Friday, November 30, 2007

Forty-Five-Year-Old Promise

6 Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' [a]

10 "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.

-Joshua 14:6-13

Say WHAT?!

Here's something I thought I'd never see:

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), one of the leading anti-war voices in the House Democratic Caucus, is back from a trip to Iraq and he now says the “surge is working.” This could be a huge problem for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, who are blocking approval of the full $200 billion being sought by President Bush for combat operations in Iraq in 2008.
Murtha’s latest comments are also a stark reversal from what he said earlier in the year. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who chairs the powerful Defense subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee, has previously stated that the surge “is not working” and the United States faced a military disaster in Iraq.

Murtha told CNN on July 12, following a Bush speech, that the president’s views on the success of surge in Iraq were “delusional.”

…Murtha even yelled at a reporter during a recent press conference, telling the reporter that the news coming out of the Pentagon regarding Iraq is not believable.

“They don’t need to do the things — you’re missing the point — because the Pentagon says it, you believe it?,” Murtha yelled. “You believe what the Pentagon says? Huh? With all the things that they have told us, you believe what — I mean, go back and look — ‘mission accomplished,’ al Qaeda connection, weapons of mass destruction, on and on and on, and you believe the Pentagon?”

Kinda fun to watch them twist and turn, ain't it? I mean, it would be if they hadn't done so much damage with their seditious undermining of the military, ESPECIALLY Murtha. I didn't catch an apology in there anywhere, especially for the Haditha marines, did you?

Looks like Murtha might have a challenger for his seat. This story is a month old, but boy, we can hope, can't we? Seeing that old turd bumped out of his seat would be as much fun as it was when Carol Moseley-Braun lost her seat, or even when Tom Daschle was ousted. Now, if we could just get the people of Massachusetts to wise up.

Central Command News (11/30/07)

US CENTCOM Latest News Feed

Air Force firefighters teach Iraqis blaze fighting basics.aspx

Posted: 30 Nov 2007 08:21 AM CST

ALI BASE, Iraq (AFPN) - Seven local Iraqi firefighters shared a momentous occasion as they graduated from the Ali Base basic firefighter skills course.

Army Mechanics Go Distance to Keep Wheels Rolling.aspx

Posted: 30 Nov 2007 07:26 AM CST

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan - A young Soldier rubbed sleep from his eyes as he stumbled into the giant machinery garage at 10 p.m., his vision flooded with harsh yellow light. He'd been working on various trucks and machines since 4 a.m., but he still had to work on one more.

US CENTCOM Press Releases


Posted: 29 Nov 2007 11:07 AM CST

The CNN/YouTube Debate Question You DIDN'T See

....because it would have given Fred Thompson more speaking time, and as we all know, everybody has now had the Fear of Fred put into them.

Seriously, with national security relegated to a sideshow (by all such questions being directed to non-entity John McCain), Hugh Hewitt's two purported "front-runners" relegated to a playground pissing match, and Mike f'ing Huckaberry designated the star of the show, what other conclusion can one draw?

Dick Armey is definitely looking long in the tooth, but his question is one that would have driven lefties up the wall, and reduced the other candidates to yapping mongrels at Senator Thompson's feet.

Which they kind of were anyway, only absent the spotlight being where it belonged.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shakespeare's Translation?

16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is My Son, Whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." [a] 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain.

19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign LORD Who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the Way of Truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

-2 Peter 1:16-2:3

Central Command News (11/29/07)

CNN, Plants, and The Debate

I'm sure you've all heard about the Democrat plants during the CNN Republican Debate last night...CNN chose questions from Democratic operatives instead of "just plain folks." Well, what I have to say least the Republicans ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS and engaged in real debate, rather than getting softball questions and spouting mindless talking points and applause lines like the Democrats in their "debates." At least after the debate we knew a little more about each candidate and where he stands on the issues. At least they aren't SCARED of CNN. The Democrats won't even debate on Fox News because they're afraid they'll actually be asked some tough questions and be expected to give an answer. Can't have that.

Try, Try Again!

I tried to post all morning yesterday, but I'd get partway through a post and my computer would freeze up. Only happened on Blogger...but I see Jim was able to post, so it must have been something to do with my computer! Oh well.

If this doesn't scare the daylights out of you, I don't know what will.

John Edwards had a little town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire on Monday. He chastised Hillary's healthcare plan because, while she will mandate healthcare, there is no way to enforce it according to Edwards.

He says the only way to have "real universal healthcare" is to mandate it for every man, woman and child. How will he do that? Edwards says, "Every time you come into contact with the healthcare system or the government you will be signed up." All we need at this point was John Edwards using saying, with a thick German accent, "papers please!"

When asked what would happen if an individual decided they didn't want healthcare Edwards said, "You don't get that choice."

Edward's "you don't get that choice" statement reminds me of something. Have any of you heard John Edwards use the word "freedom" in a stump speech lately?

Wow. That's as bad as Hillary's "we're going to TAKE your profits and ...." (Sorry, can't find the link to that one). Every last Democrat in the field is a socialist through and through. The Republicans are going to have to hammer that point home.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

An Old Man's Prayer

3 So I turned to the LORD God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O LORD, the great and awesome God, Who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

7 "LORD, You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame — the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where You have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to You. 8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against You. 9 The LORD our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him; 10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws He gave us through His servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed Your law and turned away, refusing to obey You. "Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against You. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything He does; yet we have not obeyed Him.

15 "Now, O LORD our God, Who brought Your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and Who made for Yourself a Name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 O LORD, in keeping with all Your righteous acts, turn away Your anger and Your wrath from Jerusalem, Your city, Your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and Your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

17 "Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servant. For Your sake, O LORD, look with favor on Your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your Name. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. 19 O LORD, listen! O LORD, forgive! O LORD, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear Your Name."

-Daniel 9:3-19

Central Command News (11/28/07)

Ready Freddie Strikes Again

Perhaps one reason why GOP presidential candidate and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson isn't as high in the primary polls as he once was (i.e. before he got into the race) is because he's just too gosh darn good to be true. Fast on the heels of his Social Security privatization proposal - which, let it be reiterated, is the ONLY way an economically catastrophic collapse of the granddaddy of entitlement programs can be averted - FDT rolled out another choice-oriented proposal, this one regarding every American's favorite April past-time.

And I don't mean pulling April Fool pranks:
Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson proposed an income tax plan Sunday that would allow Americans to choose a simplified system with only two rates: 10% and 25%.

Thompson's proposal, announced on Fox News Sunday, would allow filers to remain under the current, complex tax code or use the flat tax rates.

That's the most attention-grabbing aspect of FDT's proposal. Other planks include extending the Bush tax cuts; a doubling of the standard deduction to $25,000 for joint filers and $12,500 for singles; an increase of the personal exemption to $3,500, exempting a family of four (like my own) from income tax on the first $39,000; preserving the $1000 child tax credit and marriage penalty relief; and permanently repealing the estate tax once and for frakking all, as well as the the Alternative Minimum Tax, a separate system created thirty years ago to ensure that a few high income Americans could not use deductions and credits to eliminate their tax liability.

Even Fox News couldn't refrain from asking the inevitable ignorant question; and Fred was ready with the inevitable correct answer:
Asked whether the plan would cut too deeply into federal revenues, the former Tennessee senator and actor said experts "always overestimate the losses to the government" when taxes are cut.

"We've known for years any time we have lowered taxes and any time we've lowered tax rates, we've seen growth in the economy," Thompson said.

Which is why supply-side tax cuts always end up increasing federal revenues rather than decreasing them. One would think that after the tax-cut-unleashed economic booms of the Reagan and Bush43 years, respectively, and the recessionary/slow-growth counterpoints of the Bush41 and Clinton tax hikes, the efficacy and potency of tax-cutting both to the economy and to the federal treasury would be a settled question. And it is - at least in the absence of blind liberal fiscal dogma, anyway.

The pertinent point is that Senator Thompson has once again lapped the GOP field. Giuliani and Romney have also pledged to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but no more than that. Fred has left them in the dust with a bold, comprehensive proposal that ought to electrify the Republican base and galvanize a tsunami of support that will carry Ready Freddie to the nomination and beyond - especially as he, unlike, say, Steve Forbes, is an entirely viable vehicle for said proposal who can unquestionably and credibly sell it to the American people.

Once again, the dichotomy of the Grand Old Party: it has the candidate with the right ideas and the ability to deliver the goods, and its voters are pining after a big name phony and an airbrushed tomato can.

For now, anyway. I just hope that six weeks is long enough for sheer superiority of presidential timbre and Reaganian message to burn through that stubborn Rockefelleroid fog.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two Wayward Brothers

25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

28 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

31 " 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

-Luke 15:25-32

And Another Thing...

To follow-up on my post below, have you noticed how the media has been nearly silent on the good retail news? Silent on the relatively smooth Thanksgiving travel weekend? Almost dead silent on the great news coming out of Iraq? The Leftist Media cannot bring themselves to report on the greatness of America in any story, large or small. They are so obviously in the Democrats' pocket that the stories now, when they can't deny that there is progress in Iraq, are about how the Democrats can save face after declaring failure in Iraq for months. Over at Rush's site, he has a great rundown, including this:

Here we go, a couple of Rush See, I Told You So's. The New York Times today, Patrick Healy: "'As Democrats See Security Gains in Iraq, Tone Shifts.' As violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are undertaking a new and challenging balancing act on Iraq: acknowledging that success, trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy." Told you. I told you, the elections are about the future. They're not going to be about the Iraq war. The future of the country is what's going to be the dominant issue in the presidential race next year. But here's a piece in the New York Times, what are the Democrats going to do to massage this? You notice every piece, every Drive-By story is not about: "Boy, Democrats blew it, Democrats wrong, Democrats unqualified, Democrats have demonstrated that they can't be trusted, Democrats have demonstrated X, Y, Z," all the things I just went through. No, it's, what do the Democrats have to do now? It's a delicate balancing act. The Democrats have to find some way of saying they were right when they were wrong and saying Bush was wrong when he was right and then change the subject after that.

And on and on it goes. Nothing the the Democrats do or the media reports on is in order to draw attention to the greatness of our nation or promote our national security. It all comes down to one thing - power.

If the notion of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces doesn't send a chill down your spine, there's something seriously wrong with you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hiding My Face

1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received.

2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but You do not listen? Or cry out to You, "Violence!" but You do not save?

3 Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.

4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

5 "Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

-Habakkuk 1:1-5

Drive-By Posting!

Whew! What a weekend! I took on a new client and I've been busier'n Chuck Schumer in a room full of T.V. cameras. I'm *trying* to be gloomy like the Democrats and the economic forecasters want me to be, but business is good and I just don't have time to mope. My husband's business is also hopping, so I guess maybe they're wrong.

Speaking of which, the headlines early last week cracked me up. They were talking about how scared retailers are that this is going to be a down holiday season, that Black Friday was going to be disappointing, that it was going to be a harbinger of a bad buying season, blah blah blah. Oh, they WANT it to be so! But, alas, the reports over the weekend were of an unusually strong start of the holiday shopping season "despite gloomy economic forecasts." How it must hurt to have to report that! Almost as much as it hurts them to report on the good news coming out of Iraq...but they're still trying to ignore that has much as possible.

Central Command News (11/26/07)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Too Old

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, [a] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." [b]

-Romans 1:14-17

Double Negative

Ordinarily I compose blog posts and then discuss them on the air. In this case, the cart must go before the horse. On the bright side, since I've already talked about it on Hard Starboard Radio, perhaps the written follow-up will be somewhat more abbreviated than it otherwise would have been.

Or perhaps not. Guess you'll have to keep reading and see.

Two posts of Admiral Ed this morning caught my eye for their garish contrast of how misprioritized the Democrats' national security views really are.

First case in point: they (or at least former Clintonoid "envoy" Richard Holbrooke) think our top foreign policy and military priority of this decade should have remained....the Balkans:
Recent American diplomacy led by Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and special envoy Frank Wisner, working closely with E.U. negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger, has largely succeeded in persuading most of our European allies to recognize Kosovo rapidly. But NATO has not yet faced the need to reinforce its presence in Kosovo.
Get that? Holbrooke thinks it's a big deal that our European allies have recognized the Islamist Kosovo Liberation Army's conquest of Kosovo, but the actual inhabitants of the Serbian province appear to be much less convinced - so he thinks we need to send in U.S. reinforcements to "persuade" them.
Nor has serious transatlantic discussion begun on Bosnia, even though Charles English, the American ambassador in Sarajevo, and Raffi Gregorian, the deputy high representative in Bosnia, have warned of the danger. "Bosnia's very survival could be determined in the next few months if not the next few weeks," Gregorian told Congress this month. Virtually no one paid any attention. ...
Um, perhaps that's because Bosnia doesn't matter; because we have no national interests at stake there, and have actual fish to fry elsewhere. Unless, like Holbrooke, you believe that perpetuating the fiction of Clintonoid "foreign policy successes" is a vital national interest.
When Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in September 2000....
Note: more than a year after Bill Clinton tried to bomb Serbia back to the stone age, an act of appalling butchery which had NO effect upon Milosevic's eventual fall but did succeed in massacring over two thousand Serb civilians and maiming five thousand more.
....and a reformist government took over, the road seemed open to a reasonably rapid resolution of Kosovo's final status. But the new Bush team hated anything it had inherited from Bill Clinton - even (perhaps especially) his greatest successes - and made no effort to advance policy in Kosovo until 2005 and ignored Bosnia.
Gee, now what was going on between 2001 and 2005 that could possibly have pre-occupied the Bushies? Wait, wait, don't tell me, I've almost got it....
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld even sought to pull American troops out of the NATO command in Kosovo, which Secretary of State Colin Powell prevented. (However, the State Department did not prevent Rumsfeld from prematurely turning the NATO command in Bosnia over to a weak E.U. Force, a terrible mistake.)
How can multilateralism be a mistake? How can "working with our European allies" be a mistake? Gosh, if you didn't know better you'd get the crazy idea that the Balkans, where we have nothing at stake, matter more to the Dems (or at least Dick Holbrooke) than, oh, I dunno, say, the Middle East?

The "mistake," of course, was not leaving Bosnia and Kosovo to the EUnuchs in the first place. If they want to be treated as a "superpower," let them handle their own internal problems with their own military resources and leave us the hell out of it. Frankly, I don't know why Dubya didn't pull U.S. forces out of the Balkans within thirty minutes of taking office, and start paying reparations to the Serbs for the beastial attacks we inflicted on them.
By the time meaningful diplomatic efforts started in 2006, the reformist prime minister in Belgrade had been assassinated by ultranationalists. And Vladimir Putin decided to reenter the Balkans with a dramatic policy shift: No longer would Russia cooperate with Washington and Brussels in the search for a peaceful compromise, as it had in 1995 when Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin sat on the hillside at Hyde Park and reached a historic agreement to put Russian troops under NATO command. Today, Putin seeks to reassert Russia's role as a regional hegemon. He is not trying to start another Cold War, but he craves international respect, and the Balkans, neglected by a Bush Administration retreating from its European security responsibilities, are a tempting target.
The Russians were ALWAYS pro-Serb, actually. Recall that those Russian troops that were supposedly under NATO command almost got attacked by their over-eager U.S. commander, General Wesley "Ashley Wilkes" Clark, which might have ignited a needless war with Boris Yeltsin's Russian Federation. The reason those Russian troops almost collided with their supposed NATO "allies" is that they had landed where they did to lend aid to their fellow Slavs in Serbia.

Pro-Serb bias on the part of the Russians did not, in short, originate with Vladimir Putin, and ol' Vlady is, indeed, trying to start another Cold War; he simply lacks the means to pull it off. That has zip, zero, nada to do with "European security responsibilities" that the Bush Administration does not, in fact, have.

Interesting choice of words by Mr. Holbrooke, though, since "retreating" from national security responsibilities is what his party is all about wherever U.S. vital interests ARE in the balance - such as Iraq, for example - and where the turnaround of war's fortunes in favor of the good guys now has the Democrats in a conundrum they clearly did not anticipate:
As violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates are undertaking a new and challenging balancing act on Iraq: acknowledging that success, trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy.

Advisers to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama say that the candidates have watched security conditions improve after the troop escalation in Iraq and concluded that it would be folly not to acknowledge those gains. At the same time, they are arguing that American casualties are still too high, that a quick withdrawal is the only way to end the war and that the so-called surge in additional troops has not paid off in political progress in Iraq.

But the changing situation suggests for the first time that the politics of the war could shift in the general election next year, particularly if the gains continue. While the Democratic candidates are continuing to assail the war — a popular position with many of the party’s primary voters — they run the risk that Republicans will use those critiques to attack the party’s nominee in the election as defeatist and lacking faith in the American military.

If security continues to improve, President Bush could become less of a drag on his party, too, and Republicans may have an easier time zeroing in on other issues, such as how the Democrats have proposed raising taxes in difficult economic times.
A year ago the American electorate was finally sold by the Democrats on the notion that we had lost Iraq to the terrorists. Vice President Cheney had been right a year earlier that the "insurgency" was crushed; but that was before al Qaeda's attack on the Samarra mosque, which set off the next phase of the war, pitting Sunni and Shiite not primarily against Coalition forces, but against each other, with U.S. soldiers caught in the crossfire. Ironically, much the same sort of situation as exists in the Balkans with which libs like Dick Holbrooke are so insipidly obsessed. Small wonder that to many Americans, staying in Iraq didn't seem worth it anymore.

So, after its 2006 midterm drubbing, the White House and its diminished congressional forces did what the other side had been demanding for so long - in a manner of speaking. The President changed leadership at the top, ousting Don Rumsfeld as SecDef and bringing in General David Petraeus to take over the Iraqi theatre of operations. And he "changed direction in Iraq" by implementing the "Surge".

Of course, this was the opposite of the "changed direction" the Donks wanted. Most likely the main reason so many Dems voted to confirm General Petraeus was that they believed that sending MORE troops to Iraq would just accelerate the deterioration of conditions on the ground there and lay the PR foundation for a move toward a double impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney. A case of getting out of the way of a self-destructing foe.

But it hasn't turned out the way they hoped. The "Surge" has worked, as even this same New York Times was forced to admit four months ago. U.S. casualties are down, violence across the board in Iraq is down, and al Qaeda and Iran's proxy militias are getting the crap pounded out of them. Worst of all for the Dems, the realization of same has entered the public consciousness. And it has purchased the Bushies additional time to finish the job once and for all.

So, if the Democrat talking points cited above sound incoherent, it's because their stance on the war has become fundamentally untenable. Now that we're clearly winning, most Americans want to see the mission through. Dems can no longer be as openly defeatist as they have been over the course of this calendar year and remain competitive in the political "center". Yet they've invested so much time and effort into the anti-war cause that they can't just flip onto the pro-war bandwagon without completely discrediting themselves as hypocritical opportunists, to say nothing of incurring the unquenchable wrath of their traitorous base supporters.

This is an unbridgeable straddle, and therefore any attempt to bridge it sounds just as illogical as it, in fact, is. How else does one describe a "strategy" that amounts to a return to what we were doing before the "Surge"? Which, come to think of it, would put us back in the position we occupied a year ago - losing Iraq - which put the Democrats in the position they occupy now - the majority in Congress, and the White House inevitably falling into their laps a year from now.

Then they could take all those troops that have been wasting their time fighting the actual enemy in a part of the world that matters to U.S. national interests, and feed them into the crossfire in the Balkans and the Sudan, and any other irrelevant backwater they can find, while Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plan future nuclear 9/11's.

Will this gobbledygook be anywhere near as persuasive as it was in 2006? If the Grey Lady is having her doubts, and not bothering to conceal them, their party may be in for some tough rhetorical sledding that not even the Clinton Machine can put over.

VBC Missionaries Of The Week: Bob & Teresa Reister

The Reisters went to Japan through Christar originally to teach missionary kids. This year they moved to a new ministry, and are now involved in language study, preparing to be invovled in church-planting and evangelism. They are also building relationships with their neighbors and fellow Christians.

Central Command News (11/25/07)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Anonymous Has Come

1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

-Titus 3:1-7

How Is It Possible....

....that voter memories (aside from my own) can possibly be this short?
In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

But in a broader measurement, the study also showed that of the 167 House districts where the median annual income was higher than the national median of $48,201, a slight majority, 84 districts, were represented by Democrats.

Mr. Franc's study also showed that contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts."

"I just found the pattern across the board to be very interesting. That pattern shows the likelihood of electing a Democrat to the House is very closely correlated with how many wealthy households are in that district," Mr. Franc said in an interview with the Washington Times.
Of course, it's been long established that it is the Democrats that are the true "party of the rich," while the Republicans have become the populist champions of "the little guy." What is dismaying ominous about this development is that it is precisely the voters whose interests lie most strongly with the GOP that are turning toward the Democrats in increasing numbers. How can this possibly be?

Brother Hinderaker has a theory:
[S]ince 1994, the Democrats have been unable to raise taxes. With confiscatory, economy-destroying tax increases off the table, many prosperous Americans have seen no compelling reason to vote Republican. The silver lining, I think, is that as soon as the Democrats amass enough power in Washington to resume their tax-raising ways, prosperous Americans (though not the tiny handful who are actually rich) will remember why they used to vote Republican.
I find this explanation lacking, personally. Yeah, I'm familiar to the point of projectile nausea with the whole "GOP spending like druken sailors" meme and the notion of "Why vote Republican when they govern little differently than the Dems would?" and the tiresome "Let's 'teach the 'Pubbies a lesson' by voting completely against our own interests across the board and throw them all out" argument. It's never made any sense to me, it never made any sense to me a year ago, it makes no sense to me now, and it never will make any sense to me.

How much less so when the answer to the second question - "Why vote Republican when they govern little differently than the Dems would?" - is answered by - well, several different issues off the top of my head, the war and the effort to reconstitutionalize the federal judiciary chief among them, but most pertinently by - the tax issue. If the American people swept Republicans into control of Congress in 1994 to roll back the Clinton tax hike and, at the very least, prevent any such fiscal encores, how could "many prosperous Americans" lose sight of the fact that the only way to prevent taxes from going back up was to keep the GOP in power? Isn't that precisely the "compelling reason" that ought to have been impossible for them to have forgotten? Could "many prosperous Americans" conceivably have also forgotten that the Democrats' loud, rabid, and not exactly inconspicuous obsession with raising taxes has grown over those thirteen years in direct proportion to the length of time since they've had the power to do so?

Sorry, I'm not buying it. There's complacency, and then there's irrationality. Either these "many prosperous Americans" have moved left fiscally and economically, or they were never anti-tax to begin with.

Not even I can muster that level of absent-mindedness.

Not yet, anyway.

The REAL "Two-Man Race" Taking Shape?

Hey, if the Romneylan Praetor can spin that yarn, why can't I?
Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson said yesterday that New York City isn't a model for the rest of the country and that Rudy Giuliani should stop basing his policy stands on what he did as that city's mayor.

Thompson, campaigning at a Lakes Region gun store with stuffed moose and deer overhead, told reporters that Giuliani too often turns to his time as New York mayor to explain his support for stronger gun restrictions.

"He relates everything to New York City. Well, New York City is not emblematic of the rest of the country, I don't think. I think the sentiments of those people in the rest of the country are in support of the Second Amendment - which is where I've always been and I don't think he's ever been," Thompson said.
Ah, that's my guy, pointing out obvious chinks in his opponents' armor that nobody else dares to point out. I've always questioned the thinness of Rudy Giuliani's political resume. The modern path to the presidency almost always flows through a governor's office (which, yes, favors Mitt Romney and Mike Hucka-plucka), and while the mayoralty of the nation's largest city is arguably at least as viable as a senate seat, one has to question whether reigning as chief executive over a municipality, however large, is truly anywhere near a governorship's equivalent. Somehow, "I called out the Twelfth Precinct" makes Michael Dukakis riding around in that tank look like George Patton with both pearl-handled Colt-45s.

Particularly when that city is the citadel of political and cultural leftism. And never let it be forgotten that it is doubtful in the extreme that Giuliani could ever have ascended to rule over Gotham had he not been completely in the social liberal tank. His controversially opaque stance on gun rights is an outgrowth of the same dynamic.

Do not forget as well that Governor Romney, while, yes, a former governor, was also the ruler of a state at least as left-wing as New York City, and also made his apostate compromises to gain and retain the high office he sought.

It seems ironic to me that in a time in which voters, particularly GOP voters, say they're tired of pandering politicians, there's a genuinely conservative alternative whose philosophical immutability is beyond dispute and who is absent the steamer trunk of masks for every campaign occasion.

Confronted by Rudy "Trust Me" Giuliani and Mitt "Plasticman" Romney, my heart for Fred "I'm just Fred" Thompson grows all the fonder.

And yes, I'm "sticking to my guns" on that commitment....

The Bad Cop Fulfills His Role

Hamas is certainly holding up its end of the ultimate Palestinian "triangle offense." Indeed, they seem to be losing themselves in the part:

Hamas on Saturday condemned a decision by Arab powers to endorse next week's U.S.-hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace conference, saying the talks would favor the Jewish state's policies rather than Palestinian demands.

Islamist Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel and broke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after seizing control of the Gaza Strip in a June civil war, is excluded from the November 27 conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

Arab League ministers agreed on Friday to attend the conference in the hope of promoting the creation of a Palestinian state and pushing for Israel to return the occupied Golan Heights to Syria as part of a regional peace process.

Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri called the announcement "a great shock for Palestinians because it opened the door for direct normalization with the occupation (Israel) amid (its) continued escalation and aggression."

"The Palestinian people had awaited an Arab consensus for breaking the siege," Abu Zuhri said in a statement, referring to a Western aid embargo and Israeli military crackdowns on Gaza since Hamas swept to power in 2006 elections.

"This meeting will only achieve more failure and more harm to the Palestinian cause and to Arab and Palestinian rights."

Fascinating, isn't it? The Israeli regime of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and its Bushie patron are so eager to get "moderate" Arab regimes to this latest so-called "peace" conference that they're pre-emptively offering Fatah the entire West Bank, East Jerusalem, and even conceding sovereignty over the Temple Mount itself just to get their enemies to Annapolis at all. Olmert has also expressed eagerness to cough up the strategically vital Golan Heights back to Bashar Assad. Indeed, about the only concession that Israel hasn't offered up without a fight before even arriving at the table is the "right of return" of "Palestinian" "refugees, which would inundate the Jewish state beneath an overpowering influx of Arab emigres that would demographically destroy it without a single suicide bomber having to blow up a single additional pizza parlor or cross-town bus.

And yet Hamastanis actually believe that this conference will favor Israel? The country that, never let it be forgotten, handed the Gaza Strip over to them, lock stock & barrel, over two years ago?

Perhaps. Or maybe they're just playing their part as psychotic court jesters to make their "moderate" comrades look "reasonable" and "responsible" by comparison. You know, the sort of people to whom lavish concessions should be given in the interests of "peace".

Indeed, given that the big-picture angle under which Secretary of State Condi Rice is pursuing this umpteenth detour down the "peace process" dead end - building a Cold War-like "anti-Iran coalition" to "contain" the mullahgarchy (rather than attacking and destroying it, liberating the Iranian people and the entire Middle East from their apocalyptic insanity) - one could argue that the Islamic Republic, and its Hitlerian frontman, are also playing a role in this grand, quasi-Wagnerian escapade.

I won't call it a "vast Muslim conspiracy," if only because conspiracies are the most fragile, least efficient means of accomplishing anything, and how much more so for so fractious a culture as theirs. But if this is all a coincidence, ya gotta admit, it's a fantastically unlikely one.

How fortunate for them that they've got such a slobberingly eager, supremely gullible audience, and the indellibly bloodstained hands of Hamas to do all that waving that distracts our striped-pants-wearing court jesters so well.

UPDATE: So, naturally, how do our diplofools react to Hamas's bellyacheing? By arguing that we need to "engage" our Islamist enemies as well. One wonders how the "realists" would react to a Muslim faction that actually, and genuinely, preached peace and brotherhood with the Jews.

I kid, of course - not that such a group could ever exist (it couldn't) but in that that is, after all, a rhetorical question. Muslim pacifists would be denounced as "dangerous" and "destablizing," and an "enemy of the peace process," because of course, as we all "know," Middle East peace can never be achieved until the most virulently warmongering, anti-Semitic factions (like Hamas) have been engorgingly appeased, and the "source" of the conflict - Israel - erased from the face of the planet.

Sometimes I wonder how it is that Israel and the West have ever survived with such addle-mindedness pervading their governing echelons. Then I wonder how long we can possibly have left to survive given that this suicidal idiocy only ever seems to get worse.

Getting What They Paid For?

D'ya think the ChiComms have concluded who the next president of the United States is going to be?
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton Friday slammed China for calling her criticism of made-in-China toys "slander," and urged Washington to take "immediate, decisive steps" to protect US children.

Clinton's statement came a day after China railed against her warning Tuesday of a dangerous tide of Chinese-made gifts, saying that "any slander or exaggeration of facts is irresponsible."
That, by the way, is the only inkling that Beijing's contribution to this dispute. Besides, you know, all those cheap, hazardous trinkets that have become as much a Red Chinese trademark as the ongoing mass murders perpetrated by its plutommunist regime. And, of course, their purchase of critical military technology from her husband's administration during his re-election campaign eleven years ago. Just wall to wall Hillaryizing. And this wasn't even an AP wire story, either. Gosh, the next nine years are going to be fun.

Still, that was money well-spent, shaving decades off of the PLA time table for its preparations for a global showdown with the United States. Enduring the nannyistic scolding of the woman who will be forced to deliver our surrender (before probably being beheaded by Beijing's Islamist allies) - what constitutes "bringing out the big guns" in lib-speak - is just a cost of "doing business".

UPDATE: Ever wonder why Mrs. Clinton didn't have something to say about this? I don't. Snubbing the U.S. military is a venerable, hallowed Clintonoid pasttime. Hill could no more condemn that than she could get a boob job.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Pretender

19 Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing."

20 Isaac asked his son, "How did you find it so quickly, my son?" "The LORD your God gave me success," he replied.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not."

22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. 24 "Are you really my son Esau?" he asked. "I am," he replied.

25 Then he said, "My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing." Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come here, my son, and kiss me."

27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed.

28 May God give you of heaven's dew and of Earth's richness — an abundance of grain and new wine.

29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."

30 After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father's presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, "My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing."

32 His father Isaac asked him, "Who are you?" "I am your son," he answered, "your firstborn, Esau."

33 Isaac trembled violently and said, "Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!"

-Genesis 27:19-33

Unwitting Self-Parody

Mrs. Clinton may have meant to mock Barack Obama's latest foreign policy self-promotion, but I don't think she escaped the PR blast zone:
Hillary Rodham Clinton ridiculed Democratic rival Barack Obama on Tuesday for his contention that living in a foreign country as a child helped give him a better understanding of the foreign policy challenges facing the U.S.

"Voters will have to judge if living in a foreign country at the age of ten prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next president will face," Clinton said. "I think we need a president with more experience than that, someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to and has confidence in."
I must admit to being slack-jawed at this comment. I had no idea that Mrs. Clinton was going to be endorsing the eventual Republican nominee for president. This is major, page one, above-the-fold news.

What's that? She was referring to herself? As having "more experience," global notoriety, respect, and confidence? Hillary Clinton?

Well, I'll buy the notoriety part, though that didn't come from foreign policy expertise, but from shenanigans like this:
The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into InfoUSA, a Nebraska company that used corporate funds to fly Hillary Rodham Clinton around the country, and one of only two companies to put Bill Clinton on its payroll after he left the White House.

The firm, a major provider of database-processing services, disclosed little about the nature of the probe in a filing to shareholders released yesterday.

The two-sentence filing said only that InfoUSA received a letter last week "informing the Company that the SEC is conducting an informal investigation . . . and is requesting the voluntary production of documents relating to related party transactions, expense reimbursement, other corporate expenditures and certain trading in the Company's securities." ...

Two sources familiar with the company's troubles suggested that investigators would focus their attention on executives' use of company money to feather their own nests. Gupta has been a major financial supporter of the Clintons since he met the president in the mid-1990s. Gupta and his company donated $1 million to help underwrite a lavish year 2000 New Year's Eve celebration at the White House and on the Mall.

He paid the former president $200,000 to deliver a speech to InfoUSA executives in Papillion, Nebraska, and signed the former president to a $3.3 million consulting deal. For the past four years, both Clintons have used Gupta's corporate plane, flying to Switzerland, Hawaii, Jamaica and Mexico - about $900,000 worth of travel, the Post reported in May.
Another set of Clintonoids gets caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. Another gaggle of FOBs (and FOHs) comes under federal investigation for criminal wrong-doing. Another PR headache for the Clintons themselves.


Naturally, this won't have any real, much less lasting, impact on Hillary's presidential blitzkrieg itself. Even if it might have, the ponderosity of the SEC's investigation of InfoUSA - no doubt deliberately designed to the following end - won't hit any kind of paydirt until after Hillary is safely elected a year from now, after which she will order it shut down.

Y'see, being the Great Escape Artists, the Houdinis of American political scandal, is also something for which Bill & Hillary are well known the planet over. What else explains the fact that the wife of former French president Black Jacques Chirac has offered her endorsement of the once and future Queen?
U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won surprise backing from the wife of former French President Jacques Chirac on Thursday, together with a pledge to join her on the campaign trail.

The Chiracs' political affiliations are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Clintons', but the former French first lady said she had always thought Democratic candidate Clinton had the makings of a U.S. president.

"She's a woman who is not liked by everybody. But she's strong and she has convictions," Bernadette Chirac, well-known for a forceful character of her own, told the weekly Le Figaro magazine.
She's also a woman whose husband is NOT coming under formal criminal investigation for his past serial malfeasances. And who appears less than bashful about public expressions of admiration for successful ongoing, organized criminal enterprises. Indeed, she wants to campaign with Hillary next year and even get a speaking slot at the Donk convention.

Given general left-wing affinity for French corruption (and socialism, not to be redudant) and the Clintonoids' fondness for meddling in the domestic politics of friendly nations, I wouldn't be surprised to see Mrs. Clinton take Mrs. Chirac up on her offer. Certainly she won't lift a finger to disassociate herself from it.

But if there's little in it for Hillary directly, there is the old axiom of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. If current French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who just kicked the asses of French unionists in classic Reagan fashion) is the Gallic George W. Bush, perhaps Bernadette Chirac will become the personification of French Leftist revenge.

You can certainly see Presidentress Chirac's first state visit a few years from now, cantcha? Talk about "girls night out" - as well as a bigger legacy than Mr. Bill ever dreamed of.

Hillary Blames GOP For Her "Woes"

Isn't it amusing to watch the perverse pageantry and artifice of this faux "crisis" of the Hillary Clinton imperial coronational processional? Behold this hyped-up hyperventilating about how her debate debacle from a few weeks ago has her "sinking" in the polls:

[T]he latest poll in early caucus state Iowa now show Barack Obama leading Clinton by a margin of 30%-26%.

Another poll taken after the October 30 debate, by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, found that Clinton — who for months had commanded a 30-point advantage over Obama — had seen that lead slip to 19%.

And two polls in early primary state New Hampshire showed similar results.

A University of New Hampshire poll found that Hillary’s lead over Obama slipped from 23%-14%. And a poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New Hampshire showed her lead slipping from 22 to 12 percentage points.
Oh, my goodness, Hillary is in trouble! She's dropping like an anchor! She might actually LOSE!!!

Um, no, not really. The RCP average still has her up three points in Iowa, fourteen points ahead in New Hampshire, ten in South Carolina, twenty-four in Florida, twenty-seven in Nevada, thirty-one in Michigan, thirty-four in California, eighteen in Pennsylvania, thirty in New Jersey, and twenty-four nationally. The most that can be reasonably said is that her vise grip on the 2008 Donk nomination has loosened slightly; or that her lead has diminished from crushing to merely commanding.

But you know the Clintonoids; they never take any chances, they never fail to swat a fly with a Buick, and they always seek to turn any situation, no matter how outwardly averse, to their own advantage:

With the latest poll out of Iowa showing her in second place behind Senator Barack Obama, Hillary’s blaming her woes on . . . Republicans!

In a new Clinton TV ad released Tuesday and airing in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the voice-over declares:

“Here they go again. The same old Republican attack machine is back. Why? Maybe because they know that there's one candidate with the strength and experience to get us out of Iraq. One candidate who will end tax giveaways for the big corporations. One candidate committed to cutting the huge Republican deficit. And one candidate who will put government back to work for the middle class. The strength to fight. The experience to lead.”

Wait a minute: we thought Obama and Edwards were attacking Hillary.
No....well, yes, but that's not the point. Hillary is lashing out at the mythical "Republican attack machine" because she knows the Donk nomination is already in the can, so why not get a leg up on laying her "victim-hood" general election campaign strategy? Her "politics of piling on" ad right after the Philadelphia confab tipped that particular hand, after all. She's going to do her utmost to make the normal give & take, rough & tumble nature of presidential campaigning off limits when it comes to her. She will be immune from any challenge and any criticism. Any attempt by the eventual Republican nominee to engage her in any way, shape, or form is already being cast in the PR mold of "dirty tricks" that will stigmatize her opponent and rule them out of consideration for the White House by definition.

It's the "scorned woman" meme from her husband's impeachment saga writ large. And Howie Kurtz concurs:

In an analysis piece in the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz observes: “Hillary Clinton is attempting a form of political jujitsu with this ad, portraying herself as the victim of unfair Republican criticism without specifying what that criticism is.”
And so that later on, even when the criticism is specified, it will be pre-empted as illegitimate because of its source and its target.

Kurtz, to his credit, goes on to point out all the gaping holes in this strategy - or at least, in her latest ad. That she has no specific plans to address any of the items on its laundry list of anti-Republican grievances, as well as the fact that the statist, government-growing proposals she has unfurled thus far would explode the currently-declining federal budget deficit to unprecedented levels. Which, of course, makes Howard Kurtz the latest card-carrying member of the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" and the newest pit bull in the "Republican attack machine."

If a sustained year-long whine is what it takes to heft Hillary Clinton back into the White House, that is what she'll do. If that doesn't work, she'll simply launch a Gore-like post-election coup - one that does NOT fail, and for which the groundwork has doubtless already been laid.

Either way or ANY way, the Empress believes it's her destiny to rule America, and she will stop at nothing to get her way. The sooner the "Republican attack machine" comes to grips with that, the better. Probably won't stop her, but at least the good guys can go to the Alaska gulag with no regrets.

Central Command News (11/23/07)

Writers Strike Could Cancel Dems' Debate

Who says that the libs can't blunder their way into providing a profoundly needed public service?
A potential strike by CBS news writers imperils the last debate among Democratic presidential contenders before voting is to begin.

In a statement Wednesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton said she would not cross a picket line to participate in the debate, scheduled December 10 in Los Angeles. Most of the other candidates quickly followed.
Telling, no? Almost as if "the other candidates" received their marching orders from Clinton Central.

CBS is to broadcast the debate, which is co-sponsored by the Democratic National Committee.

"It is my hope that both sides will reach an agreement that results in a secure contract for the workers at CBS News, but let me be clear: I will honor the picket line if the workers at CBS News decide to strike," Clinton said.

Edwards, on a conference call with reporters, said he would not cross the picket line in the event of a strike. Spokesmen for Barack Obama, Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd also said those candidates would not participate.

Messages left for Joe Biden's campaign were not immediately returned.

Note: I did not insert that last sentence as an ironic punchline.

The pity is that all news writers couldn't have walked out a year ago and stayed out, pre-empting every last one of these so-called "debates" and sparing the public the stylized fiction that there is actually a "campaign" on the Democrat side. Such candor would have been immensely refreshing.

But I suppose Mrs. Clinton wouldn't have stood for it. After all, what would the Harlem Globetrotters have ever been without the Washington Generals? What's a coronation without a processional? And what displays her inevitability better than a series of pratfalls and gaffes that don't slow her down in the slightest?

What we NEED is for the Donk candidates to go on strike in protest against this shame of a primary "contest". That way maybe CBS news writers would actually have something interesting to cover.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Harvest Home

13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the LORD's will, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins....

7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the LORD's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the LORD's coming is near. 9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the LORD. 11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the LORD finally brought about. The LORD is full of compassion and mercy.

-James 4:13-17, 5:7-11


From "The Pastor's Pen" in the November 2007 Voice of the Valley, the monthly newsletter of Valley Bible Church, by the Reverend Frank C. Emrich. Re-posted here with permission.

~ ~ ~
This summer my granddaughters were at our house playing in the play house I built for them. As I was sitting on the porch, (the place assigned to me by both of them; I am their official bodyguard) I was listening to their conversation. One had just served the other an imaginary cup of tea. She says, "You need to say thank you." Which, of course, her cousin immediately did. Both sets of parents have done a wonderful job of teaching their little girls the importance of saying thank you as well as other good manners.
As I listened I thought ofmy own "manners," or lack of them, when it comes to saying thank you to our generous and gracious God. I had just read a devotinal that morning where the author made this statement:
Genuine gratitude must be distinguished from a knee-jerk politeness or a programmed "duty-thanks." The kind of life-changing heart attitude that God desires is much deeper than surface, verbal gratitude.
The Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as, "To show that a kindness received is valued". Genuine gratitude requires that we get past obligation and somehow demonstrate that we deeply appreciate what we have received.
"Thank You, God, for this new day." "Thank You, for the life that I can use to serve You." "Thank You for breath that I can use to praise You." "Thank You for health." "Thank You, LORD, for strength."
I think of all the times when I have turned from genuine gratitude to complaining instead. I think you know what I mean. We all seem to have what we can call a natural default to complaining. We minimize the blessings of life and magnify every negative circumstance we encounter. We may say things like, "I am sick of this lousy weather," "Why can't the kids pick up after themselves," "Nobody appreciates me."
Instead, we need to develop our level of gratitude. Here is something that I learned from a devotional book that will help us do just that.
There are three levels of thankfulness: elementary school, high school, and graduate school.
Elementary school thankfulness instructs us to "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His Name." Here, thankfulness is a sacrifice. In effect, we say to God, "You helped me and now I say thanks. My obligation has been met; I recognize Your involvement." You've done your duty, but you won't find much joy.
High school thankfulness is better. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." In every situation, you and I can always find something to be thankful for - always. We can make the decision. We can look away from what's wrong and focus on what's right and give thanks. The high school version of thankfulness does produce joy as long as you're not going through anything too difficult.
But if you want real joy - if you want to be done with living in a virtual wilderness forever, then go on to level three - graduate school thankfulness. "Be filled with the thanks always and for everything to God the Father." This gratitude searches to find a good aspect in a challenging circumstance. This is the thankfulness that trusts God and thus is grateful for the bad things.
Perhaps today you are bttling a health crisis or experiencing a great, lingering sorrow. Maybe you've got a huge financial need. You and I need to get to the place by faith where we can say, "Thank You, God. This is the thing that You are using in my life. You've allowed it because You love me and I trust You. Thank You, God, even for this!" When we allow the LORD to bring us to that kind of thankfulness, we will experience a depth of joy we never thought possible.
This is real gratitude. Begin right now by thanking God for something so far out there - far from what you'd ever think you could be grateful for. In faith, say "thanks" for that. Sure, it'll stretch your view of what God is doing in your life, but do it anyway. You'll be grateful and glad for the results.
~ ~ ~
Editor's note: In the case of the final two paragraphs of Pastor Emrich's essay, Hard Starboard does not endorse the sentiments expressed therein. Humble, submissive acceptance, yes; thankfulness for the spiritual maturation process, okay; gratitude for pain, suffering, and all-around mental, emotional, and/or physical misery in and of itself, uh-uh.

Central Command News (11/22/07)

Thanksgiving, Reagan-Style

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Two hundred years ago, the Congress of the United States issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation stating that it was "the indispensable duty of all nations" to offer both praise and supplication to God. Above all other nations of the world, America has been especially blessed and should give special thanks. We have bountiful harvests, abundant freedoms, and a strong, compassionate people.

I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that He would work His will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness, and freedom.

Today we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day could ever dream. We should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today.

Let us reaffirm through prayers and actions our thankfulness for America's bounty and heritage.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 1982, as a National Day of Thanksgiving and I call upon all of our citizens to set aside that day for appropriate expressions of thanksgiving.

In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 27th day of Sept. in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eightytwo, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventh.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Other Side Of Thank You

1 If I speak in the tongues [a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, [b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13

An Atheist In The Woods

Not new, and probably posted here before, but if so, it's still worth another chuckle:

An atheist was walking through the woods. "What majestic trees"! "What powerful rivers"! "What beautiful animals"! He said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a seven-foot grizzly bear charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him. At that instant the atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"

Time Stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. A bright light shone upon the man, and a Voice came out of the sky. "You deny My existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident. Do you expect Me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer"?

The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps You could make the BEAR a Christian"?

"Very Well," said the Voice. The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head and spoke: "LORD bless this food, which I am about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ our LORD. Amen...."

Hillary Hides More Public Documents

From the latest Washington Republican Party E-Newsletter, which may not be entirely superfluous after all:

Hillary Clinton’s penchant for secrecy and her inability to answer a direct question is finally attracting a little bit of attention from her Democrat opponents and some of the media. In fact, it’s getting hard to keep track of how many public documents Hillary Clinton is seeking to hide until after the 2008 election. Here’s the rundown so far:

First, the Clinton Presidential Library announced that it would not release public records relating to Hillary Clinton’s activities during the Bill Clinton presidency until after the 2008 election. Hillary has pretended she is a victim of Bill Clinton’s decision to keep the records secret, but no one is buying that nonsense.

Even Chris Matthews of Hardball couldn’t let Hillary get away with that charade:

"[H]er husband is the guy she is using as the number one trolley to the White House. She can't give him a call and say, hey dear, why don't you release the documents so I can brag about my record at the White House?" The truth is, there isn’t a lot to brag about and there is probably a lot to explain.

Second, the University of Arkansas (a public university) announced that copies of a report detailing Hillary Clinton’s activities during the Bill Clinton presidential campaign would not be released until after the 2008 election. This despite the fact that the University Libraries’ 2005-06 Annual Report indicated the "processing" of the report was "nearing completion."

And now the Central Arkansas Library System (a public library in Little Rock) has announced that all of Hillary Clinton’s records as First Lady of Arkansas are locked down until after the 2008 election. The most recent of these documents are fifteen years old, but still Hillary has them in a deep freeze.

There are probably some very good reasons that all these public documents are in a Clinton Lockdown. It’s unlikely that they paint a flattering picture of Hillary Clinton, and they probably reveal the left-wing perspective she brings to nearly every issue. We’ll continue to shine a light on the secrecy of the Clintons, and we look forward to our Republican candidates turning up the heat on Hillary as the campaign progresses.

Actually, I don't think there are any good reasons why all these public documents have been squirreled away until after her Nib's coronation. The American public got numb to the Clinton scandal machine years and years and years ago; Hillary has been a national figure for a decade and a half. Voters who were politically aware then know what she is, and younger voters know it via reputation. At worst, public opinion about her is already at its floor; more likely, given that she's a Clinton (until about thirty seconds after her GOP opponent concedes {at gunpoint} next November, anyway), the documents her minions are going to such pains and lengths to hide wouldn't matter, or might even boost her standing in the polls.

I have no problem with "turning up the heat" on the Empress-in-waiting. I just hope that Pachyderms remember that dragons are, after all, acclimated to it.

Central Command News (11/21/07)

The REAL News

Gateway Pundit has a great report up that you won't see in the Enemy Media:

** Violence in Iraq is down by 50%.
** Civilian casualties in Iraq are down by 60%.
** Baghdad casualties are down by 75%.
** Basra violence is down by 90%.
** Terrorist attacks in Iraq are down by 80%.
** IED attacks down by 55%.
** Average daily attacks down by 42%.

Stuff like this will just ruin Thanksgiving for the Democrats.

There are some interesting numbers here regarding military losses during the War on Terror and during the Clinton years. Check it out.

Thank you, American military!!

JASmius adds: That last graf merits a direct quote:
The US has lost 3,434 soldiers and marines in Iraq and 390 soldiers and marines in Afghanistan over the past five years. This total of 3,824 has [just] passed half of the number of soldiers lost during the Clinton years during peacetime (via Murdoc Online). [emphasis added]
If, of course, you count as part of "peacetime" Clinton's invasion of Haiti and his unprovoked attacks on Bosnia and Serbia - which were specifically tailored to minimize U.S. casualties rather than attain their avowed objectives. Indeed, his deliberate neglect of (and cultural war against) our armed forces has contributed to the manpower strains we've encountered in their current deployments in the Middle East, and is probably the overriding reason why we haven't been able to finish World War IV by crushing Iran and Syria as we should have years ago.

And what is his wife's overriding Pentagon (or, rather, Clintagon) priority when she takes over in thirteen months? The same as Mr. Bill's first overriding priority was almost fifteen years ago: sodomizing the military.

As I keep telling myself, you can't make this stuff up.

But oh, how I wish I was.

UPDATE: How about this for a Murdoc Online bumper sticker: "'Peace' kills".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stay Out Of It

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," [a] and "The worker deserves his wages." [b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.

23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

24 The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden.

-1 Timothy 5:17-25

Then There's The "What An Idiot" Department...

From The Washington Times:

House Democrats' point man in the war-funding showdown with the White House today dismissed U.S. military gains in Iraq and vowed to tighten the purse strings until President Bush accepts a pullout plan.

"Look at all the people that have been displaced, all the [lost] oil production, unemployment, all those type of things," said Rep. John P. Murtha, chairman of Appropriations defense subcommittee. "We can't win militarily."

Don't you just want to SMACK this seditious jerk? There has to be some senility at work here.

JASmius adds: Here's the video:

Meanwhile, here is an example of Dirty Harry's Senate "pro forma sessions" designed sole and expressly to deny President Bush any opportunity to make any recess appointments to the federal judiciary of the horde of nominations that the Democrats are stalling:

I really hope Republicans are paying attention, because this sort of petty BS is exactly what I expect them to start doing when Hillary takes over in thirteen fleetingly short months.

Justice, after all, should always be poetic. That it would also be the GOP's patriotic duty to obstruct the Chavezation of America would simply be icing on the proverbial cake.

Central Command News (11/20/07)

US CENTCOM Latest News Feed

4-2 Stryker Brigade expands into all of Diyala province.aspx

Posted: 20 Nov 2007 09:58 AM CST

Air Force sharpshooters help commanders see the future.aspx

Posted: 20 Nov 2007 09:41 AM CST

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, IRAQ - When servicemembers go outside the wire here, they occasionally have an extra set of eyes watching over them. Concealed, the members of the 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron's Close Precision Engagement Team observe, provide intelligence and, if necessary, neutralize threats.

New face of recruitment.aspx

Posted: 20 Nov 2007 09:30 AM CST

AL QA’IM, Iraq - Droves of Iraqi men lined the streets of Ubaydi. The awakening call of roosters could be heard over the murmur of a crowd nearing 400.

Paratroopers from Five Nations Jump in 'Bright Star'.aspx

Posted: 20 Nov 2007 08:47 AM CST

CAIRO, Egypt - U.S. and coalition forces conducted a “Friendship Jump” at Koum Asheem drop zone in Cairo Sunday as part of Exercise Bright Star.

US CENTCOM Press Releases


Posted: 19 Nov 2007 12:09 PM CST


Posted: 19 Nov 2007 10:44 AM CST


Posted: 19 Nov 2007 10:39 AM CST


Posted: 19 Nov 2007 10:35 AM CST


Posted: 19 Nov 2007 10:33 AM CST