Sunday, January 08, 2012

God’s Calls

Last August I commented on Rick Perry’s stating that he would consider being elected POTUS a blessing in a post titled Not Quite Rhetorical Modesty commenting as follows.

Only an individual desiring power would consider becoming president of the United States a blessing, and thus Perry’s statement is hardly rhetorical modesty.

Moses, Jonah, and even Christ himself would rather have not had to shoulder the tasks which God appointed to them, and I hardly think they considered their roles as leaders in their appointed tasks a blessing.

Donald Sensing has addressed the subject of God’s calls in a rather more reflective manner than I did, after reading a piece at Real Clear Religion titled A Divine Call Won’t Get You Votes.  His post is titled God’s plan just fell apart, I guess and it’s worth reading, if only for point number 3.

3. God’s call almost never corresponds, even remotely, with what you want to do. Hence, any specific desire that exists, however slightly, in your heart that a subsequent divine call seems so wonderfully to endorse is almost absolutely not the voice of God but of the Deceiver. God’s will is rarely appealing, at first.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/08 at 12:48 PM
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Saturday, January 07, 2012

On Fire

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.


Posted by John Venlet on 01/07 at 08:47 AM
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Friday, January 06, 2012

First Impressions, Ordinary Americans, and Patriots

The other day, Radley Balko posted this photo (below) under the heading Charming, noting the glibness of the message contained within this photo.  Unfortunately, many individuals will look at this photo admiringly and think to themselves how safe they are with the police all armed up as if they are going to war, even though the photo’s message itself states that these police are not going to war but rather to your house.


This got me to thinking about first impressions and the importance of the message a first impression can have on individuals, and, how the United States government currently pretty much controls the message Americans’ receive in regards to individuals who are gun enthusiasts, survival preppers, or even staunchly conservatively right leaning and liberty minded.

The message the United States government desires Americans’ to swallow in regards to the aforementioned individuals is condensed in this photo, which I first saw at Drudge (below).


It is not news that the United States government considers many American gun enthusiasts, survival preppers, or staunchly conservative liberty minded individuals as right wing extremists, it’s a message the United States government is almost continually broadcasting, nowadays, and many Americans in viewing the above photo of the Mt. Rainier gunman will falsely believe that the ordinary American gun enthusiast, survival prepper, or staunchly conservative liberty minded individual are as threatening and evil as the Mt. Rainier gunman’s posed photo suggests.

I attempted to locate some photos of ordinary Americans with guns, via a Bing search, because I wanted to compare these photos with portraits of colonial American patriots, who were ordinary Americans, but as you can see, if you click that Bing link, I was rather unsuccessful.

The point I am attempting to make, is, let’s not allow the United States government to control the impression Americans receive about individuals, such as myself, who are either gun enthusiasts, survival preppers, or staunchly conservative and liberty minded.  Look at that photo of myself in the upper right hand corner of my blog.  I am carrying a gun in that photo, though you cannot see it, and I appear rather pleased and non-threatening.  Don’t strike some hard ass pose if you are photographed with your hardware in plain view, stand like an ordinary American on watch for the sake of liberty.  Wear your suit or every day normal attire, as the following graphic posted by Kerodin of an ordinary American colonial patriot suggests.


Posted by John Venlet on 01/06 at 04:01 PM
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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Greg Sargent Cuts for Sign Poorly

Greg Sargent attempts to display his ability to cut for sign, or political acumen, in a Washington Post opinion piece titled A telling sign: Scott Brown comes out in support of Cordray recess appointment wherein he states the following.

Yet Scott Brown is now breaking decisively with his fellow Republicans, defending the recess appointment as necessary to break through partisan gridlock in order to “protect consumers from fraud and scams.”

Sargent is evidently in need of training in cutting for sign, as the signs in regards to Scott Brown’s perfidy were there even prior to his election, though faint, but a sharp sign/track was clearly visible thirty-five days after Brown’s election.

Link to Sargent piece via The Corner.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/05 at 11:52 AM
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Hedge Your Vote(s)

Most individuals are aware, if only even vaguely, of what the phrase hedge your bets means, even if they are not gamblers.  Hedging your bets is simply attempting to mathematically weigh the odds of numerous uncontrollable variables in order to obtain results from your bets most favorable to yourself, which only makes sense.

But hedging your bets is also a means of not taking a stand for one thing or another, or, as The Free Dictionary’s definition of “hedge your bets” explains it,

to try to avoid giving an opinion or choosing only one thing, so that whatever happens in the future you will not have problems or seem stupid.

Which brings us to the subjects of voting and Professor of Politics Steven J. Bram at New York University.  Professor Bram proposes to put a stop to divisive politics utilizing as his tools in this endeavor mathematics and approval voting, a process which is only a hedging of your bets, which is what voting actually entails.

Brams says approval voting, in which voters can vote for more than one candidate — in some scenarios as many as they can stomach — is a better way to conduct multiple candidate elections. The candidate with the most votes still wins.

Approval voting has been used by various professional societies. It’s similar to the range voting (or score voting) systems seen at the Olympics, except a candidate can only be given a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and not a more precisely calibrated 6.1 or 9.2.

With approval voting, “you can have your cake and eat it, too,” Brams says. “You can vote sincerely for the candidate who can’t win … and you can cast a second approval vote, or strategic vote, for the candidate who can.”

Personally, I find the idea of approval voting unappealing, as I think it brings humans back down to the level of apes, who also appear to gamble.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands observed apes as they “gambled” on overturning cups concealing pieces of chopped banana, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Faced with the choice of a guaranteed small piece of banana or a larger chunk of fruit hidden beneath one of a number of shuffled cups, the apes chose to gamble more than 50 per cent of the time, researchers said.

The apes were able to identify when the odds were stacked against them and when it was wiser to go with the safe bet, so when more cups were added and the odds of a bigger reward worsened, they became more cautious.

Here’s a rather more revolutionary idea to put an end to divisive politics, no hedging of bets required.

Link to articles regarding Professor Brams’ ideas via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/05 at 09:58 AM
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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

This News Has Gotta Make Dawkins’ and Harris’ Heads Spin

In today’s day and age many individuals would not believe, let alone think, that individuals would stand in line, overnight, to purchase a book unless it was something penned by J.K. Rowling.  Well, in Norway, individuals stood in line overnight to purchase a Bible.

The first Norwegian translation of the Bible for 30 years topped the country’s book charts almost every week between its publication in October and the end of the year, selling almost 80,000 copies so far and hugely exceeding expectations. Its launch in the autumn saw Harry Potter-style overnight queues, with bookshops selling out on the first day as Norwegians rushed to get their hands on the new edition.

That news has gotta make Dawkins’ and Harris’ heads spin.

Bible becomes 2011 bestseller in Norway

Linked via Marginal Revolution.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/04 at 04:47 PM
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You Don’t Need the State’s Permission to Protect Yourself

Okla. Woman Shoots, Kills Intruder: 911 Operators Say It’s Okay to Shoot

Though I appreciate the young lady’s apprehension and hesitancy to shoot a home invader; I really do not want to have to justifiably kill someone, but I will; you don’t need the State’s permission to protect yourself, your home, or your loved one’s when under an imminent threat of danger.  You must act.

I wish this young woman well as she contends with her thoughts of the happenings of this day.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/04 at 12:31 PM
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This Is Only A Drill

While at sea when I was serving in the U.S. submarine force we daily ran drills.  Daily drills could vary from fire in the battery compartment; bad, very bad; to reactor scrams.  These drills were meant to hone the crew’s reaction times in order to, hopefully, overcome potential threats to our overall safety, and they also enabled us to ferret out response problems associated with particular drills.  One drill we unfailing ran daily, sometimes more than once, was “Man Battlestations,” and though this daily battlestations drill did raise some grumbling within the crew; Judas Priest battlestations again!; the crew’s response to the call to battlestations became as fine tuned as a Patek Philippe watch.

Drilling in the military, throughout the world, is standard operating procedure, just as militaries throughout the world particpate in war games in order to evaluate their readiness to respond to threats of war.

Many civilian individuals, though, give no thought to drills, or situations, where their response time to a potential threatening situation could be the difference between surviving the threat or becoming simply a statistic.  In today’s political world these threats are quite varied, and while there is no way to cover all threat contingencies, if one is not at a minimum considering potential threat contingencies, they very well may simply be overcome by the threats and succumb to them, or, enmass throw themselves at the feet of some dictator wannabe peddling promises of safety in return for their absolute enslavement.

In a post titled A drill, Claire Wolfe shares various scenarios to consider in the event of a collapse of societal norms compiled by Jake MacGregor, which at least will get you thinking of how individuals should or could respond to a possible societal collapse.

Claire closes the post with this important note.

I also think everybody’s long-term plans in any SHTF situation are going to be turned topsy-turvy by the reality of unfolding events.

Claire’s closing admonition should be seriously considered, but this in no way means you shouldn’t consider the possible scenarios, nor defer attempting to be prepared as you can be, mentally, emotionally, or physically for possible SHTF situations.

Here are some additional resources to peruse.

Preparing Your Family

Survival Blog

Anonymous - Survival Guide for Citizens in a Revolution

This is only a drill.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/04 at 09:57 AM
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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Decline and Fall of America

I received, as a gift, this exact set of books, Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which I’ve just cracked today.

On page 52 of Volume One; The History of the Empire from A.D. 180 to A.D. 395, Chapter II - Of the Union and internal Prosperity of the Roman Empire, in the Age of the Antonines; Gibbons makes the following observation regarding the decline of the love of letters into a maelstrom of “servile imitations.”

A cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste.

Your modern American equivalent of Gibbons’ observation on one aspect resulting in the decline of the Roman Empire is exhibited by the following panel discussion to be hosted by the Los Angeles Press Club, which you can attend, if you so desire, for a mere $52.24, if you’re not already a member.

What if Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. had Tweeted the Civil Rights Movement

Link to Los Angeles Press Club announcement via Radley Balko’s Morning Links.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/03 at 04:02 PM
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Michael Thomas’ Big Lie

InstaPundit links to a Michael Thomas piece published by Newsweek titled The Big Lie wherein Thomas alleges to bring to readers’ attention the evils of Wall Street and his personal disgust with said evils of Wall Street.

Reynolds’ highlights, in linking to Thomas’ piece, what he delineates as the ““NEW CIVILITY” BULLSHIT” line so recently being batted about after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, culling this quote from Thomas’ piece as evidence of the bullshit in the world of “new civility.”

There will be prosecutions and show trials. There will be violence, mark my words. Houses burnt, property defaced. I just hope that this time the mob targets the right people in Wall Street and in Washington. (How does a right-thinking Christian go about asking Santa for Mitch McConnell’s head under the Christmas tree?)

But the above alleged example of the ““new civility” bullshit” highlighted by Reynolds is not what caught my attention as I read through Thomas’ “The Big Lie.”  What caught my attention is the following confession of Thomas’.

It was in May 1961 that a series of circumstances took me from the hushed precincts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I was working as a curatorial assistant in the European Paintings Department, to Lehman Brothers, to begin what for the next 30 years would be an involvement—I hesitate to call it “a career”—in investment banking. I would promote and execute deals, sit on boards, kiss ass, and lie through my teeth: the whole megillah. In consequence of which, I would wear Savile Row and carry a Hermès briefcase. I had Mme. Claude’s home number in Paris and I frequented the best clubs in a half-dozen cities. But I had a problem: I was unable to develop the anticommunitarian moral opacity that is the key to real success on Wall Street.

I had my doubts from the beginning. A few months after I started to work downtown, I ran into an old friend from college and before, a man later to become one of New York’s most esteemed writers and editors.

“So,” he asked, “how do you like what you’re doing now?”

“I like it quite a lot,” I said…

So here we have an individual, Michael Thomas, soap boxing on the evils of Wall Street, who, by his own admission, spent 30 years on Wall Street in investment banking “lying through his teeth,” and liking it quite a lot.  Should individuals believe anything this guy has to say now?

Posted by John Venlet on 01/03 at 09:53 AM
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Monday, January 02, 2012

Houston, We Have a Problem and They Don’t Want Us to Know

In a post titled The Danger You’re In, Billy Beck links to an ABC 13 Eyewitness News (Houston) story, video posted at YouTube (4:27), previously under court ordered lock and key, regarding Houston cops beating a man by the name of Chad Holley, who is lying on the ground in the I give up position after being chased as a burglary suspect.

Billy states in response to the news story and viewing of the video,

Do you understand that no culture can survive this?

What Billy states is true, and I would further add that attempts to keep that video under court ordered lock and key clearly illustrates why the powers that be and who wield force don’t want us to know what they are up to.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/02 at 05:16 PM
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Evolution Already Unsettled in the New Year

A Live Science piece starts 2012 with a scare tactic headline regarding the teaching of evolution.

New Year Brings New Attacks on Evolution in Schools

Might I suggest that Donald Sensing’s “Creation of Life - Genesis and Science” slide presentation be utilized within schools as part of the curriculum surrounding the teaching of evolution, and the alleged consensus as to the theory’s factual all encompassing validity?

You can view Sensing’s slide show at his post titled Hello, universe, anyone home? Hello?

Posted by John Venlet on 01/02 at 10:45 AM
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Every Politician’s Dream Bribe

“Romney would buy the election if he could,”...

That’s Gingrich whining about Romney, but in actuality every politician buys/bribes their way into office, from the lowliest town commissioner, to the highest office in the land.

Posted by John Venlet on 01/02 at 10:20 AM
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