Archive for » February, 2008 «

February 29th, 2008 | Author:

This article in Rolling Stone has me sitting here with my mouth hanging open. The short and sweet version? If you can’t beat ‘em, pay ‘em! That’s right, folks. This is our new Iraq strategy. The US military is paying and arming the very people who were shooting at us a few months ago. Here are a few quotes:

To engineer a fragile peace, the U.S. military has created and backed dozens of new Sunni militias, which now operate beyond the control of Iraq’s central government. The Americans call the units by a variety of euphemisms: Iraqi Security Volunteers(ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias prefer a simpler and more dramatic name: They call themselves Sahwa, or “the Awakening.”

The American forces responsible for overseeing “volunteer” militias like Osama’s have no illusions about their loyalty. “The only reason anything works or anybody deals with us is because we give them money,” says a young Army intelligence officer.

All told, the U.S. is now backing more than 600,000 Iraqi men in the security sector — more than half the number Saddam had at the height of his power. With the ISVs in place, the Americans are now arming both sides in the civil war. “Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems,” as U.S. strategists like to say. David Kilcullen, the counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. Petraeus, calls it “balancing competing armed interest groups.”

There is little doubt what will happen when the massive influx of American money stops: Unless the new Iraqi state continues to operate as a vast bribing machine, the insurgent Sunnis who have joined the new militias will likely revert to fighting the ruling Shiites, who still refuse to share power.

I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out a reason for this policy – other than to let Bush say he won – and I can’t. So I’ll just go try to find my jaw … it’s on the floor here someplace.

Category: Bush, Iraq  | Comments off
February 26th, 2008 | Author:

Inflation, depression, stag-flation – the economy presents a gloomy picture no matter who’s report you look at. The folks in Washington won’t approve, because complications keep them in business, but I have a simple solution: reduce government spending, which translates into reduced taxes, which gives us more money to buy gas and food.

Given our two-party system, however, this is just about the impossible dream. The Republicans would be glad to cut spending on social programs, while they increase the military budget. The Democrats would be glad to cut military spending, while they increase the social budget. And nobody wants to give up the pork barrel projects that keep them in Washington.

So here’s my solution: Arbitrarily, with no exceptions allowed, every part of the budget gets reduced by 10% this year. Then next year, we repeat the process. After we do this for five or six years in a row, then we can start looking at individual items to see where we can make some serious cuts.

Think it’ll pass?

Category: libertarian, taxes  | 2 Comments
February 26th, 2008 | Author:

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Romans 2:4-5

I remember how over-awed I was when I was saved. Suddenly, the weight of all my sins had been transferred to the cross, and I was as light as a feather. I was full of gratitude and would do absolutely anything to try to please God.

But often, we are shallow creatures with short memories. How often does a parent say, “But I did all that for you for years, and you don’t have time for me?” They feel betrayed and abandoned – and unimportant.

I wonder if God ever feels like that? We get so caught up in all our blessings, we don’t have time for the Provider of the blessings. We’re too busy and we do think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience.

God, forgive us and help us to remember You.

Category: Christianity  | Comments off
February 22nd, 2008 | Author:

“This concept of the Christian life as a journey to be taken, a growth to be attained, is being lost to us through two widely separated modern errors.

“The first is that of the liberal, who cheerfully advises the unrenewed sinner to continue in the Christian life, overlooking the important fact that he has no life in which to continue. Where there has been no impartation of life to the soul of the man, growth and development are impossible. To assume that a saving act of God has been done in a man’s heart when in reality no such act has been done is to set the soul of the man in mortal jeopardy and all but guarantee his final ruin.

“The second error is found among us evangelicals. This error is the exact opposite of the liberal’s, which assume spiritual life to be present when it is not; this one assumes that life is not there when it is. Unless every Christian virtue is in the soul, it flatly denies that any virtue is there at all. It requires all babies to be born full grown, and all pilgrims to reach their destination the same moment they set out on their journey.”

-A. W. Tozer, The Size of the Soul, p.86

Category: Christianity  | Comments off
February 20th, 2008 | Author:

Finally got a picture of this bugger. Added to the downy and the red-bellied, that’s all three types of woodpeckers that we feed. We are blessed.

Category: nature  | Comments off