Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us remember and be thankful that God is in control.

This does not relieve us of our duty to do what we can. Noah built the ark but God closed the door. Noah cared for the animals during the months the ark was afloat but God kept the ark safe.

The months and years ahead may be challenging and heartbreaking but we may rest assured that God is guiding our course and that the battle, through His finished work on the cross is already won.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."Luke 2:11

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Immigration and Fairness

I was recently reading a post on Vanishing American's blog. One of the commenters said: "Also, the people on VA's site are against ALL immigration. We don't want refugees, legal immigrants, or illegal immigrants. Maybe some O-Visa people here and there, but that's it."

I had to stop and think about that. Am I someone who is against all immigration? Am I a racist or a xenophobic, spoiled, rich, American who wants not to have to share the blessings and advantages of living in this country, as was the implication in my reading of that comment?

I find that I must disagree. I do appreciate VA's intelligent observations on immigration and assimilation, but for myself, I am not against all immigration. I think and believe that every individual is inherently worthy of my consideration because we are all made in the image of God. I do not want to speak for VA or her commenters, which is why I am posting this on my own blog rather than as a reply on hers.

I think those who value and wish to preserve the history, heritage and ideals of America should be welcome. But why should I welcome someone, who is not willing to live those ideals in order to change their own country, into mine?

There is also the culture barrier. Someone who is used to having to pay bribes (for example) to get government assistance in a matter, will bring the assumption that bribes are necessary here. It will not even occur to them that it is not the case, or that it is a citizen's responsibility to expose anyone who would take bribes. This places a temptation before our law enforcement community, who, after all, are just people.

What about those for whom violence is a daily and familiar occurrence? Those who find it acceptable to kill a family member for honor are not likely to go out on a limb to uphold a legal system that does not allow such behavior.

Those who come here illegally plunge themselves and their children into a never-ending cycle of victimization and criminal activity. There is no way for them to participate as fully functioning members of a self-governed society.

That is why those individuals who suffer from political persecution have been welcomed in the past. Because they have made the attempt to change their system and suffered for it. We then have a reason to believe that they understand, or at least have the ability to understand the burdens of citizenship in a self governed country. Refugees and illegals have not shown this drive towards freedom, nor can we expect them to.

That is the danger brought by immigrants. That is how they destabilize our system. This is particularly relevant in light of the arrest of the governor of Illinois yesterday. As Americans, we know that law enforcement does not work in a vacuum. It works, only when citizens participate. It also requires that citizens risk persecution to assure that law enforcement is functioning as it should. Someone in Chicago is paying a price for turning that man in to law enforcement to protect the rest of us. The higher up the corruption goes, the higher the price that must be paid to restore the system. That's the sacrifice required of American citizens.

I think, that, in large part, is also why we hear so many people basing their arguments these days on the "fairness" of an action. It is because we, as Americans, have been conditioned from an early age to question authority and to want to make things "fair" for everyone. I think that the citizenship issues behind that urge to require "fairness" from the world in general have been lost over time.
I think, that for myself, I am going to start being very careful about using the word "fair" in reference to political issues. I think I am going to concentrate instead on the idea of doing what's right. Right and fair are not equivalent. I think there is a connotation of sacrifice in the phrase"doing what's right" that is completely missing from fair. In fact, it is not fair that an individual often has to suffer for doing the right thing.

Those who are simply being persecuted because that's how their system works or who just want a job that pays enough to support their family are not fit citizens for a country that relies upon it's citizenry for regulation. If folks want to come here, they need to take up the duties of an American citizen, not just the benefits.

Perhaps, if we, as a nation, cannot quell our suicidal tendencies to embrace destruction in this manner, refugees should be offered a place of safety for a limited time during which they are required to learn and exercise the responsibilities of citizenship here. Then send them back home to fix their own countries. I have no doubt that their countries of origin will cry "foul" and say it's not "fair" of us to interfere in their sovereignty in that way. Our response should be, no, it's not fair, but it is the right thing to do. If you cannot make your country a safe enough place for your people to want to stay there, then we will help your people to accomplish that goal. Even if the adults don't get it, I'll bet their children would and in 10-20 years, we would see fewer refugees.
"Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."~Exodus 20:21

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor Day

They say that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. On this day, let us remember the attacks upon our nation soberly and with thought towards the future.

"Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.
Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"

~ Psalm 107:21-31

Friday, November 28, 2008

Show Me the Birth Certificate

Yes, Mr. Obama, save us all some time, tax money, (Judges and lawyers are not cheap), and troubling rumors, show me, show America, your original, undoctored birth certificate.

But perhaps even more telling, show me your passport, you know, the one you used to visit Indonesia and Pakistan as a younger adult. Because, really, that's the more telling argument isn't it? I know that our system is skewed towards making an allowance for the mistakes of parents in the case of a child's citizenship status. If your passport shows you to be a citizen of Indonesia at that point in your life, then that would mean that you had renounced your American citizenship. By the laws of our nation, that's not something you can take back. I have no interest in any current passport which you may have obtained using the same document you posted on your web-site, but I have a great deal of interest in seeing the passport you used to travel in countries that were not allowing U.S. citizens to visit at that time.

So yes, by all means, produce your real birth certificate, but I'd like to see proof that you never renounced your American citizenship as an adult too.

"Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.
But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." ~Numbers 15:29-31

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Here it is, Thanksgiving already and I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful that God was willing to go to extraordinary lengths to assure my salvation. May I prove worthy of it.


It has been a challenging year. I am thankful for all the lessons of the past year. Every challenge has within it the opportunity for personal growth, no matter how painful it may be. Every joy should be treasured as it occurs.


I am thankful to live in a country and time that allows me to worship freely.


"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. " ~Col 3:17

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

My gratitude and thanks go out today for those who have and are serving my country in the armed forces. I am thankful for your voluntary service. Other countries may have larger armies, but we are stronger for your voluntary sacrifice.

" And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;
For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
...
And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart. "~Deut 20:3 and 8

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Power of The Press

I have been thinking for some time about the power of the press. "The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson But how may the power of the press be balanced when those controlling it begin to take it upon themselves to dictate the way information is presented to such an extent as to guarantee the outcome they favor? There are checks and balances on every branch of government, but what checks and balances are there on the press?

One can argue that the people must control the press by refusing to purchase (by viewing in the case of television) those products produced by press outlets who present biased reporting. That is unsatisfactory in my opinion, because when the media becomes as large and all encompassing as it has, there is no way for the people to find the objective truth in a timely enough manner to oppose the aims of those who have overarching control of what may be shown. That overarching control of what may be shown is also problematic. How does one even begin to present the truth(assuming one can find it) when the best outlets for the dissemination of that truth have total control over when, where and if it will be presented?

It may be argued that the internet will change all that, but the internet is already becoming a confusing morass of opinions where it is difficult to tell who is presenting the truth.

I think that those who are in control of granting interviews/coverage of newsworthy events such as presidential press conferences and etc. on a regular basis need to burden themselves further with the task of evaluating the coverage they get and then only inviting back those reporters/newspeople who present the most unbiased and factual reports.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qcjvdhV2Ok
This link will take you to a video: The Manipulative Aspect of Media (Francis Schaeffer)

"Our people, merely for want of intelligence which they may rely on, are become lethargic and insensible of the state they are in." --Thomas Jefferson

"Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day." --Thomas Jefferson

"The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood." --Thomas Jefferson


"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah." ~Psalm 60:4

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Price Is Right

When does the price become too high to do the right thing?

I have had a number of personal challenges in recent months, including the death of my father. Now before y'all send your condolences, he wasn't a particularly good father. He chose to move out-of-state to avoid paying child support. As I grew and developed and became a parent myself, I came to realize the tremendous negative impact of his actions on my life. Quite literally, everyone around me told me to "just let it go - forgive and move on" and other similar sentiments. The Bible, however, clearly instructs us to confront others when we have a grievance against them and work it out. So I did. We exchanged some angry words and, while I felt better for having done the right thing, I realized that he would probably never speak to me again.

I was wrong.

About a year later, he called me and apologized and asked for my forgiveness. I cannot adequately express how much this means to me now that he is dead. The price of doing the right thing in that instance seemed high, but I would do it again 100 times over to have the peace of mind provided by knowing that we had an honest relationship at the end because of it. My siblings do not.

Recently, I have paid a rather high price to do the right thing in another situation. Again, the advice I received (and am still receiving) from well meaning folks is to "let it go and move on", "It's not worth it", and other similar sentiments.

To repeat the question - When does the price become too high to do the right thing?

In my view, if it's my call, never. The right thing to do is the right thing to do, regardless of cost or sacrifice. Indeed, if we will not choose to sacrifice a little when the cause is relatively easy, then why should we be trusted to do the right thing when something more difficult arises?
People are very quick to judge those who have been granted a say in the larger issues of the day, but how many of us are standing up to do the right thing in the small issues in our lives?

If you realize that the waitress or store clerk just gave you too much change, the right thing to do is to return it, either in person or by mail no matter what the amount. If you mistakenly let out your neighbor's livestock, you round them up. If you take something that belongs to someone else by mistake, you return it. If you blame someone for something they didn't do, you apologize. If your friend does any of these things, you do all you can to encourage him/her to do the right thing for themselves. These are simple things, basic things.
The price is never too high to do the right thing.

"When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." ~Ezekiel 33:8-9

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trust isn't everything, it's the Only thing.

I have been rather forcibly reminded of the value of trust over the last few days. I have posted on this in a few other spots, but having had it reinforced recently, I felt perhaps this would be a good time to examine it

When you cannot trust someone, it becomes impossible to have a relationship of any sort with them. Could you trust a boss who only keeps their promise to pay you for your work occasionally? How about a leader who says they will support you if you have any difficulties and then refuses to do so when it counts? How many such occurrences need take place before someone is deemed untrustworthy? How many lies does one have to tell before one is considered to be a liar?"

One of the reasons I am posting on this today is that I saw Ingrid Mattson's appearance at the DNC on CNN or C-span(whichever one it is that I get). She was lecturing the DNC and America on the value of telling the truth. The value of being trustworthy. I found this to be particularly interesting because Ms. Mattson happens to be the current head of the Islamic Society of North America.

Ms. Mattson is a convert to Islam from Catholicism and she seems to spend a great deal of time trying to convince us that the real Islam is a loving, and kind religion being exploited by those who do not hold to it's "true" teachings. Ms. Mattson is asking me to believe that a woman who grew up in a Catholic home in Canada knows the "true" teachings better than those who grew up studying the Koran daily under the instruction of Islamic holy men (Otherwise known as those irresponsible terrorists who have hijacked the "true" religion for their own purposes) A book which is illegal under it's own laws to translate into another language because that might cause confusion among it's adherents. (Thus, every convert is expected to learn Arabic.)Perhaps she missed the bits about taqiyya. This is the practice of lying to protect yourself or advance your goals.

So, here we have this well spoken, Canadian woman who has converted to a religion which allows lying under a number of circumstances (there are more lies allowed than just under taqiyya) lecturing Americans about the importance of telling the truth at a major political party's convention. Every terrorist who has access to a television set that showed it must be laughing themselves silly just thinking about how stupid we are.

For the record, if someone believes that lying is acceptable to advance their cause, they are not trustworthy in any area of their life. Because you and I have no way of knowing what their cause is, we have no way to tell what they may lie about and therefore can trust them in nothing. Is there anyone who believes otherwise?

"16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. " ~Prov 6: 16-19

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I.O.U.S.A.

I attended the screening on Thursday of I.O.U.S.A. While it is not my intent to use this forum for movie reviews, this is something worth a post. I attended on the 21st because I particularly wanted to see the panel discussion afterwards.

The movie was a fairly straightforward look at the financial health of our nation with a historical context which I found helpful. (Oh, and catchy music too, of course, can't have a movie without catchy music.)They looked at where we are currently, where we have been and where they believe we are going if "something" isn't done now. They briefly presented the concept of financial war on an international level which I found interesting. They showed the home and talked about the expectations in life of an average Chinese (city dwelling, factory working)couple.

They pointed out our current challenges and the necessity for doing something quickly to avoid leaving a huge financial burden to our children and grandchildren.

They did not , however, present any real options for what people should do. By real options, I refer to things the average American can do today to address the situation.

The movie shows Americans buying bonds to support our efforts in WWII but does not explain how this was helpful to the country. They addressed this a little bit(it means our nation's debt is to the nation's people)in the panel discussion. The panel also briefly addressed the benefit of regular savings accounts to the economy(making funds available for lending) but noted that savings accounts are penalized by being taxed twice. (It's taxed when you make it and taxed again for any interest it makes.)

Then the panel discussion went on to exhort the American people to put pressure on our elected officials to vote for fiscally sound policies at all levels. Unfortunately they did not provide any way for the average American to discern, in these days of media spin, what such policies would look like.

This is an area that needs to be addressed. I have noted in other forums the disservice done to a people by media bias and it is no less crucial here. If one has no way to gather accurate and relatively unbiased information, it becomes nearly impossible to know what one should approve of as far as the upcoming votes of one's legislators. Where can I find reasonably unbiased information on current spending proposals before my legislators? How can I verify that such a source is reasonably unbiased?
Almost anything would be better than nothing, but where do I start?

Another solution raised by the panel, but not in the movie was raising the retirement age. The entire panel and most of the audience seemed supportive. Most people understand that Social Security was never intended to be a way of life. There was also a brief mention of forced savings. A mandatory savings account for every worker was mentioned as an option. (One assumes that this is because the government has no faith in the willingness of the next generation to take care of our elderly citizens. Is it a good idea to force people to save - whether you want to contribute or not? And if the government was untrustworthy with Social Security and are untrustworthy on fiscal issues now - another point of the panel discussion - why should we trust them to administer any of our money?) This kind of leads into my next area of concern about the movie's message...character issues.

There was an underlying assumption, throughout both the movie and the panel discussion, that the character of the people of this country is such that we need not question current and future generation's dedication and willingness to do the right thing even if it is difficult. I'm not so sure this is a valid assumption anymore and here's why:
  • The baby boomers came from a generation that went to church regularly and understood many of the qualities of good character without having them explained. It wasn't necessary, those qualities were demonstrated by their parents and neighbors. There was a well defined set of moral and behavioral standards that were generally accepted. That is no longer the case.
  • GenXer's, such as myself, were raised by those who were breaking out of those values sets because they found them to be too restrictive. We did not have the benefit of regular church attendance in many cases and were told that "if it feels good, do it" was the way things should be. That having standards was prudish and not relevant to our modern world.
  • For Generation Y, moral relativity is now the rule of the day. Nobody has the last word on what is right or wrong and so nothing really is. It's all about what works for you.
  • Today's youth are showing some signs of recovery from this plague of moral relativism, but by and large they believe that there will be no Social Security system for them when they reach retirement age. In their view, their parents and grandparents lived high on the hog and now want them to pay the bill. This is jarringly out of step with the character values the film is asking them to display. The attitude that we may reap as a nation may very well be one of "Those older people keep telling us how much better they were and are than us and look at what they've done to our generation. Why should we bail them out? "What's in it for me?" has become the question of the day for the Millenials.
  • Once again, we come to the remarks of the panel that the current leadership of our nation cannot be trusted to do the right thing,fiscally, because their focus has become getting re-elected rather than doing the job. How can we change that? It must be changed because otherwise our young people are correct in questioning the character of those who made the fiscal situation what it is.

I personally believe that our people young and old will come through, but I don't think it will be without consequences. I hope and believe that personal character will become an absolutely overriding factor in elections once again. I'm just not sure how we will get there from here and this movie doesn't provide more than a very tentative starting place.

There would probably have been more than 28 people in the theatre with me if they had advertised it as "doing for Congress what "Supersize Me" did for McDonald's" rather than comparing it to "An Inconvenient Truth".


"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. "

~Prov. 22:7

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Land of Nuts and Flakes strikes again

The state of California is getting ready to vote on this change to their state constitution:
"Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"

First a suit was filed to prevent this amendment from coming to the ballot. It failed. Now the Attorney General has changed the wording of this amendment to read:
"Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments."

It seems to me that the AG is just setting the state up so that the amendment can be challenged in court and thrown out, but I notice that he doesn't include the fiscal impact of that. He is playing with the people of California and wasting their money to boot. He obviously believes their morals are for sale to the highest bidder. How much more insulting does he have to be before the people of the state wake up and oust him?

Aside from the AG's shenanigans though, I have a problem with the whole idea of indicating that a marriage could occur between two people who are anything but a man and a woman.

Now, I know that some people will find this confusing, but please bear with me. I think that same sex couples cannot be married, because they cannot, by definition, perform the contract of marriage. One cannot make a legal contract to perform an action which one is physically unable to perform and neither can one make a contract not to perform that which one is unable to perform. As I understand it, it must be possible for the terms of a contract to be performed for the contract to be valid. Therefore, same sex couples cannot be married because marriage is a contract which in essence states that both partners will only perform those acts necessary for the creation of children with the other partner in the marriage. That any children they produce will be the children of themselves and the other party to the contract. It does not require the production of children, nor does it prohibit adoption. It simply states that all children produced within the marriage will be the children of the parties to the contract. Since same sex couples cannot produce children with their partner, they do not need, nor can they legally make, a contract that says they will only do so with said partner.

(Before Mr. Morris says so, yes I believe that a marriage is much more than that on a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level-but those things are hard to define and show evidence of in a courtroom, so for the sake of this post, I restrict myself.)

I think it is also questionable to encourage people to enter into agreements which prevent them from reproducing as a contract of marriage would for same sex couples.

While I recognize that there are moral benefits to being able to say one is married, those benefits are available to anyone who wants to get married. I would love to be able to say I'm a brain surgeon, but it wouldn't be the truth. If I wanted to, I could certainly do that which is necessary to earn that title. Changing the definition of brain surgeon so that it includes me would not give me the skills and knowledge of a brain surgeon. It would simply make it more difficult for people to know who is qualified to operate on brains. I can whine all I want about how brain surgeons have people's respect and that makes their lives better and why shouldn't I be able to do that too?, but that isn't a good enough reason to change the definition. And it's not a good enough reason to change the definition of marriage either.
Some may argue that there are legislative benefits to being married. Yes there are. Married people went through the legislative process to get them. If same sex couples want those benefits, they too are free to avail themselves of the legislative process.

It is a dangerous practice to legislate by redefinition. While I applaud the people of those states who have made the effort to legally define marriage in their states, I am appalled by the very idea that it should be necessary. Do we need to put the dictionary into legislation as well so that this sort of thing can be avoided in the future? Aren't we, as a people, better than that?

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
~Gen 2:24

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Has the American Experiment Failed?

I was at a family event about a week ago and a cousin said this to me: "Don't you think the American Experiment has failed?, we should just give up."
My immediate answer was "No, I think the tree of liberty just needs a little water and fertilizer." The conversation went on for a bit and then moved on to other things without any resolution to our differences on that topic.

I thought about that conversation on the trip home. This cousin had lived out of the country at one point, for his employment. Not too long after his return, he had commented to us that America is definitely the best place to live and that we don't really appreciate the lifestyle and freedom we have here.

Given his experience, I have to wonder about his willingness to throw in the towel. If he thinks the American experiment has failed, where would he rather live? If, as I suspect, he would prefer to live here, then shouldn't he be looking for things that he can do to help to revive the American experiment rather than lamenting it's loss?

Perhaps that's the view that conservatives need to embrace. We need to look at the alternatives to the United States. Then we need to renew our commitment to preserving what we have and making it better. We need to use that view of the alternatives to inspire one another to step up to those duties of citizenship which have been sadly neglected and shamefully disrespected.

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. "~Luke 17:10

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

(And my sincere apologies to all the fine fathers out there for not acknowledging Father's Day earlier in June as well.)

"When in the course of human events it becomes necessary..."

I think I would like to hear a complete reading of that fine document somewhere on the 4th. I very much doubt that I will have the opportunity. Perhaps I will take a copy with me and read it to my son and husband as we travel tomorrow.

May God continue to bless this nation and may those people of this nation who are currently in denial come to recognize His divine hand in it's creation and it's continued good fortune. May those who recognize it already continue to pray and humbly seek His face in the affairs of our nation.

Happy Independence Day!

"I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.
It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.
Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.
Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD."

~Psalm 144:9-15

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is Access To Water a Right?

Some folks want to have the access to clean water legally defined as a right. Is it a right?

If so, then shouldn't access to food be a right also? Is access to food a part of the right to life? My understanding has always been that those who want food need to work for it. Earn money to pay for it or plant and care for it or gather it yourself. Many people die of starvation everyday, yet no one is saying that access to food is a right. (Many people seem to think that health care should be a "right" too. So ... you should have the right to see a doctor for free, who will tell you that you are starving, but you would have no "right" to have access to food? But I digress.)

Is this wish to legislate access to clean water as a right merely a response to the fact that people die faster without water than they do without food? Or is water so essential and access to it so limited that access to it must be legislated to keep society working? Or is this just the latest in a long line of fear-mongering, control-of-the-populace scare tactics?

"And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. "~ Genesis 7:19

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior

From Federalist Papers #65

"THE remaining powers which the plan of the convention allots to the Senate, in a distinct capacity, are comprised in their participation with the executive in the appointment to offices, and in their judicial character as a court for the trial of impeachments. As in the business of appointments the executive will be the principal agent, the provisions relating to it will most properly be discussed in the examination of that department. We will, therefore, conclude this head with a view of the judicial character of the Senate.
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
The delicacy and magnitude of a trust which so deeply concerns the political reputation and existence of every man engaged in the administration of public affairs, speak for themselves. The difficulty of placing it rightly, in a government resting entirely on the basis of periodical elections, will as readily be perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account, can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.
The convention, it appears, thought the Senate the most fit depositary of this important trust. Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it.
What, it may be asked, is the true spirit of the institution itself? Is it not designed as a method of NATIONAL INQUEST into the conduct of public men? If this be the design of it, who can so properly be the inquisitors for the nation as the representatives of the nation themselves? It is not disputed that the power of originating the inquiry, or, in other words, of preferring the impeachment, ought to be lodged in the hands of one branch of the legislative body. Will not the reasons which indicate the propriety of this arrangement strongly plead for an admission of the other branch of that body to a share of the inquiry? The model from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed, pointed out that course to the convention. In Great Britain it is the province of the House of Commons to prefer the impeachment, and of the House of Lords to decide upon it. Several of the State constitutions have followed the example. As well the latter, as the former, seem to have regarded the practice of impeachments as a bridle in the hands of the legislative body upon the executive servants of the government. Is not this the true light in which it ought to be regarded?
Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified." ~Alexander Hamilton

Recent rulings from Califonia, and the United States Supreme Court , among others, have inspired me to post this for the perusal of all who may be interested. Here is a link to find your senator.


"And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him."
~Deuteronomy 1:16

Friday, May 16, 2008

Not Allowed?

In an interview that has been much quoted of late, Barack Obama said " “Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states, I think, one left to go... Alaska and Hawaii I was not allowed to go to.”
Now, aside from the gaffe about the number of states, which could realistically be a reference to the number of states he has visited during the campaign, (with more than one visit to certain states), rather than a mis-statement of the number of states that there are, this statement contains within it a fine reason not to vote for Mr. Obama.

"I was not allowed to go to. " Think about that. (Aside from the obvious grammatical error.) What position is he running for? The leader of the United States of America. Yet, he allowed his staff to dictate to him whether or not he would campaign in certain states? Who really made that choice? Who has the bottom line in his campaign plan? If he won't accept responsibility for the decision of what states to visit during HIS campaign, what can we expect from him if he gets the office? Who will be telling him what he is allowed to do there?

I understand that, in the past, candidates have considered it too inefficient and expensive to visit Alaska and Hawaii during their campaigns. That is a reasonable demonstration of fiscal restraint and the efficient use of one's resources. This, however has been a year of record breaking campaign fund-raising with Mr. Obama at the top of that heap. If any candidate had the cash to spend on visiting those remote states, it should be him. Even if he didn't favor a trip to Alaska, one might think he would wish to garner the home state sentiments of his birthplace, Hawaii. But he was "not allowed to go".

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." ~ Psalm 119:105

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD's name is to be praised.
The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high,
Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD." ~Psalm 113

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lack of Leadership or Lack of Practice?

I read a post a while back (Feb. 23rd - titled "Loyalty and leadership") at Vanishing American on leadership and the lack of it in our country. I'm thinking through something here, so please bear with me.

It seems to me that entitlement programs remove the necessity for individual displays of leadership. As a volunteer who teaches leadership I know that leadership is a skill. It can be developed, through training and practice. One of the biggest hurdles is finding an occasion that makes an individual motivated enough to step up to the plate and "do something". That's what almost all of the training is about - providing small opportunities to practice leadership so that when large ones come along, an individual is able to do something with them.

When a government or other entity, takes over those situations in which such a decision would ordinarily take place, then the individual is denied the opportunity to practice leadership. (Along with compassion, planning and the logical thought towards what sort of help would truly engender the best possible outcome that goes along with it.) Not only is the individual denied the opportunity to practice leadership but all those around that individual lose the opportunity to witness it and learn from the demonstration.

It is one thing to be motivated to help out those less fortunate than oneself. It is another to have a government that does it so that you don't have to. The first one is empowering. It lets you know that you make a difference. It allows you to practice those skills that make a leader. The second one is passive and tears down that sense of personal responsibility and spirit of self government that desperately needs building up in our society today.

What is this teaching our children? The opportunities to practice real leadership in the classroom are few and far between. Children used to wander around and make up their own games. How many do that now? How many children actually get an opportunity to be leaders in organized sports? Do they plan the trips? Do they set the lineup of who will play and know the reasoning behind that lineup? Organized team sports are wonderful for encouraging fitness and teaching sportsmanship, but they don't teach leadership except to a few. If we want good leaders, we must provide opportunity and training for our children to become those leaders. We must seek out organzations that are actively teaching it. (See "Where Have All the Adults Gone?" below)

"For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
"~Gen 18:19

Friday, May 2, 2008

Who is doing the wrong thing here?

I had the opportunity the other day to attend a lunch meeting with a representative of AmeriCorps. They are looking for ways to help (legal) immigrants assimilate into the culture here in Northeastern Wisconsin. This meeting was focusing on the Hispanic population and I learned a good deal. Much of it was very positive and dealt with helping people learn to plan for their futures and encouraging their children to aim for college and beyond.

Some of the knowledge was not so welcome. One of the other attendees was a high school teacher for a rural school. She was clearly fully integrated into the "these poor illegals are all victims of our cruel and oppressive system" mode, so I won't go into most of what she said. The part that struck me was relating to the future of the children of illegals. She was incensed that there were no programs for them to get social security numbers. She said these children often don't see any point in graduating from high school or going on to college because without social security numbers they can't get jobs and they can't attend college. (At least not most colleges) Now in my mind, the mind of the presenter and her mind this was linked to the growing gang problems we have been seeing. (Legally unemployable youth who are already criminals by their mere presence here turning to lives of crime? Say it isn't so.)

In her mind, and I suspect the minds of most liberals, this is a great reason to extend amnesty to these children, if not their parents. To my mind, it's a great reason to send them back to their country of origin. Like it or not, actions have consequences. One of the consequences of entering this country illegally is that your children will have no future other than a life of crime. I am not the bad guy for making these children into criminals. Their parents chose to put them in this situation, not me. They are criminals by living here with their parents, and they have nothing to look forward to here but becoming more deeply involved with criminal elements by staying here. By not sending illegals back to their own countries,(and I believe those countries of origin should pay us for their transport, lodging and food on the way), we are forcing these children into a life of crime.

Many of these children are bright and intelligent and deserve better. Think of the impact they could have on their own countries. Having lived here and experienced the values that lead to success, what couldn't they be inspired to do to make their own countries better? We don't have the right to keep them here and force them into a life of crime and neither do their parents. They should be taken back to their own countries. Maybe some of you think that makes me cruel and heartless. I don't. I think adversity builds character and these children will have what it takes to rise above their humble beginnings and make a difference for their own countries, if they get what they need from us. Namely a ticket home.

To those who believe they should be allowed to stay and get a social security number, put your money where your mouth is and sponsor them for legal citizenship. But don't ask me to approve of any plan that strings them along with promises of amnesty at some nebulous time in the future while they are dragged deeper into criminal activity, held hostage by their illegal status. Don't ask me to approve carte blanche citizenship for people who are providing fertile ground (their children) for gang related and other criminal activities by their willingness to put personal profit above personal responsibility. And please, don't tell me I should be helping people who would put their children into such a situation either. This is not making a better life for your family, it is plunging your family into a pit from which they may never climb out.

I believe that if you want to come here and work your tail off to send money home, then your first priority should be to make enough money to get yourself here legally, as a citizen. This is the country that is giving you the opportunity to help your relatives back in the old country. This is the country that is providing you with such freedom. If you are unwilling to work to make your own country into a place that gives you such opportunities, then don't expect me to welcome you with open arms unless you want to become a responsible, contributing, citizen here.

"It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." ~ Luke 17:2

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Where Have All the Adults Gone?

This is what I find myself asking these days. I volunteer with youth and families and it seems to me that fewer and fewer parents are acting like adults. Decisions about where and how their children should spend time seem to be too difficult for a number of them. I'll grant you, that as the former latch key kid of a single mother myself, I made most of my time decisions (or had them made for me by our financial circumstances) but Mom always had the last say on whether or not something was acceptable. (She may not have been able to enforce it while she was at work, but there were consequences if we deviated. We also all went through Scouts-it was non-negotiable and she became a leader to show us how important those values were to her.)

Nowadays, I hear a lot of parents commenting that they let their child make all the decisions about how to spend their "free" time.
These comments often sound something like this: " Well, he wants to do all these things, but I told him he had to choose three." There is never any mention made of the suitability of those choices to the talents and abilities of the child, nor the long term effects of that activity on the child's life. It all seems to be based on what the child wants to do or thinks is fun.

Lest you get the wrong idea, I am not against allowing a child to have a preference, or pursue a hobby or interest. I do, however think it is the parent's job to make sure at least 2 of those 3 or 4 activities are going to help the child develop values, habits, talents and skills that will positively impact the rest of their lives.

This is prime time as far as ability to learn goes. Simply throwing away the opportunity to use an activity that could instill values and character that will enhance your child's life because "he didn't want to" doesn't make sense. You make them eat their vegetables even though they don't want to. Why is this different?

Here's an example: My own son asked for piano lessons when he was 6. I thought, okay, we'll see where this goes and if he has a talent for it. (He was already in Scouts for character building-my choice, not his.) His teacher said he was a fast learner and had some talent. When he was 8, he came to me and said he didn't really want to take lessons anymore, because he wanted a break and wasn't sure he wanted to keep playing. I said "Too bad - I already signed you up for summer lessons. If I think that it's too stressful for you after a year, we'll discuss it again." He had demonstrated interest and talent and had invested 2 years of his time in learning this skill. I thought throwing that away because he "wanted a break" was a bad idea. That is an appropriate decision for me to make as his parent. If he had shown signs of stress or fought me over it in a consistent manner over the next year, I might have allowed him to stop. But his waning interest had been just a blip and he got over it and went on.

He is now a teenager who teaches piano lessons to others. He is making a steady income from this talent and his invested time. (He is also still in Scouts and has had some absolutely awesome experiences through that program.)

My point is that children do not have the experience or knowledge to make appropriate decisions about what activities are going to serve them best over their lifetimes. It is a parent's duty to guide and shape their child through those activities into solid, responsible citizens. Too many parents today refuse to take that duty to heart, preferring instead to be the "cool" parent who lets their child do what he/she wants.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Introduction

Hello,
I know some of you may have found this page through the AFB.

Welcome.

I'm making this blog mostly because I'm feeling grouchy at the moment. I am feeling very much like the fellow who said "Sometimes I think the whole world is crazy except you and me ... and sometimes I wonder about you."

I am finding the world a terribly lonely place for anyone who wants to get things done properly and so, the title of this blog. I don't know if one person can make a difference, but I do know that doing the right thing isn't about polls or consensus. It's about taking the personal responsibility to find out what the right thing is and to do it regardless of whether or not it generates approval from others.

I welcome polite comments. I will delete profanity or personal attacks or anything I regard as a personal attack, so please bear that in mind if you choose to comment. (Always assuming there is something worthy of comment - there may not be.)

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." ~ Isaiah 40:31