then you are within your rights to do so. The difference in a Libertarian society is that the state has no right to coerce the assistance of one individual to aid another. Social ’safety net’ programs which are certainly well intentioned, merely confiscate the rights of society in order to aid one who is seeing the result of individual choices. If the state can not preempt such behavior as drug use or prostitution, neither can it compel other individuals to pay for the consequences of such behavior freely chosen by another.

 

I think this is, yet again, another reason to work for the reduction in size, scope and intrusion of the bloated Leviathan our government has become. By permitting unfettered  intrusion into the sphere of personal behavior we surrender personal sovereignty and empower a controlling government.  As government grows, it will naturally seek additional ways to curtail individual liberty, as expansive government is the natural enemy of personal liberty. By acquiescing to government run social projects, the conservative movement has ceded the field to the liberal expansionists and statists.  Until that field is declared open again, we will not be able to truly determine if libertarian policies are workable. That’s the tough spot in which we find ourselves. Now the question is, how do we , as a society,dig out, and do we really want to?

Several steps are needed, beginning with term limits, and perhaps elimination of political parties which both tend to engender life tenure in office for a select few, at the expense of the citizens who are handed ever increasing bills for a government which keeps power by paying those who will give them votes in exchange for other citizens wealth. The needed changes, and the challenges in bringing them about are topics of interest and thought which I intend to continue exploring.

Keep the Faith

The Rev

Posted in Big Government, Civil liberties, Freedom, Government Power, Justice, liberty, Political parties, Term Limits | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »