Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Happy Independence Day 2013!

The Stars and Stripes

The Stars and Stripes

The Declaration of Independence

Here’s the complete text of the Declaration of Independence here.

The best book to read about the Revolutionary War is David McCullough’s “1776″, which I highly recommend. The audio book version is awesome.

George Washington and the American Revolution

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware

To really understand the founding of the United States, you should read about the story of Washington crossing the Delaware. At this point in the Revolutionary War, the British commanders had achieved a stunning series of victories against the Americans. They had even sent word home to the King that the war was over, and that the Americans would be forced to surrender. But Washington did not give up. He attacked the British forces and took them by surprise – and he won the Battle of Trenton! That was the turning point of the war. There almost never was a United States of America – that’s how close the revolution came to failing.

Ronald Reagan vision of America

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

Here is a portion of Ronald Reagan’s farewell speech:

Excerpt:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stand the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after two hundred years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

This is no ordinary nation.

Songs of America

Whenever I drive on long trips, I always practice singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful”.

Even if you are not an American, you can be an honorary American, just for today, if you sing the songs below. God knows that there are other people in the world that love freedom and look to the United States as the model.

If we fall now, then you other freedom-loving people abroad must be ready to pick up the torch!

United States Air Force

United States Air Force

The Star Spangled Banner

Lyrics:

“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

America the Beautiful

Lyrics:

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!”

Here is my favorite version of America the Beautiful, sung by Ray Charles. This is the same version you hear on the Mark Levin show on Friday. Perfection.

Remember to be grateful for the Founding Fathers, and other patriots, who risked everything for liberty in the Revolutionary war. Be grateful to those men and women still fighting abroad to keep those freedoms safe from evil. And most of all, be grateful to God that America is still the beacon of liberty.

Happy Independence Day!

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We should not be ignoring the continued threat of radical Islam

I was surprised to find a strongly-worded article like this at the Christian web site Breakpoint, of all places.

Excerpt:

Overnight, following the inauguration of Barack Obama, problematic phrasing such as the “global war on terror” (itself a euphemism) and “Muslim extremism” were expunged from the national lexicon in favor of generic terms such as “man-caused disasters.” Explained Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, “We want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”

[...][E]vents on the ground continue to belie the administration’s euphemisms, parsings, and happy talk. The grisly murder of a British soldier in broad daylight by two machete- and knife-wielding Muslims in London came within mere days. Yet the Obama administration remains committed to its narrative, which it knows to be untrue, and is more than willing to twist the facts to keep it going. Worse, the administration has done all this at the risk of American lives and security. Let’s go down the short list:

Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in his 2009 rampage. Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) during the attack against his unarmed fellow soldiers, now says he was defending the Taliban. U.S. prosecutors are treating the bloodletting as an incident of “workplace violence,” denying victims both Purple Hearts and certain combat-related medical benefits. Hasan, meanwhile, is preparing to defend himself in a court of law.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled a message on the boat in which he was captured that said the Americans killed were collateral damage in U.S. wars in Muslim lands, and that an attack on one Muslim is an attack on all. The FBI, of course, failed to prevent his butchery, which killed three people and wounded 275, even after a warning from Russian intelligence about the Tsarnaev brothers.

Then of course there is Benghazi. Seeking to maintain the pre-election fiction that the drone-happy President Obama had al Qaeda on the run (“The tide of war is receding,” the president told the U.N.), the administration ignored months of warnings from Ambassador Chris Stevens and others about inadequate security at the U.S. consulate and the strengthening of Islamist forces in Libya. On September 11, Islamists linked to al Qaeda launched a coordinated assault on the consulate, killing four Americans, including Stevens. (Many more would have died if two former Navy SEALs had not disobeyed orders and rescued consulate staff.) Despite repeated calls to Washington for help and a rescue team that was ready to intervene, that night administration officials did nothing.

And in the following weeks, they promulgated the lie that the assault was not an attack of Islamist terror but a “spontaneous demonstration” in response to a YouTube video. Adding insult to injury, Barack Obama has just selected the discredited U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, who repeated the administration lie on numerous Sunday morning talk shows, to be his next national security adviser. Why not, since the bigger lie about the threat we face from radicalized Islam continues?

I was surprised to see so direct an article posted on Breakpoint. It shocked me more than when the Gospel Coalition interviewed old-Earth design theorist Stephen C. Meyer about his new book on the Cambrian explosion. It’s just so encouraging to see Christians rolling up their sleeves and applying their worldview to areas like science and foreign policy. The fact is, we do have to care about this issues, because Christian applies to every area of our lives. It’s not about feeling comfortable in our own hearts by having a private notion of Christianity that is just for our benefit. We should be letting Christian truth claims seep into every area of our lives, so that we continue to promote the good in every area, for everyone. Naturally, we have to study more in order to know how to achieve the good in every area. Some areas like economics and foreign policy are complicated, and not much fun for us, if our goal is personal happiness and comfort. But I think that’s what were are supposed to be doing – learning the truth about God, and then applying it out there in the real world. It’s OK for Christians to study up on these areas and have an informed opinion about them. It’s OK to speak out on these issues, too. We need more of that.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama administration tells 60,000 Border and Customs agents to take furloughs

If you needed any proof that Obama does not have the temperament to be President, here it is in this Newsmax article.

Excerpt:

Sixty-thousand federal employees responsible for securing the nation’s borders and facilitating trade will be furloughed for as many as 14 days starting next month because of $85 billion in cross-government spending cuts.

The federal government notified the workers on Thursday, CNN reports.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the furloughs and other austerity measures would cause delays at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and would reduce the number of border patrol officers on duty at any one time, CNN reports.

[...]Customs collects more money for the federal government than any agency other than the Internal Revenue Service, the National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement.

“There is no escaping the reality that sequestration is having serious effects on the traveling public and on vital commerce,” the union’s president, Colleen M. Kelley, said in the statement.

Late last month, Napolitano and other Obama administration officials came under fire — particularly from officials in Arizona — for the release of hundreds of illegal immigrants held in local jails to save money as the sequester neared.

Napolitano has since promised to release more illegals, primarily on supervised release, saying the sequester had left her no choice.

“We’re going to continue to do that for the foreseeable future,” Napolitano said at a March 4 breakfast meeting hosted by Politico. “We are going to manage our way through this by identifying the lowest-risk detainees, and putting them into some kind of alternative to release.”

The border is a national security issue, because anyone coming through with a weapon of mass destruction could cost the lives of many Americans. The Border and Customs programs are not what is driving our debt. The biggest driver of our debt is entitlement spending, especially spending on Medicare. But that’s not what Obama is choosing to focus on. He wants to hurt the American people rather than doing the hard work of cutting back big government. There are lots of places where we could cut billions without impacting effectiveness. Why not look at cutting fat (Solyndra) rather than muscle (border security)?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paul Ryan’s views on foreign policy and social issues

Rep. Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan

We all know that Paul Ryan is conservative on fiscal issues. He’s the man with a plan to stop overspending and solve the debt problem. But where does he stand on other issues?

Here’s an article from the liberal Washington Post about Ryan’s foreign policy views.

Excerpt:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave a speech Thursday to the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington. If one is looking for clues as to Ryan’s interests beyond chairing the House Budget Committee, a speech, as he put it, to “a room full of national security experts about American foreign policy” would merit attention.

…Ryan delivered an above-the-fray talk on the subject of American uniqueness (a less loaded term) and the myth that American decline in inevitable. He posited, “Our fiscal policy and our foreign policy are on a collision course; and if we fail to put our budget on a sustainable path, then we are choosing decline as a world power.”

Ryan contends that the debt crisis is not a bookkeeping problem or even simply a domestic problem; it is about maintaining our status as a superpower and about American values.

[...]He plainly is not with the cut-and-run set on Afghanistan. “Although the war has been long and the human costs high, failure would be a blow to American prestige and would reinvigorate al-Qaeda, which is reeling from the death of its leader. Now is the time to lock in the success that is within reach.” Nor can he be accused of wanting to “go it alone.” “The Obama administration has taken our allies for granted and accepted too willingly the decline of their capacity for international action. Our alliances were vital to our victory in the Cold War, and they need to be revitalized to see us through the 21st century.”

As for China, he bats down the idea that we should go along to get along… He’s clear that China has “very different values and interests from our own.”

And finally on defense spending, he rejects the sort of penny-pinching isolationism of Jon Huntsman or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.).

According to On The Issues, he’s solid on military spending:

  • Rated 22% by SANE, indicating a pro-military voting record
  • YES on $266 billion Defense Appropriations bill
  • YES on deploying SDI
  • YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan
  • YES on continuing military recruitment on college campuses
  • YES on restricting no-bid defense contracts

He’s solid on counter-terrorism:

  • NO on Veto override: Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations
  • NO on requiring FISA warrants for wiretaps in US, but not abroad
  • YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent
  • YES on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight
  • YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant
  • YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad
  • YES on retroactive immunity for telecoms’ warrantless surveillance

And supports military intervention against Islamic terrorists:

  • Strengthen sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition
  • Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program
  • YES on authorizing military force in Iraq
  • YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date
  • NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days
  • NO on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq

I agree with him on all of that. But how is he on social issues?

Excerpt:

Ryan, the top Republican on the Budget Committee who has a strongly pro-life record, talked about the place social issues have in the election in an interview with CNBC last week.

“We will agree to disagree on those issues,” Ryan said last Monday on CNBC. “But let’s rally around the tallest pole in our tent

Ryan also released a statement today that LifeNews.com received saying pro-life issues are not on a list of menu items that have to be given up during the election season.

“Healthy debate should take place within the Republican Party on specific policies, but it is a false choice to ask which natural right we should discard

“All planks – economic liberty and limited government; keeping our nation secure; championing America’s founding truths and the dignity of every human person – are rooted in same timeless principles, enshrined in our Founding and the cause of our exceptionalism,” Ryan added. “The American family must remain at the core of our free society, and I will remain ever-vigilant in its defense.”

Conor Sweeney, a top Ryan spokesman, told LifeNews.com today that Ryan doesn’t agree with the “truce” on social issues Barbour and Daniels have advocated.

“Paul Ryan rejects the false choice that our natural rights to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ are a menu of options,” he said, adding that Ryan has been “calling upon his colleagues to defend the sanctity of life.”

He also pointed to comments Ryan made in a Weekly Standard interview rejecting the “truce” language and putting him outside the Daniels-Barbour circle.

“I don’t see it quite the same way [as Daniels],” Ryan said in June, “we don’t need to ask anybody to unilaterally disarm.”

“I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” Ryan continued. “You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.”

Here’s his voting record on pro-life issues:

  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record
  • Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance
  • Prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortion
  • Bar funding for abortion under federal Obamacare plans
  • Congress shall protect life beginning with fertilization
  • Prohibit federal funding to groups like Planned Parenthood
  • Grant the pre-born equal protection under 14th Amendment
  • YES on barring transporting minors to get an abortion
  • YES on banning partial-birth abortions
  • YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad
  • YES on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes
  • YES on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info
  • YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life
  • YES on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime
  • YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions
  • NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research
  • NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines

And he is also a strong defender of traditional marriage:

  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance
  • YES on banning gay adoptions in DC.
  • YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage
  • YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman
  • YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation
  • NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes

Tough on crime:

  • Rated 30% by CURE, indicating anti-rehabilitation crime votes
  • YES on more prosecution and sentencing for juvenile crime
  • NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.
  • NO on expanding services for offendors’ re-entry into society

Favors school choice:

  • Rated 8% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes
  • NO on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences
  • NO on $40B for green public schools

And an increased role for families and churches:

  • YES on responsible fatherhood via faith-based organizations
  • YES on treating religious organizations equally for tax breaks
  • NO on instituting National Service as a new social invention

So definitely not just a fiscal conservative. He’s conservative across the board. And STRONGLY so.

Female readers of the Wintery Knight blog may now swoon.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New study: women economists more likely to support higher taxes and bigger government

From liberal USA Today.

Excerpt:

A lot depends on whether the economist is a man or a woman. A new study shows a large gender gap on economic policy among the nation’s professional economists, a divide similar — and in some cases bigger — than the gender divide found in the general public.

[...]Female economists tend to favor a bigger role for government while male economists have greater faith in business and the marketplace. Is the U.S. economy excessively regulated? Sixty-five percent of female economists said “no” — 24 percentage points higher than male economists.

[...]The genders are most divorced from each other on the question of equality for women. Male economists overwhelmingly think the wage gap between men and women is largely the result of individuals’ skills, experience and voluntary choices. Female economists overwhelmingly disagree by a margin of 4-to-1.

More findings:

  • Health insurance. Female economists thought employers should be required to provide health insurance for full-time workers: 40% in favor to 37% against, with the rest offering no opinion. By contrast, men were strongly against the idea: 21% in favor and 52% against.
  • Education. Females narrowly opposed taxpayer-funded vouchers that parents could use for tuition at a public or private school of their choice. Male economists love the idea: 61% to 14%.
  • Labor standards. Females believe 48% to 33% that trade policy should be linked to labor standards in foreign counties. Males disagreed: 60% to 23%.

According to a recent research paper, single women tend to vote for bigger government in order to have security.

Excerpt:

Giving women the right to vote significantly changed American politics from the very beginning. Despite claims to the contrary, the gender gap is not something that has arisen since the 1970s. Suffrage coincided with immediate increases in state government expenditures and revenue, and these effects continued growing as more women took advantage of the franchise. Similar changes occurred at the federal level as female suffrage led to more liberal voting records for the state’s U.S. House and Senate delegations. In the Senate, suffrage changed voting behavior by an amount equal to almost 20 percent of the difference between Republican and Democratic senators. Suffrage also coincided with changes in the probability that prohibition would be enacted and changes in divorce laws.

[...]More work remains to be done on why women vote so differently, but our initial work provides scant evidence that it is due to self-interest arising from their employment by government.The only evidence that we found indicated that the gender gap in part arises from women’s fear that they are being left to raise children on their own (Lott and Kenny 1997). If this result is true, the continued breakdown of the family and higher divorce rates imply growing political conflicts between the sexes. 19

A recent New York Times poll found that Obama led Romney by 29 points among single women, whereas Romney has a slight edge with married women.

I think one of the reasons why single women are so willing to look to big government as a substitute for a husband is because lately they seem to be struggling with 1) the ability to choose a good man by evaluating him rationally and objectively, and 2) the willingness to sacrifice and compromise in order to keep a good man. In my experience, single women today seem to be concerned that men might somehow place obligations on them that might limit their automomy with respect to the pursuit of happiness. That is why they often (but not always!) delay marriage and focus on their careers, and often vote for bigger government to provide them with a safety net. I think that women spend their 20s trying to drift into marriage by working on their careers and by having a good time with the wrong sort of men – men who don’t perform the traditional male roles. Single women vote for bigger government because deep down they know that the binge drinking and the hook-up sex are not likely to find a good man and produce a lasting marriage. But they just can’t stop themselves from having “fun” – big government is their safety net for their own choices with men.

I was having a conversation with a Christian woman on the weekend about Christian women and the men they choose to pursue.  She said that divorce was not something that she was worried about because she had undertaken a careful study of men and marriage and she knew how to choose the right man for the job. She said that she was very clear on what men are supposed to do in a marriage, and that she had confidence in her ability to assess men for those duties. Secondly, she said that she knew what her responsibilities were as a woman in a marriage towards a man, and that she had complete confidence in her ability to perform those duties, based on careful, study, planning and training.  I was impressed because she was taking responsibility to make good decisions and to perform her duties, and she had confidence that this would reduce and even eliminate the risk of divorce. But I doubt that she would say that she learned these things from the secular culture, and probably not even in the church.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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