RACE- RELIGION AND POLITICS [2-12-A]
 HE BEING DEAD- YET SPEAKS [Hebrews chapter 11]
Okay- lets try and cover a few things today. First- should I now do the Mea Culpa? [last post]. Why did the DOW jump 500 points yesterday?
A few reasons- but the main one was that the ‘central banks’ kind of did a mini bail out of the European banks.
I use quotes for central banks- because the Federal Reserve of the U.S. usually spends the most on these Black Friday bargains given to other countries.
Sort of like when the news reports ‘10 NATO troops killed’- Yeah 9 of the 10 are usually us.
So even though there were some good economic numbers yesterday [new jobs- 200,000- housing sales up] yet the main reason for the jump was the Fed offered low interest loans to the European banks.
Now- why did this help? Or did it really Help?
Let me give a crude parable. Say if you lived on ‘Uncle Bennie’s’ block [Ben Bernanke- Fed. Chairman]. And everybody knew that uncle Benny was loaded.
Then a few houses down you have Pedro [or Mike- don’t want my Mexican buddies to get mad!] And Pedro has a drug habit- he likes the Cocaine a little too much.
Now- 2 more doors down you have the main drug dealer in town. The dealer knows that Christmas is right around the corner and he needs some money for the family- but Pedro has already sold momma’s 400 dollars worth of food stamps [or used the Lone Star card to by some meat and sold it at half price- happens every day!]
So the dealer is not sure how much stuff he should ‘purchase’ on his next trip to Mexico. I mean if Pedro has no cash- then the dealer might want to skip the monthly purchase.
But wait- uncle Benny is in the Christmas mood- and he gives Pedro some cash- sure he tells Pedro ‘you will pay me back wont you’ Oh yeah Benny- you know me.
Of course Benny will never see the cash again- but the dealer thinks ‘damn- Pedro’s got some cash- might as well make the monthly purchase’ and yeah- the DOW shot up.
Crude- sure- but the DOW- which simply represents the present mood of business- if they think that some big purchasers- like Europe- just got some cash- well like the dealer- they know that the sales will be up- even if only temporary- but the odds are that Pedro will buy the goods- not fix the roof!
So- in that sense- the market was happy. But uncle Benny really didn’t fix anything- in fact- in some people’s eyes he made it worse.
Pedro’s family thinks ‘damn Benny- Pedro was strapped for cash- we were hoping he would think things thru and turn his life around- but you just prolonged the addiction’!
So Benny really didn’t fix anything- he just gave some compulsive spenders some spending money.
So- if I were in the market right now [like at 4 a.m. as I write] I would sell as soon as it opens today- because the ‘rent is too damn high’ [remember that Black guy running for office a few months ago?]
Okay- let me get something a little spiritual in here. I have been getting with the ‘Pedro’s’ of the world these last few weeks- and the other day a funny thing happened. I was at the homeless mission where the guys show up at around lunch time- that’s where I have met most of the street guys over the years.
So as I’m sitting there with Henry- someone says ‘wow- there’s Roger- I haven’t seen him in years’. I couldn’t believe my eyes- yeah- it was Roger.
Roger was/is a good friend- met him years ago when handing out some blankets and jackets to the guys on a cold night. I have known Roger for 25 years- we are good friends.
But around 3 years ago Roger got arrested [happened a lot] he was drunk- walked into the grocery store and told a cop ‘I’m gonna kill you’. Got sent to prison for that one.
So about 2 years ago Henry told me ‘John- got some bad news- Roger died in jail’. So I felt bad- lost a good friend. So- for the past 2 years I thought he went ‘home’. Now- here’s where it gets interesting- this past Sunday as I was praying for the crowd- Roger pops into my mind.
Now- this has happened with friends who have died- and I have started taking it seriously- like in a way they are part of the brotherhood- some alive- others dead- but still alive with the Lord.
So when a dead buddy pops into my mind- I pray for/with him. So I kinda prayed ‘Lord- in whatever way this works- use Roger as a sort of Elder/Pastor for this old group of Corpus Christi bums’- and I left it at that.
I even wrote his name on my prayer wall- and kind of ‘ordained’ him as a spiritual brother who is in the group- though I ‘knew’ he was dead.
And it was only a day or 2 later that he showed up!
So I realized the lord was bringing him to my mind because he would be back on the streets soon. Now- as I’m still shocked at seeing Roger- you know- I yelled ‘hey Roger- I thought you were dead’. He came over and had a good talk.
And someone yells ‘wow- there’s Buck’ what? Yeah- I thought Buck died too. Been gone for around the same time- and Henry told me Buck died.
Now- as I’m sitting there- kinda laughing about the whole thing- saying ‘wow- I heard you guys died’. I am realizing that the main Obituary informer was Henry- yeah- he’s the brother that’s been feeding me the scoop.
I even told my daughter that I actually posted notes on the Blog when the guys ‘died’- sort of like little memorial things- man- that’s bad.
So I started to realize that Henry is not the most reliable news source when it comes to death notices.
And as I’m thinking this thru- I realize that Henry told me Old Vern kicked the bucket about 2 months ago. Vern ‘was’ not homeless- he was sort of a street preacher who used to help the guys. I’m now starting to wonder whether Vern is alive and well.
Yeah- Henrys a good buddy- but I fear I will run into some of the old crowd one day- and the first thing they will say is ‘wow John- we heard you died’.
 COMMUNITY CHEST
Okay- we have come off of a pretty hectic week- the market shook and raddled last week. About midweek I was ready to do a Mea Culpa [sort of]. I mean financial advice is like talking religion and politics- once you state your claim- it’s very hard to admit you might have gotten it wrong.
But last week I watched the Kudlow Report for a few minutes while channel surfing- and to my surprise he was talking the economy [and market] up.
Kudlow is usually a straight shooter- and he was saying the 4th quarter [last 3 months of U.S. economic numbers] might see a 3.5 or maybe even 4 % rise.
For the life of me- I thought he was wrong- but he does know more than me- so I was gonna do the Mea Culpa. Then [I think the next day?] those wonderful Euro Zone folks decided to sell some bonds [Germany] and lo and behold- they couldn’t get enough buyers so they shut down the auction.
Yeah- for Germany- considered the ‘most stable’ of the Euro Zone crowd- for them to have had trouble like this- that’s a bad sign.
The credit rating agencies already dropped the ratings for Portugal and Hungary to Junk status.
The reports came out that showed that the world’s major banks are all preparing for a Eurozone breakup- even U.S. regulators are telling our big banks [Citigroup] to lower their risk in the Euro Zone bond funds.
So all in all- the DOW dropped 4.8% for the week- the worst one week drop in 2 months- and I didn’t have to swallow the crow after all.
Okay- then why did the market jump back up another 200 or so points yesterday?
To be honest- there really was no good reason in my view. We came off of a jump in Black Friday sales- I think they sold 16 % more than usual- which of course is always a good sign when consumers are ‘consuming’.
But why did we see the jump? Please- please- let’s not all be Lemmings [you know- following the lead guy off the cliff]. Every year companies do the ‘Black Friday’ thing- which gets its name from- well doing great deals on the Friday after Turkey day.
Why the name? Oh- maybe because they used to only do it on Friday- you think?
Now- say if ‘every day’ was a Black Friday- say if we just did Black Friday all the time- would there be a huge jump in consumer spending? Heck yeah!
So why don’t we do it all the time? Because we would all go bankrupt [the businesses] and end up being permanent Zuccotti park occupiers.
So to make it simple- the numbers were up- because they started Black Friday early- like on Thursday!
Oh- the tangled webs we weave.
Those of you who remember- a couple years back the president and congress passed some big spending deals- for consumers.
They did special tax breaks for 1st time homebuyers- they did special deals for trading in your ‘clunker’ and getting a new car [Cash for Clunkers]. They even gave you money to buy Green Appliances [energy savers- not Retro looking!].
When they did this- well of course home/car sales went up- because you were giving people ‘free money’ to buy stuff.
Now- when the numbers came in- some Dems said ‘lets just keep doing it- after all- its working’ and the Repubs shut the thing down.
What was ‘working’? Well- when you give free money out- or do Black Friday ever day- yes- the numbers will look good.
But these types of ‘numbers’ are fake numbers- their based on skewed data- I mean doing these programs every so often can help some- sure- give me a great deal on some crappy car trade in- okay- I’ll buy a car.
But what happened the next year? Both car and home sales suffered- because these deals didn’t bring ‘new money’ in- they just moved up those who were going to purchase anyway- but they made the purchase while the deal was going on- and the economy- and housing markets- well they still took the hit- it was just delayed.
Now- to the real cynical folk out there- like you guys who can’t see that Herman Cain is an innocent man! [ Fine and Sandusky Too!] yes- to you nay sayers- it might just look like some politicians would love to keep giving away THE ‘FREE MONEY’ BECAUSE IT WOULD MAKE THEIR NUMBERS LOOK BETTER FOR RE ELECTION.
And so the game goes on- it never ends.
During the years called the Intertestamental period [around 400 years B.C. to the time of Christ] the Jewish people suffered lots. During their captivities they eventually lost their Temple and wound up living in a ‘strange land’.
It was at this time that the Synagogues were invented- these ‘church buildings’ were not the temple- they had no sacrifices or other priestly ceremonies- they were literally named after a word that meant ‘House of Study’.
This word is the same word used for the Israeli legislature today- Knesset.
During the time of Christ these synagogues were places where the Jewish people captured/retained their culture- while being ruled by Rome.
In the Synagogue you had 2 ‘offering plates’. One was called The Dish- this was the offering for the poor- those who needed short term help- this went to them.
Then you had what was called The Chest. This was the ‘plate’ used for more long term type help- sort of like a welfare thing.
We also see in the writings of the New Testament that giving to the poor- helping those in need- is a very noble [and mandated!] thing.
But when we see ‘free money’ that is ‘robbing from the rich to give to the poor’ as a last resort type thing- well then we are using the principle in a wrong way.
I read one article on why the Italian debt crisis [very bad as well] was not ‘seen’ as bad as a country like France [who is on the verge of getting downgraded too- geez- if they are having so much financial trouble- maybe Sarkozy should cut back a little on all these ‘mini Bush’ military ventures?]
They said even though the Italian debt crisis is real- yet outside observers know that many Italians are well off- they have saved and invested- and if worse comes to worse- they will just tax the wealthy.
For major outside observers to be thinking this- to be hedging their bets on the private money being ‘taken’ to cover the debt- that’s bad.
That’s the same language we are now seeing in our country ‘pay your fair share- flying those corporate jets- you rich S.O.B.’s!
Yes- these are all signs of the times we are in.
I have been out of the market for many years- and those who are ‘in’ most of you lost some over this last decade- and some lost a lot.
I’m not sure what the next decade holds- but if you put some money in The Dish- or The Chest [which is where we get the term Community Chest] then I think you will have spent some money well- but if you simply see investing thru the lens of how much you will get back- then I think many of you are in for a surprise.
 News and Philosophy
I want to try and cover a few subjects today- let’s start with some current world news. Yesterday I read an AP story about some cops who poured gas on the tents of the protestors- they then set them on fire.
13 protestors died- 100’s were burned severely. The doctors set up outside E.R. areas to treat the wounded. The cops walked in to the areas and shot people- right there.
I read a report where one of the doctors said he was shocked- he has never seen this happen before.
‘Now John- you shouldn’t make stuff up like this- even for a point!’
I’m not making it up- this did happen the past 2 days- in Zuccotti Park? In Oakland? No- in Tahrir square- Egypt.
The people who did this- the ruling military generals- are the people we ‘put’ in charge- by demanding the ouster of Mubarak- the former ‘king’.
Let’s head directly west on this northern tip of the African continent. Libya.
On the same news page- they had a story about the capture of Seif- Gadhaffi’s most famous son. They caught him trying to cross the Libyan border into Niger. The same place Gadhaffi’s wife fled to earlier in the conflict.
His wife was about 7 months pregnant and she fled to save her unborn child. The ‘new leaders’ that have our support- they wanted her back in Libya- to stand ‘trial’ for crimes against humanity [they would have killed her!].
So the other day they caught the son. The rebel faction that caught him will not turn him over to the ‘transitional government’ in Tripoli [the capitol] because they want to try him themselves [there is absolutely no order in Libya].
Now- the son- like the dad- has been indicted on ‘crimes against humanity’ by the world Court in The Hague.
These ‘indictments’ are tools the U.S. and other NATO allies use to justify going after one bad guy [and his wife and kids] while installing other bad guys- who are often just as bad- or actually worse!
So this puppet court has the kid indicted. The puppet govt. in the capitol of Tripoli has said ‘the world court is a secondary court- we do not recognize you’!
So the actual leaders- THE ONES WE BACKED- are saying ‘screw you world court- we will try the kid ourselves’. And the faction that caught the kid is saying ‘screw you leaders in Tripoli- we will try him here- in our region’ and the U.S. [and Fahreed Zakariah- a CNN talking head] have said ‘look how wonderful Obama has handled Libya and Egypt- not like Bush’.
Wonderful? Burning protestors to death- ruling Libya like some back water Mexican drug cartel? This thing is sad- and our involvement in it is even sadder.
Okay- let’s try and transition a bit.
In the last Philosophy post I hit on the 10th-14th century development of modern thought- today I want to jump into the 16th-18th centuries. Like I said in a previous post- after the Renaissance and the Reformation and the great scientific revolution- you had the world in somewhat of a tailspin.
What I mean is for hundreds of years people trusted in the old institutions [like the Catholic Church] to tell them what was true or false- then with the development of all these modern movements people began questioning stuff.
Was it good to question things? Sure. But some challenged the very foundations of thought and knowing [called Epistemology] and went a bit too far.
Some thinkers went back to the thought of Plato [400 years BC] and said that the mind is the main source of all knowledge- these were the 17th century Rationalists.
Rationalism- as a philosophy- was an outgrowth of all the great strides that man was making in all these other areas of life. The Scientific Revolution totally challenged the age old beliefs of many in the church.
Math became a sort of new ‘god’. How so? As science invented the Microscope and Telescope- man was able for the first time to peer deeply into the heavens- and to see deeply into the microscopic world.
As the great minds [Copernicus] showed us that the Universe was different than what we thought [Heliocentric versus Geocentric] man was able to do mathematical calculations and to say that a specific planet or star [or Comet] would show up at an exact date- or spot- and Walla- it would happen [you could look thru the Telescope and sure enough the math was right- the object that was calculated to be there- was.]
These calculations were mathematical formulas- so math began to be seen as the new religion in many ways.
There are even some thinkers in the modern day that still say the only ‘real truth’ that exists is mathematical formulas. Yeah- one guy wrote an entire book on the subject- the problem? Well- his book was not written in math- but words.
Yes- even the extreme deniers of Objective truth do make mistakes.
Now- what’s wrong with rationalism? Of course being rational is okay- but the philosophy itself denied real Objective truth. Truth that corresponds to some other ‘outside’ reality.
This form of thinking [rejecting outside reality] is called Relativism/Subjectivism. While there is some truth to all the various fields of thought- yet extreme Relativism denies ‘reality’ as most of us understand the term. There was a strong resistance to the 17th century rationalists- we call this Philosophy Empiricism.
The main thinker in this field was John Locke. Locke lived most of his life in the 17th century- but his thought laid the foundation for the 18th century Empiricist.
This philosophy says that the mind does indeed play a major role in the knowledge of things- but this knowledge does not originate in the mind [Plato] but in the ‘thing’ itself [Aristotle- remember when we covered these men? Plato was an idealist- Ideas were more real than matter. Aristotle was a Realist- closer to the thought of Locke].
Locke developed a theory called the Correspondence theory- that truth that the Mind discovers corresponds to real things that actually exist apart from the mind.
Locke was a practicing doctor- and most of the other thinkers of the day had room to speculate about reality in a way that Locke could not.
He lived in a real world with real patients who had real symptoms- in a nutshell Locke had to diagnose his patients based on his findings- he could not deny that there was a real problem- he had to have his ‘feet on the ground’ [based in reality] while engaging with his head up high.
Okay- I think we’ll end with this. Maybe you can go back and read some of my previous posts on this subject- just to become a little more familiar with it.
As Christians- we are not ‘required’ to know Philosophy- or current events- or science- but it helps us engage the culture when we do educate ourselves in these areas.
Go slow in learning [not too slow!] and try and see how the Christian Worldview agrees with- or rejects certain aspects of these different felids of thought.
Most Christians would reject Rationalism as a Philosophy- because it denies real objective truth- it says truth is relative- whatever the mind can conceive- or think- can be defined as truth [Unicorns?]
Biblical truth is based on real historic events- 1st Corinthians chapter 15 says that if we deny the physical resurrection of Christ- a real event- then our faith is in vain.
Christians base their faith on a real historic event- not simply on a belief system.
 IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH
A few months back I caught a good movie- In the Valley of Elah [you know- one of those titles that makes no sense!]. But overall the movie was good.
It starred Tommy Lee Jones [Gore’s old roommate] and it was on Gore’s Liberal channel- Current TV.
The movie was about an Iraqi soldier who survived the war but was killed in mysterious circumstances when he came back to be stationed in the states.
I won’t blow the ending- but it took some twists and turns and the final scene is quite offensive [nothing dirty- but if you watch- you’ll see what I mean].
Anyway- don’t know why I went there.
Okay- lets finish the week with one more teaching from Jesus. The last few days I focused a little on the main idea of the New Covenant versus the Old law. Basically- we as believers are saved- accepted with God- not because we try to keep the law- [Old Covenant] but because Christ died for us and rose again [New Covenant].
In Jesus short teachings- he hits on this a lot.
In Marks gospel- chapter 2- Jesus gives us a few examples. He says no one takes ‘New Wine’ and puts it into Old Bottles [New covenant won’t fit with a legalistic mindset]. And no one takes a new piece of cloth and uses it to patch up the old.
Then we see another one of those examples where Jesus is confronted by the religious crowd [Pharisees] and once again he wins the day [he always does!].
He’s walking with the disciples and as they go thru the fields they pick some corn [grain] and eat it. Got ya! It was the Sabbath day- and the religious leaders jumped all over him ‘why are your guys breaking the rules!’
‘The rules’ were the Old laws that said you couldn’t ‘work’ on the Sabbath. Okay- could you pick some corn and eat on the Sabbath? Sure. But these guys were the type that were super picky about everything- always looking to ‘catch you’. So they ‘caught Jesus’ [they thought] and waited for the response.
Now- Jesus tells them ‘don’t you guys read your bibles! Haven’t you ever read the story in the bible when King David was on the run from King Saul and he ate the holy bread that was only for the priests’?
This story is found in 1st Samuel chapter 21. David [not king yet] is fleeing from Saul and he stops at ‘the house of God’ and tells the priest ‘I’m on a secret mission from Saul- we left fast- we have no food or even weapons- can you give a guy a hand’. Now- David- like a good Christian- is making the whole thing up!
The priest kinda thinks something’s up- but he takes the bait and tells David ‘all I have is the holy bread- but that’s only for the priests’. So he takes the bread and he and his men eat it.
Jesus says ‘see- David ‘broke the law’ [ceremonial rule] and he was still doing God’s will’. Ah- Jesus sure knew how to shut those Pharisees up.
I have taught this before- and there really is a lot of significant things to cover in this teaching- for now- understand that what David did here [and later] was indeed something only priests could do.
And in the Old Testament when kings ‘acted’ like priests- they got in trouble! But David does a lot of things that priest’s do- and gets away with it. Later in the life of David he will set up what’s called The Tabernacle of David- and he will put on a Linen Ephod [priests garment] and indeed act like a priest.
All this points to the reality that King David was a type/symbol of Christ- who too is a priest and king.
And Jesus comes from the earthly genealogy of King David.
So- in a way- when he uses this example to refute the Pharisees- he is saying ‘I’m the new David- and just like King David and his men had priestly/royal privileges- so too me and my men share the same grace’.
This teaching is pretty good to be honest- but that’s not today’s point.
Oh- one more thing. As David is leaving- he asks the priest ‘do you have any weapons for us- we left so fast on this special assignment we didn’t have time to take our weapons’. Man- the way these guys lied in the bible- they make Cain and Sandusky look like altar boys!
The priest says ‘gee Dave- all I have here is the sword you killed the giant with- remember?’ Ah- the good old days.
Sure David remembers- we all do. When David was just a kid- he went out one day and did a ‘mans’ job. The giant Goliath was challenging the children of Israel day after day ‘hey you guys- don’t you have a warrior who can take me on- what- you all chicken’?
Man- day after day he made the challenge- and no one had the guts to take him up on the offer.
So little David hears the challenge and says ‘who is this guy to talk like that- I’ll kill him like a killed the bear [or lion? I forget off hand like this!] When I was protecting the sheep’.
And King Saul says ‘what the heck- go for it kid’. Well- David goes out and you know the rest of the story- he hits Goliath in the head with a stone from his sling- and walks up to him and takes his sword and pulls a Taliban move- the head comes off.
So- this is the sword the priest still has as a famous relic- everyone knew about the exploits of David.
Oh yea- the priest says ‘David- here’s the sword- the one you used to kill the giant- in the VALLEY OF ELAH’.
Yeah- the day we sent kids out because the men were too irresponsible to act like men- yeah- the Valley of Elah- guess it had a meaning after all.
 2ND MILE
This week most of us have been re introduced to this phrase- in a bad way. It’s the name of the nonprofit ministry that Jerry Sandusky started to help children.
We now think that he used it in a way to groom kids [that’s the accusation].
Where does the term come from? We find it in the Sermon on the Mount- yes- it’s a famous phrase from the lips of Christ.
In Matt. Chap. 5 Jesus says ‘if you are forced to go one mile- go 2 instead’. We use this term a lot in our day- like many other terms- we don’t realize that they are from the bible.
What was Jesus teaching us from this little verse? Actually- he simply said ‘do more than what’s required’. But I like to take it a little further.
In the time of Jesus the Roman soldiers had this special privilege- you know- the 1% versus the 99. If a soldier was walking thru town- under Roman law- he could require you to carry his pack- 1 mile.
Now- the people of Jesus day- they were very much like the 99% ‘hell- who are you to shove your rules on us!’ So they devised this plan- where you had these mile markers all over town. And when the ‘man’ made you carry the pack- heck- they dropped it right at the mile marker ‘screw you corporate S.O.B.’s!’
Now- Jesus tells his people ‘once you hit the mile mark- do a second one’. What? Are you kidding me Jesus- don’t you realize how Rome has treated us- they are bad people Jesus- they think they can tell us what to do.
In the short teachings of Jesus- there are lots of deep truths- often you need to spend some time thinking about them before you come up with the ‘rest of the story’.
One of the main things in Christ’s teachings is the theme of the 2nd covenant- the covenant of grace that is founded on the Cross.
In the first recorded miracle- the marriage at Cana- where Jesus turns the water into wine- at the end of the party they say ‘wow- most people put out the good wine first- but you have saved the best for last’.
This was Jesus way of saying the 2nd covenant- the grace of the Cross- is better than the first covenant- which was the law.
Now- in the 2nd mile- what happened? The guy carrying the soldier’s pack- he still lived up to all the requirements of the law- and more- but after he hit the 2nd mile- a strange thing happened.
All of a sudden he’s now in charge. I mean the soldier [law] is still there [Jesus never did away with the requirement to obey Gods law] but the law [soldier] was no longer a compelling figure- a ruler who ruled with a rod of iron. No- in the 2nd mile you are obeying- carrying the pack- because you want to- it’s part of your new nature.
Yeah- in the 2nd mile- you’re drunk on the ‘new wine’.
I find it ironic that one of the main criticisms of the way Penn state has handled this whole sad story- is that they [Paterno and the school] never went ‘the 2nd mile’ in dealing with the accusations against one of their won.
Paterno and others fulfilled the actual requirement under state law- they reported the thing to their superiors- yet they were not required to go to the police- and they didn’t.
That’s the charge against them today ‘you should have gone that 2nd mile’.
It is a problem the state will need to fix- and the fallout is sad- though I’m not a college football fan- yet Paterno was/is a legend- and it is sad for him to end like this.
Sometimes we live in a sort of Bizarro world- we see things on the tube and depending on which news show you’re watching- you get another completely different spin on the thing.
Yesterday evening Bloomberg [Mayor of N.Y.] had the cops raid the camps in Zucotti Park. As I watched the talking heads give their spin- on the liberal channels- well they made it sound like the days of Bull Conner.
The protestors set up their own little ‘Library’ in the street. They had a tent with thousands of books- okay- I thought it looked cool to be honest. They even had a system where people could check out the books.
So Bloomberg’s ‘squad’ took all the books. MSNBC [and Gores channel- current TV] had the ‘librarians’ on. Yes- the guy who ran the book tent. But they made it sound like the cops raided a real library ‘they came in and took our books- without checking them out!’ and one guy said ‘plus- they took our computers- we don’t lend the computers out!’
Look- I feel for the guys- but if you set up a ‘library’ in the middle of town- outside- well your not really a library- and if you live in the street with the books- well you’re not a librarian!
Okay- don’t want to be mean- just realistic.
Okay- Jerry Sandusky seems to have done some really bad things- and if all these accusations are true- well he will go to jail for the rest of his life. And like Paterno said the night the students showed up at this house to support him- he said they are going to pray for the kids and families.
I don’t know if Sandusky started his program to simply groom kids to molest them- if he did- then he will pay. But the principle- going the 2nd mile- it comes from Jesus- and he taught us that when we are in grace- in the ‘2nd mile’ we will do our duty- and more.
Not because ‘we have to’ but because we want to. Yeah- the 2nd mile is a good thing- we should all try it someday.
 I’M JUST NOT ONE OF THOSE ‘WORD TALKERS’
Caught the debate last night- didn’t go to well for my gov. I mean I still thought he had a fighting chance- not any more. I mean even Cain started looking good compared to Perry.
When Perry could not remember the 3rd govt. dept. that he wanted to shut down- that was it. Even Ron Paul tried to throw him a lifeline ‘the E.P.A.’ Yeah- that’s the one! I even guessed ‘maybe he means the energy dept.’ [you know- that’s always been kind of a joke- like having a ‘sky dept.’].
Sure enough- the next time Perry ‘spoke’ that was the one.
I read a Conan joke the other day- he was mocking Perry because he was going to start skipping the debates- he said Perry’s excuse was he was not a skilled debater- you know- he wasn’t one of those ‘word talkers’ yeah- guess he’s right.
I went thru a few news articles the other day- when I read the papers during the week I cut the articles out that I think are important- and then in the morning before I post I’ll look them over to see what looks relevant.
Out of the 2 I saved- one was on a possible looming crisis in Italy. Sure enough- yesterday everything hit the fan.
The reason the stocks took a big hit was out of fear that the European debt crisis might spread to Italy. Italy has a big economy- not like Greece. The main reason Greece was important- was that many observers feared that if Greece went bankrupt- that the ‘contagion’ might spread to the other Euro Zone nations- like Italy- and that would be bad- very bad.
Well- that looks like what might be happening. Greece’s Debt to GDP ratio is 144 %- not good. Italy is at around 120%- not as bad- but still not good. This coming year they have about half a trillion dollars coming to maturity [bonds they must pay out on] and they owe 2.6 trillion [not like our 14 trillion- but for the size of their nation- it’s a lot].
So the interest rate just went up for Italy- it will now cost more for them to borrow- and when you’re paying a little over 7 % on 2.6 trillion- well that hurts.
Italian bonds are not like Greek bonds- Italian bonds are in all of the big banks that we are familiar with- many of our investments are in the same banks that hold Italian debt- so if Italy goes bust- that’s a huge problem- that will indeed drag the U.S. down.
I mean Greece already seems to be a lost cause- even their own people are pulling all their money out of the Greek banks and putting it in Swiss banks. Geez- if your own citizens don’t trust you- forget the other nations bailing you out.
I find it funny [sad] that a few weeks ago- Fahreed Zakariah [a CNN guy] was mocking the Tea Party crowd- because he said that the Europeans were handling their debt crisis well- like adults- and that even the Europeans were saying ‘geez- cant you be mature like us- you stupid Tea party Repubs’!
He said it in the same mocking way that Martin Bashir [I think they are both Brits? I know they of course are both foreigners] made an on air accusation the other day. I mean- it was bad. Bashir said a certain Repub referred to injured Iraqi war vets as injured ‘dogs’.
Now- for the life of me- I could not imagine this charge to be true. Then I heard the rest of the story. Some Repub said the occupy protestors were leaving a huge mess at the camps- ‘like dogs’.
And Bashir applied this to the Iraqi war vet. who was hit with a gas canister in Oakland- so yes- this Iraq war vet was a wounded protestor. But to then go on national TV and say that Repubs are referring to wounded Iraqi war vets as wounded dogs- I think this network [MSNBC] is very dangerous for the country.
We need to hear both sides of all arguments- but this stuff is incendiary.
Being I already mentioned Italy- let me finish with some history/philosophy that might be relevant.
In the last post I mentioned saint Thomas Aquinas- and after Augustine [and Anselm- 11th century] he is the next main character I wanted to cover [in our ongoing philosophy study].
Aquinas is referred to as the Doctor Angelicas [angelic doctor] by the catholic church. Aquinas lived during the time of a cultural/philosophical reawakening that was beginning to take place in the Western world- the Renaissance.
Renaissance means ‘re-birth’. It was a rebirth of the ancient Poets and philosophers of days gone by. Men like Cicero and Aristotle were once again brought to the fore front of many thinkers and lovers of culture.
The catch phrase for the Renaissance was Ad Fontes- which meant ‘back to the sources’ [source- Fountain- Fontes]. In the 14th century a famous and influential Catholic family- the Medici’s- were a catalyst for mixing this cultural movement in with the church.
The Renaissance sort of challenged the historic view of education- up until this time most learning was done thru the prism of the church. In the universities of the day Theology [study of God] was called the Queen of the sciences- and philosophy was referred to as her Handmaiden.
Well the Renaissance thinkers said they wanted to study things for what they are- they did not want to see everything thru the lens of the church.
Eventually the theme of the movement [back to the original sources] would play a major role in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Men like Erasmus [the famous 16th century Catholic Humanist] would re discover the original Greek New testament- and it was thru the study of the Greek text that many of the Reformers made their case to get ‘back to the bible’ and eventually break from Rome.
This was also the beginning period of modern capitalism. Recently when Libya had her ‘civil war’ and the new leaders started talking about a new constitution- one of the interesting things that came up was they wanted to do away with interest on loans.
Why? Well Muslims teach that interest itself is a bad thing. ‘Gee- wonder where they get that idea from John’ Oh- from a little book- called the bible.
Yes- to the surprise of some- this is very much taught in the Old Testament. Now- it was God’s law governing the nation of Israel- but they were forbidden to charge interest.
‘So John- is it wrong for us today to make interest’? Not really- Jesus used interest [usury] as an example in some of his parables- and overall- we as believers are not under the Old Testament laws that govern natural Israel.
But- for many centuries- the world did not see interest on money as a legitimate way to earn a living. So during the Renaissance you also had the rise of exploration- and explorers like Columbus would go on their voyages with the financial backing of investors.
The normal rate for these voyages was a 75/25% cut. When the explorer returned- the investor [Spain- or whoever] got 75% of the goods- and the explorer kept 25.
So there were a lot of changes taking place in the world at the time- and the rise of modern capitalism was one of them- money of course existed way before this time- but as a commodity- this was a new way of viewing the world.
Okay- just thought I would throw in a little history along with the current events of the day. As we see the current turmoil in the Italian markets [the original renaissance started in Florence- Italy] maybe seeing money/interest as a commodity- and ‘usury’ as a major way to increase ones wealth- well maybe that’s not such a smart way to do things after all.
When Jon Corzine’s global investment firm went bust the other day- it was a direct result of taking a gamble on the ‘gullibility’ of the common man.
What his firm did was they took a huge risk by investing in European bonds- bonds from Greece that everyone knew was a terrible ‘bet’. Then why did he do it?
The risk was so high- that the interest [usury] on the bonds was also high- you would make lots of money- if you got your money back.
But how would you get the money back- if the company [or nation- or bank] is in such bad shape that they might go bust? Your basically betting that the other nations around them [and the 1% crowd] would never let this happen [too big to fail] and when the nation [or company] gets ‘bailed out’ well then you get the money back- at a huge gain- all at the expense of the ‘99’ %.
‘Gee John- that doesn’t seem right to me’. That doesn’t seem right to me either- and to the legitimate ‘occupy Wall st. guys’ that’s not right to them as well.
Basically Corzine did the exact same thing that the big banks did during our 2008 bail out crisis- the banks can’t do that anymore- we did pass regulations that forbid this. But private investment firms can- they take a risk if they do- but that’s their choice.
Corzine took the risk- and lost [besides the fact the there is also about 600 million dollars ‘missing’ from private investors money!].
Okay- that’s it for now. We will keep an eye on Italy for the next few days [Germany is already talking about bailing out of the Euro Zone] and if things keep going downhill like this- well we might all be better off if we moved our money into less interest bearing accounts- safe places to ‘park’ your money- and after the dust settles- then maybe get back into the market.
But right now- I would trust getting a bigger return from a Columbus voyage than the market- yes- maybe ‘usury’ is not all that’s it’s cracked up to be- maybe the Libyans are right [and the Old Testament]. Yeah- maybe they know something we don’t.
 Philosophy and Politics.
This last week the media circus has centered around the Herman Cain ‘sex scandal’. Yes- it does seem like good old brother Herman [Christian ‘brother’ to you racially sensitive types] has a little problem with the ladies.
Yes- I have heard both sides on the thing- the conservatives [Limbaugh] have used Cain as an example of how the ‘left’ castigates Black conservatives- while they cover up for liberal ones.
And the left wing media types- well they sure do like to go thru every detail of the Repub candidates lives [no- the sex harassment issue is a real issue- I’m talking about all the other stuff]. It’s funny [sad?] to see some of the commentary on how Cain’s ‘worst’ mistake was in the way he handled it- that it was his mishandling of the scandal that worries folk.
Look- I like good old Bill Clinton- and for those who remember- Bill also had quite a few dalliances with the ladies. Paula Jones even sued Bill- And won!
Yes- the pres settled for 800 thousand and paid the girl. How did Clinton deal with his sex scandals? Those who say ‘see- Bill knew how to deal with them’ they seem to forget that his defenders- they ridiculed all the women- Kathleen Wiley [he groped her]- Jones- well- he pulled an Antony Weiner one day when Jones walked into the office- and oh yeah- lest we forget [well- actually I do forget the name] one woman had some very credible claims that Clinton did indeed rape her.
And of course- he ‘received’ oral sex from Monica in the oval office- and all these women were described as ‘off balance’ or greedy women seeking a pay day- or these women ‘asked for it’. Yes- this was the way the Clinton defenders went about it- yet these same media savvy folk [Carville] are saying ‘Clinton knew how to deal with scandal- Cain does not’.
Would they be happy if Cain’s people went after all the women? Not only have they not revealed the name of the lady who got a settlement but they have been pretty silent about all the women.
Not Clintons people- you know- the ones who handled it ‘right’ oh yeah- they had his ladies looking like a bunch of trailer park bimbo air heads- even a young intern- who worked for the govt.- even she was demonized at first- for engaging in an act that would have called for the firing of any CEO who was caught doing this with any young female staffer- yet in his case- the women were all at fault.
So it’s just a sad thing to see this play out. Do I think Cain ‘did it’ of course he did!
‘How do you know John’- one statement- from Cain himself. He was asked by Hannity ‘did you ask this girl to come to your hotel room’ his answer ‘I don’t recall’ yeah- if someone says ‘did you string up that Black man in the south 40 years ago’ and if you say ‘I don’t recall’ well that’s a problem.
Okay- enough of that.
I really want to cover a little bit more on the few Philosophy posts we did last month.
If you remember we stopped at the 4th-5th century B.C. and we left off with Aristotle. Now- Aristotle [and Plato and Socrates] ruled the day for hundreds of years- most Western thinkers were shaped by their ideas.
So for that reason- lets skip about 800 years forward- to the time of Saint Augustine. Augustine lived in the 4th/5th century [A.D.]. When studying Philosophy you will study this man. But you run into him in the fields of Theology and church history as well- he’s considered by many to be the ‘best’ theologian of the 1st thousand years of Christianity- and to some- the best ever.
I have covered Augustine before- so let’s go light right now and hit a few high points.
Augustine had early influences that led him to the philosophy of ‘Neo Platonism’ [an offshoot of Plato’s thought] and he dabbled [well more than dabbled] in a sort of early metaphysical cult called Manichaeism [like a 3rd century type of Christian Science- the movement in our day].
As Augustine carried out his traveling teaching ministry [he was a teacher who was skilled in Rhetoric- and these traveling teachers would charge for their services] he eventually converted to Christianity [the Catholic Bishop Ambrose played a major role in Augustine’s conversion] and became the Bishop of Hippo- North Africa.
Augustine came to defend the Christian world view against his former belief in Neo Platonism. Platonism taught a Pantheistic view of God and creation. This view teaches that God and creation are one in the same. Many eastern religions still hold to this view in our day.
Augustine argued that God was the creator of all things- but that he himself was not created- or a part of the created world.
He developed a very sound theology on creation- which most Christian traditions hold to this very day.
He had a few theological battles in his day. With Pelagianism and Donatism- these were early Christian movements that broke away from the standard teaching of the church- they derive their names form the Bishops/priests who espoused these ideas.
Pelagius denied the doctrine of original sin- and he taught that men were indeed capable of obeying Gods law- out of their own moral integrity- and thus ‘save themselves’. Augustine rejected this view and taught that men were saved only by the grace of God- that men were indeed sinful and corrupt- and if left to their own designs would end up in hell.
There were various adherents to Pelagius’ view- and his ideas have carried down thru the centuries to varying degrees- sometimes you will hear [read] the term ‘Semi- Pelagian’ this refers to those who have various ideas about man’s ability to save himself through good works.
Some in the Reformed church [the original Protestant belief system that came out from the 16th century Reformation] accuse the Catholic Church of this very thing- yet the Catholic Church has made it clear that they do reject Pelagianism- and they agree with Augustine on the matter.
The Donatists taught that the Sacraments were dependent upon the ‘holiness’ of the Priest who ministers them. That if you were in a Parish where the priests were bad- lived in sin- rejected a holy life- then if you were Baptized by these men- that the Baptism didn’t ‘stick’.
The Donatists formed there own break away church in the 3rd century- and a few very influential men would join the group. A well respected early church father- Tertullian- eventually joined their ranks.
Augustine argued against the Donatists teaching- and taught that Gods grace- and the grace given to believers thru the sacraments were not derived from the holiness of any priest or preacher- but if a believer in good conscience received the sacraments- that that’s what really counted.
Saint Augustine is one of the titans of church history- he is loved by Protestants and Catholics alike. He is famous for his belief in the doctrine of Predestination [that those who are saved were chosen by God before they were born] and for this reason he is loved by the original protestant theologians [Luther, Calvin, etc.]
He also taught a very ‘Catholic’ form of Ecclesiology [church govt.] and is well loved by many Catholics as well.
The Catholic Church refers to him as the Doctor of Grace- later on in the 13th century we will meet Saint Thomas Aquinas- who the church refers to as the Angelic Doctor.
Both of these men played a major role in the development of western thought and Augustine made an effort to distinguish true Christian thought from the philosophy of Neo Platonism which was very strong in his day.
When reading Augustine [he wrote a lot] you need to be careful to distinguish some of his earlier writings from his later ones.
Early on you still see forms of Platonic thought in Augustine- but as the years rolled by his thinking progressed more and more towards historic Christian thought.
For those of you who are interested- the Confessions of Saint Augustine is considered one the classics of Christianity- you can pick up a short version at most good bookstores- it’s well worth the time to read.
 TALE OF 2 CITIES [and 2 trees]
This week I read 2 stories in the paper about the aftermath of our action in Libya.
One article was about the city of Sirte- Gadhaffi’s hometown. This was the town where he made his last stand- it was his hometown.
Of course- many of the people did support Gadhaffi from here- you know- like rooting for the local hero.
And you have the same type of thing going on with the new leaders- the Rebels from the east.
Anyway- because this was his last stand- for about 2 months we [NATO and the U.S.] absolutely destroyed the entire city. I mean you’re talking Lebanon after years of bombing- it looks that bad.
I read an interview from a local professional- he was a university teacher- had a nice home- wife and kids- just like you would see in any city here in the U.S.
Shopped at the market- took the wife and kids out to eat- yes- this city was not some desert looking tribal outback- it was a nice place.
The professor was digging thru the rubble as he spoke to the reporter. He basically said his life was over- I mean the entire town is gone- it is no more!
He said he can’t go to another city [Tripoli] because everyone from his town- where Gadhaffi came from- is a target for torture and death.
As he dug thru the rubble- he found what he was looking for. Yes- the corpse of his son ‘found it’ maybe he can give what’s left of it a descent burial.
This city too was a nice place to live- a small town- population 25,ooo. About 250 miles south east of Tripoli. They too bare the stigma of being a ‘pro Gadhaffi’ town. The entire town- to the last man, woman and child- have fled. The new rulers- they have painted over all the signs going to the town- they have destroyed the homes and tore down the infrastructure- yes- the city is now a Ghost Town.
One witness said- when the rebels came in [the guys we support] if even 1 bullet was shot from a house- they would bomb the whole house to the ground. Men- Women- children- killed them all. We made this happen- under a ‘mandate’ to create a NO FLY ZONE in order to protect civilians.
The lives of these people are over. No more home town- no more university [the actual building is gone!] no more going out for a night on the town [the town is gone!] and we in the west- we report on our news- how wonderful it was that we liberated these people- yeah- tell that to the man who had to dig his son out from the rubble.
I had a drive planned for a few weeks. I had a note written on my calendar- had to go to a downtown appointment [at the Federal Courthouse] and figured I would make a sort of prayer drive right after the app.
Downtown Corpus is beautiful- if you have never seen a picture of it- just Google ‘pictures of Corpus Christi’ and you’ll see the huge harbor bridge from downtown- the courthouse is right there.
So after the meeting- I headed over the bridge and started the prayer drive.
At the top of the bridge there were a few cop cars- they had a lane on each side blocked [?]. I figured they were doing some type of work on it.
Then headed towards Portland- and drove thru a few South Texas cities.
I actually had one specific spot I wanted to drive past- that was the city of Rockport. I actually got off on the wrong back road- and drove about 30 miles out of the way. But I wanted to drive past the courthouse and police station in Rockport- that was the only spot I determined to pass.
Sure enough- I found the spot. Got out- walked to the store- filled up with gas- got some coffee- and off I went.
On the way back home- I noticed a street name- called ‘Corpus Christi St’. – I thought it was strange to see this big sign- right off the highway- showing this street.
I thought ‘for sure- people must mistake the sign- and think that’s the turn off for the city of C.C.’.
Anyway- I made a mental note of it- and headed back.
Over the Harbor bridge one more time- and back to the house.
As I watched the local news- they had 2 top stories. The night before- a man parked his car on the bridge and jumped- that’s why they blocked the lane.
And earlier in the day- a motorcyclist was killed- right at the corner of Corpus Christi Street and highway 35- the spot I had just passed.
Now- you might be thinking ‘hey John- do me a favor- don’t pray for me!’ Actually- I think I was praying for the areas where violence occurred- because there is always an aftermath- a sort of ‘bad taste’ in your mouth when deaths happen like that.
Okay- the next day [yesterday] we had a local story go viral- the national news all had it on- today it’s a big story.
It’s the case of the Texas judge who was taped beating the hell out of his daughter- she posted it to U-Tube.
The case looks bad- real bad. The girl will be on the news shows today- telling her story.
Yes- the police station- the courthouse- the area I ‘marked’ during the drive- that was the actual municipal area where this guy holds court- it was the Aransas county court district- in Rockport.
Sometimes God will show us what/who we should pray for- sometimes it’s the aftermath of bad things- a Mediterranean city in Libya- or a coastal city in Texas.
We need to be attentive- and aware- when these things ‘pop’ into our minds.
We need to be accountable in a way- when a country in the bible allowed itself to do bad things- to overlook justice- or to oppress people [even if they meant well- ‘we are here to protect you’ as you destroy the man’s life] then we as believers have a responsibility to do what we can- to at least be aware of what we are doing- and if you can- pray for these situations.
In the bible- during the trial of Jesus- there were many injustices that took place- power players making decisions- executing people- yes- innocent people- simply because of the prejudice that existed in the system.
Jesus made a strange statement about this- he said ‘if this can happen in a Green tree- what do you think will happen in a Dry one?’
This statement meant- if people in authority- judges and leaders- if during a time of some stable government- if they can still play the system where they might wind up killing innocent people- bombing entire towns- doing bad stuff- and yet the average citizen- he even thinks this is good- if the system can be played to that degree during a time of peace and some form of human govt. at work- then what do you think will happen when there is anarchy?
Last night- the Occupy protestors shut down a shipping port in Oakland- I’m not sure what overall effect it will have- but yes- it will disrupt lives to a degree.
Many of the business people- who have shops right around the protests- well many of them are suffering- because of the disruption.
I’m not sure how ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ they are- there are legitimate arguments to be made on both sides.
But I know in the mind of that university professor- who lost his entire life- and his son- I know in his mind what we did to his country is unjust- ‘if these things can happen in a Green tree- Then just wait till the Dry tree gets here’.
 YAHWEH- YAHWEH- I LOVE TO SHOUT YOUR NAME!
Want to try and cover a few current events today. Last week- when the DOW went up to around 12,300- I felt like ‘here we go again’. The news came out ‘yes- Greece is solving their debt problem- hip- hip- hooray!’ Then of course a day or 2 will go by and something bad happens- ‘oh- no- the sky is falling’.
I mean it’s not even funny anymore- if the world [global] economy learns anything from this debacle- it will be to try and put a plan in place- where the entire global market is not going from week to week- based on these long term payouts that the other E- Zone nations are making to Greece- based on how much they agree to cut every few weeks.
It’s like running our govt. on the Continuing Resolutions- having to pass these temporary deals every few months- and the markets being drawn to the brink every couple of months- this whole way of working is not acceptable.
But what I wanted to say- that the so called solution to the Greek debt crisis- well it’s really not a solution at all. Yes- I think they needed to do it [cut their bonds in half] but what they actually did- was they did default [go bankrupt] and they reorganized their debt.
When a nation [or company- or bank] does this- they are telling all their investors ‘you just lost a boatload of cash’. Okay- who are these evil investors anyway?
The ‘Occupy Wall’ street guys- well they mean well- and they have some valid points to make- but the problem is not really with the bankers- or the ‘1-%’- that is if you simply slash the bonds/investments in half [those evil bank people!]- you are not taking all the money from those ‘fat cats’.
In reality- lots of the average folk lose money too. Many retirement accounts- yes- for teachers and Firemen and Cops [you know- the 99%] are tied into these investments. Now- I hope your own 401 k was not heavily invested in European debt- but many people’s investments are.
And when the nation [or company] says ‘hey everybody- guess what- we fixed the problem- we simply told everybody- today is half price day- for us’. Well yes- they reduced their debt. But they did it by ‘reducing’ the value of everyone else that had skin in the game.
So what does this mean? It means that lots of folk took a big hit- and these same folk [made up of all the other European nations] are not going to be happy about it. Will they ever invest in Greek debt again? Hell no- I don’t blame them either.
Okay John- what does this mean? Glad you asked. It means that even though the Europeans ‘solved their debt crisis’ they solved it in a way that will have long lasting effects on the global economy. Now- Greece is really a small economy- we all know this- but don’t be fooled into thinking something was ‘solved’ no- they solved it by saying ‘hey- we aint paying the people we owe money too’ Geez- wish I could ‘solve’ my debt crisis like that.
And sure enough- before I had a chance to write the post [warning about this very thing] yesterday we saw a global investment company go Belly Up. It was some firm that former N.J. governor Jon Corzine ran- they invested in these European bonds- and yes- they lost half of their investment [billions] over night.
So- before we [U.S. investors and workers] get too happy over the Europeans ‘fixing’ their problems [like the DOW shooting up to 12,300!] lets realize that there are still lots of problems on the horizon- and we are not out of the water yet [the DOW also was responding to the 3rd quarter numbers that came out- the U.S. economy did do better than expected- I think the growth was a little over 2 %- that’s good- not great- but okay].
Okay- I also found it funny [not to demean the thing] that the Syrians were protesting in the streets- calling for- well you guessed it- a NO FLY ZONE.
What? A no fly zone? Assad [the Syrian leader] is not flying planes over the protestors- he is indeed killing and torturing them- but no planes.
So why would the Syrians [not all of them] be asking for this? Well to them- after seeing our ‘no fly zone’ in Libya- to them it means ‘please come and hunt down our leader like a dog- kill him- his kids- his grandkids- and when it’s all over- let a bunch of our ‘leaders’ take over- you know- the Al Qaeda group’.
Sad- so sad.
Look- I’m sorry for the abuse that many Arab/Persian nations have foisted upon their people- and in many ways- Assad is an S.O.B.- but we need to find another way to deal with these crisis’- and the ‘no fly zone’ thing- well that has to stop.
One last note- last week I had a strange event take place. As a true news junkie [I read the papers- watch the news- for about 6 hours a day] I stumbled across a death penalty case.
I have made it a habit to pray for the cases I read in the papers- severe crime cases- people going to prison for life- mothers who killed their kids- yes bad cases- but case’s/people I felt the Lord wanted me to pray for- well- for the rest of my life.
I have cut out the news articles- and written the names of these people here in my study- and pinned them up on my prayer wall.
The list is now in the hundreds.
Okay- when I read [last Monday] that Frank Garcia was going to be executed on Thursday- I made a mental note to simply pray for Frank for the next 4 days.
I simply prayed for him every morning- prayed that God would be glorified- that God would help Frank to ‘end right’ to seek God in his last days- make any statements that need to be made- to the victims’ families or whoever else [he killed his wife- and a cop who came to the home on the night they were fighting].
I have done this ‘prayer vigil’ for the guys for many years- writing the names of offenders and putting them on my prayer wall- that’s only a few years old- but to pray for the death row guys- well I have done that for years.
Now- for some reason- in Frank’s case- I felt the Lord saying ‘John- you just adopted him’. What?
I have so many friends- ex-cons- addicts- street guys- and many of them are like brothers- ‘sons’. Some of them have become Christians thru ‘my’ ministry. The years of helping the street guys- preaching at the jails- the whole deal.
So in franks case- it seemed like the Lord was saying ‘John- franks in the group’.
I didn’t fully understand it- but heck- I accepted the thing [you know- when God says something- its’ usually a good idea to believe it].
So on Thursday- I just happened to have the local news on at 6 P.M. – here in Texas the guys usually get the needle at around 6:20 P.M. and before the news ends- they tell you the guys dead.
So as the news rolled along- I prayed for Frank for this last 20 minutes- he wound up dying a little late- at 7.
The next day- I read 3 articles on Frank’s last words- I have never read a testimony like this- yes- from a criminal who did indeed commit horrendous crimes- crimes he needed to be punished for.
The article said that when Frank entered the ‘death room’ for the entire 20 minutes or so- he simply sang out to God- very loudly- praised Jesus- shouted ‘Yahweh- Yahweh- I love to sing your name’ and went on like this for the whole time.
He prayed for the people in the ‘stands’ watching the show- he prayed ‘God- for the prosecutor sitting here right now- may she never forget this day father- may she come under conviction someday father- may she accept Jesus some day’.
He went on and said ‘Father- for this day was I born- to glorify you- even though I committed such terrible crimes- for which I’m sorry for- yet to end my life glorifying you and your Son- to praise you as my God and king- thank you father- thank you’.
The article went on to say that as the drugs began taking effect- Frank began rattling off at the end- not able to form compete sentences- his final word was ‘Jesus’.
The Mother of the woman Frank killed [his mother in law] said she was shocked- that this former San Antonio gang member was always such a quiet kid- she has never spoken to Frank since he killed her daughter- but she saw a different person this night- someone she really did not know at all.
I’m sure the other witnesses will never forget what they heard that night either- especially the prosecutor- who had to position herself as an adversary- one who accuses the defendant in criminal cases- yes- that’s her job- but by nature- she in a way had to ‘hate’ frank- yet she heard him pray for her on the night of his death.
Yes- I never heard a ‘death row’ testimony in my life like this one- and for some reason- I never prayed as much [you know- remembering to pray thru out the week- and then praying for the man the actual hour he was dying] for one either.
These last few years I have ‘sensed’ and in a strange way- ‘received’ some of my old buddies who have died years ago. Many of them were friends I ‘lead’ to the Lord- yet they had very long histories of drug abuse and crime- and yes- some did die as a result of that.
But these last few years- while praying in my prayer ‘spot’ [a special spot in my yard] out early in the morning- under the stars- I sense all my ‘sons’ and friends being in this crowd- the image of John the Apostle- seen in revelation chapter 5- he is in this heavenly throne room before God.
He is there with the angels and saints and the great Lion of the tribe of Judah [Jesus]. It’s a picture of saints that are in heaven- and also on earth- the book of Hebrews says those who have died- and have already passed on- they are in the stands and cheering us on.
I know this sounds strange- but I really sense my ‘old group’ even my buddies who are gone- they are still ‘having church’ with me under the stars.
A few years ago- when I first started sensing this- it seemed as if one of my old friends showed up one week- I just ‘sensed’ it.
His name was Miguel. Me and Mike grew up in N.J. together- good friends as kids.
After high school- I joined the navy- Mike went into the Army.
After I earned my 4 year discharge in 1 year [got kicked out of the Navy!] I went back North and me and Mike got back together as good buddies [he got kicked out of the Army faster than I got booted from the Navy- yeah- he won that competition too!] we did commit a few crimes in those months- we were no ‘angels’ but we eventually headed back to Texas.
Why Texas? Mike wanted to go to Florida- I said Texas. We had no real plans- just two18 year old kids with no destiny.
I said ‘lets flip a coin- heads it’s Texas- tails Florida’. I told Mike that day- I still remember the moment- sitting there in front of my house- on a cold N.J. day- dreary day.
I said ‘hey- some day we can tell our kids that we chose [Tx or Fla.] based on a coin flip’.
I won the flip- we left for Texas in the morning – been here ever since.
Eventually I lead Mike to the Lord- his wife- Lu Ann- and my wife became friends. Mike had a few boys- I had 4 girls!
Mike became a member of my little home church [we also met in a rented hospital for a year or 2] and we were in a sense- living the dream.
Mike had a little harder time than me. He eventually went back North- and I got a call from Mike one day- he told me had had Aids.
I stayed in touch with Mike- he wrote me a few good letters- and one day when I came home from work- my wife said ‘John- Lu Ann called’. I knew it- I said ‘Mike died’ she said yes.
I have Miguel’s funeral card here in my office- its pinned up on a wall with my other friends names who have gone on- Mike was 32.
So a while back- when I started ‘sensing’ this ‘church thing’ this reality that my friends who are still ‘on the ground’ and my buddies who have died- well they are all here with me during those prayer mornings- yes- in that ‘upper room’ that the apostle John was in.
One day I was praying and doing a home church thing with my wife- we often do a simple home meeting- pray- bible reading- communion- it’s kind of cool.
My wife tells me ‘you know- I had a weird dream the other night. You old friend Mike showed up at the door- he rang the bell. He said he was here- looking for you’.
Yes- I felt like God said I ‘adopted’ Frank- that in a way he was now part of my ‘fellowship’ yes- made up of the worst of the worst- they did say of Jesus ‘he’s friends with hookers and killers and sinners- what kind of preacher is that!’
Yes- I like my little group. O- and this past Sunday- while doing the early prayer thing- at the part of being in ‘the room’ with the guys- I almost thought I could hear Frank singing- yes- he seemed to be singing ‘Yahweh- Yahweh- I love to shout your name’.
Yea- it was a good service- the best one in the world.
 ARAB SPRING UPDATE
Been wanting to cover the Arab Spring protests for a while now- but also want to do a few more posts on Catholic/Protestant relations.
Let’s start with the protests- and see how far we get.
To my surprise [and disappointment!] the new ‘leaders’ of Libya have already come out and said they will indeed have Shariah law as the law of the land.
They said- very boldly ‘we are a Muslim land- and Shariah law will be the law’. Did they have Shariah law under Gadhaffi? Actually no- they did have some elements of it [Polygamy] but it was not full Shariah law.
For instance- under Gadhaffi men could have more than one wife [look at him!] yet they needed the permission from the 1st wife. Under the new leaders- you won’t need that.
I saw one of the new team respond to this question- he basically said ‘don’t worry- the woman will get used to it’- no- I do worry.
We need to have some sort of ‘standard’ policy when it comes to all of these types of conflicts- a signed agreement- maybe an informal outline for a new constitution that states very clearly- that the rights of woman and Christians in these new governments will be respected.
We need to say ‘yes- Muslims- as well as all other groups- will have the freedom to be represented- but no group [or groups] will be forced to live under any religious law’.
‘But John- who are we to dictate something like that’? Look- if they ask for our help- to intervene- and in Libya’s case to basically bomb the hell out of the other side- spend a billion [probably more] and to be the air force for the Rebels- then if you want that type of backing- then that’s the new price tag- freedom for all sides- no Shariah law imposed- and freedom for all the women- no more oppressive regimes like the Taliban.
Okay- this concept is difficult for us in the West- we have managed to pretty much make a distinction in our minds between separation of Church and state.
Though you have arguments about whether one political side wants to establish ‘Christian Shariah’ [Heard Frankie Schaffer make the charge again the other day. He is the son of the late Frances Schaffer- an influential figure in the early ‘Christian right’ movement in our country. Frankie is still a Christian- but he is very anti ‘religious right’ but he goes too far- he says that Perry and others like him do want a Christian Shariah law for the U.S.- the problem with this is many of these radical Muslim nations are actually killing Christians and women and others who ‘violate’ their laws- we should not use this comparison- it dilutes the seriousness of what is happening in the ‘real world’] yet for the most part we have made the distinction between govt. and religion.
Yet when you study Islam- Islam is both a religion and a form of govt. – those who embrace Islam have not yet made this type of distinction. Now- there are some moderate Muslim voices who are calling for this type of Reformation within Islam- but they have a long way to go.
Okay- that’s why it’s easy for these ‘new’ nations to say ‘o yeah- Shariah all the way’.
This week- Tunisia- the first Arab Spring nation to fall- did indeed vote in Shariah law. Egypt- the 2nd Arab Spring nation is heading there- and the new leaders of Libya have already stated it- we do have a problem folks.
Okay- I have a few Muslims friends who read my site- and I am very grateful to have them as friends. One lives in Bahrain- and out of the 3 top ‘bad actors’ right now- Bahrain is one of them [the other 2 are Yemen and Syria].
The argument could be made that the leaders of these countries have done just as bad- or even worse- than what Gadhaffi did.
The U.S. has our 5th fleet docked right off the coast of Bahrain- we need them- that’s why our leaders have overlooked the serious oppression that the Bahrain leaders are foisting upon their people.
In the last few weeks they have handed down some very serious sentences to the medical workers who simply helped tend to the wounded protestors. Many of these nurses and doctors are going to prison- for a long time- just because they did their job.
The ruling autocracy in Bahrain is a division of Islam [I think the rulers are Sunni- the majority of the population Shiite- it’s been a while since I studied it- sometimes I forget which is which]. The ruling ‘minority’ do indeed oppress the majority population.
Now- Bahrain does get lots of money- and help- from the U.S. having our fleet there- yet their army is not a strong- huge force. So what they have done is they hired ‘soldiers’ from Saudi Arabia- a fellow country- whose leaders are of the same religious division that the Bahrain leaders embrace- and these soldiers have come in and have been the security for the unpopular rulers.
In Syria- just last night- new reports have come out- Assad [the Syrian leader] has sent his men into the hospitals- they are torturing the wounded protestors right in the hospitals. And in Yemen- the leader- Salleh- has returned from getting treatment from the burns he suffered during an assassination attempt- and he’s back in Yemen- also fighting against the protestors in his land.
In Libya- we- along with NATO [primarily French and British warplanes] decided to team up with a side- a side that did take up arms against the leader from the West [Tripoli].
As I have watched this play out- and have looked at all the angles- I have come to the conclusion that the main reason we intervened there- and not in these other places- was because you had a very pubic threat made by Gadhaffi at the start- he and his troops were right outside Benghazi [the rebels stronghold in the east] and he did publicly threaten to go in and wipe them out.
Now- at the same time- the Arab league and other Arab nations were calling for help- fine. But we should have said ‘okay- but you guys must pay for this’. All the very rich Arab nations that wanted us to intervene- we should have said ‘your oil rich nations will pick up the tab’.
Also- if the criteria for us intervening like this- if we state- over and over again- that we are just doing a no fly zone- then we need to just do that.
In Libya- we did indeed hunt the man down [if that’s what we think we should do- fine- but we must say so]. And if our public statements are saying something different- then we are doing wrong.
I do hope and pray for all of my friends in these nations- I want very much for all the people in these nations to have freedom- and I want for us in the U.S. to make it plain- we want freedom for the woman and the Christians too- even if the majority vote for Shariah- that still is not acceptable- we want no religious rule that will oppress woman and Christians.
Yes- there are some woman who choose to live under Shariah- but the majority of women in these countries want freedom- and if we are going to ‘help’ these nations like we did in Libya- then we need to have some agreements ready to sign- right at the start.
We don’t want to ‘liberate’ another Arab country- to find out that the new leaders are already calling for Shariah law- in my mind- that’s not liberation.
 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Was gonna do one last post [for now] on Libya- we will need to cover the whole development of how we began to view/and act over a 6 month period- we acted [as a nation] contrary to our public statements. We swore- over and over again- that we were not targeting the man [or his family] and he swore [before the U.N. – by his rep.] that we were lying- and did indeed already kill a few of his grandkids [which was true] and were going after him.
Then- on national T.V. – we saw him flee Sirte [his hometown] and get bombed by both NATO and American planes [ours were Drones]. We destroyed a bunch of vehicles- left a lot of dead bodies- but he made it to a tunnel.
Then he got pulled out- ended up with a bullet in the head. O- forgot- this happened a day or 2 after Hillary Clinton visited Tripoli [her first visit] and said ‘we are waiting for you to capture or kill him’ [oop’s!] She later had to ‘clarify’.
She also was caught on tape- laughing and rejoicing over his death- okay- many people did- but if your saying publicly- ‘that’s not what we want’- then it looks bad.
Of course the other Arab nations want the U.N. to investigate- they were being told- by us- that we were not going after him. He begged for a peaceful resolution [he did do this!]. But we basically said no.
There are lots of questions to still be answered on this thing.
Okay- yesterday I wrote a quick note about a conversation I had with a new friend who just joined my site. She was into some new age stuff- we talked a little- I defended historic Christian belief- then she blocked me.
Let’s talk a little about Apologetics/Theology. Apologetics is the field where Christians Defend the Faith.
In our day- it is common for believers to be ‘left in the dust’ when they bang up against an atheistic scientist [they not all are!] or someone versed in Philosophy [Sartre or Camus- atheist thinkers- or Hitchen’s and Dawkins].
Many times these various fields of study are too much for the average believer to feel like he can engage in- in an intelligent way- and ‘win’ the argument for the Christian view.
But church history has a long- and very successful- track record doing this very thing.
A few weeks back I did about 5 posts or so on Philosophy- a field I like to study. But if you do too many of those posts at one time- then it can get a little heavy [and boring!] So I try to break it up by only doing so many at a time. The same goes for Theology- Church History- etc.
But over time- if we become well versed in these various fields- it will help us defend the Christian view- in an intelligent way- without being mean about it [I try!]
But sometimes you will offend people- even if you try to be nice- because you’re engaging in a conversation that says ‘yes- as Christians we believe in ultimate truth- and that truth is in the person of Jesus Christ’ yes- that will offend some.
My approach to these types of debates is I’m what you would call Ecumenical- I believe that Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox- and all the other ‘churches’ that profess Christ- I believe they are all Christian.
Now you might say ‘well John- doesn’t everybody?’ Actually no- many of the most knowledgeable Apologists do indeed go after the other groups. Quite often you will have a strong protestant defender [usually from the Reformed faith] that will really hit the Catholic church- in my view- too hard.
While it is true that historically Catholics and Protestants have differences- I have often found that Many ‘average’ Catholics/Protestants are not really aware of the real differences- they often have very limited perspectives about the ‘other side’ and these limited ideas [often wrong] seem to stay with the people- for most of their lives.
One example- the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception- what is it?
The teaching became Official- only in the last 2 centuries of the Catholic church- though it was held by many- it finally became official in the last 2 hundred years [ 1854 for the Immaculate Conception- 1950 for the Assumption of Mary doctrine].
The doctrine teaches that the Virgin Mary- Jesus Mom- was born ‘without the taint of original sin’. Now- what does that mean?
Some Protestants think the Catholics teach that Mary was ‘sinless’ in the same way Christ was sinless.
Actually- that’s not the official doctrine [see- it’s important to know the official teaching when we engage like this]. The actual teaching- that has the churches Imprimatur on it- is that Mary WAS A SINNER- just like the rest of us- but in order for Jesus to have been born from a pure vessel- that the actual work of the Cross- Redemption- it was applied to Mary ‘ahead of time’.
Yes- the official teaching is that Mary ‘was saved’ from her sin- just like the rest of us- thru the Cross. The difference is the forgiveness that came to Mary- came to her before she was born- yes- the teaching does teach that Mary was born ‘without sin’ but not like Jesus was without sin- but she was ‘without sin’ because her salvation was applied ahead of time- way ahead of time- before she was born.
Okay- do Protestants believe in this teaching? No. But is it ‘so way out of line’ to the point where we should view our Catholic brothers and sisters as ‘non Christian’ because of it? No- not in my view.
Plus- many Catholics don’t even realize that this is what the doctrine teaches- many think it is talking about the birth of Jesus- being born without sin- by the act of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Virgin Mary and Mary conceiving.
No- this is what we call ‘The Virgin birth- conceived by the Holy Ghost’. Jesus being born from a virgin with no earthly father.
This is not the Immaculate Conception.
So right here alone [trust me- there are many more examples that I could give] Both Catholics and Protestants usually get the doctrine wrong- yet they remain divided their whole lives- over something that they are not even right about.
So I have found this type of stuff to be a problem while striving for Christian unity- and many Christians prefer to see the ‘other side’ in a negative light- and will continue to view them that way- till they die.
I always feel bad when I lose a friend from the site- sometimes you can’t help it [other times it is my fault!] but sometimes it’s because we have views about things- strongly held views- and when others hold to a different view- well we try and avoid them.
One day I received a Friends Request- to my surprise- it was from a young Catholic priest- I did not know him but he must have read a few posts of mine and liked them. He often gave me Thumbs Up comments on the posts- and at times would tell me he loved the posts.
Most were my Theology/Church history posts.
Often times Catholics and Protestants can agree and enjoy these types of studies. I love studying and teaching on the Church Fathers and early Christian history- and these sources all have a very strong Catholic flavor to them- so I see my fellow Catholics as being a part of a long tradition of Christian history.
Many famous converts to the Catholic Church [Bishop John Newman- converted from the Anglican Church] convert because they read the Church Fathers- and when you read them- it’s obvious to see the catholic nature of the early church in these men’s writings.
So anyway I was very happy to have a Catholic priest as one of my ‘on line students’ [and honored].
But one day- during one of my studies [covering one subject for a month or so] to my surprise I saw he was gone [yes- the dreaded block]. I thought- geez- wonder why?
I realized it was right in the middle of a study I did on Islam- and while I was doing the posts- I was also going thru a study on Islam- by the same guy who teaches it to the U.S. govt. – yes- it was a prof. [I think named Espinoza?] who teaches Islam to our govt. employees [sort of like a tolerance type thing].
Though the teacher was Catholic- yet he was VERY much pro Islam- I mean to the point where I had to reject some of the stuff he was saying- and finish the study from my own education on Islam.
At one point- he taught that the spread of Islam thru out the world had a wonderful- liberating effect on all the women in the lands where Islam spread. I mean it was so obvious that the man had no idea what he was talking about [in this area] that I realized he was not a good source [this happens every so often].
And it was more troubling that this was the guy Obama picked to teach Islam to our govt. employees [don’t get me wrong here- he teaches our govt. workers- not to convert them- but more of an informative type thing- just like you would teach any other course about sexual harassment- or whatever].
Anyway- in one of my posts while teaching on my site- I did refer to Mohamed as ‘the prophet’- now- I don’t receive Mohamed that way myself- but because I was teaching some Muslims who did recently join the site- well I used the title in this way.
I think that might have been the ‘last straw’ for my student/priest- he ‘went on Pilgrimage’ right after that post.
Okay- today’s point is we all should try our best to be ‘tolerant’ that is- we should give people as much grace/mercy as possible- but at the same time we also need to be honest about the Christian faith.
Yes- as Christians we believe salvation comes thru Christ- he was not just ‘one religious leader among many’ no- we believe he is the Way- the Truth- the Life/light- no man comes to the Father- but by him.
Sometimes we do our best not to offend- we might even go out of our way to receive people- other religions and systems that are not Christian- that’s okay- I have Muslim and Jewish and all types of friends- I’m glad they are my friends!
But we also have to be honest about our beliefs- and every now and then that might- just might- earn you a BLOCK.
 FOR A PAIR OF SHOES? CMON!
Yesterday I saw a few clips from a talk Joe Biden gave- he was at some municipal type function [Cops- Firemen] and he was basically defending the presidents ‘jobs bill’. I mean the guy really impressed me with his mastery of the numbers.
He rattled off ‘in 2007- you had this many cops on the street- this many rapes- this many killings’. He then went on to the following years- you know- showing us that as the force went down in numbers- that the violent crimes went up.
I mean- it was so smooth- you would think he was just pulling the numbers out of the air.
As he left the hall- some reporter got him on whether or not it was right to associate voting no on the ‘jobs bill’ with being for an increase in rapes [Biden was saying if you vote no- then the number of cops being let go will go up- and the rapes will go up too- according to his numbers].
Biden kind of got into a little scuffle ‘hey buddy- don’t you misquote me on this- this is what I said’ you know- Biden has never had trouble with talking off the cuff like that.
Then sure enough- the Repubs got the actual numbers from the FBI on the rapes and stuff from that city [I think he was in Boston?].
And the actual numbers were the opposite of what Biden said- the rapes went down over the years he said they went up.
I like old Joe- he lives his life for the moment. You know- having a few shots of J.D. with the guys at the Fire Dept. Hanging out with the cops and all my fellow union bro’s [still am a member with the fire fighters union] and then going to the union hall and hitting one out of the park- just giving this soul stirring defense of the president’s policy- rattling off those numbers like one of the local lotto ‘quick 6’ guys does at the corner store.
Then of course the thrill is short lived- sure it made you feel great as you hung out with the boys for the rest of the day ‘Biden sure defended us today- way to go Joe- way to go’. Then he gets back home and sees all the clips of how he screwed up the whole thing.
You know- his wife saying ‘hey honey- look your on CNN again- they’re making fun of you’. And Biden probably just fluffs the thing off ‘Heck- this aint the first time baby- and won’t be the last’. Oh- and by the way- Obama’s trying to get a hold of you- ‘just tell him I’m’ busy hon- talk to him another day’.
Ah- the more I watch these guys- the more I keep thinking of the Don Knott’s movie ‘the gang that can’t shoot straight’ it’s sad- but at least you can laugh as the country goes to Hades in a hand basket.
Okay- to my liberal friends- this next one is for you.
I do think very seriously that our country- and the world- has very serious problems facing us these next few years. I do not see the answer to these problems as being conservative or liberal- I think that both sides really need to be able to come to the table and talk as adults- that has not happened yet.
I’m going to defend Obama right now- just a warning to both sides.
These past few months the U.S. has been trying to negotiate a deal with Iraq- we originally signed an agreement with the new govt. that we would stay in their country till the end of this year.
As the months rolled by the leadership of Iraq has had some very shaky people join their ranks. Iraq is now considered [by many insiders] as being part of a group of 3 nations [Iraq- Syria- Iran] that are strengthening their ties- as sort of a buffer against the other nations in the region.
One of the leaders in Iraq- on the official payroll- is Muqtada Al Sadr [I’m guessing on the spelling?] Do you remember him?
This guy led his own militia during our war in Iraq. At times we went back and forth on whether or not we should target his little enclave and take out his personal army.
Eventually we decided to let the guy live and he finally got on the actual team of leaders that make up the new Iraqi leadership.
This guy has killed our guys- we have killed his.
Now- a while back he agreed to putting a stop to the killing of American soldiers in Iraq [gee thanks a lot!]. He is a religious leader with a following- and at one time he justified [Fatwa] the killing of American soldiers as being part of fighting the ‘infidel’ invaders from the west.
After he got in office- he agreed to tell this people ‘stop killing them’- for good? No- just until the official agreement of our forces staying until this year ends- but after that- he has said its open shooting once again.
Okay- this guy is part of the Iraqi govt.- he’s telling us he will take his guys and kill American soldiers if we stay past the deadline.
Obama has been trying to extend the deadline [at the secret request of the Iraqi leaders- they want us to stay longer- but because of political posturing won’t say it openly]. But in order for them to look tough to the outsiders- they are refusing to sign an agreement that would give our guys legal immunity if we stay.
So you have these guys playing ‘hard ball’ with our guys- we are not asking them to pay the 800 billion dollar bill we have racked up over these past 10 years- they have officials in their govt. who are openly saying ‘you stay past the deadline- your dead’ and the other leaders will not grant our guys immunity.
I would have done the same thing Obama did- you know what- we shed blood here- your govt. has turned into a major supporter of some of our biggest enemies in the region- and your own officials are calling for the killing of our men- after the deadline.
Your damn right we’re not staying- no way in hell.
But we are so divided- the Repub candidates have used this as a tool to criticize Obama- and the left has done the same dirty deeds [Biden’s numbers game?]
This week the DOW went up to around 11,800. I’ll admit- I did not think we would see those numbers this year- nor do I think it’s smart for us to ‘see’ those numbers.
Why? I have said a bunch of times over this last year that the global economy is not in good shape.
Some economists think we [the U.S. and Europe] are going through a De- Leveraging cycle. They feel that nations/economies can only go so long through a borrowing/spending cycle- and then they have to ‘bottom out’ and go through a long season of deleveraging.
Many think that the west is in this phase right now- and will be in it for a number of years.
That’s why Greece- once again- is having open rioting on the streets. They have over borrowed- over promised- and now are doing what’s called Austerity measures- they have to cut.
Now- in our country- we too have these same problems looming over the horizon- we are not technically as bad as Greece [yet] but we are in trouble.
The only way to really deal with this problem- is for both sides to actually make some serious cuts/changes in what we call entitlement programs [Medicare being the biggest] and yes- some type of income on the ‘revenue side’.
Not raising taxes across the board [maybe?] but doing what many on both sides have called for- closing a lot of the loopholes that are in the tax code and making real ‘adjustments’ to entitlements- if we don’t seriously do this- then we will be in big trouble.
Okay- why do I think the DOW is way too high? Investors have been looking for a sign- any sign- that they can use to hang some hope on- that we will not go into another recession.
Sure enough- some good news did come out- and some not so good.
Then once again- the European debt yoyo- it went up again- the investors thought ‘o- maybe the Euro Zone will fix its debt crisis’. Look- no matter what deal they do- they will still have a very long way to go to get out of their problems- and their banks and economies are going to still suffer- no matter what.
And why was Biden doing the speech? Because he was trying to get support for Obama’s plan to send more federal money back to the states. The states have been propped up by the stimulus package and fed. aid- and that moneys gone.
So yes- the states are going to lay off this year- more than any previous year- the moneys gone.
All of these things are huge problems- on a Macro level- that are going to effect the global markets for many years to come- even if the actual figures for business look better [many financial guys have been saying ‘the fundamentals are much better’- true- in a way].
But no business functions in a vacuum. No matter how good the bottom line looks- if people are out of work- and banks are not lending- and if we are really in a de leveraging cycle- then no matter how good the ‘fundamentals’ are- the ‘customers’ are broke- or can’t get a loan to buy the good/service- see?
Okay- lets end with some bible stuff- before I lose all my Christian readers.
A while back we were doing an over view of the entire bible- and I probably should have done at least one last post or 2 before we stopped [maybe will get to that in the next few weeks?]
We stopped at the O.T. prophets- and under that category- you have what we call the Major and Minor Prophets. That’s simply a distinction in the size of their books [Isaiah is long- major- Amos short- minor].
I did hit on Isaiah some- and for a minor prophet- if I could only do one- it would be Amos.
Amos was a very strong defender of the poor- the weak ones in society. He railed against the rich- and the powerful- ‘you sell the poor for a pair of shoes- there is no justice in the land’.
In a way- you could fit him in at one of the Occupy Wall Street rallies.
Amos also condemned the ‘church folk’ he said [like the other prophets too] that the religious people were having great meetings- they were rejoicing in their religious life- they had a great time ‘practicing’ their religion [every day a Friday?] Yet there were many injustices in the land- things that God was not happy with.
And these things were the uneven balances that existed in their day.
When he said ‘you sold the poor for a pair of shoes’ yes- the ‘market’ was that bad- that you could ‘buy a slave’- that cheap. Was it ‘just’ simply because that was the market value?
Hell no- people have more value than a damn pair of shoes! What about his injustice ‘rant’?
That spoke specifically about ‘justice in the courts’ the rich were able to ‘buy’ a better outcome in the courts- than the poor.
Man- if these things are not signs of our times- then I have no idea what is.
Okay- I’m glad the President did what he did on the troop thing- if your country can’t guarantee immunity to our guys- yeah-were gonna get the hell out.
Oh- one last thing- I think I hear a phone ringing- all the way from Delaware- yes Joe- someone wants to talk to you- and soon.
 TOO MANY A’S ?
[By the way- my sister is still in the hospital- she is doing much better- thanks for the prayers!]
Let’s talk about what has happened these last 6 months or so. I found it interesting that the last ‘official’ post I wrote was about Libya- and how what started as a ‘no fly zone’ to protect civilians- turned into an air force for a bunch of possible Al Qaeda guys.
Then sure enough- yesterday the stuff hit the fan- I did a few short posts while watching the news- at first we thought our drones did kill him- then we saw that he survived the air attack- and was ‘accidentally shot’ in a crossfire between his supporters and the Rebels.
You know- the stray bullet theory- let’s see- 2 bullets in the neck- one in the head- 5 in the back- yeah- sounds like a stray bullet to me.
Okay- I realize these guys are no altar boys [well- maybe they are- remember Joe Kony? – few posts back] But the fact is we- along with NATO- made a conscious decision to side with one side in a civil war- the side we picked do indeed have bad guys on their team- and these bad guys have been lying to us since day one- we all know this.
Second- I just happened to write a post in ‘defense’ of Gadhaffi the other day- over the last 6 months I have written about his ‘love’ for the Black ‘skinned’ people of Africa.
Now- some question whether this guy really loved ‘the Blacks’ or not. Let me say this- when Obama was elected- Gadhaffi was really happy about it. The London papers even printed a long quote from Gadhaffi- praising Obama- after the war on Libya started.
The reason they showed the quote was they wanted to give balance to the fact that many Obama supporters were on the side of Gadhaffi for years.
You had stories about Beyonce and other famous black entertainers/leaders having many contacts with Gadhaffi over the years.
You also had very well known Black leaders come out and condemn Obama when he called for Gadhaffi to step down [Farrakhan]. The reason many Black leaders were upset with Obama’s strategy was because Gadhaffi did really see himself as a defender of Black people- and a ‘Father of the peoples Revolution’
Okay- the man came to power in 1969- it was a military coup that over threw a Royal Family. In a very real way- it had a flavor of the modern Arab Spring.
Many of the current protests taking place in the Arab/Persian world are civilians protesting against Autocratic rule- they are protesting the Royal families that rule their nations.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia- Syria- these are run by families [sons] that simply hold power because of their ‘Royalty’- so- in a sense- Gadhaffi was indeed a Father of his own Revolution- he did not have power because he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth- he was a military leader who over threw a Royal family.
Now- did he run Libya like a ‘western style democracy’ of course not. And the odds on any of these ‘Arab Spring’ nations doing so are about zero.
The original uprisings began when a street vender in Tunisia [the nation directly west of Libya] killed himself as a protest for being treated badly by the Tunisian security forces [I think the guy set himself on fire].
To the surprise of many outside observers- the leader of Tunisia fell fast- and then the protests spread to Egypt [on the other side of Libya- to the east- all on the border of North Africa- right off the Mediterranean].
In Egypt- the leader- Hosni Mubarak- was a ‘bad’ man- in the sense that for years the people were abused under the security forces of the govt. So Obama went back and forth for a few days- then sided with the people and called for him to step down.
Egypt is a much larger country [population wise] than Libya- Egypt has about 80 million people- Libya 6 million.
But Libya is large geographically- lots of land. Most of the population live right off of the Mediterranean coast- the rest of the country is scattered- they are a tribal nation- the local tribal leaders run the show.
Okay- the reason Egypt fell- in sort of an orderly way- was because their military is advanced- many of their military commanders have been trained in the West- and have close ties to the U.S.
It was fairly easy for the West to tell the insiders ‘look- we think it’s time for a change- we need Mubarak out’ and that’s why he stepped down- he was forced.
In Libya- there is no military type ‘alliance’ that we can work with- Gadhaffi had a military- but the country is pretty Rag Tag.
So how did we get involved?
Like the other nations to the east and west of Libya- you did have people rise up and protest- and I’m sure they were/are sincere. But remember- these Libyan people were not protesting against a Royal family- they were protesting against a guy who did see himself as a true leader of one of the original revolutions of the area.
Last night I saw a bunch of Gadhaffi videos- you know- all the networks playing the oldies but goodies. He tells Larry King ‘I am not the leader of Libya- I am the leader of the Revolution’ King questioned that- yet Gadhaffi did indeed see himself as a liberator of sorts.
When you watch the videos of him being taken- and killed [which was shameful to show- no matter how bad the man was- it was still shameful] he says ‘Don’t shoot me- I am like your Father’- yes- he was a deluded man at the end- yet that’s how he saw himself.
So we chose to back the opposing side- who like I have said before- have Al Qaeda in their ranks. In one of the videos- as they are abusing Gadhaffi- ‘our guys’ are shouting Allah Akbar- Allah Akbar- and look like a bunch of rabid dogs as they surround the guy.
Allah Akbar? Yes- it means God is Great in Arabic- but in the west- when the nuts flew into our buildings- they shouted this.
When Radical Islamists bomb people- they shout this.
When our guys engage in military action- kill an enemy target- they don’t yell Jesus is Lord. We need to make it clear in the future- if you want western support- then you need to quit associating bombings and killings with this phrase- you want to ‘praise God’ then save it for the mosque [tough love- yeah- we need some].
Okay- the deed is done- the outcome? Have no idea.
Egypt has no- and probably will never see- a western style democracy- the odds are- all of these Arab Spring nations will either become run by the military leaders that over threw the autocrats [just like Gadhaffi did in 1969] or if they hold elections- you are gonna get the Muslim Brotherhood- and others like that- in charge.
These groups make no bones about it- if they take charge- they will set up Shariah Law.
If you are a Christian in these countries [Like the Coptic church in Egypt- who make up 10 % of the population] then you’re in big trouble.
Last week there were more protests in Egypt- the biggest since the toppling of Mubarak- many of the protestors were Christians. The ‘caretaker govt.’ in charge- the military guys we backed- they drove their armored vehicles into the square- and ran over about 25 Christians- there’s your Democracy.
Remember- many of these original protests were citizens protesting their countries being ruled by Royal families- Gadhaffi over threw a royal family in Libya.
Piers Morgan [CNN] had the gall to have on 2 sons of the Libyan ‘royal family’ that was over thrown in 1969. He spoke to them like they were victims- he even said ‘maybe now you can go back to Libya- and get justice’ [my paraphrase] What! These protests are supposed to be getting rid of these Monarchies- not support them!
There’s a funny commercial making the rounds right now- every so often there’s a commercial that I’ll catch- and if it’s funny- whenever I scan my news channels- if I see it- I’ll stop.
So you have this manager/owner of an auto repair shop- the commercial opens up with him answering the phone- he says ‘This is AAAAAAAA-‘ for about 20 times- and of course the customer hangs up.
The mechanic walks in and asks ‘hey boss- why do we have so many A’s on our name’ and the boss- standing at the counter- in front of the name of the business- yes- with about 20 A’s in front of the name- tells the mechanic ‘so we can get our name to be the first in the phone book’.
Of course- this boss is using the old strategy of AAA transmission- or whatever- you know- that old phone book strategy.
So then the mechanic goes into his deal- hawking whatever co. they are trying to plug [I think it’s Fed Ex?] And as the boss listens to this ‘new strategy’ of how to promote your business- the commercial ends with the boss saying ‘you know- you’re a smart kid- you got some future here at- AAAAAAA….’ and the commercial ends.
Sometimes in life- we embrace strategies- things that we think will help our cause- but after careful analysis- it actually hurts it [Who wants to wait on the phone for the price of a spark plug- while hearing some shop owner go through 20 million A’s?]
In all of our efforts to back the innocent people- yes- many of the people in the Arab Spring countries are victims- they have grown up in these situations- and we do want freedom for them.
But at the end of the day- if we wind up backing- militarily- a bunch of radicals who we see on U- tube yelling ‘Allah Akbar’ as they surround their former Revolutionary leader from years gone by- then we might mean well- but I fear the strategy might be fatally flawed in the end.
 ALLAH AKBAR!!
Let’s tell a tale today. You had this nation that had people in it that hated Blacks. Yes- these ‘Black haters’ had some political organization to them- they lived in the ‘southern’ part of the nation.
You also had the leader of this nation- he lived in the ‘North’. Over time these 2 sides disagreed about stuff- and it even got to the point where they took up arms against each other.
The Blacks who lived in the north- well they were hoping that the south would not win- after all- they heard reports of how the leaders in the south were treating the Blacks ‘down there’.
They were treated like slaves.
Over time- the north seemed to be winning the fight- but then lo and behold- another outside country came in and supported the south- they had modern weaponry- fast planes- and they over powered the weaker kingdom in the north.
To the dismay of the Blacks in the north- the southern leaders came in- and just like they feared- they made them do free manual labor- used them to clean up the place- do odd jobs ‘hey there black boy- go fetch me some food’.
If the Black Boys resisted- they would stick live electrical wires to their genitals- and torture them. Their wives were abused- kids treated like ‘shit’ and all this happened- thanks to the wonderful ‘liberating’ help from the outside country.
If I asked you to name this nation- would it be America a couple of hundred years ago- give or take a few minor details- a different outcome to our Civil War?
Actually this ‘tale’ is no tale at all- it is what has happened in Libya [Tripoli] these last 3 months.
Yes- the outside country is the U.S. – the Black hating ‘south’ are really the rebels from the east [Benghazi] and the leader who loved and protected the Black people- Lincoln? No- sorry- his name is Gadhaffi.
Human Rights watch- a human rights group from N.Y. – they went into Tripoli to see if the reports of human rights abuses were real. They found that the so called ‘liberators’ the guys we have backed- they took the- quote ‘Dark skinned Libyans’ [they don’t want to say Black Folk] and used them to do ‘forced labor’ [slavery].
They pulled Blacks from cars- women and children- no matter- and beat the hell out of them.
They’ll ‘string you up’ in a minute- just because they can’t stand Blacks.
Okay- after all this- these same Black hating rebels advance to the other cities in Libya- they camped outside Sirte for a few weeks- Gadhaffi’s home town. The people of Sirte are saying ‘get the hell out of here- we don’t want you- you are not liberators- your ‘southern’ political views are not the views we embrace. We have always worked with the Blacks- Gadhaffi taught us to love them as our brothers- that’s why Nelson Mandela praised him openly when he was released from prison’.
Yes- the citizens of Sirte want none of this so called ‘liberation group’ being supported by NATO and U.S. fire power- because if these ‘liberators’ make it in- yes- the ‘dark skinned’ folk- well they know the score.
I saw [read?] a news report how the rebels were surrounding Sirte [and Bani Walid] and they were calling on NATO- and the U.S. ‘where are the planes- hurry- lets bomb these bad people in these towns’.
Finally- some NATO rep said ‘uh- there are some technical reasons why we are holding off’ bull!
They realized that the damn human rights violations that we have helped make happen- that these violations are a hundred times worse than what Gadhaffi has done [minus the Lockerbie plane attack].
When we started our action in Libya- we said we were going to simply create a no fly zone in order to protect civilians from ‘bad people’. What started as a no fly zone turned into an ‘air force’ for these S.O.B.’s.
We then figured we might as well go all the way- depose the mad clown of Tripoli- and get it done with quickly. It’s been 3 months since Tripoli fell- and just last week- 80 citizens of Tripoli- you know- those who supposedly greeted the new leaders as liberators- they gathered in Green Square and raised the Green flag again- they were saying ‘we want the old leader back’.
The rebels- our guys- they pulled these people [many Blacks] from their cars- they tortured them and put them in jail.
As ‘our rebels’ did this- as they ran through the square to stop the protestors- they were yelling ‘Allah Akbar’ at the top of their lungs- geez- that sounds just like the attack that took place a few miles up the road from me- Fort Hood- Tx.
As Hassan grabbed his gun and went into the building on the base- he shouted this same ‘liberating’ slogan- as he pumped bullets into his fellow American soldiers.
The main commander who has received praise for his leading the attack that took Tripoli a couple of months back- he was detained by our forces a few years ago- he was suspected of killing our guys- he was [is?] an Al-Qaida leader who came from the eastern part of Libya [where the Rebels live] and he was sent to kill American soldiers in Iraq.
Yes- these guys- the ones who shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ the other day- as they rampaged thru the historic square- attacking and torturing Black skinned Libyans- yes- these are the ‘liberators’ we have backed.
Shame on all of us- shame.
 APOCALYPSE- NOW?
I was going to try and take the week off- from posting- but there is way too much happening- that will have to wait.
This past Friday the White House did another document dump- they released more damming evidence that looks bad- real bad.
What came out? You had a few memos/emails that showed that the career govt. workers- people who have worked for both Repubs and Dems- that these guys working for Treasury and the O.M.B. that when they saw that the president wanted to change the Solyndra loan- that they all told him ‘pass this by the justice dept. it looks like what you’re doing might be illegal’.
Okay- when you have pro’s telling you this- in emails- and you change the loan anyway- without listening to them- geez- people get Impeached for stuff like this- no joke.
So- these memos did indeed come out- and Obama has to know that this is bad- real bad.
Now- I think this is why some of the media defenders [A.P.] jumped ship about 2 weeks ago- the Dem insiders must be thinking ‘geez- why the hell did he do it- we told the guy no!’
Of course we know why he did it- his top fundraiser invested millions into the company and visited the pres. 4 times right before he changed the loan.
Now- why was it ‘illegal’ to change the loan? This program started under Bush- and it was designed to help get our economy more into clean energy- a noble goal.
When Bush implemented the thing- the law covering the loans says- flat out ‘under no circumstances shall any investors or private creditors recoup their losses before the taxpayer- if the company folds’.
Okay- then what ‘legal’ reasoning did Obama use to change the loan- for his top fundraiser- who visited him 4 times right before the loan was changed- to get paid back first?.
There was another part of the law covering the loan that said ‘the energy secretary will do everything in his power to protect the investment that the taxpayer is making’ which basically meant the same thing as saying the taxpayer will get paid first if company goes bust.
Okay- from the memos released Friday- the president ‘reasoned’ [on his own- he was a lawyer- remember?] that the clause that said ‘the energy secy will do all in his power to protect the tax payer’ Obama used that clause to justify changing the loan- by saying when he changed the loan- so his friend would get paid first- that this change allowed other private investors to also get paid first- and that would encourage fresh private money to come in- and possibly save the ship- and by saving the ship- in the long run- the taxpayers have invested in a ship that got saved [this is Chicago style lawyer- ing for sure].
Now- does this sound loony to you? Well it sounded loony to all the career govt. people who looked at it too. They said that this reasoning is nuts- and that the pres possibly broke the law by doing this.
So what happened next? The energy guy quit- and got him some lawyers. The top guy at Solyndra bailed too- got him some lawyers. And the pres? Well- he provides his own legal advice [as you can see- it has not served him well].
Now- the pres knew this info was coming out on Friday- and what else came out Friday?
For the first time [First!] the pres decided to put armed ground troops into a foreign theatre- that we were not previously at war with.
Where? Uganda. The pres notified congress [on Friday- you know- real urgent stuff!] that he was putting 100 armed troops on the ground in central Africa.
Now- when he did Libya- which was simply giving air support- no ground troops- he got heat.
What did he think would happen if he put ground troops in Uganda? Well- hopefully- stir up a hornets’ nest- and maybe no one will see those silly memos- where his own people said ‘man- he’s stretching the law’.
Why Uganda- and why now?
Africa is a big continent- there are many nations in Africa that are Muslim run- there are also many Africans who are sincere Christians- some of the politicians [especially in Uganda] sound just like the right wing folk here in the U.S.
I have watched shows [on Gores new channel- Current] where you here the Ugandan Christian politicians slam Obama and his ‘liberal’ agenda- yes- they sound just like any right wing group.
One of the big things they hate him for is his attempts to get Uganda to ease up on their anti gay laws.
Uganda made it into the headlines this last year because they tried to pass laws that would call for the death penalty in certain crimes that included homosexual behavior.
There is a dispute over whether these laws would be applied to people just because they were gay- or whether they were intended more for gay crimes- like someone molesting a youth.
But either way the rhetoric was high- and the Christian politicians- in Uganda- have really gone after Obama- and they see themselves as being used by God to raise the standard of morality in the world.
Okay- maybe some of you never knew this- most of the times we see these nations and we think ‘Radical Muslim’ but now you see- that’s not always the case.
Okay- why the troops? There has been another ‘Christian’ group that has operated out of Uganda [and Congo- and central Africa] for around 20 years- these guys are called The Lord’s Resistance Army [no joke] they are lead by a man by the name of Joseph Kony.
Kony was a former altar boy in the Catholic church- and considers himself to be a prophet sent from God. His mission? To restore Africa to a Christian nation- based on the 10 commandments [you want theocracy- forget Perry and Palin- this guy is the real deal].
Now- Kony [like the other political guys in Uganda] see Obama and the West as enemies of God- enemies of the Christian God- do you now see a little more?
Kony has a real messiah complex- and I have read about this guy in the past- and some maintain that he actually does miracles and is the real deal.
Kony has also embraced the radical view of fighting for his cause- he kills- kidnaps- and acts just like the other radical Muslim groups in the area- he fights fire with fire.
Now- it is estimated that Kony has about 200 followers- imagine Brando in Apocalypse now- and you’ll get the picture.
How much damage has this little group done? It’s estimated that they have ‘displaced’ around 300 thousand people- killed around 2400.
You have had Muslim conflicts kill millions on the continent- and we did nothing.
This one thing I do know- that Friday was the first time under this president that we have decided to deploy ground troops in a foreign theater- a theater that we were not already at war with [Afghanistan, Iraq].
Even Libya was described as Kinetic action- so they would not have to take the heat of sending in ground troops.
Yet Friday- yes the Friday where all these damming memos came out- memos from your own people basically saying you broke the law here- that’s the day we decide to send the most ground troops into Africa since the marines landed in Liberia in 2003- it stinks to ‘high heaven’ if you ask me.
I know the administration will say ‘this has been a problem for years- the world court declared Kony as committing crimes against humanity- the U.N. has tried to deal with it’ yes- all these things are true- but Friday- this past Friday- out of all the days you could have decided its time to roll- you roll on Friday?
And you ‘Roll’ against a group- crazy- violent- nuts- yes. But the group is a radical ‘Christian’ group- run by a former altar boy- in a country that is the most vocal against Obama- on this very issue- yes- that’s the guy- his team of 200 disciples- yes- he’s the one.
There’s just too much here for me to believe this decision was based purely on the concern for Uganda.
How bout you?
 CULT? Three 6’S? Not a Christian?
Okay- let’s talk a little about some of the ‘big’ stories. Actually- these stories are small but the media wants to make them big.
At the debate the other night- Cain took some heat- you know- he’s been hawking the 999 plan on taxes- and now that he’s rising in the polls they have to bring him down a notch.
So they slammed the plan- Bachmann even exposed the secret agenda behind the plan- yes- right there in front of the whole world- she said ‘you know what you get when you turn the 999 plan upside down’?
And yes- we now know the truth- you get 3 upside down 9’s.
Okay- let’s get a little serious here. Another ‘religious’ test popped up on the trail- you had the Baptist Pastor from Dallas tell a reporter that Christians should prefer other Christians when they vote- and Romney is not a Christian.
He went on to say that he thought Romney was a fine man- but that historically Mormonism is a cult.
Was he right?
Let me say this- I have read scholars my whole life- study theology and Christianity- am very open to the other Christian churches- and even my approach to Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses has been one in which I try to have open dialogues with people- not ‘cover up’ their doctrinal flaws- but to be open and show as much charity as possible.
Okay- I know of no serious scholar who would disagree theologically with the Baptist Pastor. Now- was the approach he took right? At a political type meeting? Probably not.
Are there more appropriate ways to engage in dialogue with Mormons- who overall are very good people- serve the country well and for the most part are honorable? Yes—there are better ways to talk about it than saying Romney is ‘not a Christian’.
Let’s talk a little bit about why most bible scholars do hold the ‘cult’ view.
Historically- Christianity is what we call Trinitarian [for the most part- this is also a very long study]. Sometimes we refer to this as Nicene Christianity [from the famous council at Nicaea].
Or we can look to a few other church councils that hammered out the language of the Trinity.
I am Trinitarian- I hold to the historic belief on this- just to be upfront at the start.
Now- have all ‘Christians’ at all times held to the doctrine? No. Now- some will say ‘Then they are not Christians’ okay- I agree.
But the way I define ‘Christian’ while making the argument from history- I am speaking of all those who saw themselves as part of the church [men like Bishop Arius- who rejected the Trinity] and yet did not agree with the historic position.
Church history is littered with men/movements that fall into this category.
Muslims and Jews [even some Messianic Jews] also take the side [doctrinally] with those ‘Christians’ who reject the Trinity. Why? Both of these religions believe that exalting Jesus to Deity [being God] violates the teaching that there is only One God [the Father].
Many of these same objections are made by the various ‘Christian churches’ that also reject the Trinity.
Okay- the historic Christian doctrine- accepted by Catholics, Orthodox and most Protestants- says that God is One- and there are 3 persons in the God Head. The famous Christian him says ‘God in 3 persons- Blessed Trinity’.
So- the belief is there is only one God- yet 3 persons in the God head.
The various groups who disagree with this doctrine usually say it’s a contradiction- and they have various ways they try to explain it.
They will point to bible verses that say ‘Jesus is the Firstborn of all creation’ or ‘Jesus is the beginning of the creation of God’ and they will argue that Jesus was the first creation of God- but not ‘God’ in the sense of True God.
Most scholars will show you that looking at these few verses- in context of the entire bible- show us that they are not meaning that Jesus was actually created- but that he has pre imminence among the whole creation- he is Lord of all.
I really did get into the debate- have taught it in the past on the blog- and today’s intent isn’t to do it all over again.
But- we needed to cover that to say this- what then is the Mormon belief?
While most churches that disagree with the Trinity- usually disagree by saying the doctrine is Tritheistic [meaning you believe in 3 Gods] Mormons actually go the other way- they believe/teach that you actually do have 3 Gods- that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are 3 different Gods.
Okay- that’s the main reason [there are lots of other things] that scholars classify Mormons as ‘non Christian’.
But it’s really hard to have these debates in the political arena- and because of the various ways we use the term ‘Christian’ [most of the times in the media it covers a much wider range than what we use in studying theology] I would not say ‘Romney is not a Christian’.
Why? Because I would have to qualify it by explaining all of this- and you do have many groups that have branched off from historic Christianity- who never accepted the final councils on the Trinity- and many of these groups would still be defined as ‘Christian’ in a broad sense- say if your studying Sociology and not Theology.
Now- you ask ‘geez John- this can get a little confusing- does the bible actually give us a test on this’.
Glad you asked.
The only biblical ‘test’ that is where you have a clear cut statement on ‘if you believe this your okay- if you believe this you’re not’- the statement comes from the epistle’s [letters] of the Apostle John [New Testament].
In 1st John and 2nd John he talks about those who believe that Jesus is the Christ- they are ‘from God’ ‘Born of God’ and those who say that ‘Jesus has not come in the flesh’ these are not ‘of God’ these are ‘the anti christ’.
It’s interesting to note- that in the entire bible- the few times the actual word ‘anti christ’ is used are in these passages.
So the test- if you want to look at it this way- is a Christological test- do you believe Jesus is the Christ [Messiah]. And ‘do you believe he has come in the flesh’ [what we call the Incarnation].
That’s the test- you do not have a ‘Trinitarian’ test so to speak- though the doctrine itself is found in the bible.
Why would the apostle John give these 2 criteria as ‘the test’? Because for the 1st century Jewish believer- Jesus did indeed come as the promised Messiah- and the question is indeed ‘do you believe he is the promised one- or not’.
The other ‘test’ is a little more tricky- but in the 1st century you began having a challenge to the main belief of Christians- it came from the Gnostic ‘cults’. These were the quasi ‘Christian’ groups that mixed in Greek concepts of matter with Christian belief.
The last few weeks we discussed their ideas a little- and one of the ideas that Plato taught was that matter itself was evil.
This is not the Christian view- the Christian view is that matter [creation] is from God- it is good- not inherently evil.
Okay- so you had a division of the Gnostics [which their name meant Knowledge- they believed they had secret knowledge about these things that the average Christian did not have] called Docetists.
These guys taught that Jesus was not Really a human being- who came ‘in the flesh’. Why did they teach this? Because they also taught that matter/flesh was evil- and Jesus could not have really been ‘in the flesh’.
This doctrine violates the very clear N.T. teaching that Jesus was indeed born of the Virgin- and was fully God and fully man- thus the apostle John was targeting them when he said ‘if anyone does not believe that Jesus has come in THE FLESH he is not from God’.
Got it? Okay- we did a little teaching today- as you can see these types of debates cannot really take place in a 30 second news sound bite.
So even though most scholars [if not all?] would agree with the teaching that Mormonism does not fit in with historic Christianity- yet to say ‘this guy is not a Christian’ without being able to make the distinctions that I just did- well it just sounds bad- to be honest.
I personally could vote for Romney- to me it would be more of an issue of his political positions- if I felt he could do a good job- I personally would not use the ‘religious test’ on the guy- but you do have a large group of Evangelicals who would not vote for him- mainly because of this very issue.
I think these issues are important- and people should be aware of them. I also think the term ‘cult’ or ‘he is not a Christian’ if we are going to throw those words out- they need to be surrounded by the above context- when they just pop out on a short sound bite- without the time to explain them- then it’s probably better not to throw them out at all.
 CLASS [Not Class] WARFARE-
I was watching the news last night and saw the guy they caught- trying to hire a Mexican drug cartel- in order to conspire- and be complicit in- the killing of Americans [actually the Saudi ambassador- but in a restaurant where many Americans would be- using a bomb].
At first I wasn’t sure if they were talking about the Fast and Furious program [you know- Mexican cartel- guns- you get it].
The guy was from Corpus Christi- I watched my local news and they listed all the businesses he had over the years. I used to take my girls to eat at one of his spots. A Gyro stand in the Mall food court.
Okay- I saw the debate last night- nothing really new- I think Perry did pretty bad- he seemed a little [lot?] unprepared for the debate. They were focusing on the economy and he basically had a one liner that said ‘reduce regulations- help the energy sector- and free up the entrepreneurs’- while those things are good- it would have been better if he had a little more to say on the subject.
This week I saw one of the most Racist interviews by a White guy- talking to a Black guy. It was the Lawrence O’Donnell show on MSNBC. Man- it was bad. Larry grilled him on why he did not act they way ‘Larry’ thought a Black man should.
Herman Cain was being interviewed and Larry kept saying things like ‘why did you not march in the civil rights marches- like you should have- [‘Black Boy’- that’s the way it came across to me].
Cain respectfully explained that he was in high school during most of the time- and his dad worked 3 jobs to support the family- and his Father had told his sons that they should focus on their studies and finish school so they can became productive members of society.
Okay- that sounds reasonable to me. Larry then went after him on why he ‘avoided’ serving his country during the Nam war- again- sounded like he was saying ‘what are you doing off the plantation- you know- where I think you should be and act’. Cain explained that he did not ‘avoid’ serving his country- that he was actually a Ballistics expert working for the civilian arm of the Navy at the time. He told old Larry that his name was on the draft roll- but the Navy told him they needed him where he was.
Larry said ‘then why didn’t you join- like Kerry- and other people who honored their country’. I have never seen such disrespect- by a White man- to a Black man- on a TV interview in my life. Whether you agree with Cain’s politics or not- this was way over the line.
And I must have read about 10 news articles by the A.P.- every one of them –without exception- were critical- even mocking- of the president.
You must understand that the A.P. puts out stories that all the other news sources pick up and run with. For the first 2.5 years of the Obama presidency they were his biggest supporters. They never covered stories that were critical of Obama- they always sided with him on issues.
But a few weeks ago- for some reason- they left the boat. I mean the last article I read critiqued Obama’s health law. It called it a ‘shell game’ ‘a gimmick’ a ‘budget zombie’. Now- these were quotes from others [not only Repubs!] that looked at the plan and saw it for what it is.
Yet the A.P. still wrote the piece. To be fair- they were talking about a specific part of the plan- called CLASS- it was supposed to be a long term health plan that would provide long term care [nursing home, providers, etc.] for the elderly.
They explained the budget shows an 80 billion dollar savings by using the first 5 years of supposed income into the plan- by those who voluntary sign up- and that this number was the biggest so called savings that the overall plan used to pass the bill.
When the president pushed for his plan- he showed it would save around 140 billion over 10 years [which is not true by the way] and it was this 80 billion savings from the CLASS part that showed the most savings.
Okay- what happened? Obama recently scrapped the plan- they knew it would go broke- and the tax payers would have to bail it out. You needed younger healthier people to voluntarily pay into it for 5 years- so they might get some back in the future. Most folk are too strapped for something like that- and Obama’s people saw the writing on the wall.
So- when they quietly scrapped the plan- they kept using the numbers they would save from the people paying into the plan- even though no ones going to pay into it- because they scrapped it.
Okay- nothing new. He did this with the so called 500 billion savings from Medicare- he used the number- twice- and came up with a fake amount of 1 trillion dollars in savings.
At the time- I remember only one news reporter calling him out on it- all the other news people were on his side- and would not report anything negative- not even open deception.
So the A.P. got tired- they have been blowing the cover on all these types of shady deals these last few weeks- they should have been doing it from the start.
I’ll end with my favorite news guy- you know who I’m talking about [those who read the posts] good old Chris Matthews. Sharpton even honored him last night on his show- he said he felt that Matthews tingle going up his leg too [no joke!]
Matthews believes he is instructing the president- that his role in life is to fight those darn Red Necks and do whatever needs to be done to make Obama succeed. Even not cover stories where the justice dept is covering up illegal gun running op’s that have killed Americans.
So yesterday the Times put out an op-ed that called for another 1.2 trillion dollar stimulus [I kid you not]. They went on to say that if the govt. spends another 1.2 trillion on infrastructure spending- that it will provide millions of new jobs and solve the unemployment problem.
I did not read the piece- I heard Matthews comment on it on his show. It must have been a Paul Krugman piece.
This view- Keynesian economics- has been tried on the largest scale ever- during Obama’s first 2.5 years- and it has failed miserably.
If you had 3 kids who needed work- and you thought ‘geez- let me go to the bank and borrow 20 thousand dollars’. And with that money you simply paid them to go dig holes- or fix park benches- or any number of other odd jobs.
Sooner or later that money will run out- and so will the job.
But if you gave the kid 20 thousand- helped him start up a small business- and he became successful and hired the other sons- well then you did more than simply pay him from borrowed cash to do a one time job. No- you empowered him to make a living- for himself and the other boys.
That’s pretty simple- and those who keep calling for more stimulus- well they are like the dad who keeps going to the bank to borrow money to pay his son to go dig the ditch- and when that money runs out he thinks ‘geez- the answer is go borrow some more’. That type of money will always run out- because you’re really not stimulating true job growth- your simply paying someone to do a one time job.
Okay- that’s it for today. I hope all these guys can get their act together a little more- and avoid the actual lying about the numbers- like the CLASS example- when people do stuff like that- then there will be little chance to really solve the problems- that approach is pure political posturing- we need more statesman and less politicians today.
 RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
This past week we have seen both sides of the aisle try to describe what the Wall Street protestors are all about. The left has tried to ‘adopt’ them as sort of the Liberal answer to the Tea Party.
The right has described them as a bunch of unemployed spoiled brats that have no consistent voice.
There is probably some truth to both sides- yet neither are totally accurate in my view.
The original Tea Party activists [and the actual event they get their name from!] were raging against the machine ‘No taxation without representation’- much like the present protests.
This past week I read Psalms 79-80. Well I read more than that- but I tried to meditate on these 2 chapters for a while.
I was surprised to see how many verses I actually quote in prayer- that come from these passages.
‘Let the sighing of the prisoners come before thee’ ‘pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee- and THE KINGDOMS that have not called upon thy name’- a few more.
The theme of these chapters is God’s people are under attack ‘Lord- the heathen have come in and defiled your people- their bones are scattered all around the city- their blood is poured out like water’.
Psalms 80 says ‘Lord- you took this vine out of Egypt [speaking about the nation of Israel] then why have you let the protective wall around it to fall down’?
Both Isaiah [chapter 5] and Jesus [Matthews’s gospel] use this same language.
God allowed ungodly kingdoms- systems- to bring down the people of God. One of the Old Testament prophets actually has a real hard time with this- he can’t understand why God would do something like this.
God did it because the people ‘left him’. They walked away from truly seeking God- and judgment came.
Can systems become corrupt? It depends on who has the influence. Many of today’s protestors do have a Bone to Pick with Wall Street. Many of the large banks [investors] and corporate Big Wigs did indeed make out like bandits on the tax payers dime [including Warren Buffet!].
Now- not all bankers- or people working at the actual Wall Street location are criminals- but many of the insiders are/were.
We liked to see the perp walk with Bernie Madoff- but what he did- bilking private investors- was nothing on the scale of what the big corporate heads got away with.
Many of the institutions that were culpable in the bail outs- these people knowingly made decisions that they knew were corrupt. Many of the political leaders- especially Barny Frank and Chris Dodd- they pressured banks to lower their loan standards in order to get more minorities in homes.
Whether their intentions were good or not- they were behind some of the bad loans that would later default.
And President Bush at the time was told that the housing market was going to get into deep trouble if they did not do something about it. To his credit- he tried- I saw the hearings on TV.
The Democrats who were backing Fannie Mae [the mortgage lender the govt. backs] accused Bush of being a racist [yeah- they love that card] How?
They said- openly- on record- ‘there is no problem with the mortgage system at all- and those who are drumming up this false fear- they don’t want Blacks to have homes’ Maxine Waters- Frank- the whole crew said this.
A few months later the bubble burst- everything the Bush guy warned about was right [you know- the racist].
And the actual guys who were a big part of the cause of this [Frank, Dodd] they began berating the banks and lending companies for making all these bad loans.
It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
So what happened here? People who had influence behind the scenes- who had hidden agendas [Franklin Raines- the head of Fannie at the time. A vocal Black supporter of the president- made out like a bandit in the whole debacle]. These people managed to influence the system- to get it to do what they wanted- and the system worked for them- at the expense of the average person.
Yes- systems [kingdoms] can become corrupt- and they last for so long- and then the hammer comes down [pour out thy wrath upon the kingdoms- systems- that don’t call on you].
This past week- there really have been some devastating news stories on the current scandals of the Administration.
You had a top guy at the White House curse out a reporter- Sharyl Atkinson- when she called and asked some questions about the sandals.
She works for CBS- hardly a right leaning news org. – and she has said the documents that they have seen- that these scandals are much worse than people realize.
The stuff released late Friday [called a document dump- you do it on Friday hoping it will die down by Monday] basically show that many insiders- even Democrats- and other legal folk- they warned the White House that they were on the verge of breaking the law [by restructuring the Solyndra loan] and they were told ‘don’t approve this loan change without passing it by the justice dept.’.
Then- in these memos and emails- the White House simply did the loan- even after their own legal people said ‘you might be breaking the law’ [remember- he only changed the loan for this company. He did the change after one of his major campaign donors- who also had millions at stake in Solyndra- visited the White House 4 times in a matter of days. I mean this guy would have lost all his money in the company if the loan was not changed- and this guy’s money also went to Obama- geez- you can’t get much worse than this!]
Yet I heard the president say- over and over again- that all the people who looked at these dealings- they all said it was fine.
You see? There were actually parts of ‘the system’ that were trying to work- to perform the intended function- yet those who had personal agendas- they managed to thwart the system- to get it to work ‘for them’ instead of the overall good of the country.
I do understand that both sides are/have been guilty of this- it just so happens that this year it’s the Democrats turn at bat- and they sure have been hitting it out of the park- time and again.
One more system- and we’ll be thru.
Putting aside all the political arguing- this week I have heard/read very serious warnings about the European banking system- that without a doubt- this system might crash and it will have worldwide effects if this happens.
The debt crisis ‘kingdom’ is in serious trouble- and it just might ‘scatter the bones of your people all around’ the after math could be real bad.
What do we do in times like this? Remember [and pray] the words that Jesus taught us in the Our Father ‘THY kingdom come- thy will be done- on earth as it is in heaven’.
Yes- there are competing kingdoms in this world- not right or left- conservative or liberal- no- that’s not where the real action is.
It’s the Kingdoms of this world- when being influenced by corrupt men- versus the kingdom of God.
At the end of the day- the bible says all the kingdoms/systems of men will fail- And the only mountain left standing will be the one that comes from God- the ‘last mountain’ [kingdom] that the prophet Daniel spoke about.
He saw a vision- a vision of Christ- and in the vision Jesus kingdom withstood all the other kingdoms of the world- and became the most prominent one in the earth.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God- and his righteousness- and all these other things will be added to you [Jesus].
 [BLACK] WHITE SUPREMACIST-
A few years ago I was at work and I and another guy were watching the Dave Chappell show. At the Fire house you do your normal routine from 9-5- training, education- public service stuff – then after 5 the guys will cook- or order out.
Then you catch a movie or a fight [boxing] or something like that on the tube.
Now- the guys actually had a scheme- they would hide the remote from me- or make sure they got to it before me- or else they got stuck watching 5 hours of news [which they hated!].
I also was one of the biggest boxing fans at the station- caught all the big fights [HBO].
So every now and then we would compromise- you know- find something everyone wanted to watch. Quite often it was some comedy type thing.
One night we caught the Chappell show- he did a funny skit on a Black- White Supremacist. They kinda did a Bill Moyers- Frontline spoof and interviewed one of the Black racist’s friends.
The story was about this young Black kid who eventually rose to the heights of the White Power movement. He grew up in the sticks and as a young ‘blind’ boy- all the other White kids felt bad for him.
Over time they let him into their ranks and he actually gets to attend the KKK meetings that are growing in the area.
Of course- they never tell him he is Black- or the more formal term ‘a N—gger’ [which the skit dropped freely].
So the Moyers imitator asks his White buddy ‘how could this happen? Why don’t you tell him he is Black’? And his friend said that over time- after attending all the meetings- well he just happened to become the most articulate voice for the cause- and at this stage they can’t do without him!
As you can see- it’s really a funny skit. So they pull up to the gas station and someone sees Chappell and his White buddy pumping gas- they yell ‘hey- N—gger’. And of course Chappell thinks there’s a Black guy around- and he too starts protesting- and going off.
The White guys get a little scared- they think Chappell has lost it- and they flee.
Finally he’s the key note speaker at some KKK rally- and he has the hood on and all- and the good ole boys are so excited over their most popular speaker- they start yelling ‘pull your hood off- we want to see you’. Now- his buddy is in the audience and he realizes things are getting out of hand- he starts heading for the stage- yelling at his Black hooded friend- no- don’t do it!
Then someone on stage walks over and Walla- they pull the hood off. Their stands Chappell- the most renowned ‘White’ racist in the whole area- loved by thousands- people buying his C.D’s and hearing him articulate the White cause- there he stands- Black face and all.
As you can imagine- the audience is shocked- as the ‘camera’ scans the audience- one shocked attendee actually has his head blow off- just because of the shock to his system.
Okay- funny indeed.
In the last post I spoke on Pragmatism- pragmatism is the school of thought that says you do what needs to get done- be practical- if you can accomplish your mission- even if it means violating your true beliefs- then do it.
Now- I’m a practical guy- I like stuff that works- and if I learn how to do something [Blog- radio shows- etc.] I usually stick with the original equipment- for as long as I can.
Over the years- when I was teaching on the radio- I would record the shows ahead of time and simply drop off a few months of programs at a time- and I used Cassette tapes and a simple recorder to do it.
As time went by- I noticed that just about every other broadcaster switched to C.D.’s- while I was still on tape.
I was truly an ‘independent’ broadcaster- made the tapes here at the house- and paid cash- took no offerings for it- so needed no records- just paid the bill out of pocket.
So for me- if I didn’t have to change over to C.D.’s- I wasn’t going to.
Same with my new laptop- got a Dell a year or so ago [will never buy another one] and it came with a newer version of Word. So I type up a post- and look for the spell check.
I could not find the thing- after about an hour- I mean to me that’s the most basic function I need- but no- they had functions to convert English to Hieroglyphics- but no spell check.
I finally called Dell- and they showed me how it was hidden about 9 functions down- at a spot where you would never find the thing.
So I try to stick with the practical stuff- I don’t want all new Facebook options and tools- Zuckerberg sitting around all day- trying to fend off the latest Google challenge- thinking he’s ‘cutting edge’ and all the while us ‘older crowd’ have to re learn some new fangled thing- that we really don’t have time for.
The president has been going around the country- standing in front of falling down bridges- in Repub districts- and challenging the Repubs ‘pass my jobs bill- it will provide funding for infrastructure- your bridges are falling down in your states- see’!
I’m sure Chris Matthews is elated about this- he thinks he’s directing the Pres- he has called for this from his show for the last 2 months- I guess the thrill is back [you know- Tingle up his leg].
Finally this week- Mitch McConnell- the minority leader in the Senate [Repub] said ‘okay- you want to vote on it- go for it’.
They took the pres up on the challenge- he said ‘why don’t you Repubs vote on the thing’ and when the moment of truth came- they dropped the ball.
Harry Reid- the majority leader in the senate [Dem] did not bring it up for a vote- why? Because he does not have enough Dem votes to pass it.
Who are some of the Dems that don’t want to pass it? Guys like Chuck Schumer- from N.Y. – always railing against the Repubs being on the side of the rich.
He doesn’t want to pass it because it will raise taxes on people [couples] making $250,ooo a year or more- and in his ‘rich’ district- they have told him NO.
He wants to raise the tax limit to the million or more- so even though he [and the pres] are going around yelling ‘pass this bill’ in reality- they don’t want to pass the thing.
Okay- time to simply do the best thing- yes- the most practical. Agree on what you can- and drop the other stuff. Don’t keep accusing one side of not wanting to fix their bridges- so grandma might crash into the river [and sink right next to the other grandma that Ryan wheeled off a few months ago] while the truth is- Schumer is protecting ‘the rich’.
People see thru this type of stuff- just be honest and stop campaigning- just try and do some real work.
I’ll end with this- caught a quick interview with Biden on CSPAN- often on CSPAN you get the truth- no editorializing. Biden actually said that because of the way our tax system works- when you go up in income- the Percentage of what you pay goes down- though the amount goes up [you know- 8 % of a million is more actual money than 10 % of a hundred thousand. Many people- especially in the North East- do believe that our tax system is like this].
I can’t believe he thinks [said] this. Now- I have written on this in the last week or so- the way our tax rate works is- the amount- and the percentage- both go up as your income increases.
The only ones it goes down for are the millionaires/billionaires who are living off of their investments only- and this makes up a very small number of millionaires.
But it seems like Biden might not know this- or maybe it was just another show of bravado- you know- feeling like his title is being threatened. He does hold the world record for Foot in mouth disease. And Old Hank Jr. has given him a run for his money this week.
Either way- it made me wonder if these guys really know what they are doing- or if they are just trying to do something- anything- to make their side look better.
Poor old Chappell- he was the best spokesman for the cause- even though the cause was hating Black folk- they used him because ‘he worked’ it was the pragmatic thing to do- not the right thing- not the honest thing- just what they felt they needed to do to get the job done.
It would be better for us all- both sides of the aisle- if we did what we truly felt was right- what was best- not just best for our side- but for the whole.
Because the pragmatic route leaves you sitting in the audience- cheering for ‘your guy’ at one moment- and then hating him the next.
As you know by now- yesterday morning we killed one of the top Al Qaeda guys in Yemen. We got him [and another top guy] with one of those drone strikes [unmanned plane].
Since we have already gone thru one news cycle on the thing- let’s talk.
President Obama seems to be lying lower with the ‘promotion’ aspect of this hit. In comparison to the Bin Laden hit- he is taking this one more slowly.
Why? A few reasons- after the Bin Laden kill some of our military guys [and some of the wives of the husbands on seal team 6!] Openly complained that they did not want their families to become targets. It’s rare to announce the actual group who carried out the hit.
Second- Awlaki [and the other guy] just happened to be American citizens. So what does that mean?
First- I’m of the view that citizen or not- when you align yourself with a group that advocates the killing of Americans- then you become a target.
But the problem is- all people do not hold to this view. There are some progressive types [liberal] who view the entire ‘war on terror’ as an abuse by Bush/Cheney on the ‘rights’ of those we are fighting against.
Yes- during the 2008 campaign- the whole mantra leading up to it- was the idea that the Bush view of ‘war on terror’ was actually wrong.
Some Democrats fought for the less militant view- one that said ‘yes- 9-11 was wrong- but our approach will be less of a ‘war’ against terror- and more along the lines of fighting against individual criminal acts’.
Okay- whatever side you’re on- no matter to me- the point I’m making is this was Obama’s view.
Along with this whole mindset came the talk ‘we can defend our nation- without violating our basic moral principles’ on and on went the talk- they were all saying that the Gitmo [Cuba] detainment facilities were a violation of prisoner’s rights.
Those military trials would be unfair- that we need to Mirandize these folk- and give them ‘their’ basic constitutional rights.
The Bush position was ‘we are at war- these guys are enemy combatants- taken from the field- you don’t get constitutional rights’.
Obama’s view was different- and it was purely ideological- not based on any real experience- just saying what he needed to say- to appease his base [that’s why he read the rights to the underwear bomber- remember?]
So Obama got elected- what was one of the first things he did as Pres?
He gave an executive order- as promised- to shut down the ‘prison’ in Cuba within a year.
For those who don’t follow this stuff- the U.S. base at Cuba [where my wife used to be stationed] houses the prisoners we captured in the field- and Bush also built a special court for military trials to be held there- so these guys could be held- off U.S. ground- and stay there until we tried them.
Now- why hold them there? Bush and his legal team knew- that if we hold [and try] them in the U.S.- then there will be lots of challenges to ‘giving them their rights’ some have advocated from the start that Bush was violating these guys rights- and that indeed- Bush and Cheney [and Rummy] were actually war criminals [I kid you not].
So after Obama got in- he swore- in a year Gitmo will close. Okay- what has happened?
Year 1 went by- and it didn’t close- year 2- the same thing. As we entered into year 3- Obama began making plans to shut the thing [he actually started moving on it in year 2].
He had to decide ‘where will we put these guys’? And ‘where will we try them’- remember- Obama’s ideology [for good or ill] was holding these guys as combatants- and not giving them constitutional protections [these guys are non citizens by the way] was a violation of ‘our basic morals’.
How were these prisoners being treated John? I’m glad you asked. Gitmo is around 90 miles south of Fla. You know- the same beaches of South Miami.
These guys were given brand new Korans on arrival- prayer rugs. 3 times a day they were free to worship- they were given special food- in keeping with their religious beliefs.
Yet one time- okay I’ll admit it- they were treated badly. They actually filed a complaint!
We were giving them ice cream 7 days a week with their evening meal- and for some reason [budget?] we cut it down to once a week- they got mad and filed a complaint [this is not a joke by the way].
So these were the guys that Obama [and many on his side] viewed as victims of the Bush/Cheney regime.
After 3 years- Obama tried to close the prison [and court] down- move the guys to various prisons throughout the U.S. [dumb move indeed] and try the guys in downtown Manhattan.
Bloomberg and Schumer took heat [N.Y. politicos] from their own Dem [and Independent] base- and they told Obama ‘how bout you don’t try the guys here’.
Then they grappled with a few other spots- what the security costs would be- the whole process of Mirandizing these guys [which they did do already] and treating them like American citizens- with full constitutional rights- not like enemy combatants.
So what happened? This year- after all the rhetoric on how Gitmo is the number one recruiting tool for terrorists [false] all the ice cream violations- yes- after this being one of the top priorities of Obama- he has decided to keep the guys at Gitmo- and try them there- under military trials.
He has decided that the Bush way- the way he had condemned and accused those who were part of it as ruining the country- yes- he has decided that’s the adult way to go.
Okay- said all that to say this. Obama fought very hard to give constitutional rights to the 5 guys we are holding that were involved with 9-11. This was a part of his belief- whether sincere or not- this became the way some liberals fought against conservatives.
Sy Hirsch- a liberal writer- wrote a piece in the New Yorker [before Obama became pres.] and he said seal team 6 [the guys who got Bin Laden] were Cheney’s personal hit squad- who were out violating the laws of the land. After they got Bin Laden- under Obama’s orders- they were called heroes by these same people who formerly called them Cheney’s hit team [and Obama was called decisive!]
This was the mindset- this was the view.
So- what happened yesterday? We killed 2 American citizens. These were not non citizens- who Obama deemed worthy of getting constitutional rights- these were actual citizens- who had them!
Now- if you hold the Bush view- enemy combatants- war on terror- the whole 9 yards- then doing this is legal- because during war- you can do stuff like this.
But if you were the guy who accused Bush [Cheney] of violating the rights of prisoners- who said these actual foreign fighters taken in the field- should be mirandized- if you held that view- then what you did yesterday was a big no no.
The 5th amendment to the constitution says no citizen can be deprived of life or liberty without due process [for instance- if we wanted to tap Al-Awlaki’s phone- we would have needed a court order- but to kill him- we did not]
Now- if you argue we are at war- for real- then the due process clause does not apply.
But if you argue- yes indeed- these guys [not just the ones who are actually Americans!] do get constitutional rights- then you can’t kill them with a drone- that’s just an ideological fact.
I’m glad we got them- I take the Bush view on this. But the liberals- progressives- many of the Dems- and even Obama- they fought for the other view- for 3 years- they accused Bush [and seal team 6] as being rogue war mongers- out violating the rights of people.
They hooped and hollered when the ice cream service was cut from 7 days to 1. Yes- these guys took that position- and a day after Obama killed 2 Americans [as bad as they were!] What are these progressive, liberal- give ‘rights to the enemy’ types- what are they saying ‘hooray- look at Obama- he’s not like Bush- he actually gets these Sob’s’.
I’m glad he got them too- but many of those who are celebrating today- would have called Bush a war criminal if he did it- and that’s a fact.
 HOME ALONE?
This past week a bombshell book hit the stores- Confidence Men- by Ron Susskind.
Susskind was given access to the White House over a period of many months- and he gave Obama a very strong critique. He said that the first couple of years of the administration- that the catch phrase was ‘Home Alone’.
Apparently one of his top financial guys was actually running the show [Larry Summers]. He would tell another finance guy [Peter Orzag] that ‘if we weren’t here- doing everything- no one would be in charge’- they were Home Alone.
Now- the defenders of the pres. have come out and given their side. But after hearing both sides- it simply looks like- yes- the pres. was really not experienced [no executive experience?] for the task at hand.
I remember when Clinton [Bill] got into hot water when Hillary was running against Obama- at one point he said ‘this whole thing is a big joke!’
In context- he was talking about the Obama candidacy. He- like many others- felt like a one term senator from Illinois- who is in the first 2 years of his term- that there is no way any other candidate would be taken this seriously- with no real experience.
At the time they branded good old Bill as a racist- but what he was saying was the mood in the country- the excitement that many people had- a historic moment to elect the first Black president- that these things all played into the election [nomination] of Obama.
So- many of these more experienced political guys were right- even those who were Democrats.
As we end the week- let me throw in a couple of bible chapters that I have read this last week.
Genesis 49- and Ezekiel 33.
I have spoken about Gen. 49 a few times over these past few weeks. You get the story of Jacob blessing his 12 sons [the 12 tribes of Israel].
The blessing over Joseph says ‘you are a fruitful vine planted by a well- your branches go over the wall- the archers shot at you and wounded you- yet your bow remained strong’.
This was a brief way to cover the experiences of Joseph.
Though I have not read Genesis in a while- I remember the story well.
Joseph is famous for being the son who left the fold at a young age- his brothers betrayed him and he was eventually sold into Egypt as a slave.
In Egypt Joseph rose up the ranks- he was put in charge of a very important household- and he did a great job [gained lots of executive experience].
One day the wife- who had a crush on Joseph- tries to sleep with the guy [yes- bible stories are very real] and he refuses. She later accuses him of rape.
He winds up in prison- unjustly accused- and has to put in some more time being rejected by those he tried to benefit.
In jail he interprets a few dreams for some guys that are top guys in pharaoh’s administration- and that eventually gets him out of jail.
In time he rises to the 2nd highest influential position in Egypt- and is number 2 to pharaoh in power.
God reveals to Joseph that there will be a famine [recession- double dip!] in the land- and he advises pharaoh to implement this plan where they store up a lot of extra grain [those darn conservatives!] for 7 good years- so when the bad years come- they will be the only gig in town [China?]
Sure enough- the famine comes and all the surrounding nations come to Egypt for financial [grain] help. This will bring the family of Joseph to Egypt too.
Now- the brothers and Jacob [the dad] thought Joseph actually died years ago. The boys tricked the dad into thinking he was killed- and as far as the brothers knew- maybe he was dead.
As they come for the aid- Joseph recognizes them- but they don’t know who he is. Joseph is speaking the Egyptian language when he’s with them- using an interpreter.
Yet when the brothers talk- he secretly knows what they are saying.
Joseph finally gets them all to come ‘down’ into Egypt- the whole family- and they have this great reunion- Joseph was the son who saved the family from ruin.
The same son who was rejected by the family years earlier. At one point in the story Joseph says ‘what you meant for evil- God meant for good’.
Joseph realized that his brothers did ‘mean evil’ he didn’t try and whitewash the reality that some wanted him gone- jealousy and sibling rivalry were very real- and Joseph called it like it was.
But he was able to see what the apostle Paul would pen many years later ‘all things work for good to them that love God- to those who are called according to his purpose’ [Romans]
There are rumors that the N.Y. times is going to possibly run a story- detailing that the president has been suffering from severe depression- that the job is much more demanding than he thought- and that he has had some major problems with being pres.
True? Have no idea.
In Joseph’s case- yes he was hated- and rejected. He would spend years being falsely accused- and in time- we would get a very top position- yet he was prepared for the job- his life experiences built character into him- character that would be needed for him to fulfill the mission.
Did Joseph get depressed at times? I’m sure he did- he kept getting the short end of the stick- thru out most if his life.
Yet in the end there was a purpose.
Today I want to simply encourage you guys [and gals] many of us are going thru things- good stuff- bad stuff- all types of stuff.
Maybe you’re at the beginning stage- maybe the stage where you feel unjustly accused- rejected.
Others might just be getting out of ‘prison’ and might be on the verge of new things.
Some of us might be sitting in a ‘White House’ thinking- how in the heck did I wind up here!’
Wherever you are at- in the end- all things will work for good- if you love God.
[1737 FLUFFY THE CAT
The other day I was going to write a post on the Greek debt crisis- the silly yoyo that the markets have been rising and falling on. At the end of last week the market fell- because a few top financial guys were seriously talking about letting Greece default.
Then the next few days there was ‘hope’ that they were all going to work things out. Then before I got the chance to post- yes- another market downturn- there was buzz that the Germans were feeling uneasy.
The silly thing about all this- is the facts are the facts. Will Greece go insolvent- probably yes. They are about 500 billion dollars in debt [a lot] and after all the promised bailout money- from their central bank system [much like our fed] they are only on their second bailout payment [around 130 billion or so] and the other stronger economies in the Euro Zone are wanting to bail.
Why? I have covered this before- but you basically have a situation- much like our own countries bailout- where certain European nations have gotten in debt over their heads- and when the danger of private investors- who bought all these bonds from these countries- when they see the possibility of losing their fortunes- they sound the bell ‘the world is falling apart- quick- bail us out’.
Now- is the world falling apart? For these Wall Street folk- yes indeed. That’s why they panic. When we bailed out Wall Street and the banks in our country- many of these insider financial guys who warned the president [s] about the danger- these guys were also in peril of losing their money.
All their friends/families- everything they have- would have been lost if the banks and markets collapsed. So what did we do? The nation covered the losses [for men like Buffet- who keep saying how guilty they feel about their low tax rate. Maybe this is part of the guilt- you think?]
Now- in the Greek crisis- that’s exactly what the Germans [the strongest Euro Zone economy- the U.K. is not part of the Euro Zone] are saying. They want the private investors to take a greater loss- before they spend their own tax payer’s money on a bailout. Many are now openly questioning whether or not Greece should just go belly up- and take the hit.
I read a piece in the N.Y. Times the other day- the headline was ‘Should Greece default on its debt’.
So some are beginning to catch on here.
You have had other Sovereigns default- Argentina, Russia, etc.- yet their debt was around 80 billion at the time. Greece’s debt is 500 billion- so the default could be systemic- it could affect Italy and some other struggling economies- the European banks would also take around a 400 billion dollar hit- so it could be a big problem.
Okay- why mention this? No matter what any single person says- or some European financial guy quits [like last week] none of this will change the facts on the ground. If the other Euro Zone nations are already balking at this second Payment to Greece- then that means most of the ‘insiders’ are beginning to think that they might as well let Greece default- and just take the hit.
Some felt [and still feel] that when we bailed out companies and banks- out of fear that we can’t allow ‘too big to fail’ fail- that we simply prolonged the pain.
This next year- our country is going to suffer. Lots of the bailout money that was spent [the 800 billion stimulus- plus the actual bailout] was spent simply propping up the states budgets for the last few years. Now- the states are going to have to cut back- lots- this next year- the moneys gone.
The housing market is still bad- the system has not bottomed and cleared out the hit from the bubble- and we did things to ‘stall the pain’ okay- now we are paying for that.
So- all the financial gurus talking about ‘hold on’ or investors hanging on the words of one guy- is nonsense. All these macro problems- still left in the system- they are not going away so easily.
I heard a British trader give a BBC interview the other day- he shocked the audience. He said all the insider traders have fled Greek debt- and any other investments associated with European debt- and they are preparing for a sort of mini European depression.
Now- he talked for about 5 minutes [the parts I heard] and much of what he was saying- I believe to be honest- that the insiders often do the opposite of what they tell the public.
After his interview- the BBC came out and said he was ‘a plant’- a Plant? From where? They said he was one of those ‘doom and gloom’ guys- who really wants to scare people- so he can profit off of it later.
Look- I have no idea how legitimate the guy was- but I knew much of what he said was true- and the truth is- the insiders often don’t want the general public to know certain things- and they don’t tell them either!
How gullible are we? A few years ago one of the history channels began promoting a major upcoming event. They were going to once and for all- reveal the true Missing Link. They supposedly found the fossil that would prove Evolution was true. Now- they spent a lot on the promo’s- and as they built up the thing- at the end of the promo- there it was- an actual picture of the fossil that would turn the whole world on its head.
When I saw the actual fossil- I laughed openly. Sort of like when Will Ferrell tells Christina Applegate [Anchorman] ‘When you told me you too wanted to be an anchor man- I wrote it in my journal- I said ‘she told me a very funny thing- I am laughing’. [You know the comedy is based on the good ole boy network].
So as I watched the ad every few days- yes- I laughed- openly.
Why? Because anyone who knows anything about the whole debate on Evolution can tell you- that’s not what ANYBODY is looking for.
Sure- this cat like fossil might be of use somewhere- but in the Missing Link debate- it had no use.
Now- as I mocked the thing- at work- at home- every time I saw it- I would be doubted by some ‘John- how do you know that’s not the Link- are you smarter than the scientists’.
People believe what the media tells/shows them- and they allow themselves to be duped- lots. After a few months of the pathetic fluffy fossil making the rounds- they finally pulled the whole show.
Why? As I read a few science articles about it- as the months passed- many of the ‘other’ scientists [those who were not profiting directly form the thing] also laughed- yes just like me- just like Burgundy- yes they laughed too.
Why- they said what I said- that what this silly cat fossil has to do with a missing link between man and monkey- well it was foolish.
The channel dropped the whole show- the scientist who did indeed by the fossil for a lot of money [it was around for a while- but no one wanted to purchase it] yes- they all had personal reasons to want people to think a certain way- if they believed that this thing was truly historical- then they would make money.
And they labeled the critics- initially- as those silly creationists who deny science. Yet the facts were- science was on the side of those who laughed at Fluffy- I’m sure she was a nice pet- but a missing link? Not.
I have another article here that I wanted to cover- the same basic thing- about a British Atlas that fudged the amount of ice that has melted off Iceland- they had fake pictures and all- finally the scientific community came out quickly to debunk it- they did not want another fiasco like the fake global warming story a few years back.
The whole point is- people have agendas- the financial guys have agendas- those in the media- they have agendas. Are all of these people wrong? Of course not- do I too have an agenda? Sure- we all do.
But as you read/watch the news- as you make judgments on ‘what is true and what is false’ don’t always go with the flow- the initial thing that your ‘told’ to believe- sometimes they want you to believe- they might even think that their deception is noble ‘geez- we know it’s not really true- but in the end it will be better for us all’.
Yet- it would be better for us all- if we simply got the facts- and did not have to wade thru all the bias.
I don’t know what the European debt crisis will end up like- nor does anyone else. But for the market to be doing these 500 point swings- from one day to the next- based on what Angela Merkle says- or some financial guy- well that’s silly.
The facts are the facts- they are not changing that much from week to week [or day to day!]- not enough for the market to swing like that.
Are we going to have a double dip recession? It sure looks that way too me. Did I think this a year ago- no. Why? The signs looked a lot better then- the last few months- for a lot of reasons- they don’t look so good.
We don’t need to hear what Bernanke says [that much] or what Buffet thinks- we can read the broad indicators- and see for ourselves.
Look- for a few months I was laughing at the cat fossil- even at the risk of my buddies thinking ‘John- he’s one of those creationists who rejects science- how sad’. Then after the truth came out- at the end of the day- my ‘friends’ actually believed Fluffy was the missing link- when in reality she made some cave man a very nice pet- and that was it.
 EINSTEIN WRONG?
There’s been much buzz these last few days on an experiment that seems to have proven Einstein wrong. These Physicists shot some sub atomic particles [Neutrinos] underground and supposedly clocked them going faster than the speed of light [by 60 nano seconds]
Now- as someone who never went for that ‘book learnin’- yes- in high school I clearly remember telling my guidance counselor- from year 1- that I will never attend college- so just give me the easiest classes to pass [yes- I really did say this- and they seemed to get miffed at me].
So- I never took Physics- or Algebra! I mean- not even the basics. One year the counselor said ‘John- even if you don’t go to college- we require you to at least have 1 year of math’.
I took ‘shop math’. Mr. Hildebrand- that class was the definition of ‘skate’. So over the years I have had to read up- and even when I took the entrance examines for the Fire Dept. I had to get a few books on Algebra- just to pass the test! [Yet I always scored high on tests].
Okay- why would breaking the speed of light mess up Einstein? In the world of physics you have had 3 main stages. In the ancient world we had ‘ancient physics’- then with the scientific revolution and men like Newton- we entered a stage called classical physics. And in the 20th century we had Einstein.
He would launch the field into what we now call Modern physics. He is the father of modern physics.
In 1905 he wrote 4 scientific papers- one of them was on Special Relativity.
Classical physics dealt with matter, energy- space and time. But what Einstein did was he seemed to breach the gap between these fields.
He would show us that these fields are not separate- they actually function and exist together as one fabric that exists in the universe.
Now- the formula most of us are familiar with is the famous E=mc2. This formula [not developed in any of the 1905 papers by the way] basically is a conversion factor between mass and energy.
All mass/matter has energy contained within it- if you could find ways to convert that mass into energy- then this formula showed you how much energy you would get [if you could convert all the mass in a raisin- into pure energy- you could light the city of N.Y.- on one raisin!]
Now- most people equate this formula with Nuclear energy. While this is true- yet this formula applies to all forms of mass into energy conversion. Coal power plants- gasoline in your car- even the conversion of food into energy in the human body- it is not only a formula for nuclear energy.
Okay- what about light speed? The formula actually tells us that the way you calculate the amount of energy in ‘the mass’- is you take the mass- multiply it by ‘c- squared’ and that’s the amount of energy. What’s c? C is simply the letter that represents the speed of light.
All of Einstein’s theories work off the theory that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. So- if these guys did prove that these sub atomic particles did indeed break the record- then yes- there will be a lot of changes that will need to be made to one of the most tested- and popular theories of all time.
Now- what did Einstein prove by his theories? Why was his first paper on relativity called ‘special relativity’? In the initial calculation- Einstein had a problem- as he continued to grapple with the impact his ideas would have- something he saw did not seem to fit in with the age old belief that the universe is eternal.
Carl Sagan used to say the universe is all there ever was- and all there ever will be [he was wrong by the way].
What Einstein ‘saw’ was that the universe seemed to be expanding- at a very rapid rate. His calculations also seemed to indicate that this expansion was ongoing- that it has never stopped expanding.
How could this be? Well- Einstein could not fully accept his own findings- and he simply fudged the numbers. Yes- he added this cosmological constant- this arbitrary mathematical calculation- that slowed everything down. He ‘made’ his theory say the expansion would stop at a certain point.
Later on he would realize [through the discoveries made by the Hubble telescope] that his initial observation was right- the universe is in a nonstop expansion as we speak.
He would call this mistake the greatest blunder of his career.
So what were the implications? Well we got the Big Bang out of this- the implications were that the universe was not eternal. That time and space and all matter had a beginning point.
This is the strongest scientific argument for the existence of God today. If the physical world as we know it- had a starting point- then the only rational explanation is there had to have been some type of ‘first cause’ that initiated the bang.
That’s fact- Einstein [nor anyone else] has ever proved that the universe had no initial cause. As a matter of fact- that would contradict the laws of logic and science. The law we refer to as Cause and Effect.
Some very brilliant men have stumbled over this. The atheist Bertrand Russell- who grew up as a Christian- said he thought to himself one day ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not say that the universe is the thing that started it all- why not question whether or not God even had something that caused him’?
Sounds right? Or does it. Russell made the tragic mistake of thinking ‘everything has to have had a cause’. Actually- that’s not what the law of cause and effect states.
The law says ‘every effect has to have had a cause’. It is not illogical to have some type of being- a ‘first causer’ who by definition- had to be around forever. If you follow all the arguments through- you in fact need a Transcendent being [someone who transcends time and space] in order for this whole system to work.
So at the end of the day Einstein gave the church one of the strongest arguments for the existence of God- he showed us that all creation did indeed have a starting point- and he took us no further back than that.
Do I think the recent discovery is earth shattering? Well- if it’s correct- then yes- it will be. But I would bet money on the side of Einstein on this one.
If the calculations prove accurate- then we will need to make some adjustments to modern physics- but I don’t think it would totally ‘throw him under the bus’.
I have found it funny that most of the reporters talking about this- they would say ‘so- does this mean time travel might be real?’
You know- the T.V. talking heads have to have something they can say- in a short clip- that they think sounds intelligent.
Theoretically- Einstein has already shown us that ‘time travel’ can happen. Will man ever be able to travel at those ‘light speeds’? Doubtful [the speed of light is about 180 thousand miles a second].
But it’s good for people to be informed- as much as possible- about these things. I have heard/seen many people make unsound arguments against the existence of God- and lots of times they use Einstein- or modern science- as in if science has somehow showed us that God does not exist.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’ll end with this- the very smart atheist- Anthony Flew- spent years trying to disprove the existence of God. He was at the top of his field [a brilliant scientist] who made Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris [modern popular atheists] look like amateurs.
A few years ago – he confessed that he now believes that there has to have been some type of infinite being- God- who started everything.
He said the Teleological argument [an apologetic argument that tries to prove the existence of God by design in the creation] finally convinced him. Any sane person- looking out into the sky at night- or studying animals- plants- man.
Any person who thinks that all of these things actually came from nothing- he just realized that proposition no longer had any legs to it.
No- the universe is not eternal [Einstein showed us that] and if not- it could not have popped into existence from nothing- that simply is not scientifically possible.
Note- our sun burns 400 million tons of matter into energy every second! A stretched rubber band weighs more than one at rest [energy weighs]. A charged battery weighs more than a dead one- the charge [energy] itself adds to the weight.
 THE YEAR UZZIAH DIED
After the debate last night I caught the 1st 7 minutes or so of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As an avid news watcher- I try to catch what the most influential pundits are saying at the time.
Though Stewart is a comedian news guy- yet he usually gives you a balanced view- with a few F bombs thrown in every so often.
So his top skit was today’s vote at the U.N. [well- they won’t vote today on it] the Palestinian request for the U.N. to recognize them as a state [nation- called nation states in that part of the world].
Stewart did a pretty funny [and eye opening] skit. He had one of his reporters ‘report’ from Halifax- Nova Scotia [of course he shoots these scenes from his area- I guess?] And the skit was that the new Holy Land is actually Halifax.
That they discovered this new scroll [in his hand] and the evidence pointed to Halifax as the spot.
So as they talk the reporter also pronounces Halifax with a rolling ‘Hal’ you know- to make it sound Jewish.
So- after this new find- I guess the whole war over the ‘2 state’ solution is now resolved- right? Wrong.
On the split screen you have the Muslim reporter show up- and he makes the claim that Muhammad actually found Halifax first- he even says he has proof that ‘the prophet’ was there- they have evidence that he caught a huge fish once on a visit.
Now of course- these guys are all taking risks with this stuff- but it is funny. So the ‘Jewish’ reporter says ‘okay- show me the picture and I’ll believe it’. Of course- in Islam- it’s blasphemous to depict the prophet in a picture- so they go back and forth on the thing- The Muslim guy pronouncing Halifax with a sort of Muslim drawl [Halalafax].
The sad thing is- even though it’s a comedy show- Stewart showed us how all the religious ‘wars’ and fights- how they look to the ‘outside world’.
As I have been doing a ‘jump around’ study on the Old Testament these last few weeks- in my own study [for the posts] I am at the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah is one of the Major Prophets- he is quoted more than any other Old Testament prophet- in the N.T.
There are more famous prophecies from Isaiah- about Jesus- than any other prophet [A Virgin shall conceive and have a child].
When we read the books of the bible- we usually have pretty accurate dates on when the book was written- at what time the prophet lived.
In Isaiah’s case he gives us a specific date to his calling- in chapter 6 he says ‘in the year that king Uzziah died- I saw the Lord’.
King Uzziah [a king in Israel] died in the year 740 B.C.
If you walk down to the Mediterranean shore from Israel- you can look North West and see Italy. In the year 740 B.C. – Rome became a city. Of course it would be centuries before Rome would become the capital of the world empire- yet it was birthed as a city the same year Isaiah was called by God.
If you look west- you see Egypt, Libya and Tunisia- all places where the ‘Arab Spring’ has taken root.
It’s amazing to think- that after thousands of years- this whole area is still one of the most influential news making spots on the map.
After John the Baptist baptized Jesus- the Spirit descended on Jesus ‘like a dove’ and the bible tells us ‘the Spirit DROVE Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’.
In Luke’s account [chapter 4] One of the first events to take place after the wilderness test- was Jesus goes into the synagogue on the Sabbath- and as ‘his custom was’ he ‘opened the book and read’.
Now that’s the way the English version reads. But it really doesn’t give you the full picture. The Jewish people [till this day] don’t have their bibles [Called Torah for Jews- Pentateuch for Christians- which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament] in book form.
They have their bibles in scroll form. It’s actually part of their worship to have these beautiful hand written scrolls- which cost thousands of dollars to make- in this form.
So when you read ‘Jesus opened the book and found the place’ it really means he unrolled the scroll- and came to the spot where the reading was marked for that day.
I have heard many preachers over the years correctly say that it was a scroll- yet they seem to think that Jesus just unrolled the thing and supernaturally came to the spot where he read from.
No- the spot was already marked out the week before- he was just reading from this predetermined spot.
Now- he reads a famous passage ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach’ and the prophecy goes on and talks about the ministry of the Messiah.
Now- for Jesus to have read this- and for the people to have heard-was nothing out of the ordinary- until what happened next.
Jesus then ‘closed the book’ and says ‘This day this prophecy has been fulfilled in your ears’ and the bible says that the eyes of everyone there were fixated on him.
Jesus read from Isaiah 61 that day- the prophet that was called 740 years earlier.
This happened right after the temptation- it was the difficulty- the tests- the very tough things he went through- it was these things that gave him the ability to speak- and for all the people to hear.
As they will present the Palestinian request today- and as this same land- where Jesus walked- Isaiah heard God- the devil tempted Jesus- as this land once again becomes the center of attention- I hope we don’t all look like the caricature that Jon Stewart showed- brilliantly- on his show.
Quite often ‘the world’ sees the church [religious fights in general] as stupid and silly. They see certain adherents willing to fight- and kill- over their beliefs.
They see a never ending feud between groups of people who are so fixated on a certain side- an issue- that it seems almost impossible to sit down and actually treat the other side as human beings- who are all indeed created in the image of God- who Jesus said ‘even if we see them as our enemy- we are to love them’.
Isaiah was a cultured man- not like most of the other prophets. He had influence in the politics of his day- and most Christians today revere his prophecies as at the top of the list- as far as prophets go.
In chapter 6- after he saw God- and heard the call- he responded ‘I am a man of unclean lips- it the middle of people who are also unclean’.
And the bible says an angel took a ‘live coal’ from the fire and put it in on the prophet’s lips. God was saying ‘Yes Isaiah- you are unclean- this whole nation is unclean- man is unclean- yet when I use people to speak to a people- it’s based on my character- not yours’.
Isaiah would fulfill the mission- and be honored by having Jesus read from his scroll on the opening day of the preaching ministry of Jesus- and for him to have said ‘today- this has been fulfilled in your ears’.
 PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES [OR THE SEAL].
I heard a news story the other day- some kids in a Massachusetts school district found a stranded baby seal on the beach one day. So like most environmentally minded young folk- they rescued the seal and brought him back to their town.
As the news got out- the town decided to adopt this helpless thing- and they went all out- the school district put out lots of money [they spent about 80 thousand overall] and after a couple of years- little ‘flipper’ was ready to launch.
So they all went down to the ocean one morning- and it was truly a tearful moment [maybe a little too tearful?]. As they launched their beloved child- you know- sending him [her] off to brave new worlds- places ‘no seal has gone before’- as soon as the lad was released- an Orca [killer whale] came up from the water- and swallowed him whole.
Now- you have the kids and all standing at the shore- asking their elders ‘mommy- daddy- what happened’. And of course that began a long week of mourning for the whole town. Whose fault was this? Was it anybody’s fault? Would it be right to make this someone’s fault?
As we enter this last year of the president’s term- for whatever reason- he has made a conscious decision to ‘blame the rich’. Now- those of you know me- and have read my posts for a while- will realize that I am no defender of ‘the rich’.
I have worked with poor people for most of my life- and I refuse offerings or help- because I have always felt that the influence of money [like ministries always begging for it] has been a blight on the church.
Yet at the same time- there are lots of very hard working people- who are being categorized as ‘the rich’ who don’t pay their ‘fair share’.
In the current Obama plan- couples making over 250 thousand a year [and singles making 200] are considered ‘the rich’.
Now- depending on where you live- this might be rich- or maybe not.
Where I grew up in N.J. – if you’re a cop- or firefighter- maybe the wife is a teacher- you might fall into this rich group.
And if you are paying the very high North East mortgage payment- then to hit a family like that with a huge tax increase- well that’s gonna hurt.
The example the president keeps using- well he’s making it sound like most of the rich are really paying less. The truth is we do have a graduated income tax rate in this country- that goes up as you make more.
I think the bottom is at around 5 %- the top around 29 % [plus you have around 40-50 % who pay no federal income taxes at all]. So why is the president saying the rich pay less than their secretaries? [Buffett’s famous line]. Because Buffett- like a few other billionaires- pays only capital gains tax- taxes on investment income and dividends from stocks.
Yes- for those few fortunate billionaires- they have managed to live off of the interest- and the tax on that kind of income is around 15 %.
How many of ‘the rich’ are not paying ‘their fair share’ by doing this. I don’t have the exact number off hand- but it’s close to around 1 % of all those who file who make around a million a year or more.
The point is- the people who are ‘not paying their fair share’ are not the people the president is branding as ‘those who are not paying their fair share’.
So- it’s just dow right unfair to the working cop and teacher- who might be getting hit with the new ‘fair rate’ and to brand them as not pulling their weight in society- when the truth is- these are the people who are really paying close to 80% of all the taxes in the country.
Now- I do think we should get rid of corporate loopholes- and yes- if we do a ‘billionaires’ tax type thing- to deal with the few Buffett’s of the world- than I really don’t care much.
But the reality is most of those being accused of not paying their fair share- well- they are paying the lions share right now.
It’s easy to get people on your side- if you find a noble cause [saving the baby seal- or helping the poor working folk] and if you can put the blame for this injustice on someone else- then you almost always win [the argument- though you might still lose the seal].
I’m sure the kids at the beach that day would have liked to have blamed ‘that darn Orca- taking more than he should- probably eats more than the other species of fish- who are struggling in life- but no- this bully had to have the very last bite-‘ and on and on.
When we feel like an injustice has happened- like the scales are not tipping right- we want to find a scapegoat- to find the real culprit’s behind the injustice. Sometimes things happen- sometimes societies [Greece- Italy this week] overpromise too much to people- and if these societies are spending money they don’t have- well it’s easy to blame it on the Orca- the ‘big bully’ who seems to get his full- while we baby seals are left here on the shore struggling to survive.
I know it’s hard to take this position and defend the ‘Orcas of the world’ and the whole reason some people blame the Orcas- well- it’s because they know they are an easy target- you don’t get many people to stand up for the right of the Orca to eat the baby seal.
But this is such a dangerous game- and it’s unfair to the majority of people who are in this ‘rich’ category [not the Buffett’s] who are really paying their fair share- and more.
I think the president should make this clear- and not divide the country over this- sure- you might be on the side that will naturally garner the most sympathy- but that still doesn’t make it right.
 BRISON PHILLIPS
The other day this name popped into my mind- you know- one of those real clear memories- sort of like ‘geez- maybe God wants me to pray for the guy’. I knew that couldn’t be it.
This last week we have had a few big news stories- the SOLYNDRA scandal [by the way- the execs are gonna plead the 5th– that’s bad!].
We also had a few tragic events. A couple of air show disasters back to back. Here where I live in Corpus Christ- if you Google the map- I live about 200 yards from the Naval Air Station.
As a funny memory- 30 years ago I had my Captains Mast right on this base [a technical court thing- to kick you out after you screwed up one 2 many times- too much partying and fighting is not stuff the Navy puts ups with].
I worked for 25 years at another Naval base city- Kingsville [with the Fire Dept.]
Whenever the air base has an air show in Corpus- the planes fly directly over my house. Right after I moved to the area I realized all the locals sit on their roofs when the shows are on- you see them up close- couldn’t get a better view if you were in the stands.
In Kingsville the base used to request that the city ambulance stand by at the air shows- you know- heat exhaustion or every now and then a heart attack.
Lots of people watching the show in the heat- to have an ambulance right there shortened the response time.
Now- most of the young guys took that gig- sure you got overtime- but the older guys [who played Captain and engineer- truck pumper] we usually didn’t go for it.
But one year  I thought- what the heck- yeah I’ll work the show. Me and Sam showed up- nice day. The Kingsville base was actually the base I was stationed at when I first came to Texas.
The show would last a couple of hours- you would get paid a minimum of 3 hours overtime and it was really easy duty- usually.
I was just standing there- watching the show- just like the crowd. And right in front of us- an f-16 fighter crashes.
Of course the crowd was shocked- and we are really not there for something like this- but to be honest- I broke the rules and told Sam ‘lets roll’.
We drove right across the air strip [which we did not have clearance for- but it felt like the base had no idea what to do either].
The plane crashed in a wooded area so we parked right at the spot where the plane went over- and had to jump the fence.
To be honest- I was not supposed to be doing this- but I followed the Navy team that was on the ground [special investigators] and was the first fire fighter at the location.
You couldn’t recognize the plane- total destruction. I wasn’t sure if the pilot bailed or not- some in the crowd thought they saw him eject.
After going through the rubble- we found a foot. Perfectly intact- but that was it.
Major Brison Phillips- a very experienced pilot who saw action in Iraq- died that day.
Yesterday I read his name in the San Antonio paper. They were talking about the air show disasters that have happened in Texas.
To my surprise- there have only been 5. The first one in 1943- then down the line until this past year. The Crash I was at was number 4 [I think?]
After I thought about it- maybe God was ‘showing’ me his name- for me to pray for pilots that week. We did later have the crashes. I just couldn’t put 2 and 2 together- I knew Brison was already dead so when his name came to me like that- I was a little confused.
I cut out the news article and stuck it on my ‘funeral wall’. Whenever one of my friends dies- if I see the article in the paper I’ll cut it out and pin it to this spot- sort of like a reminder that life is short.
The bible says ‘teach us to number our days- so we might apply our hearts to wisdom’.
Brison was a good man- real hero who served well. I wonder if it’s smart for us to do shows that have high danger ‘tricks’ [Brison was doing a ‘Split- S’ when he died].
I realize the pilots- and the fans- want the freedom to take the risks- and in a free country- well that’s the choice.
But the high risk things- like the Nevada crash- flying old modified planes at 500 MPH- I don’t know about that.
Maybe today would be a good day to pray for the wives and kids who have lost their loved ones in these crashes- sort of a little ‘memorial day’ for them.
 NOT AGAIN!
Okay- because of another late breaking news story- which hit the air last night- I will attempt to write a post without having read any hard news paper coverage. But I did just check up real quick on a few on line news sites- and I think I got the jist of it.
LIGHT SQUARED is another company- connected to a major Democratic party fundraiser- that seems to have gotten special treatment [or maybe illegal suborning of perjury?] in order to get the company approved to do business.
Last week General Shelton [Air Force] gave testimony that this broadband satellite company would indeed risk the U.S.’s ability to run our defense GPS system without any private sector interference.
It seems as if this company [funded by a major inside Dem donor- once again- SOLYNDRA] wants to develop their technology- and use it in a way that would mess up our own GPS system.
So the general was asked by congress to give his professional military opinion on the thing- and the White House told him to add a few things to his presentation. He flat out said no.
The things they wanted him to add were points that would still keep ‘hope alive’ for the company- even though Shelton’s professional opinion was to the contrary.
Okay- if this is true- and this administration has a track record of doing this- then we are really headed for deep water this next year. Look- from the start of the Obama presidency I was not one of those types of critics that hated the man from the get go.
But I also noticed how many of my liberal friends were so enamored with the man- that they could not even think straight.
I was talking to a friend from N.J. one day- she’s a liberal- big time. She told me one day ‘have you ever heard a man speak like this man John- there has been no Black man that has ever spoken like this in the history of our nation’.
Now- after clearing my throat for a minute [you know- like when you get sick real quick after eating something bad] I simply told the girl ‘Do you really believe this? Or are you only watching news shows that keep feeding you that perspective’.
I told her that right now [at the time we had the conversation] there is another prominent Black Democrat- Harold Ford- a congressman from Tenn. And if you simply listen to him- without comparing him to the fake media image of Obama- then you will see that he is just as articulate- just as ‘educated’ and does a great job making Democrat points.
A few weeks later she told me ‘John- I did hear him- and you were right’.
I wasn’t demeaning to Obama at all- I was just trying to show her that for some reason- the media has chosen to support a candidate like never before.
Now- let’s say if the president realized this- that most of his insider friends realized this was happening- you might not think twice about doing special insider favors for friends- because you know these friends [the media- absent fox] will not cover it.
But alas- all has changed. Many who were cheerleaders for the president for the last 3 years- they now realize he has possibly set the party back for 50 years.
When the Queens district voted in a Repub the other night [Wieners former district] that was the first time that district went Repub in 90 years.
Okay- you did have some regional issues that played into it- that area has a strong Jewish community- and many in the Jewish community feel like Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.
But I even heard some Dems spin it- that the voters are so mad at those in office- especially the Repubs- that that’s why they threw out the Dems.
Now- how you can reason that the voters were even more mad at the Repubs- that the way they would send that message- was to vote in the first Repub in 90 years- I mean we are dealing with elements of delusion here.
Then you had a Dem [Henry Waxman] actually say ‘the Jews are more concerned with holding on to their money- so that’s why they did it’.
If this were a Repub- he’d be gone today.
I read an article the other day- it got me mad. It was a pretty long article- on the second page [okay- they thought it didn’t merit front page coverage]. It was comments made by Levi Johnson- Sarah Palin’s ‘former’ son in law.
Levi is the ex boyfriend of Bristol Palin- a girl who is not in public office- she is 20 years old mind you.
This article got into the girls sex life- when she was a minor. They asked levi ‘when you got her pregnant [now you’re talking about a private citizen- a minor at the time] did IT FEEL like she was a virgin’.
Levi said as Far as he could tell- it didn’t.
Now- when my liberal friends laugh at stuff like this- and I’m standing there- I do get tempted to respond. I don’t think it’s funny- and when I watch Obermann and Matthews and O’Donnell- grown men in their 50’s/60’s- laugh openly about how ‘loose’ a minor felt when she got pregnant- that’s a disgrace.
Yet- these same media have not covered truly important stories- stories that if seem to be as bad as they look- then forget about re election campaigning [which is the reason these money guys got the special treatment] we will be lucky to not see impeachment hearings on this stuff.
So as an upfront independent- I challenge both sides of the aisle to try and get past your bias- and see what’s really going on.
When we have media that can find time- and the audacity- to print a story on Palin’s daughter- like that- then the media has lost all sense of justice.
I wanted to hit on 3 stories from Iraq- that I read this last week- but because these other things are taking the oxygen out of the room- well I had to waste time on them.
As the week ends- I am still going to keep an open mind on these things.
SOLYNDRA- LIGHT SQUARED- and don’t forget FAST AND FURIOUS. None of these stories would have gotten congressional scrutiny if the Repubs did not take back the house in the mid terms.
And now that this White House has finally gotten some real coverage- lets do our best to hear both sides. As of now- I don’t know if there is enough evidence to prove a crime has been committed- but it sure looks like one might have.
First- I make no excuses for going ‘off’ on those last 3 posts. No- I’m human like everyone else- yes- my account was hacked! [Actually- after I thought about it for a minute- you know- just delete the post, or in Anthony Wieners case the picture- and then claim your were hacked- that does sound tempting].
But no- I’ll just quote another Jack Black line [remember- I quoted him from Nacho Libre the other day?]. This one comes from that intellectually stimulating comedy- Anchorman- the Legend of Ron Burgundy.
As Will Ferrell is driving down the highway he’s eating this giant burrito and he can’t finish the thing- so he tosses it out the window and it hits Jack Black in the face and he wipes out on his beloved Harley.
So Ferrell [Burgundy] stops to see if he’s all right- and Black takes Burgundy’s dog- Baxter- and punts him off the bridge.
Burgundy just stands there- he’s in shock- and as Black walks away he says ‘that’s the way I roll’ and that’s it.
So no mea culpa- my site is not for kids or the fainthearted- that’s just the way I roll.
Okay- what’s Solyndra? Yesterday I didn’t listen to any talk radio so when I flipped on the news I was surprised to see most of the news programs covering this scandal.
I usually don’t like to write a post until I read a few news paper articles first- but will make an exception and I’ll try to cover it from what I gleaned from the tube.
This company was a Solar panel co. that made cylinder type solar panels [thus the name- Solyndra]. These panels were actually expensive to make- but they were cheap to install so the investors took a risk [that proved bad] and invested in this green energy co.
Now- when this co. went bankrupt recently- the federal govt. began investigating how they got approved for a 500 million dollar tax payer loan- if they were such a high risk.
Under the Bush Administration the govt. began a program where green energy companies could get federal loans if they were shown to be good risks.
Solyndra applied for a loan under Bush- but all the newly released records now show that we deemed them a bad risk. The Energy dept. and other federal agencies that looked over the books said they were a no go for the loan.
Okay- within a few days after Obama became president- for some unknown reason [unknown until now] this loan was fast tracked- and approved.
All the recently released emails and memos show the administration putting pressure on the federal govt. insiders to make the loan.
You even have emails saying ‘what’s holding this up- we need this done!’ And the agency responding back ‘don’t rush this loan- this company is on the verge of going bankrupt’.
We now know that one of the biggest investors in this company is a major campaign bundler for Obama [he collects lots of money for Obama]. And this guy- Kaiser- did make lots of visits to the White House and it simply looks like Obama did a favor for one of his cronies and that’s why they gave this bad company the loan.
Now- all the emails released and the media reports [even from the big networks] showed you enough of a trail that it does look like this happened.
Why would the president do this? Look- lots of people are really not aware of the political crowd Obama came in with. Chicago politics is corrupt- has been for years. And Obama came to office with these guys all around him [Rahm Emmanuel being the head honcho].
So if they were all playing inside poker like this- you know getting one of your major money guys a special break- in the Chicago arena this is nothing. I mean those guys were chopping heads off horses and putting them in opponents beds [actually it was a dead fish that Rahm sent to a political opponent- for real!]
So doing a favor like this- getting a loan for a buddy- well he might have thought that was just a perk to being president.
Actually- if your caught manipulating the system for friends like this- well that’s gonna get you in major trouble.
Now- there is more to the story. When the govt. makes these loans- they have a special rule that’s says ‘if the company goes belly up- the tax payers get their money back first’.
For some ‘strange’ reason- as the Administration became aware that this friends company was going to indeed go bankrupt- they went and changed the loan and made this loan say ‘if you go bankrupt- the investors will get their money first- then the govt.’.
Now- they did not do this for any other loan- only this one.
So- the taxpayers are out half a billion bucks- and it does look like the president has involved himself in a huge scandal- one that will not go away.
And how did MSNBC cover this? Well they didn’t have time for trivial stuff like this- instead they covered Bachmann accusing Perry of forced cervical cancer vaccine injections on little Texas girls- and those girls becoming mentally retarded because of it.
Now- Bachmann has gone after Perry big time these last few days- she even exposed his lie about the Ponzi scheme thing ‘hey Perry- who is this Ponzi guy anyway? You had Fonzi- and Potsi- but there was no Ponzi!’ [Okay- stole it from Leno- but thought it was pretty good. To my younger readers- if I have to explain the thing it ruins it].
So all in all we will see how this thing goes. I don’t think there is much hope that this next year will be an above the board ‘we will talk nice about you’ type of campaign. No- it looks like it will be down and dirty. And if you throw what looks to be a real presidential scandal into the mix- well then we will be fighting big time for the next year.
It’s too early to condemn the president on this- but from what I saw [even on the major networks] it does seem to be a big deal- one that will not go away anytime soon.
One word of advice for the White House [I am on their official page you know]. Don’t be tempted to do the Anthony Weiner thing [you know- delete what you can and claim you were hacked]. No- my advice would be to take it like a man.
Pull a Jack Black if you must- do what needs to be done and end the day with ‘that’s just the way I roll’. It can’t hurt- well not too much.
 DEBATE- WEEK IN REVIEW
Let’s do another ‘week in review’ at the beginning of the week. I now realize why it’s easier to do them now- because I usually read about 10 papers over the weekend- and the stories are fresh in my mind.
First- last night we had another debate- I don’t know how many more I’ll watch [well- probably all of them- but I’d like to pretend I’m above it all]. We basically know the positions of these guys- and if they want to get lost in cervical cancer vaccines- or Ponzi schemes- or any of a number of hot sound bites- then the debates will not really accomplish much.
Just a few points- let me make another Fire Dept. confession [by the way- those of you who are not familiar with the fire service- you might read a post every now and then and think it might sound strange- or dangerous. Like when I spoke about the school fire- I said the only thing that survived was the wall. Of course the school was empty- no one died! So in the fire service the other shifts that are not on duty will come in and kid you about a fire the night before ‘hey- I heard you guys saved the wall’ and stuff like that is an on house joke- but the average folk might not get that].
Okay- one of my pet peeves was every year our chief [and other city administrators] would have a meeting or 2 with everyone about the FISCAL condition of the dept/city- you know the usual routine of fighting wasteful spending.
In most cities the Fire dept and Cops are the single most expensive depts. for the city. But for whatever reason- these guys got into the habit of pronouncing FISCAL- by saying physical. Now- one time I tried to ‘change the tide’ on this if you will- you know- leave a legacy of at least getting the guys to say the word right.
I told one of the Captains ‘you know Cap- you guys are not pronouncing the word right’ he quipped ‘o- you can say it both ways’. Now- I know YOU can say it both ways- I mean if you want you can say MOONWALK instead- but the point was- well never mind- I just gave up.
Okay- I will now admit- A year or so ago I saw a news clip from Perry- and yes- he said it. That dreaded word- the word that I heard all those years- sort of like little Ralphie [you know- Christmas story] when he blurted out the big one when his dad was changing out the flat tire.
Yes- when I heard Perry say it- well I couldn’t help but view him in a negative light [and was also shocked that what I thought was an in house problem- actually spread all the way to Austin!]
So last night- if you watched carefully- he did it again. Yes- it was sort of a hybrid though- between Fiscal and Physical- but for us pro’s- you knew he was falling off the wagon.
Then- my fears were confirmed when he gave another talk and when he got to the point of saying fiscal- he stopped- one of those moments where you could tell he was coached to avoid the word- and after a second of reflection said ‘monetary policy’- at that point I knew he too was infected with the disease- so sad- so very sad.
Okay- on a more serious note- I also was surprised that the talking heads did not really mention the biggest so called phopar from Perry- he took a very liberal- pro immigration stance with Mexico.
This stance is in the tradition of Texas- both Bush and Perry are pro Mexican immigrant- Texas is not Arizona when it comes to illegals.
There are various reasons for this- like our farmers having benefitted from those who are willing to pick real cheap- but overall Texas is an immigrant friendly state.
Anyway- Perry said it last night- and got booed by the Tea Party- why do you think the media didn’t make a big thing about it later? Because if you have a conservative Texas governor- loved by many- and at the same time might garner lots of Latino votes- well then Obama won’t stand a chance at another 4 years.
So all in all- it was pretty interesting.
Okay- just a few points of interest. Last week we met the other G-7 states and we tried to push a Stimulus mentality [the G-7 are the developed economies- U.S., Canada- France- Italy- etc.]. Our treasury secretary- Tim Geithner- wrote a piece in the Financial Times that tried to nudge the E.U. [the 17 nation states that make up the common currency in Europe] to work with a stimulus mindset.
Basically the Fiscal [or should I say physical?] problems of the E.U. are not going away- and we wanted the stronger economies of the Euro Zone to keep spending money- instead of taking the conservative view of cutting back- called austerity.
These nations- the cradle of socialism, fascism, communism- they all told us that our economic policies were too liberal for them- I mean what a final death blow to Obama’s economic team- to be turned down by this crowd!
How sad. We also had another revelation of Fast and Furious guns showing up at another scène where our law enforcement people were involved. These are the illegal guns we let walk- the FAST AND FURIOUS scandal [I have written about before]. The govt. just admitted that a few of these guns were found in a stolen vehicle that rammed a law enforcement vehicle a year or so ago.
So it looks like this story will not go away.
I also read 2 articles from the A.P. [associated press] now- those of you who are big news paper readers- whenever I read an article- I always look at where it came from.
If it’s a N.Y. time’s piece- or an A.P. piece- I take that into consideration- they are almost always pro Obama.
So to my surprise these 2 A.P. pieces were both negative- even demeaning. They came out a day or so after the president’s job speech- which angered some of his supporters. And the obvious ‘in your face’ style of these articles- well it showed you that these reporters indeed have a love hate relationship with the president.
Okay- the first one critiqued his jobs speech- and blasted him for lying. They even said ‘maybe he meant to say this instead’ now- that’s bad.
The other article exposed an ongoing false claim by our govt. that the Wiki Leaks ‘leaks’ are very dangerous- that they have put many people’s lives at risk.
Now- this is another thing I have written about lots- The Wiki Leaks story is the Julian Assange guy who got a hold of thousands of defense dept. ‘secret’ emails and began leaking them on line.
Last week he dumped another load and this time he did not black out the names of people. Once again the U.S. govt. came out and made it sound like these leaks were getting lots of people killed- which is not true.
Finally- the A.P. said they interviewed the people whose names appeared- and they found no case where lives were at stake- in fact many of the people said they did not know what the big fuss was all about- these ;leaks amounted to nothing- except they exposed the hypocrisy of the U.S.
So yes- the A.P. even got tired of covering the story the way Obama wanted it to be covered. It was only a matter of time before the media got smart with this one.
I mean this story is one in which the prime source for media info- leakers- were gone after like no other president has ever done. The supposed soldier who leaked the stuff to Assange- Bradley Manning- is an openly gay young kid- it’s obvious he had problems in the military- and we have had this kid in 24 hour solitary confinement FOR A FEW YEARS NOW.
This really is unacceptable- to just keep the kid like that. Even P.J. Crowley- a former defense spokesman who toed the Obama line- he had to quit because he made a statement one day that what we are doing to Bradley is stupid.
Okay- all in all we see the tide turning some- the media are tired of doing the presidents dirty work- and they are letting it show.
As we come closer to the end of this year- there are still lots of global economic problems going on- and like I said a few weeks back- I would not be in the market right now. When Buffet ‘invested’ [more like a private ,money bailout if you ask me] 5 billion into Bank of America- that’s a sign that the banks are still in trouble.
And AIG just sued Bank of America for 10 billion- because they sold them all those bad mortgages- so to still be facing possible bank problems- this late in the game- that’s not good.
Okay- not here to give ‘psychical’ advice- but just thought I’d be upfront with you guys.
When you watch/read the news- be skeptical- not cynical- but skeptical- don’t believe everything that’s passed on- because if you do- you might end up in the state house one day- saying physical [instead of fiscal].
Note- I still have lots of people claim that you can say Fiscal either way- Look- I’ll admit that it is being used that way a lot- and maybe you ‘can’ say it like that- sort of like after using any word a certain way for so long eventually ‘allows’ that word to be used like that. But if you read the actual word- I think my position is right.
 STRANGE DREAM [In memory of those who died on 9-11]
I wasn’t going to post today- but as I woke up this morning [the morning of 9-10-11] I remembered what I just dreamt.
I was back at work at the fire dept. and we had a call- as I ran to the fire truck I realized I had left my bunker gear [protective clothing] at the other station.
I realize this might sound strange to some people- but this has happened a few times [more than I would like to admit] over the years.
Sometimes you would get assigned to the other station and you would think ‘I’ll drive straight over’ and you would just get your gear after you do the morning truck check/radio check. And sometimes you would forget to get it- and if you had a call that night- you then thought ‘damn- I forgot my gear’.
Now- you could just grab another guys gear off the rack- but if he was the big guy [or small] then you might not be able to use his gear.
And of course- some of us older guys- who were around for a while- well we got too comfortable at times and at certain fires- well- we actually did not put our gear on.
Maybe there were not a lot of flames actually showing- but a lot of smoke- and we did the stupid thing and walked in thru the front door- maybe for just a minute or so- to see what we had- but that’s a huge no no in the fire service.
When you don’t wear your gear- and have your breathing mask on [Scott Pack] then your breathing in very bad stuff- us older guys were sometimes called ‘fire eaters’ because in the early days this was done too much- and it took many years to ‘re train’ the old guys- they [we] were set in our ways.
I think I might have had the dream because being it’s the 10 year memorial [of those who died!] of the 9-11 attack- they have been playing the video and talking about the event.
As I think about my dream- I can imagine that the guys on duty that day heard the call come in- and often times you think ‘geez- today will be one of those days’. Sometimes you get to work and the fire phone rings off the hook- a day- for whatever reason- that will have lots of fires.
Or a day where you have a big fire. I was telling my daughter a funny story the other night. One year we had a call for the local elementary school being on fire [called Kleberg school- Kingsville, Tx.] and as I arrived on the scene- sure enough- this would be what we called ‘a working fire’ [big fire- need to make it a general alarm and get the off duty guys to come help].
I was the truck operator that day- had to hook up the truck to the hydrant and make sure the hoses had a constant supply of water [by the way- you could get away with forgetting your bunker gear on a day when you pumped the truck- but you never know- a guy might go down and then you’re in trouble- you have to get him out- and you forgot your gear].
So some kid set the school on fire- and we were gonna be up all night for this one. It was kinda funny- after a few hours of pumping the truck watching the guys from the outside- I finally figure I’ll take a look- you know- just step in thru the front door [of course- without the mask] and take a peek.
Now- there is a ton of smoke- both inside and out- so I really didn’t know how bad the damage was. As I walk in the front door- trying hard to see what I’m looking at- I realize I’m seeing stars! Yes- the wall [and door] survived- and that was it!
Okay- as we remember 9-11- we need to be careful that we don’t have too much of a ‘celebratory’ attitude about the thing. I went to the beach with my daughter and a bunch of friends and family for labor day- and it was packed. Yet there was really no difference between the partying spirit of labor day and Memorial day- yet on Memorial day we are supposed to be remembering those who died for the country- I mean we should not be having a ‘good old time’ at a funeral.
So as the weekend moves forward, Bloomberg banning the clergy and all [by the way- as a Protestant- I think it would be perfectly fine to have Bishop Dolan- from St. Patrick’s- there. To even do a prayer. Most of my fellow firefighters who died that day were good Catholic kids- many were Italian like myself- and out of a show of respect- I think the bishop should get a pass].
But as we remember- let’s try not to make the mistake of what our Memorial days have turned into- let’s remember the fallen- and pray for their families this weekend [and all the other guys still on the force]. I did our local prayer thing for a few years at our dept. while on duty- and yes- I did a Christian prayer- ended the thing in Jesus name.
Didn’t want to offend any Muslims or Jews or any other faith- but most of these guys were Christian- they were the ones who died- they deserve the prayer- and respect. We can save political correctness for another day.
 THE PRESIDENTS SPEECH
Last night the president gave his talk on jobs- I think he did all right. He chose somewhat of a compromise approach. Some of the proposals were conservative in nature- others progressive.
I’m sure some of the more progressive Democrats are mad- they were hoping for a big spending plan [another stimulus] and they did not get that. The cost is not cheap- don’t get me wrong- it is around 450 billion, but it is not the trillion that some have called for [Paul Krugman- NY Times].
The president also spoke about the need for Medicare reform- this did anger the progressives- yet he was honest about the program- at the current rate of the cost of health care- and the age that people are living- the program does need adjustments.
Now- for the more cynical out there- the president might not being doing this out of a purely noble reason- he might realize that there are only so many things left that he can shoot for- and to have the legacy of being the president that ‘saved’ Medicare- well that might be part of this.
He does get advice from Bill Clinton- and Clinton was a moderate/conservative Dem- he angered liberal Dem’s when he did welfare reform- yet he is viewed in a good light because of it.
So it is possible that some have told president Obama that he too will get heat for the Medicare proposal- but at the end of the day it will help his image more than hurt it.
The other day I did a post on the EPA and how too many new air standards could jeopardize jobs. Funny thing- that same day the president made headlines by rejecting his own EPA rules that would have lowered the smog and the ozone in the atmosphere. I think this was the first time he has gone against his own EPA and did indeed anger many environmentalists.
I also spoke with my liberal friend from the North the other day- we were discussing Obama care and I told the person that I did feel like the law might be overturned. That the way the president justified the mandate [Making people buy insurance] was thru the Commerce Clause.
This rule lets the govt. regulate business between the states. But the administration went to court in defending the new law by saying they can force people to buy health insurance because health care is a business that the govt. has the right to regulate.
I remember when Obama care first passed- some reporter did ask Pelosi about this- she laughed- like there was no way the courts would possibly overturn the law based on this challenge. Yet the next day or so after I told my liberal friend that I did think there was a chance that the courts would overturn it. A major ruling came out against the mandate.
I’m no prognosticator- but I find it strange that I was hitting on these subjects and within a day [or the same day] these things did go the way I felt they would.
I do think that it’s possible that our political system is so broken- that it might be beyond repair. The problem is we need statesmen- men and woman who will do what is right- and not simply play to their party [or to corporate interests- or a whole host of other special interest groups].
Yet year after year the pressure on those in office- to either want one side to fail- or to go after the other side because they are trying to deal with one of the 3rd rails of politics [Medicare- s.s.- etc.]
If we are unable to truly do what we can- like the president said- he and the congress have a year and a few months left to work- if they can’t get stuff done because of an election year- and both sides playing politics- then it really won’t matter [a whole lot] who the next president is- because once again the system will devour itself.
I do think that the president now sees that the more progressive Keynesian view has now been tried- on a larger scale than was ever tried before [though not large enough for some] and the project did not create the jobs that many liberal economists thought it would create.
So most of the progressive economists who worked for the president during the first 2 years have left and gone back to the university classroom- and continue to advocate their view- even after it failed!
People from all sides do stuff like this- they take a position and even after it fails- many times they still will not let it go- that makes governing difficult- because both sides see the other side as the enemy and many times they will purposely take a position that will hurt their opponent- even if that position is not best for the country.
I give Obama a b [or c+] for the speech- but we really need him to put stuff in writing form here on out- to be honest- we really do not need any more speeches- we need the rest of this year and the next for these guys to sit down and present real proposals- things on paper that the budget office can score.
Many of the president’s critics are right when they say he does not commit on paper when he tries to negotiate- and he needs to put down his proposals and take the lead on these things.
I think he has learned over these past few years- and I think it would be good if we tried to get some of the things he spoke about accomplished- it is good for the country if we can get some good things done. Yes- we will have to look at the cost- but if we can work together some- that would be good too.
 THE GREAT DEBATE [Who is this Galeyoo guy?]
Okay- last night we had the 2nd [I think?] Repub debate of the year. I thought the debate went fairly well- I think Perry did okay- maybe a few bad sound bites that will be used against him [Ponzi scheme] yet overall he faired pretty well.
When I realized it was being broadcast on MSNBC- I almost didn’t watch the thing. This station is so in the tank for Obama- and they play the race card all the time- I thought I might just skip the thing.
But Brian Williams [NBC anchor] did okay. You even got the sense that the political hack- Chris Matthews- was upset that Williams didn’t get more into the Evolution, Gay marriage stuff.
Matthews interviewed Rick Santorum after the debate and kept asking him ‘why did you avoid all the social issues- Abortion, gay rights- and the Evolution stuff’. I mean Mathews was mad. Santorum kept saying ‘Hold on- your network [MSNBC is the cable arm of NBC] never asked me any of those questions’.
Matthews still went on and said ‘no- you’re dodging those issues because you know they make you all look nuts’. My daughter was walking thru the room at the time- she heard conversation and asked ‘who is that guy?’ talking about Matthews- even though she is no political junkie like myself- she still thought he was an idiot.
I told her who he was- she said ‘why don’t they sue him for that’ Oh- the joys of youth [she’s 20]. I mean if I had 3 wishes- you know- one of those deals where you have to think long and hard- I think I might actually waste one for that [suing Matthews to get him to go away].
I also found it interesting how in the after debate coverage- the MSNBC crowd were all basically playing the side of the apologist for Obama- yet the only 2 Black guys on the panel- Gene Robinson and Sharpton- they had some interesting insights. They said that after they heard Perry’s response to the question on why he tried to mandate the vaccine shot for cervical cancer in the state- that his answer was actually intelligent.
As a Texan I remember when this issue came up. A few years back Perry wanted all the kids above the age of 12 to get the shot- a lot of people opposed it and Perry gave a loophole that if you didn’t want the shot you didn’t have to get it. At the time I rejected it for one of my daughters- I went to the school that year to sign her up [you know- the yearly routine] and they did ask- and I said no.
So the 2 Black guys on the panel said they felt Perry was actually more intelligent than he has been made out to be. Now- I know Matthews and the other race baiters were not happy about this observation- because it’s their network that has run with the narrative that Perry is a behind the scenes ignoramus. Yes- Rachel Maddow [another panelist] has said this openly on her show.
So why did Robinson and Sharpton make this observation? Look- I know I have angered lots of people who read my blog- my openness about race and all- I mean I’m sure some people have said ‘geez- does this guy believe Whites are better than the other races’ actually- not a whole lot better [You know- I wonder sometimes if people realize when I’m kidding around – I also wonder why I have not been shot yet].
No- actually I think society should be color blind- and we should heed the words of the great Doctor King- we should judge people on their character and not on the color of their skin.
I believe that Robinson and Sharpton- because of their background and the many injustices and stereotypes that they have dealt with thru out life- that they actually began to realize that they were falling for their own in house stereotyping of Perry [idiot] and they began to realize that they were wrong about it.
So all and all I think it went well.
But I just can’t get past the elitist mindset of this crowd. During the debate Perry mentioned that Galileo was outvoted in his day. Later on Sharpton quipped ‘Perry- he even said Galeyoo was outvoted’. Okay- I want to be nice- Sharpton has a new show on MSNBC and I have seen it a few times. Al is the opposite of Obama. When Sharpton is talking off the cuff- like any good preacher- he does well. But when you put the guy in front of a monitor- watch out.
He can’t read the darn thing. Now- I left it alone when he was portraying Perry as a simpleton one day [remember- Sharpton was actually believing the in house spin of his own network]. He was reading ‘Secede’ and saying ‘succeed’ [you know- Perry’s statement about seceding from the union- which was a joke].
And then last night he keeps pronouncing the name of Galileo as ‘Galeyoo’. I mean- it’s just too much.
Was Perry right about Galeyoo? Actually he was. I have actually covered this whole thing in depth on the blog- if you go to the Feb. posts and look up the Evolution sections- it’s in there.
But let’s do a short overview. One of the common misconceptions of the early church is that lots of people believed the earth was flat- this is actually false. As a matter of fact- a few hundred years before Christ most cosmology was based on the Ptolemaic idea.
Ptolemy was one of the 4 generals that took part of the broken Greek kingdom after the death of Alexander the Great. Ptolemy introduced a system of the solar system that had the earth as a globe- being surrounded by a sort of crystalline sphere. On this outer sphere were the stars and planets. As this sphere rotated around the earth- you had the variations occur in the heavens thru out the year.
Now- even though this system would later be overturned by ‘Galeyoo’- yet it did work well for around 2 thousand years. Now- during the Copernican revolution [Galileo and Copernicus were both influential in the change of this system] they had developed a better system- through the invention of the telescope man was able for the first time to actually see the solar system up close.
And we then had the great breakthrough of our understanding of the solar system- we are Heliocentric- the sun is indeed the focal point- and we revolve around it- not the other way around [which was the older idea called Geocentric].
Oaky- when Gaioploi first came up with the idea [you do realize I’m talking about Galileo here- I need to clarify this just in case Sharpton reads this post] his initial idea was indeed off. There were some very serious flaws in the initial system.
Other scientists critiqued the plan and found these flaws- yes- the other scientists of the day ‘voted down’ Galeyoo.
But- like all the other spouting heads of MSNBC- why mention facts- especially when you are engaging in speech that says ‘look at the dumb Texan- he rejects science’.
Let me finish with a confession- as somewhat of a quasi intellectual who likes getting into all these types of things- I must admit I also like watching smart comedies- you know- good intellectually stimulating stuff. So let me quote a line from Jack Blacks Nacho Libre.
As Black is trying to convince his wrestling partner to get baptized before the big match- they were going up against another team called Satan’s disciples [or something like that]. Black keeps pushing his partner to get baptized- and the partner refuses- he says ‘I don’t want to get baptized- because I believe in science’. Ah- there it is- the present mantra of the liberal media- Perry, Bachman, Mitt- the whole crowd- these people don’t believe in science- not like us truly intellectual folk- they are all idiots’!
Ah- these guys are all like the people who fought Galileo- they are against true science. You know- I guess an argument like this might have some legs- but when the person making it keeps calling Galileo ‘Galeyoo’ well- maybe not.
 ALIEN INVASIONS- JOE WILSON- FAST AND FURIOUS
Let’s do a quick ‘week in review’ on a Tuesday. Over the last few days I have piled up a bunch of news paper articles that I feel we should hit on- but there are so many- I think I will just skim a few.
First- as the weeks go by- more and more reports are backing up what I have been saying this last year. They are openly saying ‘Black skinned people in Libya are open targets’ I mean that was the headline from a N.Y. Times piece.
I read a quote from a Black school teacher in Libya- he said ‘if you are Black- you are a target- women- children- it makes no difference’.
Can you imagine what the reporting would be like if Bush/Cheney were running the show ‘U.S. govt. is backing rebel group that is executing Blacks’.
Then I read an article about Global Warming- now- in the last post I mentioned a lot of factual stuff on Global Warming. Why? Because what you hear in the media- all the time- is this comparison between the ‘right wing Christians- who deny science’ [Evolution, Global Warming] and the truly educated person, and they have this narrative that they can’t escape from.
So- after hearing this for so long- I figured I would just give some scientific facts on the thing.
Then the article I read said ‘some NASA scientists floated a theory that if intelligent alien life exists- they might choose to extinguish life on the earth- because of Global Warming’ [I kid you not!]
So- the guys who are accusing the ‘right wingers’ of denying science- of grasping at religious ideas instead of using solid science. These guys would have us believe that the aliens overlooked the Holocaust- they sat back and remained quiet during the Crusades. They watched in amazement as the U.S. engaged in a brutal civil war. Yes- all these threats to life were deemed acceptable- but if we let the co2 level jump another notch- watch out!
And then- yes again- the Fast and Furious scandal continues to unravel. This past week a few heads rolled- the top U.S. attorney in Arizona stepped down- and a few other guys were moved around. This story is really bad- this is the debacle of the U.S. letting guns ‘walk’ [be sold] to gun runners in Mexico- and these guns later were used to kill lots of people.
One gun showed up at the death of one of our border patrol agents- and congress has been holding hearings- and the justice dept. has been stonewalling.
It’s amazing- this quite possibly will be the greatest scandal of this presidency [what did he know- and when did he know it?] and yet there are some news organizations that have never even mentioned it once [MSNBC- as far as I can tell- they have not covered it on the shows I watch].
Yet they spent entire shows [O’Donnell] covering the story of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. On a scale of 1-100- the present fast and furious scandal would rate at the top- the Plame story- about zero.
I haven’t read the Joe Wilson story in a while- but let me do a brief overview as best as I can.
During the buildup to the Iraq war- Bush and his team did indeed try to push evidence that would justify the war [Weapons of mass destruction anyone?] And during this time you had some on the left who fought those on the right- over the evidence. So- during this fight there appeared an Op Ed piece [N.Y. Times ?] That said ‘Cheney sent me to Niger and I came back with the evidence that Iraq was not seeking Uranium to build a bomb’.
Okay- who wrote this piece? Joe Wilson- someone that Cheney did not know- or ever even heard of. So you can imagine that Cheney [which his subpoenaed notes would later verify] would ask ‘who is this guy’?
Cheney and Bush found out- by others reporting on the story- that he was basically a civilian- whose wife worked at the CIA. She got him the gig because he spoke French [the language of Niger- I think] and that’s how he got the job.
So- it’s obvious that Cheney wanted people to know that the guy really wasn’t ‘sent’ by him- so they wanted the story to leak that said his wife got him the job.
Okay- really not a big deal to be honest about it- stuff like this happens all the time.
But- alas- when the name of the wife leaked out- Valerie Plame- nobody knew she had some undercover status at the CIA- so whoever did leak the name accidently violated the ‘don’t reveal the name of an undercover agent rule’ and thus the story had legs.
Now- from everything that came out- it was quite obvious that people did not ‘leak’ the ;ladies name to get at her- they leaked it because they wanted to show that Cheney did not send the guy- but his wife got him the job.
Never the less- Patrick Fitzgerald became the special prosecutor- and he went after it. During the investigation- it was revealed that a guy by the name of Richard Armitage leaked the name- and he did it inadvertently. He told the name to the late Bob Novak- and Novak published the name.
Armitage was not a political guy- and the Dems knew that. Yet in the media- they kept making it sound like Rove and Cheney went after the woman.
Eventually they convicted Scooter Libby- a fairly decent guy- who worked for Cheney. They said he lied when he said he first heard the name from Tim Russert [another dead news guy] and denied that he first heard the name from Cheney.
Okay- they were going to send him to jail for this- but Bush commuted [not pardoned] his sentence.
Okay- they made a movie about the thing- and when congress did its own investigation they said Wilson did indeed ‘fudge’ the facts. He did make it sound like Cheney sent him- and that was not true.
Look- this whole scandal- involved a person whose name was inadvertently released and the enemies of Bush had the gimmick of saying ‘they outed an undercover agent’!
It should be noted that Valerie Plame actually appeared on the cover of a magazine- using her real name- while she was supposed to have been ‘undercover’ [it seemed like she had the status- but she wasn’t really active]
So that’s politics- you have a real story- people today possibly being murdered by the guns we let walk- Mexico estimates that around 150 deaths have taken place in their country through this program. We now have testimony that the U.S. agents went on record and said we were getting them all killed because of the program.
We have top guys resigning- and the justice dept. released tons of papers- the whole page blacked out- to congress. This is a true scandal- people possibly dying every day because of what the ATF and the justice dept. let happen- and some media outlets have not mentioned this story even once- yet they spent whole programs covering the Valerie Plame story.
That’s the problem- whether they won’t report the Black killings by the rebels we support- or the deaths of our border patrol guys by the guns we let walk- when the media allow their favoritism for a particular president skew their reporting- then they are no longer the 4th estate- they are simply stenographers.
 GROUND TRUTH
Let’s finish the week with some ‘ground truth’. Years ago- while working at the Fire Dept. every so often you would get a guy- either a new firefighter- or someone who has been around a while- but they operated primarily from ‘book truth’.
That is-you learn stuff in fire school- you read all the latest fads in the field- but at the end of the day- if the truth be known- some guys don’t do that well in emergency type situations.
So- you work with what you got- and in some more extreme cases- you have tell the person ‘look- we like you- we know you’re a smart guy- but this line of work is not what your cut out for’ and the best thing for him- and us- is he finds another line of work.
Okay- the fire dept that I worked at was in a city with about a population of 30 thousand people- we only had 2 fire stations and around 30 firefighters.
My dept functioned a lot differently than the one my dad retired from in N.J. Because of the limited resources [not a firehouse on every other block type of a thing] we developed a strategy where the frontline truck- the guy who got there first- would drop the attack lines and the booster truck [the truck that got there second] would supply the attack truck with water from the hydrant.
In principle [there goes that book knowledge] the fire truck that was stationed on the east side of town would usually get to their side first- and the same with the west side of town.
But on occasion- if some of the newer guys are talking too long to leave the station [which became a problem that I brought up quite often] then the fire truck from the opposite side of town would arrive at the fire first- and at that point you have to use ground truth to finish the job.
That means the first truck- even if he came from the other side of town- he has to drop the attack lines and the second truck has to boost water from the hydrant. On one occasion I arrived at the scene first- even though I was driving the truck from the other side of town [like I said- some guys were too slow at leaving the station] and I dropped my lines and the house was fully engulfed. So as the other truck got there- he stopped by my truck and just looked- I yelled ‘go hook up at the hydrant- fast!’ I was running low on water in the truck [the trucks hold about 1000 gallons of water- but that only lasts a minute or so at a working fire].
My friend said ‘no- you’re supposed to be the truck that hooks up’ now- this guy was not a new guy- he worked at the fire house for about as long as I did- yet he was the type that you really had problems with every now and then.
And this was one of those ‘thens’. I yelled a few times ‘look- go hook up the damn truck at the hydrant- I’m running out of water’ [and yes- I’m sure some other flowery speech came out]. The guy wouldn’t budge- I almost had to threaten him to hook the truck up- he finally did.
Okay- this is an example of well meaning people- people who have ‘head knowledge’ about stuff- yet they lack real world knowledge. This doesn’t mean they are bad people- they just don’t fit the job they are doing at the time.
Okay- said all that to say this. These last few weeks I have read lots of news articles on Texas- how Perry lied about Texas job growth. How he really took the federal money- and that’s why the jobs grew.
Or how he is a hypocrite because he [like other Repub governors] has complained about federal spending- and yet he took the money.
Let me say- I have lived in Texas since 1980- and just by me being familiar with the state- we have had lost of jobs come to the state- simply because the other states [Cal, etc.] had way too much regulation and taxes on business.
Now- whether you hold to a more liberal view or not- I’m’ just stating ‘ground truth’ right now. The job growth in Texas is not because we took fed money- all the states took money- and that hasn’t improved their economies one iota.
The facts are Texas is a business friendly state- and that’s why the jobs came.
Okay- I have also seen the fed govt do things that have hurt the jobs in Texas. One of the fights going on right now is over the EPA [environmental protection agency] and whether it has the right to regulate the co2 production in the state.
Basically the govt has been trying to pass laws saying co2 is a pollutant- and because of that- the EPA can shut down certain types of plants that over produce the levels of co2.
Now- remember- you have ‘book truth’ and ‘ground truth’. The ground truth is that the fed govt expects certain business to convert over to ‘clean energy’ in a time table that is unrealistic- and because they are trying to empower the EPA to be able to come in and regulate- well this has scared some business away from the state.
Now- what is co2? In this debate- you often hear the global warming side that says ‘co2 is a bad pollutant- we must rid the world of it before it’s too late!’ Yet there are real questions about whether or not co2 gas is truly a pollutant.
The present level of co2 in our atmosphere is around 390 ppm [parts per million]. Before the industrial age- around 150 years ago- the levels were around 270 ppm.
Co2 is produced naturally in our world. When you breathe out- your are producing co2. When forests burn- co2 is released. And yes- when we burn fossil fuels for business- co2 is released.
Why? Because co2 is in the things we burn- they make up the stuff of life. Humans are basically made of Carbon- and this material is in all sorts of life and plants and stuff.
Okay- what are the safe levels for co2? Both NASA and the U.S. Navy have done extensive studies on this- because the submariners and the astronauts deal with special situations that concern the mixing of gases in the blood- and the upper level for safe co2 is around 8000 ppm.
Geologists tell us that the planet used to function at about a 1000 ppm level- and that the planet did well at that time [millions of years ago- before we had any factories!]
What’s the lowest ‘safe level’ of co2? Humans and animals can survive without any co2 in the air- but plants need around 270 ppm to do okay- and if you go under 150 ppm- then they are in real trouble.
Studies have been done that show the orange groves in Cal. have a much higher production rate now [around 30 %] then before the industrial age- because the levels of co2 are at a higher rate.
Some greenhouses have an increased level [around 1000 ppm] because plants thrive at higher levels [have you choked on pollution at your local greenhouse lately?]
So- the safe low level would be around 200 ppm- at the high end of the scale- maybe around 5000 ppm. So where are we at today?- around 390 ppm.
The way the media talk about the thing- you would think we are in danger of hitting the top of the scale- if the truth be known-we are closer to the bottom than the top.
Okay- said all that to say this- being there are lots of real questions about dealing with these levels- should we be closing down businesses- at a TIME WHERE PEOLE ARE LITERALLY STARVING FOR JOBS- simply because of some supposed book knowledge truth- that as you look at it- it doesn’t even seem to be book knowledge.
As the president gives his speech this coming week on jobs- yes- let’s do our best to work together for the next year and see if we can help those who are hurting. But at the same time- you can’t keep making ‘head knowledge’ decisions- based on book truth- when those in the real world know what needs to be done.
Sometimes you have to yell ‘go hook up the damn truck!’ and I think we are at that time.
I was going to cover Exodus- but let’s close up a few loose ends instead. Yesterday I mentioned that this Justice Dept- headed under Eric Holder- has some very real problems.
About a year or so ago- right after Obama took office- there were changes that were made that concerned people who worked at the justice dept.
Basically- you had the case of the ‘New Black Panther Party’ which were a small group that protested outside of election sites during the presidential election.
By anyone’s standard- these guys sure looked intimidating. I don’t know if you remember the pictures- but they were tall Black guys- wearing gang type looking stuff- carrying bats.
I would imagine that a 90 year old White grandma would take one look and say ‘maybe I’ll skip voting this time around’.
Okay- because of the civil rights movement in our country- we passed laws against this- against people being intimated from voting. Now- some Black advocates have said that these laws were meant only to defend the rights of Blacks being intimidated by Whites- and as hard as this is to believe- some of the top Black people who were put in charge at the justice dept. [Holder is Black] do believe and practice this.
So- when the case of the Black Panthers came up- these people working for Obama- did drop the case. Other people [who were heroes in the defense of Blacks!] asked ‘why are we dropping the case’? And they were told that this justice dept. does not believe in prosecuting Blacks- by using laws that were meant to defend Blacks.
Okay- at the time you had a long time employee of the justice dept. quit- and he became a whistle blower. He exposed the fact that they were even asking applicants if they believed that the voting rights laws applied equally to Blacks as well as Whites- if you agreed [which is the right way to go on this] then you did not get hired.
So this White lawyer who quit- he exposed the whole thing- I mean this is corrupt- to be honest about it. The response? They accused ‘Whitey’ of being a racist. Now- I watched the congressional hearings on CSPAN- and it just so happened that this White lawyer was a champion of Black rights.
He was sort of affiliated with the southern poverty law center- a legal group that has a reputation of defending Blacks- and he received many awards thru out his life for his service to the minority community.
And of course his reward for telling the truth? You’re a racist.
Now- you would think that this type of history inside the justice dept. that it would explain why all these cases of Black on White violence [last post] why none of them are being treated as hate crimes. Yet if you are White- or you commit an act of violence against a Black or gay person- your going away for a long time. But if you’re Black- like the flash mobs- who have targeted Whites- because they are White- these crimes are not deemed to fall under the hate crimes rules.
Obviously- this is a huge scandal. Yet instead of these race violations being exposed in the media- they come up with all sorts of stuff- that compared to this- are nothing.
The other day I heard a Democratic activist- on a news show- talking about Herman Cain [the Black Repub candidate for Pres.]. Now- I like God Fathers Pizza [he used to be the CEO] but to be honest- Cain seems like a good guy- but he’s not going to get the nomination.
Never the less- he has every right to run. But as they were talking about Cain- they openly accused him of being an Uncle Tom. They said he is probably being paid by White insiders- to give legitimacy to the racism on the right- that they can cloak their racism by having a Black token on the team.
I mean the language- the racist language- was deemed acceptable because those who were using it were on the left.
Here in Texas we have a state rep. She makes it into the news every so often. Now- she is Mexican- I love Mexicans- many of my best friends are Mexican- but this woman made a charge a few years ago- she said that a White Repub. confronted her one day and said ‘if you act like Meskins- we are gonna treat you like Meskins’. Okay- she went public with the charge.
Of course- the media wanted to expose the racist who said it- but after a while they found out she made the whole thing up.
Now- you should be kicked ‘the heck’ out of office for that- but because she is on the left side of the aisle- she is deemed a hero.
I don’t know why those who support the president play into this race card stuff- because I think the pres. himself does not play into it. Yet his supporters- guys like Al Sharpton- play the card day after day- I mean surely they must realize that they are never going to re gain the independent vote if they keep doing this stuff.
Look- all race baiting is wrong- and if you have real cases of hate crimes- or one race targeting another [like pulling Whites out of cars in Wisconsin] then the justice dept. has to be race neutral- you can’t have a rogue justice dept. not prosecuting these cases.
Yet they have indeed embraced a radical anti White view- and this has been shown time after time.
So- as a White guy- should I not speak out? We should all speak out against racism- no matter what your color is- it’s wrong. It’s wrong to be racist against Blacks, Whites, Mexicans- against anyone because of their race.
And it’s wrong to say that the voting rights laws only apply to one group- that view is flat out racist- and that’s the view our present justice dept. has taken- where’s the media on stuff like this?
 ADIOS MOFO?
Okay- it’s been a couple of days since Irene made landfall and the media are in an all out defense of their ‘over fear mongering’ of the event.
Many are accusing the critics of the media as being Monday morning quarterbacks- just a reminder- the last post I wrote was a day out from the landfall that they were over reporting.
Chad Meyers- the CNN weather guy- you know- the guy who drew the circle 3 times bigger around the thing [read the last post] he has gone back and forth in trying to defend the coverage.
He said ‘the problem with this hurricane [Problem?] is after it made the initial landfall- the eye broke up and when you have storms like this- they don’t cause lots of damage’. That’s the whole point I [and others] are making.
The facts on the ground did not warrant Cat. 4-5 coverage/language- when you knew a day before landfall in the N.E. that the storm was really a Tropical storm/Cat 1- you should not have been reporting it like a cat 4.
Anyway- after he admits this- he’s then on the Piers Morgan show and they have on one dissenter [Washington Times] and they tear the poor guy up. In defending his coverage Chad says that if this storm- after it made landfall and lost its eye- if it then redeveloped its eye [I have never heard of this happening?] and became a Cat 4-5- ‘then it would be bad’.
Geez- I guess you could say this about every storm you cover- the point is the odds of that happening are about zero- and yet your coverage made it sound like this indeed was the scenario.
I think we simply got a good lesson from this- that the media- even after their story is shown to have been overblown- yet they refuse to admit it.
And of course the lives lost are tragic- and the very real flood damage is bad- but the media reported this hurricane as a Katrina event- and Katrina it was not.
Okay- the last week the left has also been once again playing that race card. They have accused global warming deniers of being racists [Gore] they have reported as fact- that conservatives who keep wanting to go back to the ‘constitution’ and the founding father days- they have actually reported that these candidates want to roll back the civil rights laws and re-institute slavery.
Now- Chris Matthews has said ‘I heard so and so says this’ and he lied. They went and checked the accusation- and the person did not say it.
When the left does this- they lose the majority of the country, especially when you are presently supporting a military action that is purposefully executing Blacks!
I know some of you guys have doubted my posts about the Libyan Rebels targeting and killing Blacks- the reason many question this is because the media are really not reporting this.
Yet the human rights groups on the ground have been reporting this all thru out the war. Just the other day- on CBS I was surprised- they showed a picture of 2 Black men- hands tied behind their backs- and shot execution style in the back of the head.
Our guys did this- the guys we are backing- the guys we are supporting with our air power and money- yes- they have been doing this right from the start- they hate and execute Blacks.
So what should we do? Our response has been basically ‘yea- these rebels are rank amateurs- sure they make mistakes every so often- God love em’ I mean we need to catch the killers and have them stand trial for crimes against humanity- genocide- call it what you will- but we should not be turning a blind eye to the thing.
And the media- are they jumping on this very real story that we are backing a bunch of Black hating Libyans- who are constantly executing Blacks- execution style?
No- they are reporting that Rick Perry wants to re-institute slavery.
This is a story I really did not want to tell- because these racial stories stir up lots of anger. But we need to tell the thing. This past year we had lots of political fights in Wisconsin- many of you are familiar with the recall elections and the unions fighting the Repub governor and state house.
Well not long after the fights- which are still raging- you had certain Democratic constituents [minority groups] who began organizing these flash mobs- and they targeted Whites only.
At the Wisconsin state fair there were many- many reports of Whites calling in and saying ‘the Blacks are pulling White people out of their cars and beating them’.
This past week the 911 calls were finally released and you do hear many people calling this in.
Now- the media did not report this story because it obviously made one side look bad- and the other as victims.
You have also had numerous other occasions of Black on White violence that the justice dept. has overlooked for lots of reasons- too much to cover for now.
The point being- instead of the media reporting that Bachmann believes God is sending the earthquakes and the hurricanes [which if you watch the clip- she obviously was joking- yet the media have gone all out to report that she believes God is doing this].
And instead of actually reporting one of the worst race crimes in the world today [Libyan rebels executing Blacks] they are stuck on their agenda- which includes one of racial accusation- against the side they don’t like.
Many years ago after moving to Texas- I realized that the South has a reputation among North eastern media that says ‘they are all jack asses’. Yet- after observing the scene- I realized that these media folk who hold to this idea [MSNBC] they usually do not see their arrogance and stupidity.
After watching their coverage of the storm- to just about every person living off the gulf- we all knew this storm was a tropical storm- and that the damage would be real- but not what the media were saying.
You learn stuff like this when you live in a state that reports on all the hurricanes every year- here in Corpus Christi- you know this stuff by heart.
So to see the media- in full denial- well you realize they are really the ones who are lost- yes- they do make many mistakes- and they rarely [if ever] admit them.
Though I have lived in Texas for many years- I never became ‘Texan’. I never got the cowboy hat- boots- or became a country music fan.
Yet even as a former Yankee- I always loved the southern rock of Leonard Skynard. I also love all the old rockers- they are my favorites. Van Zandt spoke to the race divisions in his song Sweet Home Alabama- he took Neil Young on by saying ‘Southern man don’t need him around anyhow’.
Yes- even an open minded person like myself- one who criticizes Perry at times [go read my anti death penalty posts] yet even I get fed up with the nonstop race baiting ‘we are better than you’ mentality of the north eastern media.
Times have changed down south- even Gabbie Gifford’s chose a Texas hospital for getting the most advanced treatment for her injuries after the tragic assassination attempt [Houston].
Yes- even though I’m not a big Perry supporter [though for sure I would pick him over Obama any day] yet I kinda sympathize with the man. He has received criticism for signing off on an ‘on air’ interview by saying ‘Adios Mofo’. Though I don’t recommend the language- after hearing the liberal media for the past week or so- I do agree with the sentiment.
 STOP THE MADNESS- PLEASE!
Okay- just bear with me for a moment. I don’t want to be guilty of what the media are doing right now- that is to run with a story- even after all the evidence is pointing the other way.
Yes- I’m talking about the storm.
Let me give a few quotes- it might be long- but it’s worth it.
Maddow [MSNBC] ‘mayor Bloomberg is shutting the bridges and closing the Subways- not because the winds might blow the bridges down [gee- you think?] but because the winds will flip the cars off [I guess like bingo chips?] and as the Subways leave the tunnels the winds might blow them off the rails’.
Some weather guy- can’t remember off hand ‘this storm is historic- the size of Europe’ the other talking head says ‘yea- I heard you say it- can you explain’ [now- as I’m watching the screen- I see the actual storm- and I’m thinking ‘look- I know maps- have them all over my office- for the life of me this storm is not the size of Europe’.
Then the weather junkie simply draws a circle- around 3 times the size of the storm- around the storm and says ‘see’.
It would have been more accurate if he said ‘you wanna see me draw a circle- 3 times the size of the storm’.
Geraldo ‘I’m not evacuating [gee- I hope not- I mean you thrive on video of you in wars- getting shot at- stuff like that] But my family lives on the 30th floor of a hotel- so I’m moving them to a 2nd floor spot- because when you have a Category 1 on the ground floor- it’s a Cat. 3 on the upper floors’.
General statements ‘there are 70 million people in its path’. Make it sound bad why don’t you? I mean there are 300 million people in ‘its path’ every morning when the sun comes up on the good old U.S. You judge the danger- not by ‘what’s in its path’ but by the actual thing!
Chris Christie ‘It’s 4:30- by now you have maximized your tan- get the hell out of there’. To be fair- he was talking about people sitting on the beach at the Jersey shore- but the media made it sound like the whole Jersey shore was evacuating.
‘Those who have not heeded the evac. warnings- they have chosen their fate’.
Okay- I could go on- but I think you get the picture.
How bad is this storm right now? Not bad at all- compared to the way we rate ‘danger’. When a storm is already halfway on land- no definable eye- and the winds are around 80-90 MPH- that’s pretty darn good- not pretty bad.
Is there still real danger? Sure- a system like this can cause lots of flooding- and sustained 90 mile an hour winds can cause damage. But get out of your mind the images [that the media has been playing] of other historic storms.
This is not Katrina, Celia [Corpus in the 70’s] or any other number of really bad hurricanes that have slammed the U.S. coast- this is not a bad storm!
What should the real response be? Look- why mayor Bloomberg is shutting down Subways and busses and bridges- I have no idea- maybe he’s lost his mind. All the media talking about evacuations in N.J. and N.Y. are blowing things out of proportion.
As far as I can tell- their just evacuating flood prone areas [like where I live in Texas] and for the most part just get ready for lots of wind and rain- I mean all the talk about ‘get out when you have a chance’ is nuts!
Now- there still might be real storm damage- and I don’t want to ‘under warn’ here- I just want us to be realistic- when storms are in the Tropical Storm category- no definable eye- half way already on land- well these storms are not that bad- that’s the truth.
But- any system like this- hugging the coast for a few days- yes- get ready for some flooding. Not like in the movie ‘the Day After’ but flooding like you already saw this past year in the North.
Here in the South we are bone dry- but the North is saturated- so any extra water will flood.
Why do the media do stuff like this? Are they all hyping a global warming agenda- that did indeed say ‘we are facing the worst hurricane future in history’ a few years back- and they feel duped because the actual count has gone down- yes- I live off the gulf- and year after year the count has gone down- right after they made the prediction.
Around 5 years ago I heard a climate guy give a model- he explained that the warming of the oceans [however small] would actually lead to the lessening of severe storms hitting the U.S.
I don’t remember all the reasoning- but he was not a nut case. I never heard from him again- he just didn’t fit the liberal media scene too well.
Yet as I see the media predict- year after year- this year will ‘be the worst’ I wonder why they keep doing this- especially when the actual named hurricanes have gone way down- I wonder if the guy I heard was correct [and if in a few years from now the media will be able to say ‘these last 10 years- we have had more PREDICTIONS of bad storms than in a hundred years!]
Then Martin Bashir [MSNBC- you know- he had doctors on during the debt crisis- telling us how the Tea Party guys are actually psychotic] he’s talking to the science guy [Bill Nye] and he asks ‘do you think global warming is the cause for all this’ [well- if by ‘all this’ you mean the possibility that global warming has caused real neurological damage to the MSNBC staff- then yes- maybe?]
And Nye says ‘yes’ and Bashir- with a look of shock simply says ‘OH MY!’. Yes- for whatever reason- the media has run with the story- subways flying in the air- drawing European size circles around the thing- claiming Cat 1 conditions on the 1st floor- but cat 3 on the 30th floor.
Yes- they have created ‘this monster’ and it’s too much to admit that ‘this monster’ is really no monster. I mean they have hung their reputations on the line- and they look like real nut jobs.
Final word- if you live in Jersey or N.Y. [like some of my friends do] then of course- don’t sit on the beach tonight. But don’t expect a real dangerous hurricane- that’s not going to happen.
I think Bloomberg has probably created more of a mess if he goes ahead and shuts all the transportation down- that’s overkill for sure.
And simply watch the weather channel- look at the actual pictures- if you have to- turn the volume off- and simply see the thing- it’s not as bad as many others have been- that’s just a fact.
 DARWIN’S RELIGION
In keeping with the last post let’s do a little more on Genesis- and the whole debate over science and religion. Because of the way this debate raged right around the turn of the 20th century [18-19 hundreds] there were many fine Christians who sort of had the impression that Evolution- as fully defined in Darwin’s way- was indeed proven beyond all doubt.
This was certainly not true. What we were learning from science was basically the actual thing that Darwin observed on his Galapagos Island tour- science showed us that species of things do change/adapt to their environment over time. And that these changes do indeed get passed along to following generations.
Modern Biology does show us- beyond all doubt- that ‘micro’ evolution does take place [when I say micro I mean evolution within species].
Darwin- as well meaning as he was- carried the idea further and thought ‘heck, maybe that’s where all species have come from- one common ancestor that eventually branched off over millions of years- and that’s the starting point’.
Now- was Darwin a nut to think this? No- at the time [late 1800’s] we did not know what we know today. It was assumed that living cells were not complex and that something like this was possible.
But since Charlie’s day- we have found out that living cells- no matter how hard we try- or observe- they simply never ‘change’ from one type of cell into another.
As a matter of fact- this scientific fact is so tested- it has left many scientists to re think the whole theory.
Now- why is it so hard for them to ‘re think’ it? You have to understand- for anyone in the field of science to even talk about evolution possibly not being true- it puts you in the category of a nut case.
And I have read/heard statements from non Christian scientists who say this very thing. They can’t get heard- even though the most basic plank of Evolution [common ancestry] has basically been shown to never happen.
See the dilemma? Yet around the turn of the century many fine scholars- men like B.B. Warfield from Princeton- they embraced evolution because they thought the Genesis account left room for various interpretations. And they thought that Darwin was proven to be right- all the way.
So today we have the problem of biased science- that is science that has gotten to a point we they can’t really admit that after 150 years- it does seem that Darwin’s initial idea- which came at a primitive time- was just wrong.
Now- does this mean the ‘God’ idea is right? Well for me- and others- sure. But I can float another scenario- which would still not explain the actual origin of life- but it would fit better than common ancestry.
That idea would be instead of thinking that one original life form arose from the Primordial Soup- you say many arose.
That’s it- you have solved a huge problem by just adjusting the theory- so why don’t they adjust it? Well Darwin’s theory has become more of a religious belief than anything else- to challenge it is considered scientific heresy.
Okay- what about Genesis? Yesterday I gave you some ideas on how different people view it. At the same time that Evolution was being hyped- you also had what’s called ‘higher criticism’ arise out of the universities of Germany. These were the scholars [Butlmann- etc.] that kind of thought the new scientific age was on the rise- humanism was the future- and if there was any chance to ‘save religion’ then ‘religion’ had to adapt.
These guys meant well- but they threw out too much. They embraced an idea called ‘The Demythification of religion’. They thought that the bible still had valuable moral stories in it [Sermon on the Mount] but when it came to science and stuff like that- well a lot of that was told as Myth- not Myth life a fairy Tale- but Myth meant it really was unreliable in these areas.
Many fine men embraced an idea that challenged the historical accuracy of the first 11 chapters of Genesis- stories like a talking Serpent in the Garden- Noah’s Flood- the Tower of Babel- all of these ‘stories’ are found in the first 11 chapters- and it was easy for these scholars to say ‘see- these are not ‘real’ stories- they are Myth’.
Okay- what’s the problem? Well- when you look at various portions of the bible- it is true that some parts are poetry- others are historical narrative- others are Prophetic- and it is helpful to know these types of distinctions.
But if you view Adam and Eve- or Noah’s Flood [you know- the whole world being saved by a man and his family on a boat!] If you read the New Testament Jesus says ‘as it was in the days of Noah’ or ‘in the beginning God created them male and female’ now you have Jesus referring to these first 11 chapters- and he is speaking about them in a way that sure sounds like true history.
See? So these types of debates do rage at times- but overall the bible has stood up to the test of time. Many of the critics will use some of these things to challenge the church- and in a noble effort some good scholars jumped a little too quickly onto the Darwin bandwagon- especially at a time when some scientists are looking for a way to get off!
Today I want to talk a little bit more about the bible and science- maybe over the next few weeks I’ll do a sort of overview of the Old Testament- like I just did with the New Testament.
I think it’s important for believers to have a basic grasp on some of the ideas about creation- evolution- and the whole debate in general.
I have written a lot in the past on the various theories- and won’t try and cover it all again- but just give some parameters that kind of frame this debate.
The other day I saw a news clip of an actor that I used to like- Matt Damon. I always liked Good Will Hunting and the Boerne Identity flicks. Some reporter asked him a question that kind of pit the right against the left [politically]. He replied with some ‘high faluttin’ language- I mean you could tell he really thinks he is the Good Will guy- but he did it in a way that said ‘you inferior intellects of the world- why must we have to put up with you’!
Sort of like when Tyson gave his speech on the inferior skills of those who were losing to him- they were losing because they were truly behind the advanced world of scientific boxing [not because Tyson fought you like ‘you stole something from him’ the quote of a defeated foe]. I sensed in Damon’s response a feeling that you pick up when the media tries to cover this whole debate.
The other day they showed a clip of some kid asking Perry ‘why do you not believe in evolution’ and Perry actually answered in a good way- he said ‘in Texas the schools teach both creation and evolution [actually that’s not true] and that evolution has some gaps to it’.
You then heard the mom in the background saying ‘ask him why he rejects science’ and of course you knew which way the report was going.
The history behind the way Christians view the book of Genesis [and creation] has varied lots over the years. Many old earth creationists [like myself] have argued for a ‘less literal’ hard line stance on the Genesis account- yet also not fully accepting the evolutionary view of things.
Others are what you would call Theistic evolutionists- they believe evolution is God’s way of doing things.
And others hold to a literal 6 day creation- with no room for any sort of symbolism at all.
All these views have some type of problem with them- something that you could find and say ‘see- this is why this view is wrong’.
And as I read the different views- I try and stay open to the best arguments from all sides.
As you read Genesis chapter 1- you see the Account of God creating all things. You have the 6 days of creation with God resting on the 7th day.
You do see somewhat of a framework right in the 6 days. For instance- on day 1 you have God making light- yet he doesn’t create the sun and luminaries until day 4.
On day 2 he creates the sky and water- day 5 birds and fish.
Day 3 he makes the land and plants- and day 6 he makes man and animals.
So you see a sort of ‘2 tiered’ system here- God making on the first ‘3 days’ the things that correspond on the last [2nd set] of ‘3 days’.
Now- this does not mean you have to spiritualize the whole thing- but there is room here for more than meets the eye.
The strict creationists argue that even though God made the light on day 1- and the sun and stars didn’t appear until day 4- they actually teach that for the first 3 days God had made another source of light- that we don’t know about- and this source lasted for only the first 3 days.
I see problems with a rigid view like that- I would prefer to see it the way I just showed you- that God is doing the creating- and it is done in 6 days- yet we are not getting a scientific account here- God is showing us things that we could grasp as regular folk who are picking up the bible and reading it for the first time.
So as you can see these types of debates can go on for a while.
The main point I want to make is the Church has always had room for true science to ‘fit in’ with the text- the church has not always taken a hard line ‘creationist stance’ on these things.
And at the same time there are many problems with the actual theory of evolution [Perry’s gaps] problems that I see that many of the media folk have no grasp on. For instance you do have a whole bunch of science that does seem to say that one species of a thing can never- ever evolve into another thing.
The science on this very fact has caused many scientists- unbelieving scientists- to ask ‘is it time for us to re think the theory’. But when you listen to the news people- or to Mom telling her kid ‘ask him why he doesn’t believe in science’ you realize that many of these ‘enlightened folk’ have no idea what they are talking about.
Yes- they sound like the Matt Damons and the Tysons of the world ‘you have no place with us in this advanced world of the intellect- we have surpassed your Neanderthal ideas- we are the new generation’.
Yes- I see the lines being drawn already- the Perry’s of the world are now going to be contrasted with the enlightened folk- I just wish both sides would spend a little more time listening to each other- and realize that we are not as far apart on some of these things as we think- we might be able to all get along someday- but who knows when that day will get here.
 TRUTH IN REPORTING
Last night we all watched the impending downfall of the Libyan strongman- ruled for 42 years and it looked like his time was up. The media also reported the capture of Saif- Gadhaffi’s son- I found it interesting to see the media get duped in such a public way.
We in the West want to reduce everything to a ‘hero versus villain’ scenario- it just makes us feel better to know that when our young guys shed their blood on a foreign field- well at least they died for the hero [though we did not have guys on the ground in Libya].
Yet in reality this is rarely the case. Over these last 6 months we have seen media portrayals of the Rebels. They were portrayed as doctors, lawyers and good hard working citizens who have been reduced to such primal tactics because of the madness of Gadhaffi.
Yet the reality of the situation is these 2 sides [East versus West- in Libya] have been at odds for decades. Libya has around 140 different tribes, and these tribes fight for power and influence- just like political parties.
So the tribes coming from Benghazi- the Eastern ‘capital’ have fought against the tribes from the West- Tripoli- for years.
The tribes from the East [the guys we have backed up] have had a number of Al Qaeda troops in their ranks- we don’t know how many have actually killed our guys in other theatres- but we know many Al Qaeda from Libya have fought us on foreign ground [Iraq].
But over the last 6 months this story would not have benefited the medias narrative [hero versus villain] so we have really not covered that aspect much.
So last night- all the media were reporting that Gadhaffi’s son, Saif, was taken captive. This was confirmed by the ICC [international criminal court] and the news media went with it- as being confirmed.
Often times the media will say ‘we have an unconfirmed report’ but when they say ‘confirmed’ that means the information is coming from top people who they have trusted and deemed to be honest.
So- after the reports of Gadhaffi having fled the country and his sons being captured- the media ‘confirmed’ it from the Rebels top guys- those they have given the top tier of trust to [You know- DeNiro and Stiller- the inner circle].
So the surprise was seeing Saif show up in front of the hotel where the media are staying. One reporter went up to Saif’s vehicle and knocked on the window- he said ‘if you’re in there for real- I need to see’. Sure enough the door opened- and to the shock of the reporter- there sat Saif.
Why shock? Because the rebels have played them like puppets for 6 months- denying that they have killed civilians- assuring them that these stories were all lies cooked up by the villain- and right up until the moment the car door opened- they were assured- in no uncertain terms ‘we have Saif in custody- you can trust us on this one’. Trust they did- and they looked like fools.
Then the media began running with ‘well- both sides have lied lots during this conflict- and sometimes you have to just trust your own eyes’. The problem with this is we have backed up one side- spent 1.1 billion on that side- and the media believed all the reports about ‘our side’ killing kids was simply a Gadhaffi lie- now it looks like they were used in this deadly game playing out on the Mediterranean.
I hope it ends soon- but we must remember that there are a lot of innocent civilians in the West- who never supported the Rebels- the rebels have killed many of them- burned down their homes- looted their businesses- the rebels are no angels- and it looks like the media just found that out.
Today I really wanted to post a few notes on the current media frenzy on science versus faith- the topic is becoming hot in the media- they like talking about stuff they don’t know about- and this one takes the cake.
Basically the media have been turning up the heat on why Perry and all the other stoops [that would be Christians] are denying science. I have written- and posted lots about this in the past. Most people are not aware of the overwhelming amount of science that challenges the most common ideas about evolution.
I’ll just hit on one- Abio Genesis. This is the belief that life can spontaneously generate from dead matter. This view is false- scientifically false. It is also commonly held with the false view of the spontaneous generation of all things.
Many media folk hold to a belief that the Big Bang theory shows us that all things have come from no-thing. Actually- this is a scientific impossibility. This idea- creation ‘Ex Nihilo’- is false.
Einstein’s theory did show us that matter had a beginning point- called the Point of Singularity- yet today we have absolutely no scientific proof that all things came from nothing- yet most media folk do indeed believe this.
So this topic really is one where the media have created their villain [the back water Christians] and their hero [the false idea that science has proved all types of stuff- that is has not!]. Yet they hope that if they run with the narrative long enough- then hopefully they will never be found out- you know- opening that car door and seeing their man- the man they assured the whole world was gone- yet he lives to see another day.
[note- those of you who are interested in more on Evolution- on my Blog if you go to the February posts of each year- I have studies on Evolution and one on Genesis- you might find them helpful in the coming debate].
 LIBYA, SYRIA AND FAST AND FURIOUS
Last night I watched the coverage of the bombs going off in Tripoli- you see all these explosions lighting up the dark capitol city- and the coverage under the bombing said ‘Gadhaffi’s last stand- will he unleash his violence on Tripoli’s civilians?’
Of course the bombs are our side- and we have advanced- backing the Rebels- thru city after city this last month. Human rights agencies have reported ‘our side’ murdering civilians- looting businesses- burning down many homes of civilians- all the while the media coverage is talking about Gahaffi’s human rights abuses.
We had a Black congresswoman go over to Libya- she heard reports that the Rebels [our side] were lynching Blacks [I kid you not] according to her reporting- this was true. I explained it before- the Black skinned Africans in Libya are primarily the mercenaries that Gadhaffi has hired from Southern Africa- so if the rebels catch a Black skinned person- he’s a dead man- just because he’s Black- these are OUR GUYS- the side we and NATO are backing.
CNN has been showing the pictures- UNCONFIRMED- of children and dead adults in Syria- now- I think Assad is an evil ruler- and I agree with our president’s recent call for his ouster- he said it publicly for the first time the other day.
But as CNN continues to show the pictures of dead kids- and they say they can’t confirm them- they must realize that in a situation like Syria- if you ‘UP THE ANTE’ FOR ONE SIDE TO GAIN GREATLY BY THE IMAGE OF A DEAD KID- THEN YOU HAVE JUST GREATLY INCREASED THE VALUE OF ONE SIDE GETTING A DEAD KID.
Look- I don’t know if the anti Assad side has done this- but if the American media can’t confirm who killed the kid- we need to stop upping the damn ante!
Over these last few months I have watched the congressional hearings over FAST AND FURIOS- the name of the disastrous scheme cooked up by the ATF in an attempt to trace the guns of Mexican drug runners.
In this crack pot plan- the U.S. knowingly allowed guns to be sold illegally to these gun runners. These guns were then found at the scene of the death of one of our law enforcement guys- and this administrations Justice Dept. did all they could do- with the help of the media- to not report the story.
Over time- because the hearings are on CSPAN- you heard and saw the dissimulation of the Administrations law enforcement people- and it was obvious to see that this thing is a scandal of huge proportions- they are just hoping the public will believe the media- and not the real story [Gadhaffi unleashes his violence on his own people- while showing us dropping bombs].
I have watched the U.S. agents testify that they kept warning- screaming- for someone to stop this horrendous plot. They actually have said- over recorded phone calls- ‘look- your getting us all killed down here!’
The Mexican govt. grilled us over this- one Mexican reporter [not a single U.S. one by the way] asked Obama about this- you could tell he knew about it- and was not being upfront.
Then you had the top ATF guy- in charge of this scheme- asked ‘why did you make cell phone calls to so and so [a political insider- inside the ring of the president] right after you found out the plan was going to go public’.
This guy said he was just friends with this insider- he just called to say hi. Then when asked by congress- ‘did you talk about this plan with this insider’ he repeatedly said ‘specifically- no’.
Then when the congressman asked ‘look- in your response- don’t use specifically- did you discuss this operation with this insider’ he then looked befuddled- sort of like ‘gee- let me think for a moment’ then answered yes.
What does that tell us? This guy- and all the other guys covering up- have all been coached on what to do to cover this thing up.
This week I saw our ‘illustrious’ past majority leader in the papers once again. Yes- the Hammer- Tom Delay was going back to court. If you remember the Dems went after him- charging him with Money Laundering.
Now- those of you who are not from Texas- I have been in Democratic politics [not Repub!] for 30 years. I was [still am] a member of a Democratic union- the international association of fire fighters.
In Texas politics- you used to get around the law [which the Supreme Court changed this past year by the way] that forbid actual corporate dollars to go to campaigns in Washington. The way you got around the law was you used a form- CALLED A MONEY SWAPPING FORM [I kid you not] and you took whatever contribution was given- and then you sort of sent the money to a general fund- and then from another fund they would take the non corporate dollars and that’s how they got around the law.
Now- this is no secret in Texas- everyone knows this. This actual act is legal.
But then a few years back- the highly partisan Dem prosecutor from Austin [Ronnie Earl]- who oversees Delays district- decided to go after Delay for doing this- but he would try and convince a jury that Delay laundered money in violation of U.S. drug/mafia laws- a legal case that has never been attempted in the political realm- after all- actual ‘money swapping’ is legal.
Sure enough- he managed to convict Delay- for doing what we all do- by convincing the jury that Delay laundered money.
Now- to all my insider Dem buddies- they couldn’t believe they got the man- for something they all do- all the time. I mean they have forms that say USE FOR MONEY SWAPS.
I mean the scam was too good to be true- thats the scam of sending Delay to prison for what we all know is done all the time.
Yet in the media- you would think the man actually laundered DRUG MONEY- it’s the classic example of the media deciding to pick a side- and then they just trust that the viewing public will not think for themselves.
I don’t know what will happen in all these cases- but to have the U.S. justice dept. obviously scheming to get around an investigation- one that involves many guns being used [up until this very hour!] and some of them being used to kill our guys- this rises to the level of people being prosecuted- or even being impeached- if you did indeed cover something like this up.
We are not talking leaking the name of someone to the media [Valerie Plame] or even covering up a botched break in [Watergate] we are talking about covering up a botched scheme that has actually killed our law enforcement guys- and we have our guys on record saying ‘your getting us all killed down here- stop the damn program’.
But if the media can convince us that Gadhaffi is unleashing a slaughter on his own people in Tripoli- while showing us actual footage of our side bombing the city- then I guess they can convince us of anything- I know there’s a bunch of people right now in Washington- who hope they will.