The Darkness of Death and The Light of Life at Easter [Video]

Easter, CCP Coronavirus, Ressurection of JesusSunday, April 12, 2020, is the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead within most of Christendom. It is safe to say that this Easter season is unlike any other in almost everyone’s lifetime around the world because of the global Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, Coronavirus pandemic.

However, this pandemic is also another example of the reality of death in our world. And Easter, or Resurrection Day,  shouts out the power of God to overcome death with life.

Though a virus rages across the planet and the specter of death seems to lurk around every corner in many places, the Resurrection still remains as the ultimate demonstration of God’s power and providence for us. The darkness may threaten to overwhelm us for a time, but the Life and Light of the Risen Christ will overcome the darkness of death in the end.

The Darkness of Death Surrounds Us

Crucifixion, Resurrection, JesusThe CCP Coronavirus pandemic has drawn renewed attention to the reality of physical death all around the globe. All over the world, there are people worried about exposure to the virus and the possible deaths of themselves and their loved ones.

However, worse than the presence of death among us is the fear of death that is taking hold of so many people and motivating some in authority to act as if human rights do not exist. The Leftmedia has decided to join in the fearful chorus and dampen any glimmer of hope such as the successes of certain treatments, i.e. hydroxychloroquine, the recent reduction in the predictions of deaths from the CCP Coronavirus, and the reduction in hospitalization rates in New York state and elsewhere.

Fear seems to be driving some government officials to act out delusions of power and attempt to squash constitutionally guaranteed individual rights, some of which were mentioned in the previous article. Perhaps the most egregious statement to date was made by the Hamilton County, Ohio prosecutor Joe Deiters a few days ago.

Michael Knowles in his video broadcast of April 8, 2020, quotes several outrageous statements made by this demagogue including the following,

 If I was the Governor, I would tell these churches [that wish to hold services within the CDC guidelines] the first attendees at your church is going to be the National Guard because we are stopping this right away…

It is evident that the enemies of Christ are pressing forward with an all-out assault against faithful believers who wish to gather and corporately worship, honor, and call upon God for hope and courage amidst the viral fear. However, those enemies, whether human or demonic, will find their efforts will fail as they did 2,000 years ago outside of Jerusalem at the empty tomb of Christ.

The Light of Life Overcomes the Darkness of Death

Crucifixion, Resurrection of ChristThe current pandemic has engulfed the world with its ominous shadow and the serious menace of death it carries. Yet it pales in comparison to the literal darkness that visited the planet upon the death of Jesus on the cross.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness all over the land, until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46 [ESV]

That darkness signified the gathering of all the sin of the human race throughout all of our existence and having all that malice imprinted upon the pure soul of Jesus. Those three hours were the worst part of the tortures our Lord underwent at His crucifixion culminating in the greatest pain of all, the moment the Father turned away from His Son.

Abandonment by His Father was the final price Jesus paid for our sin on our behalf! Jesus’ cries to His Father were followed by a final call to God,

Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 [ESV]

The death of the Incarnate Son of God was the aftermath of darkness that covered all the world physically and spiritually and was the most powerful blow the demonic forces could strike. Yet it was not nearly enough to prevail against the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead and broke the stranglehold of sin, death and, despair.

Resurrection, Easter, JesusThat same Divine power is much more than a match for the death stalking the land today. There is no better time to come to the LORD seeking His love and grace than now at this very moment and lift the burden of sin from our hearts.

Therefore, let us take heart in the knowledge that Jesus has risen and alive forever and His light and life can and will extinguish the darkness of sin and evil no matter its manifestation or seeming advance in the world even today!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Wayne S. Grazio’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of matthias lueger’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of PhotoNacho. Carpe Diem’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Martin LaBar’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

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The Price of Continuing An Economic Shutdown Is Too High [Video]

16319744852_a321475e85_kThe last few weeks of the virtual shut down all over the globe because of CCP virus has down more than simply keep most people confined to their homes. It has also brought the largest economic power in the world to a standstill.

In America, President Trump is voicing a strong desire for the economy to begin moving once again and the sooner the better. He is facing severe criticism for such sentiments from various outlets in the Leftmedia and all its incarnations on the internet.

These attacks are fueled by the fears of the CCP virus spreading and causing widespread death in America. However, as is increasingly becoming clear, the Left seems invested in ensuring that the level of panic over this disease is raised as high as possible and that America is kept under lockdown and out of business for many months to come.

Which option is the right one for our nation and for the world? The President has given the correct and truly only rational path to tread when he said,

We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem.

America Must Get Back to Business

Inset 1 3/29/2020During our self-shutdown in America, the amount of economic damage done by the inactivity is monumental, and without quick and decisive action, there may not be an economy left to rescue. It is imperative that America gets back to business as soon as possible.

The reasons for this are apparent. First of all, the workforce has already been devastated by the shutdown of businesses across the country. The following is an economic activity chart concerning the restaurant industry posted on Twitter by Andy Pudzer.

 

View image on Twitter

This was put together about a week ago and clearly shows that the bottom has fallen out of the restaurant business in America. This means that a major industry employing millions of people has just ceased operations altogether.

Take note that this represents but one segment of the thousands upon thousands of businesses large and small across the nation which have entirely shut down in obedience to either state order or strong suggestions by government authorities. There is no guarantee that these jobs will still exist if a nationwide “restart” is delayed even two or three weeks.

Another factor amid all of this is the unprecedented act of literally shuttering the doors of American businesses while the economy was booming. Though it is not 100% of businesses, consider these that are not allowed to operate in California today.

Restaurants, auto dealers, real estate, most manufacturing, warehousing, bars, bowling alleys, construction, airlines, shipping, and many more are shut down and all have bills to pay as a business. Many small business owners still have rent or mortgage payments on the buildings and equipment they use for their operation that could be delayed but will still require payment or the business goes under.

The number of people this is affecting is reflected in the fact that last week 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. That smashed the previous record of 695,000 jobless claims for one week.

That pace would mean that another six weeks, there would be more than 12 million unemployed in the nation. Those who are panicking over wild predictions of death and doom are demanding at least a month longer and that would result in massive unemployment numbers approaching a 30% unemployment rate which is 5% higher than the Great Depression at its worst point.

The longer this continues, the greater the chance of an economic collapse in America, one which will rival, if not surpass the Great Depression era of nearly a century ago. The only solution is to end this forced lockdown quickly and get the economy going again, period.

What About the Risk?

Inset.2.3.29.2020The natural question becomes what is to be done about the risk of contracting the CCP virus when the nation is restarted economically? Here is where the Leftist fearmongers incite a panic both intentionally and out of ignorance.

The argument from the Left is that the risk of contracting and dying from the CCP virus is too great to allow any reopening of the country for several months. They say in many arenas that to speak of restarting the American economy in weeks instead of months is favoring ‘profits over people.’

These people on the Left seem to believe that there must be zero risks from the CCP virus before we contemplate returning to some semblance of normality in life and commerce and to suggest otherwise is tantamount to saying you want people to die. That kind of attitude sparks some to raise the level of fear with commentary like this from Chris Hayes a few days ago on MSNBC,

It’s not a question of if the economic shutdown is absolutely brutal for Americans…, of course it is. It’s just that those on the right and in the business world talking to Donald Trump are just misreading what the choices are right now. There is no option. If you just let everyone go back out and go back to normal if a pandemic rages across the country and infects 50% of the population and kills a percentage point at the low end of those infected and also melts down all the hospitals. What kind of economy do you think you’re going to have under those conditions?

These remarks are intentionally misleading half-truths pumped up with hyperbole to elevate the panic level as well as take another Leftmedia shot at President Trump. The figure of 50% infections in the country is, as Buck Sexton points out on his March, 24th podcast, a generous estimate over 3 flu seasons of the total who could be infected if we took no measures at all against the virus! 

Secondly, no one is suggesting, not even President Trump, that the nation should simply disregard this virus and go back to ‘normal’ as if nothing at all had happened. Proper precautions should be taken by individuals and businesses to reduce the risk of infection, however, as a society, we are going to have to accept a certain level of risk or expand the suffering to everyone else.

Inset.3.3.29.2020This is a true balancing act between the risk of infection and a probable increase in the number of people who will die and the risk of tens of millions of Americans becoming destitute and requiring government assistance for the foreseeable future. The Left, however, sees this as an opportunity to put into place a Socialist government on which all Americans are dependant.

One of the proofs of their intentions was the numerous delays in voting upon a relief package for Americans as the lockdown continues. After passing a smaller first relief bill on March 18th, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi [D. CA], refused a vote on further proposals and instead introduced another bill that provides funding for a plethora of Socialist policies.

“The country is burning and House Democrats would rather delay passage of direct relief to working families and small business so they can manipulate the way we conduct elections, bail out the postal service, impose greenhouse gas mandates on the airlines, and ensure diversity on corporate boards,” Rachel Bovard, Senior Director of Policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute told the Daily Caller. The bill also reportedly gives unprecedented collective bargaining powers for unions, increases fuel emissions standards for airlines and expands wind and solar tax credits.

That version of the bill mercifully failed, however, the bill which finally did pass both the House and Senate, and was signed into law still includes a lot of spending unrelated to the CCP virus crisis. It is certain that this extra spending will come back to haunt us in the future but for now, the level of fear and panic seems to require some unusual behavior.

However, it is very questionable that the current level of fear is justified. After wild predictions of millions of deaths in the early weeks of the CCP virus, we are beginning to get a clearer picture of reality, as this video by Dr. Birx, a member of the President’s task force, demonstrates.

A quick comparison to a normal flu season can show how shutting down the economy for more than a very brief period is an extreme over-reaction. Currently, there are 120,000 cases of CCP virus in the U.S. and almost 2,000 deaths as a result.

Here are the CDC figures for the last flu season of 2018-2019 in America.

CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2018–2019 season included an estimated 35.5 million people getting sick with influenza, 16.5 million people going to a health care provider for their illness, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths from influenza (Table 1). The number of influenza-associated illnesses that occurred last season was similar to the estimated number of influenza-associated illnesses during the 2012–2013 influenza season when an estimated 34 million people had symptomatic influenza illness6.  …34,200 deaths in the United States alone. And yet we didn’t shut down one single thing.

Not only that, but Americans weren’t even practicing “social distancing” or panic-buying during that flu season. We all went about our business as we normally do any other time.

The biggest difference with the CCP virus is that we are dealing with a new factor whose parameters are poorly understood. We often fear what we don’t understand and this causes extreme reactions that cause far more harm than good.

Yes, it is and will be difficult to endure this battle with a horrible disease, and there will be an increased risk of infection and death with the reopening of America. But the risk of waiting is far greater than anything this virus will inflict on the public.

Let us around the nation and the globe instead renew our trust and hope in the LORD for wise guidance, hope and the courage to risk living in His light today and every day. For there is nothing that can overcome His power and love.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Mike Mozart’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Dan Keck’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of yuanstone’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of velk0’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

2020 Election Will Feature a Democratic Candidate Who Is Socialist Even if it Isn’t Sanders [Video]

Bernie Sanders, 2020 U.S. Presidential elections

The 2020 American national presidential primary season is in full swing and will continue until the respective political party’s national conventions this summer. The nominee of the GOP is going to be President Trump.

The Democratic nominee is not yet certain, though “Democratic Socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders, a registered Independent from Vermont, is leading at present. However, if he somehow doesn’t get the nomination, the contest will still feature a Socialist, no matter who is chosen to oppose the most successful President in decades and likely fall in ignominious defeat.

Sanders Is the Openly Socialist Candidate 

There is no question that Senator Sanders is openly Socialist, though he thinks to call it “Democratic” somehow conceals his love of the heinous doctrine. He is certainly not shy in his admiration for Communist dictators from his youth to the present day.

Sanders’ well-documented honeymoon in Moscow is just the beginning of many times when he has not simply defended but praised the murderous regimes of Castro, the Soviets, and other tyrannical Socialist regimes. He is at the forefront of the new Democratic party which is now under Socialist control.

The ideas embraced by Sanders are blatantly Socialist and align with the rather radical wing of the Democratic party led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez [D. NY]. He favors the “Green New Deal,” and his pet programs are “Medicare for All,” and tuition-free college for everyone, and universal government child care, and a guaranteed minimum wage of at least $15.00 an hour, any one of which are astronomically expensive by themselves if implemented. 

Altogether this massive government expansion would transform America into a fiscal wasteland of forced compliance to an increasingly authoritarian regime. However, Sanders is only unique among the Democrats in two ways.

One is that he is openly proposing Socialism. Two is that his proposals are all-encompassing for American society.

Sanders would make the state the provider for all individuals from cradle to grave. President Sanders (shudder the thought) would do as Marxist-Socialists have always done, put all control into the hands of a central government that can then determine virtually everything about your life.

Yet, make no mistake, none of the other Democratic candidates are free from the Socialist virus, and whatever veneer covers their intentions, it will morph into Socialism sooner or later should any of Sanders opponents overtake him for the nomination. The only significant difference between Sanders and any other Democrat contender is whether Socialism comes all at once or somewhat incrementally to become dominant in America if they have their way.

Sanders Is Not the Lone Socialist on the Stage

Democratic Socialism, 2020 electionsMoreover, all of the other Democratic candidates advocate Socialism in some manifestation and any one of those forms would destroy freedom and prosperity in America. The most immediately dangerous of these is the unanimous proclamation of strict gun control even to the extent of disarming the populace.

Everyone in the Democratic debates has proposed violations of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Calling those violations ‘red flag laws,’ and ‘buybacks by the government,’ doesn’t change the fact that they are violations of sacred human rights.

Some might question whether ‘gun control’ is a Socialist policy, but when the history is examined there is no question. Every truly Socialist government has implemented some kind of disarmament of the people, and those that exist today follow that policy as well.

The same is true about the socialization of the American healthcare system. All the Democrats favor some form of nationalized healthcare, even the supposedly ‘Capitalist’ Mike Bloomberg.

Along with the impossible expense of a fully Nationalized healthcare system comes an inevitable reduction of liberty for families and individuals. Bloomberg himself showed this in microcosm with his infamous “soda ban” while he was mayor of New York City.

Not content with the impossibility of providing cradle-to-grave government provision to Americans, all of the Democratic candidates support expanding that to cover all illegal aliens in the country now and allowing virtual open borders to boot. That is one position Sanders himself has radically changed to cater to the new Socialists in charge of the Democrat party.

Socialism in any manner is opposed to anything but the state having the ultimate authority over individuals. Thus its proponents attempt to replace God as provider, as the Democrats are doing and their candidates are proposing, and sooner or later, this will result in severe limitations on religious freedom.

This is true in any system which tries to shoehorn God into His place within the rule of the government. God is sovereign over all, and attempts to displace Him to a subordinate role under the false pretenses of biblical ‘interpretation,’ are evil and will always fail.

All of the Democrats Embrace the Socialist Anti-Life Doctrine 

Inset.2.2.28.2020The most pernicious factor in Socialism is its inherent devaluation of human life while claiming this is necessary because the government wants to preserve life. Total state provision for any life will always mean state control of the existence and length of that life.

This is most evident in the area of ‘healthcare’ advocated by Planned Parenthood, legalized abortion. It is no accident that Planned Parenthood has historically craved government support, especially considering the philosophy of their founder, Margaret Sanger.

Sanger was a proponent of eugenics, a philosophy that places the value of human life according to its usefulness, rather than life having inherent value as sacred to God. Such a philosophy is tailor-made for a socialistic government, and Ms. Sanger, being a racist, favored the NAZI brand of Socialism.

Sanger promoted the goals of eugenics throughout her life, and it led her to associate with truly evil movements such as National Socialism, otherwise known as the Nazi Party. Author George Grant writes,  “Because of her [Sanger’s] Malthusian and Eugenic connections, she had become closely associated with the scientists and theorists who put together Nazi Germany’s ‘race purification’ program. She had openly endorsed the euthanasia, sterilization, abortion, and infanticide programs of the early Reich.

There is one question that will not be asked in any of the Presidential debates by any of the moderators, yet there is no doubt as to what the answer would be from all of the Democrats. If asked whether or not they thought Margaret Sanger was a great woman with great ideas, all of them would say “Yes!”

The more any nation implements socialistic programs, the more individual rights are reigned in until the sovereignty of the state is unquestioned and brutally enforced. This inevitably will envelop the God-given right to life and eliminate that very right.

Whoever the Democratic nominee will be, Socialist policies will be proposed under his or her banner. Should that nominee gain an improbable victory, America’s future will move toward tyranny at an astonishing rate and we will all suffer as a result.

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” Mark 7:8,9 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

George Grant – “Grand Illusions, The Legacy of Planned Parenthood,” Wolgemuth and Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1988.

Featured and Top Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Mark’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of American Life League’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

Socialism Has Been and Will Always Be an Evil Failure [Video]

Socialism Has Been and Will Always Be an Evil Failure [Video]There is an incorrect assumption fervently adhered to by the Socialist Left idealists of the world. Simply stated, they believe that the principles of Socialism would work, regardless of the historical record, if only the right people of principle would implement it.

However disillusioning this may be to such idealists, that is false. Socialism has never succeeded and will never succeed as a form of governance because the system itself is evil and fatally flawed.

Socialism is Fatally Flawed by False Promises

Socialism, CapitalismThere are two fundamental promises of Socialism that are demonstrably false. They form the premises of a pro-socialist argument.

A lesson from rational thought that when the premise of an argument is false, the argument itself is invalid and false.

To clarify any misunderstanding, I use the word “argument” meaning the reasonable appeal someone would make for accepting their claims as true. It doesn’t refer to an argument as in a hostile and angry exchange.

The first false promise is that through Socialism the government will make all things in life free and make all people economically equally well off. Fulfilling that promise is not within the realm of possibility.

There is an old wise epithet that rebukes this promise of Socialism, ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch.’ Socialism promises the government will provide whatever is needed or desired for the lives of everyone at no cost.

It has always failed to do that because the promise itself is not humanly possible to fulfill. The effort required to achieve the ‘ideal’ Socialist society is beyond our powers.

To understand why, we need to examine the meaning of Socialism apart from the emotional appeals made to a false “fairness and equality,” idealism. It must be examined as it is defined in as plain and rational a manner as possible.

The multiple definitions of Socialism in various dictionaries do not equally apply to Socialism on a governmental scale. According to Merriam-Webster online, Socialism means,

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

This is an excellent and comprehensive definition of Socialism as separate systems, each of which are represented in modern society. The shortest definition listed is the one favored by advocates of Socialism within the ‘Christian’ community.

The Leftward Church and their Justification for Socialism

There are those within the ‘Christian’ churches who latch onto Socialism because they latch onto definition number “2a,” which bears a resemblance to the early Church described at the conclusion of Acts chapter 2.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 [ESV]

Socialism, Bernie SandersThis journal has delved into the influence of the Left upon the modern mainstream churches in greater detail in previous articles. Leftism today, inside or outside of those churches, has lost any veneer they once had to disguise their blatant Socialism.

As with Socialism in any human incarnation, the Leftward Church picks and chooses the truth to suit their evil end goal. This is what happens when the Word of God is used to justify their phony claims, as is done with this passage in Acts.

However, that interpretive game doesn’t work in this case either, because the Leftist apologists conveniently ignore the context of the passage. The first and most obvious context is that this was a case of God’s intervention directly through the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Outside of an explicitly Spirit immersed Christian fellowship, this is impossible to accomplish in human society, even with a relatively small group of people. Which brings to mind the second contextual parameter, the method necessary to distribute the proceeds of all the donations was a central body of individuals, in this case, the Apostles.

This factor limits the growth of any Socialist group to a small number of people, and this was demonstrated later in Acts when the group grew past 5,000 men and their families. Following the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 7, the persecution against the first Church increased beginning in chapter 8.

And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Acts 8:1-3 [ESV]

Saul later became the great evangelist Apostle Paul, who helped bring Christianity to the ends of the Roman Empire, and wrote more than half of the New Testament. The church in Jerusalem had grown to the point that a Socialist system, even with the administration of the Apostles, would inevitably invite greed and sloth and a sense of self-sufficiency that would work against the spread of the gospel to the world.

Incidentally, this factor also mitigates against the mega-church sizes of today, but that is a different article. Suffice it to say that even a heavenly-influenced fellowship needs to realize that utopian visions of society are reserved by God for the fellowship in heaven and the New Earth to come, and were never meant to exist upon this earth.

However, the Socialist Left today is not interested in religion except as it might serve their malevolent interests in the system. They are far more concerned with the aspect of implementing central government control of individual lives.

Unfortunately for their argument, this method exacts a larger cost than any other at the scale of a national government. It cannot take care of anyone without exerting fascistic control over their individual lives, and the provision even in those conditions is pitiful.

Socialism Is Not Free in Any Way

Socialism, Bernie SandersThe second false premise of Socialism is that the government can provide for all and do so with no real “cost.” That is not true economically, experientially or spiritually.

The economic costs of a Socialist society obliterate whatever perceived benefits provided in such a society. The lone economic benefit of Socialism is thought to be that the costs of providing equally for the needs of a society are also shared by everyone in society.

However, that so-called benefit is subject to the control of the central government in Socialism for every individual’s income is determined by the state for distribution by the state. In a truly Socialist society, everyone works for the central government, and each person must adapt to a certain level of income and position as doled out by the government.

Economically, this system is unsatisfying to the workers, and never provides enough revenue to cover the normal expenses incurred within the nation’s society. It is also detrimental to life experientially for everyone except the ruling authorities.

Total control of economic production also makes the control of individual lives necessary. Rationing of goods and services will eventually be practiced anytime a fully Socialist model is in place.

For example, universal ‘free’ health care suffers from this inevitable circumstance because the government pays the care providers a basic stipend to cover salary and supplies. This means care is rationed out according to government priorities including the physician’s time and the treatments available.

The results of rationing mean waiting times for serious treatments become longer and longer, as has been seen with the American health care system under the Veterans Administration. The new changes from President Trump have helped alleviate this by allowing physicians outside of the VA to be chosen by veterans if needed.

The final way that Socialism fails is in the provision of the human soul and spirit. Socialism fails here, and in reality in every way, for one very large reason that most critics of the system fail to recognize; the fact that Socialism claims territory reserved for God in human affairs.

To illustrate this, take the example of present-day China and how that Communist nation handles the religious needs of its people. A “Christian” religion of sorts is permitted in China, but with very serious restrictions added so that the attendees are continually reminded that ultimate loyalty goes to the state and not to God.

This is true in any system which tries to shoehorn God into His place within the rule of the government. God is sovereign over all, and attempts to displace Him to a subordinate role under the false pretenses of biblical ‘interpretation,’ are evil and will always fail.

President Trump has noted this particular aspect of human nature that has been incorporated into America’s national heart from the very beginning. He has said on several occasions that,

…in America we don’t worship government, we worship God.

This is the primary cause of the rise of various “underground church” movements within places like China growing in tremendous numbers despite all efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to stamp them out. Socialism can never provide for anything other than a poor and bleak existence for the “masses” in society.

Socialism Cannot Escape the Verdict of History

Former President Obama meets with former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez in 2009

The third very significant false promise of Socialism is the promise that this time, it will be immune from its history. It is hoped that if the right people are implementing it, Socialism will work regardless of its 100% rate of historic failures wherever it has been ‘tried.’

Incidentally, the use of the words Socialism and Communism as basically interchangeable terms is not accidental or inaccurate. I agree with the late Vladimir Lenin when he said,

The goal of socialism is communism.

Therefore, any system which names Socialism as a part of the system is doomed to eventually become Communist in operation if not in name. The most recent example of a nation falling apart under Socialism is the case of Venezuela.

Venezuela was once the envy of South America and the wealthiest nation on that continent. The wealth was amassed because of the gargantuan oil reserves within Venezuela and made the nation a powerful and prosperous country in the later years of the 20th century.

This level of prosperity was erased in just over two decades and Venezuela was plunged into a hell on earth for its citizens while making the late dictator Hugo Chavez and his family incredibly rich at the same time. In fact, as the following video notes, the daughter of the dictator left the country with a personal worth of 4 billion dollars, while the people succumbed to the fatal infection of Socialism!

Chavez has passed on but his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, is every bit the tyrannical Socialist dictator Chavez had been. Moreover, that is the historical pattern of all nations that have gone all-in for Socialism as their method of governance.

The historical record of truly Socialist countries is one of death, deprivation, and tyranny.

Together with Germany’s National Socialism, the Communist Socialists such as the old USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Communist China have racked up a body count of over 150 million people!

But …What About Sweden?

One of the modern objections to this is to cite the record of pseudo-socialist countries in Scandinavia, such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This is one of the favorite talking points of the Left, and especially from the self-declared “Democratic Socialist” presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT].

Since these nations seem to be doing well while providing things such as a Socialist model for health care, something along the lines of Sanders’ proposed “Medicare for all” plan should do fine in America. However, a closer examination of the facts puts that lie to rest.

How do these nations pay for the government services they provide, and how good are those services? First, the tax rates and structure are far different than those in America.

The various Scandinavian countries tax individuals at very high rates which are also flat rates. Thus in Sweden, the marginal income tax and payroll tax rates are 56.9% for everyone earning 1.5 times the national average of income.

Contrast that with America where we have a ‘progressive’ income tax which increases as income levels rise. The top marginal income tax rate is now 37% but doesn’t kick in until someone is making 8.5 times the national income average.

Socialism, Bernie Sanders, Capitalism, President TrumpMoreover, Scandinavian systems also charge a tax that is non-existent in America, a VAT, or Value Added Tax, on its businesses that is passed down to the consumer. A VAT is a system that taxes businesses at various stages of production which they must add in as a part of the product cost to the consumer.

This is a very efficient way to raise revenue quickly for the government, however, it has a serious drawback.

many …see VATs as a regressive tax because they fall more on those that spend a larger share of their income, mainly the poor.

These are various Socialist tactics that increase the economic burden of individuals. Conversely, at least until recently, the corporate tax rates and structure have been lower in Scandinavian countries than in the United States, thus favoring a Capitalist model.

In 2015, the highest corporate tax rate among Scandinavian nations was found in Norway, who taxed businesses at 27% of income. At that time the United States had a 39.1% corporate tax rate, which made Norway a far more attractive place to do business and made its policies more Capitalist than Socialist.

The only way for a Socialist model to survive is with very high individual taxes and a stream of income brought in from outside of the system. That is what is happening in Scandinavia, along with the fact that these nations use little or none of their budgets for defense spending.

Thanks to the tax cuts under President Trump, America has lowered its corporate tax rates below the levels of any Scandinavian country. In fact, we have gone from the third-highest corporate tax rate in the world to the 83rd-highest rate, and among the very lowest of large industrialized nations worldwide.

The results of those very Capitalist policies in America have proven wildly successful as the business arena has seen outstanding growth reflected by record levels of unemployment in every area. As has been seen in this brief review, Socialism can only boast of failure and will never be anything but evil and a failed government system with ruinous results for the citizens under its sway.

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of James Mitchell’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Ivy Dawned’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of katerkate’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Joe Wolf’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of vaXzine’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’s  Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

The Inevitable Destiny of Mankind

www.danabicksauthor.com

Last weekend the world suffered an incredible loss of talent. As Kobe Bryant’s helicopter lay smoldering at the foothills of the mountains, people gasped in disbelief and choked back tears. Social media and our television sets covered the headlines to report on the death of nine great lives. It will forever change the surviving families as the Lord anoints them with hope and peace.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 5:10

A Facebook posting caught my attention about this tragedy, and it sparked me to write today’s message. The posting spoke of the horror Kobe must have felt in those last seconds when he recognized they would all die.

Death is the inevitable destiny of mankind. It’s not a pretty sight or an engaging act for those left behind to pick up the pieces. Most people never want to think about this unpleasant topic until faced with a funeral or a deadly illness. Yes, it’s scary to think only Jesus could conquer death as He rose from the dead. Our loved ones submit to their fate, and we are assured their body will never walk on this land again, unlike Jesus… yet the irony is incredibly sad.

I’m not sure of the other passenger’s backgrounds on the helicopter, but I know Kobe Bryant was an active Catholic. He attended mass and Holy Communion hours before the crash, at an Orange County church. Much of his tumultuous past was shaded in gray. Marital discord and loss of sponsorships plagued him for many years. But, just like of all of us, he had sins to conquer before the Lord. He knew only God could forgive him, so in 2003 he turned to the church for consolation and hope.

His love for the welfare of mankind surpassed all dignity. In December, he witnessed a horrible car crash in Newport Beach, California. Videos captured the moment he ran to the cars and pulled everyone to safety. He stayed by their side, speaking comforting words of love until paramedics arrived at the scene.

Kobe supported seven charities and fourteen causes. His dedication to children and their future was always at the front seat of his life. There is a lesson to be learned from Kobe about compassion and spreading God’s love!

Good practicing Christians should always be ready for their inevitable destiny. If I were a betting man, I’d place a wager Kobe prayed, like never before, in those last few seconds of his life. God heard his prayers because He, too, grieved the unjust execution of His Son, Jesus. He understands our pain. But, the Lord is rich in mercy, and He opened His arms to all those passengers on the helicopter.

Death is part of living – it is our fate set in stone by Adam and Eve. In my opinion, though, nothing is sadder than the death of an adult who never accepted Christ into their life before their mortality. As Jesus taught us, we are to confess our sins, pray for forgiveness, and never return to them. If we commit these deeds, we are assured of living with our Father in heaven. Christians should rejoice in knowing God has lovingly addressed our need for forgiveness. It clears the way for those we leave behind, and they can celebrate our eternal life with Christ.

Seek comfort in knowing God is the one in full control of our lives. He pre-planned our birth and death. Nothing and no one on earth can change our fate. It is futile to place blame for a person’s death because it was our destiny from the very beginning of life. Take solace in knowing physical death is just the start of our spiritual journey with Jesus Christ. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a good Christian’s life!

May the surviving families of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan rest in peace in the arms of our Lord.


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The War is Over for Authors!!

PERSONAL ANNOUNCEMENT:


Thank you to our personal friend, President Donald Trump!! My wife and I have been in close contact for several months, with the President about the illegal bootlegging of our book, “There in God’s Grace” and other authors, by Amazon, Walmart, and other companies.

On Thursday, he signed an Executive order to involve the Federal Trade Commission and Homeland Security to investigate and possibly shut down these companies! Read the story here…

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-signs-executive-order-block-bootleg-goods-being-imported-sold-1485193

If you think God doesn’t look out for the well-being of His people, think again!! NO ONE is bigger than the Lord!! Amazon and Walmart think they are above the law but they are not!!! God bless you our sweet friend and Melania too!!!

Dana and Anne Bicks

www.danabicksauthor.com

Why The Pseudo Impeachment Trial Must End Now [Video]

Impeachment trialAmerica is currently buried knee-deep in the muck of the ‘Impeachment’ trial on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The next item of business after President Trump’s defense team makes their case will be debate and a consideration of whether or not to allow witnesses.

The inevitable and tedious demands of the Democrats for witnesses should be rejected outright by the Republican majority. Moreover, they shouldn’t even consider continuing after that point.

The First Article Doesn’t Meet the Constitutional Burden for Impeachment

Impeachment trialThis is the most relevant portion of this political performance-art fraudulently labeled ‘impeachment’ process. This factor alone should have resulted in the immediate motion to dismiss the farce.

The Constitutional requirements for using impeachment are that the President must have committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Neither of the two House Articles fits any part of those designations because neither Article is a crime.

Some have tried to argue that it doesn’t have to be a crime to be an impeachable offense. The plain language of the Constitution tells us they are incorrect.

It is obvious that treason and bribery are crimes, and the very words “high crimes” tell us they are criminal acts. Misdemeanors are crimes as well, not “high” crimes, but considered criminal nonetheless.

The two Articles of Impeachment are charging “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” on part of the President. Neither of these is a crime as they are described in the charges.

The particular incident the Democrats cite as President Trump’s “abuse of power” is his supposed pressuring of the President of Ukraine to investigate the son of a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The alleged pressure was a threat to withhold military aid unless an investigation was publicly announced.

The problem is, no announcement was ever made and the aid was not withheld. The military aid was delayed while the President had corruption within Ukraine examined and then the aid was delivered.

There was no crime here. President Trump executed the legal delivery of aid while looking out for the interests of the taxpayer’s money. He didn’t want the aid possibly being swallowed into a known environment of corrupt behavior, such as that found in its largest energy company, Burisma, who employed the son of the former Vice President for an exorbitant amount of money while Biden was in office and serving as the Obama administration’s ‘point man’ on Ukraine.

As for the phone call with the President of Ukraine that the phony “whistle-blower” said showed that President Trump was pressuring Ukraine, that narrative was blown to smithereens when the transcript of that call was declassified and revealed by President Trump himself. In fact, the President was actually working within the legal constraints of a treaty agreement for cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine on criminal investigations which was approved during the Clinton administration.

Moreover, on several occasions, President Zelensky of Ukraine denied any pressure from America to open any investigations contingent upon the delivery of military aid. So much for any “abuse of power” charge.

What this charge boils down to is a political policy disagreement by the Democrats with a president they hate and fear. He is hated because he beat their darling and latest criminal nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, in 2016.

He is feared because any further investigation in Ukraine will expose the deep corruption of much of the Democratic elite connected with Ukraine, including Clinton herself, and the family of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as others. The public information we already have seems to strongly implicate them in nefarious activities with Ukraine.

The Democrats are attempting to impeach the President for what James Madison, the founder most influential to creating the Constitution, objected to as “impeachment for maladministration.” He rightly feared that this would make impeachment a political cudgel and risk using impeachment on every president in the future.

Madison laid out his case against the proposal put forth by fellow founder George Mason.

Madison’s response to Mason’s proposal mattered. He told the delegates that “so vague a term” as maladministration “will be equivalent to tenure during pleasure of the Senate.” That was apparently enough to persuade Mason to back down. …Why did Madison’s intervention work? The answer lies in its observation that the vagueness of “maladministration” would normalize impeachment, and thus effectively give the Senate the power to recall a president.

The Second Article Is More Deficient than the First Article

The second “Article of Impeachment” is so deficient that the House had to invent a new term, “Obstruction of Congress” as its label. Yet that term itself is absurd on its face for the House is only half of Congress. 

Impeachment trialThe Senate makes up the other half of Congress, and no one there suggests they were ‘obstructed’ in any way. The specific reason for this ‘charge’ from the House is the potential use of the president’s constitutional power to exert “executive privilege” to prevent his close advisors from testifying in the House.

Of course, this would mean, as it has in the past, that any congressional challenge to using “executive privilege” would wind up in the federal courts. The House didn’t want to wait for judicial review, which is the legal mandate, so they withdrew their threat to subpoena those who had worked with the President closely in foreign policy, such as former advisor John Bolton.

Their stated reason for haste was the absolute urgency to impeach President Trump as he was causing a “constitutional crisis.” However, that reasoning falls apart when considering that after such haste, it took over a month for the Articles to be delivered to the Senate for trial.

The real reason for the haste was twofold. One was to scar President Trump with the label “impeached” so as to damage his chances for re-election later this year.

The second reason for the delay was that the House knew they would lose badly in a court challenge to “executive privilege.” They would have to claim that it was unconstitutional to use the constitutional avenue of the courts in asserting a constitutional right on behalf of the president.

Yet, they put forth the mythical “obstruction of Congress” tale as if “executive privilege” doesn’t protect classified and privileged communication between the President and his advisors as well as classified communications between him and other world leaders. “Executive privilege” has a long history of legal precedent and has been used by many presidents in American history, including former President Obama who used it to stop congressional action against former Attorney General Eric Holder in the “Fast and Furious” scandal.

There are those who attempt to argue that President Trump should waive executive privilege and allow any witness the House wants to call to testify. The rote reply to justify this is “If he doesn’t have anything to hide, what harm can having witnesses who knew about this come and testify?”

There are two very good reasons for asserting executive privilege here. The first is that President Trump has already given the House millions of documents, and taken the unprecedented step of declassifying not one but two phone conversations with another world leader, and allowed hours of grueling testimony for the Mueller probe including 30 hours given by his own son, Donald Trump Jr.

In other words, President Trump had already provided far more transparency in his dealings than was necessary, and I believe he has decided that enough is enough! No longer was he going to weaken the Executive branch of the American government to kowtow to half of the Legislative branch as if one branch was answerable to another when carrying out its constitutional duty.

Impeachment trialThe Constitution brilliantly designs our governing powers to be balanced between three separate but equal branches that each have distinct functions and powers granted to enable those functions. Impeachment is only to be used as a last resort, not as a way of firing a duly elected president for a policy difference.

This is why witnesses should not be allowed in the Senate trial. Neither Article of Impeachment can justify more witnesses to try and drag out this farcical procedure.

Allowing witnesses at this point would only justify the House’s actions rather than rebuke them, and cause untold damage to the delicate balance of power between governmental branches. The best answer to such a demand by the House managers should be a symbolic ‘talk to the hand’ and refuse to admit witnesses, and either move to dismiss the Articles or simply acquit the President.

For those on the conservative side who desire that witnesses should be allowed so as to reveal the extent of the corruption by Democratic officials, I would say this. There has already been enough damage done to the process and the nation as a result of this immoral ‘impeachment.’

The investigation of the criminal involvement of Democratic operatives in Ukraine can be resolved in a separate legal action by the Senate alone, or by such action as the Department of Justice may deem necessary. While I would strongly urge such an investigation to take place, it is extremely unwise to drag the impeachment trial into these waters and perhaps plunge us into Constitutional anarchy as a result.

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; Proverbs 2:6-9 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Ben Taylor’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Lisa’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Kurt Bauschardt’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Smabs Sputzer (1956-2017) Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in the TIL Journal

God and Guns

Written by Anne Bicks, Editor and Marketing of Bicks Books LLC

Last Monday, I watched an event unfold in my (almost) home state of Virginia. The people I admire and love were under attack for their 2nd Amendment rights and guns. Flashbacks whizzed through my memory as if it were yesterday. I recall my dad and brothers spending many hours cleaning their guns in the living room. My oldest brother, an NRA board member, has won many medals in target shooting over the years. However, my father was a real stickler about gun safety. His words resounded in my mind – “never point it at someone” and “don’t go near the gun case without someone being with you.”

When I moved to Virginia as an adult, most of my friends belonged to hunting clubs. Some may classify them as “rednecks,” but they were the kindest human beings I ever knew, regardless of the stigma assigned to them by outsiders. Murdering others, and disrespectful, threatening behavior was not in their dialogue. So, why are these law-abiding citizens now considered the anti-Christ?

I studied the Bible for information about guns and Christians owning weapons. Many scriptures condone the use of weaponry, such as in Luke 22:37-39, where Jesus affirmed it is sometimes necessary to be armed for self-defense. In biblical times, militaries were commanded to carry something for self-defense. Nowhere does the Bible tell a soldier to give up his weapon for a life of peace.

However, there is a glitch to ponder about God and guns. Though God encourages a believer to own weapons for hunting and protection, weapons are still to be governed by civil authorities and the will of God.

What does this mean to gun owners?

Before we purchase a gun, we should consider our motivation for owning one. Is it to harm someone else, or is it to protect our life and family? After all, Jesus’ greatest commandment is to love God and love others. Exodus 22:2-3 shows that self-defense must be proportional. We can fulfill the strength of God, often, just by our faith, not self-defense.

We inherently understand there is plenty of evil in the world. Jesus understood this because he allowed one of his disciples to carry self-protection. Murders and mass murders existed long before rifles were invented, and it still exists today in countries where firearms are illegal. Explosives and box cutters committed the worst school massacre in 1927 in America, not guns.

History has proven we will never live in a violence-free society through the laws of man. Our government is mistaken to think they can control those who walk the earth intending to harm innocent people. Mankind can never control the mentally ill or those possessed with an evil spirit. We must understand that only God can protect our life, for He had a plan for us before we were born.

Whether a Christian should take steps to protect his life and family, or trust in God for protection, will always remain a debate. I’m sure a believer’s opinion on guns will be based on cultural issues more than biblical mandates. It is unfortunate one side or the other will be hurt by a government who is falsely misleading its citizens. Maybe we should pray for the officials’ peace of understanding.

Strengthen us in the power of Your might, O God. Dress us in Your armor so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:10-12


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Tehran and Havana, Models of Tyranny, Destruction, and Revolution

The current conflict between America and Iran is the rightful spotlight and concern in global news. The hope and prayers of the sensible among us are that this can be resolved peacefully, though the methods recommended by the Left and conservatives to accomplish peace are polar opposites.

While pondering what the future might hold, it occurred to me that I was aged enough to remember when America was an ally of Iran. I can recall a time when Iran was a modern western nation and former Presidents JFK, Nixon and even Jimmy Carter met with the Shah of Iran regularly.

It also occurred to me that Iran’s transition from western to a tyrannical Islamic theocracy was reminiscent of the earlier transition of Cuba from a Capitalist ally to its current Communist wasteland. For the curious, I was alive when that happened as well, but have no memory of those years concerning Cuba except the Cuban missile crisis, which captured even my childhood attention, and was all the adults around me talked about for weeks.

Havana and Tehran Before the ‘Revolutions’

Before Communism captured Cuba and prior to Islamofascism conquering Iran, Havana and Tehran were remarkably similar. Both were the leading cities of countries that flourished with free trade and generally Capitalist economies.

Both cities enjoyed an international reputation as glamorous travel destinations of the ‘rich and famous’ for exotic vacations. The hotels and other amenities were ranked as among the best in the world in their day.

One of the more fascinating ways to compare life in Havana and Tehran before their respective ‘revolutions’ comes via old photographs of people and events of those eras. Both are examples of western cultural influence within each country at the time.

Here is a photograph that was taken at a casino in Havana circa 1958. One could scarcely tell the difference between Havana and Las Vegas here.

A Havana casino. 1958.

About 20 years later, here is a photo of a group of students outside of Tehran University. If one didn’t know better, this could easily depict students at most American colleges in the 1970s.

Sporting mullet haircuts and flares, a group of friends at Tehran university pose together in the 1970s

The natural question that arises here is, “If things were so good in Cuba and Iran, why did the people revolt and overthrow their governments?” The numerous reasons one could cite can effectively be reduced to three.

One: Things were not so good for everyone during those times. There were some serious economic and social inequities between rich and poor people in both Cuba and Iran.

Two: The leadership of both nations was corrupt and had too much authority. For example, in Cuba when Fulgencio Batista, who had gained control of the Cuban Army in the 1930s, organized a military takeover in 1934 and installed Col. Carlos Mendieta as president with Batista as his chief of staff.

Batista effectively operated a military dictatorship behind the scenes for the next twenty years, and while trying to line his own pockets, also manipulated the government to check his opposition through such things as suspending constitutions and shutting down the National Congress.

The same corruption and repression were evident in the later years of the reign of the Shah of Iran.

In addition to mounting economic difficulties, sociopolitical repression by the shah’s regime increased in the 1970s… Social and political protest was often met with censorship, surveillance, or harassment, and illegal detention and torture were common.

The third main reason for both revolutions was the influence of a third party, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR. That nation is now known as Russia.

Revolution and Russians in Cuba and Iran

USSR, Tehran, HavanaBoth Cuba and Iran gained the favor of the USSR along the way to their revolutions. For Cuba, the alliance began during World War II when Batista brought the nation into the war on the side of the Allied forces.

In 1940, Batista, then a colonel, undertook his own candidacy and defeated Grau San Martín. During his presidential term, 1940–44, Cuba entered World War II on the side of the Allies and established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.

The establishment of relations with the Soviets by Batista was, ironically, used to help orchestrate his removal as head of the government. When Fidel Castro and his compatriot Ernesto “Che” Guevara overthrew the Batista government in 1959, they had already acquired the aid of Communist groups that would later prove a bridge to an alliance with the Soviet Union.

Upon the ascension of Castro as the new despot,

Indiscriminate arrests, acts of torture, and executions began almost at once throughout Cuba. By May 15, 1959, some 600 people linked to the Batista government had been put to death by revolutionary courts. …Guevara would spend the following months presiding over military prisons, directing courts-martial, and making extensive tours of AsiaNorth Africa, and the Soviet Union.

In Cuba, the revolution ended up replacing a corrupt ruler who had extensive ties to organized crime in America, with an even worse Communist despot. A similar revolution took place in Iran 20 years later.

Iran’s government under the Shah was also repressive and corrupt to a large degree throughout the 1970s.

Outlets for political participation were minimal, and opposition parties such as the National Front (a loose coalition of nationalists, clerics, and noncommunist left-wing parties) and the pro-Soviet Tūdeh (“Masses”) Party were marginalized or outlawed.

That repression fueled opposition to the Shah who favored a secular western-style government, just under his own corrupt rules. As a result, some who opposed the Shah but also had favored a secular government were exiled.

Ayatollah Khomeini, IranAs the Shah’s behavior became more severe toward his opponents, the various opposition groups began to unite under the increasingly popular Ayatollah Khomeini who favored the idea of an Islamic theocracy. Among that group were the pro-Soviets of the aforementioned Tudeh Party.

Once the Ayatollah and his allies overthrew the Shah, the new Islamic Republic began to exercise harsh methods to stamp out any remaining opposition, just as Castro had done before in Cuba.

Elements within the clergy promptly moved to exclude their former left-wing, nationalist, and intellectual allies from any positions of power in the new regime, and a return to conservative social values was enforced. The Family Protection Act… which provided further guarantees and rights to women in marriage, was declared void, and mosque-based revolutionary bands known as komītehs (Persian: “committees”) patrolled the streets enforcing Islamic codes of dress and behavior and dispatching impromptu justice to perceived enemies of the revolution. …The violence and brutality often exceeded that which had taken place under the shah.

The USSR had been involved with Iran since before World War II and during that war along with England and the U.S., occupied Iran to keep the Germans at bay, even though officially Iran was a neutral nation at the time. The Brits and Americans withdrew from Iran in 1945, per agreement with Iran.

The Soviets were supposed to leave but decided to stay a few more years in order to get political guarantees for the exploitation of oil in northern Iran. The relationship between the two nations was rocky, especially during the 1950s when the Shah was courting closer relations with America as well as the USSR.

When the Shah was forced into exile and ended up in America in 1979, this led the Khomeini government to capture and hold American hostages in the embassy in Tehran. It also led to a new era of cooperation with the Soviets, who took full advantage of their prior connections with Iran as well as the pro-Soviet revolutionary groups in Iran.

The plenary session of the Tudeh Party’s (or PPI, People’s Party of Iran) Central Committee, which took place in East Berlin in late February 1979, declared its full support for the idea of creating an Islamic Republic in Iran. The Soviet leadership was likewise attracted by the anti-American mood of the new authorities… it was the USSR ambassador who was the first foreign envoy to be received by Ayatollah Khomeini (Ḵomeyni) after the Islamic Revolution.

Cuba and Iran Today

1971: Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro speaking at a press conference. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Things in both Cuba and Iran have gone from bad to worse in the years since their revolutions. Both nations have grown less free, poorer, and now suffer under new generations of the Castros and the Ayatollahs.

Both nations are also still close and connected with Russia, and receive support from them including military support. Most are well aware by now that a Russian-made missile recently shot down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran, however, the military support for Cuba by Russia is ongoing if less publicized.

One example comes from an announcement made in 2017.

Anatoly Punchuk, deputy director of the Federal Technical Cooperation Service of Russia, announced that Russia is aiding its longtime ally with the “modernization of the defense industry of Cuba.” …According to the information offered by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian-Cuban military cooperation program, Dmitri Rogozin, the agreement runs the gamut “from civilian technologies to military, from high technologies to simple things.”

Russia is still heavily invested in Cuba for many reasons and still views American proximity to the island as a hostile presence. Moreover, in that same year of 2017, high-level Russian officials were advocating reopening a Russian military and spy facility in Havana that has been converted into part of a college campus.

“Our base on Cuba, naval and aviation, should exist. It’s a key issue,” demanded Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the Russian senate’s defence and security committee, according to Interfax news agency. Russia should decisively react to the placing of US missile defence systems around its borders, he claimed.

Russia’s ties with Iran continue to grow closer, especially since President Trump took the U.S. out of the so-called ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ brokered by the Obama administration. As noted in the New Yorker online in 2018,

The Trump Administration’s decision to challenge the 2015 Iran nuclear deal now carries a broad geostrategic price. The relationship between Moscow and Tehran—once tactical militarily, coldly calculating diplomatically, and practical economically—has been converted into a growing strategic partnership. Vladimir Putin’s relentless quest to make Russia a superpower again is part of it; Iran’s goal is just to be a player again. Since President Trump took office, in 2017, Moscow and Tehran have shared increasingly common bonds: growing tensions with Washington and a quest to expand spheres of influence in the Middle East.

This brief survey of the historical similarities between the situations in Cuba and Iran is meant to hopefully teach us some lessons about the fate of nations. For, as has been famously noted, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

What Is to Be Learned?

Inset.4.1.13.2020History can be either a kind or cruel teacher. The fortunes of the people in Cuba and Iran today are a result of many factors, but perhaps the most important is the failure to learn from the mistakes of their own history.

Neither nation has yet learned a way to escape the cycle of tyranny breeding revolution that results in even more tyranny and will inevitably foster more revolution. Why not? Because after each revolution virtually unchecked power is given to a handful of leaders while the population remains essentially powerless against their whims.

In every historical case of this in Cuba and Iran, their leaders never give up their power voluntarily even if the overwhelming majority of the masses are suffering and pleading and even demanding that they step down. Moreover, real opposition to tyrannical leaders is met with violent and bloody measures against which the populace is helpless.

A more specific lesson to be learned is simple; don’t let the Russians get involved! As has been noted, Russia has been instrumental in both nations’ revolutions as well as aiding in crushing the opposition to either the Castros or the Ayatollahs.

Moreover, as an aside, particularly in the case of these particular countries, the actions of President Trump, especially in recent days but actually throughout his term of office so far should forever put to rest the ludicrous claim that he is ‘Putin’s puppet.’ Every diplomatic and military move by this president has been detrimental to the aims of Vladimir Putin and Russia.

These last several days have seen some rather remarkable historical events take place in Iran. The latest of these is the enormous protests renewed in Iran against their supreme leader and the Islamofascistic government in response to the missile strike on the civilian Ukrainian airliner.

The courage of the protesters in Iran is astounding in the wake of 1500 protesters who were slaughtered by the IRGC just two months ago. As has been the case recently in Hong Kong, these ordinary Iranian people are risking life and limb for a chance at liberty and a slice of self-determination.

Inset.5.1.13.2020Thus in both Hong Kong and Iran, protesters are symbolically embracing symbols of freedom such as the American flag in their quests. The same thing is true in a different manner with the resistance movement in Cuba, which has resurfaced during the era of President Trump.

Cubans who have rejected Castro’s dictatorship have coalesced their efforts as exiles from the island who reside primarily in Florida. Their determination for freedom was well expressed last September in an article by a spokesman for the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

The rejection of the Castro regime is deep and resolute for a majority of the Cuban population inside and outside the island. Above all, it is a serious political error to underestimate the level of conviction of the Cuban diaspora. It constitutes an intergenerational commitment imbricated with the community’s very identity. It will neither wither nor dilute while the repressive conditions that caused the separation of thousands of Cuban families from their homeland remain.

Indeed, the longing for freedom is embedded within the human soul. Humanity was created in God’s image by God who cherishes the value of liberty and grants free will to us as a result.

Thus the question is how can the struggle for such freedom achieve lasting success in these and other repressive nations around the world. The solutions are straightforward but hardly easy because they involve a wholesale change in the approach of those who struggle against tyranny after they have won.

For one thing, the pre-revolution despots cannot be replaced by despots who happen to also be part of the revolt. This just starts the destructive cycle all over again.

Secondly, the formation of a new government must put the law above the whims of any official, even the darlings of the revolution. The key is to give that idea some teeth by giving the common people the equivalent of the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right of the people to bear arms, as America’s founders realized in the wake of the Revolutionary War.

Finally, the people of those nations must acknowledge the presence and power of God Almighty and undergird every effort by calling upon Him in prayer. Acquiring physical liberty will never satisfy unless liberty for the soul is also present, and that only comes through embracing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and placing Him in charge of the heart.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, Luke 4:18 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Jonas Forth’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Alexsey Fyodoroff’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of babeltravel’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Periodico ahora!’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’sFlickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Scio Central School Website’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

 

Seven Important and Ignored News Stories by the “Mainstream” Media in 2019 [Video]

MSM, Leftmedia, Mainstream mediaAs we approach the end of one year and the dawning of another, it is customary and prudent to examine the past year’s events and their effects upon the world today, as well as what that might portend for the future. 2019 was a tumultuous news year dominated by the Left’s efforts to take down President Trump and concluding with the House of Representatives sort of impeaching him.

However, there were many other newsworthy stories in 2019 that got little or no coverage from the Leftist MSM. With this in mind, here are my picks in no particular order for seven important news stories that were undercovered or ignored in 2019.

No. 7: Continued Leftist Bias in the MSM

MSM, LeftmediaThat the MSM is biased toward the Left is not news to conservatives all over the world. However, there are millions of people in America and billions around the globe who have no clue such bias exists because they cling to Leftist news and the MSM doesn’t admit the bias to their viewers.

The ways that such bias is exhibited are varied, but perhaps the most often used and effective method is simply to ignore news that doesn’t fit their narrative. This works even better if there is also a concurrent event that the Left favors, which is exactly what happened in January of 2019 with two different events, the annual March for Life and the Women’s March both held the same week in Washington D.C.

The 2019 Women’s March received roughly 15 times more news coverage than the 47th March for Life on broadcast television, according to the Media Research Center. …NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck examined the coverage each event received on the ABC, CBS, and NBC morning and evening newscasts — and the results are staggering. …“Between Wednesday morning and Saturday evening, the Women’s March fetched 14 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage… this stood in stark contrast to just 58 seconds for the March for Life,” Houck wrote. “For the March for Life, ABC and CBS were especially pitiful.”

This is despite the fact that by conservative estimates, the March for Life had about 100 times more people participating than there were at the Women’s March. Look for this bias to show up again later this month.

No. 6: The Crimes of Ilhan Omar

Ilhan OmarMany readers of this publication will be aware of at least some of the crimes that Representative Ilhan Omar stands credibly accused of committing during her life in America. However, this important story has been virtually ignored or dismissed by the Leftmedia MSM.

One of the stalwart conservatives working hard to expose Omar has been Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch. In a JW post, Fitton explains the reason an ethics complaint was filed with the House of Representatives in July of 2019.

Substantial, compelling and, to date, unrefuted evidence has been uncovered that Rep. Ilhan Omar may have committed the following crimes in violation of both federal law and Minnesota state law: perjury, immigration fraud, marriage fraud, state and federal tax fraud, and federal student loan fraud.

The evidence Fitton writes of comes as a result of a long investigation of three years by investigative reporter David Steinberg with the cooperation of the U.S. and U.K. governments. Here is an instructive flow chart explaining the potential crimes of Ilhan Omar uncovered by the investigation.

IlhanOmarAsylumDiagram-4-2

This evidence is still unrefuted. Though this has been largely ignored by the MSM, should these charges be used in any attempt to remove Omar from Congress and perhaps prosecute her for her crimes, rest assured the Leftist MSM will go into outrage overdrive and accuse conservatives of being ‘racist.’

No. 5: The #WalkAway and #Blexit Movements

#WalkAway, #BlexitTwo large and rapidly growing political movements have been taking social media by storm in the years since President Trump was elected. The past year has seen both the #WalkAway and #blexit movements become substantial forces in political discourse, and the MSM has barely acknowledged it.

The #WalkAway movement is a grassroots effort founded by self-described ‘former liberal,’ Brandon Straka. He began in May of 2018 and the movement has gone from zero followers on Twitter to over 300,000 followers today.

Straka describes the mission of #WalkAway on the campaign’s website.

The #WalkAway Campaign encourages and supports those on the Left to walk
away from the divisive tenets endorsed and mandated by the Democratic Party of today. We are walking away from the lies, the false narratives, the fake news, the race-baiting, the victim narrative, the violence, the vandalism, the vitriol. We are walking away from a party driven by hate. We are walking toward patriotism and a new, unified America! We are the future of this great nation!

If you have never visited their site or social media posts, then a treasure trove of personal “Walk Away” stories awaits, and it is both instructive and encouraging to view. On the heels of #WalkAway, a similar movement has begun asserting its place on social media and beyond, the #Blexit movement.

The founder of the movement is conservative black activist Candace Owens. She began #Blexit in late October of 2018 and described the reason behind it at the time.

“BLEXIT is a national movement of minorities that have awakened to the truth. It is for those who have taken an objective look at our decades-long allegiance to the left and asked ourselves ‘what do we have to show for it?’” Not much, save for increased racial tensionoverwhelming unemployment (until recently), rampant crime and broken homes and families galore.

Owens launched the movement for the national stage almost one year ago with an “inaugural rally,” in Los Angeles, California at the Globe Theater. In this brief video, another conservative activist, Joy Villa, speaks with an interviewer at the rally.

4: Scott Presler and “The Persistence”

Scott PreslerThis is what I would call the ‘feel good’ story of 2019, yet the MSM desires to downplay or misconstrue it because young Scott Presler is the Left’s worst nightmare. With his long hair and obvious youth, his appearance belies his determined grass-roots conservative activism.

Make no mistake, however, for Presler is a man driven to action with an innate ability to bring people together for positive efforts demonstrating that incredible results can be achieved. He began this by calling for a day to clean up the trash in Baltimore, Maryland last July.

Presler’s Twitter handle is #The Persistence, and it aptly describes his personality. His photo on the Twitter account shows him wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with two phrases, “Stop Talking” and below that “Start Doing.”

Moreover, Presler decided that the cleanup project was also going to involve the crucial step of teaching locals how to register voters for the GOP. This dual effort was so successful that Presler went on to conduct more cleanup and voter registration education in other major cities around the country including Los Angeles, which Presler has noted was so filthy they had to wear hazmat suits during the cleanup.

Presler’s work has now taken a life of its own and he is getting requests from all over the nation to come and clean up cities and instruct others about voter registration. He has stated that the following cities are already scheduled for this 2020: Detroit, Milwaukie, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, and San Francisco.

Presler is showing that ordinary people can make a real difference and that depending upon the government for help is often a waste of time with little or nothing to show for it. The Leftmedia tries to ignore Presler because they are heavily invested in making sure that ordinary people do not take action to improve their lot, and are dependent upon governmental authority.

The hopelessness of the individual is what the Left desires because that makes a large central control by the government easier to justify and obtain. Presler is among a growing number of citizens who reject that notion and are doing something about it. The same is true for the next organization on this list the MSM wishes would go away, Judicial Watch.

No. 3: The Work of Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch

If you are not familiar with the organization Judicial Watch, my strong advice to everyone is to become familiar and informed about this private organization which is literally doing the work the federal Department of Justice should be doing. As their president, Tom Fitton, always says, “Judicial Watch is doing the heavy lifting,” for justice on a national scale.

The method that JW uses is quite simple. Through the avenue of the Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, JW first requests information from government agencies, on both the national and state level concerning compliance with or violations of federal law.

Often those requests are refused or ignored, which means that JW must then apply the legal mechanism of FOIA lawsuits in court to demand that the agencies comply with the law. JW has already been mentioned as essential to exposing the criminal activity of Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Moreover, JW has accomplished some rather remarkable things by proactively pursuing documentation and pushing for judicial action in a legal manner. This has resulted in the last year of JW receiving formerly hidden emails from the infamous private server of Hillary Clinton that reveal illegal and unethical acts including some concerning the intentional effort to lie about the cause of the Benghazi debacle that cost the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Stevens himself.

Through further investigation by JW, Fitton has revealed what he calls JW’s “most important disclosure” to date. They have documentation from the Department of Defense confirming that the Obama administration was involved with arms deals providing arms to terrorists in Syria through Libya, which may well have been part of the reason Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied for weeks about the cause of the Benghazi attacks.

JW’s latest update on YouTube with Mr. Fitton shows just how much of the “heavy lifting” is currently being done. He mentions that JW has over 50 lawsuits pending with the federal government and states either asking for information or demanding that current laws be followed. This includes 6 new lawsuits demanding more information about the corruption in Ukraine and its dealings with the Obama administration.

One of the most consequential efforts by JW concerns the illegal failure to clean voter rolls in various states. Fitton notes in his video update that so far, they have discovered over 3 million voters illegally registered to vote under the national ‘Motor Voter’ law passed during President Bill Clinton’s administration.

JW’s efforts since 2012 have so far resulted in about 1 million of those names being removed from the rolls, leaving more than 2 million names illegally remaining on voter rolls. 500,000 of those illegal registrations that were removed came from San Diego County in California alone.

The aforementioned YouTube update has much more about JW’s continuing work for justice on behalf of the American people. There is no organization I know of that is more deserving of support than Judicial Watch.

No. 2: The Real Number of Illegal Aliens in America

Illegal AliensThis news item has been obscured and covered up by the Left longer than any of the stories mentioned. That’s because for over a decade the public has been told that the total number of illegal aliens in the country is 11 million people, which simply cannot be true.

Since it is known that illegals have been breaking into the country in increasing numbers almost every year for at least 10 years, it is not possible for the number to stay at 11 million. Nor have the numbers of people deported been large enough to offset the increase.

As was noted in this journal last April, the real number of illegal aliens in America is far larger than 11 million.

Millions upon millions of illegal aliens, perhaps as many as 40 million now already strain the limits of our government’s assistance capabilities. A recent study by Yale University put out an estimate of about 22 million illegal aliens residing in America today. However, …that figure is a huge underestimate.

By applying the additional variables of those who leave and repeat offenders, a more accurate number has been estimated by retired Border Patrol chiefs at 40 to 50 million illegals in the United States today.

The Leftmedia people in the MSM have a vested interest in suppressing this information. The real numbers would shock most of the uniformed and then support for putting the clamps on illegal immigration would rise dramatically in response.

This is a threat to the Left’s task to increase the number of Democratic voters in America through courting illegal aliens. We know this is their intent because, in March of 2019, the House of Representatives voted against condemning the notion that illegals should be allowed to vote.

No. 1: DOJ Discovers Millions in Illegal Campaign Contributions for Obama in 2012

ObamaThis story came to light in May of 2019 and was reported on by Freedom Outpost, yet it has been non-existent in MSM outlets. According to a quote from the U.S. Department of Justice report on May 10th,

Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, 46, and Low Taek Jho, 37, also known as “Jho Low,” were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States government and for making foreign and conduit campaign contributions.  Michel also was charged with one count of a scheme to conceal material facts and two counts of making a false entry in a record in connection with the conspiracy.  Michel appeared today for his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in the District of Columbia.  Low remains at large. According to the indictment, between June 2012 and November 2012, Low directed the transfer of approximately $21,600,000 from foreign entities and accounts to Michel for the purpose of funneling significant sums of money into the United States presidential election as purportedly legitimate contributions, all while concealing the true source of the money.

It is against the law in the United States for any foreign interests to contribute to a presidential campaign. What is not mentioned in the DOJ report is that it is also illegal to knowingly accept such contributions from foreign sources.

Did the Obama re-election team know that 21.6 million dollars had come from foreign sources? Did they actively solicit those contributions?

It is almost certain that the former president will not face any questions concerning this, especially from any of the MSM. However, if the MSM were truly honest and objective, they would be howling for an in-depth criminal investigation of former President Obama.

This completes my list of the most important and ignored stories of 2019. It was a difficult task to select just seven, as there are many others deserving of a mention, such as the work of Project Veritas and Turning Point USA. Please let me know if you have other such stories that you would nominate for this less-than-auspicious category in the comments below.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Paul Lim’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Rafael Edwards’ Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Brookings Institution’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Tony Tran’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Illinois Springfield’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 6 courtesy of _mixer_’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal