Truth In Front of Ours Eyes

Recently my wife has begun writing, from a Christian perspective, about popular culture – music, books, movies, etc.  Her premise has been that the soul cries out to God even if the person doesn’t yet realize it.  We have long talked about how, if you listen carefully, you can hear the questions, the pains, the need for the Creator within the secular words and stories told as the author, performer, or director as they try to put the cries of the soul into their work.  It’s a wonderful way to speak with people about God and the longing of their hearts and souls, via questions that often can be broken down into “I wonder why…” or “I wonder how…” that open the door from concepts that are easier to speak about with nonbelievers to concepts of God that are harder to explain and even harder to understand without a baseline understanding that believers are blessed, hopefully, to have already.

Applying this to another part of life is the application of popular culture to understand current events.  With that said, the event I want to talk about is the Donald Trump phenomenon.  Donald Trump is a businessman who decided to run for President.  He’s running as a Republican and has entranced many conservatives to his bandwagon, yet the concepts he talks about and the words he uses are those of a liberal demagogue.  He identified a yearning in the American public and he is playing to it perfectly.

What yearning?

Anger.

Americans are angry at the government, at politicians, at men and women who promise the moon and then either fail to deliver, or turn around and do exactly the op opposite of what they promised in the first place.

Americans are angry at a lack of justice.

  • Justice under the law (Trump’s initial rise can be directly attributed to the hard line he took on illegal immigration and the promise to punish law breakers and “send them back” and promises of building a wall that another country will finance – never mind that we would have to declare war on Mexico in order to force them to pay for it.)  Also, the criminality of actions by politicians such as Hillary Clinton – lying about the contents of a private, unpermitted, unsecured, and unprotected email server in her home during her time as Secretary of State in order to avoid the documentation preservation rules for all Federal government appointees and employees – used to be called what they are under the color of law – espionage and fraud.  When oaths and laws mean nothing, the law-abiding grow angry.
  • Social justice (the intolerance of the tolerance movement is something I’ve written about before as there are “activists” that aren’t just happy with being permitted to do what they please, but rather want you to celebrate their behavior and their uniqueness as superior to your own – gay marriage/adoption movements, Black Lives Matter, and other such movements fall into this camp squarely.  It has even got so absurd that “All Lives Matter” has been called a racist phrase because Black Lives are apparently more equal than yours.  When you are told that you are worth less and someone else is worth more for any reason is racism whether you are black, white, yellow, red, or green.  There is no justice when ANYONE is elevated above another and the aggrieved grow angry.
  • Economic justice (When banks deemed “too big to fail” are given money via the Federal Reserve, which increases the volume of money thus decreasing the value of money and robbing everyone of stored wealth and income, there is a growing feeling of a economic aristocracy.  When businesses, with politicians beholden to them for campaign contributions and future employment as lobbyists, have laws and taxes written on their behalf to squash competition in the open market or to have the economic advantage of a decreased tax burden comparatively to others in the same market – the government is seen as picking winners and losers.  When good hard-working people lose their jobs because their businesses are regulated out of existence due to profitability problems, when good hard-working people lose their homes because banks deemed “too big to fail” and given money freely to avoid their seemingly inevitable bankruptcies won’t rewrite the terms of their mortgages and force a family into destitution how can there be anything other than a growing anger.

I’m sure you sense a theme now.  Anger is growing in this country.  It is palatable now.  There’s no sense of courtesy anymore.  No consideration of the other person.  No compassion.  What is your first reaction when someone does something unexpected on the road while you’re driving?  Cursing, yelling, honking, aggressively driving with a vendetta toward the other person?  Are these symptoms of love or anger?  I think the answer is obvious.

With this in mind, consider this quote from the great sage of film, Yoda.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

We have passed the point of fear.  The fear is there, but it is deeper, it is foundational.  The fear that our country, our way of life, is changing permanently.  That the freedoms, rights, and privileges we hold as Americans are lessening, not growing.  This is true whether you politically are left or right of center.  There is fear that our jobs are not secure.  There is fear that an economic wall is not just being built, but has been built by those in the highest tier to prevent anyone that they don’t want from joining their ranks.  There is fear that everything that has been accepted as given for so long is simply not so, and the fear is that if the givens are no longer constant, than how can we function without playing “the game.”

Fear leads to anger.

History can be our guide here because the world has seen rises to power like this in the past.  The circumstances of today closely mirror the circumstances of another time and the leaders that can spring out of times like these can restore us or drag us down into darkness.

  • Long-term bitterness makes brazen, bully-like tactics appealing as they see the candidate, in this case Trump, as their champion.
  • Ineffective government and laws give the perception of dual justice systems where certain crimes are excused for those deemed “worthy.”  Equal justice demands equal enforcement, so when selective enforcement is practiced openly faith in the government, police, legislators, and courts is eroded.
  • The usage of money by bureaucrats and politicians to enact personal policy via businesses, lobbying groups, and induced behavior (such as enforced purchases under pain of penalty – The Affordable Care Act mandates ALL people buy health insurance because they were born) reeks of corruption and tyranny.
  • The 24/7 news cycle and unmitigated lying and misleading by politicians (answering one question they want to answer instead of the question asked for instance) has lead to a soundbite culture that hinges not on ideas, but on emotions. It is not a far leap from there to attaching those negative emotions to a race of people, or a political belief, in order to ratchet up anger specifically directed.
  • The Cult of Personality around Mr. Trump is one in which his most ardent supporters don’t care what he says, does, or could do.  They support him fully, leading them to attack those that disagree verbally and, in some cases, physically.

Anger Leads to Hate

The time-period that I referenced above is the 1920s and 1930s in what was then called the Wiemar Republic.  We know it now as Pre-Nazi Germany.  The same conditions and cultural conditions were in place then as now.  I’m not claiming Donald Trump is the new Adolf Hitler, but the comparisons are worth considering.  At what point does he, or his bandwagon turn from expressions of anger to expressions of hate.  At what point do the long knives come out?

Hate Leads to Suffering

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

Galatians 5:22-23

I don’t sense any of the these attributes in Donald Trump, or anyone I’ve met who truly believes he is the best candidate for President this year.

I don’t argue to change your vote, your preference, or anything like that, but I do ask that you, regardless of who you support this year, to examine WHY you support them.

Are you making a decision out of fear? Anger?  Hate?  Suffering?  Do decisions made in the heat of passion or despair ever work out well?

What’s in a Word

One of mine and my wife’s biggest grievances is the redefinition or misuse of words and phrases.

Whether these redefinitions or misusage is intentional or accidental is aside from the point.  The fact of the matter is that meaning and understanding are not possible when the terms used for meaning and understanding are constantly shifting.

2 + 2 always equals 4, unless you redefine 2 to mean 2.1.  It’s not really that different after all, but 2.1 + 2.1 doesn’t equal 4.  It equals 4.2.  It’s a rounding error really.  Get over it.  Just because words aren’t mathematical absolutes doesn’t alter the process and endgame of all this redefining.

Today I read this:

“Medicare-for-all is civilization. Campaign finance reform is civilization. Funding education is civilization. Progressive taxation is civilization. Dialing back the use of war is civilization”

What is civilization?

According to Merriam-Webster civilization is defined as follows:   a relatively high level of cultural and technological development;   the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained   the culture characteristic of a particular time or place

  1. 1a :  a relatively high level of cultural and technological development;specifically :  the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attainedb :  the culture characteristic of a particular time or place

  2. 2:  the process of becoming civilized

  3. 3a :  refinement of thought, manners, or tasteb :  a situation of urban comfort

Oxford says:

The stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced:they equated the railroad with progress and civilization

The process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social development and organization.

The society, culture, and way of life of a particular area:the great books of Western civilization the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt

The comfort and convenience of modern life, regarded as available only in towns and cities:the fur traders moved further and further from civilization

Writers, philosophers, lawyers, and cultural icons for millenia have used word redefinition to bring about cultural shifts and change opinions.

Redefinition doesn’t change the original meaning of a word or term, it just changes how you use it and how others hear or read it.  Culturally everyone usually is on the same page, but the problem really begins to rear it’s head when cultural schisms happen.

Conservatives believe one thing.  Liberals another.

Urbanites speak one way and countryfolk another.

Everyone speaks the same language, but with diverging philosophies and understandings of the world at large.  Words become very important to maintain a common

When the words we use are redefined or misused, that disconnect becomes increasingly more difficult to bridge because the meanings that both sides of that divide also differ.

Let’s go back to the civilization definition that I read today.  That definition is not what you find in the dictionary, but it is the understanding of the liberal left in America today.  The problem arises in that I, as a libertarian-leaning conservative, do not agree with the statement in whole or in part.

Medicare-for-all is civilization – forcing me to pay for someone else’s poor health decisions throughout life or lack of motivation to find an economically viable job in order to afford their own cost of care is slavery by taxation.  You, via the government, are forcing me to work and use the money I earn from that work to pay for someone else who chooses not to work or chose to destroy their body by smoking, banging, drugging, or drinking their life away.  Simply no.  That isn’t civilization.  That is barbarism, not unlike Vikings raiding prosperous farming communities because they didn’t want to work as hard and could “take” rather than “make.”  

Campaign finance reform is civilization – Really?  Legislating how someone spends their money (and yes, corporations are made up of people) is the opposite of civilization.  It is no different from the King “permitting” someone to petition the king knowing full well that that permission can be withdrawn ex post facto (after the fact) and the subject being fully subservient of the king and his life and speech are not free.

Funding education is civilization – I’ll admit that this one I can at least somewhat understand, but education though takes many forms.  Apprenticeships gave us some of the most brilliant thinkers in the world and many modern conveniences.  Higher education today has brought us runaway student loan debt and educational outcomes that aren’t reliant on the number of dollars spent per student.  Further, the question of where that funding comes from and who controls it is the real crux of this issue?  Is it really the best education if it comes from the top down (Common Core) and all students are to be taught to the exact same standards without deviation for talent in one field or another?  

Progressive taxation is civilization. Is it?  Punishing one group in order to reward the other?  How is this different from feudal lords requiring a percentage of the serfs crops for “protection”?  Using law to punish high wage earners is no different than economic slavery.  Progressive taxation is the exact opposite of due process when you really think about it.  All are not equal in the eyes of the law if progressive taxation is the law of the land because then some are “more” equal than others.  True equality would be a tax burden not divided proportionately, but rather levied as a percentage of income equal regardless of how much you make (the millionaire and the pensioner alike pay 10% of their income – a flat tax).

Dialing back the use of war is civilization.  This summary statement is just too broad to agree or disagree with.  Is war overused?  Yes.  Are some wars necessary?  Yes.  Can there be diplomatic peace between one nation and another that has sworn the destruction of the first?  Not a lasting one because there is no middle ground between the two.   This is no different morally than a woman telling her raper to only rape her halfway so they can go their separate ways.  It’s not going to work that way… it never does.  The only recourse for the “victim” nation or woman is to shoot their attacker in the face – to exert the ultimate deterrent force through the best, most effective, and most economic means at their disposal.  To do any less is to tell the offender that their life or nation is superior to one’s own.

So the statement made completely added to what is known as civilization.  Is civilization not dependent on steadfast standards, definitions, laws, and justice?

Is not the veneer of civilization threatened when the laws are twisted to allow what was once illegal?

Is not the veneer of civilization threatened when justice is denied or unequal based on who you are, what you are worth, or who you know?

You can’t redefine words, because the underlying truths remain unchanged.  Redefining the words alone does not make anything true, rather it denies the truth much like Orwell’s opus 1984 states

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benghazi… as it really happened

Benghazi… as it really happened.

Lust and Power

If you’ve ever watched or read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the lust for power is well imagined in the lust for the One Ring.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

The lust for the ring of power was great.  It was known to contain great power and endowed the bearer with magical abilities such as invisibility, unusually long life, and others, but at a great price.  It was a corrupting force.  Regardless of the intent of the person who possessed the ring, no matter how it was used, the ring only answered to the one who made it.

Let’s unpack the concept that Tolkien was trying to convey.  The first and most obvious layer is that power corrupts.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.”

William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778

The lure of the power in the ring was impossible to resist.  Men would do anything to gain possession of that power – lie, cheat, steal, kill.

Take a look around at all disconcerting tyrannies that I have written extensively about to date.  Those tyrannies are either aimed at obtaining, preserving, or strengthening power.

Yesterday, May 30th, the NSA’s Utah Data Center went live.  The center has the capability to capture, record, and analyze every form of electronic communication in the domestic United States every single day.

The Department of Homeland Security has expanded it’s mission from just protecting modes of travel to protecting and actively policing within the United States.

The warrantless wiretaps on the AP, the targeting of individual reporters such as James Rosen, the IRS’ unequal treatment of conservative, Tea Party, and Jewish groups are all methods being used to silence opposition and whistleblowers through intimidation.

More than 70 percent of federal spending goes to dependency programs.  The threat of removal of these programs ensures that dissension is unthinkable lest the life support that 128 million Americans rely on for subsistence be taken away.  These people have become serfs of the new feudal masters within the government (both elected and unelected).

Schools in Florida, under the guise of an insidious program called Common Core, scanned and retained the irises of school children for their “safety” and “security.”

These are just a few instances of huge power grabs, shows of naked force.  Each one by itself could be written off as nothing, an overreaction or overreach by overzealous bureaucrats, but together in concert they are much more.  They take on the mantle of a full blown tightening of the vise of tyranny on the citizens of the United States.

Now you might even be saying that I’m overreacting because I disagree with President Obama politically on nearly every issue, but it goes far beyond that.  I would disagree with these steps regardless of which party or President was in power at the time because I see these for the lure of power that they are and will be going forward.  That power becomes a drug for the person who wields it – they need it, and not to know that they have it, but they will need to exercise it in growing frequency in order to fulfill their craving for it.  The power will corrupt them.  Even if they began with the best of intentions, that power will destroy them.

The bureaucrats and politicians that come next will see the One Ring before them.  It will call to them, not with the clarion call of liberty, but with the sinister whisper of influence, authority, power, and strength, but those powers can only be wielded by the creator of the ring.

Who is the creator of the ring?

In Tolkien’s tale, Sauron, the Dark Lord, is the creator of the ring, but even he can be destroyed by it because he is ultimately dependent on it as well.  So did Sauron create the authority, power, and strength that were endowed into the ring or did he simply channel them there?  Let’s back this up to theology now… did Satan create the power that he yields?

The short answer is no.

God created Satan as Lucifer the angel.  Satan is dependent on God for his very existence.

One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.

Job 1:6

The authority, power, and strength that Satan holds were benefits of his created nature and were gifts of his position in the hierarchy of heaven.  It is Satan’s intent to disobey and rebel against God that corrupts those gifts.  Just as Satan rebels and corrupts those great and mighty gifts that God bestowed on him at his creation, the government – the politicians and bureaucrats, the authorities, the individual branches and big players have intents and purposes that run counter to the Constitutionally-directed role of the government and it’s relationship with the people altogether.  The small tyrannies summed together will corrupt even the best intended of those men and women because they will beg to be used… the temptation is too great.

THAT is why we rail against these overreaches.  THAT is why we sound the watchman’s call as the abuses and usurpations mount.

The enemy is not just at the gates.

The enemy is now within the city walls.

If we do not stand and fight and defeat these self-obtained powers, then we will lose whatever scrap of liberty that we have left on this Earth except for the hope that we have in Christ.

If power corrupts, we must rid ourselves of it.  If we do not want a corrupt government controlling every step we take in our lives, we must disrupt and dismantle it’s power to do so or we will find ourselves prisoners in our own country.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Something Wicked This Way Comes

And the President claims that he knew nothing…

I call bull.  The President was involved DIRECTLY in the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, conservative PACs, and Jewish PACs.

The President claims that he went to bed.  While that may in fact be true, it is a complete dereliction of duty regarding the Americans left to die in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.  In this case, I call bull also.  The truth is far more damaging – either the President willfully elected to deny support to sovereign US territory and US citizens under an active military attack, or was incapable of making a decision in the face of a live crisis.  The question that will be answered eventually is why.  Was the US State Department running guns via Benghazi and Turkey to the Syrian Islamist rebels against international law, a handful of treaties, and without the consent of Congress?

And now the Attorney General, Eric Holder, has committed perjury.  He either lied to Congress about his involvement with the search warrants he signed regarding James Rosen of Fox News or he lied to a judge (or rather three).  The search warrants listed Rosen as a co-conspirator or co-participant in the leak of classified information, but Holder testified to Congress that there was never the intent to prosecute.  Then why argue for a search warrant?  Why waste your time if you don’t intend to prosecute?  I call bull.  This Rosen issue follows the warrantless wiretapping of hundreds of members of the media.

Which narratives are left?

Benghazi – gun-running coverup?  Presidential incompetence and dereliction of duty?  Both are impeachable.

IRS – “punishing enemies” of the President? Top-to-bottom corruption of the tax-collection arm of the Federal government?  If Obama is indeed complicit, and having the IRS commissioner visiting the White House more often than three of the most common visitors who hold Cabinet-level positions combined looks terribly suspicious, then that is 100% Nixonian and impeachable.

Wiretapping – Fourth Amendment violation folks?  Justice Department corruption?  Holder has already proven a liar (as I outlined above), so we can not trust him to properly investigate himself.

Rosen – Political targeting again?  Anti-Fox News vendetta in the Administration?

The problem with each scandal is that it requires more than a modicum of civics knowledge to understand the underlying issues, motives, and precedents that will be set if such scandals are not pursued.

If we do not start seeing the connections between each scandal and drawing out the political motivations of EACH and EVERY scandal, then we will never fully expose the absolute threat to liberty and freedom that this administration has been and will be going forward if they are not stopped here and now.

 

Whence comes the straw?

Fast and Furious.

Benghazi.

The IRS targeting conservative and Jewish groups requesting tax-exempt status.

The DoJ tapping the phones of hundreds of reporters and editors in the media.

The DoJ tapping the House of Representatives cloak room to catch the same leak that they claimed they were hunting for when tapping the reporters’ and editors’ phones above.

That’s now five significant scandals directly tied to Cabinet-level departments.

The President has claimed ignorance of any of these scandals.

With Fast and Furious, the program involved proactively encouraging and enabling weapons smuggling across a foreign border without notifying Mexico of the program so that tracking could be established on the “other side.”

With Benghazi, the President claims that he went to bed and left it to then-Secretaries Panetta and Clinton to handle the ongoing attack and subsequent assassination of an US Ambassador and the deaths of three other American citizens on sovereign US territory.

With the IRS, those responsible keep coming in as higher and higher up – first a few “rogue” employees in Cincinnati, then supervisors in DC, etc with everyone pointing up to the person above them in the chain of operations.  The President claims he was not aware despite an inspector general’s investigation underway for years at this point.

The Department of Justice wiretap of media members and Congressmen brings serious questions up regarding freedom of the press, government intimidation of the press, violations of privacy, not to mention serious executive branch overreach by directly monitoring Congress.

The President is claiming ignorance of federal gun-running, the minutiae of the assassination of his ambassador to Libya, the specific politically-based targeting conducted by the IRS, the sledgehammer-to-catch-a-fly approach condoned by the Department of Justice with the media wiretaps, and the invasion of privacy and flat-out violation of the co-equal branches of government principle spelled out in the Constitution.

Mr. President, as a former attorney, you should be aware of the principle of law that ignorance of the law is not a valid defense for violation of it.  That aside, I am not the first to assert this, but I think it is extremely evident that the President is lying, because the only other excuse he has is that he truly is unaware of what is going on within his own Cabinet.

Dereliction of duty is a specific offense under United States Code Title 10,892. Article 92 and applies to all branches of the US military (UP TO AND INCLUDING THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF). A service member who is derelict has willfully refused to perform his duties (or follow a given order) or has incapacitated himself in such a way that he cannot perform his duties. Such incapacitation includes the person falling asleep while on duty requiring wakefulness, his getting drunk or otherwise intoxicated and consequently being unable to perform his duties, or his vacating his post contrary to regulations.

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Gone Rogue

In the limelight of late, the IRS is really hitting for the fences.

A lawsuit was filed against the tax collection and enforcement agency for the seizure of millions of private health insurance records from an undisclosed corporation.

Benghazi.

The IRS (now twice!)

The DoJ – Fast and Furious, refusing to prosecute voter intimidation cases where the perpetrators are Black Panthers, warrantless wiretapping and storage of every phone call, email, instant message, and tweet sent every day in America, AND warrantless wiretapping of Associated Press reporters, editors in order to find a “possible” leak.

This is out of control, and every agency involved (Defense, State, Treasury, Justice) all are part of the President’s Cabinet.  This is beginning to smell a lot like a banana republic.  This is government intimidation on EVERY front.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Congress MUST act to end this mob-style tyranny now.  If not, then the people must and will act or the Republic we have will exist no more.

 

 

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