Waterboarding


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The practice of waterboarding is an interrogation method used to extract information from detainees.  It involves immobilizing the victim, usually with their head inclined downwards, and then pouring water over their face, often with the face covered.  The detainee experiences the sensation of drowning and believes they are about to die, even if they know that they are not actually going to drown.  Many people consider this to be torture.  Some do not.

Count me amongst those who don’t think it should be used in any circumstances…I know, it’s not considered fashionable to be a conservative and be against the use of waterboarding in some cases.  The usual arguments are threefold:

  1. Other countries do much worse to our men and women in uniform.
  2. It’s not really torture since no lasting physical harm is done to the detainee.
  3. We need to have more extreme interrogation methods if we believe our men and women in uniform or our citizens are in imminent danger.

In response to #1, yes, other countries obviously do much, much worse to our men and women in uniform.  We’ve all seen, or at least heard of, prisoners being shot or even beheaded.  There’s nothing remotely terrible about waterboarding in comparison to those atrocities.  However, comparing waterboarding to extreme torture like that isn’t really a fair argument.  Comparing one bad thing to another and saying one is okay because someone else practices the other is poor reasoning.

As far as it not being torture because there is no lasting physical damage, I’m not so sure that’s the case.  Some believe that lung and brain damage can occur during waterboarding.  There have even been claims that it could cause the detainee to suffer a heart attack.

Lastly, an argument that is perhaps valid is that we need to have more extreme interrogation techniques if we believe our soliders or citizens are in imminent danger.  That’s fine and dandy.  If there are some extreme techniques that are not considered torture, I’m fine with using them.  Go ahead and deprive them of sleep, play loud music, etc., but I am still against waterboarding.  It’s been said that waterboarding has produced information that has lead to the thwarting of terrorist acts.  Okay, but do we know if that same information could have been extracted using other methods?

What it comes down to for me is this…I don’t want us to become like our enemies.  If we accept waterboarding, who’s to say we won’t accept something even more extreme than that?  It’s a slippery slope that I don’t want us to go down.  Lastly, I’m just not comfortable with us doing something like waterboarding because I wouldn’t want it done to our men and women.

I know, there are probably some fellow conservatives out there who think I must be out of my mind.  If so, bring it on.  I can handle it.

Authentic Faith


I was reading an article from The Christian Post this morning about authentic faith and how it is contagious.  Here’s an excerpt from that article…

Fewer matters of life are more important than being authentic. When someone is authentic it’s contagious, when not it’s a major turn-off.  Miss California, Carrie Prejean’s response during the Miss USA Pageant to a question asked about gay marriage on Sunday night was a demonstration of authentic Christianity. When openly gay judge Perez Hilton asked the beauty queen if every state should approve gay marriage as had Vermont and four other states, she replied: “I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. But in my country, and in my family, I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

This is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  Does my faith appear authentic to others or is it an irritant?  Does it turn off others to the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Honestly, even if others do perceive it as authentic, it can still be an irritant.  Some people just don’t like Christians in general, regardless of if their faith appears to be authentic or not.  My prayer is that my faith and the faith of my fellow believers truly is authentic and that we leave the perception to those around us.

The rest of the above quoted article can be read at “Miss California: An Authentic Demonstration of Faith“.

Socialism, Step 2


I just heard this on Glenn Beck’s TV show and haven’t researched it yet but will be doing so over the next week or two…

Apparently, the Obama administration wants to convert the stock that the government owns in the nation’s banks.  This is stock that the government has in the banks as a result of the bailout.  This stock is preferred stock, which means the average citizen actually receives some benefit since dividends are paid out to preferred stock holders.

However, the Obama administration allegedly wants to convert that stock from preferred stock to common stock.  Common stock doesn’t receive dividends.  Not only that but, if the government holds common stock in the banks, they receive voting rights.  This means our government would have a much larger say in how those banks are operated.

It’s a scary thought and one I will be looking into in the near future.

Town Hall for Hope?


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My favorite personal finance guru is Dave Ramsey.  He has a popular radio talk show and is even broadcast on television.  He’s entertaining while still being knowledgeable and straightforward.  He certainly doesn’t mince words with callers and will tell them they did something stupid if they indeed have.

On April 23rd at 8:00 PM, Ramsey will be broadcasting “Town Hall for Hope”, a live, nationwide broadcast where Ramsey will speak on the state of the economy and where he believes we are headed while taking calls, emails, etc., from listeners.

I’ll begin by saying this…Ramsey’s advice is almost always spot-on.  He is honest and certainly bucks the trend amongst many personal finance experts.  I agree with his statements about making smart financial decisions based on sound principles and not making fear-based decisions.  That’s solid reasoning.

However and unless I’m mistaken, Ramsey is not necessarily an expert on the economy in general.  For instance, he has not been a promoter of investing in gold.  In his book “The Total Money Makeover” he said:

The truth is that gold is a lousy investment with a long track record of mediocrity. The average rates of return tracked as far back as Napoleon are around 2 percent gain per year. In recent history, gold has a fifty-year track record of around 4.4 percent, about the same as inflation and just above savings accounts.

My reservation then is, if the U.S. dollar does indeed continue to experience decline (and it is as of now) or a downright freefall, Ramsey’s investment advice in this respect will fail.  Gold would then be a much more solid investment.  The Gold Standard is thought to restrict the creation of credit and helps to keep government spending under control to some degree.  This makes it more stable than your standard investment options, which are typically rooted in the stock market.  As we know from the last year, the stock market is not exactly stable.

Ramsey seems to be saying that doomsday prophets who are predicting dire things from our economy are pushing fear.  While I agree with Ramsey’s message of hope and believe that there are certainly things that people can do to protect themselves from economic problems, it is certainly also not wrong with pointing out bad things that may happen or are likely to happen.  Do we really think that bad things won’t happen if our government continues to spend money like it’s going out of style or if we continue to print additional currency at the risk of hyper-inflation?  These things cannot continue to go on without serious risks and consequences to our economy.

Yes, we should have hope and, no, we shouldn’t make decisions based on far.  However, it does no one any good if we aren’t prepared for some really bad things that may happen and, I would argue, that probably will happen if we continue down the course that we’re already on.

Please don’t hestitate to comment on this post.  I’m certainly no financial expert but just sharing some points of disagreement I have with Dave Ramsey.  Overall, I believe him to be a brilliant personal finance expert but I just think he could be very wrong on some of his views pertaining to the economy in general.

Welcome to the Club!


I would like to officially welcome my fellow conservatives into an exclusive club…The Suspected Terrorist Club.  Your benefits are unwanted scrutiny by government officials and a free pass to Crazy Town.  Please enjoy your benefits.  They may not last long.

Here’s an excerpt from Michelle Malkin’s syndicated column on a document she found from DHS (Department of Homeland Security):

What and who exactly are President Obama’s homeland security officials afraid of these days? If you are a member of an active conservative group that opposes abortion, favors strict immigration enforcement, lobbies to protect Second Amendment rights, protests big government, advocates federalism, or represents veterans who believe in any of the above, the answer is: You.

The DHS document, titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, states the following:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

There are other groups and types of individuals mentioned but you get the point.  Many conservative beliefs are listed in some form or another so that basically no one right of center is spared.

Malkin has verified that the document is legitimate.  DHS argues that they have done similar reports on left-wing extremism in the past.  However, it appears that these were reports on specific, named movents and not a sweeping generalization of a particular group of people with similar political beliefs.

Of course, the catch-all is the term “hate-oriented”.  When all else fails, loons on the left always toss this one in for good measure.  Speak out against abortion?  Well, you’re a hater.  You must hate women.  You must hate that women can “choose”.  Speak out against high taxes?  You must hate and want the poor to die at the doorstep of the “rich”.

Brought to you by a “suspected terrorist” on behalf of…

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A Good Friday Message


Good Friday?  I’m sure many non-Christians wonder what’s so good about an innocent person being put to death.  On the other hand, many who rarely darken the door of a church will probably go to an Easter service this Sunday, barely or not at all having thought about what happened on that famous cross nearly 2000 years ago.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad those people will be there.  Some may not get anything out of it other than a backside that’s fallen asleep whilst sitting in a hard wooden pew (or perhaps even cushioned…).  God will honor his word and the Bible says that it will not return to him void:

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:11

All around the world this weekend, people will hear about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I know many skeptics will claim that it never happened, that Jesus was only a good man or teacher and that his followers were so distraught over his death that they made up the whole story to give themselves and others hope.  However, it really did happen.  Jesus actually literally did rise from the dead after three days.  He kept his words, the words that he spoke to his followers that he would indeed rise from the dead after being killed.  His word did not return to him empty.

Even today, His word does not return to him empty.  Today, in various Good Friday services around the world, many will hear about Christ’s betrayal, suffering, and crucifixion.  It is the crux of all history.

I praise God for the salvation that I have through Jesus Christ and hope and pray that many more experience it for themselves.

In closing, I’d like to share a video and the lyrics to a song titled “Maker of the Universe” by Phil Keaggy.

The Maker of the universe
As Man for man was made a curse
The claims of Law which He had made
Unto the uttermost He paid
His holy fingers made the bough
Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed

He made the forest whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung
He died upon a cross of wood
Yet made the hill on which it stood
The sky that darkened o’er His head
By Him above the earth was spread
The sun that hid from Him its face
By His decree was poised in space

The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made

The throne on which He now appears
Was His from everlasting years
But a new glory crowns His brow
And every knee to Him shall bow

Taking a Bow?


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As if our enemies, especially those in Muslim countries, didn’t disrespect us enough, our current fearless leader has added more fuel to the fire.  President Obama apparently bowed to King Saud of Saudi Arabia but did not when meeting the Queen of England.  Never mind the fact that a President of the United States should not be bowing to ANY of his peers but, in Islam, bowing is only supposed to be done to God and certainly not to other human beings.

In Islam, there are two types of ritual bowing…One is sujud.  When practicing this type of bowing, the Muslim is to have their forehead, nose, hands, knees, and toes touching the floor, all at the same time.  The other is called ruk’u.  This is done after standing during the recitation of the Quran while praying.  The position is established by bending over, putting the hands on the knees, and remaining in that position until “calmness” has been achieved.

Either way, Obama unwittingly committed a major faux pas and he has been rightly getting ripped in the foreign press for it.

Much was made during George Bush’s term about how terrible his administration was with foreign relations and how other countries were being severely disrespected and our international standing was being eroded.  However, just in the last few weeks alone, there have been several gaffes.  One being when Obama gave the visiting British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, a gift of a DVD collection.  This was in stark contrast to Brown’s giving of some historically significant gifts to Obama, which is considered appropriate for the circumstance.  Add to that the fact that the DVD collection would not work on European DVD players.

Obama also gave back the bust of Winston Churchill that had been given to then President Bush by former Prime Minister Tony Blair shortly following the events of 9/11.

Rounding out that trifecta of foreign policy missteps, Obama neglected to do the customary thing by meeting Brown for a dual press conference at Andrews Air Force Base upon his arrival here.  His administration said that he was “too tired” to meet with Brown at the time.  Then when having the actual press conference at the White House with Brown, Obama just skipped right over the obligatory words of welcome and introduction and went right into the question and answer segment.

My question is this…Did Obama attend and flunk the Beverly Hillbilly School of International Decorum?