Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Question of Principle: How Does Obama's Statement on Israel Square With the Drone Policy?

Which version do  you like better? I couldn't decide.

Version 1:

On November 18, 2012 President Obama said: "And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders." So how does that square with President Obama's policy of drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen especially since U.S. drone strikes have killed innocent civilians in those countries alongside militant? Does the white house think that Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen should tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from the U.S.?

Version 2:

On November 18, 2012 President Obama said:"And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. " So how does that square with President Obama's policy of drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen especially since U.S. drone strikes have killed innocent civilians in those countries alongside militant? Does the white house think that Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen should tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from the U.S.?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Single Most Important Essay of My Undergraduate Career

The most important essay I was assigned to read in undergrad and definitely the most influential passage is excerpted below. I found the Bach analogy beautiful:
 "If these historical realities are not taken into account, if the texts are not encountered in all of their historicality, then there is no understanding, either of the texts as texts or of the apostle from whom they have come. What Isaac Stern once said about playing a Bach violin concerto also applies to understanding Paul and his letters. Various interpretations, he said, can be called "right"; but equally, many interpretations have to be called "wrong." No reading of a text, whether from Bach or from Paul, that neglects its historicality--that is heedless of its origins, genre, form, structure, and intentions, however imperfectly these may be discerned--can be credibly called an interpretation of that text. Whether engagement with the text and a concern to understand its claims are subordinated to an interest, say, in "the effects of reading" it, or whenever the text is simply taken over for one's own purposes, whether theological, aesthetic, or political, then the text is not being interpreted but confiscated. An interpreter must be, first of all, an advocate for the text."
 Furnish, Victor P. "On Putting Paul In His Place." Journal of Biblical Literature 113.1 (1994): 12-13.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize to correct 2009 mistake of nominating Obama

Via Politico:
A Swedish sociology professor has nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying that awarding the former NSA employee would correct Nobel Committee’s mistake in giving the award to President Barack Obama in 2009.

According to a translation of the letter published by the Daily Mail and RT.com, UmeƄ University professor Stefan Svallfors wrote the committee that Snowden has made the world safer in releasing information about United States surveillance.
Edward Snowden Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Constitution Can't Check Despots, the Founders created a new God, and Christian Constitutionalists are powerless to stop it

An old, but good essay on choosing between the tyranny of the constitution and liberty. He's admittedly a little uncertain on theology as he gets near the end. Here are some excerpts:

Excerpt 1: The Constitution Can't Check Despotism
What I am suggesting is that the Constitution, if the letter of its law was obeyed, would be preferable to the government we have now. But we can't go back. If the Constitution itself was so good, it would have been obeyed from the very beginning. But near the very beginning, it was violated, and has been violated ever since. Whether from a self-perceived higher ethical law, or expediency, the Constitution will always be violated. It has not been, is not now, nor ever will be, a check on despotism. Yes, Americans will still think of themselves as free and therefore morally superior to other nations. But many public school students in the Soviet Union also used to think of themselves as free. Illusion is not reality, not even the grand illusion of our Constitution.
Excerpt 2: Why Isn't the Constitution followed?
But it is not followed. Why is this so? It is because the ethical/religious views of the people and their rulers take precedence.
Excerpt 3: Who is the New God? What Created Separation of Church and State?
North places great importance on the Oath, alleging that this, not the First Amendment, created the Separation of Church and State. No federal officer would have any "religious test," that is, will not be bound by an oath before the Trinitarian, Christian God. This was an about-face from the practice of all twelve of the states that sent delegates to the Convention (and, ironically, consistent with the principles of the one state that was a no-show: Roger Williams' Rhode Island.) The leading Founders were not orthodox, Trinitarian Christians, and their new Constitution was a break with the Trinitarian, Christian God and a new Covenant with a new God, the "People."
Excerpt 4: The Challenge for Christians
Dr. North's approach may be incomprehensible to the unreligious. But his challenge to American Christians is remarkable. Western Christians, even if they try to resist the spirits of the age such as Marxism and Darwinism, must still confront their own Newtonian Modernism, and their innate belief that humans can somehow figure out the universe and play at least some role in saving themselves and society, instead of relying wholly on the infinite grace of the Triune God. 
Why the Constitution Isn't the Bible || James Leroy Wilson

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Conservative Icon Wrote This? F.A. Hayek on Compulsory Health Care

Sounding like Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama wrapped in one, the conservative--not libertarian--intellectual Friedrich Hayek pretty much defends the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature legislative "achievement" in the realm of health.

Via GaryNorth.com:
"There is little doubt that the growth of health insurance is a desirable development. And perhaps there is also a case for making it compulsory since many who could thus provide for themselves might otherwise become a public charge. But there are strong arguments against a single scheme for state insurance; there seems to be an overwhelming case against a free health service for all." -- F. A. Hayek.
Hayek wrote this on page 298 of his magnum opus, The Constitution of Liberty (1960). We could put this another way.
This isn't about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it's about putting you in charge of your health insurance. Under the reforms we seek, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.
These words may sound familiar. They are from President Obama's 2009 speech calling on Congress to pass ObamaCare.
And this little nugget from North (not Hayek) here:

Hayek was much closer to conservatives than to libertarians. He was much closer to Russell Kirk than he was to Murray Rothbard. Neither Kirk nor Hayek believed in economic law. They both rejected the idea on the same basis, namely, their commitment to some form of social evolution. Each of them would come down on the side of free-market institutions, for they did not trust the operations of state bureaucracies, but always on the basis of a pragmatic argument that society had chosen these free market institutions voluntarily. Then the question arises: "How can we stop the state from invading and capturing the institutions of society?" Or this: "How can we stop the politicizing of social institutions by the state?" Hayek had no philosophical answer, and neither did Kirk.
 F.A. Hayek: Obamacare's Defender || GaryNorth

Priceless Author Asks Why People Aren't Signing Up for Medicaid

John Goodman on the disconnect in the health care reform discussion:
Consider this:

· About one in every four individuals who are eligible for Medicaid in this country has not bothered to enroll.
· About one in five employees who are offered employer-provided health insurance turns it down; among workers under 30 years of age, the refusal rate is almost one in three.

Think about that for a moment.

Millions of people are turning down (Medicaid) health insurance, even though it’s free! Millions of others are turning down their employers’ offers. Since employees pay about 27% of the cost of their health insurance, on the average, millions of workers are passing up the opportunity to buy health insurance for 27 cents on the dollar.

You almost never read statistics like these in the mainstream media. Why? Because they completely undermine health policy orthodoxy: the belief that health insurance (even Medicaid) is economically very valuable, that it improves health and saves lives, and that the main reason why people don’t have it is that they can’t afford it.

Welcome to the huge disconnect in health reform.
Why The White House is Panicking About Obamacare || Forbes

WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...