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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, November 24, 2007

Core Principles

Video describing the core principles of the Republican Presidential candidate

How Can We Support the Troops?

Todd Epp from SD Watch reports that Lt. Col Paula Johnson (USA Retired) is organizing a holiday support effort for our troops overseas.

I’m grateful for what Lt Col Johnson and many others are doing during the holiday season to show the troops we love and support them; my daughter’s Ju-Jitsu dojo is doing something similar.

But at the risk of sounding like a killjoy, I think that if you feel the need to crow that, “See, we have ‘Tangible Proof that Minnehaha County Democrats Support Our Troops’,” then that indicates you have a serious problem with that perception in your political-social circle. One might ask oneself why that perception problem exists…

In addition to such a commendable effort as this, an even better way to show support for the troops might be not allowing others in your social-political sphere compare the troops to Nazis and communist butchers. Another way would be to condemn those within your social-political sphere who say that the troops are fighting for a lie, that they’re participating in a “blood for oil campaign,” and that they’re dying for nothing. Still another way to support the troops would be to refuse to stand for people within your social-political sphere calling our leading general a traitor who “betrays us,” and not to tell the troops that they’ve lost the war. Finally, another good way to support the troops might be to stop trying to pull the financial and logistical rug out from under them, preventing them from doing the job they were sent to do.

But “tangible proof” is always good, too.

Stem-cell advance opens up the field

"Stem-cell advance opens up the field

By Peter N. Spotts

Fri Nov 23, 3:00 AM ET

Colonies of tiny cells flourishing in petri dishes in the US and Japan are reshaping the political and ethical landscape surrounding human stem-cell research.

In the process, these diminutive colonies also may level the playing field in stem-cell research – internationally and domestically.

These are some of the effects analysts say they see coming out of this week's announcements that two teams have genetically reprogrammed skin cells so that they take on the traits of embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are the subject of intense medical interest because of their ability to develop into any of the major cell types in the human body. Over the long term, these stem cells could become the foundation for therapies for a range of diseases, scientists say. This week's announcement suggests it will be possible for scientists to study these cells without the ethical and political difficulties of harvesting them from unused human embryos.

For the emerging field of stem-cell research, "this is enormous," says Jesse Reynolds, a policy analyst at the liberal Center for Genetics and Society, based in Oakland, Calif. "I can't think of another development "that has been this big,"

"This is a paradigm shift," agrees Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. "This will have a huge impact on the ethical debate."
It was only a matter of time and now that time is arriving on schedule!

It's "THAT" Time of Year Again!

Get ready for the ACLU and pals to move into Scrooge mode! On the bright side though... it looks like the numbers are growing and more and more Americans are ready to take Christmas back!!!

"Saturday, November 24, 2007

Americans get fed up with 'Happy Holidays'
But many Democrats in new poll can't stomach 'Merry Christmas'

Posted: November 24, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

A new poll finds Americans overwhelmingly prefer that stores use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in their seasonal advertising rather than "Happy Holidays.

The Rasmussen survey found 67 percent favor "Merry Christmas" while just 26 percent prefer "Happy Holidays."

Rasmussen said the poll results were the same for males and females, and there were few demographic differences.

A sharp difference, however, showed up between Republicans and Democrats.

While 88 percent of Republicans prefer "Merry Christmas," just 57 percent of Democrats favor the saying."

(Read the entire article)

Merry Christmas from me to you!

Video: Duncan Hunter Talks about America

Video clip of Duncan Hunter describing the goodness and the greatness of America.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some Employers Refusing To Hire Smokers

Some Employers Refusing To Hire Smokers
Truman Med Says It Wants To Promote Healthy Habits

POSTED: 4:14 pm CST November 22, 2007
UPDATED: 4:52 pm CST November 22, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We all know about the debate over smoking in public places. Several cities have banned it in restaurants and bars. But now some employers are taking it a step further. They won't even hire smokers to work at their company.

KMBC's Jere Gish reported that when you fill out an application, there can be all kinds of questions. But when Julie Draper saw one that asked her if she used tobacco products, she answered truthfully that she was a smoker. Draper said she was stunned when she was told that kept her from getting the job."

The report goes on to say...

"The no-smoking policy is enforced. Gish said a hospital spokesperson told him that recently it was discovered that an employee was a smoker even though that person indicated on their application that they did not use tobacco products. The person is no longer employed at Truman Med.

Employees who started before February 2006 were grandfathered in. But new potential hires are out of luck."

(The full report)

I feel that a business has the right to decide whether to ban smoking or not. It is after all -- their business. With this in mind, I feel a smoking ban should be up to "each" business owner and not something forced upon the business by a government ordinance. If there can be no-smoking businesses, then there should also be ones that allow smoking. Otherwise, there is discrimination against people for doing something that remains legal. This is not right!

I will say this again! No non-smoker (which includes me) is "forced" to go into a smoking establishment such as a restaurant or bar. Going in is choice. And, if a bar's customers is made up entirely of smokers, how can people say that second hand smoke is a health issue? How can they say it and keep a straight face?

Duncan Hunter on His Personal Faith

Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter shares his Christian faith and talks about America's spiritual heritage.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, my family and I are about to head out over the hill and through the woods to grandma's house for Thanksgiving.

We wish you a blessed Thanksgiving Day, and encourage you as we encourage ourselves to remember and honor the One to whom our thanks are directed.

Apalling Lack of Respect for Authority

Here's the video you might have heard about, where the Utah Highway Patrolman tasers a man he pulled over for speeding.

The idiot in the SUV thought he was in charge from the first moment, and amazingly, even after being tasered, he still didn't understand who was in authority.

From KUTV, apparently this idiot is still high on himself, as he plans to sue the highway patrol. But look at what else he says:

“I see this guy pull gun on me,” says Massey. “I thought it was a real gun.”

Most people have the sense to chill out and get compliant when they see a real gun pulled on them--yet you can see from the video that when the cop pulled out the taser, it had not the slightest impression on the guy. When someone is that unresponsive to police authority, there's also a good chance he's intoxicated on something, which can make the situation even more volatile (I'm not saying this guy was high, but it was hard for the patrolman to be sure, given how he was acting).

When I was in law enforcement several years ago, tasers hadn't yet come on the scene. Back then, we would have had to subdue a smart-alleck like this the hard way: wrestle them to the ground. The taser hurts like heck, I'm sure, but the old fashioned way usually results in more lasting injuries, like scrapes, bruises, dislocated sockets and sometimes broken bones--not because of police brutality, but because some people are so arrogant that they refuse under any circumstances to submit to authority.

I've been in situations where it took several cops to subdue someone who was resisting arrest--and several people usually got hurt during the process. One guy, we had to flexicuff his ankles after cuffing him and putting him in the back of the patrol car, to keep him from kicking out the windows of the car (and then he spit in my boss's face as we were carrying him in to the station). Tasers aren't pretty, but they're a lot better than the old way. Especially when it's just you, with no backup on hand, as it was for this patrolman.

Here's another of a woman who refuses to listen to instructions.

Sadly for them, these people are too caught up in their own arrogance to realize that even if they honestly believe they're innocent (most of them have to know they aren't), on the roadside isn't the place to argue it--that's in court, as the Utah patrolman tried to tell the guy. But when you're the center of your own world, and you hold such contempt as this for authority, you ego's going to get WAY ahead of your brain.

I'm glad I'm not in law enforcement anymore. There were enough idiots back then. And since it's become politically incorrect to teach people right from wrong, the crop is growing like weeds. That first video revealed not just an arrogant idiot driver, but his wife was just like him. If I heard correctly and there was also a child in the SUV, undoubtedly these arrogant parents are raising that child to provide the single-finger salute to authority as well.

When widespread contempt for authority begins to characterize a culture, it's a good bet that order and public safety are on their way out the window.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Duncan Hunter on Trade and Jobs

Terrible News: Violence Cut in Half in Iraq

From the Financial Times via Free Republic,

The US military says the number of civilian deaths has also fallen 60 per cent since the surge took effect, with a drop of 75 per cent in Baghdad. According to icasualties.org, the average monthly US death toll dropped from 96 for the first half of 2007 to 66 in the past four months. The average monthly death toll for Iraqi civilians and security forces has dropped from 2,157 to 1,223 in the same period.

What a terrible way to begin the Thanksgiving holiday (for Democrats). They were almost certainly looking forward to eating some turkey, wishing it was Bush, and reveling in any news that was bad for America. They might have to cancel the whole holiday now. Well, I guess they can still join liberals in Seattle in loathing their country tomorrow.

The rest of us, though, can give thanks tomorrow for, along with all the other multitude of blessings that God has bestowed on us, for reduced violence and risk to our troops and Iraqi civilians.

Politico Catalogues Huckabee Ethics Complaints

The Politico examines some of the ethics allegations against Mike Huckabee, from his time as Arkansas governor:

But his career has also been colored by 14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to subsidize his income to his destruction of state computer files on his way out of the governor’s office.

Some of the ethics complaints deal with fairly penny ante stuff, and most were dismissed.

They did, however, yield five admonitions and $1,000 in fines from Arkansas' Ethics Commission and, perhaps more significantly, a pattern that strategists for two competing GOP campaigns privately predict could become fodder for attacks playing on the culture-of-corruption theme Democrats used to pound Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections.

These incidents involve things such as failure to report that he paid himself at various times from campaign funds, nondisclosure of income, receiving various gifts like $3700 cowboy boots that had the appearance that he was "rewarded" for his performance as governor, for (reminiscent of the Clinton departure raid on the White House) trying to take $70,000 in furniture from the governor's mansion, as well as using a governor's expense fund for a dog house and panty hose.

We had enough of this kind of cheesy, sleazy goings-on when the Clintons were in the White House. We don't need a sequel.

Bond, James Bond


By Raymond J. Keating

Hofstra University, in Hempstead, NY, held a conference on November 7-8 titled “Bond, James Bond: The World of 007.”

I couldn’t resist.

So, I donned my tuxedo, slipped the trusty Beretta into my shoulder holster, and jumped in the Aston Martin DB9 Coupe parked in the driveway. The engine purred with quiet power as I sped off, hoping that a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, awaited at my destination. (Full Article)

A Thanksgiving Appeal for Our Wounded Veterans

By John W. Whitehead

“Appeal for Wounded Men,” proclaimed the New York Times headline. “An appeal to citizens to open their homes on Thanksgiving Day to the 15,000 wounded soldiers in the city was sent out yesterday…. ‘Many of the disabled men feel the people have forgotten them.’”

That article appeared on Nov. 14, 1920. Four score and seven years later, our veterans are faring no better. In fact, except for the fleeting ripple of awareness among the news media and the American public around Veterans Day, the men and women who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedoms are all but forgotten.
(Full Article)

Duncan Hunter Interview on Laura Ingraham Pt. 2

Duncan Hunter Interview on Laura Ingraham Pt. 1

Youth Risky Behavior Down in South Dakota

The Mitchell Daily Republic reports on the findings of the South Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey Trend Report released this week which discovered that South Dakota youth are getting smarter about risky behavior:

Findings and behavioral trends among South Dakota high school students, as reported in the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey”:

-Number of students who, during the past 30 days, rode in a vehicle with a driver who had been drinking alcohol: 1991, 50 percent; 2001, 38 percent; 2005, 32 percent. National: 2005, 28 percent.

-Number of students who, during the past 30 days, drove a vehicle when they had been drinking alcohol: 1991, 28 percent; 2001, 22 percent; 2005, 17 percent. National: 2005, 10 percent.

-Number of students who reported binge drinking within the past month: 1991, 41 percent; 2001, 36; 2005, 34 percent. National: 2005, 25 percent.

-Number of students who considered attempting suicide: 1991, 30 percent; 2001, 19 percent; 2005, 19 percent. National: 2005, 17 percent.

-Number of students who have tried cigarettes: 1991, 69 percent; 2001, 67 percent; 2005, 61 percent. National: 2005, 54 percent.

-Number of students who have tried smokeless tobacco: 1995, 23 percent; 2001, 15 percent; 2005, 13 percent. National: 2005, 8 percent.

-Number of students who have ever used methamphetamine: 1999, 10 percent; 2001, 10 percent; 2005, 7 percent. National: 2005, 6 percent.

-Number of students who ever used marijuana: 1991, 21 percent; 2001, 36 percent; 2005, 37 percent. National: 2005, 38 percent.

-Number of students who have ever had sexual intercourse: 1991, 48 percent; 2001, 46 percent; 2005, 44 percent. National: 2005, 28 percent. National: 2005, 47 percent.

-Number of students who have been taught about AIDS/HIV in school: 1991, 88 percent; 2001, 87 percent; 2005; 86 percent. National: 2005, 88 percent.

-Number of students who are at risk for becoming overweight: 1999, 11 percent; 2001, 14 percent; 2005, 14 percent. National: 2005, 16 percent.

Elk Point Supports Hyperion Refinery

The Argus Leader reports today that the city of Elk Point has endorsed a proposed oil refinery nearby:

The Elk Point City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday supporting a proposed oil refinery near the community.

The six-member council, plus Mayor Isabel Trobaugh, supported the "green refinery" project for its commitment to high environmental standards and the hope that it will "enhance America's petroleum independence," according to the resolution.

The vote is a show of support. It doesn't direct the city to take any action in regard to the project.

Though symbolic, it is an important statement of support for the refinery. The refinery would be good for the Elk Point area, as it will employ between 4,000 and 10,000 people during its construction, and will employ about 1,800 once it's built.

But there's another, even more important reason we need this refinery. It's one I discussed in the Rapid City Journal back in July:

The last refinery built in the United States was in Garyville, La., in 1976. Since then, the oil industry has tried a few times to build more, but regulatory hurdles usually make it more trouble than it’s worth . One company, Hampton Roads Energy Corp., tried for nine years before giving up in 1984.

There were about 300 refineries at the peak of the industry in the early 1980s, but about 170 have closed in the meantime. Since then, increased efficiencies have raised production from 6.4 million barrels a day to 8.2 million.

Meanwhile, demand is about 9 million and refineries are near 100 percent capacity already.

If you think gas that's north of $3.00 a gallon is too much, then tell the environmental wackos to shut up, and let's build some more refineries.

Children of Homosexuals

I'd heard of this woman before, but OneNewsNow has a feature today on Dawn Stefanowicz who grew up with a homosexual father.

Her story is especially relevant in our modern times when there is talk of homosexual "marriage" and adoptions actually taking place.

The author and speaker says it was a painful and also "healing" process to write down every detail she could remember of being raised by a father who welcomed numerous male sex partners into the family's home on a regular basis. Stefanowicz says her father's destructive homosexual behavior created sexuality confusion in her life. In the book, she chronicles how, as a young girl, she often wished she were a boy.

"It's a very difficult thing to describe," she shares. "You doubt your own sexuality because you're looking at your parent's example. And for me, when I looked at my father I did not feel affirmed as a young girl growing up, nor as a woman. My own femininity was denied in that kind of situation. Women were not valued."

Stefanowicz says she wrote the book with the knowledge that other children in homosexual homes would also come forward to "find truth and their own healing."

"Children are impacted long-term in homosexual environments -- not just while they're growing up, but throughout their adulthood," says the author. "Children [of homosexuals] who have been in touch with me, even into their fifties and sixties, still describe certain difficulties that they are facing long-term."

Stefanowicz says it was her faith in Jesus Christ that enabled her to face her traumatic past and forgive her father, who died of AIDS in 1991.

Children deserve better than to be subjected to the hurt and confusion of this kind of environment. Just a few decades ago, we would have understood that this is not a healthy environment for child, and never would have allowed this in the United States. Now...thousands of children are in jeopardy because of our commitment to the doctrine of political correctness.

The Origins of Our Demise

The Heritage Foundation has a fascinating piece on "The Birth of the Administrative State."

As you might suspect, this birth can primarily be traced back to FDR's "New Deal" which took us off the "Constitutional standard" and into the "make-it-up-as-you-go standard." But the origins of this shift go farther back.

Here is what liberals (or "progressives" as the piece obligingly calls them) thought about the nature of government and administration.

The fundamental assumption behind the vast discretion that Progressives wanted to give to administration was a trust in or optimism about the selflessness, competence, and objectivity of administrators, and thus a belief that the separation-of-powers checks on government were no longer necessary or just. If the Framers of the Constitution had instituted the separation of powers out of fear of "the abuses of government"--fear that the permanent self-interestedness of human nature could make government "administered by men over men"[16] a threat to the natural rights of citizens--then the advocates of administrative discretion concluded that such fears, even if well-founded in the early days of the republic, no longer applied in the modern era. Thus, administration could be freed from the shackles placed upon it by the separation of powers in order to take on the new tasks that Progressives had in mind for the national state. This key assumption behind the separation of politics and administration is exemplified in Wilson's political thought.

The strong Progressive belief in the enlightenment and disinterestedness of administrators stands as an instructive contrast to the permanent self-interestedness that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution saw in human nature.[17] Just as this sobriety about the potential for tyranny led the Framers to circumscribe carefully the authority of the national government, the Progressives' passionate optimism fueled their call for maximum discretion for administrators.

Here we see that the Founders had a Christian worldview when the constructed our government. They recognized that humans are fallen creatures with a sin nature, and that we require "checks and balances" to temper and insulate the government of the people from the sin nature of those at the reins of government.

Liberals, however, have adopted the humanist view that "just as man is evolving physically according to Darwin, he is also evolving morally." Therefore, they believed that humanity had evolved beyond the point they were at during the founding of the United States, and no longer had the "sin nature" the Founders sought to keep in check. (A look at Bill Clinton--or if you're a liberal and believe the charges of MoveOn.org, look at George Bush--quickly illustrates the fallacy of this notion. YET LIBERALS CLING TO THE NOTION THAT WE HAVE 'OUTGROWN' SUCH MORAL CONSTRAINTS, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SLAPPED IN THE FACE DAILY WITH THE EVIDENCE THAT WE HAVE NOT).

Here catch another glimpse of the theological and philosophical underpinnings of these political philosophies:
In his New Freedom campaign for President in 1912, for instance, Wilson urged that the rigid, mechanical, "Newtonian" constitutionalism of the old liberalism be replaced by a "Darwinian" perspective, adjusting the Constitution as an organic entity to fit the ever-changing environment. Wilson also blamed separation-of-powers theory for what he believed to be the inflexibility of national government and its inability to handle the tasks required of it in the modern age:

The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live.

In formulating his "evolving" theories of government and administration, the Heritage piece says Woodrow Wilson looked to Europe (the system we had intentionally divorced ourselves from in setting up the United States) and a philosophy that rejected the rule of law:
Relying heavily on European models of administrative power, Wilson laid out a vision for administrative discretion in 1891 that directly rejected the rule-of-law model:

The functions of government are in a very real sense independent of legislation, and even constitutions, because [they are] as old as government and inherent in its very nature. The bulk and complex minuteness of our positive law, which covers almost every case that can arise in Administration, obscures for us the fact that Administration cannot wait upon legislation, but must be given leave, or take it, to proceed without specific warrant in giving effect to the characteristic life of the State.

Liberals like Wilson and FDR saw themselves and other "progressive" bureaucrats as too "enlightened" to be encumbered by trivial things like check and balances, and the rule of law. Since they had reached a superior level of moral evolution, they needed to be free of these traditional constraints in order to govern efficiently.

Frank Goodnow was another of these "progressives" who viewed our system of government as outdated.
The Founders' system of government, Goodnow acknowledged, "was permeated by the theories of social compact and natural right." He condemned these theories as "worse than useless," since they "retard development"[40]--in other words, their focus on individual liberty prevents the expansion of government. The separation-of-powers limits on government, Goodnow realized, came from the Founding-era concern for individual liberty: "It was the fear of political tyranny through which liberty might be lost which led to the adoption of the theories of checks and balances and of the separation of powers."

Again, we see that it is this liberal fantasy that humanity has evolved beyond the need for restraints which is responsible for their strange view of American government and our heritage. It also explains why they view limited government, the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment with such disdain: they do not see them as necessary, because since humanity has evolved, the tyranny the Founders feared is no longer a danger.

(Oddly, if humanity has evolved so much morally, then why do they seek to erase the Second Amendment with gun control--if we were so evolved morally, we wouldn't be shooting each other, would we? Perhaps liberals believe that while the masses haven't evolved this far, the elites have. But Bill Clinton illustrates that even those who rise to the top of the political heap are not "evolved" morally. And though I don't share their view, even liberals should see this truth, because they make endless claims that George Bush is an American "Hitler." But then, logic and consistency have never been a liberal strong suit.)

I think this foundational "worldview" difference between conservatives or the traditional view of American government, and the liberal view is at the root of our current ideological struggle.

We are currently in the middle of a civil war (and have been for 60 or more years), but it is a war that involves the tools of government itself as the weapons, rather than bullets or bombs. And it is a civil war that conservatives have only awaken to in the last 20-30 years--with a vast number still asleep.

Despite evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to insist that man has evolved past the need for moral and governmental restraints. In their mind, the struggle has shifted beyond accountability to God, and to an accountability to a "higher" social consciousness. Unfortunately for the masses, that "social consciousness" is defined by the elites who don't have to live under the consequences of the "social consciousness" they impose on average Americans.

We can try to ignore the evidence that man is still the fallen creature the Bible says we are in Romans 3:23, and indeed humanists work very hard to ignore this. In the end, though, the truth reveals itself in our crime rate, our teen pregnancy rate, our divorce rate, and throughout the fabric of current social decay.

Until we abandon the modern fantasy about the human condition and return to the traditional American constructs of checks, balances and limits, we will continue our slide into suffering and governmental debilitation.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Video: Duncan Hunter's Solid Conservative Record

Here's why Duncan Hunter is undeniably the best conservative candidate for President.

This is why I support Duncan Hunter for president. He doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk. To him, "conservative" isn't a hall pass, it's a way of life.

Video: Duncan Hunter on the Issues

Various clips of Duncan Hunter discussing victory in Iraq, gun rights, border control, health care, trade with communist China, and U.S. jobs.

The quality of the video isn't that great, but the quality of Duncan Hunter's conservative positions is top notch!

Huckabee Bandwagon Headed for Conservative Mediocrity

When I first blogged on Mike Huckabee back in July of this year, I wasn't aware of anyone in conservative circles who had anything bad to say about Huckabee. I was starting to get excited about the prospect of being able to get behind a Christian pro-life candidate.

But when I read that Time Magazine article about Huckabee's view on "law and grace," I saw a serious philosophical problem on Huckabee's part, one that was inconsistent with conservatism and is also inconsistent with a balanced understanding of God's loving but righteous nature.

Since then, more and more voices have been raising these and other concerns, with evidence coming from both the Left and Right.

Jonah Goldberg is the latest, with his column in the LA Times today examining both Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee.

I agree with Goldberg about 99% here on both candidates. Ron Paul is pretty consistent on adhering to the Constitution, but his naive stance on foreign policy scares would scare the daylights out of me if I thought he had a chance.

Which brings me to why I seem to be spending some much time talking about Huckabee's liberal tendencies lately: he DOES have a chance.

In a fashion reminiscent of Bill Clinton in 1992 (they even come from the same Arkansas town), Huckabee has come out of almost nowhere to achieve top-tier status. Meanwhile, many conservative Christian leaders and friends have seen the "Christian" and "pro-life" labels and jumped on the Huckabee bandwagon. But I have to believe they didn't look to see what else was in the wagon before they jumped in--that, or they're more interested in the perception of "electability" than principle.

Goldberg catalogues a bit of why some call Huckabee a "pro-life liberal":

What's troubling about The Man From Hope 2.0 is what he represents. Huckabee represents compassionate conservatism on steroids. A devout social conservative on issues such as abortion, school prayer, homosexuality and evolution, Huckabee is a populist on economics, a fad-follower on the environment and an all-around do-gooder who believes that the biblical obligation to do "good works" extends to using government -- and your tax dollars -- to bring us closer to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

Goldberg also points out what is wrong with the conservative movement and so many of the Republicans who drive the conservative agenda: they want to adhere to enough conservative ideals to wear the "conservative" label, but want to ditch as much of the "hard" stuff as possible to appeal to the mushy-middle.
As for Huckabee -- as with most politicians, alas -- his personal preferences matter enormously because ultimately they're the only thing that can be relied on to constrain him.

In this respect, Huckabee's philosophy is conventionally liberal, or progressive. What he wants to do with government certainly differs in important respects from what Hillary Clinton would do, but the limits he would place on governmental do-goodery are primarily tactical or practical, not philosophical or constitutional. This isn't to say he -- or Hillary -- is a would-be tyrant, but simply to note that the progressive notion of the state as a loving, caring parent is becoming a bipartisan affair.

Indeed, Huckabee represents the latest attempt to make conservatism more popular by jettisoning the unpopular bits. Contrary to the conventional belief that Republicans need to drop their opposition to abortion, gay marriage and the like in order to be popular, Huckabee understands that the unpopular stuff is the economic libertarianism: free trade and smaller government. That's why we're seeing a rise in economic populism on the right coupled with a culturally conservative populism. Huckabee is the bastard child of Lou Dobbs and Pat Robertson.

I have no doubts about the authenticity of George Bush's Christian testimony. I've seen, heard and read enough to leave me no serious doubt that he's genuinely born-again, and I expect to see him in Heaven someday. President Bush has also done a pretty good job of defending the United States against the threat of Islamic radicals, and has advanced our missile shield defense.

But as far as sticking to Constitutional and conservative principles of limited government, Bush has failed miserably. The reach, size and expenditure of government, which was trending somewhat downward under a Republican congress despite Bill Clinton's presidency, has exploded in the last seven years. The lack of fiscal restraint under his watch has ushered the Republican Party out of power, and has left it and the conservative movement in a confused shambles. George Bush's presidency had high potential for statesmanship and returning our government to it's Constitutional parameters. Instead, except for a few successes, it has been a great disappointment.

And as for Mike Huckabee, I fear and predict that if he were elected president, we would be in for more of the same. We can do better--much better.

Adult Stem Cells Made Like Embryonic Ones?

From LifeNews, researchers say they've come up with a way to force adult stem cells to return to a more malleable, less specialized state which essentially gives them the characteristics which make embryonic stem cells valuable in medical research--but without destroying human life.

It's not perfect yet, as the excerpt below indicates, but it looks promising:

The new technique isn't without problems as the researchers must disrupt the DNA of the skin cells to begin the process of reverting to embryonic form. This has the potential of causing cancer in the cells.

As a result, the cells may not be able to be used for medical transplants for patients suffering from diseases such as diabetes or Parkinson's.

“As long as we use those viruses, I don’t think we can say that the [reprogrammed] cells are as safe as embryonic stem cells,” said Dr. Yamanaka.

However, the researchers involved say they are confident they will be able to fix the problem so the "new" embryonic stem cells can be used for treatments.

Adult stem cell research, unlike embryonic stem cell research, is ALREADY providing cures for various injuries and diseases.

One word of caution, however. About a year or so ago, a statement was made that researchers had found a way to extract stem cells from embryos (or something like that) without destroying the human embryo. However, it soon came out that, well, not really. When you pinned down the researchers, they admitted they only thought it possible to do this, that it wasn't a proven and successful technique yet.

I hope that isn't the case here, and that this is a new and real advance that doesn't involve the destruction of human life. But even science has become political in recent decades, and has largely embraced the culture of death, we should always be cautious to ensure we aren't being misled down a path of dehumanization.

LRC Approves Legislative Code of Conduct

The Argus Leader has information on a new four-paragraph code of conduct which was unanimously approved by the Legislative Research Council yesterday.

The code of conduct comes in response to concerns after allegations that Senator Dan Sutton's inappropriately touched a male page in his hotel room, and former Rep. Ted Klaudt was found to be performing sexually disgusting acts on his foster-daughters.

The code says legislators have "a solemn responsibility to avoid improper behavior and refrain from conduct that is unbecoming to the Legislature." It requires compliance with conflict of interest and campaign finance laws and prohibits 'any and all ... harassment or offensive conduct."

It also requires:

That legislators follow the constitution and laws regarding conflicts of interest and be on time with filings such as campaign finance reports.

That legislators "avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of any conflict of interest."

That the Legislature "strengthen and sustain an atmosphere of professional conduct and civility" among members and staff and "not tolerate harassment or offensive behavior based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age or disability."

That lawmakers must refrain from sexual harassment, including unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors and "other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexually harassing nature."

As I've said before, I don't think a code of conduct or code of ethics is going to accomplish much. I don't think it will prevent the kind of bad behavior that's caused discussion of a code, and it won't make dealing with such behavior any easier.

But if it makes some people feel good, and more importantly doesn't cost much to implement, then I suppose it's alright.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It'll Cost (You) a Lot to Elect Hillary Clinton

I came across this tonight on Free Republic. It's a Spend-O-Meter illustrating how much it'll cost us to elect Hillary Clinton as president. For details of how all this adds up, go to GOP.com for info, including references.

For recent public school grads who might have missed the impact, $733 billion is 3/4 of a TRILLION dollars.

And the campaign is far from over. There's a lot of bribing you with your own tax dollars to be done, yet.

When Hillary told us we can't afford her, she meant it.

Mike Huckabee: Master of Ill-Conceived Slogans

The editors of National Review Online have a pretty damning analysis of Mike Huckabee today. Here's the heart of it:

Unfortunately, what Huckabee offers by way of solutions is a mixture of populism and big-government liberalism; the common theme of his policies is that they are half-baked. If an ill-considered slogan can be used to justify a policy, he is for it. He is a protectionist, because we need to have “fair trade.” He wants to put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, because we need them “to do jobs that are going unfilled because nobody here wants to do them.” Energy subsidies and farm subsidies must be increased, because they’re a matter of “national security.”

When he was governor of Arkansas, these instincts led Huckabee to move farther and farther in a statist direction. (Education policy offers a nice example of what happens when his statism and his social conservatism conflict: He opposes meaningful school choice.) The Cato Institute gave him a D on fiscal policy, noting that spending had increased at three times the rate of inflation during his governorship. Not surprisingly, Huckabee is the one Republican candidate who flinched when President Bush vetoed the Democrats’ proposed expansion of S-CHIP. He says he is against socialized medicine, but don’t look for him to resist the drift toward it.

Farmers at CNN Planting Bumper Crop of Questions

CNN has been getting an increasingly hard (and deserved) time for their less-than-objective and not-as-portrayed handling of the recent Democrat presidential debate. You've probably heard about the laimo "diamonds and pearls" question, but that's not all.

Keep in mind that we're told Fox News=Bad Right Wing Hate Machine while CNN=Objective News.

I'm getting my leg pulled a lot lately, but go ahead: pull my other leg (again).

See, no bias, staging, or anything other than honest, "Golly whillickers and shucks, I'm just Joe Regular Voter and I just have no idea how I'm going to vote." Uh huh.

Video: Novak on the Clinton-Obama Dirt Scandal

Bob Novak joins the crew of Fox and Friends to discuss his recent article in the Washington Post. Novak quoted insiders of the Clinton campaign who said Hillary had some serious dirt on rival Barrack Obama. Novak's source said that Hillary was taking the high road in not releasing this information to the media.

The Dark Underbelly of Cohabitation

The Ledger Dispatch carries an AP story from AP writer David Crary on the "dark underbelly of cohabitation":

Every case is different, every family is different. Some single mothers bring men into their lives who lovingly help raise children when the biological father is gone for good.

Nonetheless, many scholars and front-line caseworkers who monitor America's families see the abusive-boyfriend syndrome as part of a broader trend that deeply worries them. They note an ever-increasing share of America's children grow up in homes without both biological parents, and say the risk of child abuse is markedly higher in the nontraditional family structures.

"This is the dark underbelly of cohabitation," said Brad Wilcox, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia. "Cohabitation has become quite common, and most people think, 'What's the harm?' The harm is we're increasing a pattern of relationships that's not good for children."

The findings on the risk to children in these coahabitative situations is alarming:
-Children living in households with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study of Missouri abuse reports published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005.

-Children living in stepfamilies or with single parents are at higher risk of physical or sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents, according to several studies co-authored by David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center.

-Girls whose parents divorce are at significantly higher risk of sexual assault, whether they live with their mother or their father, according to research by Robin Wilson, a family law professor at Washington and Lee University.

Why is this?
"It comes down to the fact they don't have a relationship established with these kids," she said. "Their primary interest is really the adult partner, and they may find themselves more irritated when there's a problem with the children."

The article features several chilling stories of abuse from live-in boyfriends. Here is just one:
In July 2006, his mother's boyfriend, Phillip Guymon, hurled the 2-year-old nine feet across a room in Murray, Utah, because he balked at going to bed. The child died from his injuries.

Obviously not all cohabitative arrangements end up like this. But the increased risk is scary.

When marriage and family advocates speak against divorce, cohabitation, and having children outside of marriage, they aren't trying to spoil people's fun or be fuddie-duddies. There are compelling, important practical reasons for the moral structures we've traditionally lived under in our Judeo-Christian heritage: they protect us all--especially innocent, defenseless children--from hurtful and potentially deadly situations.

Potpourri of education activities makes South Dakota an interesting place to live

By Gordon Garnos

AT ISSUE: Webster's definition of "potpourri" says it is a combination of various incongruous elements or a miscellaneous collection. The South Dakota education system is all of that and then some. Today's column is a potpourri of some those things that is happening on the education stage in our state. (Full Article)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Islam Seminar Part 4: Islam in History

Tonight was Part 4 in the series on Islam being taught by Dr. Richard Wells at South Canyon Baptist Church in Rapid City. (Parts one and two can be read about and viewed here, though I was out of town for Part 3).

Below are my notes from this evening's presentation; they are not full verbatim quotes of what Wells said, but are pretty close (I'm a VERY fast typist).

Wells said he has studied Islam for many years and taught it for many years teaching World Religions at seminary, and has visited a number of Islamic countries.

Wells began tonight’s discussion of Islam in History by saying that there were two or perhaps three “histories of Islam”

On Sept 12, 1683 the first history of Islam ended, and from that date until today is the “second history of Islam.”

What we are witnessing in the world right now is an effort by the Islamic world to create a third history by returning to the first history.

For a little over 1000 years since Mohammed’s death (632 AD), Islam was more or less unchecked in the world, ascendant for 1000 years. Upon close examination, there were already signs of its disintegration before that, but this was ignored by Islamic leaders.

In that “first history,” you have an incredible, worldwide expansion from Mecca and Medina and it is almost bewilderingly rapid. This time begins with what is sometimes called the “Muslim Century. It extends from the death of Mohammed to the defeat of Islamic forces at they Pyrenees Mountains by Charles Martel in 732 AD.

By 656 AD already the Middle East and half of North Africa are under Muslim control. North Africa had been part of the Roman Empire and much of it remained under the control of the Roman Empire in the East, also called the Byzantine Empire. It had been Christian until this point. Muslims conquered through Spain until they reached the Pyrenees Mountains, and it was expected that they would march into Paris and take all of Europe. They also made it to eastward to China and into India and northward to the Taurus Mountains, then to the Caucus Mountains.

Wells said the area where he recently taught in Rostov, Russia was not far north of where Muslims reached in that first century.

There were three great Islamic movements. This first one was the “Arab Movement.” The next great movement involved the Mongols or Tartars. The Mongols were fierce warriors but most Western people underestimated their military genius and the extent of their empire in the East. In the 13th Century you have this second wave of Mongols who converted to Islam.

Kublai Kahn asked for Rome to send teachers to their empire to teach them about Christianity, but the request was ignored during a time when there was no pope. When a pope was appointed, he sent a couple of Dominican priests who came with the intent of aggressively converting the “mogul horde.” This was rejected by the Mongols.

If they had come proclaiming the Kingdom of God the way Jesus presented it, that would have been a vision big enough to capture their hearts. Instead, these emissaries came demanding fealty to Rome. So the Mongols instead turned to Islam.

The third great wave is the one of the most interest to us, and it is the Ottomans. They were Turkish people from the 11th Century occupying the current area of Turkey and much of the area south of Russia. Here they established the Ottoman Empire, ruling from the 15th Century until World War I.

The high point of the third history of Islam is the sacking of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453. This city had been the capital of the Byzantine Empire, or the Eastern Roman Empire. By the time Islam came on the world scene, the old traditional Roman Empire in Western Europe (based in Italy and the city of Rome) had already fallen to the barbarian invasions.

It was the vision of the Ottomans to conquer all Christian lands and bring them into the sphere of Islam. When they conquered, conquered people had the choice to convert or die. If they were Jews or Christians, you could convert, die, or pay a tax to obtain the privilege of becoming a second class citizen.

One of those problems that were appearing in the Islamic advance was in 1529 when the Muslims laid siege to Vienna. This city was viewed as the crown jewel of Christianity. However, they failed to conquer it due to “bad weather.”

Another remarkable event occurred in 1571 and it was the Battle of Lepanto in Greece. It pitted evenly matched navies between the Muslims and “The Holy League.” This was an extraordinary victory for the Christian forces, and is viewed as the salvation of Europe. The Muslims, however, didn’t see it this way, yet it was a crushing defeat for Islamic forces.

This end of the first Islamic history was September 12, 1683 when the second siege of Vienna ended, again in failure. From July to September the Muslims had laid siege, and they faced a confederation of Christian forces led by a Polish king. The pope called for fasting and prayer, and in a battle that lasted five hours on Sept. 12, the Polish king deployed his troops masterfully and routed the Muslims. It took days for the victors to collect all the plunder that was left behind. One thing they let behind when they retreated were vast stores of coffee, which was relatively unknown in Europe at this point.

The second history of Islam begins here, and while the first was almost unchecked expansion, the second is one of almost unrelieved failure—the whole thing unravels.

In 1686 the Hungarian city of Buda was retaken by Christians, and in 1696 Peter the Great retook Russian lands from the Muslims. In 1798, Napoleon entered Egypt, the stronghold of Islam.

In the 1700s and 1800s, for the first time in history a Muslim power had to sign a treaty involving the surrender of land.

In World War I the Ottoman Empire came to an end. The victorious Europeans sat down at a table and divided up the Islamic world.

The reestablishment state of Israel came out of this also, though it didn’t happen until after World War II. After WWI, they allowed Turkey to keep its own country, and the British controlled Palestine under the “British Mandate.” The effort to reestablish the state of Israel began here, though it wasn’t completed until 1948.

The significance of September 11 (and bin Laden’s attack on the United States on that date) is just what bin Laden told us on October 7 after the attack. He referenced an event nearly 80 years earlier, September 11, 1922 when the British Mandate was declared in Palestine. On this date, the Arabs proclaimed a day of mourning. Since then, there has been a tremendous rise in the aggression of various Arab groups around the world.

The question often arises of how that first century of Islamic expansion could have happened so quickly. One possibility is that the Christian world itself opened the door wide open to this. It is no coincidence that the rise of Islam coincides with the Middle Ages, and the disintegration coincidence with the Renaissance and rebirth of Christianity.

Also, the rise of Islam coincides with a wave of anti-Semitism on the part of Christians. Wells mentioned the Inquisition and how Jews were caught up and persecuted. God said in his word that he would bless those who bless his people and would be the enemy of those who oppose his people.

Another factor is that the Islamic religion is by its nature a religion of domination.

At this point Wells said he was out of time due to another meeting requirement, but would continue the seminar next week. That will be at 6:30 pm, November 25 at South Canyon Baptist Church (3333 West Chicago St.) in Rapid City.

More on Death Penalty Deterrent Effect

The New York Times has an article today examining the death penalty's deterrent effect. Some of the study information became available several months ago, but it examines the issue in a little more depth than some previous articles I read back then.

Incidentally, the primary study cited was done by a death penalty opponent, so it can't be said that he slanted his research to make it come out in favor of a death penalty deterrent.

“I personally am opposed to the death penalty,” said H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a study finding that each execution saves five lives. “But my research shows that there is a deterrent effect.”

Though I have always been a supporter of the death penalty, I was actually a little surprised that there was a solid deterrent effect, give that the average time between sentence and execution in the U.S. is about 12 years. And as the article says, only about one in 300 homicides results in an execution.

But on that subject, the research found something that goes along with what I've just said:
The effect is most pronounced, according to some studies, in Texas and other states that execute condemned inmates relatively often and relatively quickly.

That would make sense. Since the crime and the punishment are closer together, there is a better relationship between cause and effect. When a wrongdoer is not punished for his crimes for a long time, the causal relationship becomes blurry.

The article addresses those who oppose the death penalty on ostensibly "pro-life" grounds:
Professor Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, a law professor at Harvard, wrote in their own Stanford Law Review article that “the recent evidence of a deterrent effect from capital punishment seems impressive, especially in light of its ‘apparent power and unanimity,’ ” quoting a conclusion of a separate overview of the evidence in 2005 by Robert Weisberg, a law professor at Stanford, in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science.

“Capital punishment may well save lives,” the two professors continued. “Those who object to capital punishment, and who do so in the name of protecting life, must come to terms with the possibility that the failure to inflict capital punishment will fail to protect life.”

The primary reason for the death penalty, however, is NOT the deterrent effect. We execute the convicted murderer to bring justice.

God delegated this responsibility to human government in Genesis 9:6 after the Flood. This edict predates the Mosaic Law, and thus is irrelevant to discussions that Jesus might have abolished this mandate when he established the New Covenant. Consider, too, that VIOLENCE was one of the reasons the Bible lists for God's destruction of humanity (save Noah and his family) during the Flood. God may have considered this first imposition of the death penalty in Genesis 9:6 necessary to prevent humanity from returning to the violent state in which existed before the Flood.

The concept of restitution and repayment for crimes is vital to any serious system of justice. The only thing is, when you kill someone, there is no way to restore their unique human life. The closest you can come to making restitution and reparation is to give up your own life.

While the death penalty exists primarily to carry out justice for a human life wrongfully taken, it's good to know that it also has the effect of deterring potential murderers from taking innocent human life.

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