Entries from October 2009 ↓

Motivation seminar

I went to a business seminar yesterday held at the Pepsi Center in Denver that was supposed to get people motivated. The arena holds about 15,000 people and it was nearly full. Apparently the motivation business is good.

Laura Bush, Colin Powell, and Rudy Giuliani were some of the speakers. Tamara Lowe is one of the organizers and wrote a book on motivation. During her talk, she told how she was a drug user and dealer as a teenager. At the end of her presentation she explained how the change in her life was the result of finding Jesus. The “sinner’s prayer” she offered was typical of the altar call prayers I have heard growing up in evangelical churches.

Her invitation did get a mixed reception which did not surprise me. I heard some grumbling around me but there were also quite a few cheers. The seminar was billed as a business event but I did like how Tamara Lowe and Zig Ziglar did not shy away from the issue of faith even though I no longer subscribe to their specific beliefs.

A friend of mine asked me if I felt motivated after the seminar. I tend to go into these things with low expectations. I found their methods to be very similar to churches I’ve been in with the way they try to create an emotional response. I know that they do it to get people to act to buy the programs they were selling but I learned a long time ago that acting on emotion is generally a bad reason to do something. That is why I see the majority of altar call conversions as being the seeds sown on the stony ground (Matthew 4:16-17). It was interesting to see the altar call style invitation during the same event that was trying to sell me other programs. The methods for each were strikingly similar and the implicit connection between faith and financial wealth left me cold.

They told us “this seminar will change your life” at the beginning of the day. I thought the presentations by Bush, Powell, Giuliani, and Ziglar were the best though they were the least emotional – probably because they were not trying to hawk something to get me to sign up right then.

“Motivated?” No. But some of the speakers did provide some food for thought and reviewing priorities in life is never a bad thing. I’ve known for a while that my life’s goal is not financial wealth. A couple of the presentations confirmed that for me even though that was the opposite message they were promoting.

The Nobel joke

Obama’s response acknowledges his lack of accomplishment:
“I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership. I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

Alfred Nobel set up the Peace Prize in his will to be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The purpose of the prize is notably not a “call to action.” It is intended to be a recognition of accomplishment.

Here’s a look at one of the other 172 nominees for the 2009 Peace Prize:

A bipartisan group of six members of the U.S. Congress have nominated humanitarian Greg Mortenson of Bozeman for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mortenson, 51, founder of the Central Asia Institute and co-author of the bestselling book “Three Cups of Tea,” has built nearly 80 schools, especially for girls, in remote areas of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past 15 years.

Instead of giving the prize to a man who has built schools in remote areas where education had been denied to young girls, the committee gives it to a man who has to concede that he has done nothing that deserves the prize. His prize is for what he might do in his “call to action.”

Stomach churning.

Obama sycophancy and backlash

The Nobel Committee confirmed it is completely detached from reality by awarding President Obama the 2009 Nobel Peace prize. This prize is so much of a joke that the press in attendance literally gasped at the announcement of the totally undeserved award.
The AP notes:

Many observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.

Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia.

Even the New York Times questions the award:

Reporters at a news conference to announce the prize pressed the committee’s chairman, Thorbjorn Jagland, to explain the reasons Mr. Obama had prevailed over other candidates who included human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

Specifically, reporters asked whether Mr. Obama might not become mired in a war in Afghanistan as Lyndon B. Johnson was in Vietnam.

But the committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts so far rather than anticipate events in the future.

So this award is not about peace at all. The Nobel committee has admitted it is awarded to promote Obama as if their prize has the ability to grant credibility. Now those Iranians will take him seriously and drop their nuclear ambitions. After all, Obama now has a peace prize!

We have known for quite a while that the Nobel Peace Prize no longer has anything to do with the promotion of peace. After all this is the group that gave the same prize to Al Gore for writing a book for of false environmental claims.

The shocker here is seeing how the press that has unabashedly supported Obama to the point of actively suppressing bad news about his policies sees the Peace Prize award as undeserved. The press is even saying, “we love Obama and even we see this as a travesty.” That is how bad this award is.

Update: Best response I have seen so far – Where is Kanye West when you need him?

Decaying conservatives. Not really.

Got this tidbit in my email today arguing for national health care:

From “I Love MY Socialist Kidney” by Jennifer Nix on Salon.com
As I watch the cable news loops of all the vicious language and wild-eyed imagery aimed at killing healthcare reform, I can’t help but be amazed that Medicare ESRD was ever passed. I wonder how so many Americans today can be made to believe that healthcare is “anti-Constitutional” or that a fascist/socialist (and, let’s not forget, African) Obama wants to kill their grannies, but I am awestruck by the headstrong self-destruction of the Republican Party. There is no clearer proof of GOP decay than comparing the Republican leadership of the 1970s with those controlling the party today.

Republicans in the 1970s were on the side of healthcare for all Americans. In a message to Congress on Feb. 18, 1971, Nixon himself proposed the National Health Insurance Partnership Act. This was a moment in our history when most Americans believed some form of all-inclusive, national health insurance would soon be a reality. Republicans and Democrats alike were working hard to find the best way to make it happen. In 1972, a generation of pragmatic and compassionate Republicans voted in large numbers to help pass the Medicare ESRD Act. It was seen by legislators as a test case, to be followed by government insurance programs — be they catastrophic or comprehensive — for other diagnoses.

This never happened, of course, and right up until our summer of angry town halls, Medicare ESRD has remained what former Senate Finance Committee staffer James Mongan called “the last train out of the station for national health insurance.”

Today’s Republican leadership follows the lead of hate-speech blowhards and injects vitriol and proven lies into our national discourse, instead of engaging in honest negotiations over the best way to bring healthcare to all Americans. They are ginned up for an Obama defeat, by any means necessary — good policy and the American people be damned.

So let me get this straight. Republicans should now abandoned conservative economic policy because Richard Nixon did in the early 70s? It was a bad idea then, it is a bad idea now. So were the increased government spending seen over the course of the Nixon administration and the price controls that he briefly instituted in 1970 and 1973. Nixon was not a conservative.

Nix’s focus on the Medicare ESRD act of 1972 as evidence of the GOP decaying today reveals her ignorance of political history to the point of embarrassment. The Republican party lost significant ground in the early 70s. It did gain 12 seats in the House in the 1972 election but it lost 4 Senate seats. In 1974 and 1976, the Republicans lost seats in both houses of Congress. After the 76 election, Republicans had lost the presidency and held only 143 (of 435) House seats and 38 senate seats leaving the Democrats with a filibuster-proof senate majority. What the ESRD act does do is give us a glimpse of why the Republican party lost influence during that period. It was Reagan who re-established the Republican party as the conservative party and brought it back to prominence in 1980.

The parallel to draw from the early 70s is between Nixon and Bush. President Bush adopted comparable economic policies as Nixon. As with the aftermath of Nixon, Republicans have again lost the presidency and are the minority party in congress with a filibuster-proof Democrat senate. The plummeting popularity of Obama and the Democrat controlled congress shows that this may be another 1977 when the Republicans were able to begin regrouping to make significant gains in the following two elections. The opposition to nationalized health care is a return to conservative principles rather than a sign of decay.

Nix further reveals her intellectual bankruptcy in her statement, “or that a fascist/socialist (and, let’s not forget, African) Obama wants to kill their grannies”

Obama’s heritage has nothing to do with Republican opposition to his national health care scheme. Republicans objected to Clinton’s similar efforts.There are no conservatives who make any connection between Obama’s policies and his race. The only people who connect race with Obama’s policies is the left. The left still has not accepted that a man with African heritage can be judge solely on his policies – policies that conservatives have long been opposed to. So who is really the racist?