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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Perspectives on Today's World on the 17th of September from the USA

The man who I consider my Spiritual Father writes an internet newsletter that I truly appreciate.   He is willing to learn and has therefore accumulated a great deal of wisdom.   Back thirty years ago he was loosely aligned with Fundamentalist Independent Baptists and now he deplores much of what some of the leaders of that movement actually did.   Focusing on outward appearances begets legalism begets hypocrisy.   This is why Jesus came to Jerusalem and found the vast majority of the Priests and Scribes actively seeking to discredit Him and eventually managing to maneuver the Roman Pontius Pilate into having Christ crucified.   We of course know that Jesus knew He would be crucified and absolutely understood it was the only way that God could restore a relationship with mankind.  If you don't understand this I will gladly make a blog post explaining it in detail...again.

Dr. Charles Wood does from time to time reminisce about positions he has changed and often focuses on issues that relate particularly to Christians.   On this occasion he had some observations that apply across the board to Americans and the observations are right on point.  The anniversary of 9/11 inspired him to write a column.   So I will let him just tell you about it:


Although I had left the area long before the World Trade Center was built, the New York Metropolitan area was my childhood home. As a result, 9/11 hit rather hard, and I followed the story closely with an almost morbid dedication to knowing all the facts I could glean. Thus the tenth anniversary brought back many memories. I lost no one in the calamity, and I don’t really know anyone who did. The daughter of a gal with whom I grew up and went to church as a kid was late for work that morning. Had her alarm clock gone off on time, I would have known someone who perished. The weekend left me with some impressions:
Although I thought he lost his focus in the last two years of his Presidency, I have always admired George Bush (and I probably always will). I watched his speech at the dedication of the memorial in PA, and my admiration for him grew even more as I did. How grateful I am to God that we had a real man at the helm of our country, a man who was a genuine leader (and did so with amazing skill and patience). Thank you, Mr President!
Joe Biden is hardly my most admired “person in high places,” but I did find myself impressed with his gracious remarks in introducing the former President at the memorial dedication. Joe, you showed that whatever else you may or not be, you are a genuine human being, capable of compassion and grace.
This must have been a miserable weekend for “Progressives” and other Liberals. Not only was there a great outpouring of national pride and patriotism, but there were frequent mentions of God and declarations that we were the victims and not the perpetrators of the cowardly act. Paul Krugman, supposedly one of the smartest men in America and an even an occasional advisor to the President, will live forever in infamy for the vile editorial he wrote for the equally vile New York Times. Mr. Krugman, if we were the cause of the original calamity, why were we on high alert for further terrorist attacks after almost three years of a smiling, bowing, apologetic President?


Let’s get this established: Our country is in a mess, and I don’t have to write a single paragraph as you already have several written in your head. There is no denying the mess, and I would be the last one to do so. I do think, however, that there is another side to the story to which we need to give at least a little thought.
If your only source of news is the networks and the newspapers, you are getting a very distorted view of what is going on in our country. You are being assured that liberalism is the position of the population in general and that evangelicals have no impact or influence whatever on our national culture. Being told repeatedly that you are insignificant and unworthy of any respect or even consideration can have a tendency to wear one down. Finding one’s news on the Internet and through one or two “cable channel” sources can provide a very different viewpoint.
Evangelical believers have no impact on today’s society? Then why are there two openly evangelical individuals, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman, in the Republican primary? And why does Sarah Palin still get so much attention (and people even listen to Mike Huckabee)? Although they didn’t show it the way we thought they should, both Ronald Reagan and George Bush professed belief in Christ as their hope of eternal life (Michael Reagan is a much better source on this than his half-brother, Ronnie-Boy).
Public opinion has shifted - and continues to do so - to the point where well over half the population now either questions or rejects abortion-on-demand. No, evangelicals probably played a much smaller part in this than pre-natal technology, but it has been evangelicals who have kept the right-to-life before the public, continued to point out the murderous nature of abortion and provided help and assistance rather than just condemning those facing the brutal choice between life and murder.
Evangelicals have consistently stood behind Israel, and appear to have been at least one influence that has driven our Islamic-leaning President to soften his apparently innate hatred of the Jews. A tiny minority of our country (probably not much more than one or two percent) has stridently promoted the homosexual agenda. We haven’t always done so with a great deal of grace or graciousness, but evangelicals have - generally speaking - opposed same-sex marriage and other pernicious aspects of this powerful agenda while still seeking to extend grace to its practitioners by pointing out a better, Biblical way..
Atheism is more militant and aggressive than ever. The hollow ideology of emptiness has been trumpeted from what were once the halls of learning and faithfully proclaimed by the media. Science (some of it so incredibly falsified and distorted as to warrant nothing but casual observation and immediate, repugnant rejection) has been set up by the intelligentsia as the new national God.

As I listen and observe, I am left with some critical questions that I think are crucial. If we evangelicals have no national impact, then why is so much time and effort being expended on discrediting us and promoting our opposite? Usually, people who are actually as smart as these people claim to be, don’t waste their time on combating shadow images or non-existent threats. Another big question: if evangelicals have no impact, then why are the “Progressives” and other Liberals so frustrated with the American people in general because they so stubbornly cling to the values the anti-evangelicals have sought to ridicule to death?
Michael Laden is a specialist in foreign relations, but I know nothing of his spiritual state (I would sincerely doubt if he is a believer), who recently wrote an article that included this amazing paragraph:
“Religious revival inspires social and political movements that change America. And not just America. We are in the midst of a global religious expansion that goes hand in hand with a widespread political uprising against oppression and corruption. It is commonly assumed that the most dynamic faith in the global revival is militant Islam, but it isn’t. The blue ribbon goes to American-style evangelical Christianity. You might not know, for example, that a leading Chinese government economist recently wrote a famous study of market economies, in which he concluded that successful capitalist countries have successful churches, and thus that China should embrace religious organizations. As two sharp-eyed British journalists note in their recent book, God is Back, (Evangelical) Christianity is booming in the People’s Republic (and most everywhere else Christians are free to practice their faith), and the Chinese Constitution has actually been amended to make room for it.”
Again, I am not discounting the mess we are in, but I do believe there is another side to the story. If the only place you are getting your information from is the traditional media or if you are totally committed to some interpretation of Scripture that involves signs of His coming or even the United States as the present replacement for old Testament Israel, what I have written will likely irritate you. But there is another side, and we need to see it.

I talked to my friend, Jimmy, today. He is the Chinese-born believer who owns the restaurant where we sometimes eat. We talked about the growth of Christianity in China. He is convinced that Christianity is growing so rapidly in China (whether or not under restraints that vary in different parts of the country) that it is entirely possible that it will topple the Communist government or force it to change in dramatic ways.
It isn’t necessarily all over. There is an election in 2012, there are good things happening virtually every day, some mega-churches are spiritually questionable while many others are growing exponentially while remaining essentially Biblical, and last but not least, there are other places on earth than just the good old U S.A. where God is working. Isn’t it interesting that evangelical Episcopal churches (and there are some) are linking up with an Anglican Episcopate that is located where? Africa. Persecution? Lots of it, but that only proves that evangelical Christianity is a growing threat to dominant religions in other places in the world.
Just some thoughts designed to give you something to think about.


It is an amazing thought, but apparently there are more Christians in China than there are in the USA now!  Yet in truth it is not a big surprise, as missionaries all over the world have been working hard, sharing the Gospel of Christ and eventually men and women of God who seek to do God's Will do get results.   So often churches will be formed in areas where being a Christian can get you killed and yet the persecution doesn't stop people from seeking the Truth.   Now in China they are slowly changing from killing Christians to jailing them to beginning to accept them as actually a boon to society.

Christians are a plus in society, as we are far less likely to rob you or kill you or break your heart.  Christians are more likely to work, work hard and work diligently and do less goofing off.  Christians give more money to charity than non-Christians.   That we exist is quite annoying to the current President and he and his party would like to end tax deductions for charitable giving.    I suspect most Christians give a lot more money than the tax form will let you deduct anyway, so why does Barack Obama want to take charitable deductions away?  Does he hate the faith-based organizations that do great work in inner cities because he wants the inner-city poor to be dependent upon The State?    How can the Democrats spend like money is trash to be thrown away and then decide they want to end the very small deductions we can take for giving to others?   How evil can you get?

It may be that the Obama Administration would like to ruin the economy in order to take over more and more of it for the State.   Consider the idiotic course of actions taken to spend tens or  hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to develop one "green job"  while clobbering every energy-getting attempt by business possible by using the economy-destroying clubs we call regulatory agencies.   Here is just one example:

Email from The Morning Bell @ The Heritage Foundation:

President Barack Obama's solution for America's unemployment woes has been a stubborn campaign to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on economic "stimulus"--much of it on so-called "green jobs." Report after report has shown the approach to be a total failure. And now, a new scandal involving Solyndra, a bankrupt solar panel company in California, should be the final nail in the coffin for the government’s meddling in the free market.

"[W]e can see the positive impacts [of the stimulus] right here at Solyndra," Obama claimed when he spoke at the company's newly unveiled factory in May of last year. He was correct that the results of his stimulus would be on display at that factory. But he was wrong that those results would be positive. Little more than a year later, the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to lay off more than 1,000 employees.

The Solyndra factory where Obama spoke was built after the company received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department as part of the stimulus's green jobs push. "Through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations," Obama noted. "This new factory is the result of those loans."

But "everyone knew that the plant wouldn’t work," according to a former Solyndra employee. So why was the President so sure of the plant’s success when he spoke there? What's more, the company was built on "a model that says, well, I can build something for six dollars and sell it for three dollars," according to an industry analyst. That would normally be a red flag for investors. So why did the President claim that "the true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra"?

The answer to both of those questions: The government's decisions are driven by politics and ideology and are divorced from economic reality. Want proof? Take a look at a January 31 e-mail between Office of Management and Budget staff regarding "Solyndra optics" -- that is, how the issue looks in the public's eyes. "If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will arguably be worse later than they would be today," they wrote, adding:
In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up, whereas a default today could be put in the context of (and perhaps even get some credit for) fiscal discipline / good government because the Administration would be limiting further taxpayer exposure letting bad projects go, and could make public steps it is taking to learn lessons and improve / limit future lending.

In other words, in January the Administration was essentially letting the 2012 campaign dictate decisions on the federal government's financial involvement with Solyndra. They were not responding to normal profit-and-loss signals, as they should. Had Energy Department bureaucrats been investing their own money, they might have been more careful. But it was others' money -- taxpayers' money -- at stake. Self-interested investors, who naturally weed out bad investments, were wholly absent. The result: Taxpayers are likely to lose up to $535 million, while the people who made the decision to throw money at Solyndra have, so far, been completely insulated from reprisal.

Much attention has been paid to accusations of cronyism in the Energy Department, given that a major Solyndra investor is also a big Obama donor. But the fundamental lesson of the Solyndra scandal is not that money buys political favors. That now goes without saying. The real takeaway is that government intervention in the economy is a fool’s errand, as Heritage’s Nicolas Loris notes:
Solyndra exemplifies the government’s abysmal track record of picking winners and losers in the marketplace, and the solar company is not the only example of energy stimulus struggles. With a number of targeted energy tax credits set to expire at the end of this year or next, industry groups are lobbying hard for extensions. Especially given the U.S. fiscal situation, this is a time to end all energy subsidies—not to extend wasteful, market-distorting policies. When the government decides to favor a technology with subsidies, it’s a good bet that subsidy 'winner' is a loser in the marketplace.

Indeed, at least four other companies to receive money from Obama's stimulus package have gone bankrupt, Fox News reports.

Even where companies do create jobs, they do so at such exorbitant cost that the effort cannot reasonably be considered a success. To date, The Washington Post reports, the Energy Department loan guarantee program from which Solyndra benefitted has created one new permanent job for every $5.5 million spent. Lend that kind of money to a private business in an industry that doesn’t rely on taxpayer support, and it will put hundreds if not thousands to work.

Government subsidies are invitations for political favoritism, of course. But more importantly, as engines of job creation, they simply don't work (just ask Spain). Sure, the Administration's "green jobs" program has led to allegations of corruption. But it has also failed even in its foremost task of creating jobs for an economy with a chronic unemployment problem. Columnist Jim Pethokoukis writes, "Solyndra is the logical endpoint of Obamanomics." Unfortunately, the American people are paying the price for getting us there.


Barack Obama complains about the Republicans blocking his legislation.   Republicans should be standing on rooftops agreeing at the tops of their lungs!!!   This Administration's policies have been wrecking America, so the guys who turn off the big crane with the massive wrecking ball deserve praise, not blame.   

The election of 2008 was a brilliant coup by some remarkably clever political animals who got an unknown and nondescript Senator following in the footsteps of Carol Mosely Braun very quickly in the lead in a Presidential Primary race the Clinton folks thought they had locked up.   America was inundated with Hope and Change and the same press that would go without sleep digging up dirt on President Bush and even fake it?   They ignored all the questionable aspects of Barack Obama's past.   Somehow the man was magically able to pass off connections to organized crime, the Communist Party, a terrorist, a blatant anti-American racist and a record of schooling that still seems to be primarily smoke and mirrors.   We still have not seen a birth certificate that was not forged and have to wonder why so many people just ran to vote for Obama?   I think I know.    I believe that much of the white population felt as if we elected a (half-black, half white) man with dark skin into the Presidency, it would be the beginning of the post-racial America.   Yeah, right!   Obama's cronies beat the racist drum daily.

In 2010 the public's vote was a rejection of Obama's policies and the two recent special elections both went Republican.   If Americans are smart, they'll see that Obamacare is the barnfull of straw that would break the US camel's back and only by tossing the entire bunch out of office will we put a stop to it!   Only by changing leadership will we be jobs-friendly and energy-friendly again.   

9/11 was a reminder that this is a dangerous world and we need a President who is aware of and respects the history of our nation.  We need a President who loves and wants to protect and defend the Constitution, not erode it.   We need one who will actually protect the borders and enforce Federal Laws.   We need a President who will not appoint completely unqualified  loonbats like Kagan to the Supreme Court.  

We also need legislators with backbone who will not just sound like they mean business when campaigning, but will also follow through with action once they get to Washington.  We need to toss out old Beltway Boys even if they carry the "R" around.   Dick Lugar is part of the problem, not the solution.   Indiana should have a genuine conservative Senator like Richard Mourdock.    We would be out of our minds with joy if the reprehensible Pete Visclosky could  be defeated.   He gets all the automatic votes from Gary districts where they sometimes vote 100% Democrat even if no one is there as well as the mostly liberal Porter County rubber stamp.   He has kept himself out of court, wish we could get him out of office.

Photo by Thomas Semesky.  Sadly, a familiar sight in Gary, Indiana = buildings crumbling into dust.

9/11 was terrible and tragic.   The Statist takeover of America is also both terrible and tragic.   Fortunately you can vote and put an end to it.   "Let's Roll" now means lets get our butts out of our chairs and into the voting booth in the primaries and in the 2012 elections.  No excuses!!!  VOTE!



Even the Chicago News media can see what is going on.   Barack Obama has been tossing hundreds of millions of dollars at supporters who contributed to his campaign.   He is single-handedly remaking the definition of "stimulus" into "the process of screwing the American taxpayer and enriching a few cronies while making a pretense of helping the economy and actually accomplishing the exact reverse."  If we have any more "stimulus" bills this depression could begin to rival the one we experienced in the 1930's.  

Obama's Solyndra scandal reeks of the Chicago Way

Those of us from Chicago know exactly what the Solyndra scandal smells like. And It doesn't smell fresh and green.

The Solyndra scandal cost at least a half-billion public dollars. It is plaguing President Barack Obama. And it's being billed as a Washington story.

But back in Obama's political hometown, those of us familiar with the Chicago Way can see something else in Solyndra — something that the Washington crowd calls "optics." In fact, it's not just a Washington saga — it has all the elements of a Chicago City Hall story, except with more zeros.

The FBI is investigating what happened with Solyndra, a solar panel company that got a $535 million government-backed loan with the help of the Obama White House over the objections of federal budget analysts.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden got a nice photo op. They got to make speeches about being "green." But then Solyndra went bankrupt. Americans lost jobs. Taxpayers got stuck with the bill. And members of Congress are now in high dudgeon and making speeches.

Federal investigators want to know what role political fundraising played in the guarantee of the questionable loan. Washington bureaucrats warned the deal was lousy. And White House spokesmen flail desperately, like weakened victims in a cheesy vampire movie.

So forget optics. What about smell? It smells bad, and it's going to smell worse.

Or, did you really believe it when the White House mouthpieces — who are also Chicago City Hall mouthpieces — promised they were bringing a new kind of politics to Washington?

This is not a new kind of politics. It's the old kind. The Chicago kind.

And now the Tribune Washington Bureau has reported that the U.S. Department of Energy employee who helped monitor the Solyndra loan guarantee was one of Obama's top fundraisers.

Fundraising? Contracts? Imagine that.

Steve Spinner was the Obama administration official in charge of handing out billions and billions of tax dollars to "green" energy deals. According to the Tribune story, Spinner the other day invited Obama's national political finance committee to a meeting in Chicago.

The name of the Obama fundraising initiative?

"Technology for Obama."

The idea of the Obama fundraisers getting together, talking "green," and perhaps offering taxpayer loan guarantees to insider businesses in the interest of helping the environment — it all seems rather fresh.

Like a mountain meadow.

Until you realize it's the same old politics, the same kind practiced in Washington and Chicago and anywhere else where appetites are satisfied by politicians. When the government picks winners and losers, who's the loser? Just look in the mirror, hold that thought, and tell me later.

Republicans are hoping to hang this around Obama's political neck, and they're doing a good job of it now because his approval ratings are low and the jobless numbers are abysmal and the Democrats are in full killer-rabbit panic. But there have been Republican national scandals, too, and they're always ridiculously and depressingly similar.

At least in Illinois our scandals are quite ecumenical, with Republicans eager to help Democrats steal whatever they can grab.

In Solyndra, like any proper City Hall political scandal, there are similar archetypes.

There are the guys who count. The guys who bring the cash. They count because they do the counting. They have leverage. They're always there at the fundraisers. And so they're the ones who are allowed to gorge at the public trough.

The bureaucrats are the fulcrum so the guys with the leverage can lift great weight without too much effort. And while they might whine privately among themselves, they don't hold news conferences to blow the whistle.

They keep their mouths shut until the deal is done. If anyone gets caught and the problem becomes public, at least they've got email to cover their behinds. And they're doing a good job covering.

But there's one group that doesn't get their behinds covered.

Instead, their behinds are right out there, suspended foolishly, and waiting to get kicked.

We're the taxpayers — in Illinois we call ourselves chumbolones because we're the ones who stupidly end up covering all the losses. As in the Solyndra mess.

It's the Chicago Way, but instead of a paving or trucking contract, it's a "green" solar panel contract. The company received a $535 million loan.

"The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad," according to a Jan. 31 email from an Office of Management and Budget staffer printed in the Washington Post. "If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will arguably be worse later than they would be today. … In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up."

I love the use of "optics." It's one of those bloodless words finding favor these days.

"Optics" suggests bureaucrats might think in terms of symbolism, political hieroglyphs, in grand vistas, rather than in hard numbers, like the $535,000,000 that went poof.

But it's not their money, is it? It's ours.

So this is not about Washington optics after all. The Solyndra scandal is about the Washington smell of things.

Those of us from Chicago know exactly what it smells like. And It doesn't smell fresh and green.