Friday, August 26, 2011

Post No. 174: Tornadoes, Earthquakes, and Hurricanes, Oh My!

© 2011, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

We’re not big fans of folks who let their values dictate their thought processes. It seems to us that one’s analysis of issues ought to be a thing apart from their values. How else does one solve problems?

As the Laughingman often says, “If you think that every problem is a nail, a hammer becomes the only tool in your kit.” Some problems are screws, for which you might need a screwdriver, or two.

Despite this, any reasonable, thinking person would say that God does not approve of much going on in the United States these days, or of President Obama. Seriously.

AIR Worldwide, the catastrophic modeling firm, estimates that insured losses alone, for commercial, residential, and industrial losses following the severe thunderstorm activity in the U.S. in early 2011, will amount to $3.7 billion to $5.5 billion. That storm, under Obama's watch, lasted a mere 6 days in April. Imagine the figure for the entire year, stemming from God’s displeasure with our descent into socialism.

Earlier this week, a fairly significant earthquake shook Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas, sending the government’s work force scurrying for The Ark. The President, obviously prescient, was out of town on vacation.

But now, the heavily populated northeast looks like it may be battered by Hurricane Irene, which many expect to be of a force not seen in decades. Damage estimates in the range of $10 billion are already being made. This may prove to be Obama’s Katrina, God willing. The lines down at the New York City Harbor, where The Ark is currently docked, are reportedly getting pretty long.

There’s a message here somewhere. At least according to some. And of course, all of these so-called natural events can be traced directly to the President.

We are often reminded by the Optimizer of the celebrity who, during her campaign against homosexuality, claimed that God inflicted gays with AIDS as punishment for their wicked ways. And if you thought that the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright were a distraction for then-candidate Obama, you may have missed that one of John McCain’s spiritual advisers was John Hagee.

Hagee claims that God willed Hitler to kill the Jews, so that they would eventually return to Israel, thus hastening the 2nd coming of Christ. In one of his less controversial moments, he argued that Hurricane Katrina was an act of divine retribution due to the presence of homosexuals in New Orleans.

One need not be a celebrity or a televangelist to appreciate that natural forces are somehow related to God’s displeasure. Earlier this week in this part of the Bible Belt, we heard many a person laugh shortly after the tremors were felt in Washington and New York City. In their view, the domestic infidels were getting their due. They opined that citizens in large cities on the coastal shores have led lives justifying their exposure to this impending danger.

Once again, all of this is somehow related to the current Administration and our slide into socialism.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, there is an opposing camp. Back in January, just prior to the Super Bowl, we generated a post, God, Obama, and the Green Bay Packers. After reflecting on how championship athletes claim that God resides in their locker room, we told the story of a fellow who, after dismissing the travails of the Obama Administration, claims that Obama’s opponents will be surprised during the next Presidential election. Why? Because he knows that God is on Obama’s side.

We’ve been mulling this over all week, and we’re at a loss as to what parents (without a direct line to God) should tell their kids about the athletic team, the political party, the city or region, or the ethnic group that God supports.

We suspect that we should all get down on our knees and pray to our higher power this evening, before the full brunt of Mother (or is that Father?) Nature hits our fragile east coast (and our fragile national economy), and hope that God picks our team in the fantasy game.

When President Reagan, never at a loss for words, was being wheeled into the ER after the assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer, he reportedly looked up at the operating team and quipped, “I hope you’re all Republicans.“ The lead surgeon responded with a smile, “Yes Mr. President, today we’re all Republicans.”

We could use all of the players on the field being of the same team on occasion, or perhaps all having the support of the Lord.

Finally, there is one other thought that occurred to us this week, namely the difference between for-profit corporate entities in the private sector, and governmental entities. While we watched governors and the President speak of preparations for, and warn their constituents of, the impending storm, we observed the spending of millions of tax dollars to minimize the possible damage and the criticism post-Irene.

In the corporate world, the focus would be on risk assessment and management, insurance coverage, and probabilities. We could see a corporation reasonably examining the pattern of hurricanes over the past 50 years, and betting against the forecasters, by doing nothing.

That would never do in the public sector.

But we’re still having difficulty figuring out whether God supports governmental intrusion in our lives, which might be termed socialist in nature, or whether God supports limited government, lower taxes, and the functioning of the free markets without excessive regulation.

But as Tina Turner said, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”


  1. Yes indeed! God knows that when societies form again - as they must in due course - some kind if 'ism' will be devised to meet the need. God will also see to it that when oil and rock phosphates do become too expensive for the poor - as they must in due course - there will be enough for the .1% (don't miss the point) to survive comfortably.

  2. As it happens, I was watching a two hour show about Adolf today. Well, part 2 of 2 (the second hour) and if I recall correctly, he was seen by most Germans (before it all went to, uh, pieces) as a "gift of Providence." The adoration of the man was clear. You could detect a bit of reverence lingering in the voices of those Germans who had lived through it and claimed no allegiance. Except for one, a former member of the Hitler Youth, who spoke so matter of factly about being caught up in it. It always bothered me, even as a child, that so many opposing forces thought God was on their side. At that time, I was more agnostic than anything else.

    I will admit that it bothered me that there were those who fainted at Obama rallies before he was elected and that there was a flurry of schools named after him right around the time he was sworn in. And, of course, the videos of those students singing praises to Obama brought to mind the images of Hitler youth beating on those drums and marching in lockstep, performing for their Fuhrer.

    Yes, these things worry me. As do large groups of people fervently believing in a supernatural being who is proclaimed merciful in every breath but permits (if not sends) the destructive forces of nature to wreak havoc.

    We are a weird species of animal. .

  3. One of our readers posed the following question on Twitter in response to this article:

    "If climate change is occurring, should we encourage people to leave flood zones by not providing reconstruction dollars?"

    For purposes of answering this question, let's eliminate the climate change issue. Any thoughts?

  4. "If climate change is occurring, should we encourage people to leave flood zones by not providing reconstruction dollars?"

    (ignoring the climate change part)... I don't think it would encourage people to leave flood zones. First, a lot of people do not realize they are in flood zones.Often, even when they know, they fail to buy flood insurance. They will, whether it is an existing program or not, expect the government to bail (forgive the pun) them out when a flood happens. And the government will do so, regardless of any lack of a program.
    Because politicians fear a backlash at the polls. Always.

  5. Not ignoring the "climate change" remark, see my reminiscence of Hurricane Hazel.

    One of 8 storms that year that threatened the U.S. east coast. Hurricanes come and go and we have no idea how many and how bad they were just a couple of hundred years ago.

  6. Interesting comment about expectations Douglas. Last year, we heard a journalist speak to this issue. Although the typical citizen contributes something like X to the Treasury, they think that it is something like 3X, and consequently they have inflated and unrealistic expectations about what government can do.

  7. It's not just those who think they overpay income taxes, it's also those who pay none at all. We have become a nation that looks upon government as a "parent", there to help you in need and to wipe your tears and put the band-aid on your "boo boo". I recall a old cartoon called "There oughta be a law" which was a tongue in cheek look at frustrations. Now we really do think "there oughta be a law" and we are angry to find there isn't one.

  8. Is this unique to the United States, applicable to Western societies, or all societies?

  9. Wherever there are human beings, I would say.

  10. ‘Spector,

    Um, is the “Arthur Bremmer” reference just to see whether we are paying attention? John Hinckley Jr. was Reagan’s attempted assassin; it was George Wallace whom Bremmer tried to assassinate in Laurel, MD in 1972.

    You really should slip one of those into every post just to see who is reading closely and who isn’t. So: do I win something valuable . . ?

    The Independent Cuss

  11. You're too sharp for us Independent Cuss. You caught us. We were waiting for someone to pick up on that, particularly since we provided the link to the article saying that it was George Wallace.

    No, we do not resort to such "tactics" in every post, but we do so periodically. Part of the metric analysis performed by our tracking software involves determining whether people click on our links and leave our site, and where they go most frequently.

    No prize this time, but we'll be a little craftier next time we insert one.

  12. Michele Bachmann did not disappoint us>

  13. Hi Inspector, thanks for your comment on my "riddle" blog. I post them for fun, I thought just my family checked it out, nice to know there are others out there that like it. I'm posting again tomorrow after taking time off. I thought nobody was reading them anymore. Anyway, you have a very political and involved blog here! We are on different ends of the blog spectrum, but I guess that's what makes life so interesting. Check out tomorrow's riddle if you get a chance. Have a good day!

  14. 'Spector,

    Bachmann's quote is nutty, yes . . . but is it any nuttier than a President and a Congress which "solves" the health insurance crisis by unconstitutionally forcing those of us who can't afford health insurance to buy it from those who have been gouging us for years? Punish the victim (yep, I said "victim") by forcing him to pay his assailant -- THAT will certainly set justice right.

    I know: I hijacked your comment and used it as a soap box for one of my favorite rants . . . but it seems as though we become bogged down in political trivialities while the far more substantive elephant in the room goes unnoticed, or at least unremarked upon.

    And yes, as a matter of fact I AM aware that I need to lighten up . . .

    The Independent Cuss

  15. I'm not over enamoured of common sense. What passes for it is often neither common nor sense.

  16. We appreciate how one might feel that way. Thanks for visiting our site, and come back again.

  17. Thanks for paying us a visit Laura. Yes, the depth and diversity of society is what makes humans interesting.

  18. Did you read the comments? Are they any more rational than Bachmann? Personally, I find them offensive. Bachmann has no chance of winning the nomination nor (in my opinion) even a "power broker" at the convention. But why throw insults at her? Can't one just shake his head and snicker to himself?

  19. Douglas, you're personally offended by comments made by readers who commented on this blog? Help us out, we did not note any reference to you, and did not find any of our readers' comments directed toward you.

  20. Douglas, you're personally offended by comments made by readers who commented on this blog? Help us out, we did not note any reference to you, and did not find any of our readers' comments directed toward you.

    Did I say THIS blog? Or was I referring to the article on Huffington Post? Or was that not clear to you, an otherwise intelligent and educated man? I thought I was clear. I was offended by the comments made IN REPLY to that article. I was offended by the insults and the tone. Apparently, you were not.

    We have talked before of the unacknowledged anger and hostility of the Left, I have suggested you look at it when you claimed that you saw little to none of such. And now I must assume you do not wish to see it, all you wish to do is ignore it.

    I am saddened by this. Truly.

  21. We apologize Douglas. We're not accustomed to people referencing comments responsive articles to which we have referred them. We should have been sharper. We'll try our best to measure up to your standards in the future.

  22. Too many times, Inspector, too many times.

  23. After reviewing the comments Douglas, we still can not figure out how you find them "personally" offensive.

  24. And that, sir, is exactly my point.

  25. "But we’re still having difficulty figuring out whether God supports governmental intrusion in our lives, which might be termed socialist in nature,"

    I read this carefully, and the 'we' suggests it was IC's viewpoint. How do you expect ever to 'figure' such a concept out? Do you actually believe in 'god'? If so why don't you rely on the people who got you to believe this to tell you if 'government intrusion' is godly or not?

    Do you also wonder if this intrusion being 'socialist in nature' is 'god' supported or not? I would like to know.

  26. Douglas? " We have become a nation that looks upon government as a "parent", " Unfortunately too many people will regard this kind of statement as making sense. And i do NOT assume you think it would be wonderful if government could care for its society with the same love and interest that an admirable parent cares for his/her family.

    A government is ideal if it tries to regulate the interests of commercial/educational/security/health interests that would otherwise pull society to pieces. Especially a society informed by cliches like yours above.

  27. By "figuring out," we were referring to credible, direct evidence. We realize that there are many in our country, and in the world, who make such a claim.

    We polled all three current Fellows of the Institute, and contacted the Logistician, now on sabbatical in Brazil. Of the four, three clearly have not had first hand, direct conversations or other contact with God. The fourth's position is somewhat ambiguous, in that he believes in church attendance, but is unclear as to whether some direct communication takes places during those events.

    We suspect that among we Fellows, we will never be able to personally determine whether God supports government intrusion in our lives.

    As for those who claim that God is opposed to such governmental intrusion, we simply ask that they present some credible, direct, first-hand evidence so that we might be similarly enlightened.

  28. Earlier today, while watching a broadcast of the Weather Channel, we learned that the average number of state of emergency declarations by a sitting President, due to weather and other natural forces, is 43. The current president has had to make 82 such declarations during this year, and it is only September. The 82 declarations are the largest number made since the agencies started keeping records of such matters in the 1950s.

  29. You might find this video on U-Tube interesting. Pat Robertson claims that God told him who the next President will be.


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