CIA says ISIS has 30000 Fighters. Turkey, Germany Won’t Join in USA-led Bombing.

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani places ISIS blame on Obama administration (IMAGE SOURCE: Monitor Mideast)

Tweedle dee.

And tweedle dum.

The various nations are playing Say Whaaa? about the president’s plans to bomb ISIS into oblivion.

Turkey — which is the geographic bridge between Europe and the Middle East and a next-door neighbor to Iraq — has decided that they are a no-go. Ditto for our friends in Germany.

According to International Business Times:

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier questioned whether Obama’s plan of airstrikes and equipping moderate Syrian rebels was adequate. “We haven’t been asked, nor will we do it,” he said of the airstrikes. “We need to be honest with ourselves in the current situation, we don’t yet have a final, blanket strategy which guarantees that we’ll be successful against ISIS and similar groups.”

I hate to say this, but that position may be well taken.

If the CIA knows what it’s talking about (always a question) ISIS’ new notoriety and glorious beheading videos have recruited up to 30,000 wannabe serial killers to their ranks.  Bombing, without concomitant strategies to attack their funding, shut down their web sites and deal effectively with the people who are going to them from areas outside the Middle East will not achieve the destruction of ISIS. In fact, it could end up strengthening ISIS.

Meanwhile, the people most at risk from ISIS are joining the US. Ministers from 10 nations in that region committed to joining the US in armed opposition to ISIS.

From Voice of America:

Earlier Thursday, ministers from 10 Gulf and Arab nations said Thursday they are committed to joining the United States in a “coordinated military campaign” against Islamic State fighters who have seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria.After talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Saudi officials and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, said they are united against the threat from all terrorists, including Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. EgyptNon-Arab Sunni Turkey also attended the talks.

But two other powerful regional powers, Shi’ite-ruled Iran and Syria, were excluded, a sign of how strong the Middle East’s sectarian divide remains.The Arab states agreed in a written communique to take many of the steps U.S. President Barack Obama spelled out Wednesday in his newly articulated strategy for wiping out the militants – stopping the flow of foreign fighters, cutting off funds for Islamic State, providing humanitarian aid to those terrorized by the militants and rejecting what the ministers call their “hateful ideology.”

Notice that these states have agreed to work to cut off funding for ISIS. I can’t emphasize enough how critical that is. It is also critical for us to take a look at who is selling them arms and other supplies. This is large-scale support for mass murder.

The reason this is so important is that ISIS, for all its braggadocio, has no war-making ability in and of itself. None whatsoever. If ISIS cannot buy arms and supplies from actual, functioning governments who do have war-making ability, it is reduced to the knife that one of its murderers bragged about when he killed Steven Sotloff.

If we can cut off their money, stop governments from selling them arms and become more intelligent about the arms we are giving away, the dynamics of this situation will change dramatically and immediately. That includes not buying oil from them. The wells they have seized are stolen property. The money they get from the sale of this oil goes to finance mass murder and the destruction of civilization in a whole region of the world.

Personally, I am a big flummoxed by the plan to bomb ISIS back to the where it came from. It is true that 30,000 organized people with all their armaments are a bit difficult to hide. I have no problem whatsoever with bombing ISIS. I just hope that we actually bomb ISIS and not the surrounding countryside.

However, bombing alone has consistently failed to achieve anything other than chaos and ultimate defeat for those who have employed it. From the Blitzkrieg, to North Viet Nam, to now, bombing as a single tactical exercise has failed. Mind you, I am not advocating “boots on the ground,” (unless we actually do send a planeload of empty boots over there.)

America has had it with war of this type, and for good reason. Even though we carefully block the reality of war from our sight by hiding the disabled soldiers who come home and even, for a long time, refusing to allow photos of the returning caskets, the fact is, we are sending our people to die.

I think we can dismember ISIS by removing their money, refusing re-entry and imprisoning — for life with no parole and no press interviews and in a separate prison — those who join them and want to return to Europe/America/Australia, et al later, and by shutting down the web sites and recruitment venues within our nations. We also need to take a realistic look at our immigration policies.

Congress needs to stop throwing partisan pies at one another long enough to pass the laws we need to defend this nation. The president needs to stop playing the various parts of the electorate and sign those laws. Everyone that we’ve elected needs to start caring about America more than they do their political parties and special interest groups. The number one thing that scares me about this situation is that our elected officials on both sides of the political spectrum are games-players who are have been, at least up until now, unwilling to put America first.

Bombing fails as a single strategy. But it can be a decisive component of a more comprehensive strategy. Number one, before we do much of anything else, we need to stop feeding this beast and begin starving it.

My Questions about President Obama’s Address on ISIS

 

It’s almost too ironic that the president announced this on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11, which was the beginning of this war that appears to have ever-changing targets and no end.

I have several questions. First, it was around a year ago that President Obama wanted to bomb Syria because of allegations of the use of chemical weapons against ISIS. If we had gone ahead with that plan, it most likely would have destroyed the remaining infrastructure in the war-torn country and handed a total victory to ISIS.

I was totally against this, for a number of reasons. Among those reasons was my concern that bombing Syria would put these “rebels” (as they were called then) in power.

I’m raising this issue because I think it’s pertinent to last night’s speech. I want to wipe out ISIS. I regard that as a regrettable but necessary action to preserve civilization in the Middle East and stop the spread of violence into Europe, Russia, China, America and Australia.

I want to know that we’re going to be bombing ISIS, and not destroying the infrastructures of these countries. In more direct terms, bombing, if it doesn’t have the right targets, will not help end ISIS’ reign of terror. In fact it could do great harm.

Notice also the list of regions and countries that I said were menaced by ISIS. I know that looks like a broad swath for what is essentially a gang of murdering extortionists and pirates. But it is clear that ISIS is drawing murderers from the Muslim populations in all these areas. If the nations in question do not formulate more intelligent and self-preserving policies than they have followed up until now, they will most certainly find themselves dealing with this murderous and genocidal savagery on their home soil.

How does bombing play into that? Is bombing an effective and sufficient response?

I think that bombing will be an insufficient response unless it is accompanied by policy changes that address the issues of what we are going to do with people who go overseas to murder, rape and practice genocide then try to come back to the USA later. We also need to address the issue of how we are going identify people who are living here in the homeland who are funding and aiding ISIS.

I also wonder how, or even if, we are going to address the critical issue of who is funding ISIS. In military terms, cutting off funding to ISIS serves the same function as destroying the manufacturing plants of a nation that has actual war making power. It stops their war-making ability. It appears to me that those of us who oppose terrorist activities have been singularly ineffective at stopping the influx of what must be massive amounts of monies to ISIS.

I wrote two posts yesterday about a blog post calling for violent discrimination against Muslims. This was a single blog post on an obscure website. However, it is clear that ISIS is using the internet and other forms of communication to recruit what must be large numbers of murderers who are actually following through with the murdering. I’ve read that the videos of our reporters being beheaded will be (probably have been already) used to attract and recruit fresh murderers to this ignoble cause.

How are these calls to murder being channeled through the various communities where likely recruits are found? Is it done entirely by the internet? What part does word of mouth play in this? How are we dealing with these web sites?

I’m strongly in favor of freedom of speech. But direct recruitment of murderers to participate in the slaughter of innocent people who are then murdered in great numbers by these same recruits goes beyond the limits of what we ordinarily think of as free speech. It is akin to putting a murder for hire ad on the web. How are we going to deal with this?

We need to re-evalulate our laws that pertain to these issues and make the changes that are necessary to protect this country.

I want to think about this before I say more. Right now, what I mostly have are questions. In the meantime, I am interested in what Public Catholic’s readers think. I hope you will think these things through and share your ideas. I also hope that we can get beyond knee-jerk partisan sloganeering.

This is about genocide against Christians and other religious minorities, war that seems to be going on forever, and our domestic safety here in our homeland. Let’s put aside partisan loyalties and think about what is best for our country.

Here, for your consideration, is our president’s address from last night.

YouTube Preview Image

ISIS and Genocide are Satan’s Delight

 

Oklahoma plans to execute a murderer in the next few months.

This murderer raped an 11-month old baby to death.

How does it make you feel when you read the sentence? Would you like to volunteer to dispatch this man yourself?

That’s satan’s delight. The dark lord’s pay-back for atrocity is a triple hitter. First, there is the payback of the deed itself; the horror and suffering of the victim, the sadism and utter degradation of the perpetrator. Then, there’s the horror and rage of those of us who must deal with the after effects. And finally, there is the fall from grace of those who see it and are moved in their hearts to murder as revenge.

Every outrage is a trifecta for satan. Every time.

Consider for a moment how much more delightful government-waged atrocity is to this being of hate and death. Genocide, and its evil twin the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents of every group, feed his craving for annihilation.

If the heinous murder of one innocent child can make good people crave the taste of bloody revenge, the mass slaughter of millions can raise up the murdering beast in all of civilization. Genocide has the power to make monsters of us all.

The antidote to that, if you are a Christian, is the certain knowledge that these murderous rages of retribution, no matter how tempting they may seem, are of the darkness and not the Light. You can not follow Christ and yield to them.

Recently, a blogger on a small web site posted an article setting out the roadway to an American genocide against Muslims. I could sugar coat it, but that would be a lie. The roadway of discrimination leading to organized violence against a specific group of people was explicit and clear.

The resulting carrying on was due, at least in my opinion, to the fact that the web site is a Christian site. It was precisely because the worldwide response of Christians everywhere, ranging from the Pope to those who are victims of this genocide has been so completely Christian that so many people have latched onto this obscure web site and its blog post. It may not be much, but it’s the best they’ve got.

The bulk of this reaction was gleeful denunciation from the same people who have heretofore been mostly or even entirely silent about the genocide in Iraq. These are the same people who bash Christians day and night.

It was accompanied by a more muted See? It’s not just us! response from a few Muslim commenters.

The truth is, I understand and sympathize with the Muslim response, while I take the “outrage” from the consistent Christian bashers as a pose that is simply part of their on-going hazing of Christians in general.

The point to me is that this writer has gone over the falls of giving satan his delight. Christianity is the religion of life, not death. We stand for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. We acknowledge that all human life is sacred.

We know that we will be persecuted and attacked for this. Our Savior told us that we would be persecuted for His name. He also told us that our reward in heaven would be great.

That does not mean that we are called to sit idly by while millions of innocent people are being slaughtered. Self defense is always allowed, and the defense of those who cannot defend themselves is part of that.

But we may not ever — ever — engage in bloody battles of vengeance aimed at expiating the rage and hurt we feel over the atrocities we witness. That savagery is not Christian. It is anti-Christ. And it dooms those who do it to the same hell where the followers of ISIS are sending themselves.

Make no mistake about it: God is not mocked. And calling for the indiscriminate slaughter of any of the people that He made in His image is mocking Him, big time.

ISIS and genocide are satan’s delight.

Don’t allow yourself to become his delight, as well.

Proportion and Reality in an Age of Mass Slaughter

I started to use the phrase “age of genocide” in the title for this post. But, on reflection, I decided that the word genocide, horrible as it is, is actually too small.

Do we have a word to describe the organized mass slaughters of millions of people by governments, and in the case of ISIS, wannabe governments?

It is not “just” genocide” because, in the case of some of these mass slaughterers, such as Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot and Chairman Mao, it was not a slaughter aimed at a discreet group of people so much as it was aimed at anyone they could kill. Then we have the slaughtering dictators such as Idi Amin, who certainly aimed much of his killing at Christians, but also killed quite a few others, as well.

In fact, finding a “pure” genocide anywhere is way past difficult. The Armenian genocide, which wiped out most of the Christian population of Turkey (did anyone every wonder why that country is 99% Muslim?) and the holocaust the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews, are the closest.

But the Nazis, even though they clearly stated, intended and nearly accomplished the total annihilation of the Jewish people in their conquered territories, also murdered whole seminaries of Catholic priests, gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, liberals and the disabled. The murder of Muslims in Bosnia (which United Nations troops, including a lot of Americans, brought to a halt) is another example of what might be at least an attempt at pure genocide.

What we are seeing in the Middle East today is, once again, a lot bigger than “just” genocide. Like most genocidal murderers, ISIS is, at base, just a bunch of murdering thugs. What that means in terms of what they do is that they don’t stop at “just” murdering every Christian and Yazidi they can kill. They also kill Muslims who don’t fit their idea of what a “true” Muslim is, and they kill journalists in attempts to extort ransom money, and they kill a lot of other people, as well.

They kill because they are cold-blooded murderers who have created a religious excuse for being what they are.

That’s why the term genocide is too small for the organized slaughter of innocents that has been taking place all over our globe since the turn of the 20th Century. If we limit it to the organized attempts to wipe out specific and discreet groups of people within a given population, we will ignore the murderous destruction of millions of other lives.

That’s how Stalin gets through the genocide sieve. He killed everybody.

Genocide as a word has a meaning that is too small for the organized murdering that we are dealing with in today’s world. If that doesn’t scare you, you probably don’t understand it.

Alongside this murdering fury that is the true hallmark by which our times will be remembered in history, are the emotional reactions to this savagery from its bystanders.

Members of the groups which are being slaughtered are often themselves under attack or at least somewhat marginalized in the less murderous societies in which they live. That was the case with Jews around the world when the Nazis were gearing up their killing machine. Even American Jews suffered social discrimination in terms of club memberships and the names they were called.

That leads to a frozen-in-place non-response by those who should be most equipped to help. Instead of rallying support for their persecuted brethren, members of the same group often turn away and ignore their plight. That certainly happened with the Jews.

Then, we have the subtle collaboration of news media and groups who do not like their own neighbors who are members of groups being persecuted in other lands. That fits the situation with Christian persecution. I’ve experienced myself the aggressive bullying whose motive is to silence anyone who talks about Christian persecution. I’ve also witnessed the relative silence about it in the mainstream media.

This is coupled with a group emphasis on anyone who does something that can be used to either weaken concern for persecuted Christians or to increase public dislike of them.

Witness the extraordinary emphasis given to the Westboro Baptist Church, which is in fact, just about a dozen (or less) individuals with signs. You would think, based on what has been written and said in certain Christian-bashing circles, that they were the pope speaking ex cathedra.

The same goes for one lone blog post which was written by a grievously wrong Christian calling for the classic run-up to genocide against Muslims. I’m going to write a full post on that alone as soon as I finish writing this one. But before I do that, I want to discuss the lack of proportion and reality with which it is being dealt.

First, in some Christian-bashing circles, their outraged coverage of this one blog post from an obscure blog site is the only commentary they’ve made about the mass slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. These are often the same people who attack anyone who tries to talk about Christian persecution.

I don’t take their outrage seriously because I see it as a targeted outrage, designed to create prejudice against Christians and provide tacit support for worldwide discrimination against and persecution of Christians. I see these bloggers as enablers of violent persecution of innocent people.

Second, we have the reaction of Muslim people who feel beleaguered because of the hideous behavior of their co-religionists. See? They seem to say. It’s not just us.

No. It’s not just them. Psychopathic murderers with government or quasi government backing are a widespread phenomena that cross all ethnic, religious (or non religious) groups. In light of this reality, I think it’s time for us to lay down the “It’s them!” “It’s not just us!” nonsense and simply acknowledge that murderers walk among us and they will use any excuse to ply their trade.

And that this the point of this post. Genocide as a word is too small for the mass murders we have seen for the past 100 years of human history. There is no group of people innocent of these murdering rampages.

If we are going to deal with these mass murders effectively and end them, we must begin by looking at them with a sense of proportion and in the light of reality. ISIS is nothing more than a gang of extortionists and mass murderers. They can dress up in Halloween costumes and claim that god is on their side all day long, and it will not change the fact that they are cold-blooded, murdering savages who have damned themselves before the real God.

Ditto for every other gang of murdering savages we’ve seen. Ted Bundy we can execute. But when the Ted Bundys of this world get their hands on philosophies and government, it takes a bit more than a flip of the switch to end them.

Proportion, applied to ISIS and all their murdering type, requires that we stop playing games with mass murder. There are some crimes that have to be stopped, and the organized mass murder of innocents is one of those crimes. We must not equate everything with this one thing. Blog posts can be argued and their ideas scuttled. But blog posts, however upsetting, are not the same thing as the actual organized murder of innocents on a mass scale.

Reality requires that we acknowledge that there is no group of people who can point their fingers at someone else and claim moral superiority in this. Organized mass murder of innocents has become part of the human story. If the history of this bloodshed has shown us anything, it is that any group of people is capable of it.

I’ve referenced the wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous before when I was discussing the self-lies we tell. I will probably do it many times. AA has a wisdom in dealing with self-lies that kill.

You must accept reality on reality’s terms. 

That’s AA advice for recovering alcoholics and co-dependents. It is wisdom for our time.

 

Pope Francis Plans November Trip to Turkey-Iraq Border

 

Pope Francis is planning a trip to the Turkish-Iraqi border in November of this year.

The trip will give him the opportunity to visit with Christian and Yazidi refugees who have been driven from the homes by ISIS.

If the trip does not fall through it will place the Holy Father in relatively close proximity to the fighting. Rumors were rife a few days ago that ISIS had targeted Pope Francis for assassination. The Vatican said there was “nothing to” the concerns.

I don’t know what to make of all this except to say that ISIS has shown itself to be glutton for media attention and high profile murder. There is no one on this planet more high profile than the Vicar of Christ.

From Crux:

ROME — Pope Francis intends to travel to Turkey at the end of November, a trip that may take him to the border with Iraq in a demonstration of the pontiff’s concern for the violence there and the plight of refugees from the self-declared Islamic state, including an estimated 100,000 Christians.

Officials of the Turkish embassy to the Vatican confirmed to Crux that preparations for the trip are underway, which should see the pontiff in Istanbul on Nov. 30 for the feast of St. Andrew, considered the patron saint of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Francis is also expected to make a stop in Ankara, the national capital, for a meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. At the moment, the Vatican is waiting for a formal invitation to the pontiff from Erdogan before announcing the outing.

The invitation for Francis to visit Turkey was first extended at the beginning of his papacy by Bartholomew I, the first Patriarch of Constantinople to attend a papal inaugural Mass.

Since then the two men have struck up a partnership, with Bartholomew meeting Francis on his May trip to the Middle East and later joining him for a peace prayer with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents in the Vatican gardens on June 8.

Interest in making the trip has been enhanced by recent developments in Iraq. During an airborne press conference on the way back from a trip to South Korea in mid-August, Francis expressed an interest in visiting Iraq but said for the moment such a journey is “not the best thing to do.”

His outing in November is likely the closest the pontiff will be able to get to Iraq itself, and will give him the opportunity to meet Iraqi refugees.

An embassy official said that Turkey, a country with an overwhelming Muslim majority estimated at 99 percent of the population, is currently “doing everything in its power” to welcome Christians and Yazidis who have been forced out of their homes in both Iraq and border regions of Turkey itself by ISIS forces.

Snowballs in You Know Where: Libby Anne Cooks Up a Pastoral Chicken and I Agree (Mostly) with Her

I believe that there must be snowballs in the infernal regions.

Today, I am going to applaud and link to a post on the Patheos Atheist Channel.

Libby Anne who blogs at Love, Joy Feminism is a wee bit put off because a “pastor” of some indeterminate denomination (or not) has managed to insult both men and women by reducing men to their most talked about appendage and women to … I can’t even say it.

Let’s just say that in my opinion (and evidently Libby Anne’s as well) this guy is one of those kinds of guys that people tend to refer to as actually being the appendage in question, as in “he’s a d—.” Or maybe, just for variety, they might say, “he’s a d——head.”

Whatever.

The point — at least to me — is that this nano brain is an embarrassment. I had to google him to figure out how he was, and when I did, I discovered that he’s a Really Big Deal in certain circles. His name, in case you’re wondering, is Marc Driscoll. Or, as he seems to be commonly referred to, “Pastor Marc Driscoll.”

I read a bit of his wit and wisdom about human sexuality, and I’m going to assume that he was trying to be … I dunno … cute? Maybe he was making an attempt to address adolescent males about sexuality and decided to get all clever about it. Add the fact that he’s clearly as tone deaf about women as a walking turnip, and you’ve got what we’ve got.

Or, at least that’s what I want to be believe. I want to think that he’s just another open-mouth-insert-both-feet dufus who doesn’t like women and tries to hide it, but who ends up letting it show because he’s unaware of how much he dislikes women. The world is full of these guys.

I said a moment ago that Marc Driscoll is an embarrassment. But I am not exactly sure who he’s an embarrassment to. Twenty-one former pastors of his church (I don’t have a clue how they’re organized, but the story says they have 21 former pastors) have made formal complaints against him for his bullying, intimidating behavior. I suppose they might read this little thingy he wrote and feel embarrassed. But those same pastors also claim that Pastor Marc (as he evidently likes to be called) taught them “sound doctrine.”

So, maybe not. Maybe they think that men are their appendages, and women are the … there it is again, and I still can say it.

Whatever.

Pastor Marc ended up getting ousted from what is said to be a mega church (maybe that’s why the 21 former pastors) from his own organization that he had founded because of his abusive behavior towards these other pastors. Based on my extensive experience with various men like him that I have known in politics, I would guess that if he’s uncontrollably abusive and exhibiting “ungodly and disqualifying behavior” toward other men who are almost his equals in his church, he must be a real treat for the women and girls to be around.

I’ve never known a jerk who wasn’t at least partly an equal opportunity jerk. If he was abusive with the guys, he was almost certainly worse with the women.

Which brings us back around to his absolutely bizarre whatever that he wrote about women, men, appendages and (I kid you not) what God was thinking when He created all of us. It appears that Pastor Driscoll not only knows the purpose for women, which is, it seems, to get laid, but he knows what God was thinking when He created women.

You see, Pastor Marc tells us, God made the male half of the human race with a particular appendage that had nothing much to do. After mulling this over, God decided to make the female half of the human race to give that appendage a “home.” In Pastor Marc’s homiletic,  men are an appendage and women are a purpose for that appendage.

Libby Anne goes on about this in depth and speaks to all sorts of female concerns, including our life-bearing, nurturing selves. She evidently was taught as a child that she was some man’s future wife. If I had been taught that, I’d be mad about it, too.

But I got lucky. I was taught from the get-go by my Christian parents that I could do anything I wanted to do. This wasn’t some pre feminist rap. It was about them, loving me.

I remember when I was a kid, reading a story in The Ladies Home Journal in which the author said that women’s bodies were made so that they could have babies, that having babies was the purpose of the female body. The underlying assumption was that the male body had no purpose except to be a home for men, whereas women … well, you get it. Looking back on it, the article was a dressed-up-go-to-town version of Pastor Marc’s sex ed thingy.

“That’s not true,” my Mama told me. “Your body was made for you to live in it. It’s yours.”

I got my dose of anti-Pastor-Marc early, and it stuck. Which I guess was my good luck.

One benefit of my raising is that when I read idiot commentary like Pastor Marc Driscoll’s, I know right off that it is commentary from an idiot. I also know, due to a lifetime of experience out there butting heads and competing in the open marketplace of full-speed, grown-up politics, that sexism knows no faith or philosophy.

I am telling you the absolute truth when I say that the meanest and most vicious sexists I’ve ever known were liberal men. I say that as someone who self-identifies as a liberal. As for running away from the Church to avoid sexism, you might as well stay home and fight it out. Because atheist men can be vicious sexists, as well.

You’ll find this kind of garbage — and much, much worse — anywhere you go.

I’m not chiding Libby Anne for her opinions. She has every right to them. In fact, I rather imagine that if we could put aside the shibboleths of label, she and I might sit down over lunch and find out that we have a lot of belief in common. I say that after looking down the list of her blog posts and seeing a whole chicken and a pot of things I disagree with.

I just know that women who think that God hates women have often been taught that by people in the church; the kind of people who would tell a little girl that she is not a full person in herself; she is nothing more than someone’s future wife.

I’ve been a wife for over thirty years and I like it a lot, but nobody ever told me my whole purpose for existing was to be a wife. Even now, after decades of sharing my life with my adorable and adored husband, I am not a wife only. Or only a mother. Or only a daughter. I am first of all myself, as is every other human being. You cannot give — to your spouse, your children, your friends or your God — what you do not have. You must first be wholly yourself before you can truly be with and for another.

But that’s getting all philosophical/theological and thoughtful. Which is moving a long, long way from Pastor Marc Driscoll and his bizarro thinking about men and women.

He is, as I said, an embarrassment.

TMZ Releases Surveillance Video of Ray Rice Attacking His Fiance. Ravens Finally Terminate His Contract

 

What does it take for a pro football player to be held accountable?

Mistreatment of animals will get it done in  a hurry. Just ask Michael Vick.

But beating up a woman?

Not so much.

After months of dithering about the Ray Rice fiancé beating scandal the Ravens have finally terminated his contract. This follows the NFL’s earlier defense of a two-game suspension of the running back and a standing ovation of support for him from fans. Ray Rice fans also lit up twitter with their supportive messages. 

His fiancé even went ahead and married Mr Rice six weeks after he knocked her out.

If it hadn’t been for TMZ, that’s where the story would have ended, with another woman playing maso to some guy’s sado and all the good old boys giving him back-slapping high-fives for his behavior.

Misogyny is not a problem of one group of people or one set of beliefs. Misogyny is a human problem. It has everything to do with letting the biggest and the meanest make all the rules and nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with true manliness or human decency.

Real men don’t hit women.

In fairness to Mrs Rice, she probably does not remember what her husband did to her. She may not remember anything that happened that day, or that week.

There’s no doubt that men are stronger than women. God made them that way for a purpose and that purpose is not to beat and batter their families. It is to protect and provide for their families.

I’m glad the Ravens were finally forced to do what they should have done the first day. I wonder if the fans who gave Mr Rice and standing ovation and who sent those supportive tweets are re-thinking their own behavior?

If you want to see the video, go here. Thank you TMZ for putting it out there.

From TMZ:

This is what a two game suspension looks like – Ray Rice delivering a vicious punch to his fiancee’s face, knocking her out cold … and TMZ Sports has the shocking video.

We’ve already shown you the aftermath outside the elevator … Rice dragging the unconscious woman on the floor.  But we’ve now obtained video of the punch that put her down, raising the question … What was the NFL thinking when it wrist-slapped Rice with such feeble punishment?

The incident took place Feb. 15th at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City — after Ray and then-fiancee (now wife) Janay Palmer got into a heated argument on their way into the elevator.

Inside the elevator it’s apparent he strikes first … she hits back … and then Rice delivers the knockout blow.

The punch knocks Janay off her feet — and she smashes her head on the elevator hand rail … knocking her out cold. Ray doesn’t seem phased … and when the door opens, he drags her out into the hotel. 

An employee of the hotel  – which just shut down for good – tells TMZ Sports he was working there at the time and says the NFL saw the elevator footage before imposing the 2-game suspension.

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2014/09/08/ray-rice-elevator-knockout-fiancee-takes-crushing-punch-video/#ixzz3CkxkUq3r

 

Thy Will be Done as It Is in Heaven

 

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Jesus Christ

We pray it every Sunday and at the beginning of each decade of the Rosary. My children and I began each homeschool day by praying it.

It is the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus gave us when the disciples asked Teach us to pray. 

This prayer is the answer, given to us by God Himself in human form. It begins with a new way of looking at God.

Our Father, Jesus teaches us to address Him. Not YHWH whose name may not be said. Not I am, the unknowable infinite.

But, Our Father. 

For those of us who had fathers in our lives, that is a beautiful image. It betokens a loving, protecting presence. It speaks of always-there Daddies on the beat who kept us safe and taught us love by loving us, who gave us a place in the world that was ours and was safe and was home. Our Father, for those who have fathers, is a beautiful image.

Jesus teaches us to address God as Father. He tells us that He is the Good Shepherd; the protector and defender of our souls.

Jesus begins His prayer with Our Father and then moves to an acknowledgement of Who this Father is.

Hallowed be thy name. 

The name of God is like no other. It is the name of the One who created everything, everywhere, who spoke existence into existence with a single word and Who holds existence in existence with a thought. How can we address such a Being? Who are we to call Him Father? 

Jesuswho is God personified, God in human form, reminds us that Our Father Who art in heaven is also God, and His name is, as the Commandments told us, not to be taken in vain. We take this commandment too lightly these days, all of us, me included.

We take it lightly because we take God lightly. We have become so inured with the God-is-one-of-us way of thinking that we’ve forgotten Who He is and what He requires of us.

Our Father, Who art in heaven

Hallowed be Thy name. 

Jesus follows this acknowledgement of Who God is and the respect we owe Him, by praying that God’s Kingdom will come. In other places in Scripture, Jesus describes this Kingdom coming as leaven in bread and a mustard seed that grows into a great tree. He tells His followers that the Kingdom is now, that it is active in them (and us) when we hear His word.

Thy Kingdom come He prays, knowing full well that the Kingdom is coming, that its spark exists in the heart of every true follower of the Word, and that He is Himself this Word.

Look at nature, look at the long silent passage of time from that first word that spoke existence into existence and today’s world. It is an eye blink of time in the mind of God Who foresaw it from before the beginning, but it is time beyond our reckoning to us. God plants seeds, God sets events and forces in motion. God, the Good Shepherd Who answers our prayers and longs for relationship with us, is also a good gardener Who allows things to grow and ripen in their own time.

The Kingdom is coming in each of us individually and in our corporate history. It is no accident that the ideas of universal human rights grew in the hotbed of Christian culture. That notion was simply the fruit of the tree that grew from that first mustard seed.

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

The Kingdom is coming in every believer who will trust Him and step out in faith to follow Him. But this kingdom is buffeted and attacked in direct proportion to how fruitful it is. Christ’s followers — His Kingdom on earth — suffer attack from what St Paul termed “powers and principalities.”

The darkness hates the Light. It has from the beginning. Our job as Christians is to be the Light, shining in the darkness.

We cannot leave the world outside our safe circles of faith lost in the blackness of a night without Christ.

We can not leave whole populations to the machinations of dead philosophies that teach death. The proponents of these philosophies seek death wherever it may be found. They lift up cruelty, killing and degradation of human beings and call these things rights. They label them good and teach them as freedom. And always, without end, they war against the Light.

Choose this day whom you will serve, Joshua enjoined the Israelites. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 

Jesus took the command to serve the Lord our God and added another to it. Go into all nations teaching what I have taught you, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

We are called to do more than just save ourselves. Christianity is a lifeboat, headed for eternal life. Unlike a real lifeboat, it expands to take in everyone who wants to climb aboard. There is no qualification for entering into the Kingdom other than to accept Jesus as Lord.

Lord, how can we know the way, Thomas asked Him.

I am the Way,  Jesus answered.

No one comes to the Father, except through Me. 

Our job, as Christians, is to point the way to the Way. We are on a lifeboat headed for salvation, floating through waters filled with angry, lost, drowning people. We are called to shine the light on them and let them know the lifeboat is there, to help those who are willing to be saved to climb on board.

That is evangelization. We should not — must not — be the church that builds the fancy church house full of gorgeous accouterments and then sits, hands folded and utterly complacent, waiting for lost people to find their way to us.

We need to go to them. Because they are perishing. Because He told us to do it.

Our own inner cities would be wonderful places to begin. I’m not talking about ministries to clothe and feed these people, although those are certainly good things. I am talking about bringing them Christ; converting them. I am talking about evangelization.

How many churches in the inner city have closed down because they say all the people have left? That absurdity is emblematic of our failure to do what Jesus explicitly told us to do.

As the moving vans from those churches drive toward the suburbs, they go through neighborhoods that are full of people. They’re just not the people those churches want.

Oh, the churches come back to those neighborhoods. They come to do “ministry.” These “ministries” are good things. They offer help. But most of them do not stay around after dark and they do not offer Christ.

Which of you, if your child asked for a fish, would give him serpent, or if he asked for bread would give him a stone? Jesus asked.

If we give people bagels and coffee, warm winter coats and help with paying their utilities, but we don’t also offer them eternal life, what are we doing?

Do we think that eternal life is too rude to give to people? Are we afraid of being attacked for proselytizing? If that’s the problem, we need to get over it. The people who attack us for that have proven that they’ll find something else to attack us for if we stop sharing Jesus.

The existence of Christians and Christianity is what offends them. The only way we can stop them from attacking us is to follow the world instead of Him. In other words, we can stop their attacks if we stop being what they hate. If we give up our own eternal life and join them in their living death, they’ll stop harassing, hectoring, suing and hating us.

Do we fail to offer Christ along with the canned goods and clothing because it embarrasses us? Are we ashamed of Jesus? Are we afraid that Christian bashers will accuse us of making conversion a condition for our aid?

That would be a devilish thing, if it were true. We need to help people, whether they accept Christ or not. But we also need to offer them Christ as part of our help.

What they do with the offer is their decision. Nobody has to follow Jesus to get a can of beans or a pair of socks. But they have a right as human beings to know that eternal life can be theirs. They accept or don’t. Our only responsibility is to offer Him to those who are dying.

All we need to do is make sure that we are walking in His way. If people want to accuse us falsely, that’s on them.

Who determines your behavior: Jesus Christ, or His critics?

Evangelization is not some new-fangled marketing ploy. It is a Commandment from Jesus Christ. Protestants call it a Commission: The Great Commission. And so it is. Our Lord explicitly directed us to evangelize the world. He didn’t make exceptions, and He didn’t put caveats on it.

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and I will be with you always, to the end of the world.

Seems pretty clear to me.

Family Missions Company has put out a beautiful new video about evangelization. I think it’s worth watching.

YouTube Preview Image

Britain, You’ve Got a Problem.


At the expense of being called a few names, I’m going to post these videos.

I freely acknowledge that these events are not representative of all adherents to the Muslim faith. There are obvious cultural issues embedded in this behavior.

However, when you add them to the rapes in Rotherham, you can see that Britain certainly does have a problem. That problem will not be solved by continued cowing of the public and police with politically correct lies that deny the reality of the situation.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying: You have to take reality on reality’s terms.

Western society has been practicing an enforced form of codependence with its political correctness, and not just about issues of immigration. We need to stop lying to ourselves and look at reality.

YouTube Preview Image
Palmira Silva

Palmira Silva

YouTube Preview Image
Lee Rigby

Lee Rigby

YouTube Preview Image

Court Strikes Down Polygamy Law in Utah.

The courts have once against legislated by fiat. In this instance, a federal judge basically legalized polygamy in Utah.

For those who said that gay marriage would not lead to polygamy, your crow is ready and you can start eating it anytime you want.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

 

Steven Sotloff: Observant Jew. Grandson of Holocaust Survivors.

 

ISIS recently released another video of their British Muslim terrorist, beheading an American journalist.

The journalist was Steven Sotloff, an American Jew with dual Israeli citizenship. According to reports, Mr Sotloff followed his religion, even in the extreme circumstances of captivity by ISIS.

He did not, understandably, tell his captors he was Jewish. He kept up his prayers and fasted on Holy Days by claiming that he was sick and couldn’t eat. The deep irony in all this is that Steven Sotloff is the grandson of holocaust survivors.

Think about that.

Mr Sotloff’s grandparents survived a genocide of Jewish people. Decades later in another part of the world, he was abducted and murdered as part of an attempt to force America to pay a ransom. The ransom would have been used to finance an Islamic killing machine which is bent on the genocide of Christians and other non-Muslim faiths.

The difference between Mr Sotloff and his captors is more than just the difference of the relative power of the murderer vs the murdered. It is, indeed, one of faith.

Steven Sotloff, James Foley and the man who murdered them each claimed to be men of faith. The difference is what their faiths inspired them to do.

James Foley, who prayed the Rosary while in captivity, and Steven Sotfloff, who fasted on Jewish Holy Days by pretending to be ill, were both capable of something that the members of ISIS are not: Compassion.

Their faiths inspired them to bring the stories of the helpless victims of war to the larger world view. They were the voices of the voiceless. They gave the whole world facts and information to help us view what is happening in the dark places of current history with at least some accuracy. Their work was a vital part of the empowerment of ordinary people, both in the Middle East and in the West.

ISIS, by contrast, is a destroyer. It does not build. It does not redeem. ISIS murders and rapes, tortures and lies. The videos it has put out showing the beheadings of these two brave men are themselves lies. These men were not murdered for some bizarre idea of retribution against American power. Their murders were acts of extortion in an attempt to get American dollars.

ISIS is not, as it styles itself, a great religious army. It is a band of pirates. There is no honor in ISIS. It is a disgrace to humanity.

Steven Sotloff’s faith, and that of James Foley, is evident in the good they did. We see what kind of men they were by the lives they lived. We see the life-giving power of true faith in the real God in these men’s goodness.

By the same token, we see what kind of men the adherents of ISIS are by the lives they live. When they stand before God, they will answer for their genocide, rapes, thefts, terrors, lies and destruction of whole societies.

God is real. And He is just.

I have no doubt that Steven Sotloff and James Foley took comfort in that as they knelt in the desert awaiting the knife. If their murderer has any knowledge of God at all, he will fear it.

The Identical Opens This Weekend. I’m Taking My Family to See It. You Should Too.

10502203_351218668359340_1151622593821814307_n-1

What is it about Elvis?

Decades past his death, his magic remains. Is it the smoky eyes, the unique voice and style? Or is it the good guy, the gentle, deeply-spiritual soul that behind those blue, blue eyes?

I think it was and is the whole package. Elvis was American and his story was the story of much of America at that time, only writ large.

His family suffered during the depression, clawed their way out of deep poverty after World War II, and Elvis himself took off like a meteor, right along with his country, in the 50s. Elvis was energy and maleness, wrapped in basic decency and kindness. He was us, as we were then.

He must still be us on some level. Why else would his image and his story continue to captivate so long after his death?

The Identical is a bit like Elvis himself, in that it is based on good people making hard decisions in tough times. The Christian ethos of Elvis the man runs throughout the story in a deliberate but unselfconscious way.

The story uses an Elvis look-alike as its main character and is based — very loosely — on the fact that the real Elvis had a twin brother who died. I’ve read that Elvis felt the presence of this brother throughout his life.

In the movie, both twins survive, but one of them is given up for adoption, due to hard times. Both boys grow up loved and cared for by parents who adore them. The adopted child ends up experiencing something I’ve witnessed in adopted people I know: The call of a heritage that doesn’t quite fit the family they love and that cherishes and loves them.

We are ourselves from the moment of conception. This innate self is shaped by and reacts to the environment in which we are raised and live. But no matter the environment, this innate self will always win out at some level.

A person who has a deep and abiding talent for, say, music, will feel the call of that talent, no matter if he or she is raised by a family of people who are tone-deaf and without rhythm or not. This difference between the adopted and the family that adopts them is a fundamental expression of the innate person they are.

It has nothing to do with loving their parents or being loved by them. It does not change the fact that this is their family. But it does mean that adoptive parents will raise happier adopted children if they give space for the real person their child is to emerge in healthy ways.

The Identical is a tale of adoption, and the striving to be oneself in a sphere that doesn’t quite fit.

It is also a story of love and grace.

Because love has the power to make all things right between people. And grace from God is the transforming agent that lifts love up.

I had an opportunity to see a preview of the The Identical.  I recommend the movie. It has a fine cast, topped by Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd. It demonstrates the maturing of Christian entertainment that is beginning to occur.

Ray Liotta puts in a beautiful performance as the adoptive father. This performance sharpens the movie’s dynamic and gives it power. He manages to create a character that is both a stern and a loving man; someone who is full of human weakness but who is also deeply and absolutely honorable and loving. His character is balanced by Ashley Judd’s performance as the gentle Southern mama.

It is no easy trick to give artistic dimension to good people. Any painter will tell you that the light is the hardest — and most important part — of the image.

Liotta pulls The Identical together and makes it tick because he achieves that.

The Identical will open in theaters this weekend. I’m taking my family to see it. I recommend you do the same.

YouTube Preview Image

Five Top Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids

It’s school time again.

What this meant to me as a homeschooling mom was organizing an attendance sheet (Yes. I kept an attendance sheet to make sure that we had the requisite number of school days.) and writing down my lesson plans (Yes. I had lesson plans.)

It also meant setting up two folding tables in the dining room to use as desks and enrolling the kids in science labs at the Omniplex and then in physical activities at the Y for the physical education class.

We usually topped off the first day of class by going to a movie together in the afternoon. Since we were a one-income family and totally broke, we went to the dollar movie. I sneaked sodas into the theater in my large handbag and we shared a single bag of popcorn.

We also did some sort of field trip every week or so. The zoo was a favorite. In the cold months, it was often the Omniplex. We could buy an annual membership of both for $50 that allowed the whole family to go as many times as we wanted without extra charge.

Homeschooling is hard work for mom. Holding down a job is a lot easier. But then, you’re building people. You are investing years of your life’s capital in your children.

I did it. It was the best investment I ever made.

Here, are five reasons I think most parents should consider homeschooling.

1. Socialization. Every home-schooling mom knows this word. It is flung at us as a question. What about socialization? we are asked.

In truth, there is no accurate way to answer that question except with another question: What do you mean by socialization?

If, by “socialization,” you mean interaction with other children and free play time, homeschooling has it all over the public and private schools. Unlike kids in public schools, homeschooled kids actually get free play time. Free play time is critical to blowing off steam so they can learn without Ritalin. It  forms skills, including social skills. Free play time also develops their whole personalities, including their creative, thinking powers.

If, on the other hand, you mean being subjected to the brainwashing our schools have come to specialize in, nope. They don’t get it.

As for interaction with other kids, there’s plenty of that in homeschooling. The difference is the kids they’re interacting with. Instead of spending their days with the messed up kids from the messed up homes that our society has come to see as the new normal, homeschooled kids spend their days with other homeschoolers, who are, by and large, from intact families and stable homes.

Plus — and this is critical — they spend a lot more time with their own parents, which gives them an emotional security that kids who are shipped around all their days will never have.

All in all, socialization is one of the best reasons to homeschool your kids.

2. Education. I first heard about the stunning educational effectiveness of homeschooling when I was on the board of regents of a college here in Oklahoma. The college president told the board that he was surprised to report that homeschooled kids were trouncing kids from public schools academically.

Not only that, but homeschooled kids didnt have the crippling behavioral problems that kids from the public schools exhibited. They were poised, sure of themselves, organized and they showed up for class ready to work. Both he and the faculty were surprised by this. It was a reality that flew in the face of all their previous suppositions. So, they were surprised. But they shouldn’t have been.

Homeschooling gives kids the chance to learn at their own pace. If a child is good at math, they can move quickly. If they struggle at math, they can slow down and work it through until they really learn it.

Homeschooling gives kids a one-on-one learning experience. Teacher mom is going to keep working with them on a knotty point until they understand and absorb it. There’s no going on and leaving them confused and lost because the rest of the group understands.

Homeschooling kids never end up in the dummy group. They are not subjected to bullying. They learn early that if they dig in and get their work done, they can go play. There is no sitting at their desk bored out of their gourd while the slower kids get finished.

Homeschooled kids can follow their interests. My youngest son loved chess. So, we joined the homeschool chess club. When the club entered its members in the statewide Chess tournament, my son went.

I have terrible handwriting. Somehow or other, the judges decided (I guess they didn’t look at the kid. Either that, or they were trying to punish him for being homeschooled.) that the number 4 I wrote on his entry card was a 9. So, they put my little fourth grader in competition with public school and private school 9th graders.

If this was an attempt to punish him for being homeschooled, it failed. Big time. He won the tournament and brought home the first place trophy. He beat them all.

The point? Homeschooling lets kids grow in directions that factory schools don’t.

3. Sexual harassment, twisted sex ed. If you have a daughter, this should be a big point. Based on what I heard from my constituents, sexual harassment of girls in our public schools is close to being pro forma. This is actually supported by sex ed classes that push kids toward sexual activity at a too-young age. Your daughter has a much better chance of growing up to be a strong, independent young woman if she can skip this abuse during her formative years.

4. Religious freedom. Your kids can pray in homeschool. They can also read the Bible, talk about God and and express their feelings on issues of faith — all without fear of being hounded and trounced by lawyer-laden adults with agendas.

I read Hurlbut’s Bible stories aloud to my kids at the beginning of our school day for our first two years of homeschooling. My mother had this old book from her childhood and I read it on my own when I was little. I advise it to anyone, whether they are Catholic or Protestant.

We read The One-Year Bible for Kids the next year. We took turns reading different portions aloud.

After reading the Bible, we prayed together.

We also read a lot of other books on religious topics. Usually, I read them aloud to the kids, because they contained ideas that I wanted us to talk about. We’d read and then discuss.

5. Exploration. Homeschooled kids have the opportunity to noodle with ideas until they grok them. I remember when we were doing baby physics.

Things don’t fall, I told them. Gravity pulls. I dropped a wadded-up piece of paper and a can of beans on the carpet. When they hit at the same time, both kids were a bit gobsmacked. I did it again. They were still confused. So, I flattened out the paper and dropped it and the beans again. When the paper drifted down and hit later than the can of beans, the oldest boy “got” it.

But the youngest did not believe it. He would not accept it. He spent the afternoon, dropping all sorts of objects, looking for a “proof” that Mom was a nut and this gravity stuff was myth.

The opportunity to prove the idea to himself is unique to homeschooling. So is the good-natured discussion that went on during this learning time. At the end of that day, they both “got” it and we could go on to talk about terminal velocity and other interesting ideas the next day.

I saw this acted out in my kids over and over again. We read aloud through a children’s version of Homer. When we got to the sack of Troy, class broke down for a while as the kids played Greek soldier. Then, I had them write a Boyodyssey, about a journey of their own devising. One of them wrote about the family cat, going on a hunt.

This breakdown from study to story-inspired play was just as much part of the learning process as reading the book or writing the Boyodyssey. Years later, one of them took me to see the movie The 400 with him. He knew all about the story and the politics behind the war itself. We’d read/written/talked about this entire war (both wars, in fact) and its significance to Western civilization when he was a kid.

I could go on, but I’ll stop at these five reasons to homeschool your kids.

Our society is increasingly poisonous to children. Your children are a gift and a responsibility from God. Nothing you can do with your life is as important as raising these precious little ones in such a way that they can become the people God intended them to be from the moment of their conception. They are your value added to (or, if you blow it, your value subtracted from) the human equation.

I can think of no better investment in your children’s lives and well-being than homeschooling.

 

Homeschooling Resources: Homeschool Legal Defense Association

Vegisource Homeschool  You can buy homeschool curriculum here, for a fraction of what it would cost new.

Homeschool World It is essential to find other homeschoolers. This is a place to start.

Curriculum:

Many of these programs are accredited. They all provide a framework for homeschooling. This is just a taste. There are many choices.

Sonlight Curriculum This is what I used. Protestant, but can easily be adjusted for Catholics

Ave Maria Academy Classical homeschooling curriculum.

Seton Home Study School  I have homeschooling friends who have used this with outstanding success. Rigorous, traditional, Catholic.

Lepanto Press Traditional Catholic

A Becka Protestant. Traditional. I started with this and abandoned it quickly. But if you want a traditional classroom curriculum with a Protestant slant, this is a good one.

Rotherham and the Cowardly Act of Offering Up Young Girls to the Dragon of Misogyny

 

It’s an old myth, the story of villagers who sacrifice a virgin to the neighboring dragon in order to keep the dragon from annihilating them. Unfortunately, like most myths, it has its base in terrible fact.

British police, due to what we are told was a kind of politically correct paralysis, essentially collaborated over a long period of time with local Pakistani gangs who repeatedly gang-raped British girls as young as 12 or 13 and then used them as forced prostitutes in their home-grown sex-trafficking rings.

In the clear hallmark of discriminatory police everywhere, these British cops blamed the victims and refused them the police protection that was their right as human beings. Here in America, we would say that the Rotherham police denied an entire class of their citizens — the young girls of their city — their civil rights. By any standard of human rights on this planet, they also denied these young girls their human rights.

What the report of this massive, on-going, police-enforced gang rape and selling of young girls by local Pakistani men amounts to is a violation of the civil and human rights of the girls of Rotherham by the officials of that city.

We are being told that the local police and the rest of the community were so fearful of being called out by the forces of political correctness that they offered up their city’s young girls to avoid it. This echoes tales of heretofore mythical villagers, offering up their daughters to appease the dragon. Only this is real life.

Is anyone believing this? Were these cops so afraid of being called Islamaphobes that they allowed young girls to be repeatedly gang raped and sold to avoid doing their jobs?

Is that what Britain has devolved down to?

Frankly, my first thought was that the Rotherham police were probably getting paid off. I can’t imagine that the police — the police — were so cowed by the politically correct whatevers that are evidently running Britain that they not only allowed, but enabled this to go on for decades. So, I thought of corruption and bribery, and to be honest, I thought it almost hopefully.

Because if the Rotherham police were not being bribed to look the other way and the story really truly is that they allowed these young girls to be raped because they were afraid of violating some sicko idea of political correctness, then our good friends the British have gone insane and suicidal.

 Evidently, a woman who tried to blow the whistle on the rapes was sentenced to “sensitivity training” for doing it. Maybe the cops really were afraid of being denounced and sentenced to re-programming if they did their jobs. Whatever the reason, they are filthy misogynist rapist enablers and claims of cowardice in the face of politically correct sensitivity training don’t excuse them. That much is sure.

We’ve gone a long way down the road of politically correct bullying here in America and it’s getting worse. But I don’t think our cops — at least not Okie cops — would be afraid to prosecute crimes of this nature just because the perpetrators were Muslims. In fact, I’m sure they wouldn’t be.

I don’t know British law, but my first — entirely American, totally Okie — take is that the police in Rotherham ought to go to prison along with the rapists. The rapists should spend the rest of their lives in jail. When they leave prison, it should be in a box. The police who allowed this to happen should take a perp walk in front of television cameras so the whole world can see what useless cowards and traitors to their duty and their community look like.

Koran Graffiti Indiana

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, Kathy Schiffer wrote a post yesterday about three churches in Columbus, IN that had been graffiti’d with a verse from the Koran threatening physical violence. The word “infidels” was spray painted alongside it. And I watched a video last night of another helpless American being beheaded by ISIS. That, added to Rotherham, seems like a lot.

The Anchoress looked at the rapes in Rotherham and saw the actions of conquest. I look at it and see patterns.

Bring back our girls

I’ve been reading for months about ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, kidnapping Christian girls, and raping them and selling them into sex trafficking. Boko Haram kidnapped almost 300 school girls for the express purpose of selling them into sex slavery.

In other news, we have the Sidney gang rapes of Australian girls by Australian nationals of Lebanese Muslim descent, and the gang rapes in Holland by men of Turkish and Moroccan descent.

Does anybody see a pattern here?

The politically correct crowd can yak about “racism” and “Islamaphobia” all they want. What we are dealing with is violent and vile misogyny of almost mind-boggling proportions. And it’s not just the rapists who are misogynists. Whole countries — entire nations — are willing to sacrifice their girls to the dragon of politically-correct lies.

The Rotherham police can now join the cops of Juarez who allowed young women to be kidnapped, raped and tortured to death and would not lift a finger.

Their response was the same as the police in Rotherham. They made fun of the families who tried to get their help and said the girls were “prostitutes.”

Spineless and misogynist British cops who allow savage violence against young girls, and the gangs of Pakistani rapists/pimps in Rotherham who are supported and enabled by politically correct bullies, are certainly bad enough. But they’re just the little finger on the left hand of the whole truth.

We also have a pattern of one particular group of people — of whom the Rotherham rapists are a part — engaging in terror tactics against helpless civilians in a number of places around the world. Not only do they kidnap/rape/enslave and sell young girls, they burn, behead and annihilate whole populations.

In the West, they respond to criticism just as the rapists of Rotherham have responded; by running to their politically correct protectors and claiming that they are the victims. In the Middle East, they respond by making videos of themselves as they murder helpless people to use to recruit more murderers from places like Rotherham and, presumably, Columbus.

Truththenewhatespeechcorrectspellinig

If it raises your politically correct hackles for me to say that, I put before you the kidnapped, raped and sold girls in Nigeria; the kidnapped, raped and sold girls in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, et al; the raped and sold girls in Rotherham. Alongside the kidnappers/rapists/slavers, I put before you the police who colluded with the kidnappers and rapists. And alongside the police I put the political correctness enforcers who attack anyone who says the truth.

Then I turn your attention to the burned out churches and piles of beheaded bodies in the Middle East.

We have created a lethal brew of enforced helplessness and passivity in the face of violence and evil. We are binding this together with cords of misogyny that places the value of young girls at zero.

Political correctness voltaire

We justify it with self-righteous claims that anyone who speaks against it is a racist who hates Muslims. The obvious response to that is Who is the racist here? Who is raping whom?

I, for one, do not hate Muslims. I believe that there are a lot of Muslims who feel trapped between these rapists and the larger society. But we do those people no good by allowing the savages among them to run free and terrorize all of us, including them.

The perpetrators of these crimes — and I include the murderer of James Foley and Steven Sotloff — must be brought to justice. Their collaborators in government who deny citizens their human and civil rights by refusal to do their jobs need to be brought to justice alongside them. The purveyors of political correctness who enable rape/slavery/murder/genocide must — for our own survival, and common decency — be ignored and dismissed as the blithering fools they are.

Are we, on both sides of the Atlantic, going to stop being enthralled by lethal politically-correct lies and put down these atrocities and those who commit them in a way that stops them cold? Or, are we going to try to avoid a fight by giving our children to the dragon?

ISIS Releases Video of What it Says is the Beheading of American Journalist Steven Sotloff

 

ISIS has released a video which it says is the beheading of another American journalist. The video of James Foley’s beheading ended with his murderer dragging Mr Sotloff in front of the camera and threatening his life, as well.

May God have mercy on his soul.

YouTube Preview Image

For more details, go to The Deacon’s Bench. 

ADULTS ONLY for This One: Rape is Hilarious

I have nothing to add to this. The video speaks for itself.

YouTube Preview Image

Christianity: The Religion of Life

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

 

In a world beset with narcissistic -isms, Christianity is the one light.

Every other philosophy, sooner or later, gets around to death. But the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is a message of life. And that light of life and love not only illumines our deepest darkness, it plants hedges around our most pitiless impulses.

In a world where the power to kill helpless human beings is labeled “compassion” or a “human right,” both compassion and human rights become matters of definition, and the defining is done by those who want to kill at will. What is in fact, monstrous, we call good. And what is in fact good, we call monstrous.

Christianity, with its unyielding call to life and love, is the light that shines in this darkness. And the darkness hates it.

This attraction — I cannot call it love, for love is not in it — to ever deeper darkness grows from our most selfish impulses. It creates an upside down world based on language mis-used that demands that everyone — everyone — accede to the lies of manufactured definitions of our finest words. Killing, we are told, is a “right” of the killer, as in abortion is a “right.” Murder is compassion, as in euthanasia is compassionate. Genocide is godly, as in the bestial behavior of Boko Haram and ISIS.

In this upside down world of lying definitions, we can pretend that homosexual couples are the same as a man and a woman, is the same as groups of people consorting sexually, is the same as … whatever. We can label the deliberate killing of people who are slightly different from the norm — such as those with down’s syndrome — a moral necessity. We can reduce women and children to commerce with surrogacy and egg harvesting, sex trafficking, prostitution and porn and call it variously, freedom of expression, creation of families and, once again, the “right” of the purchasers.

Whatever our dark desire to degrade, exploit or kill other people, we can use our facile gift of language to construct a lie to convince ourselves that it is good.

This darkness slides over all life like sludge from a tar pit. It seeks, always, to take us back to the time before; before Christ, even before Abraham. It wants to take us back to the time when we used our big brains in the service of our reptile brains without the hedgerow of Christian teaching to fence them in.

Without God, without Christ, we are capable of anything. There is no bottom to our depravity, no end to our malignant craving for self-gratification. Because we are not animals. Or rather, we are not animals entirely. We are made of the same dust of this earth as any other living thing on this planet. But we alone of all the life on this planet teeming with life have the breath of God within us. We know that we are creatures. We know that we are finite and temporary.

And, if we will admit it, we also know that there is an Other, a being outside ourselves, greater than us, Who is both infinite and eternal. Our inchoate longing for this Other can haunt us. It can drive us to brittle anger and rageful hate that sends us screaming through our years, leaving a past of toppled lives behind us.

The terrors we weave of our unsatisfied longings for God and our refusal to live in the light of His life are the terrors that only a living soul, a creature made in His image who rejects that image in an irrational self-deification, could devise. We are not just animals. We are cathedral builders and bomb builders, poets and beheaders, we are slavers and freedom fighters, abortionists and mothers who lay down their lives for their child. We are the men who protect their families, and the men who kill their families. We are destroyers and builders, killers and nurturers.

No animal possesses this grandeur of good and bottomless capacity for evil. We do.

That is our darkness. It is the darkness of freedom that runs so frantic that it becomes a prison. We are, and we have always been, free. We are not spiders who spin the same web from one generation of spiders to the next. We are free. We can create. We can destroy. We can reject this Other, this God Who calls us but will not force us to love Him. We can even create alter-gods of our own devising, bastardized versions of the real God in whom we attempt to deify our deepest darkness.

The Light of Life that is Christ is the only beacon in the darkness of the hidden places in our own souls. The Gospel message is the message of life. Christianity is the religion of life.

The darkness fights to overcome it with weapons that appeal to our vaunting need to be our own gods. It uses our great facility for language, our enormous creativity, to shape the lies, excuses and bogus philosophies of false belief and disbelief that become tools for tearing down our common humanity and the walls of our civilization.

But the darkness, however many it pulls into its quagmire of lies, never overcomes the Light of Life. This Light shines through us, through ordinary weak and willful Christians who are as afflicted by the fallenness of this world as any other human. We are different in that, though we stumble on the path, we know the Way.

Christianity in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, is the bulwark against the forces of death. It shines the light of Life into the darkness of abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, egg harvesting, surrogacy, human trafficking, the destruction of the family and the whole range of degradations, humiliations, and destructions of the human person who is made in the image and likeness of God.

The howling hatred which is directed at Christians and Christianity is the rage of those who wallow half alive in the sludge and do not want to be awakened from their nightmare. Christianity is the religion of life. It defends life in this world, and, to those who are willing to accept Christ, it gives eternal life in the next.

We are not made for the sludge pits of evil that so many of us call home. We are eternal beings who are made for the Light.

Our great dignity is that of all the creatures and living things on this planet, we alone are free. God sets before us each and every day life and death. We can chose the life of His Light. Or we can chose the death of our many false gods and self gods.

It is no accident that the powerful ideas of the value of the individual, the splendid notion of inalienable human rights and the essential equality of all human beings came into existence within Christendom. Such ideas could not have come to fruition anywhere else. Only the Light of Christ, the enlightening mustard seed of Christianity which teaches that there is neither Greek nor Jew, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ Jesus, could have grown and blossomed into the progenitor of the idea of universal human rights.

This is not a Western notion. It is a Christian teaching.

Even the hairs of your head are numbered.

If you have done it for the least of these you have done it for me. 

Blessed are the poor.

If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that you may have life and that you may have it abundantly. 

Christianity is growing rapidly throughout the world, even as we are moving into a new age of martyrdom. It is growing the way it always has: By voluntary conversion. People who are attracted to the Light, who hunger for Life, are drawn to Jesus because He is the Light and the Life.

Christianity is the religion of life because Christ is the Light of Life.

And the darkness will never overcome Him.

Retirement: Cashing In Before You Cash Out

 

I’m not so much interested in the return on my money, as I am in the return of my money. Will Rogers

I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately, trying to figure out our family finances going forward.

I have an advanced degree in management, with graduate level courses in finance and accounting under my belt. I’ve even taught graduate level courses in management at one of our local universities.

That does not mean that I have a crystal ball about what the markets are going to do in the next decade. In fact, about all it means in real life is that I understand things like beta and r squared and other odd whatnots of data that the investment firms put out there. Truth told, my insight into politics has actually proven to be a better predictor of long term financial trends than technical financial data.

The markets have given us quite a hayride since the turn of the century. We’ve had two big recessions that basically leveled the returns generated in the bull runs that came after each of them. Extreme volatility has been the hallmark of the markets in the first years of the 21st Century.

I kind of knew this was going to happen way back, but not because of my master’s level coursework in finance and accounting. I knew because I understand politics and I saw what most people don’t want to admit: We are electing ideologue puppets who do not care about this country and who have put corporatists in charge of our nation.

So, what does this mean to the retiring baby boomer generation? Just this: You’d better be careful.

As I said, I’ve spent a bit of time lately, re-jiggering our itty bitty retirement savings. That led me to read the info on various investment web sites. One thing that struck me is the paucity of honest advice from the financial services industry for people who are actually in retirement.

Most of what’s out there is a series of useless three, four or five question risk assessment questionnaires that end in a pretty little round chart advising you to put your doh re me into set percentages of equities, bonds and maybe the side bet du jour, such as REITS or commodities. There’s usually a breakdown between percentages of international and domestic investments, but that’s about it.

I’m not arguing that the allocations you choose between equities (read that growth and loss) and bonds (read that income) will pretty much determine how your investments ride the market. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that almost everything you’re doing with your investments is just riding the market.

If what you are doing when you invest is riding the market, and the percentages you chose between growth (and loss) and income determine how your investment boat floats, then that makes those ridiculous questionnaires and their pie charts important. What’s scary about this is that the percentages those charts are advising are totally off for retirees. They are far too risky, and they are based on a laughably fallacious assumption.

These savings, which are often accrued with a self discipline and self denial about money that approaches a fashion model’s discipline concerning food, may well be their owners’ best shot at all the extras and a lot of the necessities of their elder years. Without Social Security, these savings could be all they have between them and what people used to call “the poor farm.”

This pro forma advice, if taken down like the daily dose of castor oil that my grandmother’s generation once administered in the spring time, will probably yield you a reasonable-sized pot of money at the end of your working years. This outcome is nowhere near as certain as the investment websites imply, as those who had to retire in 2008 know. But that is another story.

At that point, you will find yourself looking at the numbers on your computer screen with the knowledge that this is all there is and you’d better not blow it if you don’t want to eat beans and rice for supper every day of your extreme old age. So, you turn to the “expert” advice on those websites and play copy cat with those little round charts and their color-coded percentages.

Sadly, your actual situation and true risk aversion probably have little or nothing to do with the proportions those charts advise. The primary reasons are a fallacious premise and human nature. Let’s take the human nature part first.

The plain truth is that all people lie to themselves about themselves like they breathe.

Those self-lies carry over into the answers you give to the three or four questions that the marketing departments of those various investment firms put out there on the internet. You will say and believe — when you are clicking answers on a questionnaire — that when the market takes a breathtaking dive for the bottom, you will not only hold your investments, you will pile more money into them. You can say that all day long when you’re answering one of those questionnaires. It won’t hurt a bit.

But the real time pain of watching your life’s savings drop, drop, drop like a rock falling into a well is something else again. Suddenly, you’re the star of a gambling movie and you’re letting your lifetime winnings ride on the next roll of the dice. Or, you’re the driver of a car who just pulled out to pass and is staring into the headlights of an on-coming semi.

The older you are, the more you have to lose, the less you can get back, and the harder staring into those headlights becomes.

People duck in those circumstances, and in the parlance of the game, “lock in their losses.”

The first rule of successful investing is “sell high.” If you can’t white-knuckle those blood-curdling dives into portfolio oblivion, you will violate that rule and sell, not only low, but historically low. You will deflate all those years of scrimping and saving and doing without with a single click of the “sell” button.

But what about the person who has no choice? What if, say, you’re actually living off those savings? What if the crumbs that are left on the table after the crash are all you’ve got? What if you have to sell to pay the bills, even if it means liquidating an unrecoverable large percentage of the fund shares you’ve labored to accumulate over the decades?

That’s the point where the advice in those little circular charts with their color-coded admonitions to buy various percentages of stock/bonds//cash/side bets become something approaching criminal. Because if you’ve done like all of us do and lied to yourself about yourself and blithely answered those questions to the gunslinger side of investing, and if you’ve then slavishly followed the advice in the little chart, you are out there with an investment portfolio whose decline you cannot stomach when it dives for the dirt.

Oh, it was great fun when said investment portfolio was soaring toward the clouds. It felt wonderful, like winning at the annual office softball game, to check your score and see the numbers ticking off in a steady climb higher. You’d check those returns and bask in your own brilliance for being such a clever investor.

But when the bitterness of going down the other side of that mountain begins to settle on you, it’s difficult not to feel panic settle on top of that. If you are actually in retirement, rather than preparing for it, that panic is not at all misplaced.

If you have, as I do, kids in college and an elderly mother to care for while you are also figuring out how to keep a roof over your own head, that panic is not only a realistic response, it may very well be an emotionally accurate assessment of your situation.

You can easily find yourself prey to the marketing advice of the disconnected minds on the other side of those little charts. They  advised you to put entirely too much of your nest egg in equities for your situation and your stomach and you did it. Now you, and not they, will pay the price.

I’ve looked at the advice out there for retirees and I believe quite strongly that it is entirely too focused on growing your money instead of spending it while conserving it.

The recommendation to keep a certain portion of your retirement portfolio invested in growth and loss is — at least in the early years of retirement — good advice. But those questionnaires and resulting charts are way off in the percentages they are advising you to take. This is where we get to the fallacious assumption part.

Old-school opinion was to subtract your age from 100 and put that amount in stock. Or, conversely, to put your age in bonds and cash. Either way, the whole scenario was based on the assumption that the human life span ended at 100. It further assumed that people in retirement have less time to make up losses and a need to liquidate assets on a regular basis in order to live off them.

Today’s financial gurus quarrel with that assumption. They claim — with straight faces — that, because “people are living longer than they used to,” we should change the formula and base it on 120. Subtract your age from 120, they tell you, and put that amount in bonds. Put the rest in stock. “Keep your money working for you” by being “100% invested,” which is to say, eschew cash entirely.

All this is based on that magically altered number: 120. This new number, on which the investment industry has millions of nurses, welders, middle management types and professionals betting their retirements, is supposed to reflect the “fact” that “people are living longer” these days.

As if.

How many 120 year old grannies do you know?

The truth is, we’re not living longer. Fewer people are dying young. Our so-called longer life span is just an average that reflects the fact that stable government, better nutrition, vaccines, antibiotics and anesthesia which allows advances in surgery is giving more people the chance to live out their full span of years.

Don’t let these ludicrous claims about “people living longer” persuade you to Invest like you’re in your mid 50s and have a dozen years to work, when you’re really bumping against 70 and drawing down those savings. That’s fantasy investing. It can leave you broke and sucking air at the precise time of your life that you scrimped and saved to provide for in the first place.

In my opinion, if you need to invest percentages in growth and loss that are as high as these websites advise in order to have enough money, you are not ready to retire. You need to change something on a more fundamental level than your portfolio allocation.

Perhaps you should become a one car family, or clip the cable tv, get your books and periodicals at the library and start thinking about visits with the relatives in a nearby state instead of high dollar tours of foreign lands. Maybe it’s time to give up eating out every night and replacing automobiles, appliances and computers while they are still working perfectly well.

In addition to telling you to invest in portfolio allocations that are too risky for your age, a lot of these web sites also advise you to keep on working ad infinitum to “let your savings grow.” They use a full-blown oxymoron to describe this: “Working retirement.”

Get a part-time job they say, or maybe even a full-time job. To which I reply once again,

As if.

Are you saving in order to have money to retire, or are you saving to grow money for itself?

Do you really want to be an old coot, sacking groceries in your “working retirement?” Is that your big plan that you’ve been saving for, to work until you drop?

Whatever it takes, you need to get that growth and loss portion of your portfolio down to the point that those dives into the dirt level off and become dips in the air. You need a big chunk of your money in cash, even if it’s not earning anything, so that when the plumbing breaks or the kids need tuition or Mama has to have a hearing aid you can chin it without being forced to sell low.

And you need to pare your expenses so that these sensibly invested savings, plus Social Security and whatever pension you might have, will keep you going.

Someone should put a big red Stop! sign in front of those questionnaires and their little pie charts. Because they ask the wrong questions and they are based on fallacious premises. They give dangerous advice to vulnerable people.

They should really be asking you things like how much money will you get from other sources besides this little pot of gold you’ve saved? Do you, or will you by the time your retire, own your home? Are you saddled with short-term debt such as credit card debt and department store loans? How many miles do you put on your car each year? How healthy are you? Is your house energy efficient? What are your human liabilities: Do you have aged parents to care for, kids to educate, a disabled spouse or child?

And oh yes, what will you do when the markets tank? What is your contingency plan for the days, months, weeks and years when the whole thing craters and you are left holding a couple of quarters on the dollar of what you had before? Because it will. The only thing uncertain is when.

Sure. It has historically always come back.

In time.

But how are you gonna live while the tide is out?

The real questions, as far as risk is concerned, are (1) how much (and how long) of a dive can you take without cutting and running, and (2) how will you fare while your savings are bottom feeding? Remember: It took 10 years for the markets to come back after the crash of 1929. That’s scary stuff. But it is also a fact.

The difference now is the leveling influence of Social Security and unemployment compensation on the economy. No matter what happens, Social Security keeps pumping money into the economy. People tend to forget that, but the “earnings” of Social Security and unemployment compensation act much the same way on the economy that dividends act on stocks. They level out the troughs.

Your questions of personal survival in the choppy waters of macro trends are only partially based on the psychology that says that you and everyone else gives wonky answers on those little questionnaires. There is a bottom line here and it’s hard as concrete. How do you plan to survive and keep your obligations during those down times?

There are answers to these questions, but you won’t find them in the boring and simplistic advice being churned out by investment firms’ marketing pages. Even in retirement, investment firms are advising you to swing for the fences.

That’s bad advice. Get that growth and loss portion (stocks) down to manageable levels. Raise the income-producing portion (bonds) and non-productive but safe cash portion up accordingly.

If you’re in need of a formula, the traditional advice to keep your age in bonds and cash and put the rest in stocks is time-tested and simple.You don’t need an advanced degree to figure it out, and, unlike the advice coming from those little charts, it’s based on your reality.

Don’t worry about what-ifs like whether or not interest rates will rise. If you have cash, that’s more money for you, and if your bonds fall, they’ll keep paying themselves interest and buying more shares of themselves in the bond fund and, well, you and compounding will win out in the longer while. The trick is, don’t sell them while they’re low.

Which goes back to cash. I can’t emphasize enough that you need to keep a chunk in cash so you can live, no matter what. Assess your real-life responsibilities. Put yourself on both a short-term and a long-range budget. Ignore those questionnaires and their cutesy little pie charts. Make sure your Congressperson knows that anybody or any political party that messes up Social Security is going out the door, feet first.

Then fold up the investment planning for a year and get back to living.

All will be well.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X