Thursday, June 30, 2011

The definitive Gunwalker summary

The War on Guns: Word

You will have to click through several posts to get to the meat, but it is worth it. Michael Bane has the definitive summary of the Gunwalker fiasco so far. He ends his summary this way:

It's hardly a secret that I don't think much of the failed narco-state of Mexico, a country of peasants that has allowed a series of blowhard morons turn their country in something resembling one of the rings of hell. But one thing that strikes me as horrific, and breaks my heart, is how easily, how casually, a group of men in suits, in air conditioned offices in Arizona,, in Texas, and, ultimately, in Washington D.C., sanctioned the inevitable deaths of brown people in another country.
And they think it is WE, the citizens, who shouldn't have guns. How pathetic.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who owns your land; You, or the Government?

The Declaration of Independence states that we have certain unalienable rights grant to us by our Creator, among which are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But the first draft of the Declaration had these rights listed as Life, Liberty, and Property. The artful phrase "pursuit of happiness" was substituted, but intended to include property rights. If you own yourself, then you have the right to trade some of your labor for rights in property. The property could take the form of money, or corn, wine and oil, or head of sheep and cattle, or it could be real estate.

We now get to see if indeed the people do have a right to property, or if the Federal Government, and the Environmental Protection Agency actually has effective control of the land you paid for with your labor by virtue of making so expensive to get justice, that there simply is no justice unless you are George Soros. World Net Daily has the story here. The Sacketts are asking that their rights to the court not be precluded because of unreasonable cost which they could never afford.

Under the Federal Clean Water Act, the Federal Government does indeed potentially lay claim to all the land in the United States. Of course they claim all the navigable waters. But many lakes are connected to rivers, which are navigable, so they claim those as well. The most controversial of their claims, and the one which probably affects the Sacketts is the claim of "upland wetlands." If you have a low spot on your property, even a man made low spot, that has accumulated silt from rainwater filling the low spot, you have an "upland wetland." that in theory must be protected. Protection potentially means you can not use that land as anything other than something to look at. You can't walk there, or mow it, or fertilize it, anything but look at it.  In essence, you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you get to pay for, and pay taxes on land that kept in the public interests.
"The reality of the Sacketts' situation is that they have been unambiguously commanded by their government not to complete their home-building project, to take expensive measures to undo the improvements that they have made to their land, and to maintain their land essentially as a public park until the property is 'restored' to the satisfaction of the EPA. They have been threatened with frightening penalties if they do not immediately obey; but they have been refused the prompt hearing they should have received as a matter of right in any court," Pacific Legal argued.
While courts have indeed upheld this claim by the Government, it is none the less a Constitutionally dubious claim, and one which is harmful to all that has made this country prosperous. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that private property shall not be taken for public use without due compensation. Since a person has rights in the land and waters on his own property, how is this not a taking? More to the point, if a person purchases land for a certain use, only to find that he has to maintain that property as a "park," does that not disincentive people from investing in the United States? What other property does the Government claim?  To keep the Government from doing what it is doing was the reason this provision of the Fifth Amendment was added to the Constitution.  Like every other protection of the Constitution, it has been whittled away, and watered down by interpretation, until it no longer exists.

Poll taxes were struck down as Unconstitutional because they denied many poor people, and blacks in particular, the fundamental right to vote.  If voting is a fundamental right, then how much more are property rights fundamental?  How much more should the Supreme Court uphold property and its corollary, contracts?  Yet the costs to get into court are so great as to preclude any hearing.  In the Sacketts' case, the costs to get into court are so great, that even if they win, they may no longer be able to afford to build their dream home.  You do not own the land, you rent it from the Government. 

Now, in fairness, I do have certain reservations that I will share with readers about this story. First off, the issue of any "upland wetlands" should have been resolved when the developers were developing the subdivision. These should have been clearly delineated on the plat when the owners bought the land.  One of the checks done to get a building permit should have been to see that contractor would not disturb any wetlands delineated.  If these things were not done, the Sacketts do indeed have a moral claim to harm from the developer, though how enforceable that claim is may be doubtful. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now the Food Police strike

Well, that didn't take long. ObamaCare is not even fully implemented yet, and already the Federal Government is looking to regulate what and how much food you can eat. The Daily Caller has the report in a piece on 22 June 2011 entitled Feds Look to Regulated Food Similar to Tobacco by Neil Munro.

If you believe that you own yourself, this should deeply offend you.  Countless people warned that if ObamaCare was passed, the Federal Government would acquire the means to regulate every behavior it wanted to regulate.  Here is the first fruits.  Rush Limbaugh has talked about it.  British Member of the European Parliament has warned us about it.  And to be fair, depending on what poll you read, between 50 and 70 percent of Americans were against ObamaCare.  Eighty-two percent of Americans were happy with their current arrangements, thank you.  But the Democrats passed ObamaCare anyway.  Why?  Well, because of the fact that the only way they could reasonably be able to control what you eat, what you do, where you go, and how you live, is by the excuse that we are all now paying for your bad habits.  Believe me when I tell you that it will only get worse, and that the craziest ideas will now have a hearing, and get a chance to shove their ideas down every one's throats.

And for crazy ideas, there are none crazier that those of the Center for Science in the Public Interests.  Of course, there is no science, and the public's interest is the farthest thing from their minds.  So let's look at the Center for Science in the Public Interests (CPSI), mentioned prominently in the Daily Caller piece.  Here is what Activist Cash had to say about this supposedly benign watch dog group just looking out for what is best for you. But in reality, CPSI is a scare monger group that, as Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine says:

CSPI is driven by a “suspicion of pleasure without pain, of enjoyment unencumbered by fear,” argues Sullum. “That suspicion,” he concludes, “is the thread that runs through CSPI’s uneasiness about artificial sweeteners and caffeine, its dire warnings about fat and salt, its campaign against the fat substitute olestra, its hysteria about acrylamide in French fries, its discomfort with food irradiation, its condemnation of the imitation-meat product Quorn, and its opposition to alcohol consumption as a way of preventing heart disease.” (For the lowdown on many of these fears, see CSPI’s “Blackeye.”)
In fact this group is a actually composed of few poor benighted souls with connections to all the usual suspects: The Tides Foundation, a Soros money laundering operation, The Union of Concerned Scientists, the Sierra Club, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has been taken over by neo-prohibitionists, the Humane Society of the United States, a false flag operation, Greenpeace, and others.  Their funding includes grants from the Tides Foundation and the Joyce Foundation.  Past grantors have included the Robert Woods Johnson foundation.  If the CPSI had their way, our diet would consist of three organically grown salads a day, hold the dressing.  But remember, even that "healthy" food will kill you some day.

Just as running will not extend your life, though some of it is good for you, so eating a spartan CPSI diet will not make you live longer, though you may feel like it stretches out before you to eternity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gunwalker Scandal: Why Charges Are Not Being Brought

Mike Vanderboegh has an interesting post up entitled Media & Congress the Big Legal Point of the Gunwalker Scandal: It Was a Conspiracy to Illegally Export Weapons to a Foreign Country. Mike makes some excellent points, and an excellent case that high officials should be brought up on charges. Yet nobody is talking about such a thing.  Even Mexico, which has been injured in this debacle, has not brought any charges.


Oh, so that's why.  Go read the whole disgusting thing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jackbooted Thugs Step on People's Rights-People Say "Thankyou, can I have another"

Once again we read of innocent Americans being patted down and groped, their luggage gone through, and their rights violated in the American Thinker article of 20 June 2011 entitled TSA Now Storming Public Places 8.000 Times a Year, by Tara Servatius.

Americans must decide if, in the name of homeland security, they are willing to allow TSA operatives to storm public places in their communities with no warning, pat them down, and search their bags. And they better decide quickly.

Bus travelers were shocked when jackbooted TSA officers in black SWAT-style uniforms descended unannounced upon the Tampa Greyhound bus station in April with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and federal bureaucrats in tow.
I am always surprised at how readily people seem to buy into this kind of "security theater," and how quickly they are ready to give up their rights for the illusion of safety. Nobody wants to push back, since that will involve some discomfort and inconvenience.  Didn't anybody object to being groped at the bus station? The guy ABC news interviewed was a pretty articulate guy.  Do the views he expressed represent most of the people on the bus?  Is this really so noncontroversial that ABC felt no obligation to present the other side, and is it truly that difficult to find someone to speak for the other side? Was there no opposing view to show? Or was this an advertisement by the State controlled media for the latest installment in the "Resistance is Futile" show.

First of all, there was no basis for these agencies looking at either the passengers or their belongings, by their own admission. There was no claim of a credible threat, no Warrant to look at either the people or their belongings. So, the first thing we note is a gross violation of peoples' 4th Amendment rights to be secure in their persons and papers against unreasonable searches and seizures. Where are these jackbooted thugs going to show up next?  At a checkpoint on the highway?  At the local Wal Mart or shopping mall?  Perhaps at your house?  Will they have similar documentation, namely none?  Will their excuse be that they are doing random searches of all houses, to see if their is terrorist activity, or if you might be hoarding cash, gold, or silver to seize?  Will they perhaps take your computer to look through at their convenience?  And what "incentives" did the TSA offer Greyhound to allow them to come onto their property and perform this little spectacle? Was Greyhound blackmailed with the "Cooperate or we will make running your business very unprofitable" line?  Was that all it took for Greyhound to agree to the violation of its passengers' rights?

If you want to know what a police state looks like from the inside, look no further than the Tampa Greyhound bus station.  But don't believe for a moment that police states only exist elsewhere.  They are building a very solid one right here at home.

Update:  According to this, the Texas bill to limit the TSA groping, at least in Texas airports is back. Let us hope for some sanity, and a return to common sense. There is a principle in this country called equal justice. Do you remember it from school?  It was taught to us old farts in civics. Equal justice means that everyone is under the same laws. Because a person appears claiming "authority" does not give them special powers. Only you can give them the authority to abridge your natural rights.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Apology to the Curmudgeon Emeritus, and Fran Porretto: A Sunday Rumination

Francis Porretto, a writer whom I admire, and whose blog Eternity Road is on my regular reading list, wrote to say that I mischaracterized libertarians the other day in my post entitled Why I am a Constitutional Conservative.  He took some umbrage from that, and from several other things I wrote, or that the featured writer that day, Ann Coulter had written. Frankly, he was right to call me out on it.  I tried to respond to Mr. Porretto in comments, but Blogger kept sending me through a do loop that prevented me from posting. In short, I sent an e-mail. There followed a short exchange, but concluded with gracious reply at the Eternity Road website.

Now, I will admit that in answer to why limiting government is right, I did give a Christian response. There is great power in this particular argument. The Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights. If our Creator gave us our Rights, who indeed is anyone to take them away? Since the Declaration has stood now for 235 years without being successfully disputed, that makes the argument pretty solid.  Now, most libertarian thought that I am aware of starts on a similar premise, but makes the assertion that we each own ourselves. Either starting point eventually can yield the rightness of a limited government. Either assertion can be dismissed by those who wish to do so. But I admit that those who do not already believe will have less patience for the argument from religion.

I believe my friend, Francis, believes, as I do, in the fallibility of man.  But what of libertarian anarchists, and libertarian minarchists like Murray Rothbard?  At core, they must believe in the essential goodness of man, for how else are these philosophies supposed to work in the real world?  Then there are those who claim the title libertarian who believe that property and resources should be owned in common.  Frankly, I have no idea how that is derived from the premise that we each own ourselves, and I suspect the title libertarian is a false flag flying for Leftists pure and simple.  In many ways, the term has lost its meaning.  On the other hand, the word "conservative" has been abused and misused to the point where I am sometimes afraid to use it.  Conservatism grew out of the old Classical Liberal movement.  Conservatives wanted to conserve the gains made by the Revolution and the Constitution in human liberty.  Pretty unimaginative, these conservatives.  They were the guys standing athwart history and yelling "slow down, analyse the consequences both intended and unintended of what you are doing!"  But then there started to be fiscal conservatives (who were social liberals), and social conservatives (some of whom believed in big government programs), religious conservatives, neo-conservatives (communists who got mugged by reality and came in from the cold) and of course the ultimate betrayal, compassionate conservatives.  The KKK, skin heads, and neo-Nazis have been described as conservative, but actually are collectivists and belong on the Left.  Now everyone running for office as a Republican wants to call themselves a conservative.  The term has lost its meaning as well.

Fran, and you too Curmudgeon, I propose we call ourselves simply Constitutionalists. Oh, and yes, I have yet to find a point of disagreement between us.  Finally, I will try to do better the next time.

God bless and keep you,

Gunwalker: Why is nobody being charged with a crime?

Here's a real dumb question for you, but it goes to the heart of much of the current terror raining down on the American people by their own government: Why is any agency of any government allowed to break the law as part of law enforcement? I have been reading the "Gunwalker" scandal that has been finally in the news lately, after getting very little traction for months. David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh raised the alarm when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed, but could get no news agency interested. Finally, Codrea got one of the whistle blowers in touch with Senator Grassley's office, and a few news agencies began to take notice. Now GOA is calling for the ATF to be dismantled.  I agree with them.  The ATF has been charged with enforcing Unconstitutional laws.  Whether or not recognized by the courts, an Unconstitutional law is not valid (though of course you WILL go to jail for violating such a law, and rot in prison with the cold comfort of knowing you were right.)

The one thing that has struck me all along about this situation, and that nobody seems to be talking about is why we allow agents of our government to break our own laws? It is clear from the Issa hearings that ATF agents knowingly allowed an estimated 2000 guns to get into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels, when they could, and should, have stopped them. The AFT agents therefore chose to overlook violation of United States laws for which they were charged with upholding.  Doesn't that make them complicit in the violation of those laws?  Since the consequences were in some cases actual murders, then why are those agents, or their supervisors who ordered them to overlook these laws, not brought up on charges? If a someone gets killed in a bank robbery, the get-away driver who did not shoot anybody is still held accountable for murder, as if he had pulled the trigger himself. By that logic, the same should hold for these agents.

Now, before a bunch of Brady-bots get ready to blog about how hard a police officers job is, and how they need maximum latitude to perform it, don't worry.  No ATF agent is likely to be charge with anything, or even reprimanded.  Just as Lon Horiuchi was not charged with murder even though he did pull the trigger on an unarmed woman, just as the members of the SWAT team that killed Iraqi war veteran Jose Guerena was recently exonerated, just as...well, I could go on. The point is that time and time again we let police, prosecutors, law enforcement, and agents of the State off for doing things that you and I would be put in prison for doing.  So don't worry that some poor miscreant might be in danger here.  But we are not going to reign in our out of control government until the American people get good and "het up."

Editor's note "het" is the past tense of "heat".

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why I Am a Constitutional Conservative, and not a Libertarian

A commenter once asked me how I am not a libertarian, considering my many libertarian leanings. I suspect that in this commenter's mind is the notion that you have authoritarian figures on the right and left, but libertarians in the middle. So, it was with some interest that I read Ann Coulter's article this week entitled Get Rid of Government-But First Make Me President! I had to laugh at the title, but a little thinking about it seems to take all the merriment out of the laughter.  What Ms. Coulter is doing is making the argument for a small, defined government to oversee those duties that no other institution can practically fulfill.  It is why I am a Constitutional Conservative, and not a libertarian (much less a Libertarian.)  A conservative believes in the fallen nature of man.  No man can avoid sinning, though many are able to live good lives as we on earth define "good."  At the heart of libertarianism is an unspoke philosophy that men are essentially good.  If true, then there is no problem, but if it is not true, and human history tells us it is not, then we need to build checks and balances into government to make it as difficult as possible for someone to obtain concentrated power.

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with someone in which I explained my theory of government. Government started out among our earliest ancestors as the biggest, most ruthless and meanest thug saying to the other members of the tribe "If you pay me, I'll protect you from guys like me." It is no different than a mob protection racket, and things at heart haven't changed in the interim. The thug gets paid, alright, but his protection seems to be at his discretion whenever he decides to bestir himself. A Leftist "friend" immediately drew the wrong conclusion, and blurted "So, you want to get rid of government, huh" It was a statement.


The point I thought I was making is that because of this tendency of government to promise things it can not deliver, and to intervene where it does not belong, we should keep government small, and confined to those things for which there is no other solution.  In other words, write a Constitution that defines very rigidly the duties of each branch of government, then constantly force the people we hire to run it to stay within those bounds.  Everything else should be left up to other arrangements.  As mortal men (and women), prone to all the sins of men, we need to govern ourselves in some way.  We have tried kings, Pharaohs, sultans, emperors, and the like: the "strong man" theory.  The problem with these forms of government is that they were all composed of men (and women.)  The Left still believes in the idea of the "Right People," a theory that is little different from the "strong man" theory. To the Leftist mind, if they could just find the "right people," then their Utopian ideas would finally be executed as intended.  So, the human race has been treated to a gruesome spectacle of blood and gore caused by dictators of various stripes attempting to force people into a mold of their own dreaming.

Our Constitution was, and remains the first really new idea in governance to come along in history.  As brilliant as it was, however, it has been breached, quite on purpose, by both the Left and the Right in seeking more power over others.  It has become so distorted and so bloated with unnecessary programs that I suspect it could stand a great deal of chopping by Libertarians without doing much damage to the core ideas it embodied.  Cowardly people have failed to utilized the means provided by the Constitution itself to check the other branches of government.  The American people themselves have too often been off watching March Madness or American Idol, while things went awry under their noses.  What we need is to actually remove a president or two for overstepping his Constitutional authority.  That is the way the Constitution is designed to work.  Only two presidents have been impeached, and none has been removed.  If we did remove a president or two more frequently, we would not now find ourselves in this lawless state.  If everyone took his position in Congress seriously, more of them would also be removed.  But because people remain that are vain, venal, and power hungry, does not mean I am willing to abandon the idea of our Constitutional Republic.  While I partially support many libertarian ideas because they make a sense, I am still a conservative working for a restoration of our Constitution.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Meaning of Inerrancy

One of the shows I enjoy is a program called The Naked Archaeologist. The show presents topics on Biblical Archeology to a general audience. Many of the things presented in greater detail in the magazine Biblical Archeology Review show up on the show. Simcha Yacabovich is the documentarian and the host of the show. He presents some ideas that are strange, as well as archeology that supports various Biblical stories.

The Exodus is the central story of the Jewish people.  In it, God led his people out of slavery and into freedom.  Of course, slavery means more than just having to work for another without pay.  Slavery means you are not free either to do good or evil.  Slavery means you can not move, and must submit to whatever your master demands.  In short, God led his people out of darkness and into the light.  So, it is not surprising that many of the Naked Archaeologist programs deal with some aspect of the Exodus.  A couple days ago, one of these interesting programs dealt with the Tribe of Dan.

The Tribe of Dan was one of the 12 tribes of Israel that marched out of Egypt under Moses's leadership.  When God gave the order to build the Ark of the Covenant, the task was given to the Danites, as they were expert craftsmen of gold.  Dan settled in the North of the Promised Land, and there built a place of worship that the Judean's contended was not legitimate, or at least, that the Judean priests contended was not legitimate.  Recent archeology has uncovered the fact that there are a number of similarities between the Tribe of Dan, the Danoi of the island of Mycenae, and the "sea people," one group of whom were known as Danu.  Of interest is the gold trinket found in a grave on Mycenae that appears to depict the Ark of the Covenant as seen from the point of view of the Priests.  How would a Mycenaean have that knowledge?  Did some of the Danites not go with Moses, but went instead by sea?  All interesting questions.  Also of interest is a grave found in Israel that is exactly like those found on Mycenae, and unlike those typical of  Israel at the time.  In the grave were artifacts from both Israel and Mycenae.  They know this because the clay used in the Mycenaean pottery has been tested and it came from Mycenae.  Also suggestive is that fact that buildings with corbelled domes have been found both in Mycenae and in Danite excavations.  Excavations have revealed the high place where the Danites built a temple, and where sacrifices were offered to God.  In form it is very much like the one built by Solomon in Jerusalem, and it is possible to see how the temple functioned.

Intriguing no?  All very interesting, and I look forward to following this story as events unfold.

I mentioned that my church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) seems to style itself now days as a "social justice" church.  Of course the church says that if Jesus were here today, he would be the leader of the social justice movement.  But would he?  Did Jesus advocate the taking of what the wealthy had earned by the State and the State redistributing it to the poor?  Well, we have numerous stories where Jesus advocated helping the poor and the oppressed by voluntary acts of charity.  But not one in which he advocated that the wealthy should be taxed so that the poor could get even with them.  Indeed, didn't he advocate forgiveness?  Perhaps Progressives are reading a different Bible.  So, in my opinion, in addition to being a meaningless term, "social justice" is anti Biblical.  Paul does not speak of collective salvation, but the salvation of each individual, according to his own acceptance of Jesus as Lord.  Unlike the Islamic notion of God, who insists that every knee WILL bow to him, our God whispers in a small voice "If you want to have a relationship with me, I am here."  I do believe the church is following this path not out of malice as the Left does, but because it has been misled in most cases by high minded and noble language.  At least I hope so.  But the church is none the less losing its soul.  It is beginning to worship the creation, and not the creator.  As a result, I have begun looking for another congregation to join, in a different church body.

One of the church bodies I am looking at is the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, or LCMS.  The LCMS proudly posts its conservative bona fides on its web site, one of which is "The Bible is the inerrant word of God."  Can I confess to that?  You see, as an engineer, and one who takes an interest in such things, I "know" that God created the universe some 15 billion years ago, and our little planet came into being some 5 billion years ago.  At some point early on, God caused life to come forth, and eventually a man evolved who could appreciate the Great Work God had done.  But the Bible doesn't say that.  We know that the story of Noah was a myth, and while it may have some basis in fact, it happened thousands of years before the story of Noah takes place, and doesn't really flood the entire earth.  Similarly, while Sodom and Gomorrah (if that is the names of the places) did burn as a result of the explosion over Europe of a massive meteor, this event too occurred before the story written in the Bible, and we don't really know if Lot was there or not, and in all probability, his wife did not turn into a pillar of salt.  Finally, in one of the central stories of the Hebrews, the story of the Exodus, we find that Moses (whose name may not have been Moses, and who may represent several actual people) led a mixed host out of Egypt, part of which may have been a group of Mycenaean Greeks known as the Danoi.

Could it be that the Bible is wrong, and about details that seem important to the story?  Is the Bible indeed, inerrant?

The Bible is certainly not literally true, nor even the literal word of God.  God did not dictate the first five books of the Bible to Moses, and have him faithfully copy them down, no doubt doing a spell check along the way.  Indeed, Moses didn't write the books attributed to him.  For that matter, none of the Gospels were written by those to whom they were attributed either!  Then there are the stories themselves.  A great many of the stories told in Genesis are rehashing of older myths that were first written down in Sumerian cuneiform a thousand of years before the Bible was first written down.  So what goes on here?  Is the Bible just a collection of bedtime stories to put the children to sleep?  Sort of the Hansel and Gretel of their day, interesting, but useful only for showing us how far man has advanced?  Is the Bible a fraud?

Note, though, the subtle shift in language here.  I have equated inerrant and literal.  In a broad sense, they are similar words, but have subtly nuanced differences in meaning.

Literal implies that the work in question is factual in all details.  Take the age attributed to the Methuselah as an example.  The Bible states that Methuselah lived to the age of 969 years.  Literalists believe that Methuselah did indeed live to the age of 969 solar years.  But that seems, if not impossible, at least unlikely.  Some believe that the 969 years was misinterpreted, and that he actually lived to the age of 80 years, using months instead of solar years.  Still others believe that after the fall of man from grace, God steadily shortened mans life as the world became more and more filled with sin.  Of course, such a view would have us now living to perhaps only 20 years.  In the past, some literalists have taken the generations listed in the Bible and made calculations of the age of the earth from creation until now.  Of course, such calculations spawn counter calculations, and arguments over the age of the earth, as if the age of the earth was a matter of supreme importance to the God of creation.

Unlike literal and factual, inerrant implies fitness for a purpose.  The two terms are very close, but not entirely the same.  Let us say that I call up GM and say that my Cadillac Seville was designed in error.  I point out that it will not plow my field.  The tires bog down in the dirt, and the machine will not pull the plow.  A customer service representative at the company might point out that the Seville does indeed serve the purpose for which it was designed, but that purpose was not plowing.  What it does do, taking a person and his passengers from place to place in comfort and luxury, it does very well indeed.  The Seville then is not designed in error, but I have found it so because I tried to use it for something other than it was intended.

It is the same with the Bible.  The Bible has been billed as a book to solve specific problems in our everyday lives.  Just open the pages, and there you will find the solution to your problem today.  Such advise, well meaning as it might be, credits the Bible with both more and less than it actually delivers.  In effect, the Bible has become a stumbling block to the modern man searching for wisdom and salvation.  And pastors often don't help.  Very few discuss these things, although everyone of them knows this.  The Bible does indeed give meaning to our lives, and shows our place in the universe, but what meaning does it convey?  What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah and the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the age of Methuselah all have in common?  They show us who God is, and a loving God's grace.  I think that the age attributed to Methuselah was a way for the authors to indicate that Methuselah was a good man who found favor with God, and that therefore God granted him a long life.  If you read the Bible looking for grace in everything, you will find it.  That is the central fact, and nothing else matters.    

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Some Changes to Blog Roll

Please welcome Ann Barnhardt to the list.  Ms. Barnhardt brings brings a refreshing passion to the conservative cause.  Nobody has to ask Mr. Barnhardt to "tell us how you really feel."  She does that in spades.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Ugly Heart of the Left

I recently had a chat with the pastor of our congregation. He made the statement that our church, meaning the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was a "social justice" church. Now, "social" deals with the community. When costs are socialized, that means that they are spread throughout the community, usually in the form of taxes. "Justice" on the other hand is a very individual thing. Only individuals can sin, and only individuals can be judged. Can you imagine an entire community being charged with a crime and put in jail? Thus, social justice is a meaningless term which sounds very noble and high minded, but is actually used to shield a suite of Leftists notions from those who would force the Left to explain them.

Similarly, "sustainability" is such a code word. The article today in the American Thinker today entitled Sustainable Nonsense by Jeffrey Folks provides an good road map of where the Left wants to take us on this journey to "sustainable" energy.

When applied to energy, for example, sustainability has almost nothing to do with the ability of certain fuels to meet the nation's needs over an extended period of time. With the advent of hydraulic fracking, it is obvious to all, including experts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration, that America possesses enough reserves of natural gas to meet our energy needs for at least a century. Our reserves of coal are even greater. Yet neither of these fuels is deemed "truly clean" enough to be a sustainable fuel by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, nor by Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, judging from his words and actions.

In line with the environmental lobby, the Obama administration has the odd notion that sustainability can be brought about by restricting consumption alone. Driving a full-size Cadillac with a 4.6L V-8 engine, 208" frame, and a cargo capacity of almost 19 cubic feet leaves one with a respectable fuel efficiency of 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway. That must seem practically criminal, however, to the planet-saving fuel misers in the Obama EPA. A compact hybrid with a reported fuel economy of 51 mpg city, 48 highway may seem to some a better, more sustainable option. But why not a bicycle with no fuel consumption at all? Why not walk and avoid those harmful manufacturing practices necessary to produce a bicycle? Why not walk barefooted and avoid shoes? There is no limit to how far the left will go in stripping us of our liberties and reducing us to Gandhian poverty.
In the 1930s, before much of the South was electrified, and even after for quite a period, most poor farm families used wood stoves to cook their food, and wood or coal stoves to warm their homes. I am amazed that my grandmother was able to bake cakes and breads to perfection without knowing the temperature of the oven.  But, how does burning wood or for that matter, horse dung, fit in with the notion of "sustainability" since these fuels contribute to pollution and global warming?

The ultimate frontier, or "solution," is to legislate the removal of human beings from part or all of the earth's surface. More than a few environmentalist leaders, including our current national science and technology advisor John Holdren, have advocated the reduction of human population to what they consider a "sustainable" level. What the left intends in this regard varies from one policymaker to another (from current global population of nearly 7 billion to somewhere between two billion and a few hundred million, or even none), but in nearly every case the concept of a "sustainable" population involves reductions that cannot be achieved by voluntary means.
One thinks that the real problems of the Left are that they never learned the lessons taught in kindergarten. They never learned to share. Instead, they see the world being utilized by so many, and think how wonderful it would be for them if there were fewer people with whom to share the world's abundance. They are like spoiled children asking their parents why they had to have the other children, and not accepting the answer.  Of course, being adults, they are able to hide behind high minded notions, and noble sounding language, even from themselves.  But at the end of the day, deep in the core of their being, this is the ugly truth of the Left.

Meanwhile, the truth is becoming apparent to almost everyone who pays attention:

"Sustainability," like all pretentious verbiage, is not simply used to suggest a meaning that is not there -- it is also used to hide meanings that would be obvious if not obscured by an impenetrable abstraction. The reality that "sustainable" is meant to mask is simply this: that the earth possesses enough conventional energy resources to supply even an expanding global economy for decades if not centuries to come; that those resources may, over time, become more difficult to exploit, whether for geologic, political, or economic reasons; and that, in time, other sources of energy, some of them now unknown, will supplant fossil fuels, and that those sources will in turn be supplanted by yet other forms.