Saturday, September 30, 2006

October's reading...

Fiction: The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson. This is the first story in the 'Repairman Jack' series.

Non-Fiction: The Objective Standard. Volume 1 # 3

Monday, September 25, 2006

In Our Self-Interest: America Must Decide on Immigration

Legalize The American Dream: Immigration is in America's Self-Interest
by Rebecca Knapp


The arguments can be confusing. Anti-immigration groups ask us to consider our self-interest as Americans, claiming that illegal immigrants are stealing jobs and benefits from citizens. Pro-immigration groups, by default, concede the question of self-interest to their opponents. They ask Americans to consider the broken homes deported immigrants leave behind and the tragedy of those who die crossing the desert from Mexico. So which is it? Should we protect our jobs and our taxes, or be moved by the plight of those who seek refuge while we allow our country to be overrun?

It’s a trick question.

In one respect, the anti-immigration groups are correct: Americans should consider their self-interest when deciding where they stand on immigration. But they are wrong that illegal immigrants are a drain or a scourge. Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, are a boon to the United States.

Consider the arguments to the contrary. The claim that illegal immigrants hurt the economy boils down to two allegations. The first is that immigrants steal jobs from Americans. The second is that they suck up welfare or benefits without paying enough taxes to cover themselves.

It is true that immigrants work when they get to America. They get jobs as soon as they can, and yes, they’re willing to work cheaply. But they don’t steal jobs. If you’re paying the teenager who baby-sits your children $15 an hour, and the girl across the street comes along and says, “I’ll do it for $10,” has the new girl stolen anything when you hire her? Of course not. It’s your money. You have no obligation to pay a higher price, if you can get the labor for a lower one. That doesn’t change when the nationality of the cheaper babysitter happens to be Mexican. As long as the money that you worked for still belongs to you, you get to choose what to do with it.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bush Lied! / Our Military-Secret Service Destroyed the WTC! / It's All America's Fault!

Are you a member of the Tinfoil Brigade?

Sad. Truly sad.

Friday, September 22, 2006

If I were President

I've long held the fantasy of "if I were President, what would I do?". I'm sure many of us has had that dream every once in awhile. A recurring fantasy of mine is this: surrounding the United Nations building with troops, grabbing a bull-horn and saying, "Come out with your hands up! You are under arrest for crimes against the United States. Come out peacefully, or we come in and take you out."
Oh well, guess some people are real lucky I'm not the Prez ;-)

Along those lines, here's a wonderful letter from the Ayn Rand Institute.

Dear Editor:

Last week a rag-tag group of anti-American countries held their annual "club" meeting in Cuba as they have for the last 30 years. Nobody paid them too much attention and rightly so.

This week, another rag-tag group of anti-American countries, including some that attended the Cuba meeting, held their latest "club" meeting at the United Nations. This time everyone is paying attention to them and they have the world stage.

The United Nations is one of the world's most corrupt organizations. It allowed the Iranian president, who has called for the destruction of the United States and Israel, an opportunity to address its members. It allowed the Venezualean president to call for the world to unite against America.

That such a meeting occurs on American soil, that our U.N. "ambassador" remains present throughout these speeches, that our President chooses to speak on the same stage, and that we go to this group for "approval" when it comes to defending ourselves, is disgusting.

Debi Ghate
Vice President, Academic Programs
Ayn Rand Institute

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Government Censorship is Here

This is a few weeks old, but Scott Holleran of BoxOfficeMojo comments on Disney's caving to Senatorial bullies on their show, The Path to 9/11. Here's an excerpt or two, then the link:

September 8, 2006

At issue is a made for television movie called The Path to 9/11, a documentary-like dramatization of the Islamic terrorist attack. Like most docudramas, it contains elements of truth and fiction in a selective depiction of the event. Apparently, among these is the assertion that the Clinton administration chose not to respond militarily against the Islamic terrorist responsible for attacks on the United States. The manner in which the point is portrayed caused the censorship.

None of that matters now—the movie is under siege and every freedom-loving American must defend Disney's right to air it. By sending the letter, these government officials—who ought to be censured and removed from the Senate—are using the authority of the state, i.e., the power of law enforcement, to violate free speech.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Health Care at Risk

Press Release

"Universal" Health Care Is Immoral
September 13, 2006

Irvine, CA--"Governor Schwarzenegger should be commended for his commitment to veto the California Health Reliability Act, which seeks to eliminate private medical insurance and establish a state-run health insurance system in California," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "But the basic issue is not, as the governor indicated, that the system would be too expensive. 'Universal' health care is immoral.

"Health care is not a right. The fact that someone cannot afford the latest medical test or treatment does not entitle him to force others to pay for it--just as he is not entitled to a free gym membership on the grounds it would improve his health.

"There is a crisis in health care, but its cause is government interference in the health care system. The solution is to leave doctors, patients and insurance companies free to deal with each other on whatever terms they choose--not to socialize American medicine."

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Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Movie Review

I went to see "The Illusionist" yesterday. A smart film well crafted and a beautiful 'period piece' of old Vienna. The film is a love story about a magician who finds love as a young boy. Loses it. Travels the world looking for mystery and returned to Vienna only to see his lost love about to marry an aristocrat who is a woman-beater and basically insane with power. I'll let you discover the rest of the story.

This is a wonderful film, superbly photographed and intelligent. Go.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is the U.S. Bankrupt?

I have to admit up front that I only caught bits and pieces of an interview on CNBC with Boston U economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff. The topic was the fiscal bankruptcy of the United States, via Social Security and Medicare programs. He took issue with a [very] recent [today?] editorial in the WSJ on the alleged "robustness" of our economy and its "fiscal soundness".
He pointed to an article on his website called "Benefits Without Bankruptcy--The New New Deal" written in August of last year.
I don't know Prof. Kotlikoff's economic stance nor do I know his underlying philosophic outlook, but here are excerpts of that particular article and the link to his website.

"First the demographics. According to U.N. projections, male life expectancy in the United States will rise from 75 to 80 between now and 2050...The share of the American population that is 65 or over is set to rise form 12.3 percent to 20.6 percent.
In 25 years when almost all 77 million members of the baby-boomer cohort have retired, we'll have twice the number of elderly, but only 18 percent more workers to pay their benefits..
...this is bound to put a major strain on the systems designed in the distant days of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
...Today, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits total $21,000 per retiree. Multiply that by the current 36 million elderly, and you see why these programs account for nearly half of the federal tax revenue. Over the past four years the Medicare benefits per beneficiary have grown 16 times faster than the real wages of the workers paying those benefits. Medicaid benefits per head have grown almost as fast. [And this is BEFORE Bush's mandate of the perscription drug benefit!!!-Blair]

That's just a taste of what this economist has to say.

As Objectivist's, we know it is only a matter of time unitl financial bankruptcy catches up to the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of altruism's philosophic practice. One thing we can all do to stem this tide, is to donate--or increase our donations-- to The Ayn Rand Institute. In the long-term, Ayn Rand's ideas, applied to every field of endeavor, are the only thing that can save us, and advance the cause of individual rights and freedom.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Harry Potter = "King of Darkness"

Pope Benedict XVI's chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, has called fictional wizard-in-training Harry Potter the "king of darkness, the devil."

I won't embarrass the Church by pointing out that when religion ruled the earth, unopposed, that period of time is known today as the Dark Ages.
I won't embarrass the Church by pointing out the serious problems they face of ignoring the pedophiles in their midst.
I won't embarrass religionists by pointing out the utter incompatibility of their pathetic faith with successful human life - on earth - while we are living.
I won't mention the global threat from an undiluted, medieval Islam, while they are throwing a piss fit over a fictional character.

Speaking for myself, I prefer this interpretation of the Harry Potter series, as quoted in a letter from Dianne Durante of The Ayn Rand Institute:

"Fiction books aren't textbooks. The purpose of literature isn't to teach concretes but to show a broad view of The Way Things Work. Does good or evil prevail in the world? Do people think and act in accord with their own will, or are they helpless puppets? The enormous appeal of the Harry Potter series comes from the fact that Rowling presents characters who do think and act, and who repeatedly triumph over evil."

I think it is the above sentiment, that these books show children thinking and acting on their own judgement. This is the 'real' threat to the Church. Their followers, and sadly, most of the world's populace, are too stupid to see that for themselves and will blindly listen to the "chief exorcist" instead. Therein lies the tragedy today.

[Edited this a bit. My thanks to noumenalself and to Gus Van Horn for posting this on their blogs].

September Reads

My two books for September are:

Fiction- Numbered Account by Christopher Reich

N-Fiction- Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera by Fred Plotkin
[This book is excellent. I am very impressed with this writer's ease of style in taking a complex subject, like Opera, and making it accessible. Recommended.]

Friday, September 01, 2006

How to Solve America's Terrorism Problem in 5 Easy Steps

by Craig Biddle

[from the Principles in Practice blog]

Here is how America could solve her terrorism problem in 5 easy steps:

1] Stop sacrificing American soldiers to bring "freedom" to savages in Iraq. Pull our soldiers out of that hell hole, and let the savages have their civil war. ( Iraq is not and never was the main source of terrorism against America. Iran and Saudi Arabia are.)

2] Declare war on Iran.

3] Obliterate, from high altitude and long distance, all known Iranian military assets, all Iranian government buildings, all Iranian mosques and madrassahs, and the residences of all Iranian leaders, imams, clerics, and government officials. Hit these targets when they are most likely to be occupied (e.g., mosques during the day and residences at night). Do not send soldiers in on foot, except as necessary to identify targets or gather intelligence. We do not need to send soldiers in on foot to fight, and it would be immoral to do so. We have many big missiles, fast planes, and good bombs, and we should use these liberally while building bigger, faster, and better ones. (As to innocent non-Americans, such as Iranian children, who would be killed in such a campaign, they are not properly the concern of our government. Nor would their deaths be the fault of our government. Such deaths are always the fault of the force-initiating regime—and of those who in any way support or enable it—whose actions necessitate such retaliatory measures.)

4] Airdrop leaflets across the Middle East explaining: "From now on, this is how America will respond to any and all threats to her citizens or allies. We look forward to the time when you decide to civilize yourselves, stop taking religion seriously, renounce the initiation of physical force, recognize the principle of individual rights, establish rule of law, and join the free world. Until then, we will be watching you from way up in the sky—higher even than Allah, by means of technology He cannot fathom—and if we see anything that we so much as feel might conceivably pose even a remote threat either to America or to our allies, we will annihilate it and everything in its proximity without further warning."

5] Notify the regime in Saudi Arabia that it got lucky and has the option of not being obliterated; that we are prepared instead to seize "its" oil fields and sell them to private industry, in part to pay for the campaign against Iran, and in part to return the fields to private industry where they belong; that it has 24 hours to turn the fields over to our agents; and that if it fails to comply or ignites the fields or does anything to thwart our program, its leaders, like those of Iran, will meet Allah sooner than later.

If we took these (or similar) measures, our terrorism problem would be solved. Sure, there would still be a few isolated instances of terrorism here and there in months and years to come; this much is inevitable given how long we have permitted the Islamists to plan and plot and establish cells. But, so long as we follow through as indicated above and immediately destroy anything that we think looks even remotely threatening, state sponsorship of terrorism against America would be over; the major threat to our lives would be gone.

Of course, we will not take such measures any time soon. Altruism will not let us. We will not take such measures until there is widespread understanding of the moral rightness of doing so—that is, until a substantial number of Americans understand that self-interest is moral and self-sacrifice is evil—and we are a long way from that. But such measures are morally correct—they are what we should do—and everyone who understands that they are should say so loudly and clearly. By placing such actions on the table for discussion, we create an opportunity to explain why they are morally correct—and that is what Americans (and westerners in general) most desperately need to learn.