Monthly Archives: March 2013

Government Money Grab – Lessons From Cyprus

The financial crisis in the Euro Zone continues to haunt financial markets globally. This week’s iteration of the crisis surfaced in tiny Cyprus, and the EU attempted to force government confiscation of private customer bank deposits before another bailout would be authorized. Can governments really steal from private citizen’s bank accounts, and could it happen here? The answer to both is a qualified, yet disturbing “Yes.”

Due to massive public and private debt and a deep financial connection with fiscally troubled Greece, Cyprus is the sixth of the EU’s seventeen countries to receive massive monetary infusions to maintain solvency. In an unprecedented move, the EU voted to have Cyprus raid Cypriot bank deposits for up to 38% before another bailout would be authorized.

Americans should take note, not only of what’s happening in the Eurozone with Cyprus right now, but especially at how our domestic fiscal policy mirrors what’s been happening in Europe, and at how the U.S. is creating a similar future crisis.

To recapitulate the issue in simple terms, global economic growth, especially in the Eurozone, has slowed dramatically, since the financial crisis of 2008. This has revealed the problematic fiscal policies of many countries, which have continued to spend exorbitantly in spite of reduced tax revenue. When economic growth declines, so do tax receipts. That gap between spending and receipts creates significant budgetary deficits, which is unsustainable, and jeopardizes the liquidity and viability of the banking systems of the respective countries, since they hold much of their debt.

The Cypriot parliament voted late Friday on a plan to come up with the requisite 5.8 billion Euros needed for unlocking the 10 billion Euro bailout. Customer accounts with greater than 100,000 Euros are at risk of being raided by their own government. A defalcation of customer deposits would be a new low for any government that now has to pay the price for their own imprudent fiscal management.

It’s unlikely, given current laws and regulation, that U.S. bank customers would face a similar governmental theft of their deposits. But that can easily change, and some experts fear such a scenario is possible in light of some developments, especially for retirement accounts.

In November, Atlantic Monthly ran a story, “The 401(k) Is a $240 Billion Waste.”  Time Magazine ran a similar story. Both referenced a Danish study, that concludes that government should abolish the tax-advantaged status and deductibility of retirement accounts, for they amount to “subsidies” granted to “the rich.” As soon as government recognizes a benefit as a subsidy, they believe they own it.

Also in November, Investor’s Business Daily reported that The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries had launched a campaign to alert retirement planners to possible changes to individual retirement accounts.

On January 18th, Richard Cordray, the acting head of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), was interviewed by Bloomberg. They reported, “The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is weighing whether it should take on a role in helping Americans manage the $19.4 trillion they have put into retirement savings, a move that would be the agency’s first foray into consumer investments.” The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank legislation with wide-ranging powers. The agency works within the Federal Reserve, a corporation privately owned by member banks, and is insulated from congressional oversight, and its budget is not subject to legislative control.

The National Seniors Council (NSC) issued this warning two years ago. “A recent hearing sponsored by the Treasury and Labor Departments marked the beginning of the Obama Administration’s effort to nationalize the nation’s pension system and to eliminate private retirement accounts including IRA’s and 401k plans.”

“This hearing was set up to explore why Americans are not saving as much for their retirement as they could,” explains National Seniors Council National Director Robert Crone, “However, it is clear that this is the first step towards a government takeover. It feels just like the beginning of the debate over health care and we all know how that ended up.”

Deputy Treasury Secretary J. Mark Iwry presided over the hearing. He is a long-time critic of 401k plans because he believes they “benefit the rich.” He also appears to be the Administration’s point man driving this effort.

“This whole issue is moving forward very quickly,” warns Crone. “Already there is a bill requiring all businesses to automatically enroll their employees in IRA plans in which part of every employee’s paycheck would be automatically deducted and deposited into this [government] account. If this passes, the government will be just one step away from being able to confiscate all these retirement accounts.”

There are many who question the NSC’s take on this, and others who outright deny it. But when those at the highest levels of government harbor an ideology distinctly more European than American, anything is possible. Once sacrosanct principles of private property ownership and individual liberty are at risk of subjugation to the prevailing ideology. Cyprus may be just the beginning, and not just for EU states.

AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board.  He can be reached at [email protected].

FAA to Close 149 Airport Towers

glendale airportBlame it on the sequestration.

The FAA announced today that 149 smaller airport towers would close beginning in April. Originally another 40 towers had been slated for closure but will remain open, either because them shutting them would not be in the national interest or because money was found in a federal cost-sharing program to keep them open.

According to the FAA, airports will remain open. Many of these control towers already operated on limited hours due to the airport size. Pilots will have to coordinate takeoffs and landings themselves via radio and visual contact, as they have do now at night when the tower isn’t open.

The FAA has to cut $600 million under the automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1. Other savings will come from furloughing FAA employees and other actions.

Four airports in Arizona are included in the closure list including two within the suburban Phoenix area.

For more information watch the CNN report below:

A COLLECTION OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST…

1

WORLD’S LARGEST OFFICE COMPLEX – CHICAGO Chicago Merchandise Mart.. Illinois , USA

 

 

2

WORLD’S LARGEST INDOOR SWIMMING POOL World Water Park Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 5 Acres

 

 

3

WORLD ‘S LONGEST BRIDGE CHINA Donghai Bridge , China …32.5 kilometers

 

 

4

WORLD’S BIGGEST EXCAVATOR Built by KRUPP of Germany …45,500 tons.

 

5

WORLD’S BIGGEST BULLSHIT ARTIST — NO ONE KNOWS WHERE HE’S FROM.

You might enjoy my latest book “What Kind Of Society Are We Leaving Our Kids” Available Here

This is one man’s opinion.

Random Thoughts:Gun Control, Gov’t Spending and White House Islamists

This whole Newtown histeria has caused the government and everyone associated with it to get out of hand. In New Jersey a parent posted a picture of his 10 year old son with a 22 caliber rifle he gave him for his birthday on facebook. A neighbor called child services to report child abuse. They came, asked to see the parent’s guns and threatened to take his kids away from him all without a warrant. First of all I am no fan of hunters or having children under 12 years old having a gun even though this kid had a hunting license too. But at the same time I am a gun rights and 2nd amendment advocate and threatening to take this man’s kids away from him and going through his house without a warrant based on a neighbor’s complaint and a posted picture is unjustifiable in my book.

In the meantime, Sen. Diane Feinstein is disappointed that her gun ban law was shot down,” This bill would save lives and protect people and dry up the supply of guns,”Sen. Feinstein said. However,in 1985 Ms. Feinstein stated that she armed herself and carried a concealed weapon with the intent that ”if someone was going to take me out I would take them out with me.” In other words arms for me, but not for thee.

These anti-gun zealots keep talking about stricter gun laws. You don’t need more laws, just enforce the current ones. Currently there are 3000 gun laws on record from state, county and federal. As far as background checks go, where does it end? Are you not allowed to have guns if you are divorced since the Newtown’s killer’s parents were divorced. Are you not allowed to have guns if you are a democrat since every mass murderer in history was a democrat, or socialist like Lee Harvey Oswald or anarchist like John Wilkes Booth? Where is the line drawn? Remember,gun control is not about guns it’s about control.

Recently President Obama has found time to fill out his NCAA brackets, but missed the deadline for the budget he was supposed to deliver for the past five years. A survey of the vast wasteland in government spending reveals some surprising spending as we’ve always known they are great for doing. Such spending programs as:

3.8 million dollars for prevention of human and elephant conflicts.

$384,949 for studying duck genitalia (private parts)

$640,000 for a wine tasting trip for senators

$690,000 for a music trails project tin South Carolina

$308,000 for an Elvis music boat cruise

604,000 for a Ukranian Easter egg workshop (whatever that is)

Yet they can’t open the white house for school kids’ trips, but they can justify this crap.

The Islamic religion has been hijacked by radical Islamists over the years who have made the goal of Islam world domination. Their plan is to make the whole mid-east one big caliphate and so far Isreal is the only country standing in their way .From there they intend to take on Europe and then the West which is us. They have infiltrated a good portion of France and England already and said they will overtake us from within. So far they are in the third part of a three point plan. The first is to get as many muslims in here as possible. So far there are at least 6 million muslims here now. The second part is to get as many mosques built as possible. There are currently 2500 mosques here now. The third part is to get elected to office to ”Change” things. Does that word ring a bell? Despite what anyone says to the contrary, Obama is a muslim hiding behind the fact that he is a Christian. His father and stepfather both were muslims and in the muslim religion the offspring is the same religion as the father. Obama has spoken openly about his muslim upbringing. He has appointed muslims to the Dept. of Homeland Security and now has members of the Muslim Brotherhood in there too. Just check out these six American Islamists who work in the Obama administration who are muslim brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over foreign policy:

Arif Alikhan – Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Mohammed Elibiary – Homeland Security Adviser

Rashad Hussain – Special Envoy to the (OIC) Organization of the Islamic Conference

Salam al-Marayati – Obama Adviser – founder Muslim Public Affairs Council and its current executive director

Imam Mohamed Magid – Obama’s Sharia Czar – Islamic Society of North AmericaIslamic Society of North America

Eboo Patel – Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships

NO WONDEROBAMA GAVE THEM HUNDREDS OF ABRAMS TANKS, 14 F16 JETS AND 250 MILLION DOLLARS.

Is House Passed GOP Budget Hopeless?

via Pennua.org

 

On Thursday, the House passed the GOP Budget Plan, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis). It passed almost entirely down partisan lines with a 221-207 vote.

Ryan’s plan is geared toward balancing the budget within 10 years through a series of huge spending cuts equaling $4.6 trillion that primarily affect funding of social programs while keeping current Social Security benefits intact. The budget repeals Obamacare and proposes a Medicare overhaul that revisits the idea of a voucher-like program for seniors. A seemingly sound plan that leads us to economic freedom by 2023.

But will any of this really make a difference? The Democrat controlled Senate just began debating their first budget since the 2009 budget that ushered in Obamacare. A budget that is on the other end of the spectrum from the House and actually increases spending after the sequester. Their budget does not propose a balance until tentatively 2040.

With a Democratic-run Senate and President Obama in the White House, it begs the question: is the House passed budget a hopeless one? There has been an ongoing struggle between the two parties over the economy and the battle could come to a head due to the drastically different proposals and different ideas about what is important for economic growth. Obama claims, “My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance.”

With such divisive plans, Obama will be looking to find a middle ground between the two proposals that could end up producing nearly $1 trillion in new taxes while saving social programs for the poor. While the idea may sound noble, it is simply another instance of working class Americans being punished for being contributing members of society, while those who are not are rewarded.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray(D-Wash.) says, “We need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly.”

But fair to whom? Not to the citizens who are working harder for smaller paychecks due to increased taxation. Not to small business owners who have to cut costs somewhere due to Obamacare. And certainly not to our children who are suffering now but will suffer even more in the future due to the massive debt they are forced to repay.

We are increasingly becoming a nation dependent on our government for all of our relief—which only ends up applying more pressure. One that takes away the will to succeed and encourages accepting handouts. With that mentality, the House passed budget may not seem to be more than a pipe dream for many Americans. However, it is always in the roughest of times that Americans show of what we are truly made; which leaves hope that this proposal will be a first step in reaffirming American exceptionalism.

 

Follow Renee on Twitter @ReneeRankine.

 

 

 

 

Political Stance — Economic Liberty : Platform of Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists

Previously, beginning March 15, 2013  I posted the Platform of the Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists (TLC) political initiative.  This is not an official political party as yet.  However, it is a series of positions which can unify the nation around sound public policy which a vast number of Americans are craving.

Below, in conjunction with the previous posts, is the first section of the statement of the Political Stance of this initiative.

Platform of Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists (TLC)

POLITICAL STANCE

2.0    Economic Liberty

All members of society should have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success. The Free Market Capitalism, a free and competitive market, allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others within such a market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society within a Free Market Capitalism system.

2.1    Property and Contract

Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists favor restitution to the rightful owners, where possible to return it in like condition as when acquired.

2.2    Environment

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources.  Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, yet environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior, rather than the use of coercive force of government.

2.3    Energy and Resources

While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production, other than what is rightfully owned by government in an open competitive marketplace.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists endorse government officials encouraging the development of renewable energy sources, without regulatory enforcement, requirement, or funding thereof.

2.4    Government Finance and Spending

All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution.  Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose any requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors.

Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution.

Governments at all levels should operate within available revenue, accrued from consumption tax rates approved by the people.

Whereas all federal spending originates in the House of Representatives the budget development process of the Government United States of America should be modified as follows:

  1. The budget shall be a two-year budget coinciding with the 18 months of the current congress, begin on the first July of said congress. (I.e. the 112th Congress runs from January 3, 2011-January 3, 2013.  The 112th Congress would adopt a budget encompassing two years beginning July 1, 2011.)
  2. All funding for federal programs shall be by a general consumption tax, or special program revenue fee-for-service.
  3. Once an initial consumption tax rate has been established by Congress, not to exceed 17%, any increase in the rate must be approved by the people at the same time as congressional elections, and by fifty-one percent (51%) of the states.
  4. A general government reserve must be established and maintained at a rate equivalent to 1/3rd of the approved consumption tax rate. (I.e. if the approved tax rate is 17%, than the reserve rate would be 5.7 %.).  [If the budget were 2 trillion dollars, required reserves would be 114 billion dollars].

2.5    Money and Financial Markets

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists favor free-market banking, with unrestricted competition among banks and depository institutions of all types. Individuals engaged in voluntary exchange should be free to use as money the legal tender of the United States.


2.6    Monopolies and Corporations

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals.  Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free market capitalism.

2.7    Labor Markets

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose government-fostered forced retirement.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employers should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists oppose all forms of unionized government employment, unless specifically approved by a vote of the people of the respective jurisdiction. (I.e. local or state government shall maintain the authority to submit to its respective citizens the right to decide whether such government shall be obligated to unionize any or all of its employees.)

2.8    Education

Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children’s education.

2.9    Health Care

Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions.

People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.


2.10    Retirement and Income Security

Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists would phase out the current government-sponsored Social Security system and transition to a private system.

Individuals have responsibility, accountability and liberty to manage their own lives.  However, we have learned from experience that most individuals, unaware of what future consequences of their life choices may bring, will fail to plan for adequate resources to care for themselves during time of incapacity.  Further, although liberty is individual, care for one another is a natural part of life’s experience. Governments in all ages have sought to control and provide for individuals during periods of incapacity.   In light of this reality it is proper for governments to require that all members of society prepare for their own eventual incapacity through a self-administered plan for future self-sufficiency.  Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists directly oppose any government regulation, control, or management of such self-care programs beyond requiring individuals to select such a plan and adhere to it.

The proper and most effective source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals. Traditional Libertarian Constitutionalists believe members of society will become more charitable and civil society will be strengthened as government reduces its activity in this realm.

Was Former Astronaut Mark Kelly’s AR-15-style Buy A Cheap Trick

Astronaut Mark Kelly and NRA VP & CEO Wayne LaPierre Battle at U.S. Senate Hearing over Gun Control

Astronaut Mark Kelly and NRA VP & CEO Wayne LaPierre Battle at U.S. Senate Hearing over Gun Control

Legitimate gun owners and supporters of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment have good reason to be outraged by Mark Kelly’s publicity trick to further gun control efforts in America. According to published Fox News reports, the former astronaut and husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting victim 2 years ago in Tucson, Arizona purchased an AR-15-style rifle and a 45.-caliber handgun.

This comes on the heels of his highly publicized efforts in both Congress as well as in Colorado to assault the U.S. Constitutional rights of legal gun owners to own weapons. In fact, his comments which he posted on Facebook, according to published reports seem disingenuous, when he states that people could easily buy similar guns at gun shows or over the internet without background checks.

The fact is, Kelly did actually do exactly what other law-abiding citizens in Arizona or any other state in the union have done beforehand. The Diamondback Police Supply gun shop where he reportedly purchased the weapons from, followed state law and had him undergo the mandatory background check.

Well, surprise, surprise he passed without any hiccups. So what was his point?

Many supporters of gun rights have weighed in on his open display of reactionary theater, by correctly pointing out that his entire stunt accomplished was to bring attention to his and his wife’s newly formed gun control organization named, Americans for Responsible Solutions.

It appears that the organization’s leader, Kelly, was actually seeking to create irresponsible reactions from fellow gun control sympathizers who would somehow rise up in hysteria and join up or gin up more donations to his national gun control cause.

What Kelly does not seem to want to accept, is that as tragic and woefully unfortunate the mass shooting of his wife and others on that horrendous day in the Tucson area shopping center, it was not performed by law abiding citizens going on a rampage.

Her attempted assassination was due to largely in part to relaxed mental health laws dealing with mentally unbalanced and severely disturbed individuals that the mental health system in Arizona and other states have not be responsible for.

Kelly, instead resorted to the quick, the easy, and the attention-headline grabbing techniques which are assured to raise the ire of mainstream media liberal heads. The goal of course is to place greater pressure on states like Colorado, which was recently caught up in a monumental gun control pitched battle in their democrat controlled state legislature. That highly restrictive gun control legislation has now been signed into law.  What states are next to fall victim?

It is truly quite unfortunate, that a man who has given such admirable service to this nation, could be given to publicity stunts that actually undermine the very protections he served to uphold.
So where again is the news value in his attempt? The owner of the gun shop actually had to hold onto the weapon for the required 20 days, to ascertain if the weapon had actually been used in a crime. Again, where is the news and where is the imagined harm?

Nothing, you might say. And that would be absolutely correct, because Kelly’s point is a red herring. There is no news made if Kelly, were an ordinary citizen who decided to follow the laws of Tucson, and the state of Arizona and legally purchase weapons. But it becomes news by name association.

Well, here is a bit of news that protectors of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment rights can pass onto former astronaut Mark Kelly. Cheap parlor tricks will not destroy or impede the ability to Americans to exercise their right to bear arms.

Instead, Kelly should focus his and his organization’s attention on the real problem and that is to make certain that states and localities actually enforce the laws on the books and prosecute criminal offenders in cities like Chicago, which owns the nation’s highest murder rate.

If Americans for Responsible Solutions wants a real solution then start your efforts in Chicago. Help the parents and the innocents being assaulted in Chicago and get Obama’s former chief-of-staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel to stop attacking gun rights and punish criminals who use guns to murder in that city.

Now that would be a real responsible solution all Americans could support!

( Click – Let me know what you think )

Kelly: Buying AR-15 was “pretty easy”

Too Many Battles, Not Enough Bible

Obama makes a brief appearance in 'The Bible' to warn of the sequester.

Obama makes a brief appearance in ‘The Bible’ to warn of the sequester.

Any television show that simultaneously confounds the pagans and the heretics can’t be all bad. But there’s a basic flaw in the History Channel’s The Bible that makes it hard for the cultural Christian or the spiritual seeker to absorb the message.

This is not to say the program isn’t popular. In fact, it’s wildly popular, but I fear we are preaching to the choir. The opening episode of The Bible attracted 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable audience of the year, and topped both editions of “American Idol” the same week.

Episode two had 10.8 million viewers, more than any other program in the same time period and it finished 11th overall for the week. The third episode gained viewers, inching up to 10.9 million, and was number nine for the week.

This is even more startling when you recall, as Daniel Wattenberg of the Washington Times pointed out, that The Bible “lacked the ready–made, large scale promotional platform and popular lead–in that can drive strong ratings for a new show on a major broadcast network…” It also lacked the nudity, bad language, obscene cartoon characters and titillation that excites the prurient interest of many cable TV viewers — although it does contain some off­–screen fornication, adultery and murder.

On the other hand The Bible had thousands of mentions in church bulletins and word of mouth to help build the audience. (The program is proving to be a Godsend for youth ministries across America.)

So what’s not to like?

As the program is structured it appeals to Christians who know the Bible or think they know it, yet it answers no questions and puts nothing in perspective for the curious viewer who wants to learn more about the Good Book. In fact, the program runs a very real risk of alienating those viewers.

It is very easy for them to ask: Why does a supposedly loving God command King Saul to kill everyone? Why are the Israelites attacking Canaanites who have done them no wrong and were there first? Why did it take 40 years to get from Egypt to the Promised Land? Why didn’t Moses get to enter the Promised Land? What did the Sodomites do that was so bad? (No pun intended.) If David is such a sinner, why does God love him and not other sinners He had killed? What did a child like Ishmael do to deserve banishment? Why did God toy with Abraham and Isaac?

And those are just the questions from the first two episodes! After about the third killing spree Buddhism starts to look pretty good, to say nothing of Unitarianism.

The Bible is ten hours long but even that length means much is truncated and condensed. (Why couldn’t The Hobbit have dispensed with some of the padding and been only Hobbit I and Hobbit II, giving the excess to The Bible?) The series cries out for a narration to bridge the gap and provide continuity and explanation.

Even better, each episode should be followed by a 15–minute scholarly discussion among experts to put the events into an overall context. I don’t mean the secular culture’s favorite Bible experts: Bart Ehrman, the agnostic professor of religion, and Karen Armstrong, the failed nun who is liable to believe most anything. This duo would chuckle and explain how these blood–thirsty folk tales are a product of their time, with little relevance to today’s enlightened society. If God were commissioning a bible nowadays, the content and teaching would be much different.

No, the overview portion would feature solid, believing scholars who can explain and put the Bible into context. They could observe Genesis concerns the long fall of man and how God intervenes to save the righteous few. Once He sets the Israelites apart from the rest of man, God’s intent is for them to be a pure and holy race: literally the chosen people. He knows man is weak and He does not want the Israelites to be contaminated by the fallen tribes in Canaan, who are sinners that practice child sacrifice; fallen beyond the hope of redemption.

The Israelites spend 40 years in the wilderness because they did not believe God and rejected His command to take the Promised Land. God waited until that generation died out and only the two good spies — Joshua and Caleb — remained. Moses did not enter the Promised Land because he disobeyed God in front of the Israelites.

David was a sinner and a serial sinner at that, but he recognized his sins and begged God for forgiveness. Even at that he paid a price for his transgressions. Ishmael was banished because he was the product of a sin originating with Sarah and was not part of God’s plan for Abraham, but even at that God heard Abraham’s plea and Ishmael fathered a great nation. But it was a nation that contended with the Israelites.

And God tested Abraham’s trust to prove he was worthy to be the founder of the chosen people.

But none of this is evident from just watching The Bible.

The producers could even have had young people ask the questions of the experts in a roundtable setting. It would not be any more unrealistic than an Obama town meeting or episode of Real Housewives of DC and might bring some of the searching to Christ.

No doubt the DVD will have something like this in the ‘extras’ portion. Unfortunately, that will be too late. Only the sold buy the DVD, the browsers have already moved on.

Middle school cancels honors ceremony to avoid hurt feelings

The persistent and staggering lack of sanity among public school administrators was on full display with the recent decision of a Massachusetts middle school principal concerning a traditional ceremony for honor students.
David Fabrizio sent an email to parents informing them the Ipswich Middle School honors night will henceforth be open to a wide segment of the student population.
On the school website, he expanded on the change, calling the new program “an all-inclusive ceremony during the day in the presence of the entire student body.”
When leftists begin tossing around the word “inclusive,” one should recognize the sign to proceed with caution.
In a subsequent interview, Fabrizio said the school’s “best students were being honored exclusively” while “those who needed that motivation weren’t there.”
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure this man understands the definition of the word “motivation.”
Enjoying a night set aside for students and family to recognize curricular achievements fails to serve as a motivating factor if the entire school is now invited.
By the same token, this change is not doing those with lower grades any favors by minimizing the achievements of their peers.
Thankfully, many have lashed out against the ridiculous notion, though the principal shows no sign of backing down.
“This isn’t the dumbing down of America” or “everyone gets a trophy,” he said, indicating many individuals have sent him supportive emails.
I guess there’s no way to disprove him without access to his account, but even if the parents of all the school’s C- and D-students expressed fawning praise, does that mean his ridiculous plan suddenly have merit?
Should I be invited to the Peabody Awards (please?) even though I’ve (unbelievably) never been nominated? I’m a journalist and broadcaster and I try hard.
Of course not; and the more schools instill the notion into the next generation that they’re entitled to everything without earning it, the more trouble we’re going to be in as a culture.
It doesn’t look good.

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Testimony reveals disgusting abortion practices

During the testimony phase of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, some reprehensible and unfathomable allegations have surfaced about the conditions and practices of his abortion clinic.
One employee confessed on the stand that, under Gosnell’s orders, she cut the spines of 10 or more babies to sadistically murder babies. Gosnell and at least one colleague also engaged in the barbaric practice, she testified.
In another unbelievable incident, the medical assistant told the court of one dead child left in her office from an abortion conducted almost 30 weeks into the pregnancy.
Given the baby’s color and size, she said she firmly believed he could have easily survived outside of the womb. The emotional witness testified Gosnell callously mused the child was large enough to walk to the bus stop.
The jury saw photos of the viable human’s corpse and even heard from his mother, who was a minor with one child already. She suffered through three days of abortion procedures and was ultimately hospitalized for two weeks with multiple serious complications.
In all, Gosnell is accused of causing the deaths of several live-birth babies. Additionally, at least one mother died when the doctor reportedly administered too much medication during an abortion.
As if those accusations were not enough, he also allegedly made extra money by selling prescriptions to drug addicts and dealers.
The employee who testified already pleaded guilty to a third-degree murder charge and has been in jail since 2011.
Gosnell’s attorney incredibly accused prosecutors of “lynching” the black doctor and touted the fact he selflessly set up his practice in a poor neighborhood instead of focusing on getting rich. The fact investigators discovered a quarter-million dollars stashed in his home during a search seems to belie that claim, though.
By sharing this tragic story, I’m not implying all – or even a significant portion – of abortion clinics in America operate under such deplorable conditions. My opinion, though, along with millions of Americans, is that the avoidable death of any child at any age of gestation is an inexcusable injustice and amounts to nothing short of legislated murder.
My hope is that by sharing the sordid details of this obviously unscrupulous “doctor” will open some previously closed eyes to this nation’s greatest shame.

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The idiocy of arms control treaties with Russia

During his SOTU speech, Obama announced his intention to cut the barely-adequate US nuclear arsenal even further, below the 1,550 deployed strategic warheads allowed by the New START treaty. He said he would do so together with the Russians. This (together with Republicans’ and the public’s general disinterest in defense issues) probably softened the Republican response to and criticism of Obama’s plans. And wrongly so, because cutting America’s nuclear deterrent is ALWAYS wrong – even if it is done with Russia.

For decades, Americans have been told the lie that cutting the nuclear deterrent is fine as long as it is done bilaterally with Moscow. (Today, many proponents of America’s disarmament are openly propagating the lie that even cutting the nuclear deterrent unilaterally and deeply is fine, but most Americans and policymakers, quite sensibly, reject that claim.) Making such cuts bilaterally, with Russia, is supposed to make them OK.

But they’re NOT OK. They’re still wrong and dangerous. Here’s why.

First and foremost, Russia has decided to make itself an enemy of the United States and, under Vladimir Putin, it has engaged in very aggressive, provocative, anti-American behavior – in both word and deed. In terms of rhetoric, Russia has been constantly spewing radically anti-American rhetoric from its state-owned media outlets (TV, radio, newspapers) at home and in the United States (vide e.g. the Kremlin-owned “RussiaToday/RT” network operating in the United States, and allowed to do so by the Obama Administration despite being an anti-American propaganda-tool of a foreign regime hostile to the US, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act); hysterical propaganda campaigns against the US and American foster parents; mobilizing its thugs to demonstrate against the US and to assail American diplomats; Vladimir Putin’s unending stream of anti-American propaganda; smear campaigns against those Russians (like MP Dmitry Gudkov) who are not hostile to the US; and discriminatory laws such as the recent statute banning the adoption of Russian children by American citizens.

Russia’s hostility has been even worse when measured in deeds. Russia continues to shield the odious, WMD-wielding regimes of Iran and Syria – the ayatollahs and Assad – from UN sanctions and to supply them with weapons – which are often used against innocent civilians, especially in Syria. Moscow continues to back the odious, torture-practicing, totalitarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus and the Kim family regime of North Korea. It continues to occupy Georgia, which it attacked without any justification whatsoever in 2008. It continues to supply Iran with uranium which Tehran is enriching to ever-higher levels. It continues to wage a Cold-War-style arms race against the US.

But most troubling are Russia’s increasingly aggressive military actions and its repeated threats to preemptively strike the US and its allies with nuclear weapons. In the last 9 months, Russia has flown US bombers into or near US airspace and practiced nuclear strikes against the US military four times – a frequency not seen since the tensest years of the Cold War – and earlier this year held the largest nuclear triad exercises since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Four times in the last 9 months the Russian Air Force’s Tupolev intercontinental bombers came into or near US or allied airspace, practicing attacks against the US military. The first such instance in the last 9 months was in June, when the RuAF’s Tu-95 bombers, escorted by Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters and supported by AWACS and tanker aircraft, flew very close to Alaska and its missile defense installations. When asked by the press what they were doing there, Russian Air Force spokesmen said they were “practicing attacking the enemy”. (USAF fighters intercepted those aircraft.)

Then, on July 4th, to poke America, the Russians flew their bombers into US airspace over California, thus essentially committing an act of war. (Again, an interception was made.)

Then, last month, on February 12th, Russian Tu-95 bombers flew around the island of Guam, a highly important US military hub in the Western Pacific with strategically important air, naval, and landbases.

And just a few days ago, Russian Tu-95 bombers flew over South Korea just as the US and South Korean militaries were practicing defending South Korea from its aggressive Northern neighbor.

Moreover, in the last 6 years, highly-ranking Russian military and civilian officials have repeatedly made threats to preemptively attack the US and its allies with nuclear weapons, especially if they don’t toe Russia’s line and deploy missile defense systems on European soil.

That is the behavior of a hyper-aggressive threat to world peace and security, NOT of a responsible, trustworthy partner who can be mollified, made a responsible, productive partner, and trusted to honor commitments – whether on arms reduction or any other issue whatsoever.

Secondly, Russia has repeatedly stated that it does NOT want to be involved in any further arms reduction and has flatly refused to even enter such negotiations, let alone to make any cuts in its vast arsenal of 6,800 warheads (including 2,800 strategic warheads), 14 ballistic missile submarine with 16-20 missiles each, 251 strategic bombers, and 434 ICBMs that are, by themselves, capable of carrying 1,684 warheads to the CONUS, not to mention Russia’s vast arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Thirdly, cutting America’s nuclear deterrent bilaterally, with Russia, only weakens that deterrent – and thus, America and its military – generally as well as vis-a-vis the other nuclear powers, especially China.

And China, contrary to the lies of the proponents of America’s nuclear disarmament, has far more than the mere 240 warheads they claim. It has between 1,274 and 3,000 nuclear warheads. No one knows for sure how many exactly, but it’s obvious it has far more than just a few hundred:

  • It has built a vast, 3,000-mile-long network of tunnels and bunkers for missiles and nuclear warheads. You don’t build such a huge network for just a few hundred warheads and their carriers – because you don’t need to. You build such a vast network only for a huge nuclear arsenal.
  • Publicly available, open-source data indicates that China has far more than just a few hundred warheads. For example, it has 430 nuclear-capable strike and bomber aircraft (H-6s, JH-7s, Q-5s), 36 MIRVable DongFeng-5 heavy ICBMs, over 30 DF-31 ICBMs, some DF-41 ICBMs, over 80 DF-21 medium range ballistic missiles (as well as 40-60 of their older DF-3 and DF-4 cousins), 1,600 short-range ballistic missiles, hundreds of nuclear capable CJ-10/20 and DH-10 cruise missiles, and 6 ballistic missile submarines (one Xia class and five Jin class boats).
  • Two very credible analysts – former DOD nuclear strategist Professor Philip A. Karber and former Russian missile force Chief of Staff Gen. Viktor Yesin – have made credible analysis showing that China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads.

Now, why does China lie and refuse to release any credible information about its nuclear arsenal (and about its armed forces and military buildup in general)? Because lying and secrecy are very effective methods of concealing one’s military buildup, lulling one’s opponent into a false sense of security, deceiving the enemy as to one’s own capabilities and intentions, and keeping the enemy guessing and unready for your actions and capabilities.

This is why Sun Tzu, whom the Chinese military and government are strictly following, advised deception, lying, and total secrecy. He wrote in his treatise on military affairs, the Art of War:

“All warfare is based on deception.

Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” – Chapter I, verses 17-18

“Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. (…)

Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it.

By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.” – Chapter V, verses 17 and 19-20

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” – Chapter VII, verse 19

China’s military buildup will be addressed in a separate article; here, I will just state that it’s no coincidence that China has engaged in a secret, massive nuclear weapons buildup and that it refuses to release any accurate information on it and instead feeds the world with blatant lies about its nuclear arsenal and nuclear weapons employment policy. The Chinese have learned deception (and its value) from their master and fellow countryman, Sun Tzu.

In short, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to cut America’s nuclear deterrent any further, and doing so even bilaterally with Russia – even under a treaty – is still absolutely unacceptable. Obama Admin officials and their political appointees wearing uniforms must not be allowed to get away with the cover that “we only support doing so bilaterally with Russia”. That is still not good enough. The ONLY correct answer is “the US nuclear arsenal must not be cut any further.”

Pic of Kid & Hunting Gun Prompts Police/CPS Raid on Home

boy  with rifleLast year a young friend won a .243 hunting rifle. He was thrilled and an excited mom posted a picture of the young lad with his prize on Facebook. (His face is blurred for his privacy.)

Thankfully, they do not live in New Jersey.

This week a similar aged youth received a .22 rifle for his birthday. His photograph was also shared with the family.

Imagine their surprise when an anonymous phone call alerted both police and Child Protective Services causing a police response to the family home.

 

Fortunately, the father in this incident knew his gun rights and was astute enough to get his lawyer on the phone while the police and CPS were there, leaving them with a fairly innocuous end result. But just imagine if this happened to you or me and we did not have an attorney on speed dial? Could we lose our children, even for just a day, due to an over zealous enforcement agency?

Most everyone agrees that there is much that should be done to monitor guns in the hands of children and yet this overreaction seems to indicate that there are many with a complete intolerance of guns in private homes. Perhaps it is the difference between urban and rural lifestyles or perhaps it is a knee jerk reaction to recent gun tragedies. But it also may be that the agenda of the Obama administration is to remove all guns from homes and some enforcement/protection agencies are overzealous in their desire to promote it.