Thursday, October 12, 2017

Liberal Male Misogyny And Harvey Weinstein

One of the recurring topics I have on this blog is the trait I have noticed among male liberals where they hold pretty ugly views of women that they hide under feminist rhetoric until they get the chance to unload on a "safe" target, usually a conservative woman. They also usually get a pass from other liberals because of the target of their ugliness being conservatives.

Which brings us to Harvey Weinstein, and once the initial accusations of sexual mischief started the floodgates opened. The "casting couch" idea has been a running "joke" for decades and Weinstein himself was the butt of several jokes specifically poking fun at his reputation of being a lecherous creep but he was a good liberal guy and made lots of successful films so people looked the other way. I am not going to recount the accusations but needless to say that in spite of the dozens of women that have come forward to accuse him of harassment, groping and outright sexual assault I am confident there are plenty of other women that traded their youth and sexuality for parts in Weinstein films.

It also sounds like this has been known for a long time and nobody did anything until they were forced to by the viral news story. In spite of his apparently well-known sexual proclivities as it pertains to very young starlets, Weinstein was a favorite among liberals. Along with the grotesque, stomach churning pictures of Weinstein pawing and grabbing actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson, there are lots of these making the rounds.

Why would self-proclaimed liberal champions of women be willing to pal around with this corpulent serial abuser? At least with Bill Clinton it is perhaps because they were kindred souls but for the others I am sure it has nothing to do with the huge amounts of money Weinstein raised for Democrats via direct donations and lavish fund-raisers. Keep in mind that these are the same sort of people who say that Donald Trump is unfit for office because of a sexist comment he made years ago but who mug for the cameras with an actual sexual abuser because he writes them checks.

But I think the bigger issue is that there simply is a different standard when it comes to liberal men versus conservative men. "You have to have sex with me in order to get this part" is OK when it is a liberal saying it but a rather dubious report of a comment by Clarence Thomas, "There's a pubic hair on my Coke can", is a disqualifier when said by a conservative. It isn't like Weinstein is alone in his misbehavior that is overlooked when you are the right kind of celebrity.

Look at some other Hollywood darlings.

Woody Allen married Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his one time girlfriend Mia Farrow, beginning with an affair with the girl while still romantically attached to her mother and has been accused of molestation by other children. Yet Woody is still a favorite among the jet-setter crowd. Personally I never found him amusing or interesting, just mostly a self-important dork that was equally creepy.

Roman Polanski actually drugged and raped a 13 year old girl at the home of another weird cat, Jack Nicholson, and fled the U.S. in 1977. Prior to that he was in a "romantic" relationship with actress Nastassja Kinski who was under 18 at the time. Polanski would have been around 43 at the time, or almost my age. Since then he has gotten a little less creepy by marrying Emmanuelle Seigner who is a mere 33 years younger than he is. All of this time he has been living in Europe as he cannot come back to the U.S. without being arrested. That hasn't stopped him from making films fawned over by his Hollywood pals, including the overrated The Pianist which was nominated for 7 and won 3 Academy Awards, including a Best Director for Polanski. A man uses his position of power to rape one 13 year old girl and carry on a sexual relationship with another young teenage girl, and those are only the ones we know of and there are almost certainly more as his current marriage reinforces his hankering for very young women. Regardless Hollywood doesn't care, and many celebrities including female stars, pine for his return to America.

In the same way that the Left hypocritically yammers about "Black Lives" mattering when it is a politically useful black life and looks the other way when the black lives are the far more numerous lives lost to black-on-black violence and the abortion industry, so to does the Left talk a big show about caring about women and being "feminists" when they can advance their broader political agenda but not caring too much about women, sexual assault, sexual harassment, use of power by men to coerce sex out of women or outright rape them or any other form of misogyny when carried out by one of their allies. The left did all it could to keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court because of the spurious accusations of Anita Hill but lionized serial adulterer and woman killer (literally) Ted Kennedy and still lauds accused rapist Bill Clinton because he is one of their own.

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric. The Left only cares about people when they are politically useful. When a woman is just a wannabe starlet desperate for her big break and offered that break by a grotesque pervert in exchange for sex, nobody cares about her. It is just the ways things are done. The same girl caught in a compromising position with a conservative though becomes a cause in and of herself.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

A Response To Lecrae, Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile And Anyone Else Who Cares To Listen

As pretty much everyone knows, evangelicalism and especially conservative evangelicalism is a mostly White thing. Apparently that is a negative.

According to this fairly baffling post from John Piper, 116 Been Real, Lecare Moore, who simply goes by Lecrae, kind of like Cher and Madonna, is distancing himself from "white evangelicalism". I don't know much about Lecrae and I don't listen to his stuff but he has a fairly large following among white evangelicals, especially of the Reformed type.

Based what Piper is saying, he listened to the interview and I just don't have the time, Lecrae is distancing himself in part based on three "experiences", as listed below from Piper's article.
- First, Lecrae’s friend, Tyree Boyd-Pates, the Curator of History for the California African American Museum, told him, “You have said some things that were poignant and provocative for black people, but the phenotype of your music was not black . . . sonically it wasn’t resonating with our soul. . . . It’s like [the] ‘I have a dream’ speech over a rock record.”
- Second, the Washington Post called him an “evangelical mascot.”
- Third, he went public with his dismay over the Michael Brown shooting, and woke up to the reality that this “white evangelical” world did not feel what he felt. “The visceral attacks that came my way were like a shock to my system. That did some identity work.”
Based on this, Mr. Moore is going to "turn (his) back on white evangelicalism"
If I turn my back on white evangelicalism, who am I? If we disagree on . . . Black Lives and social justice, and I’m not getting pats on the back from John Piper, then who am I now? . . . For years that had been what was shaping my identity. . . . If I’m not the evangelical darling, who is Lecrae? . . . 
Getting  a pat on the back from John Piper? How patronizing and insulting. Maybe Piper helped expand Mr. Moore's audience because he appreciated his music and what he had to say but to then reduce it to Piper humoring Lecrae and giving him a "pat on the back" is nothing less than spitting in Piper's face. Then Piper goes on to say this:
Do you see yet why I respond to Lecrae’s “identity development work” with thankfulness? I know young men whose disillusionment with “white evangelicalism” was not as painful as Lecrae’s, and yet they threw the brown baby of Bethlehem out with the white bathwater. They’re done with Christianity. Done with the Bible. Done with Jesus — except the one they create to fit their present political mood. That could have been Lecrae. It could be you. 
Um, so I guess we are supposed to be glad Lecrae has embraced his black identity, something Piper would no doubt condemn in a white person publicly embracing their white identity, because at least he didn't leave the faith totally. Would Piper say the same about a white singer who espoused kinism after the shooting up of a church by a black man in Tennessee a few weeks ago? Piper doesn't seem excited about a lot of what Lecrae says in his interview but he also seems overly focused on "White evangelicalism" being synonymous with support of Trump and opposition to the neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter movement. I sort of don't think Piper understands the subject he is talking about here, either Lecrae and his dismissal and distancing himself from white evangelicalism or what exactly it is that white evangelicals care about or why we do what we do. I might go further and say that Piper seems a lot more concerned with "creating space" and "extending grace" to Lecrae than he is to his fellow white evangelicals and that to me is problematic.

The main problem I have though are with Lecrae's three "experiences" and why those are leading him to distance himself and create barriers between himself and white evangelicals.

Like a fine Beretta double gun I am going to let loose with both barrels.

Disclaimer: I don't listen to rap of any sort and haven't since a brief flirtation with Ice-T and N.W.A. back in high school in the 80's and I generally don't listen to "Christian" music at all so you might think I don't have a dog in this fight, with apologies to Michael Vick. However I do like John Piper and I also happen to be one of those lame, awful White evangelicals (although not one that voted for Trump) and it turns out I am sorta tired of being hectored, harangued, scolded, finger-wagged. I am endlessly told I need to feel guilty, that I need to apologize for my phantom "White privilege" and that I am a part of the group that somehow is collectively to blame for every ill, even the obviously self-inflicted ills, of an entire race of people that I have had very little interaction with of any kind in my life. So yeah, this article was like a matador waving a cape in front of me and I freely admit it made me pretty grumpy.

On the first "experience"... 

Lecrae being told his music isn't "black": "You have said some things that were poignant and provocative for black people, but the phenotype of your music was not black". So I guess his rap was too white? And that makes it therefore illegitimate?

Lecrae seems to have fallen victim to the cult of “authentic blackness” where some blacks get to determine for all other blacks what they are allowed to think, say, sing, wear and believe in order to qualify as authentic. I am not black so I don't understand it but it seems unaccountably powerful. Step outside of orthodoxy and the cult leaders rain down on you like the wrath of God, you become an Uncle Tom, are accused of trying to be white, etc. Like I said, I don't get this. No one says to me that if I don't like Polka music that I am not authentically Polish and I have never heard anyone say that the phenotype of any Polish musician, whatever that means, was not white. It is a very strange cultural phenomenon and if I may be so bold it seems to be a control mechanism for those who want to keep blacks from straying from black racial orthodoxy.

On the second "experience"....

The far left Post which hates all things Christian called him an "evangelical mascot".

That is a pretty cheap and clumsy and obvious shot and Lecrae seems to have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. If I may be super un-PC, if you are a prominent black man and you are going to leave the PC plantation, you better expect to get some backlash. Nothing is less permitted by our culture overlords than a black man who doesn't parrot leftist orthodoxy (see: Thomas, Clarence).

Pardon my French but how much of a fool do you have to be to get so easily sucked in by such an obvious and blatant cheap shot? I don't know much about Lecrae but I would think he would have more wisdom and discernment than to be led around by the nose by the WaPo. Standing for the truth means some slings and arrows and if you aren't wise enough and man enough to stand up to that, well that says a great deal about your character I am afraid.

On the third "experience"....

Lecrae expressed his opinion on the Michael Brown shooting, an unfortunate event but a justifiable shooting, but was apparently shocked when not everyone and especially not his white audience agreed with him. Wow, I hate it when I say something and not everyone agrees with me. According to the interview this caused "some identity work". So let me get this straight. A fairly complex case that got a lot of attention but it was a pretty clear case of justifiable use of force, caused Lecrae to do some "identity work", a phrase that smacks of some pretty heavy racial identitarianism. Even Jonathan Capehart, a member of the leftist Washington Post editorial board and a contributor for similarly left-wing MSNBC wrote: "(The Justice Department report) also forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown." (emphasis mine).

I don't get why the Michael Brown case has become the bellwether for alleged police brutality. What exactly is it about a huge, probably very strong guy attacking a cop and getting shot for it that is a racially dividing issue? As I recall, Michael Brown was 6' 4" tall and weighed around 292 pounds. That is about the size of a college or even pro football offensive or defensive lineman. During my year of college at Ohio State, my roommate had a class with a center for the football team and one day his classmate stopped by our dorm room. He was enormous but he was probably not quite as big as Michael Brown. Sure Brown was not "armed" but believe me a 6'4", almost 300 pound adult (he was 18) is plenty dangerous especially when he apparently is attacking a cop and going for his gun.

As a relative nobody that has made a career out of going against the grain, you kind of have to have a little spine and thick skin. If people don't agree with you, taking your ball and going home is not going to do a darn thing to change anything and done on a large scale in this context it simply increases racial polarization. If that is the goal, and while I don't think it is for Lecrae it certainly is for many in BLM and similar groups, then at least be open about it.

That raises a question and comment for me. Why is it OK for Lecrae to self-identify within the church based on his race and openly choose to identify himself with that racial subset and reject or at least “distance” himself from people of other races but if I do the same thing I would be labeled a bigot and racist? Or do we operate under two sets of rules in the church when it comes to race, whites have to reach out and seek to be more "diverse" but blacks can self-segregate and that is OK?

If you think this is OK from Lecrae but the Alt-Right and White nationalism is a problem you are either naive or ignorant or both.

That is why the post from Piper seems so confused and schizophrenic and I don't understand it so I am chalking it up to the general disconnect when we talk about race. I don't think Piper would tolerate this coming from a white evangelical but he seems to sort of tolerate it coming from a black evangelical. Piper seems sincere and he has a track record to back up what he is saying. I just hope he doesn't stumble down the Russell Moore path where virtue signaling engulfs his public ministry because Piper has an important voice and I would hate to see it lost in political correctness like Moore.

We are seemingly as far away from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of a nation where men are judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin as we were in August of 1963 when he gave his speech but ironically many people who claim the contemporary mantle of King are the ones who judge others on their skin color. This is only exacerbated by the Trump Presidency. Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile and others seem bent on flogging white evangelicals for the sins of Trump in a way that I don't recall anyone doing the reverse of during the Obama presidency. Thabiti openly expressed that he supported Hillary Clinton over Trump and no one is more a fan of seeing dead black babies than Hillary. Many black evangelicals seem to be doing what so many accuse white evangelicals of, putting their racial self-interest, misplaced though I think it is, over their Kingdom allegiance.

There has never been a time when black Christians are more in need of the words of Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth where he wrote:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Black Lives Matter is a pagan, ungodly, anti-Christian organization that thrives on causing racial discord. Those who choose to associate with and show affinity toward it rather than "white evangelicalism" are absolutely no different from those who espouse kinism and white separatism in the church. If white evangelicals making common cause with the GOP and Trump is unequal yoking, how much more so is it when black evangelicals make common cause with BLM?

If you want to associate with me in the church because of our shared redemption in Christ, then cool. I welcome that. If you don't want to associate with me in spite of our shared redemption in Christ because of my skin color and my affiliation with "White evangelicalism" and you prefer to elevate your racial identity above your Kingdom identity, then I can't help that and if I am being totally honest I really don't care or have any interest in working up much concern. Just don't act like your racial separatism is somehow noble and principled while that of Richard Spencer or Jared Taylor is evil.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Dissolving The Union: Our Incommensurable Americas

Peter Murphy, writing for Quadrant Online, has penned one of the most piercing analysis of the division in America I have read in his essay Two Incommensurable Americas, I had to look that word up but now I like it and plan on using it a lot. It's primary definition is:

1. not commensurable; having no common basis, measure, or standard of comparison.

That is a good way of describing America today, two (or perhaps more) Americas that have no common basis. I like the first half of his essay a lot, I think he has a great deal that is wise and accurate to say about the state of America and our sharp division. Here was my favorite part:
This is what the American “middle” now looks like. It is filled with graceless, cumbersome, knotty and embarrassing jerry-built pieces of legislation that claim to bridge what is in fact an unbridgeable chasm. The truth is that the two truths of American life cannot be reconciled. There is no meaningful in-between. There is no fuzzy logic that can square program spending and deficit reduction, balanced budgets and massive expenditure on infrastructure. Americans can see this. Tired of the political charade, they have been quietly separating themselves along geographical lines. In the last twenty-five years the number living in red and blue “electoral landslide” counties has risen from 40 to 60 per cent of the voting population. In step, the American political middle has shrunk. In 1994 49 per cent of American voters held “mixed” ideological views. In 2014 it was 39 per cent.
I think his solution is less workable, because it is based on everyone moving to places they like while maintaining the union. The problem there is obvious to me, I can live in a low tax state but I still am part of a big tax, big Federal government. They are not going to "leave me alone" in Indiana and as long as people in D.C. can cater to voters in California and New York by taxing and regulating me, my autonomy to move around within that system is not going to really help me. He also seems to be down on living near kinfolk as a support mechanism because he seems to think it traps people in opiod hellholes.

The "pick up and move" instead of relying on kin model is understandable but I think it also contributes to the fragmentation of family life where young families rely on daycare to raise their children because they are nowhere near their family and old people get stuck in homes because their kids moved away. It also, and I say this from personal experience, leads to kids that are not rooted and have trouble making connections outside of their own immediate family because "neighborhoods" are so fleeting and transitory.

Like I said, the essay is well worth your time to read for the first half because he just nails it on a lot of points. I also like something else he mentioned, the role of the Calvinist ethic in America. As he wrote, the secret Calvinists worked out a long time ago is this: "If you want a successful life then work hard and learn to read big books for yourself." Amen to that!

Give it a read and consider what he says and how it applies to our rapidly dissolving union.

Las Vegas: Some Perspective

The mass shooting in Las Vegas last weekend was a horror show however you slice it. I am not in any way diminishing the horrific nature of what this man did, presuming that the story we have so far is accurate. But in light of the weird American relationship with firearms across the political spectrum, I think it is important to look at a little history and perhaps gain a little perspective.

Las Vegas wasn't the worst mass killing in American history. Not even close. The biggest mass killing in U.S. history happened on September 11th, 2001. Around 3,000 people died that day and our country and the world itself were changed irreversibly, and not for the better. The weapons they used were airplanes. They were not discouraged by "gun control" laws, which are really citizen control laws, they simply used a different method to carry out their mass killing.

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols set off an explosive outside of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. I was in college at the time and remember watching the footage in the Student Union on the TV but at that time I had no idea how bad it was. The death toll was awful and would be the benchmark for six years. Around 168 people were killed and over 680 wounded. 19 of the murdered were children. 

The bomb was primarily a type of AN/FO device, ammonium nitrate/fuel oil, that was in barrels in a rented truck. The primary ingredients is ammonium nitrate which is very, very common and has been used in a number of bombings. It is common because it is used to fertilize corn fields, I am sure there is enough on farms in spring in a small circle around my house to make a very powerful bomb indeed.

McVeigh had a handgun with him but he didn't use it. He didn't need to in order to kill 168 people.

In Europe where most nations have very restrictive gun control for civilians, the inability to obtain guns hasn't stopped terrorists. In July of last year in Nice, France 87 people were killed and over 400 wounded by a Muslim man driving a truck into a crowd. There have been multiple truck attacks that have killed a bunch of people in places like London and Berlin. On multiple occasions hundreds of people have died in airline bombings like the Lockerbie bombing (270 killed). In 2004 in Madrid train bombings killed 192 people and injured 2000 more. Almost on a weekly basis there are non-firearm related terrorist attacks around the world, in Edmonton and France and England. With backpack bombs or trucks or knives and machetes, evil men commit acts of evil.

It should be pretty obvious that people bent of committing mass acts of violence, as opposed to those committing more localized acts, can pretty easily find ways to do so with or without guns.

So what is it about guns? It has a lot to do with the stark differences in opinion on gun ownership in America. Many people never grew up around guns for hunting and sport shooting and to them guns are terrifying. In many urban neighborhoods, a gun shot is cause to hit the floor. Where I live in the country, the sound of gun fire from my neighbor across the street barely warrants notice. A lot of it is also political. The idea of private citizens possessing firearms is both repulsive and frightening to many people and events like Las Vegas are ripe for political exploitation.

Some people point to the widespread epidemic of gun violence on a smaller scale and say that is a reason to ban or more heavily regulate guns but the hard reality is that the smaller scale gun violence is pretty limited in scope and in geography. In 2016 alone Chicago experienced 762 murders which works out to 63.5 per month. In other words, Chicago had a death toll higher than Las Vegas every single month for an entire year. So far this year there have been over 500 murders in Chicago with 3 months left in the year, including most recently 4 day old Jenae Lemon who was delivered early after her mother was shot and killed but ended up passing away 4 days later. The uncomfortable truth is that apart from a handful of high profile mass shootings, the vast majority of firearms violence in this country involved guns used by criminals and that criminal behavior is heavily skewed by geography and race. An estimated 7% of Americans, black men, commit in excess of 50% of all murders. A few counties in urban areas like Chicago, Detroit and Baltimore account for a majority of gun violence and an awful lot of counties have essentially zero gun violence despite the fact that those counties, like mine, have extraordinary rates of firearm ownership. I would be surprised if more than a couple of homes in a five mile radius of me are without at least one firearm and many are multi-gun homes like mine.

Depending on what number you use there are in excess of 300,000,000 privately owned firearms in America already and more are manufactured and sold everyday. Any efforts to limit gun ownership are bound to fail and any attempt to mass confiscate firearms would lead to incredible violence. America has always had a lot of guns but has not always had anywhere close to this level of gun violence which begs the question: what has changed?

If we are not willing to ask the harder questions we will continue to see the same response to gun violence, gun control advocates reflexively calling for more laws and restrictions after every high profile shooting and gun ownership advocates digging in their heels and refusing to budge in inch. That makes for good political theater but does nothing to solve the problem.

Las Vegas has the sad distinction of being the biggest single mass shooting in American history but it is an example of a fairly rare event. Gun violence in general in America is the more serious problem but an unwillingness to face the facts ensures that nothing will ever be done.

We don't have a gun violence crisis, we have a moral crisis and only a moral solution will make a dent in the slaughter.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Dissolving The Union: Cowlandia

As part of a series, in a prior post on my other blog (I am moving this series to my main blog), I took a stab at my first new nation to be formed from the dissolution of the United States, a combination of the northeastern states into an independent nation I called The Yankee States of America.

As I said in that post, that one was probably the easiest because the Northeast is so homogeneous in terms of it's political and cultural attitudes and it would even allow them to keep their bitter sportsball rivalries intact. The Y.S.A. is the cleanest and neatest of the new nations to create.

As you move away from the Northeast, things get more complicated because of the stark difference between the urban and suburban/rural areas in the rest of the country. Even seemingly monolithic California has 53 Congressmen and of those 39 are Democrats and 14 are Republicans, so over a quarter of California's delegation is Republican. But there are other considerations beyond strictly political considerations, specifically cultural connections between regions. Thus I present for your consideration..

The first thing you might notice about Cowlandia is that it is HUGE in terms of land size. These 11 states, not counting the parts of states like Nevada, Washington and New Mexico, combine for over 1.1 million square miles. Since the entire U.S., counting Alaska,  is about 3.5 million square miles, Cowlandia would be almost a third of the entire U.S. landmass and at that size would be the sixth largest nation in the world in area, slightly ahead of India and well behind Russia, China, Canada, Brazil, and Australia (as the U.S. would no longer exist at number 3).

What it is not is super densely populated, unlike the YSA. The great state of Texas stands out among the rest of Cowlandia. Texas currently has two of the top ten most populous U.S. Metropolitan Areas (Dallas-Fort Worth #8 with 7 million people and Houston at #10 with 6.3 million people.). Overall the state is number two in the country in terms of population with over 27 million people, well below California's 39 million but well ahead of number 3 Florida's 20 million. However the rest of Cowlandia as a whole includes some of the least populous states in the present United States, states like Wyoming with the smallest population in the U.S. at barely half a million and both Dakotas with less than a million people each.

State Size in sq miles Population
Idaho 83,570 1,654,930
Montana 147,040 1,032,949
North Dakota 70,700 756,927
South Dakota 77,116 858,469
Wyoming 97,814 586,107
Nebraska 77,354 1,896,190
Utah 84,899 2,995,919
Colorado 104,094 5,456,574
Kansas 82,277 2,911,641
Oklahoma 69,898 2,911,338
Texas 268,581 27,862,596

1,163,343 48,923,640

With almost 49 million people scattered over 1.2 million square miles, Cowlandia has a population density of around 42 people per square mile, similar to nations like Finland and Paraguay. The current United States has a population density of around 86 people per square mile and ranks 182nd in the world on that basis, while Cowlandia would register around 201st out of 240 some odd nations

Cowlandia is also rich in  natural resources, from the agricultural breadbasket that extends from north to south to the oil and natural gas in Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming, Cowlandia's strength is not in high tech but in raw materials. Texas has the second largest gross state product in the U.S. with a staggering $1,648,077,000,000 GSP. With a GSP of well over $1.6 trillion, Texas by herself would be in the top ten nations in the world in terms of GDP, just ahead of Canada, so Cowlandia as a whole would have plenty of economic strength to go it alone.

With a northern border of Canada and a souther border with Mexico plus a large Gulf of Mexico coastline, Cowlandia has lots of access to international trade. Obviously with Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, etc. Cowlandia has a great deal of oil, natural gas and other mineral resources plus the vast grain acreage in Kansas, Nebraska and others. A sizable amount of the beef you consume is finished out in the giant feedlots in Colorado and elsewhere in Cowlandia. Of course Cowlandia also includes a number of important parks like Glacier, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Zion, and many others. But it is not all wheat and cows and parks. Cowlandia has a number of urban centers in Houston and Dallas, Salt Lake City and Denver plus a bunch of colleges and universities in Boulder, Provo, Lincoln and all across Texas, so Cowlandia would have ample access to the creative class.

What it does not have is an overabundance of fresh water and that could be a problem. Perhaps Cowlandia could trade with the yet to be revealed new home of the upper Midwest, oil for water?

Cowlandia broadly speaking is the American West. Having lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming I can tell you there is a huge difference between the West and the Midwest. People in the YSA probably assume anyone west of Pittsburgh is a redneck or cowboy or both but the Western culture is very different from other areas in the country. While South Dakota is not Texas, they are both in my opinion far more similar to one another than they are to people in Boston. While there are exceptions in urban areas and Colorado is a lot more "blue" than the rest, much of Cowlandia is deep, deep red.

Many people who live in Cowlandia are resentful of people "back east" telling them how to manage their own lands. The fight over the reintroduction of the gray wolf a number of years ago was a perfect example. A rancher in Montana is going to have a very different understanding of the utility of bringing back an alpha predator than a wealthy urban housewife in Manhattan that contributes to the Natural Resources Defense Fund. Even Texan suburbanites are very different from people in the suburbs of Boston or Philadelphia or even places like Atlanta and Nashville.

Some other questions. Where would the capitol be? Probably in Texas, and probably somewhere like Dallas. Denver is another option as it is fairly centrally located in Cowlandia and might keep some of the power from being overly concentrated in Texas. Westerners would probably prefer a Dallas capitol to a capitol in D.C. but would like decentralization even more. What about the sizable Hispanic population? I would assume many would stay and be welcome in the new nation, many others might move to Arizona or California as I would assume that the government and culture of Cowlandia would change quite a bit. Part of dissolving the Union would be to allow enough time for people who wanted to move to do so freely before the new nations are formed.

What about the nukes? Between Strategic Air Command in Nebraska to NORAD in Colorado to the nuclear missile "farms" in the prairie states to air bases like Minot (N.D.), Malmstrom (MT) and F.E. Warren near where we lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming that house both nuclear capable B-52's and our land based nuclear strike force, Cowlandia holds a major percentage of the present U.S. nuclear deterrent. As an aside, it was kind of weird to drive around Cheyenne and see nuclear missile facilities seemingly randomly scattered around the otherwise empty prairie. Like most of the military, the nuclear forces would need to be split up. Although places like California and the YSA might not want nukes, they probably wouldn't want to give them all to new neighboring nations. A mutual defense treaty between the newly independent countries is a topic for another post.

Cowlandia for me was the second easiest new nation to carve out. From here on out it starts to get more difficult.


Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

President John F. Kennedy, 1962

Saturday, September 30, 2017

So Much For 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Because there is nothing else noteworthy going on in the world, some leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention decided to waste more time doubling down on their windmill jousting against the Alt-Right Phantom Menace™ by sending a letter to Trump calling on him to waste more time denouncing the Alt-Right: Exclusive: Evangelicals urge more action from Trump against alt-right:
A group of prominent evangelical Christians is calling on President Donald Trump to take further steps to condemn white supremacists -- specifically those in the alt-right -- following the August white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead.
A letter that has been circulating privately among a coalition of pastors notes Trump's efforts to denounce the white supremacists, but urges the President to go further in condemning the alt-right "by name."
If this wasn't dumb enough, the signers list include some less than luminary members. Along with the predictable people like Ed Stetzer, Russell "Never Met A Virtue He Wouldn't Signal" Moore and semi-professional agitator Dwight McKissic, there is also Lawrence Ware, the "Co-Director of the Center for Africana Studies and Diversity Coordinator, Philosophy Department of Oklahoma State University" who boldly announced his departure from the Southern Baptist Convention in the New York Times earlier this year, a guy that apparently elevates his race over his church and thinks "homophobia" is rampant in the SBC, but took the time to get off of his (formerly Southern Baptist) high horse to send a letter to Trump alongside many leaders of the racists and homophobic Southern Baptist Convention. Strange bedfellows and all that.

Worse than that is the signature of one "Bishop" T.D. Jakes...
Initial signers of the letter include Southern Baptist Convention President Rev. Steve Gaines, former SBC President Rev. Fred Luter and the Rev. T.D. Jakes, a mentor of Trump's top spiritual adviser, Rev. Paula White. One member of Trump's informal Evangelical Advisory Board, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also signed the letter.
T.D. Jakes is a heretic that holds to "modalism" and is the "spiritual father" of prosperity "gospel" false teacher Paula White. Jakes is a false teacher and as such should be called on to repent by men like Steve Gaines and Fred Luter, not accepted as a fellow Christian leader in sending a letter to President Trump that admits that Trump has repeatedly denounced "White supremacy" but calls on him to do it yet again in some ill-conceived scheme to placate people that will never be placated when it comes to Trump.

I am far more concerned with the leaders of the SBC linking arms with false teachers than I am with any "influence" of the Alt-Right.

Trump has already denounced "White supremacy" on more than one occasion and was perfectly correct in his statement that there was violence from both sides in Charlottesville. The only people still bringing this up are people that are fishing for political or monetary advantange from doing so and a handful of "leaders" that are more terrified of being called racist than they are of joining together with a heretic to send a meaningless and nonsensical letter to Trump.

Will the authors of this letter send Trump a second letter calling on him to denounce black supremacy after the murderous rampage by Emanuel Kidega Samson in a Tennessee church last weekend? I won't hold my breath.

The church has a whole bunch of issues to deal with and the Alt-Right Phantom Menace™ is way, waaayyyy down the list. People like Steve Gaines, Danny Akin and J.D. Greear are being played for fools by partisan political operatives and they need to stop wasting time and resources on silliness like this.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Deducing About Reproducing

Whether you are a believer that understands the command of God for His people to be fruitful and multiply to replenish the Earth or an unbeliever that recognizes the drive to reproduce as one of the strongest in all animals, reproduction is unarguably a major motivator for human beings. Little wonder that it is such a powerful issue that dominates so much of our lives, for good or ill.

Having children has morphed from a blessing and a privilege that couples look forward to after marriage into some sort of onerous rite of passage that comes when you are getting older but is to be avoided until absolutely necessary like a prostate exam and annual mammograms. "Well we are getting pretty old. Time to get an AARP membership and have a kid or two. What time is Murder She Wrote on?"

What this means is that most Americans are delaying or eschewing entirely having kids and it seems to be worse among those who are obsessed with their "career" and trying to fill the void with pets. Often these are the most highly educated and/or intelligent among us. It turns out there was a prophetic movie about this happening....

As a result our birth rate, like that of Western Europe and Japan, is rapidly plunging. But that is OK because there are too many people anyway and that causes global warming um climate change um, something really bad. So no problem, anyway the "experts" tell us that the key to happiness is to put off marriage and put off even later child-bearing as late as humanly possible. You need to be financially stable and kids screw that up, the Detroit Free Press even posted an article yesterday morning after I start working on this post titled Having children can ruin your retirement. Of course it is all about your own personal comfort so it must be true. Don't have kids or if you must wait until you are old enough that chasing a toddler around is hazardous to your health.

Oops, now your birth rate has dropped below replacement!

Of course the same super smart people that convinced you to put off marriage and childbearing also talked you into giant pyramid schemes called Social Security and Medicare that require a steady supply of current tax-payers to fund these programs for future and present retirees. Since you pay into it your whole life, you of course want to keep it around and therefore it can never be tinkered with even a little at the risk of incurring the wrath of the geriatric voting legions.

In the middle of this we cut trade "deals" that end up gutting the middle-class, leaving fewer job options for people without a college degree which has in turn led to generations of adults with meaningless college degrees, no useful skills, few job prospects and of course a load of student loan debt and collecting that debt is one of the few things the government is really serious about. That combined with an anti-fecundity culture helps to ensure even more people put off marriage and child-bearing.

Now we find ourselves in the same looming demographic disaster a lot of other civilized nations have, namely that we don't have much of a bench when it comes to new taxpayers to pay for all of the retirees, a situation made worse by all of the Baby Boomers retiring, people living longer and of course a $20,000,000,000,000 national debt on top of a hundred trillion dollar unfunded liability for Social Security and Medicare.

Don't worry! Our betters, those who have appointed themselves as the intellectual vanguard of America, have a solution. We will follow the example of Europe and import *new* workers to take over for the retiring people. America workers retire, are replaced by new Mexican, Somalian or Burmese workers and the wheels keep turning. I call this the Bill Kristol plan:
“Look, to be totally honest, if things are so bad as you say with the white working class, don’t you want to get new Americans in?” asked Kristol.
There is a serious problem with that plan. It assumes that a "new American" worker is going to make as much money and therefore pay as much in taxes and Social Security withholding as current workers. As the article I linked points out, just a couple of stats jump out at me. First, 51% of immigrant families (both illegal and legal) use welfare programs, more than 1.5 times the rate (30%) of native Americans. They also are almost twice as likely (40% to 22%) to use food stamps. Other reports suggest that illegal immigrants are a net cost to America of $113,000,000,000 per year. In general, "new Americans" make substantially less than native workers and as an added bonus tend to depress the wages of existing native workers. So in essence you are funding an ever-increasing pool of Social Security and Medicare recipients that have for the most part been paying into the systems their entire working life with a pool of workers that are making less money and therefore less in taxes while at the same time those same replacement workers are actually a net drag already on the economy. This is obviously not sustainable, nor is the general move away from decent paying jobs to service industry jobs that also pay far less.

Note: This is NOT about immigration, how much or whether we should allow it at all. It is simply to point out that people are not interchangeable units of production that you can replace at will, one tax cow for another tax cow. People that for whatever reason will make less and pay less in taxes cannot sustain a system built on wage and tax assumptions. So the net result will be either to sharply reduce retiree benefits for people that paid for those benefits for other people for four decades or sharply reduce discretionary spending in other areas. That leads to all sorts of potentially serious issues.

So here is a solid idea. Maybe we can try something novel like native-born Americans (not to be confused as a term with the misleading "Native Americans", i.e. American Indians) having more children. Crazy, I know. There are a lot of systemic problems that make having children into an economic burden so why not do what we can to encourage, or at least stop discouraging, people to get married and have kids. This is an idea that is catching on in Europe. Denmark ran an ad campaign called "Do It For Denmark" that encourages Danish couples to take a romantic vacation and get pregnant (sorta NSFW):

The Alternative for Deutschland, or AfD, tagged with the risible label of "far right" recently won a bunch of legislative seats in Germany and they had an ad campaign that had a simple message. New Germans? We'll make our own!

That kind of stuff makes some people uncomfortable and strikes others as jingoistic and xenophobic or *gasp* Alt-Rightish but making people uncomfortable and being called names has never really bothered me.

The U.S. cannot maintain our social safety net as it exists in any form and we especially cannot sustain it with a shrinking native population that is being replaced by a population that simply cannot replicate, at least not any time soon, the native population in terms of wages and therefore taxes. The push for mass immigration is a cynical and perverse unspoken partnership between the Left, which understandably sees new immigrants as a guaranteed increase to their voter base, and the Big Business "Right" championed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Wall Street Journal, which rightly sees immigrants as a way to lower wages and benefits and therefore pad their bottom lines. But we can't empty out or even substantially reduce the populations of Africa and South America without fixing the systemic problems that exist, otherwise the demand for immigration will never cease.

Our policy as a nation should be three fold. First, stricter restrictions on immigration and far harsher penalties not simply on the illegal aliens residing in America but especially on those who knowingly or willfully ignorantly hire them. Second, an absolute scorched earth policy toward any rule or law that discourages marriage and child-bearing. I am not talking about bribing people with food stamps or welfare money to have more kids, just finding ways to incentivize responsible child-bearing and rearing within the bounds of a traditional family. Third, our foreign policy should be aimed at not causing conflicts that increase instability (i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syrian, pretty much everywhere we get involved) and instead works to make life sustainable in places people are fleeing from. I don't want the best and brightest from Africa to come to America in search of a better life, I want them to be able to build a better life in Africa. Africa has all the resources it needs to succeed. Zimbabwe used to be known as Rhodesia and once was also known as the breadbasket of Africa but now it is a nightmare thanks to strongman Robert Mugabe, who once ordered farmers, under the threat of imprisonment, to stop farming in the midst of a food crisis. You will never fix someplace if you provide a way and incentives for the most industrious and motivated citizens to escape.

Americans already have the means to face the impending fiscal and demographic disaster facing us, as well as potentially places like Western Europe and Japan, and all we need to do is what comes naturally to us: have children. For a nation that endlessly yammers about children, we seem to really not like them very much but as the Prophetess Whitney Houston crooned, I believe the children are our future. If we teach them well and let them lead the way, they can indeed save us. But in order for the children to truly be our future, we need to start having a lot more of them.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Well Look Who Is Back (And It Isn't Mr. Kotter)

One of my favorite bloggers, Alan Knox, has magically reappeared after a long hiatus. Check out his blog here, you will almost certainly be challenged and edified even when you don't agree.

Welcome back Alan!

Monday, September 25, 2017

On Taking A Knee, SOBs And White Supremacists Hiding Under Your Bed

Everyone else is weighing in on the kneeling for the anthem thing, it even trended on Twitter with dueling hashtags, #TakeTheKnee and #TakeAStandNotAKnee, so I might as well too.

I am going to "get real" as the hep cats say these days when cutting a rug at the sockhop so hold onto your hats.

Let me state at the outset that I believe anyone can speak their mind on any topic at any time. If you want to kneel during the National Anthem, that is your right as a citizen of the United States. I don't put my hand over my heart when it is sung for the same reason I don't say the Pledge, my loyalty is to my King, not a specific country, but I do remove my hat out of respect for this nation.

Also, Trump weighing in on this controversy in his normal brash New York style is unhelpful but that is what we expect from him. If you taunt a bull, he is going to charge and a lot of people in America are the political equivalent of rodeo clowns, on several levels.

On the other hand, NFL players are employees representing their employers who pay them millions to entertain fans. The NFL has a compelling interest in protecting their brand which is one of the most valuable in the world. When I worked for a place like Fidelity Investments back in the day and was on business, or wearing their logo on my shirt, I kept controversial opinions to myself. A business lunch is not the place to discuss controversial topics. I was on my employer's dime and was representing them to clients with tens or hundreds of millions invested in that organization, so I didn't have any First Amendment right to endanger that relationship. I used to quietly pray before meals at business lunches but I didn't try to proselytize my clients. The NFL would be well within their rights to fine or otherwise punish players that are clearly doing damage to the relationship between the NFL and their customers, i.e. the fans and the advertising sponsors.

Also on a different other hand, while it is not required, it would be nice if the NFL players kneeling had a clue what it is they are protesting other than vague references to "racism" and "police brutality" and of course "White supremacy". The last is my favorite. "White supremacy" has entered the meaningless and counter-productive word lexicon. Everything is White supremacy. Trump winning? White supremacy. People who are understandably upset at players seeming to disrespect the flag and the police that they expect to protect them while playing? White supremacy. I put together a handy infographic about this over the weekend....

Perhaps an exaggeration but not a huge one. Colin Kapernick, who is an utter idiot and mediocre quarterback by the way, at least has clumsily tried to explain why he was kneeling (hint, it had something to do with cops like the ones depicted as pigs on his socks. Classy!). The rest of these guys I think are just doing it to virtue signal or as a more polite middle finger to Trump, which I can't really blame them for.

A particular scene stood out for me yesterday from the Detroit Lions game against the Atlanta Falcons. Rico Lavelle, who I have never heard of,  the guy who sang the national anthem which is a great honor for any singer, took the opportunity to kneel at the end and toss up the black power fist salute.

Let me be clear. The black power fist symbolizes a lot of things to me and none of them are very positive. It brings to mind things like the Black Panthers, black nationalism, the violence of the radical movements of civil rights era. To me and many White Americans, right or wrong, the black power salute is a tacit threat. In a way it is a gesture symbolic of racial animus like a skinhead giving the Nazi salute. Think that is an exaggeration? The black man who allegedly murdered one and shot multiple other White churchgoers in Antioch, Tennessee yesterday, Emanuel Kidega Samson, is a Sudanese immigrant who has on his (not taken down yet but soon to be) Facebook profile this picture that was once his cover photo:

I pulled the above screenshot from his page myself lest you think this is some conspiracy theory or photoshopping. I don't think everyone throwing up a black power salute is a potential mass shooter but I also don't think that anyone who is a White nationalist is one step away from tossing Jews in an oven. So don't tell me there isn't a more sinister meaning behind the black power salute, even if most people don't realize it.

What I found even worse is that there are four little black boys in the picture, all looking at Mr. Lavelle, while he kneels and throws up the black power salute. The little boy on the right especially is looking at that raised fist. I wonder what they were thinking? Here is the harsh reality of life for young black boys that live in Detroit....

Detroit has long been one of the most murder prone cities in the country. The raw number of murders might not be as high as Chicago but that is thanks only to the plummeting population of Detroit. The per capita rate of murder in Detroit is often at the top and this year is in second place thanks to the ongoing slaughter in St. Louis, ironically home to the most recent racial unrest. Check out this chart:

What do the top five cities on this list, with widely outsized murder rates, have in common? In 2010 Detroit's population was 82.7% black. St. Louis was 49.2% black, the largest racial group. New Orleans was over 60% black. Baltimore is around 63% black. Newark is over 52% black.

You want to know who is getting murdered in Detroit?

Young black men.

You want to know who is murdering them?

Young black men.

This is the truth that everyone knows but no one wants to say speak out loud. Let me be even more uncharacteristically blunt. When those four black boys in that photo grow up, there are statistically at far greater risk of harm from each other than they are from any White person or any cop for that matter. Cops killing black men without cause is an issue but compared to black men killing other black men it is way down on the list.

While people like Ta-neshi Coates get wealthy selling books and essays about the "White supremacist" bogeyman, and the number of actual White supremacists as distinguished from the more common White nationalists is tiny, the real threat to the lives of black men is primarily and almost exclusively from other black men.

I hope someone sits down with those four young boys and explains to them that killing each other over drug turf and personal insults is a certain way to end up in jail, dead or eventually both and that perpetuating this cycle of violence is destroying any future for blacks in America. It is easier, more politically expedient and more personally enriching to blame all of your community's problems on the "other" of "White supremacy" but the overriding problem in the black community is a lack of personal responsibility. You are free to dismiss that assertion but I stand by it nonetheless. Playing the perpetual victim card has led us to where we are today and the black community desperately needs voices to stand up and say "Stop blaming other people for your problems and for crying out loud stop shooting each other!". Saying stuff like that won't get you published in the elite newspapers and magazines and probably won't get you book deals but if enough black men start to speak up and say to each other that enough is enough it might be what their community needs to pull back from the abyss.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

It's Your Time!

The United Methodist Church in the nearest decent sized town has started a new worship service and is trying something revolutionary: a 30 minute service!

There are signs for this all over the place around town. I think the message is clear:
"You feel obligated to 'go to church' but you don't want to invest anymore time than is absolutely necessary"
I wonder how long the sermon is. You can't really get much more than a welcome, quick prayer, a couple of songs and then a 10 minute sermon.

Seriously though, if I am going to go to the effort of getting dressed and rounding up my family, I at least want to hear someone spend more time on his talk than it takes the average church-goer to flip to the correct chapter and verse. I don't think that monologue sermons are the best way to teach and equip but that is what the vast majority of Christians seem to like so if you are going to do a worship service with (I assume) a sermon, please make it worth the effort to come listen to. 

We can't be far away from this video becoming a reality.

Church: It's YOUR Time!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I Will

This morning in Sunday school we were looking at the beginning of the episodes in Exodus that precede the Passover. Here was a critical juncture I saw that reveals God's plan for the Pharaoh and for His people:
But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. (Exodus 7:3-4)
I will harden Pharaoh's heart so he will not let the people go in spite of the incredible deeds I will perform. Then in spite of this I will nevertheless bring My people out of the land of Egypt. This entire event is not some sort of contest between Moses and Pharaoh with God acting to tilt the balance for Moses as we seem to think it is based on movies and cartoons. It is all about God.

God is very clear about his intent. He says exactly what is going on and why right after these verses:
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:5)
Later Paul recounts the reason God raised up Pharaoh in the first place:
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)
Pharaoh existed in that time and place and had the power that he did for the sole reason that God raised him up so He could harden his heart and dash him down to show his own glory. The world was created so that God can demonstrate His glory to His creatures and the Scriptures exist to record this. The only proper response of man is to worship God and glorify His name, as the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism famously says:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Everything God does in the Scriptures, culminating in His crowning moment of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of His Son, is done for the sole purpose of glorifying Himself, not in a self-serving or narcissistic way but as a means of rightly demonstrating His infinite and perfect glory.

Over 300 times in the Pentateuch alone God uses the phrase "I will" and it appears almost innumerable times in Scripture as a whole, the exact phrase appearing over 2000 times in the ESV. One of my favorite is in God's prophecy against the shepherds of Israel. After scourging them for their selfishness He steps in and gives the prefiguring vision of His Son coming to be the Good Shepherd of His sheep....
“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. (Ezekiel 34:11-16)
I will, I will, I will.....the only worthwhile promises in this world are those made by the Covenant-Making Lord.

And of course the most powerful use of "I will" in the Scriptures is in the New Covenant promise, emphasis mine....
For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:8-12)
I will remember their sins no more. That is the promise of the Gospel that is inextricably linked with the New Covenant. This is what God is working toward through every "I will" in Scripture, bringing to pass redemption for His elect people by His own Hand through the cross-work of His Son and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.

It is so vital that we read things like the plagues leading up to the Passover with an eye on Jesus. Too often we treat the Bible as if it were a series of unrelated religious stories, an Aesop's Fables but with a cross, instead of an interconnected series of revelations of God intervening in His Creation to bring to fruition His ultimate will. The Bible is God enforcing His will on His creation as is His utter right to do so.

We can know that what God said He would do in Scripture really happened and what He has promised will yet come will likewise come to fruition because it is His will. When God says "I will" he cannot do anything but make this come to pass. This is the story of redemption that is the spine of the Bible, God saying "I will" and then doing it. I am comforted that our God is a God of "I will" instead of a God of "I might" or "Gee I wish I could". The distinction makes all of the difference for eternity.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sixteen Years Later

With the news of hurricanes and the endless political squabbling among the spoiled children that "represent" us in Congress and the White House, it is perhaps understandable that we neglect September 11th. But it is not forgotten in our home. My wife and I talked about how raw the emotions still are today, how videos of that day still give me that feeling of being punched in the stomach. I still remember being on the phone with my wife from work and her telling me another plane hit the World Trade Center and just like that we all knew this was no accident.

The days that followed were like a waking nightmare as we learned more, or at least thought we learned more. Three days after the attacks President Bush gave a speech at the National Cathedral. Like pretty much every American I watched our President speak from the pulpit and offer both soothing words and the threat of violence to come.

Some of the language he used that night was inspiring at the time but seems almost ominous now...
Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history, but our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil. War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.
A Christian man standing in a pulpit pledging to rid the world of evil, something that he and I should have known was foolish. Just three days had passed but the wheels of vengeance were already turning. Not just vengeance toward those that had carried out the September 11th attacks but those we felt helped or inspired them, those that supported terror or those we just didn't like. I went as far as getting a military physical in Columbus, Ohio and was really just days away from going into the Air Force Officer Candidate School, inspired by a need for vengeance.

Weeks after September 11th, U.S. and NATO forces entered Afghanistan. By the end of January 2002 President Bush gave his "Axis of Evil" speech. About a year later we invaded Iraq.

Osama bin Laden is long dead, killed in Pakistan while living like an animal. Saddam Hussein is dead, executed by his people, after being captured and dragged from his hole. Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead of natural causes. We have killed and killed and killed.

We won!


The images above are the sort of images that have dominated the last 16 years. My son that was 2 at the time is now old enough to enlist, although he absolutely is not, to fight in the wars we started after September 11th and that we still are fighting. Three of my kids were not even born yet. Almost 7000 Americans have died in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and untold tens of thousands more are wounded and maimed in body and mind. The butcher's bill for Iraq and Afghanistan among their civilians is staggering. Still there is no end in sight, especially in Afghanistan, a nation rightly called the place where empires go to die.

The current instability of the Middle East is a direct result of our meddling in the area. When you look at the conflagration in Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc. along with the rise of ISIS and the endless sectarian wars in Iraq, you can draw a line straight back to the decision to use 9/11 as cover to invade and "liberate" Iraq. The Taliban in Afghanistan are poised to take back over the moment we leave and this has led to a deadly standoff where we can't afford to stay when we have no mission but we don't dare leave and allow the Taliban to take back over.

You can say many things about the aftermath of September 11th and most of them are some variation of "We screwed up" and thanks to that screw-up, tens of thousands of people are dead. Radicalism is ascendant across the Middle East. Terror attacks are a weekly occurrence in Europe. I and many other suspect very strongly that there is a lot about September 11th itself as well as the aftermath that we don't know and could only guess at but it is certainly true that our trust in our government is at an all-time low.

Decades of meddling in the Middle East led to the September 11th attacks and the years following have only made things worse. I can only hope that at some point we finally learn our lessons before something even worse than 9/11 happens. I can't say I am terribly optimistic that will be the case.

Never forget September 11th and never forget what happens when a nation uses a tragedy to start an even greater tragedy.