Why Thanksgiving Matters

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Romans 1:18-25

The only alternative to gratitude is folly. And what is true for individuals is true for nations as well. When we claim responsibility or merit for our bounty, we forget God...and then we suffer the consequences. Years of peace and plenty have created an expectation that such is our deserved and natural state. They are not. And if we lose what we have taken for granted, what can we say except "the judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether."


Perfect Ten

Twenty-eight years ago, Alabama, two-time defending national champions was riding a 28 game winning streak and ranked number one in the country when they played Mississippi State. The Bulldogs beat us 6-3. After the game, Bear Bryant went to the MSU locker room and told their players "You whipped us."

Saturday 10-0 Alabama, ranked number one in the country welcomes the Bulldogs back for a rematch. Hopefully history won't repeat itself. We're still supposed to be two years away from being top flight. But then, bumblebees can't fly either. But since they don't know that, they just go right ahead and do it anyway. Roll Tide.


A Brief Word of Prophecy

I am neither a prophet or the son of a prophet, but this is going to happen next year.

Not long after after Mr. Obama takes office, he is going to do what he has spent his entire adult life doing--promoting extreme leftwing causes and ideas. I don't know which of his leftist views will come out first, but we will see it. Word has already leaked that he'll be revoking many of Mr. Bush's executive orders. Whether it's abortion, gun control, the Hitler Youth--I'm sorry, "civilian security force" or something else, many conservative and moderate people will be shocked. They'll react with disbelief. Especially in this number I include the "evangelicals for Obama" and the 20% of conservatives (according to the exit polls) who voted for him.

And they're going to say, "If only we had known!"

And I'm going to say, "Some of us did. And we told you. But you didn't listen."

How do I know it's going to happen? Because his entire campaign was based on lies. Now I know what political campaigns are like. I've been a political junkie since age six. (Literally) I harbor no illusions. As the old saw has it: "campaign in poetry; govern in prose." This isn't anything like that. This is the dishonest effort of a man, aided by a willing media, to hide his true intentions. Just look at this if you need convincing. From Patterico:

Barack Obama, November 3, 2007:

One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race - and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.

The L.A. Times today:

To burnish Obama’s reformist credentials, Podesta on Tuesday rolled out what he billed as a tough set of ethics rules targeting professional lobbyists. But there was a loophole: Lobbyists could work on the transition as long as they stayed away from the policy areas that their lobbying involved. (emphasis added to both)

Change you can believe in? As the great Jim Geraghty says, "All of Obama's promises come with an expiration date. Every single one."


For my Dad on Veterans' Day

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n - rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto--"In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thank you for loving our country and fighting for her. Thank you for teaching me to love her too. And thanks for coming home! Happy Veterans' Day.


Voting with their Feet

In the old days of the Soviet Union, when someone defected, it was frequently described as "voting with their feet." We're seeing that process in the financial markets this week. The battleground state polls released Monday afternoon showed McCain closing the gap. (The national polls released their final--more accurate than I hoped--numbers over the weekend.) On election day, the market rallied. Since then, not so much.

In fact Obama's first two days as President-elect have brought us a decline of over 900 points--nearly 10% of the value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average gone! Why? Because the smart money people know what's coming. If Obama does what he said (an open question to be sure) and crams a capital gains tax hike through the Congress his party controls, it's going to wreck the economy. People are getting out while the getting is still good.

One could hope that the economic crisis will limit Obama's tendencies to expand government at the expense of prosperity, but somehow that doesn't seem like a very good bet.


Christians Who Voted for Obama

The words must read don't begin to do this piece by Dan Phillips justice. Here's just a hint, but I urge you to read every word:

A man comes to attack your wife, or your child. You professed Christians who voted for Obama, you had every reason to know what that man was going to do. And your response was to toss him a knife, and tell him "Have at it, sport; I prayed about this, and I feel good about it. I'll just stand over here being deep and conflicted and nuanced, mocking anyone who tries to stop you, and congratulating myself on my new friends who cheer you on."

Your candidate was charismatic and confident. The people you wanted to accept you and think well of you swarmed after him. He was different, and novel, and exciting.

And when he said that his very first act in office would be to remove all legal restrictions against gassing Jews, and would compel taxpayers to pay for the gassing of Jews in foreign countries? Oh, well. It wasn't as if you would be pulling the lever yourself, right? Besides (you triedn to convince yourself), removing all restrictions on Jew-gassing would actually result in fewer Jews being gassed!

This is what you've done. Obama was evasive and inconsistent about a great many things. Not about this. About this, he was emphatic, and crystal-clear: "first act as President."

Thoughts on Losing an Election

Since our last meeting we have been through a disastrous election. It is easy for us to be discouraged, as pundits hail that election as a repudiation of our philosophy and even as a mandate of some kind or other. But the significance of the election was not registered by those who voted, but by those who stayed home. If there was anything like a mandate it will be found among almost two-thirds of the citizens who refused to participate.

Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached “the gospel,” in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism which was, in truth, a call to collectivism.

Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches.

I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Ronald Reagan
March 1, 1975
Address to the Conservative Political Action Conference
Washington, DC

Click here for the whole (outstanding as always) thing. (Hat tip Bob Krumm)

To Paraphrase our Newly Elected President

This isn't the America I knew.

The country I grew up loving would never have elected this lightweight, leftist liar and friend and close associate of murderous lunatics.

The country I grew up loving would not have elected a such a blatant racist (unless it was West Virginia and he was Grand Kleagle Democrat Robert Byrd of course).

The country I grew up loving would have seen Christians rise up in massive numbers to oppose the most pro-abortion candidate in history (Congratulations, starting next year, we'll be funding those abortions.) instead of voting for hopey changiness.

The country I grew up loving would have rejected a candidate who promised to heal the planet and lower the tides (that aren't rising anyhow--hey, a promise he'll actually keep!) based on his hubris alone.

The country I grew up loving would laughed such an unqualified candidate (I'm not old enough to remember Zachary Taylor or Millard Fillmore) off the national stage.

The country I grew up loving believed in the First and Second Amendments, and would not have elected a man deeply opposed to both.

The country I grew up loving stood for freedom against the collective impulses of communism; we didn't elect those evil principles.

Apparently the country I grew up in is not the country I live in any more. What a sad day. "It was a bright cold day in April, and all the clocks were striking thirteen."


The Election Aftermath

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Rudyard Kipling

Well, as Job said, that which I feared has come upon me. We've picked the guy with the glowing promises instead of the guy who told the truth about the way the real world works. And now we're going to pay.

The Plural of Bad Polls Isn't Data Either

We've heard the old saw over and over this election season: "the plural of anecdote isn't data." That's true. You can easily find stories of evangelicals for Obama who've always voted Republican before alongside PUMA blogs from those who've always been Democrats. And there's no way to extrapolate from that what's really going on. Long lines here or there (we had a huge line in a very red district of a very red state with very few interesting races this morning) don't tell you who will win. But here's a news flash: neither do the polls.

We know the polls are wrong. Period. Full stop.

We know it because they disagree with each other far beyond their margins of error. They can't all be right. In fact, they're not even mostly right. It's true that they all agree one candidate will win...but is that data?

My answer: NO! If Obama wins, it will not validate the bad polling that's been done this election cycle. The pollster who comes closest to the final number will claim validation, but won't legitimately have it. Correlation is not causation. Throwing darts at the wall blindfolded and hitting the bullseye without even knowing where the dartboard is does not demonstrate skill. It's dumb luck.

Yet because all of these bad polls agree on the outcome, we've accepted them as accurate. "Just average them together" we're told and you'll have the number. Well, no. A poll that's off ten points (and we know that some of them are) could just as easily be a McCain squeaker as a comfortable Obama win. We're buying a pig in a poke with these polls. They're all--every one--based on assumptions that this election will be different from all that have come before it. What if those assumptions are the underlying source of the error.

What if the Shy Torys and the PUMAs do vote instead of staying home discouraged? What if the bad polls have a fatal flaw at their heart? What if McCain wins?

An Election Day Elegy

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Abraham Lincoln
Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865


An Election Day Exhortation

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry
St. John's Church, Richmond Virginia
March 23, 1775

An Election Eve Prayer


God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Rudyard Kipling


Whistling Past the Graveyard

Zogby, the most volatile pollster in memory, made news late tonight by releasing the Friday portion of his tracking poll showing McCain up 48-47. Not sure whether this is a one-off, a sampling error, Zogby being Zogby or reality...but regardless, it's a small morsel of good news for a campaign that's had precious little lately. The biggest problem McCain has is the weight of inevitability that Obama has, with the willing help and full participation of the media, created around the election. If that mindset holds and people stay home, McCain is toast.

If that balloon gets punctured...well, let's just say that if all the hot air goes out of Obama, there won't be anything left. One could hope. One might be disappointed if one did, but still, one could hope.