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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

First-Amendment

Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

It’s fairly easy for Americans, living as we do under the Constitution, to take our freedoms guaranteed under that document for granted. This is certainly the case for me, at any rate.

The whole matter of the importance of the Constitution in securing our liberties was brought to mind just in the past few days with the release of an email cache related to French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.

What drew my attention to the release was not so much the question whether the emails were authentic or not, although that’s an important question, or the similarity of the release to what occurred during the US presidential election last year, but the way the French government dealt with the release: It ordered the news media not to report on the content.

According to the Independent,

France’s electoral commission has ordered media not to publish contents of Emmanuel Macron’s leaked campaign emails to avoid influencing the election.

I warned news outlets in France that journalists could face criminal charges for publishing or republishing the material, under laws that came into effect at midnight forbidding any commentary liable to affect the presidential race.

As lawless as things have gotten in the US, at least there’s still enough respect for free speech that there are no laws prohibiting political campaigning up to election day.

The idea that the federal government would have the right to criminally charge a reporter for commenting on publically available information just wouldn’t cut it in America, at least for the moment.

Mind you, there are plenty of American elitist types, both within and without formal governmental structures, who would like to see that happen. But at least for the moment, they constrained from enforcing their will.

That American deep state, master of the universe types hate free speech can been seen from some of the reporting on the Macron emails.

For example, CNBC carried a story by Reuters with the headline “US far-right activists, Wikileaks and bots help amplify Macron leaks: Researchers.”

The article goes on the darkly warn about, you guessed it, Russian involvement in hacking the emails and the responsibility of “far-right” journalists for spreading the news.

Is Freedom of the Press Biblical?

The short and sweet answer is, yes, by all means. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, is certainly a Christian concept.

The press is free to publish. Likewise, the people are free to judge their words.

We can see this principle at work in the way church services were handled. Paul gave directions to the Corinthians to allow two or three prophets to speak, leaving it to the congregation to judge what they said.

The prophets were free to speak, but the people reserved the right to evaluate what they said.

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cinco de mayo battle of puebla

The Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862.

Welcome one and all to this year’s TWIR Edition Cinco de Mayo! For those of you not down with the whole Cinco de Mayo thing, it’s a Mexican holiday celebrating the Mexican army’s 1862 beat down of the French at the battle of Puebla.

While reading through the Wikipedia entry on the Cinco de Mayo, I found this interesting little bit,

Cinco de Mayo has its roots in the French occupation of Mexico, which took place in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 and the 1858-61 Reform War. The Reform War was a civil war which pitted Liberals (who believed in separation of church and state and freedom of religion) against the Conservatives (who favored a tight bond between the Roman Catholic Church and the Mexican State).

The article doesn’t say where the liberals’ got their idea about the separation of church and state, but one would suppose that the US Constitution, ratified less than a century before, had at least some effect on their thinking.

Contrary to what the ACLU would like you to believe, the separation of church and state is a Biblical idea, one that took root in nations influenced by the Protestant Reformation. Long before Clarence Darrow showed up for the Scopes Monkey Trial, Calvinists were diligent about keeping government out of their churches and churches out of their government.

On the other hand, the Roman Church-State does not look too kindly on this idea. For Rome, church and state are one, which goes a long way to explaining the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Roman prelates would find some poor soul guilty of heresy against Holy Mother Church, say, disbelieving the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the mass, and then proceed to turn him over to the civil authorities who could carry out the “appropriate” punishment for the “crime.”

On a slightly less serious note, the Cinco de Mayo has become, in recent decades in the US, another excuse to party.

For example, when I went to the University of Cincinnati back in the day, there was this annual thing called the Cinco de Stratford. Stratford was a street near campus where a lot of the frat houses were located. And every May 5th they’d hold a big bash.

This was a long running event, until finally one year things got a bit out of hand. As I recall, the evening’s festivities turned into something of a riot, the crowning glory coming when some joker decided to set fire to a couch in the middle of the street. Neither the University fathers nor the Cincinnati cops were terribly amused. And that, as they say, was that.

But enough already about the Cinco de Mayo. Let’s look at the goings on from this past week.

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Panopticon_5.jpgEnglish philosopher Jeremy Bentham is best known today for his utilitarian ethics, in which he posited that “the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the measure of right and wrong.” This of course is far from Christian ethics which posits that the law of God is the measure of right and wrong.

Perhaps less well known is that Bentham left directions that, upon his death, his body was to be publicly dissected and his head mummified.

His requests were dutifully carried out, and the philosopher’s mummified haed actually was for many years put on public display at University College London.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, the head became the object of student pranks and was removed from public view.

The college administrators who made this decision apparently did not share Bentham’s utilitarian ethics. Had they done so, they would have been forced to leave his head on public display, subject as it was to all manner of abuse. After all, Bentham’s mummified noggin provided far more happiness to far more people when it was available to the student pranksters than it ever did after it was locked away.

But there’s another development for which Bentham is famous. Oddly enough, it’s for an idea he had for a new type of prison that he called the Panopticon.

In Bentham’s words, the Panopticon was,

A building circular… The prisoners in their cells, occupying the circumference – The officers in the centre. By blinds and other contrivances, the Inspectors concealed… from the observation of the prisoners: hence the sentiment of a sort of omnipresence – The whole circuit reviewable with little, or…without any, change of place. Once station in the inspection part affording the most perfect view of every cell.

Admittedly, Bentham’s design was rather ingenious. But the idea of an all seeing eye in a guard tower, men who had the power to obverse all while they themselves remained unobservable, that’s just a bit creepy.

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with this kind of surveillance in our everyday lives. Or do we?

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March MadnessAh, March madness, AKA man cave season. I had a boss once who always took off starting the Thursday of the first tournament game and spent his whole weekend binge watching college basketball. I’m guessing he probably wasn’t alone.

I’m not quite that hardcore, but I do love me a little college hoops too, especially when my Cincy Bearcats are playing well. Nice win tonight over K-State!

Of course, watching basketball has also manages to interfere with writing, which is why I getting a late start with this week’s TWIR, which is why this won’t get posted until Saturday. But hey, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

On a more philosophical note, it seems to me that March Madness isn’t limited to the basketball court, but can be found in any number of places having nothing at all to do with Mr. Naismith’s invention. Take for example…

Monetary Madness

There are few, if any, examples of mass derangement to rival the hoopla surrounding a meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC).

Eight times a year we’re treated to weeks of speculation about the FOMC’s upcoming decision, will they or will they not raise interest rates.

These meetings, as well as the Fed chairman’s semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before Congress, are breathlessly reported on by the mainstream media.

To give you a sense of the absurdity of the coverage, back in the day when Alan Greenspan was in charge of the Fed, there were people who believed they could tell what would be done with interest rates based upon which hand “The Maestro” used to carry his briefcase.

We were treated to another such round of absurdity this past week as Janet Yellen, high priestess of the FOMC herself, sauntered forth from the bowels of Eccles Building to announce to the world her latest oracle: The economy’s awesome and we’re hiking interest rates.

All this was reported with the utmost seriousness by the mainstream financial press who dutifully played their roll as Fed echo chamber.

All, that is, except for one.

As Zero Hedge reports, Kathleen Hays of Bloomberg TV was perplexed at just how a supposedly data dependent Fed – the Fed is always talking about how their decisions on interest rates depend on economic data – could hike interest rates at a time when hard economic data is in a downward spiral.

The Bloomberg report’s pointed questions apparently both annoyed and frightened t he high priestess who never really answered the questions put to her.

And so it goes.

An even better question then why the Fed is choosing to raise interest rates into a deteriorating economy is why the Fed should have any say in interest rates at all.

Interest rates are the price of money, and as with the price of all other goods and services, interest rates ought to be set by the free market, not the monetary politburo called the FOMC.

There is no sound Biblical, constitutional, or economic argument for central banks, central bankers, or the fixing of interest rates by them.

But while sound reason based on Scripture leads to the rejection of central banking, the Marxists love it. In fact, the establishment of a central bank was one of the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. There, Marx on Engels advocated for the, “Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

In the US, the central bank is called the Federal Reserve Bank, AKA “The Fed.”

That’s right. The button pushing boys and lever pulling girls in the Eccles building (that the Fed’s headquarters) are the dupes, slaves, and minions of one of history’s most destructive thinkers.

Actually, if you throw in the money printing madness inspired by one John Maynard Keynes, you can make that two of history’s most destructive thinkers.

Stop the monetary madness! End the Fed!

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jesuits

The seal of the Jesuit Order

The pas few years have seen the Jesuit Order on something of a roll.  With the election of Jorge Bergoglio to the Seat of Antichrist in 2013, the Jesuits at long last have one of their own in power.

But it doesn’t stop with having a Jesuit pope. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) recently celebrated the election Jesuit educated Tom Perez as the party’s new head. According to an article in the Jesuits’ own publication America Magazine, Perez “has deep Jesuit connections.” To wit:

  • Perez graduated from Jesuit Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York.
  • He met his wife Ann Marie Staudenmaier “when she was part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Buffalo in the 1980s.”
  • Her uncle is Jesuit priest, John M. Staudenmaier who works at University of Detroit Mercy, a Jesuit school.

Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, was Jesuit educated, attending Jesuit Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. Said Kaine of his high school experience,

That high school experience with the Jesuits was a key part of my transition into an adult life where instead of just accepting the answers of my parents or others, I’ve been a person who wants to go out and find the answers on my own, and the Jesuits get credit for that (America, July 22 2016).

Kaine also spent a nine month stint teaching at a Jesuit mission in Honduras.  So solicitous were the Jesuits of defending their man that one Jesuit high school in Phoenix banned an Alumnus from criticizing Kaine on the school’s Facebook page. 

So why should people care about the rise of the Jesuit order? Perhaps a few short quotes will drive home the point better than anything.

  • “My history of the Jesuits is not eloquently written, but it is supported by unquestionable authorities, [and] is very particular and very horrible. Their [the Jesuit Order’s] restoration [in 1814 by Pope Pius VII] is indeed a step toward darkness, cruelty, despotism, [and] death. …I do not like the appearance of the Jesuits. If ever there was a body of men who merited eternal damnation on earth and in hell, it is this Society of [Ignatius de] Loyola.” – John Adams, 2nd President of the United States
  • “Like you [John Adams], I disapprove of the restoration of the Jesuits, for it means a step backwards from light into darkness…” – Thomas Jefferson
  • It is my opinion that if the liberties of this country – the United States of America – are destroyed, it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies to civil and religious liberty. They have instigated most of the wars of Europe.” – Marquis de LaFayette, French statesman and general
  •  “This American Civil war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • “The Jesuits…are simply the Romish army for the earthly sovereignty of the world in the future, with the Pontiff of Rome for emperor. that’s their ideal.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • “They are, for the most part Jesuits, an ecclesiastical order, proverbial through the world for cunning, duplicity, and total want of moral principle.” – Samuel F. B. Morse, Foreign Conspiracy Against the Liberties of the United States, 60.

But lest you think I’m cherry picking quotes on the Jesuits to show them in as bad a light as possible, I freely admit that some people are quite impressed with them. Here’s a quote by a prominent gentleman who thought very highly of the Order.

“I learned above all from the Jesuits. So did Lenin, for that matter, if I remember rightly. There has been nothing more impressive in the world than the hierarchical organisation of the Catholic Church.

– Adolph Hitler, Chancellor of Germany as recorded by Hermann Rauschning in Hitler Speaks, 236.

 

pope-francis-coat-of-arms

Pope Francis’ Coat of Arms.  Note well the presence of the Jesuit seal.

But as bad as all those quotes are, trust me, there are plenty more where they came from. 

Suffice it to say that the Jesuits are no ordinary Catholics. Some have called the Jesuits the CIA of the Catholic Church. The Jesuit reputation for scheming has at times earned the order a bad reputation even within the corridors of power of the Roman Church-State. Pope Clement XIV suppressed the order in 1773, but it was brought back in 1814 by Pope Pius VII.

Such is the reputation of the Jesuits among the Romanists that the International Business Daily ran a headline at the time of the election of Pope Francis that read “Pope Francis I: First Jesuit Pope Shatters Centuries of Mistrust.”

With all this in mind, as Protestants we really need to ask ourselves, if the Romanists themselves don’t trust the Jesuits, why should we?


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rinkeby-riots

A policeman inspects a burned out vehicle following the riots in Rinkeby, Stockholm.

Some things seem to naturally go together. Peanut butter and jelly come to mind as a natural pairing. Baseball and summertime? I’m in. Even the terms “blowhard” and “politician” evoke a certain warmth of familiarity within me.

 

But riots and Sweden??!! Surely, you jest! Nevertheless, as they say, truth is stranger than fiction…

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trump_build-that-wall

President Trump sigs the executive order for the border wall, 1/25/17.

Well, one full week into the new Trump administration, and, despite all the hyperventilating from the snowflakes, it appears that the world indeed has not come to an end.  Who knew?  So what shall we say about this surprising state of affairs?  Let’s find out. 

Build That Wall

Ask any Trump supporter, or for that matter any Never-Trumper, what he thinks the candidate’s most important campaign promise was, and I suspect many, if not most, respondents would say “Build that wall!” This, of course, refers to Trump’s promise to build a roughly 1,900 mile long border wall between Mexico and the US to prevent illegal immigration across the nation’s southern border.

It’s an audacious plan. And one that has outraged the entire establishment, everyone from Pope Francis, to the progressive secular left, to the RINO Republican right, to the former president of Mexico. Some observers have tried to argue that Trump didn’t mean he intended to build a literal wall. All that was just talk, you see. It was promise to fire up the base, which would soon be dropped when the realities of governing set in.

Well, apparently Trump was entirely serious about what he said, as Wednesday “he signed executive orders instructing construction of a wall on the southwest border, a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities and directives that would make effectively every undocumented immigrant a priority for deportation,” as the Huffington Post reports.

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