Where's the birth certificate

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Oklahoma is OK

While extolling (not trolling, Tink ;)) the virtue of the Baptist Press to fellow blogger "Froggie", I came across an interesting article out of Oklahoma concerning the new anti-abortion bill there.

"The Oklahoma legislature finished April 27 overriding vetoes of two pro-life bills, only four days after Gov. Brad Henry had rejected them.

The Senate voted 36-12 on both measures. One of the bills requires an ultrasound before an abortion, and the other protects a doctor from a "wrongful birth" lawsuit for failing to persuade the mother to have an abortion. The latter is designed to protect unborn babies who are diagnosed with disabilities and might be considered by some pro-choicers to be better off dead.

The Senate actions enacting the bills came a day after the House of Representatives voted to override the vetoes. The House voted 81-14 for the ultrasound legislation and 84-12 for the "wrongful birth" measure."

Hurray for Oklahoma! Perhaps requiring those seeking an abortion might cut down on incidences like the following report out of Italy from 2 days ago...

"The 22-week infant was found breathing a day after the operation. He died one day later in intensive care at a hospital in the mother's home town of Rossano, in southern Italy.

The mother, pregnant for the first time, had opted for an abortion after prenatal scans revealed that the foetus had a cleft lip and palate, according to reports in the Italian media. The condition is treatable with surgery.

The baby - weighing just 11oz - survived the procedure, carried out on Saturday in the Rossano Calabro hospital, but was left by doctors to die.

He was discovered alive the following day – some 20 hours after the operation – by Father Antonio Martello, the hospital chaplain, who had gone to pray beside his body.

He found that the baby, wrapped in a sheet with his umbilical cord still attached, was moving and breathing.

The priest raised the alarm and doctors immediately arranged for the infant to be taken to a specialist neo-natal unit at the neighbouring Cosenza hospital, where he died on Monday morning.

The story has caused outrage in Italy, where many have called for the country's abortion laws to be changed.

On Thursday, Archbishop Santo Marciano of Rossano-Cariati, criticised the "arbitrary superficiality" of hospital staff and said the Catholic country should reflect on its attitudes both to the unborn and to the disabled."

Am I alone here in seeing how outrageous Western society has become in treating it's most vulnerable members? The baby in Italy was delivered after 22 weeks. The above illustration shows a baby after 12 weeks. Can we try to arrive at some sort of middle ground that many of us can agree on concerning abortion procedures?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

St Paul on Slavery

Photogr had an interesting comment yesterday on the Mining history for only certain sins thread. He stated... "Human slavery is wrong no matter if it was in biblical times or in present times such as sex slavery trade or whatever a human is used for gain by a select few at the expense of one's freedom. No man or woman should have domain over another for their own personal gain."

I think we can all agree that slavery as it exists in the world today is a horrible practice. Various organizations are working toward freeing as many individuals as they can. Likewise, slavery in the antebellum South, as exemplified in the famous mini-series Roots, was a horrific institution of despair and suffering. But what type of institution was the apostle Paul referring to in his epistles? Author Wayne Grudem (PhD), who is pictured above, weighs in with his thoughts on the matter...

"Paul says to slaves, "If you can gain your freedom, avail yourselves of the opportunity" (1 Corinthians 7:21). And he tells Philemon that that he should welcome his slave Onesimus back "no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, as a beloved brother" (Philemon 16) and that he should "receive him as you would receive me" (v.17). Paul tells Philemon that if Onesimus owes him anything, Paul would pay it himself (v.18-19). Finally he says, "Confident of your obedience, I write to you knowing that you will do even more than I say" (v.21) This is a strong and not so subtle hint that Philemon should grant freedom to Onesimus. Paul's condemnation of "enslavers" in 1 Timothy 1:10 also showed the moral wrong of forcibly putting anyone into slavery.

When we hear the word "slavery" today it is usually what we have read in books and seen on tv, concerning horrible abuses that occurred in the 19th century and earlier. But if that is what comes to mind when we read the word "slave" in Bible, then that is a distorted picture.

The person referred to as a "slave" or "bondsman" in the New Testament (Greek, doulos) was legally bound to a certain master, almost always for a limited period of time, until he could obtain his freedom. A detailed article in The International Bible Encyclopedia explains,

"Persons in slavery under Roman Law in the 1st century AD could generally count on being set free by the age of 30. Pertinent inscriptions, however, indicate that large numbers, approaching 50 percent, were set free before their 30th birthdays."

Slaves in this sense had a higher social status and better economic situation than free day laborers who had to search for employment each day (see Matthew 20:1-7, where the master of the house goes into the marketplace to hire day laborers at different times during the day). By contrast, those who were bondservants (or "slaves") had greater economic security with a continuing job and steady income.

Such slaves (in the first century sense of "bondservants") worked in a variety of occupations: In Greco-Roman households, slaves served not only as cooks, cleaners and personal attendants, but also as tutors to persons of all ages, physicians, nurses, close companions and managers of the household. In the business world, slaves were not only janitors and delivery boys; they were managers of estates, shops and ships as well as salesmen and contracting agents. In the civil service, slaves were not only used for street paving and sewer cleaning gangs but also as administrators of funds and personnel and as executives with decision making powers.

How then did people become slaves? While many were born into slavery and while in earlier years up until the time of Caesar Augustus (63 BC- 14 AD) Romans had obtained slaves through conquest in war by the time of the New Testamant.

Large numbers of people sold themselves into slavery for various reasons, above all to enter a life that was easier and more secure than an existance as a poor freeborn person, to obtain special jobs and to climb socially......

Many non-Romans sold themselves to Roman citizens with the justified expectation, carefully regulated by Roman law, of becoming Roman citizens themselves when manumitted.

Certainly, capable slaves had an advantage over their free counterparts in that their owners would often supply them with an excellent education at the owner's expense. Famous philosophers (Epictetus), teachers, grammarians, administrators (M.A. Felix, the procurator who was Paul's judge in Acts 23:24-24:27) artists, physicians and writers were all a part of this practice. These slaves and former slaves formed a broad band of intellectuals in the 1st century. Such slaves did not have to wait until manumission before they were capable of establishing friendships with their owners and other free persons as human beings.

For many, self-sale into slavery with anticipaton of manumission provided the most direct means to be integrated into Greek and Roman society. As such, in stark contrast to New World Slavery in the 17-19th centuries, Greo-Roman slavery functioned as a process rather than a permanent condition. "

So as we can see, this sytem was quite a bit different than that which helped spark the American Civil War. Was it a perfect system? No. But how else could someone from a more primitive culture expect to integrate themselves into Roman society?

The only parallel I can think of off-hand in today's age would be enlistment into the armed services. One enters (in most Western countries) voluntarily and for a specified period of time. While the branch of the armed services that you enlist in dictates what you do and do not do and you, in effect, are theirs, there are certain rules they have to abide by while in their service and they in turn are responsible for you. Nobody is going around calling servicemen and women "slaves" and if they were, they'd be laughed at, and with good reason.

Source cited: Grudem, Wayne: Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, Chapter 9, www.efbt100.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mining history for only certain sins

Economist Thomas Sowell, who's archive I link to on the right, has written another timely piece that explores why we are becoming a society of victims and the slanted view of history currently being taught at many schools...

"Slavery is a classic example. The history of slavery across the centuries and in many countries around the world is a painful history to read– not only in terms of how slaves have been treated, but because of what that says about the whole human species– because slaves and enslavers alike have been of every race, religion and nationality.

If the history of slavery ought to teach us anything, it is that human beings cannot be trusted with unbridled power over other human beings– no matter what color or creed any of them are. The history of ancient despotism and modern totalitarianism practically shouts that same message from the blood-stained pages of history.

But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message that is pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people.

It is true.... But it is also false in its implications for the same reason. Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans – more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed.

The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to "Roots," and our schools and colleges don't pound it into the heads of students."

I agree with Sowell that it's quite apparent that other instances of slavery are not discussed and only whites of European ancestry are typically mentioned as enslavers and other groups are largely ignored. Also conviently ignored is the fact that it was English Christians that helped end the trans-Atlantic slave trade because after all, we can't cast Christianity in any sort of a positive light these days so we might as well demonize it instead.

Another point conveniently overlooked is the fact that "there are more slaves today than at any time in human history". It's far easier to concentrate on the evils of centuries ago and give the appearance of empathy than speak out against inhumane conditions as they now exist in the world today.

Certain internet skeptics will decry the instances of slavery that are mentioned in Biblical times without ever criticaly examining the subject with anything that resembles an open mind. Assuming that regulating a behavior equals approval for it and failing to note that slavery as mentioned in the Bible was an overwhelmingly voluntary in nature clearly demonstrates a prejudice against a religion that might conflict with the skeptic's worldview. Link.

I pray that we might learn a lesson from this and move forward and help lessen the effects of slavery as it now exists in our world. The next time an internet skeptic is critical of the Bible's stance on slavery, simply mention such organization's as the Church Mission Society and
Free For Life Ministries and politely welcome them aboard in the Bible's admonition, which is also found on the Liberty Bell, to "proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof". (Leviticus 25:10)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is Benedict XVI the New GWB for the Left?

David Quinn of the Irish newspaper, the Independent raises some interesting parallels between former president George W. Bush and Pope Benedict the XVI. However, before getting started, please allow me to genuflect three times before the Altar of Political Correctness by wholeheartedly stating that ...

  • I detest the abuse of children in all it's forms and call for the prosecution of anyone who does it.

  • I detest the abuse of children in all it's forms and call for the prosecution of anyone who does it.

  • I detest the abuse of children in all it's forms and call for the prosecution of anyone who does it.

Now that I have stated my thoughts on that particular matter, I would like to add something else. I'm not an adherent of Roman Catholicism. I'm a (PCA) Presbyterian and thusly, I really don't have any type of dog in this particular fight. However, I generally pride myself as being someone who can at least distinguish between a good argument and a very crappy one, and it seems that a very crappy argument has been foisted upon much of the Western world recently and widely accepted by numerous people of most every religious stripe.

There have been two different news stories that have been very much publicized recently in the mainstream media concerning Pope Benedict the XVI. An abuse case in Milwaukee, WI in which the Milwaukee Police Department was unable to make an arrest and county prosecutors never indicted anyone.

Also, in another example, this time from the Diocese of Oakland CA, media bias and presuppositions played a roll of the condemnation of Benedict-Ratzinger. Even though, in the error-filled AP report, the Diocese of Oakland was never interviewed to present their side of the story as to what actually happened. People generally accepted the news report as the gospel truth. Link

Lost in all of this recent "reporting" is the fact that the recent articles were Reaching Back Across The Decades to report that which had occured. I thought that to be a bit late in reporting this information myself and the aforementioned Mr Quinn offered his thoughts on the subject...

"Attacks on Benedict, and on the Catholic Church generally, come from many directions. The church is attacked over its supposed attitude towards Protestants, Jews, Muslims and the other religions generally.

Benedict and the church are attacked over their attitude towards homosexuality and human sexuality generally. They are attacked over their defence of the right to life of the unborn, the elderly and the sick. They are attacked over their defence of marriage.

But in a way, all these attacks are an attack on the same thing, namely Benedict and the church's defence of objective truth and morality, its belief that certain things are right or wrong in themselves regardless of opinion or circumstance.

In an age of moral relativism, nothing is more offensive than the person who says, however calmly, that not all 'truths' are equal, that morality is not simply a matter of opinion, that religions are not all equally true or equally false, and that not all lifestyle choices are equal.

With regard to sex, for example, the church says that sex has an objective meaning and purpose and that one such purpose is procreation, which is intrinsically linked to heterosexuality.

This is connected to the defence of marriage. One reason the church says men and women should marry before they have sex is because it believes children have a right to be raised by their two married parents.

But many people, not least cohabiting couples, single parents and homosexuals find this offensive and it leads them into a denial that children have any need for, or right to, a married mother and father. The church cannot go down that road.

Nor can the church say all religions are equal because then it would have to deny that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But this doesn't mean the church can't treat other religions with respect.

Why is this so difficult to grasp? Presumably we're all able to treat most of the people with whom we disagree with respect. Well, the church does the same, contrary to popular prejudice.

The paradox of relativism is that it claims to treat all points of view equally but in fact it damns and condemns those who deny relativism. In other words, relativists defend their point of view as trenchantly and aggressively as the worst fundamentalists and will brook no opposition.

The Pope calls this ultra-aggressiveness the 'dictatorship of relativism'. The main reason these liberal fundamentalists spend so much of their time and energy attacking the Pope and the church is because they are the foremost defenders of objective truth and morality in the world today.

Destroy Benedict, damage or co-opt the church he leads, and you go a long way towards destroying opposition to liberal fundamentalism. This is a cataclysmic battle between those who believe in objective morality and those who think morality is relative. Joseph Ratzinger is smack bang in the middle of the hottest part of this battle."

As I have previously pointed out in a previous thread, I find it interesting that another columnist has pointed out that ...

"As the Catholic League’s Bill Donahue relates, 80 percent of the victims of priestly abuse have been males and “most of the molesters gays.”

And as the Times’ Richard Berke blurted to the Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association 10 years ago, often, “three-quarters of the people deciding what’s on the front page are not-so-closeted homosexuals.”

Is there perhaps a conflict of interest at The New York Times, when covering a traditionalist Catholic pope?

I hope that's not the case, but would anyone else like to advance another, more plausible explanation at this time? The distinct lack of a truly valid, competing claim as to why there is a sudden interest of the events of over 30 years ago to criticize Benedict and the church he leads may itself lend even more credibility to Mr Quinn's above arguments.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our Muslim Allies

In all fairness, there are alot of Muslims around the world who are helping coalition forces in the fight against Islamic extremism. "As was the case in the 20th Century, more Muslims in the 21st Century are being killed by Islamic extremists than by non-Muslims" and many rational Muslims realize this. Aydemir Erman, who was Turkey’s special coordinator for Afghanistan from 1991 to 2003 and an advisor for several years afterward comments on the over 800 Turkish troops now stationed in Afghanistan and writes...

"Turks have aided the Afghan government and its people since the days of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan, the “Iron Amir” who unified the country during his reign from 1880 to 1901 and embarked on a path of modernization. Afghanistan was the second country to recognize modern Turkey in 1921 after the USSR. Modern Turkey was instrumental in establishing the military academy, medical school, Kabul University and its faculty of political sciences, the music conservatory, and the public health service of Afghanistan...

In my contacts with the Taliban during those years as Turkey’s special coordinator for Afghanistan, we pulled no punches. I explicitly told the Taliban leaders that we would not extend recognition to their regime. Turkey recognized the rump government of President Barhanuddin Rabbani that remained in only a small part of Afghanistan, mainly Badakshan Province and the Panshir Valley, until he was replaced by Hamid Karzai after the Taliban were driven from power by the US after 9/11.

We openly criticized the Taliban’s lack of governing capacity, their profiteering from the opium trade, their support for terror organizations like Al Qaeda, and their treatment of their own people.Despite all this criticism, the Taliban nonetheless gave my colleagues and me free access to travel the country. I was always respected, and we were able to perform humanitarian work all over the Taliban-controlled parts of Afghanistan. I was told on several occasions by the Taliban leaders that as much as they may scorn my remarks, as a Turk I was welcomed...

In the critical province of Wardak, Turkey today is also operating the only civilian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team. Generally, PRTs are operated by NATO soldiers. Since 2006, the Turkish government has spent $20 million in the province funding a police training academy, building schools, restoring a mosque, and setting up a medical clinic.Halim Fedai, the governor of Wardak Province, has said: “The Turkish programs are very well received and readily accepted by Afghans because they work within Afghan culture. They are sensitive to Afghan values. We have very good, strong, historical relationships with Turkey.”

If NATO sticks to a clear mandate within a defined time frame for withdrawal and the international community allocates sufficient resources, Afghanistan can be brought back into the fold of the international community. Turkey helped them join the world when Afghanistan was a young nation. It can do so again today."

I just wanted to provide a little balance after yesterday's installment. The mainstream media is good for whining that "Islam is a religion of Peace" ad nauseum, but then they don't point to many positive examples to support this idea and instead they focus on isolated incidents of intolerance and try to portray it as the norm. According to the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affair Council, there are approximately 20,000 Muslims serving in the military. We thank these sometimes overlooked patriots for their service and look forward with them to the day when Islamic extremism is no more and we can then bring the boys home.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Iranians at our Backdoor

Pat Buchanan gets us started by informing us of an important, yet somehow overlooked piece by the mainstream media, that China and Venezuela are becoming closer...

"Thank you, Hu Jintao, and thank you, China," said Hugo Chavez, as he announced a $20 billion loan from Beijing, to be repaid in Venezuelan oil.The Chinese just threw Chavez a life-preserver. For Venezuela is reeling from 25 percent inflation, government-induced blackouts to cope with energy shortages and an economy that shrank by 3.3 percent in 2009.

Where did China get that $20 billion? From us. From consumers at Wal-Mart. That $20 billion is 1 percent of the $2 trillion in trade surpluses Beijing has run up with the United States over two decades.Beijing is using its trillions of dollars in reserves, piled up from exports to America, to cut deals to lock up strategic resources for the coming struggle with the United States for hegemony in Asia and the world."

All of this comes fresh on the heels of an announcement earlier this week that Iran is apparently increasing the number of Quds troops in Venezuela. None of this comes as a suprise to me personally as I saw newly constructed mosques there during my last visit in '07.

" Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps has stepped up its presence in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, according to a Pentagon report to Congress. The Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force "maintains operational capabilities around the world," said the report on Iran's military power, released Tuesday by the Defense Department.

The force "is well established in the Middle East and North Africa, and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly Venezuela," the report said.

"If US involvement in conflicts in these regions deepens, contact with the IRGC-QF (Quds Force), directly or through extremist groups it supports, will be more frequent and consequential," it said. The report said Iran's top priority is to ensure "the survival of the regime" and that Tehran has ambitions to position itself as a regional power, while expanding its presence on the world stage.

The elite Quds force, which serve under the authority of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, has been accused in connection with a 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires."

Isnt it wonderful to know that the sheer idiocy of White Liberal Guilt put the most foolhardy appeaser on the world stage since Nevil Chamberlain into the Oval Office to protect the United States as well as the free world? Teddy Roosevelt is probably spinning in his grave at the thought of allowing such threats to fester in our sphere of influence. 2012 is right around the corner people. Hopefully we won't make the same mistake twice. I'm leaning toward Romney, but I'm going to keep my eyes open in the meantime.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DeMint Nails It

U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), (who incidentally has a 99% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, a full nine percentage points higher than his fellow senator from the Palmetto State, Lindsey Graham) absolutely nailed it recently in this interview by CBN. I make no apologies about being a small government conservative in my political leanings. I believe that it offers the best hope for a society outside of libertarianism. When asked about the Tea Party movement within the United states, a faction of voters from both parties along with independents who are fed up with Big Government, Senator DeMint had this to say...

"David Brody: “Are you concerned at all that some of the social conservative issues, abortion and same sex marriage, some of these other issues because they are taking somewhat of a back seat right now at least to the fiscal issues that there are some inherent problems for social conservatives in something like that?”

Senator Jim DeMint: “No actually just the opposite because I really think a lot of the motivation behind these Tea Party crowds is a spiritual component. I think it’s very akin to the Great Awakening before the American Revolution. A lot of our founders believed the American Revolution was won before we ever got into a fight with the British. It was a spiritual renewal.”

Senator Jim DeMint: “I’m ‘praying for you” comes up more than anything else in these crowds so I know there’s a spiritual component out there.”

Senator Jim DeMint: “I think as this thing (the Tea Party movement) continues to roll you’re going to see a parallel spiritual revival that goes along with it.”

David Brody: “Just so I understand, when you say spiritual revival how are you terming that? What do you mean specifically as in “spiritual revival?”

Senator Jim DeMint: "Well, I think people are seeing this massive government growing and they’re realizing that it’s the government that’s hurting us and I think they’re turning back to God in effect is our salvation and government is not our salvation and in fact more and more people see government as the problem and so I think some have been drawn in over the years to a dependency relationship with government and as the Bible says you can’t have two masters and I think as people pull back from that they look more to God. It’s no coincidence that socialist Europe is post-Christian because the bigger the government gets the smaller God gets and vice-versa. The bigger God gets the smaller people want their government because they’re yearning for freedom."

Yes senator, the bigger a government becomes, the less freedom the people who live under it can count on having. I can cite the 58 million people across Eastern Europe and Central Asia who have been released from the curse of grinding poverty since the collapse of the Soviet Union as a primary example. Link

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

McCain Starting to Lose it

It would appear that leading Republican In Name Only, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is starting to lose it. Fresh on the heels of his "I never considered myself a maverick" BS that Leonard Pitts (whom I often don't agree with but is correct in this instance) rightly called him out for, stating...

"This, after the hard-fought presidential campaign of 2008 in which McCain, his advertising team, his surrogates and his running mate all but tattooed the “M” word on their foreheads.

Indeed, not only did they call McCain a maverick, but so did the subtitle of his 2003 memoir. Heck, his campaign plane when he ran for president back in 1999 was dubbed Maverick One. Yet there he is in the April 12, 2010, edition of Newsweek, page 29, top of the center column: “I never considered myself a maverick.”

And his integrity kicked twice and was still." Link

We now find that McCain has done an about face and is now attempting to get tough on immigration, reversing an earlier decision to create a rapid path to citizenship for illegal aliens already in the United States.

"Arizona Sens. John McCain and John Kyl, both Republicans, called Monday’s news conference to announce a 10-point plan to secure the border between Arizona and Mexico. They are requesting the immediate deployment of 3,000 National Guard troops and a permanent increase of 3,000 more Custom and Border Protection Agents along the state’s border by 2015." Link

If the more astute bloggers out there would take notice, the date on the linked CNS News article regarding McCain's decision is dated from Tuesday, 4/20. Might it be more than just a coincidence that McCains republican opponent in the Arizona US Senate primary, JD Hayworth (pictured above) released the following news item on his official website?

"Today it is McCain 47, Hayworth 42

Phoenix, AZ (April 16) - A new poll released today by Rasmussen Reports shows that Senator John McCain's lead over J.D. Hayworth in the Arizona Republican primary race has slipped to a mere 5 points.

"McCain has flooded the airways with paid advertisements and apparently Arizona voters don't like what he has to say," said Hayworth campaign manager David Payne. "Congressman Hayworth's grassroots campaign and conservative message is being embraced by the people."

The poll of likely Republican primary voters shows that "McCain has been losing ground since January when he picked up 53 percent of the potential GOP Primary vote and Hayworth had only 31 percent," according to the Rasmussen news release. It also found just 2 percent prefer some other candidate, and 8 percent are undecided.

"Any incumbent who is earning less than 50 percent of the vote at this stage of the campaign in considered vulnerable," the Rasmussen release said."

Back when McCain was running for president against the Sage of Mombassa, I was reluctant to vote for him and was considering just sitting out the general election being that my guy (Mitt Romney, who's website I link to on the left margin) was knocked out of the race by well intentioned and yet ill-informed party members who somehow thought that McCain was "electable" and would win over certain democrats along with independent voters. A certain family member who is career military kind of asked that I vote for the bum and for that person, I did. Not that it made much of a difference in the long run.

I'm considering making a donation to Hayworth's campaign. Hayworth has rebutted McCain's attempt to make himself over as someone who is actually tough on illegal immigration by stating the following.

"Five years ago, I introduced the ‘Enforcement First Act’ in the U.S. House of Representatives," Hayworth said. "Had McCain supported my efforts in 2005 to secure the U.S. border, rather than stubbornly support amnesty, we would not be trying to apply quick fixes today."

I concur with Hayworth and I hope he wins in his primary battle against McCain, who one blogger described as suffering from Stockholm Syndrom after being captured by Marxists in the Vietnam War.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Road to War

In today's article by Benny Avni we see that Syria has grown bolder in it's dismissal of international law and couldnt care less about any veiled threats coming from the Obama administration.

"US sources have confirmed the news broken last week by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who said in Paris that even while Syria talks of peace, it's sending Scuds to Hezbollah. With a range of 435 miles, the missiles are a significant addition to Hezbollah's known arsenal: During the 2006 Lebanon war, the terror group could only hit northern Israeli towns; with the Scuds, it can reach all of Israel's populated areas.

Israel reportedly mulled bombing a recent convoy carrying the missiles from Syria to Lebanon, but decided against it -- for now. But Jerusalem is unlikely to permit Hezbollah to possess arms that threaten every man, woman and child in Israel, complicating any military plan for ending the far greater threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb.

Using intermediaries, Jerusalem sent warnings to Damascus. So did Washington: Sen. John Kerry expressed concerns about weapons transfers to Hezbollah during a Damascus visit in early April. An American UN diplomat, Alejandro Wolff, publicly told the Security Council last week that the United States is concerned about the "sophistication" of the weapons Syria's giving Hezbollah -- which, he said, "risks sparking a conflict that no one needs."

Apparently when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon broached the subject with Bashar Assad (pictured above), Assad blew it off by stating that it must be "smugglers" who are supplying SCUD missles to Hezbollah. When Obama took office during his Bow, Curtsey and Apologize World Tour, "Obama's emissaries to Damascus started hinting that America would soon lift sanctions, and that other goodies were on the way. And in February came word that Washington would be sending a new ambassador to Syria, a job that America had pointedly left vacant since the (Rafik) Hariri killing."

The US needs somebody strong in foreign policy the White House and the world knows that Obama just doesnt have the stomach for it. Why else would a second-rate power like Syria be so carelessly flaunting what passes for their influence in the region?

On a related note, it seems that Jews in the United States are being driven into the arms of Sarah Palin of all people hot on the heels of the Obama regime's administration's recent, reported snubbing of Bibi Netanyahu and cozying up with Isreal's neighbors.

"President Obama’s recent demarche designed to increase pressure on Israel is having one immediate impact in the Jewish community — it is hastening the formation of an organization called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.

Plans for the new group are set to be announced on Sunday by a Philadelphia-based journalist and activist named Binyamin Korn, a former executive director of the Zionist Organization of America. The announcement is unlikely to make big news, as the group is embryonic, with an advisory committee of several journalists and academics.

Its aim, however, is to take advantage of the growing alarm within the Jewish community at what Mr. Korn, in an interview this week with the New York Sun, called an “escalation of rhetoric” criticizing the Jewish state. The group also hopes to counter suggestions — by, among others, such opposite figures as the widely read Atlantic magazine blogger Jeffrey Goldberg and the left-of-center, anti-Israel publication Counterpunch — that Mrs. Palin’s support for Israel is animated by “end of days” theology that believes an in-gathering in Israel will precede the apocalypse and the destruction of the Jews." Link to full article.

None of this inspires confidence in a presidency that one blogger decribed as less of an administration and more of a parody of one. To top it all off, it seems that Obama has broken GWB's record for aloofness and has now played his 32nd round of golf since taking office. George W. Bush played 24 games in 8 years in office by comparison. Link

It's probably what Nero would have done instead of fiddling if they had golf back in his day. God help us all.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Ever Happened to John Doe #2?

I, like many of you I would imagine, remember exactly where I was on April 19th, 1995 when media outlets reported that Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by a truck bomb. Being that my job back then was closely tied to All Point Bulletins (police broadcasts describing details of people or vehicles wanted by law enforcement), I paid close attention and can recall details from that fateful day. Police sketches based upon eyewitness accounts were quickly broadcast looking for two men. John Doe #1 was a white male who bore an uncanny resemblence to Timothy McVeigh who was soon arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to the death. John Doe #2 (above sketch) is a different matter all together. Immediately after the bombing, the FBI issued an All Points Bulletin in which a brown Chevy pick-up truck was described as leaving the scene of the bombing. One of the suspects was described as being an "olive-skinned" or "Middle-Eastern" looking male. However the bulletin was soon canceled with no apparent explanation as to why.

McVeigh was soon arrested, about 80 minutes after the explosion by Oklahoma State Trooper Charles Hanger on charges of carrying a concealed firearm and driving without a license plate. But what of John Doe #2? Nobody "dark-complected" was ever arrested in connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. Could eye-witnesses have been wrong? Some speculate that so-called "dirty bomb" conspirator Jose Padilla was John Doe #2 on that date. I would like to set that theory aside and offer a counter explanation.

Oklahoma City investigative reporter Jayna Davis has come up with some interesting information that I think should be more closely examined. Her book entitled The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing offers up the following scenario. According to Davis...

"Throughout the course of my investigation, I interviewed 80 potential witnesses, 22 of whom I deemed credible because their testimonies could be independently corroborated, and more importantly, their stories did not conflict with the government's case against McVeigh and Nichols.

"In detailed affidavits, these witnesses confidently identified eight specific Middle Eastern men, the majority of whom were former Iraqi soldiers, colluding with the Oklahoma City bombers, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

"All of these suspects immigrated to the United States following the Persian Gulf War, ostensibly seeking political asylum from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. However, my investigation revealed they were, in fact, false defectors - not outspoken dissidents as they had claimed.

"This cadre of Iraqi servicemen moved to Oklahoma City in the fall of 1994 and began performing handiwork for a property management company that was owned and operated by a Palestinian expatriate.

The affluent real estate mogul, who operated under eight known aliases, funded his vast, multi-million dollar housing empire from monies contributed by siblings living in Baghdad, Jerusalem, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Amman, Jordan.

"In the early 1990s, the Palestinian property owner pleaded guilty to federal insurance fraud and served time in the penitentiary. Court records revealed that the FBI once suspected the ex-convict of having ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

"Six months prior to the bombing, the Palestinian felon hired a group of self-professed 'defectors' from the Iraqi army to do maintenance work on his low-income rental houses. On April 19, several witnesses watched in stunned amazement as their Middle Eastern co-workers expressed prideful excitement upon hearing the first radio broadcasts that Islamic extremists had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Murrah Building. The men cheered deliriously, exuberantly pledging their allegiance to the now deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, vowing they would 'die for Saddam.'

"Nearly two dozen Oklahomans have signed sworn affidavits in which they accuse these ardent Saddam supporters and ex-enemy combatants of aiding and abetting McVeigh and Nichols during critical stages of the bombing plot.

"The most incriminating testimony centered around one man - Hussain Hashem Al-Hussaini. Al-Hussaini not only fit the FBI's physical description in the official arrest warrant for John Doe 2, but according to veteran law enforcement officials, was a dead ringer for the government's profile sketch of the elusive suspect.

"Witnesses identified this Iraqi immigrant socializing with McVeigh at an Oklahoma City nightclub prior to the bombing. An Oklahoma City gas station attendant also fingered Al-Hussaini as the customer who paid one hundred dollars cash to fill up a large Ryder truck with diesel fuel (the key chemical component used in Ryder truck bomb) on eve of the bombing - April 18, 1995.

"The next morning, a maintenance man working at the motel located adjacent to the service station observed what was very likely the same Ryder truck emanating an odorous stench of diesel, yet according to the witness, the gas cap bore a warning sticker which read: 'Unleaded Fuel Only.'

"Two downtown joggers named the Iraqi soldier as the dark-haired, olive-skinned male they observed timing his run at a breathless pace from the Murrah Building one block east shortly before daybreak on April 19.

"Moreover, several Oklahoma City residents claimed to have seen Al-Hussaini climbing into the cab of a Ryder truck that reeked of diesel fuel at a local motel an hour before the explosion. The witnesses placed Timothy McVeigh behind the wheel of that moving van as it pulled off the lot and headed toward downtown.

"Furthermore, the Iraqi soldier was positively identified sitting in the passenger seat of the Ryder truck a few blocks north of the Murrah Building at 8:30 a.m., stepping out of that truck at ground zero directly in front of the ill-fated federal complex moments before the massive fertilizer/fuel oil bomb detonated, and speeding away from downtown in the driver's seat of a brown Chevrolet pickup pursued by the FBI in an official teletype that targeted foreign suspects seen fleeing the bomb site.

"Five witnesses independently fingered Al-Hussaini and several of his Middle Eastern associates as frequent visitors at an Oklahoma City motel in the months, weeks, days, and hours leading up to 9:02 a.m. on April 19. On numerous occasions the Arab subjects were seen in the company of Timothy McVeigh, and during a few rare instances, associating with Terry Nichols.

"More significantly, detailed interviews with key witnesses proved conclusively that the man whom witnesses named as the nefarious 'third terrorist' had no provable alibi for the critical hours of April 19.

"Colonel Patrick Lang, a Middle East expert who formerly served as the chief of human intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, determined that the Iraqi soldier's military tattoo and immigration file indicated that he was likely a trusted member of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard before being recruited into the elite Unit 999 of the Estikhabarat, more commonly known as the Iraqi Military Intelligence Service.

"Before the 2003 Iraq War, Unit 999 was headquartered in Salman Pak, southeast of Baghdad, and was tasked with clandestine operations at home and overseas. Several defense and intelligence analysts, with whom I consulted, concurred with Colonel Lang's conclusions.

"Soon after that fateful day in 1995, Al-Hussaini moved to Massachusetts and sought employment at the Boston Logan International Airport. In November 1997, four years before two planes were hijacked from that very airport on a deadly trek to incinerate the World Trade Center, the Iraqi national began suffering panic attacks about his airport job and sought psychiatric hospitalization. When his therapist asked why he was experiencing sudden and intense trepidation about working at Boston Logan, the patient replied, 'If something happens there, I will be a suspect.'

"I later learned that during this same time frame, Al-Hussaini was residing with two former Iraqi Gulf War veterans who provided food-catering services to the commercial airlines at the Boston airport. In the wake of the suicide hijackings of 2001, law enforcement speculated that food services workers might have planted box cutters aboard the doomed flights.

"Hussain Al-Hussaini's uncanny foreknowledge of a possible dire event slated to take place at Boston Logan Airport, the point of origin for Al-Qaeda's murderous rampage of 2001, just grazes the surface of the disturbing nexus I have uncovered between 4-19 and 9-11. Was the Oklahoma bombing the silver bullet that could have prevented Black Tuesday?

"To this day, the Justice Department has refused my requests to officially clear the Iraqi soldier whom multiple witnesses identified as the mysterious third terrorist who delivered the weapon of mass destruction to the intersection of 5th and Harvey Streets on that dreadful spring morning.

"My meticulous research into Hussain Al-Hussaini's whereabouts for the morning of April 19 roundly discredits his publicly espoused alibi. Why the FBI has never questioned Hussain Al-Hussaini or his Middle Eastern cohorts, I am at a loss to explain. That question should be posed to the former administration and the handful of officials who were charged with investigating and prosecuting the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building. "

At one time, Alhussaini would sue Davis and the station she worked for (KFOR) and filed a suit against them in state court for libel. However, "KFOR and Davis stood by their reports and countered with witnesses who contradicted Alhussaini's assertions, including the (handwritten) time sheet, which was labeled a fabrication. Alhussaini... withdrew the suit the day before a judge was scheduled to rule on KFOR's motion for summary judgment.... Alhussaini then refiled his libel suit in federal court. Once again attorneys for KFOR and Davis filed for a dismissal. On Nov. 17, 1999, U.S. District Judge Tim Leonard granted their motion. In his ruling, Leonard stated that all the facts in Davis' report were either true or statements of opinion, and did not libel the plaintiff." Link

The Padilla and Alhussaini theories are not the only one's out there. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols has alleged to have been involved with the Philippine jihadist organization Abu Sayyaf through his mail-order Philippino bride. The widow of Abu Sayyaf's co-founder, Edwin Angeles, who was named Elmina, was lingering on her deathbed. "Kenneth Timmerman of Insight had broached the existence of an audiotaped interview with Philippine authorities, given by the dying 27-year old widow of Edwin Angeles. Angeles' widow, Elmina, had repeated Angeles' contention that he had met with Nichols and (Ramsey) Yousef, but more revealingly, she was now contending - in the words of her deceased mate - that Yousef was acting on behalf of Saddam Hussein. In other words, Yousef - by this time definitively tagged as an al-Qaida operative - was doing double duty as an Iraqi agent. Elmina died within days of her interview, felled by liver disease." Link

All of this points to a scenario in which it is quite plausible to believe that the entire plot McVeigh and Nichols were tried for was just a bit too complicated for a couple of mere "home-grown" terrorists who went at it alone. The entire story may never be fully known or made public.

I find it absolutely amazing that there are those in the US and elsewhere who argue with complete clarity that they would like to hang this entire mass murder on alleged right-wing extremists if for no other reason than the particular explanation fits a certain template . Meanwhile, we still can't say for sure who killed John F. Kennedy yet and that was back in 1963, 47 long years ago.

AP guilty of bad journalism in Oakland abuse reporting, says Ignatius Press founder

I'm usually skeptical of anything that I read these days in which the source is any organization considered inside of the mainstream media. Only compounding my doubts about the accuracy and bias of these outlets is this most recent article from catholicnewsagency.com which relates the following inaccuracies and exagerrations raised by recent reporting in the previously discussed Kiesle case.
  1. "Associated Press article that claimed a 1985 letter showed then-Cardinal Ratzinger “stalled” the case of a pedophile priest in the Diocese of Oakland, Ignatius Press founder Fr. Joseph Fessio (above left) said that the letter was not meant to address punishing the priest for sexual abuse. Diocesan spokesman Mike Brown also told CNA that contrary to the AP report, the priest had “no priestly role in the diocese” after he was accused of sexual misconduct."

  2. "The AP then claimed that the case “languished” in the Vatican until Fr. Kiesle was “ultimately stripped of his priestly powers” in 1987. The Associated Press also reported that Fr. Kiesle served as a youth group minister in the diocese in the 1980s after being accused of sexual misconduct. "

  3. "The AP article implied that Fr. Kiesle “just wandered about the diocese or had priestly ministries or was still quite active,” after being accused of sex abuse, (Diocese of Oakland CA spokesman Mike) Brown said. However, “the answer,” he stressed, “is absolutely not.”

  4. "In 1979 shortly after his arrest and all of these charges,” Brown explained, Fr. Kiesle “was removed formally from active ministry in the diocese by (above right) Bishop Cummins. And from that period of November of 1979 forward, Kiesle served no priestly role in the diocese.” The implication, then, that Fr. Kiesle was “offending again and again during this hiatus before he was laicized is absolutely incorrect,” Brown insisted. "

  5. "Responding to the AP's charge that Fr. Kiesle served as a youth minister within the diocese in the 1980s, Brown explained that Kiesle “through a pastor sometime in the 80s, volunteered on his own in a parish youth ministry program without any diocesan sanction or approval.” Upon learning of Kiesle's actions, Bishop Cummins “had the parish pastor remove Kielse immediately,”.

  6. "Fr. Fessio took on additional inaccuracies in the AP story, stressing that the 1985 letter from Cardinal Ratzinger regarding the removal of Fr. Kiesle from the priesthood concerned the issue of dispensing him from his vows, not punishing him for sexual misconduct. "

  7. "Priests are priests forever,” he (Fr Fessio) added, “and a question of whether or not a priest should be dispensed from his vows is a question which is on a different level from a question of how do we punish someone for abusing children.” Fr. Fessio also stressed that at the time of the Oakland case, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), of which Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect, was not responsible for dealing with sex abuse cases. In fact, it was at Cardinal Ratzinger's consistent urging that the CDF took on sex abuse cases in 2001, so that they could be dealt with in a more timely and efficient manner."

  8. "The only reason that Cardinal Ratzinger even wrote that letter to Bishop Cummins in 1985, said Fr. Fessio, was because it involved the dispensation of the vow of celibacy. "

As it turns out, the Associated Press didnt even interview the diocese in question to let them present their side of the story. Why do that? After all, isnt the overall goal here to smear Chrsitianity and a traditionalist pope? Has anyone else noticed that the examples that the MSM are citing are from 30 years ago or longer?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Left Squashes Life's Little Pleasures

In case there was any doubt about the veracity of this segment's title, Larry Prager names a few examples in a recent article to help drive the point home. First, the latest outrage concerning a Burger King commercial.

"Burger King's ad was innocuous and innocent. It featured the company's royal mascot running through a building, knocking a person over and crashing through a glass window to deliver the new Burger King Steakhouse XT burger. Called "crazy" by those present, he was finally tackled by men in white coats. "The king's insane," the ad noted, for "offering so much beef for $3.99."

This has triggered a storm of criticism from activists (a term which, unless otherwise specified, means liberal or left).

Michael Fitzpatrick, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, called the ad "blatantly offensive ... I was stunned. Absolutely stunned and appalled," he said. David Shern, president and chief executive of Mental Health America in Alexandria, Va., echoed this assessment. And reporters from the Associated Press to the Washington Post all agreed."

The article goes on to point out that a father of a man with a mental disorder wrote to Prager stating that he saw nothing wrong with the ad. Other examples of the Left characteristically knocking the air out of anything deemed "fun" mentioned by Prager...

  • "Smoking: No one opposes educating the public about the dangers of cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking shortens the lives of up to a third of smokers, often in terrible ways, and that is what public health organizations should be saying. But the battle against smoking and tobacco has become a religious crusade for anti-smoking zealots, who are almost invariably on the Left. If the Left hated Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro as much as it hates "Big Tobacco," the world would be a better place.

    But because the Left hates the fact that people smoke (tobacco, not marijuana, which the Left defends) it uses totalitarian (I use that term with no exaggeration) tactics to eliminate it. Just as the Soviets removed Trotsky from old photos, anti-smoking zealots have forced the removal of cigarettes from old photos -- from photos of FDR, from the famous Beatles photo -- and from movies whenever possible. Torture and murder are ubiquitous in films, but smoking is all but banned -- even cigars are now banned from James Bond films.

  • Cars: For most Americans, the car is not only a source of much pleasure, it is also rightly identified with individual liberty. But here, too, to the extent the Left is able to, it will tell you what kind of car you can drive and, if possible, get you out of your car and into mass transit.

  • Kids Games such as Tag, Dodgeball, Soccer, Touch Football, Monkey Bars: Until a few years ago, just about every American boy, and many girls, played dodgeball. No more. This joy, too, has been eliminated from American life. "We consider it inappropriate to use children as human targets," said Mary Marks, physical education supervisor for Fairfax County, Va. And it may hurt the feelings of kids who are eliminated. For the same reason -- potential hurt feelings of those eliminated -- musical chairs is no longer played in some schools."

And on it goes. Why bother letting kids know that in life, there will be winners and losers and competition between their peers wil determine where they end up? Far better to shelter them and then throw them to the wolves when their school days have ended.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dawkins Is Losing It

"Anti-Catholicism is the anti-semitism of the intellectual" writes Pat Buchanan in a recent article in which he quotes the writer Peter Viereck. In light of all this, now self-appointed atheist spokesman Richard Dawkins (along with Christopher Hitchins) is ranting calling for the arrest of Pope Benedict the XVI when he arrives in Britian later this year on an official state visit..

"Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment."

First, a few points need to be made clear here...

#1. "According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse.

#2. According to a survey by the New York Times, 1.8 percent of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 have been accused of child sexual abuse.

#3. Thomas Kane, author of Priests are People Too, estimates that between 1 and 1.5 percent of priests have had charges made against them.

#4. Of contemporary priests, the Associated Press found that approximately two-thirds of 1 percent of priests have charges pending against them.

For comparison, let's examine incidence of such abusive behavior by Catholic priests with other professions...

Protestant clergy- Penn State professor Phillip Jenkins has determined that between 2 and 3% of Protestant clergy are pedophiles while his same study indicates that between .2 and 1.7% of Catholic priests are.

Teachers- Charol Shakeshaft (PhD) and Audrey Cohan in their study have determined that "up to 5 percent of teachers sexually abuse children."

Psychologists- Another position of trust. Studies indicate that "Between 3 and 12 percent of psychologists have had sexual contact with their clients. While today virtually every state considers sexual contact with a client as worthy of revoking a psychologist’s license, as recently as 1987 only 31 percent of state licensing boards considered sexual relations between a psychologist and his or her patient grounds for license revocation. What makes this statistic so interesting is that many bishops in the 1980s took the advice of psychologists in handling molesting priests." Link to above statistics

There is a tendency by people to react emotionally upon hearing of a report of abuse by a member of the clergy. An initial reaction as such is understandable for two reasons. First, there is the initial revulsion and reaction to a crime as heinous as pedophilia which in and of itself, can almost stifle conversation on the subject being that it is such an emotionally charged, horrible and almost unthinkable crime. Secondly, members of clergy are often held in high regard and afforded more trust than average persons. When that trust is betrayed, it is doublely devastating.

Abuse of this type is a societal problem, not anything that is particular to the church, rampant in the church, or something that the church is immune from. The Vatican has instituted a zero tolerance program over the last 10 years. Let's hope that it works and that Pope Benedict is successful in rooting out what he calls the "filth" that is in the church.

Pat Buchanan in his above cited article brings up the almost taboo-like possibility as to why there have been a couple of stories in the media recently concerning abuse within the Catholic church.

"the Times’ Richard Berke blurted to the Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association 10 years ago, often, “three-quarters of the people deciding what’s on the front page are not-so-closeted homosexuals.”

Is there perhaps a conflict of interest at The New York Times, when covering a traditionalist Catholic pope?"

It makes one wonder.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poland Thrown to the Wolves

In case you havent heard it yet, the following has happened in Eastern Europe...

"The crash of an aging Russian airliner ravaged the top levels of Poland's military, political and church elite Saturday, killing the Polish president and dozens of other dignitaries as they traveled to a ceremony commemorating a slaughter that has divided the two nations for seven decades.

Poles wept before their televisions, lowered flags to half-staff and taped black ribbons in their windows after hearing that President Lech Kaczynski and the upper echelons of the establishment lay dead in woods a short drive from the site of the Katyn forest massacre, where 22,000 Polish officers were killed by Soviet secret police in one of Poland's greatest national traumas. Thousands of people, many in tears, placed candles and flowers at the presidential palace in central Warsaw. Many called the crash Poland's worst disaster since World War II.

Twenty monks rang the Zygmunt bell at Krakow's Wawel Cathedral — the burial spot of Polish kings — a tolling reserved for times of profound importance or grief. Link

As for any of the Trees For Lunch faithful are requesting my opinion on the matter, my thoughts are as follows...

1. If you get a chance, please read James Michener's classic, Poland, available for purchase via the WWB. It will give you a greater understanding of the underlying principles of that part of the world.

2. Having grown up in an environment that was supportive of a free and independent Poland along with a liberated Baltic region and Ukraine, I am at first inquisitive of what happened with this particular airliner, and secondly, looking to dismiss any pre-concieved notions that I am currently thinking of. Namely...

A. That "Mother Russia" had ANYTHING to do with the crash of a RUSSIAN airplane at least gives me moment to pause. And ...

B. That this entire scenerio doesnt somehow benefit Russia.

Yes, I'm suspicious. No, it doesnt automatically mean that I am right. If I had to speculate on the future of Eastern Europe, then I would say that a "de-centralized" Eastern Europe, apart from Russia, would be a good thing. Too bad certain Russki's think otherwise. Link

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rep Bart Stupak, (D-MI), American, Sell-Out, Bitch

The influential (supposedly) pro-life democrat vote that President Soetoro Obama needed in order to pass his massive health care reform legislation, announced his retirement today after 9 terms. An emotional Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan said at his press conference today, that "I’ve accomplished what I want to do. Either I run again and I’d be there forever or it’s time for me to make the break; it’s time for me to move on”. Republicans however were quick to put their own spin on the abrupt retirement of one of the most heavily courted, pro-life democrats in the recent health care debate, saying...

“After selling his soul to Nancy Pelosi, it appears that Bart Stupak finally found the courage to tell her no," said Ken Spain, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "The political fallout over the Democrats’ government takeover of health care has put the political careers of many Democrats in jeopardy, thanks in part to Stupak’s decision to abandon his alleged pro-life principles."

Republicans believe that other anti-abortion Democrats, like freshman Reps. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) and Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), will also face serious trouble because of their support for the health care legislation without strict anti-abortion provisions." Link

Stupak only voted for the massive overhaul of the US health care system after receiving certain assurances from President Mugabe Obama. "Stupak announced that a presidential promise in the form of an executive order, stating public funds would not be used in abortions and that “conscientious objectors” such as Catholic healthcare institutions would not be forced to conduct abortions, had addressed his concerns." Link. However, "GOP Rep. Mike Pence blasted the executive order, calling Obama “the most pro-abortion American president in American history.” He pointed out one obvious shortcoming of an executive order: It can be rescinded at will by a future president, or even by President Obama himself if he later changes his mind."

Already, Planned Parenthood's executive president Cecile Richards is hailing the legislation as "a huge victory for women's health, but our work isn't over yet." Richards went on to say "'What the president’s executive order did not do is include the complete and total ban ... that Congressman Bart Stupak (D–MI) had insisted upon," Richards continued..."So while we regret that this proposed Executive Order has given the imprimatur of the president to Senator Nelson’s language, it is critically important to note that it does not include the Stupak abortion ban.". Richards also announced, "Thanks to supporters like you, we were able to keep the Stupak abortion ban out of the final legislation and President Obama did not include the Stupak language in his Executive Order". Link

It's only speculation on my part but I believe that Stupak is experiencing buyer's remorse in voting for the bill. While Stupak was able to secure $726,409 in grants for little used airports in his district two days prior to the vote, Red State's Dave Poff calculated that to 61 cents for each of baby to be aborted. Link

The bottom line people is that if you have principles, stick to them. In the long run, people will think better of you for it. It's been rumored that Obama had the votes even without Stupak's block of pro-life democrats, but why compromise your standards for a few measly bucks? What do you think people will remember about Bart Stupak 20 years from now? That he secured some airport grant money for his district? Or that he eventually caved and voted counter to his earlier claimed convictions? The smart money is on the latter.

Monday, April 5, 2010

On Obama and Infanticide

"Infanticide is a bracing word" says NRO's Andrew McCarthy who then adds, "But in this context, it’s the only word that fits." McCarthy makes this reference in an article entitled Why Obama Really Voted For Infanticide.

"There wasn’t any question about what was happening. The abortions were going wrong. The babies weren’t cooperating. They wouldn’t die as planned. Or, as Illinois state senator Barack Obama so touchingly put it, there was “movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead.”

No, Senator. They wouldn’t go along with the program. They wouldn’t just come out limp and dead. They were coming out alive. Born alive. Babies. Vulnerable human beings Obama, in his detached pomposity, might otherwise include among “the least of my brothers.” But of course, an abortion extremist can’t very well be invoking Saint Matthew, can he? So, for Obama, the shunning of these least of our brothers and sisters — millions of them — is somehow not among America’s greatest moral failings.

No. In Obama’s hardball, hard-Left world, these least become “that fetus, or child — however you want to describe it.”

Most of us, of course, opt for “child,” particularly when the “it” is born and living and breathing and in need of our help. Particularly when the “it” is clinging not to guns or religion but to life.
But not Barack Obama. As an Illinois state senator, he voted to permit infanticide."

Let there be no doubt whatsoever that Obama actually did vote "to permit infanticide". First, one can cite his vote in the Illinois senate (in committee) on March 6th, 2002 where he voted "no" on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. A month later, on April 4th, 2002 he would vote "no" again, this time on the senate floor in a roll call vote.

This is where it gets dicey. In August of 2002, the US Congress passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act "To protect infants who are born alive." It passed the US Senate on a vote of 98-0 and even such staunch pro-aborts as Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton voted in favor of it.

In 2003, the same (Illinois state) bill's language was slightly changed and in effect, was now identical to the federal one. As one can see in this link, Obama first voted to amend the bill, which altered the languge to make it the same as the federal one, and then voted "no" on passing it. (DPA on this form stands for "Do Pass Amended").

Obama has many times denied that the bills were the same, that is until August of 2008 when the New York Sun ran an article in which they stated....

"The dispute flared again last week when a leading opponent of legalized abortion, the National Right to Life Committee, posted records from the Illinois Legislature showing that Mr. Obama, while chairman of a Senate committee, in 2003, voted against a "Born Alive" bill that contained nearly identical language to the federal bill that passed unanimously, including the provision limiting its scope.

The group says the documents prove Mr. Obama misrepresented his record. Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position in the CBN interview on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported "was not the bill that was presented at the state level."

His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate..."

Another argument attempting to downplay Obama's voting record on the matter goes something like this. "Obama is a father of two young kids. Anybody like that couldnt support infanticide". I thought Erick Erickson's reply to this sort of reasoning in his article entitled Obama in His Own Words: There Is No Doubt He Supported Infanticide was quite interesting. "Margaret Sanger and Josef Mengele both had children too."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani?

I brought this up in another forum one time and since it's Good Friday, I thought I would revisit it. As Jesus hung upon the cross, he called out Elio eloi lama sabachthani! (in Aramaic) which translates to "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?". This was not a defeatist statement on the part of Jesus Christ, but rather the fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy from Psalms 22:1.

A.G. Fruchtenbaum's, Messianic Christology : A study of Old Testament prophecy concerning the first coming of the Messiah (1998) may be of interest: Messiah’s Cry for Help—22:1–2

These verses find Messiah crying out in deepest anguish. It is no accident that these are the very words that Jesus cried out while hanging on the cross. He quoted these words after a period of three hours of intense darkness. During those three hours the entire wrath of God, due to the sins of Israel and the world, was poured out upon Him. This is the one and only place in the Gospel accounts that Jesus addresses God as “my God.” On every other occasion, and there are over 170 references, Jesus says “Father” or “my Father.” It is made very clear that Jesus enjoyed a very special, unique relationship with God. On the cross, however, Jesus was dying for the sins of the world, and was experiencing a judicial relationship with God, not a paternal one; hence His cry of “my God, my God” instead of “my Father, my Father.”

Fruchtenbaum observes: Psalm 22 teaches that:

  • "In extreme agony, Messiah would cry out for God’s help.
    *Messiah would be a despised and rejected individual.
    *In the agony of death, Messiah would be stared at and mocked.
    *The Messiah’s bones would all be pulled out of joint.
    *The Messiah’s heart would rupture.
    *The Messiah would suffer an extreme degree of thirst.
    *Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced.
    *Messiah’s clothing would be divided by the casting of lots.
    *At the point of death, Messiah’s trust would be in God the Father.
    *Messiah would be resurrected."

Some Messianic prophecies that were fulfilled.

  • "•Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)
    •A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)
    •Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14)
    •Of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1)
    •Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
    •Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
    •Herod´s killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
    •Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17)
    •Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)
    •Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)
    •Would preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21)
    •Would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16) Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13)
    •Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11)
    •Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)
    •Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)
    •Die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:
    1.rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48)
    2.betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18)
    3.sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15)
    4.silence before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14)
    5.being mocked (Psalm 22: 7-8; Matthew 27:31)
    6.beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26)
    7.spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30)
    8.piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31)
    9.being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
    10.praying for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
    11.piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
    12.given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36)
    13.no broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36)
    14.buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
    15.casting lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
    •Would rise from the dead!! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
    •Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
    •Good link http://www.allabouttruth.org/messianic-prophecy.htm

Happy Easter to all! If you do only one thing this weekend, take 2 minutes of your time and check out this two minute video from William Lane Craig that touches upon the Easter theme and the reliability of the gospels in portraying it. You can post your thought on the video in the comments box. Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is!