Tuesday, September 28, 2010

But Obama IS a Socialist

Liberals supporters of Barack Obama become really upset when people call him a socialist. They say that such an accusation is so outrageous that it falls within the category of “extreme” or “fringe.”

Let’s see. Consider the following four countries: Cuba, China, North Korea, and Vietnam. Wouldn’t everyone concede that all four of those countries have socialist systems?

Let’s list some of the key programs and policies that are common to all four of those socialist countries:

1. Government provided retirement pay to senior citizens (i.e., Social Security).
2. Government provided health care (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid).
3. Government-provided, mandatory education to people’s children (i.e., public schooling).
4. Government-provided unemployment compensation.
5. Government-provided welfare payments.
6. Government central planning of monetary affairs (i.e., a Federal Reserve).
7. Government management of the economy.
8. Government-issued licenses for occupations and professions.
9. Government central planning over immigration affairs.
10. Government control over trade.
11. Government equalization of wealth among the citizenry.
12. Government-mandated wage rates.
13. Government control over prices.
14. Government-provided subsidies.

Now, which of those key programs and policies in those four socialist countries does Barack Obama disagree with?

Answer: None. He supports them all. If a person embraces the key programs and policies of socialist countries, why doesn’t that make him a socialist?



Spiritual con-men

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" (Matthew 7:9). No father would but some "pastors" do.

During the 1990s, “seeker-friendly” churches began popping up everywhere. Most were non-denominational churches looking to reach those who fell between the cracks and divides that separate many of our traditional denominations. These seeker-friendly churches did well for a time. The fact that many are now struggling to pay the bills has less to do with the changing economy than it does with the changing culture.

It’s no surprise that these churches did well in the 1990s. The economy was strong and people gave charitably. The same can be said of the first seven years of the Bush administration. Many seeker-friendly churches were able to break ground with new buildings, which seated thousands of congregants. They were able to fill these big buildings with scoreboard-sized video monitors and all the latest video and computer technology. They even served gourmet coffee.

But things began to change in 2008. The economy tanked and the churches had to cut back. They hoped the next election would bring change. But hope was not enough. Men cannot always bring about that kind of change. And only God can bring about lasting change.

But the one thing that has started to change in the mega-church is the message. What once was a slightly watered-down seeker-friendly version of the Gospel is now a slightly Gospel-flavored bucket of water. And it’s not enough to quench the thirst of the masses.

As one who has traveled to twenty-two states this year I’ve had an opportunity to hear pastors in several of these mega-churches. And I’ve heard some very interesting things. Some examples follow:

1. “We encourage you to sign up for one of our Bible study classes. We don’t say we have all the answers. We may not have any of the answers that you might have. We just want to start a conversation.” Oddly enough, the church where I heard this little gem doesn’t even call itself emergent. Of course, Don Miller claims he’s not emergent but I’m not buying that jazz.

2. “This church doesn’t focus on doctrine. We focus on hope.” Well, that explains why the pastor rode up to the stage on a motorcycle. By giving a sermon standing in front of a Harley Davidson, instead of a cross, he can avoid that unpleasant doctrinal stuff about sin and redemption. Pass the Starbucks. This is going to be a good one!

3. “If Christianity is to survive in the 21st Century, everything about it must change.” You can’t be serious with this one, can you? Does that mean I should cast the first stone? Can I cast it at the idiot in the pulpit? Wait, there is no pulpit. And no cross. Never mind.

4. “There’s nothing wrong with diversity. Everyone needs diversity.” But what about people who say they don’t need diversity? Are we in danger of excluding them from the conversation?

If today’s mega-churches are anything they are diverse. They typically have large numbers of traditional Christians as well as large numbers of seekers who may not have been raised in any particular faith tradition. But these days, many mega-churches are beginning to show preference for the latter – despite their emphasis on equality and inclusion. And this may prove to be their downfall.

By watering down their message to be even more seeker-friendly, today’s mega-churches are not going to achieve their crass objective: To avoid offending people in order to keep their numbers up (read: Keep the money flowing) and eventually pay their mortgage down.

Instead, their gains with seekers and the easily offended will be offset by their losses among those who are farther along in their walks and, hence, more traditional in their beliefs. This is consequential because the traditionalist, not the liberal Christian or the seeker, is always the first one to open his wallet.

Our cultural is in rapid decline as we enter the Obama/post-Christian phase of American history. People are in search of bold and fearless pastors who will take a stand against evil in blunt and uncompromising - not coded and esoteric - language. In the end, pastors who refuse to mold the Gospel to accommodate the spiritual needs of the seeker or the financial needs of the church will be the last ones standing.

I predict that many of the mega-churches of today will be the shopping malls of tomorrow. When it is time to foreclose and go packing someone is going to have some heavy equipment to move. At least no one will have to pick up their cross.



Who Are the Realists and Who Are the Ideologues?

The banter continues about the Republican Party being pushed to the right by “ideologues.”

Working Americans interest in politics is motivated by how to make our lives better. They don’t care about how one set of intellectuals or pundits think the world should be against some other set of ideas of ideology. They care about the facts. How the world really is and acting accordingly.

Two principles often labeled as “right wing ideology” are that as a society we are better off with limited government and individual freedom and that as individuals we are better off being married. Is this wishful thinking of ideologues or is this reality?

Two publications just out provide factual substantiation backing up both these principles.

Economic Freedom of the World, now in its 16th edition, is an annual index published co-operatively by 70 think tanks from around the world. This team has developed measures of economic freedom and then correlates these measures with economic performance in every country in the world.

What, according to this publication, is economic freedom? The core principles are “personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property.”

They look at five areas to measure if these conditions exist. Size of government (expenditures, taxes, and government enterprises), legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade, and regulation of credit, labor, and business.

The result of the analysis – using the measures of economic freedom and looking at 141 nations around the world to examine the correlation between economic freedom and prosperity - leads to a clear conclusion. More economic freedom correlates with more prosperity and higher quality of life.

Breaking down 141 nations into four quartiles, running from the least free quarter to the most free, shows the following: The highest quartile – the most free - has an average per capita income two and half times higher that than the average of the second quartile, four and half times higher than the third quartile, and nine and a half times higher than the least free quartile.

Average life expectancy in the most economically free nations is seven years higher than the second quartile, eleven years higher than the third, and twenty years higher than in the poorest.

The Index also shows that nations that are more economically free are more likely to be politically free – they have more political rights and civil liberties – than those not economically free. And individuals in the most economically free nations report the highest levels of “life satisfaction.”

How about marriage?

A new paper published by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation examines data in our own country and shows with clarity that the more likely a household is headed by a married couple the less likely that household will be poor.

Thirty six percent of children living in households headed by a single mother are poor. Six percent of children living in households headed by married parents are poor.

Among black families, 38% of single parent households are poor compared to 13% of households with married parents. Among white households, 22% of single parent household are poor compared to 3% of households with married parents.

As Rector notes, when President Johnson announced the War on Poverty in 1964, 93% of babies born in our country were born to married parents. Today 59% of babies born in the United States have married mothers.

If you accept my definition of ideologue, that it’s someone wedded to a set of ideas, independent of facts, who are the ideologues?

We have overwhelming factual evidence that the more economic freedom individuals have in a country, the more likely that nation will be prosperous, with a high quality of life. We also have overwhelming evidence showing that the more likely a family is headed by a single parent, the more likely that household will be poor.

Looking from the other side, we have overwhelming evidence that government spending does not reduce poverty nor does big government create prosperity. So who are the ideologues and who are the realists?




An heretical church: "The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Anglican Church has "no problem" with homosexuals being bishops but he was not "positive" about them having relationships. While recognising that he was simplifying the Church's position, Dr Williams said in an interview: "There's no problem about a gay person who's a bishop. It's about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe." Asked what was wrong with a homosexual bishop having a partner, he said: "I think because the scriptural and traditional approach to this doesn't give much ground for being positive about it." He said the issue remained a particularly divisive one: "The Church at the moment doesn't quite know what to make of it."

Pastors defy IRS on “Pulpit Freedom Sunday”: "Nearly 100 pastors across the country took part in Pulpit Freedom Sunday today, an in-your-face challenge to what the government says can and cannot be said in church. The pastors, along with the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based nonprofit Alliance Defense Fund, planned today’s event as a reaction to a law stating that churches are not allowed to support politicians from the pulpit, according to the ADF. The growing trend is a challenge to the IRS from the churches, and may jeopardize their all-important tax-exempt status. But some pastors and church leaders said they are willing to defy the law to defend their right to freedom of speech.”

The tax hazards of a US passport: "I asked her if she was still filing U.S. tax returns. ‘No,’ she replied. ‘I left the United States when I was a child. Why would I have to file tax returns there when I’ve never worked there or even lived there since childhood?’ I patiently explained that the United States requires its citizens to pay tax on their worldwide income, no matter where they live. I also told her that she possibly faced a long prison sentence for not disclosing each year the existence of all bank accounts she held outside the United States with an aggregate value exceeding $10,000. And I mentioned that while she could make an appointment to give up her U.S. passport at a local U.S. consulate, she would continue to be subject to these taxes and criminal sanctions for all past years.”

Boom time in the public sector: "What recession? Government workers are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. The private sector has lost 2.5 million jobs since the Obama administration’s stimulus bill was passed, while the public sector — federal, state, and local government combined — has added 416,000 jobs over the same period. Although 85 percent of Americans work for private employers, the administration’s own Recovery Act database admits that four out of five jobs ‘created or saved’ were in government. Likewise, average pay has risen in the federal, state, and local government, while private sector wages have fallen. More jobs, better security, and rising wages — it’s boom time in the public sector.”

Ayn Rand foresaw Obamacare: "If you doubt the prescience of Ayn Rand, turn to page 744 to read about a doctor who no longer practices his profession. When asked why, he replies “I quit when medicine was placed under State control many years ago. Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun.” If you don’t think vast numbers of doctors feel this way, you have not spoken to any. If ObamaCare goes into effect as passed in 2010, you will soon see droves of doctors living by this creed, and the medical care that most Americans receive will come at the hands of graduates from schools in Indonesia, Mexico, and India because America will not be able to replace the retired doctors quickly enough."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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