Some work to keep Christ in Christmas

Although Christmas is too commercial and the obsession with money is an “entrance to sin,” as the archbishop of Constantinople foresaw in 380 AD, some of the music continues to focus on God coming to Earth as a baby born more than 2,000 years ago and sacrificing his life to forgive mankind of its sin. Whether the anthems were pinned a few, for a few hundred, years ago, the message still points to the miracle of Christmas.

 

The hymn “Good Christian Men Rejoice” introduces Jesus Christ in stanza one, announces his mission next, “…He has open heaven’s door and man is blessed for ever more…” Then the savior’s purpose, “Jesus Christ was born to save, calls you one calls you all, to gain his everlasting call.” That paints a clear picture of the gospel message that his stood throughout church history. (That’s not to suggest those who call themselves Christians have always practiced it.)

 

Ponder that today as you have a Merry Christmas.


Another great hymn is “Silent Night.” Forget “White Christmas” or “The Christmas Song,” TIME claimed the Joseph Mohr/Franz Xaver Gruber classic is the most popular Christmas song ever in December 2014. The selection was made in comparing digital registrations in the U.S. Copyright Office since 1978. By the way, the hymn “Joy to the World” is second. That’s a fun fact to share with friends.

 

Often non-Christians think of the Prince of Peace as bringing peace on earth. Spiritually speaking that is impossible, but one doesn’t expect non-Christians to recognize the spiritual realm accurately. However another hymn helps address this. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lamented conditions in 1867 as he wrote “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

 

The symbols of the environment say “peace on Earth,” but all is not well in post U.S. Civil War Massachusetts in the 19th Century. After Longfellow’s narrator hangs his head in deep despair in recognition that “There is no peace on earth. For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will toward men.” As the bells clang the narrator has an “aha” moment and realizes there is hope. “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail; with peace on earth good will to men.” That peace will be on a new earth. If one cannot recognize the symbolism in Longfellow’s work, one will misinterpret it. Ironically, some argue Longfellow was not a Christian, but he was raised in a Puritan setting.

It seems hard to believe, but it has been a quarter of a century since Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene created what has become modern day classic “Mary Did you Know?” Lowry’s lyrics from “…Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you know?… And when you kiss your little baby boy, you have kissed the face of God,” serve as powerful reminders to keep Christ in Christmas.

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Johnson, Stein make dog’s 2016 presidential bid look good

 

Smaller parties in the United States have given disheartened American voters two more reasons to write-in Benny, the truly independent presidential candidate, in November. Benny is a beagle; beagles can’t be trained to do anything except eat and sleep. On the other hand, beagles are attractive, friendly and honest. What better change could Americans ask for?

The Green Party’s presumed candidate is Jill Stein. Stein repeated the story of how she contacted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and invited him to lead the ticket and build a political movement. Stein told a national audience on C-SPAN July 15 she had not heard from Sanders. He has since endorsed Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

Maybe it is just me, but how can Stein appoint the party’s nominee before the Green convention unless she is a dictator? Benny cares about how people feel and what they think. Animal rescue workers in Mississippi pulled an undernourished, sick, flea and tick laden beagle from the fields, nurtured him, shipped him to Washington, DC, where the Washington Animal Rescue League continued his healthcare before finding a good home for Benny. Benny believes people, sans politicians, have some good in them. Benny is no dictator.

Johnson’s a good second choice

Stein and Benny agree war has bankrupt America morally and financially. Stein says the United States should yield international law in foreign affairs. Libertarian Gary Johnson wants U.S. troops to destroy the Islamic State, but he wants to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. He believes they should have been deployed to go after al Qaeda, but not the Taliban. Benny believes U.S. troops are American and should remain under U.S. control.

Johnson offers a unique view on race relations. He ties the so-called war on drugs of the 1990s root cause of today’s racial tension between minorities and police. That position sounds good and may win some votes, but these tensions existed long before then-President Bill Clinton signed the bipartisan legislation “getting tough on crime.” It created the world’s largest prison system and destroyed U.S. inner cities. While judicial and legislative reform are necessary, as is better screening of police and police candidates, racial passions run much deeper. Minorities must also look in the mirror and ask, “Am I part of the solution or part of the problem?”

Benny knows what it is like to live in a cage. Benny knows what it is like to be multiracial. Benny is black, brown and white. Benny judges neither dogs nor people by the color of their coat, or skin, but by the content of their character. (Giving him some food never hurts.) Like Ronald Reagan, Benny will be the kind American figurehead that Americans, and the world, will appreciate.

Is Trump right?

Critics were quick to suggest Donald Trump was living in a dream world when he suggested the trade deficit is a U.S. foreign policy problem. The Establishment insists globalization: Lowering economic levels to the lowest common denominator, elimination of borders, environmental “justice” that moves the First World backwards, etc. will bring peace. They have no evidence, but that is they’re belief.

more tradeWhen Trump used the term “America first” to describe his foreign policy, critics insisted he was moving to back to American isolationism of the 1930’s.  These same critics would have been better served considering Pat Buchanan’s vision of an America first policy when he ran for president later in the 20th Century.

“For the foreign policy routinely disparaged as ‘isolationism’ is always on the table. It is the foreign policy most deeply rooted in America’s history, heart and vital interests. … It is our oldest tradition,” Buchanan wrote.

“Though that tradition may be dismissed by our foreign policy elites as antiquated, selfish and un-idealistic, it is the elites who are out of touch. They do not know the country they live in. They do not know the American people. They never have.”

Soon, very soon, the Establishment must realize what U.S. workers and multinational corporations have learned about so-called free trade: It handicaps Americans.

Academics have found “there is now abundant evidence linking international trade to the decline of U.S. manufacturing jobs.” The 47-page paper suggests a “polarization effect,” where negative economic shock increases the election of both non-centrist left-wing and right-wing members of Congress.

“Voters are thus seeking answers to a common source of economic decline from very different types of political actors,” the paper says. One result is “China bashing” from Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left.

Emerging nations have reportedly attacked foreign multinationals with fines, investigations, raids and closure. In addition, the expected fast­-growth revenue channels and inexpensive manufacturing opportunities from overseas globalization failed to materialize. This hurts U.S. investors and well as laborers. It only seems right that politicians who support “free trade” be held accountable.

If “… ending the theft of American jobs will give us resources we need to rebuild our military, which has to happen and regain our financial independence and strength,” sounds out-of-touch with pundits, think tanks and the rest of the Establishment, they should get to know the American people.

In 2015, the United States had $365.7 million trade deficit with China. The difference was$57 million through February of 2016.

“China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect,” Trump said. “We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now.”

A fair trade policy, where trade partners are treated equally, might sale to American voters in 2016. It looks like Trump will find out.

Trump drops out of race

trump1NEW YORK (BS) – Donald Trump suspended his presidential campaign April 1. Once Trump learned the Constitution gives the president only limited powers and requires the Chief Executive to live in Washington, DC, at the White House. He doesn’t like Washington and Trump couldn’t afford the pay cut.

“I never expected all these dummies to vote for me,” Trump said. “What’s wrong with them?”

Gov. John Kasich is expected to gain most Trump candidates as the establishment heaps praise on Sen. Ted Cruz.

 

WASHINGTON (BS) – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation with a veto-proof majority to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Bipartisan support was the difference for H.B. 4141 compared to the other 100 Republican-only repeal attempts.

The bill, also known as the Repeal Insolvent Pills Act, moves to the Senate where it is expected to receive immediate consideration. “I knowed it was just a matter of time,” Senate Boss Mitch McConnell said.

The RIP Act was introduced by freshmen Reps. Imma Notreal (D-ME) and Hank Laughin (R-NV). The president is expected to sign it.

 

WASHINGTON (BS) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership team are the latest victims of the do-nothing-Senate. The Republican caucus, led by renegade Sen. Johnnie B. Badd (R-TN), passed a no confidence vote on McConnell, whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Republican Conference Chair John Thune (R-SD) April 1.

Some experts interpret the action as a threat aimed at the Republican National Committee should it attempt shenanigans at the 2016 presidential convention in Cleveland. Others see the move as a good government measure and an attempt to reassure voters before the November election.

 

RIYDH (BS) – Saudi Arabia dropped 1,000 paratroops to the east of Tal Afar, Syria, and west of Mosul, Iraq, early April 1. A two-hour battle ensued before ISIS was routed, Saudi Gen. Ali Shazam said.

Another 25,000 Saudi infantrymen are expected to arrive by midday as the defenders of the faith prepare to drive the Islamic terrorists out of the oil-rich north of Iraq. The Saudis said this is a Muslim fight and no Westerners are needed.

Time to change basic political system

revolution1You say you want a revolution. It is neither the Constitution nor the institution, as John Lennon wrote; the real solution is changing the conscience of people with minds that hate.

The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign is a perfect example. The dialogue between Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump has been light on policy but high on toxicity. Cruz and Trump have sunken so low their wives have been drawn into the fray.

Visitors to Washington, D.C., notice Congress and the White House are barricades.  So-called representatives are afraid of the public. They have distanced themselves so far, only big money interests are perceived to have access. Democrats and Republicans do not tackle problems. They refuse to work together. Leaders in the self-described conservative Senate refuse to hold hearings on the liberal president’s Supreme Court nominee because it is an election year. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution is ignored by these alleged constitutionalists.

The way President Barack Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress rammed through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 cost Democrats Congress, but won him reelection. The president has since attempted to bypass Congress through executive orders with dubious results.

So what should Americans do in 2016? Take Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advice: Revolt! A quarter of Democratic voters have done this by voting for a Democratic-Socialist in caucuses and primaries. Democratic socialists reject capitalism as an economic system and want to replace it with state ownership of the means of production (i.e. the state owned factories, businesses, land, housing, and so on) combined with political democracy.

In the other corner sits Trump, a one-percenter who has supported Democratic-front runner Hillary Clinton, is pro-choice, is a ruthless businessman and has made some ridiculous statements on the stump such as banning Muslims and nuking ISIS. Does he want to be president or is Trump enjoying the game?

What the two have in common is anti-establishmentarianism. They recognize Washington does not work. U.S. trade agreements have cost workers and devastated blue-color labor. America’s infrastructure is ignored. The safety net needs adjustments. If America is at war, put it on the budget.

This revolution is not new. In 1996 and 2000 there was Pat Buchanan preaching much of foreign trade Sanders is preaching today. In 1992 Ross Perot warned of the national debt. In 1968 George Wallace warned the Democrat Party’s big tent was too big. All of these represent times in the past 50 years large groups of Americans could have split from the two parties and set the United States on a political system featuring proportional representation.

The basic principles underlying proportional representation elections are that all voters deserve representation and that all political groups in society deserve to be represented in our legislatures in proportion to their strength in the electorate.

Australia, Canada, most of Europe, Israel, and many other countries use this system. America should try it.

Action Speaks Louder than Words

I am a journalist. I report on things. I value the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When the rich, elite, or media attempt to skirt the law it makes my blood boil. People can say almost anything they want in this country. Sometimes the media broadcasts these statements. Sometimes people listen, but no one has to listen.

So what happens when a candidate rents a hall for an event and thousands of un-American protesters violently block the entrance and auditorium and prohibit the candidate’s speech from taking place? What happens when thousands of listeners are blocked from meeting and hearing? If the candidate’s name is Donald Trump, he is blamed for the actions of the protesters.

However, the thugs illegally disrupting the event are the ones in the wrong.  They are the ones violating the civil rights of peaceful assembly and speech. When other candidates blame Trump, they are part of the anarchy. That is what the media fails to report.

“The ugly, divisive rhetoric we are hearing from Donald Trump and the encouragement of violence and aggression is wrong, and it’s dangerous,” Hillary Clinton said at an event in St. Louis. “If you play with matches, you’re going to start a fire you can’t control.”

Klinton should know. She was a disciple of Saul Alinsky in the 1960s. Rule 1 of Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals is: Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have. Power is derived from two main sources – money and people.

The old Clinton front-group Move On, with Black Lives Matter, and others provide the people. Filthy-rich supporters like Jonathon Lewis and George Soros provide the money.

The final rule is: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Now the Klintonites cutting off the support network [Republican Party] and isolate Trump from sympathy via the media.

Dr. Todd Gitlin suggests in a recent column that Trump is at fault for violence and protests around him. He compares Trump to 1968 Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace as hate mongers. “The result, as in 1968, is a growing climate of violence,” Gitlin concludes.  “It feels as if, somewhere, fuses are lit.”

Let me suggest action speaks louder than words. If Democrats erupt in violence they are breaking the law and should be held accountable. Gitlin mentions the Democratic convention of 1968. I would encourage him to consider Democrat politics in the city today.

Jessica Soto and Bradley Fichter were arrested after attacking Robert Zwolinski, a political opponent of state Rep. Cynthia Soto, D-Chicago. The politico is Jess’ Mama.

The goons beat the man to the ground, broke his nose, Soto grabbed his genitals and stapled his forehead, according to prosecutors. Rodham-Clinton is from Illinois. I have heard neither she, Move On, nor anyone else calling on state Rep. Soto to step down. Nor have they opened fundraisers for Zwolinski’s medical bills.

 

Can We Afford Free Trade?

 

Don’t believe all of the hullabaloo more trade.jpgthe establishment media is feeding you about how Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was lying in Michigan as he cited the number of US job losses due to so-called free trade. “NAFTA, supported by the Secretary [Clinton], cost us 800,000 jobs nationwide,” Sanders said in the March 6 debate. He used 2014 research from the Economic Policy Institute.

The media is under constant pressure to get the story first. I understand that; I am a journalist. I try to get the story right, as well as first. I guess that is one of the reasons I am not working in the establishment.

The flock correctly cited a 2015 Congressional Research Report, The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which states “NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics.” Unlike my colleagues in the establishment media, I read the report. It does not contain one iota of research supporting the claim, which appears in the summary. The fact is the CRS report speaks in terms of capital deficits and trade balances. The report never analyzes job creation or job losses in numerical terms.

The U.S. had a trade deficit with Mexico of $54 billion [in 2013] but with China, it was [a deficit of] $318 billion, so the [U.S.] deficit is five times bigger with China than with Mexico. In other words, you would calculate, maybe for every job we have lost in the U.S. to Mexico, five [jobs] were lost to China, according to Wharton management professor Mauro GNAFTA-job-losses-chart-e1387307604809.jpguillen. America had a $36 billion deficit with Canada in 2014.

An EPI researcher went industry by industry and converted trade deficit and surpluses into an estimated number of jobs.

“We are generating inequality [in America] because the lower wages are either stagnating or going down,” the professor says. “How do they go down? When a factory worker is earning $35 an hour, gets laid off and has to go to the service sector and only makes $12 an hour.”

On the other hand, “NAFTA has been great for Mexico,” he added. Ross Perot was right when he predicted, “There will be a giant sucking sound going south.”  The concern here is much larger than Democrat politics or fair trade vs. free trade, the big question is: Do you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States.

AL flag is up for grabs

Pitchers, catchers and fantasy gods like Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson are in their respective camps. It is never too early to ask who will win the 2016 pennant. After crunching the numbers, the Fantasy Baseball Algorithm (FBA) foresees Houston in the World Series come October.

Six Astros are listed in MLB.com’s  top 100 fantasy projection. Five are in the American League’s top 25 players. Cleveland also has a half dozen Indians in the top 100, but four are pitchers, including a closer.

The FAB has the Red Sox, which feature some speed this year, winning a tight race in the East, the Indians in the Central and Astros in the West. The wild card races are not nearly as easy to pick. FAB has the Chisox and Blue Jays continuing their seasons.

The bookies www.oddsshark.com/mlb/mlb-odds-world-series-futures see things differently. They have Toronto repeating in the East, Kansas City on top in the Central and Houston claiming the West. Bettors foresee Boston in the playoff with the Yankees, with the Indians, Tiger and Yankees slugging it out for the final spot.

Sonny Gray

The FBA works with fantasy projections similar to bacon and eggs. If you plug in the projection name with the corresponding number below, then you should find which team is the likely pennant winner, barring injuries or Ian Desmond-like 2015 seasons. For example, Oakland starter Sonny Gray is projected to have a great season. Some see him winning 15 games on a bad team. He will do this by allowing only one base runner per inning, which in turn should lead to an ERA of less than 3. Gray is also capable of striking out 200 batters. Gray is a fantasy owners dream.

Players rated 1-17 are superstars; they bring fantasy owners at least four contributions of five categories. Chris Davis only brings power hitting, but in the eyes of mlb.com, that is enough this year. By the way, defense or being a “good clubhouse influence” doesn’t matter in fantasy baseball, but it does in the real game.

Players ranked 19-49 will probably have great seasons; these guys bring solid numbers in multiple categories, but their power potential is a little less or pitchers might have a slightly higher rate of yielding base runners per inning pitched or less strike outs. That may mean something to a fantasy owner, but it means nothing at all to a fan looking to project a division or league winner.

Baseball players in 50-100 should produce well in multiple facets of the game. Most of these guys are either up-and-coming or on the downside of their careers. David Ortiz, for example, is 40. He has played half of his life in MLB already. Still, the Cookie Monster is projected to hit 30 home runs and collect more than 90 RBI in 2016.

Cubs century-old streak to end, give them their rings

Pitchers, catchers and fantasy gods like Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt are in their respective camps. It is never too early to ask who will win the 2016 pennant. After crunching the numbers, the Fantasy Baseball Algorithm (FBA) foresees the Chicago Cubs in the World Series come October.

Seven Cubs are listed in MLB.com’s top 100 fantasy projection. That is two more than their closest NL rival. And the list does not include free agents Ben Zobrist or John Lackey. Chicago is deep. Just like Washington was in 2015.

The oddsmakers at oddsshark.com see the Cubs winning the Central, with the Mets repeating in the East and Los Angeles reclaiming the West. The Nationals and St. Louis look good for wild cards spots, before the season actually starts that is.

The FBA works with fantasy projections similar to beer and bratwurst. If you plug in the projection name with the corresponding number below, then you should find which team is the likely pennant winner, barring injuries or Ian Desmond-like 2015 seasons.

Players rated 1-17 are superstars; they bring fantasy owners at least four contributions of five categories. Chris Davis only brings power hitting, but in the eyes of mlb.com, that is enough this year. By the way, defense or being a “good clubhouse influence” doesn’t matter in fantasy baseball, but it does in the real game.

Players ranked 19-49 will probably have great seasons; these guys bring solid numbers in multiple categories, but their power potential is a little less or pitchers might have a slightly higher rate of yielding base runners per inning pitched or less strike outs. That may mean something to a fantasy owner, but it means nothing at all to a fan looking to project a division or league winner.

Baseball players in 50-100 should product well in multiple facets of the game. Most of these guys are either up-and-coming or on the downside of their careers. David Ortiz, for example, is 40. He has played half of his life in MLB already. Still, the Cookie Monster is projected to hit 30 home runs and collect more than 90 RBI in 2016.