Monday, October 31, 2011

Scotland Wants Out

Will the Spirit of William Wallace be summoned once again?

Or should one say, MacBeth?

For the first metaphor to have any salience, one would have to assume that the Scottish are up in arms for independence, to the point of a military venture.

For the second parallel to apply, one would have to compare the Scottish Nationalist Party of Holyrood with the Weird Sisters of Shakespeare's Scottish play.

In all truth, the majority faction in Scotland wants to break away from Westminster, yet instead of shedding blood to do so, she wants to empower her youth to vote, to fight for the homeland, so to speak. Since the younger Scots are polled in favor of breaking away from the United Kingdom, Holyrood's move to extend the franchise to the youth may extend the franchise of national status back to Edinburgh.

If Queen Anne, the authority for the Act of Settlement of 1707 that dissolved the Scottish parliament, is rolling over in her grave, the tremors that would be shaking England from Bristol to Yorkshire should not trouble anyone south of Hadrian's Wall. If the financial records recount accurately Scotland's extensive subsidy-dependence on England, then Cameron's Conservative coalition -- desperate to defray costs and restore fiscal sanity to the country -- could save billions in one fell swoop without alienating a core constituency any further.

Therefore, let the Scots go Scot-free! (And let them start paying their own way for once. That's what every parent wants for his children!)

Cameron's Conservatives Want Out!

No, British Prime Minister is not facing a vote of no-confidence, although his back-bench MPs risked their political careers making known their outrage:

They want the UK out of the Eurozone.

With the looming collapse threatening the Common Market, the British public are growing weary of their attachment to the Continent's financial misfortunes. They have long opposed casting aside the British pound, still trading higher than the Euro and the U.S. dollar despite the anemic global economic recovery. Why be half wedded to a spouse so dissolute and extravagant that she cannot pay her own way for anything?

The European Union has done very little to resolve the very nettlesome controversy that impedes any general economic policy: nation-states. France, Spain, Germany, and all the other seventeen member-states under the Euro-umbrella will not acquiesce to a common economic policy in line with trading on the same currency. Nations do not give up their identity, their pride, or their power absent military surrender or insurmountable crisis.

Perhaps former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's prophecy concerning the short life of the Euro is coming to pass. Then again, if the toxic debt poisoning the Euro through the Mediterranean member states triggers a continental resolve, then the pesky matter of nation-states will give way to the collective will of one government overseeing one currency.

Whatever the outcome on the Continent, it remains in the best interests of the United Kingdom to withdraw as soon as possible from the Eurozone, now growing into a maelstrom-sinkhole sucking away the political and economic liberty of every nation-state connected with it.

Response to "Stuck in a pension bind"

Mayor Villaraigosa ought to take a hint from former Mayor Richard Riordan: Let the City of Los Angeles file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

By empowering a federal judge to shred current employee contracts and permit the city to redraw its pension outlays, the City would save itself from certain political and fiscal disaster, while forcing the nasty and unpopular decisions on an unelected representative, thuse saving the skin of the weak-willed politicians dominating Downtown.

Following bankruptcy, Los Angeles' credit would be ruined, thereby preventing it from extending outrageous benefits to future public employees as well as forcing the municipality to restructure its role in the daily lives of its citizens.

Despite the implications of a metropolis defaulting on its debt, at least this severe course correction would put an end to the political gasping and infighting which has only prolonged the inevitable.

Positive Thinking, Faith, and Unbelief

Reverend Robert Schuller, of Crystal Cathedral fame, made quite a market for himself with the power of positive thinking.

Championing the philosophy of Norman Vincent Peale, he exhorted his congregants to tap into the power of this human force. If we put our minds to any problem, claims Peale's followers, if we pepped ourselves up with good thoughts, then everything would work out for the best according to what we think.

Now beset by mounting costs, bankruptcy, and a forced sell-off to Chapman University or the Catholic Diocese of Orange, it would appear that Schuller's trust in positive thinking is not enough.

What happened?

The truth is, we are not called to think our way to prosperity, but to believe in Him, who in turn works in us His blessed, prospering will!

And faith is not hard to tap into:

"And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." (Matthew 17:20)

Jesus shared this truth in the context of the disciple's failure to cast out a demon from a tormented boy.

The disciples were frustrated in their efforts by their unbelief, Jesus told them plainly. Then he told them that it takes very little faith to accomplish anything!

We do not have a faith problem. In fact, every believer is gifted with the faith of the Son of God Himself:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

The problem is not faith, then; but what about thinking positive thoughts?
If our thoughts line up with the Word of God, then we have nothing to worry about. However, thinking the right thoughts are having the right amount of faith is not the problem.

The issue is unbelief:

"24And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24)

Once again, a father with a demon-possessed child cries out for help. He recognized that despite his faith, he had unbelief, which was pulling away, undoing the power of the faith that he had in the Son of God.

No matter what positive thoughts we may be telling ourselves, unbelief will undermine every hope, every dream..

What lies have we allowed to fester in our bodies, in our minds? What are we telling ourselves that does not concord with God's word?

Therein lies the problem for believers. They believe, and they also "un-believe"

Positive thinking in opposition to negative thinking will neutralize the power of God:

Refer back to Paul's glorious declaration:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

Paul acknowledged the infinite power of God's own faith within him, but he also pointed out his role in maintain the effectiveness of this faith. He did not frustrate the grace of God, he did not interlope his own thoughts, his own efforts contrary to God's promises.

Paul writes more at length about frustrating God's grace:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

"For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

"For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Galatians 5:1-5)

What must we do, then, not to foster unbelief and dampen the faith of the Son of God within us? "Stand fast in the liberty" that Christ has given to us. We do not "do" anything for it, but we trust Him for everything. How then, do we fall from standing, or more explicitly, "fall from grace"? Not by sinning, but by trying to keep the law in our strength, by trying to justify ourselves with our own works, by trying to do things ourselves -- this includes the tapes in our mind, the fixed beliefs that we have grown up with and grown accustomed to. Jesus had harsh words for such fixed ideas that contradicted the Word of God, they are so prevalent, so pernicious, that they slip by; but these traditions of men are a stumbling block that must be removed at once:

"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do." (Mark 7:8)

Paul also strongly warned of relying on any frame of mind or thought not in line with Christ:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8)

So, what do you believe? What trains of thought are running through your mind that are not in line with the Word of God? What do you do about it?

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

"And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

We cannot fight bad thoughts with more of our own thinking, and that includes positive thinking, or any kind of optimistic "rah-rah".

No one can claim with straight confidence that he is "good enough, smart enough, and dog-gone it . . .etc." on its own merits. Even by our own petty standards, we do not measure up; and even if we attempt to live by the letter of the law in our strength, we only stir up sin:

"The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law." (1 Cornithians 15:56)

In trying to do the right thing, even in trying to think the right thoughts in attempt to thwart the insidious lies which lie in wait to sabotage our own efforts, we only empower those wicked lines of thought, we empower sin in our lives, we fall from God's grace.

Yet Paul follows this stinging indictment with the Hope that saves us all:

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)

This promise accords with Paul's comfort in 2 Corithians 10:3-6. . .

We do not war after the flesh, but after the spirit.

"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." (Galatians 5:17)

Then how do we war according to the Spirit? With the Word of God!:

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17)


"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

Amazing scripture -- the Word of God puts to the test every thought, the good, the bad, and those in line with God's Word.

Jesus Himself also confirmed that His Word is Spirit:

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)

Here, Jesus underscores the power of His word, not our own efforts, whether in our own pep talks or our own self-esteem boosts.

Now, the Word of God, what exactly does it do with the errant thoughts in our minds? Referring back to 2 Corinthians 10:

"bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"

The obedience of Christ is His eternal sacrifice at the Cross, which declares ever-lasting righteousness, every sin covered, grace in full-force released for and in and through every believer.

Not only that, but the Word of God also:

""And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." Here, "Revenge" speaks to correcting, and "disobedience" speaks literally to "mis-hearing" or "not heeding." The Word of God supplies us with the truth and puts asunder any line of thinking that does not line up with God's truth.

I do not think my way to peace. I rest in the promises of His Word, and His Word brings all thoughts into captivity to the supernatural, never ending work of grace in my life.

We are not called to have faith in faith -- we are not called to be heard for our much repeating (cf Matthew 6:7) We are called to trust in His word, and feed on the faith that he gives us:

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." (Psalm 37:3)

This verse is more accurately rendered thus:

"Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."

No, we do not think and think and then get from God for our much thinking, which depends on our efforts. We receive from God by faith in Him, trusting in the Word of God, which cannot be broken (John 10:35) or be cast away (Mark 13:31).

US cuts funding for UNESCO after Palestinian vote

Finally, the Obama Administration is cutting spending for outrageous outlays to foreign governments and international institutions.

After the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization voted overwhelming to admit the Palestinian state as a member, the United States triggered an automatic block of $60 million in aid to the UNESCO organization.

Despite flagrant attempts to pressure Israel to give more, hoping against hope that the Palestinians will play fair for appeasement, the Obama administration is standing by our one stable ally in the Middle East.

For once, Obama made a policy move that has killed two birds with one stone -- cutting excessive, wasteful foreign policy spending, and standing up for the Jewish State.

Would that he would make more executive decisions like this one.

On Oswald Chambers October 31, 2011 Part III

"Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried."

Yes, in that God wants us to see that by faith, by grace we are sustained, not by our own efforts.

If we believe that our efforts are key in accomplishing anything, then we have fallen from grace:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

"I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:1-4)

Justified by the law means that we attempt to earn anything from God. We are not called to work for anything, but instead to "work out" our salvation (cf Philippians 2:12-13), so great a salvation that was given to us by Christ's death on the Cross.

On Oswald Chambers October 31, 2011 Part II

"God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings."

"Enjoyment of His blessings" becomes a work, and therefore we fall from grace to the extent that we strive to be happy.

But we already have His supernatural joy, no matter what the circumstances may be. Ours is a life or receiving, not striving.

When we feel that His blessings have been "cut off", chances are we are trying to get them, or we feel that we are entitled to them, or we fear that they have been taken from us.

Yet we are called to abide in Him, simply put. The simplicity that is Christ cannot be further emphasized.

If you "feel" separated from God, just go back to believing, for we walk by faith, not by sight, and that includes feeling.

It is worth commenting, however, that God's joyful Spirit-filled fruit never stops being borne in us, as long as we continue to walk in faith.

The discipline of "being less" so that he can "be more" is the greatest discipline to be borne by the believer, yet even in this the Holy Spirit helps us.

On Oswald Chambers October 31, 2011

"We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages."

In one sense, the most explicit reason to suggest that God does not reward our faith is that it is a GIFT! We do not receive it as a trade, but as a part of His glorious grace!

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8)

Yet, Chamber's line does not fit neatly with the Promise offered in Hebrews:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."(Hebrews 11:6)

God does reward us for our faith! He is constantly showering us with His love and His goodness. We miss out on his blessings the moment we begin to think that we deserve his blessings, or that we must earn them in some way. Then we cannot enjoy because we are not receiving them. By faith alone, we receive this grace, and this grace covers everything, not just salvation for eternity, but a blessed life here on Earth:

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)

Kierkegaard, Law, and Grace Part III

Kierkegaard is well-known as a philosopher of loneliness, a man well-acquainted with its sorrows, choosing to cultivate its sad mystery instead of releasing himself into the world.

By the grace of God, we are not called to live a life of loneliness.

God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for us, to reconcile to the Father, and to make us one with Him:

"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:21)

Before this prayer, Jesus promised that, though He would leave the, He would then come back and stay with them:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7)

This Comforter (lit. Parakletes, One who walks beside, advocate), is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus comforts His followers, both those before Him during His ministry on Earth, and those of us now who believe on Him, by sending us His Holy Spirit.

This third Person of the Trinity has for too long been ignored. He is essential, and He loves us. We cannot even confess that Jesus Christ is Lord except by the Holy Spirit, and by belief in heart and confession of the mouth we are saved!

Kierkegaard, and mainstream theologians keen on the human mind, gave the Holy Spirit little attention, assuming faith to be a product of the mind, as opposed to an unshakable gift of God. This Holy Spirit comforts man through all of his trials, comforts him in all of his difficulties, gives him wisdom to overcome, gives him power to do all things. It is the Holy Spirit who makes Jesus ever present with us, though he is also sitting at the right hand of the Father, ever interceding for us.

We need never be lonely again, as long as we receive that we have received His Holy Spirit by faith living in us!

Kierkegaard, Law, and Grace Part II

We do not decide for Christ. Human decision-making is one of the weakest elements of the human being.

Adam and Eve relied on their own limited thinking, rather than listening to the wisdom of God; thus they ate the Forbidden Fruit, and fell from God's grace, passing on to the human race a sin nature separating us from God.

Instead, it is God who calls us through Jesus Christ, and we heed the call by faith (Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

"And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:65)


"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

Jesus has made it very clear -- if there was a decision, He made it for us.

Now, this line of truth does not support universal salvation, for "By grace you are saved, through faith" (Ephesians 2:8) and "All men have not faith." (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

Grace has been extended to the whole world by Christ's death on the Cross, yet every man must receive this grace by faith. It is not something that we work for, not even the faith to receive this grace -- everything is gift, gift from God.

Therefore, we do not choose Him, we do not even choose salvation, strictly speaking, but rather it is given to us, and therefore we receive it.

This clearly articulated doctrine in scripture refutes Kierkegaard's dependence on human will, on human choice, a point he demonstrates repeatedly in both his pseudonymous and spiritual discourses published under his own name.

Kierkegaard, Law, and Grace

Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, existentialist Danish philosopher, also made quite a stir as a Protestant theologian.

Sadly, his theology was poorly informed, distorted by human thinking and human will at the expense of God's grace.

The Gospel of Suffering, was the title of one text that exemplified his insistence on human beings enduring difficulty in this life to prepare for the next.

In one section, he characterized God as a loving mother reaching out to her child, yet the child had to reach out and grab the mother.

That is not the Gospel.

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8)

"For when we were without strength. . " We could not come to God, even if we wanted to. He is an all-consuming fire, and mankind is consumed in sin.

Yet Christ died for us while we were still sinners, still sinning, still at willful, open enmity with God.

In fact, there is nothing that we can do, but acknowledge our immense sin-debt, and therefore receive his forgiving grace.

Paul illustrates our complete and inactive dependence on God for our salvation:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

"Not of works, lest any man should boast.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Grace is unmerited favor from God, something that we cannot earn, no matter how hard we may keep God's commandments. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

Even the faith that empowers us to receive this grace is a gift from God! Furthermore, we are God's "workmanship" - He has already been working on us to receive Him!

This characterization of God's supreme interest in working on us and releasing all to us that we may receive from Him is in direct conflict with Kierkegaard's lonely Knight of Faith crusading against the world.

Paul -- and later Oswald Chambers, emphasize that God has total control over us. We in effect "do" nothing:

"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place." (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Chambers comments thus on this passage:

"The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, 'I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,' or, 'I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.' But Paul said, in essence, 'I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.'"

There is not suffering that brings us to God, there is no effort that we can expend on our own to make us worthy to walk as He walked. Contrary to Kierkegaard's excessive emphasis on human will and human decision, the saving work of Grace is God's work through and through, something that we are called to receive by faith.

Roman Dictatorship and Fiscal Conservatism: California Part II

Governor Brown has proposed extensive reforms for the pension liabilities threatening to bankrupt the state of California.

He wants to raise the minimum retirement age from the youthful and outlandish 55 to 67. He also wants to curtail pension-spiking, in which employees roll over sick day, holiday pay, and end-load their employment with overtime to raise their pensions artificially.

Governor Brown also has the same line-time veto power as other governors in the United States. Still, that state of California is lurching from one budget crisis after another.

One of the reasons why the state of California cannot get its fiscal house in order is the domination of ballot-box budgeting, which requires the state to allocate funds to certain agencies, whether there is money or not. The state constitution has tied the hands of the legislature and the governor from implementing much needed financial reform.

Also, the Democratic legislature wants to coast on millionaire tax-money, which has caused wealthy people (including job-creating small businesses) to flee the state in record numbers, tired of being fleeced by the many to subsidize those who refuse to work for themselves.

Then there are the public employee unions, dead-set on keeping their entitlements, even if that means bleeding the state dry and depriving taxpayers of public services.

I commend Governor Brown for his bold proposals to deal with out-of-control pension and health-care obligations, but what this state needs more than anything else is leadership that can act unilaterally in this time of fiscal crisis, free of political calculation and legislative hindrances enacted in more flush times to protect narrow interests.

Roman Dictatorship and Fiscal Conservatism: California

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has stripped public unions of their collective bargaining rights. Ohio Governor John Kasich has followed suit, although the law faces a recall effort.

Governor Rich Snyder of Michigan, governor of one of the most impoverished and industrially struggling states in the Union, has authorized "emergency managers" to step in and take over the financial affairs of local and county agencies facing fiscal crises.

New Jersey Chris Christie personified executive leadership at the state level, signing into law balanced budgets authored by a legislature controlled by the opposition party. He has negotiated effectively with public unions, depicting for them dire straits that are undermining the solvency of the pension and benefits funds for public employees. Cutting costs, cutting programs, and cutting the crap all the way, Christie is pushing hard against entrenched interests interested only in lining their own pockets at the expense of the state and its harassed taxpayers.

These governors are leading their states and setting the necessary example for fiscal restraint, for too long absent from state houses across the country. Facing huge pension liabilities, dwindling tax revenues, and massive unemployment, GOP Governors across the country are cutting away at Big Government.

Governor Jerry Brown has proposed massive reforms to the public pension programs in the state of California. He is certain to face fierce opposition in the Democratic legislature still behold to public employee unions. Let us hope that instead of kicking this problem further away, he follows the trend-setting tactics and examples of his gubernatorial colleagues and tackles the enormous financial problems plaguing the state.

If Brown articulates a clear message, hiding no sobering reality from the tax payers and the public employees, he can negotiate and enact much needed reforms without further imperilling the future of the state of California. The Golden States needs leadership from this governor, direction that will not cave in the face of public union pressure and voter insecurity. Let us hope that Governor Brown can muster the political will to do what needs to be done.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gadhafi and the Inherent Limitation-Bias of the Media

From YouTube:

Adam Curtis writes: "I have found a sort of fly-on-the-wall documentary made in 1976 which follows Muammar Gadaffi around as he goes about ruling Libya. The documentary makes it clear how repressive and brutal Gadaffi's regime is. How he has locked up and tortured thousands of his opponents.

But then it takes a fascinating turn. The interviewer asks Gadaffi to explain why he has sent Libyan troops to fight with the Palestinians against Israel, and why he has sent in Libyan agents to try and overthrow President Sadat of Egypt.

In response Gadaffi launches into an explanation that countries like Libya have a duty to intervene in other nations where the ordinary people are being oppressed by autocrats or oppressive governments - and help free them. That includes helping to liberate Egypt and Tunisia. But it also means, he says, that politicians like him are justified in intervening in Northern Ireland to help the Provisional IRA. Because they are oppressed by the British government. They too are victims."

What defines winner and loser? What defines right and wrong?

For the left, the greatest concern is to instigate change that will level

The last question is striking, and prophetic"

"You came to power in a coup. Do you ever fear that the same thing could happen to you?"

The documentary fades to nothing. Past has become prologue. Gadhafi is not only out of power, but out of commission permanently.

Visual media has a pernicious tendency to raise superficial assumptions, like the BBC documentary from 1976, which depicted Gadhafi as a cold and calculating, but calm leader, a man with family and a simple daily schedule.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. The liberal media has a terrible habit of generalizing the minute domestic moments of an individual, then acting as these snippets into a person's private life expose the truth without compromise.

Gadhafi was a cold-blooded murder, a man who oppressed his own people and harassed nation-states around the world.

The inherent bias of visual media was also prominent in the last moments of his death 42 years later.

The world witnessed a decrepit old man pulled from a culvert, pushed and jostled by angry rebels, then hoisted onto the hood of a jeep and carted around in abject humiliation. In its immediacy and superficiality, it was certainly a pitiful sight, one that would engender even a degree of compassion.

Yet this footage evaluated in the wake of Gadhafi's 42 years of terror and tyranny provides the proper context for this sudden humiliation and demise. This man reap what he sowed, no matter how brutal and illegal to watching eyes, no matter how cruel to our surface sensibilities.

This innate limitation of press and media to discount political and historical context is damaging, one that leads many astray, enough to praise Gadhafi as a glorious leader who ushered in a people-power socialism, yet to discount the records, accounts, testimonies of the millions whom he slaughtered, marginalized, or forced into exile.

The same limitation-bias persists to this day with cult figures like "Che" Guevara, whose stirring rhetoric never matched with his abject hatred of humanity and bloodthirsty quest for power at any cost. Yet because of these ongoing ideals held in place with surface-media, generations are enthralled with lofty rhetoric, and ignore the private correspondence which puts to shame any hope in madmen who claim to be saviors.

Beyond Good and Evil -- By Grace

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wanted to rise above good and evil. He even wrote a book about it peppered with aphorisms, more inconsistent and raving than enlightening.

Yet for mankind there is only one way to live beyond Good and Evil:

By Grace!

When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, reconciling mankind with His heavenly Father, He freed us from the curse of the law:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Galatians 3:13)

The Law speaks of everything revealed by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. What is the Law but a long list of do's and do nots? Paul told believers that they were free from such heavy and burdensome condemnation:

"Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;

"But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

"To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

"Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

"But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

"Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

"I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." (Galatians 4:1-11)

Paul's extensive exposition here makes it perfectly clear. Because we are now sons of the Living God by adoption through the Holy Spirit, we are not longer under law but grace.

Paul makes the case plain earlier:

"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

"But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3:23-35)

By faith therefore we no longer have to live under law, trying to keep the rules by our own efforts, but rather by grace we are saved:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

"Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And because by faith in Christ, we are made the righteousness of God, we never again have to worry about our salvation, or righteous standing before God being lost or compromised:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

Many commentators point out that the second clause "who walk not after the flesh . . ." is not contained in the original text at all. There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, period!

Now if that sounds like and invitation to licentious evil, consider Paul's warm promise given by the Holy Spirit:

"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." (Galatians 5:18)

The Holy Spirit living in us leads in Righteous living. By faith we become obedient people!

Paul also comforted believers that they were no longer bound even to ceremonial law:

"Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

(Touch not; taste not; handle not;

Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20-23)

So, Paul declares that in trying to keep rules to make us holy, we end up satisfying our flesh, which wars against the Spirit.

By grace through faith we are saved, and this saving grace permits the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and lead us in a life of righteousness, perfectly in step with the will of God.

In effect, by the Power of the Holy Spirit we are able to live beyond good and evil, no longer fretting if we are being righteous, if we are violating God's law, or even stopping to consider if we have missed out or stepped out of God's will for us.

Yet secular Romantics and atheists will not submit, they want to lead their own lives their own way, yet the nature of man is so corrupted, as a result of Adam's disobedience.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12)

Yet by another Man, Christ, and through Christ alone, can we be reconciled, made holy, and empowered to live not just right, but righteously.

Paul pointed out that to those who would insist on living in their own power, who insisted on the knowledge of good and evil in attempting to surpass, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ would be an offense:

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Yet the very power that Nietzsche extolled at length in his inconsistent writings comes only from God, and we as believers do nothing but receive and release His good pleasure in out lives (cf Philippians 2:12-13)

Roman Dictatorship and Fiscal Conservatism: Michigan

Roman Dictatorship and Fiscal Conservatism: Michigan
As if New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's line-item vetoes were not enough to demonstrate the power of Roman dictatorship for state-side fiscal conservatism, behold the executive moves instated by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

The Michigan governor, another GOP Midwestern chief executive, is picking up the pieces where the previous Democratic administration fell through. Not content with cutting spending from the state budget, he has empower local and county stake holders to take on dictatorial powers and resolve economic crises:

According to Slate Magazine:

"Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan, according to his critics, is not merely misguided. He is un-American. Snyder's plan to take over financially troubled cities and appoint unelected "emergency managers" to run them "is the same kind of flagrantly undemocratic 'emergency rule' used by military dictators, "wrote a blogger on DailyKos. Rachel Maddow warned her viewers that if Snyder has his way, popular sovereignty at the local level will come to an end."

These emergency managers hold the unilateral power to do whatever it takes to instill fiscal solvency into failing and bankrupt municipal and local school governments.

Contrary to Maddow's strident claim that local sovereignty is all but dead with this overarching directive, "emergency managers" are empowered to intervene only in cases of fiscal emergency, and only then to effect fiscal resolve and restore local agencies back to a firm financial footing. The endless deliberations and filibustering by interest groups and low-level bureaucrats can frustrate any meaningful reform to such an extent, that entire states may become insolvent because of partisan bickering. A single authority executing extensive cost-cutting is the most efficient way to ensure fiscal solvency across the board. The governor is not undermining local and county leadership, but rather taking diligent steps to safeguard tax-payer money and provide for the future of public utilities in the state of Michigan.

Roman Dictatorship and Fiscal Conservatism: New Jersey

Columnist George Will spells out the autocratic directness needed for budget reform in many of the states in the Union. He dresses up New Jersey Chris Christie's prowess as follows:

"He relishes being America’s Caesar — its most powerful governor. He wields a line-item veto, he can revise spending numbers but only down (he blocked $1.3 billion in spending this year) and he can exercise a “conditional veto,” rewriting legislation and sending it back to the Legislature for approval. The governor and the lieutenant governor, who run in tandem, are the only state officials elected statewide. The governor appoints the attorney general, treasurer, comptroller, all judges and all county prosecutors."

The gubernatorial capacity to cut spending unilaterally may offend many in the state houses and in the Beltway, but only a chief executive committed to long-term welfare of the state, without having to resort to empty rhetoric and chronic hand-wringing with party hacks playing to the public union base, can do this. Unpopular moves in the short-run ensure that there will be a state in the long-run for the inhabits of the United States to rely on when seeking protection of their liberties and security for their borders.

The Little State With a Big Mess -- and Getting Bigger

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the Union in terms of land, whose borders have been the subject of ongoing arbitration with Connecticut and Massachusetts.

One element that is beyond debate: Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, with the longest legal name of the fifty states, is also saddled with the greatest ratio of debt to state revenue, and getting bigger with 155 statewide pensions plus the central government's entitlement investments.

According the New York Times, ten cents of every dollar of state revenue goes to public pensions, a figure that is certain to double if nothing is done to curtail lavish public sector benefits.

Little Rhody, already riled up with all of its teachers fired in one school district, hired back those teachers if they agreed to much needed education reforms. Perhaps it's time for the Little State that could to start laying off excessive staff and ending the outrageous handouts to public workers at the expense of the state taxpayers.

Governor Lincoln Chafee, RINO turned Liberal Independent, secured the Govenor's mansion for himself last year. Yet he has not secured the fiscal state of his state; at least his disastrous economic policies are not short-changing the American tax-payers across the country.

The Roman Dictator and Fiscal Conservatism

From Wikipedia: "In the Roman Republic, the dictator (“one who dictates”), was an extraordinary magistrate (magistratus extraordinarius) with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate (magistratus ordinarius)"

The Roman Republic recognized that in times of crisis, decisive leadership was necessary. Not just in times of war or insurrection, but when the Republic had crucial business that needed to be attended to, the two consuls appointed by the Senate would defer their power to one dictator, who for a short period of time received absolute unquestioned authority to dispatched needed supplies and order necessary action without having to resort to the Senate or the people for approval.

For the business of the Republic, the dictator was appointed according to "execute and effect Roman State business denominated rei gerundae causa (for the matter to be done)"

These dictatorships could include supervising public works projects or resolving fiscal crises. It is in this second capacity that United States chief executives have resembled the ancient Roman dictator. In cutting spending and ruling out future outlays on behalf of the better interests of the state, they have received the most condemnation rather than in deference to the political machinations of the legislature or the popular interest of the voters.

No Recall for Walker and Congratulations!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is walking proud.

His party retained its majority in the state senate, withstanding a brutal recall which ended the timely careers of three Republicans who stood up to special-interest populism, curbing the powers of public sector unions to bargain collectively and fleece the taxpayers with union-friendly elected officials.

Despite the vociferous demands of public unions to stop the budget reforms, Walker has instituted much-much needed relief for the tax-payers of the Dairy State.

Still fuming over the loss in the legislation, left-wing radicals attempted to pack the Supreme Court with union-friendly justices who would strike down the core elements of Walker's budget reform. The conservative judicial incumbent flew into reelection.

Still frustrated but refusing to back down, liberal elements in Wisconsin breathed ominous threats of a recall of the Governor, which they could not initiate until one year into his term. That year is about to end, yet the animus to throw Walker out is subsiding. The budget reforms are working. School boards are enjoying a surplus for the first time in years, following a difficult recession and a lingering recovery. Taxpayers are saving hundreds of millions of dollars already; even left-leaning media organs are praising the financial upswing which has followed the reforms long denounced as deleterious and damaging to the state's public employees.

Not only has enthusiam for a recall dwindled in contrast to growing acceptance and support for Governor Walker and the GOP's fiscal conservatism, right-wing elements are emboldening their liberal rivals to pursue a recall anyway in order to divert much needed reelection force, finance, and attention from President Obama's failing campaign in a Midwestern state more likely to elect a Republican President for the first time in decades.

Wisconsin is working again! Public sector employees have kept their jobs; taxes remain low, businesses are hiring again. Free market reforms that scuttle the bullying power of public unions have effected renewed fiscal properity.

Congratulations, Governor Walker, Wisconsin Republicans, and Dairy State voters. You are paving the way for fiscal sanity and restraint in the United States of America!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Greece Comes to the North East?

Will Rhode Island sink into the Atlantic?

Greece may sink into the Aegean Sea for all its debt, and if the New York Times report is true, so will Rhode Island.

While hemorrhaging huge amounts over unfunded pension liabilities, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has done very little to shore up its debt and budget deficits.

Rhode Island has always been a bastion of liberalism and rebellion, due in part to its diminutive size and unsteady borders over the past few centuries.

Despite its crude reputation for aiding and abetting the triangular slave trade, Little Rhody would make a big fuss throughout its early years, even refusing to ratify the United States Constitution until it could no longer hold out on its own.

North Eastern Liberalism, complete with rebellion and state control from its Puritan roots, has now dug for itself a looming financial crisis, from which only a conservative and restrictive fiscal policy can relieve the state.

Has North Eastern Liberalism met its demise? Only time will tell, of which Rhode Island has very little.

"It's Working!" On Wisconsin!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's budget reforms are working.

According to recent reports from the state budget offices, stripping public unions of their collective bargaining rights has enabled cash-strapped school districts and other government agencies to cut costs.

Requiring that public employees contribute more toward their pension and health care benefits packages and limiting school union's power to collectively bargain for wage increases, public institutions have been able to save the Wisconsin taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the first fiscal year since these budget reforms have been enacted.

Despite the left-wing rancor that stirred up a storm in Madison, fueled by public workers who were not working -- with the Democratic caucus in the state senate fleeing to prevent a quorum -- Walker and his Republican caucus pushed through monumental changes in the way state government works.

Part of Walker's genius in pursuing these reforms is that he advocated incremental changes, targeting wage increases, and leaving public safety employees alone. Of course, that does not mean that the state cannot expect more from police and fire in the future, but effective reform must be gradual, and the Governor and statewide officers have effected reform effectively!

Governor Walker, do you think you could pay a visit to the Golden State? We could use some of the leadership and diligence you and your colleagues have displayed in your state.

On the Optimism Bias: From "Time Magazine" June 6, 2011

Optimism is nothing in itself.

The reason for one's optimism makes all the difference.

If a man trusts in his own effort or his own chance, then he is doomed to fail:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

If we are optimistic because of other people, believing that they will see us through or help us through everything, then we are cursed:

"Thus saith the LORD, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the LORD." (Jeremiah 17:5)

Then is there an optimism which is beneficial to mankind? Yes -- Faith in God:

"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is." (Jeremiah 17:7)

"Trust" renders the Hebrew word "בָּטַח batach", which means "to rely, or to lean on" Rather than striving in our strength or trusting in someone else's power, those who lean on the Lord, trusting Him to see a man through all things has every reason to be optimistic.

David outlines the role of trust, an optimism of faith, that leads a man to do well, and thus inherit and be satisfied:

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." (Psalm 37:3)

First, we trust (again, "betach" or lean on) the Lord, then we do good. For those who choose to live by grace, we do nothing of ourselves, but all we accomplish we do through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. When we are operating in God's power, we dwell (שָׁכַן shakan, abide-- and the text manifests it as an imperative, and invitation), and "thou shalt be fed."

Now, the original text for "thou shalt be fed" reads something far more profound about the faith-walk of a believer:

"Befriend faithfulness." English Standard Version

"Cultivate faithfulness." New American Standard Bible

"Seek faithfulness." Aramaic Bible in Plain English

The original Hebrew reads: "וּרְעֵ֥ה u·re·'eh cultivate
אֱמוּנָֽה׃ e·mu·nah faithfulness

Here, רָעָה ra'ah is the root word for "cultivate", which speaks of friendship, or breaking bread, or feed on, devour (like Communion)

In effect, God wants us to live a life living off of faith! He wants us to do everything in faith, to eat, sleep, graze, receive everything by faith!

Yet this Faith is based on the Lord, returning to David's first exhortation:

"Trust in the Lord."

How then do we feed on faith? By meditating on God's Word!

"Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. " (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Which Jesus quoted when rebuffing the Enemy's attacks of temptation (cf 4:4)

When a man trusts in the Lord, meditating on His Word, he has the surest, infinite basis for being optimistic!

Noah and Righteousness

"Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9)

The original text gives the reason why Noah was a "just man and perfect".

But before tackling the reason, it is important to explore the full meaning of who Noah was:

"Noah" means "Rest", he typified a man of repose, one who rested in the Lord, rather than working for Him.

He was a "just man" -- yet the text reads צַדִּ֛יק tzaddik, which means "righteous". He was more than ethical or upright (like Job, who suffered great loss), but before God he was acceptable in every way.

He was perfect, which renders תָּמִ֥ים tamim, meaning blameless, without fault. He was a man to whom God imputed no sin.

How was Noah able to be a righteous man without fault in the midst of a generation in which

"the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5)?

The original text provides the answer:

"Noah walked with God."

Here, "walked" translates the word "הָלַך halak", which speaks not just to moving around, but living one's life in accordance with something, or Someone.

Noah wanted to be where God was; he honored God in everything that he did, respecting that He did everything as a result of resting in God.

Therefore, Noah's walk, a walk of faith, made him righteous, as the Patriarch Abraham would be righteous for believing on the Lord (cf Genesis 15:6).

Congresswoman Hahn and Small Business

Congresswoman Hahn commented on

1. Infrastructure

2. Education

2. Small business

in a recent address sponsored by the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce.

About infrastructure, she praised Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower for initiating the federal highway system that is not tottering on break-down. Still, she offered no real solutions beyond more money from Washington for more shovel-ready jobs, none of which were ready when the money was disbursed from the federal government.

About education, she demanded that the states stop cutting cutting, start investing. What they are supposed to invest, the Congresswoman failed to articulate. For all intensive purposes, the youth of the United States are receiving a thorough education, one which has exploded the myth once and for all that the public sector can remain solvent and grow off the wealth of the 1%.

Regarding economic issues, Congresswoman Hahn is the last person who should be commenting on assisting small businesses. Downtown San Pedro is still languishing, and the Cruise line industry has yet to roar back from its current tepid performance in the Port of Los Angeles. Having left so many loose ends untied in her former Council District, a large crop of contenders are now vying for the seat that she vacated in the midst of her third term on the Los Angeles City Council. Rancho San Pedro remains an abandoned ghost-town, Ghost Town remains a drug-infested eyesore troubling law-abiding residents in the region. The Port of Los Angeles Waterfront has been shuffled through one plan after another with no dramatic move to reshape it, and unemployment and crime are still a chronic problem in San Pedro, Wilmington, and Watts.

If Congresswoman Hahn had conceded that there is very little that the government can do, whether at the city, state, or federal level, to energize a stagnant economy, she would have served her audience and constituents by at least telling the truth. Yet with all the empty rhetoric and lofty exhortations and ongoing interventions of the federal government into our local economies, the voters are still reeling from the "Hope and Change" that has become "nope, and leave the change."

Occupy the Arab World and Israel

It all began with Mohamed Bouazizi, one frustrated vegetable vendor in Southern Tunisia. After the means of his livelihood were confiscated, only to be returned upon payment of an exorbitant and unjust fine would he get his fruit stand back.

In final, despairing protest, he immolated himself, setting ablaze simmering unrest and outrage that had oppressed and depressed the Arab millions for generations throughout the Middle East. Such has characterize the outset of the Arab Spring, a massive protests of Arab youth turned political revolution.

Bouazizi's blazing demise heralded an uprising which pushed from power President Zine al-Abidine ben Ali, a moderate dictator in comparison to his more bloody-thirsty contemporaries.

Almost a year after the Tunisian president's flight from power, the Tunisian people have elected the long-outlawed Islamist Ennahda party, which has promised to secular and moderate elements of the country not impose draconian Sharia law or to renege on international treaties. Still, Jews in large numbers are fleeing the region, skeptical that the intended peace will last in the midst of the trying transitions certain to strain Tunisia.

With weeks of ben Ali's sudden resignation, the Egyptian people rose up against their entrenched dictator-President Hosni Mubarak, an open though cold ally of the Jewish State and the United States. Following weeks of growing unrest, with the army defecting in larger number to the protesters, Mubarak finally resigned and fled to Sharm al-Sheik, only to be captured, arrested, and put on trial for capital crimes and corruption against the Egyptian people.

In the wake of youth mobilizing innovative technologies to coalesce their unrest, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, another banned political entity, has come to the surface, with assured victory in its wake, bringing with its future ascendancy Sharia Law and a core hatred of Israel.

After Mubarak's fall, flight, and capture, the Libyans broke out in civil war. Moammar Gadhafi, the eccentric megalomaniac in power for more than four decades, finally awoke from his complacent haze of tyranny, visibly troubled as he defied the "rats" in his country to take him down. Contrary to his vain illusions, Gadhafi's people loathed him and longed to remove him from power. Refusing to leave his native land, Gadhafi staved off his overthrow for six months, only to run from the Libyan capital to his hometown, where he was captured, humiliated, and slaughtered by his own people.

Reports that received little press during the internecine conflict suggested that Gadhafi was in fact a Jew who could capitalize on his pedigree and flee to Israel under the Jewish state's law of return. Despite this outrageous allegation, growing anti-Semitic unrest target the Mad Dog of the Middle East as a Zionist puppet, further delegitimizing his dying reign.

Now that the Libyan Transitional Council has established itself as the legitimate authority in Libya, they have declared their nation an Islamic state that will govern in accordance with Sharia Law. As a portentous harbinger of this disturbing trend, a prominent Libyan Jew attempted to return to his homeland and reestablish the last remaining synagogue in Tripoli. He was summarily denounced, denigrated, and dismissed from the country by military personnel, who responded to growing mob violence and protest refusing to permit Jews to resettle in the country.

Yemen and Syria are also being torn apart by inner strife. The supporters of Ali Abdullah Saleh are staking their loyalties on keeping their leaders in power, at the risk of releasing tribal factions into chaotic upheaval for dominance. A former ally of the United States, Saleh has promised to resign from power and call for new elections, then has reneged on his promise, suffering terribly in on a direct assault by Yemeni rebels. Although the radical Islamic element is strong in the region, which is doom for the Jewish State, the lingering power based of al-Qaeda also poses a threat, not just to neighboring Saudi Arabia, but also to the United States.

Syria, one of the fiercest foes of the Jewish state, is striking back more forcefully against civilian insurrection. Unlike the now-deceased Gadhafi, President Bashar al-Assad commands the respect of the military and the Syrian merchant class, bent on restoring order rather than instigating revolution. To this day, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a prevalent text, one that has indoctrinated generations of Arabs to despise Jews and harass Israel.

With the parallels of dissolute and well-educated youth challenging authority, corruption, and poverty, the Arab Spring has become Occupy the Arab World, where populist protests are not just dominating the public square in bold defiance of long-standing autocratic regimes, but now are devolving into open violent conflict, with the express interest of targeting the 1% in power. Yet this hatred has boiled over not just from one Arab state to another, but has now amassed itself against the Jewish State. The moneyed 1% currently the object of opprobrium in the United States has become the Jewish 1% for Arab rebels in the Middle East. Israel is the increasingly maligned and target minority that has fostered ongoing hate among radical element in the Arab world for decades.

Whatever the final political outcomes may be in Yemen and Syria, the Jewish State has never been in a more precarious position than now. Former Arab heads of state who were friendly or at least not openly hostile to Israel have now been removed from power. Through the popular franchise of general elections -- a weak and misunderstood element of democratic liberalism -- Arabs have elected Islamic radicals, who had concentrated their power and propaganda, waiting for a vacuum of leadership to emerge in order to occupy the Arab World with Sharia Law.

Arab Spring becomes Islamist Occupy the Arab World

People power amassed in massive outrage has taken to the streets of the United States.

Denouncing corporate greed, rising unemployment, no meaningful opportunities, young and old want an end to the amorphous power structures that have undermined their own hand-out, hand-me-down world view. Society should be working for them, they have been taught in liberal-indoctrinated public schools and left-wing universities.

The same People Power blocking the streets of New York and Los Angeles, fueled by flash-mob informants, had initially popped up, burst forth, ten toppled the 24-year Tunisian autocracy of Zine al-Abidine ben Ali.

In a mad sweep of unrest, foundering on a Global Recession turned Arab Depression, Islamic resurgence has blossomed forth to seize power against strong men who had kept the radical elements of their oppressed people in check.

They were also angry, the youth who took to the streets of Tunisia, demanding change for the sake of change, like the hordes of youth in the United States.

The Arab people hoped for something better, something that would meet with their entitled hopes and dreams, as the vast majority of educated youth are also unemployed, stagnant, and frustrated with their limited station in life.

Based on these parallels, the Arab Spring was certainly a nationalist precursor to Occupy Wall Street, mass protests motivated by the growing lack resulting from the world-wide economic downturn.

Now, the Arab Spring has turned into an Islamist-jihadi Occupy the Arab World, a bloody uprising that is not targeting the wealthy 1% of Wall Street, but the 1% ethnic minority of the Jewish state, both its people and their supporters.

An elite cadre of educated, immoral youth seizing the reins of power in the Middle East is enough to dissuade even the most blind of idealistic demonstrators that People Power unleashed breeds a far worse tyranny than the monolithic hegemony of the mythic 1% of corporate raiders on Wall Street.

The Pandering of The Los Angeles City Council

I voted against Janice Hahn leaving Los Angeles for Congress, as her passive pandering only cost people jobs and stagnated her Council district's already dwindling business center. To think that one of the LA City's members is now pandering in Washington D.C. for a wide sway of Beach City constituents, none of which feel represented in anyway by Occupy Wall Street now Occupy Los Angeles, now becoming a monstrous Occupy Everywhere.

Occupy Los Angeles has occupied the corrupted imagination of the LA City Council, bent only on securing more votes. It is troubling, their lack of attention to the Occupy Everywhere Movement's lack of attention to detail.

The long list of "they"'s targeting some nebulous corporate locus of evil troubled me. It also most reminded me of a tattered portion of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, whose vapid hate has distorted the world-view of Occupy the Arab World, formerly known as the Arab Spring.

Though still unsettled by the fact,I am glad that a responsible columnist has exposed not only the hysteria of Occupy Everywhere , but its anti-Semitic undercurrents, and the appalling insidious calculation of the LA City Council for endorsing these public-square marauders.

Left-Wing Hysteria: A Product of Mindless Mind-Only World View

The Left treasures the human mind as "the ultimate gizmo," despite the repeated sobering reality in Scripture that the imagination of man is wicked, twisted from birth.

Contrary to the contrarian sophists of the Enlightenment, we cannot enlighten ourselves with our limited, corrupted means, including our minds, clouded with yetzer hara, borne of our first parents insistence on knowing everything from their limited point of view.

Hence, Dennis Prager upbraids the mind-numbing, mindless hysteria of the left, whose core values rest on a foundering foundation: the human mind can appropriate, define, and transform everything.

This "mind-only" world view contributes to the "this should work" mentality that leads left-wing intellectuals and academics to keep on keeping on in the face of certain defeat. The mind, a never-ending storehouse of speculation, can always root out one slight deviation to rationalize previous failures and promote Attempt #13 following twelve previous abortive attempts.

In contrast, the Left's pet theories inevitably justify exaggerated responses, like the cataclysmic risk of nuclear energy, which is not; or the wide-spread deaths due to anorexia, which are not; to the heart-warming rhetoric of ethnic communists for their minority race, which is anything but. Yet ideology blinds many to reality, and the Left is all about ideology transforming the world to what it "should" be, when it is not to be, nor can it ever be.

Gadget Society -- "Affluent Society" Fallacy

Kenneth Galbraith, discredited liberal economist, unpersuasively argued in his text "The Affluent Society" that the average consumer's cupidity is so great, that effective advertising would induce the masses to purchase anything.

On the contrary, Columnist George Will has argued time and again. Advertising interest a beer drinker to drink a different beer. Whether he will or not is a matter of inner conjecture and cost-analysis, a process which many elitists dismiss as non-existent among the many diverse human beings who are not as educated as the liberal academics and intellectuals.

Increased upgrades and technological advances have made individuals more market savvy, not less; more precise in their consumption, not flabby and self-aggrandizing. Internet programs like YouTube can expand the political and spiritual imagination of a person or cause it to contract, depending on the choices of the individual, not the application itself.

The prophet Daniel foretold of this explosion of knowledge:

"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4)

Now, the book of human potential is opened and ever expanding, with mankind moving about by plane and traveling the whole world through the World Wide Web.

For the record, the ultimate "gizmo" is not the human mind, but the "Ruach", or the Spirit of man, animated by God to appreciate His wonders and adore Him as Lord and Creator.

Confession of Green Disappointment

Mr. Eshman's open admission about a failed venture in green investment was a welcome change of a pace from an editor who has generated some heated controversy among readers.

"A fool and his ideology are soon parted."

Ideology demands that its adherents close theirs eyes to the facts on the ground, which are ever changing, and the force of tradition and history, which is never changing in its efficacy.

Green technology to save the environment and to wean us off of foreign energy is a nice sound bite, but "we" can effect its occurrence. Purchasing power is an individual act in a free market, the one mechanism which can instill economy and efficiency while dispossessing consumers from rampant fraud and deception.

If we really want to break free of the House of Saud for our energy needs, then the United States Congress must release drilling permits to explore for more energy off-shore and in Alaska. France relies on nuclear power for three-fourths of its energy usage. The United State can invest in nuclear power, which contrary to the green-extreme hype, is actually very safe and reliable, but requires intense and consistent investment.

Support Schools

A local school superintendent is seeking donations from members of the local community. I am always wary of school administrators hitting up community members for replete funds to shore up deplete funding.

It is a travesty that so many public schools in wealthy communities are in such disrepair and suffer such disrepute. Has anyone investigated how well the money is being spent on an annual basis in the public schools, whether economic times are good or bad? How much state money is invested in unserious investment that has little to do with educating our young people? No matter how conscientious the leadership in a school district, waste is inevitable in a government agency which does not face competition or endure ongoing public scrutiny.

If school districts want to solicit financial assistance from the parents, then Mom and Dad deserve a greater say in how their kids are educated and how the school is operated. Why not transform the Hermosa Beach City School District into a charter, with a board of trustees composes of committed community members whose children are enrolled in the local schools? The Riveria Community in South Torrance contemplated a similar venture for their local elementary school, which boasts some of the highest test scores in the state. Hermosa Beach citizens could certainly organize to effect the same transition if they wanted to.

In addition, the Beach Cities should petition for a voucher system region-wide, if not country and state wide. If parents are disappointed with the financial and academic directives of their local communities, they should not be forced to enroll their children in the local school.

Canada Offers to Reserve Municipal Funds

The Great White North has weathered the Great Recession very well.

Not engaging in the same high-risk real estate ventures that plagued local and large banks with toxic debt, Canada's fiscal infrastructure has rebounded from the economic malaise that is still slowing the ever ponderous recovery around the world.

Perhaps the Canadian model would be an excellent venue for Hermosa Beach City's cash reserves. A stable depository in a reputable country enjoying adequate economic growth is exactly what local governments in crisis need.

"Che Chic" -- What are they thinking?

People who revere Ernesto "Che" Guevara have fallen into the triumphant parade of ideology over experience.

Everyone wants to believe in a knight in shining armor, one who typifies all the greatness that man thinks he can create of himself.

People want to be powerful; minorities want to feel that they can take down an enemy, as many have brought up in liberal-elitist public institutions which promote a Marxist world of class-struggle, inequality, and inevitable revolution.

"Che" inspired many, even to the photograph taken by Alberto Kordas, who depicted him as a modern-day secular Christ-figure who would redeem mankind from the oppression of the bourgeoisie.

"Che" was an anti-Christ, a man who would spill any man's blood (but his own) to stay in power, a lackey of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who disposed of the Argentinian failed medical student as soon as he was no longer useful.

Yet the belief persists, the myth never dies, because he represented a man who pursued everything for to make the world what it "should be." The determination to create an equalized society is so entrenched in the minds of liberals, that they happily ignore the grim, wicked reality that Ernesto was a blood-thirsty coward who despised youth, bullied dissidents into false confessions and execution, and turned a once-thriving economy in a failed state, the epitome of Communism as forever failure.

When it comes to "Che Chic," informed individuals will certainly ask, "What are they thinking?" They are trusting to a blind ideology, one that envisions a world of complete access and equality at the hand and behest of mankind, the pursuit of Nowhere-Utopia, of Paradise Lost, which is the only paradise that man can seek on his own.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Governor Brown's Public Pension Proposals

"Provisions of Gov. Brown's pensions overhaul plan" (From the Daily Breeze - 10/28/2011)

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is unveiling his proposal to overhaul California's public employee pensions Thursday. Here are highlights of the plan, according to a draft report obtained by The Associated Press:

Require all new and current employees to contribute at least 50 percent of their retirement costs, shifting the burden from public employers, some of whom currently make the entire contribution. This portion of the proposal would be phased in. Employers and employees would be barred from suspending contributions.

Excellent proposal. Granted, it would be morally more enlightened to wean public employees of a public pension entirely -- would it not be better to receive a higher salary, and let each employee demonstrate the requisite responsibility to save and invest for their own future? The states and the federal government have turned Social Security and entitlements into a subtle piggy bank which they have pilfered year after year, having fewer forced investors to make up the lost with each passing year.

Form a mandatory "hybrid" risk-sharing pension plan for new employees. New plan would include a reduced, guaranteed defined benefit, a defined contribution portion such as a 401(k)-style plan, and Social Security. The goal would be to replace
75 percent of an employee's salary, based on a 30-year career for public safety employees, or 35 years for non-public safety employees.

The dichotomy between public safety and public works employees is unacceptable. Police and fire contribute a great deal more to our communities in terms of safety, but without water operators, fire fighters could not put out fires. With adequate street personnel, police would have to arbitrate more accidents and traffic violations.

Still, phasing in private-sector options, like a 401(k) is a step in the right direction, remarkable especially coming from a center-left executive.

Raise the age state employees are eligible for full retirement benefits from 60 to 67 to align with Social Security. The administration has not calculated a minimum retirement age, which is currently 55. Raise the retirement age beyond the current
50 years for newly hired public safety employees to an age based on their ability to perform the job and maintain public safety.

Yes, raise the retirement age. This is the largest jump offered by a state. From 60 to 67, in those seven years a state fund can accrue more investment to release to retirees, perhaps even persuade the current old guard of employees to divest themselves of the state system voluntarily and invest their pension funds in a private account. Why not create an incentive for current workers to do just that? Why not reward workers further still if they postpone retirement beyond 67?

For new employees, calculate pension benefits based on the highest average annual compensation for three years, rather than the current one-year system. Benefits would be calculated based on regular, recurring pay and would not include special bonuses, unused vacation time or overtime.

An average will certainly decrease the final calculation, a welcome change to the pension-spiking that has led to rampant legal abuse of the entitlement for workers approaching their final years in employment. It's about time that a governor called employees to accounts over factoring in unused sick and vacation time. Once again, it would be better to raise salaries than back-load retirement wages.

Bar all employees from buying service credits known as air time, to boost retirement service credit for time not actually worked.

Let us recognize our state staff for the work that they have done, nothing more.

Add two independent, public members with financial expertise to the board of the California Public Employee Retirement System board. Replace the State Personnel Board representative on that board with the director of the California Department of Finance. Brown also will recommend that other public retirement boards make similar changes.

How about scrapping the entire bureaucracy? Why not permit municipalities a large say in the accrual and disbursement of pension and medical benefits?
Prohibit retroactive pension increases based on earlier retirement or higher benefit levels for all employees.

Require new state employees to work for 15 years to become eligible for any state-funded health care premiums and 25 years to qualify for the maximum state contribution to those premiums. State-provided retiree health care premium coverage would end at Medicare eligibility age, when the state would fund only Medicare premium coverage and limited "wrap-around" health care benefits.

Governor Brown has demonstrated considerable political courage drawing up significant pension reform for the tarnished state of California, as the report indicates that public unions support the Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, strong interests not interested in giving in to fiscal solvency for the sake of the state which they serve.

Let us hope that Governor Brown can hone the necessary skills to reach not just across but within the aisle he stands it to curry favor with stalwart politicians who are looking out for the next election, not the next generation of Californians.

New York Metro Area Has Highest Inequality in Country

New York City, one of the longest standing bastions of liberalism in the United States, also contains the greatest disparity in wealth and income in the nation, according to a census report in the New York Times.

Of course, the sample is compromised in part because reports are harder to collect in more rural regions.

Yet what does income disparity really tell us? How does one define wealth? Like many reports on income differentials, the New York Times study fails to calculate the number or even the percentage of individuals who move from one income bracket to the next.

Rather than spinning such specious evidence to stir up more heated and halting class warfare, individuals in the United States must recognize that wealth fluctuates, people's standing as rich, middle class, and even poor or working class depends on a number of features, not just the average amount of annual income.

Besides, New York City, one of the most regulated and statist cities in the country, must evaluate the lasting legacy of government encroachment in the private sector and the explosion of public sector employment, including exorbitant pensions and benefits for state workers, all of which contribute to a strained economy pressed into sluggish growth and rising unemployment across the state.

Wilma Rudolph vs. Che Guevara

Equality is a nebulous concept for many.

For some, the primary importance of equality is essence. Every human being is born with innate capacities, natural rights ("natural" speaking to "by birth"), and initial opportunity to realize those capacities.

For others, equality is a matter of results, in which human beings not only enjoy great access but similar outcomes. Disparities in skill and wealth, as well

Wilma Rudolph -- three-time gold medal winning runner, promoted the equality of essence in conjunction with individual human potential:

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”

She emphasized the extensive power of the individual to near deification, proclaiming:

“I believe in me more than anything in this world.”

In one teacher's classroom, I noticed the first quote for Rudolph's prominently displayed, followed by a picture of Communist Revolutionary Che Guevara.

Here are Guevara's thoughts on the human spirit:

"Youth should learn to think and act as a mass.”

Also, Guevara wanted "to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!"

To Guevara, the individual was nothing, the state was everything, the same ideology the motivated the Nazis and the Soviet Communists, or which Guevara was a fawning adherent.

Regarding his respect for humanity, besides himself, Guevara said the following:

"To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary … These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution!"

"A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall!"

Guevara's dream was unending Revolution, and he did not care who got in his way. Either you favored his totalitarian tyranny, or you would be swept away like dust.

About religion, he deified himself, to the point where he would even mow down the Son of man:

"I am not Christ or a philanthropist. I am all the contrary of a Christ … I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross or any other place."

This is Rudolph's "I believe in myself" humanism pushed to an obscene extreme.
Unlike Ms. Rudolph, Guevara's convictions excluded recognition of other beliefs, convinced that to realize his own dreams required the demise of opponents:

"What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims."

Liberation, yet at the cost of millions? That is not liberty. In pursuing his own dreams, Che Guevara would utterly destroy them, for there is no liberty without respect for the essential dignity of mankind.

No two icons of human ingenuity could be more incongruous than Wilma Rudolph, an accomplished athlete who achieved through her own merits, and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who wanted to impose Soviet-Style forced-equality -- read, Communism -- by dismissing millions or cramming them into his warped ideology.

If their worldviews are so incompatible, how does one justify presenting the mottoes of the athlete and the blood-thirsty warlord on the same wall in a classroom?

This schizophrenic adherence is the cause of much frustration among young people, especially minorities, who want to realize who they are, yet at the same time want to be respected as members of a repressed cohort. One cannot be both free and slave, not can one pursue one's dreams while compromising the pursuit of others'.

Michael Moore: "I can't be bought" -- No One is Buying it

Like many left-wing elitists, "Crockumentary" film maker Michael Moore makes money in the same system which he capitalizes on denigrating.

He is a capitalist exploiter, one who cashes in on the anti-American chic that pervades academia and Hollywood, a wasteland of hyper-equality dedicated to playing up the downtrodden only because they are such.

Rather than balancing out the inherent inequalities in the world, treating the causes of these difference. Freedom is essential to the well-being of mankind, yet freedom can be exploited, rejected, or limited, depending on the powers that be in a nation or

First of all, human nature induces many to believe that every person should profit from the weaknesses of others, yet at the same time every one of us desires as much as possible to be dependent on others. At first, no one inherently desires freedom, at least initially. Rather than allow the limitations of mankind to persist, traditional mores permit youth to grow and incorporate values which enhance their freedom without undoing the needs of others.

Michael Moore and other academic rationalists argue that the traditions of our ancestors, which limited our behavior without initial explanation, are outdated, must be changed in order to benefit those who struggle, who seem worse off. The victimization mentality is popular, and easily persuasive. Yet modern man's attempt to modernize certain conditions creates a veritable hell on earth.

Contrary to the limited vision of elite anarchists like Michael Moore, capitalism has done far more to lift man out of poverty that any other economic system, as long as free markets are left to run their course free of government intervention and private manipulation for public gain. The faux documentary filmmaker lives off of demonizing free markets, yet relies on the free market mechanisms of persuasion, impact, and profit to make his millions, which in turn he invests to stir up class strife and manic hatred to elicit interest in a growing crusade.

This blatant hypocrisy is laughable, even to his hollow claim that he "can't be bought." He has sold out to a left-wing agenda, and he argues that film production companies support his movies because -- true to liberal-elitism -- they believe that the American people are so stupid, that they have been dumbed done to accept the current economic and political systems as true and unchanging.

In reality, the American public are more savvy than apparent to most intellectuals, so bogged down in their myopic vision of reality that they are absolute "true- believer" convinced that they are right, and that everyone else is wrong. Despite the rampant fabrications, distortions, and omissions in his film making, Moore cannot accept that more people are seeing through his fatuous anti-American, anti-capitalist propaganda. The masses are not deceived nor amused, and the individuals who watch Moore's film-flam flamboyant drivel are buying neither his arguments nor his assertion that he is not rich, not a member of the much-maligned 1%, and not interested but the best interests of his viewers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

GOP, Hispanic Stars, Identity Politics

Florida US Senator Marco Rubio, and Governors Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval are commanding quite a bit of attention, not just as Hispanic politicians making their mark in state leadership and the federal government, but as Republicans.

Susana Martinez, a Democrat by tradition, discovered that she was a Republican after an extended outing with friends, with whom she shared many similar political views. She was shocked that they were Republicans, then changed her party status. Later, she ran for district attorney in a heavily Democratic country in New Mexico, then on to the governorship of the same state.

Marco Rubio, son of Cuban immigrants, established his conservative credentials as Florida House speaker, than relative-unknown challenging the GOP establishment, represented by center-right Charlie Crist. With a surge of support from the growing Tea Party Movement, Rubio carried off an upset victory against Crist in the Republican primary, then defeating Crist -- who decided to run as an independent in the general election -- as well as the Democratic candidate. Rubion ran on conservative values, including pension reform, and rose to victory in a state which Columnist George Will dubbed "God's Antechamber" -- i.e., a constituency of retirees living off of Social Security, whom many predicted would be hostile to major entitlement reform.

Brian Sandoval of Nevada has also emerged as a rising star in a state with a growing Hispanic base, one which he did not tap into as much as his Democratic challenger, yet he has captured the attention of other GOP stalwarts across the country.

The Republican party is promoting the ascendancy of these politicians in order to shore up wavering support of the Democrat-leaning Hispanic vote. Despite the rebuttal of the Left that minorities will not vote according to labels, they can be persuaded of the comity between conservative values and the needs of Latino voters.

If nothing else, elected leaders like Governors Martinez and Sandoval can embolden those minority voters who have been unfairly tagged as "traitors to their race" for voting the GOP line. As illegal immigration becomes a more pressing issue for the American people, legal immigrants who followed the rules to become a part of the United States are voicing their frustration and outrage at a nation that is giving a virtual pass to law-breakers who evade the authorities and violate the law to enter this country. As long as Republicans can present their case as strong on human rights yet underscoring the necessity for the rule of law and respect for those who have entered this country legally, they stand a greater chance of ingratiating themselves to an electorate still wary of a party which the Democrats have invidiously tagged "whites-only" and "anti-immigrant."

Repsonse to "Obama sits tight for GOP 'Survivor'"

For the second time in office, President Obama has paid a visit to "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

Now trying to shore up support from the 18-49 demographic which swept him to power on the frothy fumes of "hope and change," the Vanity in Chief wants to reinforce the of his modish telegenic aura, now tarnished with the frustrating reality that the Center-Right United States did not invite him to power in order to impose a left-wing mania on the country.

"I'm going to wait until everybody is voted off the island," Obama joked about the GOP nomination process, heating up to deliver a strong challenge to the marred policies of the soon-to-be-one term chief executive. Little does he realize, but Obama is about to be the one cast off.

Why else would he putting in an effort to cull resources from San Francisco?

While promoting his role in bringing down the Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Obama crowed, "We gave him ample opportunity [to loosen his grip on power], and he wouldn't do it." "I think it sends a strong message around the world to dictators that people long to be free, and they need to respect the human rights and universal aspirations of the people."

Now, where have we heard this lofty rhetoric before?

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

"Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

"The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

"The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side."

Straight out of the mouth of the previous chief executive, President George W. Bush, President Obama has promoted the same policies without batting an eyelash, yet also without according credit where credit is due for his current successes.

Despite his overweening arrogance to assume that he has any chance of getting reelected next year, he is campaigning on the same foreign policy that got his predecessor, and rival party, into power for four more years. Running as a Republican to secure his Democratic base is one sure means for President Obama to self-destroy his vain ambition to continue his tired and tried legacy of statism, and left-wing lunacy.

Moammar Gadhafi, Final Words, and Final Thoughts

Before his untimely, savage death at the hands of his enraged and liberating people, Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi begged to know:

"Do you not know right from wrong?"

This ubiquitous questions the Libyan dictator posed before being dispatched with a gunshot to the head.

The sheer hypocrisy of this beggarly query would certainly shock many, coming from a monstrous megalomaniac who spoiled his own country's petrol largesse while alienating its potential and stagnating growth. Following his self-aggrandizement to the point of self-parody, Gadhafi rattled the nerves of more stable leaders in the region while instigating terrorist attacks throughout the world, all of which culminated in the explosive tragedy of Pan-Am 187 over Lockerbie, Scotland on November 21, 1988.

Still, Gadhafi's empty plea does not fall on deaf ears, but rather exposes the inescapable weight of a guilty man, one who can never outrun his wickedness. From his depraved indifference to the impoverished plight of his people, to the flimsy attempts to wrest a respectable legacy from African nations degraded in turn by disgraceful dictators, the recently deceased "Dear Leader" lived in the shadow of his plottings, all of which burgeoned to unassailable rage and revolution among his people. They knew enough of right and wrong to take decisive advantage of a regional movement, bursting forth from Tunisia, shaking loose the status quo in Egypt, which then emboldened the isolated backwater of North Africa in between.

Indeed, the Libyan people understood the wrong of laboring beneath the interminable self-adulation of a leader who betrayed the hopes of many four decades ago, yet only now seeing an opportunity to be realized once again.

They knew right from wrong, as he did, though he disregarded its hold on him, just as his own people suspended their ethical moorings to dispatch once and for all the government, the legacy, and the lingering effects of a man who had so corrupted right and wrong to his own sick advantage.

No matter how chaotic, no matter who evil the perpetrator, or unsettling the victim's response, the knowledge of right and wrong is a constant for mankind, once which cannot be swept away by power, revolution, oppression, or opposition.

Though Gadhafi's broken body, the first of many battlegrounds for the feuding Libyan people, is now buried in an unmarked grave, his question, his challenge -- one which he ostensibly resisted and failed to live up to -- will hang over the delicate future of a country which he took by fiat, ran afoul by force, and lost forever in one fierce moment of retribution.

Evangelicals, Academics, and Reason

Columnist Dennis Prager has hit on another disturbing trend of the Left, targeting the condescending intelligentsia's assault on people of faith.

Academics, vain with the fatal conceit of mind as means to manage everything, have condemned religious adherents as "anti-intellectual, anti-reason, and anti-scientific."

Intellectuals, especially the vast majority of left-wing adherents, make great claims to how society "should work," promoting equality as the highest value to be achieved and maintained by mankind. This self-limiting world-view flies in the face of empirical evidence, logic, tradition, and real-life events (also history), all of which have undermined the cherished notions of central planning, personal license, and moral relativism.

As Prager argues in his piece, ideology colors the judgments and prescriptions of many academics and scholars, moved not by raw irrational notions, but rather by their extra-rational irrationality. Their beliefs are irrational precisely because they place such a blind faith, a true-believer trust in the human mind to determine and dictate to the world the way that things should be done. Notwithstanding all the evidence that flies in the face of their deeply-held dogmas and doctrines, left-wing acolytes will unflinchingly fight for their fantastic notions of equality, disdaining the precise and supportable suppositions of religion, which disdains same-sex unions (proven by empirical studies to exacerbate physical and psychological dysfunction), theft in the name of charity for the masses (the imperial failure of the Orwellian Welfare State), and power as the only value worth pursuing (From Foucault to forced equality).

Unlike left-wing warriors, religious adherents respect the demonstrable limits of reasons, recognizing the necessary role of faith and tradition in shaping man's current prosperity and future certainties. Not despising the role of the mind, evangelicals respect its capacities, based squarely on the credos handed down by learned peoples who have overcome the obstacles of times and circumstance.

To summarize the true role of the mind in relation to faith, one need look no further than Augustine of Hippo's stern admission:

"Credo ut intelligam" --- I believe that I may understand.

There is no understanding, there is no learning apart from faith, and faith is the precursor to a sound knowledge base for every human being.