Friday, November 28, 2008

Thoughts on Presidents

In case anyone has forgotten, we are still engaged in an all out war with Islamic terrorists. The most recent reminder comes from India and their ongoing struggle to cope with those who would disrupt and even end their daily lives. The effort continues to be made to identify a national identity for these cowardly cretins who are bombing hotels and public places in Mombai. Why this is important to do is unknown to me.

We have become so accustomed, in our history, to assign the blame to national entities that we cannot quite wrap our minds around a more general concept such as “idealistic” Islamic terrorists. Understand well, they owe no allegiance to any state. If that were the case, why in the world would they front an attack in a purely Muslim nation such as Indonesia? Those places in Europe which have been attacked are also host to tens of thousands of fairly new arrivals with Muslim credentials. Spain, Great Britain, and France come to mind.

By not being actors for any specific state, they are at liberty to commit heinous crimes, and not fear a reprisal to any particular homeland. Only when there are concentrations of their constituents, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, etc. are there threats to any specific homeland. I see them more as stateless persons than subjects of any particular national order. The average American has difficulty with being at war with an ideology. How does one carpet bomb that which is in the mind and heart of an aggressor?

Over the last seven plus years, our country has been spared any further incidents of 9/ll type attacks. Even in the face of constant criticism, our government, in spite of its alleged ineptitude has managed to keep the homeland safe from further terror. It has been a cottage industry to demean and criticize George W. Bush but, the inescapable fact is that our nation has not undergone any further attacks under his watch. Like him, or hate him, the least we expect from honest citizens is the acknowledgment of his success in thwarting any further attacks. His legacy will no doubt be as the most under appreciated protector of the republic in its history.

The tinfoil hat crowd has offered every conceivable conspiracy theory to account for the devastating attacks of 9/11. Each has been dealt with soberly and dismissed by those with even a hint of intellect and fairness. Yet, the beat goes on. The attacks on the president have been relentless. It is a cancer which needs to be excised. I recently watched a tape which someone had assembled which characterized the president as a bumbling fool who had difficulty with language and even to a misstep in climbing a stair. Would we be willing to subject our every move to a camera’s critical capture or have each and every inane statement recorded for posterity? I recently fell approaching the number one tee at Honey Creek. I was uninjured and felt a complete fool for the error but at least it wasn’t aired in every living room in America on the six o’clock news. For that matter, I don’t recall seeing your latest faux pas either.

I watch with great interest as the president-elect jettisons position after position as his time of administration comes closer and closer. In his new found proximity to the office, he is starting to see the wisdom in some of the policies he so roundly criticized; total re-organization of the tax structure; maybe later; bring the troops home from Iraq; not right now thank you. We have already dealt with his perceived need to surround himself with people who fully understand the requirements of various cabinet posts. We are a marvelous people who make up the greatest nation on earth; but, we are also quite fickle. You may be the messiah in November but you can easily be reduced to “idiot of the week” by June if you fail to respond to those who “drank the Kool-Aid.” Part of that response requires an acute awareness of the terrorist presence which constantly threatens our nation. To ignore it would be the crassest posture one could assume. These people are serious and also willing to die to make a point. It will require sober judgment, inner strength, and the assistance of God Almighty if we, and our leaders, are to prevail.

To not pray for the success of the president-elect to meet every instance of real danger to the republic would be selfishness beyond belief. If any man ever needed divine guidance, he does. Let us all laugh with him, not at him, as he learns his job. It is in our mutual interest to do so.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Little Giggle

If you’re checking on Zion Beckons, I must assume that you’re worn out from football and the prospect of “just one more bite of turkey.” Don’t over do because we’ll have some pecan (pumpkin, apple crisp, or chocolate) pie later.

My friend Phillip up in the snows of northern Michigan forwarded a few grins which I decided to share with you. That is, if you can stay awake long enough to read them.

Here follows his contribution:

“Subject: Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

SARAH PALIN: You betcha he crossed the road, but let's not talk about that, let's talk about energy policy, and how gosh darn hard it is for a middle-class hockey mom to manage the budget of the only state in America with a massive surplus, especially while surrounded by countless Russian and Canadian chickens we have to keep an eye on.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure - right from Day One! -that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of crossing?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions.. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain... alone..

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay, too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side.' That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world Crossing roads together, in peace.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken? And last, but not least…….

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?”

You may now return to stuffing your face with the remainder of what I hope was a great feast. God Bless you, every one.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Reprise

(This post is a reprint of one which ran November 19, 2007.)

The seasons have changed, the nights have cooled and the harvest moon is now history. This means the advent of America’s truly unique holiday—Thanksgiving. I say unique because, except for Canada’s watered down version, no other country gives much time to the ritual of Thanksgiving. It is strictly a New World occasion and I welcome it. It is an occasion to take time for reflection on that which stimulates our gratitude.

As Christians, we have no difficulty figuring out the proper Recipient of our outpouring of thanks. God rightfully is the object of our prayers since He has been the provider of all which have come to rely upon and enjoy. Unlike our ancestors, our bare survival is rarely mentioned in our prayers. Our offerings often make more reference to the groaning board at which we sit than appreciation of just keeping alive. Oh certainly we acknowledge the welcome presence of far-flung relation and other visitors and in addition to thanks we pray for their safety in their travels to and from our homes. This is as it should be, since their visit is welcomed and we enjoy seeing the family unit complete. Don’t read any criticism of the holiday in these words even if I express the need to expand our inventory of constant gifts from our Creator.

We, as residents of the United States, are and have been the recipients of the greatest God given document in the world. It is by virtue of the U.S. Constitution and the resulting government system; we can enjoy that which we treasure in our life. We tend to forget that France’s, Germany’s, Italy’s and Spain’s systems of government come nowhere close to equaling our constitution’s durability. In fact, their combined longevity comes no where close to ours. We often make the mistake of considering 1000 year old castles, towers, and bridges in foreign countries as indicators of their political stability. There is no relationship between these artifacts and successful government. Lacking this holy document, and its emphasis on human liberty, they cannot enjoy the nation state status of America.

Issues with a moral focus—drug control, abortion, gay relations, etc.—are ignored in an effort to remove the governing bodies further and further from the governed in ancestral Europe. There would have been no way for Eastern Europe to have suffered forty plus years of the Cold War if their system had been formed by God. Genocide, abuse, and deprivation of human rights are the product of systems not enjoying God’s guiding hand.

This great country is accused of every vile crime in the book but other countries manage to welcome our military to assist in disaster relief whether its source is nature or tin horn dictators. Foreign cemeteries are filled with liberty loving youth from our country who felt the call to liberate the oppressed. My only solace when I think of them is to realize they are now in the bosom of the Lord.

We are constantly reminded by the ACLU and other lunatics of the so called “separation of church and state.” Despite the fact it is nowhere mentioned in the constitution or other statute, they continue the fiction that separation of church and state actually exists. As we read the words of the founding fathers and subsequent leaders we discover a continuing dependence on Almighty God for direction and guidance. During the course of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln gave the flowing prayer to our Heavenly Father.

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln leaves little else to say. Enjoy the holiday. Enjoy the blessings of liberty. Praise our kind and loving God. Please pass the sweet potatoes.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What’s the Difference?

Internationalism vs. globalization; is that a tag-team match that requires we turn off the TV for a few minutes and actually consider the ramifications? I believe it is. It will be the struggle which will be ascendant in the political discussion and insider efforts for the near future. We can’t tell the players without a score card so let’s take a look at each.

Internationalism places the emphasis on the interrelationship of sovereign powers. By definition it acknowledges that each country has, for good or ill, its own canon of law and tradition for its own individual citizens. It tolerates the existence of variable moral outlooks and behavior based on history and local experience as well as a distinct national interest. The United Nations, in the beginning, was touted as a forum to act as referee to enable differences between states be ironed out for the mutual good. For the UN to be effective, it must first recognize that each player has national sovereignty.

In the United States, we present a microcosm of this internationalism. We have been assembled from the widest disparity of peoples on the face of the earth. We are not tied to any specific ethnic origin, religious practice, caste system, or other certain identifier. We are at liberty to pursue that which we believe to be true. We are also at liberty to discuss the differences openly and demonstrate to the world that it is possible for people of widely varied backgrounds to live in peace and prosperity, yet still keep in touch with those peculiarities which form our background. Yes, we have conflicts but they are largely a result of efforts to force opinions and behavior from one group on another. By the grace of God we also enjoy the protection of the Constitution which maintains our individual rights from an oppressive government.

Thus internationalism is an extension of individualism. Men of faith recognize that when they confront God for the final judgment, they will be held accountable as individuals and not as part of a group. The causes for those associations may well play into that judgment but it seems unlikely that we will be judged in wholesale lots.

As the face of internationalism, the United Nations is constantly subject to criticism not because of its ideals but rather because of its behavior. That criticism is duly deserved when the organization becomes bullying and ignores the individual interests and traditions of the member nations. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for men to assert their own self-interest in world forums and ignore the altruistic goals which were present at the foundation.

Globalization does not share these fantasies. This concept envisions one world transcending national borders, traditions, local laws and people’s individualism in favor of some sort of planetary dominance and direction. The opportunities for mischief and suppression of peoples here are too easily accomplished for my taste. The concept relies on the integrity of those in charge to insure the freedoms and guarantees of liberty essential to a fulfilling life. We have seen too often the result of ambitious men who have turned into despots when given the chance to manage the lives of others.

It is reasonable to assume that a world of law is vastly superior to the judgment of men. The temptation to perversion by men is too strong. Obviously there are those who would clearly benefit from globalization. The benefit, however, would unlikely benefit those whose clear direction is to accomplish on their own their heartfelt wishes and desires. It might more easily cloud the agendas of those who seek individual gains upon the backs of others. As unpleasant as they may sometimes seem, there is a reason for the rules and regulations which govern our daily lives. They provide the fabric of peace and tranquility which is so desired by most men everywhere.

In a world of international accord, laws which are thought to be unfair may eventually be altered to achieve fairness for all. Baring that structure we become dependent upon the caprices of men. As we review the histories of those who sought domination on a global scale, we see Hitler, Stalin, Marx, Lenin, and others who fought to destroy national identities in their gradual acquisition of territory and wealth. They chose to inflict their insidious misplaced idealism instead of the sensible law and order doctrines of their conquered neighbors. They generally used roughly the same template to rise to power. First, they appeal to the baser nature of their people with popular programs—generally unsustainable—of benefits, power identities, and propagandized superiority. Once they gain the support required they may then proceed to gradually abridge the freedoms once enjoyed by the people. The wolf, in this case, comes completely disguised as a sheep.. In this case, it’s a sheep with the organization and firepower to maintain the controls necessary for conquest.

I firmly believe that it is absolutely essential that each one of us has a clear understanding of the difference between these two doctrines. Lacking that understanding may lead to embracing policies (illegal immigration, government give-a-ways, deeper socialization of health care and other programs) and international associations which are harmful to us as a nation. The true test of any offering from our government has to be first and foremost; consistency with our constitutional imperatives. Personalities aside, every proposal needs to be evaluated, tested, and tempered by that consideration. It is no accident that the acceptance of any responsible position in the government (from Private to President) requires a pledge before God that we “uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.” Most of you have recited that pledge.

I believe it is the personal responsibility of each American, no matter how humble our circumstance, to be aware of the forces at work in our country and the world to deprive us of our liberties. It is absolutely necessary that we examine each and every proposal, no matter how apparently benign, with a skeptic's eye and react firmly, each to our maximum ability. The great civilizations of history have clearly demonstrated their individual ability to become failures. They did so, not because of their leadership but, by the permission of their citizens. Liberty is worth fighting for.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 65

Hope and change, the staple of the Obama campaign has reached the point where, now elected, “push” has come to “shove.” During the next sixty days, he (The One) is challenged to assemble a group of capable people to serve the people in various cabinet positions. For lifetime politicians this is a rare moment to reward your friends, play the quid pro quo card, and give back to those who have shaken the money tree for your election. Many judgments are then made as to just exactly who the successful candidate owes the most to.

In a perfect world, these appointments would be drawn from a pool of the most talented, knowledgeable, and experienced available. Sadly, this is rarely the case. As we look at his picks so far there is an emerging commonality which is becoming rapidly clear. He would appear to be choosing former Clinton party hacks for these coveted positions. What in the world is that all about? Hillary is the apparent choice for Secretary of State. Although not confirmed, even the thought is bizarre. It may be an extension of the old saw that; “a wise man keeps his friends close—and his enemies closer.” The denizens of “foggy bottom” are mostly lifers at State and will do the operational heavy lifting. However, the SOS is the voice of the department and the one who gets the photo ops with foreign dignitaries and all the neat trips to countries with names the average person cannot even pronounce.

The Attorney General’s job is slated to be taken by Eric Holder. He defines the term of Clinton intimate. Who else would enable the pardon of a Clinton pal and fugitive from justice, Marc Rich, and sign off on the illegalities of the Elian Gonzales capture. You do remember the photos of that pre-dawn raid; with Kevlar clad armed gunsels taking down that eight year old to return him to the Cuban Communist paradise don’t you? He was also instrumental in the pardon of villains from the Weatherman Underground. A Clintonista through and through; he is a highly questionable call. Have we run out of honest law abiding attorneys to man that critical post?

Health and Human Services is supposedly to be run by Tom Daschle of South Dakota. He was dumped by the folks in South Dakota as Senator from a high ranking position in D.C. Under an ethics cloud surrounding the purchase of a million dollar home in D.C. and the active lobbying effort of his wife on behalf of aviation issues he was involuntarily retired. As part of the Clinton team, no one questions where his loyalties lie. Given his attitude toward taxation—he never saw one he didn’t like—he does give one pause that he will be tasked with bringing a new health plan on line.

Bill Richardson, due to his Hispanic heritage and the ethnic make-up of his home state, New Mexico, will add to the “rainbow factor” in the new cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. It is not certain whether his defection from the Clinton campaign team was a help or a hindrance.

Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, bypassed for the vice-presidential nod, has been tapped for his Secretary of Labor. The irony here is her support of abortion as opposed to her possible positions on “labor.”

In the selection of current Arizona governor, Janet Napolitano, for Secretary of the Department of Home Land Security, Obama has picked a strident foe to those who would protect our borders. She labored long to defeat the will of the citizens of Arizona in fiscally protecting itself from the drain of excessive costs of providing healthcare, instate tuition, and other services for illegal immigrants. A Clinton political appointee—US attorney for Arizona—it is a stretch to see her as effective in protecting US interests along the borders.

Finally, we have the Treasury Secretary. At last, a winner! Timothy Geithner actually has the credentials to manage the job. His peers, upon announcement, showed their confidence and the stock market soared. So what does all this mean?

It means that I have serious reservations about a man who is in the driver’s seat and chooses to offer a collection of individuals who have close ties to the rivals he so disparaged during the primaries. Does he have no close qualified friends and associates who he would trust with these political plums? If your closest associates are the likes of Ayers, Rezko, Dohrn, Pfleger, Alinsky, and Wright, it is unlikely that you would readily be able to consult your Roladex for suggestions. If you had won elections by disqualifying the other candidates in order to run un-opposed you would be unlikely to come away with anybody who would trust you.

Surely he could have persuaded someone from the Daley machine in Chicago to take one of these cushy jobs. At the least they are knowledgeable in how to “run” things. Much is made about how desirable it would be to go have a beer with and maybe take in a ball game with a candidate. That is a, possibly overrated, first step in forming the associations from which trust blossoms. Given his level of total self-interest, it is possible that he has no real friends. How sad! Regardless of claims of “hope and change” it smacks of “business as usual.”

For the birds

I have had more comments and emails about the birds and feeders than any subject I have ever posted on (nearly 300.) I am encouraged to realize the level of humanity and consideration for God’s creatures that our readers evidence. A hearty round of applause is hereby offered.

The first ten pound sack of bird food (Pennington’s) is nearly gone. The highest count was eleven at one time. Counting flitting birds is a challenge at best, but rewarding. No newcomers have visited in recent days and I still am concerned for the possibility of overfeeding.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon