Where's the birth certificate

Free and Strong America

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Myers: 'Who the hell is JD Curtis?'

Two days ago, this blog was the recipient of a comment by perhaps the most widely known commenter it has seen has (so far) ever seen. While I know Vox Day has stopped by here a couple of times and given me the honor of creating a few threads on his blog Vox Popoli relating to subjects I have raised, (see here and here) he didn't actually leave a comment here.

PZ (Paul Zachary) Myers "is a liberal atheist and evolutionist activist in the creation-evolution controversy, contributing to The Panda's Thumb and Pharyngula blogs. Myers is also an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM)." Here is a brief video clip of him speaking from when he appeared in the Ben Stein movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I first came to to hear about Myers through the first article I ever read by Day on World Net Daily which detailed the whole, sordid Communion Host Affair. Myers has apparently adopted the Run And Hide Method of Argumentation when called out on his positions and challenged by Day.

The thread that Myers commented on is viewable by clicking here. I'm quite sure this actually was Myers given that he cross-posted his comments on his own blog, Phyrangula.

Setting aside for a moment the dodginess of requiring someone to argue from the arguments raised by a particular person from a particular book (in this case, Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism) it is quite possible that I will take up Myers on his offer. I would first, of course, have to obtain a copy of Godless and peruse it for a relevant starting point, but I'm sure that it's not entirely outside of the realm of possibility.

What do you think of this offer by Myers?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Did Rick Perry Err in Holding a Day of Prayer?

In reference to Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) calling for a day of prayer in an attempt to reverse America's decline, it seems that some people have a problem with it, as if it violates some sacred, yet non-existant "seperation of church and state" ideal here in America. For instance, Justin Vacula recently chimed in...

"Recently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has called Perry's actions unconstitutional and has filed a lawsuit in Houston. The FFRF notes that the website for the prayer event is linked directly from the governor's website, the event gives “official [governmental] recognition to a devotional event,” “has no secular rationale” and gives “the appearance that the government prefers evangelical Christian religious beliefs over other religious beliefs and non-beliefs.” The FFRF also says that they were denied advertising space on billboards in the Houston area because of their criticism of the prayer event. Dan Barker, co-organizer of the FFRF, says, “Gov. Perry's distasteful use of his civil office to plan and dictate a religious course of action to 'all citizens' is deeply offensive to many citizens, as well as to our secular form of government.”

Jerry Newcombe, whose website that I link to over on the right and who authored the book The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed our Nation (review here) recently sat down to the keyboard and offered up his thoughts on the contraversy...

"A law professor—-Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine School of Law—-said the governor was violating the establishment clause: “The governor of the state of Texas should not be using his state email or his office to advance [the prayer event] because that’s advancing religion.”

Chemerinsky went on to highlight the idea that the event was not inclusive: “This is not only about prayer and involving God, but it’s Christian. So, for those of us who are not Christian, we are truly made to feel as outsiders relative to our own government, which is exactly what the establishment clause was meant to prevent.”

It was?

No, in the establishment clause, the founders intended to avoid creating a state church at the federal level. The Anglican Church, for example, was not to be the national church “by law established.” Nor the Presbyterian, nor the Quaker, and so on.

Meanwhile, several states had state churches, at the time of the adoption of the first amendment. These were never declared unconstitutional. They eventually withered away of their own accord—-the last to go being the Congregational Church, which was the established church of Massachusetts until 1833.

Declaring a day of prayer or thanksgiving (to God) has never been viewed—-until recently—-as constituting an “establishment of religion.”

During the American War for Independence, on at least fifteen separate occasions, Congress called for national days of prayer, humiliation, and fasting.

Furthermore, observe what an expert’s expert notes about this. David Barton, a walking encyclopedia on the spiritual heritage of America once told me, “Between 1633 and 1812, there were over 1700 prayer proclamations issued in the colonies, where the governor would call the state to an annual day of prayer and fasting, annual day of prayer of and thanksgiving.”

When the country first began under the Constitution, the Congress (many of the same men who would soon adopt the first amendment) called on President Washington to declare a day of Thanksgiving (to God—-these days, you have to clarify these things) for the ability to peaceably meet and fashion our own government.

So, on October 3, 1789, President Washington made a Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he declared: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

It would seem to me that according to the law professor, the father of our country—-the very man who presided over the Constitutional convention—-was making an assault of the establishment clause."

It's understandable that one would not know any of these things because in our nation's public schools, these types of things are not being taught at all. We have a generation of largely ignorant people who simply accept revisionist history as gospel truth because they really don't know any better.

Critical thinking would seem to have gone to the wayside as Rick Perry is a state office holder and not elected to national office and that he couldn't establish a national religion if he even wanted to. Additionally, what kind religion was Perry trying to establish? Pentacostalism? Anabaptist? Church of Reason?

What Rick Perry did was entirely consistant with governors before him and in no way violated the Establishment Clause of the constitution.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Romney backtracks re: latest scientific fad

Meanwhile in other "settled science", Mitt Romney appears to be backpedaling away from earlier statements he has made concerning anthropogenic global warming.

"Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, assailed by Republicans for saying climate change is a scientific fact, appeared to alter his position by saying he doesn't think the issue merits substantial government action.

During a townhall meeting in Lebanon, New Hampshire, the former Massachusetts governor was asked whether he believed humans were contributing to temperatures creeping upwards. Romney responded that humans play some role, but that it's not clear what.

"Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is," Romney said. "I don't know if it's mostly caused by humans."

"What I'm not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to," he added."

I generally like Romney and find him to be quite affable. However it must be frustrating to even his most ardent supporters that the guy will so easily change his position if he thinks that a different perspective would improve his standing.

Don't get me wrong, in real world experience alone the guy is head and shoulders above someone like Obama who never so much as managed a hot dog stand before becoming president. Actually, almost any of the GOP declared candidates would be better than Obama IMO.

EDIT: Special thanks to Mr. Day for posting the latest real science on the subject from researchers in Switzerland which seems to point towards climate change being more heliocentric (as opposed to anthropogenic) than was previously thought possible.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Science by Flash Mob

Ann Coulter enlightens us as to how a reasonable person can doubt Darwinian evolution. Apparently it took up a great deal of space in her 2007 book Godless: The Church of Liberalism....

"Most devastating for the Darwiniacs were advances in microbiology since Darwin's time, revealing infinitely complex mechanisms requiring hundreds of parts working together at once -- complex cellular structures, DNA, blood-clotting mechanisms, molecules, and the cell's tiny flagellum and cilium.

Darwin's theory was that life on Earth began with single-celled life forms, which by random mutation, sex and death, would pass on the desirable mutations, and this process, over billions of years, would lead to the creation of new species.

The (extremely generous) test Darwin set for his theory was this: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

Thanks to advances in microscopes, thousands of such complex mechanisms have been found since Darwin's day. He had to explain only simple devices, such as beaks and gills. If Darwin were able to come back today and peer through a modern microscope to see the inner workings of a cell, he would instantly abandon his own theory.

It is a mathematical impossibility, for example, that all 30 to 40 parts of the cell's flagellum (above) -- forget the 200 parts of the cilium! -- could all arise at once by random mutation. According to most scientists, such an occurrence is considered even less likely than John Edwards marrying Rielle Hunter, the "ground zero" of the impossible."

I've always been fascinated by the arguments raised by mathematicians insofar as the probability of macroevolution having ever occurred. Perhaps that is why I link mathemataicians like William Dembski and One thing you will never hear mentioned by a True Believer in the Cult of Darwin are the findings of the mathematicians that participated in the Wistar Institute Symposium.

Monday, August 22, 2011


That's the thing about living in the SE United States. California has it's earthquakes, the midwest it's cyclones and here we have hurricanes. At least with hurricanes, they don't exactly sneak up on you and occur out of a clear, blue sky, there's usually few days of advance warning/chaos/fretting. According to the Weather Channel, Hurricane Irene is set to make landfall in Florida overnight Thursday into Friday morning as a category 2 (or possibly 3) hurricane with winds up to 100 mph. I survived the bookend hurricanes of Katrina and Wilma in 2005 and it wasn't pretty. Hopefully, this will track out to sea, but you never know.

In their typical state of permanent positivism, the local Christian radio station here had locals call in to relate their good hurricane stories of years past. I know that can seem like an oxymoron, but two people actually did have such stories.

  • One young mother called in to say that following one of the hurricanes the electricity was out over wide expanses of Florida. She recalled going outside with her family and staring up at the night sky with them and enjoying the view. You see, there is so much ambient light here across the region that often times you can't make out the stars in the sky or at best, very few of them like Polaris.

  • One man spoke of being outside after a hurricane and preparing pancakes on his barbeque grill because it was his only means of cooking for his family. Then all of a sudden, these people who lived all around him but never really communicated with, known as "neighbors" began to show up in his driveway. He said actually had long, enjoyable conversations with them and he probably never would have gotten to know them had the hurricane not passed by.

Blogging might be spotty over the next few days, but if something really catches my eye, I'll be sure and try to post it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Coming Wave of Leftist Bigotry

Cal Thomas has a good article in yesterday's Washington Examiner which lays out how the Left is already bearing it's fangs at two of the early front-runners for the GOP nomination who wear their evangelical faith on their respective sleeves...

"Though anti-Semitism and anti-Catholic bigotry sadly are still with us, the new and "accepted" bigotry among some on the left is for those who call themselves -- or are sometimes mislabeled by people who don't know the difference between born-again and born yesterday -- evangelical Christians.

With two evangelicals running for president, the opening salvo in what is likely to be a God vs. government battle has already been launched. A June 22 article in Rolling Stone magazine gives bigots permission for more bigotry. The illustration by Victor Juhasz, which accompanies it, reveals where the writer is headed.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is dressed as Joan of Arc with a Bible in one hand, a bloody sword in the other, a cross on her chest, and the "finger of God" pointing at her from heaven.

In the background, people are being burned at the stake. Father Charles Coughlin at his worst would have had trouble topping this on his bigoted radio broadcasts in the 1930s.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi says Bachmann is "a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions." One of many examples he cites is her assertion that China is "plotting to replace the dollar bill."

Recently, China's official Xinhua News Agency editorialized in favor of a new global reserve currency, replacing the dollar. Don't look for a retraction.

There's plenty more in "Michele Bachmann's Holy War" on which the bigots can feast. This is the argument of anyone who has little or no faith in God. They attack people who believe the Supreme Being does not sit in the Oval Office."

Add to this the infamous and completely biased cover of Newsweek in which they took the worst possible photograph of Bachmann and splashed the highly tolerant words "Queen of Rage" under it. If you were under any impression that the MSM in this country is anything approaching neutral, you can abandon it now.

Not that it actaully gets any better overseas. The campaign to destroy Michelle Bachmann is at full throttle in the UK and is plainly visible by simply clicking here, here, here, and here. Do democrats as a whole get anywhere near the same scrutiny as Bachmann alone in the pages of The Guardian? No way.

Next, Thomas brings up a recent article that appeared in The New York Times which displays more metaphorical feces being hurled by the left, this time over Governor Rick Perry's (R-TX) beliefs.

"The secular left is also going after Gov. Rick Perry's faith. Writing in the New York Times, Timothy Egan refers to the Texas governor as a "biblical bully" and asks, "Is God listening to Rick Perry?"

Ideas that come from the minds of secular liberals are considered right and good, no matter their track record. Ideas from conservatives, be they secular or especially evangelical, are "bat sh*t crazy," according to Taibbi's scatology.

There is a way to blunt this coming tidal wave of anti-evangelical bigotry. Bachmann and Perry -- and any other Republican who wishes to join in -- should not play on the territory of their opponents.

Instead, they should focus on what works and whose lives have been transformed by embracing similar faith and similar attitudes.

Each time a liberal wants to raise taxes to pay for more programs, Republican candidates should introduce to the public people who liberated themselves from government, as examples for others to follow."

Thomas ends his article by saying that "The bigots, like the poor, will be with us always" and I heartily agree. The bigots are on the move people. Let's not let the arena of public discourse to be drowned out by their bigotry but instead focus the relevant debates on the issues at hand and hang them on the petard of empirical evidence based facts and evidence.

UPDATE: Quite frankly, I'm suprised it took them this long. Apparently Rick Perry does not care about science, however he does have a close relationship with guns.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Slippery Slope That Supposedly Does Not Exist

Perhaps the most pivotal accomplishment of radical gay activists in this country was the removal of homosexuality as a serious psychosexual disorder by the American Psychiatric Association on 1973. Never discussed by the Mainstream Media however is that this action was accomplished through lobbying, activism and intimidation rather than any sort of groundbreaking research on the matter. Now another group is seeking to parallel the success of those early pioneers in defining down sexual deviancy...

"If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have their way at a conference this week, pedophiles themselves could play a role in removing pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental illnesses — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), set to undergo a significant revision by 2013. Critics warn that their success could lead to the decriminalization of pedophilia.

The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists. According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.

Researchers from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville, and the University of Illinois will be among the panelists at the conference.

B4U-ACT has been active attacking the APA’s definition of pedophilia in the run up to the conference, denouncing its description of “minor-attracted persons” as “inaccurate” and “misleading” because the current DSM links pedophilia with criminality."

Perhaps I am a bit jaded in that very little suprises me these days, but this one caught me completely off guard. Notice how such utter perversion is now attributed to "minor-attracted persons" and how "tolerance" is so strongly encouraged. Apparently they were paying attention and have learned through the tactics of others that nobody wants to be thought of as intolerant and thus they are using that as their parry in an attempt to deflect any type of rational discussion on the matter.

Is Pornography a National Security Concern?

Today's article in Christianpost.com raises the issue of why so many Jihadists and those opposed to freedom are, seemingly, addicted to pornography. Indeed, I recall watching video from a reporter imbedded with US Army troops in Iraq and hearing one soldier lament (paraphrasing) 'These terrorists purport themselves to be such holy men, but when we analyze the content of their captured laptops, almost always we find they are filled with porn."

We all recall that pornography was discovered among the items in Osama bin Laden's compound. Also, if one were to research to see what country leads the planet in seeking pornography via internet search engines, they would quickly find that the hotspot of unrest known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is by far and away the world leader.

The above cited article from Christianpost.com also mentions that child pornography was found on the computer of Naser Jason Abdo (above) who was recently arrested for conspiracy to attack Ft. Hood, Texas with a bomb.

With all theses instances of pornography adding up amongst Jihadists that would seek to do us harm, what affect might such a fascination with pornographic material have on someone? Some excerpts from the article...

"While much of the attention on Abdo’s case so far had focused on his religion, Islam, and his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan due to his religious motivation, the fact that he was earlier charged with possession of child pornography on his computer was apparently being ignored, noted Prof. Bryson, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Global Engagement.

Pornography is not a necessary or sufficient cause for terrorism, Bryson clarified, “yet pornography now appears frequently in the possession of violent terrorists and their supporters, including Osama bin Laden.” She said she wondered whether today’s “ubiquitous and increasingly grotesque” kind of pornography was “one of the influences warping the mentality of those who aspire to or who actually go on to engage in ever more grotesque public violence.”

..Bryson said there was a need to study the impact of pornography on those who use it, particularly on those who also become obsessed with extremist ideologies.

“So, I wonder, is anyone in the U.S. government tracking and surveying the presence and types of pornography on these media? If we have access to the libraries of the personal pornography preferences of those who support and engage in terrorist violence, we may have a window into the dark corners of their minds. What lurks there? It may be to our own peril that we would ignore this information before us.”

Pornography, she said, could not be seen as a “freedom” issue. “What if we are actually making ourselves less free by allowing pornography itself to be more freely accessible?” she asked.

“Could it be that pornography drives some users to a desperate search for some sort of radical ‘purification’ from the pornographic decay in their soul? Could it be that the greater the wedge pornography use drives between an individual’s religious aspirations and the individual’s actions, the more the desperation escalates, culminating in increasingly horrific public violence, even terrorism?”

What are your thoughts on the subject? Could pornography be a major contributing factor that helps desensitize the attacker and dehumanize the victims in Jihadist attacks?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

CINO Nonsense in Kentucky‏

It has been reported that the proposed merger of the University of Louisville Hospital with Catholic Health Initiatives has some people feeling uneasy. Chiefly among those who have misgivings about the merger are two Catholic In Name Only state representatives (who are both democrats) named Thomas Burch and Mary Lou Marzian who apparently suffer from self-identity issues. Some excerpts of what passes for persuasive argumentation in the op-ed piece that they jointly submitted to Kentucky.com are as follows...

"Representatives from Jewish Hospital, University Hospital and the University of Louisville have been reassuring patients that reproductive health services will not change after the merger with a Catholic medical institution, St. Mary's Healthcare. Their reassurances have not worked. Several hundred people have signed a statement opposing the move."

Isn't it interesting to see how effortlessly they replace the decidedly violent option of the killings of innocents with such sterile and Orwellian terminology like "reproductive health services"? Who could be against that? If I described the local meth dealer here as an "undocumented pharmacist", that makes him not sound so bad either and I seem like a heavy if I criticize him.

"..an advertisement released by the heads of the three hospitals assured readers "the merger partners are committed to expanding, not limiting, services," including tubal ligations performed at the time of Caesarean sections. We applaud their intentions, but we fear they may be somewhat naive."

If anyone in this discussion is "naive", it is you two. You seem quite content in criticizing the party that places emphasis on how precious human life is without ever examining the Culture of Death that is slowly, yet steadily creeping forward in western society. For instance, I would bet my bottom dollar that neither one of you could tell me what percent of babies that are euthanized in the Netherlands are done so without parental consent. From the cited article..

"It took the Dutch almost 30 years for their medical practices to fall to the point that Dutch doctors are able to engage in the kind of euthanasia activities that got some German doctors hanged after Nuremberg. For those who object to this assertion by claiming that German doctors killed disabled babies during World War II without consent of parents, so too do many Dutch doctors: Approximately 21 percent of the infant euthanasia deaths occurred without request or consent of parents. Moreover, since when did parents attain the moral right to have their children killed?

Euthanasia consciousness is catching. The Netherlands' neighbor Belgium decided to jump off the same cliff as the Dutch only two years ago. But already, they have caught up with the Dutch in their freefall into the moral abyss. The very first Belgian euthanasia of a person with multiple sclerosis violated the law; and just as occurs routinely in the Netherlands, the doctor involved faced no consequences. Now Belgium is set to legalize neo-pediatric euthanasia. Two Belgian legislators justify their plan to permit children to ask for their own mercy killing on the basis that young people "have as much right to choose" euthanasia as anyone else. Yet, these same children who are supposedly mature enough to decide to die would be ineligible to obtain a driver's license.

Please explain to me how this can't possibly happen here. Also, would an agency that has Catholic oversight be more or less likely to see such horrific, moral failure?

"At St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Sister Margaret McBride lost her job for approving abortion care that saved a woman's life. Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted had her removed. Do we want local hospital workers to obey an authority that puts anything above the life of the patient?"

Given the nature of doctor/patient confidentiality rules, I doubt that either of you had any greater access to the patient's medical records than the rest of us and you are simply reporting second hand information. Carefully left out of your assertion are the facts that the Catholic Physicians Guild in Phoenix fully supported the bishop in this case and that at least one neonatalogy expert has questioned whether the abortion was really necessary.

Although I'm just some schmuck sitting in his undershirt in Florida, allow me to make a suggestion. Instead of advocating, in your own words, "a full range of reproductive health care", why not side with that the majority of pro-aborts who now agree that 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions are just plain wrong and support life for a change?

Why not try and be a representative of your denomination by following the example of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and pledge to help any pregnant woman in need? Carpe diem!

Friday, August 12, 2011

(Mathematician) Lennox: ' If I believe that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, am I denying the authority of Scripture? '

It's the very precise, yet fundamental question that Oxford mathematician John Lennox asks. Here's a blurb from his new book...

"What did the writer of Genesis mean by ‘the first day’? Is it a literal week or a series of time periods? If I believe that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, am I denying the authority of Scripture? In response to the continuing controversy over the interpretation of the creation narrative in Genesis, John Lennox proposes a succinct method of reading and interpreting the first chapters of Genesis without discounting either science or Scripture. With examples from history, a brief but thorough exploration of the major interpretations, and a look into the particular significance of the creation of human beings, Lennox suggests that Christians can heed modern scientific knowledge while staying faithful to the biblical narrative. He moves beyond a simple response to the controversy, insisting that Genesis teaches us far more about the God of Jesus Christ and about God’s intention for creation than it does about the age of the earth. With this book, Lennox offers a careful yet accessible introduction to a scientifically-savvy, theologically-astute, and Scripturally faithful interpretation of Genesis."

I cannot count on both hands the number of times that conversations with skeptics eventually devolved into the finer points concerning Young Earth Creationism. I am of the opinion that the Hebrew word yom that appears in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis can be translated as a non-specific time period. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Obama Administration's Ongoing Antagonism Towards Israel‏

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A photograph that should tell us a lot about Barack Obama shows him on the phone, talking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama was seated, leaning back in his chair, with his feet up on the desk, and the soles of his feet pointed directly at the camera.

In the Middle East, showing the soles of your feet is an insult, as Obama undoubtedly knows.

This photograph was no accident. Photographers cannot roam around White House, willy-nilly, taking snapshots of the President of the United States as he talks to leaders of foreign nations.

It was a photograph with a message. No one would have known who was on the other end of the line, unless Obama wanted them to know -- and wanted to demonstrate his disdain."
Thomas Sowell, May 31st, 2011 Link

I've blogged before concerning the Obama administration's apparent disdain for the state of Israel. I believe that the relationship is only getting worse after reading this article from Rick Richman.

I first got wind that the administration trying to uncouple the fundamental idea that the city of Jerusalem is located in Israel in Richman's earlier article from August 4th. Since then, it seems that the administration is only 'escalating' the situation...

"The White House, in an escalation of a closely-watched case the Supreme Court is preparing to hear on whether Congress or the President gets to decide American policy in respect of passports of American citizens born in Jerusalem, has quietly altered its website to remove the references to Jerusalem being in “Israel.”

The references to Jersualem had appeared in the cutlines of photographs on the White House Web site illustrating an account of the vice president’s trip to Jerusalem last year. The references to ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ were first disclosed in The New York Sun’s dispatch last week on Zivotofsky v. Clinton. The case asks the high court to rule on the constitutionality of the 2002 law that gives American citizens born in Jerusalem the right to have “Israel” entered on their passports as their place of birth.

The Sun’s report was titled “Jerusalem Case at Supreme Court May Pit White House Web Site Against the President,” and noted that the pictures might be pivotal evidence contradicting the administration’s claim that the 2002 law impermissibly infringes the President’s power to “recognize foreign sovereigns.” Since the White House had effectively acknowledged on its own website that Jerusalem is in Israel, as have other executive branch agencies, the report suggested there might not really be a constitutional issue in giving Zivotofsky a statutory right to have that fact noted on his passport.

Yesterday afternoon Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard posted one of the pictures, noting the reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” and contrasting it with the State Department press release issued earlier in the day stating the current administration policy to prohibit U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem from having “Israel” designated in their passports. The Halper posting went up at at 3:22 p.m. Less than three hours later, at 5:36 p.m. Halper noted that, at some time after he posted the picture, the White House had “apparently gone through its website, cleansing any reference to Jerusalem as being in Israel, including the pictures of Biden there last year.”

The sheer level of dirision aimed at the only true democracy in that entire region is beyond the pale. Is there anyone out there who would like to convice me that Obama is even remotely trying to treat Israel with anything resembling respect, never mind support, in the court of public opinion?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Suprise! Socialism Doesn't Work in Brazil Either

It seems that the massive public spending programs that Brazil embarked on under previous president Luiz Ignacio Lula de Silva will be unsustainable in the near future if economic news like this keeps turning up..

"The problem is that the deficit keeps widening as Brazil continues to pay for its material appetites. The consensus among analysts is that Brazil needs to press forward with its own investment in order to build its infrastructure and improve productivity. It isn't happening, however, at an adequate and influential rate.

Foreign investment in the Brazilian stock market has fallen off 70% in the first half of 2011. It's true that the previous year had abnormal growth, but this current drop is very serious. Credit growth has slowed and inflation has increased. Meanwhile, the inclination of strong governmental involvement in private enterprise in various sectors has further dampened foreign investment interest. Inflation has forced benchmark interest rates to 12.5% and rising.

Over-ambitious development has been the stimulus to inflation. Finished-product imports from such trading partners as China have outstripped any balance in exports. Brazil doesn't even have adequate fertilizer production, and that kind of thing hurts its agricultural exports. But the biggest shortfall has been in the field of petroleum production from its Obama-lauded deep well off-shore drilling. Far more outside investment is necessary to profitably exploit these considerable oil reserves. And here is where Lula's famous tight government oversight and control (read: socialist management) comes into negative play."

I've never been much of a fan of simply doling out federal funds to recipients. It creates a class of dependency. What if times are bad and the government decides to stop funding these payments? I think Arthur C. Brooks accurately describes what I think would be a much more preferrable arrangement between government and it's more needy citizens...

People flourish when they earn their own success. It's not the money per se, which is merely a measure -- not a source -- of this earned success. More than any other system, free enterprise enables people to earn success and thereby achieve happiness. For that reason, it is not just an economic alternative but a moral imperative.

People think that they will be happier if they have more money, but quickly find out that they're mistaken. When people are asked what income they require for a satisfying life, they consistently respond -- regardless of their income -- that they would need an income about 40 percent higher than whatever they're earning at the time.

Benjamin Franklin (a pretty rich man for his time) grasped the truth about money's inability to deliver life satisfaction. "Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it," he declared. "The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one."

If money without earned success does not bring happiness, then redistributing money won't make for a happier America. Knowing as we do that earning success is the key to happiness, rather than simply getting more money, the goal of our political system should be this: to give all Americans the greatest opportunities possible to succeed based on their hard work and merit.

This is the liberty our founders wrote about, the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness.

Earned success gives people a sense of meaning about their lives. And meaning also is a key to human flourishing."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Secular Blue Yonder

After 20 years of teaching a course on Just War Theory that utilized certain Bible verses in it's cirriculum, historically ignorant, free-speech bigots within the United States Air Force have succeeded in suspending the course...

"The use of Bible passage and other elements was just inappropriate,” he said. Mikey Weinstein, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, hailed the military’s decision to suspend the course. “We’re very pleased that the Air Force did it,” Weinstein told Fox News Radio. “Had they not done that, we would have filed an immediate class-action lawsuit in federal court to force their hand.”

Weinstein said the officers who complained are Protestant and Roman Catholics, noting the class was simply “unconstitutional training.”

“The United States Air Force was promoting a particular brand of right-wing fundamentalist Christianity,” he said. “The main essence was that war is a natural part of the human experience and it’s something that is favored by this particular perspective of the New Testament.

Weinstein said he was particularly concerned about a passage of Scripture that was taught from the New Testament book of Revelations. The passage, chapter 19, verse 11, describes Jesus as a mighty warrior, Weinstein said.

But David French, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, said there is no violation of the Constitution. “Just-War theory has been a vital part of American military history for the last several hundred years,” French said, dismissing the complaints as what he called “another attempt to cleanse American history of its religious realities.”

“It’s about cleansing religion from the public square and building a completely secular society and military, said French. Commander Daniel McKay, a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain, agreed, telling Fox News Radio he was deeply concerned by the military’s decision.

“Why is it inappropriate to give our people guidelines that have withstood the test of time – to give us moral guidance,” McKay asked. “I think there are certain segments within our society who are making concerted efforts to take us away from our Judeo-Christian values, principles and morals,” he said."

I don't know for sure, but I would guess that the verses mentioned were addressed in a purely clinical sense in this course, trying to reason with cultural Christians who might be uneasy about pushing the Big Red Button. I find the timing rather interesting given the recent push to have atheist chaplains in the military. This whole, sorry incident is just another reminder of just how poorly understood the Establishment Clause really is and how well anti-religious lobbyists and attorneys have indoctrinated the last generation of Americans.

The Establishment Clause barred the federal government from establishing a national, state church as had existed in England and Scandinavian countries at the time. It did not prevent individual states from establishing their own and somehow the fact that Massachusetts had an official state religion (Congregationalist) up until 1833 is NEVER mentioned lest that detract from the atheist mantra that the Establishment Clause was meant to avoid any interaction by government with religion like the plague.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Was Jim Jones a Christian?

While perusing different articles today, I came across this one by Daniel J. Flynn which examines that very issue...

“Nobody’s gonna come out of the sky!” Jim Jones informed his flock. “There’s no heaven up there. We’ll have to have heaven down here!” The reverend threw the Bible to the floor in his Peoples Temple and openly stated his disbelief in God. Before Jim Jones orchestrated the deaths of more than 900 people at his South American jungle commune, Willie Brown, Angela Davis, Harvey Milk​, and other leading leftists lauded him as a hero. After the carnage at Jonestown, the Left conveniently dismissed him as just another crazed Christian fundamentalist"

I decided to look further into the belief system of this madman and I think he was quite possibly an atheist or at best, an agnostic. The sources quoted in his Wikipedia entry make reference to his claimed atheism. And then there is this quote offered up by his wife, Marceline...

"By the spring of 1976, Jones began openly admitting even to outsiders that he was an atheist. Despite the Temple's fear that the IRS was investigating its religious tax exemption, by 1977 Marceline Jones admitted to the New York Times that, as early as age 18 when he watched his then idol Mao Zedong overthrow the Chinese government, Jim Jones realized that the way to achieve social change through Marxism in the United States was to mobilize people through religion. She stated that "Jim used religion to try to get some people out of the opiate of religion," and had slammed the Bible on the table yelling "I've got to destroy this paper idol!" In one sermon, Jones said that, "You're gonna help yourself, or you'll get no help! There's only one hope of glory; that's within you! Nobody's gonna come out of the sky! There's no heaven up there! We'll have to make heaven down here!"

This doesn't sound like anything remotely like any orthodox Christian theology. One of the references cited in the Wikipedia article is from the Jonestown Institute whose web page features a transcript of a recorded interview with Jim Jones who stated the following (All instances of emphasis appear in the transcript)..

"I’m uh, you know, an agnostic. We have a— some emphasis on the terms of paranormal, because uh, it brings results, uh, there is something to therapeutic healing, all medical science has proven, but we don’t link that with any kind of causative factor of a loving God. Off the record, I don’t believe in any loving God. Our people, I would say, are ninety percent atheist. Uh, we— we think Jesus Christ was a swinger. He taught some pretty damn good things at feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, uh, maybe a little paternalistic, but it’s still uh— all the emphasis of the judgment of character— the only time he ever mentioned judgment at all was in Matthew 25, and it had to do totally with what you were doing for other people, so we— we emphasize the teachings of Christ, but um, we’re a— we are as um— we’re the most unusual church I’ve ever run into.."

So when all of the evidence is examined, I think the answer is 'no'. Jim Jones was a crazed charlatan who utilized a patina of religion in his socialist side-show masquerading as a church but ultimately he was only out for himself.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Bizarre Form of Tourette's Syndrome of the Left

“I always use the word ‘extreme,’ that’s what the caucus instructed me to do the other week,” Sen. Chuck (you) Schumer (D-NY) 3/29/11

Although by and large, I consider most democrat members of congress (and a few republicans) to be complete moonbats, you have to admire the consistancy of the Left in keeping up their attacks against conservative members of congress. Let's count the ways they demonize the opposition as "extreme", yet are so admirably choreographed to all stay on the same page...

Nancy Pelosi: Republican legislation 'Extreme' 2/11/2011

Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL): Republicans Becoming More Extreme 7/27/11

"The extremism of these people; they're not satisfied with a vote on it, they want a guarantee that it pass before they'll allow an extension of the debt limit. I mean, how bizarre can anyone be?" Senate Majority Leader (Dingy) Harry Reid (D-NV) in debt negotiations with republicans Link, 7/29/2011

"We should not let these extremists dictate direction of debate" Harry Reid again, referring to republicans, 7/25/2011 Link

Harry Reid again, ‘Extremists Have Locked Down This Congress’ 7/29/11

"There are 100 people in the House who don’t care if we default, who are extreme and ideological" The aforementioned Sen. Chuck (You) Schumer (D-NY) re: debt negotiations with republicans 7/25/2011

Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE): Sharon Angle. Christine O'Donnell 'Extreme'

You got that Lemming? Republican=Extreme. No free thought allowed here. We'll tell you what to believe and we merely have to make the accusation, not back it up. You do not have the ability to do your own research on the matter and thus form your own thoughts based on the pertinant information.

On a related note, who here would ever like to be "held hostage"? It's nothing that would particularly interest me, but apparently this is another part of the democrat meme of marginalizing republicans as has been recently well documented...

"STENY HOYER: (rotunda noise) The Republicans are holding hostage the credit of the United States of America.

DEBBIE "BLABBERMOUTH" SCHULTZ: ...our Republican colleagues to hold our economy hostage.

DINGY HARRY: The Republican Party is holding our economy hostage.

CHUCK-U SCHUMER: (rotunda noise) It didn't say, "Hold America hostage."

LOUISE SLAUGHTER: ...hold the debt ceiling hostage.

SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: One party is holding the country hostage.

JOHN OLVER: The debt limit has never before been held hostage.

BARBARA LEE: Republicans are holding our economy hostage.

EARL BLUMENAUER: ...willing to take hostage the debt ceiling.

JASON ALTMIRE: Stop holding America's credit rating hostage.

ROSA DeLAURO: The Republican majority continues to hold the American economy hostage.

CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Let's not hold the entire American economy hostage.

JOHN LARSON: ...ideological HOSTAGE situation...

LLOYD DOGGETT: The only belt they're really tightening is right around the neck of those hostages.

JAMES CLYBURN: Holding the American economy hostage.

JESSE JACKSON, JR.: This President is being treated differently!

SPEAKER PRO-TEM: (gavel banging)

JACKSON: No other President has been stuck up, shook down, or held hostage"

And on and on it goes. Is it too much to ask that members of congress try to work together without characterizing the opposition as some sort of parody? Apparently so and don't even get me started on Tea Party generalizations

Next we come to the obligatory Taliban references..

Are you getting the entire picture yet? Republicans are the ideological equals to extremist, 9th century throwbacks who utilize improvised explosive devices to implement their agenda through terrorism and who sincerely want to take you hostage.

Such hate-filled hyperbole is so verfiably predominant on the Left, it would be laughable if it were not so counterproductive.