Monday, August 31, 2009

Students Needs to Be Taught About the Holocaust in Our Schools

I was reading an article in the USA Today about the Holocaust education. There's a possibility it may receive funding cuts due to the recession. There's a middle school teacher in Smyrna, Tennessee named Jill Coble who teaches about the Holocaust in her social studies classes. She is the unofficial coordinator of about 12 teachers trying to help the Tennessee Commission on Holocaust Education to fulfill its mission and bring awareness of the Holocaust and remember its victims. She says that many of her students that arrive each year basically have no knowledge of the Holocaust. What makes the task difficult is the state is reducing funding for education and the Tennessee Commission which teaches about the Holocaust may receive reduced funds. Even though a portion of the stimulus funding will include the Tennessee funding, the state's annual budget of $128,300 will no longer cover that group. The Tennessee Commission has to look for other ways to improvise.

I don't know anything about the commission nor what kind of material is purchased to teach the Holocaust, but regardless of whether funding is reduced when it comes to purchasing materials, the topic should be covered in the social studies classes. We live in a generation today where many young people don't know America's history. It's a travesty. We've become so accustomed to the conveniences of life that we've taken for granted the price that's been paid by our forefathers before us so we can enjoy the opportunities that are set before us today. The price of our freedom was paid for in blood. World War II was a bloody war and many soldiers, Jews, and other religious groups lost their lives because of a power-hungry dictator named Adolf Hitler.

When you hear about the "Holocaust", it's made in reference to the Holocaust that Adolf Hitler forced on the Jews. That's the Holocaust you mostly hear about. There's a Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. which shows pictures that depict the genocide of Jews and other groups. The Holocaust was a systematic statewide sponsored program to exterminate the Jews and those that didn't agree with Hitler. They were put in concentration camps and worked as slaves until they died. The Holocaust was a genocide under the Hitler regime. Hitler hated the Jews. He was racist. He thought they were a cancer in society. He wanted a pure Aryan race. Some six million Jews were slaughtered during World War II. There were other groups that were killed as well such as the Soviet prisoners of war, the ethnic Poles, Soviet civilians, Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious groups. How could somebody possess so much hatred toward an entire race such as the Jews? There are dictators who are very racist. Racism isn't just a black and white issue in America like some of the mainstream media would have you believe.

The students in our schools need to be taught about the Holocaust in the classroom. They need to recognize there are some wicked, racist people who live on this earth and that there's been groups of people that have suffered under such brutal regimes as Adolf Hitler, for example. However, the Jewish Holocaust was only once aspect of genocide. Back during World War I and after, there was the Aremenina genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The Turks persecuted them. It was characerized by massacres and forced marches. Approximately 1.5 million were killed. Back during the 1990's there was genocide taking place in Bosnia. When reading the book of Acts in the Bible, you read about Saul (Paul) that persecuted Christians before his conversion. During early church history, there was the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Nero. There have been those Christians in church history that have stood for the faith and were beheaded because they wouldn't recant. There's always been genocides and persecutions of some sort.

It's important that teachers instruct the students about the horrors of the Holocaust and the Hitler regime. Students need to know how wicked Hitler was. Students need to be aware that this world is a wicked place. They need to understand human nature and that power corrupts individuals. I also believe that they need to be taught about the persecution of the Christians since the beginning of the early church. I know that would be considered a violation of the separation of church and state, but the persecution of Christians is part of world history. The children that attend school will be the future leaders of tomorrow. How can they make proper leadership decisions if they don't know American and world history? I believe that before Christ comes back for the church, there's a possibility God's people might face persecution again. We need to be ready for it in case it does happen. There will be genocides in this world until Jesus comes again.

Not By Works Lest Any Man Should Boast

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast." Many religions teach a salvation in which they say that you can be saved a number of different ways. The Catholic church teaches you can be saved by your good works. The Church of Christ adds to salvation and says that you need to be baptized to be saved. Some religions teach that you must follow a certain ritual. Some Baptists have taught that you can be saved by merely repeating a prayer. However, God's ways when it comes to salvation is still the same. You can only be saved by grace through faith. You must recognize and admit that you're a sinner and then you must repent of your sins and trust Christ as savior and Lord. Anything else added is another gospel.

It's amazing the number of people that believe that you have to perform good works to be saved. However, there's a question that needs to be asked: If man can be saved by good works, then what was the purpose of Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross? I Timothy 2:15 says, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." Jesus came to this earth to die for sinners. That verse tells me that there's nothing in my own strength that I can do which would merit my salvation. I like the song "I Will Glory in the Cross." That one verse says, "I boast not of works, nor tell of good deeds, for nought have I done to merit his grace. Oh glory and praise shall rest upon him. So willing to die in my place". Salvation is of the Lord. The Bible says that man's righteousness is as filthy rags. That's man's best. Imagine what God thinks about man's unrighteousness. Jesus' death on the cross would've been in vain if man was able to merit his salvation.

Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." There's no other means of salvation other than Jesus dying and shedding his blood on Calvary. You can't be saved by any other way than through Jesus. You can't be saved by Buddha, Allah, Confuscious, Mohammad, Jim Jones, and the list continues. It's amazing how people have been conned into thinking there's multiple ways of salvation. Anything that adds to the Biblical plan of salvation is legalism.

If man could enter Heaven any other way than through Jesus, then what a useless sacrifice Jesus would've made. Jesus wouldn't have given his life and suffer shame and separation on the cross if man was sufficient to merit salvation. Sin is so horrible to God that the only way to forgive sin was through a blood sacrifice. Jesus paid it once and for all. The price Jesus paid on Calvary should tell us that's the only way man could be saved and enter Heaven. What a gift God has given us! It's imperative we don't forget the price Jesus paid on our behalf.

It should humble us to realize that God loved us so much that he would send his Son to die for us. We were unworthy of his suffering on the cross. We are wretched sinners that God has saved by his grace. It's a shame many Catholics and other religious groups perform good works thinking that's what enables them to enter Heaven. It's a blessing that Jesus paid it all on Calvary. Christians are to perform good works. However, that's a result of salvation. We perform good works because we are saved--not to be saved. It's a privilege to serve Jesus and work for him. Let's not forget the debt Jesus paid on Calvary.

Robert S. (Bob) Schindler, father of the Late Terri Schiavo, Dies at 71

Robert S. Schindler, the father of the late Terri Schindler Schiavo, died at age 71 on Saturday August 29, 2009. He lived in Gulfport, Florida and had died of heart failure. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 23, 1937. He was of German descent. He grew up and lived in Pennsyvania most of his life until 1986. In January 1963, he married his present widow, Mary and had three children. The eldest and most famous was Terri Schiavo, born on December 3, 1963. Bobby Jr. was born in 1965 and Suzanne Vitadamo was born in 1968. Suzanne and her husband Mike have one daugter Alexandra.

Schindler is known as the father of Terri Schiavo. Schiavo had a cardiac arrest on February 25, 1990 and as a result of a lack of oxygen going to her brain, she was brain damaged and had to be fed with a feeding tube for the rest of her life. She never could talk since she suffered the cardiac rest and had to be taken care of for the rest of her life. She spent the last several years in a hospice until she died on March 31, 2005 at Pinellas Park, Florida. Some doctors had declared that Terri was in a "persistent vegetative state", even though that was disputed by some.

Schindler had been in a battle with Terri's husband Michael to keep Terri alive. Michael claimed that it was Terri's wishes to not be kept alive if she ever became helpless. However, Terri signed no contract nor will stating her wishes. Bob Schindler and his family fought Michael in court. They spent a decade fighting it in court. Terri's feeding tube was removed twice. The last time it was removed on March 18, 2005. She died 13 days later. The case had went from state court to appellate court. However, the state court ordered her feeding tube removed. The Schindlers took their case to Congress and even the Supreme Court. Congress even passed a bill with then President Bush's signature in order to try to circumvent the state court. However, the federal courts and the Supreme Court wouldn't overturn the state court to have the tube reinserted. As a result, Terri died on March 31, 2005.

Schindler was known as a dedicated compassionate family man. He and his wife raised their three children in Pennsylvania. They were devout Catholics and at one time he even comtemplated becoming a priest. The Schindlers sent their children to parochial schools. He used to run a business selling industrial supplies. The Schindlers were close to Terri and they all moved to Florida in 1986 three months after Terri and her husband moved there.

Robert Schindler was shaken when Terri suffered cardiac arrest, but he and his family faithfully visited Terri and did everything possible to keep her alive. David O'Steen, Executive Director of National Right to Life said that "He gave life to the phrase 'unconditional love'".

When Terri was still alive Robert Schindler would rally crowds in Washington D.C. He drew attention to the needs of those people that were in a persistent vegetative state or those that had to depend on a tube to survive. He was very active in promoting the right-to-life to those patients that were facing end-of-life decisions. Following Schiavo's death, Schindler and his family started the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation to help encourage those families that were going through similar circumstances the Schindlers went through with Terri. Schindler's son and daughter are very active in the Foundation and they go out on speaking engagements and even host a radio program. A public funeral will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Josiah Henson (Uncle Tom) Lived in Daviess County From 1825-1830

Josiah Henson was a slave that was born in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1789 and for a short period of time had lived as a slave from 1825-1830 on the plantation of Amos Riley. He was known as "Uncle Tom" by Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote the famous book entitled, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Anybody that's taken U.S. history in high school has studied the antislavery movement. There were different abolitionists during that period. One of them was named Harriet Beecher Stowe. The "Uncle Tom" that she was referring to her in her book was Josiah Henson. Many people that lived in the Owensboro/Daviess County area didn't recognize the full story behind Josiah Henson until local Owensboroans such as Edith Bennett, Dr. David Orrahood and Hugh O. Potter learned of the facts. Ms. Edith Bennett who works for WOMI radio station in Owensboro, went on a trip to Canada around 1960. She had car trouble and as she was having work done on her car somebody told her to visit the Josiah Henson Museum in Dresden, Ontario. She was told that Henson lived in Daviess County for a brief period of time. Bennett told the people at WOMI but they didn't believe it at the time.

Then a few years later Dr. David Orrahood of Owensboro uncovered some more material relating to the case of Josiah Henson. Then Hugh O. Potter, the general manager of WOMI back in the 60's, had contacted the curator of Uncle Tom's Cabin and Museum in Canada. Then the curator came to Owensboro and he and Potter visited the site of Uncle Tom's Cabin in Eastern Daviess County. I have an old article from the Messenger-Inquirer on October 22, 1967 which verified that Uncle Tom lived in Daviess County. Mrs. Sue Hawes at the time was an 82 year old woman who lived in the area where Uncle Tom resided. She was the great-granddaughter of former slave owner Amos Riley. The article from the Owensboro newspaper gives the side that Mrs. Hawes told and then it gave the Canadian version.

Between the years of 1825 and 1830, Josiah Henson was an overseer of the Amos Riley Plantation, a 10,000-acre holding located in eastern Daviess County in the vicinity of Yelvington. Mrs. Hawes said her great-grandfather settled there in 1813 and owned numerous slaves. Mrs. Hawes said she heard of Uncle Tom and was told he was tall, intelligent, good-looking "darkey" and had a weakness for dancing and women. Mrs. Hawes was told he ran away because he became a little too familiar with the wives of the other slaves and they were going to kill him.

Uncle Tom in his book, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, he said he arrived in Daviess County, Kentucky about the middle of April 1825 and he delivered himself and his wife, two children, and eighteen other slaves to Mr. Amos Riley, the owner of the plantation with from 80 to 100 negroes. He said his house was situated five miles south of the Ohio River and 15 miles above the Yellow Banks, on Big Blackford's Creek. Henson stated that he availed himself of all opportunities of improvement. He was admitted as a preacher by a conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Canadian version says Uncle Tom decided to run away only after being deceived many times by his master in regards to his freedom by his owner. Three years after he arrived in Daviess County his former master sent word to Amos Riley to sell all his slaves except Uncle Tom, who was to return to him with the proceeds from the slave auction. On his way back to Maryland, Uncle Tom preached and made appeals for funds with which to purchase his freedom. Since Henson passed through the free state of Ohio he could've stayed there a free man. However, he thought it was a point of honor to make all efforts necessary to buy his freedom. Just before Christmas he approached the house of Isaac Riley (Amo's brother) with $245 and the hopes of becoming free and pursuing his call as a minister.

However, the story has it that Isaac Riley tricked Uncle Tom into giving him his freedom. Knowing that Uncle Tom couldn't read, Riley took Uncle Tom's money and handed him an important looking but worthless document. Henson thought he was a free man until he returned to Kentucky and found out he had been deceived. Riley had twice inserted the stated price. A year later he was ordered to accompany his master's son, Amos Jr., to New Orleans to dispose of their farm produce. Amos Jr. was told to sell Henson, but fortunately Amos Jr. became seriously ill with river fever and was unable to continue the journey. Uncle Tom could've used that as an opportunity to escape but instead he stayed and nursed the boy back to health and returned him to his father. According to the Canadian version, Uncle Tom received no thanks for his trying to nurse Amos Jr. back to health, so he started looking for a chance to escape.

The opportunity came at last on September 1, 1830. A fellow slave rowed Uncle Tom, his wife, and his children across the Ohio River and landed them on the Indiana shore. By traveling by night and hiding by day they reached Cincinnati in two weeks. After six weeks, they reached Sandusky, Ohio where they found passage on a ship bound for Buffalo. From there he was rowed across the river to Canada and he finally found freedom on October 28, 1830.

For the next few years Uncle Tom lived in the vicinity of Fort Erie. He became a leader among the fugitive slaves and carried on religious work among them. He also helped slaves to escape as well. Through his religious work Uncle Tom met James C. Fuller, a Quaker that promised Henson he would try to interest some English friends in a colonization adventure. As a result, $1500 was raised. Henson formed the British-American Institute and took steps to set up a colony in Dawn, near the present town of Dresden. That was in 1839. On a 200-acre plot he established a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, and a carpenter shop and the first vocational school in Canada.

On one of his trips to New England in behalf of his settlement a brief story of his life was published by the Anti-Slavery Society of Boston. Harriet Beecher Stowe read the pamphlet and in 1849 she invited Josiah Henson into her home in Andover, Massasschusetts. That's where Mrs. Stowe required much of her material for the book, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Uncle Tom had made several trips to England to raise money for the institute. He made three trips to England and it was on his third trip where he had met Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Josiah was 88 at the time. Queen Victoria told him, "Mr. Henson, I expected to see a very old man, but I am delighted to see such a well preserved, good-looking man as you."

After returning back to Canada, Henson spent the rest of his life there. He spent the rest of his days teaching and preaching. When he turned 94, he died of an illness only after three days. He died on May 5, 1883. Hundreds were said to have attended his funeral. The funeral was conducted by Bishop Walter R. Hawkins, head of the British Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada. Hawkins was a fellow slave on the Kentucky plantation of Amos Riley. Uncle Tom was an interesting figure who, after buying his freedom, devoted the rest of his life helping slaves to escape and trying to help those that had obtained freedom an opportunity to improve their lives by starting a colony. Henson had helped establish a vocational school to help them learn a trade in which they could make a living. Uncle Tom tried to make a difference in the lives of those slaves in which he (Uncle Tom) was once himself.

Is Democracy Worth Dying For?

I read an interesting quote from the late Ronald Reagan that said, "Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man." I was thinking about that statement as I read that. I know that many political leaders hail democracy as the greatest form of government ever known to man. It's one of the last forms of government. Ever since the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq, the previous administration under President Bush has been trying to establish a democracy in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of the overthrowing of the Taliban and Sadamm Hussein. However, the question that needs to be asked is democracy worth dying for?

Many in the media have referred to the United States as a democracy. Actually we're not a democracy in the purest sense of the word. We're a representative republic. We do employ democratic principles such as holding elections to elect our leaders and the ballot initiatives which citizens have the privilege to vote on during elections. Otherwise, we're a republic. We send Senators and representatives to Washington, D.C. to vote on legislative matters that affect our country. Ancient Athens, Greece was considered to be the birthplace of democracy. However, there have been critics of democracy such as the ancient Greek philosopher Plato who viewed democracy as another step toward tyranny. Democracy can result in mob rule.

It's impossible to have a pure democracy in a large country. It's not practical that all citizens can vote on all matters of legislation. Some small towns and villages that have a very low population could employ democracy in that area. Otherwise it's not possible. Many leaders have pointed to the success of America's "democracy" and they use that as an argument that other countries need democracy. However, America was very unique in comparison with other countries. The people that immigrated to America came for the purpose of religious freedom. They recognized that there was a higher authority than themselves--that was God. The Pilgrims and Puritans that came to America had built churches and they honored God. They tried to live by the laws of God. Any form of democracy won't endure if the population engages in reckless, immoral behavior or are hedonists. Self-government demands discipline and responsibility from its citizens. Citizens must be informed on the issues when it comes to electing candidates and the citizenry must understand the proper role of government. Many people today expect government to provide for their material needs.

Is a democracy worth dying for? The only way that a semblance of democracy would be worth dying for is if there's a group of citizens that are willing to protect and preserve the freedoms we enjoy for the next generation. Freedom gained today could be lost tomorrow. Vigilance must always be practiced. Freedom can be lost if the citizenry lose sight on what the role of government is as well as their own individual responsibility. If a person thinks they can live immoral and irresponsible lives and still maintain freedom, then they're foolish in their thinking. Self-government won't work if the people don't recognize that they're not their own God. The reason why the United States had been able to endure for so long is because the people recognize that God's laws take precedent over man's way of thinking. They knew a society couldn't endure without solid values. There must be a set of absolutes that govern a society. The religion of secular humanism doesn't believe in absolutes. When you remove the standard that gives man freedom, then a society will digress and chaos could result. It will be as the passage in the book of Judges says and man will be doing what's right in his own eyes. To different people that could be different things.

America's laws and customs were built on the Judeo-Christian framework. That's why self-government has worked for us for so long. Because the American people upheld God's laws. It doesn't mean that everybody were individually saved, but they had a respect for the Bible and its truths in it. The reason why America today is experiencing a moral breakdown is because people are living immoral and irresponsible lives. We've forgotten God and we've created our own "right and wrong". The American people today are living to the desires of their flesh. There are some people that take for granted that the freedom America has enjoyed for the last two centuries can't be lost. However, we're already losing our freedoms. Today America has turned into a nation of oligarchs (rule by the elite).

The neoconservatives from the Bush administration had the idealistic view that they could create a democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's not going to happen. Those two countries have only known a dictatorship. They don't have the moral framework nor the responsibility to have a representative form of government like the United States. Once you obtain freedom, then the people in that country must be vigilant to maintain that freedom or they will descend back into chaos and then tyranny. Iraq has three different religious factions such as the Shiites, Kurds, and the Sunnis. They've been at war with each other for centuries. Violence has increased in Iraq since Iraq has been given control over it's own government. I predict Iraq will return to it's former state before too long. There's too much violence and division in that country. Democracy won't work in every country. In order for a country to possess a form of democracy, you must have a people that are responsible, informed, disciplined, and adhere to a strong set of values. Otherwise, a democracy will descend into chaos.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, "The Liberal Lion of the Senate" Dies at 77

Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, America's third longest serving Senator in U.S. history, died late Tuesday evening at age 77. He died of an incurable brain cancer which was diagnosed in May 2008. He was known as the "lion of the Senate". It was said he knew how to craft legislation and get things accomplished. He was a very strong liberal that believed the government was the solution to man's problems. It was also said he knew how to be "bipartisan" and work across the aisle with Republicans to pass legislation. However, since so many Republicans are like Democrats in so many ways I don't know how you can call that "bipartisan". It was the Republicans who worked with him on issues that he believed in. If he was called upon to be bipartisan when it came to drafting legislation to allow the U.S. to engage in offshore drilling, I believe that would be a different story. I don't know that he ever compromised on legislation that would benefit the conservative cause.

Ted Kennedy was born on February 22, 1932 to Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy, the youngest of nine children and the youngest of four brothers. The Kennedy family has had a name when it came to personal tragedy and reckless behavior. John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in a motorcade at Dallas. The other brother, Robert Kennedy, was asssassinated on June 4, 1968 by Sirhan Sirhan following his victory in the California Democratic primary for president. Ted's oldest brother, Joe Jr., was killed as a pilot in World War II in 1944. His oldest sister, Rosemary, was institutionalized a few decades ago and died in 2005. His other sister, Eunice Shriver died on August 11, 2009. Ted was known for indulging in liquor and womanizing. He married Joan Bennett in 1958 and had three children by her. They divorced in 1982. In 1992 he married a woman named Victoria Reggie who has two children from a previous marriage. On July 18, 1969, he was involved in an incident where he drove his mother's Oldsmobile off a bridge into the pond. One of his aides, Mary Jo Kopechne, was in the car and drowned. Kennedy didn't report the incident until 10 hours later. He later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and as a result had a reduced sentence. That tarnished his image before the American public as being reckless and irresponsible. He was considering a run for president in 1972 but the Chappaquiddick Island incident set him back. He finally challenged Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential primary, but Carter defeated him handily. Since that time, he has devoted the rest of his years in the U.S. Senate.

Kennedy attended Harvard University but was later expelled due to cheating on a Spanish exam. He was told that if he had demonstrated good behavior he could later re-apply to Harvard. In 1951 he enlisted in the army and became a private until 1953. He then was re-admitted into Harvard and he graduated there in 1956. Afterwards he attended the University of Virginia Law School and he graduated there in 1959.

Kennedy was first elected to the Senate in 1962 in a special election to fill JFK's seat. He couldn't do it as soon as John became president because Ted was two years shy of turning 30, which was the minimum age requirement to run for the Senate. He never lost an election. The closest race he had was in 1994 when Republican Mitt Romney challenged him. Kennedy beat Romney 58% to 41%, which was his narrowest winning margin. During his tenure in the Senate, he's served on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee. He remained on this last committee until the time of his death.

Ted was an ardent liberal in the Senate. He supported all kinds of liberal causes. He supported gay rights, abortion rights, the feminist movement, the unions, the NEA, etc. He also voted no to authorizing George W. Bush to use force in Iraq to oust Sadamm Hussein in 2002. He believed government was the answer to solving people's problems. He wasn't a believer in the free market approach. He helped expand the size of government. His chief goal was to overhaul our nation's healthcare system and create national health care. That's been his motivation since he was involved in a plane crash in 1964. President Obama and many Democrats will be invoking Senator Kennedy as a means to pass a national healthcare bill. Some Senators speculate if he wasn't ill and could've sat under the committee hearings, then the present healthcare bill would've went much farther in Congress.

Kennedy was considered a lightning rod of ire to many conservatives because of his views on abortion, gay rights, gun control, and religious freedom, etc. He voted against President Reagan's Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork in 1987. Kennedy supported a nuclear freeze when it came to weapons. He was on the Armed Services Committee during Reagan's tenure as president. He led opposition to Reagan's foreign policy. Kennedy believed in appeasing America's enemies. Kennedy also supported the civil rights movement, the racial integration of the schools, gender equality, etc. In 1965, he pushed for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws so they would no longer favor white Europeans coming into this country. That opened the door to other racial groups such as Asians, Indians (India), etc. He stated that the immigration overhaul he was seeking wouldn't change the demographics of the country. He was wrong. He also supports the open borders policy in our country. In 2007, he and Senator John McCain co-sponsored a bill called the McCain-Kennedy Amnesty bill which would given amnesty to illegal aliens living here in America.

Ted Kennedy was known to work with Republicans when it came to passing certain legislation. He and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in 1997, helped sponsor a State Children's Health Insurance Program. He helped former President George W. Bush fulfill a couple of his goals which were the "No Child Left Behind" education bill which was signed in 2002. Kennedy helped write that bill. Kennedy also helped Bush add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare in 2003. Kennedy would work with Republicans if it would benefit him in promoting his liberal agenda. Kennedy had an agenda that he wanted to accomplish and he would use Republicans' help if that's what it took to pass his agenda.

The last couple of days Kennedy's body has been lying in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Funeral services are on Saturday August 29, 2009. It will be a Catholic mass. Later that day, there will be a graveside service for him at Arlington National Cemetery. He will be buried there by his two brothers, John and Robert. Kennedy had served in elected office which is why he will be buried there.

The 40th Anniversary of Apollo High (Jr. High) School

Back last month I published a post of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission which sent men to the moon for the very first time in history. Owensboro, Kentucky was making history itself by building a space-age Jr. high school. It was named after the Apollo 11 space mission. It was named Apollo Jr. High School. It is in the Daviess County school system in Kentucky. Daviess County Jr. High was becoming crowded so the Daviess County Board of Education decided to construct another Jr. High School. It was designed differently from previous schools. It was designed to accommodate the new team teaching concept where teachers would combine their classes together and teach their students.

Apollo was built to house large unobstructed classrooms which would accommodate the new teaching method. The classrooms didn't have walls to separate one class from another. Instead chalkboard dividers were used to separate the classrooms. The building was a steel frame building. It consisted of two full circles and two half-moon circles. The design was different and unique. It was divided into areas A, B, and C. The "A" area housed the physical education complex, band, shop, etc. The "B" section included the kitchen, home economics department, and art. The "C" section was the academic department. The science, math, language, business, social studies, the library, and the foreign language classrooms were in that section.

There were also numerous electives that students could take such as journalism, creative writing, French, Spanish, German, photography, drama, speech, and chorus, to name a few. The half-moon area contained the administrative offices. The total cost to build the school was $1,261,855.00. The building area size was 87,000 square feet. The first day of classes was on August 29, 1969. Back then the school year started later. It started toward the end of August or the first of September. The dedication of the school was on February 18, 1970. Dr. F. Story Musgrave was the dedication speaker. He worked for NASA.

Since that time numerous changes have been made to Apollo. Starting with the 1972-73 school, it was changed to a high school and a new middle school was built. The Jr. high school grades were now referred to as "middle" instead of "Jr. high". Jr. high had grades 7-9. Middle school had grades 6-8. Both of the half-moon circles were filled in to make them two full circles. Apollo had its first graduating class in 1974. Over the years construction was done internally to convert some of the open space into closed classrooms which had walls. The exterior of the school remained the same until the 1987-88 school year when the Daviess County Board of Education decided to expand the school and add new classroom space to it. In front of the school was built a rectangular- shaped addition which housed the new administrative offices and it contained a hallway called the "domed area." A new rectangular-shaped gymnasium was built in the back of the building. All of the school's basketball games would be held in the new gymnasium. The new complex also contained classrooms as well such as health, weightlifting, etc. A few years ago anothe rectangular shaped addition was created which was the auxilary gym. Wrestling classes are held there. The old gymanism and stage was converted into an auditorium and special services classes. Also, there's been constructed a football field, a baseball field, and tennis courts for those that participate in sports.

Over the years Apollo has been very competitive statewide in a number of feats. The school's academic team has fared well statewide a number of years. Apollo's chorus class has competed in a number of statewide competitions. The boys basketball team has participated in the state tournament approximately nine times. The last basketball team that reached state was the runner-up champion in 2006. The girls basketball team has reached state a number of times as well. Apollo has had sports stars such as Rex Chapman who later played basketball for the University of Kentucky and the Phoenix Suns, Natalie Powers and Laurie Townsend, who both played basketball at Western Kentucky University. Both Chapman and Powers were the top scorers for Apollo. Brad Wilkerson played baseball and graduated from Apollo. He later played Major League Baseball for the Florida Marlins. Apollo has had a number of great athletes over the years.

Over the years many Apollo alumni have traveled on in life and have achieved great things. Jeff Jones who played on the 1978 Apollo basketball team that reached state, graduated from the University of Virginia and later was head basketball coach there. The valedictorian in my class is now a chief financial officer at Hammond and Associates in St. Louis, Missouri. Many of the alumni have become teachers, lawyers, prosecutors, doctors, businessmen, and the list continues. Apollo celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Apollo has just started its 41st school year, with many more yet to come. The Apollo tradition cotinues.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

America Needs an Awakening

One of the common misconceptions that we hear from many preachers today is that America needs revival. AMERICA'S CHURCHES NEED REVIVAL! THOSE THAT ARE SAVED NEED REVIVAL! Those that have been imparted life from above need revival. AMERICA NEEDS AN AWAKENING! Psalms 85:6 says, "Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?" Revival is for God's people. You can't revive something that has never had life. The world has never been given life. They are in darkness. A person has to be regenerated and have grown cold in their love toward God to need a revival. Those that have never experienced the grace of God in salvation need an awakening. They need to be awakened to the fact that they're lost and dead in sins and trespasses.

A church can have revival in it and as a result God can move and awaken the surrounding community. That's happened before. When we read about some of the famous revivals America had in its early days, we read about an America that was awakened to the condition it was in. We've had such awakenings as the Great Awakenings in the eighteenth century, the Cane Ridge Revival in the early nineteenth century, and the revival in Logan County, Kentucky in the late eighteenth century. As a result, many people were converted and their lives were changed. It affected the social strata of America. Gambling went out of business. Some of the saloons shut their doors as a result. That was due to an awakening. I remember hearing about Nashville, Tennessee having an awakening in the 19th century. Sam Jones, the Methodist preacher preached a revival and a businessmen named Tom Ryman got saved. His life was changed and the social structure of Nashville was changed. Ryman Auditorium bears his name. It was once a church until it became the Grand Ole Opry. However, a local church can have a revival and all the members of that church be on fire for God but the community surrounding it may not experience an awakening. A church can have revival in a dark world and that world may not be awakened. We must be cautious in our terminology. It's our churches and it's members that need revival. However, our country needs to be re-awakened once again.

What does America need to be awakened to? America needs to be awakened to the fact that there's a God in Heaven that's real and he will one day judge this world. America needs to recognize that unless she repents and gets saved, then her people will die and spend a Christless eternity in the Lake of fire. America needs to be awakened to the fact that she has sinned before God and the ways of the world lead to death. America needs to be awakened to the fact that her homes are falling apart and that it's ignoring God's word when it comes to the family structure. God's plan for the family is one husband and one wife being married for a lifetime and as a result children are born from that union. God doesn't condone homosexuality. God doesn't condone adultery, fornication, and co-habitation. America's re-definition of the family unit is destroying this country.

America needs to be awakened to the fact that God must have his rightful place in this country. America was built on Judeo-Christian values and it's those values that have helped this nation stand strong time and time again. America can't reject God and stand as a nation. The U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited the right of voluntary prayer and Bible reading like it once had prior to the early 60's. America has become a secular nation. However, this nation wasn't built on secular humanism. Our country will be judged if we continue down the path of humanism. America's foundation was built by our Puritan and Pilgrim forefathers. They feared God and respected the laws of God. America needs to be reminded that America was once a Christian nation.

America needs to be reminded that abortion is murder and that God hates it. A baby is not a blob of tissue which can be discarded at somone's convenience. God views life as sacred. America needs to awaken to the fact that we are to love our fellow neighbor and we're not to kill them at an old age because they're considered no longer useful to society. America has substituted "convenience" for life. Life is sacred and precious in God's eyes both young and old. America also needs to be awakened to the fact that this world's system is at enmity with God. God hates sin and wickedness. America needs to recognize how much God hates sin and turn from her wickedness.

America also needs to be awakened to the fact that those nations that forget God will be turned into hell. If we live our lives that God doesn't exist, then America will be judged for that. There used to be a time when church services were taking place the community wouldn't schedule any events to take place while church was in service. Today everything takes place even when our churches are having service. The House of God has become an afterthought in many peoples' minds.

America needs to be awakened to the fact that there are some real Christians in this world. There are many that wear the label "Christian" but aren't Christ's. However, there are still some real Christians that love God and honor Him. The world needs to see us living for Jesus. We Christians need to lead exemplary lives before the world. We're the only Bible that some people read. If we desire for America to know that God is real, we must be real. The world must see that we love God and that serving Him isn't a chess game. It's serious business.

Lastly, America needs to see God move in a very special way in our country. We need for God to manifest his presence. God's people need the power of God in their lives to show the world that God is great. We need a stirring of God in our country. Isaiah 64:1-2 says, "Oh that thou wouldest rend the Heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!" This is what America needs to see. America needs once again another GREAT AWAKENING!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Woodstock

August 15-18, 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival. The first Woodstock festival was held from August 15-18, at Bethel, New York. There have been namesake Woodstock festivals since that time. Woodstock was a music festival playing psychedelic rock and roll and many rock bands came to play in that event. There was a crowd that exceeded over 500,000 those three days. Woodstock commemorated the lives of the hippies. It was a festival that was supposed to celebrate peace and love. It was supposed to celebrate the age of the Aquarias. It commemorated the drug culture of the hippie movement.

John P. Roberts and Michael Lang were the two men that organized the event and had it advertised. There were numerous rock groups that performed such as the Grateful Dead, Jimmie Hendrix, Joan Baez, and Janis Joplin, to name a few. Taking drugs was part and parcel of the hippie culture. As the late Francis Schaeffer said, they took drugs as an ideology.

The hippie movement took shape in America in the early 1960's. If I was to pinpoint a certain event to mark the introduction of the hippie movement, it would probably be the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, California in 1964. It later degenerated into the Dirty or Filthy Speech movement where some students said four letter words over a microphone. The hippies gained a lot of notoriety in the latter portion of the 60's with the Vietnam War dragging on. They were a protest group that spoke out against the Establishment, racism, sexism, the Vietnam War, war in general, and the old-fashioned values many Americans had held dear at that time. They helped challenge the way America thought about life.

Francis Schaeffer had stated that the hippies were speaking out against the bankrupt values of "personal peace and affluence" that their parents embraced. Schaeffer had described those values as people that want to be left alone to do their own thing in life and not be bothered by anything or anybody's problems. Affluence means to own wealth. Schaeffer was saying many middle class parents were concerned about making money and living their own life. However, many parents didn't have a basis for their values. Families went to church because it was socially acceptable. Many of the hippies' parents upheld the values that their parents and grandparents passed 0n before them but they didn't have a basis for why those values were right. Many of the hippies' parents didn't have a relationship with the Lord. They just adopted the values they were taught growing up. Therefore, the hippie generation rebelled against that and they were trying to seek answers to questions in life. However, the hippies looked to drugs and protesting against the Establishment as the answer. However, the answer was the Word of God. What they needed was Jesus. But they looked in the wrong way.

Woodstock was an embodiment of the hippie counterculture. There was a movie made entitled "Woodstock" in 1970. They were promoting peace and love throughout the world. I remember an old Coke O' Cola commerical made a number of years ago during the Christmas season. It was an old song (tune) the hippies would sing but the words to that song was changed to make it a Coke commericial. These are the words: "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, I like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company." The original version of the song goes like this: "I like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love. Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves. I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I'd like to hold it in my arms and keep it company." That symbolized the thinking of that generation. The Woodstock generation was into acid rock music and drugs. The Beatles revolutionized rock music. The Beatles changed their dress and appearance and many Americans patterned their appearance after the Beatles. It was cool to be hip during that time.

The hippies thought during the 60's they could change society from without. They thought they could change society on the outside. However, the changes the hippie generation sought during that decade had went unfulfilled. Then they modified their appearance in the 70's and 80's and became yuppies (young urban professionals). The hippie generation today is older and they are represented by such people as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the list continues. They are trying to change the system within. That's what they're doing today. The hippie movement has changed their brand and method. We have government leaders with that mentality in the Obama administration. They trying to make us into a socialist utopia where we can all get along together in peace and love. They want to destroy all racial and sexual barriers. They're trying to attain to the age of Aquarius.

It's tragic that the hippies had bought into a false notion of peace and love. Real peace comes through the Lord Jesus. They wanted to create a better and fairer society. However, they never found a basis for truth. The Woodstock generation didn't believe in absolute truth. Life is meaningless and not worth living if there are no absolutes. The only place to find absolute truth is the Word of God. Sadly, they were looking in the wrong direction.

The Interrogation of the Detainees

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is assigning assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead the review of potential criminal charges based on some documents released by the Justice Department on some of the CIA's interrogation methods of the detainees from both Iraq and Afghanistan. There's been allegations that the September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was threatened by a CIA officer that the officer would kill the children of Mohammad. There were supposed threats against the detainees, who were hooded, shackled and naked. They were detailed in a new round of documents by the Justice Department.

Whether or not any of the allegations just mentioned are true we can't say. It's just speculation right now. However, I don't like all the media speculation in regards to the enhanced interrogation techniques because it puts America's military in a bad light. Ever since we've fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our military's interrogation techniques have been attacked by the ACLU, MoveOn.org with George Soros, and even members of Congress. This does nothing but distract us from trying to find and defeat Al-Qaeda. I don't deny that mistakes were made when it comes to the judgment of the CIA in regards to the types of techniques used in extracting information from the detainees.

I remember when the Abu Grhaib scandal took place back in 2004. The media showed pictures of the Iraqi prisoners being naked and showed some of our soldiers using lewd acts when it came to extracting information from the prisoners. I am opposed to any type of sexual act or any interrogation tactics that have anything to do with sex or nakedness, etc. Those tactics are morally wrong and against God's word. However, there is a chain of command in our military that should deal with interrogation violations and they should do it privately without proclaiming it to the world. We're still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't serve our cause when the media is so eager to reveal to the world all the techniques we use to interrogate prisoners. That ruins our cause. Our media is doing nothing but siding with the enemy in publishing that kind of information. Our media wouldn't have done that in World War II. They would've been charged with treason.

The ACLU, Media Matters, and these left-leaning liberal groups believe it's wrong to use enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, for example, to extract information from the prisoners. They claim it's torture. It doesn't make sense. If some of these prisoners may have some valid information in regards to a possible future attack on America, it's worth doing whatever is necessary to force that prisoner to reveal the enemy's plans. The prisoners aren't going to easily reveal enemy secrets. They must be placed in tough situations where they'll be forced to reveal enemy secrets. It's amazing how the media is so concerned how the United States treats enemy combatants. However, the American media wasn't conerned over the beheadings that took place in Iraq a few years ago where Nick Berg was beheaded. Why doesn't the media complain about Iraq's human rights violations? During the Vietnam War, those that were in charge of interrogating prisoners from Hanoi Hilton used tortorous methods on American soldiers. John McCain was brutally tortured as a prisoner of war. Why didn't the media complain about the rough treatment the North Vietnamese gave to America's soldiers and their human rights violations?

There have been many Congressmen, Senators, and even some media figures that have visited Gitmo in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and most of them said the conditions weren't what the ACLU and those left-leaning groups would have you to believe. All the detainess have three square meals a day, have special times when they can pray to Allah. It's better than any prisoner of war camp in this world.

There is a proper system involved when it comes to interrogating prisoners. The CIA, the army Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other military members should meet together to discuss certain techniques used to interrogate prisoners. I believe it should be a closed-door deal. They should discuss what types of techniques should and shouldn't be used. They can work those types of details out together. The American media shouldn't be reporting this kind of information to the American public now since our troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe this kind of information should be classified. After the American troops are out of harm's way in both Iraq and Afghanistan, then it wouldn't be an issue if information about the techniques used in interrogating the detainees was published before the American people. However, those types of techniques should be published after the fact. The safety and well-being of our troops are more important than for the public to know all the details that take place when it comes to the currents wars we're fighting. The media shouldn't reveal any information that would aid the enemy. If Attorney General Holder goes through with his plans to bring criminal charges in detainee abuse cases, it will be a setback for the war effort as well as America's national security.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Charlotte Mason: The Parent as Schoolmaster

In volume 2 of the Charlotte Mason series she does a short summary of parents and children. One of the points she makes is "The Parent as schoolmaster. Children should learn self-control well before school age. An undisciplined child allowed to run wild and free will be difficult for a school teacher to teach." Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old: he will not depart from it." We're living in a society today that's the most undisciplined that's ever existed in the history of our country. Many of our young children today that enter school are very undisciplined. Many parents of this generation seem to think it's the responsibility of daycare, pre-school, and the public school system to raise their children. They've delegated responsibility to our school systems to raise, teach, and discipline our children. Being a teacher is one of the most stressful jobs there is today because of unruly children as well as a lack of support from home.

When should the education of our children begin? Long before kindergarten. Parents have the first role to play when it comes to the education of their children. If the child's first educational experience begins at kindergarten, they'll be behind when they start school and they possibly may have to repeat a grade. It's not the role of the teacher to be the parent, baby sitter, and disciplinarian. There are certain values that need to be instilled in children prior to entering school. Children today are hardly disciplined anymore. It makes the job of the teacher almost impossible. One of the major problems in our homes today when it comes to raising children is the lack of discipline.

What is discipline? Discipline is twofold. When we hear of discipline, we automatically think of punishment. That's what comes to our mind. I've heard parents use the phrase that they're "going to discipline their children for disobeying them." Punishment is one aspect of discipline. The other aspect of discipline is to instill, train, teach, and inculcate certain traits and habits in which children are to learn and practice for a lifetime. You're to aim a child in a certain direction and you're to discipline them and teach them good habits that will last forever. When a child fails to follow what you teach them, then that's where the punishment aspect of discipline comes in.

Before a child enters school, there are certain things a parent should teach them before entering kindergarten. They should be potty-trained, should learn how to speak, how to dress themselves, tie their shoes,etc. They should also be taught good manners, how to behave themselves in public, how to share, and not to interrupt when someone's talking. I believe children should learn their alphabet, numbers, and how to count. Those are a few things they should learn. Most importantly, they should be learning scripture and memorizing it. Their educational foundation should start with the Bible. They should hide it in their heart. The old New England Puritans used to teach their children the Bible.

The objective of the teacher in a school setting is to teach children academics--not babysit or be parents to their students. Students can't learn what they need to when they're unruly and undisciplined. Teachers can't teach students what they need to when they have to use instructional time to babysit and discipline students. It's true that since children are children, teachers will have to mete out discipline to their students. However, that should be classroom related. Back in 1940, the top school offenses were running in the hallway, chewing gum in class, talking in class, not throwing paper away in the proper disposable container, and the list continues. Today the violations are severe such as drugs, alcohol, vandalism, disrespect towards authority, cursing, teen pregnancy, etc. These are things that shouldn't be. When a school has to deal with the kind of problems they deal with today, that shows there's a clear breakdown in the home.

I'm certain schools have always had discipline issues to some degree. That's natural when you're dealing with kids. However, today's problems aren't child's play. Students in today's public schools are experiencing problems they shouldn't be facing. There's so much evil out in the world that Satan hurls at our children to destroy them. Parents must recognize it's their first responsibility to educate their children at home. They're to discipline their children and teach them values before the students head to school. An undisciplined child can't learn very much. In order for a child to learn, they must first be disciplined at home beginning at birth. There are certain values children should be taught prior to kindergarten. It's important that the parents breaks their child's will--not their spirit.

A child's will needs to be broken when they're very little. We as adults know what it's like to be practicing bad habits and how difficult it is to break them such as overreating for example. A child's will must be broken in order to teach their children good habits. A parent must establish their authority in that child's life as soon as they're brought home from the hospital. If a parent doesn't break a child's will, it will be very difficult to teach their children good and proper habits. Then when the child enters school, it will be an almost impossible task for the teachers to properly educate their students. Charlotte Mason was right on target. A child will be very difficult to educate if they aren't properly trained before entering kindergarten. If a child continues along the path being unruly and obstinate, that child will become nothing but a dropout and a castaway.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

President Obama's Approval Ratings are Slipping

President Obama's honeymoon with the American public appears to be over with. His approval rating in regards to job performance has been slipping lately. According to the Zogby poll President Obama's approval rating is 45% and his disapproval rating is 51%. Now over half of the American public is starting to disapprove of the job Obama is doing. The Gallup poll has 51% approving of Obama's job performance and 41% disapproving. The Rasmussen poll has 48% of the American public approving Obama's job performance with a 52% disapproval rating. The Rasmussen poll also shows 31% strongly approving of Obama's job performance ad 39% strongly disapproving. Those are disappointing numbers for Obama's seven months in office.

Zogby also tracks both Democrats and Republicans in regards to their approval ratings of President Obama. 84% of self-described Democrats approve of Obama's job performance in comparison to 6% of self-described Republicans approve of Obama's job performance. It's not the divide among the party loyalists that's affecting Obama--it's the Independents that voted for Obama last fall. Zogby has 59% of Independents disapproving of Obama's job performance. That's a negative for Obama. It's the independent voter that Obama needs to rely on in order for him to maintain a high approval rating.

Why is Obama's approval rating dipping in the polls? Both Rasmussen and the Drudge polls say it's due to the free spending ways of our federal goverment. They say that government's spending is out of control. The American public doesn't agree with the government's move toward socialism with the bailouts of our floundering corporations as well as our government trying to take over the corporations. Another thing that's concerning numerous voters is President Obama's drive to overhaul our healthcare industry and to nationalize healthcare. Many voters are expressing their frustration at the town hall meetings where many of the Democratic lawmakers are trying to sell Obama's healthcare plan to the public. It's backfiring on our elected officials. The public fears that "Obamacare" will eliminate the healthcare coverage many Americans already have. They don't want to see their coverage eliminated due to nationalizing health care. Some Americans are fearful what "the end of life" counseling could mean if it's passed by Congress. Some are fearful it could result in physician-assisted suicides that such doctors such as Jack Kevorkian performed during the 90's.

In breaking down the demographics when it comes to Obama's job performance, most of those that are very liberal in their views and are strongly Democratic still support Obama. Most left-wing ideologues still support Obama. Most young adults which range from ages 18-29 who are college students, graduates or are in graduate school still support Obama. Around 92% of the black population support Obama. A sizable number of Hispanics support Obama. On the other side, most of those that describe themselves as Republican or conservative have a very low approval rating of Obama. A high percentage of white men disapprove of Obama's job performance. Many Christian conservatives disapprove of Obama's performance. Obama still has his core liberal base. Those on the Right still don't support Obama. The break is with the Independents. A growing number of independents disapprove Obama's job performance. That's why Obama's poll numbers are slipping.

Obama needs to be concerned about the independent voter. The independent voters aren't ideologues or are as concerned about political philosophy. They view things from a practical standpoint. For example, more and more independents are frustrated with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's not because they're anti-war, but they haven't seen significant progress in both countries to warrant the U.S. to still be in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has nothing to do with ideology. Most independents will vote their pocketbooks, rightly or wrongly. Obama's policies ranging from the stimulus to his proposal to overhaul our nation's healthcare system hasn't benefitted the average American. The independents sense that and that's why they are opposed to Obama. They feel the government is only interested in representing Wall Street and the interests of the Oil companies and aren't representing the interests of the average American. Obama doesn't need to be concerned with his own base of loyal supporters. He needs to be concerned with the independent voter. The 2010 election is going to be difficult for the Democrats unless President Obama and the Democrats in Congress alter their socialist agenda. The American public isn't in any mood for a radical transformation of America into a socialist state.

Afghanistan a Democracy?

Afghanistan has just held it's election this past Thursday August 20, 2009. It was a local as well as a presidential election. The presidential candidates are current president Hamid Karzai and his rival Abdullah Abdullah. So far this election is too close to call. There were threats of Taliban violence if the voters went out and voted. The election went fairly well even though the turnout wasn't quite like it was in 2004. In 2004 the turnout was 70% with Hamid Karzai winning the election. However, it could take days before we know the winner of the presidential election.

We hear a lot of political leaders extolling the virtues of democracy. Many of them think democracy is the answer for a free people. I can remember when former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007. Then presidential candidates John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama to name a few said it was important for there to be a democracy in Pakistan. However, democracy has it's drawbacks. Democracy can result in mob rule. Some of the ancient Greek philosophers weren't enthralled with the idea of Democracy. Plato was one philosopher who didn't believe in democracy. I believe it was he that said that democracy could be the closest step to tyranny. The Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was democratically elected by the people in Germany in 1932. We know the results from that election.

Some people mistakenly refer to America as a democracy. We're not. America is a representative republic. We do incorporate democratic principles by electing our leaders as well as voting for various state ballot initiatives whenever there are elections. Otherwise, we're a republic. It would be impossible for every citizen to be able to vote on all types of legislation. Some world leaders view America's government as an example why democracy is such a good thing. However, America's history is totally different from any other country in the world, including Afghanistan. It was America's second president John Adams that said that the Constitution was for a moral and religious people only; it is wholly inadequate for any other. Any semblance of democracy America may have wouldn't work for just any country. Prior to the American Revolution, America was built on a strong moral and religious foundation. America had some major revivals that swept across our land which changed our culture and prepared us for the eventual founding of the United States.

Our Founding Fathers believed in the principle of self-government. The only reason why self-government has worked is because Americans knew that there was a higher authority than self. It was God Almighty. The American people knew truth originated from God. Therefore, that's why we were able to "govern ourselves" successfully. We were built upon the right foundation. It takes a strong moral foundation and reliance upon God as well as personal discipline and responsibility for a "representative democracy"to work. Democracy isn't just voting in elections. What benefit is it to hold an election if the people there elect a brutal dictator? Democracy in that sense is worthless. If the people are not willing to be informed on the issues nor work together then a democracy won't work. Democracy can't work in an unstable country where there is civil unrest, for example. The type of religion a country embraces can make any semblance of democracy impossible.

With the history and tradition of Afghanistan, there's no way a democracy can thrive in that country. It's had a history of civil unrest, coups, and regime changes, for example. Also, the religion of Afghanistan is Islamic. Islam and democracy mix as well as oil and water. Islam doesn't believe in democracy. Islam is a religion by force. If a person doesn't convert to their religion, then that person could get killed. Islam isn't about peaceful coexistence. Islam believes it's the dominant religion. Islam is a road barrier to democracy in Afghanistan. The people there don't know how to rule themselves because all they're used to is the Taliban ruling or some type of military junta. The Afghans are too unstable to have a successful democratic form of government. Democracy in its purest form will never work for a country. Pure democracy could work in a small village with a population of 100 people, for example. Democracy won't work in a representative form if the people in Afghanistan don't have the wisdom nor the moral foundation to choose leaders. Also, the people must know the principles of self-government recognizing there's a higher authority besides self if a representative democracy were to flourish. Democracy isn't everything it appears to be.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The End of Life Provision in the Healthcare Bill

There is a controversial provision tucked away in a House bill which would allow for Medicare to pay for counseling every five years or however critical condition that patient was in in regards to the end of their lives. Some critics such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin made a reference to it as "death panels". Whenever a senior citizen reaches a certain age they would have Medicare to fund "End of Life" counseling for them whether it be hospice or something else. That's how President Obama described the bill.

That provision was dropped from a Senate bill because of the possibility of the misinterpretation that "End of Life" counseling could mean, according to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who is on the Senate Finance Committee. Those that support this provision will say that the "end of life" counseling has nothing to do with euthanasia, per se. However, if the government seizes control of our healthcare industry, they will become arbitrators and make life and death decisions in regards to terminating a person's life. There's no way our country can fund nationalized health care. It's too expensive and there isn't enough taxable revenue to go around to fund it. The government will probably be taxing health care benefits as well as using other taxable measures to fund it. It will be a drain on our economy. There's no way the quality of health care we have now will be provided with limited funds. I predict we won't have the health care services we do now if health care is nationalized.

I believe the government will be making decisions when it comes to the rights of terminally ill patients. That's not the government's place to do that. However, when we live in a society that doesn't uphold the Christian view that life is sacred and worth living, then you'll find our government assigning value to human life. They've already done that with the unborn. If the unborn child's life is not worth protecting, then what's the worth of an elderly person who's no longer considered a benefit to society when they have limited mobile capacity?

I know there are debates when it comes to living wills and determing how far to go when it comes to medical treatment when a person's incapacitated. Some patients sign living wills stating when they reach a certain point when they're no longer able to function to not put them on life support system. They have that right if they desire. However, euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide is murder. That's what Dr. Jack Kevorkian did a number of years starting in 1990. He was put in jail from 1999-2007 in Michigan for a particular assisted-suicide murder. I remember the Terri Schiavo incident in 2005 when Michael Schiavo successfully sought through court order to have her feeding tube removed and she died of starvation and dehydration on March 31, 2005. He fought against Terri's family who wanted her to live. She wasn't in a persistent vegatative state, according to some reports. Her family would've been willing to take care of her by themselves.

If the "End of Life" provision ever makes it into the final bill which President Obama would sign, it could lead down the pathway to euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, in my opinion. When a government becomes the arbitrater when it comes to medical treatment for certain groups of people, then they'll support measures to eliminate them, because they no longer are of use to society (in their opinion). That's the humanist mentality. We've seen what value the government places on the life of an unborn child. The government supports abortion as well as infanticide (partial-birth abortion). The next step will be legalizing murder towards the elderly and those that are in critically ill condition. Christianity is what gives value and meaning to life. When a country rejects the Bible, then truth becomes relative and the value of an individual will be based upon moral relativism--that is the circumstances of an individual based on that given moment. If that individual is considered a nuisance and misfit, then they must die. That was the mentality of Adolf Hitler.

The Gitmo Detainees

Immediately following Barack Obama's inauguration as president of the United States, one of the first executive orders that he signed was to close the Gitmo detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within a year. That was one of his campaign promises. The Gitmo detention center was started under the George W. Bush administration following the war in Afghanistan in October 2001. The Left along with some Congressmen and Senators has wanted to close Gitmo for the last several years. The immediate question that needs to be asked is where are all the Gitmo detainees going to be transferred?

There are reports surfacing that six of the Gitmo detainees may be transferred abroad to different countries. There are other reports some of the detainees may be headed to a prison in Central Michigan. Many residents that have attended town hall meetings there are not very happy about that prospect. The detainees that could be transferred to a U.S. prison were terrorists. They are ruthless. Those types of people will die for their religion. Mixing a group of terrorists with normal prisoners may pose a security risk for those that live in Michigan.

What should be done with the Gitmo detainees? This issue should've been taken care of during the previous administration. This is something that Obama shouldn't have to be dealing with. You don't keep prisoners that fought for Al-Qaeda that long in a detention center without prosecuting them. The Left believes they should be given American lawyers to represent them in court. However, they aren't American citizens. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution don't apply to them. Some critics have said that the provisions of the Geneva Convention should apply to them. However, these terrorist thugs didn't wear an army uniform and they weren't fighting for a specific country. They're part of a terrorist network. You couldn't easily identify them because they dressed like ordinary civilians.

Bush should've had Congress immediately following the war in Afghanistan to establish a military tribunal to try these terrorists. There's no reason for this to be lingering like it has been. I believe if he pushed it through Congress immediately following the war, Congress would've passed it and we could've had these thugs tried. That's what America did following World War II. We had the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 and 1947. President Obama needs to ask Congress to authorize a military tribunal immediately to try these detainees in Gitmo. That's the solution. They don't need American lawyers or to go to some prison in America. These are a special class of people which don't possess any constitutional rights.

President Obama is not going to establish a military tribunal through Congress. Those that help put him in power are opposed to that method. However, that's the right way to treat war criminals. They're not American citizens and it would be a long ordeal giving everyone of these war criminals American lawyers. We need to try these criminals as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Happened to All the Bailout Money?

Back last September when it was revealed our mortgage industry was experiencing a meltdown, the Bush administration under the direction of then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson approved of using TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) money to help bailout those banks that were going under. AIG (American International Group) received bailout money last fall and spent it on a cruise. This past Spring during the Obama administration under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, AIG was approved of another loan worth $30 billion and they spent that money paying their executives around $165 million in bonuses. President Obama as well as Congressional members such as House Banking Chairman Barney Frank were complaining of AIG paying their executives bonuses with taxpayer money.

Who's at fault? Both parties are. The government was at fault for granting another bailout to AIG. AIG was at fault for taking taxpayer money to pay their executives those hefty bonuses. I don't have an issue with a corporation paying their executives bonuses as long as it's done with the company's money--not taxpayer dollars. The government's at fault for granting another loan to AIG simply because AIG squandered the first loan back last fall. If AIG is about ready to go into bankruptcy, then they need to use that money to keep their business afloat--not to put it into their pockets. There's no accountability. Actually the Federal Reserve is responsible for handing out the money to these troubled banks. The Federal Reserve needs to be audited by our Congress.

The question that needs to be asked is how is all this bailout money being used? Where's it going once the corporation receives it? We don't know. Henry Paulson and now Timothy Geithner is handing all this TARP money to these troubled corporations but we don't know what's happened to it. The government is handing out our money to these corrupt corporations and we don't know as taxpayers how that money's being used. There's been rumors that much of the money that AIG has received has been used to pay off their creditors in other countries. There's been speculation that some of that money went to China. AIG is originally a Chinese company that started in Shanghai in 1919 and then moved some of it's business to New York in 1949.

The bailouts didn't stop with the troubled banks. We've given loans to both General Motors and Chrysler. There's media outlets that have requested bailout money. All this handing out the taxpayer's money to these troubled corporations must stop. We must hold our elected representatives accountable and find out where all this money's been going. Our government's given General Motors and Chrysler bailout money supposedly to help them avoid bankruptcy protection but they still filed for bankruptcy protection anyway. What was the benefit in sending them that money? How did GM and Chrysler use the money that was given to them? It didn't help keep their companies afloat.

What a waste of taxpayer money! The whole purpose of this I believe is to give the government foothold into the private sector. It's all about control. The government wants to control our economy and transform it into a command economy. President Obama has told these car companies to make vehicles which average so many miles per gallon as well as vehicles which aren't harmful to the environment. I agree that our automobiles need to achieve better fuel efficiency, but that's not an area for President Obama to put his nose into. That should be handled by the private sector. We need to hold our elected officials accountable that have supported all these bailouts and vote them out of office next November 2010.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Be Not Conformed to This World

Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." God's given those of us that are saved a commandment to present our bodies as a living sacrifice unto God. We are not to be conformed to this world. We're to be separated from the world unto God. We're to be uniquely and distinctly different. We are to be conformed to the image of Christ. God saved us to be a holy people walking with him and serving him. We are to be a witness and testimony to this world. Our testimony is to prove that Jesus saves. The world needs to see a God that's real and the only way they'll see it is through our daily lives where we live and work.

Today in our society, we're under so much pressure to conform. We feel the pressure when we're on our jobs to conform. In our public school systems, there's a lot of pressure to conform. The media will spew out a lot of propaganda in order to convince us to conform to their way of thinking. However, we that are saved are to be like Jesus and are not to allow the world to sway us when it comes to serving God. We're supposed to put on the mind of Christ. I think of Daniel in his day when he stood up and purposed in his heart he wouldn't take the portion of the king's meat. We need to purpose in our heart we won't allow the world to control us and we won't bow down to the world's system.

A Christian isn't supposed to fit into the world's system. We're designed to be different from the world. Our testimony is to be an offense to the world's ways. We're to be a square peg in a round hole. We're not to be conformed to this world when it comes to our thinking, to our work ethic, and to our testimony. Our churches today are filled with church members that are carnal in their thinking and think like the world. We are so wrapped up in this world, we fail to recognize there's a day of judgment coming. It is true that we do need to be concerned about the things that transpire in this world. We are to be concerned with fulfilling God's will on this earth. We will be judged for our works. So we can't be nonchalant about our role in this world. I don't believe Christians are to be "Heavenly minded and no earthly good." If you are Heavenly minded in the light of the judgment, we are to have an impact in this world. However, we allow ourselves to be influenced by what takes places in our society that we fail to recognize the just are to live by faith. I'm guilty of that. Our whole lives should revolve around living for God and doing things that's pleasing to him.

Today in the work force there are many people that are employed that are lazy and slothful. They don't want to labor. As a result, they don't ever progress and amount to much. We're not to think like the world when it comes to labor. We are to work diligently and to be all we can be when it comes to work. God will reward those that seek to advance and strive to be the very best on the job, school, and any other place. We shouldn't be content with just the minimum. We're to do all we're capable of doing and to stay busy. It's amazing the attitude many people have when it comes to work. Now I do recognize there are places where employers abuse employees. I'm opposed to that as well. However, we're to serve God with our labor and we should have a totally different attitude about work in comparison to the world.

Lastly, our testimony shouldn't conform to this world. The world should see we're a Christian when it comes to our daily living. When people on the job tell jokes that are filthy, we're not to participate in them. When we have friends that invite us to a social event and there's liquor there, we shouldn't be a part of it. When it comes to our jobs, if it's possible we can be off Sunday to attend the House of God, we should not work on Sundays if possible. I recognize there are some cases where some Christians don't have a choice. But if we do, we should be off to be in the House of God. When it comes time to go to the House of God, people around us should expect that we're going to church. We can never be what God intends for us to be if we're conformed to this world. God will bless us if we stand faithful and not conform to this world's ways.

Beware of the Angry Electorate

A note to President Obama and Congress: BEWARE OF THE ANGRY ELECTORATE! Many of the Democratic Representatives and Senators were holding town hall meetings in a number of states in regards to health care. John Dingall (D-MI), Arlen Specter (D-Pa), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) were just a few. There were protestors at the meetings expressing their frustrations at the elected elite with this health care bill that Congress is trying to pass. Senator Arlen Specter had protesters jeer at him. He said this was the angriest he's ever seen Americans. I read in the USA Today that Specter said that the frustrations the electorate was expressing was not representative of Americans as a whole in regards to overhauling the nation's health care system. Who's he kidding? It is representative of Americans as a whole. Americans are sensing Obama is wasn't what he said he was. Those that voted for Obama bought into his lie for real change in Washington. The only change we're experiencing is a government that's reaching it's tentacles into the fabric of our society. However, the corruption and cronyism are still going strong.

Many Americans were frustratated at the town hall meetings because they were fearful they would lose the coverage many of them already had. That's what most of the protests were about. However, the American people have been showing frustration at Congress and the Presidency for the last several years. The American voter isn't just angry at the Democrats; they're angry at the Republican Party. Ever since the Republican Revolution of 1994 when the Republicans were in charge of Congress for twelve years, there has been frustration with both parties. The Republicans ruled Congress for twelve years and they ran up a huge deficit and increased the size of government. As a result, they were voted out and replaced by the Democrats in 2006. Both parties are controlled by monied interests. Neither party seems overtly patriotic.

If Democrats continue this path toward a Communist state, many of them are going to be turned out into office in 2010. I say that's a high probability. However, if the Republicans take over both houses of Congress next year and they continue the same policies that they did prior to being voted out in 2006, then the Republicans will be voted out in 2012. Americans aren't going to vote Republican so they can continue the same policies that the Democrats are implementing. The "blue dog" Democrats need to break away and distance themselves from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. If they don't, they'll be voted out in next year's Congressional elections.

Both parties are non-responsive to their constituents. The only time do they care about the voter is when it's time to run for re-election. Our Congress who's supposed to represent the American people, represent those special interests that contribute to their political coffers. All this campaign financing by these special elite interests need to be ended immediately. Our elected officials need the ear of the American people and the only way that will happen is for us to speak out and contact our Congressmen as well as all the campaign contributions by the elite interests be ended. We don't need Big oil, multi-national corporations, trial lawyers, and liberal organizations contributing to our politicians. They're the problem. We need to take America back from these progressive politicians.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

CNN Decides to Stop Booking Radio Talk Hosts

CNN the other day decided to no longer book radio talk show hosts on its network. Their claim is with the complex issues of the day, we need "world-class" reporting. CNN decided on this in the midst of the question that CNN anchor Lou Dobbs asked on one of his shows in regards to Barack Obama's birth certificate. He asked for Obama to display his birth certificate. Dobbs wasn't insinuating Obama wasn't a U.S. citizen. He believes Obama is a citizen of the U.S. However, Dobbs felt it was a wise question to ask. Dobbs is right in posing the question. The Daily KOS website criticized Dobbs for asking that question. That's what should be the job of the media; that is to ask questions. There should be integrity and fairness when it comes to news reporting. What does the mainstream media such as MSNBC, CNN, and even FOX want to cover that up? We know that MSNBC and CNN are joined to the hip with the Obama administration.

When you have a socialist government that's turning into a dictatorship, one of the first things they want to do is silence free speech. That's what you're seeing take place. All the time you hear liberal members of Congress as well as liberal media such as Keith Olberman of MSNBC go on the attack of such radio talk show hosts as Rush Limbaugh, for example. It's those radio talk show hosts who run counter to the progressive agenda of Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress that the media and Nancy Pelosi attacks. CNN is a liberal, internationalist news station and therefore they are very supportive of the Obama administration and his socialist agenda. So it's no suprise they don't want to book radio talk show hosts. There's a liberal group out to silence radio talk show host as well as FOX news host Glenn Beck for his views on global warming. There are some advertiser's to his television program that are no longer sponsoring him because of a statement in July he made when he said he believes Barack Obama is racist. However, if a liberal radio talk show host was to make a derogatory statement about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol, the mainstream media wouldn't chastise that liberal radio talk show host because the media doesn't like Sarah Palin

Radio talk show host Michael Savage used a phrase to describe a media and government that are connected together as the "government-media complex". It's the responsibility of the press to keep government honest and forthright. However, when the media allies itself with the Obama administration or the liberals in Congress, you're not going to receive honest reporting. The government and media are all the time in collusion with one another. That's why you don't hear the mainstream media demanding that Obama display his birth certificate before the American public. They're supportive of his administration. CNN is very supportive of his administration. That's why they don't want to book radio talk show hosts that are conservative because they run counter to the progressive, socialist agenda. CNN or none of the liberal media will report anything that runs counter to the progressive agenda. If they mention it, they'll label those that run counter to Obama's agenda as "conspiracy theorists", "kooks", or "birthers" which is in reference to those at World Net Daily that are pressing for Obama to show his birth certificate.

My hat's off to Lou Dobbs of CNN who will report things that Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and others wouldn't share on CNN. Dobbs has been chastised for pressing the birth certificate issue, for speaking out against illegal immigration, and exposing the agenda of the North American Union. Ted Turner, Jane Fonda's ex-husband, was the founder of CNN in 1980. He is an internationalist when it comes to his philosophy. That's why CNN is very supportive of the Obama administration. These liberals like to refer to themselves as being open-mined. They criticize conservatives for being closed-minded. However, CNN is revealing that they're close-minded when they decide to no longer book talk radio hosts. CNN wants to promote the liberal, progressive agenda of the Obama administration. The days of fairness in news reporting is largely over with.

Rick Pitino's Sexual Tryst with Karen Sypher

University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino held a public press conference Wednesday August 12, 2009 in regards to the allegations his longtime assistant's wife, Karen Sypher made about him. Pitino admitted he had a sexual encounter with Karen Sypher, wife of Tim Sypher at a Louisville restaurant after hours. She made the allegation that Pitino twice raped her, which police supposedly claims there's lack of evidence. The Louisville's Courier-Journal obtained a record of the police interview through the state's Open Records Act in which Pitino gave his side of the story. Pitino has sued Sypher charging that she's trying to extort $10 million from him.

Sypher was indicted by a federal grand jury for an extortion attempt and for lying to the FBI. She pleaded not guilty. Pitino hasn't been charged with any crime so far. After the tryst Pitino had with Sypher, she became pregnant. She told Pitino she didn't have health insurance and wanted to obtain an abortion. Pitino gave her $3000 for medical insurance. He claims it wasn't necessarily for abortion. Pitino's attorney Steve Pence claimed that Pitino thought the money was for medical insurance.

I remember Rick Pitino back in 1989 when he took over the University of Kentucky's basketball program that was mired in a recruiting scandal back then. He helped resurrect that program and turned it around. During his tenure at Kentucky, he took that team to three final fours and won an NCAA championship in 1996. He took over Louisville's program in 2001 and turned it around as well. He's taken Louisville to one final four and two elite eights in the NCAA tournament. He's a great coach. I've always admired his abilities to motivate players to play their best on the court. I had considered him a master motivator. However, given what he did, I believe he needs to resign as head coach. He did apologize to the players and fans and even to his family. However, he sat a bad example before his players and he hurt his own immediate family in the process. The worst part was his betrayal to his wife and children. Louisville's contract calls for terminating the contract of the coach for moral depravity and misconduct that damages the university's reputation. However, Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich and Louisville President James Ramsey both stand firmly behind Pitino. Even his recruits so far haven't changed their mind about playing basketball for Louisville next season.

Even though Rick Pitino labeled his encounter as an "indiscretion", adultery is adultery. There are some sins that can be committed and you can repent and ask forgiveness for and fellowship is restored. However, adultery is a sin against one's own body and that sin will haunt you all your life. A husband can be as repentant as he can be towards his wife and she could forgive him. However, repentance won't restore what's been lost with that kind of sin. His relationship with his wife won't ever be the same again. There's some things that saying "I'm sorry" doesn't restore. We still should repent regardless of what sin it is. However, some sins carry so much damage there's no way to restore the damage that's been done. When adultery's been committed, trust has been broken. There's been betrayal to the marriage vows. Repentance doesn't wipe away that reproach. Even if the wife forgives her husband, there's still that sense of mistrust and only time and faithfulness on the part of the unfaithful will help that if ever. That's how damaging adultery is to a marriage.

On top of the affair he had with Sypher, she became pregnant with his child and he gave her money for an abortion. He may claim that the money wasn't necessarily for abortion, but if she told him she wanted an abortion, he ought to know she would use the $3000 for an abortion. That's another sin--the taking of a life of an unborn child. That's another scar on his record. Sometimes a couple will "play" around and the woman will become pregnant and she will have an abortion to cover up their sin. There's numerous unintended consequences as a result of adultery.

Rick Pitino's conduct is a terrible example before his players and it's not good for the reputation of the university. Our world today doesn't think anything of adultery and fornication anymore. As long as a coach can win and generate revenue to the university's sports program, that's all that county. It's all about the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Assessing the Presidency of George W. Bush

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was making comments this past week about his former boss, George W. Bush when he was president. The Washington Post was reporting on Cheney's comments and said that Bush didn't rely on Cheney's advice during his second term in office as well as Bush allowed public opinion influence some of his policy decisions. Cheney described Bush as resolute when he became president but now he said Bush was just like another ordinary politician as he ended his second term. I'm not going to comment on Cheney's comments, but I"ll make a few of my own.

First of all, I'm thankful Al Gore didn't win the presidency in 2000. Even though Bush had several shortcomings, Gore would've been much more lethal. He would've pushed a socialist agenda through our Congress as well as he would've pushed a global warming agenda on us. America would've transformed into a socialist country much quicker under Gore than Bush. Bush did some good things as president. However, there were several things he did that wasn't good for America as well. He paved the way for the Obama presidency during his second term in office. The bailout of the banks and other financial institutions sealed it for Barack Obama. Most of my frustration with Bush was during his second term. It it wasn't for some of the things he did his second term, I would've given Bush a higher grade. I give Bush a D+. The financial bailout of the mortgage industry was a negative for Bush, in my opinion. I was greatly frustrated with Bush as a result of that.

I will list some of the positive accomplishments Bush made. He helped Congress pass a tax cut in 2001 which I felt was needed. The only negative about that was he wasn't able to persuade Congress to make the tax cuts permanent. I agreed with his response when he sent troops to Afghanistan to route the Taliban. However, I found it disappointing he didn't finish that war before he left office. I believe he also made a mistake when he didn't order the poppy fields to be torched in Afghanistan as well. When the war in Iraq began, Sadaam Hussein and his regime was toppled and that part was good. However, the aftermath of Iraq since the downfall of Hussein has been downhill. I believed that was another war that should've been won before he left office.

Another accomplishment of Bush's was the interrogation methods the CIA used to extract information from the Guantanamo Bay detainees concerning future terrorist plots. Waterboarding was used to extract information from one of the Al-Qaeda masterminds Khalid Shaikh Mohammad. We learned of some future plots Al-Qaeda had planned for the United States and using that method against him helped save some American lives. One of the reasons why America hasn't experienced another attack has been due to the interrogation techniques. For that I'm very thankful.

Bush supported the pro-life cause as president. He voted for a bill that would ban partial-birth abortion. It was sad that a lower federal court declared that bill unconstitutional. He did a good job when it came to his judicial appointments. He appointed good lower federal court judges even though the Democrats prevented them from being voted on in the senate judiciary committee. He also appointed two good Supreme Court judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the bench. Those were the highlights of Bush's accomplishments.

Some of the negatives of the Bush administration were increasing the size and scope of government for one thing. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, he helped create the Department of Homeland Security, which hasn't been effective in fighting terrorism. It's just another bureaucracy America doesn't need. Also, Congress created a position called "National Intelligence Director" to be over the CIA and the intelligence department. That was another unnecessary position. That position was created due to the 9/11 commission's report. What benefit is it to create new governmental positions if they're going to be infiltrated with political correctness? It's worthless. The two unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is another negative as well. We haven't learned our lessons from Vietnam when it comes to fighting a limited war. When you go to war, you must supply your soldiers with all the equipment necessary to win the war. Bush didn't mind waging war, but he didn't seem to be concerned with winning the war before his term ended. Last year I heard a radio talk show commenting on how Bush would say that the war in Iraq was one of the most important wars there was and that we needed to win it. The host asked the question why would Bush want to leave this war to his predecessor who might be Barack Obama knowing where he (Obama) stood on Iraq? I agreed with that.

The national deficit skyrocketed under the Bush administration. National spending kept increasing every year. It wasn't all for the purpose to fight the war on terror, either. A lot of foolish spending was taking place when it came to pork barreling projects in many of our elected officials' home districts. A lot of the foolish spending as usual. Much of that foolish spending was taking place when the Republicans were in control of Congress. Also, Bush supported expanding Medicare with it covering prescription drugs, which hasn't helped our senior citizens. In 2005, Bush signed a treaty called Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) which wasn't good for American manufacturing. Bush also signed an agreement along with Canadian President Stephen Harper and then Mexican President Vicente Fox calling for a North American Union which would erode America's sovereignty and create one currency. It also called for the creation of a NAFTA superhighway which would allow trucks from Mexico to come through America's highways to carry goods. It could put many of our truckers out of business. Also the failure to rein in the high fuel costs was another problem for Bush. The government could've used antitrust laws to break up the monopoly of these oil corporations. In the process, there wasn't any progress made to drill for domestic oil, which is what we needed given the problems our world has with Islamic terrorists.

Bush also failed to secure our borders. That was one of the first things that should've been done when we were hit by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He tried to push for amnesty for illegals and thankfully that measure failed. Lastly, the bailout of the mortgage industry last year was another bad thing. That incident helped seal the election for President Obama last year. If companies are too big to fail, then they need to be broken up into small companies.

I could still continue, but these are the positive and negative highlights of the Bush administration. Bush did some good things, but he also in the process did a lot of bad things. His actions brought America down the path to socialism. Barack Obama has picked up where Bush left off and will probably complete the deal unless the Lord intervenes. Bush and his family are wealthy elitists and they are believers in the New World Order. Bush's policies the last few years have brought us closer to that realization.