Friday, November 21, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day

Today is the day we have all prayed for. We can only conclude that the United States military in concert with the armed forces of Iraq may now declare victory. Since there was never an actual declaration of war, there can be no armistice. Since there was an essential agreement on the part of Iraq early on, there was no formal surrender. Therefore, since no one else will step up to make the declaration; Zion Beckons and hundreds of other bloggers have set aside Friday, November 22, 2008 as the official “Victory in Iraq” Day.

The sitting government of the United States will make no such claim. The incoming new administration is highly unlikely to embrace anything which smacks of “victory.” Obviously the press will make no assertion of success for the United States in Iraq since they have seen it as an illegitimate exercise from the onset. Therefore, as a veteran who has the capacity to recognize victory when it is apparent; and as a citizen of the United States, I join with those hundreds of web loggers who have followed the struggle, wept for the fallen, praised the troops, and rejoiced in the cessation of hostilities.

The claim of “victory” is predicated on several factors. The Iraqi government has made bold strides to accept the conditions of the turnover to their military arm. The head of their government, Saddam Hussein, has long since been captured and executed by proper Iraqi authority. The restoration of infrastructure, commerce, public services and a normal life style has been nearly completely restored in Iraq.. Most important, the deaths of U.S. servicemen in theater have diminished to a point consistent with the normal attrition for a body of men that size. The casualty rate (killed) has dropped to less than half that of Chicago, Illinois since the first of the year. It is a proud day for the military forces, each man and woman, of the United States.

We congratulate the citizens and the government of Iraq on their new found freedom and their willingness to assume the responsibility for their own governance and security. We ask that they accept our prayers on their behalf for their continued success.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Did It Happen?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have engaged in much concentrated thought on what I might personally have done to enhance the chances of continuing support for our style of government. I take the loss of the White House to an acknowledged Marxist as a low point in our electoral history. I fully realize that my personal circumstances allow me much more time to devote to critical issues and to read and study. Others have jobs to tend to, children to raise, health problems, studies, crops to reap, football games to watch, fish to catch, or, in other words, they have a life.

Some attention is finally being paid to the role of the media in this debacle. It does not take a keen observer to note the influence which they have had on the outcome. Several major outlets have made minor mea culpa for their role in intentionally slanting their coverage. The New York Times has run a series as has the ABC news section. Others to a greater or lesser degree have made some admissions but I sense more of an arrogant subliminal assertion of “we gotcha again,” than genuine remorse for the unprincipled stand. In whatever form it has taken it does indeed affirm the contention of their unfairness.

One of the principal factors in the forming of opinions and interest on the part of the voters has been the role of education of our young. We have entrusted their learning to the government and are now reaping the harvest of what I consider to be an intentional effort to inhibit their ability to learn. Worse yet, I sense that the natural desire to become educated is disappearing as well. By substituting self-worth exercises for actual accumulation of useful information, we have betrayed our youth. We have prepared them to become little more than sheep.

While most efforts to control instances of physical child abuse have a laudable side, we find that the agencies charged with enforcing the rules often interfere with normal parenting. If you disbelieve this, I would suggest you observe the reaction to the rare parent who has the courage to discipline a child in public. A rambunctious kid in a shopping center or grocery store who gets a firm pat on the butt is treated like the victim of a hate crime. Even worse, he gets the full Ritalin program to curb his aggressive behavior. To allow children to rule in every circumstance is child abuse of the worst grade.

This “brain washing” of the young to accept without question whatever is proffered by those in control had a serious affect. Control in this case is defined by media, educators, and other authority figures. For a good look at the “little darlings” after they attain the opportunity to vote, please watch this video. Every person you view here has already voted and is being interviewed to check their understanding of politics, their impressions of candidates, with an eye to help you understand their reasoning (?) for their decisions.

The most serious flaw is, given the information they have, they are more likely to duplicate the thinking they would give to voting for American Idol contestants then for the serious task of choosing the leader of the free world. Their responses would be humorous under different circumstances. They reflect an input of either false information or “no” information. In routine response, they cannot even identify the party in control of the congress. Since the congress has been in near constant disarray recently I can understand their confusion. In short, their preparedness for selecting someone for what is considered one the world’s top jobs is pathetic.

I would truly like to believe that this is the exclusive property of the Democrat party and Obama supporters. I hold no such illusions. The people who put the video together obviously picked the low hanging fruit and kept the interviews to those who had voted for Obama. I do realize that the McCain/Palin side had its share of low IQ mouth breathers as well. It is intolerable for either party. This task is far too important to trust to children.

You will find the video instructive in many ways. If you are a thinking person, you will also find it terrifying. God help us all.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Laus Deo

On rare occasions, an item comes through my inbox which I feel is worthwhile passing on. The following is such an entry.. Read and enjoy:

”One detail that is seldom mentioned is that in Washington, D.C., no building can ever be of greater height than the Washington Monument. With all the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments, etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time. I was not aware of this amazing historical information.

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., are displayed two words: laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the
monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less.

Once you know laus Deo's history, you will want to share this with everyone you know. These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet above the ground and 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia , capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words; out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world. So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say 'Praise (be) to God!'

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened
to the public. It took twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, laus Deo. 'Praise (be) to God!'

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant--a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north. The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution. So, read on. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise (be) to God!

Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children
from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise (be) to God!

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise (be) to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy, 'One Nation, Under God.' I am awed by Washington’s prayer for America, have you ever read it? Well, now is your opportunity, so read on!

'Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'

Laus Deo!

When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation’s capital, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed
everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of 'laus Deo', its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: 'Unless the Lord builds the house its builder’s labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.' (Psalm 127: 1)

It is hoped you will send this to every child you know; to every sister, brother, father, mother or friend. They will not find offense, because you have given them a lesson in history that they probably never learned in school. With that, be not ashamed, or afraid, but have pity on those who will never see this because someone failed to send it on.”

There you have it. For those with remaining concerns over the founders' intent let the preceding help make it clear. Praise (be) to God for these good men.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Feeding at the Public Trough

Where is it written that a business may not fail? Of course they fail! For a huge variety of reasons, businesses fail every day.

Jubilee Gems, American Indian Jewelry, Cochise Trading Company, and Blue Highway Tours were all at one time, viable businesses. They all happened, in their time, to be my pride and joy. Each was hopelessly under capitalized and challenged to produce too much cash generation for a fully successful operation. In each circumstance, the proprietor “lived over the store.” A credit line was not a problem because there wasn’t any. We paid cash. Every available hour of the waking day was devoted to the business.

Cochise turned out to be the stellar performer and lasted for six years. Four different cities had this brand at one time or another. We specialized in retail sale of knives, guns, martial arts equipment and American Indian Jewelry. We were even able to “franchise” a location. As I look back, I am amazed that we were able to persevere as long as we did.

We took our turn at bat and played our hearts out for the American Dream. To continue the analogy, we struck out in about the seventh inning. The game was called because of poverty and I got a “regular” job. My son kept it open for another year and then sold it.

We knew the odds going in of having a successful enterprise. Our goal was never to generate enormous wealth but rather to serve the communities where we were located. My biggest regret would have been not to have tried.

Our tale is not rare. Many millions in the course of the history of our nation have taken their individual dream, pursued it, and fallen on their face. Others have sought the brass ring and managed to snare it. I applaud their success and admire what I know they went through to achieve it. It is an integral part of our fabulous nation. Every man has the opportunity to try—and sometimes fail! If he has integrity, he will continue to strive and seek success of whatever variety to provide for those he loves.

We could never complain that the government inhibited our success. We were not pestered by armies of bureaucrats carrying clipboards. When we built a store, whether in Louisiana, Texas, Illinois or Colorado, no one came by to be sure we were “up to code.” Even the BATF left us pretty much alone and on the rare occasions they came around were respectful, courteous, and businesslike. After a year and a half, in our first store, the local tax guy came around and suggested we might want to at least take a stab at being tax “compliant.” It appeared they all wanted us to succeed. Of course, that was nearly thirty years ago.

A family member opened a small business about four years ago and had an entirely different experience. Even at the miniscule level he started he was constantly besieged by regulations, inspectors, bureaucrats, licensing, shopping center covenants, tax men, and others at every conceivable level. His rent was exponentially higher and the demands for reportage constituted one of his major activities. He slugged it out for nearly two years before he capitulated to the system—just to sell a few ice cream cones.

Were we both still in business, would we now be justified to ask for a piece of that $700,000,000,000.00 pie that is being sliced up by our Treasury Secretary? The eagerness of mis-managed businesses to share in that bonanza is absolutely shameless. Their talent for taking short cuts and building businesses on bad practice is unmatched. They deserve to go in the tank.

In the case of the banking services, I find it inconceivable that firms with armies of actuaries and accountants could not recognize the folly of offering loans at low rates to people without the credentials, down payments, and wherewithal normally required for mortgage contracts. I place the responsibility on the boards and CEO’s and CAO’s who allowed these faulty practices to prevail. A basic principal of retailing involves figuring the markdown on every piece of inventory in advance of ever ordering it. One plans for the worst possible result. Skillful marketing, display and promotion sometimes provide a better outcome and that is the stuff of bonuses and perks. You don’t pay on numbers; you pay on results.

The automobile manufacturers have been betting on the “come” so long they now have a product which contains an unrealistic cost factor of administrative and labor cost which has no relationship to the actual costs of doing business. Inflated pension plans, unrealistic concessions to the United Auto Workers, health care for employees and families from the cradle to the grave, virtually unlimited holidays (paid of course,) all of which go well past the capacity of any employee to adequately justify. Even a shut down of a production line does not end the employees pay schedule—he is just temporarily furloughed.

Since everyone else is piling on, the individual states (not all) are seeking relief from fiscal irresponsibility. California, the largest spendthrift in the nation is asking for billions in relief. All of this in the face of increased spending within the state in reckless disregard of the realities of budgets.

The most often heard excuse for this raid on the public treasury is that these entities are “too big” to be allowed to fail. Balderdash! They are instead, “too big” to be allowed to continue to exist. The drain which they present on the economy today will only grow by leaps and bounds if they are allowed to continue to expand their foolishness. By rescuing them from their failed procedures the government then endorses their actions and makes an untenable promise to extend the same options to entities universally.

The example is then set to those who operate in a fiscally responsible manner to reasonably ask; “why should I/we strive to follow the rules if our competition is allowed to malinger and fail?” This applies to financial institutions, industries and states and municipalities alike. We offer positive reinforcement for failure? This is twisting Skinnerian psychology into an insidious pretzel. Try training a dog with this type of approach. You will wind up with soiled carpet, a noisy pet and a fellow creature that doesn’t care if you live or die. Why should he?

It has frequently been offered that the definition of insanity is repeating the same failed procedures over and over while anticipating a different result. If the triggers which precipitate the failures of these institutions continue is there truly any reason to predict any improvement regardless of the size of the “bailout?”

I think of a few well known institutions and people from the past: Arthur Andersen, Mark Twain, Woolco, Walt Disney, Donald Trump, Montgomery Ward, Hughes West, Henry John Heinz, Henry Ford, P.T. Barnham, Matthew Brady, Delta & Northwest, Polaroid, Milton Hershey, Worldcom and Enron. Each of these found themselves in bankruptcy. Some recovered and some didn’t. None of them had any appreciable affect on the national treasury as a result of their fiscal failures. When you think of the subsequent success of Trump, Hershey, Disney, Heinz and Henry Ford you might conclude that maybe it was for the best.

I find the mere suggestion of a bailout disgusting, fiscally irresponsible and unfair to every American taxpayer. Obviously, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma feels the same way. He is urging the passage of a Senate bill (SB3683) which would freeze any further additional payments and require a vote for future funding. All payments so far are publicly unrecorded and their amounts and destinations remain undetermined. A quick note to your elected representative at this point would go far in helping to shape his votes on the matter. You may disagree. Either way, let your voice be heard.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 64

In formulating ideas for the morning rant, I found myself on the verge of sharing a self-pitying account of my struggle to maintain my health. Shame on me! As I look at others in my age group I find that I have much to be grateful for and will not trouble you with details in which you have little interest. When one enjoys superb health, every hangnail turns into a tragedy and assumes an importance far beyond reality. I’ll just “cowboy-up” and deal with the additional medications and inconvenience and pray thanksgiving for what has been and God’s continued protection for the future. I also promise to complain less and write more. Thank you for your patience.

Don’t be Silly

Claire Berlinsky recounts in her book, “There Is No Alternative,” an important anecdote from conversations between Margaret Thatcher and Gorbachev. In their first 80’s exchanges before the end of the “cold war” Gorbachev attempted to instruct Mrs. Thatcher on the superiority of communism. She ended the matter by saying simply; “Don’t be silly, Mr. Gorbachev. You can’t even feed your own people.”

It was an unassailable truth which would have pulled the most demonic tyrant up short. Although powerful, Mr. Gorbachev, realized that the fact was not only in order but also a challenge to come up with reasonable solutions to bring it to an end. Within the decade, the Berlin Wall was razed and the old USSR was dissolved. Think of the courage it took to look one of the most powerful men in the world straight in the eye and say, “Don’t be silly!”

Today we are, decades later, still challenged by these unworkable notions. The lure of that old bugaboo, “something for nothing,” remains in the hearts and minds of some of our people. Fortunately, the concept of individualism has not been totally extinguished and is still alive to rescue us all from a Marxist fate.

The Hottest October on Record?

Al Gore’s principal ally in perpetuating the global warming hoax has long been Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. That body reported record high temperatures world wide in October.
The reported a bit different story however. They said, “This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonable snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.”

It now appears that the elevated “world-wide temperatures” were a result of using September data reported as October’s! These people claim to be scientists. Hansen, it should be noted, is not a climatologist. One wonders just what other false hypotheses he has advanced in his assigned discipline at NASA which has obstructed their program.

In a response to the article, one of the commenters furnished this list of interesting factoids which I share for your amusement:

“Let's keep it scientific then: Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a theory (hypothesis). It is an unproven theory. What you do with theories is put them to the test with scientific observations. Let's see what data points we now have:
1) Average annual temperatures have not surpassed 1998 (NOAA) (University of Alabama)

2) Average annual temperatures are now trending downward since 1998 (NOAA) (University of Alabama)

3) Ocean temperatures have not risen since 2000 when the 3000 Argo buoys were launched.. The buoys even show a slight decrease in ocean temperatures

4) The Arctic ice froze to February levels by December 07, there are 1mm more sq km than before (previous was 13mm sq km)

5) The Arctic ice is 20cm thicker than "normal" (whatever that is)

6) All polar bear pods are stable or growing (NOAA/PBS)

7) Mount Kilimanjaro is not melting because of global warming, rather "sublimation"

8) The Antarctic is not "melting", it is growing in most places, the sloughing off at the edges is normal as the ice mass grows

9) The majority of the Antarctic is 8 degrees below "normal" (again, whatever that is)

10) The coveted .7 degree rise in temperatures over the last 100 years has been wiped out with last years below "normal" temperatures (NOAA coolest winter since 2001)

11) Al Gores film was just deemed "propaganda" in a court of law in the UK as many points could not be substantiated by scientists

12) It was also just revealed that some of the footage in Al’s film was CGI. The ice shelf collapse was from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” (ABC)

13) One of the scientists that originally thought that CO2 preceded the warming has now found with new data that the CO2 rise follows the warming (Dr David Evans)

14) August 2008 was the first time since 1913 there were no sun spots.

15) The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the 20th century (no SUVs)

16) Many scientists are now predicting 30 years of cooling.

17) The greenhouse effect is real, our small contribution to it cannot even be measured

18) Several publications, including those that are “warmist” have recently written that the “natural” cycles of the earth may “mask” AGW. Give me a break.

19) 31,000 scientist have signed a petition against AGW! Over the last ten years the world, along with China (1 new coal fired plant coming on line each week) and India spewing millions of additional tons of CO2 in to the atmosphere these results should be impossible.

Now, please be so kind to give me one piece of observable evidence that man is causing "global warming". And, when will Al Gore humbly give his “Noble Prize” back as he is a complete fraud?”

I may be just jealous. I see the “church” of global warming doing a much better job of proselytizing than any Christian sect I know. Obviously they have a far better pulpit to preach from since they “own” the airwaves, the government, the academy and unlimited resources. If their followers have their way, the current economic disaster will pale to insignificance in comparison to the cost of the false solutions to a made up problem for carbon offsets. It is well past time that we insist on a measure of scientific integrity in examination of these issues.

Gold finch update

The bird feeders have encouraged a wider variety of species to participate. The gold finches continue to dominate the hanging feeders with an on-board occasional presence of a junco, martin, and a sparrow or two. The interesting development has been the way the tiny birds provide for their larger cousins, the jays and cardinals. Plainly stated, they are messy eaters. For every seed they ingest, they dump a bunch on the ground below. This in turn provides a more stable feeding opportunity for the larger birds that have difficulty with the small access provided by the hanging feeders.

It is undeniable that this little part of the project is an unqualified success. I’m not really all that much of a “bird guy,” but I do enjoy watching them. It is addictive. The weather service predicted snow flurries for yesterday so I hope they all get stocked up and ready to get out of here on time.

I hope that we never lose sight of the complexity of life with which God has surrounded us. These dinky little birds are so incredibly capable it causes me to pause and wonder at those who see His creation as the result of a cataclysmic accident. What level of reason allows one to think in this manner?

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon