Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dead Blogging Weekend

My blogroll of favorite sites (more than the ones just shown on my blog links) were extremely quiet this Thanksgiving weekend. Out of the dozens, I think only two had any posts at all. Maybe everybody was with family, out of town, half sussed, totally sussed, away from the computer or maybe something else altogether. I hope everybody enjoyed their time. Happy belated Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Counting the Cost of the "War On Terror"

"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace." Luke 14:28-32.

Gene Redlin at Northern Gleaner posted a short piece that links to a lengthy, detailed defense (by Orson Scott Card) of Bush's noble "war on terror", and asks opponents of the war to read the article and consider how Christians can sincerely support it. Then, if we still disagree, he wants to hear opinions as to why. I've read the article several times and, contra Gene, am more convinced of the wrongness of the war as a result of reading the article. Here's why.

I'm not going to deal with the morality of a generic war on terror, or even other potential wars or types of wars against it in Iraq and Afghanistan, but of the Bush war specifically. The above passage from the bible is one that Jesus used in reference to counting the cost of being one of His disciples. But since He used obvious earthly principles as applications to spiritual realities, they are valid here as well. Much is made in this article of necessary support of the war from both Congress and the American people. The lack of or withdrawal of support will doom the whole effort, and the end result will be worse than what we started with. I don't disagree with that at all. It also points to our kicking ass in Germany and Japan in WWII because of an unwavering commitment, and the result is two free, economic superpowers that benefit the world. It also points to our wavering in Vietnam and the first Gulf war and the eventual withdrawals resulted not only in defeat, but of defeat of our allies:

As happened in South Vietnam. The negotiated peace was more or less holding after American withdrawal. But then a Democratic Congress refused to authorize any further support for the South Vietnamese government. No more armaments. No more budget.

In other words, we forcibly disarmed our allies, while their enemies continued to be supplied by the great Communist powers. The message was clear: Those who rely on America are fools. We didn't even have the decency to arrange for the evacuation of the people who had trusted us and risked the most in supporting what they thought was our mutual cause.

We did it again, this time in the Muslim world, in 1991, when Bush Senior encouraged a revolt against Saddam. He meant for the senior military officers to get rid of him in a coup; instead, the common people in the Shiite south rose up against Saddam.

Bush Senior did nothing as Saddam moved in and slaughtered them. [Emphasis mine]

With a Democratic takeover of both houses, and a promise to do what it takes to withdraw our troops, and severely waning support from the American people, we stand just two years away from also a possible Democrat as president. Also, as the article points out, a war on terror could last for decades and in many more countries than just Iraq and Afghanistan. Now for the rub. Wasn't all this part of the Bush administration's counting of the cost of the war on terror? If not, why not? Conservatives are as of this election year criticizing the Democrats as a party that would purposely sabotage this war effort, severely compromise America's future and leave it ripe for future attacks from terrorists. Would Democrats do this just to gain a political twisting of the knife in the Elephant's side? Of course they would. They're Democrats. And Republicans have not only known this for decades, but they remind us every chance they get.

Yet the Bush administration counted them in as supporters in the war on terror. Every last Republican on Capitol Hill and every Democrat save one supported this initially. So did about 90% of the American people. But was his memory so short as to what happened to his father? One simple broken promise on taxes brought about a monumental crash of support for Bush the First. If he had only kept this one simple promise, the world may never have heard about Bill - or Hillary - Clinton.

If the Democrats are so untrustworthy and the American people are so fickle and have such an instant gratification, video game mentality, then how could they be counted on for continued support in such a war? If this current war strategy is going to be successful, it will need full-blown, unwavering, committed bipartisan and popular support for several decades. I can't think of a single thing in American political history that has enjoyed such support, so why would anybody think something would suddenly attain to this lofty necessity? Yet Bush pledged this support - no, he promised this support - but in reality, because of our political system, he had only a maximum of two years political support from both houses, only six years of his own oversight, and only enough popular support to last until tomorrow's headlines. In short, Bush relied on America in counting the long term cost of such a war. And as I highlighted from the article, (notice the irony here), "those who rely on America are fools." He promised something that was impossible to deliver.

This brings me to address the foolishness of a military solution to terrorism. We kicked ass in WWII because Hitler and Japan were engaged in a military conquest of the world. We also had a stake in it as a nation because both countries declared war against us first. Fire could be fought with fire. Vietnam, Korea and the Gulf are somewhat different because we had no direct defensive reason to win a military war, even though it could still be possible. But this current "war" waged by the "terrorists" isn't the same kind of war. It needs to be fought in a completely different way. It's funny how conservative supporters of this war continually warn of a misunderstanding of what radical Islam and terrorism are about and how they operate, but fall back on a military solution.

Another puzzling thing about conservative support for this war is how they fail to see it as just another form of a government welfare program. The people are coercively taxed to help some underprivileged group of people somewhere else. Instead of the poor living in inner city ghettos or trailer parks, they're in some other country. Soldiers are the equivalent of social workers. And the "exporting of freedom" is merely a transfer of freedom. The freedom of Iraqis increases while ours decreases through draconian "der Homelander Sekkurity" nonsense. We have enough problems with freedom in our own country. Concentrating on freedom in the Middle East is the political equivalent of removing the dust speck from somebody else's eye while ignoring the national forest in our own.

Even if all the principles behind such a war on terror were morally right, the guaranteed folly in carrying it out the way that it is currently is morally wrong. And all the backlash against American citizens abroad and increased hostility, etc, will be the responsibility of the one who really didn't count the cost as he should have in the first place.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Salvation By Law and Teenage Drinking

James Leroy Wilson, in a post at, comments on a House Bill to stop teenage drinking and says this:

We do not mean to downplay the seriousness of teenage alcohol abuse. But that’s different from teenage drinking. Where alcohol is prohibited, it becomes more alluring to young people who want the freedoms adults have. Moreover, because they’re prohibited even in adult company and with adult supervision, drinking is more likely to get out of hand. The law prevents parents and other adults from teaching kids to drink responsibly. Countries in Western Europe that are more permissive toward teenage drinking have far fewer incidents of abuse and of alcohol-related accidents and deaths.

A deskmate of mine at work was born and raised in Eastern Europe under communism before immigrating here after the iron curtain fell. He says it was common for children, not yet even teenagers, to be sent to the store by their parents to buy beer and cigarettes.

In the bible, children (of any age) are instructed to "honor thy father and mother" and "obey your parents." Here in America, the government says, "thou shalt not obey your parents." Like spaghetti? Any good spaghetti sauce recipe I know includes red wine as an ingredient. It won't be intoxicating to anybody because the alcohol will be cooked down. Send your 20 yr/11 month old to the store to pick up dinner... Oops, my mistake. That would be a crime! Shame on me and my kid. And how many responsible married couples aren't yet 21 and can't buy the proper ingredients for dinner?

We live in a society full of self-righteous people who don't bat an eyelash at adding to God's word. Jesus reserved the highest condemnation for such people. Yet politicians are especially prone to this nonsense. And just how successful are our drinking age laws? In my experience, liberals have always pointed out that we are considered adults, have the right to vote and be drafted and killed in the military at 18, but can't drink until 21. They're right. Like Wilson pointed out, laws prevent kids from being trained in responsible behavior. It's at 18 that most kids leave home for college. Guess what age group is the most prone to alcohol problems? It's the 18-21 age group - college underclassmen!

As is always the case, laws that make taboo things that God doesn't result in the greatest problems and in the greatest abuse of the behavior that is the object of control. It is especially problematic when professing Christians get involved. History shows us that a bunch of church ladies created Al Capone through prohibition legislation.

Some things never change. Two thousand years after Jesus warned against the leaven of the Pharisees, we still have Pharisees among us, and it seems they will continue to add to God's word right up until Jesus declares to them, "I never knew you."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Romanticizing the Early Church in Today's American Twilight

Bruce Gerencser at The Hungarian Luddite has posted this on what he thinks of today's church. In it he comments on comparisons between today's church and the church of the book of Acts. Since I've been doing some thinking lately on this comparison and have wanted to post on it, I'll let his post be my spark.

In my circles, there have been many who have complained about how little the American church, American evangelism and American Christians resemble what is read in the book of Acts or the NT epistles. But I've noticed that the most outspoken critics have been those "hyper-spiritual" types who shun not just materialism, but the material as well. They read in Acts how the gospel spread like wildfire, miracles were witnessed, mass conversions occurred, and yes, persecution seemed to be part of daily life for believers. But they have a certain romanticism for the early church times - as if what is recorded in Acts is the only thing there is in life. Because today's circumstances don't match their romantic fantasies, they want out. Some want to travel to third world countries where the gospel hasn't been preached to live out their romances. Don't misunderstand me here, they romanticize not so much about the tactics used by the early church, but romanticize about the outcome. For many of these people, I hope they do get to leave. Life would be better for all of us.

But there are some major, profound reasons why we don't see the early church experience today in America. I wish this were discussed to a much greater extent. Today's America and the early church's Roman Empire are quite different contexts for gospel living. We have completely opposite starting points and are moving in opposite directions. The Roman Empire was in complete gospel darkness. Christ was completely unknown and news to most everybody who heard the good news. Christianity was completely non-existent. Pagan idolatry was life. To the contrary, America had a major Christian foundation based to a great extent on biblical principles and God's law. This from people who came from Europe which already had over a thousand years of Christianity to learn from. Great Christian institutions were part of life, from hospitals to education to civil freedom to the upholding of property rights, etc.

The Roman Empire was a great darkness. Christian ideas were new. America started as a great light. Christian ideas are still so part of life that we take them for granted. In fact, they are so part of our culture that unbelievers don't even recognize most of them as Christian. So when Christians today in America do Christian things, those things are much less recognized as Christian than they would have been in the early church.

Here's an analogy. The early Christians were the stadium lights in a baseball night game played in the darkness of the Roman Empire. The lights were bright enough to allow a game to be played much like during a day game. Today's Christians are the stadium lights turned on for a night game just prior to the setting of the sun. The sun is the Christian foundation of America. It is waning and setting. This twilight situation makes it the most difficult time of the day to see the ball. The stadium lights are fully on and just as bright as they are when it's dark, but haven't taken effect yet because the little sunlight left is still so bright as to nullify the lights.

The romanticists are generally minimalists and fundamentalists who haven't yet figured out how to address our culture and have given up on the task. So they retreat into trying to re-create what they love about the past instead of trying to address the world they live in. Additionally, Americans have heard the gospel mixed with every conceivable perversion, coming from antinomians, legalists, swindlers, idolators, liars and egomaniacs. It has been wrapped in the cheesiest of plaid leisure suit wearing used car salesmen tactics. When Americans hear the gospel, they yawn. The gospel and Christian love are just as simple today as they were in the book of Acts, it's just that the result is more sophisticated because of what kind of culture has been built for us. Bruce is right to feel ill at the institutionalized church. Institutions and bureaucracies are incapable of love; they are soulless abstractions that do fair amounts of damage. Our culture, as a result, doesn't see the love it needs to see in order to believe the true gospel when it hears it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Roses Smelling

Okay, nevermind.

Smelling Roses

My #17 Cal Bears are in the LA Coliseum right now to take on the #4 USC Trojans. A Cal victory will ensure our first Rose Bowl since 1959. Of the 10 teams in the Pac10 and 11 teams in the Big10, Cal has the longest Rose Bowl drought. Only Arizona hasn't been to the Rose Bowl, but then they weren't even added to the Pac10 until 20 years after Cal's last appearance.

My freshman year was the incredible nix of John Elway's last-minute, bowl berth, Heisman Trophy bid, length-of-the-field drive to beat Cal in his last college game. Of course, Elway made maybe the greatest mistake in the history of football when he called time out then looked at the clock, instead of looking at the clock and then calling time out. His blunder left Stanford with 8 seconds to kick a field goal to win. The would-be game winning kick took only 4 seconds, forcing one last technicality of a kickoff. Of course, 5 laterals and running through the Stanford band later, Cal pulled off the greatest play in football history. As sweet as that memory is, we need a Rose Bowl berth today.

Evangelicalism: Protestantism's [Smaller] Rome

The Protestant Reformation railed against what was deemed to be unbiblical excesses of the Roman Catholic church. Power concentrated in the clergy, clergy-laity distinctions, priesthood of priests, the papacy, church leaders speaking ex cathedra - in short, usurpations of authority. The doctrine of the priesthood of believers was promoted to show the actual standing of individual believers before God. Every believer was a priest. But also closely linked were doctrines of family and vocation. These doctrines served to show how "government" (i.e. authority) was de-centralized and that God placed authority in the hands of individuals. Tyranny was replaced with liberty.

But something has happened over the last 400 years in Protestantism to nullify these doctrines. Although it didn't take 400 years, today's typical structure of evangelical ecclesiology reveals it. Oh, the doctrines are still given lip service, but practically they are denied. The pastor is the man in charge, and what he says, goes. In churches that believe in a plurality of elders/pastors, quite often this group of men lord it over the flock. A "priesthood of the clergy" mentality reigns. Instead of the sheep ministering, the pastor is viewed as the minister. Church leaders dictate doctrine to their congregations and require adherence to creeds, confessions, by-laws and statements of faith as requirements for "membership." This is then used against Christians who don't fully agree, even if their views are quite biblical. In essence these leaders are speaking ex cathedra, where the church is the final court of arbitration in all matters, and they forget their "protest" against medieval Rome for the same thing. Leaders control (i.e. lord over) all the ministries of the church and no ministries outside of the institutional structure are legitimized. Even though commands in the bible are given directly to individual believers (e.g. the "one anothers", not the "body anothers"), the churches assume a mediatorial position between gifts of believers and their exercising thereof. The pastor is simply a smaller version of the pope.

Lip service is given to the priesthood of all believers. This doctrine is clearly taught, where each individual is responsible for interpreting Scripture for himself and applying it to his own life - just as long as their conclusions are the same ones reached by the church leadership.

I'm praying for another "protestant" reformation in the church that will result in the freedom for which Christ set us free.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It's Veteran's Day and I'm Glad I Never Served

Today is "Veteran's Day" and I'm very glad and thankful that I never "served" in the military. I don't have a military bone in my body. A 5:30am bugle is anathema to me. I do pushups only of my own volition. I don't use toilet facilities in full view of others or in a foxhole outdoors. Motel 6 is roughing it, and I prefer soundproof walls and solid porcelain, thank you.

I've been reminded so many times in my life that I fall into the first generation not to be subject to a military draft. I was however coerced with threats of prison (and an unwanted boyfriend named Bubba, no doubt) by our compassionate government to register for the draft on my 18th birthday. The last draft used was for the Vietnam war, and talk revived during the first Gulf war, just short of my being too old. That draft talk was frightening to me then. But it has been revived yet again, and I fear for my sons' freedom when they are old enough to face the same coercion.

The bible is clear in the Old Testament about military service being voluntary. Those who are scared or who are recently married are not to serve. God only wants dedicated volunteers, and I joyfully hold this truth for my country today. The idea of a draft is unbiblical. Even though my father served in the navy and his father in WWI and several other uncles and cousins since then, I never felt any compulsion to serve in any capacity. In fact, my dad told me he would kick my ass if I ever joined. That had no effect, as I would be too scared to go to war anyway. Sorry, warhawks.

But I even held my fear of military service, before my conversion to Christianity, while I was a Republican warhawk. I wanted to nuke Iran in '79 - quite literally - and Iraq in '91. The smart bomb techno war in the Gulf turned me on. I saw several stories about our pilots in their early 20's listening to heavy doses of death laden heavy metal music (my favorite genre at the time) just prior to their sortis that killed thousands. Carpet bombing a hundred thousand Iraqis into another world was quite thrilling to me (their families were just as guilty as Saddam because they dared support their men against the US of A). I never had the slightest problem with civilians being killed, either, because they were just worthless dregs of humanity that could never amount to anything resembling Americans. My pro-death, pro-military attitude was in full force, just as long as somebody else was over there fighting the war.

Today, I still couldn't serve in the military. If my neck of the woods were attacked by an invading foreign power (or a domestic one as well) I could see myself fighting out of necessity, but only in a militia or as a freelance warrior. My tactics, odd as it may seem to most Americans, would be quite similar to those of the "insurgents" in Iraq. I would subject the invaders, even decades after a successful invasion, to blind, "random" (to their minds) attacks. I could be an invisible sniper or something similar. I'm a Christian, but not a pacifist. I wouldn't rule out extreme torture or grotesque body disfiguring or mutilation of captured soldiers as means of psychological torment and warning to other invaders. I've never understood the concept of "rules of war" and as a holder of private property, there would be no rules for self-defense. If my life were unlawfully threatened by anybody, military or otherwise, I see no restraint whatsoever in defending myself from them. Anything would be fair game to save my life or the lives of my loved ones. None of this means I support torture tactics used currently by the US in the "war on terror" because I don't see our current was as moral in the first place. But maybe the idea of "rules of war" such as the Geneva convention are useful in restraining states from gross evil when acting out of their own self-interest.

I sincerely hope I never have to engage in anything close to this in my life. I hope the same for our sons and their sons. I do believe in the biblical promise that the nations will beat their swords into plowshares. I hope this happens within my lifetime. Meanwhile, I'm still thankful I never served in the military and am quite convinced that my life is much better because of it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

America's One Party System: The State

I remember a number of times during the cold war seeing stories about elections in communist countries. They had ballots and showed up to vote just like we did in America. With one small difference. There was only one candidate for each office, the communist state party candidate. Of course, he won. Naturally, this was a source for ridicule. Here in America, we had more than one choice. Each candidate had differing views and different ideas. We had true freedom - or so I was taught.

I wrote a few posts ago on the idea of divided government as a political strategy, or at least as favorable to one party rule. The idea is that if the different branches of government are divided between parties and ideologies, they will have a greater tendency to cancel each other's ability to dominate the people. But, I'd like to look at this from a slightly different angle.

Imagine a huge tug of war match between the Democrats and Republicans. It takes place on a football field, and the rope is placed in the center of the field on the 50 yard line. The winner will pull the opposing team across its own goal line. There are a few dozen people on each side. The match starts, and after a few minutes one party takes a good advantage. The other exerts a large amount of energy and stops the progress. Then they take the advantage. On this goes for quite a long time, back and forth. Hopes rise, then fade, then fall, then rise again. But the match keeps going.

But going quite unnoticed, one team has a slightly larger percentage of people anchoring with their left feet, and the other team has a slightly larger percentage anchoring with their right feet. This is a small effect, but since it is mirrored from one side to another, the net result is movement in the lateral direction - toward one of the sidelines. While everybody is focusing on the visible back and forth tugging, the real story is that the whole group is heading out of bounds.

So while we see the liberals and conservatives fighting back and forth, pitting ideals against each other, the real story is that they have something far more destructive in common. Despite their differences, they are all still politicians, all public masters and not public servants, all power hungry statists, all desiring to control other people. Their very visible differences mask what they have in common. Yes, it's true that there are ideologues on each side, fighting for their pet causes, and this tends to slow the real agenda of state control, but it only limits it - it doesn't stop it.

Although the communist countries have only one "choice" in an election, we still have something very dangerous in common with them - one state.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Church Government: I've Recently Changed Positions

There are and have been numerous forms of "church government" now and throughout history. But the "biblical" form of government, or so I have been taught in my circles, is the one known as "elder rule." Churches are independent from denominations or other outside influences, but within the church, the ordained elders rule within the congregation. The ideal of a plurality of elders (the term "elder" is interchangeable with "pastor", "overseer" and "bishop") is the guiding principle to prevent authoritarian dictatorship by one man.

But I'm now convinced of a different form of church government. I'll call it the "Christ rule/elder servant" model. Jesus told his disciples that whoever wants to be first among us shall be servant of all. I see from the bible that godly leaders lead by example, not by dictation, overlording, politics or the like. The pastor/elder position is a ministerial position, not a magisterial one. Followers witness a life of self-control in their leaders and then imitate that life. According to Galatians 5 it is self-government, and not church government, that is the fruit of the Spirit.

The problem I think lies in the common view (taught in the seminaries, unfortunately) that the church is not an organism but an institution. In an organism, which is what the body of Christ is, Jesus and the Apostles through Scripture delegate authority directly to individual believers over their own lives, the use of their own gifts, the working out of their own salvations, the carrying out of their own responsibilities to love one another, the very work of the ministry itself, and on we can go with this. So much authority is delegated directly to individuals that not much authority is left over for the pastors. Yes, they have the authority to preach, teach, exhort, admonish and rebuke, but it is the individual believer that must apply these things to their own lives. This is the sense that Scripture says to obey our leaders.

But in an institutional idea of church, those formally trained in theology see that the Scriptures say very little, if anything at all about government of an institution. They then take this lack of restriction as liberty to govern how they see fit. This would of course be true if the church were an institution, but it's not. The result is close to a totalitarian bureaucratic system run by the clergy with little decision making by individuals. This can lead to the individual believer feeling like he can do nothing without the approval (in triplicate form sometimes) from the leadership. When multiple generations have been taught and experienced this junk, then it is all the tougher to debunk. The pastor(s) is(are) the man(men) in charge, mainly because they completely miss the delegated authority to individuals.

Since all this authority comes directly from Christ ("all authority has been given to me....") it is a "Christ rule" model that the bible outlines.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Divided Government - A Viable Political Strategy?

James Leroy Wilson, a contributing blogger at Indie Castle, used one of my posts about the ping pong mentality of voters in a post (read it here) to suggest that rather than voters being stupid enough to switch party voting because the party they last voted for just screwed them, maybe they were realizing "we are screwed over less badly when we have divided government (President from one party, one or both houses of Congress controlled by the other), than when one party's in charge." I have no idea if this is the case with the voters.

But I have for a long time rejoiced at political stalemate that resulted in civil government's lack of ability to act legislatively. In California, it's almost an annual occurrence that the two parties can't agree on a yearly budget, and by law, the government shuts down until a budget is in place. A few years back, I read a piece by Joel Miller praise a stalemate in the New York state legislature because nobody was getting screwed as a result. When divided government has occurred to the benefit of the people, I have rejoiced, but until James' post, it never occurred to me that this could be used as a political strategy.

Although no longer either a political conservative or a Republican, I still have trouble voting for a Democrat for office. But if I viewed both the Democrats and Republicans as my evil enemies, could I vote for the slightly smaller greater evil to fight the larger lesser evil to gain the result of the two being so engaged disabling each other that they turn a blind eye to my own peaceful agenda of governing my own life? I'll have to sprinkle a dash of this on my next steak. Thank you, James, for turning the light bulb on.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Economics of One Vote

With election day on Tuesday, I'll have one vote... if I decide to use it. I plan to vote, but if something more urgent comes up, as has happened in the past, I'll divert my attention accordingly. Is this a sign of voter apathy on my part?

Well, let's look at the economics of my one vote. "Every vote counts." Well, in a sense this is true, but "every vote is counted" is more realistic, rigged elections aside. Just how much does my vote count? If I look at the voting districts I live in and how many people vote here too, my vote gets smaller. I live in California, which is the most populated state by far. My county has nearly a million people. My congressional, state senate and state assembly districts are quite large and I don't presently live within an incorporated city limit. But the cities I have lived in are large, too, with populations from 50,000 to 120,000.

It is often said that a vote not cast helps the wrong side win. But, in reality, just how many times has any election I've voted in been decided by one vote? Not even close. A hundred votes? A thousand? The fact is, I've never lived in any voting "district" small enough for my vote to matter much at all. I've had plenty of occasions where five of us went out to Chinese instead of Mexican or something similar because the vote was three to two.

On a large scale, the only voting I've ever done that mattered is when my best friend and I cast more votes for Ryne Sandberg vs. Steve Sax for National League All-Star at second base than his eventual margin of victory. Long hours of ballot box stuffing paid off for us Dodger haters. We were the reason Sandberg won!

Now, how much time is required to be an "informed" voter? In California, ballot propositions are legalese, with an untold number of pages of actual text. Candidates at every level have dozens of positions on various issues. Radio, TV and newspaper ads don't often help. If I divide the actual weight of my vote by the amount of study required to make its weight felt, it's pretty close to a waste of time. Even "local" government is far too big where I live for my vote to matter much.

But what are the ramifications if a potential failure to vote ever decided anything? Let's say it results in Congress' scales being tipped from one party to another, or a 1/4% sales tax being passed, etc. Over the course of a year, I might see a few hundred bucks difference in my overall life because of taxes and regulations or whatever. But this has never even been close to happening. If I invested all the time necessary to be an informed voter into something else like my profession, my family, working overtime or extra jobs, I think it would make more of a difference to the outcome of my family and my life.

If I actually were involved in a democratic system small enough for my vote to matter, like a block vote in my neighborhood where there are maybe 50 people or less, it might be worth the effort. But I think all this goes to show that my voting habits are not the problem, but the size of civil government, even at its most local level, is the problem.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

9/11 Coverup? Rumsfeld States Flight 93 Shot Down

A video clip (I found the link at Chalcedon's blog) that has to be seen. Donald Rumsfeld is taped saying that Flight 93 was shot down by terrorists. A slip of the tongue? Doctored video? The truth? See it HERE. Edit - Or straight from YouTube HERE.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Our" Troops

Bring home "our" troops. Or, send more of "our" troops. I no longer look at the US military personnel as "ours." I see them more as ordinary government employees that do what the government tells them to. They're not much different from social workers, mailmen, building inspectors or highway workers.

I don't mean any offense to those who "serve" in the military or to their relatives. I'm sure some would take offence, though. I have a number of family and friends who either have served or are currently serving. But our culture seems to have placed a higher view upon the soldier than most other jobs. Almost a worshipful deification. Ironically, though, active military personnel during a war often work long, grueling hours overseas in terrible conditions risking death for almost no money. Some appreciation from those who claim to support them. Whatever happened to soldiers plundering the enemy and keeping the booty? Now that's an incentive to fight.

I don't quite understand those in the military - even reservists - who object to being sent overseas, such as in the case of Iraq, or of their families who complain that the President is breaking a promise that they'd be home by Thanksgiving or Christmas or whenever. Are they completely ignorant of repetitive history? "Gee whiz, I never expected to be called up." Huh? Did you really expect the President to keep his promise to have the troops home by a certain date? He's not even in control of the outcome of the war, let alone the enemy. The enemy fights back.

Military life - love it or leave it.