Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

Sappy, Nationalistic Tripe December 4, 2009

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 2:35 pm
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How’s that for a title?

Yesterday, I saw a portrait of a woman dressed in uniform, holding her two year old son in her lap, and smiling gently off into the side lighting. The caption read, “ I may have to give my life for my country, but you will always hold my heart.”

Are you kidding me?

Now, most of you know that I am adamantly opposed to our country’s current wars, but that aside, I think I still would have been hit with the same revulsion. Call me old fashioned, but when a woman has children, she does not have the right to travel far away from them and put herself in perilous situations. Her duty is to those children, not to the State. Would any woman honestly believe that her kids would be okay with her being gone for months or years at a time, and maybe not coming home at all, instead of fulfilling her obligation to nurture and teach them?

War is a destroyer of families. I don’t understand why any mother (or father with young children) would put themselves in such a position.

 

The Shoe Throwing Incident December 18, 2008

Filed under: Current Events,Politics — katieosborne @ 2:07 pm

I promise I won’t keep talking politics – I want to get back to Christmas – but I have been so irritated by what I have heard from the media regarding this incident. People are either simply laughing about it (and I do admit, Bush does look rather comical as he’s ducking those forcefully hurled shoes) or they’re using it as an excuse to say, yet again, “look how we’ve succeeded in Iraq.” Funny, how they can spin almost anything taking place in that country into proof that we are “winning.”

Apparently, because this journalist wasn’t immediately beaten and dragged away to his execution (though he is in the hospital having suffered a broken arm and a head injury from being hit with the butt of a gun, and he faces up to 15 years in prison), it is proof of a flourishing democracy in Iraq. Even if this is true, which I do not believe it is, does that justify the uncountable number of innocent dead, the complete destruction of their infrastructure, their neighborhoods, their families, and the fact that we arrogantly waltzed into a country that posed no serious threat to us and became agents of terror and destruction? Hey, maybe, just maybe, this guy has a right to be angry. Maybe he lost a wife, a child, a brother at our hands. Or maybe he’s just enraged about what has become of his country in the name of “spreading democracy.” Whatever the case, his act is a symbol of resistance, a statement against our foreign policy, and a sentiment that many in the Middle East, and elsewhere, would like to express themselves, had they the courage and the opportunity.

 

Government Spending and the Risk of Ruin December 15, 2008

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 2:24 pm

by Michael S. Rozeff

A company named Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold recently suspended its dividend and cut back its capital spending. It did this to preserve cash, so that it can service its debt in light of the fact that its business has fallen off sharply. These moves to "stop the bleeding" were prudent. The company wants to avoid ruin (bankruptcy). It is obvious that stemming the cash outflows will help it preserve its capital and provide a reserve or bulwark against hard times that may last for quite a long time. If it had not taken these steps, its risk of ruin would have been much greater.

Any person or enterprise that has cash inflows and cash outflows reaches financial ruin when the cash inflows are not enough to pay the obligated cash outflows. Clearly the risk of ruin is lower when the entity has higher cash inflows, as from income and revenues, and lower cash outflows, as from spending and debts. Just as clearly, the risk of ruin rises when spending and borrowing are increased, while income and revenues are going lower.

The risk of ruin constrains profligate actions, but it does not always stop them. There are those who direct themselves intentionally into financial ruin. While a child can understand these facts, governments act as if they can be disregarded. This leads to another fact of life: governments often destroy themselves and take their citizens down with them. They do this because, with their power to tax, they regard all the assets of everyone in their realm as theirs for the taking, albeit at some cost to them; and this induces them to multiply their obligations recklessly.

The prudence of Freeport can be contrasted with the imprudence of government. Two recent examples are Great Britain and the United States of America. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is intent on borrowing and spending more, with the hope of restoring demand. Barack Obama stands for doing "whatever it takes to get this economy moving again that we have to, we’re going to have to spend money now to stimulate the economy and that we shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after." The $700 billion bailout bill passed earlier this year is a third example. It allows the FDIC to borrow unlimited amounts from the Treasury to cover losses on insured bank deposits. This provision relaxes the pressure on banks so that they do not have to cut back on dividends and spending.

Then we have, as a fourth instance, the Federal Reserve making loans with abandon. This is a novel way to increase the risk of ruin. If you make enough bad loans that the borrowers cannot repay, then, like any bank that makes bad loans, you risk ruin. The Fed’s risk of ruin is decidedly higher today than three months ago or twelve months ago.

Alan Greenspan mentioned a fifth example, which is likewise novel. One raises the risk of ruin when one has the seemingly unlimited ability to borrow. He mentioned this in testimony on April 6, 2005: "The government guarantee for GSE debt inferred by investors enables Fannie and Freddie to profitably expand their portfolios of assets essentially without limit." One might think that an unlimited ability to borrow is something that staves off ruin. The opposite is true. It builds up obligatory interest payments. The result of that ability to borrow without limit was the bankruptcy of Fannie and Freddie. It was like a perpetual bailout fund to them. They did not need to institute careful risk controls over their loans, the result being they made too many bad loans. Soon their cash inflows were not enough to service the payments on all that unlimited borrowing they had done.

Notice that the Fed’s ability to issue debt (currency) to any extent is equivalent to the capacity to borrow unlimited amounts. The Fed’s higher risk of ruin fits into this category too.

The risk of ruin of the U.S. government was already large before the recent financial problems occurred. The government already had made Medicare promises that it could not keep without strangling the economy or otherwise seizing wealth through high taxes and inflation. But now, as it piles program on program, and contemplates huge public works spending and the accompanying deficits, the risk of ruin is rising even more.

Our officials are not so much fearless in taking these risks as ignorant and unable to adapt to reality. They are ignorant because they do not know any better. They are both stupid and unable to adapt to reality because they are turning to the same methods that have supposedly worked in the past to stave off downturns in the economy. These are deficit spending and money-pumping. They seemed to "work," but they never did. Not understanding logic, our officials mistook their manipulations of economic activity combined with the normal forces of economic recovery for a healthy economy.

What logically and actually worked was that entrepreneurs in the business sector were able to create new jobs and whole new industries. That covered up the drag and distortions placed upon the economy by government policies. That drag is now being magnified even more. Even Tiger Woods won’t be able to drive a golf ball 100 yards if we load him down with all sorts of weights, braces, and contraptions.

This business cycle is worse, much worse, and it will stay much worse than prior recessions. The problems of the economy will not be resolved by anything that the government and the Fed are now doing or contemplating doing. These problems are too deep and structural. The financial system has failed, but the problems are far more profound. They arise from a long-term set of government and monetary policies, and they go to the production structure of American business. They reach overseas into trade issues. They reach into our poor educational system. They reach into ethical failings. They reach into misguided war policies. When a social and economic system has been misled for decades, the results go deep. They can’t be altered by public works spending and money-pumping.

The crisis has firmly-set and long-established roots. Americans do not have a stable medium of account that underlies their currency. The result of that is to misdirect effort into speculation against both deflationary and inflationary episodes. The lack of currency stability affects investment. At times, it has shortened investment horizons unduly. At other times, when interest rates have been too low, it has lengthened them unduly. At times, the government has acted to mitigate the speculative errors of business and financial interests, and this has induced inordinate risk-taking behavior. The government has attempted to provide a safety net for individuals as well. This has induced anti-social, anti-family, and profligate behavior. People have become less responsible and less oriented to planning and carrying out long-term plans. Government policies put in place supposedly to help people have, in the long run, undermined and distorted the normal functioning of society and business.

America’s problems run very deep. They will not be overcome by electing a candidate of change who does the same old things, only more so. Universal health care simply extends the problems besetting the health-care system. Transferring the army from Iraq to Afghanistan simply extends expensive and devastating war-making. Money-pumping simply repeats the error that has helped bring us to where we now are. Public works programs do not differ significantly from any other wasteful government program.

Since this crisis is bringing home to roost all of the errors of the past, only very large government counter-measures can possibly induce and manipulate the economy into a state of simulated recovery. The government is trying to make the zombie go through the motions one more time, with big doses of drugs and stimulants. This hastens the demise of the system. America’s fall will be more rapid than the fall of other nations who have faced ruin because of the enhanced scale of America’s attempted recovery efforts.

These efforts won’t succeed because they logically cannot succeed; they can only further distort and deflect the economy from a healthy and progressive course. The crisis will stretch out endlessly under these policies. They will lead to worse policies, such as exchange controls and controls over domestic investments. The Senate by the chances of politics actually did something right by rejecting the auto manufacturers’ initial bailout. The White House will try to do it anyway. This is what we are coming to, an economy that is more and more manipulated by the government. Such an economy is a stagnant economy.

Under these circumstances, unless the government changes its policies, capital will more and more flee the country. People will flee. Domestic conflict will rise. The dictatorship we already have will heighten.

This all will have investment implications. Gold will rise in price. As the current conditions take hold, I expect a gold price of $1500–$1700. That is, I expect the dollar to depreciate significantly. Don’t ask me when.

We do not need disaster scenarios for this to occur. All we need is what we are now getting, which is the existing political policies. The commitments for Medicare and the big deficits will cause the dollar to depreciate. Battles in foreign lands add to the deficits. Public works add to the deficits. There are nothing but large deficits as far as the eye can see.

I think interest rates will rise and bonds fall. The risk of ruin will affect government bond pricing. Government bonds are short sales. They’ve had a tremendous rally that looks irrational to me in view of the big deficits that lie ahead.

I expect stocks to be volatile or "messy." They will eventually go lower.

It was right to get out of stocks in 2007 and 2008. It is right at this time to get out of both bonds and dollars.

The old saying is to never sell America short. Rules like that eventually are broken. Buy and hold in the stock market is a broken rule. Even diversification is a broken investing rule. Buy and hold has failed because it amounted to a bet too. If one bets on the wrong market, buying and holding it is useless. Diversification fails when it can’t foresee the states of the world and how the assets will perform in those states. And it usually fails to see those critical details, so it does not know how to diversify. Not selling America short is the next rule to be broken.

 

Original Article

 

Lack Of Discernment November 13, 2008

Filed under: Christianity,Politics — katieosborne @ 2:42 pm
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I was sorta writing this in my head the other night as I was going to sleep, and my thoughts seemed to flow so well, but now, I’m at a complete loss over how to express what I’m trying to say. Plus, due to some research,I have more to say then I originally thought. Bear with me as I try to get my thoughts out, hopefully not too inarticulately. Here goes:

As a Reformed Christian, sometimes I am taken aback by what some of mainstream American Christianity believes today. I am so thankful that God directed me to a church and tradition with such a clear and Biblical theological system and such an accurate understanding of God’s grace. Having grown up in a rather legalistic non-denominational church, I didn’t receive much of an education when it came to theology. Sure, I was taught all the Bible stories kids learn, and I was introduced to God’s redemptive plan, but so much was lacking – most importantly, accurate teaching on God’s grace and our relationship to Him in light of that grace. I left that church knowing the basics of Christianity and burdened with guilt and frustration over my constant failings. I was fortunate at my next church to learn from a pastor who is himself reformed, though the denomination itself is not. It’s fascinating to look back and see God’s guiding hand as he finally led me to my current church home.

Given my own background and that of most of my family (both of my sets of grandparents, and therefore my own parents, attended the same church I grew up in), I guess I should not be surprised at some of the blatant falsehoods I see some family members falling for. Please understand that I do not say this with an air of superiority, just concern. I know that I do not have a clear handle on all theological issues myself – I have so very much to learn and truly grasp – but there are some things that without a doubt are contrary to scripture. There have been a few things lately from various relatives, that have made me go, “woah, what??” But this one really bothers me:

One of my cousins posted a message on her Facebook page from Dutch Sheets, whom I’d never heard of before, but apparently she attends, or has attended, his Freedom Church. Just looking at the website gives one pause as there is not even a statement of faith anywhere, at least not that I could find.

Here is the complete statement she posted regarding the outcome of the 2008 presidential elections. And here are a few excerpts:

Was what happened Tuesday God’s will? I am quite confident it was not.

Wow, so God’s not sovereign after all? Huh. I didn’t realize that we sinful human beings have such power to thwart God’s plans. How can this man be so arrogant as to believe that he knows God’s sovereign will? And worse than simply making such a statement, he is the leader of a large church, and is teaching this clearly unbiblical principle to his congregation and other followers. I understand that many Christians are disappointed in the outcome, but for a church leader to take such a view is to instill fear and doubt about God’s power and control in the hearts of those who look up to him – not to mention teaching downright lies.

There is such comfort to know the truth, to rest in the peace of knowing that God is completely in control, and we therefore have no reason to fear the future, no matter what.

Though I understand our reasons, we must be careful in our attempts to placate our feelings and calm our fears through religious phrases like “God is still on the throne” or “God has a plan”. He was on His throne 35 years and 50 million babies ago. And He had a plan back then. The problem is, it was us. I understand our reasons for waving high the banner of God’s sovereignty at times like these-it gives us hope. I will wave it, as well. But please be careful with this. Too much emphasis on God’s sovereignty and we’re worthless; too little and we’re hopeless.

It certainly doesn’t sound like he has any concept of God’s awesome power, majesty and perfection. In his mind, proclaiming God’s sovereignty is merely spouting “religious phrases,” in an attempt to make ourselves feel better and desperately grasp on to some sort of hope. Apparently, he believes that our free will can cause problems for God and can in fact alter His sovereign will. The real reason McCain (and more importantly, in his mind, Palin *more on that later*) lost was that Christians didn’t try hard enough and pray hard enough.

Like many, believing I had many promises and confirmations that God would “grace” us with a pro-life president in this election, I failed to consider strongly enough that all promises-even scripture-are conditional 99.9% of the time. Though I never prophesied or made guarantees that McCain-Palin would win, failing to factor this principle in strongly enough no doubt caused me to share my optimism with others inappropriately. If this caused any harm or confusion, I apologize.

Sure sounds like he prophesized, or at least his followers took it as prophecy, and now he’s backpedaling, trying to save face. Why do these people insist on making fools out of themselves by putting words in God’s mouth? It seems like so much emphasis is placed on trying to figure out God’s will – which is unknowable – instead of just trusting in Him and living our lives out as He has instructed us. I get the impression that an emotional and perhaps mystical experience is more desired than an accurate understanding of God’s Word.

I thought we had enough prayer. Obviously, God decided otherwise.

Sheets seems to view prayer as some sort of magic. As though, just getting enough people to pray that McCain would win, would make it so. God would have no choice but to acquiesce to man’s desires. And conversely, the fervent prayers of one man or a small group do not amount to enough for God to care.

I’ve been asked if my feelings about Sarah Palin have changed.  They have not. I believe she is an Esther, a Deborah, with a huge mantle from God for reformation. God has a great destiny for her related to this nation if she chooses to continue down this path.

I’m guessing that some of the prophecy that he is backpedaling on has to do with Sarah Palin. He did make statements about her entering the White House and saying “as of Friday (when McCain’s selection was announced, I assume), the U.S. has come into a new level of alignment with the Lord and His purposes.” She has been called a Deborah and Esther by many in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles. There is something called the “Deborah Anointing” (sorry I couldn’t find a more concise definition) which they’re all convinced she has.

This leads me to something else. When I was researching Dutch Sheets and the movement he is involved with called The Third Wave or the New Apostolic Reformation, Sarah Palin’s name was popping up all over the results. I did not include her in any of the searches. She is just very closely tied with this movement, a movement that the Assemblies of God denounced as heresy back in 1949.

There are so many Christians so excited about Palin, but should this not give us pause? Sure, it’s great that she professes to be a Christian and seems very sincere in her faith, but what if a lot of her doctrinal beliefs are in such error that they negatively affect any national office she may hold in the future? I know, that probably sounds like crazy talk, but I am a little concerned after reading what I have about her religious connections.

I’ll admit that despite having some family who are longtime members of Charismatic churches, some of the doctrine makes me a bit uncomfortable, and I don’t agree with a whole lot beyond the very fundamentals of Christianity. I am not in any way calling into question their faith; I just see things very differently and believe that they are in error in some of their doctrine. There is certainly no denying they love Jesus. They are passionate and “on fire,” but I think sometimes they neglect doctrine for emotional experience.

This Third Wave thing is something entirely different though. This is subversive stuff, and it is apparently infiltrating the American Christian Church in a big way. This isn’t just about doctrinal differences. It is a complete undermining of Orthodox Christianity, and three of the four churches Palin attends are connected with it. (Link).

The Wasilla Assembly of God church (Palin’s church home for many years) is deeply involved with both Third Wave activities and theology. Their Master’s Commission program is part of an three year post-high school international training program with studies in prophecy, intercessory prayer, Biblical exegesis, authority and leadership. The pastor, Ed Kalnins, and Masters Commission students have traveled to South Carolina to participate in a “prophetic conference” at Morningstar Ministries, one of the major ministries of the Third Wave movement. Becky Fischer was a pastor at Morningstar prior to being featured in the movie “Jesus Camp.” The head of prophecy at Morningstar, Steve Thompson, is currently scheduled to do a prophecy seminar at the Wasilla Assembly of God. Other major leaders in the movement have also traveled to Wasilla to visit and speak at the church.

I’ll give you a rundown of some of the problems:

  • A shift in the way that Christians think from a rationalistic view, to an approach where doctrine is developed using experiential approach.
  • they hope to infiltrate all churches through their emphasis on unity above all else
  • obsession with sensational experiences
  • fantastic Signs and Wonders demonstrate the genuineness of their movement and must, they believe, accompany the proclamation of the gospel in our time.
  • unbelievers must experience the miraculous in order to be brought to full faith. Merely preaching the gospel message, they believe, will never reach the world for Christ.
  • The emphasis is on the Holy Spirit more than on Christ. The Holy Spirit is being invoked, prayed to, commanded, and pressed into people’s foreheads.
  • believe in generational curses that must be broken by the current generation
  • One of their leaders says that, To believe that the Scripture is the end of God’s revelation is a demonic doctrine. In order to fulfill God’s highest purpose for our lives, we must be able to hear His voice both in the written word and the word freshly spoken from heaven.
  • They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus.
  • claim that Jesus cannot return until all His enemies have been put under the feet of the Church
  • Instead of the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, their scheme of world restoration calls for the development of man’s social skills and knowledge, organizational ability, qualities of leadership, rhetoric and the ability to dominate adversaries.
  • In an effort to strengthen the claims of the Church on earth, as a Kingdom and Authority to be obeyed, Dominionism has come close to replacing Lord Jesus with His Body.
  • They believe there are three levels of spiritual warfare: the casting out of demons from individuals, “occult-level warfare” against “powers of darkness” (like New Age thought and Tibetan Buddhism), and “strategic-level warfare” against whole geographical areas thought to be controlled by Satan. They engage in a process called “Spiritual Mapping”, which is the practice of gathering information on patterns of belief and unbelief in cities and communities, and trying to gain territory for God.
  • They believe God is raising up an army that will manifest all the supernatural power of the Old Testament and the New Testament combined. This power will be manifested to bring the entire world under the dominion of the Church (by any means necessary). The Church will then in turn hand it over to Jesus, who will hand it over to His Father. The great conquering army of supernatural saints is commonly referred to as Joel’s Army or the Manchild company.
  • Roots in the Latter Rain Movement and is part of the holy laughter movement and things like the Toronto Blessing, Brownsville Revival and Lakeland Revival

And for your viewing pleasure – or perhaps horror – take a gander at one of Dutch Sheets’ youth services:

My concern regarding Palin is that this militant group views her as an important player in bringing about their apocalyptic beliefs, and she herself apparently believes these things. This belief that their particular branch of the church must seize control of government and other institutions in order to establish the Kingdom of God on earth and hasten the end of the world, has big implications for our country and the world. If she comes to power and believes that it is her calling to set these things in motion, how can we expect her to deal with foreign nations and leaders who hold to beliefs that are at odds with her own. Will they all be seen as enemies who are standing in the way of God’s coming?

These people are training their young children to be warriors in “Joel’s Army.” They believe they will be the last generation and their purpose is to wage a holy war across the nations. The implication, from what I have read, is they will force conversion through violence, if necessary.

Regarding Joel’s Army, Rick Joyner, a leader in the Third Wave says in a sermon called “The Warrior Nation — The New Sound of the Church,” “As the church begins to take on this resolve, they [Joel's Army churches] will start to be thought of more as military bases, and they will begin to take on the characteristics of military bases for training, equipping, and deploying effective spiritual forces. In time, the church will actually be organized more as a military force with an army, navy, air force, etc.”

John Wimber of Vineyard Churches, which is also part of the Third Wave movement says, “Those in this army will have His kind of power. … Anyone who wants to harm them must die.”

So…..reason to fear?

No. God is sovereign.

Reason for concern.

I think so. Concern for the minds and souls of the individuals involved in this movement and the Christian Church in general. And concern for the future of our country, should their movement infiltrate national office.

Sources:

http://www.intotruth.org/res/tract2.html

http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/CHAOS6.HTM

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/geneology.html#Joel%27s%20Army

http://thewatch.wicasta.com/?p=354

 

Slavery, Anyone? November 7, 2008

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 10:38 pm
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This is an excerpt from Rahm Emanuel’s, Obama’s Chief of Staff pick, book:

It’s time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service. …

Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs.

And from Obama’s change.gov website:

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

 

Being Pro-Life November 4, 2008

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 8:41 pm
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The rights of the unborn is a big issue among Christians and many other conservative minded people. In an election year, it is common for Christians to point to this issue as one of the main reasons for supporting the Republican candidate. Unfortunately, I believe that the pro-life issue is often used merely to garner Christian votes. Has any real effort been made by the Republicans to change the course of abortion in our country? The answer is no.

Just take the last eight years as an example. We’ve had a Republican president in office. For six of these years, the same party also controlled congress. If Republican politicians really cared about the issue of abortion, they could have easily taken action to change things during this time. So, what’s the deal, Republicans? What about all those murdered babies you’ve convinced us you care so much about?

And how come President Bush, who calls himself pro-life continues to fund Planned Parenthood, an organization responsible for about a quarter of a million abortions each year? Why has he in fact increased tax money each year to fund them?

Why does Ron Paul, year after year present his Sanctity of Life Act to congress only to have it swept under the rug by Democrats and Republicans alike? I hate to break it to you all, but the majority of Washington does not care about the rights of the unborn.

In addition, I believe there is also a great inconsistency regarding what life Republicans believe is worth protecting. Can an individual truly call themselves pro-life if they support the maiming and killing of women, children and other innocents in foreign lands? It doesn’t seem possible. Yet, many who are rightly passionate about protecting the innocent unborn, seem shockingly apathetic to the gruesome fate of so many in the Middle East who are victims of our reckless foreign policy. Somehow, we’ve been convinced that collateral damage is merely an unfortunate but necessary by-product of war. If our conscience begins to prick us, and we give thought to these unfortunate individuals at all, we convince ourselves that it is for the greater good, desperate to avoid dealing with the real implications of our country’s actions.

Where was the outrage among pro-life advocates when Madeleine Albright declared that the killing of a half million Iraqi children, due to our sanctions during the Clinton Administration, was “worth it”? A half a million children. Hey, that’s politics, right?

And we wonder why they hate us.

Why are we not crying out in grief over the innocent victims we so carelessly kill, dropping bombs from above? Reliable sources estimate that there have been over a half a million civilian deaths in Iraq since the start of the war. Some reports say over a million.  That doesn’t even take into account those who have survived, being horribly burned, shot, etc.

Our government is responsible for this and innumerable other casualties like it. Tell me how this is okay. Tell me you’d be okay if that was your child’s fate. Explain to me how collateral damage is no big deal in the scheme of things.

What, it‘s okay because they’re different than us?  Because we don’t understand their culture? Because they’re halfway across the world, and we don’t have to look them in the eye as they’re dying? Because that’s just how war is? Tell me why it’s okay.

Do you realize that it is common practice for convoys to run down civilians, including children, if they are in the way, so the soldiers don’t have to stop and chance being victims of an IED? Do you realize that civilians are often fired upon at checkpoints, due largely to fear or communication problems? Do you realize that home raids often end in tragedy? Do you realize how many “mistakes” our military makes? I urge you to read the book Collateral Damage, an account of the atrocities of war in Iraq from the mouths of many soldiers who have been there.

I think that we who call ourselves pro-life need to examine all aspects of the preservation of life, and not just that of the unborn baby. We need to cry out against the injustices wrought on innocents all over this world and not just within to wombs of American women.

And while it is good to support politicians who will take a stand for the life of the unborn, ultimately, we cannot rely on government to solve the issue of abortion. Government is inefficient, and legislating morality just doesn’t work. This is an issue of the heart, and until people’s minds and hearts are changed, it doesn’t really matter whether abortion is legal or illegal. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t fight for the overturning of Roe v. Wade – by all means fight for it. It is an unconstitutional law, as abortion is not a federal issue. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t be so naive as to think that we need the government to save the lives of the unborn. It needs to start with us. It starts with compassion and a heart for the lost and hurting. It starts with personally giving of yourself; giving of your time and your emotions to reach out to those who need help. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and becoming vulnerable yourself, in hopes of touching someone else’s soul. It means loving rather than judging. It means understanding rather than writing someone off. It means seeing every single person as precious. It starts with valuing life in all it’s forms and living that out by example. It means doing more than just paying lip service to this very important issue. That’s how we start to change our country’s attitude toward the unborn.

 

The Establishment Parties

Filed under: Politics — katieosborne @ 3:29 pm
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There is a fantastic article published on Lew Rockwell today that so succinctly explains the false choice that we are presented with in our presidential elections. I thought it would be a good follow up to my post from yesterday.

Jack Johnson vs. John Jackson

by Johnny Kramer

Today, millions of Americans will validate their faith in the secular religion of democracy by going to the polls, as they do every four years, to choose between two basically interchangeable candidates, both of whom were, as always, hand-picked by the power elite because they can be trusted to dutifully perpetuate their system.

The False Choice

This fact is evidenced not only by the similarity of the presidential candidates every four years, but also by the shallowness of mainstream political discourse, where fundamental questions about the power elite’s system are not allowed; rather, acceptable debate is limited to the minutiae of micromanaging the system, to fairly trivial distractions that wouldn’t even be contentious issues in a free society – like gay marriage and stem cell research, and to the personal character of the candidates.

For example, the moral legitimacy of the income tax, or of the federal government extracting about $3 trillion per year from the productive economy, is not discussed; instead, the “debate” is on whether at what income levels to place the tax code’s gradations, whether to slightly raise or lower any of the gradation’s tax rates, or whether this or that expense should qualify for a deduction.

Nor are the moral legitimacy, constitutionality, or the results of the Drug War discussed; instead, the “debate” is limited to whether a certain substance should be a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, whether marijuana should be allowed for patients with certain medical conditions under certain, rigidly stipulated circumstances, or whether the penalties for a certain drug offense should be raised, or remain the same.

Nor are such questions allowed about the “War on Terror,” the military-industrial complex, and the medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes, the Federal Reserve, or any other part of the system.

Any major-party presidential candidate who raises such fundamental questions, such as Ron Paul, is ridiculed by “mainstream” (system-perpetuating) politicians and journalists, and is continually dismissed in a self-fulfilling prophecy as a “fringe” candidate with no chance to win.

And third-party candidates, who almost always raise such questions, are crippled by law from raising money or getting ballot access, and are excluded from debates with the major candidates, even if only one or two of them meet some reasonable criteria for inclusion.

The Establishment

The regimented discourse is due to the fact that there’s a small elite who really run the country – and they run it for their own purposes. They have a system in place – which consists of things like the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, the medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes, other regulation of business, the military-industrial complex, and drug prohibition – by which they attain levels of income and power that they could not attain on the market, through voluntary exchange.

But that system harms the standard of living of the average person, which is why the elite would not be able to maintain it – and their status as (unnatural) elites – through voluntary exchange. But, thanks in no small part to the 12 years of forced government brainwashing of compulsory public schools that are also an important part of the power elite’s system, most people believe the system is there for their benefit and protection.

And, when the system causes problems, the elite distract the average person with the sideshow of politics and the illusion of two competing parties. As Murray Rothbard explained in one of his last essays, discussing the 1994 Republican Revolution, if the elite made it overtly obvious that there’s only one party, any problems would be an indictment of the entire system, which would then become widely despised and likely to be overthrown. Instead, people are distracted by the illusion of competing parties, which are really part of the same system.

Vote early, and vote often

We can see how effective this distraction is by how many people get caught up in the irrelevance of politics. Though it’s mostly not their fault, but is the result of conditioning, when the government’s actions cause problems, rarely is the average person sophisticated enough to indict the fundamental system. Instead, if the Republicans are in power and he’s a Democrat, he indicts the Republicans, and focuses on electing more Democrats; if he’s a Republican, he indicts the Democrats, or “liberals,” for somehow corrupting Republican principles, or he claims that many of the elected Republicans aren’t “real” Republicans. And vice-versa.

Thus he reveals a deep psychological need to convince himself that the problems caused by the system are not inherent in government, but are the result of the “wrong” people being in charge, that if he can somehow get “them” out and “us” in, all will be well again. To believe otherwise would cause him to question his ideas about government and democracy – which, due to his years of conditioning, are among his most fundamental beliefs. Only when he somehow becomes consciously aware of fundamental questions about the system’s legitimacy (and maybe not even then) will he begin to go against his conditioning.

Writing last year about our farcical presidential elections, I expanded on Dr. Rothbard’s essay when I pointed out that there’s no reason to believe that America would be measurably freer if anyone who lost any of the last generation’s presidential elections had won.

McBama vs. O’Bain

This year is no different; while there may be some fairly trivial differences between them, in the grand scheme of things, it makes no fundamental difference whether McCain or Obama is elected – the underlying system will continue under either of them.

For anyone who doubts this, let’s look at Obama’s and McCain’s stated positions, and see if we can figure out what everyone is so worked up about.

Position Obama McCain
Maintain the Federal Reserve and its power to ruin the economy and erode citizens’ standard of living with inflation, making credit too easily available, and inflicting the boom-and-bust cycle X X
Maintain the income tax and the commensurate level of federal spending X X
Prolong the recession by trying to forcibly prevent normal market corrections, such as falling prices, failures of unsound businesses, and liquidation of bad debt X X
Maintain the FDA and the government’s medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes X X
Maintain – and expand – the government’s ruinous healthcare policies and programs, which, along with the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, are the root causes of healthcare being so expensive X X
Continue the Drug War, which has accomplished nothing in decades but wasting billions of dollars, fostering black markets and all of their inherent problems, and giving the U.S. the highest number of imprisoned people in the world – both in absolute terms and as a percentage of its population X X
Maintain U.S. troop presence in Iraq indefinitely X X
Perpetuate the rest of the military-industrial complex, including permanent U.S. troop presence and bases in more than half of the world’s countries and foreign “aid” X X
Continue – if not expand – the bogus “War on Terror” X X
Perpetuate – if not expand – post-9/11 agencies’ and programs’ assaults on civil liberties X X
Continue untenable entitlement programs like Social Security X X
Perpetuate government schools from the federal level X X
Continue dismantling property rights (which are the only possible source of real environmental protection), eroding human living standards, decrying prosperity and plenty, and subsidizing “green” industries that can’t survive in the market, all under the guise of “protecting the environment” and battling the meaningless catch-all term, “climate change” X X

Looking at this table, it’s easy to see why the mainstream media insists that this is “the most important election in our lifetimes!” Which they also said in 2004. And 2000. And 1996 . . .

 

 
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