Sunday, April 20, 2014

What If McCain Had Won?

Like most Americans I greatly admire Senator McCain personally.  However, I have not been a big supporter of many of his political views and moves.  Nevertheless, though, the thought struck me: what if he had won in 2008 instead of Obama?

For one thing, the TARP bailout, which rescued the financial system that was crashing, would still have gone through, because it was approved by President Bush in October, 2008.  President Obama likes to take credit for it, but it was in place before he became president.  The Stimulus bill, which is considered an enormously expensive failure, (the shovel-ready jobs did not exist according to Obama himself) would not have happened.  There probably would have been some sort of stimulus, but not one aimed at saving government jobs.

First – Iraq and the Middle East.

There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the whole course of events in the Middle East would have been different because McCain would have left a large force of combat troops as a peace-keeping force in Iraq.  This would have saved Iraq from all the terrorism and bloodshed it has experienced, and would have had a calming influence in Syria, Egypt and Libya.

Second – Israel and Iran.

Obama has made little attempt to disguise his hatred for Israel, and this has had a profound effect not only on our relations with Israel, but on any joint venture to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  McCain would also have responded with encouragement and active support when Iranians took to the streets demanding freedom.  If you recall, Obama was silent, and a defining moment was lost to history.

Third – Obamacare.

There would not be a program called Obamacare to destroy the American healthcare and Medicare systems if McCain had won.  This program was sneaked through the Senate without a single Republican vote, and most of its enrollees are people who lost their previous healthcare insurance due to Obamacare regulations.  I hope the irony of this has not been lost on the voters – particularly since the government- mandated insurance plans are abysmal compared to the plans that were cancelled.

Fourth – Russia.

Does anyone doubt that McCain would have honored Bush’s program to place missile-defense shields in the Czech Republic and in Poland?  Does anyone think that Putin would have invaded the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine if the shields and the troops to guard them had been in place?

Fifth – the economy.

The so-called recovery from recession has been the weakest in recent history, with hundreds of thousands of new regulations and Obamacare requirements and uncertainties, unfathomable executive decisions (i.e. the attempt to stop Boeing  from building a new plant and the sabotaging of the Keystone pipeline) holding down business growth and hiring – especially small business where most new growth occurs.  None of this would have happened had McCain been elected.

There is much grist for the mill.  I have not even mentioned serious scandals like: unconstitutional acts, Fast and Furious, IRS harassment and persecution, Benghazi, Solyndra, treatment of Chrysler bondholders, racial mongering, class warfare, etc. etc. etc.

President Obama is the most dangerous man ever to appear in national politics.  I only hope for the sake of my grandchildren that most of his plans and policies can be reversed once we are rid of him.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Making Sense of it All Part II

In an earlier blog post, I explained my personal belief that there certainly is a God, but that He does not really note “the passing of every sparrow”.  There is a colossal plan being carried out and in a time frame that are both beyond our conception, but the notion that God responds to our pleas for help does not seem to be true.

Where does Jesus fit in?  We know His existence is not a myth because the historical Jesus has been well-documented by archeologists and historians, as have His disciples.  We also know that something stupendous and awe-inspiring certainly took place shortly after his death that instantly changed those disciples from a forlorn group of terrified souls to valiant men of courage willing to face certain, cruel deaths in order to spread the Good News.

Nowadays, men and women clergy mostly do good works, but that was not always true.  Unfortunately, from ancient times until the industrial age, about the only way an ordinary person could advance his situation was by force of arms or by convincing others of his holiness or his magical powers.   Remember that, as a general rule, until the turn of the 20th century, only priests, generals and persons of royalty lived well.  Virtually everyone else lived short lives of extreme poverty, misery and desperation.  The easiest route to wealth and power was to become a priest.  

Because this is man’s history, and because we know that before the invention of the printing press, the book we know as the Bible was written in ancient languages and was reproduced by groups of monks copying it by hand as it was read aloud to them.  Who knows what copying mistakes were made and what the original text actually said?

This is why I long ago made two major decisions: a. that I could not participate in any religion that was based on one or a few particular passages found in the Bible, and b. that there were two main messages that unquestionably could be found there over and over again – 1. we have been placed here to praise God and to love and help each other, and 2. there is hope for something beyond death.  It is also apparent that to some extent, 2 depends on how we deal with 1.

Some time ago I was discussing with my dentist the subject of reducing plaque.  I asked him if it was really helpful to use mouthwash advertised as a plaque reducer.  His response was, “can’t hurt”.  Even if you find it hard to believe, you should live your life as if you do.  Remember what the dentist said.


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

The World’s Bravest Woman

I can’t say this any better than the The Daily Beast did:

Why is Brandeis University giving in to the growing hordes who believe they have a right to not be offended?

It is difficult to conceive of a braver woman alive today than Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Born in Somalia, she was subjected to genital mutilation—a practice commonly inflicted on young girls in Muslim communities—at the age of 5. Fleeing a forced marriage, Hirsi Ali eventually made her way to the Netherlands, where she became a member of parliament, defender of women’s rights, and an outspoken (and, at times, unduly harsh) critic of the religion in whose name she was violently subjugated. When a Muslim fanatic murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, with whom Hirsi Ali had collaborated on a short film about the oppression of women under Islam, the killer left a note on his victim’s chest warning Hirsi Ali that she would be next.

Hirsi Ali now lives in America, under 24-hour protection. She is a bestselling author, a frequent presence in international media, and a heroic example to women around the world.

But for the mandarins of Brandeis University, Hirsi Ali’s views are unacceptable.

Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis

We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking.

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali April 10, 2014 Wall St Journal

On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being "Islamophobic." Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.

I read an article recently that said many adults don't remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as "9/11."

You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.

Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.

Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.

Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.

Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women's basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.

Editorial Note:  Why do liberals spout off all the time about women's rights, and yet not care about what Muslims do to their women?


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Making Sense of it All Part I

My view of history makes it impossible for me to believe in an all-loving God who “notes the passing of every sparrow”, but, on the other hand, my knowledge of statistics and my educated-laymen’s view of science also does not permit me to dismiss the existence of a supreme intelligence or God-creature.

For instance, how could an all-loving God allow leftists in the USSR, Nazi Germany or in China to commit, on a monumental scale, mass-murder of their fellow citizens in order to further some ideology?  This is exactly what happened to many millions of people in those and in other countries temporarily ruled by those who recognized no constraints.  Obviously, I don’t buy the ‘free-will’ argument.

As an aside, those who object to my singling out leftist movements for disdain should remember the scale of things.  For example, history tells us that during the entire Spanish Inquisition, fewer people were killed than that accomplished by a few radical Muslims on 9/11/01.

We live in a finely-balanced universe.  Many physicists have noted that the slightest difference or change in many forces and relationships would long-ago have blown our world into smithereens, and that our universe seems designed to support our planet and life.  This point of view has become so widespread that some atheists have invented (out of whole cloth) the notion of the ‘multiverse’ to explain it away.  (The multiverse would have an infinite number of universes so that a perfect one like ours could be explained as happening by accident – just as they explain the origin and development of life as accidents.)

When you also contemplate the statistical probability of life occurring accidentally out of the brew of primeval earth, you also realize that it was an impossibility, just as scientists like Dr. Behe have proven to my satisfaction that major changes in life forms could not have happened through macro-evolutionary accidents.  Evolution is limited to minor changes such as birds’ beaks evolving over generations to best deal with available food sources.  Darwin did not have the use of an electron microscope to guide him in his research, and was not able to see the incredibly-complex world of the living cell.

Where does this leave me?  It leaves me with the humble opinion that I will never know the mind of God, but that He is there, somewhere.  My guess is that He operates in a time frame beyond my conceptual ability, and that He makes slight adjustments from time to time as He proceeds with His grand plan.  Unfortunately I also believe that praying to Him may do the prayer some good, but nothing more.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Another Liberal Wakes Up

With Lois Lerner and the IRS busily carrying out President Obama’s campaign to stifle all criticism of his leftist policies, and to target with harassment and criminal investigations all those who criticize (examples – Dinesh D’Souza, Dr. Carson), it was a little refreshing to read this article by Kirsten Powers, who serves as one of the Fox News token liberals.

Kirsten Powers: Liberals' mob rule

Kirsten Powers April 8, 2014 USA Today

Kickstarter's attempt to censor film about convicted abortion doctor is another example.

Last week brought a chilling reminder of how mercilessly some liberals will work to silence and marginalize people who hold views with which they disagree.

Even for those of us who support same-sex marriage, the virtual manhunt of Mozilla chief Brendan Eich was scary to watch. His heresy was a private donation in support of an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago. Mob rule enforcing groupthink is as illiberal as it gets, and yet it was liberals demanding uniformity of thought — or else.

Another incident of muzzling those without the proper worldview received less attention. Kickstarter, the nation's biggest crowd-funding site,refused to accept a film about convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell unless descriptions of his crimes were removed.

After producers Phelim McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, complained publicly, embarrassed Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler claimed on Twitter that the allegation was false. Strickler released an e-mail accepting the Gosnell film, but failed to mention that it was accepted only after the filmmakers withdrew in frustration. The producers released e-mails from Kickstarter demanding that references to stabbing babies and "similar language" be removed. The "acceptance letter" came March 28, the day after the producers withdrew their proposal.

Kickstarter explained its reasoning for blocking the movie by writing, "We understand your convictions … however … our Community Guidelines outline that we encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration, and we ask that that language specifically be modified."

Somehow, making a movie recounting the crimes of a convicted abortion doctor is disrespectful and inconsiderate. Kickstarter would only speak off the record, but its explanations were dissembling and contradictory. That might be because Kickstarter's standards aren't exactly rigorously enforced. An album titled Incest is the Highest Form of Flattery was fine. The movie Die Sluts Die telling "the story of ... sex crazed friends ... murdered in unusual and creative ways," ditto.

What type of movie on late-term abortion do our meddling gatekeepers want? Kickstarter accepted After Tiller, a hagiography of the abortionists who took over when Wichita doctor George Tiller was murdered. The film presumably doesn't belabor the process of late-term abortion, where babies are often stabbed in the neck with scissors and the contents of their skulls suctioned out. One wouldn't want to violate Kickstarter's culture of respect and consideration. Or provide factual information.

Kickstarter, like too much of the news media, wants only one version of the late-term abortion story told. If Gosnell hadn't killed the babies outside the mothers' body and instead kept them inside as is standard procedure for the After Tiller docs, he would not have been charged with murder. He'd be the hero in a film Kickstarter would happily fund.



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Monday, April 07, 2014

Dr. Carson and the IRS

Dr. Carson, “We live in a Gestapo age”.

It’s nothing new that the extreme left-wing tries to harass, intimidate and even destroy anyone who opposes them by speaking out.  It has happened in every communist and socialist government that rose up and then failed.  What’s new is that we now have a president who uses the tools and agencies of government to stifle dissent, and by his own actions and statements, encourages others to do whatever they have to – to eliminate politically incorrect speech.

The latest example of this was the successful effort of the left to force the resignation of Mozilla’s CEO because he made a donation in 2008 in support of traditional marriage.

Using the IRS for political oppression


Last February, the National Prayer Breakfast invited the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Ben Carson, to speak.

The master of ceremonies said Carson was invited to speak for three reasons: 1. “He loves Jesus.” 2. “He has a compelling life story.” 3. “He is a distinguished man of science and healing.”

He added: “We hope he can help us sort some things out.”

Brother, Dr. Carson did just that, but probably not the way anyone anticipated — especially the president of the United States, who sat at the head table.

Dr. Carson that day delivered a stem-winder, a faith-based speech that, while not what I’d call a head-on partisan address, amounted to a principled rebuttal of President Barack Obama’s policies. It was, no doubt, an uncomfortable 27 minutes for the president.

Carson’s commentary was delivered in an affable style. A black man raised in abject poverty who become a learned man of science, he blistered the paint off how America is devolving into a state of intolerance, welfare, educational slavery and fiscal irresponsibility.

He started innocently enough, with a joke about a successful businessman who always struggled to find gifts for his mother on Mother’s Day.

Finally, he found a pair of exotic birds trained to talk and dance. He had them delivered.

He called to ask her how she liked the birds.

She said: “They was good.”

“Oh no, tell me you didn’t eat those birds,” he said. “They could talk and dance, and they cost $5,000 apiece.”

To which his mother replied: “Well, they should have said somethin’.”

That launched Carson into a string of observations on the principles of free speech.

In today’s America, the politically correct speech police are out in force, he said.

“PC is dangerous,” Dr. Carson told President Obama and the National Prayer Breakfast crowd that morning. “Because, you see, one of the founding principles is freedom of thought and freedom of expression. And, it muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them. And at the same time keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of this society is being changed. And we cannot fall for that trick. And what we need to do is start talking about things. Talking about things that are important.”

At the conclusion of the speech, Carson became a national story. Liberal writers raised an eyebrow at what they perceived to be an ill-timed dressing-down of the president. Conservatives, meanwhile, called his message refreshing, a message the country needed to hear.

No one can say whether the president really heard Dr. Carson’s message. But someone in government did, because in June, guess who visited Dr. Carson? The Internal Revenue Service. Carson had never been audited before his speech. Suddenly the tax agency was looking at his real estate holdings.

“I’ve been quite, I would say, astonished at the level of hostility that I have encountered,” Carson said.

“The IRS has investigated me. They said, ‘I want to look at your real estate holdings.’ There was nothing there. ‘Well, let’s expand to an entire [year], everything.’ There was nothing there. ‘Let’s do another year.’ Finally, after a few months, they went away. But they’ve come after my family, they’ve come after my friends, they’ve come after associates.”

And Dr. Carson isn’t the only conservative American under strangely timed IRS scrutiny.

Dr. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, wrote a letter to the president accusing the IRS of unfairly targeting his nonprofit groups.

Christine O’Donnell, the former tea party U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware, says she was audited and that some of her personal tax information was breached.

Former Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden ran against Harry Reid in 2010. She lost in the Republican primary — and then found herself visited by the IRS.

Even as I was in the process of writing this, a friend forwarded me an email from a man in North Carolina who says that he and his cousin hosted an event for Mitt Romney, and soon thereafter found themselves scrutinized by the IRS.

All of this is anecdotal, of course. But it is beginning to add up, and at a certain point, men and women of good will in both parties must wake up and pay attention to these red flags.

It’s either an unbelievable string of coincidences or our government is, in fact, using the color of law to silence political enemies.

Two things lead me to suspect the latter.

First, Dr. Carson’s story rings true. The timing is so direct, the cause to investigate so suspicious.

Second, in a recent interview with Fox News, President Obama was asked about the allegations that the IRS targeted tea party groups for scrutiny regarding their applications for tax-exempt status.

The investigation is ongoing. From what is known publicly, there is zero doubt that conservative groups were targeted. The only question is how far up the political ladder it went. To compound things, the Justice Department assigned to the case an investigator who just happens to be a big fan of the president. She’s a maxed-out political contributor to President Obama’s campaign.

That in itself is unwise and outrageous. But the point at hand is that the investigation is not complete.

Yet the president tells Fox News that there is not a “smidgen” of evidence of wrongdoing.

How can he know that, unless he has some unholy control over the probe? And how then does he explain his own IRS supervisor taking the Fifth before a congressional hearing?

If there is no “smidgen” of wrongdoing, no one would need to exercise their right against self-incrimination, correct?

It doesn’t add up.

The IRS, of course, isn’t saying a thing about all this.

Let us not forget that these IRS suspicions do not come out of nowhere.

The inspector general issued a report in May that said the IRS “used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status.” Yet the president says there’s not a “smidgen” of evidence. And a few Democrats in Congress want an investigation of the inspector general, not the IRS. Can we get any more like the book “1984”?

Carson likens his treatment to the Gestapo. And it may be.

But one thing is for certain: Something’s going on.

And if you don’t want to be cooked and eaten, you better say somethin’.


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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Escape From New York

The irony of the advertising campaign that Gov. Cuomo and the state of New York has chosen to overcome its anti-capitalism history has not been lost on me.  When Cuomo appeals to businessmen to come to the low-tax and business-friendly state of New York I roll on the floor with laughter.

God save us and our wonderful country from the kind of people described below:

Escape from New York - with a twist

By Andrew Thomas  February 21, 2014  AmericanThinker

Let me tell you the true story of a married couple whom I will refer to as Donna and Frank, as they must remain anonymous.  Let's just say that I know them well.  Donna is in her early 30's, and Frank is in his early 40's.

Donna and Frank have lived in various areas of Brooklyn NY for the past five years.  Their last apartment was a one-room concrete "cave" on the fifth floor of a converted warehouse.  It had very little lighting, with two windows that looked out at a bleak, aging wall of neighboring apartment windows.  It had no individual temperature control, so the apartment was stifling hot most of the time.  The elevator continually reeked of urine.

Next to the front entrance of the building, an elevated section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway provided a constant deafening cacophony of diesel engines and honking truck and auto horns.  A depressing amount of garbage covered the sidewalks along Park Avenue and underneath the expressway.  Donna would often walk her dog to a small park several blocks away, where she would be greeted by a group of men who made their homes under picnic tables and park benches lined with discarded cardboard and Styrofoam.

Donna never told me how much she paid for rent, but I would guess that it was in the $2500-$3000 per month range.  She said that they were very lucky to have found such a good apartment in a desirable area of the city.

She made a six-figure salary, which provided them a nearly paycheck-to-paycheck existence.  A long bus ride and two subway changes were required to get to her job in midtown-Manhattan. 

Frank recently got his Master's degree in education.  It took him over a year to finally get his NY teaching certification, as his application kept getting lost in the morass of state government bureaucracy.  After two years of trying, he found it impossible to get a teaching job in NYC because of his race and gender (Caucasian male), and the priority given to previously laid-off teachers (which are legion).  Because of his low priority status, he was unable even to obtain an unpaid intern position.  His status as an honorably discharged veteran was of no use.

They considered starting a small business, but were discouraged by the oppressive city and state regulations, taxes, and fees.

This is the city where 70% of the voters elected an avowed supporter of Communism as mayor.  It is the state where the governor warns those who believe in traditional marriage, the Second Amendment, and the sanctity of life that they are not welcome.  And it is the city where the previous billionaire mayor declares that he will dedicate his fortune to spreading his NYC political agenda to the rest of America and the world.

Last week, Donna and Frank finally left NYC for good. 

It was as if they had died and gone to heaven.  Well, to Orlando, Florida to be exact.  Donna was able to snag another six-figure full time position.  But Orlando's cost of living is about half of NYC's, so she essentially doubled her income.  Frank obtained a Florida teaching certification within three days of their arrival. 

They moved into their luxurious downtown $1500 per month apartment, located in a newly-constructed contemporary-style building, with a brand new washer and dryer in the apartment (as opposed to a coin laundry in a dungeon-like basement in their Brooklyn apartment), a state-of-the-art fitness and cross-training center, and a rooftop infinity pool.  From their balcony, they have a gorgeous view of Lake Eola and the Orlando skyline.

They researched the area for starting a business, and found Orlando to be a very business-friendly environment with few stifling regulations and fees.  Of course, they pay no state or local income taxes there.  Their future suddenly appears very bright.

There is an ironic twist to this story, however.  Frank is a card-carrying member of ISO (International Socialist Organization).  Donna has also been brainwashed by the socialist siren song.  Their library is filled with Noam Chomsky, and radical posters decorate their walls with phrases such as "Turn Off Faux News!"

When I expressed my distain for Obamacare back in 2009, Donna accused me of being a murderer, and asked incredulously, "Why are you against free healthcare?"  I couldn't convince her otherwise.  Their idyllic vision of socialism is where "we will all govern each other".

Frank explained to me that they chose to live in Orlando because that is a part of the state which will still be above water when man-made global warming causes the oceans to rise.

These are two otherwise intelligent, educated, and well-spoken individuals, as are many other left-leaning people.  The only characteristic that seems to stand out in all of them is a streak of apparent emotional immaturity I would describe as "willful naiveté". 

Please do not give me the analogy of rats leaving a ship they helped to sink, only to help sink the lifeboat.  I prefer not to think of Donna and Frank in those terms, as apropos as they might be.

My only hope is that someday the irony will become apparent to them.  That the reason they chose to escape their socialist paradise of NYC is because it doesn't work, and that the personal success and freedom they desire are only achievable in the capitalistic free-market environment they so distain.


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