Good Reading Links for Monday

Baldilocks does a little Jesus-preaching and quotes liberally from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I love to read about people who take yet another step of sanctification and realize something about themselves needs to change. I’ll be working on the same thing for, oh, the rest of my life.

The Bible says that Satan is the Father of Lies; these progeny include the lies that you tell yourself. And once you get into the habit of lying to yourself about yourself, it becomes almost instinctive. But when reality butts against your instinct, it interrupts the play of the little DVD of self-serving scenarios running in your head and you scream “no!” and try to turn your “truth” into reality…if you’re really far gone into self-delusion, that is.

A genuine conversion to Christianity throws cold water on all of that fantasy and shows you what you are and were on your way to becoming and points you in the opposite direction. You still fall short sometimes but you know you have broken the rules and you don’t try to cover it up or rationalize it away. Simply becoming a Christian doesn’t put Big J’s approval on everything an individual Christian does. We still sin and, if the conversion is true, we feel the sting of guilt even more keenly because we know what the rules are.

But also we know that we are incapable of sticking to the rules perfectly. And, most importantly, we know that our adherence to the rules isn’t what has saved and will save us anyway.

Yum, good stuff.

Some bad stuff – take a look at these cute little girls:
Lamb and Lynx Gaede
ABC News reports these twins, Lamb and Lynx Gaede, have formed a band called “Prussian Blue” to encourage white nationalism:

Lynx and Lamb have been nurtured on racist beliefs since birth by their mother April. “They need to have the background to understand why certain things are happening,” said April, a stay-at-home mom who no longer lives with the twins’ father. “I’m going to give them, give them my opinion just like any, any parent would.”

April home-schools the girls, teaching them her own unique perspective on everything from current to historical events. In addition, April’s father surrounds the family with symbols of his beliefs — specifically the Nazi swastika. It appears on his belt buckle, on the side of his pick-up truck and he’s even registered it as his cattle brand with the Bureau of Livestock Identification.

Gadzooks. Cute little things taught to hate at such a young age. And I’m sure they don’t even realize they’re singing about hate.

Let’s see… apparently 73% of conservative bloggers oppose Harriet Miers. I sort of feel at home since I opposed her last week. I have to add the following phrase for Truth Laid Bear to pick up my vote: I oppose the Miers nomination. I actually like her as a person and I think she would make a fine … um, cheerleader, I suppose. But we have so many more qualified conservatives that are better qualified. I don’t think we ought to settle for mediocre.

I stumbled across that little tidbit reading about God’s Grace and You. While most people question why there is evil in the world, La Shawn Barber questions why there is good in the world, given man’s scriptural and inherent depravity.

Common grace is distinct from saving grace in that the believer and unbeliever alike share in God’s earthly blessings. Also, since the Bible tells us man is not as evil as he could be, something must be restraining evil. That restraint is also God’s common grace.

Good reading there.

Lions and Lambs is taking some sabbatical time to grow closer to the Lord. Many daily posts full of reading, contemplation, and just a good old plain recognition of the blessings around us. Good reading there, too.

Pamibe is in the eyewall of Hurricane Wilma and yet somehow continues to blog. Amazing. Apparently what she misses most is coffee. 😛

On a lighter note, Sand in the Gears does his best impression of Spider Man:

And then I looked down, and saw him crawling up my chest.

You know how in the movies, when somebody gets some kind of icky crawly creature on him, he slaps hysterically at it with both hands, making distinctly unmanly sounds?

This is exactly true to life. Hollywood, I salute you for getting this, at least, dead to rights.

The spider, rest his soul, was killed by my flurry of self-inflicted judo chops. He lay crumpled in a little heap on the carpet, to what would have been the endless fascination of the two older boys, had the youngest not tried to eat him.

There. That should give y’all plenty of good stuff to read today. 🙂

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Tom Delay's Ethics

The New York Times and Washington Post have been relentless on attacking Tom DeLay lately on a variety of ethics charges. Now, I’m all in favor of removing unethical politicians when their heads get too big, but is that what’s happening here? The National Review gives a rundown on the charges and asks if they’re fair or partisan. Here’s a quick summary:

  • The NY Times noted that Tom DeLay’s wife and daughter were on the payroll for his relection campaign. Not only does this comply with House rules, but many other politicians do this as well, including Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The NY Times only mentions Delay.
  • Washington Post says Tom DeLay traveled to Moscow in 1997, paid for by private Russian companies. DeLay says the National Center for Public Policy Research paid for it, and the National Center backs him up and says the reports are false
  • A similar trip to South Korea was paid for by the US-Korea National Exchange Council (KORUSEC). If it’s a domestic organization, apparently it’s legal, but not if it’s a foreign agent. KORUSEC was registered as domestic when DeLay accepted the trip, then days before the trip, KORUSEC changed it’s status to foreign but neglected to tell DeLay. The NY Times doesn’t mention the Democrats on this trip, including a staff member of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
  • Three former Delay associates have been indicted for taking corporate contributions to fund candidates in the Texas State house, but DeLay hasn’t been indicted. The prosecuter previously indicted Kay Bailey Hutchinson when she won her Senate seat, but courts threw all the charges out in a single day. If DeLay is simply indicted, even if he’s not guilty, House rules forces DeLay to step down. So far, he hasn’t even been indicted or accused of wrongdoing.

Until I see something more concrete, this looks like partisan thuggery to tarnish Tom DeLay.

Kerry, the French, and the Germans

John Kerry said that he would build a coalition to help out in Iraq. Since Bush has already done that(with the exception of France, Germany, and Russia), Kerry must have some sort of sooper seckret plan to get these countries to help.

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Any idea what Kerry’s plan would be? Force the French to help at gunpoint?

Looking for an Honest Candidate

One of the cries from the left is that George Bush lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction, then took us into war with Iraq. That’s the foundation of the “Anybody But Bush” movement. Michael Moore’s movie is based on this premise that Bush lied. I find it funny that these are the same people who supported Clinton whose record of telling the truth was, shall we say, less than stellar. So you can dismiss much of the noise as partisan; designed to turn out the left vote and sway the undecided. Nothing wrong with that; it’s politics.

I for one don’t believe Bush lied. Before the war, there was no question that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. We know he did; he used them at least 3 times on his own people. France, Germany, Russia all believed Iraq has WMDs. That’s not a lie; I honestly believe Bush and the USA believed there were weapons there, and today I believe those weapons are probably hiding in Syria or buried in sand.

But if your whole “Anybody But Bush” philosophy is based on wanting a president that will tell the truth, how do you reconcile that with what John Kerry is saying? Today, the Washington Times in a story called Kerry’s Cambodia Whopper, points out that Kerry’s “Christmas in Cambodia” story couldn’t have possibly been true. This wasn’t a mere slip of the tongue; Kerry’s repeated this story many many times over the last 30 years, it was part of his allegation that the US was misleading the American public over presence in Cambodia. Kerry said, “I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the president of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia. I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me.” And it couldn’t have been any other Christmas – Kerry was only in Vietnam for 4 months. Kerry’s campaign lately has tried to spin this as Kerry was “near” Cambodia – but that explanation doesn’t fly. Kerry’s accusation against the USA depended on him being in Cambodia. Now Kerry’s campaign is merely saying Kerry’s memory was “faulty”.

In short, Kerry lied. He completely made up and embellished a story about being in Cambodia for the sole purpose of humiliating the United States. Those that are voting against Bush solely because they feel Bush wasn’t truthful enough can’t in good conscience vote for Kerry either – this anti-US Cambodia story, told over and over again, is a flat out lie.

Anti-Semitism 150, Israel 6

The United Nations passed a resolution, 150-6, to demand the Israel tear down the wall they’re building that’s keeping the Palestinian bombers out. Carlos asks,

I can imagine Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe being anti-semitic…

But Iceland??? What’s with that?

Tip to Chase Me Ladies I’m in the Cavalry.

Valid Criticisms and Polite Discourse

In any disagreement, there’s a way to have a polite discourse. Once you’ve resorted to name-calling, the effectiveness of the argument is lost. For instance, I feel calling Michael Moore a liar is valid as long as I have evidence he is purposefully misleading people. I see some bloggers calling him “fat”. While that’s true, it has nothing to do with the argument. Peter Jackson is also fat, yet many people loved the “Lord of the Rings” movies. The weight of the director in either case shouldn’t come into play.

When the NAACP said the Republicans “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side,” it’s crossed over the border of ideas and into the realm of insults. “Confederate swastika” invokes images of slavery, concentration camps, slaughter of people based on religion, etc. Is there any truth that Republicans want slavery to return when Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Rod Page are in Bush’s cabinet? Are we rounding up people of certain ethnicities and gassing them to death? Of course not – so this is “partisan rhetoric” designed to inflame emotions. It should be denounced by both sides – partisan rhetoric leads to hate.

There’s nothing wrong with being partisan though. You can support Kerry if you wish, it’s perfectly American to support the candidate of your choosing. I’m supporting Bush, I think by far he’s the better person for the job.

I’ve criticized Kerry frequently; I don’t think he’ll be good for America. I think he engineered his 3 Purple Hearts for political gain, I think he straddles the issue of abortion for political gain. I think he’s trying to be both pro-war and anti-war at the same time. I think he flip-flops on a wide majority of issues for political gain – yesterday, the Washington Post quoted Kerry as pandering to the Jewish community when he’s spent years criticizing Bush’s policies and calling Arafat a “statesman”. But each of those criticisms comes with backup and sources to justify my opinion.

Can Bush be criticized in a civil manner? Of course he can. I don’t fault him for the deficit; I believe the recession was caused by a stock market bubble bursting (I don’t even fault Clinton for that), and that burst caused the drop in revenue and 9/11 made it worse, and the additional military spending was required to fight the battle. I *do* criticize him for additional social spending. I’m not sure Bush has actually run on a platform of fiscal conservatism; he’s generally been labeled a “neo-con” that favors spending on conservative issues, but I can still be critical of the Medicare spending and farm subsidies and steel tarriffs, etc. Kerry’s not a solution to those issues since he wants to spend a *lot* more. I saw New Gingrich (ok, so he’s not exactly bi-partisan) on Fox this week who counted Kerry’s promised social programs and said they added up to $2 trillion. Ouch.

The Iraq war is winding down; I don’t believe in criticizing a sitting President’s war-time decisions, but the Iraqis are sovereign again and questions can be asked. Did Bush lie, as some liberals have said? I don’t think so – Bush said Saddam had WMDs; not only have we found sarin, mustard gas, long range missiles, and enriched uranium, but the bipartisan 9/11 Commission unanimously said that Bush relied on CIA intelligence and didn’t force them to reach a specific conclusion. In fact most liberals themselves believed Saddam had WMDs before the war. Everybody did. To call him a liar, then, is again unfair partisan rhetoric. I’ve heard a liberal friend call it “Bush’s daddy’s little war” as though this was some sort of revenge. I think that’s delusional if you think that was the overriding reason the US went to war. Some liberals have tried to claim that Bush lied about Saddam’s ties to 9/11, but that is also untrue – Bush never claimed that; Bush only claimed that Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda, and that part is true.

Can you criticize Bush over his handling of the war? I think so; a valid criticism might center around his ability to sway European people to the US point of view. I wouldn’t subscribe to that point of view; I think it’s obvious now that the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program and other oil service significantly affected France, Germany and Russia, and any attempt to shut down this corruption was going to cost them billions of dollars. I think Bush did a good job at trying to make his point at the U.N. based on the intelligence at the time, but France was *never* going to support us. It would cost them too much money.

If you’re pro-abortion, I think a valid concern would be Bush’s pro-life agenda. I’m pro-life and think that Bush’s agenda is more than acceptable, it’s about dang time. But if you’re pro-abortion, that would be an acceptable criticism. I don’t think Kerry’s much of a solution here, either – he says he believes in pro-abortion, he believes life begins at conception, and he believes he shouldn’t vote his beliefs. He’s voted Pro-abortion as a Senator from Massachusets, but with a Republican congress he’s likely to sign pro-Life bills anyway.

Is Bush a moron? The loonier liberals like to claim that, too, but that’s untrue. Bush’s wealth and family connections might have gotten him into fancy colleges, but all the connections in the world won’t get you a degree. He has a undergrad degree from Yale, a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard, and he can fly an F-102. He might not be the best speaker in the world, but he’s hardly a moron. Criticize his speaking abilities – but I don’t think Kerry’s got him beat there. Bush has malapropisms, Kerry’s boring as wood.

But any valid liberal criticism of Bush is lost in the vast wasteland of the liberal hysteria – Bush lied, he’s a Nazi, he’s racist, he’s blah blah blah. Liberals have the ability to make valid criticisms and Bush certainly has traits that could be criticized, but any valid criticism has been completely drowned out by partisan liberal hysteria. I look forward to the days that the ultra-left wing hysteria is replaced with a more rational but patriotic liberal. Rational disagreements are good for our country; calling the President a Nazi is not.