Monthly Archives: January 2011

Brummett: Watch out for “shouting demonstration from zealous religious believers..” Part 1

Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, discusses atheism pt 1

In his article “Athiesm’s Big Night in Little Rock,” (The Morning News, April 27, 2007), John Brummett stated: I’d asked Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School, if he expected trouble — a shouting demonstration from zealous religious believers, perhaps. “Could be,” he said.

The atheist scientist Richard Dawkins was the speaker that night in Little Rock and he had a haughty attitude towards Christians. Brummett’s comment shows the attitude towards Christians that religious believers can be dangerous. Kerby Anderson answered this concern in his commentary “Answering the New Atheists.” He observed:

For our discussion, we will be using the general outline of the book Is God Just a Human Invention? written by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, Is God Just a Human Invention? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2010)…

The New Atheists contend that religion is not just false; it’s also dangerous. Sam Harris believes it should be treated like slavery and eradicated.{14} Christopher Hitchens wants to rally his fellow atheists against religion: “It has become necessary to know the enemy, and to prepare to fight it.”{15} Richard Dawkins is even more specific: “I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been invented.”{16}

Much of the criticism against religion revolves around violence. We do live in a violent world, and religion has often been the reason (or at least the justification) for violent acts. But the New Atheists are kidding themselves if they think that a world without religion would usher in a utopia where there is no longer violence, oppression, or injustice.

Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow point out in their book on the New Atheists that details matter when you are examining religion. Injustices by the Taliban in Afghanistan ought not to be used as part of the cumulative cases against religion in general or Christianity in particular. The fact that there are Muslim terrorists in the world today does not mean that all Muslims are dangerous. And it certainly doesn’t mean that Christianity is dangerous.

Alister McGrath reminds us that “all ideals—divine, transcendent, human or invented—are capable of being abused. That’s just the way human nature is. And that happens to religion as well. Belief in God can be abused, and we need to be very clear, in the first place, that abuse happens, and in the second, that we need to confront and oppose this. But abuse of an ideal does not negate its validity.”{17}

Religion is not the problem. People are the problem because they are sinful and live in a fallen world. Keith Ward puts this in perspective:

No one would deny that there have been religious wars in human history. Catholics have fought Protestants, Sunni Muslims have fought Shi’a Muslims, and Hindus have fought Muslims. However, no one who has studied history could deny that most wars in human history have not been religious. And in the case of those that have been religious, the religious component has usually been associated with some non-religious, social, ethnic, or political component that has exerted a powerful influence on the conflicts.{18}

The New Atheists, however, still want to contend that religion is dangerous while refusing to accept that atheism has been a major reason for death and destruction. If you were to merely look at body count, the three atheistic regimes of the twentieth century (Hitler in Nazi Germany, Stalin in Russia, and Mao in China) are responsible for more than 100 million deaths.

Dinesh D’Souza explains that “Religion-inspired killing simply cannot compete with the murders perpetrated by atheist regimes.” Even when you take into account the differences in the world’s population, he concludes that “death caused by Christian rulers over a five-hundred-year period amount to only 1 percent of the deaths caused by Stalin, Hitler, and Mao in the space of a few decades.”{19}

Religion is not the problem; people are the problem. And removing religion and God from a society doesn’t make it less dangerous. The greatest death toll in history took place in the last century in atheistic societies.

Richard Dawkins on Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox:


Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist, discusses atheism pt 2

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Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 5

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President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

Ronald Reagan and Virginia Mayo in the 1952 film She’s Working her Way Through College.

Reagan cared a lot putting in across the board tax cuts and he talks about his plans during the 1980 Republican National Convention. This tax cut brought about a huge boast to our economy.

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 5

We are never defeated unless we give up on God.
Ronald Reagan

We can not play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent.
Ronald Reagan

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
Ronald Reagan

We have the duty to protect the life of an unborn child.
Ronald Reagan

We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule.
Ronald Reagan

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
Ronald Reagan


We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.
Ronald Reagan

We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.
Ronald Reagan

We’re in greater danger today than we were the day after Pearl Harbor. Our military is absolutely incapable of defending this country.
Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan roasts George Burns.

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

Ronald Reagan plays with his daughter Patti in the pool of their Pacific Palisades, Calif., home in 1966.

Brantley: Proponents of Social Security Privatization know they are dooming system (Social Security Part 6)

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In 2003 José Piñera, President of the International Center for Pension Reform and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute, gave this conference warning the upcoming crisis of the west. For more information about José Piñera’s ideas and Pension Reform visit http://www.josepinera.com or http://www.pensionreform.org

Social Security Series Part 6

Max Brantley on his Arkansas Times blog on Sept 3, 2010 wrote concerning Social Security privatization efforts, “Allowing such individual investment decisions would be the doom of the system as we know it and those who favor the approach know it full well.”

I would counter Mr. Brantley with two pieces of information. First, the path we are on is unsustainable. The video clip rightly points out that the unfunded liabilities of “pay as you go state run pension systems are enormous” and they are “a time bomb” as  José Piñera notes in the above video in 2003. He said of Europe: “I am astonished that the political leadership of Europe does not understand the seriousness of this threat. It is a time bomb. The unfunded liabilities of the pay as you go state run pension systems are enormous.”

Basically the USA will be where PIIGGS is today. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, and Spain are guilty of following down the path of socialism that we are going down. The only difference is that we are about 10 years behind them. Similar results can be expected in the USA that they have now. This forecast of José Piñera was given in 2003.

Second, Proponents of Social Security privatization can cite examples of other countries all over the world privatizing their social security systems and can report much success.

Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has observed:

Australia began to implement personal accounts back in the mid-1980s, and the results have been remarkable. The government’s finances are stronger. National saving has increased. But most important, people now can look forward to a safer and more secure retirement. Another great example is Chile, which set up personal accounts in the early 1980s. This interview with Jose Pinera, who designed the Chilean system, is a great summary of why personal accounts are necessary. All told, about 30 nations around the world have set up some form of personal accounts. Even  Sweden, which the left usually wants to mimic,  has partially privatized its Social Security system.

José Piñera in 2003 part 2


Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 4 (President Obama on Reagan)

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President Obama signs the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission Act on June 2, 2009, as former first lady Nancy Reagan looks on.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
UPON SIGNING THE RONALD REAGAN CENTENNIAL COMMISSION ACT
I am going to include in my series on Ronald Wilson Reagan a group of articles from USA Today that deal with today’s politicians and what they appreciated about Reagan.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was a believer. As a husband, a father, an entertainer, a governor and a president, he recognized that each of us has the power — as individuals and as a nation — to shape our own destiny. He had faith in the American promise; in the importance of reaffirming values like hard work and personal responsibility; and in his own unique ability to inspire others to greatness.

No matter what political disagreements you may have had with President Reagan— and I certainly had my share — there is no denying his leadership in the world, or his gift for communicating his vision for America

President Reagan recognized the American people’s hunger for accountability and change — putting our nation on a bold new path toward both. And although he knew that conflicts between parties and political adversaries were inevitable, he also knew that they would never be strong enough to break the ties that bind us together. He understood that while we may see the world differently and hold different opinions about what’s best for our country, the fact remains that we are all patriots who put the welfare of our fellow citizens above all else.

It was a philosophy that President Reagan took to heart — famously saying that he and Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill, with whom he sparred constantly, could be friends after 6 o’clock. It’s what led him to compromise on issues as contentious as Social Security and tax cuts. And it’s what allowed him to work with leaders of all political persuasions to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and security around the world, including reducing nuclear weapons and imagining a world, ultimately, without nuclear weapons.

But perhaps even more important than any single accomplishment was the sense of confidence and optimism President Reagan never failed to communicate to the American people. It was a spirit that transcended the most heated political arguments, and one that called each of us to believe that tomorrow will be better than today. At a time when our nation was going through an extremely difficult period, with economic hardship at home and very real threats beyond our borders, it was this positive outlook, this sense of pride, that the American people needed more than anything.

When the future looked darkest and the way ahead seemed uncertain, President Reagan understood both the hardships we faced and the hopes we held for the future. He understood that it is always “Morning in America.” That was his gift, and we remain forever grateful.

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, then California Gov. Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope and John Wayne attend a party to benefit Reagan’s gubernatorial campaign in 1970.
Its the Master of Venom’s turn to dish out the punishment, this time its Govenor Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 3

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President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

California Gov. Ronald Reagan laughs at something said by Vice President Gerald Ford during a luncheon on 1974

 

Ronald Reagan speaks at 1980 Republican National Convention part 2

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 3

There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.
Ronald Reagan 

There are no easy answers’ but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.
Ronald Reagan

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.
Ronald Reagan

They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong.
Ronald Reagan

Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
Ronald Reagan

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world’s strongest economy.
Ronald Reagan

To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.
Ronald Reagan

Today we did what we had to do. They counted on America to be passive. They counted wrong.
Ronald Reagan

Today, if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along with a better mouse.
Ronald Reagan

Trust, but verify.
Ronald Reagan

Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.
Ronald Reagan

Violence has been Nicaragua’s most important export to the world.
Ronald Reagan

 

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

President Reagan and Nancy Reagan wave from a limousine during the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20, 1981, in Washington. This was the warmest Inauguration Day on record, hitting 55 degrees.

 

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 2

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President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

Secret Service agents react after President Reagan is shot as he exits a side doorway of the Washington Hilton on March 30, 1981.

 

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 2

A great moment in modern conservatism. 1980 Republican National Convention speech by Ronald Reagan.

But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret.
Ronald Reagan

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.
Ronald Reagan

Government always finds a need for whatever money it gets.
Ronald Reagan
Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them.
Ronald Reagan
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
Ronald Reagan
Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
Ronald Reagan

Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.
Ronald Reagan
How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
Ronald Reagan
I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.
Ronald Reagan
I’ve never been able to understand why a Republican contributor is a ‘fat cat’ and a Democratic contributor of the same amount of money is a ‘public-spirited philanthropist’.
Ronald Reagan
If the Soviet Union let another political party come into existence, they would still be a one-party state, because everybody would join the other party.
Ronald Reagan

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Ronald Reagan

Reagan is pushed into his limousine after shots are fired. He would joke with doctors later, but his wound could have been deadly.

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

President Reagan is pushed into his limousine after shots are fired. He would joke with doctors lat

 

Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 1 (humor of Reagan)

President Ronald Reagan and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor walk outside the Supreme Court after O'Connor was sworn in Sept. 25, 1981. O'Connor was the first woman on the Supreme Court.

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

President Reagan and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor walk outside the Supreme Court after O’Connor was sworn in Sept. 25, 1981. O’Connor was the first woman on the Supreme Court.

 

Reagan humor

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on Feb 6, 1911. I wanted to celebrate his life the next couple of weeks with some great posts about him. Today I am starting off with some funny quotes from him.

“Politics is just like show business. You have a hell of an opening, you coast for awhile, you have a hell of a closing.”

“What does an actor know about politics?” -criticizing Ed Asner for opposing American foreign policy

“What makes him think a middle-aged actor, who’s played with a chimp, could have a future in politics?” -on Clint Eastwood’s bid to become mayor of Carmel

“How can a president not be an actor?” -when asked “How could an actor become president?’

“I hope you’re all Republicans.” -speaking to surgeons as he entered the operating room following a 1981 assassination attempt.

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency — even if I’m in a Cabinet meeting.”

“Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

“I don’t know. I’ve never played a governor.” -asked by a reporter in 1966 what kind of governor he would be

“There is absolutely no circumstance whatever under which I would accept that spot. Even if they tied and gagged me, I would find a way to signal by wiggling my ears.” –on possibly being offered the vice presidency in 1968

“You can tell a lot about a fella’s character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful.” -explaining why he liked to have a jar of jelly beans on hand for important meetings

“I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” -during a 1984 presidential debate with Walter Mondale

“Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

“As a matter of fact, Nancy never had any interest in politics or anything else when we got married.”

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

“I’m afraid I can’t use a mule. I have several hundred up on Capitol Hill.” -refusing a gift of a mule

President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday anniversary

President Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II pose for photographers at a formal state dinner at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. At left are Prince Philip and first lady Nancy Reagan.

 

Brummett: Social Security Privatization “very ruination of this vital contract.”(Social Security Series Part 5)

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George Bush discusses his plans to privatize Social Security.

Social Security Series Part 5

John Brummett in his article “Boozman: Superman or Superficial?” (Arkansas Times, Sept 30, 2010) asserted, “that to take money out of Social Security and let individuals risk blowing it with bad investments would invite the very ruination of this vital contract.”

Personal accounts are safer than the current system.

What is the solution to the Social Security problem for young people? Ron Paul addresses this in his Dec 27, 2010 radio address:

Notice that neither political party proposes letting people opt out of Social Security, which exposes the lie that your contributions are set aside and saved. After all, if your contributions are really set aside for your retirement, the money is there earning interest, right? If your money is in your account, what difference would it make if your neighbor chooses not to participate in the program?

The truth of course is that your contributions are not put aside. Social Security is a simple tax. Like all taxes, the money collected is spent immediately as general revenue to fund the federal government. But no administration will admit that Social Security is nothing more than an accounting ledger with no money. You will collect benefits only if future tax revenues remain high. The money you paid into the system is long gone.

My hope is that at least some members of the new Congress will cut through the distortions to see Social Security as it really is. The best way to fix the impending Social Security crisis is also the simplest: Allow younger individuals to opt out of the program and use their tax savings to invest privately as they see fit. This is the true private solution. Your money has never been safe in the government’s hands and it never will be.

Ron Paul has rightly noted that basically Social Security needs to be seen for what it really is. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has rightly noted that Social Security is a “tax and transfer entitlement scheme.”

Below are some figures from a 1995 article by William Shipman of the Cato Institute:

Monthly Benefit Comparison of Social Security and the Capital Markets by Date of Birth, Income, and Age of Retirement (1995 Dollars)

[Bar graph omitted. Tabular presentation given.]

Year of Birth:  1930

               Retirement Age 62           Normal Retirement Age
            Low Wage      High Wage        Low Wage     High Wage
___________________________________________________________________

Social
 Security     $439          $929             $551         $1,200

Bonds         $380        $1,341             $574         $2,072

Stocks        $864        $2,614           $1,301         $3,999

Year of Birth:  1950

               Retirement Age 62           Normal Retirement Age
            Low Wage      High Wage        Low Wage     High Wage
___________________________________________________________________

Social
 Security     $468        $1,144              $631        $1,562 

Bonds         $749        $3,194            $1,069        $4,585

Stocks      $1,599        $6,380            $2,490        $9,972

Year of Birth:  1970

               Retirement Age 62           Normal Retirement Age
            Low Wage      High Wage        Low Wage     High Wage
___________________________________________________________________

Social
 Security      $529       $1,315              $769        $1,908

Bonds          $676       $3,268            $1,085        $5,243

Stocks       $1,363       $6,610            $2,419       $11,729

Source: Author’s calculations based on figures in Social Security Administration, Social Security Bulletin, Annual Statistical Supplement, 1994 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1994); Stocks, Bonds, Bills and Inflation (Chicago: Ibbotson Associates, 1995); and “IFC Investible Index,” International Finance Corporation, Washington, 1995.

Tonight big BBQ for State Republicans

I am sure that many of you recently got this email below:

Arkansas GOP Newsletter

Dear Conservative Leader,

Event Update:

Don’t forget to join us this Thursday evening for our “Paint the Town Red: Jeans, Boots & BBQ” celebration to honor our newly elected officials! The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Robinson Center Exhibit Hall in downtown Little Rock. Tickets are $50 per person, children 12 & under are free.

We’ll have a barbecue buffet provided by Whole Hog, live country music, and an auction for a Henry Rifle. Conservative news radio host Dave Elswick will serve as the night’s master of ceremonies.

_________________________________________________

I am looking forward to visiting with Republican State lawmakers tonight. I have in the past put in profiles of most of these fine Republicans. (I have actually done 50 so far.) Take a look at some of them below.

David Meeks

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Ann Clemmer

David Sanders

Andy Mayberry

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Kim Hammer

Jake Files of Ft Smith.

Jeremy Hutchinson

Social Security is a bad deal for young workers today (Social Security Series Part 4)

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Ron Paul’s radio address Dec 27, 2010 on Social Security

Social Security Series Part 4

Ron Paul in his radio address of Dec 27, 2010 noted:

But millions of Americans now realize that the status quo is an illusion that will not last even another 10 or 20 years. The federal government cannot continue to spend a trillion dollars more than it collects in revenue each year because we are running out of creditors. Fiscal reality is setting in and the consequences may be grim, even if Congress finds the courage to take decisive action now.

Courage begins with a commitment to see things as they are, rather than how we wish they were. When it comes to Social Security we must understand that the system does not represent an old age pension, an insurance program or even a forced savings program. It simply represents an enormous transfer of payment with younger workers paying taxes to benefit the other beneficiaries. There is no Social Security trust fund and you don’t have an account. Whether you win or lose the Social Security lottery is a function of when you happen to be born and how long you live to collect benefits. Of course young people today have every reason to believe they will never collect those benefits.

Social Security is a bad deal for young workers today and they are voicing their opinions.

What do you think of the nation’s Social Security system? Do you think that by the time you retire there will be enough money in the system to pay you the benefits you are entitled to, or do you think there will not be enough money left to pay you benefits?

Responses by Age Group:
  18-30 31-44 45-60 61+ All
Yes, will be enough 18% 23% 44% 61% 36%
No, will not be enough 80% 74% 52% 29% 60%
(VOL) Not covered by Social Security 0% 0% 1% 2% 1%
DK/No opinion 2% 3% 4% 7% 4%
Source: A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted by telephone January 12 – 16, 2005 among 1,007 randomly selected adults nationwide. Margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus three percentage points. Fieldwork by TNS of Horsham, PA.

Another idea to help keep the Social Security system funded would let workers put some of their Social Security savings into stocks or bonds if they wanted to. That could produce higher or lower benefits depending on how the investments perform. Would you support or oppose this stock-market option for Social Security?

Responses by Age Group:
  18-30 31-44 45-60 61+ All
Support 71% 65% 47% 35% 55%
Oppose 26% 32% 50% 58% 41%
DK/No opinion 2% 4% 3% 7% 4%
Source: A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted by telephone January 12 – 16, 2005 among 1,007 randomly selected adults nationwide. Margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus three percentage points. Fieldwork by TNS of Horsham, PA.