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The Gods of Liberalism Revisited


The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever.  But how can we escape the snare?



Saturday, July 21, 2007

Air Support Ministries

Our local homeschool group went on a field trip to the Rapid City Regional Airport today. The kids (and accompanying adults) got to meet some Civil Air Patrol folks and learn about the CAP.

Also got to see an airplane from the Air Support Ministries or "Jesus Planes." This group flies and shows off their airplanes at airshows across the country, and they share their faith as they do so. Only one of their group was able to make it today, John Stoberski, but he did a great job of sharing his passion for aviation--and his Savior--with those present today.

The kids got to go out and climb into his plane and also the CAPs new plane. The kids threw their names into a bucket and a few fortunate ones got to fly around the pattern in the Jesus Plane for a little while. My daughter got to fly for the first time today (about 9 years earlier than her dad ever did), and she was super-jazzed. She's also thinking of joining the CAP cadets when she gets a couple of years older.

The small pic right below has a link to the pictures I took today if you'd like to check them out. (Homeschool kids don't get out? Homeschool kids don't get any socialization? Don't buy it for a second!)

Jesus Planes

Here's a picture of Ed Manzano, the guy from our homeschool group who organized the outing, and one of the CAP guys. Thanks, Ed! Those that braved the 104+ degree heat had a great time!!!

Canada America Expressway

A Canadian/American expressway is being considered.

From the Rapid City Journal:

Williston and Dickinson, N.D., have kicked in $160,000 over the next four years to promote the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway under a new organization incorporated this spring.

T.C. Rolfstad, startup development director for the Theodore Roosevelt at Williston, said the program is an update from the "Can-Am" Highway with a slightly different route into Canada.

He said he will be in South Dakota in the first two weeks of August to speak with people in Rapid City, Sturgis, Spearfish and Belle Fourche to promote the corridor.

The project could get some discussion at the South Dakota Department of Transportation public meeting Thursday night in Rapid City on its five-year highway plan.

This clip from the dead tree edition of the Journal shows the route going up to Regina, Canada. My wife and I have taken getaway trips there a couple of times over the last 6 years, and it's a really great city. We hope to go back again, and perhaps take the kids one of these times, so having an expressway to get there, rather than the sometimes-dinky highways through North Dakota, would be nice.

Only I don't relish the time and expense of now having to get passports for the whole family (thanks, President Bush: the southern border is still a gusher of illegals, but my 4 year old needs a passport for Canada).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Barry Bonds Is No Hammerin' Hank

By John W. Whitehead

“When I was in the ballpark, I felt like I was surrounded by angels and I had God’s hand on my shoulder.”—Hank Aaron

When I was growing up in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, baseball glowed. The players were like gods. Kids looked up to them and wanted to emulate them. They stood for honesty, hard work and determination. We thought we could be like them because they didn’t make whopping salaries and weren’t millionaires. And they were respectful to the public and to their fans. Baseball was still a game. (Full Article)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Politics of Envy

The National Center for Policy Analysis has a telling article today on the liberal fascination with "equality."

The egalitarian argument says that we care more about our financial position relative to others than about our absolute income. Experimental studies are often cited that appear to bear this idea out:

In one experiment, 56 percent of participants chose a hypothetical job paying $50,000 per year while everyone else earned $25,000, rather than a job paying $100,000 per year while others made $200,000.

Thus, the very fact that some people have less than others leads to unhappiness, even without deprivation.

Truly stunning, isn't it? Especially in a great country like America, that some people would be more interested in keeping their neighbor down than doing better themselves. This is why it is often said that the Left exploits envy, that is, class envy.

One of the great ideals of America is that of "equality of opportunity." That means all citizens have the same innate opportunity to achieve their goals.

The dirt-poor farmer's son has the same institutional opportunity to be president or a billionaire as does the son born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Of course, one begins life with a greater head start than the other, but no one is slamming the door in the face of the poor boy because "you don't come from the right background" or some such. That is the kind of inequality faced by many in other countries, but not here.

Marxism, however, believes not in "equality of opportunity" but "equality of outcome." While this sounds nice in theory, not everyone can be president. Not everyone has the mental faculties or temperament to run a corporation or be an astronaut.

What's more, in order to even have a hope of guaranteeing equality of outcome, you have to completely strip everyone of their freedom and their possessions, then have some government entity redistribute those "equally." In reality, it doesn't spread opportunity; it just spreads the misery.

And when you consider human nature (as we've seen played out in every communist country in the world), you get what the animals found out in George Orwell's "Animal Farm": while all animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others.

Abandoning the Fight

From NewsMax.com, Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman calls a spade a spade and calls out Hillary Clinton for her anti-war rhetoric.

"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia," Edelman wrote.

Well said.

Kent on Crime

Jim Kent's column in the Rapid City Journal today deals with capital punishment.

Kent says some of his opinions on crime and punishment come from his experiences in the Marine Corps where he did some corrections work. Having also worked in law enforcement and corrections, I concur with his first hand assessments of criminals in general.

I came to understand two realities during the time I spent "behind bars." First, of the thousands of prisoners I dealt with during my years at the base brig, I met just one individual -- a 30-something, African-American sergeant -- who actually admitted he deserved to be incarcerated.

Lesson learned: nobody’s "guilty." That’s why there are defense attorneys.

More importantly, I realized there actually are those in our society who live to be criminals. They don’t desire anything else in life and they don’t seek "rehabilitation" (something I’m not sure can actually be accomplished anyway ). They’re not only quite content, but also fare quite well in a prison environment.

Many people have a problem understanding this mindset, because most people want much more out of life. So do I.

Kent's endorsement of the death penalty isn't as ringing as mine would be, but it nevertheless makes solid, accurate points.

Go read the whole thing, and pay special attention to the last two paragraphs; it's a way of looking at justice that isn't often mentioned.

The Aircraft of Faith

Men of Integrity, the devotional I read daily, had a good illustration today of how and why Christians, though set free by the new birth from the irresistible pull of sin, sometimes still sin.

The law of gravity is universal—until you get on an airplane. The Wright brothers didn't eradicate the law of gravity. They rendered it inoperative by the operation of a higher law called aerodynamics. If that higher law stops working, if an engine goes out, the plane will tumble to the ground because the first law isn't dead.

When you combine the combustion of the Holy Spirit with the speed of obedience and the airflow of holiness, you're lifted to a new plane of spiritual life because the power of the Spirit working in you transcends the law of sin and death.

Unbelievers often see Christians fail, and use that failure as an excuse to avoid the faith altogether, so it's important to Christians and unbelievers alike to understand why this happens.

As in this illustration, the new birth sets the Christian free from the power of sin to be able to live as God intended us to, just as the airplane sets us free of the power of gravity to be able to fly.

But if the airplane's engine goes out, or you run out of fuel, or you aren't paying attention to what you're doing, the plane can crash. So it is with the Christian: when we don't properly "maintenance" the aircraft of our faith, or if we get careless, we find ourselves crashing back into sin.

That's why it's so important to read the Bible often, pray, have accountability with other Christians, and regularly attend a good Bible-believing church. They help us keep flying smoothly.

Also, the higher we fly and the farther we get from flirting with sin, then if we do encounter problems, we have a lot more time to identify and correct our problem before crashing, than if we had been skimming the ground all along.

But you can't fly at all if you don't have an airplane...

Protecting the Public

Here's another example of why we need to be tougher on crime--and criminals when they're caught. If not for justice sake, then to protect the public.

From Fox News:

A man who had been released from prison early for good behavior was convicted Tuesday of trying to kill a young mother and leaving her 5-year-old daughter to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades.

Braddy stopped, choked the woman again and put her in the trunk, she testified. Maycock never saw her daughter again. Prosecutors said Braddy then drove to a section of Interstate 75 in the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped Quatisha in the water beside the road.

She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said.

Authorities found the girl's body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said. Maycock woke up bleeding and disoriented in a cane field miles from her Miami-Dade County home.

Braddy had served 13 years of a 30-year prison sentence for attempted murder before being released early for good behavior.

Good behavior, huh? It seems our legal system is completely incapable of making sound moral judgements anymore.

Even if our legal system is too morally bereft to appreciate justice, they have a duty to protect the public. That, too, is a duty from which they are currently derelict.

Flood Cuts Off Britain from European Continent

From the LA Times, scientists now believe Britain was cut off from Europe by massive floods:

Scientists using sonar to probe the floor of the English Channel have found that Britain was sliced from the European continent by massive prehistoric floods that cut it off from human migration for 120,000 years.

The new research, published today in the journal Nature, found evidence of at least two floods between 180,000 and 450,000 years ago.

But I thought this sort of thing took millions of years to do, just like the Grand Canyon? I thought catastrophism was only for creationists?

Still, there's no way this could have happened in or around that great flood of Noah mentioned in the Bible. Could it? With the highly reliable dating methods scientists use these days, who knows?

Baseball Sized Hail in Hill City

The Rapid City Journal says they had golf ball to baseball-sized hail around the Black Hills yesterday. As I looked out my window at the Hills (I have a great view), I could see it was getting nasty. Fortunately, all we got at my location was some heavy rain.

Not so fortunate for Kym Gerrells from Casper, WY who was in Hill City for a day trip. Her new 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer she bought three weeks ago was hit hard by the hail:

"I can't believe my luck," she said disgustedly as she surveyed the damage to her car.

The damage to Gerrells' car was so severe she had to have it towed back to Rapid City for repair and rent a car to get back to Casper.

Here's a clip from the dead tree edition showing some of the hail, with a quarter in the upper part of the person's hand for comparison.

Uninsured Numbers Smaller Than Claimed

WorldNetDaily features an article about the Business and Media Institute which says Americans have been lied to (surprise) about the number of uninsured in our country:

President Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore and much of the mainstream media are incorrect when they claim the number of Americans without health insurance to be 40 to 50 million, with the actual number possibly under 10 million.

So says the Business and Media Institute, a Virginia-based division of the Media Research Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization designed to bring balance and responsibility to the media.

"The actual total is open to debate," says BMI analyst Julia Seymour. "But there are millions of people who should be excluded from that [high] tally, including: those who aren't American citizens, people who can afford their own insurance, and people who already qualify for government coverage but haven't signed up."

She notes government statistics also show 45 percent of people without insurance are not completely in dire straits, as they'll have coverage again within four months after switching jobs.

"Accounting for all those factors, one prominent study places the total for the long-term uninsured as low as 8.2 million – a very different reality than the media and national health care advocates claim," said Seymour.

The BMI report notes the number of the uninsured who are not U.S. citizens is nearly 10 million on its own, invalidating all the claims of 40-plus million "Americans" without health insurance.

Read it Again

Far too few Christians spoke up in the recent public debate over capital punishment, and many of the few that did were from the misguided group that believes Christianity condemns the death penalty.

However, in today's Rapid City Journal, there comes a letter to the editor from a pastor in Sturgis:

Death penalty is morally right according to Bible

I am weary of the one-sided "religious voice" in the death penalty debate.

There is a lot of sentimental twaddle from the Roman Catholic segment about revenge and the moral equality between abortion and the death penalty. I frankly find these lines of argument offensive.

The Bible clearly teaches that the death penalty is not only a permissible punishment for capital murder, it is actually the mandated punishment. Due to the limitations of space I cannot go into detail, but I invite you to examine Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20:13, Numbers 35:16, and Romans 13:1-5.

To claim that Jesus was against the death penalty is to either claim that your Bibles are unreliable conduits of God’s revelation, or it is to set the purposes of God the Father against those of God the Son, and the Old Testament against the New. This represents a weak and muddle-headed Christianity. Do orthodox Christians not believe that the pre-incarnate Son was involved in the giving of the Law to Moses? Capital punishment is not revenge, it is divinely mandated justice. Abortion and capital punishment are not equivalent because the unborn baby has committed no capital crime, but the murderer has.

Rev. Brian Carpenter


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shutting Down the Engine of America

I noticed on page 3 of Dan Scott's speech notes posted at the Dakota Watercooler, he briefly addresses the environmental extremist group that quickly popped up to oppose the "gorilla project" Elk Point refinery.

It so happens my column in the Rapid City Journal yesterday was about that subject:

Once completed, they expect to employ about 1,800 people.

But even though project executive J.L. "Corky" Frank says Hyperion plans "the most environmentally sound energy center in the United States," environmental groups are nevertheless already throwing monkey wrenches at the project.

Save Union County Committee, a new environmental group with ties to the San Francisco-based National Refinery Reform Campaign, is already expressing "concerns."

From the anti-industry rhetoric on the group’s website, I wouldn’t look for them to say anything favorable about this project. They apparently see any refinery as an engine of planetary doom.

We may be getting a first-hand lesson on why our gas prices are so high and why America’s energy policy has been crippled, right here in our home state: Radical liberals who interfere with anything that makes America stronger.

If it goes through, this refinery could bring lots of jobs and economic benefit to South Dakota, not to mention providing some much-needed refinery capacity to our over-stressed petroleum industry. But some on the Left so despise industry, free market and anything that makes America stronger, they're willing to throw all that away.

Republican Congressman Robbed on House Floor

Every now and then, a politician gets careless and the truth slips out. They usually couch things--especially liberal things--in lofty, noble, selfless terms to justify what the constitution and common sense denies. But there are those rare moments when you get a glimpse of how they really see things.

From the Politico:

Rep. Don Young attacked his fellow Republicans on the House floor Wednesday, as he defended education funds allocated to his home-state of Alaska.

"You want my money, my money," Young stridently declared before warning conservatives that, "Those who bite me will be bitten back."

Young took extreme exception to an amendment by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) to strike money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs.

This RINO also had the temerity to blame fiscal conservatives for last year's Republican loss of congress:
During his brief tirade Wednesday, Young suggested Republicans lost their majority because Garrett, whom he did not specifically name, and others had challenged spending during the GOP's tenure.

This guy may have an "R" after his name, but he's definitely a liberal. A lot of why Republicans lost big last year had to do with their spending like drunken sailors (I apologize if I've offended any drunken sailors); maybe I should say "spending like liberals."

This is what I mean when I say liberals bribe the taxpayers with their own money (ah, what a scam!). That's why they aren't better stewards of the taxpayer's money: they don't believe your money belongs to you--it belongs to them!

Argus Leader Caught With Their Left Pants Leg Down

Greg Belfrage of Dakota Watercooler now has a transcript of Dan Scott's recent speech regarding Sioux Falls development.

As you can see from previous postings at the Dakota Watercooler, South Dakota War College and other places, it's raised quite a stink...mainly coming from the Argus Leader.

When discussing the development of the Sioux Falls community, Scott said, "So if you just can't bring yourself to catch the excitement, then at least stay out of the way, because there is a bunch of us here that have a city to build."

Randall Beck had a completely snotty op/ed about Scott's speech which really distorted the whole context of what he said. What the Argus was so upset about was more likely the shots Scott took at the Argus at the beginning of his speech. The Argus knew those comments about their liberal bias wouldn't get much traction with the public (the public knows too well that the Argus is undeniably biased to the Left), so they took something from the speech they felt they could get some mileage out of, if they bent it completely out of context.

Go read the text of Scott's speech at the Dakota Watercooler and I believe you'll see that what he said was nothing more than a motivational statement that didn't disparage anyone.

Invitation to Terrorists

Trivial things like upholding the law and our national sovereignty aren't enough reason to secure our borders? Try this.

From ABC News:

An FBI intelligence report distributed by the Washington, D.C. Joint Terrorism Task Force, obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com, says the illegal ring has been bringing Iraqis across the border illegally for more than a year.

I wonder how many of those Iraqis are of the same variety who have been blowing up civilians and our military personnel in Iraq?

Our porous border and our leaders' unwillingness to do anything about it is like an engraved invitation to terrorists worldwide. I'd be stunned if none of them took us up on the invitation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Remembering family's cars is like taking a trip down Memory Lane

By Gordon Garnos

AT ISSUE: Remembering the various cars that were in your life while growing up is like taking a trip down Memory Lane. I was in Minnesota the other day and was listening to a talk show from a Minnesota radio station. The gist of the program was the search for the old family car of 20 years ago. This got me to thinking about the cars that were in my family, at least while I was growing up. Those cars, including my dad's bread trucks, stirred a lot of memories, most of them good. A couple of them not so good. (Full Article)

Generation Rx, Part 2


By Ralph Hatcher, M.D.

In a prior column I described the mounting problem of prescription drug abuse and its repercussions throughout society and in particular the impact on how emergency medicine is practiced in most ERs. But what can be done about it? Like most complex issues, identifying the problem is the easy part; what to do to fix it brings out the “devil in the details.” (Full Article)

Liberalism Hiding Behind the Skirt of Populism

Depending on how you define populism, it could be akin to conservatism (defending the rights and values of the common people).

However, it is more often defined as defending the "little guy" against the "elites." Of course, in this context, elites are defined as the "evil rich," not the government/media/academia that believes it needs to curtail the freedom of the little guy for his own good.

In this more common definition of populism, it is almost indistinguishable from modern liberalism (which is actually a less aggressive form of Marxism).

Which brings me to a report from the Media Research Center illustrating how the "mainstream" media always knows who the conservatives are but never sees any liberals.

From a New York Times piece by Robin Toner about how "populism" is behind Democrat economic troublemaking:

"On Capitol Hill and on the presidential campaign trail, Democrats are increasingly moving toward a full-throated populist critique of the current economy.

"Clearly influenced by some of their most successful candidates in last year's Congressional elections, Democrats are talking more and more about the anemic growth in American wages and the negative effects of trade and a globalized economy on American jobs and communities. They deplore what they call a growing gap between the middle class, which is struggling to adjust to a changing job market, and the affluent elites who have prospered in the new economy. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, calls it 'trickle-down economics without the trickle.'

"Populism is hardly new in the Democratic Party. Al Gore vowed to fight for 'the people versus the powerful' in his presidential campaign seven years ago, and Republicans have long accused the Democrats of practicing 'class warfare.'

"But the latest populist resurgence is deeply rooted in a view that current economic conditions are difficult and deteriorating for many people, analysts say, and it is now framing debates over tax policy, education, trade, energy and health care. Last week, Senate Democrats held hearings on proposals to raise taxes on some of the highest fliers on Wall Street, the people at the top of private equity and hedge fund firms."

Now why would the "mainstream" media not use the term "liberal" here instead of "populist" since far more people know just what liberalism represents? Well, exactly because people do understand the term "liberalism" better than "populist."

Just like the stealth term "progressive," it's how they tell you about liberal initiatives without admitting it's a liberal initiative.

How sad it must be to have to disguise what you believe in.

Penalizing Your Fellow American is Fair?

From the New York Times:

The C.B.O.’s most recent calculations of federal tax rates show a highly progressive system. (The numbers are based on 2004 data, but the tax code has not changed much since then.) The poorest fifth of the population, with average annual income of $15,400, pays only 4.5 percent of its income in federal taxes. The middle fifth, with income of $56,200, pays 13.9 percent. And the top fifth, with income of $207,200, pays 25.1 percent.

At the very top of the income distribution, the C.B.O. reports even higher tax rates. The richest 1 percent has average income of $1,259,700 and forks over 31.1 percent of its income to the federal government.

One might wonder how Mr. Buffett gets away with a tax rate of only 17.7 percent, while a typical millionaire is paying so much more. Most likely, part of the answer is that Mr. Buffett’s income is made up largely of dividends and capital gains, which are taxed at only 15 percent. By contrast, many other top earners pay the maximum ordinary income tax rate of 35 percent on their salaries, bonuses and business income.

Buffett points out that his receptionist has a 30% tax rate while he has a 17.7% one, stating that he isn't paying enough. I contend that Buffett isn't paying too little, but his receptionist is definitely paying too much. I think if God only asks 10% of our income, then the government is way out of line asking for 17% or 30%.

If we returned to the system devised by the founders (which relied on tariffs and sales taxes) and used until the income tax of 1913, perhaps we could get rid of all this bloated, wasteful spending that isn't authorized by the constitution.

You can't call a nation with a $3 trillion budget a nation with a small government, and thats what our country was designed to have.

You also can't call it "fair" to have one American paying at one rate and another American paying at another rate. Every citizen should be treated equally and charged an equal tax rate, not penalized for their industriousness or good fortune. Progressive tax rates, which "stick it to the rich" are the product of Marxism and totalitarian governments, not free and limited governments.

HT to the National Center for Policy Analysis.

What Conservative Isn't

Spurred by a fundraising letter from Governor Mike Rounds, Sibby has an insightful post on his blog.

Governor Rounds talks about conservatism and electing conservatives to government, but as Steve points out

Sounds good, but I don’t remember any tax cuts during the Rounds administration so far. And in regard to "less government" and "disciplined spending", I think this April 1, 2007 post reveals the true Mike Rounds:

State government has swelled under Gov. Mike Rounds - both in spending and employees.

Depending upon whom you ask, it represents either steady but needed growth or an aggressive surge in the public payroll in an era when local governments and other states have curtailed costs.

From fiscal year 2003, the final year of former Gov. Bill Janklow's last term, to fiscal 2007, the end of the Republican Rounds' first term, the overall state budget grew from about $2.5 billion to a budgeted $3.2 billion. The just-passed general appropriations bill tops $3.3 billion.

I found it ironic that for the first several months of 2007, many of the weekly columns I wrote for the Rapid City Journal took issue with some initiative or another being pushed by Rounds. From taxpayer funding to vaccinate young girls against STDs to a minimum wage increase to taxpayer funded preschool..I wouldn't exactly put these in the category of conservatism, which usually means smaller government, free market, and personal responsibility.

Governor Rounds has been better than the alternative, but too often his policies have served as examples of what conservatism is NOT.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Carbon Offsets Scam

Surprised, huh?

From the Sunday Herald:

SCHEMES USED by some of the world's top companies to offset pollution are flawed and failing to save the planet, it has been claimed.

Oil giant BP has also been accused of exaggerating cuts in emissions from pig farms in Mexico, while Sky TV's claims for a renewable energy plant in Bulgaria may prove illusory.

Estimates used by British Airways to offset pollution from air travel were also described as being too low. And trees planted in Britain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may prove ineffective.

These revelations, to be broadcast in a Channel Four Dispatches documentary tomorrow evening, will re-ignite fears that much of the burgeoning carbon-offsetting business could be a con.

The article lists several more of these schemes where companies can say how "green" they are, when really nothing is happening.

These carbon offset schemes remind me of pyramid schemes, or of the indulgences of the Middle Ages where people could pay to have their dead relatives "prayed out of hell." Nowadays you can pay to be lifted out of environmental outer-darkness. Both of them amount to about the same thing.

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