Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Jerusalem" the Hymn

I love the music of the hymn, "Jerusalem". Here is a version by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. At one point on the video, the words on the screen say this hymn was considered offensive to many in the UK. Now it is apparently considered a sort of unofficial national anthem there.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all of you, wherever you are in the world, will take a little time today to think of all the blessings that you have and express gratitude for those blessings. They range from the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, to books and education, to family and friends, to the blessings of the gospel. There is so much to be thankful for, whatever your circumstances. There are always difficulties in life, some great and some small. There are also always things to be thankful for if we will look for them. It will lift your spirits to realize how much you have.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fun with Economics

I went to YouTube and did a search on "economics". I found this video by Yoram Bauman, Ph. D. He's got a website at Stand Up Economist.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Opinions

I am still pondering all the implications of an Obama presidency, coupled with a Democrat majority in Congress. I try to be optimistic and think that things won't be so bad and we'll get through this and be a stronger country for it. It is, however, very difficult to hold on to that viewpoint for very long.

Although Obama, assisted by the mainstream media, tried to keep the American people in the dark as to his real plans for America, enough information slipped out to cause serious concerns for those who care about our country and its Constitution. One issue is Obama's association with radical leftists. Whether we are talking about William Ayers or Rev. Jeremiah Wright or the others whose names you've seen here and there, we are talking about people who hate America and all she stands for. And we're going to let these people run the country?! Where are Obama's more moderate friends? Did he not have any? Let's face it--friends and associates and allies shape one's outlook a great deal.

Another issue is economics. Obama is definitely a taxer and a spender. He has plans for spending a trillion dollars of our (the taxpayers) money on various programs that have as their ultimate objective redistributing wealth. What Obama doesn't understand is that when there are wealthy people, those people invest, start businesses, and otherwise use their money to strengthen the economy and create jobs for others. The left doesn't seem to understand the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. The former is good and right and lets everyone have a chance. The latter is bad and wrong and punishes success while rewarding failure (often brought about by laziness). This applies in all issues, not just economic ones.

There are also issues of life. Obama is one of the most radical supporters of abortion in existence. He not only supports early-term abortion, but also late-term abortion, partial-birth abortion, and allowing babies who survive abortion to die alone without any care at all.

President Ronald Reagan said that government isn't the solution, but rather the problem. Yet Obama supports big government to an extent not before seen. He thinks government should rule every aspect of our lives--what we eat, the media available to us, how our children will be educated and at what age, our religious lives (or lack thereof), what transportation we can use, what products we can purchase (are they "green" enough?), etc.

Another issue is energy. Obama has sent signals that he wants to reinstitute bans on drilling, building coal plants and nuclear plants, and other necessary items that will allow America to become energy independent (at least as much as possible) and keep energy available while the various other energy sources (wind, solar, etc.) are developed and experimented with to see if they can become viable (they are not viable now) replacements for fossil fuels.

There are national security issues. Obama thinks he can talk our enemies into being our friends. He seems very concerned with dismantling our military as much as possible. Common sense says that a strong military is the best advocate for peace, but Obama would take that away from us. He wants to prevent our military personnel from being able to do their jobs fully and freely--something that is necessary for success. There has also been talk of his wanting to create some sort of civilian force, ostensibly to do community service, but how long before they would become enforcers of politically correct behavior in ordinary citizens? Obama wants them to be as well-funded as the military is now. What will that mean?

Obama seems to have some dreamy idea of utopia. This is not grounded in reality. If he studied history and economics, he would soon see the massive failures that ideas like his have inflicted on people in the past. Obama also seems to have the idea that once he is inaugurated, he will be the absolute ruler, that everyone will do whatever he wants them to do. If they don't, he thinks he will be justified in suppressing them and silencing their voices. He has already tried this during the campaign.

At his inauguration, Obama will take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. He has already taken this oath when he has been sworn in to the public offices he has held to this point. He has done nothing to show me that he has any intention of taking this oath seriously. He has, in fact, stated that he wants to break free of the restraints put on us by the Founders in the Constitution. This is not the type of person who should be President (or a Senator, for that matter).

This all sounds extreme, but it is not my opinions that are extreme. It is Obama who is extreme.

So how did this man get elected? I suppose his charisma had something to do with it, although as the campaign progressed and he had to do interviews and not just give teleprompted speeches, it became clear that he was not a particularly good speaker without a prepared text and no interruptions for questions or comments. Frankly, I think a good part of the problem has come from education--from the public schools to colleges and universities. These sources of education have steadily drifted to the left, embracing baseless self-esteem and teaching tolerance of all things leftist--socialism, Marxism, communism, secularism, multiculturalism, and any other -ism you can think of (as long as it is a leftist -ism). Now we have a population who doesn't know much accurate history or civics and has had it drummed into their minds that there is nothing wrong with those leftist -isms. So when anyone tried to warn of Obama's socialist tendencies, they were greeted with a collective yawn and a "So what?"

The left has also been waging a battle for a long time now to eliminate religion from the public square. When religion goes, so do morals and common sense and the realization that there is right and wrong, good and evil. Everything is relative, according to these secular leftists. They have also been fighting free speech, defined by them as anything said that doesn't agree with their views. They are all for free speech and tolerance as long as it supports leftist views. If it disagrees, it has to go. For one example, take Prop 8 in California. It passed and its opponents are acting in very ugly ways. They are also being quite dramatic in discussing their pain at the defeat of Prop 8, but let one person try to inject a little reason into the conversation and the left shouts them down and accuses them of bigotry and hate. If Prop 8 had been defeated, you'd better believe the left would be gloating and would be quite hateful toward anyone who expressed even a little sorrow at its defeat. Yet said leftists don't even seem to be aware of their hypocrisy--they are too busy denouncing those who disagree with them to stop and consider their own viewpoints and those of others and think about whether they might be wrong. Nor can they seem to understand that some things are just plain wrong, no matter how sugar-coated they might be. Those on the left do not seem capable of debating the actual issues. They seem only capable of shouting down the opposition with name-calling.

For too long now, America has been dumbed down. Even those whose values and beliefs are conservative are gullible to the leftist propaganda. Many do not have the discipline or even the interest in educating themselves to correct what they learned in school or see in the mainstream media. Many have just bought into whatever they have been told. To be fair, I believe a lot of ordinary citizens who buy into leftist propaganda are well-meaning people who want to be fair and compassionate toward others. I just think that they aren't thinking the issues through and seeing the problems that will arise down the road.

The whole situation we are in makes me sad and a little frightened. Yes, we have survived many hard times before, but it hasn't been easy, and we were a stronger people then. Are we strong enough now to understand what is right and what is wrong and to fight for the right? Certainly, there are individuals who are strong enough, but are we, collectively, strong enough? I hope so, but I'm not sure. It just seems that there are many people who either don't think at all or at least don't think for themselves--they just buy into whatever the intellectual elite says they must think. This is so ironic because one thing leftists accuse conservatives of is marching in lockstep with their leaders. Yet it is leftists who are the real conformists. It is leftists who would squelch freedom and liberty.

Conservatives are not perfect. Still, conservatives recognize that there is such a thing as good and evil, right and wrong. They recognize that equality of opportunity is not the same thing as equality of outcome. The former can and should be supported, the latter should not be. Conservatives tend to be interested in thinking through the issues. Conservatives tend to be more mature in their outlook on life, recognizing that good needs to be fought for, defended, even sacrificed for. They recognize that life is not easy and it is not about getting whatever we want to satisfy our selfish desires. It is about caring for and about others and being of service and allowing others to be free, as well as themselves. Conservatives are not afraid of change. They just believe in considering the changes carefully and don't get caught up in thinking that change for its own sake is a good thing.

I have not linked to articles supporting my opinions in this post. I have been doing that repeatedly in previous posts. This post is just to express my concerns and the concerns of many other Americans as we face some potentially disasterous changes in our way of life, and to give my readers some things to consider.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Week Later

I managed to go a whole week without writing about politics! Amazing!!

I didn't avoid thinking about politics, of course. I made an effort to do other things and read other things, but my thoughts kept drifting back to politics and the mess we are in. Still, my optimism bubbles to the surface now and then. I ran across some good articles that I would like to share with you.

First of all, we American citizens need to remember that the president, Congress, and all the other politicians work for us, not the other way around. Keeping that in mind, we need to contact the government at all levels and let them know what we expect of them. See Chuck Norris's article "Obama, Now That You Work for Me (A Letter to the President-Elect)".

It's important, too, that we remember that all is not lost. See "A Marxist Tsunami Cannot Quench the Flames of Freedom" by Henry Lamb. We must not give up.

I found Thomas Sowell's article called "Intellectuals" an interesting read. Who we think are the intellectuals and who really are intellectuals aren't always the same people. Since we face a time of being told that we need to let the intellectuals lead, we need to be aware of what that might mean.

I enjoyed reading Mary Grabar's "Silence to be Deafening as Left Stops Yelling". She asks a lot of good questions.

Last, but not least, we can expect to face attempts at censorship. See "Liberal Censorship and Its Roots" by David Limbaugh. Even before the election, Obama was trying to silence those who disagreed with him and we can expect that to continue, although we must not let him succeed.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

An Assortment of Interesting Items

One of the more charming stories to hit the news this week was that the stick (That's not a fancy toy that happens to be named "The Stick". It is a stick--from a tree!) was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame this past Thursday. The cardboard box was inducted in 2005. These two items, along with others such as the bicycle and the baby doll, were chosen by the following criteria: "Each toy must not only be widely recognized and foster learning, creativity or discovery through play, but also endure in popularity over generations."

When I was growing up, we always lived out in the country rather than in town, so my brother and I had many opportunities to invent our own toys and games, as well as play with the store-bought variety. When I was ten, we moved to a new home and lo and behold! There in the creek bed was an old car body! It was filled with sand so we set to work digging out seats and had a grand time "driving" our car. Ah, the good ole days!

Do you enjoy classical music? Do you have a hard time finding radio stations that play such music? I have two such stations to recommend, both of which you can listen to online. Their websites also have links to the various programs they present so you can read background information or listen to a show you missed. The first station is KCSC/KBCW in Oklahoma. The second provides the overnight (11pm to 6am) content for the first--it is WCPE in North Carolina. For news, reviews, and other information about classical music, try Music & Vision or Andante. For the arts in general, try ArtsJournal.

Next Tuesday, 11 November, is Veterans Day. Read a brief history of the day here. May we always remember and honor our veterans.

Today's Geographical Location: The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea, chosen by me for no reason except that it looks interesting. See the website Isle of Man for all sorts of information about this island. This page has the general information that is the most interesting. Use the links on the left to learn about different aspects of the island. There is also a page at the CIA World Factbook. Background from the CIA's page:
Part of the Norwegian Kingdom of the Hebrides until the 13th century when it was ceded to Scotland, the isle came under the British crown in 1765. Current concerns include reviving the almost extinct Manx Gaelic language. Isle of Man is a British crown dependency but is not part of the UK. However, the UK Government remains constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation.
I was surprised to learn that it is not part of the UK.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Late on Election Day

To say I am disappointed by the outcome of today's Presidential election would be an understatement. However, we now know the situation we have to deal with, and the situation we have to work with. So onward we go.

I think I will be taking a little break from politics, but I plan to write posts about other topics for this blog.

May God bless America.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Last Minute Thoughts

Three days to go before election day on 4 November. I hope and pray that everyone who intends to vote is studying the issues and the candidates, local and state as well as national.

While I disagree with John McCain on some issues (for example, global warming), I am certain that he will be a better president for America than Barack Obama. Senator McCain is a known man of character and courage. He is far more knowledgeable about foreign affairs and other important issues than Barack Obama. We can count on him to not make foolish diplomatic errors that could prove disasterous not only for ourselves, but for other countries around the world.

Senator Obama is secretive and evasive and a known ally of socialist/Marxist/communist people and organizations. He has lately been lowering the taxable ceiling from $250,000 to $120,000 annual income in various speeches by himself and his supporters. His planned expenditures total several trillion dollars. The only way he can pay for all that is to tax more and more people. Too often, the words "redistribute wealth" make people think of taking money from millionaires and billionaires and distributing it to the poor. There aren't enough millionaires and billionaires to pay for all of that, so much of the middle class will find their incomes taxed to the max. What people aren't thinking about, either, is the fact that it is the people with the most money who invest and start businesses and give to charity (usually--the Bidens and the Obamas haven't been all that generous with their own money). It is the wealthier citizens who do things that create jobs and other opportunities, which is far more helpful to people than just giving them some dollars.

There are also countless questions about Senator Obama's honesty. Why won't he prove that he is a naturalized citizen and therefore eligible for the office of President? Why won't he release his donor lists? Why won't he get specific about his plans for America? And what about the known instances of him and his campaign trying to intimidate to silence those who disagree with him? He's tried that in Missouri and in Pennsylvania, at least. What about ACORN's voter registration fraud being investigated in a dozen states?

Another thing about Obama that would be funny if it weren't so serious for our country is his lack of accomplishments. And yet his campaign dares to claim that Governor Sarah Palin isn't qualified! That is laughable. She has far more serious, executive experience than he has. She is far more ready for higher office than he is. Then, too, there is the race issue. It is Obama's campaign and not McCain's that has been playing the race card by labeling everything as racist.

America was founded on freedom and must remain that way. Why are we strong? Because we have had the freedom to work our way up from wherever we start to wherever we want to be. We have had the incentive to create and invent and improve life for all. We have had the freedom to create a strong military. That will all disappear if Obama's wealth redistribution, reduction in military, and other socialist policies are put into practice.

When it comes to healthcare, the more the government interferes, the more it costs. Let the free market capitalism reign. We will see competition driving prices downward. It's the same with education. Let there be competition among public and private schools. Let people have vouchers so that they can choose the best schools for their children. Competition will improve the quality of education faster than any government program.

And let's talk military. Senator Barney Frank wants to cut the military by 25%. If we do not have a strong military run by men of character who know what is at stake, we will never have world peace. Other countries will see no reason to hold back on their attacks, including here in the United States, if our military is weakened. Preparation for war is the best incentive for peace.

The last thing our wonderful country needs is to be run by liberal Democrats such as Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. They want to cripple our economy by preventing our use of our own energy deposits, by going along with extreme environmentalists, and by taxing and spending. We all know it was liberal policies by Democrats and a refusal to heed warnings made by conservative Republicans that caused our current financial problems. That is just a sample of what we can look forward to if we elect those who ignore the Constitution or reinterpret it to suit their own agendas. Make no mistake about it--it will not be the elite liberals whose wealth is redistributed. They will exempt themselves from the policies they wish to inflict on the people of the United States.

The problems we have in America today were caused largely by the socialists policies of FDR and LBJ and others who have had the foolish notion that the government can manage our money and our lives better than we can. Government has its essential uses, but interfering in the free market and in people's lives are not among those uses. The more we get government out of our lives, the better and stronger America will be. A free people is far more generous than a forced people, who cannot afford to be charitable because all their money is going to a bloated government who uses much of that money just to pay for administering programs, never mind actually helping people.

As much as possible, government should be small and should be local, where the people can keep a closer eye on what is being done and can put a quick stop to waste and fraud. There have certainly been Republicans who have bought into the tax and spend and big government foolishness. They can be voted out of office, too, if they show no signs of mending their ways.

There is a lot at stake for America these days. Think about freedom and liberty. Reread the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Think seriously about the lessons of history. And whatever happens on Tuesday, think seriously about keeping a close eye on government and contacting your representatives at both state and national levels and letting them know how you expect them to govern on your behalf.

And may God continue to bless America.

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