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Posts posted by Thales

  1. Betsy,

    Your home is awesome and the art is inspiring!! I've seen pictures of your home, but that picture with the vaulted ceiling and the art on the wall I love. haha, and I see you have the Bryan Larsen painting with the father and son in front of rocket. ;)

  2. Betsy has already addressed eloquently my issues with this exchange. However, I did want to address in another way the issue of premises. After watching the clip to which Thales linked, I thought that perhaps the wrong one had been referenced. In that clip, Miss Bachmann no more emphasized Religion than did Mr. Jefferson when, in composing the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence, he referred to the "self-evident" truth of men having been "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," etc. Irrespective of the mentions of God or "Creator", the emphasis in both cases is not upon Religion per se but, properly, upon the facts that Man's rights both precede the establishment of government (as opposed to being bestowed upon him by other men via government), that Man's rights limit the legitimate powers of proper government, and that Man's liberty includes the freedom from coercion by government.

    Miss Bachmann strikes me as one of the pitiable few Republicans today who not only understands (even if imperfectly) these points but who visibly and forcefully advocates for them. There are no Democrats of whom one can say the same. Consequently, this makes Miss Bachmann a tremendous value to me irrespective of the fact that, like Mr. Jefferson, she sadly misidentifies the source of Man's rights.

    Jefferson was far more secular and in line with natural law. He was a Diest, at most, and was passionate about reason and science. Also, I think John Locke should be given credit for looking to nature to identify rights. The text throughout his "Second Treatise of Civil Government" is full of arguments based on observations of nature. John Locke continually emphasizes that the "law of reason" is important. Jefferson was hugely influenced by Locke.

    I think Miss Bachmann was emphasizing the god point because she is religious. In this link she is leading a prayer:

    That's someone who is serious about religion. Also, the Washington Monument was designed in the 1840s, when the founders were no longer around. In that clip she said it was created by the Founders, which doesn't sound right.

  3. There's a real possibility that, after next November, we'll have not one Michelle Bachmann in Congress speaking out against gangster government, but thirty.

    But Michelle Bachmann is far too religious! A secular Michelle Bachmann would be what we're looking for.

    Compared to some other Republicans Bachmann seems pretty secular. Something I'm missing?

    I saw her give a talk at a tea party rally on tax day. She was standing near the Washington monument. She was great saying that they will repeal the Obama health care bill, but then at the end of the talk she pointed toward the monument and emphasized religion.

    Here is the key part of the talk I'm referring to:

    I've read/heard things from her prior which also made me think this of her, but I don't recall specifics.

  4. Dr. John Ridpath had a short, intriguing article published in the Financial Post yesterday:

    Another Robin Hood movie, another ideological travesty. Interviewed recently on his role in the new epic, Russell Crowe said it was a story of class warfare, of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.

    It’s an alarming omen to again see Robin Hood heroism mindlessly distorted. Aside from its vacuously erroneous simplicity, this standard image of Robin Hood is grounds for concern about the state of our culture.

    First is the injustice being done to Robin Hood, whether he was an actual person or an artistic portrait. He was, in fact, an agent of justice. He took the money and property that the Norman conquerors and their minions seized, by force, from the British yeomanry, and returned it to the rightful owners. Robin Hood, in short, was a defender of the common man’s right to his earned property. He was a courageous enemy of state-enforced robbery.

    Aha! This is what I thought Robin Hood was about! I'm happy to see that point bolstered by such an esteemed mind as John Ridpath.

  5. Hello everybody,

    This is my very first post on The Forum. For the last few months, I have been reading other people's posts, and haven't gotten up the nerve to post my own. So I'm going to give it a shot, now. =)

    This may be a topic that has already been discussed. . .but, I have been told that I read too much Ayn Rand, by my friends. In the last 6 months, I've read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Anthem, and am now working on OPAR. I have to admit, I am enjoying reading about Objectivism so much, that I'm not reading up on any other philosophers. I have always been hungry for a philosophy based on reality and logic, and I feel like I've hit pay dirt with Ayn Rand.

    So, I just wanted to ask everybody this: Do you all feel that reading from several different philosophers, in addition to Ayn Rand is a good thing? I ask, because I remember seeing somewhere that Ayn Rand stressed that a person should read from all philosophers, to be able to compare and contrast them, and then ultimately, come to the logical conclusion that she and Aristotle have a better grasp on fundamentals for living.

    So. . .Do you all find yourselves only reading Ayn Rand books, knowing the other stuff is incorrect, or do you throw in some Kant or Dewey along the way for a balance? What are the positives and the negatives to each perspective?

    I think everyone should be curious and read widely just to learn what's out there. Explore the world of ideas. Who knows what gems you'll find.

  6. Blue Oyster Cult is a very popular group, so I definitely know about them. In fact, there was a Saturday Night Live skit on the song "Don't Fear the Reaper". Christopher Walken is their manager and wants "more cowbell." A very funny skit.

  7. At my friends company, American Power Conversion, --- where he says the are really big into environmental propaganda -- they have to throw cans in one bin, paper in another, etc. But, the funny thing is as the end of the day the garbage collectors throw it all into the same bin, so it does nothing. Even knowing this, they still must comply.

  8. Barbra Streisand has said such crazy moon-bat stuff in the past, that I think the answer to all the "Why is she saying that?" questions is that she feels that way and she wants it to be true.

    What surprised me, having read and heard several of her previous rants on politics, was how literate the HuffPo piece was. It even used big words like "stewardship." Because of that, I suspect it was ghost-written.


  9. I found this somewhat typical left wing argument by Barbara Streisand on the issue of health care and the republicans. I think it's interesting, because it gives you the mindset that is possible to someone who is immersed in the same country and surrounded by the same facts. Here she is in the same country we're in, yet her conclusions about what is happening are completely different than ours.

    I didn't see a copyright, so I'll just post the whole thing here. It's pretty short.

    Last week, the Republicans took a big gamble and lost by lining up on the wrong side of history with their battle against health care reform. After the bill passed in Congress, all we heard from Republicans on the 24 hour news channels was, how can Congress pass a bill without even one Republican vote? The answer is...the same way President Clinton passed his Budget Reconciliation Act in 1993. He had to rely solely on Democrats to win passage after not one Republican voted for either his stimulus plan or his budget. Clinton's economic initiatives ultimately brought us the greatest period of prosperity for our country in modern times by creating 23 million new jobs and projecting a federal budget surplus for the first time since 1969.

    So, I'm thinking, on what basis does she say the republicans were on "the wrong side of history"? I think she believes this to be the case. Is it because the bill was passed? Is her criterion for being on the wrong side that a piece of legislation passes or not?

    The next point is interesting, because she is attributing the economic success in the 1990s to Bill Clinton. This is an often heard theme, but didn't the economy start to nose dive right at the end of Clinton's second term, after the dot com bubble?

    Conversely, during the time when Republicans held control of the House, Senate and Presidency, they used their power to pass economic policies that led to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression. Despite this fact, Republicans continue to revise history, accuse Democrats of fiscal irresponsibility and vote in lockstep against President Obama's most important policy initiatives, in their effort to have him fail.

    Okay, this is really strange. George Bush did create problems, by engaging in what I would call left wing economic policies, and things got bad, but then Obama, in one year, has really pushed us to the edge of destruction with his policies. Hasn't she noticed things are MUCH worse now than they were 15 months ago?

    Just this last week, the Senate Banking Committee moved to approve financial reform legislation. Not surprisingly, the panel passed the overhaul bill on a 13-10 vote, without support from one member of the Republican Party. Given that the world economy nearly caved to its knees under Republican stewardship and millions of Americans are still suffering, one would think that at least on this issue, partisanship would not trump good policy.

    We're in dire straights now thanks to democrats and what particular reforms is she referring to? She seems to be waxing over any details, as if they don't matter. It's just "good policy". No explanation is given as to why this is so.

    Health care reform, financial regulation, the economic stimulus, energy policy....the GOP has continually stonewalled legislation to move our country forward. The only victory the GOP can claim after the successful passage of health care legislation is that they stuck together in solidarity to do nothing. The GOP's obsession with seeing the President fail and their refusal to work with the Democrats to better the lives of the American people will come back to haunt them.

    I think here she shows an unwillingness to fairly deal with counter arguments. Somehow magically the democrats have ideas that will work, and we're supposed to take that at face value. Blank out any counter argument or counter facts which show this to be wrong. She has this premise in her thinking that things will get better if democrats are in charge, and look around you at what is happening when democrats are in charge. We're on the Titanic.

    The American people are starting to resent the "politics of no" and the Republicans are quickly devolving into the "party of no tolerance."

    The party of "Hell No", from what I've been hearing and that is very inspiring to lots of people. Funny how she isn't aware of that. And we have a "tolerationist", too. If you have ever seen Keith Olbermann attacking guys like Rush Limbaugh you find a high level of viciousness from the left. She doesn't seem to realize how intolerant that is. I've noticed that lots of wacked out leftists like Olbermann.

    Recently, leading intellectual and former Bush White House aide, David Frum, was fired from his fellowship at the conservative-leaning think tank, American Enterprise Institute, after he was critical of the Republican strategy against President Obama's health-care overhaul. Bruce Bartlett, who was also fired by a right wing think tank in 2005 for writing a book critical of George W. Bush's policies, commented that "rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed."

    This comes across as very superficial. I don't know how to evaluate whether this is good or bad, because I don't know the exact context, but I think Barbara Streisand's thinking is at that level. She heard that argument, and it sounded good to her, so she's throwing it in here.

    Republicans need to understand that elections matter -- even when they don't win them. America voted overwhelming for Barack Obama because they wanted big change, and now they are getting it. The President deserves a chance to realize his agenda, and I hope that by the November mid-term election, Americans will see that Democrats are the only ones working to put forth policy initiatives to move our country forward.

    And Americans are discovering how much they don't like what they are getting. Obama's popularity isn't what it was during the election. This tells me either she is not getting the facts about what is happening in America, or she is trying to rationalize her position.

    Sometimes I think it's helpful to submerge yourself in the perspective of your ideological enemies, to see how their minds operate. It's interesting to see how they are able to maintain a fiction so strongly in face of the evidence arrayed against them.

  10. Excellent, Brad! Thank-you.

    And thank YOU, and to all the rest of you who thanked me.

    I caught a fair amount of flack from some folks I know who said that I was exaggerating and that the issue wasn't really about the loss of our freedoms at all...just people who haven't had health care being able to get it now. Then one person asked me why I was grinning when he said that.

    I told him it was a long story...about 1,168 pages, in fact. But well worth the read! <huge grin>

    With Regards,


    Now that is beautiful. :D

  11. I'd like to see some break downs here, because in all cases it's not obvious to me why one style is better than another. I can see it with the suit styles, one looks tight and uncomfortable, while the others look more tailored to the body, but I'm not sure I understand why the aesthetics of one yacht is objectively better than another, or why one watch is superior to another.

    When it comes to engineering, you want things that work efficiently. You don't want style to crowd out what works.

    As to music, well music is a very tough thing to evaluate. I have my criterion, and while I love symphony music, I also love rock, and I've never been able to figure out how or why to love one over the other, even though I see the brilliance of a Mozart or a Rachmaninoff.

  12. What's infuriating to me is that the MSM will not identify the concept that is staring them in the face. Here we have an existential example of two countries hit by major natural calamities. The death toll in each country is directly proportional to the amount of Capitalism present in each country.

    It's a mistake to wait around hoping the MSM will suddenly becomes objective. It's not going to happen any time soon. It's not their forte.

  13. The peer review process has been severely compromised wrt the issue of GW. Remember, we have out right fraud in that process. Many scientists have long complained about this, but now we have absolute proof, thanks to Climategate.

    The problem is not the peer review process but the peers; that is, in fields where funding is in majority from government or political sources. In fields such as biotechnology, this is less the case.

    Yes, this is what I meant. I didn't mean the peer review process as such, but the peer review process in this case, due to corruption within. We simply can't trust it here, because it's being used as a tool for advocacy, not science.

  14. Just a reality check here.. isn't Prof. Lindzen the one who asserted that cigarette smoking did not cause lung cancer? If he was wrong about smoking, what makes him anymore credible about climate change? (Just playing devil's advocate here.)

    I have never heard this, where do you get it from? Lindzen is a climate scientist, one of the foremost experts, not a medical scientist. Anyway, Lindzen's reputation as a climate scientist is through the roof. I have read him for a long enough period of time to know he is solid as a rock.

  15. This is a talk Lindzen gave at CEI in late October. This is the fullest and most complete refutation of global warming I've seen, since it hits at the heart of the matter so directly. Lindzen is simply the best critic of AGW, because he's a top flight atmospheric scientist who is strongly grounded in the facts, and is far too smart to be taken by charlatans of any stripe.

    The talk is about an hour long, but considering how dangerous the issue is to our freedoms it is time well spent.

    I'll give the rest as a spoiler, since I'm guessing some of you would rather hear Lindzen speak in his own words, because he says some great things.

    The graph he presents in part 2, at about 8 minutes in, with the pink fuzzy area around the temperature trend graph is something I'd never heard before. What it says is that the statistical error in temperature measurements is such that there is no discernible temperature trend since 1987.

    His hardest hitting point, which has been publicized the last few months, is about the total radiation leaving the earth. This proves beyond a doubt that the GW models are all wrong, because they present a picture that is opposite to what the real world data shows. All of the assumptions about some big positive feedback are completely false.

    Lindzen also makes a note that he doesn't call himself a "global warming skeptic", because the term "skeptic" gives those promoting AGW too much credit. They have no scientific foundation for the AGW position. Lindzen instead prefers to call himself an AGW "denier"!! How great is that?

    This talk should be given the widest possible distribution!

    The link above is broken. You can find the talk here:

  16. Thanks guys.. I know, ultimately, it's about character. I guess that's what my wife sees, not my money or lack thereof.

    About 30 years ago, I did try to go back and get some higher education, seeing as I was not making enough money as the lowly bench technician fixing modems for $5/hour all day long. Alas, I didn't have the stamina to hold down a full time job, commute between the university, work and home, and after a semester, I had to choose between a job or college, because my work was suffering with me falling asleep at the bench.

    I don't earn much, but every penny I earn, I do so honestly. 2009 grossed just under $4K for me. Which would be okay, except that I am now a "tax delinquent" home "owner". Society tries so hard to make you feel like criminal scum when you don't pay attention to them. Over a long haul, it does somewhat affect one's self esteem. It's also downright embarassing to have your name and lot number published in the paper legal ads under 'delinquent property owners'. I'd sue them for libel, except there's no court in the land that would hear the case!

    They destroy the job market and then tax you to death. Great people, these statists. It's lose-lose all the way around.

  17. Just a word of fact here. The Declaration of Independence is NOT law. The Constitution is. The Constitution does not forbid the levying of property tax by the States or any government subordinate to the States.

    Bob Kolker

    I'd say it's more important and fundamental, because it's the very justification for America's existence.

    Actually it was a White Paper justifying the rebellion and the quest for independence. The DoI initially had a political purpose and motive. Later on it was taken to be a philosophical justification for an independent America. Which was a little embarrassing since slavery was legal when that happened. All men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights ..... How about about black men in chains with whip scars on their backs? I wonder how Jefferson was able to live with that contradiction.

    Bob Kolker

    It is the philosophical justification, which had been thought about for a long time prior. John Locke is the primary thinker who spurred the revolution. And, to be sure, it upheld, and upholds, freedom for all men. What a brilliant political document!