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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Likelihood of the UK Leaving the EU Just Jumped 

I will refrain from commenting on the pig-headed, arrogant, disrespectful, imperialistic pact between the Hun and their Surrender Monkeys to stonewall the UK and their request for EU treaty changes.  I will leave commentary on their backstabbing, conniving, petty conspiracy to others.  Instead I will briefly comment on the effect the cowardly secret/leaked agreement will likely have on the coming In-Out UK EU Referendum.

And the chances just greatly increased the UK will vote to leave.  Yes, there is still a lot of time.  Yes, one should not underestimate the UK-EU establishments’ effort to manipulate the referendum.  But Germany and France teaming up to give few to no concessions (And I expect the EU will still give a few token concessions.  They want to UK to stay in, don’t they?) to the UK will have to motivate British voters to turn out and tell them what they can do with the EU.  And it would surely dampen the enthusiasm of those inclined to stay in the EU. 

I had expected the UK to vote to stay in.  Now, I am not confident in that at all.

The aforementioned manipulations to keep the UK in the EU without giving UK much real reason so to do will become interesting.
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Knee Update: The knee is better, but still bad enough to trash my previous plans.  I am trying to get a timely appointment with a doctor.  People go through a lot worse things than this, but prayers would nonetheless by appreciated.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

The Last Time I Had Crutches 

Yes, as my previous post reveals, I did not expect to post again so soon.  But my busy plans were interrupted by a knee injury.  So about all I could do yesterday, and that with the help of a friend, is go to WalMart, get crutches, and rest my knee.  And I won’t be doing much more than that today.  (I think something is strained, not torn.  I will rest it for what was going to be a busy weekend and see.)

This is the first time I’ve used crutches since 8th grade, and it brings back to mind an episode back then.

My heroic B-team soccer career had just been ended when a teammate, during practice, took out my ankle while going for the ball.  Yes, he was a bit over-enthusiastic.  It was a bad sprain, so I was to stay off it.  Hence the crutches.

Back then, my distance running had not yet gained respect as it would that Spring, and I was a frequent target for teasing.  One day right before a class period, a boy took my crutches and ran around with them.  While I was athletically hopping around on one foot trying to retrieve them, one of the sterner teachers appeared.  She was not happy.  It was clear the boy was in trouble. 

Now, in 7th grade, I would have greatly anticipated the justice to come.  I had been picked on for most of my childhood, and I relished those rare times when my tormenters got what was coming to them.  But in the middle of 8th grade, God had been working on me.  Later on that year, on Maundy Thursday, also my 14th birthday, I made my first profession of faith at Casa Linda Presbyterian Church.

So something came over me and, without really thinking about it, I intervened and told the teacher that we were just joking around.  It was not some difficult decision; it was instinct, and instinct I surely would not have had a year or more before.

I do not know if the teacher believed me.  She did not look very convinced and surely had noticed I was a target of teasing at other times.  But she chose to go with my word and let it drop on the spot.

The boy thanked me profusely as he returned my crutches.  He knew very well I had spared him.

My point is telling this is not to make you think, “What a good boy Mark was.”  I have my regrets from 8th grade, too.  The time I did not take up for a friend – a friend who was a good friend to me after my mom died – still bothers me.  Jamie Devlin, if you are out there, I am sorry.

My point is that there are times to forgive when the recipient of forgiveness has done nothing to merit it – no apology, no repentance, nothing.  Is forgiveness a Christian obligation at such times?  No, and I oppose such teaching that Christians should always forgive no matter what.  I do not think that is what the Bible teaches, and I do not at all like putting false guilt on victims.

But God chose to forgive me long before I had it in my mind to apologize and receive his forgiveness.  And surely a good way to witness about God and his forgiveness is to model it by doing likewise.  Not to mention being like the Father can and should be a pleasure to a child of the Father.


And I have to admit, even the 8th grade Mark got more pleasure out of giving forgiveness than he would have out of receiving justice.  He did not think it through; it was a spur of the moment decision.  But it was one of the best decisions he made.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Democrat News Media 

The adventures of George Stephanopoulos illustrate why I don’t call it the Democrat News Media for nothing.  The so-called  “Mainstream” “News” Media  has become little more than the public relations/hatchet men arm of the Democrat Party.

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Housekeeping:
Now I would say more about Stephanopoulos, ABC News, and the Bill and Hillary Clinton Slush Funds for that matter.  But I am a bit overwhelmed with happenings outside this blog.  And I expect to continue to be slightly overwhelmed for two or three more weeks.


So do not be alarmed at my quiet.  God willing, I shall return.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Some Semi-Friendly Advice to the United Methodists 

The United Methodists are not my cup of tea.  But I have to admit they are not going to Gehenna quite as fast as the “mainline” Presbyterians and Episcopalians.  Hey, I give credit where credit is due.

Yes, I am unusually magnanimous this morning.  So here’s some friendly advice for the United Methodists – close your D. C. office post haste.

The world’s lone Jewish state must be singled out for punitive divestment campaigns, while we should at the same time promote economic investment in North Korea, whose government has done absolutely nothing in the area of human rights worthy of specific criticism. And we should take our broad support for sex outside of marriage one step further by advocating to legalize prostitution.

This was the moral vision offered by our United Methodist Church’s apportionment-funded D.C. lobby office, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) at its Spring 2015 board of directors meeting.

I will spare the sordid details.  I will just say decades ago, an important factor that pushed me out of the “mainline” Presbyterian Church were its outrageous public policy pronouncements.  At the very least, they alerted me that something was very wrong with my denomination. 

One of the surest ways to shrink your church is to issue poison such as that coming from the UM’s Washington office.

Methodists, you know what to do.  Close it.  Now.

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A hat tip to Christopher Johnson, whose title captures what the D. C. Office is doing to the United Methodist Church.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What Compassion is Not 

I apologize ahead of time for stating the obvious.  But sometimes false memes get repeated so often that stating the obvious is needful.

And in the aftermath of the U. K. elections, we are hearing again and again lefty laments that the U. K. electorate is so lacking in compassion as actually to vote Tory.  Oh the humanity!  What about the poor!  Giles Fraser is among those so wailing (which is sad because the man is capable of intelligence on occasion).

So the obvious begs to be reasserted: taking by force from someone else to give to the perceived needy is not compassion.  We can have a healthy debate as to when such taking by force is justified, but compassion it is not.  When you give of your own substance to help the needy, that is compassion, not when you send government to take from someone else.

The Good Samaritan did not mug someone to provide for the gentleman he assisted.  He provided for the gentleman with his own efforts and money.


I will try to exercise some restraint and compassion and not say anymore.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

The Toxic Left and “Shy Tories” – a Preview of U. S. Elections? 

Among the interesting items of the U. K. elections last week was how the pollsters got it all wrong.  They has us (me included) thinking that there was no way the Conservatives would win a majority of seats without a majority.  It even seemed Labour and SNP combined might have a shot at a coalition.

Then as voting closed, exit polls surprised by indicating the Conservatives would actually get much closer to a majority then previously thought.  The talk among many was that those exit polls could not possibly be right.

They weren’t - the Conservatives actually won a majority of seats by a comfortable margin.

So what happened?  And why were the pollsters so wrong?  Some think millions of “Shy Tories” turned out to stop a Labour-SNP government, and I suspect they were right.

My American friends especially might be asking, “What is a Shy Tory?”  A Shy Tory is one who votes Tory, but is reluctant to tell you about it ahead of time.  And they have made pollsters look foolish before:

Shy Tory Factor is a name given by British opinion polling companies to a phenomenon observed by psephologists in the 1990s, where the share of the vote won by the Conservative Party (known as the 'Tories') in elections was substantially higher than the proportion of people in opinion polls who said they would vote for the party.[1]

In the 1992 general election, the final opinion polls gave the Conservatives between 38% and 39% of the vote, about 1% behind the Labour Party – suggesting that the election would produce a hung parliament or a narrow Labour majority and end 13 years of Tory rule. In the final results, the Conservatives had a lead of 7.6% over Labour and won their fourth successive general election, though they now had a 21-seat majority compared to the 102-seat majority they had gained in the election five years previously. As a result of this failure to 'predict' the result, the Market Research Society held an inquiry into the reasons why the polls had been so much at variance with actual public opinion. The report found that 2% of the 8.5% error could be explained by Conservative supporters refusing to disclose their voting intentions; it cited as evidence the fact that exit polls on election day also underestimated the Conservative lead.

And history has at least echoed with even exit polls underestimating Tory strength this past Thursday.

I think two factors made the army of Shy Tories larger than usual this time around:

1.  Labour, led by “Red Ed” Miliband, has lurched to the Left in recent years and really did not hide it.  Further, their likely would-be coalition partner, the Scottish National Party, is even further Left and doesn’t like the English all that much to boot.  That pushed a lot of middle England into running to the Tories.

2.  There is at least a segment of the UK Left that has made being an open Conservative problematic.  There is not only the toxicity of the Left in social media, but there are a number of professions and occupations in which having open Tory tendencies is not good for one’s career and workplace comity.  (Yes, the phenomenon of the Toxic Left is probably worse in the U. S.  But I will get to that.)  Understandably, this has made many Tories that much more shy.  And it has also surely repelled people from Labour, increasing the number of Shy Tories.

I am normally not the most optimistic man in the world.  But I think alert readers can already see where I am going.  Here in the U. S., the Democrat Party has lurched to the Left in recent years.  In the past, Democrats, with the help of the “Mainstream” News Media, would try to hide their Leftism from the electorate, and they may again in the Fall of 2016.  But so far Hillary at least is not.  (Not to mention Obama is not now that he does not have another election.)   She herself is moving to the Left on immigration, class warfare, opposition to freedom of religion, etc.  (Sorry, I lack time to get into specifics for now.)  Both Obama and Hillary have made it that much more difficult for middle of the road people to find excuses to vote Democrat.

Further, the Toxic Left here in the U. S. (And those with any involvement in social media or certain occupations will know what I am talking about.) are both driving people away from the Democrats and at the same time making people reluctant to say they might be such BIGOTS, RACISTS, and SEXISTS as to actually vote Republican.  I would guess this factor is even stronger in the U. S. than in the U. K.  We are just not as nice as the English, you know.


Thus it would not surprise me that we see a big Shy Republican phenomenon in the 2016 U. S. elections with polls having the election close, and the actual election returns being something else altogether.  This past Thursday, the U. K. may have given the U. S. a preview of 2016.

P. S. Apologies for the lack of links and details.  This is a big subject in the midst of a busy day.  But I hope I (with the help of the UK) have alerted you to what may be an important aspect of the 2016 elections.

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Friday, May 08, 2015

Towards a Robust Federalism . . . in the UK? 

When the United States won its independence from Britain, the Founders in their wisdom decided a robust Federalism was the way to go.  With our current and deep-seated divisions, if we are to survive as genuinely united states, it is a necessity that we return to that Constitutional Federalism.

A pleasant irony of the UK election results overnight is that the UK may become a good example to the US in that regard.  From re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks at 10 Downing today:

I have always believed in governing with respect. That’s why in the last parliament we devolved power to Scotland and Wales and gave the people of Scotland a referendum on whether to stay inside the United Kingdom. In this parliament I will stay true to my word and implement as fast as I can the devolution that all parties agreed for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Governing with respect recognising that the different nations of our United Kingdom have their own governments as well as the United Kingdom government. Both are important and indeed with our plans the governments of these nations will become more powerful with wide responsibilities. In Scotland our plans are to create the strongest devolved government anywhere in the world with important powers over taxation and no constitutional settlement would be complete if it did not offer, also, fairness to England.

Given the UK’s divisions, I think this a wise way to proceed.  As much as I detest Scottish politics, to let Scotland be Scotland and England be England without either putting the other under their thumb seems the most peaceful way to proceed.  (And, certainly, there is quite enough history to back me up!)

And that to England’s benefit as well.  One reason a Labour-Scottish National Party victory would have been so awful is the two parties would have likely ganged up on more sensible and more conservative England.  Leftist Scotland should never be allowed to dictate to England.

Here in the United States, the Left coast, the almost as Leftist Northeast Coast, and states dominated by urban enclaves of social rot use the Federal Government to dictate to the rest of us.  That. Must. Stop.

Sadly, our divisions are probably worse than the UK’s and make a return to a robust Federalism that much more needful.  The alternative . . . is not pleasant to think about.  If California, Chicago, Cleveland, New York etc. want to go to Hell, that is their choice.  But I would rather not be dragged there with them, thank you.  And I would rather not be at their throats or they at mine either.  The practice of Federalism in which the Federal Government does a few things we can all agree on, and the rest is left to the states and localities is surely a better, more peaceful way to go.


Again, it would be one of those ironies of history if the mother country reminds us of the need for Federalism and gives us a good example of how to do it.

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