Saturday, April 9, 2016

“How to Vote”—Reprise


     My latest blog post http://manringen.blogspot.com (control+click)

It seems that my last blog post set off a firestorm of responses—some of which came from Trump supporters who objected to the perceived lying of Ted Cruz. For that reason, I have looked up the lies that both candidates have issued. They are documented in the URL’s listed below. It seems to me, from looking at these two web sites that neither candidate is immune to lying or to making mistakes in political statements. I invite you to look at these sites and make up your own minds. Politics seems like a dirty business, to me!



The responses I received taught me one thing. I made a mistake saying that Trump supporters are “ignorant and uneducated.” That was a rude mistake; and I apologize for it. I have found that among my critics there are those who are educated and thoughtful people.

So…I set out to see what polls say about who the Trump supporters are and what do they think. The following is what I found: In an article in the Atlantic, 1 March 2016, there was a compilation of polls describing the demographics of Trump supporters. It found that---

1)    Trump supporters are characterized by a lack of college degrees. This lack of higher education has fueled falling real wages over the past 25 years among those who support Donald Trump. According to the Hamilton Project, real wages have fallen 20% for non-college educated men over the past 25 years!

2)    A feeling of voicelessness has bothered and motivated many in the Trump camp. They usually responded positively to a polling question that said, “People like me don’t have any say about what the government does.” This feeling of powerlessness was a much better predictor of Trump support than age, race, college attainment, income, attitudes towards Muslims, illegal immigrants, or Hispanic identity.

3)    Trump supporters characteristically feel threatened by immigration of foreigners into the United States.

4)    Trump supporters strongly favor raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

5)    Trump supporters feel despondent about their place in America. This has led to a theme of Trump’s rhetoric: America is losing; Donald Trump is a winner; and if Trump becomes president, America will become a winner, too. This Great Man Theory of political change, however, strikes others as potentially dangerous...

6)    Trump supporters want to wage an interior war against outsiders. There is a strong feeling among his supporters that terrorists are about to destroy America. Trump supporters strongly believe in identifying threatening outsiders and granting individuals special powers to pursue aggressive policies to destroy them. The strongest indication of Trump support in South Carolina was not income, education, or age. It was the fear of personal injury from terrorism. (This fear is manifest across wide sections of the American polity; and I must admit that I, also, share in this fear. But…the Trump followers seem quite willing to accept an authoritarian in office as a tradeoff for better security.) He has said that he would kill the families of ISIS members to stop their advance. He has promised to shut down mosques, keep a database of Muslims, and round up the children of illegal immigrants. He promises to protect his white in-group from non-white outsiders. It seems hard to reconcile traditional American values with these threats.

7)    According to the New York Times, Nate Cohn, using data from Civis Analytics, Trump support is strongest in areas of the southeast most marked by racial resentment. Of course, this does not say that racial animus is a driver of Trump support; but there is the suggestion that might be the case.

8)    It is also interesting that Trump supporters attend church less frequently than do the Cruz supporters.

I am still very upset at the quality of candidates our American people have chosen to represent us as our President. Can’t we find a righteous man to run for this high office?!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How to Vote


Americans are being exposed to the worse choices for prospective political leaders ever encountered in American polity. We sit back and wonder what we, as voters are to do with such bad choices.

We seem headed for a choice between Hillary and Donald Trump in a presidential election. Ted Cruz may be an outlier with a distant chance for success. Trump has the backing of the ignorant and uneducated; and Hillary has the backing of the Blacks of the nation, the Hispanics, the Muslims, and the politically liberal.

Trump has the advantage that he has blatantly challenged the politically correct clichés so repugnant to many of us Americans. But he has absolutely no experience in governing; and his stands on the issues seem incoherent and originating from a “shoot-from-the hip” decision. He may be thought of as “unbuyable” by big money powers because he already has a bunch of money and, thereby, may not respond to bribes. (I rather doubt that argument; because great wealth has seldom, if ever, been a deterrent to ever-larger bribes.) His stands on foreign policy and how to deal with minorities and foreign trade are particularly troubling. He claims to be pro-life; but I doubt his resolve and fund of information on this subject. He doesn’t even seem interested in informing himself of the facts of the issues he so freely advocates.

Trump’s morals, are, to say the least, questionable. One cannot help but look at the personal life of the billionaire. It is not just that he has abandoned one wife after another for a younger woman, or that he has boasted about having sex with some of the “top women of the world.” It’s that he says, after all that, he has no need to seek forgiveness. At the same time, Trump has made millions off a casino industry. It has been rightly argued that gambling not only exploits personal vice but destroys families. (Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430119/donald-trump-russell-moore-not-moral-leader.)

Meanwhile, Hillary has already been bought off (over and over, again) by big money—and…her corruption in office is well known. But…her politics seem more rational and well organized than Trump’s. Even if you do not agree with the direction of her policy thoughts, we must realize that she knows where she is going and she knows how to get there.  She is openly pro-choice and has accepted gobs of money from Planned Parenthood to guarantee her continued support for killing unborn children—worldwide.

I have heard it vociferously claimed that voters, especially Christian voters, should refuse to vote for any candidate who is eminently disqualified for high office. But…that is not the right attitude. In no election in human history has there ever been one truly righteous candidate. So…the correct thing to do is to choose the candidate that is the least unrighteous and vote for him/her. To do otherwise is to effectively vote for the most unrighteous. WHAT A CHOICE!!

How can people of good conscience vote for either Hillary or Trump? I am hoping that Ted Cruz might be appointed to run on the Republican ticket. I could easily choose him as the least corrupted candidate on the presidential ballot if he were to run.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Following is a letter from a citizen of Washington State to his senators explaining very well why the American people are sick and tired of our government. This piece deserves a careful read by all of us. WE NEED A RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT AGAIN!
 
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Washington, DC , 20510

Dear Senators:

I have tried to live by the rules my entire life. My father was a Command
Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, who died of combat related stresses shortly
after his retirement. It was he who instilled in me those virtues he felt
important - honesty, duty, patriotism and obeying the laws of God and of our
various governments. I have served my country, paid my taxes, worked hard,
volunteered and donated my fair share of money, time and artifacts.

Today, as I approach my 79th birthday, I am heart-broken when I look at my
country and my government. I shall only point out a very few things
abysmally wrong which you can multiply by a thousand fold. I have calculated
that all the money I have paid in income taxes my entire life cannot even keep
the Senate barbershop open for one year! Only Heaven and a few
tight-lipped actuarial types know what the Senate dining room costs the taxpayers.
So please, enjoy your haircuts and meals on us.

Last year, the president spent an estimated $1.4 billion on himself and
his family. The vice president spends $ millions on hotels. They have had 8
vacations so far this year! And our House of Representatives and Senate
have become America's answer to the Saudi royal family. You have become the
"perfumed princes and princesses" of our country.

In the middle of the night, you voted in the Affordable Health Care Act,
a.k.a. "Obamacare," a bill which no more than a handful of senators or
representatives read more than several paragraphs, crammed it down our throats,
and then promptly exempted yourselves from it substituting your own
taxpayer-subsidized golden health care insurance.

You live exceedingly well, eat and drink as well as the "one percenters,"
consistently vote yourselves perks and pay raises while making 3.5 times
the average U.S. individual income, and give up nothing while you (as well
as the president and veep) ask us to sacrifice due to sequestration (for
which, of course, you plan to blame the Republicans, anyway).

You understand very well the only two rules you need to know - (1) How to
get elected, and (2) How to get re-elected. And you do this with the aid of
an eagerly willing and partisan press, speeches permeated with a certain
economy of truth, and by buying the votes of the greedy, the ill-informed
and under-educated citizens (and non-citizens, too, many of whom do vote )
who are looking for a handout rather than a job. Your so-called "safety net"
has become a hammock for the lazy. And, what is it now, about 49 or 50
million on food stamps - pretty much all Democrat voters - and the program is
absolutely rife with fraud and absolutely no congressional oversight?

I would offer that you are not entirely to blame. What changed you is the
seductive environment of power in which you have immersed yourselves. It
is the nature of both houses of Congress which requires you to subordinate
your virtue in order to get anything done until you have achieved a
leadership role. To paraphrase President Reagan, it appears that the second
oldest profession (politics), bears a remarkably strong resemblance to the oldest.

As the hirsute first Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834 -
1902), English historian and moralist, so aptly and accurately stated, "Power
tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are
almost always bad men." I'm only guessing that this applies to the female sex
as well. Tell me, is there a more corrupt entity in this country than
Congress?

While we middle class people continue to struggle, our government becomes
less and less transparent, more and more bureaucratic, and ever so much
more dictatorial, using Czars and Secretaries to tell us (just to mention a
very few) what kind of light bulbs we must purchase, how much soda or
hamburgers we can eat, what cars we can drive, gasoline to use, and what
health care we must buy. Countless thousands of pages of regulations strangle
our businesses costing the consumer more and more every day.

As I face my final year, or so, with cancer, my president and my
government tell me "You'll just have to take a pill," while you, Senator, your
colleagues, the president, and other exulted government officials and their
families will get the best possible health care on our tax dollars until you
are called home by your Creator while also enjoying a retirement beyond my
wildest dreams, which of course, you voted for yourselves and we pay for.

The chances of you reading this letter are practically zero as your staff
will not pass it on, but with a little luck, a form letter response might
be generated by them with an auto signature applied, hoping we will believe
that you, our senator or representative, has heard us and actually cares.
This letter will, however, go on line where many others will have the
chance to read one person's opinion, rightly or wrongly, about this government,
its administration and its senators and representatives.

I only hope that occasionally you might quietly thank the taxpayer for all
the generous entitlements which you have voted yourselves, for which, by
law, we must pay, unless, of course, it just goes on the $19 trillion
national debt for which your children and ours, and your grandchildren and ours,
ad infinitum, must eventually try to pick up the tab.

My final thoughts are that it must take a person who has either lost his
or her soul, or conscience, or both, to seek re-election and continue to
destroy the country that I deeply love. You have put it so far in debt that we will
never pay it off while your lot improves by the minute, because of your power.

For you, Senator, will never stand up to the rascals in your House who
constantly deceive the American people. And that, my dear Senator, is how
power has corrupted you and the entire Congress. The only answer to clean
up this cesspool is term limits. This, of course, will kill the goose that lays your golden eggs.
And woe be to him (or her) who would dare to bring it up.

Sincerely,

Bill Schoonover
3096 Angela Lane
Oak Harbor, WA

 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Good and Evil (From whence do they come?)


The following short essay by Peter Kreeft, a prominent Catholic theologian and apologist at Boston College, is the one of the most clear and convincing arguments I have read concerning the existence of God. I strongly urge my blog readers to look carefully at this essay.
 
The following argument for the existence of God comes from Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College:

“I’m going to argue for the existence of God on the premise that moral good and evil really exist. They are not simply a matter of personal taste; not merely substitutes for ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’. 

“To clarify, this does not mean that atheists cannot be moral; of course they can. Just like theists can act immorally. 

“So, where do good and evil come from?  Atheists commonly propose a few possibilities: evolution, reason, conscience, human nature and utilitarianism. None of these, however, can be the ultimate source of morality.

“Evolution?  Any supposed morality that is evolving can change.  If it can change for the good or the bad, then there must be a Standard above these changes by which we judge them as good or bad. 

“Throughout human history, more powerful societies have enslaved weaker societies—and prospered.  That’s just the way it was, and no one questioned it.

Today, we condemn slavery.  But, based on an evolutionary model, one that is ever changing, who is to say that slavery might be acceptable again one day?

“Slavery was one accepted, but it was not, therefore, acceptable. If you can’t make that distinction, then you can’t criticize slavery!  If you can see the distinction, then you are admitting to objective morality. 

“Reasoning?  Whereas reasoning is a powerful tool to help us discover and/or understand morality, it cannot be the source of morality.  For example, criminals use reasoning to plan a murder, without their reasoning telling them that murder is wrong. And was it reasoning or something higher than reasoning that led those Gentiles to save the lives of Jews threatened by the Holocaust?  The answer is obvious: it was something higher than reasoning, because risking one’s life to save the life of a stranger was a very unreasonable thing to do. 

“Conscience?  Conscience, alone, cannot be the source of morality. Every person has his own conscience, and some appear to have none. Himmler, commander of the brutal Nazi SS, successfully appealed to his henchmen’s consciences to help him do the ‘right thing’ in murdering and torturing millions of Jews and others.  How can you say that your conscience is right and Himmler’s was wrong if conscience alone is the source of morality?  Answer: you can’t.

“Human Nature?  Some people say that human nature is the ultimate source of morality.  But, human nature can lead us to do all sorts of reprehensible things. In fact, human nature is the very reason we need morality. Our human nature can lead some of us to do real evil, and all of us to be selfish, unkind, petty and egocentric.  We surely would not want to live in a world where human nature was unrestrained. 

“Utilitarianism?   Utilitarianism is the claim that what is morally right is determined by whatever creates the greatest happiness for the greatest number. But, to return to our slavery example, if 90% get great benefit from enslaving the other 10%, would that make slavery right?  According to utilitarianism—it would. 

“Now that we see where morality cannot come from, let’s see where it does come from.  What are moral laws? 

“Unlike the laws of physics or the laws of mathematics, that tell us ‘what is’, the laws of morality tell us ‘what ought to be’.  But, like physical laws, they direct and order something, and that ‘something’ is right human behavior. 

“But, since morality does not exist physically (there are no moral atoms, or cells or genes) its Cause has to be something that exists apart from the physical world. That thing must, therefore, be above nature, i.e. supernatural. 

“The very existence of morality proves the existence of something that is beyond nature and beyond man.  Just as a design suggests a designer, moral commandments suggest a Moral Commander.  Moral laws must come from a Moral Lawgiver.  That Source is God, the One Who has revealed Himself in His Word. 

“So then, the conclusion of this argument is that whenever you appeal to morality, you are appealing to God, whether you are willing to admit it or not. You are talking about something religious, even if you think you are an atheist.” 

When we discuss the existence of God, we define Him as a perfect Being, greater than anything else which can be conceived. If God does not exist, then the very name "God" refers to an imaginary being. This makes the definition of "God" contradictory, for to be real, to be living, to have power, is greater than to be imaginary. It is clear that I cannot even discuss the word "God", by definition, if He does not exist. I have to conceive of Him as really existing in order for Him to be greater than anything else, for a God Who does not exist obviously cannot be greater than anything else.

For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid: Let God be true, though every man were a liar.  Romans 3.4

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11.6

 

 

 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why Do Western Women Convert to Islam?

This blog post is partly taken from an article by the same name found in http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/2940/full.

I have long wondered why women would like to be Muslims. I have looked at this question at some length; and I have learned a lot about it.
In the first place, it must be said that women are not infrequently mistreated in every culture and under the roof of various religions. The question in my mind is this: “Are women mistreated by design of any particular religion; or, is the abuse of women a cultural and personal characteristic of violent men?”

It can be said with truthfulness that many women find the Bible somewhat obscure when it comes to the role of women in society. The women who believe that find certainty in the words of the Qur’an; and they find that role description freeing. At last, they have no question of their role in marriage and in the society.
Not a few women are revolted by the gleanings of feminism in the West. They see women as exploited in advertisements where their bodies are put on display to gain attention in order to advertise everything from cigarettes to automobiles. Islam officially decries such exploitation of women. Islam openly publicizes the dictum that female modesty is a characteristic of the true Muslim woman. (Christianity proclaims this, also.)

The following are some points in the teaching of the Qur’an with references to some of the relevant verses: (The first number in a reference is to the Surah [or chapter] in which the reference is found. The second number is to the aya [verse] where the reference is found.)
 
If one reads the Qur’an, he will find some of the disadvantages of being a woman in Islam:

·       2:28   Men are to have dominance over women.
·       2:282 Two women are required to equal one man in court.
·       4:15   Women convicted of lewdness are to be confined in a house until the    day of their death.
·       4:34   Men are the protectors of women, but husbands are allowed to beat their wives “lightly” if disobedience does not stop.
A phrase frequently included in the religious training of women is, “If a man calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses, and he goes to sleep angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning."

The feminist case has been argued strongly in recent years. A growing number of Muslim women have tried to understand the culture of both the Muslim world and the Western world.

Fatna Sabah, for example, a North African sociologist, is critical of the record of traditional Islam over its attitudes to women. This is how she explains the ideal of female beauty in Islam:

“The ideal of female beauty in Islam is obedience, silence and immobility, that is inertia and passivity. These are far from being trivial characteristics, nor are they limited to women. In fact, these three attributes of female beauty are the three qualities of the believer vis-à-vis his God. The believer must dedicate his life to obeying and worshipping God and abiding by his will.

 “In the Qur’an, the believer is fashioned in the image of woman, deprived of

speech and will and committed to obedience to God. The female condition and the male condition are not different in the end to which they are directed, but in the pole around which they orbit. The lives of beings of the female sex revolve around the will of believers of the male sex.”

Fatima Mernissi, a sociologist working at the Research Institute of the

University of Rabat in Morocco, tries to explain why some recent feminist thinking represents such a threat to traditional ways of thinking in Islam:

“What happens when a woman disobeys her husband, who is the representative and embodiment of sacred authority, and of the Islamic hierarchy? A danger bell rings in the mind, for when one element of the whole structure of polarities is threatened, the entire system is threatened. A woman who rebels against her husband, for instance, is also rebelling against the umma (the Muslim community), against reason, order, and indeed, God. The rebellion of

woman is linked to individualism, not community (umma); passion, not reason; disorder, not order; lawlessness (fitna), not law.11(11)”

This is how she explains the dilemma facing many Muslim women in the modern world:

“In the struggle for survival in the Muslim world today, the Muslim community finds itself squeezed between individualistic, innovative western capitalism on the one hand, and individualistic, rebellious political oppositions within, among which the most symbolically 'loaded' is that of rebellious women.

“The common denominator between capitalism and new models of femininity is individualism and self-affirmation. Initiative is power. Women are claiming power - corroding and ultimately destroying the foundation of Muslim hierarchy, whence the violence of the reaction and the rigidity of the response.

“Femininity as a symbol of surrender has to be resisted violently if women intend to change its meaning into energy, initiative, and creative criticism.”

Christian readers will recognize the parallel tensions between both Christians and Muslims when faced with the forces of feminism.

Regardless of how academic we want to get about the pull that Islam has for women, if one looks into this question carefully, one will come to the realization that the most powerful influence Islam has over Western women is the acceptance and kindness they have received in Muslim circles. That warmth and obvious affection has not been very strong in the Christian places they have been. This oft-repeated reason for conversion should give Christians pause to consider how kind and accepting we are of others who visit our churches. It should also give Christian husbands pause to think of how kind and considerate they are (or are not) toward their wives.

It seems obvious to me that a woman who is bullied and dominated in a “Christian” home is likely to convert to Islam if she finds a Muslim husband who is kind to her.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What France Can Learn from Israel in Confronting Islamist Terror


On 15 November 2015, an article appeared in the Middle East Forum under the above title. The article was written by Gregg Roman. It can be found on the following link http://www.meforum.org/5630/what-france-can-learn-from-israel.

       I think the whole Western World could take some good advice from this article. It explains a common sense approach to the question of how to handle terrorism and how we can finally get rid of the fear that our whole civilization is going to the dogs because of the invasion of this most dangerous ideology. I believe you will be interested in this article.

 

No bird soars in a calm. Wilbur Wright

 

Ed and Nancy Manring

Monday, November 16, 2015

A World Turned Upside Down by Islamic Killers

The world has, again, been shocked to its bone marrow by the violent killing of innocent people in Paris at the hands of violent Muslim terrorists, acting at the behest of their religious penchant. They murdered 127 people and caused the hospitalization of 300 more (80 of whom are in critical condition at this time). As they were murdering people, they were heard to shout their Islamic killing theme, “Allahu akbar,” God is great! WHAT A RELIGION!!


The world has endured killing rampages carried out by so-called “Islamic extremists” ever since 9/11/2001, when they killed 3000 innocent Americans in New York. Since then, they have carried out mass murders on a train in Madrid, which took 191 lives in 2004, a killing spree in Mumbai in 2008 in which 164 people died, a killing extravaganza at the satirical publisher, Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015; and, now, an organized mass murder in various parts of Paris. Saying all this ignores the mass casualties inflicted in the various wars precipitated by this religiously stimulated war in the Middle East.


These senseless attacks are becoming progressively sophisticated. This latest attack was not preceded by suspicious social media chatter, which was being carefully monitored by the French intelligence agency. This attack came literally out of the blue to an unsuspecting nation.


If we, in America, think this kind of attack will never come to our shores, I believe we are sadly mistaken. The response to the foreign attacks meted out by our feckless President and his followers is to offer sympathy and empty threats of retribution. No thought of military response ever comes from President Obama. He apparently thinks that wishing nothing more will happen is enough.

Mass killings and shootings seem to happen most frequently in schools, churches, at athletic events, and at any time and place where large crowds congregate.

It is my personal opinion that if the attendees at the various venues where all the killing took place had been armed with some handguns distributed through the crowd, perhaps the gunmen could have been cut down before mass casualties were incurred. However, in France, handgun possession is much more limited; and not everyone can qualify for concealed carry permits.
 
For my own part, I try to take my legal concealed handgun wherever I go. I think more people should protect themselves and their loved ones by doing the same. This is a very dangerous world we are trying to live in.