Monthly Archives: December 2010

Some Definite Service- Blessed John Henry Newman


God knows me and calls me by my name.…
God has created me to do Him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me
which He has not committed to another.
I have my mission—I never may know it in this life,
but I shall be told it in the next.

Somehow I am necessary for His purposes…
I have a part in this great work;
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection
between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good,
I shall do His work;
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth
in my own place, while not intending it,
if I do but keep His commandments
and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore I will trust Him.
Whatever, wherever I am,
I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be
necessary causes of some great end,
which is quite beyond us.
He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life,
He may shorten it;
He knows what He is about.
He may take away my friends,
He may throw me among strangers,
He may make me feel desolate,
make my spirits sink, hide the future from me—
still He knows what He is about.…
Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see—
I ask not to know—I ask simply to be used.

Blessed John Henry Newman

from Meditations and Devotions,
“Meditations on Christian Doctrine,”
“Hope in God—Creator”, March 7, 1848

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We are homo hypocritus, creatures built to fool ourselves in order to fool others on why we do things

How purposely deluded and self-deceived are we about ourselves? If we were just rarely and a bit deluded, the subject would be of only moderate intellectual importance. Studying self-deception might offer interesting clues into human nature, but it wouldn’t help much to achieve other goals.

On the other hand, if we self-deceive more often, and on more important topics, then understanding the subject becomes more practially useful. And in the limit of being self-deceived on most important topics, the subject would be of central intellectual and practical importance. It would be hard to have much confidence in anything else without first having a handle on our self-deception. How could we trust our other thoughts, until we knew how to tell where we had self-deceived?

On the very important subject of our basic purposes, i.e., the key functions we most work to achieve via the details of our behavior, I do in fact think that we self-deceived more often than not. We are homo hypocritus, creatures built to fool ourselves in order to fool others on why we do things. While our beliefs seem reasonably reliable on near details, such as what exactly we see and do at each moment, we are quite often rather deceived about the overall far goals and purposes our behavior is designed to achieve.

I have thus become rather obsessed over the last few years with this subject of our self-deceptions. While I feel I’ve made some progress, far more remains to be done. But how is it that so few others seem to share my obsession? Do they a) think self-deception is rare, b) think it is common for most folks but not for them, c) not want to know about their self-deceptions, as they probably exist for good reasons, or d) expect it is very hard to make progress here, relative to other broadly useful subjects? Want to Read More Insights by Robin Hanson …Click here!

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2010: Year of Personal Growth


Thanksgiving …Christmas …New Years …out with 2010 and in with the goals, hopes and dreams of 2011.

With the exception of a couple of quick hops to Victoria …I have been cloistered up here in Roche Harbor Washington a.k.a. “The Rock” for about a week now. As much as I often times lecture other people on their need to turn on their brains, and allow some fresh air to blow through their ears, I find myself strangely refreshed from taking my own advice.

From the time that I was about 11 years old, I began keeping a journal to record my personal thoughts, hopes, and dreams… my victories and defeats… my highest highs and lowest lows… extreme happiness and indescribable pain. Every major event in my life chronicled so that the message, and the lesson from these events would be remembered and not forgotten.

I have spent these last few days sitting down and reading through all 14 volumes of my journals to remind myself of who I was, where I came from, and the events that have formed what I stand for and what I believe in. I laughed at some of the things I used to think were so important, I cried again over heartaches and missed opportunities. I reflected on some of the milestones and memories I have collected: my first kiss …my first love…. becoming a woman with reproductive abilities… losing my virginity… graduating from college, and graduate school, the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, people I’ve known who have loved me and who have patiently and unselfishly invested their time and efforts to make me who I am. These people and experiences collectively make up my history, have sharpened my intellect and shaped my character.

On the cover of each year’s journal I have tried to define the year and the lessons and experiences it brought. I have had the “Year of Loss and Despair”, “The Year of Smelly Bodies and Overcooked Food” etc. This year my definitive statement for 2010 is going to be “2010: The Year of Personal Growth”.

In the hurry up world we live in, it’s so easy to take our eyes off the ball and lose track of our personal values, and ideals that sometimes it’s necessary for God; in his love for us, to get our attention by allowing us to experience pain(both physical and mental). I know and love God… and God knows and loves me… we talk every single day. I have always considered myself to be his “fille aux yeux de biche”…his little “zychik”. Like everyone else of faith I have found myself in so many situations and circumstances where I have questioned, and wondered what it was he wanted me to do and why different things have happened.

I’m not going to go into detail about the lessons I’ve learned, or the personal growth I have experienced this year because those lessons are private and belong to me. Those of you who know me, know what they are… and have seen evidence of that growth in my writing, general demeanor, and carriage.

The purpose of this entry is to encourage everyone to take the time, and expend the energy to take an objective look at themselves, to learn and grow, and in the process hopefully become a better person in God’s eyes. Our time here is short, wouldn’t it be a huge waste if we didn’t take advantage of it to evolve into better people? …. Happy New Year!

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Wikileaks claims: US did find Iraq WMD

There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after all.

The massive cache of almost 400,000 Iraq war documents released by the WikiLeaks Web site revealed that small amounts of chemical weapons were found in Iraq and continued to surface for years after the 2003 US invasion,

Wired magazine reported.
The documents showed that US troops continued to find chemical weapons and labs for years after the invasion, including remnants of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons arsenal

— most of which had been destroyed following the Gulf War.

In August 2004, American troops were able to buy containers from locals of what they thought was liquid sulfur mustard, a blister agent, the documents revealed. The chemicals were triple-sealed and taken to a secure site.
Also in 2004, troops discovered a chemical lab in a house in Fallujah during a battle with insurgents. A chemical cache was also found in the city.

READ MORE HERE

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A few quick thoughts on the Dream Act…

A few quick thoughts on the Dream Act which the “soon to be out of work” democratic lawmakers are trying desperately to jam through before the Christmas recess:

Is it just me or does it seem like this bill has more lives than a cat? Wasn’t it just 4-6 months ago we all went through all of this drama the last time?

1. If this law is such a great and warm and fuzzy thing then why is it taking a lame duck..(hurry hurry hurry) session of congress to try get it passed?

2. And if it really “is about time” that we pardoned 2 million parasites, squatters, and felons, then why has this bill been changed more times than a newborn?

3. If you can find a way to step back away from all of the angry rhetoric back and forth and clear your head.

4. Take a look at the bigger picture… This steaming pile of legalization has been the work of people so lacking in patriotism and a sense of right or wrong that Harry Reid isn’t just one of their members…he is their King!

5. Harry Reid was just re-elected after trailing in almost every single poll for most of the 6 months leading up to the election… sometimes by big double digit numbers… The Nevada election was unquestionable decided by illegal aliens (judging by the demographics of the counties that went for Reid) If you can’t smell political payback for something as repugnant as election fraud, then you need to drive as fast as you can to the closest ER …because you have died.

6. This is not the first time amnesty has been given to these people… and the deal after the last one was “This is IT!” We have almost 20 million illegal’s in this country and we have more legal citizens who are unemployed.

But aside from all of that … if anyone has any lingering doubts about whether or not the lunatic fringe on the left has any understanding at all about the way things work in the real world; let me help you dispel that notion right now:

I stopped by the facebook page of my own Congressman; Earl Blumenauer, and right at the top of his page was a blurb written by Earl patting himself on the back for voting for Dream Amnesty (and therefore against all unemployed Oregonians) and describing the way the gallery section of the House of Representatives erupted in applause after the house passed their version. Directly underneath Earl’s self – congratulations… The rest of his loyal, “Blumen-idiots” thanked Earl profusely for his vote. Other comments went onto take cheap error-ridden swings at the GOP accusing them of sending jobs overseas at the behest of the “BIG EVIL CORPORATIONS”

The only problem with the left’s newfound love of paying lip service too, and pretending to be the champions of, small business (other than their incestuous relationship with Wall Street) Earl’s Blumen-idiots are “worried sick” about “creating new jobs”. We know this because it says so right there in the same exact comments they used to “thank Earl” for his Dream Act vote.

Think about it: Earl’s pro amnesty vote for the Dream Act (if it makes it through the Senate) would allow almost 3 million former illegal’s the ability to enter an already maxed out labor market. Ready for some irony? The impact of the vote Earl made today on Dream Amnesty will cost us more jobs and make it exponentially more difficult for legal Oregonians to find a job, than just about anything else he could have done, including not raising everyone’s taxes (by not extending the Bush tax cuts)in their ongoing class war with the succesful and productive citizens of this country. THE SAME PEOPLE WHO THANKED EARL FOR HIS PUSH TO EXTEND UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR ANOTHER ZILLION YEARS AND WHO EMBRACED THAT VOTE AS PROOF THATY EARL REALLY DOES CARE ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYED WORKER DREAM ACT VOTE ARE TOO STUPID TO SEE THAT IT IS EARL’S VOTES ON THINGS LIKE THE DREAM ACT (WHICH THEY ALSO THINK IS GREAT!) WHICH HAVE CAUSED SO MANY OREGONIANS TO STILL BE UNEMPLOYED IN THE FIRST PLACE! DON’T YOU THINK THOSE OUT OF WORK LEGAL CITIZENS WOULD HAVE AN EASIER TIME FINDING A JOB IF EARL HADN’T OF JUST ADDED 3 MILLION MORE PEOPLE TO THE LABOR POOL FOR THEM TO COMPETE AGAINST??? HELLO?

“OK … I think we can agree that… “Everyone go out for a pass” is not a good football play to call at the pro level. Likewise, “Everyone come on over to the US so we can feed and support your irresponsibly large families” is not the correct way to implement and manage the immigration strategy of the USA.

To carry the football team analogy one step further … We have been given the responsibility of running this country responsibly for ourselves and for future generations. In that regard we have a fiduciary duty to always act in every possible way in a manner that benefits this country with a nod towards that duty.

“OK great CJ but you promised a football analogy”

Think of the United States like a professional football team… every year the coaching staff recruits, drafts and trades to improve their team. If that team needs additional depth at QB then they go after QB’s…if they need a kicker then they go after kickers. Then don’t purposely add anyone to their teams who can’t make their team better. (in principle) The USA needs to use their immigration strategy to do the same thing on a much larger scale.

“How are we doing on uneducated laborers who don’t speak English…?” Just fine …we don’t need anymore! We have 15.1 million people out of work! Why would we vote to allow almost 3 million more people to compete for no jobs in the current labor market? …and 2 million people who have shown exactly zero respect for this country or it’s laws?

Do you know what they call a professional football team who builds it’s team from the first 60-70 men they run into in the parking lot and who doesn’t build their team with a long term strategy in mind? … The Seattle Seahawks? Do you really want that for America?

It’s been painfully obvious for years that Earl is not a rocket scientist (or a deep thinker) but this Dream Act vote doesn’t even make sense to a 5th grader.

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Reagan Bush and The Truth that TAX CUTS WORK!

These charts are out of order …I will fix it later …if you click on them they do get much bigger and easier to read! 🙂

HOW DID THE REAGAN TAX CUTS AFFECT THE U.S. TREASURY?

Many critics of reducing taxes claim that the Reagan tax cuts drained the U.S. Treasury. The reality is that federal revenues increased significantly between 1980 and 1990:
• Total federal revenues doubled from just over $517 billion in 1980 to more than $1 trillion in 1990. In constant inflation-adjusted dollars, this was a 28 percent increase in revenue.3
• As a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), federal revenues declined only slightly from 18.9 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 1990.4
• Revenues from individual income taxes climbed from just over $244 billion in 1980 to nearly $467 billion in 1990.5 In inflation-adjusted dollars, this amounts to a 25 percent increase.
HOW DID REAGAN’S POLICIES AFFECT FEDERAL SPENDING?
Although critics continue to focus on President Reagan’s budget “cuts,” federal spending rose significantly during the 1980s:
• Federal spending more than doubled, growing from almost $591 billion in 1980 to $1.25 trillion in 1990. In constant inflation-adjusted dollars, this was an increase of 35.8 percent.6
• As a percentage of GDP, federal expenditures grew slightly from 21.6 percent in 1980 to 21.8 percent in 1990.7
• Contrary to popular myth, while inflation-adjusted defense spending increased by 50 percent between 1980 and 1989, it was curtailed when the Cold War ended and fell by 15 percent between 1989 and 1993. However, means-tested entitlements, which do not include Social Security or Medicare, rose by over 102 percent between 1980 and 1993, and they have continued climbing ever since.8
• Total spending on all national security programs never equaled domestic spending, even when Social Security, Medicare, and net interest are excluded from domestic totals. In addition, national security spending fell during the Administration of the senior President Bush, while domestic spending increased in both mandatory and discretionary accounts.9 (See Chart 1.)

HOW DID REAGAN’S POLICIES AFFECT ECONOMIC GROWTH?

Despite the steep recession in 1982–brought on by tight money policies that were instituted to squeeze out the historic inflation level of the late 1970s–by 1983, the Reagan policies of reducing taxes, spending, regulation, and inflation were in place. The result was unprecedented economic growth:
• This economic boom lasted 92 months without a recession, from November 1982 to July 1990, the longest period of sustained growth during peacetime and the second-longest period of sustained growth in U.S. history. The growth in the economy lasted more than twice as long as the average period of expansions since World War II.10
• The American economy grew by about one-third in real inflation-adjusted terms. This was the equivalent of adding the entire economy of East and West Germany or two-thirds of Japan’s economy to the U.S. economy.11
• From 1950 to 1973, real economic growth in the U.S. economy averaged 3.6 percent per year. From 1973 to 1982, it averaged only 1.6 percent. The Reagan economic boom restored the more usual growth rate as the economy averaged 3.5 percent in real growth from the beginning of 1983 to the end of 1990.12
HOW DID REAGAN’S POLICIES AFFECT THE FEDERAL TAX BURDEN?
Perhaps the greatest myth concerning the 1980s is that Ronald Reagan slashed taxes so dramatically for the rich that they no longer have paid their fair share. The flaw in this myth is that it mixes tax rates with taxes actually paid and ignores the real trend of taxation:
• In 1991, after the Reagan rate cuts were well in place, the top 1 percent of taxpayers in income paid 25 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent paid 43 percent; and the bottom 50 percent paid only 5 percent.13 To suggest that this distribution is unfair because it is too easy on upper-income groups is nothing less than absurd.
• The proportion of total income taxes paid by the top 1 percent rose sharply under President Reagan, from 18 percent in 1981 to 28 percent in 1988.14
• Average effective income tax rates were cut even more for lower-income groups than for higher-income groups. While the average effective tax rate for the top 1 percent fell by 30 percent between 1980 and 1992, and by 35 percent for the top 20 percent of income earners, it fell by 44 percent for the second-highest quintile, 46 percent for the middle quintile, 64 percent for the second-lowest quintile, and 263 percent for the bottom quintile.15
• These reductions for the lowest-income groups were so large because President Reagan doubled the personal exemption, increased the standard deduction, and tripled the earned income tax credit (EITC), which provides net cash for single-parent families with children at the lowest income levels. These changes eliminated income tax liability altogether for over 4 million lower-income families.
Critics often add in the Social Security payroll tax and argue that the total federal tax burden shifted more to lower-income groups and away from upper-income groups; but President Reagan’s changes were in the income tax, not in the Social Security payroll tax. The payroll tax was imposed by proponents of big government over the past 50 years, and it is they, not Ronald Reagan, who should be held accountable for its distributional effects.
Nevertheless, even if one counts the Social Security payroll tax, the share of total federal taxes increased between 1980 and 1989 for the following groups:
• For the top 1 percent of taxpayers, from 12.9 percent in 1980 to 15.4 percent in 1989;
• For the top 5 percent of taxpayers, from 27.3 percent in 1980 to 30.4 percent in 1989; and
• For the top 20 percent of taxpayers, from 56.1 percent in 1980 to 58.6 percent in 1989.
On the other hand, the share of total federal taxes, if one includes the Social Security payroll tax, declined for four groups:
• For the second-highest 20 percent of taxpayers, from 22.2 percent in 1980 to 20.8 percent in 1989;
• For the middle 20 percent of taxpayers, from 13.2 percent in 1980 to 12.5 percent in 1989;
• For the second-lowest 20 percent of taxpayers, from 6.9 percent in 1980 to 6.4 percent in 1989; and
• For the lowest 20 percent of taxpayers, from 1.6 percent in 1980 to 1.5 percent in 1989
CONCLUSION

No matter how advocates of big government try to rewrite history, Ronald Reagan’s record of fiscal responsibility continues to stand as the most successful economic policy of the 20th century. His tax reforms triggered an economic expansion that continues to this day. His investments in national security ended the Cold War and made possible the subsequent defense spending reductions that are largely responsible for the current federal surpluses. His efforts to restrain the expansion of federal government helped to limit the growth of domestic spending.
If Reagan’s critics had been willing to work with him to limit domestic spending even further and to control the growth of entitlements, the budget would have been balanced five to ten years sooner and without the massive tax increase imposed in 1993. Today, Members of Congress from across the political spectrum should stand on the evidence and defend the Reagan record.
To the extent that President Bush’s proposals mirror those of Ronald Reagan, his plan should be a welcome strategy to lower the tax burden on Americans and to make the system more responsible. If the advocates of big government in Congress cooperate with President Bush rather than merely continuing to fund obsolete, wasteful, and redundant programs, there is no limit to the prosperity that Americans can generate.
Peter Sperry is the Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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