Thursday, October 29, 2009

Walter Williams on the American Idea

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

It is no coincidence that I am often re-posting columns and embedding videos produced by Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. I do so because these two men consistently prove themselves to be among the best and most relevant thinkers on the right. Here, again, Walter Williams gets to the heart of the problem with the Obama administration, this Congress, and our thinking about them. At issue is the Constitution. At stake is the Constitution. At stake is the Republic itself.

And now, Walter Williams:
Americans are harder workers, more philanthropic, individualistic, self-reliant, anti-government than people in most other countries. We’ve turned what was an 18th-century Third World nation into the freest and most prosperous nation in mankind’s entire history. Throughout our history, United States has been a magnet for immigrants around the world. What accounts for what some have called American exceptionalism?

We Americans, as human beings, are no different from any other people, including Germans, Russians, Chinese, Africans and other people who have produced tyrannical regimes such as those of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Idi Amin. As such we are just as capable of committing acts of gross evil that have been a part of mankind throughout his history. We’ve not been a perfect nation but we’ve never approached the level of hideousness seen in other nations. That’s despite the fact that our population consists of people who have for centuries been trying to slaughter one another in their home countries, whether it’s between the French and Germans, English and Irish, Japanese and Chinese, or Palestinians and Jews, Igbos and the Hausa of Nigeria. Thrown into the American mosaic are religions that have been in conflict for centuries such as Catholic and Protestant, and Christian and Muslim. The question is: Why is the United States an exception and will it remain so?

At the heart of the American idea is the deep distrust and suspicion the founders of our nation had for government, distrust and suspicion not shared as much by today’s Americans. Some of the founders’ distrust is seen in our Constitution’s language such as Congress shall not: abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, violate and deny. If the founders did not believe Congress would abuse our God-given rights, they would not have provided those protections. After all, one would not expect to find a Bill of Rights in Heaven; it would be an affront to God. Other founder distrust for government is found in the Constitution’s separation of powers, checks and balances and the several anti-majoritarian provisions such as the Electoral College and the requirement that three-quarters of state legislatures ratify changes in the Constitution.

The three branches of our federal government are no longer bound by the Constitution as the framers envisioned and what is worse is American ignorance and acceptance of such rogue behavior. Look at the current debate over government involvement in health, business bailouts and stimulus packages. The debate centers around questions as whether such involvement is a good idea or a bad idea and whether one program is more costly than another. Those questions are entirely irrelevant to what should be debated, namely: Is such government involvement in our lives permissible under the U.S. Constitution?

That question is not part of the debate. The American people, along with our elected representatives, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, care less about what is and what is not permissible under our Constitution. They think Congress has the right to do anything upon which they can secure a majority vote, whether they have the constitutional or moral authority to do so or not. What Congress does have is the brute force to enforce compliance with their unconstitutional acts. You say, "What do you mean, Williams?" Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the power to tax and spend for the enumerated activities therein. Every American is duty bound to pay his share. Congress has neither constitution nor moral authority to take the earnings of one American for the benefit of another American. What do you think will happen to you if don’t comply, say with Congress' demand that part of your earnings be taken to bail out a failing business? You’ll see all the brute force that you want to see and if you resist too much, death is not off the table.

We are losing what’s made our country great. Instead of moving toward greater liberty, we’re moving toward greater government control of our lives.

Abortion and Science

Posted by James Spurgeon.

I cited the following quotation in my last post on this topic:
"If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate."--Gregory Koukl, Precious Unborn Human Persons, p. 7
As I posited previously, the entire abortion question centers on this question: The unborn, what is it?

To answer that question I am going to go to more than one source of authority. The first one I will cite is "science." What has the medical and scientific community had to say on this question?

Before answering that question let me say that, of course, science is not infallible. Science is a method of inquiry, not a source of authority. It only becomes authoritative when its methods prove something to be true. However, in this case, since (a) the scientific community is virtually unanimous on this question, (b) to the secularist scientific opinion takes the place of religion as the source of authority on nearly every matter, and (c) this is a scientific question, then I do think it is proper to cite the opinion of the scientific community on this matter.

Again, I refer you to the website Case For Life. I found the following quotations there.

Scott Klusendorf at Case For Life:
"In its 1859 Report on Criminal Abortion, the American Medical Association (AMA) understood that 'the independent and actual existence of the child before birth as a living being' was a scientific truth. Nothing has changed since that time. For the past 150 years doctors have known that life begins at conception."
Consider also this quotation from a medical textbook published in 1968, five years before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision:
"It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material that each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual." (Bradley M. Patten, Human Embryology, 3rd ed., New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, page 43.)
Or this quotation just two years after:
"Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition." (E. L. Potter and J. M. Craig, Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd ed., Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.)
Dr. Watson A. Bowes of the University of Colorado Medical School testified before Congress in 1981:
"The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter - the beginning is conception." (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981.)
The Senate later concluded:
"Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being - a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings." (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, Ibid.)
Now, let me quote Scott Klusendorf again:
"Prior to advocating abortion, former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Alan Guttmacher was perplexed that anyone would question these basic scientific facts. 'This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn't part of the common knowledge,' he wrote in his book Life in the Making. (A. Guttmacher, Life in the Making: The Story of Human Procreation, New York: Viking Press, 1933, p. 3.)
The science is clear. Life, human life, begins at conception. If this be the case, then abortion is, and always has been, the destruction of a human life.

Lessons From H1N1 Pandemic

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Dick Morris asks another important question concerning the health care debate in this op-ed piece sent to my inbox this morning.
How can the government pretend that it can manage, overhaul, streamline, and reform the health care system in the United States when it can't even deliver enough flu shots to prevent a pandemic?

We have seen the H1N1 virus coming for over a year. It is no surprise that much of America needs vaccination. It was no secret that the flu season was approaching. But, now that it is upon us, we find ourselves pathetically short of shots.

One year ago, the government told us that we would have hundreds of millions of vaccinations available. Then, over the summer, the prediction was that 40 million would be on hand by the end of October.

Last month, the estimate was scaled back to 28 million. And, as of late last week, only 11.5 million had been delivered, leaving tens of millions vulnerable and, tragically, likely leading to hundreds of preventable deaths. Given the tendency of the virus to strike the young, many of those deaths will be among children.

It should be a fairly simple task to produce and distribute a vaccine - as we do with regular flu shots each and every year. But it was apparently beyond the capacity of the Obama Administration to manage such a routine feat.

If it can't run the epidemiological equivalent of a two-car funeral, how can Obama promise that the government will do an adequate job of managing the nation's health care system? (To say nothing of two car companies and a trove of banks and insurance firms?)

In the debate over health care, the implicit assumption has been that the government can act with competence and timeliness. The discussion has largely centered on what powers to give the government - not on whether it had the ability to wield this new authority. The bill making its way through Congress empowers the federal government to decide on protocols of health care, penalize excessive costs, and moderate reimbursement fees. These are all difficult and delicate tasks and involve decision which must be made promptly and wisely for the system to have a chance of working. Otherwise, endless delays, bottlenecks, and snafus can eventuate. And these failures can have drastic consequences for the health of all Americans.

Do we really have confidence in government's ability to make these decisions? Does its manifest inability to protect us from the Swine Flu do anything to inspire such confidence?

Not so far!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thomas Sowell on Barack Obama

Thomas Sowell seems, of late, to be on an anti-Obama roll and we are glad to see someone of his stature standing up and stating the obvious.  Barack Obama is a dangerous ideologue and is taking this country in a dangerous direction.  Let him speak for himself:

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers — that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?

Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?

Does any of this sound like America?

How about a federal agency giving school children material to enlist them on the side of the president? Merely being assigned to sing his praises in class is apparently not enough.

How much of America would be left if the federal government continued on this path? President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries.

We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.

How far the President will go depends of course on how much resistance he meets. But the direction in which he is trying to go tells us more than all his rhetoric or media spin.

Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to "change the United States of America," the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles and the people of this country.

Jeremiah Wright said it with words: "G0d damn America!" Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.

Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.

Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn't know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?

Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government — people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.

Any miscalculation on his part would be in not thinking that others would discover what these stealth appointees were like. Had it not been for the Fox News Channel, these stealth appointees might have remained unexposed for what they are. Fox News is now high on the administration's enemies list.

Nothing so epitomizes President Obama's own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year — each bill more than a thousand pages long — too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question — and the biggest question for this generation.--Thomas Sowell

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life, Abortion, the Unborn

Posted by James Spurgeon.

The most radically anti-life President in US history now resides in the White House. God help us.

Rather than get into his record, or make the issue about him, I thought I might take the opportunity Tom affords me in posting here to talk about the abortion issue itself.

This is an issue fraught with much difficulty, chiefly because of the emotional element attached to it. Picture an abortion debate in your mind. What do you picture--protesters, placards, people screaming, graphic images? The debate has been framed in terms of women's rights, human rights, states' rights. Is it really something we need to drag up and get into? Is it worth it?

I think so.

Let us start with this cut and paste from Case For Life:

The abortion controversy is not a debate between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. It's not about privacy or trusting women. To the contrary, the debate turns on one key question.

What is the Unborn?

Pro-life advocates contend that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. This simplifies the abortion controversy by focusing on just one question: Is the unborn a member of the human family? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. It treats the distinct human being, with his or her own intrinsic worth, as nothing more than a disposable instrument. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled. As Gregory Koukl points out, "If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion in necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate." (Koukl, Precious Unborn Human Persons, p. 7)

This is not to say that abortion is easy for most women. To the contrary, a decision to have one may be psychologically complex and perhaps even agonizing for some. But the topic today is not psychology, but morality: Can we know what's right even if our emotions are conflicted?

Everyone agrees that abortion kills something that's alive. After all, dead things don't grow! But whether it's right to take the life of any living being depends entirely on the question: What kind of being is it?--Scott Klusendorf

So I ask you. What kind of life is being taken when a pregnancy is terminated? Is it human?

This is, I believe, the crux of the entire abortion debate. If the life is human, then it is innocent, and the taking of innocent life is a monstrous evil.

Consider this an introductory post, something we will delve into more deeply in the future. I will be positing many of the arguments posited by Scott Klusendorf at Case For Life, and will be happy to discuss and defend his viewpoints with all comers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

John Stossel--More Sense Than the Dollar

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

John Stossel has more common sense than all of the city of Washington D.C. combined. Here is a clip from the Fox Business channel that I found over on the Repeal the 17th Amendment Blog.

"America was built by people who said, 'We'll take care of ourselves.'"--John Stossel

White House Thuggery and Taxing the Sick and Handicapped

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

This gem showed up in my email inbox this morning. It is slated, I think, to appear later today at Dick Morris dot com.

Obama Taxes Pacemakers, Heart Valves

by Dick Morris

The more fiscal details of the health care bills emerge, the more appalling they seem. The Senate Finance Committee bill includes a broad provision taxing all manner of medical devices. This tax includes such frivolous luxuries as pacemakers, stents, artificial heart valves, defibrillators, automated wheelchairs, mechanized artificial limbs, replacement hips and knees, surgical gurneys, laparoscopic equipment, and the like.

President Obama is planning to reduce the cost of medical care by taxing it!

The most recent Gallup Poll reflected that 49% of respondents said they believed that the Obamacare plan will increase their health care costs. Only about 20% said it would lower them. It is taxes like these that substantiate this kind of concern.

The origins of this new medical device tax are troubling as well.

The medical device industry had its day at the White House as did the insurance industry, the drug makers, the nurses, and the doctors. In turn, each group heard the White House request that they come up with voluntary cuts in their health care costs and support Obama's proposed changes in return for assurances that Congress would not impose deeper cuts (or, in the case of the doctors, that it would actually rescind cuts already scheduled under current statutes).

But, unlike all these other groups, the medical device industry refused the deal. This posture enraged the tyrants in the White House who vowed to punish the industry with cuts imposed by Congress. The result was a decision by the revenue-hungry Senate Finance Committee to extract billions in funds from the industry.

The legislation does not work like a sales or excise tax. Rather it follows the model of the punitive tobacco settlement imposed on cigarette companies in the 90s. It assesses an industry-wide payment which firms must make in proportion to their market share. It bars the them from passing along the cost of the assessment by charging more for certain basic products, but allows them to raise the price of others to raise the funds for the fee.

So, the result will be that virtually every piece of advanced surgical equipment will be subject to a price increase to meet the levy from Washington. No matter that these devices often make the difference between life and death and that, in effect, taxing them raises the cost of vital treatments. The vengeful White House will have its pound of flesh from the medical device industry for daring to be independent and to refuse to knuckle down to Administration pressure!

This tax, imposed in a spirit of haughty arrogance, falls on totally inappropriate objects. Valves, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, hearing aids, and such are essential therapies that make life longer, better, and less painful. To tax them makes no sense. Except in the world of sharp elbows and interest group politics that grips this take-no-prisoners and show-no-mercy White House.

The Problem With the GOP

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

The problem with the GOP is clearly exposed and represented by this post that went up last night at big government. It was written by a gentleman named Patrick Tuohey. In his post he expresses the exact opinion which has led to the liberal take-over of the Republican Party. Election cycle after election cycle this party now ignores its base and gives in to the Left in an effort to attract "moderates and undecideds." The Republicans are simply socialist lite or socialist smarter these days, but nowhere to be found in it is anyone who will give more than lip-service to constitutional government.

The Constitution, remember that?

What is more interesting than Mr. Tuohey's post, however, is the explosion of negative comments the post received. As of this writing there are more than 200 negative responses with maybe three or four positive ones.

The title of the piece: Tea Party Dilemma: Honey, I Shrunk the Party

Read it for yourself. The Republicans still do not get it and it illustrates why they have become and will continue to remain the Loser Party until their epiphany comes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Children Removed From Obese Family

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

(Another Reason Not To Emulate Europe)

Appalling. Read this from the London Daily Mail.

Short clip:
An obese couple’s seven children are all to be taken into care after their newborn daughter was removed over fears she would become dangerously overweight.

Three children had already been removed by social services before the infant was taken from her mother within hours of her birth.

Now her ‘heartbroken’ parents have learned that their three other children will be taken away from them too.

They say the children of the so-called 'fat family' are being removed over fears they would also become clinically obese.

Before she became pregnant, the mother, 40, who cannot be named for legal reasons, weighed 23st. (322 lbs.)

Removing children for obesity, or even 'potential' obesity . . . coming soon to an America near you. This is horrid, absolutely horrid--tyranny at its worst. A favorite C.S. Lewis quotation comes to mind right now.
“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”–C.S. Lewis
But in this case (and soon to be in our case) it will not simply be a matter of the moral superiority which the Left oozes from its very pores, but it will also be a matter of fiscal responsibility. After all, we cannot afford to pay for the extra medical costs accrued by such morally repugnant personal health decisions as overeating. Am I wrong?

Socialized medicine, it is evident, is an excuse for the oligarchy to stick its nose into and control nearly every aspect of the individual's life and makes the individual, every individual, a ward of the state. The state which provides you your health care rules you and owns you. You are its slave and will live as it says.

Solution to Teen Pregnancy Problem?

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Click Here for a potential solution to the problem of teen pregnancy.

Okay, I'm not saying it is a real solution, or even the best solution, but let's be honest, if this happened more often and was reported there would be less teen pregnancy.

Am I wrong?

And now a confession. I laughed until my side hurt when I read this story and then did it all over again when I watched the video.

John Stossel Now On Fox News

Since I do not usually watch Fox News I was not aware of this, but apparently investigative journalist and libertarian John Stossel (formerly of ABC News' 20/20) is now on Fox. Here is a clip of a conversation between John and Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck program:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Four New Blogs Added to Roll

I am somewhat slightly annoyed when I go to a blog and find 300 to 500 other blogs linked, annoyed to the point, that is, of resolution--resolution not to water down my own list of blogs to that extent. I mean, after awhile, doesn't it get to where the sheer number of blogs linked kind of defeats the purpose of linking them? With that in mind I never plan to have more than fifteen or twenty other blogs linked in the sidebar. We are not near there yet, so today I add three believing that you will find them full of good writing and/or good information. Here are the three:

The Tenth Amendment Center Blog

Small Business Against Big Government

Economic Policy Journal

I also recently added this blog:

Repeal the 17th Amendment

The 10th Amendment Movement

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Rumblings. Nothing in the news, really, nothing explicit, just rumblings. Sometimes on talk radio, sometimes on an obscure blog somewhere . . . you can hear them if you are listening.

Can you hear them? It is the sound of the forgotten states who are beginning to awaken and are remembering their 10th amendment rights under the Constitution.

Check out this video.

Expect to see more on this here. Much more. We are going to put the bugle to our lips and see what we can't stir up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Walter Williams: The Morality of the Stimulus

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Walter Williams again explains the immorality of socialism and, I believe, the unconstitutionality of income redistribution.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Reason, God's Means of Communication

Posted by Friar Rick.

I made my first erstwhile splash into The River by attempting to lay a foundation. That foundation was the assertion that reason, far from being the enemy of the Christian, was actually the friend, indeed the tool, of the Christian theologian. A rudimentary knowledge of Christian theology would suffice to instruct the atheist of this truth were he not too arrogant or lazy to inform himself on that which he denies.

First, understand that, in Christian theology, reason is the means by which the God Who Is has chosen to communicate with his people. Both Christians and Jews believe that God has chosen to reveal himself to his people through the vehicle of special revelation. This special revelation is found in the form of written communication. Whether one is Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, or even Orthodox Jew, this written communication is the foundation and, to one degree or another, the source of every tenet of faith in these systems.

When one entity communicates with another through means of the written word (or any means, for that matter), it assumes the use of intellectual faculties. Reason is utilized both by the communicator and by the one with whom he is communicating. Without the faculties of reason this process could not take place. Words and sentences become the vehicle of thoughts which are conveyed and understood because the meaning of those words, those sentences, is commonly understood by both participants. Without reason this would be impossible.

Listen to the author to the Epistle to the Hebrews as he introduces his readers to the Christ, the theme of his letter, and explains how Christ is the culmination of all God's attempts (if one may use such a word when speaking of anything done by the Almighty) to communicate with his people. Christ, in his assertion, is the ultimate communicator of God's message.
Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (ESV)
And see what St. Paul writes in his letter to Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (ESV)
Everything to which the apostle alludes in those two sentences involves the use of reason: learning, teaching, correction, training, competence. . . .

St. Paul also exhorts his readers to the exercise of discernment. Witness his second epistle to the church at Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 5:20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. (ESV)
How are we to "test everything" if not through the use of intellect, reason? Witness also his words to the church at Rome when, after giving his great soteriological treatise which encompasses the first eleven chapters he exhorts them thus:
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
The phrase which St. Paul uses at the end of verse one above, the phrase translated "your spiritual worship" in the English Standard Version, can also be translated, and often is translated, in the following way: "your rational service." In fact, this is the alternative rendering given in the margin of the English Standard Version, given because the phrase in Greek conveys both ideas.

Think about that. In Christian theology both "worship" and "service" are intertwined and interchangeable and, it would seem, so are the adjectives "spiritual" and "rational", at least in some cases.

We should present ourselves to God, in the manner which St. Paul describes, because it is spiritual and rational to do so. And if we are to follow both the negative and positive commands of the following verse, if we are to be non-conformists to this world, and instead, transformed, it must be through the renewing of our minds that by means of discernment we might understand fully what God's will for us is.

We are commanded to use our minds. In fact, we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds and this is the first and greatest commandment, according to Jesus.

The Christian faith is to be a cerebral faith--not solely cerebral to be sure, but our minds are definitely a part of our worship and faith.

I wanted to point this out both as a reminder to those of you who are Christians and as a point of emphasis to those who are not. Christians do not throw reason to the wind, or at least we are not supposed to. Nothing in the Christian faith is unreasonable, and the idea atheists promote and insist upon that reason is the antithesis of faith is a straw man. Let us dispense with it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thomas Sowell on Praising Obama

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Thomas Sowell, in a recent column, states what is becoming more obvious by the day about our supreme leader, Barack Hussein Obama. Here is the entire column.

Here is his quote:
Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Muammar Qaddafi and Vladimir Putin have all praised Barack Obama. When enemies of freedom and democracy praise your president, what are you to think? When you add to this Barack Obama's many previous years of associations and alliances with people who hate America — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, etc. — at what point do you stop denying the obvious and start to connect the dots?-- Thomas Sowell

The far Left in this country, of whom we have a prime example in Barack Obama, loves dictators and thugs of all types. They do so because they crave that kind of power over people for themselves. Why should they not admire the ones who have it now and why should they not seek to curry their favor? In Obama we have a President who will say not one word to encourage those who seek democratic reform and a rule of law in Iran, but who will speak out to condemn the rule of law in Nicaragua when the rule of law is enforced in the removal of one who would seek to defy it in order to procure more power for himself. Actions speak louder than words and Obama's actions speak loudly and clearly. He stands for dictatorial power and against individual liberty and the rule of law. In doing so he is the quintessential anti-American President.

Record Federal Budget Deficits

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

From the USA Today:
The Obama administration has released new deficit numbers, and they are not pretty.

The deficit for fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, came in at a record $1.42 trillion, more than triple the record set just last year.

In addition, future deficits are currently projected to total $9.1 trillion in the coming decade.

The political lines are being drawn. . . .
Click here for full story.

I think what we need is for Washington to keep spending all our money for us, because, as everyone knows, Washington politicians know better what to do with our money than we do, that's why they should probably just take all of it from us and then re-disburse it in the best way possible. That way things would be fair. Social justice, I think it's called.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Limbaugh Speaks Out on NFL and Media

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

Rush Limbaugh spoke candidly on his radio show yesterday, telling his side of the story in the media debacle surrounding his bid to become an NFL franchise owner. You can hear him yourself here.

This evening, the Wall Street Journal posted an op-ed piece written by Limbaugh and I took the liberty of copying and pasting it here for your perusal.

Here is Rush:


David Checketts, an investor and owner of sports teams, approached me in late May about investing in the St. Louis Rams football franchise. As a football fan, I was intrigued. I invited him to my home where we discussed it further. Even after informing him that some people might try to make an issue of my participation, Mr. Checketts said he didn't much care. I accepted his offer.

It didn't take long before my name was selectively leaked to the media as part of the Checketts investment group. Shortly thereafter, the media elicited comments from the likes of Al Sharpton. In 1998 Mr. Sharpton was found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay $65,000 for falsely accusing a New York prosecutor of rape in the 1987 Tawana Brawley case. He also played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews "diamond merchants") and 1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot.

Not to be outdone, Jesse Jackson, whose history includes anti-Semitic speech (in 1984 he referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown" in a Washington Post interview) chimed in. He found me unfit to be associated with the NFL. I was too divisive and worse. I was accused of once supporting slavery and having praised Martin Luther King Jr.'s murderer, James Earl Ray.

Next came writers in the sports world, like the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon. He wrote this gem earlier this week: "I'm not going to try and give specific examples of things Limbaugh has said over the years because I screwed up already doing that, repeating a quote attributed to Limbaugh (about slavery) which he has told me he simply did not say and does not reflect his feelings. I take him at his word. . . . "

Mr. Wilbon wasn't alone. Numerous sportswriters, CNN, MSNBC, among others, falsely attributed to me statements I had never made. Their sources, as best I can tell, were Wikipedia and each other. But the Wikipedia post was based on a fabrication printed in a book that also lacked any citation to an actual source.

I never said I supported slavery and I never praised James Earl Ray. How sick would that be? Just as sick as those who would use such outrageous slanders against me or anyone else who never even thought such things. Mr. Wilbon refuses to take responsibility for his poison pen, writing instead that he will take my word that I did not make these statements; others, like Rick Sanchez of CNN, essentially used the same sleight-of-hand.

The sports media elicited comments from a handful of players, none of whom I can recall ever meeting. Among other things, at least one said he would never play for a team I was involved in given my racial views. My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race? Where football players should earn as much as they can and keep as much as they can, regardless of race? Those controversial racial views?

The NFL players union boss, DeMaurice Smith, jumped in. A Washington criminal defense lawyer, Democratic Party supporter and Barack Obama donor, he sent a much publicized email to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying that it was important for the league to reject discrimination and hatred.

When Mr. Goodell was asked about me, he suggested that my 2003 comment criticizing the media's coverage of Donovan McNabb—in which I said the media was cheerleading Mr. McNabb because they wanted a successful black quarterback—fell short of the NFL's "high standard." High standard? Half a decade later, the media would behave the same way about the presidential candidacy of Mr. Obama.

Having brought me into his group, Mr. Checketts now wanted a way out. He asked me to resign. I told him no way. I had done nothing wrong. I had not uttered the words these people were putting in my mouth. And I would not bow to their libels and pressure. He would have to drop me from the group. A few days later, he did.

As I explained on my radio show, this spectacle is bigger than I am on several levels. There is a contempt in the news business, including the sportswriter community, for conservatives that reflects the blind hatred espoused by Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson. "Racism" is too often their sledgehammer. And it is being used to try to keep citizens who don't share the left's agenda from participating in the full array of opportunities this nation otherwise affords each of us. It was on display many years ago in an effort to smear Clarence Thomas with racist stereotypes and keep him off the Supreme Court. More recently, it was employed against patriotic citizens who attended town-hall meetings and tea-party protests.

These intimidation tactics are working and spreading, and they are a cancer on our society.

More NFL Hypocrisy & More on the Limbaugh Libel

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

While we are on the subject of the NFL and its leftist stance, I thought I might bring you this little gem I found in Mark Steyn's mail bag:

Here is something to write about on the subject of the NFL and Rush. . . . If I recall the details correctly, Arizona was the only state to allow their citizens to vote on whether the gov't employees should get a paid day off or not, and call it Martin Luther King day. They voted it down. Not the recognition, just the idea of giving state employees another paid vacation.

The NFL yanked the Super Bowl from Phoenix as punishment.

Someone from Arizona called the NFL offices on MLK day on a hunch. Turns out that it is just another day for NFL employees. A spokesman said that it is a busy time of year for them, so they can't honor MLK by giving their workers the day off.

Dave Mikelson
Saint Paul, Minnesota
And about Rush Limbaugh, there was also this at the American Thinker, written by a guy who obviously was looking at Mark Steyn's mail bag at the same time I was yesterday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rush Limbaugh, Libel, and the NFL

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

I am not a great fan of the NFL so it will not be a great sacrifice for me to decide that I have had enough of that organization and will no longer be spending any money or time on it. Decision made.

What has happened over the last week concerning Rush Limbaugh and his bid, as part of a buying group, to purchase the St. Louis Rams, an NFL franchise, has been well-documented in several places. Try here, here, here for a run-down on the political hatchet job that has been done against Limbaugh.

The incident exposes the mainstream media in this country for the leftist hacks that they are (as if they hadn't already exposed themselves in that vein a thousand times over). See this libelous screen shot from CNN for example:

This was not the only false quotation attributed to Rush Limbaugh nor was CNN the only place where it happened. Like lemmings, the entire main stream media followed Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over that cliff. Everyone knows Rush Limbaugh is a racist, why should anyone actually check facts? Right?

Make no mistake. Rush is the victim of a deliberate and malicious campaign of character defamation perpetrated by our society's self-proclaimed arbiters of civility. (What ever did happen to civil discourse?) And this was done to send a message. Did you get the message?

Here it is: if you disagree with us, keep your mouth shut. If you do open your mouth we will destroy you even if we have to make up quotations out of whole cloth and attribute them to you falsely. We will lie and lie with impunity to destroy you if necessary. So keep your mouth shut.

That's the message from the main stream media and the progressive movement as a whole and it does not just apply to Rush Limbaugh, it applies to the rest of us as well. He was made an example for us.

There is also a message from the NFL and it is this. If you are conservative or libertarian--in other words if you disagree with the current climate of political correctness and progressive/liberal thought--and you dare speak openly about it, you are not welcome. You have proved yourself to be a second-class citizen. We do not want you.

Meanwhile, the real racists, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, are quoted all over the place as if they are authorities on race. The NFL, presumably, would rather be associated with the likes of them than of Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh, you see, is too polarizing, too controversial. Of course, no one thinks that Keith Olbermann is too polarizing or controversial. No one in the NFL front office thinks he is guilty of hate speech. And the NFL has no problem being affiliated with him. The NFL has chosen sides. They have said "yes" to the Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, and Keith Olbermanns of the world and "no" to conservatives and libertarians. Really, why should we give them our money?

Roger Goodell is an idiot, or a hypocrite. You decide. Maybe just the term "leftist" will suffice.

Walter Williams Again: Patients in Need of Patience

Here's another video clip from Walter Williams on socialized medicine. Warning: this is an unabashed capitalist pointing out some of the negative aspects of socialized medicine and comparing them to the liberty we enjoy now.

I just have to say that if even half of the statistics he quotes are true I want no part of it. When someone else pays for you to have anything then that entity owns you, controls your life concerning that aspect of your life for which he pays. I would not sell my health and well-being to any government for any price and any such system is foreign to the vision our founders had for this country.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thomas Edison vs. Al Gore

I have been away for a few days and I see there are comments I need to catch up on. I also see that a couple of the other team members have posted. Good stuff, thanks, guys. In keeping, sort of, with the chosen theme of James's post I give you this from the guys at

Compact flourescents are illegal at my house, btw.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Hello, River readers. I'm Allen Lewis and am a new contributor here at The River.

First of all, thanks to Tom for allowing me to be a contributor to his blog. I appreciate the opportunity to continue posting my thoughts on the issues of the day. My background is in finance and economics, and I currently work in the investments department of a Houston-area trust company. Prior to blogging here, I experimented with my own blog, which was called Texas Conservative. (Tom previously linked to it from The River.)

In the last two years, I've come to believe that the conservative-liberal construct for classifying political thought is nothing more than a heuristic used by people to avoid having to think critically about their core values and principles. Most political talk radio is based on this heuristic. Conservatives are good and liberals are bad: which one are you?

Part of the reason I gave up on Texas Conservative is because I wanted to move away from that label - conservative. It's quickly becoming a pejorative, and I really don't fit the current widely-held perception of what a conservative is (in today's America, "conservative" typically refers to the neoconservatives), so why burden myself with the label? If people want to apply it to me, fine. At the end of the day, I care about principles: labels mean diddly poo to me, save for one. The one label that I will not willingly accept is "neoconservative".

As for my principles, there are three: liberty, property rights, and peace.

Liberty is man's natural right to be free to act in his own self-interest, according to his own values and by his own judgment, so long as he respects the mutual rights of others.

Property rights refers to man's exclusive right to control scarce resources. Clearly defining property rights is important not because it leads to utility-maximizing outcomes (it does) but because it helps us to solve disputes amongst ourselves peacefully, without force, and in a non-arbitrary manner.

Peace is the final - and possibly most important - principle. Peace means that in our interaction with other individuals, we must act cooperatively (as opposed to coercively) and in a manner that respects the liberty and property of others. Some ask whether peace is a goal rather than a principle - is it the means, or the end? I strongly believe it to be a principle, a conscious decision that individuals are at liberty to choose.

Anyway, thanks for reading The River. I look forward to some great conversations with all of you in the months to come.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Science or Faith?

Posted by James Spurgeon.

In keeping with the theme on this blog, I thought I would start my first post with an interesting quotation from Tom's favorite band Rush and their song "Natural Science."

Science, like nature
Must also be tamed
With a view towards its preservation
Given the same
State of integrity
It will surely serve us well . . .

. . . The most endangered species ---
The honest man
Will still survive annihilation
Forming a world ---
State of integrity
Sensitive, open, and strong

--Neil Peart
And now a quotation from MIT professor Richard Lindzen:
"With respect to science, the assumption behind consensus is that science is a source of authority. Rather, it is a particularly effective approach to inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science; consensus is foreign. When in 1988 Newsweek announced that all scientists agreed about global warming, this should have been a red flag of warning. Among other things, global warming is such a multifaceted issue that agreement on all or many aspects would be unreasonable."--Richard Lindzen, "Global Warming Debate Is More Politics Than Science, According to Climate Expert," Environment and Climate News (Heartland Institute), Nov. 1, 2004, (emphasis mine)
I love science. Not enough to have actually chosen it for a career, but I do find it fascinating and Discovery Science is one of my favorite channels. I could easily make some aspects of science a major hobby in my life. Of particular interest are physics, cosmology, paleobiology, astronomy, . . . I could go on.

While I find science intensely interesting I find the psychology of the scientific "community" and of some people regarding science to be even more interesting. The scientific "community," if I may refer to such as an entity, is unquestionably arrogant. The latest theories are so certain in their minds that they are often presented as fact. In order to do so they must ignore literally thousands of revisions each theory has undergone and the hordes of changes which will take place to it in the future. Here is another quotation, this time from scientist and theologian Alister McGrath:
When I was learning physics at school, I gradually became aware of an awkward contradiction within what I was being taught. On the one hand, I was being assured that the theories of modern physics were completely reliable, the most secure form of knowledge that humanity could ever hope to possess. Yet every now and then, we would venture into a strange, twilight region in which it would be explained to us, in hushed, conspiratorial tones, that "physicists once used to believe this, but don't now." . . . At first, I thought that these old-fashioned views dated back to the sixteenth century. But the awful truth soon became clear. The acceptance of these new ideas dated from about forty years earlier. "Once" turned out to mean "quite recently."--Alister McGrath, Dawkins' God, Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, p.102, paperback, Blackwell Publishing.
Arrogance probably comes easily to those who are undeniably more intelligent than most and have been told so their whole lives. While that is a reasonable statement, it is not really an excuse. Individuals intelligent enough to be scientists should also be able to see their own flaws and capability of error. A simple perusal of scientific history is enough to make the assessment that science is often wrong, has often been wrong, and is likely to be wrong in much of what it believes now.

Let me say that again:

A simple perusal of scientific history is enough to make the assessment that science is often wrong, has often been wrong, and is likely to be wrong in much of what it believes now.

Now look at the last part of my statement above because I think it is very important. The word choice was a natural one and I doubt if it sounded strange to anyone's ears, yet it states something that is obvious and often overlooked by even scientists themselves. I used the word "believes" in conjunction with the latest scientific theories. It was undeniably the right word to use in this context because theories are, by nature, unproven and thus subject to such concepts as doubt, skepticism, and faith.

Much of the scientific community looks with disdain on the religious community because, according to popular thinking, science deals in facts while religion deals in speculation. Science deals in reason while religion deals in faith. In that sense, the scientific community collectively rolls its eyes at religion and believes itself to be above those aspects of primitive human thinking which religion supposedly represents. This kind of thinking is not thinking at all, it is arrogant bigotry.

Science utilizes faith as much as does religion, in that scientists often choose to believe things that are, as yet, unproven. In fact, science has much faith in any and/or all of its latest, greatest theories. That is why they present these theories so often as fact. But understand that to believe something that is as yet unproven involves faith.

Here is a question/trap which is often posed to people on the right whether it be the religious right or the political right.

"Do you believe in evolution?"

If the answer is "yes" then the individual is considered to be enlightened while if the answer is "no" the individual is deemed a toothless caveman or worse, a "religious fundamentalist."

Yet, the question is a faith question. Do you believe . . .

Thus, the scientist poses a faith question and then ridicules those who lack the faith they have as being ignorant or unscientific. Does anyone else see the irony in that?

This brings us full circle to our quotation from that MIT professor, Richard Lindzen, concerning global warming. Heed his words well.
"With respect to science, the assumption behind consensus is that science is a source of authority. Rather, it is a particularly effective approach to inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science; consensus is foreign. When in 1988 Newsweek announced that all scientists agreed about global warming, this should have been a red flag of warning. Among other things, global warming is such a multifaceted issue that agreement on all or many aspects would be unreasonable." (emphasis mine)
So I ask the scientific community now, should I rely on facts or should I take the leap of faith and believe in global warming? And if I choose not to believe, who comes off as the reasoned thinker and who the religious zealot?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Government Thieves

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

In keeping with the spirit of my last post, I bring you this gem from Walter Williams and Liberty Pen. It makes the point very well.

Rush Limbaugh: Sad and Disgusting Video

Posted by Tom Sawyer:

This video, which is actually just an audio clip from today's Rush Limbaugh program, pretty much says it all. Here's the video, my comments to follow.

These are the victims of socialism, the dependent class birthed by the Great Society. This is the sad and disgusting fruit of socialism.

It is sad because these people have value, they have something to offer, they have worth to society and have far more potential than they could ever imagine. Yet they have been programmed to believe that they can accomplish nothing on their own, that this is not their fault but rather the fault of an unjust society, and that voting for Democrats, who will in turn give them money, is their only hope. So instead of realizing their God-given potential they just stand around looking for handouts. The government rewards their irresponsible behavior because those who are in government derive power from them.

Here is the message of the liberal, socialist Democrat: "You are incapable of taking care of yourself. You need me. Vote for me and I will supply the needs in your life."

Government has become God to them. They perform the sacraments of voting for big-government socialists and filling out forms. These sacraments procure for them favor and the ability to live irresponsibly. Government becomes almighty and necessary for them to subsist. It is a symbiotic relationship and it is sickening on several different levels.

It is disgusting in that one class of people (the party, the socialists) is subjugating another class of people (the prols, the dependent class). Ironic, is it not, how socialism claims to abhor a class system and yet actively sets one up? Government becomes master while the people become slaves. These people are slaves and they don't even know it. But you can bet their masters in Washington do.

But it is worse than that. It is worse because government here turns these people into monsters who actually demand that they be fed, clothed, taken care of, given money simply because they exist. They offer nothing in return and they are angry when their demands are unmet. And they give not even one thought to where the money comes from.

Not one.

I would like to inform these two individuals who were interviewed by this radio station of a couple of things. First, Barack Obama has not given you any of his own money. Not one penny. The government has not given you any of its own money either for the government has no money. Detroit is in debt. Michigan is in debt. Washington, D.C. is in debt. They have no money. And even if they did have money it would be money that is not rightfully theirs for they would have had to have taken it from someone else--from other people.

But that's not all. The next thing you need to realize is that the money you are receiving is mine. It was taken from me by force. Worse than that, if you want to get more specific, it was taken from my children and grand-children, for it is they and their hard work which will be used to pay back this monstrous debt. So money was taken from us--taken by threat. If we did not give it this government would throw us in jail. We were robbed no differently than a man who holds a gun on a store clerk and demands that a register be emptied into his bag. We were robbed by a thug in the Oval Office and his cartel on Capitol Hill, and it was done for the purpose of keeping you dependent and keeping them in power.

So enjoy your money. I mean, enjoy my money.

Ann Coulter Answers the Infant Mortality Rate Canard

Posted by Tom Sawyer.

To read all of Ann's op-ed pieces go here.

To see this piece in its original location go here.

Ann Coulter: (17) America's low ranking on international comparisons of infant mortality proves other countries' socialist health care systems are better than ours.

America has had a comparatively high infant mortality rate since we've been measuring these things, going back to at least the '20s. This was the case long before European countries adopted their cradle-to-grave welfare schemes and all while the U.S. was the wealthiest country on Earth.

One factor contributing to the U.S.'s infant mortality rate is that blacks have intractably high infant mortality rates -- irrespective of age, education, socioeconomic status and so on. No one knows why.

Neither medical care nor discrimination can explain it: Hispanics in the U.S. have lower infant mortality rates than either blacks or whites. Give Switzerland or Japan our ethnically diverse population and see how they stack up on infant mortality rates.

Even with a higher-risk population, the alleged differences in infant mortality are negligible. We're talking about 7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the U.S. compared to 5 deaths per 1,000 for Britain and Canada. This is a rounding error -- perhaps literally when you consider that the U.S. tabulates every birth, even in poor, small and remote areas, while other countries are not always so meticulous.

But the international comparisons in "infant mortality" rates aren't comparing the same thing, anyway. We also count every baby who shows any sign of life, irrespective of size or weight at birth.

By contrast, in much of Europe, babies born before 26 weeks' gestation are not considered "live births." Switzerland only counts babies who are at least 30 centimeters long (11.8 inches) as being born alive. In Canada, Austria and Germany, only babies weighing at least a pound are considered live births.

And of course, in Milan it's not considered living if the baby isn't born within driving distance of the Côte d'Azur.

By excluding the little guys, these countries have simply redefined about one-third of what we call "infant deaths" in America as "miscarriages."

Moreover, many industrialized nations, such as France, Hong Kong and Japan -- the infant mortality champion -- don't count infant deaths that occur in the 24 hours after birth. Almost half of infant deaths in the U.S. occur in the first day.

Also contributing to the higher mortality rate of U.S. newborns: Peter Singer lives here.

But members of Congress, such as Reps. Dennis Kucinich, Jim Moran and John Olver, have all cited the U.S.'s relatively poor ranking in infant mortality among developed nations as proof that our medical care sucks. This is despite the fact that in many countries a baby born the size of Dennis Kucinich would not be considered a live birth.

Apart from the fact that we count -- and try to save -- all our babies, infant mortality is among the worst measures of a nation's medical care because so much of it is tied to lifestyle choices, such as the choice to have children out of wedlock, as teenagers or while addicted to crack.

The main causes of infant mortality -- aside from major birth defects -- are prematurity and low birth-weight. And the main causes of low birth-weight are: smoking, illegitimacy and teenage births. Americans lead most of the developed world in all three categories. Oh, and thank you for that, Britney Spears.

Although we have a lot more low birth-weight and premature babies for both demographic and lifestyle reasons, at-risk newborns are more likely to survive in America than anywhere else in the world. Japan, Norway and the other countries with better infant mortality rates would see them go through the roof if they had to deal with the same pregnancies that American doctors do.

As Nicholas Eberstadt demonstrates in his book "The Tyranny of Numbers: Mismeasurement and Misrule," American hospitals do so well with low birth-weight babies that if Japan had our medical care with their low birth-weight babies, another third of their babies would survive, making it even harder for an American kid to get into MIT.

But I think it's terrific that liberals are finally willing to start looking at outcomes to judge a system. I say we start right away with the public schools!

In international comparisons, American 12th-graders rank in the 14th percentile in math and the 29th percentile in science. The U.S. outperformed only Cyprus and South Africa in general math and science knowledge. Worse, Asian countries didn't participate in the last 12th-grade assessment tests.

Imagine how much worse our public schools would look -- assuming that were possible -- if we allowed other countries to exclude one-half of their worst performers!

That's exactly what liberals are doing when they tout America's rotten infant mortality rate compared to other countries. They look for any category that makes our medical care look worse than the rest of the world -- and then neglect to tell us that the rest of the world counts our premature and low birth-weight babies as "miscarriages."

As long as American liberals are going to keep announcing that they're embarrassed for their country, how about being embarrassed by our public schools or by our ridiculous trial lawyer culture that other countries find laughable?

Don't be discouraged, liberals -- when it comes to utterly frivolous lawsuits against obstetricians presented to illiterate jurors so that John and Elizabeth Edwards can live in an 80-room house, we're still No. 1!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lemuel Calhoon Nails It Again

Posted by Tom Sawyer

Swinging his rhetorical hammer like a cyber John Henry, our friend Lemuel Calhoon over at Hillbilly White Trash has blasted through the mountainside of healthcare debate misinformation and carved out a tunnel of truth wide enough to drive a train through. The following is an appetizer, but you really ought to go over there and read the whole piece by clicking here.

Lemuel Calhoon:

"This reflects the American free market health care system's commitment to providing the best health care possible rather than the best care possible within budgetary constraints.

This commitment to healing injury curing disease and providing an ever higher quality of life to senior citizens is simply not possible under any system of socialized health care. Without profits to fund research and development what little R&D that occurs is government funded which means that the sought after outcomes (whatever anyone says to the contrary) will be political rather than scientific.

Remember a few years ago when Phillips first began marketing plasma TV's? They had this commercial where some geeky looking teenagers carried a plasma up to their apartment and sat on the couch watching Flipper.

At the time that TV cost more than $20,000.00. I just bought a Samsung 46" LED TV which weighs less, generates far less heat, uses far less power, will last far longer and produces a vastly superior picture for less than a tenth of what those first Phillips plasmas cost.

This is what happens to the prices of goods and services in a free market economy - they become much better and cost much less as time goes by. That this process is not happening to health care costs faster in the United States is due to the distortions in the market caused by government bureaucrats and unscrupulous trial lawyers (like celebrity baby-daddy John Edwards). Remove the dead hand of government and the greedy hand of the tort bar and the health care market in the US would normalize and we would see more rapid advances in technology and reductions in price."
Don't forget to go read all of it.

Faith and Reason

Posted by Friar Rick

I suppose I should say "hello" first and perhaps introduce myself. I'm Rick, friar Rick. I'm not really a friar, though if I were it would likely be after the Augustinian order. Neither am I mendicant in subsistence, but rather am blessed of God through the fruits of my own labors. I also abstain from all forms of celibacy, being happily married and joyfully engaging in those benefits which the Lord has enjoined to that vocation.

The idea connoted, however, by the word "friar," specifically that of spending quality time seeking out the truth in matters of the holy, meditating on them, searching out their intricacies, and passing along what knowledge I attain to others, is an idea that appeals to me and that is why I have chosen my specific and peculiar appendage.

Tom has asked me to contribute to this blog on the subject of Christian apologetics. I have agreed with the caveat that I must be able to inform you that I am no professional, nor any great authority on this subject. I lean heavily on my teachers and they are numerous. They are the experts and I am but a poor reflection of them. However, I will endeavor to post their arguments in as clear and concise a manner as I can and do you the favor of translating them into layman's language. An argument does no one any good if it is either unclear because of technical terms or too uninteresting to endure. Thus I shall attempt to add a little spice to them as well. I will let you be the judge of whether I am successful or not. Enough of me, let's lay a brief foundation.

A favorite canard of the atheist against religion is that religious thought is the antithesis of reason. Here is a pertinent quotation:

"Christian theism must be rejected by any person with even a shred of respect for reason."--George H. Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God, (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1989), 51.
I cannot help but laugh at the blatant irony embodied in such a statement. The ignorance of Christian theology which this and a thousand other similar statements made by atheists demonstrates their total lack of having attempted to learn exactly what Christians believe and why they believe it. It is as if two thousand years of Christian theologians and apologists never existed or if they did none of their writings were ever published. Men of the cloth have been defending their faith against all other belief systems, whether they be pagan, atheistic, or otherwise, since the great Apostle to the Gentiles first took up his pen. And they have been doing so with reason.

So let me assure you now that the Christian faith is a reasonable faith. The God Who Is approaches us through the faculties of reason and offers us a reasonable system of belief for he, himself, is the author of reason and the only perfect practitioner of it.

Faith cannot be the antithesis of reason, for God is not a contradiction, nor does he allow the existence of such in his universe. Everything is ordered, everything is logical, everything is completely whole. God is truth. Therefore truth, being a reflection of him, is owned by him in every way. He never asks us to believe something unreasonable.

It will not be necessary for me to prove this assertion with arguments. I simply state it in the beginning and will endeavor to demonstrate it over time. I will engage atheistic thought on its chosen turf, staking the claim that this turf was never rightfully theirs to begin with, but God's. May God be my help.