Saturday, 10 December 2016

The First Big Failure of Trumppence

First Strike Against Thousands of US Businesses


Incoming Fire From The Trump-Pence Administration

The Free Market Has Failed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

The new official line of the incoming Trump-Pence administration is that the free market has failed, and we need their government-imposed solutions instead:
On Thursday, as he toured the factory floor here to take credit for saving roughly half of the 2,000 jobs Indiana stood to lose, Mr. Trump sent a message to other businesses as well that he intended to follow through on his pledges to impose stiff tariffs on imports from companies that move production overseas and ship their products back to the United States.

“This is the way it’s going to be,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times. “Corporate America is going to have to understand that we have to take care of our workers also.”

. . . .

“I don’t want them moving out of the country without consequences,” Mr. Trump said, even if that means angering the free-market-oriented Republicans he beat in the primaries but will have to work with on Capitol Hill.

“The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Mr. Pence added, as Mr. Trump interjected, “Every time, every time.”

What “free market” is that, Mr. Pence?

Advent Meditation

No Detour from Calvary

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6–7)

John Piper


Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do.

God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).  God rules all things — even motel capacities — for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem.

And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross.”  We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20).

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you go!” Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

Planned Parenthood Faces the Grinder

Stately Progress

It is an ancient saying: "Millstones of Justice turn exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly fine."
(John Bannister Gibson (1780-1853), American jurist, Pennsylvania Supreme Court.)  A similar sentiment has been attributed to Sun Tzu--the Chinese master strategist of war.  It has also been attributed to Euripides.

Whatever the source, the sentiment still rings true.  And so it is turning out for the legal cases against Planned Parenthood, the US federally funded abortion company.  This is the outfit over which the forgettable President Obama pronounced a divine blessing on all their work.  This is the outfit that was exposed as selling body parts of killed unborn children for profit.  This is the outfit that has attempted to persecute the whistle blowers.

Meanwhile, the wheels of justice continue slowly to grind.  It turns out that the US House of Representative has an investigative panel on infant lives.  It has quietly been going about its work.  The upshot is that the criminal case against Planned Parenthood is slowly increasing in size and weight.

This from National Review:

Friday, 9 December 2016

Pushback

Prime Minister In the Lead

There have been a couple of interesting developments in the UK over the past few days.  Firstly, the Anglican bishop of Leeds stood in the public square to call a spade a spade.
Christians are increasingly fearful to speak out about their faith in public due to the rise of an “intolerant liberalism” in the UK, a bishop has said.  Nick Baines, the Anglican Bishop of Leeds, said Christians feel “picked on” by some secularists who have a problem with religion being discussed outside of church.

“Clearly there are some Christians who are concerned about whether they are free to talk about their faith in a respectful and appropriate way in the workplace,” the bishop told the Press Association.  “Equally, there are plenty of people who are not Christians who think that Christians shouldn’t, or think there is an issue around it. I call it religious illiteracy.”

He added that people have been disciplined or threatened with discipline for talking about their faith in the workplace, even if they have been asked about it by colleague.  “Someone makes a complaint and says they have been inappropriate. This is absurd,” he said.  [Nick Hallett, Breitbart London]
This was preceded by another public declaration--this time from the Prime Minister, Theresa May.  Every now and again, May strikes a phrase or pose which reminds one of Maggie Thatcher--strong, emphatic, straightforward, traditional common sense.

Daily Devotional

God Will Have His Own

"I have much people in this city."  Acts 18:10

Charles H. Spurgeon


This should be a great encouragement to try to do good, since God has among the vilest of the vile, the most reprobate, the most debauched and drunken, an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ's property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of the ale-house, and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them he will have them. God is not unfaithful to forget the price which his Son has paid. He will not suffer his substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go forth to them with the quickening Word of God.

Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne. "Neither pray I for these alone," saith the great Intercessor, "but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on his breastplate, and ere long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace. "The time of figs is not yet." The predestinated moment has not struck; but, when it comes, they shall obey, for God will have his own; they must, for the Spirit is not to be withstood when he cometh forth with fulness of power--they must become the willing servants of the living God. "My people shall be willing in the day of my power." "He shall justify many." "He shall see of the travail of his soul." "I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong."

Is it Draining the Swamp or Partisan Politics?

Removing Logs From Eyes

We recently read an report of the Democratic members of the US House Judicial Committee writing a letter to its (Republican) Chairman asking for strict governance of Donald Trump, lest he use the office of President to extort and extract pecuniary gain.
In a letter to Republican Chairman Bob Goodlatte, all 16 Democratic members of the committee requested a hearing to review any conflict of interest laws or ethical rules that may apply to Trump’s business situation. They wrote:
 Although we do not yet know the details of his proposal, this announcement raises a number of questions, including whether Mr. Trump intends to legally transfer ownership of his assets to his children, or simply allow them to manage his assets[.]
 The letter also pointed out that it remains unknown what role Trump’s children will have in his administration and “whether they will be subject to an ‘ethics firewall;'” and whether “businesses, foreign governments, and others” would be able to “take actions that benefit Mr. Trump and his family” and if Trump would be transparent in any such dealings.
All well and good.  However, the expressed concern would be far more morally compelling if it had been accompanied by an extensive helping of humble  pie.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

No Pressure

Spiking Some Guns

There has been a certain amount of snarking and snivelling going on over Brexit amongst some UK parliamentarians.  Theresa May tactically skewered the closet "remainers" yesterday--at least for the present.

This from The Guardian:
Britain has taken a significant, although largely symbolic, step closer to Brexit after the MPs voted by a majority of almost 400 to back Theresa May’s plan to trigger article 50 by the end of March. In two votes, Labour and Conservative MPs joined forces to back a Labour motion saying the government should publish a “plan for leaving the EU” before article 50 is invoked, and a government amendment saying the government should invoke article 50 by 31 March. The vote is not technically binding on the government, but it is the first time parliament has backed May’s Brexit timetable, which would lead to the UK being out of the EU by the end of March 2019 (assuming that the two-year withdrawal process does not get extended.)
A majority of 400 is pretty significant.  Whilst not technically binding, it will doubtless have the effect of silencing  the cavillers.  Article 50 will be triggered before the end of March, 2017--just four months away.

Daily Meditation

Worshipping the Omniscient God

C. S. Lewis


When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation the thought will often cross our minds that (if only we knew it) the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided—in a sense it was decided ‘before all worlds’. But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering.

Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten a.m. (Some scientists would find this easier than popular thought does.) The imagination will, no doubt, try to play all sorts of tricks on us at this point. It will ask, ‘Then if I stop praying can God go back and alter what has already happened?’ No. The event has already happened and one of its causes has been the fact that you are asking such questions instead of praying. It will ask, ‘Then if I begin to pray can God go back and alter what has already happened?’ No. The event has already happened and one of its causes is your present prayer. Thus something does really depend on my choice. My free act contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity or ‘before all worlds’; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time-series.

From Miracles
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis Miracles: A Preliminary Study. Copyright 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Revised 1960, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Courtesy of  BibleGateway.

Hollywood Bigotry

Cutting In One Direction Only

OK--it's confession time.  We confess to being greatly entertained when the hypocrisy and self-serving cant of Hollywood gets exposed.  Someone observed recently that Hollywood, the media, and their collective product have long been the greatest export of the United States.  It has made the United States "plastic fantastic".  Who would criticise such a starlit vista, such an orgy of self-congratulation?

Hollywood has a great deal of self-respect.  It sees itself as the conscience of the nation.  Like the USS Enterprise it goes boldly, where no man has gone before.  It pushes the boundaries.  It confronts the nation's ills.  It starts conversations we all apparently need to have.  It shames the wicked and bolsters the weak, the outcast, and the minorities.  The Entertainment Complex sees itself as a Saviour, a Messiah, the guardian of the nation.

Of course all this is self-inflated rubbish, but it feeds gigantic insatiable egos--and so goes Tinsel Town.  Thus it never fails to be deliciously ironic when the cant, the narrow mindedness, the self-reinforcing, perverse echo chamber is exposed--as it has been a thousand times, and likely will be a thousand times more.

The most recent example was the thumbs down given to a movie made about Dr Gosnell and his Abortion House of Horrors.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Letter From the UK (About Oppressing Christians)

Shut-Up, Or Else

Christians Too Scared to Talk about Faith in Public, Says Bishop

Nick Hallett

Christians are increasingly fearful to speak out about their faith in public due to the rise of an “intolerant liberalism” in the UK, a bishop has said.  Nick Baines, the Anglican Bishop of Leeds, said Christians feel “picked on” by some secularists who have a problem with religion being discussed outside of church.

“Clearly there are some Christians who are concerned about whether they are free to talk about their faith in a respectful and appropriate way in the workplace,” the bishop told the Press Association.  “Equally, there are plenty of people who are not Christians who think that Christians shouldn’t, or think there is an issue around it. I call it religious illiteracy.”

He added that people have been disciplined or threatened with discipline for talking about their faith in the workplace, even if they have been asked about it by colleague.  “Someone makes a complaint and says they have been inappropriate. This is absurd,” he said.

His words come just a day after Prime Minister Theresa May defending the rights of Christians to express their faith in public.

Advent Meditation

For God’s Little People

John Piper


In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2:1–5)

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige?

If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people — the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.

Corporate Folly

Self-Righteous Hubris

A free society allows people to do stupid things.  A price of freedom is its tolerance of folly, ignorance, stupidity, and sin.  Moreover, a free society is one which permits many to descend into Hades via their own path.  But, it is far far better to accept this as a price of freedom than force a "moral purity" or a particular version of truth upon others.

In the West it has become not unusual to see corporates and businesses brand themselves in the market place as being "values based".  This is believed to be part of what it means to be a "good corporate citizen" rather than a rapacious capitalist.  But it can rapidly develop into a double edged sword.  Almost inevitably it extends in some cases to businesses getting involved in political debates of the day.  In other words, the business becomes a front for a particular set of values associated with a particular cluster of political parties--whether left or right.

As a shareholder, this would be is disturbing.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Good News on the Abortion Front

US Abortion Rate Drops

Lowest Level in Decades


Kate Scanlon
TheBlaze

Pro-life advocates are celebrating a new government report that reveals a drop in the U.S. abortion rate to the lowest level in decades

Data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the abortion rate for 2013 was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, half the rate of 1980.

In 2013, 664,435 legal induced abortions took place — a 5 percent drop from 2012. A majority of abortions were performed prior to eight weeks’ gestation, while 1.3 percent occurred at 21 weeks or later.

According to ABC News, the last time the CDC recorded a lower abortion rate was in 1971, two years before the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide.


Number of Abortions Over Time in the United States
2004200620082010201200.2M0.4M0.6M0.8M1.0M
For all years, excludes reporting areas that did not report abortion numbers every year during the period of analysis (2004–2013): California, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, and West Virginia.
Source:
 
CDC. As of 2013; refreshed annually. Show details 



Daily Devotional

Every Man To His Post

"Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels."  Revelation 12:7

Charles H. Spurgeon


War always will rage between the two great sovereignties until one or other be crushed. Peace between good and evil is an impossibility; the very pretence of it would, in fact, be the triumph of the powers of darkness. Michael will always fight; his holy soul is vexed with sin, and will not endure it. Jesus will always be the dragon's foe, and that not in a quiet sense, but actively, vigorously, with full determination to exterminate evil. All his servants, whether angels in heaven or messengers on earth, will and must fight; they are born to be warriors--at the cross they enter into covenant never to make truce with evil; they are a warlike company, firm in defence and fierce in attack. The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord is daily, with all his heart, and soul, and strength, to fight against the dragon.

The dragon and his angels will not decline the affray; they are incessant in their onslaughts, sparing no weapon, fair or foul. We are foolish to expect to serve God without opposition: the more zealous we are, the more sure are we to be assailed by the myrmidons of hell. The church may become slothful, but not so her great antagonist; his restless spirit never suffers the war to pause; he hates the woman's seed, and would fain devour the church if he could. The servants of Satan partake much of the old dragon's energy, and are usually an active race. War rages all around, and to dream of peace is dangerous and futile.

Glory be to God, we know the end of the war. The great dragon shall be cast out and forever destroyed, while Jesus and they who are with him shall receive the crown. Let us sharpen our swords tonight, and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict. Never battle so important, never crown so glorious. Every man to his post, ye warriors of the cross, and may the Lord tread Satan under your feet shortly

Changing Times

A Different World?

What a difference a day makes!  This morning we mark the resignation of two Prime Ministers.  The first was in Italy--Matteo Renzi resigned over losing a referendum.  This was entirely expected, and since very few Italian Prime Ministers last long, it comes as no surprise.  The second was Prime Minister, John Key's announcement to a stunned New Zealand that he was resigning as Prime Minister.  As political theatre it will go down in history.

As one blogger pointed out, Key is the only New Zealand Prime Minister to resign office on his own terms.  This is so unusual that it deserves at least some reflection.

The first thing that stands out is that Key had that quality in spades which is deeply inscribed into New Zealand culture.  He is a good bloke.  He has been the opposite of a professional politician.

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Good Wine

'Tis the Season


As we enter the season when we contemplate the Incarnation of the Son of God, this piece by Paul Baloche is a moving celebration of what it all means for every Christian.




Daily Devotional

Prepare the Way

“He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16–17)

John Piper


What John the Baptist did for Israel, Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared. I mean spiritually unprepared. Its joy and impact will be so much greater if you are ready!

That you might be prepared . . .

First, meditate on the fact that we need a Savior. Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight. It will not have its intended effect until we feel desperately the need for a Savior. Let these short Advent meditations help awaken in you a bittersweet sense of need for the Savior.

Second, engage in sober self-examination. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Let every heart prepare him room . . . by cleaning house.

Third, build God-centered anticipation and expectancy and excitement into your home — especially for the children. If you are excited about Christ, they will be too. If you can only make Christmas exciting with material things, how will the children get a thirst for God? Bend the efforts of your imagination to make the wonder of the King’s arrival visible for the children.

Fourth, be much in the Scriptures, and memorize the great passages! “Is not my word like fire, says the Lord!” Gather ‘round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights.

Western Riches

Who Owns What?

If We Don't Know And Can't Tell, Poverty Beckons


One of the more challenging aspects for the Western reader of Hernando De Soto's book, The Mystery of Capital is to be confronted with how much we all take for granted.   We are privileged to have inherited a system of title to property, the end result of which is to set us free from serfdom.

There are few serfs left in Western countries.  In New Zealand, those that are serfs are kept in that position by oppressors, acting criminally.  We have had instances of migrant labourers being kept in a state of slavery as their "owners" seize their passports, pay them a pittance in cash under the counter, and work them to exhaustion.  We have foreign fishing vessels working in our national waters being crewed by slaves.  So serfdom continues, in a few extreme cases, but it requires criminal intent and action to exist.

How did we escape the life of a serf?

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Letter From the UK (About The Baddest of Bad Taste)

Exploiting Jo Cox's Murder

I want Jo's killer to hang. The Left want to use him for propaganda 

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail Australia

I think the man who murdered Jo Cox MP should be hanged. I think it a great pity that we no longer have this powerful deterrent against cruel violence.  So let no Leftist propagandist try to smear me as an apologist for her killer, whose dishonoured name I shan’t even repeat here in case he relishes his notoriety.

But I am repelled and disturbed by the attempt to pretend that this deranged, muttering creep was in any way encouraged or licensed to kill a defenceless, brave young mother, by the campaign to leave the European Union.

Of all the low, dishonest tricks used by Remainers in this continuing contest, this slimy innuendo is the worst.

Daily Devotional

On the Incarnation

C. S. Lewis


The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man—a real man of a particular height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many stone. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a Woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers, via BibleGateway.

The Parlous Plight of Plutocracy

The Times They Are A Changin'

For years, if not decades, professional political prognosticators have been heralding a new age of politics where money is not the necessary and sufficient ingredient to gaining and holding political power.  Has that age at last arrived?

The most promising avatar of the fiscal deconstruction of an elite ruling upper class has been the information revolution made possible by the internet and social media.  These radical change agents have undermined the establishment media, introduced new and different voices into national conversations, and facilitated ordinary citizens being able to broadcast their beliefs and opinions.

It is far too soon to farewell the monied control of national politics and government in the West.  We probably need to go through several election cycles to be sure that the electoral events of 2016 were not outliers, but the new mainstream.  But it would be a great achievement if Western nations finally unshackled themselves from the evil of plutocracies, along with the elitist establishments they inevitably produce.  We remain sceptical, yet curious.

A passing fad?  An outlier? An aberration?

Friday, 2 December 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

High in the Night Sky

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

One of the great sins, according to the Scriptures, is the sin of complaining. We tend to overlook this this, thinking that complaining is just an ordinary, garden-variety sin. Everybody complains, right?

But in Scripture it is one of the big ones. The children of Israel in the wilderness incurred the anger of God more than once through their murmuring and complaining (e.g. Ex. 16:2). God had given them amazing provisions in that wilderness, and yet they were blind to it all—their glass was perpetually half empty, not full and overflowing as it had been when they were slaves in Egypt.  The contrast between an unbelieving people and believers is strikingly seen in just this.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14–15).
It doesn’t much matter what you are murmuring about. The content of the dispute is entirely ignored by the apostle. The merits of your particular case are passed by entirely.

Daily Devotional

New Songs

"O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."  Psalm 107:8

Charles H. Spurgeon


If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies--common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish.

Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise him that we are not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise him, in fact, for everything which we receive from his bounteous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed.

But, beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. God's redeeming acts towards his chosen are forever the favourite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross of Christ--our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou be silent? Awake, awake, ye inheritors of glory, and lead your captivity captive, as ye cry with David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Let the new month begin with new songs.

Progressive Madness

The "Right" To Be Forgotten

Here is an interesting example of how progressive ideology ends up showing its true colours--the long, black, sable  night of  Mordor.  The example comes once again from Europe, the European Court of "Justice" and ultimately from France.  

These folk want to rule the world--initially with soft power, then the iron fist in a velvet glove, then finally with just the iron fist.  They want to do all this to make their version of human rights sacrosanct, holy, and beyond question, impressed down upon every human being.  Their madness knows no limits.

Article 19 is a protest and information website, seeking to combat censorship and promoting freedom of expression wherever it is traduced.  It recently published the following:

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Letter From the UK (About Prisons)

Fifty Years of 'Enlightened' Jails

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail Australia

Modern politicians don’t like taking responsibility for anything difficult. They hate the idea that you sometimes have to punish people. That’s understandable. Locking people up and making them work hard and do as they’re told isn’t very nice.

But if you can’t bear the burden, then don’t seek paid public office. These nasty tasks are the most basic duty of the State. If it won’t protect us from the wicked, then we might as well wind it up.
We have disarmed in the face of danger. Until about 50 years ago, the stated aim of prisons was ‘the due punishment of responsible persons’. Under a clear criminal code, most crooks and most louts were scared of prison and tried not to go there. It wasn’t some savage place of torture and beatings.

By world standards our prisons were very civilised. But they were austere, disciplined and under the control of the authorities.

Daily Devotional

Magnifying  God

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30)

John Piper


There are two kinds of magnifying: microscope magnifying and telescope magnifying. The one makes a small thing look bigger than it is. The other makes a big thing begin to look as big as it really is.

When David says, “I will magnify God with thanksgiving,” he does not mean: “I will make a small God look bigger than he is.” He means: “I will make a big God begin to look as big as he really is.”

We are not called to be microscopes, but telescopes. Christians are not called to be con-men who magnify their product out of all proportion to reality, when they know the competitor's product is far superior. There is nothing and nobody superior to God. And so the calling of those who love God is to make his greatness begin to look as great as it really is.

The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.

This is what it means for a Christian to magnify God. But you can't magnify what you haven’t seen or what you quickly forget.

Therefore, our first task is to see and to remember the greatness and goodness of God. So we pray to God, “Open the eyes of my heart,” and we preach to our souls, “Soul, forget not all his benefits!”

Of Sin, Ships, and Radar

Worlds Apart

Christians normally have a very high doctrine of human sinfulness.  We mean "high" in the sense of substantial.  Sin for us is not a matter of small peccadilloes.  We believe human sinfulness to be universal (For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. [Romans 6:23]).  We believe that in our natural state, before the application of Christ's saving mercy and grace to us, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.” [Jeremiah 17:10]
The experience of the Christian is a daily war against one's own sinful nature and tendencies.  The goals, motives, and standards of our actions and thoughts are all too often contrary to God' law.

This "high" doctrine of one's own sinfulness and depravity is part and parcel of the normal, ordinary Christian life.  One is required to see the log in one's own eye, before noticing the speck in our neighbour's.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Letter From America (About Education and Schools)

Betsy DeVos, the Right Choice for Education Secretary

The Editors
National Review Online

Donald Trump has chosen conservative reformer Betsy DeVos to be his education secretary. A better choice would be hard to find.

First under George W. Bush and the No Child Left Behind Act, then under Barack Obama and a long list of intrusive initiatives, the federal government’s role in education has metastasized, growing more and more aggressively in recent years. The Department of Education has bribed states with “Race to the Top” funds to adopt its standards, established prohibitive teacher-licensing requirements that keep competent teachers out of the classroom, and even inserted itself into the prosecution of on-campus sex crimes. And what is there to show for it? In October 2015, the semi-annual National Assessment of Educational Progress, the “nation’s report card,” showed no student progress in mathematics for the first time in 20 years and reading scores dropping for the first time in a decade.

Betsy DeVos will be a desperately needed shock to this inept system.

Daily Devotional

Bow Before the Throne of Absolution

"The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."  Ephesians 1:7

Charles H. Spurgeon


Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word "forgiveness," when it sounds in a guilty sinner's ear, like the silver notes of jubilee to the captive Israelite? Blessed, forever blessed be that dear star of pardon which shines into the condemned cell, and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair!

Can it be possible that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, forgiven altogether, and forever? Hell is my portion as a sinner--there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me--can the load of guilt be uplifted, the crimson stain removed? Can the adamantine stones of my prison-house ever be loosed from their mortices, or the doors be lifted from their hinges?

Jesus tells me that I may yet be clear. Forever blessed be the revelation of atoning love which not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is secured to all who rest in Jesus. I have believed in the appointed propitiation, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and forever, forgiven by virtue of his substitutionary pains and death. What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul!

My soul dedicates all her powers to him who of his own unpurchased love became my surety, and wrought out for me redemption through his blood. What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! To forgive at all, to forgive fully, to forgive freely, to forgive forever! Here is a constellation of wonders; and when I think of how great my sins were, how dear were the precious drops which cleansed me from them, and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me, I am in a maze of wondering worshipping affection.

I bow before the throne which absolves me, I clasp the cross which delivers me, I serve henceforth all my days the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul.

A Demon Went Into the Dock

Fidel Castro Is Dead

Rod Dreher
The American Conservative

[With the passing of Fidel Castro we have seen the secular leftist progressive hagiographers extol him to the skies.  Even in places as far away as New Zealand, lefty politicians have celebrated the man, his regime, and his achievements.  Rod Dreher eviscerates the panegyrics of the eulogists. Ed.]
Death is the one tyrant who subdues but cannot be subdued. Let this speech by the Cuban dissident poet Armando Valladares stand as the tyrant Fidel Castro’s memorial.  Excerpts:
When I was 23 years old I refused to do something that at the time seemed at the time very small. I refused to say a few words, “I’m with Fidel.” First I refused the sign on my desk at the postal office that said that, and after years of torture and watching many fellow fighters die, either in body or in spirit, I still refused to say those words.

If I just said those three words, I would have been released from prison.

My story is proof that a small act of defiance can mean everything for the friends of liberty. They did not keep me in jail for 22 years because my refusal to say three words meant nothing. In reality those three words meant everything.
For me to say those words would constituted a type of spiritual suicide. Even though my body was in prison and being tortured, my soul was free and it flourished. My jailers took everything away from me, but they could not take away my conscience or my faith.

Even when we have nothing, each person and only that person possesses the key to his or her own conscience, his or her own sacred castle. In that respect, each of us, though we may not have an earthly castle or even a house, each of us is richer than a king or queen.
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