Saturday, 28 February 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

In Which Stephen Fry Steps In It

Douglas Wilson
February 17, 2015

If you would be so kind, I would like to ask you to view this brief bit of blasphemous cheek. It’ll just take a few minutes.

Now then, all set? Let’s break this down into two basic parts. The first part is that Stephen Fry is given a thought experiment, and we should take a moment to see how he thinks in thought experiments. He doesn’t believe in God, but he is nevertheless asked a “what if.” What if you were wrong, the questioner asks, and the whole thing turns out to be true, with you finding yourself in a conversation with God at the Pearly Gates.

Fry takes that occasion to launch into his diatribe. Bone cancer in children? What’s with that?

But I want to note something really strange about this set up.

Daily Devotional

Maybe You Don't Understand

On comfort

C. S. Lewis

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.
From A Grief Observed
Compiled in Words to Live By
A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. 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. Sourced from BibleGateway.

Knowing the Enemy, Part I

Ships Passing in the Night

We have observed before on this blog that the West is failing miserably to understand ISIS--President Obama failing worst of all.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Firstly, the West is secularist and materialist in its philosophical, ideological and religious outlooks.  It projects its world-view onto other hearts and minds around the globe.  When these folk fail to live up to Western expectations, but rather live other philosophies and religions, Western leaders bemusedly scratch their heads.

Secondly, the Commentariat and the ruling classes in the West (as part of their secularism) despise other religions as ignorance personified.  The West's "selfie" view is that it has shrugged off the coils of superstition, gods, heaven, hell, and eternity.  There is only matter, which is both brute and blind.  Any suggestion otherwise is regarded as pre-scientific and pre-rational.  Any other view, except the West's, is ignorance personified.  Thus, the West views religious people (Christians included) as uneducated, untaught, and ignorant.  They are, therefore, primitive and superstititious. 

Thirdly, the West has a confused understanding of "fundamentalism" (which in the present Western lexicon is a term of contempt).

Friday, 27 February 2015

Letter From America (About Women Under the Boot)

Women Under ISIS Tyranny

ISIS Demands Women Wear Double-Layered Veils, Allow 9-Year-Olds to Marry

Mary Chastain


Women living under control of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) revealed to The Guardian that the militant group has imposed more restrictions on females since taking over new territories. The terrorist group forces people to live under strict Sharia law, which treats women like second-class citizens. Rules include double-layered veils and marrying off girls as young as nine.

The jihadists established a “morality police” known as Hisbah, which recently attacked a woman in Syria because her eyes were exposed. Now, a day later, women claimed the Islamic State forces all females to wear double-layered veils and be accompanied by a male guardian at all times.

“It is prohibited for a woman in Raqqa or Deir el-Zour to move anywhere outside without a mahram, a male guardian,” said Sama Mahar. “It is a big problem as I do not have any, we are only five sisters.”
An all-female Islamic State brigade is known to also enforce Sharia law within the caliphate. In December, they used a bear trap known as a “biter” on women’s breasts who defied the protocols of the terrorist group.

The Hisbah detained Mahar several times due to violations of Islamic State rules. She dropped out of school in Aleppo since she cannot “cross the checkpoints without a mahram” and the jihadists closed universities in their self-declared “caliphate.” The male guardians can be punished if the women do not comply with the rules.

Daily Devotional

When You’re Immortal

When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. (Acts 23:12)

John Piper

What about those hungry fellows who promised not to eat till they ambushed Paul?

We read about them in Acts 23:12, “When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” It didn’t work. Why? Because a string of unlikely events happened.
  • A boy overheard the plot.
  • The boy was the son of Paul’s sister.
  • The boy had the courage to go to the Roman centurion guarding Paul.
  • The centurion took him seriously and brought him to the Tribune.
  • The Tribune believed him and prepared “two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen” to take Paul to safety.
Highly unlikely. Strange. But that’s what happened.

An Opportunity Gone Begging

The Dark Arts

Those of our readers who think that the dark arts of politics are a waste of time and space, read no further.  To those who yet remain diverted by the stupidity and pettiness of our national blood sport, read on.

One of the great entertainments in NZ politics in recent years has been the love-hate relationship between two left-wing parties, Labour and the Greens.  The Greens are the spill bucket when Labour is losing electoral support.  Voters disenchanted with their Labour party don't vote for the opposition, they vote for the Greens, if they vote at all.  Thus, when Green electoral support is on the rise, bet the bank that Labour support is waning.  While ideological compatriots, this electoral reality makes the Greens competitors of Labour and vice-versa.

An old political adage has it, keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

More On Obama's Ignorant, Asinine Comments

Obama: We're No Better than Islamic State

by Raymond Ibrahim
FrontPage Magazine

As the world reacts with shock and horror at the increasingly savage deeds of the Islamic State (IS)—most recently the immolation of a captive—U.S. President Obama's response has been one of nonjudgmental relativism.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, Obama counseled Americans to get off their "high horse" and remember that Christians have been equally guilty of such atrocities:
Unless we get on our high horse and think this [beheadings, sex-slavery, crucifixion, roasting humans] is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.
There is so much to be said here. First, the obvious: the wide gulf between violence and hate "justified in the name of Christ" and violence and hate "justified in the name of Muhammad" is that Christ never justified it, while Muhammad continuously did.

This is not just a theoretic point; it is the very reason that Muslims are still committing savage atrocities. Every evil act IS commits—whether beheading, crucifying, raping, enslaving, or immolating humans—has precedents in the deeds of Muhammad, that most "perfect" and "moral" man, per Koran 33:21 and 68:4 (see "The Islamic State and Islam" for parallels).

Daily Devotional

Abundant Life

Screwtape clarifies the Enemy’s intent:

C. S. Lewis

Of course I know that the Enemy also wants to detach men from themselves, but in a different way. Remember always, that He really likes the little vermin, and sets an absurd value on the distinctness of every one of them. When He talks of their losing their selves, He only means abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever. Hence, while He is delighted to see them sacrificing even their innocent wills to His, He hates to see them drifting away from their own nature for any other reason. And we should always encourage them to do so.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright 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.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Having Cake and Eating It Too

The Self Deceit of the Modern Mind

Chesterton writes the following on the indifference of nature.  As you read this passage, keep David Attenborough in mind, an evolutionist whose breathless reverent descriptions of the natural world and its inhabitants represents the stupidest sentimentality since stupidity first emerged (from the primordial slime, naturally.)
There is no equality in nature; also there is no inequality in nature.  Inequality, as much as equality, implies a standard of value.  To read aristocracy into the anarchy of animals is just as sentimental as to read democracy into it.  Both aristocracy and democracy and are human ideals: the one saying that all men are valuable, the other that some men are more valuable.  But nature does not say that cats are more valuable than mice; nature makes no remark on the subject.  She does not even say that the cat is enviable or the mouse pitiable.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Plain Packaging Has Other Fish to Fry, Not Tobacco

All the Plain Packaging Lobby Really Wants is to Hear Tobacco Companies Squeal

The lessons from Australia are clear: plain cigarette packs may are a dream come true for the counterfeiters and may not even reduce smoking

Christopher Snowdon  
The Telegraph 
January 22, 2015

So much for evidence. With every indicator showing that plain packaging in Australia has been, at best, a damp squib, the campaign for this risible policy was won with the one oft-repeated question: "Why would the tobacco industry spend so much time and money lobbying against plain packaging if it didn’t work?"
Like all rhetorical questions, it is supposed to answer itself: "Because they know that plain packs will deter people from smoking, stupid." The answer is clear, simple and wrong because it confuses profit with volume. Profit margins are bigger on premium brands, which is why big cigarette brands - just the brands, not the cigarettes - are worth billions. Get rid of the branding and many smokers will turn to cheaper brands which have tighter margins.
This point was made by Professor John Britton on the Today programme this morning when he said that plain packaging was likely to lead smokers to switch to cheaper fags. This, he said, “makes tobacco less profitable, which is bad news for the industry and that’s why they’ve been opposing it.” It is rare for an anti-smoking campaigner to state this so explicitly, but with the battle won the truth can be told. It is quite conceivable that plain packaging could harm the industry without reducing its customer base. Indeed, the law of demand suggests that a shift towards cheaper cigarettes could lead to more cigarettes being sold.

Daily Devotional

Glorifying God With All That I Have

"To him be glory both now and forever."
2 Peter 3:18

Heaven will be full of the ceaseless praises of Jesus. Eternity! thine unnumbered years shall speed their everlasting course, but forever and forever, "to him be glory." Is he not a "Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek?" "To him be glory." Is he not king forever?--King of kings and Lord of lords, the everlasting Father? "To him be glory forever." Never shall his praises cease. That which was bought with blood deserves to last while immortality endures. The glory of the cross must never be eclipsed; the lustre of the grave and of the resurrection must never be dimmed. O Jesus! thou shalt be praised forever. Long as immortal spirits live--long as the Father's throne endures--forever, forever, unto thee shall be glory.

Believer, you are anticipating the time when you shall join the saints above in ascribing all glory to Jesus; but are you glorifying him now? The apostle's words are, "To him be glory both now and forever." Will you not this day make it your prayer? "Lord, help me to glorify thee; I am poor; help me to glorify thee by contentment; I am sick; help me to give thee honour by patience; I have talents; help me to extol thee by spending them for thee; I have time; Lord, help me to redeem it, that I may serve thee; I have a heart to feel; Lord, let that heart feel no love but thine, and glow with no flame but affection for thee; I have a head to think; Lord, help me to think of thee and for thee; thou hast put me in this world for something; Lord, show me what that is, and help me to work out my life-purpose: I cannot do much; but as the widow put in her two mites, which were all her living, so, Lord, I cast my time and eternity too into thy treasury; I am all thine; take me, and enable me to glorify thee now, in all that I say, in all that I do, and with all that I have."

Gentile Madness

Anachronistic Throw-Backs

The apostles characterized the Gentile ethics of their day as representing a "flood of debauchery", and the Gentiles generally living in sensuality and passions.
. . . For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; (I Peter 4: 2-3)
In this regard, things have not changed.
Rosie O’Donnell and her wife, Michelle Rounds, have split, and O’Donnell will leave “The View” next week to concentrate on her family’s well-being, Page Six can exclusively reveal.  Sources close to O’Donnell told us that she and Rounds, her wife of three years, have been living apart for months, and that O’Donnell feels she must leave the ABC daytime show to focus on her five kids.

Rosie’s rep, Cindi Berger, confirmed the marital split, as well O’Donnell’s departure from “The View,” in a statement Friday night: “I can confirm that Rosie and her wife Michelle split in November. Rosie has teens and an infant at home that need her attention. This has been a very stressful situation. She is putting her personal health and family first.
Moreover, something else that has not changed is their surprise when Christians refuse to join Unbelievers in their flood of lawless debauchery.  This, we believe, is the real reason latter-day Gentiles malign and hate Christians. Our refusals stand as an indictment against them.  It offends and angers them. But, as the Bible declares, they are living anachronisms. Their heads are so deep into the sand, they do not realise their day passed long, long ago.

There is a new King of all kings, and Lord of all nations.  He will not be mocked.  His wheels of justice grind exceedingly fine and they are relentless and inescapable.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About High Moral Ground)

You New Around Here?

Douglas Wilson
February 10, 2015

We have some truly encouraging news from Alabama on the same sex mirage front, but before getting to a defense of all that, I would like to dispatch the developing meme that this is just the desegregation battle all over again.

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened. A federal judge struck down Alabama’s same sex mirage ban, and yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court denied Alabama’s request to have that action put on hold. The Supremes are due to hear arguments in a couple of months about same sex mirage nationwide. So after this latest outrage, at the urging of the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, Roy Moore, the majority of Alabama counties are refusing to comply with this tyrannical order.

So, a generation ago, there was a showdown between Alabama and the Feds over segregated schools, when Alabama leaders defied federal orders to desegregate their schools. And the meme is that this is just “history repeating itself.”

But strip away all the additional complicating factors, which are always there, a generation ago Alabama was being pressured to quit doing the wrong thing. Now they are being pressured to quit doing the right thing. A generation ago, the Feds had the moral high ground. Now the Feds are actively campaigning for the normalization of sexual perversion, which is not, you might take care to note, the moral high ground.

Daily Devotional

The Whole Purpose

C. S. Lewis

Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has—by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.
From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
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. 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.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

The Self-Betrayal of Women

Willing, Thrilling Degradation

We are told that women loooooove "Fifty Shades of Grey".  Always, when we hear such nonsense, the qualifier must follow.  Some women love the tripe.  But it must be acknowledged that this particular "pushing of the boundaries" has been dominated by women throughout.
For decades, women have ceaselessly complained about a lack of access to the levers of Hollywood power. Well, now they have grabbed hold. “Fifty Shades” is a woman’s story directed by a woman based on a screenplay by a woman which itself based on a woman’s best-selling blockbuster.  [John Nolte, BreitbartHollywood]
In the West we have long been more than a little puzzled by modern, rootless feminists taking up the Islamic burkha and entering into polygamous "marriages" and submitting to some of the worst forms of subjugation.  They love it, don't you know.  Rather they resemble stricken ships with neither steerage nor anchor on a storm tossed sea. And now come the women celebrating their sisters being subjugated to subservience and pain.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” isn’t controversial or envelope pushing, it’s a pathetic rationalization created by the pathetic for the pathetic.  Feminists have gone from resenting having a man open a door for them to being okay with kneeling naked on all fours in front of the door until the man comes in to physically abuse and emotionally degrade them. Congratulations…

You’ve come a long way, baby.
This is where feminism was always going to lead--straight to the manacles.  Feminism is an ideology that draws upon Marxism.  Women have been oppressed by the male dominated power structures of capitalist society.  Women will be redeemed by revolutionary liberation from male oppression.  They would be free from homes, motherhood, children, pregnancy--only then will they be truly human.  Then the revelation comes that the endgame is a degradation and subjugation never imagined--with this one difference.  This time they welcome it and lionise it.

When any human being, any culture, throws off the restraints and constraints of God they do not, thereby, become free.  They become enslaved to anything, in ways and means they both abhor and welcome at the same time.  They come to resemble beaten, broken animals.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Towards a Christian Political Philosophy

The Moral Purposes of Law and Government

Feb 11, 2015

Several years ago First Things published an essay entitled “Law and Moral Purpose” by Robert P. George, Princeton University’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.  I’ve taken a section of this essay and added questions, numbering, and italics, turning it into an “interview” of sorts.

What are the obligations and purposes of law and government?

RPG 2012
(1) To protect
  • public health
  • safety
  • morals
(2) to advance
the general welfare—including, preeminently, protecting people’s fundamental rights and basic liberties.
Wouldn’t this require the granting of vast and sweeping powers to public authority?

No; the general welfare—the common good—requires that government be limited.

Daily Devotional

The Perfect City

He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16)

John Piper

No pollution, no graffiti, no trash, no peeling paint or rotting garages, no dead grass or broken bottles, no harsh street talk, no in-your-face confrontations, no domestic strife or violence, no dangers in the night, no arson or lying or stealing or killing, no vandalism and no ugliness.

The city of God will be perfect because God will be in it. He will walk in it and talk in it and manifest himself in every part of it. All that is good and beautiful and holy and peaceful and true and happy will be there, because God will be there.

Perfect justice will be there, and recompense a thousandfold for every pain suffered in obedience to Christ. And it will never deteriorate. In fact, it will shine brighter and brighter as eternity stretches out into unending ages of increasing joy.

When you desire this city above everything else on the earth, then you honor God, who, according to Hebrews 11:10, is the architect and builder of the city. And when God is honored, he is pleased and not ashamed to be called your God.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see

Letter From the UK (About Show Trials)

Paedophilia and "Date-Rape"

It was Stalin who perfected the "art" of show trials.  Those identified as enemies of the Soviet Union had to be put through a public trial to confirm their guilt before they were executed.  In most cases, the "guilt" consisted of confessions extracted under relentless torture and accusatory statements of former acquaintances who feared a similar fate if they did not comply.  The general public in the Soviet Union loved it.

In the West we have gotten pretty close to show trials, sans the torture.  Peter Hitchens describes one such disturbing manifestation of the "art".  What is one of the last remaining sins which both public and officials condemn and excoriate alike?  Paedophilia.  And this in a context where virtually any sexual deviance or evil is now regarded, even lionized, as a human right, to be celebrated and defended at all costs.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Global Warming Industry is a Busted Flush

Global Warming: So Dishonest It Makes Enron Look Like a Paragon of Integrity

James Delingpole
9 February 2015

“Fiddling temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever,” says Christopher Booker, not pulling his punches. And I think he’s right not to do so. If – as Booker, myself, and few others suspect – the guardians of the world’s land-based temperature records have been adjusting the raw data in order to exaggerate “global warming” then this is indeed a crime against the scientific method unparalleled in history. 

 Sure you could make a case that Lysenkoism or  Hitler’s war to discredit “Jewish science” were more evil but these were confined to discrete geographical regions under specific totalitarian regimes. What’s so extraordinary about the manipulations to the global land-based temperature sets is that they affect every one of us, wherever we live.

Whether you’re an elderly couple in mid-Wales who have just had 20 per cent knocked off the value of your retirement cottage by the new wind farm on the hill opposite, or you’re a tribesman in the South East Asian jungle whose virgin forest home has been trashed to make way for a palm oil plantation to grow eco-friendly biofuels, or you’re a scientist in New Zealand who has been hounded out of your job because your research doesn’t fit the “global warming” narrative, or you’re a science teacher in Ohio who is obliged, whether you like it or not, to lecture your charges on the dread perils of climate change, or you’re a Republican senatorial candidate who has been targeted as a “denier” in a green attack dog campaign financed by Tom Steyer, you’re all victims of the same global scam: a scam perpetrated by a tiny handful of individuals whose junk statistical manipulation of the global climate records have transformed routine weather patterns into the world’s biggest and most influential ever science scare story.

Daily Devotional

Living Witnesses

"And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
Acts 4:13

Charles H. Spurgeon

A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ; yea, such striking likenesses of him, that the world would not have to hold us up by the hour together, and say, "Well, it seems somewhat of a likeness;" but they would, when they once beheld us, exclaim, "He has been with Jesus; he has been taught of him; he is like him; he has caught the very idea of the holy Man of Nazareth, and he works it out in his life and every-day actions."

A Christian should be like Christ in his boldness. Never blush to own your religion; your profession will never disgrace you: take care you never disgrace that. Be like Jesus, very valiant for your God. Imitate him in your loving spirit; think kindly, speak kindly, and do kindly, that men may say of you, "He has been with Jesus."

Club Memberships Must be Paid

Second Rate Kabuki Theatre

It seems inevitable that New Zealand will be off on another military adventure to the other side of the world because . . . because . . . because it's inevitable, that's why.

We were cynically amused the other day when some folk (a politician and a few odd bloggers) were offended when a member of Britain's ruling class urbanely suggested that New Zealand needs to send troops to combat ISIS because it belongs to a club.

Mr Dunne also launched a stinging attack on comments made in New Zealand last week by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond when he said: "Frankly we've got used to New Zealand being there alongside us, alongside the US, the UK, Australia, as part of the family." . . . .  Mr Dunne, a minister and the leader of United Future, described Mr Hammond as a "patronising figure from abroad loftily telling us we are in the club, we are part of the family and it would be lovely to have you along for the next round of unmitigated slaughter".
But the British Foreign Secretary was telling the truth.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Credibility in Tatters

Lies, Damned Lies, and Scientists

We are told that all educated and rational people respect science and scientific disciplines.  The respect is to high that we have even erected an idol, called Scientism, which propounds that only matter exists, so that the study of matter is our sole prophet.  But now science lies discredited.  This particular idol  "lies broke in the Temple of Ba'al".

Public science, official science, state-propagated science has had its credibility riven to shreds.  Who would want now to be a scientist?  It has become a thoroughly discredited profession.  James Delingpole explains how this has come to pass.

Daily Devotional

Institutional From the Beginning

On Church

C. S. Lewis

No Christian and, indeed, no historian could accept the epigram which defines religion as “what a man does with his solitude.” It was one of the Wesleys, I think, who said that the New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion. We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. Christianity is already institutional in the earliest of its documents. The Church is the Bride of Christ. We are members of one another.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 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. Sourced from BibleGateway.

Clutching The Comfort Blanket

It All Depends . . . 

We have commented frequently on the compulsion in the West to self-dissimulate over Islam.  When it becomes more Islamic and less Western in its practices, Islam is routinely described as extremist.  A classic in the genre appeared recently in one of New Zealand's most widely read blogs, entitled How widespread is extreme Islam? In the context of the article, "extreme" Islam means an Islamic society which practises Sharia law--which just happens to be historical and traditional Islamic law.  To be fair, the article develops the case that "extremist" Islam is actually much more widespread than Western propaganda generally avers. 

"Extremism" is in the eyes of the beholder.  The West in general has a Euro-centric and existential perspective on these matters.  Essentially, extremist Islam is any manifestation of the Islamic religion, or an Islamic society, which does not follow the values and ethics and historical legal traditions of the West.  As Edward Said would have said, this represents a profoundly arrogant, self-centred and xenophobic perspective.  On the other hand, to Islamic societies, the West is extremist--so extreme in its degeneration and evil that it warrants the title, The Great Satan.  The term "extremist" is of little meaning, and can be understood only by reference to one's starting point.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Letter From the UK (About Fiddling Temperature Data)

The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever

New data shows that the “vanishing” of polar ice is not the result of runaway global warming 

8 February, 2015

When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.
Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

Daily Devotional

Strive Strenuously to Return

"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee."
Isaiah 44:22

Charles H. Spurgeon

Attentively observe the instructive similitude: our sins are like a cloud. As clouds are of many shapes and shades, so are our transgressions. As clouds obscure the light of the sun, and darken the landscape beneath, so do our sins hide from us the light of Jehovah's face, and cause us to sit in the shadow of death. They are earth-born things, and rise from the miry places of our nature; and when so collected that their measure is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Alas! that, unlike clouds, our sins yield us no genial showers, but rather threaten to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. O ye black clouds of sin, how can it be fair weather with our souls while ye remain?

Let our joyful eye dwell upon the notable act of divine mercy--"blotting out." God himself appears upon the scene, and in divine benignity, instead of manifesting his anger, reveals his grace: he at once and forever effectually removes the mischief, not by blowing away the cloud, but by blotting it out from existence once for all. Against the justified man no sin remains, the great transaction of the cross has eternally removed his transgressions from him. On Calvary's summit the great deed, by which the sin of all the chosen was forever put away, was completely and effectually performed.

Practically let us obey the gracious command, "return unto me." Why should pardoned sinners live at a distance from their God? If we have been forgiven all our sins, let no legal fear withhold us from the boldest access to our Lord. Let backslidings be bemoaned, but let us not persevere in them. To the greatest possible nearness of communion with the Lord, let us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, strive mightily to return. O Lord, this night restore us!

The Triumph of the Left

We're All Marxists Now

In his book, The Broken Compass, Peter Hitchens describes and and seeks to explain how there is no longer any substantial ideological debates in the UK.  Rather there is an ideological consensus, shared by both "left" and "right".  That consensus is nurtured in the bosoms and minds of an elitist few who now dominate the Labour and Conservative parties.

Hitchens illustrates this situation by contrasting the UK with Russia.
Russia is no longer an ideological state, externally or internally.  It no longer seeks global power, and in some ways is less interested in the minds of its citizens than are "Western" countries which demand increasing obedience to the formulas of political correctness.  In Russia you may hold what private opinions you like.  Just do not challenge the state.  In Britain, your private opinions may be reported to the authorities and get you into trouble, even if you believe your actions are part of normal life and you have not wish to challenge the state.  This paradox is one of the most alarming facts about the modern world, and is unfortunately too little understood.  . . .

Here as everywhere else in the formerly anti-Marxist "West", the supposedly beaten Left have become the establishment.  The Left and their utopian ideas dominate the civil service, the arts, broadcasting, the academy, the bench of bishops, the courts and the police.

They now censor (and censure) speech and thought, through the formulas of political correctness.  They place narrower limits on the speech and writing of others than the Lord Chamberlain ever did on the London stage.  At the same time they dispense with any rules that might get in their own way.  A liberal will defend to the death your right to disagree with her.  Disagree with her, and she will call the police. [Peter Hitchens, The Broken Compass: How Left and Right Lost Their Meaning (London: Continuum, , 2009) p. viii, ix.]
The same realities hold true in New Zealand--with one major difference.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Business People Dangerous When It Comes to Politics

Banal Business Naivete

Stephen Franks
February 14th, 2015

Few business people are good at democratic politics. They expect what works in business to work in democracy. They’re frustrated by the messy necessity to maintain a working consensus, by multiple conflicting objectives, and by the unreliability of delegates.

They think that if only the right people were in charge, the best structures and systems would be like those in business, where everyone accepts single prevailing decisions from nominated rulers, and he who pays, rules.
Business people who get embroiled in politics commonly hate it so much they eject before they flame out. Those who survive and learn may be small in number but they are among the best we have, and we owe them a lot for their patience.

Many good business people are equally hopeless in assessing policy. I could not count the number of times I’ve heard the idiocy that the Resource Management Act ("RMA") is a good law, with nothing seriously wrong with it except how it is administered by council people who are stupid or wrongly motivated. These business defenders have no idea that they’ve just explained exactly why the RMA is  so badly conceived and written as to besmirch the rule of law.

Daily Devotional

Better Than Money, Sex, and Power

Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. (Hebrews 10:35)

John Piper

We need to ponder the superiority of God as our great reward over all that the world has to offer. If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like every one else.

So take the things that drive the world and ponder how much better and more abiding God is. Take money or sex or power and think about them in relation to death. Death will take away every one of them. If that is what you live for, you won't get much, and what you get, you lose.

But God's treasure is abiding. It lasts. It goes beyond death. It’s better than money because God owns all the money and he is our Father. “All things are yours, and you are Christ's and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).

It's better than sex. Jesus never had sexual relations, and he was the most full and complete human that ever will exist. Sex is a shadow — an image — of a greater reality, of a relationship and pleasure that will make sex seem like a yawn.

The reward of God is better than power. There is no greater human power than to be a child of the Almighty God. “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3).

And so it goes on and on. Everything the world has to offer, God is better and more abiding.
There is no comparison. God wins — every time. The question is: will we have him? Will we wake up from the trance of this stupefying world and see and believe and rejoice and love?

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see

Terrible Deeds

Horses for Courses

President Obama took an opportunity recently to lecture Christians about "getting on high horses" from which to criticize Islam and Islamic extremism.  There was a good deal of  violence and depredation in the history of Christianity, he solemnly hectored.
President Barack Obama stirred outrage with his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, comparing the atrocities committed by ISIS to those of Christians "in the name of Christ."  "Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," Obama said. "In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."  "So it is not unique to one group or one religion," Obama said. "There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith."
Wow.  Glad we have got that straight.

Except that poor ol' Pressie Obama learnt his history in the arms of Edward Said and Marxist historians who were more in love with their abstract ideology than with actual history.  (Said taught at Columbia, Obama's old school, developing a theory of Western interaction with the Middle East, known as Orientalism.) Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, particularly one which pillories imperialism, colonialism, and oppression as a Western disease.  The Crusades and the Inquisition, eh.  That's where Christian evils were equivalent to the present depredations of ISIS.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Back to the Future

The Revival of the Nixon Doctrine

Here is an interesting piece on the Truman versus the Nixon doctrines on US Foreign Policy.  It argues that not by intention, but by neglect and incompetence, Obama has moved the US from the previously revived Truman Doctrine under Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton and the Bushes to adopt, de facto, the Nixon Doctrine.  It appears there is something to be said in behalf of benign neglect.

The World Is Figuring Out How to Fight ISIS

No Thanks to Obama

by Virgil 
8 Feb 2015

Yes, it’s unfortunate that the US has a president, Barack Obama, who consistently sees things from the Muslim point of view.  Even the Obamaphilic reporter Juliet Eilperin, writing for the Obamaphilic Washington Post, had to admit, “President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.”  With a pro-Muslim commander-in-chief, and with the administration insisting that “climate change” is the greatest threat we face, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the villainous Islamic State is on the march in the Middle East.

That’s the bad news.  And yet, paradoxically, there’s also some good news.  Moreover, the good news points to a new kind of better strategy for the US—or, more precisely, to the revival of a successful old strategy.

Daily Devotional

Better Persons

"He shall save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:21

Charles H. Spurgeon

Many persons, if they are asked what they understand by salvation, will reply, "Being saved from hell and taken to heaven." This is one result of salvation, but it is not one tithe of what is contained in that boon.

It is true our Lord Jesus Christ does redeem all his people from the wrath to come; he saves them from the fearful condemnation which their sins had brought upon them; but his triumph is far more complete than this. He saves his people "from their sins." Oh! sweet deliverance from our worst foes. Where Christ works a saving work, he casts Satan from his throne, and will not let him be master any longer.

No man is a true Christian if sin reigns in his mortal body. Sin will be in us--it will never be utterly expelled till the spirit enters glory; but it will never have dominion. There will be a striving for dominion--a lusting against the new law and the new spirit which God has implanted--but sin will never get the upper hand so as to be absolute monarch of our nature. Christ will be Master of the heart, and sin must be mortified. The Lion of the tribe of Judah shall prevail, and the dragon shall be cast out.

Professor! is sin subdued in you? If your life is unholy your heart is unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person. If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, he has done nothing in you of a saving character.

The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves his people, not in their sins, but from them. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." If not saved from sin, how shall we hope to be counted among his people. Lord, save me now from all evil, and enable me to honour my Saviour.

Public Swamps, Politicians, and Their Cronies

The Dangers of Mates Having a Drink Together

Crony capitalism is a despicable thing.  It occurs when government sidles up to businesses to offer favours and rewards not available to competitors if they will do the government's bidding.  It's a "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" situation.  Publicly it's sold as a "win-win" for all.  The reverse also occurs.  Businesses sidle up to government to lobby for contracts and benefices.  The quid pro quo is often support in the form of funds for political campaigns or, worse, money in the back pockets of politicians.

All governments and politicians, of whatever stripe (ideologically left, right, and centre) are susceptible to such corruption.  Power corrupts.  Businessmen and private capital are entirely corruptible when they get close to power.  Politicians are already well down the track, their hubris driving them on.

The only way to resist the invasion of such rodents gnawing at the body politic is to maintain a high wall of separation between politicians and the decision makers who will decide which contracts and tenders will be awarded to whom.

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Great Divide

Two Parents, Radically Unalike

The word misanthrope used to refer to someone who hated the human race.  Under the delicate touch of feminist ideology the term has morphed into a sexist perspective, referring to someone who hates males.  Dana at Patterico describes the case of one who is truly--and literally--misanthropic.
The answer to the question “What makes a good man?” depends on who you are asking. For one ardent feminist named Lana, her answer would unarguably be that to suggest a man could be good is itself a contradiction in terms and thus, the question is moot. Never the terms shall meet. Because of her misandry, Lana refused to allow her baby boy entry into the world where he would have had the opportunity to prove his mother wrong:

Daily Devotional

God is Love

All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love’. But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person.

If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love. Of course, what these people mean when they say that God is love is often some- thing quite different: they really mean ‘Love is God’. They really mean that our feelings of love, however and wherever they arise, and whatever results they produce, are to be treated with great respect. Perhaps they are: but that is something quite different from what Christians mean by the statement ‘God is love’. They believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else.

And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing—not even a [static] person—but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
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. 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. Sourced from BibleGateway.

Nothing Here, Move Along

Equivocating to Save Face

One of the most puerile of all informal fallacies is the fallacy of equivocation.  A protagonist attempts to advance his argument by wilfully (or mistakenly) changing the meaning of key terms, thus failing miserably in the attempt to prove his case.  Here is an example: "all banks are beside rivers; therefore, the financial institution where I deposit my money is beside a river."

Political partisans are notorious for this kind of verbal legerdemain.  We were treated to the ignominious spectacle recently when someone had the temerity to suggest that Islamic enclaves in various European countries had created "no-go zones" for the rest of the population.  The resulting brouhaha and explosions of self-righteous umbrage were worthy of Krakatoa.    Fox News staff were forced to retract and apologize for allowing interviewees to utter such tosh without correcting them on the spot.  The Mayor of Paris insisted that nothing even resembling no-go zones existed in France.  A complete and utter fabrication, she fulminated.

But the fallacy of (wilful) equivocation was at work again.  The Mayor of Paris and her attendant Greek chorus were insisting that nowhere in France was there to be found a spot where one would be confronted with barbed wire, fifteen foot tall electrified fences, barricades and tank traps with armed guards at gates, and signs on the gates saying: "Islamic Only Zone.  All Infidels Forbidden Entry."  On this basis, one may safely conclude that Islamic No-Go Zones indeed do not exist in France, nor in the Seychelles, nor in Mecca, nor on the moon.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Bon Mots

 He Thought It an Impertinence, Sir

The story is recounted of Benjamin Jowett, when he was Master of Balliol College in Oxford.  Apparently someone asked him at dinner, "Dr. Jowett, we would like to know what your opinion of God is," to which he is said to have replied, "I should think it a great impertinence were I to express my opinion about God.  The only constant anxiety of my life is to know what is Gods' opinion of me."  [Christopher Ash, Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2014), p.374.]

Daily Devotional

Gladly Not God

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! (Psalm 96:7)

John Piper

Here’s what I think would be some of what’s included in a full experience of what the psalmist calls for when he says, “Ascribe [=give] to the Lord strength.”

First, by God’s grace, we give attention to God and see that he is strong. We give heed to his strength. Then we give our approval to the greatness of his strength. We give due regard to its worth.  We find his strength to be wonderful. But what makes this wonder a “giving” kind of wonder is that we are especially glad that the greatness of the strength is his and not ours.

We feel a profound fitness in the fact that he is infinitely strong and not us. We love the fact that this is so. We do not envy God for his strength. We are not covetous of his power. We are full of joy that all strength is his. Everything in us rejoices to go out to behold this power, as if we had arrived at the celebration of the victory of a distance runner who had beaten us in the race, and we found our greatest joy in admiring his strength, rather than resenting our loss.

A Very Simple Document

A Treaty of Perpetual Umbrage and Grievance

Usually around this time of the year, when Waitangi Day rolls around in New Zealand, we end up with a couple or more posts on the crass historical revisionism which makes the Treaty of Waitangi a wax nose twisted into the shape of a pig's snout.

Dr Don Brash was asked to speak-in-reply to Dr Gareth Morgan's attempt to push the latest revisionist nonsense about the Treaty of Waitangi--our founding national document.  (Incidentally, both the good doctor's are qualified in economics, not history.  Nevertheless, both are modern men, opinionated, and able to argue a case.)

As expected, Don Brash got little to no air time in the media; what little comment was pejorative.  Gareth Morgan, whose cause c'elebre changes by the month, got plenty of coverage.  What is even more telling is that Don Brash is always framed negatively by the media and the Commentariat which suggests he may be saying something worth hearing.  Some years back he gave an address which catapulted him into political popularity to the extent that he almost won the following national election.  That speech directly attacked the modernist idea that Maori had special privileges in New Zealand.  There was an outpouring of popular support for Brash over this issue, not the least due to the fact that he spoke not with incendiary rhetoric, but laid out some pretty cogent arguments.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Letter From the UK (About Multi-Culti Britain)

Multi-Cultural England

Are You Feeling The Progressive Diversity Yet?

by Simon Kent 
6 Feb 2015

Have a look around. Go on. See if you can recognise the country you live in.

Take a quick shufti at the all welcome, multi-culti, hail-fellow-well-met, step right in, pull up a pew and make yourself at home England you may have been lucky enough to have grown up in.

What better time to pause and reflect as we celebrate 800 years of the primacy of Magna Carta; exult in its written guarantees that curb the power of authoritarian rule, define the limits on taxation, ensure the right to trial by jury and guarantee the rule of law for all. No exceptions. We’re rubbing along quite nicely, don’t you think? Or not. Depends on where you’re looking and how you feel about the conceit of state-imposed multiculturalism.

Rotherham might be a suitable place to start.

This past week we have been treated (if that’s the word I’m looking for) to the news that years of failure by Labour’s Rotherham borough council to fully discharge its duties has seen more than 1500 young girls sexually abused, tortured and prostituted for financial gain by men of Pakistani heritage. The evidence is contained in a damning official report by Louise Casey that concluded police had failed to pursue Pakistani perpetrators for fear of “offending the community”.

Talk about having our noses rubbed in the sacred cause of racial diversity.

Daily Devotional

Poor Weak Prayers

"Praying always."
Ephesians 6:18

C. H. Spurgeon

What multitudes of prayers we have put up from the first moment when we learned to pray. Our first prayer was a prayer for ourselves; we asked that God would have mercy upon us, and blot out our sin. He heard us. But when he had blotted out our sins like a cloud, then we had more prayers for ourselves. We have had to pray for sanctifying grace, for constraining and restraining grace; we have been led to crave for a fresh assurance of faith, for the comfortable application of the promise, for deliverance in the hour of temptation, for help in the time of duty, and for succour in the day of trial.

We have been compelled to go to God for our souls, as constant beggars asking for everything. Bear witness, children of God, you have never been able to get anything for your souls elsewhere. All the bread your soul has eaten has come down from heaven, and all the water of which it has drank has flowed from the living rock--Christ Jesus the Lord. Your soul has never grown rich in itself; it has always been a pensioner upon the daily bounty of God; and hence your prayers have ascended to heaven for a range of spiritual mercies all but infinite. Your wants were innumerable, and therefore the supplies have been infinitely great, and your prayers have been as varied as the mercies have been countless.

Then have you not cause to say, "I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication"? For as your prayers have been many, so also have been God's answers to them. He has heard you in the day of trouble, has strengthened you, and helped you, even when you dishonoured him by trembling and doubting at the mercy-seat. Remember this, and let it fill your heart with gratitude to God, who has thus graciously heard your poor weak prayers. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

More Faux Outrage

Appalling Ignorance.  Beyond Appalling.

A local blogger posted the following fulmination:

UK Police lose the plot

February 12th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar The Independent reports:
A police force was forced to apologise today after one of its officers told a newsagent to hand over the names of four people in the name of community cohesion, after they bought a commemorative edition of the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Wiltshire police confirmed that it had deleted the names of the buyers from its system, which were collected after officers toured shops warning newsagents to be vigilant during an “assessment of community tensions” in the sleepy market town following the attacks in the French capital in January.
Appalling. Beyond appalling. You buy Charlie Hebdo and the UK Police put you on a watch list. The Police officers in question should transfer to Saudi Arabia.

Hat Tip: No Right
Sounds really bad.  That's the way the media portrayed it in the UK.  But here is the Wiltshire Police statement:

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Letter From the UK (About a Sinister Court)

A 'sinister court’ mocks justice again

The workings of the mysterious and ultra-secretive Court of Protection are a national scandal 

Christopher Booker
31 January, 2015

[We have published several pieces recently on the decline of civil liberties in the UK, and the stirrings of an authoritarian state.  Christopher Booker writes of another instance of Leviathan stirring to life. Ed.]

My article on January 3, headlined “The most sinister court in Britain strikes yet again”, has for the past month been the “Most Viewed” Comment item on the Telegraph website. Its theme was the workings of the mysterious and ultra-secretive Court of Protection, which has only recently begun to emerge from the shadows – that’s thanks to the stalwart efforts of our top family judge, Lord Justice Munby, to lift something of the suffocating veil of secrecy shrouding the courts over which he now presides.
My report centred on the astonishing treatment of Kathleen Danby, a 72-year-old grandmother, who first hit the headlines last year when it was revealed that – two months earlier – she had been sentenced in her absence to three months in prison by Judge Martin Cardinal, for breaking an injunction by hugging her granddaughter who had run away from “care” 170 times.

Daily Devotional

Losing One's Life

TO BEDE GRIFFITHS, with whom Lewis shares an insight from The Great Divorce (Chapter 9), which he is writing at the time: On the utter truth of losing one’s life to save it (with another word about Charles Williams).

C. S. Lewis

25 May 1944
Thanks for your letter. I too was delighted with our meeting. About the past, and nothing being lost, the point is that ‘He who loses his life shall save it’ [Matthew 10:39] is totally true, true on every level. Everything we crucify will rise again: nothing we try to hold onto will be left us.

I wrote the other day ‘Good and evil when they attain their full stature are retrospective. That is why, at the end of all things, the damned will say we were always in Hell, and the blessed we have never lived anywhere but in heaven.’ Do you agree?

You’re right about C.W. He has an undisciplined mind and sometimes admits into his theology ideas whose proper place is in his romances. What keeps him right is his love of which (and I have now known him long) he radiates more than any man I know. . . . Continue to pray for me as I do for you.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

How Has It Come to This?

Not On Our Watch

Closing down local bodies and running them by commissioners appointed by central government is rare, but it does happen from time to time. Often it is due to financial mismanagement.  Other occasions have been due to council infighting leading to dysfunctional decision-making.  We suspect that when the UK government recently closed down Rotherham Council, it was due to a reason never before seen.

The hegemony of political correctness and the religion of multi-culturalism in that council led to a reign predatory terror by gangs of Pakistani youth upon vulnerable children.  The council turned a blind eye, lest it be guilty of racism, or, worse,  be in violation of the ultimate social ethic of multi-culturalism.  Caught up in the evil were police commanders and police bureaucrats, politicians, and social workers. 

Rotherham Council Closed Down Following Sexual Abuse Failure

by Andre Walker 
4 Feb 2015

The Government  has closed down ‘dysfunctional’ Rotherham Council until an election can be held in 2016, with all powers currently held by the council’s Cabinet to be transferred to Commissioners answerable to the Secretary of State for Local Government.

Eric Pickles [Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government] made the announcement at the House of Commons today, after Rotherham was shown to have failed to protect children from being sexually abused by organised gangs from the town’s Kashmiri Pakistani community.  The Council has fourteen days to write to Pickles should they wish to object to the plan to bring in the five commissioners. He said he was taking the steps because the council was “seriously failing the people of Rotherham, and particularly the most vulnerable”.

Pickles said that he was minded to appoint the commissioners to replace the “wholly dysfunctional cabinet”. This means that all executive power currently held by democratically elected councillors would pass to the appointed officials if he presses ahead, which is all but guaranteed.  In forcing the council to accept a full ‘all out’ election of councillors in 2016 he claimed he would restore “pride” and “local accountability” to the borough. This is likely to make UKIP a serious contender to win the council, but in any case it is now unlikely democracy will be restored until that election is successfully completed.

Pickles claimed the current council leadership was opposed to democracy as it regularly cracked down on whistleblowers. He said senior managers had created an “unhealthy climate where people are afraid to speak out because they have seen the consequences for those who do.” Pickles said his plan would “put an end to the councils on going failure” and to “restore good local governance to Rotherham”.

Hilary Benn for Labour said it was time for Rotherham to “accept the truth” that they had failed to protect children. He said the “process of healing” could not take place until that happened. During the debate the Rotherham Cabinet announced they would all resign.

Rotherham Council was exposed as having failed to protect as many as 2000 victims from Muslim grooming gangs. They stand accused of refusing to stop the abuse of young white girls by Muslim men for fear of being accused of racism.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Not Seen Anything Yet

Michael Lewis has had a sterling career as a premier finance-sector-skewer.  He has popped more bubbles than most.  Memorable and significant as diagnoses and explanations of "what really went on" include: Liars Poker, The Big Short, and Flash Boys. One is always left with the overwhelming impression that the modern Western financial system is out of control, that fear and greed dominate the sector, and that it cannot continue. 

Lewis has penned a lengthy essay upon Greece, published in Vanity Fair in 2010.  Once again the truth is beyond belief.  Here are some highlights:

Firstly, the size of the debt back in 2010

Daily Devotional

Five Ways Affliction Helps

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. (Psalm 119:67)

John Piper

This verse shows that God sends affliction to help us learn his word. We should ask how affliction helps us understand God’s word and keep it.

There are innumerable answers, as there are innumerable experiences. But here are five:
  1. Affliction takes the glibness of life away and makes us more serious so that our mindset is more in tune with the seriousness of God’s word.

  2. Affliction knocks worldly props from under us and forces us to rely more on God, which brings us more in tune with the aim of the word.

  3. Affliction makes us search the Scriptures with greater desperation for help, rather than treating it as marginal to life.

  4. Affliction brings us into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings so that we fellowship more closely with him and see the world more readily through his eyes.

  5. Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires, and so brings us into a more spiritual frame which fits God’s word more.

May the Holy Spirit give us grace to not begrudge the pedagogy of God.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see

Here We Stand . . .

. . . We Can Do No Other

Richard John Neuhaus:
We contend, and we contend relentlessly, for the dignity of the human person, of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, destined from eternity for eternity—every human person, no matter how weak or how strong, no matter how young or how old, no matter how productive or how burdensome, no matter how welcome or how inconvenient. Nobody is a nobody; nobody is unwanted. All are wanted by God, and therefore to be respected, protected, and cherished by us.

We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.

Against the encroaching shadows of the culture of death, against forces commanding immense power and wealth, against the perverse doctrine that a woman’s dignity depends upon her right to destroy her child, against what St. Paul calls the principalities and powers of the present time, this convention renews our resolve that we shall not weary, we shall not rest, until the culture of life is reflected in the rule of law and lived in the law of love.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Silly, "Enlightened" Women)

Enlightening the Silly Women

Douglas Wilson
February 7, 2015

The path of feminism has been a straight one, like the flight of an arrow. It has gone straight from women’s liberation to handcuffs by the bed. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Those whose ideas about individual sexual liberty are formed best while galloping with the herd are in for a real treat this Valentine’s Day. 50 Shades of Grey is due to be released to a breathless audience of sexual goobers. And that, incidentally, is no small feat — it is somewhat difficult for mouth breathers to be breathless like that.

50 Shades TeddyHere on the right you may see that the Vermont Teddy Bear company has even gotten in on the action, manufacturing a gray little teddy bear with a sharp silk necktie and handcuffs. Nothing says “be my Valentine” like a little gray teddy bear with twisted desires. I was provoked by this image to go and watch the trailer for 50 Shades, which I did as my pastoral duty. The stupid, it burns.

In that trailer, Anastasia Steele, a mousy little nobody, asks Christian Grey, a demented but steely-eyed business magnate, to “enlighten” her. What does that mean? I will tell you what it means! It means that some dim bulb winds up tied to a bed! Yay!

Yay? This is consensual, right? Well, says the secularist eroti-despot, whip in hand, “I can tell you that for now if it makes you feel any better. We just do the consensual rape fantasies now as a catechetical preparation for the real thing later.”

Daily Devotional

Indebted to What?

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors."
Romans 8:12

Charles H. Spurgeon

As God's creatures, we are all debtors to him: to obey him with all our body, and soul, and strength. Having broken his commandments, as we all have, we are debtors to his justice, and we owe to him a vast amount which we are not able to pay.

But of the Christian it can be said that he does not owe God's justice anything, for Christ has paid the debt his people owed; for this reason the believer owes the more to love. I am a debtor to God's grace and forgiving mercy; but I am no debtor to his justice, for he will never accuse me of a debt already paid. Christ said, "It is finished!" and by that he meant, that whatever his people owed was wiped away forever from the book of remembrance. Christ, to the uttermost, has satisfied divine justice; the account is settled; the handwriting is nailed to the cross; the receipt is given, and we are debtors to God's justice no longer.

But then, because we are not debtors to our Lord in that sense, we become ten times more debtors to God than we should have been otherwise.

Revenue Problems

It's a Strange, Strange World

Imagine for a minute a bizarre parallel universe in which institutions of government were so perverse they refused to do things on the grounds they did not have sufficient funds.  Free libraries for citizens?  Yeah, that would be wonderful, but--Nah, we can't afford it.  Next.  Clearly such behaviour would indicate derangement by all concerned.

Consequently, in our more sane world, local government has never let a lack of money stand in the way of new spending projects.  That's what all government exist for, right?  To spend more of other peoples' money.  It was completely predictable, therefore, that as the pressure group, Local Government New Zealand (representing local and municipal governments in New Zealand) recently faced up to the unexpected crisis of no-money-left, it would come up with an equally unexpected solution.  More money, please.  They have thought long and hard about how local governments can extract more money out of the citizens to pay for all the big-spending, wonderful ideas and plans local governments are so adept at creating. 

Local government has a revenue problem, not a spending problem--or so we are told.  Ratepayers (that is, property owners) have reached the limits of their ability to pay more. There are murmurings of rates revolts.  So now, local councils want new ways to tax and extract money citizens' money.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Until Someone Unsettles It

Douglas Wilson
2 February, 2015

The creation account in Genesis is read in different ways. It would be easy therefore, to jump right into the Genesis text and show that I read it in one of those different ways.

I do read it in one of those different ways, and bringing out arguments accordingly would be easy. Before getting to my main set of points, let me give just one example. All sides agree that the Hebrew word for day — yom — admits of different meanings, just as the English word day does. For example, I could say, “Back in my grandfather’s day, he was a champion at picking corn, and, while it was day, could average ten bushels a day.”

Now several things are true about this. One is that my grandfather really was a champion at picking corn, but that is another story for another time. The second thing is that day has three different meanings in the course of just one sentence. Day first means time, “in my grandfather’s time.” Second, it means “while the sun was up,” day as opposed to night. And third, it meant “twenty-hour increments,” Tuesday and then Wednesday, and so on.

But the third thing to note about this is that for native speakers of English, the different uses of day do not throw us in a state of consternation. We pick up on all kinds of contextual clues that enable us to tell what is going on.

Daily Devotional

The Forgiveness Cycle

And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation. (Luke 11:4)

John Piper

Who forgives whom first?
  • “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4)
  • “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13)
When Jesus teaches us to pray that God forgive us “for we ourselves forgive,” he is not saying that the first move in forgiveness was our move. Rather, it goes like this: God forgave us when we believed in Christ (Acts 10:43). Then, from this broken, joyful, grateful, hopeful, experience of being forgiven, we offer forgiveness to others.

This signifies that we have been savingly forgiven. That is, our forgiving others shows that we have faith; we are united to Christ; we are indwelt by the Spirit.

But we still sin (1 John 1:8, 10). So we still turn to God for fresh applications of the work of Christ on our behalf — fresh applications of forgiveness. We cannot do this with any confidence if we are harboring an unforgiving spirit (Matthew 18:23–35).

That’s why Jesus says we ask for forgiveness because we are forgiving. This is like saying: “Father, continue to extend to me the mercies purchased by Christ because by these mercies I forsake vengeance and extend to others what you have extended to me.”

May you know God’s forgiveness afresh today, and may that grace overflow in your heart in forgiveness toward others.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see

Misplaced Responsibity

It's Everyone Else's Fault

The politics of guilt and pity have a lot to answer for.  It's a national plague.  The modern phenomenon of culture-wide guilt and pity arises out of the world-view of egalitarianism.  In this wretched perspective anyone who is less well off, or less wealthy than oneself is an object of pity.  They are the deprived, the suffering, and the afflicted--worthy objects of our compassion.

The welling up of pity assuages the guilt which is also the product of egalitarianism.  The prevailing idea of egalitarianism is that if someone has less, the cause of their deprivation is that others have more.  The pie is fixed in size.  There are only so many pieces to go around.  If someone has a smaller piece than others, it is because others have unjustly seized bigger pieces. 

The politics of guilt and pity lead to one outcome.  A demand that the state "do more" and rule, regulate, and intervene to ensure the greediness of the guilty is compensated by the government, which will "do something" for the deprived.  Hence, in this way, guilt and pity are perfectly reconciled.  Except they are not.  The pity was false to begin with.  As false as the guilt.  Both are products of a madcap and bizarre egalitarianism, which is one of the stupidist notions ever to afflict the most stupid of stupid people.  The escalating of the "problem" to the government to rule, regulate, and fix puts salve on both the guilt and pity feelings.  But the problem was false to begin with.  The "solutions" are equally false. 

Below is an illustration of guilt and pity at work.  Lauren Priestley tells us how a young mum has been hard hit by the housing shortage.