Saturday, December 30, 2006

"A Psalm of Life"


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us further than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act -- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait,




By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I'm taking time out from my usual posts to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

May you enjoy all the fun of the holidays, but always keep Christ in your hearts and remember what Christmas is really all about--the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

God bless you all!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

What is the UN, really?

I've never been a fan of the United Nations, but after reading "The UN is not just dysfunctional--it's a criminal enterprise" at the Christian Science Monitor's website, I think we need to do away with the UN altogether.

The article is by Tom DeWeese (Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center, a nonprofit in Warrenton, Va., dedicated to free enterprise.) with a dateline of Cambridge, England. The blurb at the top starts out:

It gives validity to zealots and bigots, a voice to international terrorists, and helps to keep tyrannical dictators in power.

Strong words, but supported by what he has to say in the body of the article.

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND – It is reasonable that honest, compassionate people seek a means for governments to air their differences.
It is also reasonable that honest, compassionate people should desire some way to voluntarily pool resources to provide charitable aid to those who are starving or are victims of natural disaster. Indeed, this is the image of the United Nations that has been sold to the world since its inception.

It is not, however, the reality.

The UN gives validity to zealots and bigots. It helps to keep tyrannical dictators in power. It gives a voice to international terrorists.

Delay. Negotiate. Recommend. Study. Reconsider. Do nothing. This is the game the UN has played in nearly every international crisis. It is the reason North Korea remains a threat after 50 years. And it is the reason why a terrorist nation such as Syria can be given a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council.

The UN is buried under scandals. It has Oil-for-Food scandals. Smuggling scandals. And theft scandals.

UN peacekeeping missions - with their record of rob, rape,and pillage - can actually bring fear to the local citizens they are supposed to protect.

Who has the power to oversee and control its actions? The people don't vote on UN actions. The media has little access behind the scenes. Who audits the accounting books?

UN supporters admit such problems, and they call for "reform." But to them, reform doesn't mean plugging holes in UN spending or clearing up scandals. Instead, it means global governance.

Since its inception, the UN's advocacy has amounted to a desire to eradicate the sovereignty of nations - while imposing what it calls "world-mindedness."

A 1949 UNESCO document said, "...nationalism [is] the major obstacle to the development of world-mindedness."

Therein lies the UN's true goal. And that belies its public image of being simply a place where nations may come to air their differences and act responsibly.

Instead, the UN works to gain power for itself in order to become independent and supreme over its member nations.

To do that, it needs the power to tax. On Sept. 19, plans were approved by several nations to create a global tax, mostly through airline tickets to help pay for the treatment of AIDS. There are several other tax schemes on the UN wish list. If the UN gains the power to tax, it will become a monster free of its chains. And, of course, the UN wants its own military. It already has its own court.

Imagine a world run by the justice of China, with the economics of Cuba, and the military might of the United States. Such is the world of the future under UN global governance.

A glance at recent history shows that the UN is irrelevant as a body to deliver world peace.

Using images of dire environmental emergencies, life-threatening diseases, or starving children, the UN promotes an agenda that seeks to redistribute the world's wealth.

Nowhere is there mentioned in a single UN document that I have read an advocacy for the right to own private property. And it is a fact that the inability to own private property creates poverty. It is also a fact that confiscation of private property never helps to eradicate poverty.

It is bad economic policy. Yet that is the UN's only solution to the massive suffering throughout the world. Take it from one source to give to another. And that, I contend, is the very root of the suffering - not the solution.

The UN is not "dysfunctional" as some "reformists" have claimed. It is a criminal enterprise in which no moral nation should ever participate, let alone perpetuate.

Not a long article, but an important one. The UN is not what it presents itself to be. If people don't become aware of the realities, we could be in for massive problems.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Fair Tax: Would It Work?

Just what is the Fair Tax? And is it a workable plan? Dr. Walter Williams, at Jewish World Review, writes an article titled "The Fair Tax Book" in which he tells us what the Fair Tax is and what it would take to make it work.

First of all, Dr. Williams tells us what the Fair Tax is.

If enacted, the Fair Tax would eliminate: the federal individual income tax, alternative minimum tax, corporate and business taxes, capital gains tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and estate and gift taxes. These taxes would be replaced by a 23 percent sales tax on all goods and services sold at the retail level. The Fair Tax would be revenue-neutral in the sense that it would replace the revenue from current federal taxes; thus, it would change the way government is funded.
That's a nice, useful summary of what we are talking about here. Next, after describing some of the benefits of this Fair Tax, Dr. Williams give us three conditions that would be necessary to making it work. He writes:

The Fair Tax is an excellent idea, but only under three conditions: first, the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment that created the income tax; second, a provision fixing the tax at, say, 23 percent; and third, a constitutional amendment mandating that a tax increase requires a three-fourths vote of Congress. Notwithstanding any provisions within the Fair Tax, if the Sixteenth Amendment weren't repealed, down the road we'd find ourselves with a national sales tax and an income tax.
A wise man, that Dr. Williams!

Last of all, Dr. Williams points out another problem and gives us his solution.

The method used to finance the federal government is very important, but I've always argued that government spending is the true measure of its impact on our lives. If there were a Fair Tax, what's to stop Congress from deficit spending or inflating the currency? Deficit spending and inflation are simply alternative forms, albeit less obvious, of taxation.

You say, "What's Williams' solution?" My solution is an amendment limiting federal spending to a fixed percentage, say, 10 percent of the gross domestic product. You say, "Why 10 percent?" If 10 percent is good enough for the Baptist Church, it certainly ought to be good enough for Congress.
The entire article is interesting and will give you some food for thought. We really need to do something.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rumsfeld and Bolton

I am sorry to see Donald Rumsfeld and John Bolton leave their positions. We need tough men, strong men, like them--men who aren't afraid to stand up for what is right. I felt like they both gave their jobs their all.

One thing in particular that they both did was stand up for America. We are a great nation which has done much good in the world and continues to do so. America-bashing has become popular, and those who participate in it don't seem to realize that it is because America is what she is that they are free to bash her.

It also amazes me to hear some talk about America wanting to conquer other nations. America has never been a country that tried to take over other countries to add them to America--they have only tried to help free people from oppression and tyranny.

It's the same sort of bashing that Rumsfeld and Bolton have had to put up with. Some was spillover from the irrational hatred of President Bush, and some was simply not understanding men who stand up for right and for America.

I believe we are the poorer for their leaving.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Report

Well, well, well. At last the ISGR has been released. And are we really surprised by what it says? Not really, although we had hopes for something good. At least the terrorists are happy about it--and they think it is a done deal. Over at WorldNetDaily there is an article titled "Terrorists Rejoicing Over New Iraq 'Plan'". Read that and tell me we aren't in serious danger. The very first paragraph states:

A high level U.S. commission's recommendations for an eventual withdrawal from Iraq and for dialogue with Iran and Syria proves "Islamic resistance" works and America will ultimately be defeated, according to senior terrorist leaders interviewed by WND.

Did you get that? "America will ultimately be defeated...." Hmmmm. Doesn't sound like appeasement stops the aggression, does it? Here's another paragraph to give you pause:

"[With the Iraq Study Group report], the Americans came to the conclusion that Islam is the new giant of the world and it would be clever to reduce hostilities with this giant. In the Quran the principle of the rotation is clear and according to this principle the end of the Americans and of all non-believers is getting closer," Abu Ayman said.

"...the end of the Americans and of all non-believers is getting closer." Not just the end of American fighting or American military. No, the end of the Americans. And get this:

Abu Abdullah said following a withdrawal from Iraq, the U.S. will be defeated on its own soil.

"America must understand that with anti-American governments in Latin America and with Islam growing and reinforcing, including in the U.S. itself, the next step would be a total defeat on their (American) land, not a relative one like they are facing in Iraq," he said.
This is a serious enemy we have. There's more in the article. Please read it.

Here's another little tidbit for you from The Jerusalem Post. In an article titled "Hamas Smuggled $66m. in 8 Months" we learn about serious money being smuggled into Palestine from Egypt, no doubt paying for terrorist activity, as well as other things. Interesting.

Update: What is also interesting is that two paragraphs have been cut from the Jerusalem Post article. They were the second and third paragraphs and read as follows:

Meanwhile, sources close to the PA government claimed that Hamas representatives recently held talks with officials from the US Democratic Party at an undisclosed location.
The sources told the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency that Hamas representatives had also held secret talks with officials of European governments, including Britain and France.
I'm not the only one who saw them when I first read the article. They are quoted in a blog post at Right Truth.

In a not entirely unrelated article at Human Events, since it shows the sort of thing that can happen when the good guys wimp out, is a piece by Phyllis Schlafly from 13 May 2005. Titled "Bush Apologizes for FDR's Sellout at Yalta," this is an article that will give you a lesson in WWII history that you may not have heard about. It is also one of the few times when an apology, though inadequate, is at least warranted.

All I can say is read, read, read! Learn, learn, learn! Don't just accept the popular version of things floating around in the air. It is imperative that America and its allies stand very strongly for the rights and freedoms of the people of the world. We will all lose if they do not.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

High Anxiety

At Michael Medved writes an educational article titled, "Coping with Middle Class Nightmares: The Conservative Imperative." In it, he discusses the anxiety of prosperous people that a catastrophe could wipe out everything they have worked all their lives to achieve--the house, the land, the savings, the investments. He says:

Middle class insecurity is such an obvious, overwhelming factor for so many tens of millions of Americans that one can only marvel that both of our major political parties have done so little to address or temper it. Democrats continue to focus on issues like raising the minimum wage—which might help some of the lowest paid workers enter the middle class, but will do nothing to reduce the vulnerability of more fortunate Americans (including those small businessmen who will suffer from such a raise). The Republicans continue to concentrate on blocking tax hikes and new regulations – policies that will help individuals and businesses accumulate wealth but don’t serve to protect that wealth from sudden reversals of the medical, legal, employment, or natural disaster varieties.

Mr. Medved then goes on to write about three major points, which are:

1) Many, it not most, governmental “security” programs simply don’t work

2) Even the security programs that do work come with a steep, sometimes punishing economic cost, and

3) Any effort to assure economic security inevitably involves a loss of freedom.

He goes into some detail about why those points are true and makes suggestions along the way of methods to address the problems.

I think this is a good economics lesson.