02/19/13

Facing Matters Down

Arlene from Israel

Briefly I want to return to the issue of what will happen vis-a-vis Iran when Obama is here — this time sharing Barry Rubin’s sardonic take in “What Obama faces in Israel” (emphasis added):

“…Presumably, the US delegation and Obama will emphasize their optimism about negotiations with Teheran and express wishful thinking that the June election will result in a more moderate government…In other words, they will preach hope and patience.

“In addition, they will stress that all options are being kept open and that the United States will never accept Iran having nuclear weapons…Personally, I don’t believe that Obama will ever attack Iranian nuclear facilities or support such an Israeli operation.

(Rubin has indicated in other articles that it is his opinion Israel will not attack Iran alone. Here he speculates as to how hard Netanyahu will push on this issue, but assumes he will warn that negotiations won’t work.)

“…The reality is…that Obama will continue to deny that his strategy is one of containment. That will go on until Iran gets nuclear weapons and Obama switches to an open containment strategy…It’s important to understand that there’s ‘good containment’ and ‘bad containment.’

“On that point I need say only two words: Chuck Hagel. He will likely be US secretary of defense. Want four more words? John Kerry, John Brennan. They will be secretary of state and CIA chief. The problem of terrible ideas meeting terrible incompetence.

“If the Unites States is going to end up focusing on containing Iran — stopping it from using nuclear weapons or giving them to terrorists — it better be done well.

“At the end of the meeting, everyone will then state publicly that the talks show the continued strength of the US-Israel alliance and that Obama is a great president and a wonderful friend of Israel. Then Obama will return to Washington and get back to the business of installing or helping anti-Israel Islamist governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey; making sure Israel is never too tough against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and losing credibility with America’s anti-Islamist Arab and other friends.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=303570

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Rubin doesn’t fool around, and doesn’t engage in polite double-talk or in obscure pedantic analysis. Pretty much he tells it like it is, and that’s I why I cite him often.

When responding to current issues on Iran, however, it’s difficult not to wonder if he’s unduly cynical. Much of what he describes here feels absolutely on the mark. But is he correct that Obama will never back any Israeli action on Iran? Don’t know.

Obama fully supported Israel’s action in Syria — which I read as a case of “I don’t have the will or courage to act here, even though I said I would, but I’m glad you do.”

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And what about Rubin’s assessment that Israel — if facing total non-cooperation from Obama — would not act alone?

What continues to be clear is that Netanyahu is without illusions in terms of what needs to be done. Speaking to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors yesterday, he said (emphasis added):

“Have tough sanctions stopped North Korea? No. And the fact that they produced a nuclear explosion reverberates everywhere in the Middle East, and especially in Iran.

…Sanctions alone will not stop the nuclear program of Iran. They have to be coupled with a robust, credible military threat. If they are not, there’s no chance to stop it. If they’re coupled with that military threat, there is a chance to stop it. And if it doesn’t stop it, then it will have to be stopped another way.

Netanyahu also said that once he forms his government (something that’s taking a long time), his highest priority will be stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Just as Iran will be the most important subject he will discuss with President Obama when he arrives.

We shall see…

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Can you believe this? Believe it: When Obama is here President Peres is going to present him with a presidential medal. A revoltin’ development. I have a good friend who says I have no reason to be surprised, since Peres received such an award from Obama and is merely returning the favor. And she is absolutely correct. But revoltin’ it is.

I, with many many others, was opposed to Peres receiving that medal in the US because Obama had ignored all requests to release Pollard. He missed an opportunity to make a huge public statement. And now, Obama will, in all likelihood, receive his medal while Pollard, seriously ill, still languishes in prison. This, even though even more voices have been now raised seeking his release.

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A 1987 study ordered by the CIA was released recently. What it shows is that Pollard’s handlers instructed him to seek information about “Arab (and Pakistani) nuclear intelligence; Arab ‘exotic’ weaponry, including chemical weapons; Soviet aircraft; Soviet air defenses; Soviet air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles; Arab order-of-battle, deployments, readiness.” And also PLO headquarters in Tunis.

This was all information relevant to Israel’s security. Never, said the study, did Pollard’s handlers “request or receive from Pollard intelligence concerning some of the most sensitive US national security resources.”

“The Israelis never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities or equipment.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/163173

This is exceedingly important information: in no way was the US compromised by Pollard’s work. Particularly in light of this, his life sentence is a travesty of justice and totally inconsistent with sentences meted out to others who have acted similarly. What is more, Pollard has expressed remorse for what he did.

It would be an act of justice and simple humanity for Obama to now commute Pollard’s sentence to time served.

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A petition calling for Pollard’s release will be presented to Obama when he’s here.

Recently, Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, met with Pollard’s wife, Esther. During that meeting he had an opportunity to speak briefly with Pollard by phone:

Related Lapid,. “The conversation brought tears to my eyes. He is in very bad health. He is desperate and broken.”

Pollard said to him, “All I want is to return home and spend the rest of my life with my wife, who has filled her days with enormous efforts to secure my release. Please help me.”

Credit: IsraelMatzav

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Much was made of a move by Egypt last week to flood smuggling tunnels that run under Rafah from the Sinai to Gaza. This was said to be part of a commitment by the Egyptian government made at the time of the ceasefire regarding hostilities between Israel and Hamas in Gaza — a commitment to stanch the flow of new weapons to Hamas from the Sinai.

“Egypt will not tolerate a two-way flow of smuggled arms with the Gaza Strip that is destabilizing its Sinai peninsula, a senior aide to its Islamist president said, explaining why Egyptian forces flooded sub-border tunnels last week.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/18/us-palestinians-tunnels-egypt-idUSBRE91H0JA20130218

The idea, it was said, was to keep water in the tunnels for sufficient time to destabilize them, so that they then collapsed — easier than destroying them mechanically or by explosives (which is near impossible because of adjacent housing).

As recently as Sunday, an Egyptian military spokesman said that they had found over 225 tunnels and that flooding was continuing.

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But as of yesterday, Egypt Independent (cited by IMRA) reported that (emphasis added):

“Sources in Sinai, however, say that the water is being drained out and announced that the targeted tunnels would be functional again in a week.”

The Independent, furthermore, refers to the flooding as a “punitive” and not a security measure.

http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=60142

The fact is that besides being used for smuggling of weapons and terrorists, the tunnels are also used for commercial purposes — bringing goods into Gaza. For this reason alone, Hamas was furious about the flooding.

BBC Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison tweeted that: “tunnel flooding story has a lot of pick up but no sign tunnel trade badly damaged. No queues 4 fuel. Plenty of cement in shops.”

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There are reports from Egyptian media that a delegation of high-level Egyptian security officials will be visiting Israel soon. It is anticipated that the security situation in the Sinai will be high on the agenda.

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Last week, seven wounded Syrian refugees from rebel forces. who showed up at the border on the Golan, were permitted into Israel.

This was a unique situation, extended for humanitarian purposes because of their medical condition. One was critically wounded and the other six, who ultimately required surgery, in serious condition. They were first treated at the border and then transferred by military ambulances to a hospital in S’fat. They have been kept away from reporters.

Both the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and Israeli law would forbid their being forced back into Syria, given their situation.

But IDF officials have made it very clear that this incident does not set a precedent and that Israel was NOT going to start permitting Syrian refugees to come over the border. It would be disastrous to do this.

The Times of Israel is reporting (tentative) plans by the IDF to set up a field hospital right at the border with Syria, so that other refugees seeking medical attention could be treated there and not brought farther into Israel.

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Black joke of the day:

Syrian President Bashar Assad — who hopes to run again for the presidency next year — has been quoted by Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London) as saying, in the course of a meeting with Jordanian officials, that, “The images of carnage are painful. Some people forget I am flesh and blood. I’m not a wild animal and you must keep in mind I am a doctor [ophthalmologist] and it pains me to see death.”

Meanwhile, Syrian rebel sources are saying that 50 people were killed when Assad’s forces fired a surface-to-surface missile into a residential area in Aleppo. The charge is that the residential area was deliberately targeted, and that there were also mortar shells fired at houses.

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Assad’s plaintive request that people “keep in mind that I’m a doctor” interested me, nonetheless.

For it happens that there have been a few doctors here in the Middle East who have been involved in gratuitous murder of innocents, usually in the course of roles they’ve played in terror organizations. I think, for example, of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, who was a certified pediatric medical doctor. Or Egyptian medical doctor and surgeon Ayman al-Zawahiri, who assumed the leadership of al-Qaeda after bin-Laden.

I’ve never understood how they could do the things they’ve done, when trained to save lives.

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Compare this, please, with the action of IDF medical personnel who moved to treat Syrian rebels (described above) who may well be Islamists, and perhaps even members of al-Qaeda.

Dr. Oscar Embon, the director. of the Ziv Medical Center in S’fat, where the rebels are being treated, told CNN, “We treat patients regardless of religion, race, nationality and give the best care we can provide.” He said that Israeli doctors frequently treat people from groups with which Israel has tensions, or even is engaged in conflict.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/17/world/meast/israel-syria/index.html?iref=allsearch

02/19/13

Getting Gored: Michael Mann’s Apocalyptic Prophecies and Al Jazeera’s Green Jihad

By: Mark Musser
American Thinker

In a recent interview, Al Gore lamely defended the sale of his ailing Current TV channel to Al Jazeera because of the network’s strong coverage of Climate Change — something which Al Gore thinks the American media needs to emulate. Shockingly, Gore extolled Al Jazeera as a respectable independent news agency, even though the network is funded by oil-rich Qatar. Qatar belongs to the OPEC cartel, which is a conglomeration of giant state-owned oil companies that manipulate oil markets and help fund Middle Eastern terrorism.

One of the reasons why Al Gore was impressed with Al Jazeera’s coverage of Climate Change is because Michael Mann, the poster boy for the global warming and/or climate change apocalypse, has been extensively featured by the pan-Arab network. In 2012, Michael Mann was interviewed three times by Al Jazeera on the network’s Inside Story Special Report. Mann, professor of meteorology and the director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University, is the leading prophet of climate change Armageddon. Mann was at the center of the Climategate scandal when thousands of e-mails from East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) were released, exposing embarrassing correspondences among scientific colleagues bent on warning the world about the imminent global warming apocalypse. Thanks to Climategate, Mann is widely known for his “nature trick,” which he used to help “hide the decline” by piecemealing together disparate sets of data — all so that his infamous hockey stick graph could show unprecedented global warming over the past 50 years.

In celebration of Earth Day, Al Jazeera interviewed Michael Mann on April 24. During the interview, Mann called on Obama to free up his environmental all-star team that the president appointed in order to assert their implementation of climate change policies. The Obama all-star team Mann celebrated included environmental zealots John Holdren and Lisa Jackson. Holdren views capitalism as inherently harmful to the environment and has been warning of apocalyptic eco-catastrophes since the 1970s. Jackson was the head of the EPA during the first four years of Obama’s administration. In 2012, she was embroiled in a serious controversy over medical experiments where human beings were purposely subjected to diesel fumes the EPA already said were lethal. During the experiments, diesel fumes mixed with air coming from a running truck just outside the building were piped directly into the lungs of volunteer patients who were placed inside a gas chamber.

The last time experiments with exhaust fumes were conducted on humans for “scientific research” was when Nazi euthanasia experts were looking for a more efficient means of liquidating the Jews. In contrast, of course, environmental zealots are trying to liquidate the modern carbon economy. However, under the guise of acting on behalf of everyone’s health, the EPA has crossed a pathological line into territory where people potentially have been treated like experimental animals under questionable methods that conjure up the horrors of the Holocaust.

Yet Michael Mann and Al Gore, like so many other green prophets of doom, are fond of using the derogatory caricature “denier” to portray climate skeptics as a group of uneducated, backward reactionaries metaphorically akin to Neo-Nazi Holocaust-deniers — an issue discussed during the Earth Day interview. However, greens like Mann should perhaps look in the mirror. The German Green Party chairman, Claudia Roth, recently high-fived Iranian ambassador Ali Reza Sheikh Attar at a security conference in Munich. According to the Jerusalem Post, Roth visited Iran in 2010 donning a head scarf and met with Iranian leaders who are Holocaust-deniers and supporters of the destruction of Israel. Even Al Jazeera has been highly instrumental in the promotion of anti-Semitism in the Middle East.

Environmentalists like Mann and Gore are also unaware that one of the latest persons to be charged with Holocaust-denial was Ursula Haverbeck, the wife of Green Nazi Werner Haverbeck. Werner Haverbeck (1909-1999), former Hitler Youth member and Nazi environmental leader of the Reich’s League for Folk National Character and Landscape, was heavily involved in the establishment of the German Green Party during the late 1970s and early ’80s, along with Austrian Nazi Guenther Schwab (1904-2006). In fact, many of the original card-carrying National Socialists in the 1930s and ’40s were greens.

Green Nazi Guenther Schwab himself was one of the original popularizers of the global warming apocalypse. While some scientists dating back to the 1800s had theorized the possibility of minor global warming coming from industrial pollution, in 1958, Schwab converted this scientific theory into an apocalyptic crisis that would eventually flood the lowlands of the earth with the melting of polar ice due to the rise of unprecedented CO2 levels.

Michael Mann believes likewise. During his interview on Earth Day, Mr. Mann made it clear that unless climate change is taken seriously, rising CO2 levels will destroy the environment and the economies of the world. Mann prophesied that by the end of the century, the planet will warm up by 8-10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Eager not to let any weather crisis go to waste, Al Jazeera and Mann got together again: with two long interviews after the Colorado wildfires in July, and then more airtime after Hurricane Sandy in late October. Mann warned Al Jazeera viewers that such disasters are only harbingers of more extreme weather events yet to come thanks to rising CO2 levels. In fact, according to Mann, the atmosphere has fundamentally changed over the last century, sea levels have risen by a foot, and the last 20 years have been the hottest in 400 years. As such, the world has only five to ten years to make drastic environmental regulatory changes in order to avoid disaster. Mann wants to hold the earth’s thermostat at 2.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial times.

It is truly astonishing to watch Mr. Mann complain about big-money corporations in America without the slightest concern that he was being interviewed by an Arab network funded by an OPEC nation — the very ground zero of big oil and its internationalized carbonized weather that has ties to terrorist activities. Environmentalists like Mann and his extremist colleagues have already cost the U.S. economy dearly over the last two decades because of their green ideology favoring nature over people. Now the environmentalists have a new rich ally with the addition of an Islamic green agenda. Even the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who was also instrumental in the founding of Al Jazeera, has entered into the climate change debate, alongside Al Gore and Michael Mann, by taking steps to begin converting his nation into a green mecca.

However, Mann’s new Islamic friends are undoubtedly far more interested in using American environmental regulations to weigh down the present U.S. shale gas boom and the great successes of oil fracking that will invariably cut into their bottom lines than they are in the environment. In fact, Al Jazeera’s collaboration with Michael Mann and Al Gore mimics the United Arab Emirates’ funding of Matt Damon’s anti-fracking movie, Promised Land. If the gas and oil boom continue, at some point, America may no longer even need Middle Eastern oil.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the sheiks are more than willing to spend $100 million to buy off Al Gore and give Mann interview time to tout his doomsday warnings. What do the Arabs get for a return on their investment? Al Gore and Michael Mann work arm-in-arm with Muslims to make sure the United States is never able to become energy-independent even though North America is sitting on oceans of oil. On the other hand, environmental zealots of the global warming apocalypse have also received new life thanks to oil and blood money coming from the Middle East via Al Gore and the sale of his TV channel to Al Jazeera.

Mark Musser is a contributing writer for the Cornwall Alliance, which is a coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a balanced biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development. Mark is also the author of Nazi Oaks: The Green Sacrifice of the Judeo-Christian Worldview in the Holocaust, which has been recently expanded, updated, and republished.

02/19/13

Runaway Slave – A Movie Review

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Runaway Slave

From the back cover:

Runaway Slave is [a] brave and powerful documentary film, which exposes the economic slavery of the black community to the Progressive, big government policies of the U.S. government. The film’s heroes are black conservatives who are speaking out so that all Americans can truly be “free at last.” The film’s central figure is Rev. C.L. Bryant, a self-professed “runaway slave.” A former NAACP chapter president, Garland, TX, CL is a former Democratic Radical who escaped the bondage of Progressivism and denounced the shackles of entitlements. He has committed himself to helping others secure the blessings of liberty that are guaranteed by the Constitution. Rev. Bryant is an active FreedomWorks Fellow and [an] inspirational Tea Party speaker. He has appeared on Glenn Beck, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, ABC News and many other news outlets.

Starring: Glenn Beck, C.L. Bryant, Herman Cain, Andrew Breitbart, Alveda King, Star Parker, Jesse Lee Petterson, Thomas Sowell, David Webb and Allen West.

This is an incredible movie. Moving and inspirational, I simply love it. I had heard a great deal about the movie, it did not disappoint. It made me feel hopeful, patriotic and motivated me to keep fighting. There are still great people out there, doing great things and it lifts my soul.

Watching C.L. Bryant travel from Progressive liberalism to Constitutionalist Conservative was breathtaking. Since I don’t care about parties (I see Progressives on both sides of the aisle and fight it wherever I see it), I was impressed that at one time Bryant was a high-level Democrat, leading the way for the NAACP before he saw the light so-to-speak.

I am deeply angry over the way the Progressive Left has treated Black America. Using manipulation, false promises and subversion, they are committing the most heinous form of repression and racism. These Americans need to know they are free to prosper, free to be great, free to live as they see fit. Their only chains are the chains placed lightly on them by Progressives, who preach the exact opposite of what they do.

Rev. C.L. Bryant is to be commended and thanked deeply for making this film. Black America needs to get off the Liberal Plantation and immerse themselves in the exceptionalism that is their true heritage. Buy this movie, show it to your family often (especially the children). We must break the bonds of Marxist slavery and embrace our Constitutional freedoms.

02/19/13

President’s Day Lessons

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

What is being taught to our children about President’s Day? Are they being taught about our values and beliefs or is some other agenda being implemented, an agenda intended to marginalize or even destroy the values and beliefs which we hold sacred? There are facts and then there’s the manner in which facts are presented.

My grandson came home from the local public school where he’s in the 6th grade. His teacher had them watch the National Geographic Society’s YouTube video, The Real George Washington. Being good grandparents we decided to watch that very same video.

Having watched other National Geographic Society presentations, I’ve developed a cautious approach to their presentations; their tendency to put a slant on stories isn’t much different than other major news media outlets. It’s not so much what is said; rather, how it’s said, what’s omitted or treated with impunity.

After only a few minutes of the video, the important biographical facts about George Washington were that he was a power hungry young man who lacked military skills and was extremely lucky to have advanced in rank. He made terrible tactical decisions, but because he was so lucky he survived to fight another day.

There was no mention of his strong religious beliefs, perhaps later in the video; but we’d already had enough of tearing down a great man all in the name of being ‘strictly honest.’ The video glossed over his exceptional character, years of self discipline which made him a natural leader; instead there were references to a secret cult like group known as the Free Masons who opened doors of opportunity that eventually led to his becoming president.

If this is an example of what is being foisted off on our youth in the name of national pride; is it any wonder we’ve lost an entire generation, a generation of future citizens who have no idea why America became the greatest nation in the world?

There were plenty of videos to pick from; my next selection was Glenn Beck’s very short YouTube video, interestingly called, The Real George Washington. Within a few moments, the viewer learns that at the tender age of 16, George Washington had already gained the admiration from hostile Indians, those who’d tried to kill him in battle. Here’s a printed version of what Glenn Beck referenced:

“I am a chief, and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior (George Washington, from the day he had horses shot out from underneath him) of the Great Battle. … It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe — he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do — himself is alone exposed. … Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. … Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss – ‘twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. … Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies — he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire.”
[SOURCE: Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, by George Washington Parke Custis, Edited by Benson J. Lossing, Vol. 1, page 248].
[FURTHER SOURCE: "The Diary of George Washington, from 1789 to 1791," Edited by Benson J. Lossing, 1860, p. 303. This narrative was told to Mr. Custis by Dr. Craik - George Washington's Life-long Friend who was with him - and witnessed this remarkable scene. It was first published in 1828].

We asked our grandson if anything like this had been discussed during his President’s Day lesson; it had not. There had been no mention of anything which might touch on a religious or divine connection between the character of our leaders and what it means to be President of the United States of America.

Our children are being indoctrinated to think a certain way; a way that is in direct conflict with the America I love and revere. They are filled with names, dates and places without understanding why these names, dates and places are important.

My grandson knew that 800 AD was the date Charlemagne became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire; but that’s all he knew, an answer to a test question that might show up to see if he read his homework. I’m afraid most of his classmates went home knowing about George Washington in much the same way, just enough to pass a test at school and nothing about the character and integrity the man displayed throughout his life because our schools are not teaching anything about Christian values and morality.

Speaking of Christian values and morality, have you noticed the statistics regarding the advancement of so-called values in our society? Some 41% of children are born to mothers out of wedlock and 53% believe pre-marital sex is okay; but that’s no big deal, is it? There is a pervasive attitude toward moral relativism, that there is no right or wrong and that God either doesn’t exist or He no longer cares about us.

Since it is, after all, President’s Day; I’ll include Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; it’s also his birthday. He once said, “Our youth are growing up in a world saturated with the sophistries of Satan,” a warning that the fabric of our nation’s morality is under constant attack.

In the news, studies have found children are negatively impacted based on television programs they watch. Well, “Duh!” It took multiple research grants to find that out?

“This study followed a group of 1,000 children born in Dunedin, New Zealand between 1972 and 1973. In the ten years when these kids were between 5 and 15 years of age, researchers followed up biennially to measure how much television they watched. By the numbers, those kids who watched more television were more likely to be antisocial and, in some cases, end up with a criminal conviction of some sort.”

Maybe if the Obama administration considered the impact of socially maladjusted individuals, those who’ve been bombarded with violence and a lack of respect for others due to television programs, computer game simulations which depict rape and other abominations all in the name of entertainment or a movie industry which demeans the human condition to such an extent that a few rationally impaired individuals are unable to discern between reality and the delusional world that has overtaken their minds; maybe then Obama wouldn’t be demanding Congress solve the ‘gun violence problem’ through infringements on our God-given 2nd Amendment right and instead would be looking for ways to restore family values which have been ignored by a society which has rejected Christianity and its associated moral teachings. (Have I mentioned my affection for run-on sentences?)

On this President’s Day, I marvel at George Washington in his Farewell Address, his love of liberty and his attempt to explain why he needed to step down and let others take the lead; not exactly a man who only sought power as many would have us believe.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

{…}

“In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.”

{…}

“Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.”

Weighing all the information available regarding George Washington and his place in history; it simply doesn’t add up that he was in it for the power grab as some have portrayed. Perhaps other presidents have exhibited these less than honorable traits; but let’s not tear down a truly great president just so we can justify what others have done. Happy President’s Day.

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

02/19/13

Conscious Capitalism: “The Good, the True, the Beautiful, the Heroic”

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

Wholefoods CEO John Mackey absolutely nails it with his “conscious capitalism” concept.

From Big Government:

john-mackey-ap-photo

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey delivered the opening keynote address for the International Students for Liberty Conference this weekend. Mackey stressed that capitalism has the power to eradicate poverty in the next century, expressed concern over capitalism’s “branding problem”, and maintained that “self-interest” alone is an insufficient moral foundation for the system. The themes presented by Mackey closely followed the premises of his new book, Conscious Capitalism.

Mackey’s analysis re-framed the issue of income inequality. Proponents of government control often point to wealth disparity as a social evil resulting from capitalism. However, Mackey noted that since capitalism’s development just over 200 years ago, overall global per capita prosperity has increased 10x. In nations which have embraced capitalism, the jump in prosperity is even more fantastic—35x in Japan, 100x in the United States, and 200x in South Korea. As Mackey stated, “Capitalism is ending poverty on planet earth. The problem is not that there is an unequal distribution of wealth in the world. The problem is that there is an unequal distribution of capitalism.”

Tangential to the booming economies across Asia, is the issue of Western economic exploitation. Mackey emphatically stated that “the myth that the West got rich by exploiting others has been destroyed by the rise of the Asian tigers.” Of course, this does not mean that Western powers have done no wrong. However, to suggest that Western prosperity is due to exploitation rather than through capitalism ignores the reality of economic transformation brought about through capitalism across Asia.

According to Mackey, “capitalism has a serious branding problem…the recent recession was…blamed on greedy financial corporations, deregulation, and capitalism—market failures—rather than on bad government regulations and monetary policies—government failures.” And, Mackey doesn’t believe we can count on the media and educators to address this misperception. As he states, “Business has been hated by the intellectuals and elites for all time.” Mackey’s PowerPoint presentation provided a compelling reason for this hatred: “Intellectuals resent having less money than ‘less intelligent’ businesspeople, and their status is much lower in a capitalistic society.”

Mackey proceeded to explain how to counter this distortion of reality and how to ensure the public supports capitalism. Rather than solely relying on Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” theory, which Mackey believes concedes the moral high ground, free market proponents must defend capitalism in a more articulate manner. As Mackey states, “Business is good because it creates value for many. It is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange.”

Many defenders of capitalism simplistically state that the primary role of business is to “make money.” Mackey attempts to broaden the view on business. While medical professionals also “make money”, we understand the higher purpose is to provide health care. Builders also “make money”, but the higher purpose is to construct. Likewise, business in general has a higher purpose. According to Mackey, “Business is the biggest value in the creator in the world…That is the purpose of business; business creates value…Business needs to shift from profit maximization to purpose maximization.” Mackey listed Southwest Airlines, Google, and REI as successful businesses which also employed a “higher purpose” in their business strategy.

Of course, “higher purpose” does not impugn profit! Mackey stated, “Profits ultimately create all growth, capital, and prosperity…Profits are created through voluntary exchange, not through the exploitation of people.”

The message of “conscious capitalism” is already providing a fuller understanding of how capitalism is lifting people out of poverty, providing choices, and generating value for all of society. In addition, understanding the concept of a “higher purpose” expands capitalism beyond simply economic laws; instead, it allows businesses to strive to be one of the following ideals mentioned by Mackey: the good, the true, the beautiful, the heroic.

Thanks to Tom.