With the lifetime ban by the NBA of despicably racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the door is wide open to further sports bans on people who say offensive things in private.

That, of course, is why Sterling was ousted. Everyone knew for decades that Sterling was a disgusting pig racist – he had federal lawsuits led by the Department of Justice against him for discriminating against blacks, Hispanics, and Asians in housing (one allegation in the 2006 DOJ lawsuit: he said black people “smell”). Thatwould have been an excellent reason for ousting Sterling years ago. The NBA did nothing. Neither did the NAACP, which gave him a lifetime achievement award. But now that his 31-year-old consort has released tape of him saying racist things, the thought police have sprung into action – and the NBA has followed.
Good riddance to Sterling. But let’s understand that ginning up the mob based on private feelings is a dangerous business. We now live in a world in which racial feelings are more important than racist acts (as Sterling’s housing discrimination non-ban shows), and in which bad thought trumps bad action.
Here, then, is a brief list of things that will not get you banned by a sports league for life. The good news: if we tape record all of these people and then hand the tape to Harvey Levin, presumably we can get them banned relatively quickly. Because privacy now extends only to comments with which we agree as a society.
1. Discriminating against black people in housing. Donald Sterling, as mentioned above, settled a lawsuit from the Department of Justice in 2009 in which the DOJ alleged that Sterling had discriminated against Hispanics, blacks, and families without children in housing. According to the lawsuit, Sterling said that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.” The NBA did not react. When specifically asked today, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explicitly said that the NBA’s ban on Sterling had nothing to do with past actions, only his nasty views. Because words speak louder than actions.
2. Strangling somebody. In 1997, Golden State Warriors All-Star Latrell Sprewell, playing for coach P.J. Carlesimo, decided to go berserk after Carlesimo asked him to “put a little mustard” on his passes. Sprewell then wrapped his hands around Carlesimo’s neck and dragged him across the floor for seven seconds. He then emerged later and punched Carlesimo. Two years earlier, he had accosted a teammate with a two-by-four. He was suspended for a grand total of 68 games.
3. Being a publicly vicious racist while black.Spike Lee has stated that white gentrification of Harlem has been horrible, has posted the address of George Zimmerman’s parents online to spur violence, has explained after visiting South Africa in the early 1990s, “I seriously wanted to pick up a gun and shoot whites. The only way to resolve matters is by bloodshed.” He, like Donald Sterling, is no fan of interracial dating: “I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street.” He’s currently a host on NBA Radio on SiriusXM, stars in NBA commercials, and had a front-row seat to the Sterling announcement.
Then there’s Jay Z. Jay Z isn’t just fêted by the President of the United States. He’s a former part-owner of the Brooklyn Nets and, as an agent, works closely with the league. He was spotted recently at an NBA game wearing a necklace medallion for the Five Percent Nation, which sees black men as gods and white people as devils.
4. Using anti-gay slurs. In 2011, Kobe Bryant called referee Bennie Adams a “faggot.” He received a $100,000 fine and no suspension. In 2012, current Clippers forward Matt Barnes called an officer a “f***ing faggot,” then made an attempt to handcuff him. There was no fine. He was suspended for one game. The suspension was unrelated to the slur. In 2012, Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks sent an anti-gay slur to a fan via Twitter. He was fined $50,000. There was no suspension. In 2013, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers used an anti-gay slur and was fined $75,000, without suspension. The Houston Rockets team is currently being sued by a gay waiter for their alleged use of anti-gay slurs. The NBA has taken no action.
5. Attacking patrons of your sport. In 2004, Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers leapt into the stands in Detroit to attack fans. Jermaine O’Neal fought fans on the court. A full-scale melee ensued with players fighting fans and fans fighting players. The result: Ron Artest was suspended the remainder of the season, Jackson was suspended for 30 games, and O’Neal was suspended for 15 games. In 1995, when Houston Rockets guard Vernon Maxwell didn’t like the comments of a fan, he charged into the stands and punched him. That resulted in a whopping 10 game suspension.
6. Pushing your girlfriend to have an abortion, then harassing her about it. In 2013, the press reported that current Clippers guard JJ Redick had an abortion contract with girlfriend Vanessa Lopez. When she became pregnant, the contract stipulated, she would have to have an abortion, and Redick would then have to “maintain a social and/or dating relationship” with her for a year or pay her $25,000. When she refused to have an abortion, he pressured her to do so. So far, there have been no repercussions.
7. Drawing your gun on a fellow player. Gilbert Arenas was suspended for 50 games, and his teammate Javaris Crittenton was suspended for 38 games after they drew firearms on each other while arguing over gambling debts. In the locker room.
8. Reckless driving resulting in a passenger’s death. In 2009, JR Smith, then of the Denver Nuggets, pled guilty to reckless driving. His reckless driving resulted in one of his passengers dying. He was suspended a total of 9 games.
None of this makes Donald Sterling’s repulsive and disgusting racism okay. None of it means that he shouldn’t have been tossed out of the NBA – for his racist activity. But it does demonstrate that for the NBA, the only reason Sterling is gone is media-driven hysteria over a private tape release. It certainly isn’t the NBA’s high moral standard with regard to language, race, or activity. And that is more of a commentary on the culture of the NBA and the lack of standards in the media than anything else.

-Ben Shapiro

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Post-Antibiotic Era

April 30, 2014

“The world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security.

Tracking Device

April 25, 2014

A scary future lies ahead:

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.…

Revelations 13:16-17

Technologies designed specifically to track and monitor human beings have been in development for at least two decades.

In the virtual realm, software programs are now capable of watching us in real time, going so far as to make predictions about our future behaviors and sending alerts to the appropriate monitoring station depending on how a computer algorithm flags your activities. That is in and of itself a scary proposition.

What may be even scarier, however, is what’s happening in the physical realm. According to researches working on human-embedded microchips it’s only a matter of time before these systems achieve widespread acceptance.

Chances are you’re carrying a couple of RFID microchips now. And if you are, they’re sending out a 15-digit number that identifies you. That number can be picked up by what’s called an ISO compliant scanner. And they’re everywhere, too.

It’s not possible to interact with society in a meaningful way by not having a mobile phone. I think human implants are likely to go along a very similar route. It would be such a disadvantage to not have the implant that it essentially becomes not optional.

Video Report:

(Watch at The Age)

Your initial reaction to this idea may be one of disbelief. There’s no way society would accept such a device. Why would anyone want to implant this in their body?

Consider for a moment where we are right now. For decades Americans rejected the notion that they would submit to being tracked or recorded.

Yet, just about every American now carries a mobile phone. They’re so prevalent, in fact, that many consider it a “right,” prompting the government to actually provide subsidies to those who can’t afford one on their own.

Embedded in every one of those phones is an RFID chip that can track our every movement via GPS or cell tower triangulation. Moreover, those microphones and cameras that come standard on every phone can be remotely activated by law enforcement surveillance systems, a capability that has existed since the early 2000′s.

But as intrusive as these devices are, they are accepted as the norm by billions of people world wide. Not only that, but no one had to “force” them on us. We are, it seems, the masters of our own enslavement. And we pay top dollar to have the best tracking device money can buy!

Granted, one can simply disconnect from “the grid” by throwing away their cell phone. But, the direction these new monitoring technologies are moving coupled with continued government expansion of surveillance suggests that microchip RFID technology will eventually be non-voluntary.

Michael Snyder of The Truth Wins asks What will you do when you can no longer buy or sell without submitting to biometric identification?

This technology is going to keep spreading, and it is going to become harder and harder to avoid it.

And it is easy to imagine what a tyrannical government could do with this kind of technology. If it wanted to, it could use it to literally track the movements and behavior of everyone.

And one day, this kind of technology will likely be so pervasive that you won’t be able to open a bank account, get a credit card or even buy anything without having either your hand or your face scanned first.

It’s difficult to imagine a populace that will freely submit to such digital bondage. But as has been the case with the degradation of personal privacy and rights in America, be assured it won’t simply become law over night.

First, the technologies will need to be generally accepted by society. It’ll start with real-time consumer based products like Google Glass. The older generations may reject it, but in a couple of years you can bet that tens of millions of kids, teens and younger adults will be roaming the streets while sporting cool shades, interactive web surfing and the capability to record everything around them and upload it to the internet instantly.

Next, as we’re already seeing from early adopters, RFID chips will be voluntarily implanted under our skin for everything from access to high security buildings to grocery store purchases.

Eventually, once the concept is generally accepted by the majority, it will become our new “social security number.”

To gain access to official services, you’ll need to be a verified human. Without verification you won’t even be able to purchase a six pack of beer, let alone get medical care or a driver’s license.

Whether we like it or not this is the future. Every purchase you make and every step you take will be tracked by a tiny 15-digit passive microchip, meaning that the only way to “turn it off” will be to physically remove it from your body.

In essence, we’ll soon live in a world of Always On Monitoring.

Our children and grandchildren – at least most of them – will likely not only submit to implantation, they’ll gladly pay the costs so that they, too, can “interact with society in a meaningful way.”

Marion County, Oregon commissioners approved an order Thursday to stop an incinerator from using aborted babies to generate power. The order states that the incinerator must stop accepting medical waste until procedures are in place to ensure aborted babies are not among the substances burned to produce electricity.
As Breitbart News’ Warner Todd Huston reported earlier on Thursday, authorities in Victoria, British Columbia revealed that the remains of aborted babies are disposed of in the United States and sent to a facility that burns waste to provide electric power for Oregon residents.
According to the Associated Press, pro-life Marion County commissioners Sam Brentano and Janet Carlson said they were horrified to learn that the Marion County Resource Recovery Facility in Brooks might be burning aborted babies to generate power.
“We’re going to get [to] the bottom of it,” Carlson said. “I want to know who knew, when they knew, how long they had known this was going on.”
Brentano observed nevertheless that the county’s ordinance that sets limits on what can be accepted at the waste-to-energy plant allows for all human tissue.
“No rule or law has been broken, but there’s an ethical standard that’s been broken,” he said.
Nick Hallett of Breitbart London had previously reported in March that 15,500 aborted babies were incinerated to provide power for Britain’s NHS hospitals. The Department of Health subsequently banned the practice.
The Oregon incinerator is a partnership between the county and Covanta, a New Jersey-based company that operates energy-from-waste power generation plants. The Marion County plant reportedly processes 550 tons of municipal solid waste each day, with only a small portion coming from medical facilities. The plant sells the power to Portland General Electric.
Jill Stueck, a Covanta spokeswoman, said the company is cooperating with the order to suspend, and that it does not seek out the aborted babies as waste to burn.
“No one is saying bring us fetal tissue,” said Stueck.
Kristy Anderson, spokeswoman with the British Columbia Health Ministry, said regional health authorities have a contract with waste management firm Stericycle, which sends biomedical waste, including aborted babies, cancerous tissue, and amputated limbs to the Oregon facility.
Stericycle, which is based in Lake Forest, Illinois, has been harshly criticized by pro-life groups because of its practice of disposing of aborted babies collected from abortion clinics. Stericycle officials did not return phone calls from AP seeking comment.
Jeff Bickford, environmental services division manager in Marion County, said the plant has been accepting material from British Columbia for five to seven years. He added that medical waste providers such as Stericycle send all types of waste, including syringes, body parts, laboratory cultures, and bodily fluids after they are placed in red bags and sealed containers.
“You’ve got biological agent and infectious diseases in there, so they’re never opened once they’re sealed,” Bickford said.
According to Brentano, the county plans to rewrite its ordinance to clearly state that no tissue from aborted babies may enter the incinerator, and the providers will have to design a workable procedure after that.

Breitbart.com

How to Forgive…

April 23, 2014

I’m sorry for….
This is wrong because…
In the future, I will…
Will you forgive me?

Full:

“Say sorry to your brother.”

“But he’s the one who–”

“Say it!” you insist, an edge of warning in your voice.

He huffs, rolls his eyes to the side and says flatly, “Sorry.”

“Say it like you mean it,” you demand.

“Sorrrrry,” he repeats, dragging out the word slowly with bulging eyes and dripping insincerity.

You sigh in defeat and turn to #2, “Now tell him you forgive him.”

“But he doesn’t even mean it!”

“Just say it!”

“iforgiveyou…” he mutters, looking down to the side dejectedly.

“Now be nice to each other.”

Harumphy silence.

This scenario might sound all too familiar– if not from your experiences as a parent, then at least your own experiences as a child. It’s easy to see how it isn’t always that effective. You, the teacher/parent/authority, probably benefit from it the most because now at least you can feel like you did something about it, allowing you to close the case. Problem solved… now stop bickering. You know inside, however, that the offended still feels bitter, because the apology was not sincere. And while it may seem like the offender got off easy– not even having to show proper remorse or use a sincere tone–he is actually the one who loses out the most. He not only learns a poor lesson that he can get away with lies and empty words, but does not have the opportunity to experience true reconciliation and restoration of relationships. He will probably continue inflicting similar offenses, feel less remorse than he should, and undergo less positive character change than he could have.

But what alternative do you have? What else are you supposed to do? It’s not like you can force a genuine apology and repentant heart out of him, right?

Actually, you can. It’s not 100%, but it’s a lot more % than the scenario you read above. I first heard this in a teacher training program. The speaker started off with a rant about how No one teaches children how to apologize properly these days. My ears perked up, because I didn’t really know of any way to teach them other than to… just make them say it: Sorry. I knew it was not very effective, but I hadn’t considered other methods. So I held my pen at the ready, and as he listed off the “proper way to apologize,” I scribbled his words down verbatim:

I’m sorry for…
This is wrong because…
In the future, I will…
Will you forgive me?

It made a lot of sense. It seemed a little tedious, but the more I thought about it, the more it became clear that each component was necessary. Even though that was all he said about it that day, it became an integral part of my classroom culture for years to come. That day, I went back to my classroom and got some stiff cardboard and wrote the prompts clearly, labeling the poster, “How to Say Sorry.” The next afternoon, I talked with the children about apologizing properly. We went over the importance of tone of voice and body language; when I used my brattiest voice and spat out, “Well FINE then, SOR-RY!” they all laughed, because the insincerity was so obvious and the scene so familiar. I demonstrated the importance of body language, crossing my arms and rolling my eyes to the side as I mumbled, “Sorry.” When I asked if it seemed like I meant it, they all gleefully cried out “NOOOO!!!” in unison. I did a few more impressions of pathetic “sorries,” and then we got down to business. I shared with them that apologies were pointless and meaningless if people didn’t feel like the offender meant it, and if the offender didn’t actually plan to change in the future. Then I went over the poster I had made, and outlined the following points:

1) I’m sorry for…: Be specific. Show the person you’re apologizing to that you really understand what they are upset about.

Wrong: I’m sorry for being mean.
Right: I’m sorry for saying that nobody wants to be your friend.

2) This is wrong because…: This might take some more thinking, but this is one of the most important parts. Until you understand why it was wrong or how it hurt someone’s feelings, it’s unlikely you will change. This is also important to show the person you hurt that you really understand how they feel. I can’t tell you how much of a difference this makes! Sometimes, people want to feel understood more than they want an apology. Sometimes just showing understanding– even without an apology– is enough to make them feel better!

Wrong: This is wrong because I got in trouble.
Right: This is wrong because it hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about yourself.

3) In the future, I will…: Use positive language, and tell me what you WILL do, not what you won’t do.

Wrong: In the future, I will not say that.
Right: In the future, I will keep unkind words in my head.

Now let’s practice using positive language. It’s hard at first, but you’ll get better. Can anyone think of a positive way to change these incorrect statements?

Wrong: In the future, I won’t cut.
(Right: In the future, I will go to the back of the line.)

Wrong: In the future, I won’t push.
(Right: In the future, I will keep my hands to myself.)

Wrong: In the future, I won’t take your eraser.
(Right: In the future, I will ask you if I can borrow your eraser.)

4) Will you forgive me? This is important to try to restore your friendship. Now, there is no rule that the other person has to forgive you. Sometimes, they won’t. That’s their decision. Hopefully, you will all try to be the kind of friends who will forgive easily, but that’s not something you automatically get just because you apologized. But you should at least ask for it.

As a teacher, I know that asking for forgiveness puts the offender in an uncomfortable and vulnerable place of humility. However, this seemingly obvious yet widely underused phrase is very, very powerful for both the offender and the offended. It is the key to reconciliation and often the first step in restoring friendship.

I also know that the second item, “This is wrong because…” is powerful in changing the longer-term behavior of the offending child. Forcing the child to put themselves in another’s shoes will increase empathy and help them understand better how they have hurt someone else. This exercise in trying to see themselves from someone else’s perspective can be very powerful.

After this talk, I had some volunteers come to the front to role-play some apologies. We paused at various points and reflected on how to improve the apology: was the body language sincere? Did the apologizer really capture how the other person felt? Sometimes, I would whisper instructions to one student to roll his eyes, look away, mumble, or phrase something a certain way. The students treated it like a game, trying to spot what was amiss in the apology. This was very effective, because when the time eventually came for real apologies, everyone knew we were all going by the same rules, and the expectation was set for a sincere, thorough apology.

When I first tried out this “new” old-fashioned apology with my students, I didn’t expect any long-lasting results. I just wanted to see what would happen. But what happened in the weeks and months following simply blew me away. It started with our weekly Friday afternoon class meetings. We already had a good thing going here, with the kids “throwing” kudos to each other with compliments and appreciations: “I’d like to give a kudo to John for asking me to play with him at recess,” or “I’d like to give a kudo to Kylie for working really hard on her writing this week!” It was cute, and students enjoyed both giving and receiving the kudos.

One week, I decided to review our apology lesson, and then asked the students if anyone needed to “clean-up” something that happened this week with an apology to someone in the classroom. When I asked, I meant for any volunteers to take their business outside. My first volunteer, however, started apologizing to her friend right there on the spot in front of the whole class. Before I could stop her, she began blubbering through her apology, reciting each line like she’d planned this for days. Maybe she had. I could see the relief on her face when her friend accepted her apology. The girls smiled shyly and I knew we were onto something good. Before I knew it, students were raising their hands left and right, eager to make amends with people they had offended. Some of the “offended” people hadn’t even realized that they had ever been wronged, but happily forgave anyway.

Then a boy raised his hand. A boy most of the kids did not like for all the usual reasons– he was bossy and rude and generally unpleasant to be around. He apologized to the whole class for being really, really annoying and stated his plans to change. I was among the many individuals exchanging puzzled but impressed glances, and indeed it was one big step in this child’s personal growth. It was especially heartwarming to see how his classmates interacted with him afterward. They really wanted to give him a second chance, and they sincerely tried to help him be his best. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to admit to the class that he was annoying, but it was a powerful first step in changing his relationships with everyone. While not perfect, his behavior improved greatly after this event and I am glad I gave him the tools and space to “reset” this way.

As you can imagine, this meeting took much longer than usual. In the weeks that followed, I had students take their apologies outside and every week, there were takers. Students relished in the opportunity to admit wrongdoing, share intent to change, and restore friendships. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing. They walked out stiff and uneasy, and returned with bright smiles on their faces.

The kids weren’t the only ones to benefit from apologies. I did, too. There used to be times when I’d call on a student and the student wouldn’t be paying attention. The whole class would sit, waiting impatiently for the classmate to get up to speed and answer the question. Usually, it was the same kids that weren’t paying attention and held up the whole class. One day, surprising even myself, I stopped, turned to the offending student, and demanded, “Apologize.”

“Huh?”

“Apologize. To me.”

“Um…” he began, looking around bewildered, “I’m sorry for… not paying attention. This is wrong because… I wasn’t paying attention…”

“Try again.”

“…because you’re upset?” he offered.

“Nope.”

“…because I’m not learning?” he asked.

“Yes, and?”

“And because…” he glanced down nervously.

“Because,” I finished for him, “Now the whole class is waiting for you and you’re wasting our time.”

“Because the whole class–”

“Start from the beginning.”

Yeah, I can be pretty tough on them sometimes. Tough love.

He started again, “I’m sorry for not paying attention. This is wrong because I’m not learning and the whole class is waiting and I’m wasting their time. In the future, I will pay attention. Will you forgive me?”

“Yes,” I said, then turned to the others, “Class?”

The students nodded their heads and we resumed our lesson. No one missed a beat the rest of the day. The next time it happened, weeks later, the offending student was quick to apologize, articulating how her inattention affected herself and her classmates, and was quick to change. It was no longer a matter of embarrassment or shame, but simply acknowledging 1) what went wrong, 2) who was affected, 3) how to change, and 4) asking forgiveness. I couldn’t believe how much more focused all of my students were once we began these apologies for not paying attention! It was astoundingly more effective than giving them individual warnings. I think it had something to do with feeling beholden to the entire class. Either way, win for me, and win for them.

One day, my principal came to inform me that a couple of my students had gotten in a fight with some other kids during lunch. I started to let out a discouraged sigh when she continued to share with me how impressed she was with my students. Impressed? Turns out one of them quickly offered a thorough, 4-step apology. Immediately after, my other student also apologized for his part. She was totally floored by their responses, and wanted to find me to tell me what happened. While I was not that surprised that they were so good at apologizing (there tend to be a handful of children who get more practice than the rest…), I could not have been more proud! These real, meaningful apologies had made their way out of my classroom, onto the playground, and into the principal’s office! Maybe, just maybe, they would bring it into other spaces in their lives. A teacher can hope.

I’m not sure if my students carry this formal apology home, or if they even remember it in fifth grade. But I know it works, and I know I’ll be teaching it to my own children someday. Try it on your own kids sometime…you won’t be sorry!

Imperialism

April 23, 2014

“Imperial Presidency” perfectly describes what the Obama administration has become as it increasingly violates the limits on its power defined by the U.S. Constitution. Criticisms of how President Obama is overstepping his authority are now being heard from all sides of the political spectrum.
A remarkable 33-page report posted on the Internet by the Majority Leader of the House, Eric Cantor, proves how imperial the Obama administration has become. This easy-to-read report, which can be downloaded by anyone, details dozens of examples of how the current occupant of the White House is exercising powers the Constitution doesn’t give him.
This report accurately explains that “there is no excuse for this continuous disregard of legislative authority and the Constitutionally-required separation of powers.” Yet President Obama and some Democrats even brag about their Imperial Presidency: “the President has proudly acknowledged that he has acted without Congress, contending that he has no other alternative.”
Examples of Obama overstepping congressional authority include his creation of new laws outside of the legislative process. In direct violation of the fact that the Constitution vests “all” federal legislative powers in Congress, Obama has attempted to impose onerous, new global warming regulations on businesses costing billions of dollars and many lost jobs, despite the widespread discrediting of liberal hysteria claiming a global warming crisis.
Rep. Cantor’s online report also explains how President Obama has been “ignoring the plain letter of the law and failing to faithfully execute the laws.” In direct violation of the successful, bipartisan 1996 Welfare Reform Act, Obama unconstitutionally waived the modest work requirements for people who receive welfare handouts.
The work requirement in the federal law is an essential protection against abuse of the welfare system, but Obama simply ignored the law and removed the work requirement on his own say-so. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the lead perpetrator of the Boston Marathon bombing, was reportedly supported by state welfare benefits even though he was trained to be a terrorist intent on murdering Americans.
Eric Cantor’s report describes how Barack Obama has repeatedly violated immigration law. Obama acted “systematically, on an ongoing basis, [to] block illegal aliens from being placed into removal proceedings, stop already-initiated removal proceedings, and end deportations for potentially large numbers of criminal aliens.”
For years Obama refused to stand up for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the important bipartisan federal protection for traditional marriage that was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. Then he instructed Attorney General Holder not to defend DOMA in court even though the Constitution makes it the duty of the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
The Obama administration has adopted a new kind of imperial presidency known as Government by Waiver. Obama issued numerous waivers of statutory provisions in Obamacare in an attempt to get the Democrats past the next election.
Obama has already issued waivers to at least 35 states from the impossible-to-meet targets of the now-expired No Child Left Behind law on condition that the states adopt the hated Common Core standards.
Without any constitutional authority, the Democrat-controlled Congress created “super agencies” in 2010 whose immense powers are exempt from Congressional or judicial oversight. The 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a “death panel” with the power to decide which health care services will be reimbursed by Medicare, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has power to “withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal Reserve to support its operations.”
As solutions to the problem of the Imperial Presidency, Cantor’s online report offers two new laws: the Faithful Execution of the Law Act (H.R.3973) and the ENFORCE the Law Act (H.R.4138). The first would require federal officials who refuse to enforce a federal law to inform Congress and provide a reason; the second would enable the House or Senate to sue the Obama administration to compel it to faithfully implement the law, with expedited review by the courts.
These measures are a good first step, but the House needs to more effectively use its constitutional control of the purse-strings and its exclusive power to propose revenue-raising laws. The House can hold hearings so Americans will know how the Imperial Presidency is using taxpayers’ money to violate the Constitution and advance a leftwing agenda.
The House can also pass more bills to reduce funding for specific federal operations. Such actions by the House can lay the groundwork for the election of a Republican Senate in the fall so a new Congress will be positioned to halt more dangerous erosion of the Constitution by the Imperial Presidency.

Schlafly

Out of Control

April 22, 2014

A government that continually violates our rights of property and contract can fairly be descried as authoritarian. Of course, the politicians and bureaucrats take offense at this term, but how else do you describe a government that forbids Americans from grazing cattle on land they have used for over a century, from buying health insurance that does not met Obamacare’s standards, from trading with Cuba, or even from drinking raw milk! That so many in DC support the NSA spying and the TSA assaults on our privacy shows the low regard that too many in government have for our rights.

History shows us that authoritarian systems, whether fascist, communist, or Keynesian, will inevitably fail. I believe incidents such as that in Nevada show we may be witnessing the failure of the American authoritarian warfare-welfare state — and that of course would be good. This is why it so important that those of us who understand the freedom philosophy spread the truth about how statism caused our problems and why liberty is the only solution.

Ron Paul

Pink is the new Black

April 16, 2014

Starbucks is the new McDonald’s.

The False Teachers

April 16, 2014

A few weeks ago I set out on a series of articles through which I am scanning the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notable false teachers. Along the way we have visited such figures as Arius, Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White and Norman Vincent Peale. Today we will look at a man who commands more followers than perhaps any other person in the world: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, known also as Pope Francis.

POPE FRANCIS
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936, the first child of Italian immigrants Mario and Regina. He graduated from college as a chemical technician and pursued that career for a short time before entering seminary at the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto. On March 11, 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus and over the next decade studied and taught in a variety of disciplines. He was ordained a priest in December 1969 and made his final profession with the Jesuits in April 1973.

In July of that year he was appointed Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina and held that position for several years before resuming his work as a priest and a teacher and, later, as spiritual director and confessor to the Jesuits in Cordoba. As a priest he was loved and admired for his kindness and willingness to engage in patient dialog with his students and parishoners. However, he also walked into a political quagmire as the military sought to assert its dominance over the nation. He was accused of complicity with the military forces in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests, though he has strenuously denied the charges which have not been satisfactorily proven.

In 1992 Pope John Paul II appointed Bergoglio titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was quickly elevated to Cardinal in 2001. After Pope John Paul II died in 2005, some reports indicated that Bergoglio received the second-most votes in that papal election, though Joseph Ratzinger (who became Pope Benedict XVI) was eventually elected to succeed John Paul. As a cardinal Bergoglio gained a reputation for his low-key lifestyle, his commitment to social justice, and his doctrinal conservatism, proving himself an ardent opponent of same-sex marriage and public efforts to introduce free contraception. One of his friends says, “He’s as uncompromising as Pope John Paul II, in terms of the principles of the Church – everything it has defended regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion, the right to life, human rights, celibacy of priests.”

When Pope Benedict XVI voluntarily resigned as pope on February 28, 2013, the papal conclave elected the 76-year-old Bergoglio as his successor. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi and his lifestyle of simplicity. He is the first Jesuit to be pope, the first pope from the Americas and the southern hemisphere, and the first non-European pope in almost 1,300 years.

As pope, Francis immediately made his mark by maintaining his relatively austere lifestyle and eschewing much of the formality that has marked previous pontiffs. He chose not to live in the Apostolic Palace but instead to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse. He wears simpler vestments than his predecessors and insists that he wants the Roman Catholic Church to be a church for the poor. He immediately began planning reforms to the Vatican’s expansive bureaucracy, emphasizing efficiency and transparency.

Francis has given hope to both conservatives and to progressives within the Roman Catholic Church, sometimes by apparently contradicting himself. While insisting that the Church’s view on sexuality will not be the subject of negotiation, he has also said “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” He has also hinted toward a kind of universalism saying, “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying—and this is the fundamental thing—that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”

In the year since he became pope, he has received wide acclaim both from within the Roman Catholic Church and from far outside it. In 2013 he was named Person of the Year by TIME magazine as well as LGBT-interest magazine The Advocate. Esquire noted his simpler dress and named him The Best Dressed Man of 2013. Fortune magazine ranked him at the top of their list of the top-50 leaders while Rolling Stone featured him on the cover of a recent issue.

FALSE TEACHING
For all we can commend about Pope Francis, the fact remains that he, as a son of the Roman Catholic Church and as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, remains committed to a false gospel that insists upon good works as a necessary condition for justification. He is the head of a false church that is opposed to the true gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The core doctrinal issues that divided Protestantism from Catholicism at the time of the Reformation remain today. The core doctrinal issues that compelled Rome to issue her anathemas against Protestantism are unchanged. Rome remains fully committed to a gospel that cannot and will not save a single soul, and officially damns those who believe anything else: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to the obtaining [of] the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

Roman Catholic doctrine states that justification is infused into a person through the sacrament of baptism. The Catholic Catechism explains: “Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us.” However, this justification is not a judicial declaration by God, but the beginning of a lifelong process of conformity. It is insufficient to save a person without the addition of good works. This infusion of righteousness enables a person to do the good works that complete justification. However, this justification can be diminished or even lost through sinful acts and in such cases it must be renewed and regained through confession, through the Eucharist, and through good works. Those who have been granted justification eventually merit heaven on the basis of the good works enabled by that justification. Again, according to the Catechism, “We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere ‘to the end’ and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ.” This is another gospel, a false gospel, that adds human merit as a necessary addition to the work of Christ.

Francis also holds that Mary is mediatrix and co-redemptrix with her son Jesus, that Scripture is insufficient and must have the tradition of the church added to it, that even Christians who die may have to endure Purgatory, that Christ is sacrificed anew each time the Mass is celebrated, and so on. But no false teaching is more scandalous than his denial of justification by grace through faith alone.

Good deeds done to promote a false gospel are the most despicable deeds of all.

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Those within the Roman Catholic Church who have experienced salvation (and I sincerely believe there are those who have) have done so despite the church’s official teaching, not through it. Even while Francis washes the feet of prisoners and kisses the faces of the deformed, he does so out of and toward this false gospel that leads not toward Christ, but directly away from him. Good deeds done to promote a false gospel are the most despicable deeds of all.
FOLLOWERS AND MODERN ADHERENTS
Pope Francis is the head of a church that spans the globe and may well be the most powerful organization in the world. Fully 17% of the global population—over 1.2 billion people—profess to be Roman Catholic and that number continues to increase. With his efforts to reach out to adherents of other faiths, Francis has a voice that extends to perhaps a third or a half of the world’s population. This makes him by far one of the most influential people in the world.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
From the time of the Reformation Protestants have insisted that Roman Catholicism is a false church that promotes a false gospel. The Bible insists that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and apart from all human effort. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). While we can agree with Rome on the necessity of good works, we must insist along with the New Testament writers that such works are the fruit of justification, and have no part in the root of our justification.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:4-8)

The gospel of Rome is not the gospel of the Bible and, therefore, must be resisted and rejected.

-Challies

Facelift anyone???

April 15, 2014

A leading privacy watchdog has warned that the FBI plans to have up to a third of all Americans on a facial recognition database by next year.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes in a communique that some 52 million Americans could be on the Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric database by 2015, regardless of whether they have ever committed a crime or been arrested.

The group managed to obtain information pertaining to the program via a freedom of information request.

The database will also hold fingerprints, of which the FBI has around 100 million records, as well as retina scans and palm prints. Profiles on the system will contain other personal details such as name, address, age and race.

The system will be capable of searching through millions of facial records obtained not only via mugshots, but also via so called “civil images”, the origin of which is vague at best.

“[T]he FBI does not define either the ‘Special Population Cognizant’ database or the ‘new repositories’ category.” The EFF writes. “This is a problem because we do not know what rules govern these categories, where the data comes from, how the images are gathered, who has access to them, and whose privacy is impacted.”

A map within the EFF’s piece shows which states are already complying with the program, and which ones are close to agreeing deals to do so.

The EFF notes that currently, the FBI has access to fingerprint records of non-criminals who have submitted them for any kind of background check, by an employer or government agency. Going forward, however, all records, both criminal and non-criminal will be stored on the same database.

“This means that even if you have never been arrested for a crime, if your employer requires you to submit a photo as part of your background check, your face image could be searched – and you could be implicated as a criminal suspect, just by virtue of having that image in the non-criminal file,” notes the EFF.

EFF points to a disturbing assertion from the FBI that it will not “make positive identifications,” via the database, but will use it to produce “investigative leads.” The Feds claim that “Therefore, there is no false positive [identification] rate.”

“[T]he FBI only ensures that “the candidate will be returned in the top 50 candidates” 85 percent of the time “when the true candidate exists in the gallery.”” EFF states.

“It is unclear what happens when the “true candidate” does not exist in the gallery—does NGI still return possible matches?” the feature asks, noting that those identified could potentially be subjected to criminal investigation purely because a computer has decided that their face is similar to a suspect’s.

EFF continues: “This doesn’t seem to matter much to the FBI—the Bureau notes that because ‘this is an investigative search and caveats will be prevalent on the return detailing that the [non-FBI] agency is responsible for determining the identity of the subject, there should be NO legal issues.’”

“This is not how our system of justice was designed and should not be a system that Americans tacitly consent to move towards,” the EFF piece concludes.

It is somewhat remarkable that when Google announced the release of its Glass product, it was forced to ban applications with the capability for facial recognition due to a huge privacy backlash. The Federal government, however, continues to use such technology unhindered to create biometric profiles on anyone and everyone.

The Department of Homeland Security also has its own facial recognition program, which it routinely outsources to police departments. Meanwhile, new innovations in facial recognition technology continue to be billed as potential tools for law enforcement, including the prediction of future crime.

Steve Watson