Thursday, August 10, 2017

Four strikes around Guam: How would we react?

A fascinating chess match is underway.  North Korea says it is planning to fire four missiles to land around the perimeter of Guam, a major US military base in the western Pacific.

The mega players are:

North Korea/China

The United States/Japan/South Korea

Within the North Korea/China sphere we have…

Kim Jong-in, known variously as the crazy fat boy and China’s pit bull and his bevy of military generals and rocket scientists..

Xi Jinping, China’s President and Li Keqiang, China’s Premier (head of government).

Given the following facts, how would you expect China to react relative to North Korea:

“China is North Korea’s most important ally, biggest trading partner, and main source of food and energy. It has helped sustain Kim Jong-un’s regime, and has historically opposed harsh international sanctions on North Korea in the hope of avoiding regime collapse and a refugee influx across their 870-mile border.”

Article on China-North Korea Relationship by The Council on Foreign Relations

And we have the US/Japan/South Korea…

A US that arguably has not been more divided since the Civil War

US media using scare tactics reminding us that we have not been closer to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A dysfunctional US Congress opposed to the President in most things he attempts

Japan and South Korea who are likely suffering a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome in fear for their fate from the bullying military displays from North Korea’s “crazy man.”  The crazier he acts, the more effective his bluster and aggressive foreign policy is likely to be.

So back to China’s relationship with North Korea:

China and North Korea have a lot in common:  Most important allies, biggest trading partner, opposed to sanctions, 870-mile common border.  They are both in their own side of the world.   And the big unmentioned:  China would love to see a reunification of North and South Korea under the domination of the North.  China has much more in common with the North than the South.


Reported this evening:

BEIJING (Reuters) - If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea's government China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday.


Is there any question as to whose side China is on visa vie attempts of the US to impose effective as opposed to token sanctions?

This raises several important questions:

The first question is:  Will China be effective in preventing North Korea from its planned firing of rockets that encircle Guam?

The second question is:  Will China be effective in preventing North Korea from continuing with its development of nuclear weapons and the systems needed to deliver them across the Pacific?

My answer to the first question was going to be “yes” until I gave it further Image result for 4 strikes around guam mapthought as explained later, below.  Initial reaction:  “Yes” because it does not appear to be in China’s interest for North Korea to provoke the US with a display of rockets in this manner. 

My answer to the second question is “no.”  China has no interest in limiting North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.  Why should they?  China has nukes – over 260 warheads.  I would not be surprised if China assisted North Korea with that technology every bit as much as  any rogue nations such as Iran has done.

This next question is based on the assumption that China will NOT reign in their favorite ally – that North Korea will continue to fire off their display of rocketry:

What will the US do when North Korea sets off 4 missiles to land around the periphery of Guam?

Here are a few alternative scenarios should this occur…

  1. We shoot down the missiles.
  2. We allow them to land (we don’t suspect they are armed)
  3. We attempt to impose greater sanctions on North Korea
  4. We attempt to squeeze China in some fashion, e.g. tariffs on Chinese imports.
  5. We bomb the crap out of North Korea.
  6. We bluster/threaten more, but without any substantive action

Given the nature of Trump to bluster, ridicule, and threaten as part of his “Art of the Deal” negotiation tactics, given the nature of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to oppose most things Trump proposes, and given the distaste for and likely opposition to any military action that might upset American’s comfort zone, I place a bet on #6.:  Bluster and no substantive action.  Our action relative to North Korea will be very similar to the “horrible” agreement we made with Iran concerning its nuclear program.  There was a lot of bluster about how terrible it was and that one of the first things we would do after being elected is to tear it up.

Has that happened?  Will it happen?  No and no.

Our nation is on the downhill side of the apex of not offending anyone – socially, politically, militarily.  We didn’t do much with Iran’s program.  We will do even less concerning North Korea. We have indeed become a nation of snowflakes.  Any sanction we impose on North Korea will be token.  Any embargo we place on Chinese goods will be token.  Any military action we pursue will be minimal and token.  And finally, what significant action did we take when China built and militarized islands in the midst of international sea lanes?  It didn’t happen over night.  They were years in progress.  We have essentially done nothing.

Knowing that the above is the likely reality, China will have no interest in reigning in North Korea with regard to either their missile launches or their nuclear program.  They know the US has no effective leadership and no heart for engaging in a manner that would likely upset our addict-like comfort zone.

Those who rationalize “why shouldn’t North Korea have their nukes?  So what if they use them as a threat for South Korea to capitulate to them?” will prevail.

The US will go on, happy, but no wiser.  One more war fought in vain.

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BONUS:   Click link below…

Pentagon Unveils Plan For "Pre-Emptive Strike" On North Korea

But will we do it?  I seriously doubt we will.  Note the comments section that follows the article.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Is trusting in Christ a “selfish” act?

I have heard some folks declare a moral dilemma between not being “selfish” and what they have been taught is the “selfish desire” to save themselves from hell by trusting Jesus.  Both of these moral values are understood as the teachings of the Christian Church, rightly or wrongly.  They perceive that it is a selfish act to declare their faith and trust in Christ as a means for a reward in heaven or to avoid eternal damnation in hell.

What they may be asking is “how can I possibly express my faith and trust in Christ without seeming to do it for selfish, self-serving reasons?”

I agree that such motivation to cause or force ourselves to “believe” for these reasons IS selfish.  For me, it is also not a very inspiring reason to believe.  It is self-serving. 

The promise of “reward” or threat of “punishment” for believing or not believing misses the mark of God’s intention.  In Islam, such threats are both coercive and temporal.  They literally force conversions upon people by threatening severe punishment.  In the message and methods of many Christian evangelicals the threats and promises are spiritual and eternal.  In both cases, the motivation to “believe” is self-serving and not as God intended.

Here is one way to look at it.  Do you love a spouse to avoid punishment?  Wouldn’t THAT be a horrible relationship.  Do you love a spouse to get a reward?  Sometimes.  Hopefully that is only a subsidiary “perk.”  Are either of these the best motivation for love? Not really.  These are selfish and self-serving reasons. 

On the other hand, are you able to selflessly love a spouse because of their character, goodness, beauty and their love and care for you – without feeling selfish?

Another example:  Think of your favorite singer.  You think the world of him or her.  You respect them for their talent and dedication to be as great as they are.  You get a chance to meet them in person, not to satisfy your own passion, but to convey a message of praise and encouragement to them – telling them how they make you feel when you hear them sing and how much you appreciate their music.  Was that selfish on your part?  I didn’t think so.

Ok, shifting gears.  We have a God we say we believe exists.  He created everything.  He created beauty, music, life.  He did us favors along the way through his angels or Holy Spirit.  He had a son, Jesus, who is part of God’s being, who asks us to trust Him for eternal life in a paradise with Him.

Here we have a choice of motivation.  We can trust Him for selfish reasons to get us out of a major jam and get a reward in the bargain.  Or we can trust Him because of his character, goodness, beauty, and His love and care for us, unselfishly because of our appreciation and admiration of Him.

Which way do you think He would have it?

Like selfishness, jealousy is not a good thing either.  Unless you are God.  He is a jealous God.  This means that He wants us trusting in Him more than anyone or anything else.  We are not selfish when we do that.  We are His creation.  We love Him because He first loved us.

________________________

Here is an article I found on the internet on the same topic that may be helpful…


The Selfishness of Salvation

By Frank Fredericks

GETTY IMAGES


This is a rant mostly relevant to my fellow Christians. Anyone else is welcome to come along for the ride though.

Recently, I saw a young man loudly shouting to the captive audience during the rush hour on the N train. Specifically, he was passionately pontificating on the certain damnation that awaited those who strayed from the Way of the one Jesus Christ, complete with the vivid imagery of fire and brimstone. But the reward if we choose wisely is an eternity with riches in heaven. Accustomed to any and all forms of absurdity, the mix of tired businessmen and women, several young Latina mothers an Orthodox Jewish man and an old Chinese woman with a pushcart of the wares she was vending, seemed rather unimpressed. After all, if you ride the subway in Queens, you’ve probably seen it all.

That’s when it struck me. I was quite familiar with the story, as I myself am an evangelical Christian, and remembering being sent to the streets of Portland in middle school to evangelize, complete with a small paper track that described the four-step path to salvation. Granted, our approach was much kinder than the hell and damnation talk we were witnessing this late spring afternoon, when the newly arrived humidity finds itself into the bowels of the city, and into the train cars struggling to air-condition the smell away.

But I was also struck with another thought, a new, perplexing, troubling, thought. Something about the reward of salvation made the whole thing feel a bit self-centered. Salvation was at the center of all Christian theology I was taught. The single most important thing in life was my status as “saved.” The only other thing that mattered was convincing more people to adopt said “saved” status.

While I still identify as an evangelical, my tendency to question has allowed me to grow theologically beyond some of the more common peripheral beliefs of the evangelical movement. It has given the opportunity to hear this language with fresh ears. Upon doing so, salvation-focused theology poses two issues to me.

The first issue dived into the very basis of our morality. As Christians we’re called to live a moral life. Without going into the much larger (and warranted) debate on the nature or morality, morality is most commonly seen as the way one should act to be a good, selfless person. Putting ethical standards above our own wants and needs. However, are we truly selfless in our actions if we are seeking a reward? If I help someone with no desire for a return, then we would assume that’s moral. But if I help someone because I believe next year they’ll give back to be tenfold? It sounds like an investment.

Here lies the challenge of spiritual investment: If we are are only being honest, faithful, loyal and humble for the payment of an eternal mansion in the sky, then are we really being “good people”? If we allow salvation to be our true motive in living moral lives, then I can’t see how we’re not self-serving in the process. Do good, or else.

Which brings me to the second issue, the else. Just as heaven makes a compelling incentive for upright living, hell sure sounds like a scary place. And we can work our way backwards. If my main reason for serving God and living righteously is out of fear of eternal damnation, then how authentic is my devotion?

This is a line of logic that you can take into very murky territory. Is there any good you could do worth risking of your salvation? Today, like everyday, 16,000 children will die of hunger-related causes. Would you risk your salvation to keep them alive? If God would punish you for taking such a risk, is a God worthy of worship? Would you embrace eternal damnation upon yourself to end all human suffering? These hypotheticals should challenge us to ask if we’re really selfless in our daily lives, or just following the rules for the rewards.

This isn’t an argument about how we should look at the concepts of heaven and hell. It’s about motivation. If we let go of whether or not we are saved, or other people are saved, and love as Jesus instructed, perhaps the rest can work itself out. Maybe if we focused on making sacrifice, actual sacrifice from our own comfort for the glory of God in selfless service, rather than shouting at crowd of commuters on the N train, people may actually take notice.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Journalism equals Opinionism

Sometimes the simplest definitions of things are the most accurate.

For several decades I thought of Journalism as the high art and skill set of conveying accurate information, synonymous with “reporting.”  That gave journalists waaaay to much credit.  And was I wrong.

What is journalism, really?  It is keeping a journal.  What is a “journal” but simply a written record of how a person sees and experiences things over time.

Every person who keeps a journal jots down his observations based on their own feelings, opinions and biases.  Journalism is the most basic form of communication, but with a twist.  The “twist” is the filter the journalist imposes on his journal entries.

Where are the vast majority of journalists educated?  Public schools and leftist universities.  Is there any wonder or doubt why the journalists views are slanted leftward?  They are, for the most part, parrots.  They impose the bird seed of socialism on their observations and parrot back the bird poop of life as they see it. 

NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, AP, Yahoo News and a thousand other news outlets are full of leftist parrot poop journalists.

Reporting is a bit different.  Hopefully the reporter is trained to eliminate his filter and simply report facts.  Facts not as he “sees” them (read: facts not as he filters them) but objective facts, devoid of all bias.  That has become increasingly difficult even for non-journalist, trained reporters.  And it is the rare news outlet that makes a clear cut distinction between journalist articles and pure reported articles.

One day I would like to see a news source that 1)  Prints the facts, and 2) Offers 3 perspectives of those facts.  One from the leftist perspective, one from the right, and one middle of the road.  Each perspective would be accompanied by the reasons why they take their approach – how and who it benefits or hurts.

Of course, “which facts” are chosen to be reported can show bias as well.  The MSM have clearly shown their bias by choosing to report “the facts” of the stories that suit their ideological interests best.  The carefully selected story may be factual, but may be of a non-story chosen to slander.  The Russia-related slander is the current example.

Most news sources report that “the far right” did such and such.  Of course it’s far right because it was reported by someone on “the far left.”  Two millimeters to the right seems “far right” to far leftists.

When we read the work of journalists, we need to read their bio first to understand their filter.  When we read the work of reporters, we need to understand the editorial policy the their employer.

Don’t be swayed by someone else’s biased filter.  Use your own filter to understand the difference between filtered (biased) reality and facts.

By the way, the journalism on this blog is middle of the road.  Most everyone else is far far far left.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Challenges of Witnessing to Muslims

What Christian evangelists won’t tell you…

There are numerous Christian-based articles and books written about witnessing to Muslims. Most treat Islam as if it is just another erroneous version of Christianity, like they would treat Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, or Christian Science. Big mistake.

Many evangelists stress the commonalities of Islam and Christianity as if they believe the same god, the same “Jesus”, the same Abraham and the same Old Testament. Another big mistake. Many focus on the love and forgiveness inherent in Christian doctrine. Many propose a form of “friendship evangelism” where the objective is to “friendship” the Muslim into liking and trusting you. “Give your personal testimony” and surprise and engage them into something they’ve never experienced before. Stress “forgiveness” because there is none in Islam.

Some of these suggestions may be helpful, some are totally off base. All of them are subject to the uniqueness of Islam that makes such witness especially challenging, maybe treacherous compared to witnessing to any other group of people.


Here is a list of challenges that are unique to witnessing to Muslims:Image result for frog and the scorpion

Islam is a total way of life. It is spiritual, social, cultural, legal, economic, political, and militant. Muslim morality and sense of justice is different. So the Christian witness needs to understand the nature and degree of the Muslim’s adherence to each of these components of their heritage and faith. Some Muslims may believe and practice the whole package. Others maybe bits and pieces. But how can we know for sure?

Most Muslims were taught distorted history about the Crusades and hate Christians because of them. They ignore the facts of Christians enduring 400 years of Muslim persecution and conquest across most of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa even before the First Crusade. The Crusades were the delayed Christian response of “enough is enough.”  The Crusades were the last resort to the existential threat of Islamic conquest and dominance.

Islam also distorts Biblical history. Is Islam really an Abrahamic religion? No! Not when Ishmael is their father. Not when Islam believes the Bible is full of distortions. More on that HERE.

Islam teaches “taqiyya”, deception to misdirect the unbeliever and protect the Muslim. This requires the Christian witness to be wary of what the Muslim claims to believe. He may express things that cause us to believe he is a “nominal” Muslim in the same way we understand a “nominal Christian” who only goes to church on Easter and Christmas. Is said Muslim truly “nominal”, or is he a bit more devout and practicing Islam’s very effective “taqiyya.” Many if not most Muslim terrorists in this country were first known to be the “nice Muslim next door” or a “moderate” or “nominal” Muslim.

Islamic doctrine promotes the concept of being friends with the infidel outwardly, but inwardly keeping a distance from them.

Here are just three of numerous sections of the Qur’an about infidels as “friends.”

Quran (5:51) - "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

Quran (5:80) - "You will see many of them befriending those who disbelieve; certainly evil is that which their souls have sent before for them, that Allah became displeased with them and in chastisement shall they abide." Those Muslims who befriend unbelievers will abide in hell.

Quran (3:28) - "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them..." This last part means that the Muslim is allowed to feign friendship if it is of benefit. Renowned scholar Ibn Kathir states that "believers are allowed to show friendship outwardly, but never inwardly."

HERE are more quotes from the Religion of Peace website on this topic.

Understand that Islam is like no other “religion” in that it is the ONLY one that doctrinally imposes its precepts and mandates on those of other religions and those of no religion. This characteristic is more akin to a political ideology that imposes its laws and mandates on those who are not of that political persuasion. Islamic law, Sharia, imposes severe, often barbaric, penalties and punishments upon both Muslims and non-Muslims who violate Islamic law.

Understand that many Muslims may know more about our Christianity than we do. And certainly know more about their own doctrines than we do. So we may find ourselves at a distinct disadvantage when we attempt to use facts and reason with a Muslim.

Speaking of facts and reason, Islamic culture and doctrine is dualistic. That means that they are able to believe two opposing, incongruent ideas are true at the same time, as in something can be both black and white at the same time. No, not gray, not striped, not polka dotted, but both black and white. Try reasoning with THAT mentality.

What helps that dualistic thinking is the culture of inbreeding common in predominantly Muslim nations. Muhammad did it. And Muhammad is the most perfect human – as Islam teaches. So it is normal and natural, even desirable for Muslims to marry first cousins and other close relatives. Guess what that does to the gene pool? Guess what that does to human intelligence. Guess what that does to reasoning abilities. Any wonder why Muslim protesters often appear to be psychotic?

Finally, if a Muslim claims the label “Muslim”, whether he or she is devout or not, they believe in some or all aspects of their faith. Only when we know a Muslim really well will we be able to discern their words from their beliefs. And “knowing a Muslim well” to the extent needed to be adequately discerning will be quite the challenge given the Islamic doctrines they may or may not embrace.

So, what to do? Yes, we should witness to Muslims when the opportunity arises. But prudence should direct us to treat such opportunities with caution. Some Christians who give advice will say “give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove themselves otherwise.”

The much more prudent advice would be “witness with caution and discernment. Be wary of their words; consider them to be devout Muslims until they prove themselves otherwise.” As long as they continue to call themselves “Muslim” you know that they believe some aspects of Islam that may cause them to lie, be deceptive or even be dangerous. When a Muslim disassociates himself from being called “Muslim”, then there may be a bit more room for meaningful dialogue.

Allow for the distinct possibility of endless debate – they may be trying to convert YOU. Remember the wisdom in Matthew 10:14: “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”

A fact to note: There was no “Islam” in the days of the Apostles, so there is little equivalent to devout Muslims as examples in Acts or any other part of Scripture.  However, there is a situation in the New Testament that comes close to the conversion of a known anti-Christian terrorist and that is the story of Saul.  How was he converted?  What formula, method or words did a well-trained apostle, disciple, deacon or evangelist use?  It was by none of these.  His conversion was through the direct intervention of Jesus Christ.

The problem today is there is not just one “Saul.”  There are potentially 1.4 BILLION.  We need to pray that similar interventions occur 1.4 billion times.

Should Muslims be a priority for our witnessing?  Actually,next to Christ,  former Muslims make the best witnesses.  For those who are so led, HERE are tips from former Muslims that may help you reach Muslims for Christ.

It is almost certain there are people who would be more receptive to and appreciative of God’s message. The chosen of Israel for one. At least they have at some level embraced the Old Testament – not the perverted version taught by Islam. Most Jews just haven’t gotten around to seriously considering the numerous Old Testament prophesies that clearly point to the first coming of Messiah at 0 AD.

There are also numerous “Christians in name only” running around this country. Many of these even attend Church, especially the liberal ones where they have learned to doubt the Deity of Christ and His forgiveness of or even the reality of sin. These may be more receptive to God’s pleas than the average Muslim.

The unchurched 20 to 30-somethings will certainly learn things they never heard.  And the elderly who are closer to an eternity with or without God, may be welcoming.

_____________________

Christian leaders, on the whole, have shown a dismal ignorance of the threat Islam poses to our nation, our freedoms and our lives. Many are no better than our newly appointed Director of Homeland Security John Kelly. In response to 30,000 jihad attacks committed in the name of Islam and in accord with its teachings since September 11, 2001, he suggested Christian and Jewish beliefs are also causing terrorism. No, John, there is no moral equivalence.

Final thoughts about witnessing to Muslims: Trust the Holy Spirit more than your abilities or the potential deceptions of Muslims. Use your time wisely. Others (than Muslims) are likely to be more genuinely receptive. Avoid throwing pearls before swine. And be careful not to mention swine.

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Here are two “bonus” tidbits that help us understand the current problem:Image result for aussie shot by muslim cop

1.  The Somali Muslim cop who “inexplicably” shot an unarmed woman in Minneapolis HERE.

2.  The failed attempt of an Arizona Congressman to adopt legislation that would bring attention to the numerous Islamic doctrines that promote violence and terror against less devout Muslims and non-Muslims, aka “infidels”,  HERE.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Education, healthcare: What else will we hand over to the Federal Government?

We well understand the Constitutional responsibilities that are given to the Federal government.  National defense, and entering into treaties with other nations come to mind.

Over the last century several other functions that had been under the purview of responsible families, the Church, local governments, and even the states have been assumed by the Federal government. 

Education, transportation, environment, energy, health are among the extra-Constitutional Federal responsibilities.   

Here is when several of these Federal departments were created:

  • Education:   1979
  • Transportation:  1966
  • Energy:  1977
  • Health and Human Services:  1953

I was going to write that the Federal government “usurped” these formerly local responsibilities.  But the reality is these transfers were voluntarily handed over by an increasingly passive, unengaged, and often indifferent local and state electorate. 

Over the past several decades we have seen an attitude shift among citizen activists from “personal and local responsibility” to “collective Federal responsibility.”  Now virtually everything seems to be the responsibility of the Federal government.  Banking, jobs, health care, education, the cars we drive, the air we breath, the food we eat.

The problem with this is the more responsibility we give up to more distant levels of government, the more regulations, higher taxes and fewer freedoms we will locally enjoy.

What’s next in this potpourri of responsibilities individuals and local governments hand up to our bloated bureaucratic Federal government?  And I don’t mean to use “bureaucratic” in a demeaning way.  That is just the nature of a government that must impersonally rule over millions of increasing diverse and in-united people with diverse heritage, nationalities, interests and values.

So now comes Federally legislated, regulated, controlled and mandated health insurance.  Obama, the national traitor, and his socialist minions so decreed it eight years ago.

Lets step back 38 years to the creation of the Department of Education.  What has that 38 years of multi-million, now multi-billion dollar budgets gotten us with regard to the quality of education?  $5.4 billion and over 4,40 employees in 2012, to be more exact.  And this doesn’t include the untold billions collected by local school districts for “free” public education.  It’s gotten our students a continually lower quality of education  since the formation of that Department – dismal to non-existent education in most large cities, with Common Core being the rotten cherry on top.

So now that we’ve experienced the results of the Federally controlled education fiasco, what do you think the Federally controlled health care fiasco would look like in 38 years?  We experienced what happened in the last 6 years of Obama-care.  More people are insured with premiums and copays they could not afford with care being even less accessible to more people.  No wonder it has been called the Unaffordable Care Act!

So I have asked myself this question:  Why is Trump, why are the great majority of Republicans even entertaining the concept of Obamacare 2.0?  Why are they even considering massive Federal involvement in health care?  Why can’t they leave it alone?   Why can’t they let the States, and doctors and hospitals, and insurance companies work it out? 

The answer, again, is this is what the electorate demands, in all its apathetic “let someone else be responsible” fervor.

Up till now we’ve earned the reputation of the nation with the greatest health care system in the world.  Why muck it up with Federal bureaucracy?  Why repeal and replace?  Just because it sounds catchy?  Why not just REPEAL?  You see what happened to education.  The same is virtually assured with our health system under a massive and assuredly unmanageable Federal program.

Sadly, I believe Federalization of our health care system is virtually assured.  I admit it.  I am a pessimist.

So now I look beyond Federal health insurance. 

Food:  We’ve had food stamps.  Now we have EBT cards.  It is also assured that in the not too distant future, food will become free for the masses, paid via federal taxes through a massive, inefficient and corrupt Federal program.

Income:  We’ve already heard some of the more “progressive” (read “Communist-inspired”) legislators suggest we are all mean-spirited if we don’t enable the Federal government to provide a guaranteed income to EVERYONE:  Employed, unemployed, motivated and slovenly, productive and unproductive alike.

This will all come on TOP of new laws following Europe's lead that prohibit us from writing or speaking the TRUTH if it offends ANYONE.  Anyone claiming he is offended from something someone says, such as saying “Muhammad was a pervert”, even if true, may file charges that will subject said offender to fines and or imprisonment.   So-called “hate speech” laws are proliferating in Europe out of all proportion to their original intent to curb anti-Semitism that peaked in the ‘40’s. 

From Jihad Watch:

In Britain last week, a hamburger vendor named Jim Gardiner refused to serve a customer, Piers Palmer, after Palmer disagreed with Gardiner’s Islamocritical views. That was a bit rude, but then Palmer reported Gardiner to the police for “hate speech.” Gardiner went to court, and was fined.

And the worst of it is that such laws will be applied unevenly depending on the favored group of the moment.  Right now, Christians get the short end of the stick, while urban rioters, Muslims, and gays receive special privileges.  They are the current “in” groups.

There is no end in sight as to the personal responsibilities we are freely giving over to the Federal government.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What’s worse than a Muslim terror attack?

As bad, as evil, as abhorrent, brutal and senseless as Muslim terror attacks are, there are several things that are worse, believe it or not.

What could possibly be worse?

Here are a few things that are worse than a terror attack by a Muslim motivated by Islamic doctrine in the manner practiced and encouraged by Muhammad and egged on by todays’ Islamic leadership:

1)  Claims that terror by Muslims is not Islamic: 

Media and others claiming that such attacks are not Islamic is abhorrent because it enables even more attacks by deflecting from the root cause.  There are many dozens of passages from Islamic texts that promote such acts.  Muslim doctrine encourages it and has for 1,400 years.  This is nothing new for Islam.

2) Claims that only a tiny minority of Muslims support violent jihad

When “experts” suggest it is a tiny minority of Muslims who practice “radical Islam” check your “crap detector.”  There is no “radical Islam.”  It is Islam.  Islam is radical.  There is no “non-radical” Islam.  Jihadists my be “devout” practitioners of Islam.  They may be practicing the “orthodox” or “fundamentalist” version of Islam.  But know this:  They are practicing Islam in the manner that Muhammad, whom they consider the most perfect human being, practiced and promoted Islam.  So whether you believe that a “mere” 5% of the 1.6 billion Muslim are devout enough to wage jihad, or some larger percentage, it is not a tiny minority.  And be aware that a significant portion of the other 80 or 95% of Muslims who are not currently observed as being violent terrorists likely support the 5 or 20% in some fashion:  politically, legally, financially, socially, or logistically – passively or actively.  That is why Muslim criticism of such attacks is so tepid and defensive.

3) Cries of concern of “backlash” or “Islamophobia” after an Islam-inspired attack:

When politicians and newscasters express as much or more concern about “Islamophobia” or anti-Muslim “backlash” than about the actual terror attack, a sanity check is required.  For some strange reason, such backlash seldom occurs.  Such concern panders to the Muslim attackers and promotes Dhimmitude among non-Muslims.  In fact outrage is way overdue.  Action to stem the teaching of Islamic hateful and violent doctrine that permeates that ideology is long overdue.  Backlash:  While it’s been non-existent, it, too, is way overdue.  The “backlash” needs to be undertaken by the media, the politicians, our government, our educational institutions and police and intelligence agencies and our military.

4) Media reliance on opinions of like-minded Muslims after a Muslim commits mayhem:

When the media interviews Muslim organizations like CAIR, neighbors, friends, mosque leaders of the jihadi be prepared to hear their taqiyya-inspired lies.   See something – say nothing.  That’s what Muslims do.  They lie.  They practice their well-honed skill set of deception and deflect any blame from Islam, Muslims, their mosque, neighbors or relatives.  It’s all a great deception and the media buys  into it and give it undue credibility.

5)  Claims that it was just a random act by an angry or crazy person:

When law enforcement claims that the jihadi was a lone wolf and was just angry or upset or crazy, understand that political correctness and avoiding offending Muslims is a higher priority than public safety and truth.  Or this:  “We have no idea what motivated him to do that” when the terrorist says Allahu Akbar, affirms he was Muslim, has ties to a local mosque, and carried out his attack to honor Allah.  That declaration of ignorance of the Muslim motive is political correctness in the extreme.

6) Claims that various types of non-Muslim actions provoked the attack:

Apologists for Islam often blame the infidel for provoking their violent jihadi behavior.  Muslims will say “We do what we do because you insulted Allah”.  Or “because you meddle in the Middle East.”  These are excuses to justify carrying out their 1,400 year mandate of hate of the infidel and Muhammad’s example to terrorize and conquer non-Islamic lands.

7)  Claims the attack was a “false flag”:

Conspiracy theorist claims that a terror attack by a Muslim in the name of Allah was a “false flag” or “inside job” for some “global world order” ignores reality.  The true source and motivation of the terror is ignored and makes it more difficult to confront the cause effectively.  This, like all the above misdirects, shows an unhelpful ignorance of Islam, its history, doctrine and present day motivation and objectives.

8) Claims that “Islam is a Religion of Peace”:

This is the mother lode of all disingenuous statements made in defense of Islam.  “Islam is a religion of peace” is a PR pitch to confuse the infidel and delay understanding of what is really going on.  And it works.  Such claims could not be further from reality - enough to make any sane man crazy.

*****

Why are each of the above common responses to a Muslim jihad attack worse than an actual attack?  Because they invite many more attacks of the same nature or worse.  They show our ignorance of Islam, its history and its doctrine.  They exhibit our lack of resolve to counter the vile and violent ideology that fosters this uncivilized, barbaric behavior.

Each one of these responses to jihad attacks need to be considered as an attack on reason and truth and as detrimental to overcoming the violent nature of Islam as the attacks themselves.  They each invite more attacks and increased boldness of Islam-inspired terror.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Observations of a conservative pastor’s view of immigration in the US…

Dr. David Jeremiah, the lead pastor of a mega-church near San Diego, CA,  published a book titled “Is This the End – Signs of God’s Providence in a Disturbing New World”.

My observations for the purpose of this blog are focused on Chapter 2 of this book on the topic of immigration.

To Dr. Jeremiah’s credit, he revealed his mission and biases.  His mission is to represent the Christian Church, and more specifically, the teachings of the Bible.  His biases include the promotion of his many ministries to immigrants, both legal and illegal, in the greater San Diego area.  Some might call his teachings concerning immigration based either on a conflict of interest or well-informed because of these ministries.

Nonetheless, he strives to give a balanced view of the current pros and cons of immigration in the US, both from a practical economic and social perspective as well as from a Biblical perspective.  Whether he succeeds with that “balance” greatly depends on two things:  1)  The experiences, knowledge and perspective of the reader concerning immigration and immigrants; and 2)  The portions of Scripture and Christian doctrine one wishes to emphasize or minimize.

For example, he suggests “openness to outsiders” as a great Christian quality which indeed it is.  But he fails to distinguish this quality applied to national immigration policy as distinct from personal relationships. It is one thing for an individual Christian be open and kind to everyone he meets.  It is quite another thing for our national government to roll out the red carpet and accommodate anyone who crosses our borders.

There are a couple of trite examples he used as advantages of immigration:  One was our love of Mexican and Italian food.  This is a great hook for those who think with their stomachs instead of the brain or heart.

Another was of an immigrant (he didn’t say “legal” or “illegal” because that distinction does not matter to him as he stated) in his church who worshipped the Lord enthusiastically, who gave his whole “body, soul, and spirit” in his worship.  Well, many Muslims do the same thing, even to the point of their suicide bombings – Christians don’t match THAT level of enthusiasm.  So I didn't quite understand the relevance of that example to the current topic.

Dr. Jeremiah did lay out his presentation in a good, logical order, discussing both the benefits and the problems of immigration.

Regarding the problems, he thoughtfully considered the problems of both legal and illegal immigration -  all standard stuff most of us understand.

One of the problems he noted for both legal and illegal immigration was the failure of various groups to assimilate.  At the same time, in giving an example of the great numbers of immigrants he ministers to he pointed out that all the street signs in a number of neighborhoods in the region of his church are in Arabic.  Assimilation, anyone?  Apparently not.  That is the fault of government being hell-bent on accommodation rather than assimilation.

The meat of the subject was titled “The Past of Immigration” based on verses he selected from Bible texts.

There were two primary focus points:

1)  From Genesis 11, he pointed out that it is God’s will that there not be a one-world government with everyone communicating in one language to effectively compete with God.  He reminded us that God dispersed the people, confused their ability to effectively communicate, and created numerous nations complete with borders to defend.  From that, the essence is God is not a Globalist; God set the boundaries of every nation.  We need to maintain these boundaries because they are of God.

2) We, as Christians, must assist the “strangers” and the “sojourners.”  But he does explain, “not unconditionally.”  Strangers and sojourners have a responsibility to obey the culture and laws of the land.  They should not believe they have a right to cling to the old laws, beliefs and customs of their homeland, its religion or political ideology.

This is all good stuff up to this point.Image result for Ignoring biblical authority

Two significant points are mostly ignored:

1)  Which portions of Scripture are interpreted in a manner that give one portion precedence over another in the context of the national/political/religious environment of the day?  Does the personal one on one example of Jesus befriending the harlot supersede Paul’s admonition to obey the laws of the land?  These are two entirely different circumstances:  one personal, the other political/national. 

2)  This brings up the bigger problem concerning immigration:  The role of government compared to the role of the individual Christian.  The individual Christian can and should maintain the Biblical standard of how we treat immigrants, legal and illegal.  But we have to ask:  Is the Biblical standard the same for both the legal and illegal immigrant?  The Bible DOES make the distinction if we don’t ignore Romans and other sections.

Here are two significant Biblical concepts that were not mentioned:

  • Immigration of foreigners was used as a curse or punishment upon Israel. II Chronicles 36 describes the use of foreigners to exact judgment upon a disobedient Israel.
  • The rising status of immigrants to a superior status was a curse upon Israel according to Deuteronomy 28: 43-44; 43 The foreign resident among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink lower and lower. 44 He will lend to you, but you won't lend to him. He will be the head, and you will be the tail.

Is it possible the same is happening in the US?  I and many others think so.  This is what happens when we jettison and ignore our religion and values.

Dr. Jeremiah chooses to ignore Romans in agreeing with Samuel Rodriguez that “a human being cannot be illegal.”  Really?

His justification?  The possibility of conversion of an (illegal) immigrant to Christianity.  The hope of conversion justifies the the continuing offense by the illegal immigrant.  But without repentance how can there be conversion?  This smacks of Democrats desiring to ignore our immigration laws so there can be more Democrat voters keeping them in power.

What about all the hundreds of sermons we’ve heard that talk about repentance – turning away from sin turning away from lawbreaking?  Are those of us who point out the importance of obeying laws guilty of being a “Pharisee?” (Accuse a cop of being a Pharisee the next time you’re pulled over.)   Becoming a Christian does not eliminate the fact he continue to violate our laws.  Are we to ignore the lack of repentance of the illegal immigrant who chooses to remain “illegal?”  Dr. Jeremiah believes there is no such thing as an “illegal” human.  Are we to ignore the Biblical concept of repentance?  How can an ongoing transgression be ignored?  Or are we to ignore the Biblical principle of obeying the laws of the land.  Apparently Dr. Jeremiah has.

And finally concerning the role of government, our nation has become so diverse, so tolerant of everything (except Christianity) that it is not possible anymore to have a Biblical standard applied to government policy, even if there was a “meeting of the minds” of the correct Biblical interpretation.  We might continue to blow in the wind and pretend to influence government policy.  But it all boils down to what we do have control over:  How we treat individuals we meet, and the standards we apply in condoning or admonishing their behavior. Image result for Ignoring biblical authority

Modern Church doctrine appears to be progressing toward ignoring all sin, whether sexual behavior or breaking the laws of the land.  It is now in vogue to ignore violations of God’s word.  Tolerate everything.  The mainline churches already accept, condone, and defend same sex marriage and gay clergy.  Scratch that rather large chunk of orthodox Biblical doctrine.  Now Dr. Jeremiah wishes to erase a chunk of Paul’s teaching.  Sweet.  One begins to wonder what’s next – Jesus didn’t really resurrect?  No one is really saved?  It’s all a myth?  This is not faith-building stuff.

Trumps’ speech to Muslims: A schmoozfest full of false moral equivalence…

OK, so most critiques of Trumps’ speech to the House of Saud were favorable.  He is cited for being firmly against terror and the Islamic doctrines that are interpreted and used to promote terror.

That is fine.  But here are his speech’s glaring shortcomings.

1)  He appears to ignore and excuse Islam’s and Saudi Arabia’s human rights shortcomings:  All things Islamic, including intolerance of other faiths, an apartheid nation – both gender and religious, Saudi funding of Middle East Studies in US Universities that promote Sharia and Islamic supremacism, and Saudi support of Wahhabi Islam – or should I just say “orthodox Islam” with all its inherent violent history and doctrine.

2)  His assumption that Saudi/Islamic morality is similar to the Judeo-Christian morality of the West.  He hopes that Muslim nations will condemn the doctrines of Islam that promote violence and terror because “with God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed.”  He’s talking about an integral part of Islamic doctrine, folks.  The violent parts of Islam, of which there are many, are an integral part of Islam and will not change.  The “vile creed” he speaks of is as much a part of Islam as “grace” and “forgiveness” are a part of Christianity.  Trump and/or his ill-informed advisors are applying Western/Christianized Image result for Saudi Arabia head of radical Islammorality to Islamic nations who do not share our values.

Doing these things, Trump is doing very little differently than Obama did.  He ignores the endemic nature of Islam in favor of the great schmooze – offering up platitudes toward Saudi Arabia’s and Islam’s glaring shortcomings while pretending a moral equivalency of both with Christian values.

All of this is being done while the leaders of Saudi Arabia lie about their tolerance and their role is spreading the radicalism of Islam though our universities and other nations.

Let us only hope that this is just a royal schmooze to facilitate the role of Saudi Arabia as being a “friend” in the sense of “an enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  Saudi Arabia is no “friend.”  Islam is not a religion to be viewed as a means of solving world problems.  Islam is a world problem.  And Saudi Arabia is at the heart of this Islamic world problem.

Much more could be said about this speech.  An excellent dissection of it from the perspective of those well-informed about Islam is found HERE, at Pam Geller’s website.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The myth that technology steals jobs…

There is a myth among those suspicious of technology that technology steals jobs.  On top of that, they believe that businesses that desire to survive government-mandated higher wages by creatively applying technology and automation are evil enterprises.

Those who express these concerns were absent during Economics 101, took the course from a rabidly socialist professor,  or weren’t paying attention.

First of all, government-forced wages, no matter how noble they may appear, grossly distort the labor market.  This is little different than price controls on goods or services or housing.  Such futile exercises also distort the market, reduce supplies, bring about shortages, and ultimately end poorly with a result opposite the desired outcome.Image result for workers replaced by technology

A business is in business to survive and make a living for the owners, stockholders and employees of that business.   When the cost of labor is forced to increase by government dictate, the business is obligated to look at alternatives to the unsustainable labor costs. 

Labor costs may increase so much that one of two things will occur:

1)  There will be less demand for the higher priced product which reduces the customer base and the amount of product or service purchased.  This in turn damages the economy of scale and the optimal level of production of the company.  One might suggest that all restaurants will be impacted the same, so it all evens out.  Wrong.  Consumers will be forced to consider between eating out and eating at home.  Grocery stores are not part of the restaurant labor equation unless an “all-knowing” socialist government inserts itself in dozens of other business that are affected by restaurant-worker minimum wages.  So what’s the next step?  Government dictating the price differences farmer get for product sold to restaurants versus products sold to grocery stores?  Or taxing food at grocery stores more?  This is a slippery slope.

2) The company will seek ways to maintain the competitive price of his product.  If the cost of human labor becomes excessive due to government-dictated wages, the prudent business will find more economical ways of performing the services performed by humans.  Technology and automation is an obvious alternative.  This is prudent and wise.

Technology and automation have advanced the level of production and standard of living throughout the last two centuries.  Farming is one example.  Production per acre has multiplied many-fold due to technology and automation of farm labor.  The automobile industry, in fact all manufacturing businesses, have substantially increased productivity through automation and technology.

Instead of lamenting the loss of jobs worth $8.00 an hour for which the government mandates an unsustainable $15.00 and hour, how about looking at more positive potentials?

Every piece of automated equipment that allegedly takes away jobs  requires several interactions of additional workers at wages higher than that of the jobs they replaced.

Technology and automation require systems experts to help designers and engineers to create the appropriate technology and automation for the appropriate tasks.  Then there are the additional manufacturing jobs required to build the automation equipment.  On top of that are the installers.  And then the ongoing work of maintaining, servicing and repairing the equipment.  And finally is required personnel to train others in the use and operation of the equipment.

All of these jobs are higher paying than the jobs the technology and automation replaced.  Costs to the business will be held in check, at least below the cost mandated by the arbitrary minimum wage that bore no relationship to the supply, demand, and productivity of the labor market.

Yes, technology and automation take away the lowest paying jobs that can be accomplished more efficiently and for less cost than human labor.  The benefit is not only higher productivity but the creation of more jobs that are higher paying for more workers.

The answer to the alleged problem of technology and automation is re-training, technical education, and developing a worker mindset that rewords change, challenge and adaption to changing work conditions and requirements.

Businesses must adapt to the needs of their customers more than feeling obliged to passively suck up and endure government meddling in unrealistic wages they must pay while they go broke.  The most successful employees, even low wage employees, are the ones who understand and buy into serving the business’s customer more than serving themselves.  That is, unless one believes it should be the role of government to dictate wages across all types of businesses and industry.  That, folks, is socialism verging on communism.

The inadvertent good that may come of inappropriate government meddling with minimum wage requirements my very well be the automation of tasks currently performed by overpaid and less efficient minimum-wage workers.

The anti-technology attitude of some reminds me of the demise of the Swiss watch industry several decades ago.  The special interests of the Swiss watch makers influenced their government to subsidize their mechanical watch industry in the face of the burgeoning electronic watch technology coming out of Asian nations.  Instead of adapting, the mechanical Swiss watch industry all but died.  Should the world be angry at the technologically savvy businesses that took away the watch business from the Swiss? 

Hardly.  Virtually all business and economic texts fault the Swiss for their failure to adapt to changing technology – a literal textbook example.

Today’s restaurant workers, and other low-wage employees and related businesses need to likewise remain vigilant to similar changes in their industries or else the same demise may befall them.

Bemoaning technology and automation is not the answer.  Keeping government out of wage controls is my first choice.  And if that won’t happen, then the next best alternative is businesses adaption to automation to optimize their productivity so they can at least exist as places that more productive people can work.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Repeal first…and other issues to avoid becoming even more socialist…

Obamacare is on the verge of becoming RINOcare, a legacy Trump did not propose and likely does not want.

The platform was repeal and replace.  Repeal first.  Replace second.  They need to be separate bills.  It is human nature to build on the work of others such as keeping much of Obamacare and just tweaking it.  That is NOT what was promised the American voter.  But that is what will happen if Obamacare is not repealed in its entirety first.

Hey, Republicans!  Stick to the plan:  Include pre-existing conditions; allow plans to cross state borders; allow choice of plans;  allow people who don’t want insurance to opt out without penalty but pay a hefty surcharge if they decide to come in later when they’re sick.  Don’t penalize so-called “Cadillac” plans with taxes.  Let the market determine fair costs.

We are reminded that this healthcare bill is likely to be the largest government funded entitlement program in the nation’s history, exceeding the cost of the Social Security program.  Do Republicans want that legacy?  Many do.  The RINOs do.

Trump’s budget proposes substantial cuts in federal expenditures.  Large cuts are proposed in funding to the “finance your enemies organization”, aka the United Nations (long overdue), pay for no work programs, aka social welfare, the one-world advocacy group, aka the State Department and hopefully planned killers united, aka Planned Parenthood, the national endowment for porn, aka National Endowment for the Arts, and national public propaganda, aka National Public Radio.

These cuts will be just the beginning, a small fraction of what needs to be done to pare back the huge excess of government spending.

These actions, along with privatizing healthcare, cutting regulations and reducing taxes will go a long way to steer us away from socialism that 8 years of Obama and decades of his predecessors have led us toward.

Monday, February 06, 2017

The difference between bleeding-heartism and prudence…

Do you really think liberals like Chuck Schumer are taking the moral high road on immigration?  Do you really believe the engraved adage “give me your tired, your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” applies to virtually every situation this nation  ever will encountered?

Emma Lazarus penned those words in 1883.  These words are now used as if they have universal, perpetual, and infinite applicability.  The reality is they don’t.  Accepting immigrants back then meant accepting those from nations and civilizations who shared the values of this nation, who look forward to the promises of the freedoms this new land offered.

While Emma Lazarus was the liberal Chuck Schumer of her day she made sense – back then.

Today, she would be Chuck Schumer, a man who argues for a national policy that is both out of touch and dangerous given the nature of the ideology, culture and behaviors of the immigrants who pose a great risk to our nation.

Schumer and the other tear-jerk liberals would be more up front with the rest of us if they changed Emma’s poem to this:

Give me your crime, your malcontents,

your befuddled Muslims, yearning for Sharia,

The Islamic jihadi who hopes to vent.

Send these, who will make our land as tempest-tossed as theirs is:

I lift my blind eye to the ones who evil sent. 

No, Chuckie, these are not the same innocent, tempest-tossed folk of the 1800’s yearning to breathe free.

Those who our much more prudent government intend to keep out are nothing like the immigrants who shared our values.  Those from Muslim nations do not.  Quite the opposite.   The great majority want nothing to do with our values except the freebies that enable them to impose their own sick, perverse version of civilization on the rest of us.

As a reminder for those who haven’t been paying attention:  The so-called Islamic “religion” is much more a political and military ideology intending to subvert all those of other belief systems to their own or face the consequences that are clearly spelled out in their holy books, traditions, and interpretations by the great majority of their Muslim leaders.  There is no “yearning to breathe free” except using our freedoms to impose Islamic Sharia which bears no relationship to “freedom.”

The Trump administration is doing absolutely the right thing.  We must defend against those who have a clear record of doing us harm.  The evidence is in their culture, their beliefs, and their actions.  It is insanity, Chuckie, to do otherwise.