Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Reviews of Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution by James P. Byrd.

Christianity Today

He matter-of-factly contends that sermons were more influential than political pamphlets in building popular support for independence, and he insists unequivocally that "preachers were the staunchest defenders of the cause of America." And yet the question that really interests him is not whether religion played an important role in the American founding but how it did so. More specifically, he wants to understand how colonists used the Bible in responding to the American Revolution.

Religion in American History

But the Revolutionary War also altered how Americans read and understood the Bible, challenging and changing interpretations of both the Old and New Testaments. Byrd mines his dataset of wartime sermons during the long eighteenth-century to great effect, demonstrating the interpretive challenges colonists faced in rebelling against the British Empire. Whereas the Bible had previously been marshaled to justify war against Catholic imperial rivals France and Spain and non-Christian American Indians (as recently as the French and Indian War of the 1750s and 60s), the predominantly Protestant colonists of North America were now facing off against the British Crown they’d previously held up as the standard and protector of the English-speaking Protestant Empire.

The Christian Century

Byrd also seems not to have noticed that the most bellicose sermons he quotes came from Presbyterian ministers—not Congregationalists or Methodists or even Baptists. Did most such sermons indeed come from Presbyterians, and if so, why? (His database appears to have contained only biblical references, not the denominational provenance of the preachers or even their geographical location.) Is the apparent Presbyterian predominance because of their regional concentration in the middle colonies, or is it because of Scottish and Presbyterian antipathy toward the British dating back for generations?


A provocative analysis of the need to study warfare.  Today "peace studies" dominate, but is there more to learn about human nature and how to avoid war from studying warfare itself.

The lesson we should learn from this sorry history is that preemptive war is a necessity when facing a determined aggressor, and that the time and place of a potential conflict, and the capacity to wage war until its successful conclusion, must be carefully considered and prepared for when making treaty commitments and pledging the nation’s blood and treasure. This means that often a nation cannot merely wait to react to aggression, but must anticipate where the blow will fall.

. . .success in war depends on morale, not material superiority. Long before 1938, England and France had lost their nerve, and simply did not have the will to fight. Instead they had bought into the illusions of internationalism and collective security, pacifism and disarmament, which had merely fed the alligator of Nazism, to paraphrase Churchill, in the vain hope that they would be eaten last. And this brings us to the philosophical lessons the study of war teaches. Contrary to our modern therapeutic utopianism, the history of war shows us the unchanging, tragic reality of human nature and its irrational passions and interests that will spark state aggression and violence.


The Obama White House is controlling the kinds of pictures that can be taken and seen and some pictures have been digitally altered.  As Dana Milbank points out Stalin was famous for this kind of thing--when you saw a picture it was not necessarily a historically accurate account of who was there or not there.  In addition the press is being excluded from many White House events. . .but I don't hear complaints from the mainstream media.

Monday, November 25, 2013


The media has a lot to say about conservative fat cats giving money to conservative causes, but they seem to ignore how liberal fat cats also try to influence politics by supporting Democrats.


From CNBC.  Tax returns at the IRS are not safe and can reveal private information to hackers.  But it also raises questions about security at state sites and notes that South Carolina's Department of Revenue also revealed private information on taxpayers.  And now it will be responsible for Obamacare financial data that is supposed to be private.

A new report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that although the IRS claimed it had implemented 19 fixes to secure the system recommended by the auditor in previous years, at least eight (or 42 percent) of them "had not been fully implemented," and should not have been checked off as completed.

he auditors said the IRS never tracked its progress on the repairs, and in many cases, it closed cases without submitting documentation to prove the fix was complete. The auditors blamed it on "weakened management controls."

And a hacker says no security features were built into the Obamacare web site.  So there are no security features to fix!  And the government is not required to tell you there was a security breach so a person would not know they had a potential identity theft problem to watch for!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


"Saudi Prince Alwaleed says Obama lacks a comprehensive and coherent foreign policy."  I wonder if he is been to a Tea Party meeting?


It is beginning to look like the Democrats "stole" the election from Mitt Romney and resembles a Chicago election with the Republican having no way to win because of the corruption and manipulation.  Or is it a "culture of cover-ups?"

1.  From CNBC.  Jack Welch said the September 2012 unemployment numbers look "fishy and perhaps had been manipulated".  Now we find out that An employee in the Census Bureau, under pressure to make the required amount of interviews to formulate the monthly nonfarm payrolls report, allegedly fabricated interviews that consequently made the unemployment rate slide from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, according to the New York Post.

2.  IRS admits to targeting conservative groups in 2012 election

3.  Benghazi cover-up.  Even MSNBC admits something smells.

4.  Healthcare.  "If you like your healthcare, you can keep it -- period."  And then there are all of these "friends" of the administration who are given contracts to develop or manage various parts of Obamacare.

5.  Operation "Fast and Furious."

And let me know if I have missed something.

Monday, November 18, 2013


From liberal Democrat Senator Gillibrand (NY).  If all Democrats involved in Obamacare knew it was a lie from the beginning, it does not speak highly of their ethical values. . .or their respect for the American people.  And  you never build a program on a lie if you have a Judeo-Christian value system.  It reminds me of Hitler's use of lies: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) admitted Sunday to knowing the promises President Obama made about his signature health care plan were false. On ABC’s This Week, fill-in host Martha Raddatz asked Gillibrand where she felt misled by Obama, considering the fact that the President said that Americans who wanted to keep their health care plans could do so.

Hitler also said:  "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think."


Even the liberal Keynes would have been against quantitative easing.  Conservatives don't like quantitative easing and if Keynes would not have approved of it, it is hard to  understand why in the world the Fed is pursuing this policy.  They seem to be creating some kind of new economic theory.


One of the most troubling issues that does not get a lot of coverage is why the Obama White House did not see that problems were coming or why they ignored some of the reports that the web site was not ready.  Presumably these are smart guys, but no one seemed to want to face reality. And no one has resigned!  Either they are just ignorant "yes" people confined by ideological blinders or they wanted it to fail as some conspirators are arguing.

Reflect on that for a moment. The President of the United States is sitting in the Oval Office day after day. The West Wing is stuffed with high power aides. His political appointees sit atop federal bureaucracies, monitoring the work of the career staff around them. The President has told his core team, over and over, that the health care law and the website rollout are his number one domestic priorities.

And with all this, neither he nor, apparently, anyone in his close circle of aides and advisors knew that the website was a disaster. Vapid, blind, idly flapping their lips; they pushed paper, attended meetings and edited memos as the roof came crashing down. It is one thing to fail; it is much, much worse not to see failure coming. There is no way to construe this as anything but a world class flop.

 Another report on White House incompetence from the National Journal.  The technical issues also seem to be marked by "politics."

The same story by Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin revealed that the Health and Human Services Department hired technology contractors without requiring specific performance criteria. It is customary in the private sector to include benchmarks in technology contracts. Not so with the seat-of-their-smarty-pants Obama administration. "The meaning of success was defined for the first time during the panicky days of October, when White House officials belatedly recognized that the federal exchange had serious software and hardware defects," The Post reported.


Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be pursuing a policy in Egypt that is different from what White House advisor Susan Rice wants.  Very interesting.  Kerry may see the issues in Egypt more clearly and have a bigger picture than the White House.  If the White House supports Morsi, it might create problems with the Saudis who are suspicious of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Before Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent trip to Cairo, National Security Adviser Susan Rice told him to make strong statements in public and private about the trial of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. On his own, Kerry decided to disregard the White House’s instructions.

The tension between the national security adviser and the secretary of state spilled over into public view in the past week, when Rice laid out her critical appraisal of the Egyptian government, which contradicted Kerry’s assessment that Egypt was “on the path to democracy.” The now public rift has been simmering behind the scenes for months and illustrates the strikingly divergent Egypt policies the White House and the State Department are pursuing.

The turf battles and internal confusion are hampering the administration’s approach to Egypt, say lawmakers, experts, and officials inside both governments.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


A video comparing statements made in the 2012 election.


From Politico.  The cabinet is marginalized and hardly ever consulted by Obama.  It is his White House advisors who run and control the policies and message.

“We are completely marginalized … until the shit hits the fan,” says one former Cabinet deputy secretary, summing up the view of many officials I interviewed. “If your question is: Did the president rely a lot on his Cabinet as a group of advisers? No, he didn’t,” says former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Little wonder, then, that Obama has called the group together only rarely, for what by most accounts are not much more than ritualistic team-building exercises: According to CBS News White House reporter Mark Knoller, the Cabinet met 19 times in Obama’s first term and four times in the first 10 months of his second term. That’s once every three months or so—about as long as you can drive around before you’re supposed to change your oil.

For any modern president, the advantages of hoarding power in the White House at the expense of the Cabinet are obvious—from more efficient internal communication and better control of external messaging to avoiding messy confirmation battles and protecting against pesky congressional subpoenas. But over the course of his five years in office, Obama has taken this White House tendency to an extreme, according to more than 50 interviews with current and former secretaries, White House staffers and executive branch officials, who described his Cabinet as a restless nest of ambition, fits-and-starts achievement and power-jockeying under a shadow of unfulfilled promise.


Interesting graph from WAPO showing the slide in Obama's popularity as it relates to the various scandals/coverups/etc. that have occurred. Read the analysis.


Observations from Michael Tottenham.

A majority of American voters in both parties have had it. They’re just flat-out not interested in spending any more money or lives to help out. Even many foreign policy professionals are fed up. We get blamed for every one of the Middle East’s problems, including those it inflicts on itself. How gratifying it would be just to walk away, dust off our hands, and say you’re on your own.

But we can't.


Republicans and conservatives are going after these 10 vulnerable Senate Democrats for pledges they made about Obamacare.

Last week, President Obama apologized for misleading the American public with his false claim that "if you like your insurance, you can keep it." Without this assurance, it is unlikely ObamaCare would have passed. Obama was not the only politician fudging the truth. Most Democrat lawmakers repeated this claim on the campaign trail and in meetings with constituents. If Obama apologized, they should as well, as they are equally culpable.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


From the Atlantic Monthly.  "The Republican Party Isn't Really the Anti-Science Party."

. . .in his first inaugural address, Barack Obama vowed to “restore science to its rightful place.”

The president’s insinuation plays into the common perception in the media, electorate, and research community that Republicans are “anti-science.” I encountered that sentiment routinely in nearly a decade working for Republicans on Capitol Hill, and it has become more commonplace in the broader political discussion. Frequent offenders include Slate's Phil Plait, Mother Jones' Chris Mooney, HBO's Bill Maher, a host of contributors at The Huffington Post, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

I'm the first to admit that there are elected Republicans with a terrible understanding of science—Representative Paul Broun of Georgia, an M.D. who claims evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell” is one rather obvious example—and many more with substantial room for improvement. But Republicans, conservatives, and the religious are no more uniquely “anti-science” than any other demographic or political group. It’s just that “anti-science” has been defined using a limited set of issues that make the right wing and religious look relatively worse. (As a politically centrist atheist, this claim is not meant to be self-serving.)

Friday, November 08, 2013


Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama are negotiating a nuclear inspection agreement with Iran, but the Iranian people are seeing pictures like this.

A report on Obama's secret negotiations to bring about detente with Iran.  Will Obama be able to outfox the ayatollahs?

Israel's view. Israel’s most painful lesson from the two-day Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program is that the man who guaranteed to defend Israel’s security, President Barack Obama, is now marching hand in hand with Tehran towards a nuclear-armed Iran.


Some Egyptian lawyers are preparing a case for the International Criminal Court accusing Obama of war crimes as an accessory to Muslim Brotherhood violence. I don't expect this case to go very far, but it is evidence of a lot of anger in Egypt toward Obama.  I wonder what would happen to media coverage if this were Bush being charged?

According to Egyptian newspaper El Watan, a group of Egyptian lawyers has submitted a complaint charging U.S. president Barrack Hussein Obama with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

The complaint charges Obama of being an accessory to the Muslim Brotherhood, which incited widespread violence in Egypt both before and after the June 30 Revolution.


Errors in the liberal media are seldom noted.  I like to read Slate, but as with so much media it has a political slant that interferes with the truth.

What happens when the legal analysts at Slate get things flatly wrong, in the service of generating a desired ideological frisson for their liberal-minded readers? Does anyone act embarrassed or make humble noises about not letting it happen again? These questions arise following a November 1 column in which Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick baldly, flagrantly misstate the holding of a new opinion by Judge Janice Rogers Brown deeming the Obamacare contraceptive mandate in present form to violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). (RFRA, enacted in 1993, requires government to take certain steps to avoid, when it can readily do so, substantially burdening religious observance.)

Saturday, November 02, 2013


President Jimmy Carter is hardly one to criticize another president for ineptness, but he is quite tepid in his response regarding the success of Obama's presidency.

He’s done the best he could under the circumstances. His major accomplishment was Obamacare, and the implementation of it now is questionable at best.


I am not sure Kathleen Sebelius saw the humor in this (it was given to her by a Republican state senator in Tennessee).

View image on Twitter

From ABC News:  Obama as a TV pitchman.  A liberal media outlet is really ridiculing Obama on how he sells Obamacare.