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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Unanswerable questions

   How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

   These among many are questions that just can never be answered.  Their purpose is not to find an answer but instead to either create discussion, or just waste time.   Today we don't hear many people pose question like this one but many that are similar.

   What does your church teach on...
  • Homosexuality?
  • Sex outside of marriage?
  • Divorce?
  • Abortion?
  • Euthanasia?
  • Capital punishment?
  • War?
  • Economic inequality?
  • Drinking?
  • Drugs?
  • Pornography?
  • etc..
These questions are often asked not so much so we can arrive at a conclusion for most likely the person offering up the question has already settled in their own mind an answer that they are unwilling to budge from.   Instead these questions are asked to either

A - Control.
          Force the person to be quiet about their religious views by discrediting them in public opinion

B - Create an illusion of being religious
          Discuss topics in which nothing can be gained but allow one to feel that they are religious

    This is really nothing new however.  Jesus was asked by Pharisees and Sadducees on a variety of topics meant not to answer a difficult question but instead to discredit him in the view of the crowds.  The first of these questions was a political one. "Should we pay taxes to Caesar?"  Were they really interested in getting Jesus' tax advice?   Was he the H&R Block of his time?   No.  If he says YES pay taxes he might lose the crowds who hated paying the corrupt gentile/pagan government their hard earned money.  If he says NO, then he can be taken out by the Romans as an instigator of rebellion.   Jesus instead cuts through the fog and says to pay BOTH to Caesar and to God what they are owed.

    In a later question, the Sadducee sect which didn't believe in life after death asks Jesus a question about marriage in heaven.  Now this is actually hilarious to me (and I think there were people in the crowd chuckling to themselves when they heard this question asked).  This is like a devout Jew asking which tastes better "Honey Baked" or "Slow Roasted" HAM.   (Can you say "scraping the bottom of the barrel?").  Jesus again goes BEYOND the question to the real issue.  God's word.   What does IT say?

   Jesus on a third occasion was asked by the temple priests where he got his authority to teach?  Jesus again responds first with another question.   "Where did John the Baptist get his authority to teach?"   Here they are trapped because they ignored John's teaching of repentance (which the people knew) and yet his teaching was not from man but from God as it was in keeping with the law and the prophets.   Was Jesus dodging their question?   Actually, no, he was not.  Since they could not answer Jesus' question, Jesus was able to determine that they were not on the same page spiritually and so it would be a waste of time for Jesus to answer their question.  It was not a dodge, but instead an instrument to save time.

   We too are often met with similar questions like I mentioned earlier and all too often we get tied up in answering the question they've posted without asking what is the motivation behind the question.  What is the purpose in asking the question?   Do you really want to know the answer?   Probably not.  We should instead be like Jesus and answer their question with a question.   That question should be "What do you believe about the Bible?  Is it God's word or just a collect of nice thoughts?"   For that is the question behind the list of questions earlier.  If it's not God's word, then you are going to arrive a different conclusions for all the others.  We would be wasting our time as well in answering their question if we are not able to have the same conclusion on the this question.

     But is it logical to believe the Bible is God's word?   To me, my answer is simply "YES".  My line of thinking on this is simple.  First of, we must ask ourselves:

"Will God punish those who are evil?"

    Consider the likes of Hitler (killed 6 million Jews) , Mussolini, Stalin (killed 15 million), Mao (killed 70 million) , Che Guevara (killed over a thousand Cubans by his own hands), Rev. Jim Jones (caused 900 to take their own lives), and countless mass murderers, rapists, drug dealers and con-artists who have bilked millions of people out of their life savings.  In my opinion, God has let the likes of these men to exist for the very fact that they present to people who think that world lives in varying shades of moral-gray, a streak of the DARKEST BLACK which cannot be ignored or lightened.  Their "evil" cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet of history.  Faced with their deeds, we cannot simply shrug and say "we don't know what will happen to them" for to do so would mean for us to stand in approval of their deeds.   If our answer to the above question is YES, then we must ask another:

"Wouldn't a loving God set down the rules?"

    Imagine a father punishing his son for coming home at 12:30am if he never told him that his curfew was 12:00am?   He would be soundly ridiculed by other parents for treating his children in such a way.  He can't demand his children to just "know what he expects of them".  Clearly, God also must first set the boundaries before he can judge his creation. If the answer to the above question is YES, then we must ask yet another question.

 "Would God write down those warnings and promises?"

     The more important the consequences the more important it is to get them in writing.  For example, would you buy a house from a person without a written deed?  Of course not!  Getting it in writing solidifies the agreement and helps insure that is not forgotten of modified in the future.  So also, if God must warn his creation, should he just "hope" this critical piece of information gets passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth?   Should he not "get it in writing"???  Also, if you were a religious Jew coming out of Egypt, would you not adapt the same technology you witnessed in the country of your oppressors?  Namely: writing.  I am astounded that so many view the early Jews as being so stupid/ignorant as to not adopt a  written language until so late in their history.  But now archaeology is bearing new information showing the Jews had a written language as early as the time of King Solomon.    If the answer from the above question is YES, then we must ask another question:

"Can an all powerful God guard and protect his words and promises?"

    Consider that question carefully.   How is it that an all powerful God capable of creating entire universes with his word, cannot protect his own writings over the centuries?   Does that even make sense?   How is it, that the omnipotent God so impotent to do this despite the immense ramifications (judgement).   Wouldn't YOU, if you were God, do everything in your power to insure that you find and inspire people throughout the ages to guard and protect your promises?   Of course you would!  In fact, it was shown with the Dead Sea Scrolls that the Old Testament changed very very little from 200BC to 900AD (the oldest OT Manuscript we had before the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered).  For example, Isaiah (one of the largest and most prophetic books in the OT) was found to be 99% the same and the 1% differences were grammatical changes which changed none of its verses interpretations.   If you answer to the above question is YES, then God's word must be exactly that... GOD'S WORD and nothing else.  He has provided us with the warning of what is to come but ALSO with the SOLUTION to the problem in sending his Son Jesus Christ to save us.

    Answering that question...answers all the rest

Best Christmas present a father could receive

   This Christmas I was given the best gift of all from my son Derek.  No it wasn't and iPad, iPhone or an i-anything for that matter.   Instead it was the gift of gratitude.  In a manner that was very unlike Derek, he spent hours (it seemed) in his room wrapping our presents several days before Christmas.  That alone was a major surprise for us as usually he would wait for the very last hour to wrap them or ask one of us to wrap them for him.  Second, he took the time to personally hand each of his (his sister included) a card he picked out and wanted us to read first.  Reading mine, I could tell he spent time picking it out as the writing inside could not have been more perfect.   But my "major award" (see the movie "The Christmas Story") was still yet to come for before opening my box he stood in the middle of our living room and said "I just want to say before you open your gift, Dad, if there is one person in this world I could become it's you!".   Hearing those words was the best gift of all.  I didn't need to see what was in the box for nothing I could receive in that box could be worth more than those few precious words he spoke to me.

    While I am sure others out there have had their children say similar things to them, for me it meant so much more.  For you see, our relationship to Derek had some really tough patches over the years.  In high school he struggled and opted to change schools in his junior year so he could graduate early and start his career as an auto-technician.  During those years, being around us was not high on his "things I like to do" list.  He spent most of his free time at his friend's houses and would sometimes compare us with his friend's parents. Those were very difficult years for us.  After high school, he went to UTI and obtained a degree as an auto technician.  He later moved down to southern California as a mechanic to be with his girl friend who was going to college down there.   (We were amazed at how he was able to get a job so quickly going from dealer to dealer with his resume) 

     But alas it was not all good, as a year and a half later he crashed his car which cost him his job as a mechanic and his girl friend dropped him. Because of this, he was forced to move home and face his inner demons.  Thanks to my wife, Derek was connected with really good counselors and thru that counseling we as a family were able to address the past problems rather than sweep them under the rug (something I might say I am very good at).  Over the course of the last couple years Derek has come a long way.  He researched how to get into law enforcement and put himself through the classes to become an armed security guard and is now entering the police academy this January (note: as a teenage skateboarder he hated the police...go figure).   While working 30 hours a week as an armed security guard in areas I would not even want to drive thru let alone walk in, he took 2 classes at the local junior college (Political Science and Introduction to law enforcement) and passed both of them.  He spent hours studying and we never once had to remind him...he did all of this on his own. This was not easy either.  He struggled with his Political Science class as he did not agree with the views of the teacher.  For as one student put on RateMyTeacher.com, "she is a flaming socialist"  but he persevered and even went to talk to her when he disagreed on a grade she gave on his paper (something he never would have done in high school) and got her to raise it to a passing grade.  

   This is why I first titled this blog "How do you measure success?" (changed it later).   It's been said,
Success isn't measured in in how high you go, but instead by how far you climbed.
    Nothing truer, in my opinion, could be said.  For Derek, his starting point was at the bottom and he has come so far.  Oh I am sure right now there are many parent's out their writing glowing reports on their Facebook pages about their children's achievements like getting their bachelors degree in "19th Century Eastern European Socialist Literature" or something of that matter.  But for me, I take even greater pride in my son's achievements these past two years.   He put his "strong will" to good use to work on making his life better and not giving up despite his situation.  I know now, that no matter what comes Derek's way in the future, he will rise above it and do what ever it takes to succeed.

    I think I now know how the father in Jesus' parable of "The Prodigal Son" felt went his son came back home after years of being in a far away country and the father exclaims,
"Come let us celebrate for this son of mine who was dead has returned to me alive!"

    Best Christmas present EVER!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is Healthcare a RIGHT or a PRIVILEGE?

  Right now you are probably starting to compute the rational answer to the question I just posted.

  Your mind is considering the possible options:  A (right) or B (privilege).

  At first you discount "A" because it means everyone one must have it. To disallow a person from obtaining it would be as evil as disallowing someone the right to vote in your mind.   But the thought of "B" pulls at you in another way.  "Privilege" has connotations of being elitist, uncaring about the poor and being born with a silver spoon. So "B" is not acceptable either in your mind.

    You're stuck.  You therefore have to decide between the lesser of two evils or in this case the lesser of two answers.   But this is what the person asking the question wants you to feel.   They want you to answer "A" and if you do happen to answer "B" they've got you as well.   You are TRAPPED.

   But the real answer to the question is simple.  It's "C".

   C?   Yes C.   The problem is that many of us don't question-the-question.  Is the question valid?  Has the person formulated a reasonable question or have the intentionally left out needed information to make their case.   In this case the person has left you with only 2 choices to choose from.  Their 2 choices.   But are there other possibilities?   In this case there is.

   C)  It's a product.

   Like shampoo, toilet paper, milk , bread , cars , houses, etc.   healthcare is a product purchased with money we earn.    It's either an important item to you or it's not.  You either feel it's possible for you to become deathly ill or you don't.    In your budget (if you have one) you either set aside money for it to take care of you and your family or you decide DirecTV, AT&T and a host of other needs are higher in the priority list.   Thus the reason for the ObamaCare "penalty" which was intended to help the young-and-health re-prioritize their healthcare needs (but the penalty is so low, it has had little if no impact .. so far).

   But shouldn't everyone have access to healthcare regardless of their economic situation?   Shouldn't it be as important as other "rights" like voting ?  My answer here is a simple. No.   Not because I am an elitist pig, but because unlike other "rights" like LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, this right diminishes the rights of others.   Take for example the voting rights issue.  Does giving another "citizen" the right to vote (note I do not include people who are not citizens because they are already citizens of another country where they do have the responsibility to make their voice heard and yet they have abdicated their right in that country already), take away my right to vote?  Of course not.   These "rights" have unlimited amounts, whereas the right to healthcare is not unlimited as there is only a limited number of hospitals, clinics, doctors and nurses to serve the rest of us.  To make them provide their services to everyone for an unfair return would be paramount to "slavery".  

   So what's the answer?  What should be done about healthcare and the poor?   Should hospitals turn them away since they cannot pay?  The thought of hundreds and thousands of poor people being turned away at the door is an unappealing one.   But unlike the ObamaCare penalty, it would be the biggest instigator of people taking their healthcare seriously.  

   Finally, I believe the answer is we need more types of health-insurance and not less.   Today, if car insurance was run like health-insurance our car insurance policies would pay for tune-ups, oil-changes, new tires, hands-free-phones, car washes and new batteries (and our car insurance bills would emulate that of our health-insurance bills too).   Instead, maybe our health-insurance should emulate that of our car insurance, in that it should only be there fore the truly critical emergencies like cancer treatment, heart surgery, etc. and leave the other medical treatments to the individual to pay for.   This would reduce the cost of health insurance by reducing the amount of money companies pay for care over time.

    We must stop looking for the "easy answer" to all of our problems, for all too often, the "simple fix" requires you hand over more of your individual rights to government bent on treating you like cows rather than as human beings.

   




Thursday, December 5, 2013

The NEW "Trickle Down"

   We've all heard the phrase "It all starts at the top".   Whether its a corporation, a family, a school or
even a government, whatever is the behavior at the top eventually trickles down to the lower levels.

     As parents we are always told to be role-models for our children.  That we should, not drink too much, not swear, not talk on our cellphones while driving, exercise, eat healthy food, be kind to the less fortunate etc...   Why? Because our behaviors become our children's behaviors.   And children know this too.   Talk to them about drinking and instantly out comes all the times you drank.  Talk to them about cell phone usage and instantly they will recall every instance where you were on the phone while driving down the highway at 15 mph over the speed limit.  Will your son or daughter take your advice seriously if you yourself don't abide by the same rules?

    Corporations too see this at work as well.   If it is know that the CEO is less than ethical in his
business dealings, you can't bet your last dollar that many of his VP's and lower level managers are also cooking their own books or embezzling money from their accounts.  A good example of this was the infamous company Enron.  This company was the darling of Wall-Street for almost a decade, but then it was found out that its accounting practices were rigged to hide debt from companies it had acquired making it look stronger financially than what it really was.   But this behavior at the top led others below to also do scrupulous things such as selling investment insurance policies they could not cover.   In the end thousands of people were hurt as they lost their life savings when Enron eventually collapsed and its leaders sent off to jail.

    Government also is not immune to this problem.   For example, if a city knows that its police chief is breaking the law, do you think the citizens of that municipality will abide by them either?  Probably not.   This is why some say we have a "Constitutional Crisis" in Washington DC today and it has many many people worried.   There is a reason why every government official from the White House down to the local policeman takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect it.   That simple sheet of paper is all that stands between us and tyranny and anarchy.  If the President chooses to ignore certain laws and not enforce them then the law becomes meaningless. Like your child who will see you as a hypocrite for demanding that they obey the laws of the land but not you, so also our people will choose to ignore laws they don't think are relevant to them anymore.   Taxes?   Why should I if the President chooses to not enforce it on his administration.  Why should I, if the President pardons wealthy donors who choose not to (Clinton did this on his last day in office)? 

    Of course some will say we don't watch the President of the United States to see what laws we
Lois Lerner
support or don't support.   But we have seen in recent years a lawlessness among those in government agencies.   Take for example the IRS scandal of making Tea Party affiliates lives miserable in acquiring their tax-exempt status.   We watched as the person who was the head of this department in the IRS, Lois Lerner, make opening remarks that she has done nothing illegal and has "broken no laws" even though there is considerable amounts of laws on the books prohibiting the targeting of political groups by the government.  Is the clueless or just choosing which laws she will abide by and which ones she will ignore?   Then there is the "Fast and Furious" scandal of our government running guns to Mexico drug cartels.  Again, another illegal activity in which any number of laws could be pointed at that they broke, but those involved chose to ignore.   Recently with the ObamaCare program, a journalist uncovered several so-called "navigators" willing to openly lie on applications they were "helping" fill out  and another navigator even discussed the possibility of ObamaCare working with a political group to "data mine" the healthcare.gov website (also illegal).

     Lawlessness is like a virus that spreads over time and kept unchecked will eventually destroy a
country .. any country... even the United States.   There is a remedy for this disease but its not an easy one.  It's sitting right there in the medicine cabinet (The Constitution) and like most medicines it doesn't taste good and may make us sicker before it makes us better.  It's called IMPEACHMENT.  Is our House of Representatives willing to impeach its "first black president"  we will have to wait and see.    But this is not a "blue dress" issue.   This is a President openly defying the laws passed by our Congress and choosing to ignore or modify to his liking. 



     Our Constitution has no "magical powers" that emanate from its pages that make us obey its laws and sub-laws and no "oath" or Bible on which a person places their hand will make a person abide by it unswervingly.  Instead it's powers emanate from the the first 3 words it invokes....

                                WE THE PEOPLE


      This is why our founding fathers put those 3 words in large bold letters.  They did so, to remind those we entrust with our laws who gives them their power and that we expect them to follow those laws that they write and not exempt themselves or their political allies.   We must have the political courage to stand up and demand they hold each other accountable no matter who it is.   We cannot allow any "first-______ president" (first black, first latino, first woman etc..) to be all 3 branches of government rolled up into 1 person.

To do so would be tyranny.

     




    

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is it my "negative energy" ??

    It seems to me that possibly President Obama has spent too much time listening to Oprah.  For when he is asked about the cause of the ObamaCare (now known as ACA or Affordable Care Act) meltdown, he puts much of the blame at the feet of the Republican House members and their opposition to the law.   He blames them by saying that they are not willing to see this law work and are doing everything in their power to destroy it.   This  is the reason, he wants us to believe, they have had such a hard time getting the website ready for their October 1st deadline. 

    But pardon me Mr. President! Every bill the House has sent to reform the law has sat nicely on Harry Reid's desk in the Senate and unable to be brought up for a vote or even a discussion.  Are you saying the the Republicans are emanating some form a "negative energy" that is causing the website to crash, lose data, or simply hang?   Is my negative energy as a voter causing some in ability for people to get on healthcare.gov and search for insurance?  Is that what you are implying?  It seems like it.

   By that same thought, the president seems to be channeling another Oprah ideology by using his power of "positive energy" or "positive thinking" to WILL the healthcare website into being fully functioning and loved by all who visit it.  You hear this in the tenor of his voice when he emphasizes certain words in his speeches on ObamaCare as he says "the law IS working and WILL work in the future". 

    Funny, this is the same man who said in his 2008 speech that "This is the day we will remember that the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal...." who now must either recognize he is not God and work with other politicians to re-write the law (or scrap it) or do everything in his power to "will" it into existence.   Something tells me he will do the later and not the former


Monday, November 11, 2013

What does God want?

   On Sunday I had a long phone conversation with my daughter who is at college.   She is looking for a church to attend down in the Anaheim area and so we spent a while talking about faith and our world.   One thing I was pondering was our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire for our country to be strong.   But is our desire for our country to be strong economically and God's desire for all to come to faith in him and enter his kingdom diametrically opposed to each other.  I say this because often I feel many Christians desire our country to return to God not so much for them to be saved but instead because they fear God will be angry with us and will punish our country with economic and military turmoil which we do not want.  No one wants "fire and brimstone" to rain down on their city or country.

    But I believe we live in a period grace and not fear.   After all, Jesus has paid for ALL of those sins ("He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only ours but also the sins of the whole world"  1 John 3:2) and there is nothing to fear.   God's plan is save as many as possible.   (John 3:16: "For God so loved THE WORLD ...").   If we allow ourselves to live in fear then we have not put our trust in God and what he has done.

   But what if God's plan to bring more people in means that our country must fall?   Are we willing to still pray as he tells us to:  "Thy will be done".  We must look at our hearts and ask ourselves WHY we want God to turn our country politically back in the right direction.   Is it because we want to have a cushy life and a certain economic future?   I have to say I do!   I am no different than many others who see what's happening around us. 

    I told my daughter "I know I spend too much time worrying about politics and I need to spend more time growing spiritually in grace and humility".  I need to ask God to do whatever it takes to save as many as possible and to let myself be used in whatever way he needs.

    I've told my son this before. "America and all the countries of this world are not going to last.  The Constitution is not going to last.   But what will last is God's word and his promise of salvation".  Does this mean we should not care?   No.  But I believe it changes your attitude.   Like a football team what knows "It's only a game", and that after the last second has ticked off the clock their lives go on.  This attitude allows them to keep their cool and play the best game possible.  So also we need to have that same attitude.  We need to know that our eternal salvation is not dependent on who is in the White House.   Those who scrape and claw to get all their political desires met by the next election will in the end be the losers.  

     We will know that God has a bigger plan for us

Lessons from the Roadrunner

    Like many adults my age, I grew up watching on Saturday mornings "The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour" and it was the highlight of my week as a kid.   We laughed so hard as kids watching Wile E. Coyote go after the Road Runner with his plans involving rockets, anvils, springs, catapults and explosives purchased from ACME corporation (he must have had an enormous credit card bill).     Often his escapade ended with him going over a cliff and true to fashion he would go straight off the cliff until he lost speed.  Finally after he came to a complete stop, the truth of the situation would dawn on him as he looked down and see the canyon floor.  Then suddenly gravity would take control and down he would go after only moments of time for him to deploy a sign saying "Help" or some other message for us viewers to read to let us know what he was really thinking while the Road-Runner was standing nearby to watch the fate of his adversary.

     And down he would go , getting smaller and smaller until all we would see was a puff of dirt and the sound of a bang as he hit the dessert floor. (Note: I learned more about one-point perspective drawing at the age of 8 watching these cartoons than any where else although I had no idea that it was called that at the time).


     I don't know if our President ever watched these cartoons when he was young, but now I do believe he feels like Wile E. Coyote right now as he watches his poll numbers fall off the proverbial "cliff" and see what it feels like to be "George W Bush".


     The media for so long had helped him "defy gravity".  They gave him softball interview questions, allowed shows like "The View" and "Jon Stewart" to fill in as pressers.   They put pictures of him on their magazine covers with the Presidential Seal in the background as a Messianic "halo" and labelled anyone who was against him a racist or a bigot.  But now he has lost speed and he must look down at the chasm below from which no one can help him.   His promises are now the seed for late night comedians and his namesake legislation, embossed with his name ObamaCare (although many in the media are now starting to refer to it by its legislative name Affordable Care Act), is the laughing stock of the internet world.   While I don't find it as funny as the Road-Runner cartoons I do find it a sorry situation that our country has found itself in.  After all, we elected him to this office despite his lack of leadership skills, his lack of business skills and lack of political skills (no bills he ever had to write or sell, voting present instead of yes/no and only two years as a Senator).  We, in a sense, put the rocket pack on his back and he lit the fuse to send himself over the cliff and now we must watch his presidency disappear into the vast canyon of history.

    But even sadder is that his downward flight still has 3 more years to go.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Never go into business with a competitor

    This blog falls into the category of "Are you stupid??"

    There is an old rule of business that says to never go into a business venture with a competitor (especially a much LARGER competitor).  It never ends well for you.   The reason is simple.  Your competitor doesn't have your best interest at heart and will always leave you hanging.

   With a collective "What were you thinking?" we wonder who thought this would be a good idea to go into business with a competitor (i.e. the government) to sell insurance?   To me it's been a bad deal all around for the healthcare companies.  First, they have to modify all their plans to be ObamaCare compliant thus forcing many of their plans to be cancelled and thereby losing customers.   Then they have to rely on the government to set up the "exchanges" on websites to funnel new customers (hopefully young and healthy ones) to the healthcare providers.  But now we find out that the HealthCare.gov website was only designed to handler roughly 1000 customers at a time (that's 20 people per state... ugh!).   So not only is their competitor making them lose customers, they are not aiding them in getting new ones. 

It's almost as if the system was designed to fail and put the healthcare companies out of business.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can I be good without God?

      Recently when I was driving down I-80 in California I saw a billboard that asked:
     
               "Are you good without God?"

     Immediately I began to ask myself, "Can you?".   On the surface it seems plausible as we do see plenty of charitable people who are openly non-religious.  Ted Turner once gave the UN one billion dollars to help remove landmines from countries recovering from war.  Certainly that is a noble cause and no one compelled him to do it (as least that we know of) and he has often declared himself to be atheist.  but let's dig a little deeper into that claim, "I can be GOOD without God".   Just what is GOOD?   Jesus was once approach by a rich man who said "Good Teacher what must I do to inherit the kingdom?" and Jesus replied "Why do you call be GOOD, when there is only ONE who is GOOD and that is God".   To define good, you need a reference to compare to is what Jesus is saying.    You can't know what is black unless you compare it to what is white.  You can't tell what is a lie unless you have the truth to compare it to.

      Some would say it would determined by society and those around me rather than an ancient religious teaching.  To some degree that can be true.  Japanese culture for example puts extreme social pressure on its people to as to how to take care of their families and behave in society.  But can this be a false or misleading measuring device?   Take for example Nazi Germany.  Here a whole country was lead down a path of eugenics and committed nationwide genocide on other citizens illustrating how "good" can be so horribly modified over time to be so destructive.  First they determined that they could not afford to take care of the mentally or physically handicapped and buses would pull up to hospitals with "special medical staff" to help end these patients lives.  Posters were made asking Germans if its right to spend so much money on people who will never be able to take care of themselves.   After a while they decided that the terminally sick and those with genetic diseases were to be euthanized to save society the pain of providing for them.  From there it was not hard to convince that certain ethnic groups were weaker and damaging to their race and complete eradication was in order. 

Ask yourself:

              "What if Darwinism was the first religion"?
               "How would our world look today under Darwinism?"
 
        Would we have anything remotely resembling the 10 commandments?   Probably not.  Of course the first 3 would be out because they deal directly with "God" (although I might suppose they would have some rules regarding discussion of other ideas as being unsavory or wrong-minded).  What about the 5th commandment?  Thou shalt not kill?   Under Darwinism, survival of the fittest, this concept is counter productive.  After all, if another person is too "weak" to defend themselves then they should be eliminated and improve the gene pool.  Protecting the weak from elimination is foolish in their sight.   Then there's the 6th commandment: "Thou shall not commit adultery".  Doesn't this create a conflict with the main tenant of Darwinism to create as many of your offspring to dominate a region?  Isn't it in my best interest to have as many wives as possible?  Heck, why even have wives at all?  That just slows down the whole procreating process altogether and the concept of rape would be non-existent.  Then there is the 7th commandment: "Thou shall not steal".   This too would be counterproductive in Darwinism for the same reason as the 5th.  The stronger should be able to maintain their possessions and their food.  Too illustrate, I recently watched a program on how wolves reintroduced to Wyoming are stealing food from mountain-lions and so they have to hunt more often.  This is having a negative impact on their ability to reproduce (side note:  it was so called well meaning environmentalists from the group 1491 that came up with this ingenious plan to bring wolves in from Canada).  Here we see nature using "stealing" as a way to help "their kind" to advance.  And what about the 8th commandment?  Thou shall not lie.  Hmmm.   This too is in the same category as stealing.   After all, lying is actually used by the animal kingdom in many ways.  For example, the use of camouflage is a method of "lying" because it says "there's no one here waiting to pounce on you".  Some animals even pretend to be other kinds of animals.  For example the gopher-snake has the same colorings as a rattlesnake.  Why?   So they can kill other rattlesnakes. Some birds will take over a nest, lay their eggs in the nest along side the other eggs and then take off to let the other bird incubate them and feed them. When the birds get bigger, the bird that was added, kills the other birds and takes their food (isn't nature lovely!).   Lying can be used advantageously by one person over another and if under Darwinism they other is to stupid or dull-minded to know the difference then too bad.   And finally the 9th and 10th would be gone as well as they are about wanting what others have for yourself which goes against our human nature to provide as much food and protection for ourselves as we can gather to live as long as we can.

      So there you have a world in which Darwinism is the first religion of the world.  Kill who you want.  Steal from whom you want.   Have sex with whoever you desire.  Lie and cheat as much as you want and by all means take all you desire. 

     What a wonderful world it would be (sarcasm added)

      I hope this shows that atheism piggy-backs on other religions and claims it can do it all by itself when clearly it cannot.  For if atheism was the first on the scene, we would have none of the laws that have benefited society and our world for thousands of years. (Technically atheism can never be the first on the scene, for in order to have a belief in "no god" you must first have a belief in a "god" to not believe in. In other words, atheism must always derive itself from theism and therefore come later)

     Jesus once said, "The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.  Though it is small, it grows into the largest of garden plants and the birds of the air nest in its branches".  For the Jew, birds are meant to symbolize evil people or non-believers and so Jesus is showing that even non-believers benefit from the Kingdom of God.

   Q:  So can you be good without God? 
   A:  Not unless there is a God in the first place to tell you what GOOD IS FIRST!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dr Quincy we need you!

    In the 1970's and 80's there was a famous TV crime show called "Quincy M.E." (Medical Examiner).   This show was an early version of CSI:Miami, only without the dim-lights, hush-hush dialog, sexy lab-workers and gun-toting-coroners .  It was the first show to use science to find murderers and solve crimes.  In one show, for example, Quincy solves a murder where a man poisons his wife slowly over time with "lead" in her coffee.  Her doctor doesn't suspect anything wrong and treats her for anemia.    She of course dies from lead poisoning, but Quincy is able to find the lead in her "ashes" and convict the husband.

     Where is Quincy when you need him because the "perfect crime" has been committed against the American people in the name of healthcare.  To explain, let's go back to 2009 when this all started.   The democrats owned both houses and the presidency.   They made it their mission to "fix healthcare" and began proceedings to look at "solutions" (most of which had already been written).  The healthcare industry had seen this before under Clinton and the democrats knew that.  They knew they needed to keep the healthcare providers appeased or else they would dump millions of dollars into elections to push them out.   To do this, the democrats promised that their solution would provide  between 6 and 30 million new customers to the healthcare companies in return for them having the power to regulate them.   The healthcare companies pulled back their opposition funding and said "ok"  (Karl Marx once said "The capitalist will sell you the very rope to hang him with").  

      But what has happened is:
  1. Most young people are opting for the "penalty" under ObamaCare since it's less costly than buying health insurance.
  2. Healthcare companies now have to take people with pre-existing conditions like cancer and diabetes.  Without bringing in more healthy people (see #1) insurers are incurring more costs.
  3. People trying to get healthcare from healthcare.gov are finding it impossible to log in and submit their enrollment.  Obama "says" they will fix the issue, but what's the hurry?  They will get to it sooner or later...(just look at how long we have been investigating Benghazi!)
  4. ObamaCare limits what providers can charge and how much they can raise their rates.  They will be stuck between a proverbial "rock and a hard place" with the only choice eventually being to go out of business.
    The progressives (note I don't say democrats here) plan is not that Obamacare will "morph" into Universal Healthcare, but instead that it will drive out all the competition and create a healthcare "crisis" of such a magnitude that the only solution is to have the federal government take it over and give us ... Universal Healthcare.  It's the perfect crime of the century as all the consequences look like they were accidental/coincidental and not intentional.   It will be a slow painful death (like lead poisoning) for the health insurers over many years.  They intend it to be that way because you can't kill off 1/6th of the economy over night or else people will become suspicious.  Instead it must be slowly so that no one notices.  

    This is why ObamaCare must be repealed as soon as possible (and NOT replaced).  






Friday, October 18, 2013

You think ObamaCare is bad now?



   There's an old polygamy joke that goes like this:  

Question: What's the punishment for having more than one wife ?  
Answer :  Having more than one wife. 
     So also one might say the punishment for having big government is having... a big government to deal with. 


     We have all heard the horror stories of people doing business with those in government   How it's slow, unresponsive and lacking in concern and feeling.   Just look at how people fly thru the DMV at a snails pace.  People waiting in chairs for hours because it makes no difference to those working in the DMV if they serve 5 or 500 customers a day.   They will still have their jobs and their cushy retirement programs.  But now we have ObamaCare which is the "DMV on steroids" with millions of people waiting line rather than a few hundred.  The federal government's computers and computer networks and databases were never designed to work in the real world and in real time.  They were designed to be accessed by a few thousand government bureaucrats working on government computers.   It was never designed to be accessed by millions of people with a variety of computer interfaces outside the government networks who want answers NOW not in 1 to 3 days.  Some have argued that the IRS deals with large numbers of people so why can't ObamaCare ?  Simply because processing 1040s at your leisure ( you submit your data to the IRS and they get back to you at a later time) is completely different than processing requests real time.  

     I think ObamaCare is a gift to those who believe in small government as it shows us all how bad it really can be.  After all, most Americans do not deal with the federal government on a regular basis.  For most of us, April 15th is really the only time we interface with an agency of our beloved government.  But now, thanks to AHA millions of us will be getting a daily dose of government run healthcare and will see how bad it can get.  I think it to be hilarious that those who have never run a business let alone a website have taken on more they can handle as all it takes to bring the system down is one slow unresponsive database or network and crash goes the system. So often politicians tell us "We sent a man to the moon and back ... we can certainly do ______".   But it's one thing to cram 3 men in space capsule and hurl them 238,000 miles into space and back and it's another thing to handle 1/6 of the nations economy and handle millions of people with millions of differing health issues and needs.

     Of course we are now hearing the excuses from the media about how this is just version 1.0 and things will get better in 2.0 
Why I don't think it will get better

1) ObamaCare is a mess to start with:

ObamaCare Flow Chart
    With over 3000 pages and thousands of pages of regulations and exceptions yet to be added, it is the perfect example of something that was "designed by committee" by people who have never worked a day in their lives int he private sector.  In my company we call this "powerpoint engineering"  where all looks great from a Powerpoint presentation slide but the real devil is in the details of implementation.

2) ObamaCare is a moving target:

    Every day new regulations and exceptions are being added.  Who's not eligible and who is and for how much.  This becomes a programming nightmare for those doing the software development.  The main challenge of ObamaCare 2.0 won't be in fixing the user interface issues, instead it will be incorporating the AHA 5.3.1.2.a  changes that either someone in HHS or Congress has requested.  Going back to the NASA example, the main thing that allowed NASA to land a man on the moon was that the moon has a regular stationary orbit that obeys the laws of physics which does not change.   Government, industry, and the medical field are not.  Peoples needs change constantly.  The medical field is constantly evolving and improving.  Medical procedures that were not even thought of 10 years ago are common place today while methods used 10 years ago are now extinct.  Likewise the business and internet landscape morph as newer ways of communicating and paying for our services come about and business adapts to these changing needs.
   
     If history is any predictor of the future, we will see countless "glitches" to come.  Like a dog who pees on a tree to leave his mark over another dogs, so also bureaucrat after bureaucrat will come in want to "change" the system make their mark on it 

    .... only in this case WE ARE THE TREE.

3) Government systems were never designed to be efficient

     As I mentioned before, it's one thing for a system to be accessed by a government worker who has nothing better to do with their time that wait for a response (they get paid anyway) and it's another thing to have a system designed to be accessed by person who does.   

     ObamaCare is the first time in our countries history that we are witnessing the government try to "compete" (if you can call it that) with the private sector.   In their smugness our politicians have over-sold themselves with their "Yes we can!" chanting and now they must deliver on what they promised and so far many are very very unimpressed. 


4) Enrollment is the EASY part... delivering the goods is the HARD part

    In a famous episode of Seinfeld, Jerry lambasts a rental-car agency clerk who did not have a car for Jerry even though he had a "reservation".   He informs the agent, "Anyone can TAKE a reservation, its the KEEPING of the reservation that is the important part!".   

    Likewise , ask anyone who works in sales and they will tell you receiving the orders is the easy part, it's the delivery of the product that is difficult.  Given this, ObamaCare enrollment should have been the easy part for them and paying for it all even harder because you will have the system accessed by millions of workers from doctors offices, to hospitals and clinics around the country.  All of them trying to access the system for payment or to see if you are enrolled or not and whether or not they will pay for procedure X.   Now imagine, you standing in the doctor's office waiting for them to access your records... waiting ... waiting ... waiting.   It's one thing to tell a person at home on their computer to "Please try again later" and it's another to have them stand there for hours waiting for an answer.  If you think I am just trying to scare you, look at Canada.  A recent government study of their own healthcare system showed that the AVERAGE wait time to see a doctor was 17.7 weeks. That is almost 5 months!   Can you imagine you wake up one day and you have blurry vision or constant dizziness and you need to see a doctor but the soonest they can see you is in 4-5 months?   (also, that is an average wait time which means would could be waiting for 7-8 months in some cases).   That is what awaits us with ObamaCare in the future.

5) ObamaCare doesn't need to get better.... they just have to make the others suck more!

    The only way for government to compete with the private sector will be to constantly change the rules of the game and thus penalize their opponents in order to win.   This puts the government at unfair advantage over its "competitors".

     Take for example the mandate that insurers must take people with pre-existing conditions.  This allows people to hold off on paying for health insurance (they will still have to pay the penalty) until they need it.  But private insurers need these healthy customers to help pay for the less-healthy.   Without them, they will need to raise their rates to cover of cost of the ones who do.  This is liking bring your car on a flat-bed truck to the insurance company to buy insurance AFTER you've had an accident.   If insurers were forced to take you as a customer, no one would buy it until they needed it and all the insurers would go broke.

   Secondly, the government can force the private sector to pay for procedures and drugs that are too costly for them since they don't own a printing machine that prints 100 dollar bills like Congress does.  This leaves the private companies with no other choice other than to raise their rates to cover those costs as well.

    All of this will then force more and more people over to ObamaCare until all that is left is a single-payer system.  (kind of what they had in mind... don't you think?)  

6) The political class will not be using ObamaCare

    You may think that if we end up with a single-payer system, won't it be in Congress's best interest to make ObamaCare work too since they will be using it as well?   Answer: no.    This is because they have (and will always) exempt themselves from their own law.  They will be able to pay for their own healthcare without using the government system.  Watch and you will see the development of a large group of doctors and hospitals grow up around Washington DC to serve the political class directly.  They will get excellent healthcare while the rest of us will be standing in lines that would make a DMV worker blush.   For just like they see no reason to improve the TSA because they fly in their own government-run jets, they will have no incentive to improve the single-payer-healthcare system either.

7) Scam-ers and hackers will make it even worse.

   With every government program that doles out money, the scam-ers are bound to follow.   Medicare, for example, has been a bonanza for scam-ers to tap into and bilking the program for billions of dollars of fraud and abuse every year.   ObamaCare will undoubtedly eclipse Medicare fraud in little or no time at all.   A common way for them to do this is to submit bogus claims and abuse the new ObamaCare medical codes (there are thousands of them now) to get payment for services not performed.   Still others will milk the system by acting as ObamaCare advocates and surrogates.  These people will promise to help people "navigate" the complex world of federal healthcare only to leave the people in worse shape than they started.  They will prey upon the fears of the elderly and the uneducated and will con them out of their hard earned savings by claiming to have connections not available to the average person.   
    
    Finally, computer hackers looking for a new target will set their sites on ObamaCare to:
  • Terrorize the system (for fun or for profit)
  • Gain access to valuable information (SS#, Tax records, Medical Records, etc..)
     To keep ahead of this, the programmers will have to patch their software on a daily and maybe even hourly basis to close the various backdoor-entries and prevent:
  • Trojan horses
  • Invalid-code entries
  • Worms 
  • Viruses 
  • Data-miners
  • Password-loggers


    So if you still think that ObamaCare 1.0 will get better under 2.0 there is nothing more I can do for you other than to say "Good Luck!" and tell you to bring something to read when you go to the doctor's office .... you'll need it!