8.31.2009

Heretical Preacher in Phoenix

This is sad. It's also heresy, counter-productive, and foolish. I find Barack Hussein Obama to be a dangerous man and I would very much like to see him out of office. More importantly, I would like to see his idolatry of the State rejected by an overwhelming majority of American voters.

But to preach a sermon "Why I hate Barck Obama"? To say that "I pray he dies of a brain cancer and goes to hell this very night"? I know people prayed such things about Bush, but it was rightly called Bush Derangement Syndrome. The answer is not Obama Derangement Syndrome. It will do nothing to persuade anyone about anything, but only make it harder for those who worship at the alter of Washington, D.C. to see their error and turn from it. Indeed, such thought is itself evidence of an idolatry of the State. Sure, he's praying, but he's praying that people who agree with him will be in office so they can use the power of the State for their own purposes. He is not speaking as an ambassador of the Kingdom of God, but merely as a strident political operative of a would-be American kingdom - just with a different "king" than we currently have.

He is, of course, standing by what he said, enjoying his 15 minutes of infamy. He is, however, wrong to suggest that the God who wishes that none should perish, but that all would turn from their sin somehow condones leaders of his church praying that at least one man not only would perish, but also would not turn from his sin so he can burn in Hell.

All of us deserve damnation. Gratefuly humility that God has been merciful to us is not compatible with taking delight in the thought of another human being suffering forever.

The papers and the anti-Christians throughout the country who see the mere appearance of a Bible as a threat of holy war will make much of this blasphemy. May God have mercy on his soul, and may his congregation have the sense to reject this risible insult to God.

8.27.2009

Pyongyang on the Potomac and Dear Leader President

Obama and his administration continue with their fascist tendencies. The National Endowment for the Arts is now being used overtly to push leftist propaganda. Their "diversity" advisor at the FCC is commenting admiringly on the way Hugo Chavez has managed to kill freedom of speech in Venezuela. One of his umpty-squat "czars" is an avowed communist (that'd be Van Jones, his "green jobs czar"). You've got Eric Holder launching the Inquisition over at CIA - in spite of the fact that he assured senators during the confirmation process that he wouldn't do it, not to mention his erstwhile boss' assertion that we need to move forward not backward.

Obama isn't debating anyone on health care. He simply makes assertions without regard to the facts. As for the rest, he sends in thugs to beat up protesters (such as the man SEIU toughs beat up in Missouri), threatens violence against business executives (such as AIG), labels protesters as un-American Nazis (well, he sent Pelosi out to do that), runs insurance company executives through show trials (otherwise known as congressional hearings), encourages voter intimidation (see the dropping of charges against the New Black Panther people after the prosecutors won the case) and uses the police power to intimidate.

I've said it before, and I wish it were not so, but we have elected somebody who thinks Lenin was a great model for presidential leadership. This guy is an American version of Mussolini and I shudder to think what he will do if he is not thwarted in the 2010 elections. Be very aware. He will use everything he can, up to and including gang violence to steal those elections. They've already funneled millions to ACORN, even though ACORN has been indicted in several states for voter fraud over the last 3 election cycles. I wouldn't be surprised if they specifically underwrite the New Black Panthers, supplying them with improved clubs and ammunition. This man is a fascist who wants to be a dictator.

You can say it's just a hyper-ventilating conservative all you want, but I have studied history. I see how Caesar killed the Republic of Rome, how Lenin came to power in 1917, how Mussolini seized power between 1922 and 1925 (he was elected Prime Minister in '22 - took him 3 years to consolidate power), and how Hitler took over after being elected Reichskanzler in 1933. The pattern is eerily similar to the pattern of Barack Hussein Obama's behavior over the last year. Mao Tse Tung and Fidel Castro took over after an open civil war, so they're a little different. Kim Il Sung was put in place by the Soviets, so that's not quite the same thing. Hugo Chavez, and what he's doing to Venezuela is pretty similar, though - and Obama, Van Jones, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and a number of other administration officials seem to think quite highly of him.

I didn't like Bill Clinton, but I never doubted his fundamental commitment to the American political process. I didn't much care for Carter, either. But he was not trying to radically overthrow everything about the American political system. Neither were Tip O'Neill, or John Kerry, or Al Gore, or even Jesse Jackson. This man is. He's dangerous - very, very dangerous.

ELCA Tragedy

I haven't really commented on the decision by the ELCA to ordain active homosexuals - with the proviso that they be in "committed" relationships. The ELCA leadership has been trying to make this happen since the early 1990s. At least, I remember looking over a report on sexuality about 1993 which pretty much said "if it feels good and you're both adults, go ahead on."

Sad, really. The only question now is how many of the ELCA congregations and members will leave, how many will remain and continue to fight against this erosion of truth in the denomination, and how many will just give up. If they thought this would help the ELCA grow, they were nuts. It will instead further isolate the ELCA in a cocoon of group-think in which anything other than the left-wing mantra du jour will be silenced. They may maintain themselves, a hollow shell of a church going through the motions without any real heart for some time - perhaps even a century. As a church, however, the ELCA, like the Episcopal Church in America, has effectively killed itself. Of course, for all its "4.7 million member" claims, it was headed for the grave quite a while ago. Next year they will be the "3.7 million member ELCA" and probably a year after that the "2.5 million member ELCA". There it will hover for a while, slowly eroding until about 25 years from now it will be the "1.2 million member ELCA" at which point it will likely merge with the remnants of the Episcopal Church USA.

The culture of this country is not trending left. If you think the election of Obama indicates that, you are misreading the election. The disappointment with Bush II was not that he was too conservative, but that he was not conservative enough. If the Republican Party had reversed the ticket to a Palin/McCain candidacy, Palin would be living in the best of Washington's public housing and McCain would be heading off to the funerals of dead potentates the world over. Indeed, a recent poll indicates that conservatives now outnumber liberals in all 50 states - and probably the other 7 that Barack Obama campaigned in, too. The opposition to the health care reform bill not just on fiscal grounds, but also on the grounds of freedom and liberty is a strong sign that we are not only not a liberal nation, we're not a centrist nation, either. We're conservative. Even the recent (disappointing) confirmation of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court indicates that the conservative understanding of judges and their job is dominant - she was forced to lie through her teeth and back-pedal faster than a cartoon character approaching a waterfall during her confirmation hearings. If we are able to survive the Obama presidency with our democracy more or less intact (not a sure thing), then you will see a rebirth of conservative political power.

All this is to say that the ELCA is jumping on a sterile, geriatric bandwagon that has run its course and is now heading for the circus museum where they will become an exhibit for ambling history buffs and little else.

As I say, it is sad.

8.26.2009

Ted Kennedy's Memorial?

That didn't take long. The Dems are saying we should pass the monstrous, freedom-destroying, life-threatening health-care take-over they've proposed because Ted Kennedy wanted it and he's dead.

The Democrat Party is reduced to incoherence, apparently. They essentially have two modes of argument. The first is: "Our opponents are racists, greedy industrialist pigs, homophobic bigots, and Nazis." The second is: "[Person X] died and we should do this for [him/her]." Cindy Sheehan - my son died, so we should get out of Iraq. Nancy Pelosi - Ted Kennedy died so we should pass health care reform.

But if this health care legislation was stupid, bankrupting, and enslaving when he was alive, it's still that now that he's dead.

NB: I originally wrote this late last night in the presence of distractions - the edits have not materially changed the post, but I think it reads better.

UPDATE: See this (hat tip to NRO's Corner) for a KGB record of Kennedy's proposal to undermine the foreign policy of the United States while Reagan was president. Some would call it treason. I know I would.

Ted Kennedy Is Dead

Ted Kennedy's life has ended. It is good that his struggle with brain cancer has ended and he is at peace. I am also very glad that he is no longer in the U.S. Senate. I did not wish him to go in such a manner - I would have preferred defeat at the ballot box - but I cannot pretend to be upset that his staunch, passionate support of policies I believe to be deadly and immoral (abortion, among others) is finally over. True, there are others who support these same policies, but none of them have the seniority (Kennedy was first elected to the Senate in 1962), the parliamentary skill, the rhetorical gifts, or the "Kennedy Mystique" that Senator Edward Kennedy possessed.

There is no denying Edward Kennedy's gifts as a politician, his passion in causes he believed in, or his stubborn patience in seeing them through. Nor can one fault him for wanting to take care of the poor and less fortunate, as I believe he sincerely wished to do. Ultimately, though, his incredible gifts were wasted in pursuit of lies. Like so many in the past three hundred years, the Kennedys succumbed to the bewitching belief, born in the French Revolution, that somehow human minds, guided by the power of Reason, could devise policies and procedures and laws that would compel people towards Paradise. If we could but enact this measure, we could overcome the sin our first parents brought into the world all those millenia ago. But we cannot. The gates to Eden are yet barred to us. All attempts to force our way in are doomed to failure and many will in fact make our present condition worse - as many of the policies Senator Kennedy pursued have done. His passionate belief in that lie blinded him to the harm it has caused, and rather than re-evaluate the belief, each failure only sent him in quest of the next magical, mystical windmill that, in overcoming it, he would fix all that is wrong in the world. He was a Don Quixote in a family of Don Quixotes in a party of Don Quixotes.

But the tragic story of the Kennedy family in the 20th century is now concluded. As he joins his brothers - Joseph (died 1944 in a bombing mission over France), John (died 1963 in Dallas, TX), and Robert (died 1968 in Los Angeles) - may they all rest in a peace they did not find in life.

8.25.2009

Politics of "Torture"

Let's see... sagging poll numbers, blow-back against this health care (so-called) bill, objections to the drastic increase in deficit spending, questioning of competence in foreign affairs, and further objections from the left against any concessions to folks on the right. Oh yeah, there's the after-hours release of a deficit update, too. "Oops. We forgot to carry the two here and so it's really going to be a $9,000 billion debt (just like the people we've been lambasting were saying) instead of the $7,000 billion debt we first told you."

Then BAM! Out of the blue, we're going to investigate and prosecute CIA agents on the basis of some IG report in which certain individuals...wait for it...this is serious...here it comes....they blew cigar smoke into a terrorist's face.

Whoa! We can't have that. We're the good guys! Forcibly inflicting second-hand smoke on these people just because they plotted to kill thousands of civilians, including children, why, it's too much. How can I have that on my conscience as an American??

I think torture is a bad thing. I think we, as a society should avoid it if at all possible. Given that we use waterboarding in our own military training environments, I have a hard time classifying that as torture - and that was the worst behavior we sanctioned. I also think that there are times when our choice is between bad and less bad.

I don't think, on the basis of the IG report, that our people engaged in torture, but if stabbing a lit cigarrette into some terrorist's eye will get him to tell me where the nuclear bomb is so somebody else can get to it in time to prevent it from going off, I'm stabbing the guy with a lit cigarrette. I will then duly report what I did and if the government chooses to prosecute me for it, so be it. I'd rather go to jail for stabbing the guy with the lit cigarrette than let the bomb go off and wipe out half of Los Angeles. Nobody said I'd be able to serve my country without making sacrifices and if mine is jail time, I'm getting off light. Some people I've known got killed. My honor would be intact, lives would have been saved, and the societal opposition to torture would be preserved.

Neither the President nor the AG are concerned with any of this, however. They're not doing this because they have a sense of morals, but because they are trying to get at least one of the factions (the hard left) off their backs. Administrations do this kind of thing all the time, but most do it with a certain subtlety and poise. Obama does it flagrantly and ham-handedly, which means the hard left won't be placated and everybody else will be disgusted. Well, not everybody else. There are still a lot of people in the United States who aren't paying attention and don't care and even more who still use the AP, CNN, ABC/CBS/NBC and their local paper as bona fide sources of legitimate news.

8.21.2009

To Stand for Truth

Peter Robinson conducted an interview with Dr. Harry Jaffa that you can find here. Ostensibly occasioned by the release of Dr. Jaffa's book A New Birth of Freedom, it is a wide-ranging overview of the conflict which now engages us - a conflict not over health care, but over the existence of morality, divinity, and truth outside the boundaries of the State. I recommend it highly.

The Protestant Church, it seems to me, is possessed of a potentially fatal flaw. We were, I think, quite correct to speak out strongly against the abuses of the Catholic Church in the 16th century. I think, on the basis of Scripture, Martin Luther's 95 Theses were correct. I am also very much a biblicist and a Calvinist. Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, particularly in the final (1559) edition, is a superb summary of Christian and biblical teaching. I to this day disagree with the Catholic Church on numerous doctrinal and biblical points including the understanding of the Mass, the practice of prayers to saints, Purgatory, sacraments, the Virgin Mother, and so on.

Nevertheless, to achieve the reform of the Church which we sought, we were forced to assert an authority outside the Church. At its worst, it became the individual and his or her personal relationship with Jesus that became determinative. Once shed of Jesus, however, this became simply one's own mind. Assertions of human autonomy, the authority of human reason alone, and all the other pressures since the Reformation that led to the French Revolution and through that to various idolatries of the State (socialism, communism, fascism) - it all begins in the claim that the individual was alone the arbiter of truth. Unfettered democracy surrenders to that claim. So do the fettered tyrannies of the last 217 years. But it is not true.

Jaffa gets at this by pointing to the current fad of discussing "values". A value has no truth content - it is simply what an individual or group of individuals hold dear. I value chastity and fidelity. Another may value promiscuity and sexual experimentation. The contest between these two is not (when we speak merely of values) between truth and falsehood but only between power and power. Whoever has the upper hand at a moment in history can claim to speak of "truth" (in quotation marks, since it may not represent another's "truth"). Indeed, "truth" is merely an indication of who has the upper hand at the moment. It has no objective status. This is far different from speaking of principles, of morality or a moral order, or of truth as such.

Protestantism, given the broad diffusion of its efforts, doctrines, institutions, organizations, charismatic leaders, congregations, denominations and so on - Protestantism has no institutional capacity to resist this, leaving us susceptible to the corrossive influences of secularism, cultural fads, and (to quote Paul) every wind of doctrine. To an extent, we had anchored ourselves in Scripture, but the plethora of recent translations, paraphrases, re-translations, updated language, and so on has served to weaken that anchor's hold. Further weakening this hold has been the secular assault on language itself. Literary deconstructionism as an interpretive framework has established a means by which one may interpret any text to mean pretty much anything one wants. Even meaning itself has no real existence - there is only the ever-present conflict of power vs. power. The so-called "mainline" churches in the United States have already travelled far down this path to irrelevance and idiocy. The Christian Reformed Church has started down it, too. But so-called conservative churches like the Southern Baptist Convention and certain Pentecostal churches, however much they may differ in practice, have nonetheless accepted the same theoretical framework that can only lead to their destruction, too.

I do wish, with all my heart, that Leo X had listened to Martin Luther in 1517, that the Diet at Worms had turned out differently, and that the unity of the Western Church had been maintained. I wish Pius IX had not declared the Immaculate Conception of Mary settled doctrine (ex cathedra) in 1854 and that the practice of including the Church Triumphant in one's prayers matched the Catholic Church's catechism on the subject so that we might hope to undo what was done 500 years ago. But it is not to be. Even so, my prayers regularly ascend on behalf of the Pope and the bishops of the Catholic Church. Whatever other faults they may have, they continue to stand as a bulwark against the humanist assault on truth, checking its evil, countering its influence, and pointing to the God who is the source of all truth. To the extent God has given me wisdom, voice and authority, I will point there, too.

Obama and the Church

Well, Obama went to the National Council of Churches to lie and accuse those opposing his health industry take-over of being liars. Others have pointed it out in other venues - if you want the references, I can get them for you. I also noticed in a post on National Review's Corner blog that he is sending out activists to enlist the support of preachers, priests and other religious leaders. This, too, is despicable. He is trying to force opponents into a position where, if they don't support his fascist policies they are derided as heathens, opposed to God, and evil men who delight in the suffering of the poor.

That this comes from a party who mocked and ridiculed George W. Bush for affirming his faith and reliance on God while he was president, accused him of being just a Christian version of a jihadist, and so on - the brazen hypocrisy and cynicism of it is simply mind-boggling. No doubt there will be priests and preachers who lead their people astray into this worship of the State. There always are. In a sense, that's my problem with a Christian Reformed pastor who recently organized one of the now famous (or infamous) Tea Parties. I have no problem with him attending such an event, or encouraging his parishoners to get involved in the discussion as Christians. But in organizing and leading the event, he ties the church to a particular political faction in the same way that Obama wants to tie the Church to the Democrat party. The Church is the harbinger of a very different government and nation - the Kingdom of God. The distinction should be carefully preserved and highlighted.

That, by the way, is one of the reasons I keep my identity anonymous. Yes, it is no secret that I'm a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. But by keeping my identity anonymous, I also affirm that what I write here are only my opinions - they do not by any stretch represent the position of the Church as such, nor do they have the implicit authority of ordination and of Jesus Christ behind them. It's what I think, based on a reasoned appraisal of history, human nature, present context, theology, economics, and a whole host of other things that I try to wrap my mind around. One thing it is most decidedly NOT, however, is "thus saith the Lord..." It's only and merely "thus saith me." That also means that what I write here is not allowed to detract from those times when I do declare "thus saith the Lord." Anonymity here is a way of putting a wall up between my prophetic and pastoral task and my political and economic hobby.

Oh, by the way, I will not be among those preachers who try to bully their parishoners into favoring or opposing Obama's health care reform - although I will (as a preacher) point out that it will inevitably lead to taxpayer funded abortions beyond what is already paid for by tax dollars. Obama's claim to the contrary is a flat-out lie. The National Council of Churches, however, can hardly be expected to call him on it.

8.20.2009

Tough Times for a Curmudgeon

The latest issue of the CRC's magazine, The Banner, is out on line already and I must say it is a serious disappointment - from the perspective of a kibbitzing curmudgeon, anyway. Granted, the Q&A is pretty lame again (a question on the failure of doctors to be omniscient, a request for a definition that 30 seconds on the internet could have solved, and somebody who wants someone else to set the rules for his/her children - I really do wonder if these are the best questions they get). The feature articles however aren't bad at all.

There's a response to the pacifist fantasy of June's issue that is quite good - well reasoned, well stated, and sensitive. Of course, it's written by a soldier in the United States Army and one expects well reasoned, well stated writing from officers and senior NCOs in the Army. (Anybody who thinks the Army is looking for cannon fodder, or that it's the last refuge of intellectual light-weights who couldn't make it in academia is ignorant. The last thing you want on your flanks in a hot zone is an idiot with a gun. He's got to be smart, alert, and disciplined - and 99.99% of the time, he is.)

There's also a decent piece on tolerance. Granted, I do quibble with him in that "tolerance" in today's society is often confused with licentiousness, particularly in sexual and so-called "artistic" behaviors. Neither do I think that tolerance is an unalloyed good. Some things shouldn't be tolerated. But at least he tries to get at what tolerance really is and how it is not the same thing as approval.

Norm Thomasma has some good things to say about leadership in the church and Karen Norris offers some sound pastoral advice in regards to parents whose adult children have given up on the church.

I haven't read the whole magazine yet, but all in all it is rather irritating to find such slim fodder for sarcasm, criticism and complaint.

8.19.2009

New Democrat Pitch - "Death to Evil Insurance People!"

As I mentioned in this post, the Democrats have decided that the path to health care glory and government control of your lives requires the demonization of insurance companies. To further this goal of making you dislike your insurance, we have two new news items.

The first is a report on FoxNews that Dems in Congress are trying to obtain records from various insurance companies. They hope to show that the executives and managers of these companies make a lot of money. Surprise, surprise. No doubt they do make a lot of money. If I'm going to have somebody making decisions on the allocation of billions, I want that person to be the smartest, brightest, most astute person I can find. People like that are scarce, so they cost money. When we aren't willing to pay that kind of money, we get people like Nancy Pelosi making those kinds of decisions.

More to the point, what business is it of the Federal Government how much money anybody makes? If I buy insurance from Welmark/Blue-Cross, and I'm happy with the cost, the coverage and the service, what do I care if the CEO makes $1.5 million a year or $15 a year? I'm buying insurance, not a salary cap. Congress isn't going after these records, however, because it has the slightest impact on either insurance costs or coverage or anything else. They are going after the data because they hope to use it to demonize insurers in the same way they tried to demonize bankers earlier this year. They want to get union thugs coagulating on the lawns of decent, hard-working citizens and threatening them because they make a certain amount of money - the same way they threatened AIG executives.

Excuse me, but this is a fundamentally fascist tactic. I will say it, if others shrink from it. The Democrat Party of the United States is essentially a fascist party today. They aren't racial fascists like the National Socialists of Germany - more along the Italian model carved out by Mussolini, I think. But they are fascists through and through.

The second article, also on FoxNews, reports that Obama is trying to re-pitch the sale. He wants to focus on the "moral imperative to provide health insurance to all Americans." Notice that. It's not about making sure everybody can get treated or have access to health care - that already happens. No. It's about providing health "insurance" to all Americans. And, of course, as Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas so stupidly put it, the only reason all Americans do not have insurance is because evil insurance companies don't insure them. You greedy rich people who don't want to bribe the evil insurance companies with your tax dollars, or create a new government insurance "company" with tax dollars, are just terrible heathen sinners who want to piss on the poor.

So, that's the Democrat pitch - you're either a Nazi racist homophobic bigot, or you're a rich greedy unfeeling uncaring unChristian hater of the poor, or both. Unless, of course, you are willing to support the Democrat plan to take over the health industry. Then you are an angel of mercy, reason and truth. Sadly there will be some who swallow this. They don't think this is the right plan, but they don't want CNN to call them racist pigs any more, either.

There are two kinds of people that don't have insurance - those that don't want it, and those that can't afford it. In the case of the former, we have no moral imperative to force them into insurance they do not want. In the latter case, the moral imperative is already met. It's called Medicaid. If somebody doesn't want to sign up for it, there's not much I'm either inclined to or capable of doing about it. Leave him alone.

Oh yes, about this program? It's going bankrupt. In addition to the Medicare/Medicaid tax you pay, the program is supported by a hidden tax caused by the consistent under-payment in these programs. Medicare/Medicaid payments to hospitals and physicians are significantly lower than market prices, leading some physicians to no longer take patients using these forms of insurance. Those that do accept Medicare and Medicaid are forced to increase what they charge others in order to make up the difference. You responsible people with responsible insurance companies are the ones who pay that tax. And even with this consistently subsidized under-payment, Medicare/Medicaid is still going broke. Yet Barney Frank and Obama and others say they will pay for the universal public-payer plan by cutting Medicare/Medicaid. How are they going to get blood out of that turnip, I wonder?

8.18.2009

Consumerism & Freedom

Here's a review of a book on the terrible effects of consumerism. People have been complaining about consumerism for quite a while, apparently (the author references a book published in 1899 detailing its evils). Indeed, Marx might be regarded as one of the early anti-consumerists and he published Das Kapital in 1867.

I share the distaste at excessive consumerism expressed by anti-consumerists. I also share the distaste many anti- anti-consumerists have for the so-called remedies proposed. I also know that I find it irritating when I go into Walmart to buy shampoo and I have to hunt through 40 different brands with 10 different varieties each until I finally get to the one I was looking for. I can't just buy shampoo - or, if I do, I have to be prepared to smell like peaches, cucumbers, alfalfa or some other kind of vegetable soup for the rest of the day.

Yes, life was simpler when there was soap or soap. It was also far less convenient, far less pleasant, and far less free. There are people who want to smell like vegetable soup. Why should they be denied it any more than I should be required to endure it? The fact is, consumerism is the inevitable result of freedom and the only way to avoid it is to restrict freedom. Freedom requires a certain toleration of others' tastes and their ability to indulge those tastes.

As with all things, one can take it too far. You may have the freedom to reek like a 3-day-old skunk corpse, but I should have the freedom to make sure you cannot force me to smell you. And one of the primary guarantors of both these freedoms is the freedom of privately owned property. I can use my property to express my approval or disapproval of certain lifestyle choices - like banning people whose hair smells like vegetable soup from my home or business - without absolutely denying you the freedom to make those choices.

The anti-consumerist crowd, therefore, always comes down to somebody saying, "You should only like what I like and only have what I have." Personally, I'd rather live with somebody who reeks like a 3-day-old skunk corpse - I could always buy nose filters from somebody online.

(NOTE: This does not constitute an endorsement of nose filters - I've never used them - but merely one more example of how one can get pretty much anything these days. Sheesh. Have to put caveats in for everything. Harrumph!)

I Won't Pull the Plug on Grandma (I Just Won't Plug Her in to Start Wtih)

Obama, discussing the death of his own grandmother, says "I'm not going to pull the plug on Grandma." He's telling the truth. He won't. He'll have unelected, unaccountable, nameless, faceless bureaucrats who are simply devising these cold, impersonal, unfeeling regulations do it.

The fact is, under Obama's proposals, Government will be paying for it. If they're paying for it, they can also decide they are not paying for it. And government will inevitably decide they will not pay for treatment you, if you were in control of it yourself, would pay for. That means they won't pull the plug on Grandma. Instead they'll just decline to hook her up in the first place.

This is, in fact, what Obama himself said. If you'll recall, when asked about providing a pacemaker for a woman's 100-yr-old mother, he said that instead they would consult with her and suggest that maybe it's better if she just takes this pain pill. I'm not sure what a pain pill is supposed to do for an arrhythmic heart, but that's what he said - we won't turn the power off to the pacemaker; we just won't give her one to start with.

There will be some panel of "professionals" - a panel that does not include you or your desire to live - deciding this. They will consult the actuarial tables and political contributions, pore over statistics, check whether it's caused by overeating or gay sex or what have you and then decide that your life is or isn't worth additional effort to maintain. I'd say "Death Panel" is a pretty accurate name for this.

UPDATE: According to this article, 60,000 people (at least) have quit the AARP since July 1 because of their support for Obama's proposals. Apparently they don't believe Obama when he says he won't pull the plug.

Government Health Care - As Inefficient and Expensive as the Post Office!

So here we have the latest tactic. Looking at polls that show close to 80% of Americans are happy with their insurance, the Obama administration has decided to attack that relationship. An unthinking twit of a congresswoman from Texas, one Eddie Bernice Johnson, has stated baldly that "If the insurance companies wanted to insure these people now, they'd be insured." (I couldn't find a transcript, but if you watch, you'll hear it.) Limbaugh correctly points out that this kind of thinking is absurd, indeed, it's stupid. "Sure, if GM wanted people to have cars, they'd just give them cars and everybody would have one."

Other Democrats are also on record attacking insurance companies, claiming that these evil suits, with their big, rich companies - they're the only ones that are stopping people from getting health care! What's really laughable in this is that Obama and Johnson and the others are saying we need a government-run insurance "option" in order to "compete" with these insurance businesses.

If you want to increase competition, make it easier for insurers to operate across state borders, reduce the odious legislative and regulatory burdens that force them to cover procedures that may not be wanted, improve regulations that force insurers to be clear about what's covered and what's not, increase access to alternative methods of paying for care (Health Savings Accounts, anyone?), and treat individually purchased insurance the same way employer-provided insurance is treated in the tax code.

This would give consumers more options, help make sure they understand those options, and put the decision as to which option to exercise firmly in the hands of individual consumers. This is precisely what they do NOT want.

When asked how a government insurance option, subsidized by taxpayers and not needing to make a profit - or, for that matter, break even - could be considered anything like fair competition (in other words, it would drive actual insurance companies out of business), Obama points to Fed Ex and UPS. The Post Office, he says, isn't working but Fed Ex and UPS are doing great competing against the government.

Um, did I hear that right? He's saying we need a government insurance option to provide effective competition against private insurers, but you don't need to worry about that government insurance actually driving private insurers out of business because the government insurance will be crap.

So if it's going to be crap, why are we doing it?

8.11.2009

Love Is Love

When I first saw this, I thought, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." It's an article entitled Urban Youth Hear About Agape Love. Really. Wow. That's never been done before. Except, I remember stuff like that back in the 70s and I'm sure it was around in the decade prior. It was this wonderful, new, insightful thing working off the three different Greek words for love. Instead of just love, we got agape love, eros love, and philo love.

Not all together out of place, and in its way, useful. Still, I think on the whole that love is love, in spite of the Greek. True, the context in which it exists, and therefore the mode of its expression, changes. But the biblical notion of love as exemplified in Jesus and explicitly defined in places like Romans 8 or I Corinthians 13 doesn't change. Whether love for my wife, or for my daughter, or for the stranger on the street, love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, rejoices with the truth, and all the rest. However, in one context, certain behaviors are beautiful and right and genuine expressions of love; in the other the same behaviors are horribly wrong, selfish, and destructive. Regardless, the love that motivates the difference in treatment is not itself different.

In that vein, the presenter, one Rev. Glenn Hudson, apparently has a rather dim view of male-female relationships. Granted, this is according to a news report on CRCNA's web site, so I don't know the full context. But he is quoted as saying (in regards to promoting agape love), "I'm not talking about the kind of love between a man and woman, that has its limits. One day you are in love, and the next day you don't want to be bothered"

Really. And does your wife know you feel this way about her, Rev. Hudson? Frankly, I don't even consider those kinds of ephemeral feelings to be "love". Even if it were, it is also a fact that all human love has limits, since it is human and everything about us is finite.

He is also quoted as saying this kind of love "I'm talking about...doesn't set expectations."

Again, if you're talking Christ's love as the model for this, I rather think love does set expectations. High expectations, in fact.

But I understand. You're talking to teens, at Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, so you want to talk about love that just lets everybody be whoever they are without recriminations or expectations or standards - other than not giving in to teenage hormones. So we hit up "respect" as the key component. Just play Aretha Franklin again and don't trouble me with demands for clarity of thought and expression.

Obama's Evil Bill

Palin has been catching a fair bit of grief from the sedate & sober crowd over this post on facebook. In particular, she's catching grief for this portion of the statement:

And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
There are no "death panel" provisions in the legislation currently before the House. This is true. But there is a provision that pays doctors to initiate "end of life counseling" with their patients, and in other countries we have seen that this is but the beginning of the road. It tends to end with a panel of doctors and bureaucrats - not family or friends, but bureaucrats - making the decision as to whether or not someone will be treated. They may, in a gracious, regal, condescending way, stoop to solicit the opinion of family members, but the bureaucrats will decide. It will simply be a matter of time before this "counseling" becomes "deciding". Indeed, Obama has said as much. In a now famous episode, he a woman asked him about her grandmother and wanted to know if his plan would accommodate providing a 100-yr-old woman a pacemaker, taking into account her "spirit" in deciding. Obama said, "no." He would give her a pain pill instead, doping her up so she goes quietly.

Let us not also forget that this is the same man who strenuously opposed any legislation preventing partial-birth abortion in Illinois and tried to derail the Illinois legislation forbidding abortion providers (no, they are not often actually doctors) killing babies born alive in spite of the provider's efforts to kill them. Obama is part and parcel of the eugenicist/Planned Parenthood movement. Abortion is to kill off more undesirables, and his health care plan will be used to do the same.

In the same manner, the legislation currently before Congress does not expressly eliminate private insurance, but it does create a framework in which private insurance companies will find it impossible to make a profit. So, while he is correct in saying he is not proposing a "single payer plan" he is lying when he says he doesn't want it or that this proposal is not intended to get us there. He does favor "single-payer, government-run health care" and he would use that health care to (at least in his addled mind) dispense with the undersirables of our population.

It may not be all that politic to say so, but Palin is quite correct. Such a system, if implemented, would indeed be "downright evil." But in this present age, the perpetration of evil is not nearly so offensive as the labeling of it.


In the meantime, the Speaker of the House has said that people like me are un-American; other newspapers have labeled me a racist (Paul Krugman in the NY Times, I believe); and Linda Douglass wants us to make opponents wear yellow elephants. They want to squelch dissent and debate by labeling all disagreement as out of bounds and have managed to summon union thugs to beat up people with opposing viewpoints, such as the Service Employee International Union yahoos who beat up an old guy in St. Louis. The union bubbas are getting out, with pre-printed signs and lock-step mentalities, rented by Democrat candidates & the DNC while they accuse others who show up of being "astroturf" protesters. How dare you take issue with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or (fanfare) Barack Hussein Obama, Lord Protector of the Downtrodden, Advocate of the ACORN, and humble servant of Michelle!

Nope, I'm thinking Gov. Palin is correct. It IS downright evil.

8.07.2009

Unemployment - What's Up With That?

All right, I got a few people asking me questions in a different context, so let's look a little more closely at unemployment numbers.

The unemployment rate is calculated by first determining the size of the "work force" and then figuring out how many of them are unemployed. So, if you adjust the size of the work force, you adjust the percentage of people who are unemployed even if the absolute number of unemployed remains the same. If, for instance, I say the work force contains 100 people and 9 of them are unemployed, the unemployment rate is 9%. But if the work force suddenly burgeons out to 200, but I still only have 9 people unemployed, my unemployment rate is now 4.5%. So it helps if we look at the raw numbers and ignore the unemployment rate itself. You can do that at the Bureau of Labor Statistics site, where you find this handy-dandy table.

Look at the row for 2000, the second column. You find the total work force the year Bush took office was 142,583,000. We'll round that off to 142.6 million. In January 2009 when he left office, the work force was 153.7 million. In other words, 11.1 million people were added to the work force over 8 years.

Now go over to the 6th column. This is the number of unemployed included in that "total work force" number. In 2000 it was 5,692,000 - 5.7 million. In January 2009 it was 11.6 million. That means there are an additional 5.9 million more people unemployed in January 2009 than there were when Bush took office, BUT the total work force expanded by 11.1 million people. If we take 11.1 million minus the 5.9 million, we find that a net 5.2 million more people had jobs in January 2009 as opposed to the year 2000 when Bush took office.

What about since January 2009? The work force has gone from 153.7 million to 154.5 million. So we've added 800,000 people to the work force. But the number of unemployed has gone from 11.6 million to 14.5 million, or 2.9 million more people are out of work than in January. Of course, 800,000 of them weren't in the work force in January, so the jobs they don't have now, they didn't have in January, either. But it does mean we've lost a net 2.1 million jobs since President Obama took office.

In other words, over a third of the jobs created in 8 years of the Bush presidency have vanished in 8 months of Obama's presidency.

Is it all Obama's fault? No. In spite of his own arrogant pretensions, I do not believe him to be a god. Neither prosperity or ruin is entirely within his grasp. But he could encourage stability, investment, and market expansion, or he could encourage instability, disinvestment, retrenchment, and government expansion. He has chosen the latter course, which cannot but make a bad situation worse.

Confusing Unemployment...

Let's see...we lost an additional 247,000 jobs last month - so more people are out of work and there are fewer jobs. And unemployment fell from 9.5% to 9.4%.

Excuse me? I'm not following that.

Remember, too, that every month these numbers get adjusted - and since January, they've always been revised upwards.

UPDATE: This post explains a little bit of how they crunch the numbers. Bottom line is the loss of 6.66 million jobs over the last year and a half. Unemployment is actually around 10% or so.

Watching the Beginning

Looking at the video, I didn't see any violence, although I did read of an incident where a Democrat operative slapped (assaulted?) someone arguing with her husband. Other than the fact that she slapped him, I don't know what transpired. It's conceivable that he said something that should have gotten him slapped. I don't know. But there are things that make me suspicious.

Democrats have, in the words of the White House, promised to "punch back twice as hard." While trying to rush through a bill before debate can get started, they are now saying things like "the American people want a serious debate." Yet Nancy Pelosi accuses opponents of being Nazis, and across the board they are claiming these people are "manufactured mobs" bought by "special interests". This is what they mean, I guess, by "serious debate." Meanwhile, they are out trying to manufacture their own mobs out of their own special interests, mainly ACORN professional agitators and unions - in addition to trying to get you to snitch on your fellow citizens. (If you haven't reported me to flag@whitehouse.gov, please, don't forget. I want to be targeted by the fascists in the White House.)

All of this makes me think that there are Democrats, or at least elements in the Democrat party who are trying to provoke violence precisely so they can claim opponents are Fascist Black Shirts. You know that their in-house press (AP, UPI, Reuters, NY Times, Wa Post, and so on) will help them. It's an old game. Lenin, Mussolini, Wilson, Hitler, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gov. Wallace, Bull Conner and others have all used it. Provoke a little violence from the other, use it to tar the entire opposition as a threat to civil society, and then clamp down hard in the name of maintaining the peace. Read Sung Tzu or Machiavelli. You'll get the idea.

I should note that this is not universal among Democrats. A few are publicly saying they welcome the debate and appreciate the involvement of their constituents.

Even so, in these places where they are trying to provoke, do not play this game. It is vitally important to not strike back. That the "other guy" hit you first won't make it into print. Publish your flyers, give speeches, initiate re-call elections, conduct sit-ins, carry protest signs, and so on - but let the videos show no one from the Right side of the aisle initiating and perpetuating the violence. Let the principles of Martin Luther King, Jr. govern us. Do not fight back - not now, not here. Say it with votes, with organizing, with donations to conservatives, with running for office yourself. Do not let them pin the blame for civil war on us.


UPDATE: I see some union thugs from the Service Employees International beat up a conservative protester in St. Louis. I understand the guy's going to be in the hospital for a couple days. Publish that video far and wide. These union versions of fascisti need to be shown as who they are - and stopped.

8.05.2009

Obama White House Looking for Snitches

The White House communications office has put out a notice entitled "Facts are stubborn things" asking people to snitch on their neighbors and friends.

Indeed, facts are stubborn things - and the fact is, the legislation currently working its way through the House would make it merely a matter of time before you could not get private insurance and that this is by design (at least, according to Barney Frank and others). It is a fact that the president's "guarantee" on your ability to keep your existing health care is as empty as his promise that his stimulus nonsense would keep unemployment below 9% and that cap & trade will create jobs. It is a fact that the CBO has reported the president's proposal would add nearly a $1,000 billions to the annual deficit and that it could not be sustained without massive taxes across the board. It is a fact that nothing the government has taken over has ever been run more efficiently, no matter which government, which era, or which enterprise. It is a fact that, when asked by a citizen about a pacemaker for her 100-year-old grandmother, Obama said they would just give her a pain pill - in other words, she's too old to keep alive, so we'll just dope her up until she croaks.

But if you say things like that, Linda Douglass wants to make sure folks like you are reported to the White House.

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.
I think that's supposed to be "flagg" - with two g's, as in Colonel Flagg.

Oh, by the way, make sure you forward this to our lovely and gracious snitch queen at the White House. I want to make sure I get on the hit list. It would be an honor.

UPDATE: Here's another article on the whole Barack Hussein Orwellian Big Brother BS. Enjoy.

Costs of Childhood

Some USDA "study" came out and says it costs $221,000 to raise a child to age 17. Nonsense and other comments. We have 3 children, the youngest of whom is 16. None of them have cost us anything remotely like this.

To be sure, we have spent a fair bit of money on them. Since 1996 when we began a 3-year stint home schooling, followed by private schools from 1999-now, we've spent about $45,000 on their education through high school. We'll spend another $11,000 on the youngest over the last two years of his high school - about $56,000 all told. (OOPS! My back-of-the-napkin calculations are a bit off. It's $72,000 so far, plus $11,000 to come or $84,000 on private tuition. Still, that's $28,000/kid and we surely have not spent $200,000/kid on non-tuition expenses.)

Food is expensive, and the boys especially do eat a fair bit, and clothing also has costs - although there the daughter has been the more expensive one. Most families have ways of mitigating these expenses, however. The boys are more interested in volume than quality, so it's possible to buy cheap food and my younger son lived in hand-me-down clothes until he was in middle school. Even the "expensive" daughter got a lot of clothing handed down from cousins. Toss in some medical bills if you like, and some furniture (beds, etc.). Probably would save on gas, since we wouldn't have to chase them all over the place with sporting events, music lessons, Scouts and so on. On the other hand, we might have some less fuel/passenger-efficient vehicles, too. Regardless, none of these is as expensive as tuition.

Then there is the housing. I probably would have bought a smaller house in 1999, but then, I wouldn't have sold it in 2004 for $100,000 more than what I paid for it. Our net housing expense for those 5 years was zero at most and we may have actually made a few thousand after interest, realtor fees, utilities, taxes and other expenses connected with buying, living in, and then selling the house. We did move from an apartment to a house when our eldest was born, which increased our rent by $100/month or so until I moved into church-provided housing in 1991 and then government-provided housing in 1995. After selling the house in 2004, we lived in government housing again for year before moving in to a rented house in 2005 and then the home we're buying now in 2007.

Looking at all this, there is no way I can come anywhere close to $620,000 worth of non-tuition expenses for our three children in the years since my eldest was born. In fact, I would say we're closer to $221,000 for all three in terms of the marginal increase in our expenses caused by children.

It's after they graduate from high school that they get really expensive (if they go to college).

New Calvinism

Pinging off a Time magazine article on ideas that are changing the world right now - an article that mentioned Calvinism - the Rev. Al Hoksbergen is distressed that neither the CRC nor the RCA are mentioned in regards to the influence of Calvinism. He writes:
It wasn’t surprising that a national magazine came up with an insightful article like that. What must have caught many off guard, however, was the inclusion of “The New Calvinism” among the 10. But what may have been most disconcerting to many of us in the Reformed Church in America and in the Christian Reformed Church in North America was the article’s failure to mention either of these traditions.
Well, to me, anyway, it is surprising when a national magazine like Time or Newsweek offers anything all that insightful, and it may well be argued that this article didn't rise to that standard, either. But it obviously bothers him that the CRC did not get a mention. Even when the President of the United States, George W. Bush, came to speak at the college owned and operated by the Christian Reformed Church our denomination was hardly mentioned in the news. Grand Rapids, the connection to Gerald Ford, Dick DeVos of Amway fame - they got mentioned, of course, but not the church.

The fact is, the CRC has a big head and is far more convinced of its importance than is warranted by its meager population (.08% of total US/Canadian population) or its actual impact on society. I spent twelve years in the Navy and other than a few individuals who were themselves members of the CRC (two of whom were also chaplains), I could count on one hand the number of people who had heard of it. Say "presbyterian" and they know what you're talking about. Say "reformed," however, and you get blank looks.

In the end, Rev. Hoksberger assures us, the important thing is faithfulness to God, not recognition by Time magazine. But, if you believe that, why did you write this kind of "sour grapes" response, saying they really should have noticed us because we're actually pretty good?

Thirty-One Ways to Make It to My Baby's Prayers

Although the title sounds more like Paul Simon's song, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, or perhaps Marc Cohn's 29 Ways to Make It to My Baby's Door, it's not a bad little article. As often as I mock the Banner, they do on occasion have something worthwhile. This is from the current one.

We now return to our regularly scheduled snide mockery.

Here we have Professor Steve Martin of King's College, Edmonton discussing St. Augustine. He says we restrict our knowledge of Augustine to his teaching on predestination and original sin, his sacramental theology, and (a little later in the article) just war. In the context of the latter, he displays his ignorance of the discussions in the Bush White House leading up to the invasion of Iraq as well as his leftist inclinations. On the other hand, his big, exciting revelation is that we now look at Augustine in the context of politics. Oh.

In other words, shunting off the influence of Augustinian thought on worship, sacraments, soteriology, sin, and predestination, we finally come to what's really important - Augustine would be a liberal socialist Democrat if he were alive today. Quoting various scholars, and somewhat thinly veiled in questionable allusions, we find from Dr. Martin that capitalism is bad, Bush is a warmonger, government is your friend and the U.S. is in decline. It's all right there in Augustine. And to prove it, he quotes a couple leftist Episcopalians and a leftist Catholic.

Talk about a cyclopedian view of Augustine. Frankly, the entire Reformation project, particularly in its Lutheran and Calvinist strands, is an effort to reassert the primacy of Augustine over against some of the other influences that were dragging the Church into error. Calvin's Institutes on the role of civil magistrates (Book IV, Chapter 20 and elsewhere) is chock full of Augustinian thought. Luther's On Secular Authority: The Extent to Which it Should Be Obeyed also draws much from Augustine. Their respective soteriologies, doctrines of God, understandings of sin and redemption - all of these are heavily indebted to Augustine. True, a lot of people aren't aware of that Augustinian connection, but it's there. One would hope a revival of Augustine would point us to the City of God rather than typical leftwing nostrums from the City of Man. Maybe next time.

The Banner Q&A Revisited

The CRC's magazine, The Banner, typically includes a Q&A section. Typically, the questions are rather silly and I have a hard time believing either that people really ask these questions or, if they do, that these are really the best questions they get. So, I thought I'd take a look at this month's Q&A and answer the questions myself.

The first question is: Why doesn’t Synod (or classis or ministers) do something about Sunday-night worship services? Also, why don’t our churches celebrate the New Year?

What, pray tell, do you expect them to do - kidnap parishoners and force them to sit through the service? Why don't you do something about Sunday night worship services? Why is it somebody else's job?

January 1 is an utterly arbitrary date. In any event, most new year celebrations are thoroughly secular and even pagan. Why should we celebrate that? Frankly, as Christians, I think we should reckon the New Year from Easter, which, by the way, we celebrate already, so quit your griping.

The second question is: When we got married, my husband did not want children, and we can’t afford a child at this time, so we both use a form of birth control. I worry that taking hormones is trying to improve on God’s design. Is this wrong? Can it be considered similar to abortion? Should a married couple not be intimate until God lets us know it’s time to conceive?

I don't consider this to be a silly question and the person who answered this for the Banner did a good job, so just
read hers.

Third: I appreciate people who work on environmental issues, but I don’t feel that is my calling. Is this wrong?

Hello? What kind of idiotic notion is this? Really, this is one dumb question. Think for a half second next time before you open your mouth, OK? I appreciate people who work on plumbing issues, but that's not my calling. Is this wrong? I appreciate people who work at tire factories, but that's not my calling. Is this wrong? I appreciate people who slaughter hogs for my ham sandwich, but that's not my calling. Is this wrong? Starting to get the picture yet?

We Beseech Thee, Great Obama Father....

I saw this on FoxNews - it's a story about a group that wants healthier food served in public schools. They feature somebody describing the meals Obama's kids get at the exclusive private school they attend and then asks why she can't get the same at her public school.

The story then offers this:
"This is not the way to win the heart of the president," Brookings Institution Governance Studies Director Darrell West told Politico.

In the first place, I should think the ad might better have the student describe the classroom and instruction Obama's kids get and ask why Obama doesn't want her to be able to get that as well. The education the kids in DC's public schools don't get is a far greater problem than the food they do.

But then there's Darrell West's statement. What have we come to in this country when, if anything is to be done, it requires winning "the heart of the president"? Are we now in the position of peasants petitioning the great King Obama to smile upon us that we might take heart and live? I don't give a rat's rear end about winning the heart of the president. I am, frankly, looking for ways to overcome, get around, and otherwise render irrelevant the heart of the president. And what some 8-year-old eats for lunch should not depend in any way, shape, or form on the whims of this would-be dictator and budding tyrant Obama. But here is Mr. West of the Brookings Institute unquestioningly assuming that it does.

Sad.

Yet this is where we are headed if the health care reform, cap & trade, tax increases, huge deficites, inflationary spending, and other policies Obama is advocating actually become law. Are we to surrender our liberty a mere 234 years after our ancestors risked everything to secure it? Is their legacy ultimately to be nothing more than a woman begging the "president" for some medical treatment his servants have deemed too expensive while others desperately try to win his heart so they can get decent food for lunch?

I pray not, but fear so.

8.04.2009

Tax Revenue Down Nearly 20%

Here's a nice little AP report. I said when Obama was elected that he would raise taxes and federal revenue would drop. It's happened. Corporate tax receipts are down a huge 57% - but if you make it dangerous to be in business, fewer people will.

I also said that sooner or later - more likely "sooner" - those who have been buying US gov't bonds are going to stop buying them. That's happening, too. The Chinese and Saudis are starting to get nervous, looking at Obama's massive spending plans, and they are not interested in providing foreign aid to the United States. They want those bonds paid off.

Currently, we're on track for a $2,000 billion deficit - more than double what they got from GWB, so it's not Bush's fault this time. That, of course, is before you figure the additional trillions of dollars in debt if we go for Obama's health initiatives.

Having sucked the wealth out of the American private sector, we can't tax it out of them. Having borrowed beyond our limits with the Chinese and Saudis, we can't borrow more from them. Nobody else wants to loan us money at any interest rate. That means the Federal government will have to print money - and that means inflation. Expect a return to Carter's economics.

Meanwhile, in spite of their claim that we might be on the leading edge of recovery, the administration is acting in ways that will further erode employment opportunititess and therefore continue to feed this horrid cycle of unemployment, deficit, taxation and inflation. Just as we sometimes get a bit of "market correction" when the trend is generally bullish, we get a little "market correction" when the trend is generally bearish. That's what we've got here. Things are bad, just not as bad as some people thouht, so we get a slight up-tick before we begin the more regular decline in the markets as long-term trends take hold. Already we're being warned to expect bad unemployment numbers this month and next as well as talk of it being a "jobless recovery" - which is another way of saying it will be no recovery at all.

What created American prosperity is American freedom and until we return to the latter we will not return to the former, either.

We need to drastically reduce the federal bureaucracies, curtail their intrusions into private lives, restrict all branches of government (courts, congress & executive) to their proper, subservient role, and end the practice of trying to solve everything from Washington, DC. However noble the intentions of those socialist do-gooders may be or have been, their medicine is poison.