CHRISTMAS 2014: POSTS THAT HARKEN FROM “OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOOD” — December 18, 2014 UPDATE

Over time, life changes us. We can become confused by the changes. So it pays to take the time to look back and try to understand how and why we changed.

When I began this post, I decided to use what I thought was an old Christmas song to begin  it, “Over The River and through The Woods.”

I was surprised what a little research revealed. To say the least, that old song has become a bit commercialized.  Over the River and Through the Wood was a Thanksgiving song by Lydia Maria Child.

With respect to Christmas, what else has changed?

December 18, 2014 from Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans

I have the day off. Yet even though it is still early in the morning, I am up. Everyone else in my home is still sleeping, but I am an early riser. So here I sit in a warm basement listening to Christmas music, courtesy of a link provided by Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans.

Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans seems to favor an attitude of quiet gratefulness on Christmas. So there selections involve:

December 14, 2014 from Power Plant Men Continue reading

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GOVERNED BY IMMATURE BOYS

immature boyDoes any passage from the Bible well describe the times in which we live? I think Isaiah 3:1-12 does. Isaiah 3:4-5 summarize the passage.

Isaiah 3:4-5 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Lord will let the people be governed by immature boys. Everyone will take advantage of everyone else. Young people will not respect their elders, and worthless people will not respect their superiors.

Think about the people who lead us. Are they serious about serving the people or serving their own self interest?

Consider we the people. Is everyone taking advantage of everyone else? Are not our leaders just like everyone else?

Anyone can pick an example their own, but here is something that is currently getting lots of coverage in the corporate news media. That’s the hacking into Sony’s computer systems. The hackers want to stop the showing of The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.  USA Today has the timeline here.

The BBC has the current details. After President Obama criticized Sony for not releasing the film, Sony responded.

Responding to the US president’s comments, Sony Pictures chief executive and chairman Michael Lynton said the studio had not made an error in cancelling the release.

The US president said Sony made a mistake in not releasing its film “We have not given in, we have persevered,” he told CNN.

A Sony statement said the decision had been based on “the majority of the nation’s theatre owners choosing not to screen the film”.

“Without theatres, we could not release it in the theatres on Christmas Day. We had no choice,” the statement added.

“It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.” (from here)

So how does this episode indicate the immaturity of our leadership?

  • Sony Corp. has responded with the courage expected from children. Did Sony change its mind about releasing the film in response to terrorist threats? Did it change its mind again in response to public pressure? Or is this large media organization simply unable to properly express itself in a press release?
  • As Lessons from the Sony hack (www.washingtontimes.com) attack by John Lenczowski indicates, the attack on Sony is part of a pattern. What may surprise some about the Sony attack is the sheer brazenness of it. Yet this problem was predicable. The more involved our government gets in providing social goods and services, the less our leaders care about the job they are suppose to be doing, ensuring the security of our people in their God-given rights. Hence, our Internet systems tend to be far less secure than they could be.
  • Because our leaders lack firm resolve, they may actually be encouraging North Korea’s crazy behavior. Check out Here’s the real reason North Korea hacked Sony. It has nothing to do with The Interview (www.vox.com).

On the other hand, the content of The Interview indicates something about us. As We Saw ‘The Interview’ Weeks Ago, And It’s Clear Why North Korea Hates It (www.businessinsider.com) indicates, at best The Interview is a movie for giddy, immature boys. Of course, now the movie is supposedly required viewing: Why North Korea’s Sony hack made ‘The Interview’ required viewing (www.engadget.com). If this kind of stupid stuff is all it takes to get us to watch a bad movie, we can’t blame Dear Leader Kim Jong Un.

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge

Citizen Tom:

This post answers CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE, and it really has nothing to do with politics. Instead, this post is about pictures of fences. Nevertheless, I think about politics and tend to relate politics to everthing I hear, read, and see. I suppose that is not a good thing. :-(

Right now illegal immigration is in the news. Because of politics our president has exceeded his Constitutional authority. Because they do not serve his purpose, President Barack Obama will not enforce our borders. Because our leaders will not keep our nation’s fences in good repair, we have neighbors who do not respect the fences we have set around our country.

Do fences have a good purpose? Yes. Think about what we do with them. We set boundaries with them. Fences do not exist to keep the world out or us in. They exist to make it easier for us to respect each other. We put fences around gardens, for example so that people don’t walk in them and on them. And we put fences around our nation so that we can preserve our language and our culture.

Without a fence around our nation, we cannot keep our republic. That is particularly true when our welfare state serves as a magnet to the world’s poor. Too many of the people who live here have forgotten what it means to have God-given rights, and too many of the illegal immigrants come from lands where the concept remains unknown. Therefore, if we want to pass a republic onto our children and grandchildren, we need to teach them about God-given rights and the value of good fences.

Originally posted on Lillie-Put:

Cee is having us build: FENCES today

Robert Frost said “Good fences make good neighbors.”

What do you think? Go and let Cee know at

http://ceenphotography.com/cees-black-white-challenge/

Here are some of my fencing thoughts:

100_4824

This is the fence outside of Parliament in Dublin.

The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.

J. R. R. Tolkien 

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Both of these fences are found in the Koog Zaandyke neighborhood just outside of Zaandam in North Holland.

100_2103

Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.

Carl Sandburg 

There is a balance to these things called fences and we must forever seek to maintain it.

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CHRISTMAS AND LEARNING WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE

christmas
Christmas is a time when people think of Christmas trees and Santa Claus. Others also think of Jesus Christ in a manger. Many just grow lonely, realizing that while everyone else seems to be partying, they have no one.

In most homes, families set aside Christmas to be with each other. As children we slowly learn that’s what makes Christmas special. Mama, Daddy, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends and so forth come together just to be together. If we are wise in the meaning of Christmas, we share we fellowship in Christ with each other. If not, we at least share our love with each other.

How did Jesus Christ make Christmas special? On Christmas men saw God take upon Himself the likeness of one of us. The Apostle Paul explained in Philippians.

Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Humbled and Exalted Christ

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here is an act of love we cannot even begin to understand, much less fully appreciate. Why would God stoop so low as to become one of us — knowing we would crucify Him? For that we have no true answer. We know only that because God loves us so much we need not be afraid.

1 John 4:17-19 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Consummation of Love

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

So it is that we celebrate Christmas by showing our love for each other. We can be with those we care about. We can cherish our children; show them how to love by loving them. And if we are lonely, we can find someone who is needy, and we can show them we care by giving them our time and our help.

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DO WE WANT TO STUPEFY THE HIGH MORAL GROUND?

defender of the high moral groundDistracted From The Issues That Matter

In the middle of one of his columns last week, former congressman Tom Delay made this observation.

That said, it’s instructive but not surprising to contrast the attention given to the House Gruber hearing with the saturation coverage lavished on Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein’s release of the partisan Democratic investigation into the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques used on terrorists after 9/11. (from here)

When we speak of government, what is the big issue? Is the big issue the CIA waterboarding a few terrorists or should we be more concerned when our leaders trick us into buying “health insurance” we don’t want? How about a runaway Federal Budget? What about amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants? What about leaders who say one thing and do another?

If we don’t want to be led astray, we must look to our true shepherd.

What Are “Social Goods And Services”?

Recently, I decided to investigate a phrase I had just heard, “social goods and services.” When I googled it, I discovered it is often used in context with Social inequality. Here is an example from Wikipedia.

Norms of allocation can also affect the distribution of rights and privileges, social power, access to public goods such as education or the judicial system, adequate housing, transportation, credit and financial services such as banking and other social goods and services. (from here)

Supposedly, government now has the job of ensuring social equality, and that includes ensuring an equal distribution of “social goods and services.” Unfortunately, our government is taking up this “great cause,” transforming our society, and doing it with very little serious discussion.

Why use that phrase, “social goods and services”? It is a euphemism. In the past, when self-styled dogooders used government to redistribute “social goods and services,” they wanted us to know they were giving our money away out of their great love for the poor and disadvantaged.  So they called redistributing the wealth charity, but hardly anyone uses the phrase “public charity” anymore. Instead, with even greater hubris, the dogooders call such things entitlements. After all, we don’t want to hurt the self-esteem of the poor and disadvantaged.

We should call our government’s redistribution of “social goods and services” what it is, stealing from from the “rich” and giving to the poor (and the scheming, filthy rich). However, because everyone knows stealing is immoral, the “dogooders” insist we call it something else. Yet no matter what euphemism we want to give it, taxing some people to pay for other people’s “social goods and services” is still stealing.

So how do the “dogooders” get away with redistributing “social goods and services”? Consider what happens when we dare to call redistributing “social goods and services” stealing. Don’t we get called selfish?  Could it be that charge is correct? Often it is, possibly most of the time. Nevertheless, if the citizens of a nation are selfish, then their government can only institutionalize their selfishness. That’s why, for example, we call Social Security the third rail of politics. Too many old people want “their” Social Security. So if a politician can convince enough selfish voters that his selfish opponent is going to mess with “their” Social Security that opponent gets electrocuted.

In truth, programs such as Social Security — programs that redistribute “social goods and services” — are cannibalistic. Consider the change that resulted with Social Security. Whereas earlier generations saved and passed on those savings to their children, too many of us now spend every cent we earn. Then, in old age, we feed off the earnings of our children, claiming, because the government — and our parents — did it to us, that we somehow deserve to receive our children’s property.

Does our Constitution even charter the Federal Government to redistribute “social goods and services”? No. Unless some judge bends it like a pretzel, there is no way any politician can justify funding the redistribution of “social goods and services” using the Constitution.  So we are debating something that only exists because of bigger and bigger lies, lies more politely called legal sophistry. Thus, the immorality of stealing spins into a web of deceit, ultimately self-deceit, and the checks and balances that once protected us from the wolfish inclinations of our leaders crumble before waves of legal sophistry.

Can Men And Women Do Good?

Can men and women do good? Can we act out of love towards our fellows? Yes, but when we act in love that act is voluntary, not coerced. That’s the power of love. Love causes us of our own volition to do what is right. And love is not something we can replace by enslaving ourselves and others to government bureaucrats.

Consider the words of John Adams.

While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world. Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken, and so solemnly repeated on that venerable ground, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government. — John Adams, Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 11 October 1798, in Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of General William Hull (New York, 1848), pp 265-6. There are some differences in the version that appeared in The Works of John Adams (Boston, 1854), vol. 9, pp. 228-9, most notably the words “or gallantry” instead of “and licentiousness”. (from here)

That abstraction we call love manifests itself through relationships. We create such relationships by setting a personal example, not through legislation. No government system can teach us how to love and care for each other. Only men and women living as our Lord and Savior taught us to live can show us how to love.

If we want to be altruistic, we must use OUR OWN MONEY. Because it is just a way for selfish politicians to buy the votes of selfish citizens, using someone else’s money to pay for “social goods and services” is without a doubt stealing.

As it is, we have tried to institutionalized love through government, and we have failed miserably.  So it is that charlatans lead us and casually lie to us, making promises they have no intention of keeping.

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HOW DID THE DEBATE BETWEEN THE CANDIDATES FOR BRENTSVILLE SUPERVISOR TURN OUT?

Greg Letiecq recorded the debate.  Here is his video.

Letiecq has the video and some commentary here.

Bristow Beat summarizes the debate in this story:Brentsville Supervisor Debate Highlights Distinctions between Candidates. In this story, Local Republicans Revoke Scott Jacobs’ Membership in their Party, the Bristow Beat confirms a comment I made in an earlier post.

The Potomac Local has a couple of articles related to the debate.

I watched the debate, and I thought it quite interesting. Linton Hall School relaxed the mood with a little Christmas music courtesy of their Fife & Drum Corps. The children are really quite good, and everyone enjoyed the diversion, but then we got to the business at hand.

Generally, the candidates came well prepared.  All have lived in the area for years.  Eric Young and Scott Jacobs grew up here. Young spoke from the perspective of someone who has served on multiple community boards. Jacobs leveraged his experience as a successful businessman. Jeanine Lawson, who has lived Prince William County for 19 years, spoke from with perspective of a grassroots political leader. Lawson has a long record of being involved in community affairs. Of the three candidates, she is probably the most well-known to our community.

My personal impression is that Lawson and Young got the most out of the debate. Jacobs made no secrets of his ties to and sympathies for the developers in Prince William County. For example, Lawson and Young successfully made the case that the Stone Haven development would cost the citizens of Prince William financially and further overcrowd our schools. On the other hand, Jacobs failed to provide a convincing argument for approving Stone Haven. That left the impression his first loyalties would not be with the citizens of Prince William County.

Young made, perhaps, one strategic mistake.  He came out in support of a pre-kindergarten program for financially disadvantaged children. Although his position probably pleased the members of our local teacher’s union, both Lawson and Jacobs promptly slapped down his proposal. Even if Young’s proposal made sense, the county does not have the money to pay for it. That’s why we already have a high student to teacher ratio. Thus, with his support for a pre-kindergarten program, Young undermined his credibility as someone who can be counted upon to balance the budget and keep taxes further increasing.

 

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