Friday, December 30, 2011

Ron Paul's Chances: Seeing is Believing

     Supposedly, everybody "knows" that Ron Paul can't win, but nobody seems to know how he "knows," and we're not even supposed to question this assumption.  It's my experience that, when everybody "knows" something, and so forth, the assumption is the result of deliberate manipulation and is probably wrong.
      When was the last time you heard someone say, "I really like Herman Cain, but he can't win; so I'll vote for (name)"?  Oh, you never have?  Well, when was the last time you heard someone say that about Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Andy Martin, Jimmy McMillan, Tom Miller, Buddy Roemer, Rick Santorum, Matt Snyder, or Vern Wuensche?  Oh, you never have?  
     Way back in 1979 and early 1980, I heard that all the time about Ronald Reagan: that we needed to vote for George H. W. Bush because Ronald Reagan didn't have a chance of beating Jimmy Carter.  Have you noticed that the only time you hear that canard at the national level is when a popular candidate poses a credible threat to one of the Establishment's hand-picked candidates?  
     Now we're hearing it about Ron Paul.  To test whether there was any truth to this canard, I consulted Google Trends.  No, Google Trends is not by any means a national polling service.
     You see, polling services ask people who may or not be interested in voting that year just how they intend to vote.  At least a third of them aren't going to vote, over two thirds of them won't vote in a primary, and fewer than that will go to the trouble of participating in caucuses, but they respond to surveys anyway.  Why not?  It doesn't cost them any effort to answer a question over the telephone.  
     No, Google Trends measures only two things: how much news coverage a person or topic gets during a given period, and how much Internet interest a topic or person generates during that same period.  People answer surveys whether they're interested in a candidate or not.  They search a candidate on the Internet only if their interested in him or her.
     Internet interest doesn't necessarily mean support, but there can be no support without interest.  Use discretion in reading these charts.  If there are fewer searches on Barack Obama than on Ron Paul, for example, Obama already generates enough reading material via the newspapers.
     Below, in order of the dates for Republican primaries from January 3 until Super Tuesday on March 6, are charts revealing Internet interest (over the last 30 days) in Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich in each of the primary and caucus states through Super Tuesday.  Sorry.  Google Trends measures only five entries at a time.  The first chart is for the United States as a whole.  The rest are for individual states.  The upper sets of lines are for Internet searches.  The lower sets are for news reports.
     Ron Paul should make an impressive showing in New Hampshire, but I'm not prepared to predict a win.
     I'm from South Carolina.  South Carolina is definitely Ron Paul country.  
     Because Maine is a caucus state, and Ron Paul tends to do well in caucuses, I think he'll do well in Maine.

     Michele Bachmann will probably do well in Minnesota, but I'm confident that Ron Paul will win.

     The Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses are not winner-take-all contests.  Delegates will be assigned in proportion to the percentage of the votes each candidate receives.
     Because there was not enough Internet traffic for Alaska, I'm putting it on the same page as the results for Georgia.  The chart refers only to Georgia.  Alaska is a caucus state.  Ron Paul will win.  He'll also win in Idaho (below).
     Chalk up a win for Ron Paul in North Dakota.  The chart below is for Ohio.

     Unless the political climate in Vermont (below) has changed over the past four years, Vermont is not Ron Paul country.  Paul has the added disadvantage of Vermont being a primary state.  
     On the surface, Virginia looks very good for him, in spite of the big support for Romney in the Arlington area.  Since Romney and Paul are the only candidates on the ballot for Virginia, we can expect that Romney will pick up the Establishment vote (such as Gingrich's supporters), while Paul will garner the anti-establishment vote.  It should be interesting.
          I chose not to look at traffic for states after Super Tuesday because the primaries and caucuses prior to (and including) March 6 will heavily influence the dynamics of the remaining primaries.  Draw your own conclusions.
     How do you account for the stunning lack of interest in Romney, Perry, and Gingrich, even as opinion surveys show major support for these three candidates?  It appears that their "support" is mainly due to voter desire to find an alternative to Barack Obama, and that the corporate-owned media have these shallow "supporters" convinced that Ron Paul can't win.  If this is the case, then Google Trends is a far more reliable measure of Ron Paul's popularity than the opinion polls could ever be.
     Just ask yourself, when was the last time you heard an average voter say that he's voting for Romney, Gingrich, or Perry because he thinks that person will be good for the country?  Chances are, you never have.  That would explain why so few people seek information about them on the Internet.
     To secure the nomination, Ron Paul has only one further need.  People who say, "I like Ron Paul, but..." should get off their "buts" and place their votes where their hearts are.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Voters Rebel against Treasonous Congressmen

     Montana has fired a shot that is likely to be heard across the United States, as irate voters move to recall senators and congressmen who have betrayed their trust. In early December a majority of United States senators and representatives voted for the highly controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which even its supporters say will suspend several provisions of the Bill of Rights.  
     The NDAA, signed by Barack Obama on December 15, 2011, presumes to authorize military troops and federal officials to arrest and hold indefinitely and without charges or trial, anyone—including American citizens—suspected of being a terrorist. The legal definition of the word terrorist is left undefined and is up to the discretion of the military, federal officials, or anyone acting at the behest of the military or federal officials.
     Most supporters of the act say that it merely “codifies” what the federal government has been doing since the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act—meaning that it provides a fig leaf of legality for shredding several provisions of the Bill of Rights. The NDAA is a flagrant violation of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments to the United States Constitution, and it puts a chilling effect on the free exercise of the First, Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. (To read the Bill of Rights for yourself, click here.
     Many of the NDAA's supporters have taken pains to conceal their authoritarian intentions.  One of the NDAA’s major supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), has come out of the closed and openly revealed that the NDAA will do everything its critics say it will do. Graham announced that it was necessary to “bring the War on Terror to American soil.”  

     Several top supporters of NDAA openly defend the provisions for secret torture techniques.  In their rationale for abolishing of the Bill of Rights, they imply that anyone who is held and tortured is automatically guilty even without being charged with a crime.  Here's what these sadistic fiends have to say in their defense of tyranny:

     As for whether Americans suspected of being terrorists should be tortured, Graham talks out of both sides of his mouth.

     When Senators Lieberman, Graham, and others posture about detaining “members” of “al Qaeda,” they make it sound as though al Qaeda really exists—other than a CIA front for false flag terror attacks—that al Qaeda issues membership cards, and that the detainee provisions of NDAA are limited to al Qaeda. Nothing could be further from the truth.
     Civil libertarians of all political stripes are concerned at the wording of the act—and the wording is what counts, and not the excuses the authors of the act offer for the NDAA’s detainee provisions for American citizens. Here is what conservative Judge Andrew Napolitano has to say: 

     Some of the most blistering criticisms of this policy come from the far left. Here are MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s comments on Obama’s speech justifying—I’m not making this up—“prolonged, preventive detention.” 
    Notice the date of the broadcast; Obama had been planning this travesty at least as early as four months after he entered the Oval office.
     I hope you listened to Obama’s remarks in the Rachel Maddow broadcast. He and his handlers want to put people in prison indefinitely and without charges, not only because of what they may have done, but because of what they may do in the future.  
     More recently, commentator and Obama supporter Keith Olbermann condemned the measure, pointing out that it was opposed by libertarian Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and liberal Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein ended up voting for the bill anyway. The bill was also opposed by the top leadership of the FBI, the CIA, and other security and intelligence agencies. Nonetheless, the Senate approved the bill 63 to 38, and Obama signed it into law. 

     What qualifies as you as a possible future domestic terrorist? According to the FBI Joint TerrorismTask Force, you may be a domestic terrorist if you “make numerous references to the Constitution.” (PDF) 
     You may also be a domestic terrorist if you buy something from a military surplus store and  “insist on paying with cash.” (PDF) 
     Other suspected terrorists include libertarians, home schoolers, and people who “fear Big Brother government” or are “concerned” about their “privacy.” (link) 
     In response to the passage of the NDAA, citizens of Montana have started a recall movement against Senators Max Baucus (D) and John Tester (D), and against Representative Denny Rehberg (R), who voted for the bill.
     Currently eighteen states allow recall initiatives, usually if the voters offer compelling reasons for the recall. They are Alaska, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and North Dakota. Here’s how. 
     A vote for the NDAA is reason enough for a recall, according to Article 3 Section 3 Clause One of the United States Constitution. It reads, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
     Every member of the U.S. House of Representatives is up for reelection in 2012. To see whether your congressman voted to make war against the American people, see the official tally. (here) 
     For a list of senators who treasonously voted for the NDAA, see the official tally according to the United States Senate: (here) 
     One third of the United States Senate is up for reelection in 2012. Of that number, here’s a list of traitors hope to be reelected in 2012.  In bold type, you'll find the ones from states allowing recall initiatives: Roger Wicker (R-MS), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Bob Corker (R-TN), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Scott Brown (R-MA), John Ensign (R-NV), Texas (Open Seat), Nelson (NE)North Dakota (open seat)Tester (MT)McCaskill (MO),   Nelson (FL),  Webb (VA), Brown (OH), Manchin (WV), Casey (PA), Kohl (WI)Stabenow (MI), Cantwell (WA)Bingaman (NM) (pending retirement decision), Open Seat (CT), Akaka (HI), (pending recruitment), Whitehouse (RI) (pending recruitment), Menendez (NJ) (pending recruitment), Feinstein (CA)Gillibrand (NY),  Cardin (MD), Carper (DE),  Klobuchar (MN).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Addendum to Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits

     By request, I'm posting the final chapter and addendum to Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits.  If you want to read the story from the beginning, click the link to the table of contents here.
     I showed this story to a writer friend of mine who goes by the pen name Edgar Allan Hemingway (and wonders why he still hasn't become successful as a writer).
     He says that Ebenezer Christian has "too happy an ending" for everyone involved. It would "crystallize" the story if the ending contained something that would cause the readers to yearn, "If only such-and-such!" He says that real writers call it pathos. Until he explained to me what it meant, I had thought that Pathos was one of the Three Musketeers.
     In case you're wondering, as I did, what "pathos crystallizing , I'll give you two examples.  Ivanhoe's inability to marry Rebecca in the book Ivanhoe wistfully crystallized the ending of that story.  In the movies, Melinda Dillon's heart-rending scene in Absence of Malice crystallized the otherwise satisfying ending of that movie.
     Actually, there was some bad mixed in with the good in this tale you've just read, but until my friend told me the ending needed some pathos, I had chosen not to mention them.
     One day, when Miss Sarah was out shopping, her favorite dog missed her and decided to go looking for her at her former residence. The poor animal failed to look both ways before crossing the street, and a car came along and—well, you can imagine the rest. Requiescat in pace.
     Pastor Ananias convinced his flock that their outreach ministry wasn't being spent wisely enough and proposed a high-tech remedy. They would purchase air time on a cable television station. Since then, the church pronounced the new, improved outreach ministry a resounding success. They defined success as reaching many times the number of people that they previously had reached; and, due to weepy, televised appeals for donations (to keep the program on the air, of course), the ministry became self-sustaining. This wonderful work justified raising Pastor Ananias's salary.
     Joan Lundon's popularity increased immeasurably after her interview with the Santo family. As a result, the network gave her a promotion and a hefty salary increase; thereupon, her ex-husband hauled her into family court, where he demanded and received a hefty increase in her alimony payments to him.
     The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), as it was called in those days, was equally impressed with Joan Lundon's interview with the Santos; and the INS subsequently “interviewed” the Santo couple to make sure their records were in order. Adios, amigos.
     Less than a year after Robert Mobley's marriage to Sarah, he suffered a massive stroke and required round-the-clock attention. Mr. Mobley spent his remaining days at the William Shatner Nursing Home.  His life was shortened by the fact that television fare at the nursing home was dominated by reruns of Star Trek, T. J. Hooker, and Boston Legal.
*          *          *
     The author of this work, Jerry Mills, asserts his copyright under moral and common law and retains all rights to it, as of this date: April 4, 2001. This copy of Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits is the result of emendations made on July 28, 2009, on May 9, 2010, and December 2011.
     In Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits, the author presents a certain charitable organization in a highly favorable light. That organization had no knowledge that these words would be written about them, and they did not in any way encourage the author to write about them. The views expressed in this story are the author's own, and they are not necessarily the views of any person or group of persons allegorized, satirized, or literally described in this story.
     Most of  the events in the first thirteen chapters of this work are based on actual events, real  people, and real places, though some of the people are composite characters  and some of the places have been moved from their actual location so that the entire story could take place in a single city.  The Santos family represents a homeless man who froze to death in the snow after being turned away from a church near Sharon, Pennsylvania, over forty years ago.  The stable stood in Timmonsville, South Carolina.  Miss Sarah's old house, restored to its former glory, is in Columbia, South Carolina.

Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits, Chapter 14

     (By request, I'm posting the final chapter of Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits.  If you want to read the story from the beginning click the link for the stand-alone page listing the table of contents for this story, here)
Chapter Fourteen
Finding a Room for Jose and Miriam
     Ebenezer Christian stopped his narrative when he reached the point in the story that the spirit had told him that Jose and Miriam Santo were going to freeze to death in the snow. He and Mary Martha had the same thoughts at that instant: Was it true, and could they be saved?
     They dressed as quickly as they could and headed for the door.
     In less than fifteen minutes, they reached the icy bridge. Apart from the stones that had been piled at either side underneath the bridges—stones that now were covered with snow—they saw no indication that anything was wrong.
     Ebenezer Christian bolted from his car and rushed to the creek bank at the side of the bridge. With a little tugging, the rocks rolled from their position as he pulled them, one after another. They tumbled into the frozen creek, cracking the ice as they fell. Ebenezer Christian called out, "Jose! Miriam! Are you okay?"
     There was no answer.
     He pulled a few more rocks away and saw the couple lying asleep next to each other. He shook Jose Santo. "Jose! Wake up!"
     Jose Santo groggily stirred. He was too groggy. Ebenezer Christian recognized his condition as an early stage of hypothermia and began rubbing the man's arms and legs. He called to Mary Martha, who rushed under the bridge to help warm Miriam Santo.
     Miriam first, then Jose, Ebenezer and Mary Martha Christian helped the unfortunate couple into their car.
     A visit to the hospital on Jericho Road revealed that they were in no need of hospitalization. Father, mother and baby would be fine. A visit to the local inn proved a waste of time. Because of the influx of holiday travelers, there was—excuse me—no room for them in the inn.
     Fortunately, Buffy was kind enough to offer the Santos her room until they were fit to travel again.
     In the early morning hours of Christmas day, Miriam Santo gave birth to a boy.
     I won't disappoint you. They named the child Jesus (pronounced, "Hey-SOOS") Manuel (pronounced “Man-UEL,” in case you needed help on that one). Since, in Spanish culture, the mother's maiden surname is tacked onto the end of the child's name, the newborn son of Jose Santo and Miriam del Rey Santos became Jesus Manuel Santo del Rey. He would become known as Jesus Santo.
     (Before you try to draw too much theological significance from the name Jesus Santo, I caution you that allegories have their limits. In other words, don't try; just enjoy the story.)
     At a Christmas candle lighting service, the First Baptist Church of Bedford Falls learned the story as you've read it thus far. That same evening, Cooper Grady learned of it by telephone. As there was a reporter for the Bedford Falls Chronicle present at the candle lighting service, all of Bedford Falls learned of it the day after Christmas. A week later, the Jose and Miriam Santo were interviewed through a translator on the television program Good Morning, America.
     Donna van Doren, the owner of Van Doren Stables, saw the interview and wondered why no one had told her all this. In the incident involving her livery stable, she saw a way to save the building from the wrecker's ball and, at the same time, properly memorialize her grandfather Philip van Doren.
     With the help of donations from all over the Bedford Falls area, plus a hefty sum from her own bank account, Donna van Doren was able to convert the Van Doren Stables into a transient shelter. She further protected the building by mustering public support to have it added to the list of historic buildings.
     Unlike almost all other transient shelters, the Van Doren Stable would accept families without breaking them up. The "s" was dropped from the end of the name of the building. Though it was not legal to make even this small a change to a historic structure without something called a "variance,” few noticed, and no one objected, and no one told the Historical Commission. They were allowed to top the Van Doren Stable with a giant, illuminated star, provided that it didn't "constitute a permanent change" in the appearance of the building's exterior.
     Of course, the place would need resident managers 24 hours a day, which would necessitate the hiring of qualified people. That was no problem. Jose and Miriam Santo were available and spoke fluent Spanish (a skill which would sometimes be needed). Robert Mobley had had years of managerial experience and spoke English (two other skills that would be needed). The three would learn from each other.
     Then Robert Mobley, who had been a widower for several years remarried, and his bride Sarah moved into the shelter. The shelter then had four managers and 14 dogs.
     Leo Lockhart, the chairman of the spaying and neutering clinic, had Mrs. Mobley's dogs spayed and neutered. Eventually, several of the younger dogs found homes in the community; and some of the older dogs were adopted by transients who had grown to love them and later brought them to homes of their own.
     Sarah Mobley's son moved his young family into the mother's old residence and proceeded to restore it to its former elegance. This home, brightened by the family who now lives there, and no doubt cherishes Miss Sarah's memory, can still be seen today.
     Ebenezer Christian, having blown his chances of ever playing Santa Claus again, was able to volunteer extra help during the busy Christmas season. He wouldn't accept payment for his services, but always felt as though he was fully recompensed.
     Mary Martha Christian had begun to notice that her fellow choir singers would look at her askance whenever she had to sing a high note. She took this as a subtle hint and dropped out of the choir to spend more time doing volunteer work at the Van Doren Stable.
     Thousand-dollar suits and Parisian dresses have a way of staying home when their owners visit transient shelters. Ebenezer Christian's manner of dress became increasingly casual, and when his car reached retirement age, he sold it outright and discovered the conveniences of walking, bicycling, or taking a bus.
     When a man becomes casual in his dress, it's called casual. Mary Martha's casualness came to be called frumpy. She didn't mind, though. She was so absorbed in the joys doing the Lord's work among the needy that she scarcely noticed what anyone wore—least of all herself.
     Buffy spent more of her free time helping her classmates who were having trouble in college. Not limiting herself to helping the Chinese classmate we mentioned earlier, she cheerfully helped others, including fellow Americans. After all, it wasn't the nationality that needed help; it was the person, regardless of nationality.
     Their son Enoch needed time to adjust to having his father around, but, in time, Enoch and Ebenezer Christian developed a close father-and-son relationship.
     The Christian family became more careful in their purchasing habits, and searching the Internet for necessary information became an enjoyable family activity. After making themselves aware of the sources of the products they had been buying, the family often sat down to discuss which ones they should boycott and which they should favor.
     They also came to realize how they could raise their standards of living, live healthier, spend less money, and have less of a negative impact on the environment all at the same time.  How?  They did it by learning to think for themselves instead of letting advertisers limit their choices in life.  Instead of asking, "Which brand or product should I buy?" they asked themselves, "What benefits do I want, and what's the most reasonable way of getting those benefits?"  Of course, this strategy meant that they had to anticipate their needs, while their choices were broader, instead of waiting until the needs arose.
     How reliable was the information they had found on the Internet? That was always an important question. Is paper more "green" than plastic, or vice-versa? Does a certain writer's definition of a sweatshop apply to the factory he's accusing, or does it represent a step up from the life the worker had been living? Does that question really matter; that is to say, is there another factory somewhere producing the same kind of product under more humane conditions? As for slave labor, the Christian family needed little discussion: slavery is an unmitigated evil and must not be supported with consumer dollars under any circumstances.
     For discussing such matters as these (and many others), some people chose to condemn the Christian family as eccentrics, kooks, or even conspiracy theoriststhat is, people whose biases are not in accord with yours, especially if the beliefs require responsibility on the part of those who hold those beliefs.
     "I can't become a Christian because it has too many rules," non-believers often complained. "Now you Christians come along and add more rules."
     Ebenezer Christian's answer was direct. "Isn't it odd," he asked rhetorically, that you have two reasons for not becoming a Christian. Your second reason is that, if God is all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing and all-loving, He would do away with all suffering—human and animal—with a wave of His hand, by forcing people to do what we Christians do out of love? How can you be against doing these things voluntarily, while saying that God should force people to do them?" As the reader can see, Ebenezer Christian's experiences with the spirits had sharpened his insight.
     The Christian family's sharpest criticisms came from the people who rush into the church building every time the door swings open.
     "By your strange behavior," they fretted, "you're causing people not to want become Christians. People don't want to become involved in anything strange. If you show them that you're the same as they are, they'll want to become more like you." Read that sentence again. That's the way some professing Christians talk, and, to them, it sounds perfectly reasonable.
     Meanwhile, many people seeking rest trekked into the stable beneath the Star of Bethlehem; and there they found the rest Our Lord and Savior has promised.
     The Christian family cancelled their plans to visit a nationally-famous theme park during their summer vacation, opting instead to spend the money on season tickets to the George Bailey Memorial Cultural Center.
     No doubt, some readers who still haven't gotten the message may be wondering what tickets to cultural activities—however beneficial they may be—are doing in a Christian-oriented novella. The answer is simple, though, for some people, it may be difficult to accept.
     There is no area of human existence that is outside of God's concern.
     Music is a universal language; as such, it serves as a teacher for the soul. Some forms of music teach us compassion; others, beauty; and some forms of music teach us rebellion. Others animate us to some form of action. Still others teach other lessons, and we usually absorb those lessons unaware.
     Enoch was quick to notice a parallel between ballet and kung-fu; Buffy saw it as a form of figure skating without skates; and Ebenezer Christian it as a combination of gymnastics and fine art. They all marveled at what the human body was capable of doing; and they learned a deeper respect for the body and its Creator. Through the medium of ballet, they learned (without being aware of it) the social, cultural, and moral lessons implicit in a well-crafted story.
     The Broadway play Man of la Mancha was presented that year. Like most plays, novels and other productions, it was secular; but like all great productions, it was consistent with the wisdom of a long-established culture. When it is watched through Christian eyes, one can see even deeper meaning in it. Perhaps the creators of great works "speak better than they know,” or perhaps God speaks through the soul of a poet regardless of the medium the poet is using.
Every Sunday evening, they spent at least an hour discussing what they had read during the week, regardless of what they had read. They called this hour their literary digest.
     During one of their discussions, Ebenezer Christian chuckled over a phrase he'd often seen in the newspaper: that, in a certain country, the country's new leader was "swept into power,” as if the overthrow of her predecessor and the new leader's subsequent rise to power had been totally beyond her control. "Reality doesn't happen that way," Ebenezer Christian remarked. "The mere expenditure of excitement and energy doesn't get things done, although they may be used as a pretext. In politics, nothing happens by chance. Things rarely happen as planned; but nothing happens without a plan."
     Ebenezer and Mary Martha Christian rediscovered the classics, and Buffy and Enoch discovered them for the first time. They enjoyed making their own nominations for the "great national novel.”
     Undoubtedly, The Iliad and The Odyssey, taken as a single work, should be called the Great Greek Novel, notwithstanding that the works are epic poems rather than novels. War and Peace, The Divine Comedy (a three-volume epic poem), Don Quixote, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Journey to the West, for the Christian family, were recognized as the great novels of Russia, Italy, Spain, France, and China, respectively; although Ebenezer Christian argued that Les Miserables should be recognized as the Great French Novel. The collected works of Jules Verne received honorable mention.
     What about England and the United States? There was no agreement.
For England, Ivanhoe was favored by Enoch; The Compete Sherlock Holmes was favored by Ebenezer Christian. Mary Martha Christian and Buffy favored the collected works (nine volumes) of Jane Austen. Enoch's counter-argument was that, among those considered, only Ivanhoe qualified as a single novel. Ivanhoe, the others rebutted, was written by a Scotsman. Ebenezer favored Peter Pan for the distinction the great Scottish novel, although none of it was set in Scotland.
     None could think of a book that qualified as the Great American Novel, although Huckleberry Finn and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz were seriously considered. They allowed The Complete Short Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe to stand as "the greatest work of American literature." In that category, Walden received honorable mention.
     They discussed the social, religious, and other implications of each thing they reported having read, without regard for whether it was poetry, a novel, an article on seashelling or some other type of book or article. Each member of the Christian family learned from the others.
     The Christian family continues to love Christmas. In fact, they love it now more than ever.
     They have come to realize that you don't "celebrate Christmas” because Christmas is itself a celebration. They don't have to impose upon themselves the contrived joy that, for some unfathomable reason, people believe you're supposed to have during the Christmas season. Their joy is real because they're filled to overflowing with God's love, and they want to share His love with others.
     Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son to a sinful world, not to condemn it but to save it. God loved the world so much, that He sent his only begotten Son [emphasis added, since Christians are His sons and daughters by adoption]; that whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life and life more abundantly.


Friday, December 23, 2011

It's a Hoot: Blitzer and Cafferty Display the "Professional" Media's Incompetence

     Probably everyone who is not living in Plato's Cave is quite aware of the dishonesty of the corporate-owned media.  In a CNN broadcast a few months ago, Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty displayed laughable incompetence on top of dishonesty.  (Aren't we told that the "professional media" are more reliable than people who aren't paid witnesses?)
     In the following clip, corporate shills Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty display what poor liars they are, and how little they know of the topic on which those two "professionals" are commenting: (video link)
     I see no need to comment on whether it is reasonable for a person to take a gun to a political rally.  Maybe you think it's okay; maybe not.  Regardless of your position on this issue, don't you think that you could have given a better informed and more intelligently worded rationale for your position than these two clowns did?  Never mind that the unintended comedy team of Blitzer and Cafferty can't speak English any better than Dubya Bush; they don't know any more about their  topic than a hog knows about Sunday.
     Here's a sample with my comments:
Wolf Blitzer: Those assault weapons, as you know, Jack, they have a pretty long range. You can fire them at a distance, and those—those rounds, they go pretty far [How far is that, Furface?].
Jack Cafferty: They go pretty far [Cafferty hasn’t bothered to find out the effective range either. Don’t those clowns know how easy it is for their viewers to access Wikipedia? No wonder the globalist crowd hate the Internet!], and you can fire them fully automatic [a lie often repeated by the corporate-owned media], which means they can squeeze off a whole bunch of shots [How many shots is that?  By the way, fool, guns don’t squeeze off shots—people do.] in a very short period of time [How short a period of time is that?]—and the concern that I expressed yesterday when we ran the tape the first time yesterday was, what if some Looney Tune® in the crowd spots one of these weapons and decides to take it away from this guy? Not unheard of [Oh, when did you hear of it happening?]—it’s possible [Please tell us how], and then what kind of—even if the President is not in danger, what kind of tragedy can ensue from something like that? [Probably none at all, since it’s next to impossible to snatch a rifle from someone when it’s strapped to his shoulder.  It's easier and less risky to snatch a spare rib away from a Rottweiler.] It just doesn't make any sense to me. [That’s because he hasn't thought it through; and since when should public opinion be formed on the basis of whether something makes sense to a babbling idiot?  Hasn't he heard the Roman proverb, "Amor populi praesidium regis":(“The love of the people is the king’s protection”)?  The last time a popular President was assassinated in the United States, it was an inside job orchestrated by government officials.]
     A quick look at Wikipedia reveals that most states limit AR-15s to 10-round magazines.  Since AR-15s can be fired no faster than the person handling the rifle can squeeze the trigger, it's a complete falsehood that a person (let alone a rifle) can "squeeze off a whole bunch of bullets in a very short time."  To further reveal the absurdity of Cafferty's remark, anyone who knows anything about firearms knows that you don’t hit a target by spraying a whole bunch of bullets in a very short time, hoping to hit something. You aim. As witness to the truth of this, during the Vietnam War, some 3,000 bullets were fired for each Viet Cong who was killed by gunfire.
     The average ten-year-old boy in South Carolina knows the difference between an AR-15 and an M-16, but an Emmy Award winning "news" reporter and a talking head in a suit doesn't.  It kind of makes you lose respect for Emmy Awards, doesn't it?  And to think that those buffoons actually expect us to believe that the “professional” media is more reliable than the Internet. Sheesh!  I'll stick to the Internet.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taiwanese Student Abducted by Aliens—Misses Class

     According to an official government document filed in Taiwan, a National University of Tainan student recently missed class on December 15 because he was abducted by aliens. The student’s excuse for his absence was marked, “Approved.”
     Classmates of the student—whose name was withheld from the media—posted the approval form on the Internet and said it was “cool.” Some of them said he should be invited to appear before the entire student body to describe his experience with the extraterrestrials.
     Unfortunately, the aliens erased his memory of these events; and he has apologized to his professor.
     University officials (who, for all I know, may have been reptilian shape shifters) said that the official who had approved the abductee’s absence from class was “new” and had “carelessly” approved the request for approved absence. (Suggested translation: “The official who had approved the form was human and not privy to reptilian secrets.”) A school official, who for all appearances seemed as human as you or I, ominously intoned that “there are certain things that should not be joked about.” (Suggested translation: "Reptilian shape shifters have no sense of humor.")
     We are told that the university employee who had inadvertently spilled the beans about aliens at the university was orally reprimanded but not punished. (Suggested translation: "She was forced to take the blue pill but was not disintegrated.")  The person now occupying her position seems to be the same person as before and not a shape shifter impersonating her; but, with reptilian shape shifters, it’s sometimes hard to tell.
     Some students reported an earlier incident in which a student filled out a sick leave form claiming that she suffered from princess syndrome, but that the request was disapproved. Princess syndrome is Taiwanese slang used to describe a girl who thinks of herself as a “princess” and is therefore exempt from responsibility or hard work.
     If I understand the term correctly, a lot of male politicians and Wall Streeters in the United States suffer from princess syndrome. Perhaps a good example would be the NWO front man Newt Gingrich—a Vietnam-Era draft dodger who is now eager to send others’ sons and daughters fight in illegal wars, as well as an admitted adulterer who campaigns on a platform of “family values.”
     Would it be too much to hope that most of our presidential candidates get abducted by aliens? It probably would. Most politicians are shape shifters anyway: They appear to be just like the rest of us when they’re running for office; but, as soon as they get in office, their reptilian traits become evident.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Horses in Politics—Rules of Thumb

     Various forms of the word horse are often used as metaphors for different types of people in politics or government. In fact, the use of the terms has become so codified that even novices—especially novices—can use these metaphors as rules of thumb in understanding political leaders.
     Might they also be used to help undecided voters how to vote? Hmm. Let’s take a look at the horses in politics and what recognizable traits they have. I’ll mention by name only the political horses from the past. Identifying the horses of the present will be the responsibility of you, the voter.  Please note that a politician can be more than one kind of horse.  For example, a show horse can also be a Trojan horse.
     In probably all legislative bodies, workhorses do from 80-90% of the work, but show horses get 80-90% of the publicity. Work horses, by the way, make up perhaps 10% of all legislators.
     U. S. Congressman H. R. Gross (R-IA, 3rd District, b. 1899, d. 1987) was one of the few workhorses in Congress. He was said to have read every spending bill that was introduced in Congress. By a special exception to the rule that bills should be numbered consecutively, he introduced HR 144 (as in gross) each year, demanding a balanced budget. He never went on a congressional junket at taxpayer expense, he and his wife lived frugally and never went to lavish parties; and his wife managed his office without pay. Time magazine called him “a useful pest.”
     Reading the newspapers today, it’s hard to believe that a congressman like H. R. Gross ever existed.
     Most politicians, to some degree, are show horses. That’s how they get elected. A show horse is one who sees every political issue, not as a human need but as a public relations opportunity.
     For that reason, show horses are almost always incompetent. Whenever the public sours on a show horse’s policies, the show horse doesn’t see it as a failure to meet human needs; he sees it as a public relations failure. He changes his public relations strategy, usually with window dressing or shallow gimmicks. None of this changes the fact that he’s “all show and no go.”
     Then there are race horses. A race horse is a politician for whom political campaigns are an end in themselves, and who have no patience for governance. They seem to prefer the cheers of crowds to actually getting things done.  Two examples of race horses are the late George Wallace in the United States and the incarcerated Chen Sui-bian in Taiwan.
     George Wallace was a perpetual candidate for various political offices. Although he was governor of Alabama several times, he spent more time running for the presidency and for reelection to the governorship than doing the job of governor.
     Chen Sui-bian was president of Taiwan for eight years. Instead of building a nation, as his supporters had hoped, he wasted the entire eight years staging rallies and other attention-getting gimmicks to rally the party faithful.
     A stalking horse is a candidate who has no interest in winning the election, but he’s in the race to help another candidate or potential candidate. A stalking horse usually lies and says that he’s a serious candidate.
     A perfect example of a stalking horse was the independent presidential campaign of H. Ross Perot in 1992. The two main candidates were President George H. W. Bush and Arkansas’s former governor Bill Clinton. Perot’s candidacy took more support from Bush than it did from Clinton. When it became clear that Clinton would win even without Perot’s splitting the Republican vote, Perot dropped out of the race. When the Bush campaign started to rally and threaten the Clinton campaign, Perot re-entered the race.
     Sometimes a stalking horse will enter a race just so his party can have a name on the ballot. When another candidate of his party enters the race, he drops out.
     A dark horse is a candidate who the corporate-owned media say has little or no chance of winning. The term originated with a nineteenth-century short story about two horses running a race neck-and-neck for the entire race. During the last few seconds of the race, a dark horse came from behind and won. The corporate-owned media may be unaware of the story. In any case, we can draw hope from the story any time the media shills tell us that a given candidate is a dark horse.
     At the 1860 Republican National Convention, Abraham Lincoln was a dark horse candidate.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan was a dark horse.
     The terms gift horse and Trojan horse are sometimes used in connection with one another. A gift horse is usually a political policy. A Trojan horse may be a person or a policy. A Trojan horse is a politician or a government policy that is designed to look like something beneficial to the electorate but which is intended to betray the people to their enemies. When the Trojan horse is a person, then the gift horse is the treasonous package he is offering people who are foolish enough to trust him.
     We know about jades, or jaded horses. They are the politicians whose time has come and gone. If, as Shakespeare wrote, life is a stage, the jades are the poor players who keep coming back for encores long after the cheering has stopped. (Excuse me for mixing metaphors, but sometimes mixed metaphors are fun—like the feller who could “hear the distant rumbling of the handwriting on the wall.”) Jades are such sad apparitions that I won't embarrass anyone by naming names
     Many jaded horses amble about the halls of Congress years, or even decades, after their constituents have put them out to pasture.  As lobbyists, many of them are like disembodied souls returning to their former places of abode, as if unaware that they had died.  (To see which former congressmen have become lobbyists, click here.  At last count, there were 370 of them.)
     Many other jades continue in office long after they've outlived their usefulness.  Their constituents continue to vote for these pitiful souls, as though embarrassed to inform them of their demise.  
     During political campaigns, many a candidate—especially if he’s a show horse—likes to present himself as a horse of a different color or a knight on a white horse. A knight on a white horse is entirely mythical, though many people are gullible enough to believe in political saviors that this symbol represents. A horse of a different color represents the sort of change that the voters desire. In most cases, the candidate’s colors change once again after he’s elected—only then for the worse. You then see his true colors, which are the same colors as the ones you thought you’d been replacing.
     So how do you know before the election whether the candidate truly is a horse of a different color, or if he’s only wearing camouflage? To use another horse term, you look at his track record. If whatever you see in his past over a period of years is what you can reasonably expect from him after he’s elected.
     In many decisions we have to make, it’s hard to sift through the all the information, misinformation, and disinformation to find the few grains of truth we seek. When making a decision on whom to vote, you may try asking yourself, “What kind of horse do I want?” Then try to identify the candidates by the horses they most resemble. If nothing else, it beats flipping a coin.

Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits, Chapter 13

(If you wish to read Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits from the beginning, click here for the table of contents.)
Chapter Thirteen
The Stable and the Cross
     Ebenezer Christian faced what appeared to be the ground floor of a two-story home. Just inside the darkened entrance he saw a small corral, crudely built of whatever branches could be scavenged from the few nearby trees that had wood hard enough to serve the purpose. It seemed to Ebenezer Christian that most of the trees nearby were date palms.  
     A few donkeys rested within the corral. This primitive spot was a stable.  Ebenezer Christian was surprised that the ground floor of someone's home should be used as a stable; but these were different times in a different culture.
     "Is this where it all began?" Ebenezer Christian asked.
     "Yes, it is."
     Ebenezer Christian involuntarily looked up. "Where's the Star?"
     "The Star of Bethlehem is over there to the west of us." She pointed to a star that shined somewhat brighter than the surrounding stars.
     "I thought it was supposed to be directly over the stable."
     "No, not for another seventy days, when the Wise Men arrive. At this time, the Earth is tilted on its axis in such a way that the Wise Men in the East now see it directly west of them—and west of us, too, I might add. Follow me." She passed through the rails of the corral and entered the house, and Ebenezer Christian followed her.
     "It sure stinks in here," Ebenezer Christian said.
     "Well, it is a stable," the spirit replied.
     "I know that, but you'd think somebody would have cleaned it out for the Holy Family."
     "They cleaned it out as well as they could, but it's still a stable. They couldn't make it smell good."
     A minute or so after Ebenezer Christian had entered, his eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness. At his feet, he saw a man of about thirty sleeping on a bed of straw. Beside him, awake and pensive, sat a girl of about fifteen years of age. "Mary was that young?" he asked.
     "Mary would have found little in common with the American teenagers of today," the spirit replied. "Life was hard in those days, and it demanded much of people. At fifteen, Mary was a mature young woman."
     He became aware of another odor. "Something smells like body odor," he remarked.
     "It is human body odor," the spirit replied. "It was a long way from Nazareth. Since there was no room for them in the inn, they couldn't take a bath. They bathed in the Jordan River on the way down here, but that was days ago."
     Ebenezer Christian looked to Mary's left. There against the wall was a feeding trough for animals. Lying in the manger, wrapped in strips of old cloth, the newborn Baby Jesus slept peacefully.
     The images echoed through Ebenezer Christian's heart: a Baby, born in a stable, amid animal dung and body odor, wrapped in strips of old cloth for baby clothes, using hay for a bed. Our Lord and Savior was born in this miserable place under these miserable conditions.
     The Christmas stories that had always been presented to Ebenezer Christian had been highly sanitized and sentimentalized. What he saw before him scarcely seemed the like same story. One version of the story was like a parody of the other. Ebenezer Christian was sure he knew which was the parody and which was reality.
     Ebenezer Christian turned his eyes upon the face of the sleeping Baby Jesus. "He looks just like any other baby," he whispered.
     "And this looks just like many other stables in this area," the spirit replied, then added, "and David, who later became King David, looked just like any other shepherd."
     The Baby stirred and began to cry a little.
     Mary gently lifted Him from the manger and laid Him on her lap. She drew her bodice aside and presented her breast. Jesus' first feeding began.
     "Should we be watching this?" Ebenezer Christian asked.
     "Ordinarily, no," the spirit replied, "but it's important for you to know the truth—all of it. The Gospel of Luke 11:27, (KJV) graphically mentions what you now see. Bible translations published since the Victorian Age have become increasingly squeamish in their choice of words. For now, though, there's something else you must watch." The spirit waved her hand in a wide, circular motion, as though erasing the scene of the Madonna and Child from Ebenezer Christian's view.
     Through the patch of space the shade had cleared, Ebenezer Christian saw the backs of several Roman soldiers. Between them, he saw that they were holding someone's arm flat against a wooden beam. One of the soldiers placed a six-inch nail to the victim's wrist. The other soldier swung a mallet, driving the nail through the wrist and into the beam. The victim screamed loudly enough to shatter Ebenezer Christian's emotions and momentarily knock the breath out of him.
     Ebenezer Christian caught his breath and said, "He must be one of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus. Jesus wouldn't have screamed like that."
     "The two thieves were roped to their crosses," the shade replied. "When the nail pierced Jesus' wrist, it passed through the median nerve: the main nerve to the hand. It was no sin or sign of weakness for Him to scream. His pain was real."
     He watched as the soldiers lifted the crossbeam up to the part of the cross that stood erect in the ground and fixed the crossbeam into place. It was then that Ebenezer Christian saw our suffering Lord.
     The soldiers still had to put the third and final nail in place. As they went about their work, Ebenezer Christian was not able to see anything below Jesus' knees, but what he did see was shocking and wretched. Jesus was bloodied and bruised from His head to His knees.
     The crown of thorns (which was more like a cap than a crown) that had been placed on His head earlier that day had torn the skin in several places. A small trickle of blood forming a backward "3" had formed across the furrows over His left eyebrow. His right eye was blackened and swollen shut from the blow He had received from a Roman baton, and the bruise next to His eye was over two inches wide.
     Almost every square inch of His body had been lacerated by Roman whips. Each whip had four tails, and each tail had been tipped with a small, barbell-shaped bit of lead designed to tear into the flesh of its victim. Each laceration dripped with blood. Blood flowed from His wrists down each of His arms.
     The ordeal of carrying His crossbeam to Golgotha also had left its marks upon His body.
     "Even today," remarked the shade, "people walking along that rocky road find their footing so unsteady that a healthy, well-fed, well-rested person can not carry they weight Jesus carried without stumbling many times. Jesus had not slept or eaten since the Wednesday night before His arrest; and he had been tried and tortured within an inch of His life all day Thursday and into Thursday night."
     "I thought He had been arrested on Thursday night or early Friday morning," Ebenezer Christian pondered.
        "That's what most people think," the spirit replied.  "The many events between Jesus' arrest and crucifixion were spread out over a period of more than a few hours.  It was actually a day and a few hours."
     The act of carrying the crossbeam had caused ugly abrasions on Jesus' right shoulder. Stumbling and caused contusions on both knees and His right elbow. His nose was bleeding and looked as if it had been damaged—possibly as the result of a fall.
     Ebenezer Christian caught his breath and sighed, "I'd never realized how much He suffered. He looks awful." A moment later, he caught his breath again. "He's naked," he breathed, as though he had been punched in the chest. "I thought He had a cloth to cover His nakedness."
     "No, he didn't. People have a hard time accepting a suffering and naked Christ. A thousand years ago, painters found the idea so revolting that paintings from that day actually showed Him in purple robes, wearing a kingly crown and looking triumphant. Even today, people try to hide from the reality of the cross.
     "Some people want to have Jesus without the cross, and others want to have the cross without Jesus—as a mere ornament. But why don't people wear replicas of electric chairs or guillotines? They're all instruments of execution. It's because of Jesus that people wear the cross, although many people prefer to forget this.
     "Unless we comprehend the enormity of our sins, we can't comprehend the immensity of God's justice. Unless we comprehend the magnitude of Jesus' sufferings when He was crucified, we can't comprehend the magnanimity of God's love.
     "A little earlier, you may have gotten the impression that great Christian art is a thing of the past. The truth is, a few contemporary artists effectively portrayed the suffering you see before you. Unfortunately, very few Christians want to see it. They prefer to sentimentalize the crucifixion."
     As the shade was saying this, the Roman soldier who had nailed Jesus to the cross turned and looked at Ebenezer Christian, full in the face. Both the soldier and Ebenezer Christian gasped when they saw one another. The Roman soldier's face was the face of Ebenezer Christian.
     The scene vanished.
     Ebenezer Christian saw that Mary had returned Jesus to the manger. He was aware of a presence over his left shoulder, but by the time he turned around, it was gone. He had the vague impression, though, that the visitor had been one of the shepherds to which the angels had appeared.
     A few minutes later, four shepherds smelling strongly of sheep stepped cautiously and reverently into the stable. Mary shook Joseph awake. Joseph stirred a little uncertainly at first, and then he saw the strangers and sprang to his feet.
     In the Aramaic tongue, the shepherds (judging from their gestures) excitedly told Joseph about the angelic visitation. Ebenezer Christian noted that, just as the angel had said, Jesus was swathed in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. If the shepherds had arrived only a few minutes earlier, the scene would have been slightly different, and the shepherds would not have had their “sign.” Mary drew her sleeping Baby from the manger and held Him in her arms.
     The shepherds at first seemed at a loss as to what to do. They knew He was their Savior, as the angel had told him; but they also saw that He looked like any other baby. Just how do you react to Someone Who is the Savior and at the same time a Baby?
     They saw and believed.  So did Ebenezer Christian.
    Not that he had ever doubted, mind you; but not doubting is not the same thing as fully believing. Previously, he had believed for the same reason that most people believe almost anything that most people believe (such as the proposition that the Earth is round) because belief worked better than disbelief. It had been a matter of utilitarian convenience.
     Now that Ebenezer Christian had come face-to-face with Jesus Himself, his belief was a matter of unshakable conviction. Moved to tears, Ebenezer Christian fell to his knees beside the shepherds and worshiped the Christ Child.
     As he struggled for the words to express his adoration, Ebenezer Christian's tongue wavered between silence and words he felt were far too inadequate. He began to stammer and babble; and as a joyous Spirit rushed into him, his stammering and babbling were transmuted into what he later was to describe as the pure language of the spirit. Far removed from the arbitrary sounds invented by men, the words Ebenezer Christian uttered in those moments expressed the very essence of the things he felt in his heart.
     As Ebenezer Christian wept and prayed, an arm wrapped around his shoulder and began shaking him. A woman's voice called his name several times.
     Ebenezer Christian woke up, kneeling on his own bed. His wife Mary Martha Christian said, "Wake up, Eb! I thought you were going crazy! You were having a bad dream!"
     "No," he corrected her. "I was having the best dream I've had in my life!"  From the beginning, he started telling her about it.
*          *          *
     (This novella, Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits, has proven to be the least popular series I've ever posted.  Since Tuesday of last week, I've seen readership of the American Action Report dive from a modest 185 page views a day to an embarrassing 74, and a drop to only 7 returning visitors.  I have long believed that spiritual renewal was essential to the restoration of our liberties and our republic, and I had hoped to encourage this renewal through the medium of fiction; but I don't know if anyone is reading it.  Unless someone wants to read the conclusion of this Christmas story, I see no reason to further burden anyone's patience by posting it.)