Friday, December 31, 2010

The year 2010 in Review

The year 2010 is almost history.  In my time zone, there are seven more hours left until we ring in the new year.  Time seems to be flying swiftly by.  I can vividly recall when I was a teenager.  I remember the year 1984 very candidly.  It doesn't seem like it's been that long ago since 1984.  Now 26 years have passed since them.  It seems that time passes by more swiftly than ever.  James 4:14 says, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."  Time is brief.  It's here today, gone tomorrow.  I've listened to older people speak and I've heard them say repeatedly that life is brief.  It just seems like yesterday since they   graduated from high school.  That's what I hear from them all the time.  Time is a precious commodity.  I hope your new year will be full of promises and very fruitful.

There are several news stories I could cover that transpired this past year, but I'm only going to mention a few.  The biggest news on the political scene to begin with is that President Obama signed the healthcare bill in March, which Congress passed at the end of last year.  Obamacare, another name for the healthcare legislation signed into law in March, is a major piece of legislation which will fundamentally transform our country.  It will give our government control over 1/6th of the nation's economy.  Many attorney generals from several different states have sued the government over Obamacare.  This law shouldn't pass muster by the courts because it's in no way constitutional.  Whether or not the courts reject it depends on the type of judges that sit on the federal courts.  Many Republicans in Congress have been stating that they are going to repeal and replace healthcare if they regain power once again.  There's no way the Republicans can repeal and replace this bill while Barack Obama is president and the Senate is still in Democratic hands.  However, the House can defund the healthcare bill since spending bills originate in the House.  Whether or not incoming House Speaker John Boehner will stick to that pledge remains to be seen.  I wouldn't hold my breath.  We see the government on a daily basis shredding the Constitution and moving us closer towards fascism. 

On November 2nd the American people spoke and voted out large numbers of Democrats in the House of Representatives.  The Republicans gained 63 seats in the House, six seats in the Senate, and won several gubernatorial races nationwide.  Republicans won the majority of gubernatorial elections this year.  Republicans gained control of several state legislatures as well nationwide.  It will definitely change the makeup when it comes to political redistricting given this year another census was taken.  As I speak, Texas has gained six representatives in the latest census results.   House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) will be the new Speaker of the House, while outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be the House Minority Leader.  Senator Harry Reid of Nevada won a contested race with Tea Party-backed and Republican candidate Sharron Angle.  Reid will retain his position as Senator Majority Leader.  Speaking of elections, in the special election in Massachusetts to replace the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy's seat, Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley to become the first Republican to win a Senate race in Massachusetts since Edward Brooke in 1966.  That was a very surprising win.  Many have speculated Brown won that seat due to the House and Senate voting on healthcare at the end of 2009.  Another reason is the Massachusetts' state legislature, under former governor Mitt Romney passd a healthcare bill which has been costly in Massachusetts.  I guarantee you Obamacare will be costly if it isn't defunded. 

On April 20, there was a major explosion which proved to be one of the costliest concerning major oil spills. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.  It was the largest oil spill disaster ever in the history of this country, eclipsing the Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska in March 1989.  Millions of gallons of oil were spilled out into the Gulf of Mexico.  The Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the sea floor.  The oil spill continued gushing out until a cap was placed on the ruptured well on July 15.  The well was permanently killed on September 19, 2010.  As a result of this incident, the Obama administration has isued a moratorium on future oil drillings.  Since that time, gas prices have been steadily rising.  As of this week, gas prices on the national average are over $3 a gallon and are likely to continue climbing.  Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister made the prediction that gas prices could climb to $5 a gallon in 2012. 

On February 20, 2010, Glenn Beck spoke at the CPAC Convention, which stands for Conservative Political Action Committee.  He was the keynote speaker.  He was by far the best speaker of that convention. He was extolling the virtues of America and mentioned the things that made us great as a country.  His speech wasn't about Democrats vs. Republicans.  He dealt with the heart of the problem and stated he hasn't seen the Republican Party have their come-to-Jesus movement.  It didn't bode well with some Republicans such as William Bennett, for example, but that is the truth.  On another special occasion on August 28, 2010, Glenn Beck hosted the "Restoring Honor" rally.  Beck spoke along with a host of other speakers such as Sarah Palin and Alveda King, niece of the slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few.  Nobody knew the actual crowd size, but I would estimate there was over a half-a-million in attendance.  There was an alternate rally on October 2 called the One Nation rally, which was a gathering of a group of Progressives and Communists.  Speakers such as Al Sharpton and Ed Shultz spoke at that rally.  There was a large group there, but most of them came from unions and they were made to attend.  I doubt the numbers at the One Nation rally was quite as large as the Restoring Honor rally.  The national media hyped up the One Nation rally.  The atmosphere at the One Nation rally didn't equal the Restoring Honor rally.  The Restoring Honor rally was a God and Country rally.  It was very ecumenical and it had all kinds of religious leaders partcipating.  Beck referred to those religious leaders as the Black Robed Regiment.

Following the romping the Democrats received on the November 2nd elections, the lame duck session of Congress began on November 15 and ended on December 22.  You couldn't tell Congress had experienced a stinging defeat by the way the lame duck session of Congress was conducting business.  They voted on major bills that they should've allowed the next Congress deal with.  Congress voted to extend the tax cuts for two more years but they added an extension of unemployment benefits for several more months along with that benefit.  Congress thankfully didn't vote for the Dream Act, but I guarantee you they'll vote for it eventually.  Congress voted to repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" military policy which stated that military recruits couldn't specify whether they were homosexual or heterosexual nor could the military ask whether a military recruit was homosexual.  The Senate voted for the START Treaty, which is a treaty with Russia where the United States and Russia agree to reduce their nuclear arsenals.  The Senate tried to pass an omnibus spending bill, which would total $1.1 trillion dollars, but that failed.  Our elected elite loaded the bills that were passed with all kinds of pork, so they definitely had their cake and ate it too. 

There were several famous people that died this past year.  Here are the names of some of the famous people who died:  Alexander Haig-Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter- a TV personality, Robert Byrd-- longtime U.S. Senator from West Virginia, Miep Gies--Dutch secretary who defied Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family during World War II.  Ted Stevens--former U.S. Senator from Alaska, John Murtha--a gruff ex-Marine and Pennsylvania Congressman, Theodore Sorenson--speechwriter for John F. Kennedy, John Wooden--former basketball coach who coached at UCLA, George Steinbrenner--New York Yankees owner, Don Meredith--former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who played in two NFL championship games, Darryl Gates--former Los Angeles police chief, Merlin Olsen--former NFL Hall of Famer, Glenn Bell Jr--entrepreneur who founded Taco Bell, Gary Coleman--chubby-cheeked child star of TV's Different Strokes. 

These are just a few of the stories of 2010.  I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and be safe this evening! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

They Want the Issue But They Have no Intention to Solve the Problem

The day after the general election on November 2nd I was speaking to one of my friends about the results of the election.  We basically were making reference to the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky where Republican candidate Rand Paul defeated Democratic candidate Jack Conway to replace the retiring Jim Bunning.  He was not satisfied with the result of the Senate race.  He was stating the reasons why he wasn't happy that Rand Paul had won that race.  As we were talking, he mentioned to me that both he and his wife cancelled each other's vote.  She voted for Rand Paul.  They both had a very heated discussion over the reason why she voted for Paul.  The reason why she voted for Paul was because of his pro-life position.  He stated that the pro-life position is an important issue, but the problem is those politicians that campaign on the abortion issue don't have any intentions on overturning Roe vs. Wade or trying to make abortion illegal.  He made a statement that rings so true and so compelling.   It's something that I've been aware of for a long time.  Here's the statement he made: They want the issue, but they don't want to solve the problem.  He hit the nail on the head. 

One of the reasons why many Americans are so disgusted with the elected elite in Washington is for the very simple reason that both political parties (Democrats and Republicans) will campaign on certain issues but they never solve the problem.  I've noticed this from paying attention to the news to some degree since the mid-80's.  I can recall as a teenager hearing on the news how the national debt had risen to the largest level ever in the history of our country.  This was during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  The deficit had reached over $1 trillion dollars in 1985, which was unprecedented at the time.  Never had we had deficits totalling a trillion dollars from the inception of our nation's history to the mid-80's.  Many politicians on both sides of the aisle were arguing that federal spending had to be curbed and the national debt was to be reduced.  They said if we don't reduce the deficit, our nation's children and grandchildren will be paying for this debt in years to come.  As a result of the ballooning deficit, three Senators at the time by the name of Phil Gramm (R-TX), Warren Rudman (R-NH), and Ernest Hollings (D-SC) sponsored a bill entitled, "The Graham-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985."  It was to be the first binding restraint imposed on federal spending.  There were to be spending caps on the budget deficit.  Both the House and Senate passed the bill and president Ronald Reagan signed the bill on December 12, 1985.  Within the next two years there was some tweaking done on the bill before Congress enacted a re-worked version of the bill in 1987.  You would think with that bill being passed by Congress that the deficit would be reduced.  Congress ignored the law and the deficits kept growing.  Both parties made a huge deal about the dangers of the national deficit growing out of control.  But they ignored the law and kept up their spending ways.  They were just concerned about the issue.  Ever since that time with the exception of the late 1990's, the budget deficit keeps on growing.  Both former president George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama have raised the spending to unprecedented levels.  Our elected elite now operate with a yearly budget over a trillion dollars.  The national deficit is over 14 trillion dollars now and I've heard on the news it will go to 20 trillion within the next few years.   During this past election cycle, the Republicans and the newly formed Tea Party movement have been campaigning on the national debt and the size and growth of big government.  The newly emerged Tea Party formed because many Americans were growing frustrated over the fact the federal government was out of control and it was happening with both Democrats and Republicans in office.  We'll find out this next year how serious the Tea Party backed Congressmen will be. 

As I was mentioning just now the Republican Party this past year was complaining about the size and growth of government under the Obama administration.  However, many of those same Republicans who served when Bush was president didn't seem to have an issue with the federal deficit growing and the size of government growing.  Under President Bush, we added a new department called the Department of Homeland Security.  I know on the surface that sounded like the right thing to do.  However, there were laws on the books that if enforced could've prevented the 9/11 attacks.  The Department of Homeland Security is just another layer of bureaucracy which is showing its incompetence.  How am I supposed to trust these Republicans that served during the Bush administration?  If they weren't serious about reducing the size of government and reduce federal spending, how can I trust them now.  The truth is this:  They knew Obamacare, the growth in federal spending and the growth in the size of governmnent were issues that they could successfully campaign on this year.  They could smell victory in the air.  The Republicans won in the House.  If this past lame duck session is any indicator, the Republican elites will be back to business as usual wasting taxpayer dollars.  I'm fearful they'll co-opt, if they haven't already, the newly elected Republicans coming to Congress next week. 

Both parties are guilty of this.  For the last few decades, the Republicans have ran on a pro-life platform.  The platform of the Republican National Party states that they're pro-life and oppose abortion except in case of rape, incest, or the mother's life is in danger.  Overall, the Republicans and conservatives haven't done very much to turn the tide and pass laws to dramatically reduce the number of abortions being performed.  At least not on the national level.  There are states that have passed laws restricting abortion and I'm thankful for that.  On the federal level, the most that's been done concerning abortion is the Bush administration voting against partial birth abortion and Bush limiting the number of embryonic stem cells that can be used concerning research on curing diseases.  Otherwise, not much has been done.  Most of the candidates that claim they pro-life don't have any intentions of reversing many of the abortion laws in our country.

I've seem Democrats play the same game.  Only with different issues.  I can recall during the Bush administration when the United States committed troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq.  I can recall when things weren't going well in Iraq.  Many Democrats were calling for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.  I have a YouTube clip of former Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) where on November 17, 2005, he called for the removal of troops in Iraq.  He says they've done all they can do and that it was useless to keep them in Iraq.  John Murtha made himself a name when he said before the media that U.S. troops need to be pulled from Iraq and returned home.  He was a former Marine and was in Vietnam.  He was supportive at one point of the U.S. sending troops in Iraq both in 1991 and 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001.  However, he turned 180 degrees another direction and said it was time for the troops to come home.  I remember him making a passionate plea on "Meet the Press" shortly after November 17, 2005 that it's time for the troops to come home.  He said there was nothing more that could be done.  Following the Republican defeat in the midterm elections in 2006, you never heard Murtha saying much about the removal of the troops from Iraq when the Democrats regained the majority in both the House and the Senate.  Once the Democrats won control of Congress and Murtha was appointed Chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, the subject of the removal of the troops in Iraq become ancillary.  The truth was the Democrats weren't concerned about the troops in Iraq.  They knew they had an issue they could use against Bush in the mid-term elections of 2006.  That's what that was all about.  As of now, our troops are still both in Iraq and Afghanistan.  President Obama has continued the same military policies of the previous administration.  Even though combat troops are supposedly now pulled out of Iraq, we still have troops there.  President Obama and the Democrats in Congress don't seem too concerned with pulling the troops out of Afghanistan.  I know that Obama has repeatedly mentioned an artificial date of 2011, but much of that is just talk as far as I'm concerned.  Our troops will remain in the Middle East as long as the powers that be desire for them to be engaged in a police conflict in both Iraq and Afghanistan. 

With the last few months, gas prices have been steadily rising.  Within this past week where I reside, gas prices went from $2.86 a gallon overnight into $3.05 a gallon.  Do you hear the Democrats complaining about the high prices of gasoline and that the oil companies are profiting handsomely off the high prices?  Of course not.  When President Bush and the Republicans were in charge of Congress, we would hear Democrats mention repeatedly about the high price of gasoline, even when it started peeking at $2 a gallon.  They were repeatedly complaining about the high price of gasoline.  They were accusing both President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney of being too cozy with the oil companies.  When the mortgage meltdown first occurred, gasoline prices went back down to way below $2 a gallon.  When President Obama took office last year, gas prices were hovering at $1.80 per gallon. Now gasoline prices on the national average are over $3 a gallon and former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister predicted that gasoline prices could reach $5 a gallon in 2012.  Yet we don't hear no alarm from the Democrats.  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid don't appear to be alarmed about it.  They don't have to be.  They got what they wanted.  They won the majority both in the House and Senate in 2006, Democratic candidate Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, and the Democrats passed much of their socialist agenda the last two years.  They've passed Obamacare, financial regulatory reform on Wall Street, repealed don't ask, don't tell, passed the START Treaty, and the list continues.  They're not the least bit concerned with the plight of the American people.  There only concern is to gain power and push their agenda through. 

What's equally as pathetic is the Republicans are just as bad.  They're only interested in the issue.  They want the issue so they can regain control of Congress and the presidency in 2012 or possibly in 2016.  They've campaigned tirelessly on the extremism of the Obama agenda.  However, they didn't utilize certain methods in trying to thwart or slow down the passage of certain bills such as Obamacare.  One of the methods that's granted to the U.S. Senate is the filibuster.  Under the filibuster, the Senate can talk a bill to death.  Under the filibuster method, progress on a bill can either be slowed down or thwarted all together.  It's true the Republicans didn't have the votes to stop the passage of the bills, but there are other ways they could've thwarted some of these bills such as Obamacare.  They could've filibustered it.  Why didn't they?  I believe their mind was on winning the election.  They saw it as a good election issue to defeat the Democrats in 2010.  We'll find out how serious the Republicans are in thwarting the Obama agenda in this upcoming Congress. 

The problem with our elected elite is they just want the issue because they know it can be advantageous as a winning issue.  They're all about winning elections and implementing the socialist agenda in America.  But the issues that they normally campaign about, they aren't interested in solving the problem.  They just want the issue.  They have their own socialist agenda they desire to push.  That's the agenda that most Americans are opposed to.  They're out for the agenda--not the American people.

Live With the Cathedral Quartet 1979

(1)  Introduction by Rex Humbard (2) Gentle Shepherd

(3) The Prodigal Son

(4) Bridge of Forgiveness (5) Medley God is So Good; Alleluia

(6) I Don't Know About Tomorrow (7) I Stand Amazed (8) I'll Serve the Lord

(9) He Loves Me (10) Rise Again

The Cathedral Quartet consisted of George Younce, bass; Glenn Payne, Lead, George Amon Webster, Baritone; Lorne Matthews, Piano

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Former Shell CEO John Hofmeister Claims Gas Prices Will Rise to $5-a-Gallon by 2012

In this Nov. 23 photo, gas prices are displayed at a Chevron gas station in San Francisco.

(Fox News December 27, 2010) The former CEO of Shell Oil is predicting that gasoline prices will top $5.00 per-gallon by 2012 and by decade's end we will face the 1970's style energy shortages and rationing.  I recall as a young boy during the 1970's when my dad had to search around for a gas station for fuel because some gas pumps had a sign that said "out of gas".  According to John Hofmeister, we will eventually see a repeat of that at the end of this decade.  Energy analysts are tossing out a string of frightening predictions about the rising price of oil in the short term.  Crude oil has already topped $90 dollars a barrel and JP Morgan & Chase Co. predicted earlier this month that oil could top $120 a barrel by the end of 2012.  As of present, the national average price of gasoline is $3.00 per gallon. 

Former Shell executive John Hofmeister offered a more aggressive estimate stating that Americans could be paying $5 a gallon for gasoline in 2012.  Hofmeister also predicted that sometime between the years 2018 and 2020 supply and demand will become so imbalanced that gas stations in several parts of the country may begin running out of fuel.  "I think it's going to be a cumulative problem that won't happen suddenly," declared Hofmeister to Fox  Hofmeister now heads Citizens for Affordable Energy.  He predicted the problem would begin with "stockouts" at select gas stations during the summer and during bad weather and then spread.  He claimed states that are the furtherest from oil refineries would be hit the worst and than in order to maintain some consistency, local and state governments might resort to the kind of price rationing tactics that were used in the '70's.  Drivers with even-numbered license plates would purchase fuel on even days, and vice versa. 

Hofmeister, who earlier aired his concerns on Platts Energy Week, criticized the administration for cracking down on domestic oil drilling in the wake of the massive Gulf Oil Spill which began on April 20 and lasted until July.  "It is pure politics that keeps us drilling more of our own resources," he said.  He couldn't be further from the truth.  I mentioned on a post that I wrote entitled, "The Gulf Coast Oil Spill" that I believed the administration was looking for an excuse to exploit the Gulf spill crisis.  I felt the administration would use this incident as an excuse to pass the cap and trade bill in Congress or to place a moratorium on further domestic oil drilling in the United States.  As of present, the Obama administration has refused to pursue any new drilling off the East Coast and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.  The Interior Department has announced the administration wouldn't be pursuing any new drilling for at least seven years.  Planned lease sales have been pushed off until late 2011 or early 2012. 

"As a result of the Deepwater Horizon Spill we learned a number of lessons, most importantly we need to proceed with caution and focus on creating a more stringent regulatory regime," according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.  He calls the plan a new careful, responsible path.  The only problem is BP payed off the federal government from giving BP an honest, safety inspection.  The oil companies own our political elite, not vice versa.  All this talk about a stringent, regulatory regime is an excuse for the government to not allow oil companies to drill for more oil.  The Obama administration is about limiting our choices to drill for more oil to increase the oil supply.  The government wants to limit our supply of oil and as a result force the United States to send its dollars to the Middle East to purchase more oil.  The Obama administration is trying to force the United States off oil and trying to implement all this new green technology.

It's a travesty the position the elected elite has placed our country in.  Ever since the Oil Embargo of 1973, the United States should've developed energy alternatives such as nuclear power as well as increase our supply of oil reserves in this country.  The truth of the matter is our politicians have been bought off by the multinational oil companies.  The powers that be don't want America to utilize the abundant resources we have at our disposal to drill for our own oil as well as develop nuclear power plants for electricity purposes.  The ruling elite want to control the choices we have in this country when it comes to energy.  Gas prices have been rising nearly a dollar within the last couple of months and it will continue rising.  Our elected elite don't care.  It's all part of the new world agenda to collapse America's economy and reduce the United States to a Third World status. 

There's a lot of oil that can be tapped from the Bakkan formation under North and South Dakota and parts of Montana than is in all of the Middle East.  Yet our politicians refuse to allow the private sector to tap into that oil so we can wean ourselves from purchasing foreign oil as well as driving the price of oil and gasoline down.  The elected elite are trying to dictate the the cost of oil in this country.  This is inexcusable.  The elected elite are incrementally implementing a command economy in our midst where the government; not the marketplace, dictates the price of oil as well as supply and demand.  This didn't begin with the Obama administration.  Oil prices skyrocketed during the Bush administration and he didn't use antitrust laws to break up the monopoly of Big Oil.  The reason being is Big Oil donates to the political coffers of our politicians; Democrat and Republican.  These oil companies are in bed with the politicians inWashington. The oil titans are the ones dictating the energy policy in America.  Enough is enough!  We need to drill in the Bakkan formation as well as develop alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and any other energy source.  The American public doesn't favor OPEC and the Middle East controlling our nation's economic destiny.  It's time for new drilling to begin!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The FCC Votes for New Internet Regulations

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski

(The Wall Street Journal December 22, 2010)  The Federal Communications Commision last Tuesday voted 3-2 to back Chairman Julius Genachowski's plan for what is commonly known as "net neutrality," or rules prohibiting Internet providers from interfering with legal web traffic.  As a result, consumers for the first time got federally approved rules guaranteeing their right to view what they want on the internet.  This new framework could also result in tiered charges for web access and alter how companies profit from the network.  President Obama said the FCC's action will "help preserve the free and open nature of the internet."  The move was supposedly prompted by worries that large phone and cable firms were becoming too powerful as internet gatekeeprs.  As of now most consumers haven't had a problem viewing whatever they desire online.  There have been a few cases of an internet provider blocking or slowing services.

The supposed purpose of the FCC rules are designed to prevent potential future harms and they could shape how Americans access and use the internet years from now.  In the future, the internet industry will be increasingly centered around the fastest-growing categories of internet traffic--online video, gaming and mobile services, according to analysts.  Cisco Systems, Inc., the broadband network provider, has forecast those services could quadruple by 2014.  Comcast Corporation and other internet providers have experimented with ways to handle the growing problem of network congestion.  Chairman Genachowski suggested that instead of selectively slowing certain traffic to cope with congestion, providers could consider charging consumers for how much data they consume.  That would be a departure from the flat monthly fee consumers pay now for web access.  It's something providers privately say is one of the only ways to make and profit and fund network infrastructure. 

The new rules will allow phone and cable companies to sell internet companies like Inc. faster data delivery for extra money, particularly on wireless networks.  That would allow a company that offers streaming video, like Google Inc.'s YouTube, pay a wireless company like Verizon Communications Inc. a bonus for guaranteed delivery of its videos to consumers' smart phones.  But FCC officials said any such priority service must be disclosed, and they said they would likely probe and reject such efforts.  That could prompt some of the many expected legal challenges to the new rules, since it is not clear if the FCC has authority to enforce them.  Consumer groups and other organizations, including the American Library Association, oppose such high-speed toll lanes, arguing all Americans should have the same quality of internet access. 

The FCC's decision is a mixed bag for consumers.  The new rules--which haven't been released in full--say that land-line broadband providers can't block legal content from websites, or "unreasonably discriminate" against companies like Skype or Netflix that want to use broadband networks to provide video or voice services.  They also require providers to give consumers more information about their internet service, like actual download speeds or usage limits.  The rules allow some wiggle room for the industry.  Service providers will be allowed to engage in "reasonable network management" to cope with congestion on their systems.  Wireless companies are less restricted by the new rules--a supposed win for the industry because consumers are increasingly accessing the web using hand-held devices such as iPhones or Blackberries.  Chairman Genachowski said mobile carriers faced more congestion issues than other companies and need more room to manage their networks.  Wireless companies would be prohibited from blocking internet voice services but they could block access to many other applications, citing congestion issues.

I have just given you what the article from "The Wall Street Journal" and the news about new changes in internet rules.  Now I'm going to present my analysis on the issue.  First of all, the role of the FCC is to regulate radio stations.  It's to prevent radio waves from clashing with one another to prevent radio stations from crowding one another out.  The FCC is not to regulate cable television, like Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), desires.  The Courts had said that the FCC shouldn't be regulating the internet.  Consequently, the FCC decided to go ahead and vote to regulate the internet.  I know some would say that would be a great thing because of all the filth that comes through cyberspace such as pornography, etc.  However, the agenda of the FCC and the Obama administration isn't about cleaning up the internet.  The goal of  President Obama, Chairman Genachowski, Cass Sunstein, and Mary Lloyd is to regulate free speech.  I believe this move that the FCC voted on to regulate what consumers can see on the internet is a step forward to government imposing fascism in the United States. 

There have been some that had been calling for the return of the Fairness Doctrine last year such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingham, to name a few.  We may not see the Fairness Doctrine being re-imposed as the former measure, but the government will find other ways to restrict free speech.  The move by the FCC will allow the government to regulate free speech.  There are many that desire to silence the conservative voice in talk radio such as Jim Sumpter, for example, who questions President Obama's eligibility on whether or not he's a natural-born citizen of the United States.  The Left refers to those who questions Obama's eligibility as "birthers."  We live in America.  Why can't we raise those questions?  Why can't we ask questions on what really took place on 9/11?  You can call me a conspiranoid, but the freedom to question the government and hold them accountable is what free speech is all about.  Yet the Progressives are working overtime to silence free speech.

I recognize there is a lot of filth on the internet.  However, the FCC's move has nothing to do with regulating filth.  They want to silence those that oppose the politically correct views of the Left.  America is moving a step closer to becoming a Hugo Chavez type of dictatorship like they have in Venezuela.  The globalists are doing everything within their power to bring about the destruction of America and one of the important items on their agenda is to silence free speech.  They are now a step closer to doing so. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reviewing the Lame Duck Session

(USA Today) The lame duck session of Congress is finally over.  It happened with a flurry of legislation being passed by the House and Senate.  What's really amazing is the American public spoke on November 2nd and voted out a large number of Demcrats in the House.  The Democrats lost 63 seats in the House and lost six or seven in the Senate.  The Republicans gained six seats in the Senate.  The Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.  However, Congress proceeded with business as usual since the American public made their voices heard at the polls that they didn't approve of the direction Congress was taking the American public.  Our elected elite don't care.  Congress isn't beholden to the American people.  They are beholden to all sorts of interest groups who placed them in power.  That's why you see business as usual taking place.  I was listened to early radio talk show host Doug Stephan on his "Talk Radio Countdown".  He made an interesting comment and said since the American public has spoken, Congress shouldn't be holding a lame-duck session with all those that have been voted out.  He said those that lost on November 2nd should have left Washington the day after the election.  I believe he's on target.  He also stated that the president and both houses of Congress should serve one six-year term and then step down.  Term limits are definitely a must. 

Most of the legislation that was voted on during the lame duck session shouldn't have been reserved for the next session of Congress which begins in January.  The problem is Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have an agenda they're trying to push down the throats of the American people.  They don't care what the American people said at the polls.  They're going to have their cake and eat it too.

Even though Nancy Pelosi has been demoted as the Speaker of the House, don't think she's going to roll over and play dead.  She will use every tactic she can use to accomplish her agenda in the House.  She will be the House Minority Leader and I guarantee you she isn't playing dead.  She even made the statement arrogantly that the Democrats in the House didn't lose because of her.  I beg to differ.  She wasn't the only reason why the Democrats lost, but she played a major role in the House Democrats defeat in November.  Pelosi is much worse than Hillary Clinton as far as I'm concerned.  Hillary knows when to back down.  Hillary didn't have any choice when the proposed healthcare bill she tried to push through Congress went in defeat in 1994.  However, Pelosi is persistent and she'll push the Progressive agenda through regardless who wins or loses.  Nancy is from San Francisco.  She knows her seat is safe.  She could care less whether her party loses the majority.  She's all about the agenda. 

Several pieces of legislation were passed by this lame duck session of Congress such as a two year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts as well as extending unemployment benefits for thirteen months, at a cost of $858 billion.  Lawmakers began the session November 15, after the midterm elections.  I believe Republicans should've tried to hold out to make the tax cuts permanent.  This is an issue the Republican Congress needs to make a priority when the 112th Congress begins in January.  I'm afraid they won't but they should.  Americans are taxed too much already.  This class warfare game needs to be put to an end.

Some of the controversial measures that were passed by this lame duck session of Congress were the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell", and the START Treaty, which is a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.  I've already stated that the decision to reduce nuclear arms should be made between Congress and the Pentagon.  We shouldn't be make making deals with other countries when it comes to nuclear weapons.  I don't think we should advertise to the world that we're reducing the stockpiles of nuclear weapons.  It will send the message to the world that the United States is vulnerable and rogue countries will feel comfortable in launching an attack against the United States.  Military issues should be between Congress and the Pentagon.  How can we trust that Russia's going to keep their end of the bargain?  We can't.  They aren't trustworthy. 

Some of the other legislation that Congress successfully passed was a $4.2 billion measure that's supposed to benefit rescue workers who toiled at the World Trade Center in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks.  It offers health assistance for those sickened by dust and debris.  Congress passed the bill Wednesday after trimming its cost from $6.2 billion.  There was also a sweeping rewrite of the nation's food-safety laws that will give the Food and Drug Administration more power to inspect food production facilities and issue mandatory recalls of tainted products.  After a phase-in period, high risk food facilities will be inspected every three years.  Finally, a $4.5 billion child nutrition plan that will expand the school lunch program and allow the government to set new standards for school meals, including in vending machines.  The measure, which is championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, would increase by 115,000 the number of low-income students who qualify for free or discounted meals.

One of the bills that went to defeat was the Dream Act, which would give legal status to some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents.  I do believe the 112th Congress will take up this bill and I believe we'll see which Republicans are real and which ones are phony.  I believe you'll find several Republicans joining in the bandwagon in passing this bill next year.  Senator John McCain will be back to his liberal ways.  He had to play "conservative" this year due to the fact he was facing re-election.  Now he'll be back to his old tricks once again.  It's amazing how the RINO's went along with the Democrats in passing the START Treaty.  Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) claimed the Start Treaty wouldn't pass.  However, he didn't do anything to help prevent the START Treaty from passing in the Senate.  It was absolutely pathetic how the Republicans were in lockstep with the Democrats on many of the issues.  You can thank the RINO's for the legislative accomplishments of this lame duck session.  Many of the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stocked the spending bills with all kinds of pork.  Thankfully, they weren't able to pass the omnibus spending bill.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated he had to pull the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill from consideration because he didn't have the votes.  Instead, they opted for a stopgap measure to keep the government running through March 4. 

I recall how the Republicans were campaigning on how Congress must severely cut the budget or this nation's headed for some major financial trouble.  However, they were up to business as usual in this lame duck session.  They were taking advantage of all the pork they could take advantage of.  Dr. Charles Krauthammer, one of the Fox News contributors, referred to President Obama as the comeback kid because of some of the legislative accomplishments the lame duck session made.  That's because the Republicans in Congress are worthless.  I wouldn't hold my breath and expect things to change for the better when the new Republican freshmen come to Congress in January.  The Republicans and Democrats are just alike.  All they desire is the issue.  They don't want to solve problems.  Both parties are about winning the election and gaining control of Congress--nothing else.  That's why the Democrats supported the tax cut extension for two years.  They believe they can benefit from it during the 2012 elections.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Where are You Searching for Jesus?

This is the last Christmas post of the year.  I hope you enjoyed many of Christmas posts this year.  Stay tuned to next November where once again we'll be churning out more Christmas posts following Thanksgiving in 2011.  Yesterday I posted some YouTube videos of the Christmas Sweater, which was produced by Glenn Beck in 2008.  I posted the first four video clips yesterday.  Following the conclusion of the thought I have for this post, I will post the remaining of the YouTube clips of the Christmas Sweater in its entirety.  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from December 26 until New Year's Day. 

(Matthew 2:1-11) "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?  for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.  Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.  And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.  When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

The book of Matthew mentions about the wise men coming from the East to Jerusalem looking for the Christ child that was born.  They were inquiring where the Christ child was located.  They had seen his star in the East and they had come to worship Him.  It is speculated that these wise men were learned men.  Later Christian writings have identified these wise men as kings, which is linked to Old Testament prophecies such as Isaiah 60:3 which describe the Messiah being worshipped by kings.  The Gospel of Matthew is the only Gospel which covers the wise men in the Bible.  The wise men are also referred to as Magi, which is a Greek term meaning "a priest of Zoroaster."   Magi refers to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism.  As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars and they gained an international reputation for astrology, which was a highly regarded science at the time. 

According to the narrative in Matthew, the wise men found Jesus by following his star, which became known as the Star of Bethlehem.  When they found Christ, they fell down and worshipped him.  They also presented him with three gifts which were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Last year's Christmas post discussed the nature of the three gifts that the wise men presented to Jesus on their journey to Jerusalem.  Matthew 2:12 mentions that they were warned of God in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod because Herod was seeking to kill the Christ child.  So they departed into their own country another way.  In verse 3 we read where King Herod heard about the wise men searching for Jesus.  Herod had called the wise men and enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.  He instructed them to go and search for the young child and when they found him, Herod said to bring him word that he supposedly may worship the Christ child.  However, Herod had intended to kill the Christ child.  An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told Joseph to flee Egypt.  Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod.  Then in Matthew 2:16 we read that Herod was wroth because he was mocked of the wise men.  Herod ordered for all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts thereof to be slain.  They were to be slain two years and younger.  When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and told him to take the young child and Mary to the land of Israel becuase Herod was dead.  (Matthew 2:19-21). 

I praise God we serve a risen Savior.  I like reading about the birth of Christ during the Christmas season.  Luke 2:7 states that Mary brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him with swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for him in the inn.  Jesus was born in very humble surroundings.  Just take a moment to consider the fact Jesus paid a huge price to come down to this earth to reside among lowly men.  Jesus was part of the Godhead.  He enjoyed fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He lived in the portals of glory.  Why would he desire to come to this sinful old world to become man and dwell in a mortal body to experience the temptations of mankind so he could one day die on a rugged cross to redeem mankind?  It's a mystery.  Yet Jesus was chosen before the foundation of the world was laid to be the lamb slain for the sins of mankind (Ephesians 1:4).  Jesus humbled himself and became God in flesh.  He was born in a manger or a barn stable because there was no room for him in the inn.  He was born in a place we wouldn't consider desirable for the birth of our own children.  Yet he was willing to come to this world so he could die for the sins of mankind. 

Where is Christ today?  As much I enjoy reading about Christ's birth, Christ is no longer in the manger.  The question I have to ask is where are you searching for Christ?  Many people are searching for God in all sorts of places.  Places where God's not found.  I enjoy the Nativity scene that's displayed every Christmas out in public.  However, Christ no longer is lying in a manger.  I'll go a step further.  I'm thankful for the price Jesus paid for mankind's sins on Calvary.   But we don't serve a Christ that's still hanging on a cross.  If you were to go inside a Catholic church, you'll see a cross where Christ is hanging and bleeding for the sins of mankind.  I have one word to say:  Christ's no longer on that cross.  He was taken down from the cross and was wrapped in linen and laid in the tomb.   Thankfully, the story doesn't end there.  If it did, we wouldn't possess the hope that's within us right now.  For you see, Christ's death on the cross alone wasn't sufficient.  What do I mean?  As important as his death was on the cross, mankind could never be saved if he was still lying in the tomb.  All of the major religious figures we read about throughout history such as Buddha, Mohammad, and Confucious are all still in the grave.  The Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 15:14 states that if Christ be not risen, then their preaching is in vain, and their faith is in vain.  Verse 17 says, "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins."  Without the resurrection, mankind could never know Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.  It was the through the resurrection that death, hell, and the grave were defeated.  Christ's corpse no longer lies in the tomb.  He's risen from on high.  As the old song goes, "The tomb is empty now".  Praise the Lord.  We serve a risen savior that's seated on the right hand of the Father.  (Ephesians 1:20)  Jesus is the only person throughout human history that's ever died and risen from the grave.  No human being has ever risen from the grave once their corpse is laid six feet under.  Jesus did something no man could ever do humanly speaking.  One of these days the last enemy that will be destroyed is death (I Corinthians 15:26).  There shall be death no more when Jesus comes back to this world. 

We live in a world where many people are searching for Christ.  As mentioned earlier, you'll not find Christ in a stable, a manger, a cross, or a tomb.  They're all empty.  There are many places that people search for Christ but he's not there.  Some look for him at an organization such as the Lion's Club or the Freemasonry.  You won't find Christ there.  You also won't find Christ in major television ministries such as the 700 Club, the PTL Club, Benny Hinn, Jimmy Swaggart, Billy Graham and the list continues.  Jesus resides at the local church.  Jesus is at the head of the church. (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23)   Ephesians 5:25-27 mentions that Christ is the head of the church and that he loves the church and has given himself for it.  If you want to find Jesus, you'll find him at a Spirit-filled, King James Bible preaching church that's serving the Lord.  You'll find Him at a church where the presence of God is real.  There are numerous religious institutions and cathedrals that label themselves as a "church" but aren't a true church.  Any church that doesn't preach God's word and doesn't possess the Holy Spirit isn't a church.  You won't find God in such religious institutions as the Catholic Church, the Mormon church, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the list continues.  Any church that doesn't possess a copy of God's word isn't a church.  Any church that deviates from the Biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith isn't a church. 

One other place where you'll find Christ is in a believer.  Those that have been saved by God's grace has the Holy Spirit living inside of them.  There's no Christian that doesn't possess the Spirit of God.  If you don't possess the Spirit of God within you, you're not saved.  The Spirit of God dwells in a believer.  He takes His abode within our hearts.  When the Spirit abides within us, he'll perform a work in our hearts and lives.  He'll give us a desire for spiritual things.  A saved person will hate sin and the evil things of this world.  We'll desire to be holy like Jesus is.  We'll have a desire to serve Jesus if the Spirit indwells within us.

I thank God that Christ can be found.  However, you won't find him in the places most people look for him.  He no longer is lying in a manger, hanging on a cross, or lying in the grave.  He has risen and is sitting at the right hand of the Father.  You won't find him in a religious organization such as the 700 Club or anything short of the local church.  I'm not insinuating that ministries of the church are unscriptural.  However, a scriptural ministry will be backed by the local church.  If any ministry, regardless whether it's a radio ministry, Christian school, Bible college, or a printing ministry isn't supported by the local church, it's not scriptural.  God places much, much emphasis upon the local church.  God doesn't bypass the local church.  For you see Christ gave himself for the local church; not the PTL Club.  You will find Jesus in a true Spirit-filled, sin hating, King James Bible believing, local church that loves God.  And finally, you'll find Jesus that's residing in the heart of the believer.  I'm thankful that Jesus is real and His presence can be manifested.  I'm thankful that the sinner can find Jesus if the Holy Spirit deals with their heart.  Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays this coming week.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Handel's Messiah (Part 1)

Handel's Messiah (Part 2)

Handel's Messiah (Part 3)

Handel's Messiah (Part 4)

Handel's Messiah (Part 5)

Handel's Messiah (Part 6)

A Sneak Peak of the Christmas Sweater--Glenn Beck

I want to take this time to wish all the blog readers and all Americans a very Merry Christmas.  This is the day in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  This is the only day out of the entire year that all retail stores, restaurants, and other places of business are closed to celebrate the holiday.   I'm thankful that places of business still close to celebrate the Christmas holiday so families can spend Christmas together.  How long that will continue is a mystery.  But I'm thankful in the midst of a perverse and ungodly generation our country has enough sense to close places of business to celebrate Christmas.  There are some places that must remain open such as hospitals, nursing homes, and some gasoline stations.  That's understandable.  I'm thankful that all the non-essential businesses are shut down for the holiday.

In Mark 12:28-31, you have one of the scribes asking Jesus which is the first commandment of all.  Here's how the exchange went.  "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as theyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these."  I was at the Christmas cantata at church the other evening and there was a young girl singing with the children's choir singing about what kind of present she could present to baby Jesus.  She said the greatest gift one could give Jesus was our hearts.

Of all things we could give Jesus on this Christmas day, there isn't a greater gift to give to Jesus than our hearts.  We can give him our houses, land, possessions, etc. but if we don't give him our heart, what matters if we give him our things.  God doesn't want our possessions--He wants us.  He wants us to love him with all our heart.  If we love him with all our heart, mind, and soul, He has us.  God wants us to sell out to him.  The only way to do that is to give him our heart. 

The greatest gift that a sinner could give Jesus this Christmas is their heart.  If a sinner will bow before the Lord and repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Lord will save him/her.  I will say that if you give God your heart when you repent of your sins, God will change you.  God doesn't want your heart to remain the same following salvation.  God will perform spiritual heart surgery on you, wash you and make you a new creature.  II Corinthians 5:17 says that if any person be in Christ, they will be a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things become new.  God the Father wants to conform you to the image of Christ.  That's the purpose of giving Jesus your heart.  God wants to make you like Jesus.  There's nothing greater than life than to serve Jesus. 

There are some people who are saved and have repented of their sins but they've allowed themselves to drift away from God.  You read in Revelation in the letter to the seven churches where Jesus told the church at Ephesus they had left their first love.  We need to go back to our first love.  We need to recommit ourselves to him and allow God to rekindle the fire down in our hearts once more.  We couldn't begin to repay the debt that Jesus paid at Calvary.  However, we can give him our heart.  We can allow the Lord to use us for His honor and glory.  God loves us and he wants to commune with His children.  If you haven't given your heart to God today would be the greatest day to give your heart and life to Jesus.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The History of Christmas

Christmas on the Net - The History of Christmas

Glenn Beck Visits Wilmington, Ohio

America's First Christmas (Part 1)

America's First Christmas (Part 2)

America's First Christmas (Part 3)

Glenn Beck--The Meaning of Christmas (Part 1)

Glenn Beck--The Meaning of Christmas (Part 2)

Glenn Beck--The Meaning of Christmas (Part 3)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Comes to an End

(USA Today) On Wednesday, President Obama signed legislation which repealed the military policy banning homosexuals from openly displaying their sexuality in the military.  Describing it as "a moment more than two centuries in the making," President Obama signed into law a repeal of the 17-year old "Don't ask, don't tell" policy which forbids homosexuals from saying they are homosexual.  Under this policy, the military wasn't allowed to ask if a recruit was homosexual nor was the recruit to reveal his/her "sexuality or sexual orientation".  President Obama said when this new legislation is fully implemented in a matter of months, the action will make the nation's armed forces stronger.  Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) an openly homosexual congressman, said it's the biggest piece of civil rights legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  How appalling!  To equate race with a lifestyle that the Bible says is an abomination is ludicrous.  Frank stated that this legislation marked only a step forward toward full equality that one day should include the right to marry."  He said we're at the halfway point.

President Obama made the claim that he struggles with his views on gay marriage which he claims he's been opposed to in the past.  Obama stated he supports favoring civil unions for homosexual couples which would grant them legal rights as heterosexuals.  The boisterous crowd that heralded the bill signing cheered as a history they helped to create.  They savored the moment with standing ovation and cheers of "Yes We Can" and "U-S-A." 

President Clinton agreed to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1993 as a compromise to replace a Pentagon policy that homosexuality was incompatible with military service.  More than 17,000 homosexuals and lesbians were discharged under the initial policy, as well as 14,000 more since 1993.  The fight to repeal the law was an uphill battle even after President Obama won the White House in 2008.  It took until last weekend for the Senate, in a "lame duck" session, to vote 65-31 for repeal; opponents such as Senator John McCain argued that it could weaken military readiness.  McCain is right on what he said, but he straddles the fence quite often you can't rely on McCain to stand for conservative, Judeo-Christian principles.  "It's a great day in America," said Darrel Choat, a Marine Corps major who attended the bill-signing ceremony."  "It would have been way worse for the next couple of years." 

The loudest ovation of the day was reserved for Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Obama quoted Mullen as having said, "Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives.  None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well."  Speaking directly to gays and lesbians at the end of his remarks, Obama urged them to serve with honor, and he welcomed new recruits: "I say to all Americans, gay or straight, who want nothing more than to defend this country in uniform: Your country needs you, your country wants you, and we will be honored to welcome you into the ranks of the finest military the world has ever known."

I can remember when then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton campaigned on lifting the ban on homosexuals serving in the military in the 1992 presidential race.  I made the statement this was just the tip of the iceberg.  The homosexuals have come out of the closet since Bill Clinton accepted a compromise with the military and appointed homosexuals to certain positions of power within the government.  Everytime you listen to the news you're always hearing something about gay rights.  Until the homosexual rights movement first began in 1969, the term "gay" meant happy.  It had nothing to do with a perverted lifestyle.  It's pathetic we have a government that's in lockstep with one another in trying to push this lifestyle upon the American public.  Our elected elite is trying to make the homosexual lifestyle the mainstream in America.  Just the other day former president Jimmy Carter made the statement that someday a homosexual will probably be elected to the White House. 

Instead of the military brass trying to win both the wars in the Middle East, they're more concerned about weakening our military and forcing the armed forces to accept the homosexual lifestyle.  The Pentagon leaders such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen should be escorted out the door and sent out into the highway.  They have no business in running our armed forces.  Instead of leveling with the American people about why we're still in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the military brass is catering to the homosexual lobby.  The United States government and the military brass are perverted and corrupt.  God help this country!  God's blessings aren't going to remain on a country that dishonors God's word and tries to redefine the family unit.  The family unit is the basic building block of society.  That consists of the husband, wife, and offspring (children).  God will never bless the homosexual lifestyle.  It's a perversion.

Christmas Traditions: Christmas Ornaments

Martha Stewart Living White Tipped Woodland Tree <em>Christmas</em> ...Smooth Industries 4Pack <em>Christmas Ornaments</em>

(Christmas Carnivals)  According to the historical records in the History of Christmas Tree Ornaments, the custom of decorating Christmas trees emerged in the early 16th century in Germany.  Martin Luther decorated the first Christmas tree with candles to entertain the children.  During this time Christmas trees were embellished with wafers, candies, fruits, paper flowers, hard cookies baked in various shapes and tinsels made from tin and silver. 

During the 1800's the hand cast glass ornaments became wildly popular.  Lauscha in Germany was the hub of glass ornaments production in Germany.  Later on silk, wool thread, chenille and stiff spun glass were used in Christmas tree ornaments.

Legend plays an important role in the History of Christmas Ornaments.  The popular pickle ornament of the Germans carries with it a wonderful tale.  Pickle ornaments are glass ornaments formed in the shape of a pickle.  The German parents used it to judge the most intelligent child in the family.  The first one to trace the pickle got an additional gift from St. Nicholas.

Christmas trees along with the fanciful ornaments entered England in 1840 through the hands of Queen Victoria and her German Prince Albert.  Glass ornaments, decorative beads, paper baskets with sugared almonds and hot air balloons were used for decoration.

Christmas Tree Ornaments reached America around 1880.  F.W. Woolworth, an American retailer first sold imported glass ornaments in his shop.  Decorations also included cut outs of old magazines, cotton wools and tinsel.  The First World War disrupted natural commerce and necessitated the production of cheaper ornaments with new technologies.  The introduction of injection plastic molding facilitated to figure tiny miniatures.

In 1973 the American Hallmark Company first launched the Keepsake Christmas Ornaments that revolutionized the History of Christmas Tree Ornaments.  Once a collection of decorated glass bells and yarn figures, keepsake ornaments are now found in a wide variety of wood, acryclic, bone china, porcelain and hand made forms.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Traditions: Christmas Bells

(Written by Abby Westover)

Long ago people believed that they could use bells to frighten away evil spirits.  Bells were a simple form of noisemaking.  They could be easily be obtained or made and everyone knew how to use them.  Many people thought that as winter began, evil spirits would come to harm them.  So during the dark days after the harvest or the hunt, people would engage in ceremonies to keep bad things from happening to them while they waited for Spring and warmer days. 

The tradition of using noisemakers like bells during these times carried over into the celebration of Christmas.  But instead of making noise to keep away evil things, people made noise to celebrate something happy.

In many villages, there was a church and most churches had a bell.  When something important was happening--such as remembering the birth of Jesus Christ--they would ring the bell.

You might hear this saying at Christmas: "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."  Most people remember this saying from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life".  But over a hundred years ago, this was a very common saying amongst kids. 

Back in those days, kids believed that making a noise was just a part of Christmas.  And bells were an easy way to make that noise.  Bells were inexpensive musical instruments that people could take with them caroling or wassailing and almost every family had one or more.  Bells also provided a bright and cheery sound and were acceptable to parents as proper tools to celebrate and make noise at Christmas.

Bells play an important part in other areas of celebrating Christmas.  Some people probably picture Santa's reindeer with bells draped over them for decoration.  Santa might also use bells to help find the reindeer in the dark or in the fog or snow. 

And bells have always had a place in Christmas songs.  The famous Christmas hymn "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" began as a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the 1860's.  The poem was actually about the tragedy one felt during the civil war.  Some of the lesser known verses go like this:

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!"
The wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men!"

Christmas bells are remembered in classic holiday songs such as "Jingle Bells", "Silver Bells", and "Christmas Bells are Ringing".  Bells make a happy sound and are enjoyed in "ringing out the old and ringing in the new" each season as has been done in times past.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Traditions: The Christmas Card

Company Christmas CardModern Circles Holiday CardStunning Silver Wreath HolidayGolden Leaves and Berries

Red Hanging SnowflakesCity Park BridgeGold Holly Happy Holiday CardNavy Snowflake Greetings

The Christmas card originated in England over 150 years ago.  Richard Armour wrote "You cannot reach perfection though you try however hard to there's always one more friend or so you should have sent a card to."  Sir Henry Cole knew exactly what Armour was saying.  The founder of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London had so many Christmas greetings to send that handwriting them was impossible.  Yet he wanted to make his friends aware of the need to help the destitute on that holiday. 

In 1843 Sir Henry commissioned John Calcott Horsley to paint a card showing the feeding and clothing of the poor.  A center panel displayed a happy family embracing one another, sipping wine and enjoying the festivities.  (So much for good intentions.  The card drew criticism because showing a child enjoying a sip of wine was considered "fostering the moral corrupton of children.")  "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You" was printed on that first card.  Legend says Sir Henry didn't send any cards the following year, but the custom became popular anyway. 

Holiday cards designed by Kate Greenaway, the Victorian children's writer and illustrator and Frances Brundage and Ellen H. Clapsaddle, were favorites in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Most were elaborate, decorated with fringe, silk and satin.  Some were shaped like fans and crescents; others were cut into the shapes of bells, birds, candles and even plum puddings.  Some folded like maps or fitted together as puzzles; other squealed or squeaked.  Pop-up Cards reveled tiny mangers or skaters with flying scarves gliding around a mirrored pond.

For more than 30 years, Americans had to import greeting cards from England.  In 1875, Louis Prang, a German immigrant to the U.S., opened a lithographic shop with $250 and published the first line of U.S. Christmas cards.  His initial creations featured flowers and birds, unrelated to the Christmas scene.  By 1881, Prang was producing more than five million Christmas cards each year.  His Yuletide greetings began to feature snow scenes, fir trees, glowing fireplaces and children playing with toys.  His painstaking craftsmanship and lithographic printing have made his cards a favorite of collectors today.  Christmas Cards have changed since the days of Sir Henry and Louis Prang.  They now sport comics, jokes, and clever verses.  But those that picture timeless and simple settings such as excited children around a Christmas tree, Nativity scenes, nature scenes and carolers singing in the snow are still in the highest demand today.  (By Juddi Morris and Vivian Hotchkiss)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas History: Christmas Truce of 1914

(Written by Kurt Hyde)

What if they called a war and peace broke out instead?  That's exactly what happened during the Christmas season of 1914 when the soldiers themselves called a truce and, had it not been for intervention by the higher authorities on both sides, World War I might have ended. 

Stanley Weintraub does an excellent job of preserving for posterity this remarkable wartime truce in his book "Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce", and much of what follows is derived from that valuable source.  The truce came as no surprise, Weintraub explains, as there were early indications that some of the fighting men might lay down their arms for a Christmas truce, particularly between the British and German lines near Ploegstreert Wood in Belgium.  Many of these troops held no animosities toward each other and questioned their reasons for being involved in the war.  The opposing trenches were close enough for them to see and hear each other preparing to celebrate the same Christian holiday, Christmas. 

Intelligence reports indicating friendlly exchanges and the possibility of an informal truce prompted British Brigadier General G.T. Forrestier-Walker to issue an order forbidding the friendly exchanges.  When Forrestier-Walker's directive didn't stop the friendly exchanges, the high command reacted by trying to step up the war, ordering attacks on German trenches.  In general, these costly attacks failed not only militarily but also in terms of stopping the truce.  The final attempt to prevent the truce came on Christmas Even when the British high command issued a bogus intelligence report of a supposed impending German attack.  Very few commanders believed this phony intelligence report, relying instead on their own intelligence information, which was that the German troops were in all-out preparation alright--to celebrate Christmas.

During Christmas eve, soldiers on both sides could hear numerous Christmas carols being sung in the trenches on the other side.  One particularly solemn moment occurred in the trenches near Ploegstreert Wood.  At 11:00 p.m., which was at midnight in Berlin, Germany, there was a booming baritone voice singing the beloved Christmas carol "Stille nacht" (Silent Night).  History has failed to record the name of this man who sang "Stille Nacht," but his singing of this beloved Christmas carol had an enormous psychological effect on the soldiers of both sides.  Despite official pronouncements to the contrary, the soldiers in those trenches slept that night knowing in their hearts that a Christmas truce had begun.  There were many Christmas carols, the singing of each hymn communicating peace amongst those who sang them and those who heard from opposing trenches, but "Silent Night" seems to be the one stood out the most.

Soldiers sang Christmas carols again on Christmas morning.  Soon sign boards began popping up from the trenches.  Because there were more German soldiers who spoke English than English soldiers who spoke German, the predominant language used on the sign boards was English, sometimes broken English, such as, "You no fight, we no fight."  Soon, soldiers emerged from the trenches advancing toward the opposing trenches armed not with weapons, but with gifts: Tobacco products, chocolates, cakes, even sausages.  The men met, exchanged gifts, and arranged for decent Christian burials of the dead who had fallen in what was no-man's-land only a few days earlier.  The informal truce even included soccer games and beer drinking.  Sadly, the news of the truce spread with unequal speed along the trenches on both sides and, consequently, there were a few casualties in some locations. 

In one sector, the German soldiers communicated their desire for a truce verbally, including an offer to share their beer.  They then rolled a barrel of beer into the middle of no-man's land between them, and that's how the truce began in that sector. 

There were numerous acts of bravery by these men who were waging peace instead of war.  One such hero was Alfred Kornitzke, a civilian pastry cook from Berlin, Germany, who was making marzipan balls in a German trench on Christmas Eve when enemy fire endangered him.  He picked up a Christmas tree and, while still wearing his baker's hat, ran toward the enemy lines, which were manned by Algerians.  When he got about half way across the no-man's land, he put the Christmas tree down and lit the candles.  The astounded Algerians ceased fire.  Kornitzke vowed that after the war he would become a missionary to the heathens saying, "For now I know how it's done."

There were reports of participants in the truce as high as the rank of colonel.  Of course, there were some who refused to participate in the truce.  Among those was a German field messenger, Corporal Adolf Hitler.  Corporal Hitler, an atheist, also refused to participate in the religious observances of Christmas that were held. 

As a retired military officer, I can tell you that one of the greatest fears a military officer has is that a direct order will be disobeyed en masse.  The high commands of all participating countries in the war reacted decisively to restart the hostilities.  There were visits directly to the trenches by high-ranking officers, even generals.  From the German side came a report that the men were redressed by an officer who ordered the men in the foulest of language to start shooting, saying, "Fire, or we do--and not at the enemy!"  The men in this case reportedly spent that day and the next firing their rifles, but deliberately firing above the opposing troops "wasting ammunition in trying to shoot the stars down from the sky."

One technique used by military officers to break up groups of troublemakers is to transfer them to different units.  In this case, the same tactic was used to break up the groups of soldiers who participated in the Christmas truce.  Numerous units were transferred.  Soldiers on both sides who refused to fire their weapons at each other soon found themselves transferred to different locations along the front and facing enemy soldiers who had not participated in the Christmas truce, who were firing at them.

Additionally, the military leaders tried to keep the news of the truce from spreading.  Despite these efforts at truth suppression, word of the truce did leak out, primarily via letters that soldiers wrote back home and from letters that were exchanged during the truce for soldiers who wanted to send letters to relatives on the other side.  Some of these letters found their way into the hands of newspaper editors, though not in time to maintain the truce and allow for analytical minds to assess the necessity of the war.

An event such as this does raise the question of freedom of the press in a war zone.  The U.S. Constitution does not have a disclaimer exempting war zones from freedom of the press, yet it is almost universally believed that our news media should be in some form of obedience to our military to reporting news from war zones.  After all, who would want to see a reporter disclose news of military value to an enemy?  But the acts of truth suppression by military high commands and other high-level government leaders regarding the news of the Christmas Truce of 1914 cannot be defended in any terms of protecting military intelligence information from an enemy.  This was a case of information control over military information for political purposes to keep the people from learning that a significant portion of a war had come to halt on its own. 

Eventually the high commands of the warring nations prevailed, and the hostilities resumed.  The casualties once again mounted in the bloody war.  Steps were taken to preclude further Christmas truces.  Subsequent Christmases saw artillery barrages, trench raids, and mortar attacks.  Despite the deliberate increases in hostilities during those Christmas seasons, there were some localized truces, but they were few in number and small in scope.

In 1999, the Christmas Truce of 1914 was commemorated by a small group of re-enactors, who after spending a few nights in makeshift trenches in the area near Ploegstreert Wood, left behind a wooden cross.  The wooden cross has since been fortified with a cement base by some of the local people and now stands as the only monument to the Christmas truce of 1914.  This is a sad commentary on how governments build many monuments supposedly to honor military veterans, but somehow seem to do so in ways that glorify war.  Perhaps there will be a 100th anniversary re-enactment in 2014.  I would like to suggest that a fitting monument would be that of three soldiers in German, British, and French uniforms of that era bearing gifts of tobacco, chocolate, and sausages--a modern reference to the wise men who visited the Christ child bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Wars, unlike chess where there is no pretense that the battle being waged is for the benefit of the board or the chess pieces, are typically portrayed as if they are for the benefit of a nation including her soldiers, although only a few actually are.  At least in this case, the pawns in the game used their God-given wisdom to realize there was something really wrong and almost ended the war on their own.

The spark that ignited World War I --- the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by a Bosnian Serb--did not involve the national interests of other European countries.  Yet when Austria attacked Serbia, holding Serbia responsible for the action of Ferdinand's assassin, leaders of other European powers plunged their nations into the war.  Eventually the United States joined the conflict as well.

In "Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce", Weintraub delves a bit into alternative history and discusses subsequent historical events, such as the formation of the League of Nations, and how they might not have happened had World War I either never occurred or ended more quickly. 

The formation of the League of Nations (like the formation of the United Nations a generation later) was intended by its architects to provide the organizational framework for a future world government.  But this early drive for world government was derailed when the U.S. Senate rejected U.S. membership in the League.  John Birch Society founder Robert Welch repeatedly stated that World War I was not the genesis behind this drive for world government but that the war was actually a means employed by the internationalist-minded power elites to try to bring about their desired new world order.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 is certainly in harmony with Welch's view.  After all, why else would the leaders of the warring countries wait until after the Armistice in 1918 to form a League of Nations, supposedly for the purpose of ending wars, when World War I almost ended itself in 1914 and it was only after their deliberate efforts to restart the hostilities that the war continued?  The Christmas Truce of 1914 indicates a total lack of legitimacy of World War I and, along with that, it shows the lack of necessity for the League of Nations and the United Nations.