If you support our national security issues, you may love and appreciate the United States of America, our Constitution with its’ freedoms, and our American flag.
If you support and practice our fiscal issues, you may value worldly possessions.
If you support and value our social issues, you may love Judeo-Christian values.
If you support and practice all these values, that is all good; an insignia of “Wisdom” . - Oscar Y. Harward
National Debt Clock-Click Here-Real Time
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
ConservativeChristianRepublican-Report - 20100126
Promoting "God's Holy Values and American Freedoms"!
"When we all relate to each other as we would like to receive if our roles are reversed, we move closer to utopia. Every one of us can bring this closer, starting now. This includes how we relate to our own family, our neighbors and how we use our wealth and opportunities to help entire nations that lack our advantages." -- Bill Blackman
"When one must, one can." -- Yiddish Proverb
A culture of accountability makes a good organization great and a great organization unstoppable. -- Henry J. Evans
"Daily Devotions" (KJV and/or NLT)
The LORD is righteous in everything He does. (Psalm 145:17)
God is a righteous judge. All righteousness within the entire universe has its origin in Him.
Everything God does is perfectly right in every way. For God, righteousness is not an external standard that He must adhere to; righteousness is part of His very nature. It emanates from His inner being. If God were not inherently holy and just, He could not act righteously. As a result, whatever God wills is perfectly right. It is impossible for God to do anything wrong.
As a judge, He has never made a wrong determination. He has never had to reverse a decision when He learned more facts. No one can question His judgment in all His actions.
When you walk into a courtroom and face the judge, you may wonder, "Who gave this judge the power to decide between right and wrong? Who gave the judge the moral and legal authority to pronounce what is righteous behavior and what is grievous misbehavior deserving punishment?" Furthermore, these judges are subject to human passions and can misuse their authority.
But we are not talking about an appointed judge, prone to weaknesses. An infinite and powerful God does not need anyone to elect or appoint Him, to give Him righteousness. He was righteous before the beginning of time and always will be.
God is the standard by which every evaluation of righteousness must be compared.
Your View of God Really Matters …
If God really is the source of all righteousness, what do you have to do to be righteous enough to please God? Apart from taking God at His word, is there any other way to be righteous enough to satisfy God? (Read Romans 4:3-6 if you need help with this question.)
"The Patriot Post"
"Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve." -- Benjamin Franklin
Re: The Left
"President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- all of whom have in recent years promised unprecedented levels of transparency in government -- are flouting their own words by meeting in secret to write the final version of Obamacare. They are doing this to avoid the public meetings of a bipartisan conference committee representing the Senate and House and the multiple, on-the-record roll call votes required in both chambers on a conference committee report. The most radical expansion of central government power in American history is happening right under journalists' noses, and yet they raise not a peep of protest when the doors close, effectively barring them from doing their jobs at a critical juncture. ... It's time for a sit-down protest by journalists whose first job is to uphold the public's right to know what its government is doing. Invite readers to come join them in demanding open meetings. The last thing Reid and Pelosi want is the spectacle of the Capitol Hill Police dragging protesting journalists away from the closed doors. It's time to show some cojones, people." -- The Washington Examiner
"President Obama is a great admirer of the Mayo Clinic. Time and again he has extolled it as an outstanding model of health-care excellence and efficiency. ... They 'offer the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm,' he wrote. 'We need to learn from their successes and replicate those best practices across our country.' On the White House web site, you can find more than a dozen other instances of Obama's esteem. So perhaps the president will give some thought to the Mayo Clinic's recent decision to stop accepting Medicare payments at its primary care facility in Glendale, Ariz. More than 3,000 patients will have to start paying cash if they wish to continue being seen by doctors at the clinic; those unable or unwilling to do so must look for new physicians. For now, Mayo is limiting the change in policy to its Glendale facility. But it may be just a matter of time before it drops Medicare at its other facilities in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota as well. Why would an institution renowned for providing health care of 'the best quality and the lowest cost' choose to sever its ties with the government's flagship single-payer insurance program? Because the relationship is one it can't afford. Last year, the Mayo Clinic lost $840 million on its Medicare patients. At the Glendale clinic specifically, a spokesman told Bloomberg, Medicare reimbursements covered only 50 percent of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients. Not even the leanest, most efficient medical organization can keep doing business with a program that compels it to eat half its costs. In breaking away from Medicare, the Mayo Clinic is hardly blazing a trail. Back in 2008, the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reported that 29 percent of Medicare beneficiaries -- more than 1 in 4 -- have trouble finding a primary-care doctor to treat them. A survey by the Texas Medical Association that year found that only 38 percent of that state's primary-care physicians were accepting new Medicare patients. But if you think things are bad now, just wait until Congress enacts the president's health care overhaul." -- columnist Jeff Jacoby
For the Record
"For those of you who may have been off the grid over the weekend the big news was an item in a new book by Mullpal Mark Halperin and John Heilemann titled 'Game Change' in which Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as using inappropriate language when describing then-Senator Barack Obama. According to the reporting: 'Reid said Obama could fare well nationally as an African-American candidate because he was "light-skinned" and didn't speak with a "Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one."' Ok. The whole double standard thing was duly marinated over the weekend -- if this had been an Republican would Al Sharpton have given him/her a pass as he did to Reid? And so on. ... President Obama issued a statement forgiving Harry Reid before the ink had even dried on the pages of the book. Yet it took him three days to figure out what to say about the guy who tried to blow up that plane on Christmas Day. Second, according to the reporting, Reid made those statements to 'a group of reporters.' Whoa! Check, please! To a group of reporters? None of whom thought this was newsworthy? For whom did those reporters write, 'My Weekly Reader'? If not evidence of a double standard, then it is certainly evidence of journalistic incompetence." -- political analyst Rich Galen
Faith & Family
"The secular left -- and some self-described Christians -- criticize Brit Hume, the Fox News commentator, for suggesting that the solution to Tiger Woods' problems is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Hume made his remarks on 'Fox News Sunday.' Disclosure: I also appear on Fox News. Hume said, 'My message to Tiger would be: Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world..' That is a message shared for 2,000 years by those who follow Jesus of Nazareth. It apparently continues to escape the secular left that Christians feel compelled to share their faith out of gratitude for what Jesus has done for them (dying in their place on a cross and offering a new life to those who repent and receive Him as savior). In a day when some extremists employ violence to advance their religion, it is curious that many would save their criticism for a truly peace-bringing message such as the one broadcast by Brit Hume. Criticism of Hume has taken two forms. One is that it is hubris to presume the Christian faith is superior to other faiths. The other criticism is that Hume used Fox as a pulpit and if he wants to preach he should resign from the network and go door to door like a Jehovah's Witness. .... Christians like Hume are not trying to impose anything on anyone. They know the difference Jesus has made in their lives and they care enough about others to want to share His message in the hope that other lives will be similarly transformed." -- columnist Cal Thomas
Opinion in Brief
"If there is any lesson in the history of ideas, it is that good intentions tell you nothing about the actual consequences. But intellectuals who generate ideas do not have to pay the consequences. Academic intellectuals are shielded by the principles of academic freedom and journalists in democratic societies are shielded by the principle of freedom of the press. Seldom do those who produce or peddle dangerous, or even fatal, ideas have to pay a price, even in a loss of credibility. ... Even political leaders have been judged by how noble their ideas sounded, rather than by how disastrous their consequences were. ... It may seem strange that so many people of great intellect have said and done so many things whose consequences ranged from counterproductive to catastrophic. Yet it is not so surprising when we consider whether anybody has ever had the range of knowledge required to make the sweeping kinds of decisions that so many intellectuals are prone to make, especially when they pay no price for being wrong. Intellectuals and their followers have often been overly impressed by the fact that intellectuals tend, on average, to have more knowledge than other individuals in their society. What they have overlooked is that intellectuals have far less knowledge than the total knowledge possessed by the millions of other people whom they disdain and whose decisions they seek to override. We have had to learn the consequences of elite preemption the hard way -- and many of us have yet to learn that lesson." -- economist Thomas Sowell
"Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes -- one rich, one poor -- both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?" -- Ronald Reagan
"A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll taken in mid-December showed that 55 percent of Americans believed the country was headed in the wrong direction. Just 47 percent approved of the job Obama was doing as president. Twenty-two percent approved of the job Congress was doing. And a whopping 35 percent have positive feelings toward the Democratic Party. And yet the public seems to like Republicans even less. Just 28 percent have positive feelings toward the GOP -- a rating lower than poll results just before the party's defeats in 2006 and 2008. You can't make as many mistakes as Republicans did and expect to be forgiven quickly. That could lead to a dilemma for voters next November. Many will be fully ready to vote Democrats out of office but will not be fully ready to vote in Republicans. Faced with an either/or choice, they will weigh whether they want to get rid of Democrats more than they want to stay away from Republicans. That dilemma could have been avoided. A slightly less disastrous end to the Republican reign might well have resulted in one or two additional GOP senators this year. And that, in turn, might have prevented some of the runaway Democratic excesses we've seen. Republicans think about that a lot these days, as Democrats overreach in ways that could burden the country for generations. All GOP lawmakers can do now is to oppose. But in their heart of hearts, they know they share some of the blame." - olumnist Byron York
"Well, there's something known as American conservatism, though it does not even call itself that. It's been calling itself 'voting Republican' or 'not liking the New Deal.' But it is a very American approach to life, and it has to do with knowing that the government is not your master, that America is good, that freedom is good and must be defended, and communism is very, very bad." -- National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008)
The Last Word
"2010 is going to be a tough year. We are going to have huge struggles over terrorism, war, shockingly large new deficits and public debt policies, crushing tax proposals on energy, income, health care and many other human activities. We have every right to dissent, and to do so vigorously even on such matters as terrorism policy. Contrary to White House and Democratic Party complaints in the last few days, there is nothing partisan or improper about sharply criticizing such administration policy. As a loyal conservative Republican, I nonetheless wrote an entire book in 2005 criticizing Bush's anti-terrorism policy and operations. As did many other conservative Republicans dissent. At a much, much grander level, Winston Churchill in the 1930s powerfully dissented from a policy of appeasement that Britain's leaders at the time were convinced were vital to secure the peace. Dissenting with honesty, ferocity and courage is one of Churchill's lessons to us today. And, whether fighting as an underdog in a political struggle or trying to keep things together as a breadwinner in this second hard economic winter, Churchill's last words in his last speech in Parliament as prime minister in 1955 are sturdy guides to conduct: 'Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.'" -- columnist Tony Blankley
And Then It's Winter
Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor
By James Rosen
The Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a prominent Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.
Sunday: U.S. Army soldiers patrol inside Pech Valley, Kunar province, in northeastern Afghanistan. Private consultants Checchi & Company won a no-bid contract from the Obama administration to 'train the next generation of legal professionals' in Afghanistan. (AP)
Despite President Obama's long history of criticizing the Bush administration for "sweetheart deals" with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.
The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide "rule of law stabilization services" in war-torn Afghanistan.
A synopsis of the contract published on the USAID Web site says Checchi & Company will "train the next generation of legal professionals" throughout the Afghan provinces and thereby "develop the capacity of Afghanistan's justice system to be accessible, reliable, and fair."
The legality of the arrangement as a "sole source," or no-bid, contract was made possible by virtue of a waiver signed by the USAID administrator. "They cancelled the open bid on this when they came to power earlier this year," a source familiar with the federal contracting process told Fox News.
"That's kind of weird," said another source, who has worked on "rule of law" issues in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about the no-bid contract to Checchi & Company. "There's lots of companies and non-governmental organizations that do this sort of work."
Contacted by Fox News, Checchi confirmed that his company had indeed received the nearly $25 million contract but declined to say why it had been awarded on a no-bid basis, referring a reporter to USAID.
Asked if he or his firm had been aware that the contract was awarded without competitive bids, Checchi replied: "After it was awarded to us, sure. Before, we had no idea."
He declined to answer further questions, however, and again referred Fox News to USAID, saying: "I don't want to speak for the U.S. government."
Asked about the contract, USAID Acting Press Director Harry Edwards at first suggested his office would be too "busy" to comment on it. "I'll tell it to the people in Haiti," Edwards snapped when a Fox News reporter indicated the story would soon be made public. The USAID press office did not respond further.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Fox News' reporting on the no-bid contract in this case "disturbed" him.
Issa has written to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah requesting that the agency "produce all documents related to the Checchi contract" on or before Feb. 5. Citing the waiver that enabled USAID to award the contract on a no-bid basis, Issa noted that the exemption was intended to speed up the provision of services in a crisis environment.
Yet "on its face," wrote Issa to Shah, "the consulting contract awarded to Checchi to support the Afghan justice system does not appear to be so urgent or attendant to an immediate need so as to justify such a waiver."
Corporate rivals of Checchi were reluctant to speak on the record about the no-bid contract awarded to his firm because they feared possible retribution by the Obama administration in the awarding of future contracts.
"We don't want to be blackballed," said the managing partner of a consulting firm that has won similar contracts. "You've got to be careful. We're dealing here with people and offices that we depend on for our business."
Still, the rival executive confirmed that open bidding on USAID's lucrative Afghanistan "rule of law" contract was abruptly revoked by the agency earlier this year.
"It's a mystery to us," the managing partner said. "We were going to bid on it. The solicitation (for bids) got pulled back, and we do not know why. We may never know why. These are things that we, as companies doing business with the government, have to put up with."
As a candidate for president in 2008, then-Sen. Obama frequently derided the Bush administration for the awarding of federal contracts without competitive bidding.
"I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all," the senator told a Grand Rapids audience on Oct. 2. "The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I'm in the White House."
Those remarks echoed an earlier occasion, during a candidates' debate in Austin, Texas on Feb. 21, when Mr. Obama vowed to upgrade the government's online databases listing federal contracts.
"If (the American people) see a bridge to nowhere being built, they know where it's going and who sponsored it," he said to audience laughter, "and if they see a no-bid contract going to Halliburton, they can check that out too."
Less than two months after he was sworn into office, President Obama signed a memorandum that he claimed would "dramatically reform the way we do business on contracts across the entire government."
Flanked by aides and lawmakers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 4, Obama vowed to "end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts," adding: "In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition….And that's completely unacceptable."
The March 4 memorandum directed the Office of Management and Budget to "maximize the use of full and open competition" in the awarding of federal contracts.
Federal campaign records show Checchi has been a frequent contributor to liberal and Democratic causes and candidates in recent years, including to Obama's presidential campaign.
The records show Checchi has given at least $4,400 to Obama dating back to March 2007, close to the maximum amount allowed. The contractor has also made donations to various arms of the Democratic National Committee, to liberal activist groups like MoveOn.org and ActBlue, and to other party politicians like Sen. John F. Kerry, former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont.
Sources confirmed to Fox News that Checchi & Company is but one of a number of private firms capable of performing the work in Afghanistan for which USAID retained it.
For example, DPK Consulting, based in San Francisco and with offices in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, states on its website that it has contracted with USAID and other federal agencies on more than 600 projects involving "governance and institutional development" across five continents.
Among DPK's most recent projects are the establishment of a new public prosecutor's office in Jenin, in the troubled West Bank area of the Palestinian Authority, and the improvement of court facilities in the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia. Similarly, BlueLaw International, based in Virginia, was awarded a $100 million contract by the State Department in April 2008 to strengthen the "rule of law" in Iraq.
Although Obama suggested in his remarks on March 4 that he hoped particularly to address problems associated with defense contracting, an Associated Press analysis last July found that the Defense Department frequently awards no-bid contracts under the aegis of the $787 billion stimulus program, and often at higher expense to U.S. taxpayers.
According to The AP, more than $242 million in federal contracts, or roughly a quarter of the Pentagon's contract stimulus spending, was awarded through no-bid contracts. And while procurement officers say competitive bidding can actually cost the taxpayers more -- because it involves delays and can thereby subject pricing for services and equipment to inflation -- the AP analysis found that defense-related stimulus contracts awarded after competitive bidding saved the Pentagon $34 million, compared with $4.4 million when no bidding was involved.
Figures kept by OMB Watch, a non-profit research and advocacy group that tracks federal spending, show that no-bid contracts have been common under administrations controlled by both parties.
During fiscal years 2000 and 2001, for example, when Bill Clinton was president, as much as $139.2 billion in federal contracts was awarded without competitive bidding. The OMB Watch figures show that the practice appears to have accelerated sharply during the Bush administration, but the figures are not adjusted for inflation.
Click here to read the contract award. https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=eb949a1cea8e807ad22011a88098b614&tab=core&_cview=0&cck=1&au=&ck=
Click here to read Rep. Issa's letter to USAID. http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/2010-01-25_DEI_to_Shah-USAID_-_request_info_Checchi_sole-source_contract_due_2-5.pdf
Obama's Cabinet Picks
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Can you believe, or will you believe President Obama can not and/or will not speak with 6th. graders without a teleprompter? - oyh
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, speaks to the media after a discussion with 6th grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010.
Ten Commandments monument in place at Okla. bank
POTEAU, OK - A Ten Commandments monument that supporters want to put on the lawn of an Oklahoma county courthouse has been installed outside a bank for the time being.
More than 200 people turned out for last week's unveiling of the monument at Community State Bank in Poteau, Oklahoma. The 7-foot by 5-foot granite monument is surrounded by lights.
Le Flore County commissioners initially agreed to put the monument on the courthouse lawn. But they later decided to wait for a Supreme Court decision on a similar monument in neighboring Haskell County.
Haskell County commissioners are appealing a ruling that a monument on their courthouse lawn is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.
Legalism, the Mosaic Law, and the New Testament
by Gary DeMar
American Vision’s offering of E.C. Wines’ Commentaries on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews brought many interesting responses. Some of them were troubling. One emailer asked, “Do you want legalism? I sure don’t!” Keeping God’s law is not legalism. Another emailer wrote, “Under the New Covenant, love the Lord God with all thy heart, mind, soul and strength. Love thy neighbor as thy self, encompasses all the law. We are not bound by Mosaic law! [Matt. 22:36–40].” I pointed out that in response to the question by the Pharisees about which is the Greatest Commandment, Jesus quoted the Mosaic law, in particular Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. Jesus went on to say that “on these two commandments depend the whole Law and Prophets” (Matt. 22:40). Jesus did not say that because of these two laws the law passes away.
Of course, we learn later in the NT that laws related to the redemptive work of Jesus are completed. There is no longer any need for animal sacrifices, earthly priesthood, a stone temple, or circumcision. Jesus is our lamb, priest, and temple. Circumcision is no longer needed because the final seed (Jesus) was born. Circumcision is a blood rite, cleansing the seed. All things related to blood are fulfilled in Jesus. But there is no NT indication that the moral application of the OT law has passed away. Paul makes reference to the OT law when he wants to define love. “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8). How do you know when you love your neighbor? How do you know when you love Jesus? “If you love me,” Jesus said, “you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Paul defines love toward a neighbor in the same way:
For this, “You shall not commit adultery , You shall not murder , You shall not steal , You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:9–10).
Loving your neighbor as yourself is a summary of the law. A summary does not nullify what it summarizes. Love isn’t a substitute for the law; love is defined by the law. Love is not a feeling; it’s an act. Love is what people do.
Jesus had His most vocal disputes with the Pharisees. This has led many Christians to believe that Jesus was opposed to the law, that He had come to nullify the law, because the Pharisees were all about keeping the law. The Pharisees, contrary to popular opinion, did not keep God’s law. They were not “the best people of their day.” The best people were men like Simeon (Luke 2:25), Zacharias (Luke 1:6), and Joseph (Matt. 1:19), and women like Anna (Luke 2:36), Mary (Luke 1:46–56), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:6). Elizabeth and Zacharias “were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6). The commandments of God were neglected by the Pharisees (Mark 7:8). They “nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep [their] tradition” (Mark 7:9). Jesus told the Pharisees that they had the devil as their father (John 8:44), not because they kept God’s law, but because they substituted it for a set of man-made traditions. James B. Jordan sets the record straight about the Pharisees:
We are used to thinking of the scribes and Pharisees as meticulous men who carefully observed the jots and tittles [of God’s law]. This is not the portrait found in the Gospels. The scribes and Pharisees that Jesus encountered were grossly, obviously, and flagrantly breaking the Mosaic law, while keeping all kinds of man-made traditions. Jesus’ condemnation of them in Matthew 23 certainly makes this clear, as does a famous story in John 8. There we read that the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman taken “in the very act” of adultery (John 8:1–11). How did they know where to find her? Where was the man who was caught with her? Apparently he was one of their cronies. Also, when Jesus asked for anyone “without sin” (that is, not guilty of the same crime) to cast the first stone, they all went away, because they were all adulterers.
When the “scribes and the Pharisees . . . seated themselves in the chair of Moses,” that is, when the law was properly taught and applied, the people were to do all that they told them (Matt. 23:2–3a). At the same time, Jesus admonished the people “not to do according to their deeds” (v. 3b) which were contrary to the law (read all of Matt. 23).
Does keeping the law save us? Did it save the Israelites in the OT? James tells us that “for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). One sin, one transgression of the law, is enough to condemn us to eternal judgment. Only Jesus kept the law perfectly. God “made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus “redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8–10). In this sense, we are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:14).
But does salvation by grace through faith mean that Christians are free to live any way they please since they are “redeemed from the curse of the law”? Paul asks it this way: “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Rom. 3:21). In another place Paul tells us that “the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully” (1 Tim. 1:8).
No one ever was or ever will be saved by keeping the law. This is the Bible’s point when Romans 6:14 says that the Christian is not under the law. This is far different from saying that the Christian is not obligated to obey the law as a standard of righteousness. In the very next verse, Paul states, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (6:15).
Sin is defined as “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Obviously some law is still in force or there would be no sin, and if there is no sin then we do not need an Advocate with the Father. In addition, “if we confess our sins [‘lawlessness’]; He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins [lawlessness] and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
While there are many questions about which OT laws still apply under the NT, there is no debate that keeping God’s law is an important part of the Christian life.
Government Unions Win, You Lose
Since President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the U.S. economy has shed 3.4 million jobs and the unemployment rate has risen to 10%. But not all sectors of the economy have been suffering equally. In fact, the sector of the economy most supportive of President Obama has not only avoided contraction, but has actually managed to grow instead.
According to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last Friday, in 2009 the number of federal, state and local government employees represented by unions actually rose by 64,000. Coupled with union losses in the private sector economy, 2009 became the first year in American history that a majority of American union members work for the government. Specifically, 52% of all union members now work for the federal, state or local government, up from 49% in 2008. Or, to better illustrate these statistics: three times more union members work in the Post Office than in the auto industry.
So what? Why should Americans care if unions are now dominated by workers who get their paychecks from governments, instead of workers who get their paychecks from private firms? There's one simple reason: private firms face competition; governments don't.
Collective bargaining, the anti-trust exemption at the heart of a union's power, was created to help workers seize their "fair share" of business profits. But if a union ends up extracting a contract from a private firm that eats up too much of the profits, then that firm will be unable to reinvest those profits and will lose out to competitors. But when a union extracts a generous contract from a government, the answer is always higher taxes or borrowing to pay for the bloated spending. And make no mistake: unionized government worker compensation is bloated.
As Heritage fellow James Sherk notes "[t]he average worker for a state or local government earns $39.83 an hour in wages and benefits compared to $27.49 an hour in the private sector. While over 80 percent of state and local workers have pensions, just 50 percent of private-sector workers do. These differences remain after controlling for education, skills and demographics."
Unionized government employees not only want to keep their bloated compensation packages, but their leaders are desperate for more members and more union dues. That is why public-sector unions have become a fierce lobbying force for higher taxes and more spending across the country. Organized labor once fought against taxes and regulations that impeded the economic interests of their employers, but now they are in alliance with environmentalists pushing private sector and economy-crippling cap-and-trade legislation.
It's worth noting that the BLS did not count the United Auto Workers working for General Motors and Chrysler as unionized government employees. But perhaps they should have. Our country will share their fate unless something is done about unionized government power.
How to Argue with a Liberal… and Win!
by Joel McDurmon
Among the many pleasures that came with my joining the staff at American Vision in 2008, President Gary DeMar revealed to me dozens of boxes of books donated by a long-time supporter. Robert Metcalf and his Christian Studies Center had given a few thousand volumes to American Vision a few years prior, and these volumes needed sorting and stacking in our own libraries. It was almost like Christmas for a few hours each Friday as we opened boxes to see what books each held in store. We found many gems!
Among those gems I kept a curious little paperback called Clichés of Socialism. The title caught my interest and I began to flip through. I found dozens of short chapters each responding to a pithy popular myth promoted by liberals, leftists, socialists, and other societal pests: “The more complex the society, the more government control we need”; “The free market ignores the poor”; “Tax the rich to help the poor,” etc., etc. These and many other myths like them are refuted handily in this book.
Then I noticed that—despite the fact that the book originally appeared in 1962—many of these chapters have profound relevance for today’s debates. Consider today’s debate over socialized health-care, alongside these clichés: “Private businessmen should welcome government competition,” and “The government can do it cheaper because it doesn’t have to make a profit.” Recall the recent attacks on insurance companies making profits, and note the parallel with the same old argument, “No one must profit from the misfortune of others.” Hear the cries against “evil speculators” on Wall Street echoing from decades ago: “Speculation should be outlawed.” Hear the claims about how “the American people” now own 60% of General Motors since the government bailed it out and bought a stake in it, and realized it’s nothing new: “The Government is All of Us,” and “Under public ownership, we, the people, own it.” These myths are still so relevant today that this book will make an especially important reference for today conservatives and lovers of freedom. It may even educate a liberal or two should they have the capacity and willingness to learn.
When I began to read some of the chapters for the first time they immediately struck me as clear, concise, and powerful. Hardly any of them span more than a few pages, making short work of devastating the socialist worldview. Cliché by cliché, the liberals’ fragile intellectual empire crumbles beneath the force of logic, facts, and straight-talk. Written by several of the best conservative and libertarian minds of the former generation—Henry Hazlitt, Murray Rothbard, Leonard Read, Paul Poirot, Hans Sennholz, and many others—the incisive responses display a surprisingly conversational tone and provide many memorable arguments, stories, and examples. These characteristics make them easy and enjoyable to read. I realized quickly that this is a perfect book for the average person trying to combat the forces of socialism that today wish to trample the American Constitution and our legacy of freedom and free enterprise.
So, I decided to get this old book back in print today. Thankfully, the original edition carried an already written permission to reprint the work without special request. But since the original edition appeared in 1962 (only once updated in 1970), the facts and figures and some of the historical references had fallen a bit out date. So I asked permission from the original publisher, The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), to publish an edited version. The staff at FEE—with their eye always on the need for furthering the message of free markets, limited government, and the moral superiority of free choice over government compulsion—amiably agreed with the small request that I make clear note of the things I edited. No problem. The project was on.
After a couple months of typesetting and editing, I arrived at the goal: to present the clarity, brevity, and power of the original work in a modernized version relevant for today’s readers. In doing so, I hope to help equip the average man to see through the many faces of socialism in our culture, and to stifle the retorts of liberals in the modern public square.
With the publication of this modernized, newly-titled edition of this book we at American Vision hope to help take back the America that seems to be slowly slipping away. Conservatives have always faced this feeling as progressives constantly wish to socialize everything and continually try to do so one issue at a time. Today is no exception, and the arguments are always the same. Conservatives just need to learn to stand against them with bravery and optimism. We need bravery to stand against what seems like the large machine of socialism, including the mainstream media, universities, unions, special interests, school systems, entrenched lifetime politicians in Congress, and corruption throughout them all. While they constitute a vast, imposing force, their errors are intellectual and moral. Truth and bravery to constantly state and spread the truth will help bring about their end.
But we must also have optimism. This means we must believe that the truth will ultimately prevail. The lack of such a belief has often caused the wane of conservativism historically, but has also supplied its strength to victory when we have believed. For if we do not believe we can change the future, then why fight for it? Standing up to the powerful institutions of socialism requires bravery, but looking past them to a better day requires optimism as well. Without these two virtues conservatives cannot overcome socialism; with them we just may. The knowledge and character exhibited in this book will equip the reader to build these qualities in his or her own heart and mind. Buy it or download it, enjoy it, and put it to work.
A Lesson from James Madison About Obamanomics
by Austin Hill
He is not a “messiah,” he is not omniscient, and he is not capable, all on his own, of “fixing everything” that is wrong with America.
Here’s another bit of “news” that is beginning to “break:” The President’s repeated attempts to fix everything can actually make matters worse instead of better. And given the results of a poll released last week by Bloomberg news service – according to them 77% of American investors view the President as “anti-business”- it seems that this painful reality of “presidential fixes” is hitting-home.
For those who are surprised by Obama’s heavy-handed, big-government, “anti-business” policy proposals, I respectfully ask “why?” Were you watching and listening carefully during the last presidential election cycle? Or were you, perhaps, just caught-up in the “style” of the Obama experience, and ignoring the “substance” of his rhetoric?
In case you missed it, let me assure you – what we know today as “Obamanomics” is quite consistent with the themes and ideas upon which Senator Obama campaigned for the presidency. The difference, perhaps, is that it apparently “sounded so good” (at least to some people) as campaign rhetoric, but as policy it “hurts so bad.”
Take, for example, the President’s proposed “crackdown” on the banking industry from last week. Lending institutions aren’t lending enough as it is, not even to people with good credit, and threatening banks with more penalties and regulations will likely make this situation worse (notice how the stock market tumbled after Obama’s remarks).
Yet as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama was quite candid about his desire to control banks, so much so that he he once proposed taxing capital. I don’t mean taxing “capital gains,” or interest income. I mean that the man who is now our President campaigned, in part, on a pledge to tax money that is simply sitting in banks.
Our President also campaigned during the 2008 oil price spike on a promise to tax the so-called “windfall profits” of petroleum companies (as though more taxes would have driven prices down); he praised China during the 2008 Olympics for their willingness to “invest” in “infrastructure” (never before in my lifetime had a President openly praised a Communist government); and he frequently lectured about his desire to bring America to “economic justice,” never really explaining what that would entail, yet being clear that the American economic system is inherently “unjust.”
So rest assured – the President’s control over banks, General Motors, Chrysler, and the salaries that executives are “allowed” to earn, are all quite consistent with the vision that the candidate proposed.
But for those who still embrace this “big government” vision, yet are shocked that Barack Obama has allowed corruption to creep-in, I have different questions: why are you so fatally trusting of politicians? And why did you assume that Barack Obama would be corruption-free?
Writing at the Huffington Post last weekend, noted liberal columnist Robert Kuttner expressed frustration that Obama had cut deals with insurance and healthcare companies, in order to move his healthcare proposals forward. Kuttner also lamented that Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) was fighting-off such a huge backlash in his home state over his support of Obamacare that he was running TV ads claiming that Obamacare is not a government run program. “That's one hell of a slogan” Kuttner noted, “for a party that relies on democratically elected government to offset the insecurity, inequality and insanity generated by private commercial forces. If not-run-by-government is the Democrats' credo, why bother?”
Kuttner, like many liberals, is frustrated that Obamacare represents government that isn’t “big enough.” But notice the assumptions with which he is operating: business owners (“commercial forces”) are assumed to be necessarily greedy, self-interested, and destructive, but politicians are thought to be benevolent beings that only bring us the “security,” “equality,” and “sanity” that we need.
Kuttner’s feelings are what they are. But historical facts tell us that market competition tames the bad behavior of business owners (and the healthcare industry can and should be a lot more competitive), while simplisticly handing-over increasing control of economic resources to politicians enables politicians to be corrupt.
Our nation’s fourth President James Madison, writing in “The Federalist Papers” (“Federalist 51” to be precise), said it this way: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government……”
Today, our forty-fourth President Barack Obama is making-good on his pledges to control as much of our economy as he possibly can. Will America change course and embrace the wisdom of James Madison, and of history?
Or must we do things Obama’s way?
"The e-mail Bag"
YOU MAY BE A TALIBAN IF
1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to liquor.
2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can’t afford shoes.
3. You have more wives than teeth.
4. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon “unclean.”
5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared Jihad against.
7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.
8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
9. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least four.
10. You’ve always had a crush on your neighbor’s goat.
11. Your cousin is president of the United States