Friday, August 18, 2017

The Daily Signal: Far-Left ‘Antifa’ Agitators on the Rise in the Age of Trump

 I found this interesting article by Ken McIntyre and Kevin Mooney on The Daily Signal regarding antifa that seemed particularly relevant in light of our current discussions on this blog.  It definitely lends credence to the "many sides" comment of President Trump.  Enjoy.

When self-described anti-fascists showed up in force Saturday to oppose a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, some of them turned violent, according to media reports and eyewitness accounts.
President Donald Trump did not specify radicals who operate under the banner of Antifa, an abbreviation for anti-fascist or anti-fascist action, when he said Tuesday that “both sides” bore responsibility for the violence and bloodshed that left three dead and dozens injured.
It is hard to know at this juncture how many of the hundreds of counterprotesters considered themselves affiliated with Antifa. Nor is it clear how many of them were among those who squared off against the white supremacists marching in downtown Charlottesville, trading punches and blows, some with lengths of wood.
The full facts await the findings of a Justice Department investigation of the Charlottesville violence announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Antifa is a coalition of hyperviolent activists who are far-left anarchists or communists,” said Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the Washington-based Capital Research Center. “They could be considered domestic terrorists. They are not legitimate actors in the democratic process.”

Read more here. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The 3-Step Argument the Left Makes to Justify Violence Against Conservative Speakers

I ran across this article today which further clarifies a point I have been making for awhile now.  Let me state at the outset that most folks on the Left are good and decent folks and do not support nor advocate these type of tactics; however, there is a significant and growing number of other folks on the Left that think the ends justifies the means.  These are the folks that we should all unite against together to publicly denounce and marginalize them, just as we should do for the KKK, Neo-Nazi's and other hate groups from the Right.

We, as Americans, enjoy the constitutionally-enshrined right to free speech, even when that speech is deemed offensive by others.  Indeed, non-offensive speech with which everyone agreed would not ever need to be protected by a constitutional amendment.  That is not to say that we should accept or not challenge repugnant free speech.  We absolutely should and indeed have a moral duty to do so. That said, when we have become so tender as to not even want to hear opposing view points, are we not thereby weakening ourselves and our own convictions?


The 3-Step Argument the Left Makes to Justify Violence Against Conservative Speakers

By Ben Shapiro

Free speech is under assault because of a three-step argument made by the advocates and justifiers of violence.
The first step is they say that the validity or invalidity of an argument can be judged solely by the ethnic, sexual, racial, or cultural identity of the person making the argument.
The second step is that they claim those who say otherwise are engaging in what they call “verbal violence,” and the final step is they conclude that physical violence is sometimes justified in order to stop such verbal violence.
So let’s examine each of these three steps in turn. First, the philosophy of intersectionality. This philosophy now dominates college campuses as well as a large segment, unfortunately, of today’s Democratic Party and suggests that straight, white Americans are inherently the beneficiaries of white privilege and therefore cannot speak on certain policies, since they have not experienced what it’s like to be black or Hispanic or gay or transgender or a woman.
This philosophy ranks the value of a view, not based on the logic or merit of the view, but on the level of victimization in American society experienced by the person espousing the view. Therefore, if you’re an LGBT black woman, your view of American society is automatically more valuable than that of a straight, white male.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Fascist Roots of the American Left

By Dinesh D'Souza

In 1925 the Jewish philosopher Theodor Lessing spoke out against the repressive political climate of Weimar Germany.

Although Lessing’s explicit target was the cravenness of the Weimar regime of Paul von Hindenburg, his real target was the emerging power of Nazism, and he blamed the government for yielding to it.

The Nazis recognized immediately the threat posed by Lessing. Adolf Hitler youth at Lessing’s University of Hanover formed a “committee against Lessing.” They encouraged students to boycott his lectures.

Nazi youth then showed up and disrupted Lessing’s classes. Lessing was forced to give up his academic chair the following year.

In his account of what happened, Lessing later wrote that he could do nothing to prevent being “shouted down, threatened and denigrated” by student activists.

He was helpless, he said, “against the murderous bellowing of youngsters who accept no individual responsibilities but pose as spokesman for a group or an impersonal ideal, always talking in the royal ‘we’ while hurling personal insults … and claiming that everything is happening in the name of what’s true, good and beautiful.”

This was fascism, German style, in the 1920s.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Drinking Beer and Tax Reform

President Trump and congress have stated that one of the next major issues on their agenda, which they will begin working on in 2017, will be tax reform. 

Now I don't necessarily believe they will be any more successful with this exceptionally difficult endeavor than they were with repealing and replacing Obamacare.  After all, the GOP senators had already voted to repeal the inaccurately named Affordable Care Act multiple times when it didn't matter and had no chance of actually being repealed when President Obama was in office.  Of course they refused to cast that same vote when President Trump would have signed the bill.  Why would we believe that these integrity-challenged charlatans would be willing to expend political capital to fix our broken tax code next?

Regardless, we can hope that these cowardly and incompetent people that populate our House of Representatives and Senate might overachieve just once in their careers and actually be able to enact meaningful tax reform.

Of course any tax reform that doesn't raise taxes on the "evil rich" will immediately be vehemently decried by some of our fellow Americans as being grossly unfair and exploitive of the poorest amongst us.  It is nonsense, as the poor do not pay federal income taxes currently and surely won't in the future, but mark my words that the cacophony of demonization will happen as surely as President Trump will continue his incessant "tweeting". 

With all of this being said, a friend of mine recently forwarded this simplified explanation of how our progressive tax system functions, and the likely results of that reform being excoriated by the ignorant and ideologically partisan pundits and politicians when and if actual tax reform does come to fruition.  Enjoy!

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.  If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
 So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.
“Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20".  Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected.  They would still drink for free.  But what about the other six men?
How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?  They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.  But if they subtracted that from every body's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink their beer.
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.
So the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (29% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (17% saving).
Each of the six was better off than before and the first four continued to drink for free.
But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving," declared the sixth man.  He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man.  "I only saved a dollar too.  It's unfair that he received ten times more benefit than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man.  "Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2?  The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him.  But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important…they didn't have enough money among all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists, politicians, and pundits is how our tax system works.  The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction.  Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

U.S. History Quiz

This history quiz link was forwarded to me by a person who thought that this was rather difficult and a good indicator of one's knowledge of U.S. history.  The test contains 102 questions and was rather rudimentary, in my opinion.  There was only one question that I had to take an educated guess on.  A vast majority of these questions should be, and indeed used to be, common knowledge for anyone that had successfully passed 8th grade U.S. history class.  One wonders if that is even objectively taught any more today.  Indeed, even this test had some editorializing towards a PC - progressive bias with a few of the questions.  Anyway, see how well you can do on this basic U.S. history knowledge quiz.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Matt Walsh: Stop pretending you’re killing Charlie Gard ‘for his own benefit,’ you monsters

I have been monitoring the ghoulishly "enlightened humanitarians" over in the United Kingdom and their "benevolent" reaction towards Charlie Gard and his parents.  It is vile, disgusting, and flat out evil what these folks are insisting must happen with regards to Charlie by effectively sentencing him to death.  Perhaps Charlie will likely die regardless, but doesn't his parents have a right to try to provide all possible care for him, and failing that don't they have the right to at least bring him home to die with them?

Once again, Matt Walsh does a brilliant job in capturing my thoughts perfectly on poor Charlie and his tormented parents at the hands of the socialized health care system in Great Britain.  It is the inevitable outcome that always occurs when the state is granted the power of life and death over its citizens without there being any recourse for them.  We are no longer merely slouching towards Gomorrah in our Western civilized nations.  We have evidently already arrived there in England.

"The parents of Charlie Gard are back in court this week, continuing the struggle to free their baby from captivity and bring him to the U.S. for treatment.

As you hopefully are aware by now, Connie Yates and Chris Gard have been fighting with courts and hospitals in the U.K. for the right to seek medical care for their sick baby. So far, European death panels have determined that Charlie must die, because, in their estimation, his life is no longer worth living. His parents are not allowed to bring him elsewhere for treatment, nor are they even permitted to bring their child home to die in their arms. He is being held as a condemned prisoner in a state funded hospital, with his mother and father permitted only visiting hours to come and weep over the child they are not allowed to save.

But Connie and Chris have been granted one last chance in court to prove the validity of the treatment they hope to obtain for Charlie in the United States. Any sane and decent person would say that it doesn’t matter if some judge or some collection of doctors in London think the treatment will be ineffective. It’s the only chance Charlie has, and his parents have the right to give it a shot. But it doesn’t work that way because the laws in Europe are neither sane nor decent. Charlie had the misfortune of being born into a system of socialized medicine, where government officials get to decide who is worth saving and who must die on the altar of resource efficiency."
Continue reading the rest of this excellently stated essay here. 

UPDATE: Connie Yates and Chris Gard had a court hearing yesterday to see if the judge would allow them to have their baby treated in the United States or other countries that have offered help.  They ended up storming out of the court because of the judge.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thomas More, The Rise of State Supremacy and Modern Day Persecution of Faith

For the first millennia and a half after Christ first walked the earth, to be Christian was to be Catholic. There were no other “interpretations” of Christianity.  Then in 1517, a rather obscure Catholic monk and scholar by the name of Martin Luther penned his grievances in the form of “95 Theses” that decried much of what he correctly saw as corruption within the Catholic Church. He was not correct however, according to Orthodox Catholic belief, in his new interpretation on sola fide (salvation by faith alone) and sola scriptura (Biblical scripture as the only authority for Christians).  But that is a topic for another time.

That said, the horse was out of the barn, and the genesis of the Protestant Reformation was at hand.  No longer was the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, considered to be the first among equal brother bishops when it came to Christian authority for many Christians following this schism.

A little over a decade later in 1529, King Henry VIII of England appointed Thomas More, a deeply religious Catholic lawyer and scholar as his Lord Chancellor for the kingdom.  At that time England had not yet fallen to the Protestant schism and was still united with Rome in its Catholicity.  Then King Henry VIII desired an annulment from his wife Catherine in order that he could marry Anne Boleyn.  He drafted a letter requesting the Pope’s permission to obtain the annulment and requested that his good and faithful chancellor, Thomas More, endorse his request.  More, due to the dictates of his Catholic faith, respectfully refused.

Henry was enraged and over the next couple of years he isolated More in ever greater measure as he purged many of the clergy who supported the Pope that had refused to grant him his annulment.  It was becoming obvious to Thomas More that King Henry VIII was breaking away from the church in Rome.  This was something that Thomas More could not abide and thus he offered his resignation to the king in 1532.  King Henry accepted the resignation but was deeply vexed by what he considered to be More’s failing loyalty towards him.

By 1533, King Henry VIII had already declared himself to be the head of the Church as well as the State so that he no longer fell under Rome’s Christian authority thereby allowing him to establish the Church of England which subsequently allowed him to marry Anne Boleyn.  Thomas More, still a loyal English subject, refused to attend the wedding or coronation of Queen Anne but sent a letter of congratulations instead.  King Henry was highly insulted by this perceived slight from his friend.

King Henry, on April 13, 1534, ordered Thomas More to take an oath in which he acknowledged the legitimacies of Anne's position as queen, of Henry's self-granted annulment from Catherine, and the superior position of the King as head of the church. While acknowledging Anne as queen, More refused to acknowledge Henry as head of the church, or his annulment from Catherine.  The king was furious and had More arrested, tried, and imprisoned in the Tower of London accordingly.

Exactly 482 years ago today on July 6th, 1535, Thomas More was executed for his "conspiracies against the king" accordingly.

Five hundred years later, we now have closer to 30,000 different Christian denominations, all proclaiming their own authority for their beliefs and wildly varying interpretations of Christ’s message for all of us.  Sadly, as the world has become ever-increasingly coarse, crass, and not coincidentally more secular, the more orthodox Christian faiths are becoming ever more under attack from society and the state.

There are signs of this rising secularism and attack on sincere religious belief everywhere.  Indeed, a little over two weeks ago Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven,
“suggested that all Church of Sweden priests be compelled to perform gay marriages, despite the Lutheran church’s position that clergy members should have the right to refuse… The prime minister indicated in an interview with a church magazine that if a priest cannot bless a gay marriage, they should consider another vocation. 
‘We Social Democrats are working to ensure all priests will consecrate everyone, including same-sex couples,’ Lofven told Kyrkans Tidning magazine.
‘I see parallels to the midwife who refuses to perform abortions. If you work as a midwife you must be able to perform abortions, otherwise you have to do something else… It is the same for priests,’ he said…
In the interview, Lofven, who is not religious, defended the perceived political incursion into the practice of religion, saying ‘the church must stand up for human equality.’"
This seems to be the trend in which our modern enlightened society is inexorably heading.  Indeed, our neighbors to the north in Canada have passed “hate speech” laws that are chilling for Orthodox Christians to say anything negative about the sin of homosexual acts, even from the pulpit.

The government of Wales has proposed registration and inspection of religious schools and churches to evaluate if they are complying with “fundamental values”—an option Welsh evangelicals call highly intrusive and “an unwarranted incursion into private religion and family life.”

In America, bakers, photographers, and other business owners with deeply held religious beliefs have been excoriated in the press, secular society, and even the courts for their refusal to bend to secular law in its requirements to provide goods or services for same sex couples when celebrating what they deem as a religious rite of marriage.

Even former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently questioned Russ Vought, the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, in antagonistic fashion because of Vought's Christian beliefs, specifically in the form that those that do not accept Christ as their Lord and savior are condemned by God.  It is a belief that is common amongst all three of the orthodox Abrahamic faiths that refusing acceptance of their core beliefs invites possible damnation.

Now never mind the minor detail that the United States Constitution itself states that there is to be NO religious test administered for those seeking public office, the fact remains that we, as Americans, should be free to exercise our religious faith and answer to our own consciences in line with our first amendment, and more importantly, God-given rights.

When the state, president, or king would usurp those rights of conscience given to us by God, are we not obligated to follow our faith in God over that of the laws constructed by man?

Sanders wrote in his defense of his statements against Mr. Vought:
“In a democratic society, founded on the principle of religious freedom, we can all disagree over issues, but racism and bigotry—condemning an entire group of people because of their faith—cannot be part of any public policy.”
Senator Sanders fails to understand that even people of deeply held religious convictions, (and sometimes especially those very people) absolutely can and do work with and befriend others of differing or no beliefs on a daily basis.  Senator Sanders, by his pronouncement would basically preclude any Christian, Muslim, or Jew from holding office by his own secular PC standard.  Only the secular world and man’s law should hold sway over our governance in Sanders' world, it would seem.

Saint Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers, politicians, civil servants, and religious freedom, refused to compromise his own beliefs five hundred years ago in order to accommodate the powers of the secular world as commanded by King Henry VIII.  He refused to surrender his faith and his integrity even for the crown and at the pain of the forfeiture of his own life.  He understood the supremacy of God’s law foremost.  More saw it as scripture teaches, 

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” ~ Mark 8:36

If only our modern day public servants and leaders were to exercise such integrity and follow the enormously brave example of conscience demonstrated by St. Thomas More.