April 18, 1521. Martin Luther “Here I stand.”

“Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason–I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other–my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen.”

Perhaps the most notable words spoken in the Reformation, this according to early printed reports, was Luther’s reply at Worms when urged to recant. He uttered the memorable lines in German on this day, April 18, 1521, and then, upon request, repeated their gist in Latin for those who did not understand his native tongue. He was sweating, said witnesses. With a victory gesture he slipped out of the room.

Frederick the Wise, Luther’s supporter was uneasy. Did the scriptures condemn Luther or not? “He is too daring for me,” the elector admitted. Nonetheless, on the next day, when asked to stand against Luther with the emperor, he did not sign the condemnation although the other four electors did so.

As for the Emperor, he reasoned that a single friar who went contrary to the whole church could not possibly be right. Descended from a long line of Christian emperors, he felt that to accept Luther’s view was to betray the faith of his fathers. He would take prompt action against Luther, he vowed. But since Luther had been given safe conduct to Worms, he allowed him to depart in safety.

Luther did not leave Worms at once. For several days a committee reasoned with him, begging him not to rend the church in two. They pointed out that war would surely come to Germany. Melanchthon, his beloved associate, might be killed. Luther could not help but be moved, but his determination held. God’s word must be followed whatever the cost. To this confrontation his stand against indulgences had finally brought him.

There are grounds to doubt that Luther said “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise.” Although the earliest printed versions contain these lines, the official transcripts do not. Whether spoken or not, the words convey the brave monk’s attitude. When Luther left Worms, the Reformation was irrevocable.

Martin Luther was at his noblest at Worms. His bold words have stirred men’s imagination through subsequent centuries, for they have the same ring to them as Peter’s famous defiance of the Sanhedrin. “Judge for yourselves whether we ought to obey God or men.”

Bibliography:

  1. Bainton, Roland H. Here I Stand; A life of Martin Luther. New York: mentor, 1950.
  2. Durant, Will. The Reformation. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957.
  3. Ganns, H. G. “Luther, Martin.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.
  4. George, Timothy. “Luther, Martin.” Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. Timothy Larsen, editor. Downers-Grove, Illinois: Intevarsity Press, 2003.
  5. “Luther, Martin.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
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ARE WE LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS? by Dr. Thomas Ice

April 17, 2014

An important question that many Christians often ask is “Are we living in the last days or end times?” When people ask me this question, I usually respond with a clear “Yes and No!” Such an answer requires an explanation. My explanation is that the Bible uses such terminology in multiple ways, so that some references do refer to our own day, while others do not.

LAST DAYS VOCABULARY

Sometimes Christians read in the Bible about the “last days,” “end times,” etc., and tend to think that all of these phrases all of the time refer to the same thing. This is not the case, just as in our own lives there are many endings: there is the end of the work day, the end of the day according to the clock, the end of the week, the end of the month, and the end of the year. Just because the word “end” is used does not mean that it always refers to the same time. The word “end” is restricted and precisely defined when it is modified by “day,” “week,” “year,” etc. So it is in the Bible that “end times” may refer to the end of the current church age or it may refer to other times.

There are a number of different biblical expressions which appear to speak of the end times. The Bible teaches that this present age will end with the rapture, followed by the tribulation, which will end with the second coming of Messiah to the earth. Thus, we must distinguish between the “last days” of the church age and the “last days” of Israel’s tribulation.
Note the following chart, which classifies and distinguishes between passages referring to the end of the church age and the “last days” for Israel:

BIBLICAL USE OF LAST DAYS
ISRAEL

“latter days”—
Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29; Jeremiah 30:24; 48:47; Daniel 2:28; 10:14

“last days”—
Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20; 49:39; Ezekiel 38:16; Hosea 3:4–5; Micah 4:1; Acts 2:17

“last day”—
John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48

“latter years”—
Ezekiel 38:8

“end of time”—
Daniel 8:17; 12:4, 9

“end of the age”—
Daniel 12:13 CHURCH

“latter days”—
1 Timothy 4:1

“last days”—
2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3

“last times”—
1 Peter 1:20; Jude 18

“last time”—
1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 2:18

The Bible clearly speaks of a last days or end time, but it does not always refer to the same period of time. The contextual referent enables the reader to know whether the Bible is speaking of the last days relating to Israel or the end times in reference to the church.
Many believe that there are specific signs that relate to the end of the church age. However, I believe that it would be too strong to say that there are signs of the end of the church age. Instead, the Bible indicates what the condition of the church will be like—the general course of the age—and then warns about some general trends toward the later part of the church age. Passages like 1 Timothy 4:1–5, 2 Timothy 3:1–5, and 2 Peter 3:3 most likely refer to the second half or latter part of the church age. These passages warn believers about beliefs and lifestyles that are common in the world will enter the church and become common there as well. These passages do not speak about the general moral decline of society, which I do not doubt, instead, it is a decline that was predicted to occur within the church as part of the apostasy.
It can also be noted, that it is hard to quantify such decline. No matter how bad things get, they can always get a little worse. So it is impossible to know specifically how bad things must be in order for something to be a prophetic sign. It is the general condition within the realm of the church in which “evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).

THE CHURCH AGE

There are a number of New Testament passages where “last days,” “last times,” and “last time” clearly refer to the present church age in which we now live. The writer of Hebrews says, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:1–2). The contextual nuance of this passage demands that “last days” is a reference to the current church age in which we presently live. In the same way Peter says, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Pet. 1:20). These “last times,” to which he speaks, in that context, must refer to the last two thousand years in which we still live. John adds support to the two previous writers when he says, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). Jude, speaking of things going on in his day says, “that they were saying to you, “In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts” (Jude 18).
The Jewish view of Bible prophecy viewed history as consisting of two ages. The first was this present age, the age in which Israel was waiting for the coming of the Messiah. The second was the age to come, the age in which all promises and covenants would be fulfilled and Israel would enter into her promised blessings as a result of Messiah’s coming. The present age would be terminated by the appearance of Messiah, and the coming age would be introduced by His advent. The present age, then, was to end in judgment, and the coming age must be preceded by this devastation. The New Testament references the present age as the last days. The last days of what? The last days before the coming of the Messianic age.
We see that there are at least four clear references in the New Testament that use end times vocabulary to refer to their own day and the entire church age as the last days. Thus, in that sense, we are clearly living in the last days, since the entire church age is considered the last days. However, that is not what the average person means when they ask, “Are we living in the last days?” They want to know if we are living in a time when the final prophecies of Scripture are being fulfilled. Before I can answer that, we need to look into the use of Old Testament terminology and the last days.

OLD TESTAMENT USE OF LAST DAYS

When we look at Old Testament usage of these terms, we see that they are used differently than those which speak of the church age. I believe that the Old Testament use of this language refers to the time leading up to the coming of Messiah to set up His kingdom on earth, which I would call the tribulation period.
A clear example of this is found in Deuteronomy 4:30, which says, “When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and listen to His voice.” The English word “distress” is the Hebrew word for tribulation—in this context, the tribulation—which means that this text equates the tribulation with the “latter days.” Thus, the “latter days” are the tribulation period, which we are not currently living in, but may be on the brink of entering. Of course, the church will be raptured before the world enters the tribulation. Deuteronomy 31:29 uses “latter days” as a reference to the tribulation when it says, “evil will befall you in the latter days.”
The term “latter days” is used of the tribulation period twice in Jeremiah (30:24; 48:47). Daniel also uses it this way: “However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days” (Dan. 2:28). Daniel commences to reveal God’s plan for the future, which revolves around events that will unfold in the tribulation period. This is also the case concerning another passage in Daniel: “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future” (Dan. 10:14).
The prophet Daniel uses a whole cluster of other “latter day” terms that all refer to the tribulation period or prepare the way for the kingdom reign of Messiah. Terms like “end of time” (Dan. 8:17; 12:4, 9) and “end of the age” (Dan. 12:13) speak of the end-time, tribulation period, which is yet to come. These terms are used three times in Daniel 12, which is said in verse one of that chapter to “be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” “Distress” is the Hebrew word for tribulation. Thus, the entire context is once again a reference to the coming tribulation.
Daniel 12:4, says the teachings about the end-times in Daniel will be sealed up for the Jewish people until “the end of time.” Many prophecy teachers believe that shortly before Christ’s return the world would experience an increase in the speed of travel coupled with an explosion of information based upon Daniel 12:4, which says “many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” No one would quarrel with the fact that the last one hundred years has indeed witnessed an exponential increase in both the speed of travel and the accumulation of knowledge and thus would be a sign in our time that the end is near. But is this really what Daniel is saying in the passage? I don’t think so.
The correct interpretation of the passage is given by Dr. Charles Ryrie in his famous Ryrie Study Bible when he says, “As the end approaches, people will travel about seeking to discover what the future holds.” Not just people in general, but the Jewish people in particular. This means that many Jews during the tribulation will study the Book of Daniel in an attempt to find out what is going on during this unique period of time. Harry Bultema says, “The movement of to and fro may refer to that of the eyes through leaves. . . . Thus considered it seems to us that the text here speaks of the diligent search of the Scripture at the end of time.” Thus, the scope would be limited to the future time of the tribulation and could not justly be applied to our own day.
There does not appear to be any real textual basis for the first interpretation. The meaning of the Hebrew words and grammar do not support such a view.

CONCLUSION

So are we living in the last days? As you can tell from the above discussion, we are currently living in the last days because we are in the church age, which is called the “last days,” “last times,” and “last time.” However, in no way shape or form are we in the last days, as the Old Testament says of Israel. Those terms, “latter days,” “last days,” “latter years,” “end of time,” and “end of the age” all refer a time when Israel is in her time of tribulation. This is a future time, which we could very well be on the verge of entering. I believe that we are seeing the stage being set for last days or end time events of the tribulation. But we are not currently in those times at the present time. Maranatha!

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a shroud of despair

Winston Churchill’s famous quip about Russia, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

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Chicago Tribune Praise for Absire’s “Lazarus. “…Blackness here is wrapped in gloom inside a shroud of despair within a veil of dreariness enveloped by a swath of nothingness.”

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North Korea: Empire of Madness by Vladimir Tismaneanu

Empire of Madness: Caligula in Pyongyang

December 17, 2013 by 
lpNorth Korea is Stalin’s ultimate dream come true. It is a most dangerous actor in world politics and a despicable tyranny where reason and moderation are treated as mortal enemies. Blind obedience is mandatory and so is infinite subservience to the Supreme Leader, the administrator of truth, memory, and universal poverty. It is the most hermetic regime in the world, an armed-to-the-teeth totalitarian despotism whose possession of  nuclear weapons  gives nightmares to all those who know how the Kim dynasty and its sycophants operate. It is, in fact, as the recent bloody purges made clearer than ever, a huge concentration camp run by a lunatic commander.

The mysterious, baby-faced monster Kim Jong-un has unleashed a Stalin-style onslaught on his own acolytes. It is like a re-enactment of the Soviet Great Purge when Stalin got rid of the whole Bolshevik Old Guard. It is not an exaggeration to predict more bloodshed to follow. No doubt the North Korean nomenklatura is now frightened and  humiliated. No one is safe in this universe of paranoid delusions and rampant suspicions.

The propaganda machine indulges in hysterical harangues against the alleged traitors, despicable vermin, “repugnant human scum,” “nauseating reptiles” and other surreal zoological metaphors. Until recently the regime’s number two, lionized as a wise advisor to the satrap, Kim Jong-un’s uncle, Jang Song-thaek, was killed after having been swamped into an ocean of  morbid accusations. Is this the abysmal end or the frightening beginning of young Kim’s absolute rule?

As Nicholas Eberstadt has pointed out, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather and father avoided dealing mortal blows to the members of the highest communist aristocracy. They practiced a dynastic communism that blended nationalist mysticism with ferocious Stalinism. The Juche doctrine means the right of the communist Lidero Maximo to act as arbitrarily and erratically as he wishes. Initially, the enigmatic “Dear Leader,” a latter-day Caligula with a Swiss high-school background and the face of a hieratic, opaque deity, seemed to be just a puppet manipulated by his ostensibly omnipotent aunt and uncle. He has finally escaped their suffocating grip, or at least this seems to be his conviction. He acts ruthlessly and in perfect cold blood. Will he continue the carnage or will he be himself liquidated by an equally brutal backlash from those whom he wants to eliminate? Will this grotesque farce culminate in a settling of accounts that could somehow restore a minimal rationality in this empire of madness? What card will China play?

When Kim Jong-un was ritualistically anointed his father’s successor two years ago, and the world media were disseminating those mind-boggling images with teenagers hitting their heads and old ladies screaming as loud as possible their desperation, I predicted that the struggle for power would exacerbate to the point of assassinations and show trials. What is at stake is absolute power within an absolutist regime, a red monarchy if ever one was. For the time being, the “beloved aunt” and estranged wife of the executed “traitor,” has managed to survive. It is not sure at all that the vindictive Kim Jong-un will spare her. The logic of  unbound Stalinism is an ever-growing, endless purge. Still, it is hard to know whether in the dark corridors of the North Korean pyramid of power some of the alleged loyalists are not sharpening their daggers. This is not Hamlet in Pyongyang, but rather Richard III or Caligula.

I have written a lot on national Stalinism and dynastic communism in Romania, North Korea, and Cuba. There are striking similarities between Nicolae Ceausescu’s and Kim Il-sung’s experiments. In 1986 I published in the journal “Orbis” a study titled “Byzantine Rites, Stalinist Follies: The Twilight of  Dynastic Socialism in Romania.”  I explored the wedding between unbound Stalinism and nationalist delirium, the mixing of autarchic narcissism and ideological paranoia, the relations between party elite, secret police and army within a decrepit dictatorship.  I am tempted to write now an article titled  “Confucian Rites, Stalinist Follies: The Twilight of  Dynastic Communism in North Korea.” Ideological dictatorships, also known as ideocracies or logocracies, cultivate miracle, myth, and mystery (a point made by historian Fritz Stern).

In the case of North Korea, the miracle and the myth are totally exhausted. The mystery remains and this is most alarming.

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The Pope and Capitalism, by Walter Williams

The Pope and Capitalism

December 17, 2013 by 
PopeFrancis-fingerPope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that “economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world” and concluding that “this opinion … has never been confirmed by the facts.” He went on to label unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny.” Let’s look at the pope’s tragic vision.

First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.

Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A couple of examples would be J.D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. Both Ford’s and Rockefeller’s personal benefits pale in comparison with that received by the common man by having cheaper kerosene and cheaper transportation. There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind’s life has been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here’s my question to you: Are people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals, politicians and now the pope?

Let’s examine the role of profits but first put it in perspective in terms of magnitude.

Between 1960 and 2012, after-tax corporate profit averaged a bit over 6 percent of the gross domestic product, while wages averaged 47 percent of the GDP. Far more important than simple statistics about the magnitude of profits is its role in guiding resources to their highest-valued uses and satisfying people. Try polling people with a few questions. Ask them what services they are more satisfied with and what they are less satisfied with. On the “more satisfied” list would be profit-making enterprises, such as supermarkets, theaters, clothing stores and computer stores. They’d find less satisfaction with services provided by nonprofit government organizations, such as public schools, post offices and departments of motor vehicles.

Profits force entrepreneurs to find ways to please people in the most efficient ways or go out of business. Of course, they can mess up and stay in business if they can get government to bail them out or give them protection against competition. Nonprofits have an easier time of it. Public schools, for example, continue to operate whether they do a good job or not and whether they please parents or not. That’s because politicians provide their compensation through coercive property taxes. I’m sure that we’d be less satisfied with supermarkets if they, too, had the power to take our money through taxes, as opposed to being forced to find ways to get us to voluntarily give them our earnings.

Arthur C. Brooks, president at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Really Cares,” shows that Americans are the most generous people on the face of the earth. In fact, if you look for generosity around the world, you find virtually all of it in countries that are closer to the free market end of the economic spectrum than they are to the socialist or communist end. Seeing as Pope Francis sees charity as a key part of godliness, he ought to stop demonizing capitalism.

Posted in Austrian Economics, Biblical Worldview, Christianity, Conservatism, Economics, Human rights, Liberalism, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, News and politics, Postmodernism, Progressives, religion, Salvation, Socialism, welfare state | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Democrat City Poverty by Arnold Ahlert

Big Dem Cities, Big Dem Poverty

110811-national-homeless-poverty-poorOn Sunday’s ABC This Week telecast, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich squared off with former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich, who tried to blame the increase in poverty over the last five years on the GOP. “Here’s the baloney,” Gingrich fired back. “Every major city which is a center of poverty is run by Democrats. Every major city. Their policies have failed, they’re not willing to admit and the fact is it’s the poor who suffer from bad government.” Unfortunately for the millions of Americans, Gingrich is right on the money. Here is a breakdown of the ten cities with populations above 250,000 that have borne the brunt of Democratic ideology.

St. Louis’s poverty rate is 26 percent overall, and four-in-ten children live in poverty. Like Detroit, the city has experienced a major population decline, from 850,000 in the mid-20th century to 318,000 in 2013. Last year’s Annual Performance Report gave the city’s public schools a rating of 24.6 percent on a scale of zero to 100 percent. The city, which is also reeling from $640 million in unfunded pension liabilities, is currently rated the third most dangerous large city in the nation. St. Louis’s current mayor is Francis G. Slay, who has served since 2001. There hasn’t been a Republican mayor in St. Louis since 1949.
Newark, New Jersey’s poverty rate is 26.1 percent. Its former mayor, Cory Booker, who was recently elected to the United States Senate, was the latest in a long, unbroken line of Democratic mayors dating back 106 years to 1907. Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James was convicted of five counts of fraud in 2008. Yet he is hardly an anomaly: with the exception of Booker, every Mayor of Newark since 1962 has been indicted for crimes committed during their tenure in office. Between 2005 and 2012, the city’s population declined from 281,063 to 278,906, while violent crime totals increased from 2,821 to 3,219.
The residents of Cincinnati, OH are afflicted by a poverty rate of 27.4 percent overall, with a staggering 53.1 percent child poverty rate as of 2012. Former Democratic Mayor Mark Mallory left recently-elected Democrat Mayor John Cranley a $60 million deficit throughout 2012, and an annual budget shortfall of 20 percent, leading many to believe that bankruptcy is imminent. Cincinnati’s last non-Democrat mayor, Charter Party member Arnold L. Bortz, served until 1984.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 28 percent of city residents overall live in poverty, a number that balloons to 40 percent in terms of child poverty. Democratic voter registration outnumbers Republican registration by a six-to-one margin in a city where the last Republican mayor to hold office, Bernard Samuel, was voted out in 1952. Current mayor Michael Nutter is presiding over a city with the lowest credit rating of the country’s five most populous cities ($8.75 billion in outstanding debt) and a pension system that is only funded at a level of 47.6 percent. Last March, city officials voted to close 9 percent of the city’s public schools due to a five-year $1.35 billion spending gap.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin sports a poverty rate of 29.9 percent overall, including 42.6 percent of children under 18. Like Camden, Milwaukee boasts a track record of non-Republican mayors going back 105 years to 1908. But they weren’t all Democrats. In 2011, the city marked the 101st anniversary of the election of Emil Seidel, the first of three Socialist Party mayors of Milwaukee. Current Mayor Tom Barrett claims the poverty experienced in his city is a “regional problem,” but 71 percent of those who live in poverty in a four-county area were concentrated in Milwaukee.
In Buffalo, New York, 29.9 percent of residents overall are living below the poverty level, with children enduring a poverty rate of 46.8 percent, third highest in the nation behind Detroit and Camden. Mayor Byron Brown presides over a city that has lost 11 percent of its population over the last dozen years, due in large part to a stagnating economy. Buffalo’s last Republican mayor served until 1965.
In El Paso, Texas, one-in-four live in poverty, rising to 35 percent for children. Oscar Leeser is the 53rd mayor of that city, whose history dates back to 1873. In all that time, the city has never elected a Republican mayor. The proposed 2014 budget asked a 4 percent tax increase, due to what City Manager Joyce Wilson characterizes as “a budget gap too extensive to overcome without significant impact to existing service levels.” El Paso’s current debt level stands at $893 million.
In Cleveland, Ohio, 36 percent of its residents live in poverty. In 1978, when current U.S. House of Representatives Democrat Dennis Kucinich was mayor, the city became the first one since the Great Depression to default on its debt. It remained in default until 1987. In 2011, the city’s credit rating was downgraded by Fitch, due to concerns about the city’s struggling economy and shrinking population. Cleveland, whose current mayor is Frank G. Jackson, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1989. During Jackson’s tenure, the police, fire and sanitation departments have been cited for excessive use of force, payroll abuse, and chronic billing problems, respectively.
And then, there is Detroit, Michigan, in a class by itself, with 36.2 percent of residents living in poverty, along with an astounding 60 percent of the city’s children in the same boat. The city itself is utterly dysfunctional with $20 billion of debt, 78,000 abandoned homes, collapsing or nonexistent municipal services, and 47 percent illiteracy rate. It is also the most dangerous city in the nation. Yesterday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes allowed his rulings declaring the city eligible for bankruptcy, and leaving public employee pensions systems vulnerable to cuts for retirees, to proceed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Detroit is on track to becoming the largest city in the nation to go bankrupt. Democrat Dave Bing is the current mayor, representing an unbroken string of Democrats going back to 1962.
Camden, New Jersey rounds out the top ten, with a poverty rate of 42.5 percent, and child poverty rate of 56.7 percent. In one poll, Camden was rated the second most dangerous city in the nation, with gang violence cited as a chief contributing factor. Democrat Dana Redd is the current mayor of the city. Frederick Von Nieda was Camden’s last Republican Mayor — he served until 1936.
That’s the line up regarding poverty. Yet there are also eight large American cities facing bankruptcy, a reality that would undoubtedly exacerbate each city’s poverty rate. Cincinnati and Camden hold the distinction of being on both lists. The other six cities are Baltimore, Washington, D.C., San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Note that the last four are in California, the nation’s foremost Democratic stronghold. As for Baltimore, it has been run by Democratic mayors and city councils since 1967. Since Washington, D.C’s home rule began in 1975, every mayor has been a Democrat.
Democrats like to make the case that the poorest states are run by Republicans. Yet they conveniently ignore the history of those states, where two facts loom large. First, most of them were part of the Old South, where the vestiges of slavery, combined with national policies that favored highly industrialized northern states (one of the factors leading to the Civil War, produced economic stagnation by comparison. Furthermore, most of those states were staunchly Democratic for over a century following the Civil War.
Dr. Mark W. Hendricksonadjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, illuminates the glaring difference between the comparisons. “The most fundamental difference between the data that conservatives prefer–that the 10 poorest cities are longtime Democratic strongholds–and the data that liberals will be more inclined to cite–that the 10 poorest states are predominantly Republican, is that conservatives can point to actual policies that Democrats implemented that contributed to the impoverishment of the cities, while the liberals cannot point to specific GOP policies that have caused the poorer states to lag behind,” he explains.
It’s a shame Gingrich didn’t have more time to educate Robert Reich. It’s even sadder that millions of poor Americans are forced to endure their own “education” regarding poverty on a daily basis, even as Reich and his fellow Democrats refuse to recognize, much less admit, that their odious policies are responsible for it.
Posted in Economics, Government is Too Large, Government Waste, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Politics, Progressives, Socialism, welfare state | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Line In The Sand Is Being Drawn Again by Chuck Baldwin

A Line In The Sand Is Being Drawn Again

By Chuck Baldwin

In March of 1836, a young man of twenty-three years of age took his sword out of its scabbard and drew a line in the sand in front of an old mission outside of San Antonio, Texas, and called on the men defending that mission who were willing to stay on the ramparts and face an opposing army more than ten times their number to signify their commitment by stepping across the line. Of course, the young man was William Barrett Travis and the old mission was the Alamo. He could not have known it then, but Travis’ line in the sand would forever become the benchmark by which all future acts of commitment would be measured. In a mystical way, but, then again, in very real way, Travis’ line in the sand is being drawn again. Oh, it may not be a line in dirt drawn by the point of a sword; it is a line in the hearts of men being drawn by the Spirit of God.

My last three columns (not including the column promoting THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS) generated more responses than any three columns I have ever written, and I have been writing this column for some fifteen years. At first, the responses were mostly negative and often vitriolic. But this past week, responses have been over 90% positive and very enthusiastic. I am confident that the manner in which these columns have brought out intense emotion and determination on both sides is a microcosm of what is happening nationally. A line in the sand for freedom is being drawn once again.

This line in the sand for freedom is separating people in a major way. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. In the same way that God commanded Abram to separate from his home and kin, so, too, the Spirit of God is separating people many times from their friends, their neighbors, their kinfolk, and, yes, their church families. I seem to recall that during the period of the early church, the conflict of principle forever separated the apostles Paul and Silas. And during America’s War for Independence, the conflict of principle separated Benjamin Franklin and his son William–as it did tens of thousands of others.

Perhaps not since the days of Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, et al., have Americans been forced to deal–intellectually, reasonably, emotionally, volitionally, and spiritually–with the fundamental issues of liberty as we are being forced to do today. For way too long, Americans have taken freedom for granted. For way too long, our educational and religious institutions (not to mention our homes) have not taught the fundamental principles of liberty. This negligence has brought our country to the brink of oppression and despotism. And, just as was the case in Colonial America, a line in the sand for freedom is being drawn in the hearts of men.

This internal line in the sand is being drawn irrespective of a person’s education, temperament, upbringing, intelligence, or faith. While some men seem to be content to live under the heel of governmental oppression, many others have an innate thirst for freedom that all of the armies in the world cannot quench.

In truth, the thirst for freedom is part of Natural Law. A horse is not broken without a fight; a tiger or lion will pace its cage as long as it can walk looking for an avenue of escape; a bird will fly around its cage ten thousand times looking for an opening to return to the sky. Yes, animals can be broken–and so can be some men, unfortunately. But the innate desire for freedom is born in the soul of every man.

However, the desire for comfort, ease, and material pleasure is a handsome tempter that many people find more attractive than the harsh and weather-torn face of liberty. Plus, the further liberty slips out of view, the more vague the memory of it becomes. And before we realize it, the face of liberty is only seen in the irrelevant relics of the songs and statues of history. But it is exactly at this point that the Spirit of God begins to renew in the hearts of men the Natural thirst for liberty. And that is precisely what is happening now.

All over America, and, yes, all over the world, people’s hearts are beating fast for freedom. I am receiving thousands of letters and emails from people all over the globe. Unfortunately for many of these people, they do not live in a country in which the governmental and political foundation and structure is conducive to the reclamation of liberty. But in the United States, it is not a matter of government; it is a matter of will. Do the American people yet have the will to reclaim liberty?

While it would appear that the majority of today’s Americans have allowed ignorance, materialism, and false Bible teaching regarding the principles of liberty to suppress their love of liberty, I am absolutely convinced that the spirit of liberty is swelling in the hearts of teeming millions of people. Highly educated and high school dropouts, affluent and average, Christians and unchurched, men and women, young and old: their hearts are ablaze with the love of liberty. And they are no longer content to surround themselves with those who would allow the chains of servitude to be clamped around their necks.

Are we patriots or loyalists? That question had to be answered by every man and woman in Colonial America. The same question must be answered by every American today. Are we going to bravely fight for the principles of liberty as did our patriot forebears, or are we going to be loyal to a corrupt and tyrannical system that is literally choking the life out of our freedoms? And how each of us answers that question will determine the direction and destination of our lives and futures.

The freedom to separate is a Natural right. Forced union is not a union at all; it is enslavement. The current world and U.S. maps are testimonies to the right of Natural separation. Pat Buchanan recently wrote:

“In the last decade of the 20th century, as the Soviet Empire disintegrated, so, too, did that prison house of nations, the USSR.

“Out of the decomposing carcass came Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova, all in Europe; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

“Transnistria then broke free of Moldova, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought free of Georgia.

“Yugoslavia dissolved far more violently into the nations of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo.

“The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia.”

Buchanan also notes that in the U.S., “Four of our 50 states–Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, West Virginia–were born out of other states.”

See Pat’s column at:

Is Red State America Seceding?

Think of this, too: the most fundamental and sacred union of all is the union of a man and woman in marriage. Had Adam and Eve not fallen into sin, there would, no doubt, be no right or reason for separation. (Matthew 19:8) But with the fall of man into sin came all kinds of abuse. As a result, the Scriptures grant divorce (separation) on the grounds of both adultery (Matthew 19) and abandonment (I Corinthians 7). While never preferred, few among us would deny the right of a husband or wife to separate under certain circumstances. Because not every man is willing to be governed by the Natural and revealed laws of God, men are granted the right to separate themselves from those who would violate the fundamental principles upon which the union is based. This is true maritally, ecclesiastically, spiritually, socially, and politically.

In 1836, Will Travis drew a line in the sand to separate those who were willing to defend the liberty of Texas on the ramparts of the Alamo from those who were not. And I am convinced that God is drawing a line in the hearts of men today for the same reason: to separate those who are willing to give their lives in the defense of liberty from those who are not. And, ironically, the freedom of everyone–including the ones who are not willing to defend it–depends on the willingness of the ones who are. I guess it’s always been that way.

colwtravisI know which side of the line I am on; and after the deluge of correspondence I have received over the past couple of weeks, I know I am not alone.

P.S. Remember, for the month of December, we are offering both “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission,” and “To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns” at a significant discount. These books, written by my constitutional attorney son and me, normally sell for $14.95 each. But to help folks purchase these books as Christmas gifts, the cost is only $17.95 (plus shipping and handling) for BOTH BOOKS.

To order “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission,” go here:

Romans 13 Truth

To order “To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns,” go here:

Keep Your Arms

(c) Chuck Baldwin

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