Saturday, May 17, 2008

Remember When?

I came across a piece on the net which captured by feelings about a lot of contemporary problems. My first thought was to post a link to it. My second was to copy and paste it as a whole. While it is full of good stuff, it also has a coarse side; so without apology, I shall paraphrase it. If you choose to accuse me of plagiarism, to a degree you will be correct.

The allegation was that we live in the most exciting of times. We are surrounded with scientific, electronic, architectural, and social developments which are the envy of the world. In the midst of this plenty are the naysayers and prophets of doom and gloom who tell us the end is near and catastrophe lurks just around the corner.

I happen to disagree. I don’t care for the direction the world is headed or this country either. I don’t care for the music, the movies, the politics, the government, the religious strife, the public schools and on, and on, and on.

In fact, I liked America better when the typical American was a little cocky but still able to back it up:

When women had some meat on their bones and danced jitterbugs and boogie woogie.

When “made in America” had meaning all over the world.

When girls dressed like girls and boys didn’t wear earrings and ponytails.

When you could understand the words to the songs on the radio.

When basketball had lay-ups and skill instead of slam dunks and tattoos.

When desecrating the flag could endanger some really sensitive parts of the anatomy.

When even the raciest movies left something to the imagination.

When common sense and good citizenship were more important than lawsuits and restraining orders.

When baseball was the national sport and was fun to listen to.

When cars were made of metal and a stop light rear-ender didn’t mean total loss.

When the private lives of presidents and senators were off limits to tabloids.

When schools stressed fundamentals before sensitivity training and multiculturism.

When sometimes you didn’t get to play because you weren’t good enough.

When steroids were something doctors considered for unresponsive patients.

When lawyers considered truth and ethics as important as winning every case.

When popular music didn’t actually damage your hearing.

When families ate at least 2 meals together almost every day.

When Dad could take two small kids to a ball game without taking out a second mortgage.

When all you needed to set your car’s timing was a good ear and a crescent wrench.

When laws and social rules applied to athletes and entertainers as well as John Q.

When people knew where “We the People” and “When in the course of human events” are written.

When Grandma and Grandpa could die with dignity in their own beds with their family close by.

When treason and sedition were punished severely.

When people didn’t overextend their debt limits on junk they didn’t really need.

When no professional athlete’s contract was worth more than the GNP of Portugal.

When nobody was upset if folks said a prayer at commencement or a public hearing.

When only one language, English, was used in business, schools, and government.

If you remember “when” then you are not alone. Many of us recognize the “change” and resent it. Many of are just plain sick and tired of listening to politicians who don’t understand why we don’t see things the “way we’re supposed to.” I’m sick of the primaries, class envy, party line votes which ignore the wishes of the people, and pushing “1” for English. I’m tired of “choice”, diversity, political correctness and accusations of racism at every remark.

I “cling” to my guns because I enjoy them and it irritates my liberal acquaintances. I “cling” to my Bible and my faith because I realize that in the end it is the only thing which has any real value. I do these things because of Jesus Christ and the prospect of being with Him is sufficient, thank you. I also suspect that many of you share this feeling as well.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, May 16, 2008

Appreciation Day

We will be traveling to Miami, Oklahoma on Sunday for a very special day. It marks the second annual occasion of thanksgiving for the hard evidence of God’s hand in the direction of the lives of His people.

My first visit to the Miami Branch was in 2004 when we went there to worship with the Saints in a downtown storefront church. The good Spirit was present and we found the congregation earnestly pursuing the word. As visitors, we were warmly embraced and joined in the adult Sunday school class and the worship service.

We later learned they had purchased the building in 1986 and had been given the connecting building next door by a “gracious” neighbor. That property was then turned into a kitchen and classrooms for the church school. When the local Community of Christ sold out, they were able to acquire the communion table, pews and pulpit. It was adequate for the needs of the congregation but they yearned to have a more conventional building.

In the Fall of 2006, a member, Tammy James, RN, was approached by another nurse to say that there was a church to give away. He had also told a doctor who had called Shawn Corder to advise her of the church’s availability. When Shawn agreed to accept it, the doctor called the first nurse back and said he had disposed of the property. Her disappointment was stilled when she determined that the doctor had contacted a fellow member. There were no strings attached; the church came as an unencumbered gift.

The East View Church of Christ had suffered severe losses to their congregation by virtue of moves from the community and deaths in an ageing congregation. Down to three remaining members, they could no longer maintain the building and grounds and sought to dispose of the property. They had offered it to other churches and it had been declined. In an additional benefit, the father, Ezra Davis, of two of the remaining members had been baptized into the RLDS in May of 1884 in Cassville, Missouri. The general feeling then was of a direct spiritual link. The branch members are unanimous in their recognition of God’s provision of a new church home for their use.

Sunday will mark the second annual acknowledgement of His power and direction within their lives. Come and share this glorious occasion, join in worship and enjoy a meal after the service. The church building is at 59001 E. 100 Road, Highway 10, Miami, Oklahoma. It’s about three miles east of downtown Miami and about 21/2 miles east of the Turnpike interchange.

The love of Jesus Christ abounds in Miami and I guarantee you will be received with all the love they can muster. Come and share in the testimonies. In appreciation of Him.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Abstraction vs. Reality

The United Nations organization has been well exposed in the last four posts. About the only remaining mystery is where they get the funds to conduct these assaults on the peace and tranquility of the world.

I am certain you already know but just to refresh your memory, we will see some figures. The UN is very jealous of nations who have the capacity to tax citizens. Since they have no mandate to do so, they must rely on the members for an apportioned contribution to sustain the activities. The formula is based on an actuarial nightmare which involves gross national product, average annual income, sheep’s entrails, eye of newt and wing of bat. The gross annual budget is computed and all 192 nations carry an annual obligation. This is expressed as a percentage of the whole but may not exceed 22% for any one nation.

86.4% of the budget is carried by 17 of the membership. 50.3% is assumed by the top 3! Here follows a list of those 17 top contributors to the 2006 budget of $423,464,885.00 just for operations. This does not include peacekeeping which has steadily accelerated in recent years from 490 million in 1991 to $4,737,000,000 in 2005.

United States --- 22.0%
Japan --- 19.468%
Germany --- 8.662%
United Kingdom --- 6.127%
France --- 6.03%

Italy --- 4.885%
Canada --- 2.813%
Spain --- 2.52%
China --- 2.053%
Mexico --- 1.883%

Republic of Korea --- 1.796%
Netherlands --- 1.69%
Australia --- 1.592%
Brazil --- 1.523%
Switzerland --- 1.197%

Russia --- 1.1%
Belgium --- 1.069%
The 175 remaining --- 13.592%

There are few surprises among the top 17 except for their percentages. What is astounding is revealed in who and what is missing. The entire continent of Africa, the oil rich states of the Middle East, India, all of Central and South America except Brazil are among those whose contribution is less than 1%. Interestingly, the aggregate of those countries located in Europe (8 nations) is 32.18%.

A major part of the budgetary complications are presented by the presence of the headquarters in one of the most expensive cities on the planet, New York. It would have been far cheaper in the long run to have dedicated a large chunk of Wyoming, or Chad, or the Australian “outback” for the headquarters. Building costs would have been far less, an airport could have been built with the savings and the NYPD wouldn’t have had millions in unpaid parking tickets and the increased security and traffic problems.

I am of the firm opinion that if the United Nations were to be dissolved tomorrow, the world would be a far better, safer, and more peaceful place. I see little evidence that the original concepts have improved much of anything. It was to have eliminated war between nations entirely. I refuse to punch the numbers of lost young men and women into my calculator from the deadly encounters we have had world wide over the last sixty two years which the United Nations has not prevented. It would be a ghoulish exercise to prove a point.

Their defenders put up the lame excuse that “it’s not perfect but it’s all we have.” Fortunately, that is not true. We have a kind and loving God who would seek peace for us and also give us the strength to insure it. The United States has a noble history as the nation which is called upon when war, disaster, famine, disease, or other calamity strikes. Dialog never kept a bully from terrorizing, a flood from rising, or a child from starving. Action on the part of God fearing citizens in a liberty loving nation have those resources to help.

To substantiate the point, please note that we share the top 50.3% of the UN budget with those who were our dread enemies immediately prior to the formation of that body. To this day we have a military presence in both Germany and Japan. Both nations were subject to unimaginable destruction and loss of life and have, with our help, become fast allies and friends. Between us, we are the three most productive on the face of the earth.

I apologize for taking so much space for this but I believe we should all be aware of these things. Many lessons may be learned here; lessons about trivial organizations compared to the immensity of the UN who offer grandiose plans in the abstraction but do not have the moral compass to provide the reality.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Abstraction vs. Reality 4

Today’s look at the United Nations will involve a lot of linking to various sites for the full story on each outrage. They are all worth the effort unless you are already convinced that the United Nations has little worth and is actually a serious detriment to the United States. Please note that most of the resources used are either from other web sites or from newspapers in other countries.

With a very few and notable exceptions our national media are hard wired by a leftist bias to be pro-UN and eager to turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. Rather than fill the historic and important role of the fourth estate and actually insist on transparency, truth, and sunshine for that body; they would rather cover up, excuse and shield the perpetrators of the various crimes.

The overall size of the UN, its budget, and staff size make management nearly impossible. I spent hours in research attempting to put a reasonable number on the total number of people employed by the UN. Almost at wit’s end, I finally came across a piece from the Cato Institute with the best estimates they could come up with. The entire piece is fascinating, but long, so I shall excerpt some of that which I feel is pertinent:

“Since the Third World majority took control of the United Nations and its budget, total UN employment has ballooned from 1,500 to more than 50,000 worldwide. The latter figure does not include the nearly 10,000 consultants or the peacekeeping forces, which at their height in 1993 numbered some 80,000. No exact figure on total employment including consultants—the hiring of consultants is a popular and much-abused practice at the United Nations—can be given. That is because until 1994 there was no central, computerized list of personnel. Even today there are no records of many appointments in the Secretariat.[18]

The personnel costs—including generous pension benefits—of that army of bureaucrats consume an estimated 70 percent or more of the UN operating budget. Given the lack of transparency, the percentage could be even higher. That leaves relatively few financial resources for the actual missions of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including the organization's much-touted humanitarian programs.

The salary and benefits packages of UN employees based in New York City are incredibly lucrative. Statistics compiled in 1995 revealed that the average annual salary for a midlevel accountant at the United Nations was $84,500. The salary for a comparable position in non-UN businesses and agencies was $41,964. A UN computer analyst could expect to receive $111,500 compared to $56,836 paid counterparts outside the UN bureaucracy. An assistant secretary general received $190,250; the mayor of New York City was paid $130,000.[19]

The raw figures do not convey the extent of the disparity, however, since the salaries of UN employees are free of all taxes. In addition to their bloated salaries, UN bureaucrats enjoy an array of costly perks, including monthly rent subsidies of up to $3,800 and annual education grants (also tax-free) of $12,675 per child. The UN pension program is so generous that entry-level staffers whose pay rises only as fast as inflation can retire in 30 years with $1.8 million..”

Please note that these figures are over ten years old and there is no reason to doubt they have increased markedly since Cato compiled them. The UN offers many publications for sale regarding the interior workings of the organization but I have little confidence they would really have any further information than that which I have managed to extract. They also have a price structure for their books which would give Bill Gates pause. I thought college text books were outrageously priced until I inquired about the UN tomes.

Moving on to further malpractice; I guarantee the next one will make your blood boil. A large portion of tsunami deaths might have been prevented if only the entire UN staff had not been released to go on vacation at the same time. For more details on this boondoggle, go here.

I can think of no business I have ever heard of that would release every employee to go on vacation at the same time. Especially one charged with the safety of millions in the face of possible climatological disaster. Imagine, if you will, a fire department all off on a fishing trip.

Once the undetected tsunami had done its damage, the fraud that is the United Nations heightened the misery of the victims by turning a blind eye to corruption in the delivery of aid packages. If you are interested, the details are here.

Some problems arise because agents of the United Nations fail to do things. In other cases, it is overt activity on the part of those charged with keeping the peace that cause the problem. In this case It was Pakistanis in the blue helmets who were supposed to be suppressing the violence in the Congo. Read the whole thing to understand the role of “peacekeepers.”

No matter how incompetent, no matter how vile, no matter how criminal, there will always be an apologist to rise in defense. 'Kofi Annan has not been shy about confronting the US. That is his role and that is why some people are going after him,' said Warren Haffar, a UN expert at Arcadia University. Haffar is named in David Horowitz’s book 101 most Dangerous Professors in America. His left wing bias is comprehensively outlined in this excerpt.

There seems to be no end to what can be uncovered concerning the United Nations. One of the few things that I have been able to pin point with reasonable accuracy is the role of the various nations and their share of the financing. If you are up for more sickening details, be with us tomorrow and we will look at comparative shares of the financial load.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 37

In a previous post it was pointed out that pyramid schemes are a folly as well as being illegal. Some persons, known to be associated with the JCRB had forwarded solicitation for participation in one of these. To underscore law enforcement’s view of these operations, consider their reaction to this guy and what amounts to a Ponzi scheme.

It should be pointed out that this sort of thing can only be achieved with the complicity of willing victims so overcome by greed that they are susceptible to offers of unrealistic returns on investments. We were alarmed at the time that any church member could be involved in a patently illegal scheme. We were horrified that they would encourage the membership to be a part of this fraud.

As noted previously, if it’s too good to be true; it probably isn’t. Be ever on the alert no matter who happens to be the source.
I find it appalling that the despots who rule in Myanmar have taken the steps they have to insure the insularity of the country. In the face of a tragedy of biblical proportions, the people of this Southeast Asian country will undoubtedly suffer greater casualties from the aftermath of the storm at the hands of the government than they did from the cyclone.

Isolated news reports, reveal resistance to incoming aid in goods, medical assistance, and other disaster relief. Many countries, including the United States have planes on the tarmac, ships cruising the sea just offshore, and legions of workers poised, available, and eager to render aid to the otherwise helpless victims. In the protocols of international diplomacy, an entry visa is required to enter the company. This visa has been refused!

I really don’t care what religion they follow. It is immaterial to me if they choose a political system unlike ours. What matters is that they are human beings and currently unable to help themselves. Every hour which passes without assistance will result in additions to the death toll. Who will rise to leadership and take charge? Will it be the United Nations? The United States is already seen by the world as an interloper in the affairs of other countries. The Australians are the closet country of sufficient power, clout and humanitarian bent to do the job. I’m betting the Aussies break the deadlock. Whoever manages this will earn, rightfully, the gratitude of the world’s disadvantaged.
Amidst the constant clamor of asserting Christian identity with affiliation to a specific body of believers we have a new report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. There are few surprises in the report and many hysterical claims of “I told you so.” Traditional mainline churches (Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.) continue to see memberships plummet, Roman Catholicism is in decline, and evangelical churches have now risen to the “mainline.” The only newsworthy revelation is the numbers of people who are no longer “affiliated.”

In the age group from 18 to 29, about 25% claim no church. If one sees “church” and “faith” as equivalent, this is a genuine cause for alarm; if you don’t see that, then not so much.

For years liberal theologians have gradually increased control of the seminaries to teach doubt, questioning and debate instead of reverence of the Bible, love, trust, and the inspiration provided by God. The students were taught to question the truth in lieu of increasing their awareness of it. As a predictable consequence, seeking the truths of the scriptures was not just a part of the process, but, a goal unto itself. Being taught the “weak tea” version of the word had this inevitable but unusual outcome.

The churches experienced a role reversal. The pulpit voiced insecurity and questions about established doctrine and belief and the congregation through their selftaught faith and personal study of the gospels—plus individual testimony—became the rock solid believers. Put off by a lack of demonstrative faith, they left the mainline and headed for those preachers who showed an interest in truth and the saving grace which accompanied them.

Some have voiced concern that the evangelicals may be sliding down the same slippery slope toward inquiry rather than acceptance. These same folks assert the evangelicals cloak their “seeking” attitudes in less easily understood terms. From recent forays into “other” churches, I disagree. While not altogether anxious to join in their—sometimes frenzied—approach, I sense a rock solid faith and determination to share the message of Jesus Christ, plain, unvarnished and “as written.”

As always, my conclusion is that Jesus Christ is alive and well and was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Manmade crises are a constant as well. We live a world of change. The only entity which does not alter from generation to generation—or eon to eon for that matter—is the Savior. If we truly understand Him and the message there is no problem.
Over the weekend, we were spared once again from the ravages of tornados and torrential rains which blanketed our end of the Ozarks. Eighteen of our neighbors lost their lives and they experienced countless millions in losses of property and personal treasures. Our prayers and other tangible support go to them.

In preparation for Mother’s Day I worked lovingly in the yard to make it presentable to the resident mother. The gathering clouds and increasing winds predicted what was to come. When Sunday arrived all had passed and we spent the beautiful day honoring mothers present and reflecting on the memory of mothers gone to their reward. For you mothers reading here, I can only say I meant to send a card but couldn’t find one expressive enough to convey my respect and appreciation for your role in nurturing God’s children. Please accept a belated “Happy Mother’s Day” instead.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon