Sunday, November 30, 2008
More background of the long conflict between Pakistan and India from Wikipedia:
Since the Partition of India by the British Empire in August 1947, which resulted in the creation of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there have been three major wars, one minor war and numerous armed skirmishes between the two countries. In each case, except the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where the dispute concerned East Pakistan, the casus belli was the disputed Kashmir region. More.
Is Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world, as in it's a Muslim country with nuclear weapons?
Yet, true Bible understanding and scholarship involves much deep digging, hard work and expert explanation that puts our study in historical and Biblical context, taking into account the language it was written in. And real Bible study is meant to transform our lives over the long haul into faithful and obedient servants of the Triune God. In other words, to make us followers of Jesus Christ.
A reading today from Daniel 7 on OneYearBible blog (linked on my sidebar) is a case in point of the need for deeper study and commentary. This is a dazzling, prophetic and direct vision of Daniel during the reign of Babylonian king Belshazzar, at least ten years after the death of King Nebuchadnezzar. You may remember that God transformed King Nebuchadnezzar over time into His servant after turning him into a wild animal creature. Daniel was there interpreting the king's dreams and giving him prophesy all along this process.
But in chapter 7 of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar is dead and the prophet has his own famous vision of the four beasts, similar to a vision given St. John in Revelation. It almost scared poor Daniel to death. So during the dream, he asks God to explain it to him. Even prophets need help in understanding God's deeper meaning.
I don't pretend to be a Bible scholar. But I think I'm learning the difference between good Bible commentary and bad. And to my eyes, there's no better Bible commentary than Bob Deffinbaugh's scholarly work, often linked at OneYearBibleblog. I couldn't have made much sense out of today's Old Testament reading without Bob's expert help. So if you're interested, then have a read of Daniel 7 (or, better yet, the whole book of Daniel) and then take time to read the accompanying commentary on this important chapter that predicts world history that's unfolding even today. Bob Deffinbaugh is at his most scholarly best here and I and we are the better for it.
Again, Bible studies are much more productive with expert commentary, and prayer, than without. Like anything else done well, it's worth the time and effort that we put into it. It is meant to humble us, scare us but most of all encourage us beyond our wildest dreams, us faithful servants of a faithful all-powerful, all-loving God, even unto Eternal Life.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
A LITTLE WORLD HISTORY AND PERSPECTIVE ON MUMBAI WITH YOUR POACHED EGGS?
It's always fun to stay in the homes of friends and family rather than hotels when away from home. And when they're interesting, knowledgeable people, people who are virtual walking encyclopedias of history, then it makes it even more fun and often fascinating for me---the country mouse ---to be around such erudite people. They have a way of putting the present in such salient perspective.
(I'm now back in D.C. for a few days, before going back to New York before coming back to D.C then running back to Nashville before coming back to the East. You get the drift and the driftiness of this. So I plan to blog sporadically at best.)
This morning over breakfast one of my favorite relatives turned to me as he smeared strawberry jam on his raisin toast, "I say, my dear, this attack in Mumbai, India worries me a lot."
It's awful, I responded over my poached egg on a bed of greens. But tell me why it worries you so?
Don't you remember the history of the start of World War I? he quizzed knowing there would be a blank look on my face and knowing he would be asked to elaborate.
Actually I did not recall what I had learned in school about all that. I sat straight up in my chair waiting for what was sure to be a history lesson I needed to hear.
Well, he began, it all started with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914... from there the topic turned to the Serbs and Croatians of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then to the Russian Czar and the German Kaiser. From there it went on to all the other countries that took sides as our world teetered on the edge of the abyss.
I sat transfixed for forty minutes as my relative recounted history as if we were in a time travel machine. As I cleared the table and scraped dried egg off the dishes, we had to put the rest of the conversation on hold until a few hours later when I drove with him to see a friend in Shepherdstown, West Virginia on a chilly, sunny November afternoon.
As I clicked on my seat belt, I asked the question he'd been waiting for: So how does all this World War I history that started with the assassination of the Archduke and heir to the Austrian throne relate to what's happening in India today?
And then he began to instruct me again: "There's an uneasy peace now in Iraq, thanks to your man, George Bush. Al-Qaeda has been disgraced and in essence is defeated there. They know that if the Americans turn there sights on Afghanistan now, as Mr. Obama has threatened to do, they'll be defeated there too. Remember, Bin Laden has purchased the loyalties of many unhappy dissidents there and in Pakistan.
"So what better game plan to forestall and divert the attention of Americans in Afghanistan than for al-Qaeda radicals to provoke a war between Pakistan and India. In July, 1914, the Serbian government engineered the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand to undermine the position of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Balkans. The resulting missteps by the European powers ---Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Austria and England---destroyed four ancient empires (German, Russian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian) and brought forth the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini.
"Do we stand at a like-crossroads in the Sub-Continent today? Is this war? Again, it's to al-Qaeda's advantage to create global chaos wherever it can . And war between Indian and Pakistan would put the ball in play and divert U.S. and world attention away from Afghanistan."
As we drove on I started to understand what he was getting at and found myself agreeing with his deeper concerns over what has happened in India the past few days. Could he be right? Both of these countries are minor nuclear powers with huge populations. And if Pakistan were destabilized even more, how could we Americans even get thorough to Afghanistan? If war breaks out, who would we support? Which country would we be allied with?
The options were increasingly depressing on this chilly, sunny day outside Washington, D.C. even as the national scaffolding (no pun intended) was being constructed for the great inauguration in front of the Capitol in January. What will this country face as we go into a new administration with untried leadership who wants to be popular all over the world? With an axis of chaos and evil that will stop at nothing to destabilize Western civilization. Will Bush one day be seen as the hero he is in foreign policy and ever be appreciated for having prevented another terrorist attack on American soil? Will we be so fortunate in the next administration?
It's been a long day of talking, thinking and learning about history from my very smart relative for me since breakfast. Tomorrow, I think I'll just take some wheat toast in my room alone. I want a few hours of peace and quiet.....and wait another day or two for my next history lesson over poached eggs. Too much hisitorical perspective be a wonderful and very disquieting thing to behold.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Shortly before going last Sunday evening to meet my new grandson and see and pray with his tired, proud parents at Beth Israel Hospital in New York, I ducked into a late afternoon service at Hunter College where Tim Keller was scheduled to speak. As I took my seat, an associate pastor was giving an explanation about gratitude and its opposite ingratitude before leading the congregation in a "Prayer of Confession".
Ahead of Thanksgiving, this young pastor talked about the practice of giving personal gratitude to God as well as its opposite, the sin of ingratitude. Rather than referring to its opposite as ingratitude, he called it our deep sense of entitlement. And that's what really got my attention.
Ideally, all people should have a resounding, overwhelming and never ending sense of gratitude for what Christ has done for us personally, and all mankind, on the Cross. His generous offer of forgiveness of our myriad sins and gift of eternal life should leave us breathless with thankfulness and praise no matter what our life's circumstances.
But it doesn't and we don't.
Instead, most of us have the opposite of gratitude: we carry on with a sense of entitlement as to how we think our lives, our close relationships, our work, our resources should be. We think we know what we must have to be grateful and happy. We also think we're owed a comfortable, easy life, especially because we think we're good people. If things don't go the way we think they should, we rebel, give up on God and live lives of depression, addiction, anger and quiet, or not-so-quiet, desperation. One way or another we find a ways to get mad and stay mad. And never let it go of what should have, could have, would have been. Whatever it is. We never really move on.
Our deep sense of entitlement in essence says to God, not Your Way, Father, but my way. I know what's best for me, so You'd better give it to me now, or make it up to me for what happened in the past.....or else. Rarely if ever does it occur to us that what has happened to us is God's way of bringing us in closer relationship to Him.
Our circumstances don't mean of course that we don't try to change them or better ourselves, seek healing for our loved ones and work for social justice. But it does mean when difficult things come down and are accomplished in our lives, we need to look for deeper meanings and come back to gratitude and understanding through a process of maturing, forgiveness and acceptance. Often in time, we find the blessings in disguise for our losses and pain. And our despair turns us back to God and a continuing relationship with Him.
Today, are we living more in a state of true, exciting gratitude, or a sense of ungrateful entitlement? Does our hope and thankfulness involve the circumstances of our present lives, or does it include hope of redemption and eternal life in the next? All great questions to ponder as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, 2008.
As I ponder these questions, I want to finish with the Prayer of Confession from the program at Redeemer last Sunday:
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, you are generous in abundance. You have given to us gifts that we do not deserve. You have called us from death to life, granted us forgiveness through the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, given us the Holy Spirit, and made us your children.
All the Congregation:
You have provided for us, both spiritually and materially. Yet we have failed to be thankful and to rejoice in your goodness. We have ignored you and neglected to give you the praise that is due your name.
Forgive us for our ingratitude. Give us eyes that see your hand at work in all areas of our life. Enable us to realize that every good thing comes from You. And deepen our gratitude so that we might serve and obey you with undivided and joyful hearts. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
TIME FOR PRIVATE CONFESSION. AND GIVING THANKS, NO MATTER WHAT BURDENS WE CARRY ON OUR BACKS.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Now, he's here! He's a little baby boy, two months early, but we think and pray he's healthy and going to be fine. My son says he came out screaming. It's better than a baby shower! I'm on my way to Beth Israel to see them and him now. God bless this child, now 4.5 pounds, and his happy, exhausted parents. November 23, what a perfect day to be born! If you have an extra prayer to spare, then please send it their way. And thank you.
UPDATE: INTERESTING THEORY, My son tells me that every---with emphasis on every--- baby born Sunday at Beth Israel Hospital was premature. He thinks it's because of all the stress in the world financial markets etc over the past few months. Sounds possible to me: both my son and daughter-in-law work in the financial sector. But I have another theory: it's an early, yet another reason to be thankful for God's incredible goodness, no matter what happens from here on.
At the present time...the beauty of the world is almost the only way by which we can allow God to penetrate us.... A sense of beauty, although mutilated,...is present in all the preoccupations of secular life. The soul’s natural inclination to love beauty is the trap God most frequently uses in order to win it.... The beauty of the world is the co-operation of divine wisdom in creation.The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us coming through the matter. He is really present in the universal beauty.
The love we feel for the splendor of the heavens, the plains, the sea and the mountains, for the silence of nature which is borne in upon us its thousands of tiny sounds, for the breath of the wind or the warmth of the sun, this love of which every human being has at least an inkling, is an incomplete, painful love, because the beauty of the world makes us yearn for some universal beauty...that does not seem to respond to us.
— Simone Weil
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Remorse was one of the motives behind Newton's decision to publish "Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade." "I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders," he wrote in the pamphlet's opening paragraphs, declaring that even if his testimony was unnecessary, "yet perhaps I am bound in conscience to take shame to myself by a public confession."
Newton's testimony was of vital importance in converting public opinion to the abolitionist cause. He himself clearly had this motivation in mind when he prepared the pamphlet, for it was skillfully constructed to have a political as well as a moral and humanitarian appeal.
Newton may well have had politics in mind when he put forward as "the first evil" of the slave trade the loss of life among English seamen. Knowing that the Parliament of a maritime nation traditionally gave a high priority to the safely of its sailors and seafarers, Newton began the arguments in his pamphlet with a grim catalog of the causes of Englishmen's deaths on board slave ships. Terrible weather conditions, African fevers, fatal diseases, deliberate poisonings, and violent insurrections by the slaves were said by Newton to result in an annual death toll of over fifteen hundred sailors. It was not clear how this statistical calculation had been reached, but the figure was given credibility by Newton's firsthand experiences of the danger he described.
Newton asserted that African women deserved to be respected as much as their European equivalents in matter such as personal modest and honor was a revolutionary view for its time. But he and William Wilberforce and other leading figures in the abolitionist movement knew that they were in the business of overturning misguided attitudes toward the African people as well as putting an end to what Newton in the final line of the pamphlet called a "commerce so iniquitous, so cruel, so oppressive, so destructive as the African Slave Trade."
In his description of the conditions on board a slave ship, Newton did not pull his punches. He said that English sailors were more severe and cruel to the Africans than the sailors of any other nation. He explained that an English slave ship of one hundred tons usually carried over two hundred slaves, "always in chains, locked at intervals to the deck." This overcrowding resulted in a high death rate.
Communicating the butcheries and atrocities of the slave trade to Parliament was a task that Newton carried out with formidable power and effectiveness. In his writings and in his appearances as a witness his evidence against the trade carried great weight. This was because he combined unchallengeable authenticity, dignified restraint, and moral authority. These were the qualities that brought him close to Wilberforce's group of prayerful friends in south London who became known as the Clapham Sect. In cooperation with them, Newton played a crucial role in the abolitionist movement, particularly between 1787 and 1790. but his work for abolition was interrupted by a sad personal loss----the death of his beloved wife, Polly.
---Jonathan Aitken, John Newton, From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
And so it was late last night, as I was driving up I-81 in Southern Virginia in 20-something degree weather and suddenly looked down at my gas gauge to see it almost empty. The gas light was on, I had no idea for how long. The bankrupt needle was leaning to the far left (no pun intended, no really) and I realized I had to get off at the next exit or risk the ordeal of calling AAA or the highway patrol.
Then I saw the exit up ahead with a sign for the only gas station in sight:
A fork in the road. But would I, should I, could I take it? Buying gas from Hugo or risk most certainly running out?
Ahhh, when you see a fork in the road, take it! I went through a mental lock down. Did I have warm clothes on and more in the car? Check. Gloves in the front seat? Check! Leftover peanuts with M&Ms floating around the front seat and few more on the floor? Check. Water? Check. My cell phone? Check. And my little travel Bible and some sensational poetry for inspiration for whatever else might happen on this dark upon darkest winter night? Check.
I had enough to take the right fork! Yes, yes that fork and drive on drove on! On through the wind! On through the rain! AND I'LL NEVER DRIVE ALONE! NO, I'LL NEVER DRIVE ALONE!
No way was I buying anything from Hugo at no time, know what I mean?
But would I make it to the next exit? I drove on, on a wing and a prayer.
And then.... then.... in a few minutes I saw it. ..... A shining exit on a hill. With a lite-up gas station. Brighter than a Christmas tree! A CHEVRON gas station. Whoopee! I was going to make it! It was pedal to the medal! And so all ended well on that cold and windy night in Virginia.
I filled up shivering and thankfully, very thankfully drove on.
But, gentle reader, there's a moral to this story. I hope you'll forgive my indiscretion in giving it to you bluntly, as in less than subtle terms. I warn you, it's not very lady-like. But I consider it my patriotic duty. I did my part and took one small step of protest, one small step forward for mankind. And that I might encourage you also to do yours in whatever small ways you can, as Dr. Helen has also suggested in going John Galt. So along with turning off the MSM tellie and lots of other ideas, here's my suggestion to add to the list:
And now, you know.......the rest of the story.....
This post is dedicated to the friend I met on I-81 two-and-a-half years ago, who shall remain anonymous....except to that friend. What a trip!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Meanwhile Friday, John Tamny writes for RealClearMarkets:
Conventional wisdom says Henry Paulson's TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) was billed as necessary to avert an alleged run on the banks. In truth, the run on bank shares occurred after the imposition of Paulson's disastrous idea with Citigroup, Goldman and Bank of America in freefall ever since this plan was foisted on the banking industry and American people. This shouldn't surprise us given the basic reality that government money always weakens its unlucky recipients. Most shocking is that there was some consensus that non-economic lending got us here, but instead of allowing tight credit to weed out the bad, the conditions set to receive TARP funds meant banks would engage in more non-economic lending, thus setting the stage for the next crisis...
So to the extent that federal funds allegedly saved certain banks in the near-term, those same banks will surely pay over the long-term as the best and brightest exit the industry. There are no numbers supporting this yet, but it would be folly to assume that Goldman Sachs will recruit as effectively (Microsoft’s Bill Gates long noted that GS served as his greatest competitor when it came to attracting fecund minds) going forward considering that handsome compensation was one of the firm’s greatest calling cards. Goldman’s stock price surely to some degree reflects a future that is less bright...
Speaking once again to the truth that there’s no federal money absent strings attached, Treasury has made it clear that banks must aggressively lend in order to lift the economy out of the ditch. That being the case, it’s very apparent that to the degree banks comply, more non-economic lending will materialize such that the seeds of the next financial crisis are being planted right now...
Worse, governmental demands that banks lend with no regard to prevailing market conditions are an impoverishing concept. How soon we forgot that a successful capitalist system is reliant on the efficient deployment of capital..... With bank shares continuing to fall, the best long-term scenario we can hope for is that thanks to the federal government’s shocking ineptitude as economic backstop, we’ll have historical precedent to bolster the non-intervention argument the next time time around; "next time" perhaps coming sooner than we think given a Treasury that has pushed money out to banks while shouting, "Lend!"
So while it’s surely nice to think that government money borrowed from the private sector can somehow smooth out periods of economic uncertainty, TARP’s impressive failure shows yet again that far from stimulating, government “help” is an oxymoron that bats 1.000 when it comes to scaring away investors.
Bank Share Collapse Shows Failure of TARP.
Is TARP really a TRAP?
Haleigh Poutre's amazing recovery from severe abuse and death, through Michelle Malkin on the sanctity of life.
When Are We Law Abiding/Tax Paying Citizens Going To Stand Up To the Loud Lunatic Fringe Taking Over America?
(Please note the ballot pictured below signifying a vote for Norm Coleman is being challenged by Al Franken with a straight face in Minnesota today. Evidently this person didn't mark the ballot in a way Mr. Franken approves of. Absolutely amazing. How long are we going to put up with this foolishness?)
After decades of being nice, low-keyed and non-angry (we're all so desperately afraid of being called angry), the conservative movement in America---not to mention the demonized, 'evil' Christian element to which I belong----both who've made this country the greatest in the history of the world---- are now facing massive intimidation and shaming from the radical left for who we are and what we stand for. As middle-aged ingrates like radical domestic terrorist Bill Ayers take center stage, now that Mr. Obama has been elected, he assures the youth of America on his book tour that he should have done more bombings back in the 60s. How can we sit idly by and let these insane voices prevail without countering them with opposition?
How can we continue to let the loudest, most radical and demanding dregs among us control the national agenda and prevail through intimidation and mob violence like is now going on in California over Proposition 8, reversing same-sex marriage in California? Never mind that the people have spoken there through a legal election process and the rule of law. The people---read that the gay rights Nazis---want to make all those voters who dared oppose their agenda be criminalized and dispatched. And if they can't win through a legally proscribed voting process, then they'll ram it down our throats through lawless, activist judges who are hell-bent on making law rather than interpreting it. What part of no to gay marriage, yes to gay unions needs further interpreting?
How can we let the likes of Al Franken take over the vote in Minnesota without opening our mouths or our pocketbooks? Meanwhile, Franken is acting like he's already been crowned. And what about the despicable radical left campaign now going on in the state of Georgia? How can we let the creeping socialism now oozing through our country continue on? We need to know our politicians phone numbers and e-mails and wear them out with feedback and comments.
Are we concerned? We better be. And concerned enough to get angry and take concerted, sustained action. Now. It's not enough to say we don't know what to do. Or we're scared. Or too busy. Or someone might think we're not very nice.
Why should I be angry? Because I am sitting on the sidelines letting the left lunatic fringe take over the moral agenda of our country and then scratch my head and wonder, "How did this happen? Isn't it a shame what's happening in our schools. Isn't it shameful that my second grader is required to learn how to put a prophylactic on a banana, thanks to the NEA and other leftists nuts?"
It should be painfully clear by now that unless we begin to speak up, get angry, vote with our pocketbooks and stand up to the increasing radical and vociferous hate mongers on the left fringe, we're going to lose this great country. Until the next election, we need to get involved, vote with out pocketbooks, view with our values and walk away from anything that supports this radical agenda.
A liberal friend e-mailed me yesterday mentioning how angry I sound on my blog at times (without being specific and giving any meaningful examples.). My response is, Good. I must be doing something right. And, expect to see more of this. If anyone feels strongly and wants to take issue with me on my blog, then they are more than free to post a comment citing specifics (a concept which is surely far beneath this person's pay grade.)
I plan to get more selfish in protecting the values and principles I believe in, enough to take a stand and not shrink back from intimidation and threats of being unpopular and worse. By the way, it's why I've been blogging for the past two years.
I'm sick of hearing that I as a Christian and conservative am the shame of my party who wants to ram morality down the country's throat because I oppose abortion, gay marriage and partial birth abortion. Even as the name of God is eradicated from every public arena on every courthouse, in every school and every public discourse and the agenda of a woman's right to choose to abort her child through the 9th (!) month of pregnancy is a policy our new president supports I shrink back? No way. I'm getting angry and staying angry and selfish about this. I hope you will too.
Ted Nugent's Davy Crockett Rant on getting mad, speaking up and taking California and the country back from the fringe elements is worth a read. It should give us inspiration:
"You've got to start raising Hell -- and I am constantly being gunned down by the media; I'm a curse, I'm a dangerous guy, I'm a madman, I'm scary, I have too many guns, I shoot all the deer -- eat me. I stand up and I take the bullets because my name is Davy Crockett. This is the wall of the Alamo. If you can't shoot Santa Anna's men, shut up and load my gun. So get tough and get tougher.
"You don't need tough love in America, you need tougher love. Around the water cooler, at the church, at school. At the work place, at the picnic, and the bowling alley. You should be pounding the desk with your fist, raising hell, and take this beautiful state back from the pimps, and the whores, and the welfare brats, and the gang-bangers who seems to have all the rights in the world while the good people, the productive, law abiding people don't have jack squat -- and I think I am going to throw up."
A dear friend e-mailed me yesterday with the suggestion that people who are concerned about the eradication of God from any and all public discourse in America should write "In God We Trust" on every envelop, every bill and every Christmas card and letter we send out. I couldn't agree more.
Hat tip and more at Dr. Helen's. Also Bruce Walker today on What the Election Loss Means to Conservatives.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The stock market has gone down another 400 points in heavy volume, as it falls below the magic 8,000 mark. Seems to be dropping below all recent lows and support lines to five year lows. Notwithstanding the current financial crisis, I believe this leading indicator is presaging even more trouble down the road, as if we don't have enough already. Especially next spring. Hate to repeat myself, but this is not likely to be over anytime soon and I don't think the average person has even begun to feel the effects of this; it's like nothing we've seen in our lifetimes etc. etc.
Yet with bad news, there's always a silver lining, an ultimate hope and revolution of the soul.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Anarchy and extreme poverty always go hand-in-hand and no where in the world are these two bedfellows more dominant than in Somalia and other countries like Sudan on the coast of East Africa. Anarchy and political thuggery--mostly from Arab Muslim insurgents---are creating a desperate situation for the hungry, impoverished people of this region. That in turn is creating this desperate form of piracy on the waters in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.
Monday, November 17, 2008
It's late. I'm tired and in the throes of a very political process and boundary dispute with developers and homeowners here of heroic proportions, at least for us. It's like a live chess game with every conceivable pawn going in every direction. Yet it's interesting to me from another perspective: I'm a mediator trained to facilitate disputes like this in court, often successfully. But now, I have to apply my skills as a disputant/ advocate for my own side. Where am I as a mediator when I need me most?
Even so, I want to comment on Hillary Clinton's impending acceptance of President-elect Obama's offer to become Secretary of State: She should just say no! It will be a dead-end for her politically, effectively leaving her out of any further running in 2012 and beyond. Maybe in her heart this is what she really wants, but it's news to me. If you're interested in reading another more in-depth opinion that I agree with, then read on. But, bottom-line, this will not be a spring-board for any further political aspirations for her. In fact, I predict the contrary: it will be a graveyard.
Barack Obama got his start as a community organizer in Chicago, saying it was "the best education I ever had, better than anything I got at Harvard Law School." And while he downplays his connections to ACORN, claiming he worked for churches, he was trained by (Saul) Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation and then spent years in the 1980s teaching the Alinsky method to others through several Alinsky offshoots such as Project Vote and Developing Communities Project in Chicago.
Over the campaign, Saul Alinsky's son Lee David Alinsky did not think Obama was giving his deceased father credit for his success. In a letter to the Boston Globe in August of this year, after Obama's open-stadium rally in Denver, the younger Alinsky wrote:
"Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday."
Saul Alinsky explained his community organizing tactics in his book Rules for Radicals published in 1971 which involved teaching a process of community organizing that combined hope and resentment and also baiting and ridiculing an opponent until he reacts. Was that the intention Obama had when he ridiculed Nancy Reagan falsely for holding seances during his first press conference after becoming president-elect?
Alinsky's method of organizing was to identify a class of so called victims and divide the community into the Have oppressors and the Have Not victims. Then he went on to make the Have Nots believe they are unjustly treated by the Haves by building resentment against the American social and economic system, using church congregations to mobilize street agitators, and lobbying government for higher taxes and big-spending welfare programs. The end goal was to have governmentt confiscate the wealth and power of the Haves and turn it over---redistribute it--- to the Have Nots. And the heads of government get to decide who are the Have and Have Not. That sounds strangely like socialism/communism.
Alinsky dedicated his book to none other than the fallen angel Lucifer, yes that Lucifer, whom he describes as "the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment (that would be God) and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom."
Wow, we don't have to wonder any longer what his religious beliefs are, do we?
Another Alinsky quote to note in relation to Mr. Obama: "Ego must be so all-pervading that the personality of the organizer is contagious, so that it converts the people from despair to defiance, creating a mass ego." Source.
I think we're in for some interesting times ahead.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
PERSUADING WILBERFORCE TO STAY ON "the right track" and to combine the life of a Christian with the life of a politician was John Newton's finest hour as a pastor. It was not the obvious advice from a senior clergyman meeting a potential young future minister of the Church, bursting with spiritual zeal. What would have happened if Newton had recommended to Wilberforce that he should cut himself off from public life and explore what he thought was his call to a religious vocation? The loss to British politics, to parliamentary history and above all, to the cause of the abolition of slavery would have been devastating.
It is clear from Wilberforce's diaries that his meeting with Newton was a turning point in his life. During the next few months the older man's mentoring became increasingly intense and the younger man's faith became increasingly committed. Wilberforce immediately joined the congregation of St Mary Woolnoth and heard Newton preach his rector's sermons there.
Within weeks, Newton traveled back after the Sunday services with Wilberforce to his house in Wimbledon. The dined together and had long talks after dinner.
These intimate conversations between the two friends deepened the intensity of their friendship. By this time, Wilberforce had thrown caution to the winds over his association with London's leading evangelical minister.
In the early months of 1786, Newton's mentoring of Wilberforce took many forms. One was the recommendation of books. In March, Newton sent Wilberforce John Austin's Confessions and urged him to read three books by John Bunyan---The Jerusalem Sinner Saved, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.
Wilberforce gave up his old habits of clubbing, gaming and high living. Under Newton's guidance, he was following an exemplary new regime of prayer, Bible reading and serious study of the moral and political issues of the day.
Over time it was easy to detect both the intimacy and dedication of Newton's commitment to Wilberforce. Helping the young Member of Parliament to find and stay in the difficult "right path" of combining religious faith with political service was Newton's goal. He achieved it. As a result, humanity will forever be in Newton's debt for mentoring Wilberforce through one of the most delicate and vulnerable phases of his life's journey.
The mentoring soon led both men forward to wholehearted involvement in the campaign to abolish the slave trade.
----Jonathan Aitken, John Newton, From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Here's a little history test for one of my commenters (specifically one---who shows ignorance of American history---from my previous post on the Republican ladies luncheon who asked with a straight face 'if blacks are allowed to attend these events?') and for anyone else who thinks, mistakenly, that Republicans hate or exclude blacks from anything.
I hope you'll enjoy taking this test. And I'll give you a small hint....every answer to these first 9 questions is (b) and begins with the letter R, as in Republican.
BLACK POLITICAL HISTORY: THE UNTOLD STORYNOTE:
1. What Party was founded as the anti-slavery Party and fought to free blacks from slavery? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
2. What was the Party of Abraham Lincoln who signed the emancipation proclamation that resulted in the Juneteenth celebrations that occur in black communities today? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
3. What Party passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution granting blacks freedom, citizenship, and the right to vote? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
4. What Party passed the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1875 granting blacks protection from the Black Codes and prohibiting racial discrimination in public accommodations, and was the Party of most blacks prior to the 1960’s, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
5. What was the Party of the founding fathers of the NAACP who were themselves white? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
6. What was the Party of President Dwight Eisenhower who sent U.S. troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools, established the Civil Rights Commission in 1958, and appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
7. What Party, by the greatest percentage, passed the1957 Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
8. What was the Party of President Richard Nixon who instituted the first Affirmative Action program in 1969 with the Philadelphia Plan that established goals and timetables? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
9. What is the Party of President George W. Bush who supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s University of Michigan Affirmative Action decision, and is spending over $200 billion to fight AIDS in Africa and on programs to help black Americans prosper, including school vouchers, the faith-based initiative, home ownership, and small business ownership? [ ] a. Democratic Party [ ] b. Republican Party
Now, lest you feel the answers have left out your party, the Democrats, then you may be hearted to find that the answers to the following 8 questions are all (b) and start with the letter D, as in Democrats. Soldier on dear readers there's music at the end:
10. What Party fought to keep blacks in slavery and was the Party of the Ku Klux Klan? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
11. What Party from 1870 to 1930 used fraud, whippings, lynching, murder, intimidation, and mutilation to get the black vote, and passed the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws which legalized racial discrimination and denied blacks their rights as citizens? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
12. What was the Party of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Harry Truman who rejected anti-lynching laws and efforts to establish a permanent Civil Rights Commission? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
13. What was the Party of President John F. Kennedy who voted against the 1957 Civil Rights law as a Senator, then opposed the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after becoming president, and later had the FBI (supervised by his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy) investigate Dr. King on suspicion of being a communist? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
14. What is the Party of current Senator Robert Byrd who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Senator Fritz Hollings who hoisted the Confederate flag over the state capitol in South Carolina when he was the governor, and Senator Ted Kennedy who recently insulted black judicial nominees by calling them “Neanderthals” while blocking their appointments? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
15. What was the Party of President Bill Clinton who failed to fight the terrorists after the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, sent troops to war in Bosnia and Kosovo without Congressional approval, vetoed the Welfare Reform law twice before signing it, and refused to comply with a court order to have shipping companies develop an Affirmative Action Plan? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
16. What is the Party of Vice President Al Gore whose father voted against the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s, and who lost the 2000 election as confirmed by a second recount of Florida votes by the “Miami Herald” and a consortium of major news organizations and the ruling by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that blacks were not denied the right to vote? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
17. What Party is against the faith-based initiative, against school vouchers, against school prayers, and takes the black vote for granted without ever acknowledging their racist past or apologizing for trying to expand slavery, lynching blacks and passing the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws that caused great harm to blacks? [ ] a. Republican Party [ ] b. Democratic Party
Source. Please note: None of this is to say all Republicans are purely non-racists or that all Democrats are racists. That would be absurd. But, it bears repeating that Republicans are given a very false rap by the likes of William in my comments section when they ask if blacks are allowed to attend Republican ladies luncheons. The answer, by the way, is yes and we wish more would attend.
It's safe to say the Republican party has sought to free black Americans for the past century and a half and give them the benefits of equality of opportunity, while the Democratic party has often sought to make racial victims and brain wash them into demanding the myth of equality of outcome. It will be interesting to see what Mr. Obama does with this when he's sworn in for president in January. I pray he will be an inspiration to all people in this regard.
Friday, November 14, 2008
On the contrary, Bob gave a much more sanguine report on the progress the US military has made in Iraq and countered tired, old myths with new truths from the Middle East. The good news is we're winning and the Iraqi government and people are taking more responsibility for themselves through establishing civil order, while exercising political power through free elections in various provinces. All Iraq's neighboring countries have established embassies in its country. A full summary of his talking points were written last month for Pajamas Media and can be read here. Michael Yon in Baghdad agrees with Krumm going even further today.
After his talk and a lively Q&A, I sat with him over lunch and discussed a number of issues. Men like Bob Krumm who are smart, articulate communicators both in person and on the Internet, steeped in conservative principles including a strong military and fiscal responsibility, and who willing to step up to the political plate are the great hope of the Republican party.
He has political aspirations and I think he's considering a run for Governor of Tennessee in the next few years. He tells me he's more interested in that than being a senator or congressman. That's good news for Tennessee and its reputation for being a Red State that's getting redder all the time.
Seeing Bob Krumm on Wednesday gave me hope and inspiration that all is not lost in an otherwise dark time for conservatives. You can read his latest post-election post on his blog, or by clicking his name on my sidebar. Thank you, Bob, for your service to our country. It was great for all of us to see you Wednesday.
Women like the ones above are the main reason Tennessee is seeing red. They're the movers and shakers--the grass roots---of the conservative movement here. Congratulations, ladies. You helped win both houses of the state legislature and make McCain win by a landslide. You're the backbone of this red state and we best never forget it.
More information and photos of this crisis here. Some photos are heartbreaking in this decades long and often forgotten African conflict. Please pray for the people of the Congo. They need whatever we can send them and much more, as do the people of Sudan.
Where there's war and death in countries like the Congo and Sudan, can Arab Muslims, a wealth of oil and minerals and the Chinese be far behind? The answer is clearly, YES.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Stock prices have been going down again to retest their previous lows. Better known as making a second bottom, it remains to be seen if markets will hold there at their lowest support lines or sink further. This market is the most volatile, treacherous, difficult and lethal I've ever seen. We can only hope that in the next few days we'll hold at our previous lows and have a nice bounce. But a bounce might also lead to another drop and retesting a third bottom. I don't expect this mess to be over anytime soon and could wind on for several years. Many excesses on the individual, corporate and governmental levels that need to be worked through whether we like it or not.
I'll be back later with more posts on some new subjects near and dear to my heart. And also to write about meeting and visiting with a fellow conservative blogger (whom I link to on my sidebar) yesterday at a Republican ladies luncheon here in Nashville where he was the keynote speaker. He has just returned from six months in Iraq. Very interesting and good fun. And if that's not enough, this blogger watched me skid across a slick ballroom floor on some sugar crystals, make a colossal fall on my derrier (my adorable new British daughter-in-law calls it a perky bum) and came and picked me up off the floor, even though I just wanted to lie there indefinitely and then crawl out of the room on all fours with a paper sack on my head. What a kind and gentlemanly thing this man did.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
When will we stop subsidizing bankrupt companies that are no longer competitive or viable? John Tamny says time to pull the plug on GM and let it be gobbled up by more hip companies in the auto biz. I agree. Proposed bailouts are for political expediency by nanny government and NOT for the long-term good of the country. Bailouts are really bail-ins to deeper and deeper muck in the long run and are an anathema to free market principles that have made our economy strong and durable.
Oh, not to be outdone by the whining auto makers, American Express is bellying up to the feeding trough. Where will the oink-fest end? Oink, Oink!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
"Firstly he (Wilberforce) planned to withdraw from his former lifestyle of social elegance combined with political nonchalance. Secondly, he wanted to isolate himself in order to explore his vocation in a period of thoughtful seclusion. He explained his position to several friends including William Pitt. The Prime Minister replied to Wilberforce's letter of December 1 (alas lost to posterity) with four pages of advice in which he urged caution and offered Wilberforce a one-to-one conversation about the questions that were troubling him. Pitt wrote:
You will not suspect me of thinking lightly of any moral or religious motives that guide you. But forgive me if I cannot help expressing my fear that you are nevertheless deluding yourself into principles that have but too much tendency to counteract your own object and to render your virtues and your talents useless to both yourself and mankind. I am not, however, without hopes that my anxiety paints this too strongly. For you confess that the character of religion is not a gloomy one and that it is not that of an enthusiast (Methodist). But why then this preparation of solitude that can hardly avoid tincturing the mind either with melancholy or superstition? If a Christian may act in the several relations of life, must he seclude himself from them all to become so? Surely the principles as well as the practice of Christianity are simple, and lead not to meditation only but to action.
This challenging letter from Pitt to Wilberforce was dated December 2, 1785, the same day on which Wilberforce wrote in such opaque terms to Newton requesting some serious conversation under conditions of secrecy. It was also the day when Wilberforce confided in his diary Resolved again about Mr. Newton. It may do good; he will pray for me. Kept debating in that unsettled way.
John Newton could not have possibly known that Wilberforce's desire to talk about tensions and doubts within myself was connected to correspondence with the Prime Minister.....But what Newton could clearly see from the letter he received was that Wilberforce was in a state of turmoil. The melodramatic language and emphasis on secrecy were indications of emotional or spiritual turbulence."
------Jonathan Aitken, John Newton, From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
There's no doubt in my mind that these past two days--and actually on numbers of them leading up to the election---the stock market continues to convulse over an Obama administration and its potential to wreck the economy almost beyond repair. The possibilities of making our economic woes more prolonged and deeper are real indeed.
The irony is the the American people elected Obama on the mistaken and flawed belief that he can make it all better with a few magic waves of his neophyte wand. (The idea of bringing in billionaire Warren Buffet comes to mind.)
Nothing is further from the truth. His tendency will be to make government over-regulate, over-correct our problems. This will make them last longer. It's a hard temptation for his self-importance to resist. And how might Mr. Obama and company (Pelosi, Reid et al) specifically make it worse? There are many ways. But for starters:
1) Big Labor, you know the anachronism that's been in decline for decades now and now wants to reassert itself back into political relevance. It sees a last chance with this new group of 'business and cultural engineers' now coming into power. Make no mistake, labor unions are no longer about taking care of individual workers in harsh working conditions. Rather Big Labor is really about raw, naked power---power that's actually in great decline. BL is desperate to get back in the game as the auto industry goes under and in doing so will run more jobs and businesses out of the country and off the map. Getting into businesses and then loading them up with unreasonable demands will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Think outsourcing is a problem now? We ain't seen nothing yet. Jobs and businesses will fly out of the country like bees out of a smoking hive. Obama will then attempt to make outsourcing illegal and unprofitable through lefty legislation and regulation. And presto, businesses will shut down and with them jobs will be lost in droves.
As labor seeks passage of the Employee Free Choice Act law---making it harder for businesses to resist its bullying attempts take over a company's labor force----again businesses will simply leave the country or close down altogether. Jobs will be lost and with them tax revenues, often forever.
Labor unions' attempts at regaining glory days of its lost youth will only fail in the end like an aging desperate starlet who will do anything to get attention. But not before they've strong-armed a weak and obligated Obama into acceding to their selfish demands and taken down the economy with it.
2. Trade barriers in global markets. This ill-conceived plan is thought to help American workers and goods better compete in world markets. But in reality trade barriers only inhibit the flow of goods and money and act as a tax on consumers. That's a tax on each of us.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Two things we can be thankful for here in Tennessee: First, Republican John McCain carried Tennessee with 59% of the vote. Democrat Barack Obama got 41% of the popular vote and only 6 of Tennessee’s 95 counties: Davidson (Nashville), Shelby (Memphis), Haywood, Houston, Hardeman (all west Tennessee).
Then, Tennessee Republicans captured both houses of the state legislature Tuesday for the first time since Reconstruction. This will have far reaching ramifications on the state, including the likely removal of the three Democratic constitutional officers who are elected by the legislature and have held on to their same jobs for decades.
Both House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower and Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris said Republicans want to elect a new secretary of state, state comptroller and state treasurer as soon as the General Assembly convenes in January.
This is a state of fiscal conservatives with the Democratic governor Phil Bredesen being a fiscal conservative or he wouldn't be here.
"Special inspiration for African Americans in this the greatest nation on earth. "---John McCain
My hope is that Obama's accomplishment will eradicate the lingering victim consciousness in this race of people who are---and have been----equal citizens with all of their fellow Americans for some time. If this election inspires an understanding of the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome then it will have been well worth it. On the other hand, if it inspires a greater sense of victim consciousness, entitlement and arrogance then it will be a shame.
May God bless America. And God bless both the winners and losers.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
See the latest electoral tab. New York Post updates the Electoral College vote count until every state is in and the winner declared.
Race to the White House.
BOB KRUMM STICKS HIS NECK OUT with stunning predictions. I seriously doubt it but this guy is very politically savvy. In a twist, Bob sums it up as follows:
Nationwide: Going in to election day, Obama will be leading 47% to 44% with 7% undecided. McCain wins the undecided almost 5:2. Increased support from black voters in the three Ds (DC, Detroit, and the Deep South) along with gains in other reliably red states runs up Obama’s popular vote totals, but adds nothing to the electoral bottom line. The only states he turns in his favor are two very white ones (Iowa 2% black and Nevada 6% black), providing evidence against the charge of racism. But facts don’t get in the way of the story line that racism decided the race.
Final popular vote tally: Obama 49.2%, McCain 48.8%, Other 2%. Electoral votes: Obama 244, McCain 273, Pennsylvania’s 21 TBD. Wednesday the 5th won’t be pretty.
Rasmussen begs to differ with Krumm's unconventional wisdom.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for hope and inspiration, but really now.
Monday, November 3, 2008
My final comments ahead of the election: Win or lose, Bring. It. On. Heaven knows we could have sent ten men to Pluto and back, built coal gasification plants in every city and given each man, woman and child in America a refund check for thousands of dollars for what it's cost to endure this interminable presidential campaign cycle.
If Obama wins a lot of people I know will be disappointed in the next few days. But I think a lot more voters will be hugely disillusioned in the next few years. Sooner rather than later, these Bush times so many lefties have become so bitterly unhinged over, will be seen as good ole days here in America. You can quote me on this. File it away.
So, Bring. It. On. Some big, tough lessons in much needed disillusionment may clearly be ahead. Can't wait to see photos in People magazine of Oprah dancing with Hugo Chavez at a White House dinner. And Jane Fonda powdering her nose in the ladies room of the Senate dining room before meeting Nancy Pelosi for a foreign policy power lunch.
Fasten seat belts. Wild kingdom ahead. Thank goodness we can still watch the Cadillac Foxes on YouTube.
Meanwhile, the election marches on. I voted early last week. As soon as I return from the meeting with developers tonight, if I'm not too exhausted, I plan to write a final post before the election.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Obama's Regulations On New Coal Plants (49% of US Energy Supplies) Could Bankrupt Operations in VA, WV, OH, IN, CO, PA
If you work in the coal industry in any of the above states, your employment days might be numbered. But don't worry, Mr. Obama will cut your taxes.
Although he (Newton) must have been surprised to receive such a request from a correspondent he had not seen on heard from for over ten years. After further reflection Newton would not have found it difficult to at the hidden agenda behind Wilberforce's letter, for he was an old friend of the Wilberforce family, having known William since his schoolboy visits to his old Olney vicarage in the 1770s when he was a accompanied by his Aunt Hannah. The boy had grown into a rising twenty-six year-old politician who had just won reelection to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Hull.
But as Newton was aware, William Wilberforce MP had slipped from the serious and moral lifestyle in which his pious Aunt Hannah had brought him up. Since his arrival at Westminster he had, by his own admission, been something of a dilettante---"The first years I was in Parliament I did nothing---nothing to any purpose"---- was Wilberforce's description of his early political life. Instead he had become a fashionable figure in London society, a frequenter of the gaming tables in St James's Street clubs such as White's and Boodle's and an object of admiration in that beau monde on account of his inherited fortune, his melodious singing voice, and his close friendship with the young Prime Minister, William Pitt, who was twenty-six years old.
But his views began to change during the summer of 1784 and 1785 when he traveled around Europe with Isaac Milner, his form schoolmaster at Hull Grammar School. Wilberforce regarded Milner as "very much a man of the world in his manners." If those manners had been known to include evangelical leaning, it is unlikely that Wilberforce would ever have invited his old teacher to be his holiday companion.
Yet, once Milner's views on religion had emerged in casual conversation during their journey across France, the two friends engaged in many discussion about faith and the truth of Scripture. They also studied the Greek New Testament and a popular evangelical book, "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," by Philip Doddridge.
By the end of their second summer together in 1785, William Wilberforce had come under such powerful conviction that he began wrestling with his conscience that he thought might be telling him to leave his worldly role as a Member of Parliament and to serve God as a minister of the Church. Believing he had to make a choice between these two careers, Wilberforce resolved to approach his decision with utmost care.
Firstly he planned to withdraw from his former lifestyle of social elegance combined with political nonchalance. Secondly, he wanted to isolate himself in order to explore his vocation in a period of thoughtful seclusion......
---Jonathan Aitken, John Newton, From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
A beautiful song for today and our tumultuous times that puts all things in perspective.