Prayer for these days

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 (New International Version)

Ecclesiastes 12

 1 Remember your Creator
       in the days of your youth, 
       before the days of trouble come
       and the years approach when you will say,
       “I find no pleasure in them”-
 2 before the sun and the light
       and the moon and the stars grow dark,
       and the clouds return after the rain;
 3 when the keepers of the house tremble,
       and the strong men stoop,
       when the grinders cease because they are few,
       and those looking through the windows grow dim;
 4 when the doors to the street are closed
       and the sound of grinding fades;
       when men rise up at the sound of birds,
       but all their songs grow faint;
 5 when men are afraid of heights
       and of dangers in the streets;
       when the almond tree blossoms
       and the grasshopper drags himself along
       and desire no longer is stirred.
       Then man goes to his eternal home
       and mourners go about the streets.
 6 Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
       or the golden bowl is broken;
       before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
       or the wheel broken at the well,
 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
       and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
 8 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. [a]
       “Everything is meaningless!”
 

Ray Stedman’s prayer

Lord, teach me to remember You, my Creator, in these days of temptation. By Your grace, let me grow in favor with God and man.

My prayer .

Forgive us Lord for our ungrateful attitude, lead us from this place to your throne of grace. We know we are in your hands. Pray for all the leaders you have placed in power. Pray for our country and for all of us. Deliver us from our sinful ways and put in us a clean heart ans mind. In Jesus’ name AMEN

Bud Simmons

 

Mel Martinez, RNC chair…Sigh…Oh, well. Michael Steele has been passed up for Sen. Mel Martinez. Yes, a squish on border security is now the RNC chair. Has the GOP learned anything?

Abrupt US Withdrawal Would Be ‘Utterly Disastrous’

Democrats Cast McCain As an ‘Opportunist’ — The question is, which McCain is running,” said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney. “[Will it be] the McCain who called right wing extremists like Jerry Falwell an evil influence, or the McCain who spoke at Liberty University as he attempted to cater to the far right in advance of a presidential run?” she asked. “Or the McCain who opposed overturning Roe vs. Wade or the McCain who said he would support South Dakota’s ban?

SENATE ARMED SERVICES Carl M. Levin — He is the longest-serving senator in Michigan (large Isamic vote see also John Conyers) history and holds one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate.

SENATE ARMED SERVICES

Carl M. Levin

Michigan

Friday, November 10, 2006; Page A11

Levin, 72, is a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq. In June, he tried unsuccessfully to pass a nonbinding proposal urging President Bush to begin withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the end of this year.

He was elected to the Senate in 1978; this will be his second turn as Armed Services chairman. He clashed often with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, disagreeing strongly with the now-departing Pentagon chief on missile defense. He has said the Army is stretched too thin, there are not enough soldiers and protective gear in Iraq, too many soldiers are held in service by “stop-loss” orders and the Army is not adequately replacing old equipment.


(Dennis Cook – AP)

 

U.S. Congress

Levin grew up in Detroit as part of a politically well-known family. He is the longest-serving senator in Michigan history and holds one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate.

Thinking

Thinking
It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then — to loosen up.
Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone — “to relax,” I told myself — but I knew it wasn’t true.

Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home.
One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.
I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”
One day the boss called me in. He said, “Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.”
This gave me a lot to think about.
I came home early after my conversation with the boss.
“Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”
“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”
“But Honey, surely it’s not that serious.”
“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won’t have any money!”
“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently.
She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.
“I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door.
I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche.
I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors…They didn’t open. The library was closed.
To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.
Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked.
You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker’s Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting.
At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.
I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.
Life just seemed…easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.
I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.
Today, I registered to vote as a Democrat.
–Thanks to John Cassady, Lieutenant Colonel, Special Forces, US Army (Retired), free-lance cartoonist, and great humorist

John Conyers And The Muslim Caucus

John Conyers And The Muslim Caucus

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Posted 11/9/2006

Congress: The likely new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he’s just fighting bigotry in leading a Democrat jihad to deny law enforcement key terror-fighting tools. But he is in the pocket of Islamists.

John Conyers, son of a leftist Detroit union activist, represents the largest Arab population in the country. His district includes Dearborn, Mich., nicknamed “Dearbornistan” by locals fed up with cultural encroachment and terror fears from a steady influx of Mideast immigrants.

Conyers, who runs an Arabic version of his official Web site, does the bidding of these new constituents and the militant Islamist activists who feed off them. They want to kill the Patriot Act and prevent the FBI from profiling Muslim suspects in terror investigations. They also want to end the use of undisclosed evidence against suspected Arab terrorists in deportation proceedings.

And the 77-year-old Conyers has vowed to deliver those changes for them.

“The policies of the Bush administration have sent a wave of fear through our immigrant communities and targeted our Arab and Muslim neighbors,” he growls.

He’ll soon be in a position to act on his promises. And he has the full backing of the expected speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants to criminalize FBI and Customs Service profiling of Muslim terror suspects.

“Since Sept. 11, many Muslim Americans have been subjected to searches at airports and other locations based upon their religion and national origin,” she said. “We must make it illegal.”

Conyers, a lawyer by trade, last decade pushed through a bill to help stop what he called “DWB,” driving while black. He dubs post-9/11 profiling “flying while Muslim.”

Pelosi has also promised Muslims she’ll “correct the Patriot Act,” one of the most valuable tools the FBI has in ferreting out jihadist cells lurking in Muslim communities.

Conyers is one of the top recipients of donations from the Arab-American Leadership PAC. And not surprisingly, he has a long history of pandering to Arab and Muslim voters.

During the first Gulf War, for instance, Conyers fought FBI outreach efforts in the Arab and Muslim community in Detroit that were designed to gather intelligence on potential cells and protect the home front. Conyers and other Detroit-area Democrats at the time, David Bonior and John Dingell, threatened to hold hearings unless the FBI stopped counterterrorism interviews.

The FBI met with them privately to explain the national security benefits of outreach, but could not allay their concerns. In the end, the FBI backed off. Today, Hamas, Hezbollah and the al-Qaida-tied Muslim Brotherhood are all active in the area.

Expect Conyers and Pelosi to kick open the doors of Congress to Islamists from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other militant groups. They will have unfettered access, even though many of their leaders have been tied to terrorism (some CAIR officials have landed in the big house).

In 2003, Conyers hosted the first dinner on the Hill that celebrated the end of Ramadan for such Muslim leaders. It’s now a tradition. Incoming Democrat freshman Keith Ellison, a Louis Farrakhan disciple and first Muslim member of Congress, will no doubt expand the invitation list.

Conyers has also sponsored one of the Islamists’ favorite bills in Congress. HR 635, which has 40 co-signers, would create a select committee to investigate President Bush for allegedly manipulating prewar intelligence and torturing al-Qaida detainees. The goal of his bill is to build grounds for impeachment.

Conyers led the defense of Bill Clinton in last decade’s impeachment hearings and is clearly out for blood. So are many of the constituents he serves.

The “God Is on Our Side” Lie — National Council of Churches (leftists) strike again

The “God Is on Our Side” Lie
By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 13, 2006

Just in time before the election, the head of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the former United Methodist bishop of Washington, D.C., penned a newspaper op-ed lampooning President Bush for supposedly claiming that “God is on our side.”

“God takes no side in war,” they insisted. “Do not let anyone tell you differently.”

 

In their column for the Arkansas-Gazette, NCC chief Bob Edgar and Bishop Felton May never actually quoted Bush about his supposed claims of divine favor. That’s because Edgar and May were relying on caricatures, not actual facts.

Instead, Rev. Edgar and Bishop May recounted their distress over 9/11 anniversary television images of President Bush at a Ground Zero memorial service, of a  chapel near the “airliner crash site” in Pennsylvania that prominently displays a Christian cross, and of choirs singing “God Bless America.” Not surprisingly, Americans of all political stripes sought solace in their traditional religious symbols and practices when remembering a national calamity.

But religious remembrance of 9/11 evidently peeved the two church officials, who prefer to appropriate religious symbols for their own political causes of the left, most of which involve apologizing for
America. Having to recall Islamic terrorists caused 9/11 is painful for the Religious Left, because it distracts from their own preference for America-bashing.

Rev. Edgar and Bishop May grieved that Bush, post-9/11, once used the word “crusade,” which Bush later quickly retracted. Yet the clerics fretted that Bush’s comment is “still burned into the memories of many non-Christians (and Christians, as well).” Indeed. In typical Religious Left fashion, Rev. Edgar and Bishop May are more preoccupied by the West’s sins of 1000 years ago than by the threat posed today by Islamic jihad.

 

According to Rev. Edgar and Bishop May, Bush’s rhetoric about freedom as God’s gift to every human being on the earth is the equivalent of claiming that God is on
America’s side. “He has positioned America and its military as God’s arm in making that gift a reality in
Iraq,” the clerics intoned. 
Iraq aside, Bush’s speeches about universal freedom repeat the beliefs and aspirations of American presidents from the last 200 years. “The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time,” Thomas Jefferson famously asserted.

 

Do these clerics disagree with
Jefferson? Do Rev. Edgar and Bishop May believe in innate universal human rights?  If so, they do not say it or show it. Edgar’s NCC, like the rest of the Religious Left, is silent about the depredations and persecutions of radical Islam, just as they were -and remain – silent about Marxist repression. For them, human rights seem to be only a rhetorical tool with which to bash the
United States.

Rev. Edgar and Bishop May expressed chagrin about President Bush’s phrase “Islamic fascists” to describe terrorists, which unfairly “taints a whole people or a world religion is hurtful at best and at worst inflammatory.” The clerics implored: “Just because they may invoke God’s name as they commit their evil, we should not do the same.” Note that Rev. Edgar and Bishop May, like most of the Religious Left, are not shy about condemning Christian “fundamentalists” and the alleged threat that Southern Baptist potluck suppers and Pentecostal hymn sings supposedly pose to decency and democracy.  But they are quite anxious to defend radical Islam from potential slander.

According to Rev. Edgar and Bishop May, Jesus taught that God does “not play favorites.” The clerics then go on to condemn U.S. policies since 9/11:  the “torture and the degrading or demeaning of our fellow human beings” by the U.S., the “unlawfully detaining our fellow human beings” by the
U.S., and “a government that has routinely skirted the rule of law while invoking it as making us some outstanding example of civilization.”

 

Although God purportedly does not play favorites, God does evidently reserve special condemnation for the
U.S., as channeled through His spokespersons, such as Rev. Edgar and Bishop May. The two clerics insisted that since Jesus “tells us we are all ‘children of the Father’ it might not be a bad idea to start reading and studying the Koran, the Torah, and the Upanishads.” Although both Rev. Edgar and Bishop May are theologically trained (Edgar is a former seminary president), they do not quote Jesus very accurately. In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus urges “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven….” From the perspective of Jesus, God offers Himself as a Father to those who are willing to do His will.   In orthodox Christian theology, God does not impose Himself as Father on anybody; rather He is a Father to those who want Him.

In John 8:44, Jesus even talks about some people who prefer the Devil as their father. But Jesus’ more politically incorrect stances are not likely to merit the attention of left-wing clerics like Rev. Edgar and Bishop May, for whom the politics of social justice often take priority over the historic doctrines of the faith they are supposed to espouse.

 

The erroneous theology of the Religious Left leads directly to their wacky political stances.  Just as they cannot accept the concrete tenets of their own churches, often preferring instead a foggy syncretism, so they likewise cannot fully accept the premise that basic human rights are indeed the birthright of all. Neither Edgar nor May will be writing op-eds about the slave labor camps of North Korea, or Fidel Castro’s prisons, or Iran’s Islamic police state, or
Saudi Arabia’s iron fisted religious police, or communist Chinese media censorship, or the ugly goals and crimes of Islamic jihadists everywhere.

“God takes no sides in war,” the two clerics piously intoned, even as they vigorously invoked God in lambasting their own country. Jesus asked His followers to visit those who are in prison, and remember those who are persecuted for His name’s sake. But unless you are an incarcerated Islamist, do not look for any prayers by or visits from Rev. Edgar or Bishop May.

Who has a plan? — We forget sometimes that no matter what we do here on earth, the Lord is still in control. I know sometimes it doesn’t look that way, but we don’t know the mind of God or the way of God

The Worst Case –With a presidential campaign coming up, the Democrats need to appease their MoveOn wing. (Not to mention the ACLU, Amnesty International, Code Pink etc.) This they will do by the simplest means possible: a straightforward assault on the administration’s foreign policy. The more conservative freshmen, in concert with the GOP, may well prevent an outright defunding of the war or a precipitous Vietnam-style pullout. But everything else is up for grabs.

The Worst Case
November 13th, 2006

The problem, Mr. President, is people don’t believe we’re at war.”     –  a law student speaking to George W. Bush

The 2006 midterm elections mark the worst defeat for the West since the opening of the War on Terror. What the Jihadis have not been able to accomplish in the field, the American political system has done for them.

Last Tuesday voters were attempting to vote away the war. Not simply the Iraq War, but the War on Terror in general. It’s an understandable reaction. For five years the people of this country have had to endure fear and anxiety of a kind they are utterly unused to. These tensions have become focused on Iraq, the most visible aspect of the overall conflict. People can recall a time, tantalizingly close, when things were otherwise. They are unable to face up to the fact that those day are gone for their lifetimes. They needed to strike out at someone. Unable to strike at the Jihadis, they struck at who m ever was closest.

Now the Democrats are in control of Congress, with the tacit implication that things will be different. Their actual plans are not at all clear. The danger is that they’ll act now just as irresponsibly as they did during earlier crises. Those of us old enough to remember the Democratic response to Vietnam in the 70s and Central America in the 80s have very little faith in claims of political maturity. (Particularly since the party’s progressive wing – no less than 62 representatives – is meeting with none other than George McGovern, the apostle of  spinelessness, for the purpose of planning a complete withdrawal from Iraq “by next June”.) 

In both cases, the response was, not to put too fine a point on it, to cut and run. In Southeast Asia, cut and run resulted in the deaths of several million between the Cambodia Year Zero massacres and the flight of the Boat People from Vietnam. The Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans were luckier. The opposition – disdainfully termed the “Contras” by the American left – held out until free elections took place, unseating the Sandinistas and ending the threat. (And here we have none other than Danny Ortega back in office! How’s that for a divine tap on the shoulder?)

But we can’t cut and run from the war on terror. The United States proper escaped scot-free from both previous efforts to evade its historical obligations. There’s no escape this time. To attempt retreat from engagement with terrorists will be to drag them right back with us.

Some commentators have spoken of a sense of responsibility that will dramatically seize the Dems once they take office. While not inconceivable, it’s  never happened before. Others  point out the number of conservatives (so-called “Blue Dogs”) among the new Democratic  congressmen coming in. But the Blue Dogs are freshman, and by definition powerless. The reins are held by the same products of the 60s who have been in control since McGovern’s heyday. Their program will be what it always was – anti-military, anti-defense, and anti-American. Asking them to be different is asking  a leopard to change  his spots, a thing that has never been and will never be.

With a presidential campaign coming up, the Democrats need to appease their MoveOn wing. (Not to mention the ACLU, Amnesty International, Code Pink etc.) This they will do by the simplest means possible: a straightforward assault on the administration’s foreign policy. The more conservative freshmen, in concert with the GOP, may well prevent an outright defunding of the war or a precipitous Vietnam-style pullout. But everything else is up for grabs. In a short piece  for NRO, Ramesh Ponnuru has put the stakes as clearly as anyone could.

“…al-Qaeda will be left in control of Anbar, Salahaddin, and possibly Babil and Diyala as  well… …we will still have a failed terrorist state made up of what was central Iraq to deal with… The loss of Iraq is almost certain to coincide with a major push in Afghanistan-Pakistan…  Pakistan is likely to fall, (probably in a palace coup) before al-Qaeda and the Taliban make any serious headway in Afghanistan. That may preserve the Karzai government, but it will also turn bin Laden  into a nuclear power.”

Bad enough. But the main target of the Jihadis is not Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Pakistan.  The main target is the United States.

If the Dems remain true to their record, we can expect investigations of virtually every domestic security program put in place since 9/11, if not before. The grounds for these circuses will be the standard “assault on liberties” accusation used, with considerable success, against the Patriot Act, the financial surveillance program, the overseas cellphone intercepts, and the  domestic radiation surveillance program, among others.

The model will be the 1975 Church committee, in which Sen. Frank Church, angling for a shot at the presidency, took on the “rogue elephant” of the CIA, and through exposure, publicity, and dubious testimony damaged the agency to such an extent that in some ways it hasn’t recovered to this day.

The result will be overall paralysis. Counterintelligence operations of the type being  carried out against the Jihadis require boldness, initiative, and a willingness to take risks and play hunches. All that will evaporate under the fear of subpoenas or even indictment.

This will not be the result of conscious decision. The vast majority of the individuals carrying out this effort are patriots of the highest order, who would willingly die for this country and its people. But consider the shadowy nature of intelligence to start with, and how difficult it is under the best of circumstances. How do you carry out such operations with hostile, prying eyes constantly peering over your shoulder, ready to pounce on the first mistaken judgment or error of interpretation? The simple answer is: you don’t.

With the best intentions in the world, our people will slow down. They will hesitate. They will reconsider. They will check twice or three times where once would have sufficed. Throw in the fact that the leadership will be tied up in testifying or depositions, and it can be easily seen how things will begin to slide. These people have done yeoman work defending the country for the last five years. They have broken up conspiracy after conspiracy – Lackawanna, Lodi, Padilla, Portland. But the era of repeated home runs is now over.

(Clear evidence for this can be found in this article on  congressional refusal to pass the bill authorizing warrantless wiretaps. So a crucial program, one known to have detected Jihadi networks, is now on the way out.) The window will be open for the Jihadis, and we can expect them to climb right in. A thoughtful enemy would hold off, take time to consolidate their gains overseas, continue building their networks while the U.S. falls further into a stupor. But the Jihadis, with a few exceptions, are not thinkers. They are medieval ideologues committed to a philosophy of action.  They want blood, they want spectacle, they want attention. And they will get it, one way or another.

It doesn’t matter how it will come. It will come when we least expect it, by some method  we never guessed.  I would not be surprised if such an attack occurred within six months. I would be very surprised if one did not occur within two years. If it does not, it will be a matter of luck and nothing else. (Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, chief of Britain’s MI5, announced this week   that no less than 30 terror plots against the UK were currently being rolled up. How many are active against the U.S.? As has been said so many times that people have ceased hearing it, all the terrorists have to do is succeed once.)

For a time, it seemed that we might get through the current conflict without making the same errors that occurred during the wars against fascism and communism. But it appears that the default position of democracy in long wars is quietism and appeasement, and there is no avoiding the occasional collapse into such a state.

Republican ineptness, Democratic ideology, George W. Bush’s inability to ignite a fire, and something contemptible in the American character have combined to bring us to this point. We will not see our way past it without blood, flames, and grief. There are people—there is no discreet way to put this—who pulled the lever last Tuesday that began the process of their own deaths.

We need to live with an eye open, as we did in the days and weeks following 9/11. Be  careful in airports and in malls. On aircraft, on subways, in the vicinity of tunnels and large  buildings. If you see something troubling, tell the authorities, and if they don’t listen – and it’s  possible, considering the tenor of the times, that they won’t – get out. We can’t save the U.S. from the upcoming series of blows – in truth, it doesn’t want to be saved. We have to come to terms with the fact that it will require yet more deaths for the country to take this war seriously.

The wolves are playing in the courtyard, but the hare will not escape them.”     –  Franz Kafka

J.R. Dunn is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.