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Should churches give up tax-exempt status so they can speak freely?

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 August 2014

IRS Strikes Deal With Atheists To Monitor Sermons And Homilies

The FFRF has temporarily withdrawn its suit in return for the IRS’s agreement to monitor sermons and homilies for proscribed speech that the foundation believes includes things like condemnation of gay marriage and criticism of ObamaCare for its contraceptive mandate.

“Proscribed speech”?

Under the current regime the government gets to tell the churches what they can or can’t say, and the churches meekly submit. They can’t tell the government what it can or can’t do — without losing their tax-exempt status.

Churches need to tell the government where to stick its proscriptions, even if that means losing their tax-exempt status.

But beware, government. If churches start paying taxes, then the gloves come off. There would be no restrictions on what churches could say or do. They could politic and campaign without limit.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The next step in curbside recycling?

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 August 2014

Should We Return The Nutrients In Our Pee Back To The Farm?

Remember, they’re not trying to save the planet or make anything better. They’re just trying to mind your business.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Put Brennan and Clapper in Guantanamo

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 August 2014

Yet another security director has been found out telling lies to Congress. First it was Clapper of the NSA (see Why isn’t this man in jail), now it’s Brennan of the CIA.

The only way this is going to stop is if we start punishing the miscreants.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Oh no! Women aren’t exactly like men! Quick, let’s fix that

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 August 2014

According to this article, women are “underrepresented” in politics because they’re less confident.

“Women are very likely to believe that when they run for office, they don’t do as well as men. There’s no empirical evidence to support that,” said Lawless. “When women run, they actually perform just as well on Election Day, they’re able to raise just as much money, and generally speaking, their media coverage looks very much the same. But what we found was that women who are well-situated to run for office don’t know that and don’t think that. So they believe they’re not qualified because they think women have to be twice as good to get half as far.”

According to the modern catechism, if — in any area of life — we discover that women are not like men, the only rational response is to start an expensive re-education campaign to make them more like men. Because men are the standard against which everything is measured. Especially women.

So, if women don’t run for office because they don’t think they’ll do well, we have to cure them of that disease. I.e., the disease of not being just like men.

(HT: Dr. Helen.)

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Ginsburg is a sexist. Good for her.

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 July 2014

According to Justice Ginsburg, the male justices have a blind spot.

The first thing to say about this is to congratulate Justice Ginsburg for escaping from the stupid feminist dogma that men and women are the same in all respects except plumbing. Whether or not she’s right about this particular issue, it’s clear she denies the feminist doctrine that men and women are the same.

Hurrah for small advances.

The second thing to note is the volume of the outrage. If a male justice were to say that the female justices had a blind spot, we wouldn’t hear the end of it until he was forced to resign. But a woman can say such a thing without consequences.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-07-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Watergate, tapes, reporting and truth

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 July 2014

Last night I went to the Washington Post offices to hear a retrospective on Watergate — what we’ve learned, how it applies today, etc. It was moderately interesting.

The biggest message was the need for serious reporting, and how the modern media isn’t doing its job. It was unclear to me whether the speakers thought that was more the fault of the editors or the readers. They mostly exonerated the reporters.

They blamed editors for not quizzing their reporters and requiring them to dig and dig some more to ensure the story was fair and accurate, but they also blamed the readers, who they said were too interested in trite stuff to confirm their political biases rather than serious material that would help them discover the truth. In their minds, at least, back in the 70s people still read the newspaper because they were interested in knowing the truth.

Perhaps that was the central message — the loss of an interest in the truth. And I think there’s some justice in that charge. Everything is so partisan these days.

Journalists work for profit-making entities that have to worry about the bottom line, but journalism is a calling that requires a commitment to truth, fairness and accuracy. Unfortunately, the business side of journalism is driving the enterprise towards glib trash that attracts and keeps eyeballs. This is partly because we have too many newspapers and partly because unscrupulous media sources are tearing up the airwaves with garbage.

Perhaps it’s analogous to the stories on the web. It’s very hard to read a serious story on a web page when the entire right side of the page is blaring boobs and bare legs and bikinis at you. I’m a pretty straight-laced old guy who has decades of practice conditioning himself to keep his eyes where they belong, but … it’s a challenge on some of these sites.

How is a serious story supposed to compete with that?

And then there’s people like Jon Stewart. Most people would rather watch a funny, snide, sarcastic guy poke fun at all the idiots in the world than actually try to understand what’s going on.

This is not just a problem with journalism or newspapers or the internet. It’s not just a problem of partisan politics. It’s a cultural rot. We simply aren’t serious people any more.

I once heard a military historian talk about the difference between WWI and WWII soldiers. According to that guy, the WWI soldiers would go into battle singing. They believed in glory and honor and valor. The WWII guys were overly casual, disrespectful and cynical.

WWI apparently cured most of the world of its belief in the old order of things. (That’s a major theme in Downton Abbey, by the way.)

Something similar is happening in our culture. People don’t believe anything. Some people say it’s a result of post-modernism — that people don’t search for truth because there is no truth to be found. I don’t think that’s the case for most people. I think they have adopted a very practical, cynical view that says, “sure, there may be a truth out there, but it would be really hard to find it and what difference would it make to know ‘the truth’ anyway? I’d rather watch this funny cat video.”

Another factor is that the “us vs. them” divide is no longer about who is correct. It’s about who is evil. This is why people are willing to say the most outrageous nonsense in defense of “their cause” without taking a minute to find out if it’s true or false. It’s not important if it’s “true” in some egg-headed way, it’s “on my side” so therefore it’s good.

There are some business solutions to the problem of journalism today. The most important one is that at least 2/3 of the national newspapers need to fold. We needed a bunch of newspapers back when the stories were delivered on paper by trucks. That’s simply not true any more and the market is adjusting.

The larger problem is cultural. We don’t read serious journalism because we’re not serious people. We need a revival in interest in the truth, and a willingness to seek it out and bend ourselves to it.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-07-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

If not a lawsuit, what?

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 July 2014

A Democratic House and Senate passed and a Democratic president signed the Affordable Care Act, which included specific terms, including the employer mandate. It specified who had to do what when. That was “the law of the land,” as the Democrats like to remind us.

The bill was so unpopular that it enabled Republicans to take over the House. When it became obvious to everyone — even the president — that the employer mandate wasn’t going to work, Republicans offered to amend the law to delay or repeal the employer mandate.

The president chose not to work with them, but to change the law on his own through executive fiat — a power he does not have. He apparently expects to be able to act like a Soviet leader with a rubber-stand Politburo.

Is changing a law through administrative action a “high crime or misdemeanor” that could lead to impeachment? It seems as if it should, but there’s no practical way impeachment would solve the problem since the Democrat-controlled Senate would never convict the president. It would be a useless gesture, and political suicide for Republicans.

Another thing the House can do is withhold money from the Administration — except, once again, anything they pass would have to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president. That means the only real “power of the purse” they have is another budget fight / government shutdown. That is, they can refuse to authorize more money.

The Democrats have the demagoguery advantage on both of these issues. If Republicans go for impeachment, Democrats use it to rally the base and Republicans lose their advantage in the midterm elections. If Republicans withhold money, Democrats demagogue on that and Republicans lose.

Hence the lawsuit. They have no other practical options.

At first this struck me as the liberal way to deal with a problem. Modern liberals don’t respect the rule of law and you’ll often hear them defend Obama’s unlawful actions on pragmatic grounds, e.g., “he has to do that because Republicans won’t work with him.” IOW, Obama’s agenda is so morally necessary that it should be implemented by any means, even if they’re unlawful.

I believe in the rule of law so I don’t approve of that sort of thinking. It’s liberal thinking to say “we can’t use the powers we have so let’s use a power we don’t have.” Conservatives are supposed to uphold the law, so they should use their constitutional powers as I’ve outlined above — either impeachment or the budget process.

The problem with that analysis is there’s nothing unconstitutional about the lawsuit. They’re not usurping a power of some other branch of government, they’re simply trying a new way to assert their power.

I don’t know if it’s the wisest choice, and I don’t think it will work, but it may be worth a try. They have to do something. They can’t just sit back and allow Obama to change laws unilaterally.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-07-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Thoughts on internet comments

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 July 2014

Not comments here, of course. :-)

I was reading a post elsewhere on the internet, along with some of the comments attached to it. Of course the comments amounted to “I hate you” or “I love you” or “Here are some irrelevant thoughts.”

It got me thinking how nice it would be if all comments were moderated by a fair-minded, rational person, but of course that’s impossible.

Instead, I’ve come up with another tactic that might help. While I don’t generally approve of such language, I think it might be good for everyone to adopt the habit of saying (quietly, to themselves, in the voice of Dan Akroyd) “Jane you ignorant slut” before reading any comment. It might put it all in perspective.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-07-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Impeachment and gamesmanship

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 July 2014

I think Obama is intentionally committing impeachable offenses because he knows impeachment would be political suicide for the Republicans. This gives him a clear path to do whatever the heck he wants — like offer amnesty by executive fiat — with no consequences.

It’s a clever (albeit cynical and un-American) move on his part.

-- 4 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-07-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

An end to crony capitalism?

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 July 2014

I’m thinking maybe it’s time for a barbarian invasion.

That might be the solution to the increasing problem of Big Everything-ism. Big Government Aligned with Big Business is one of the recurring problems of our time.

See, for example, Emails Show Cozy Government-Insurer Alliance, Expectation of Bailout

How do you stop this juggernaut? Business contributions keep people in power, and the people in power keep funneling money and favors to their donors. Then the politicians have the nerve to decry crony capitalism and pay lip service to concerns about corporate power.

Perhaps some radicals need to take over and turn the whole system on its head.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-07-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-07-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Recycling and those stupid brown bags
2014-07-28 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The argument from lack of imagination
2014-07-25 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
No cease fire with Hamas
2014-07-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Why not just shoot the poor guy?