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Saturday, January 11, 2020

News Weakly - 1/11/20

How Soon We Forget
In 2001 terrorists killed over 3,000 Americans. We were outraged. "Never forget" became a meme of sorts. But, I guess we forgot. In 2011 President Obama sent U.S. forces into an allied nation to capture and kill the mastermind of that attack in 2001. He wasn't captured and brought back for trial; he was killed, his body taken to sea and thrown overboard. America applauded. But I guess we forgot. Last week President Trump ordered a drone strike on a cell of terrorists who had been attacking the American embassy in Iraq. Clearly we forgot, because the response has not been "Thank you for keeping us safe, Mr. President." The response has been outrage and protests. One celebrity apologized to Iran on behalf of the U.S. for "disrespecting their flag and people" and asked for help in escaping our "terrorist regime." The U.N. thinks it's cruel to prosecute crimes by putting people in jail. I guess the American people think that defending American people is equally evil. Because apparently we've already forgotten 9/11.

Taking a Cue from California
You may recall the story about the increase in shoplifting that California experienced after passing a law that said they wouldn't arrest people for shoplifting less than $950 worth of merchandise. Seeing the success of California's criminal justice reform, New York tried the same thing. So when they arrested a man for a burglary spree, they released him without requiring bail, and he went out and ... you guessed it ... committed another burglary less than 24 hours of his release. Little hint here, folks. Decreasing crime laws doesn't decrease crime. California demonstrated it. New York demonstrated it. Seems like a no-brainer.

Russell Crowe gave a Golden Globes acceptance speech via message to Jennifer Aniston in which he begged for people to take global climate change seriously since human-caused global climate change is the cause of the devastating fires in Australia. Search the Internet; you'll see he's right. Except, he's not. An Australian government website has a graphic showing rainfall in Australia for the past 120 years. While 2019 was a spectacularly bad year for rainfall in Australia, some of the highest years for rainfall have been in the past 20 years. You know, as the problem has been increasing. More importantly, Australian law enforcement have taken legal action against 183 people for fire-related offenses since November. Some are arson, but more are cases of discarded cigarettes or lit matches or disregarding no-fire rules. Authorities estimate that 85% of the fires in Australia are human-caused -- either arson or negligence -- not climate caused. The bad rain year would contribute to the problem, but climate change is not the cause; humans are.

[A moment of reflection. What did you just read? "Stan doesn't care about the fires in Australia." No, I consider them "devastating" and urge all efforts to help Australia in this crisis. "Stan denied global climate change." No. You just read that 85% of the fires in Australia are human-caused, not climate-caused. Please don't take this to mean something that isn't there.]

Double Standards
(See? I told you I might need a "Double Standards" category as a regular feature.)

A Mormon woman in Oregon encouraged her husband to confess his sins in front of the clergy. (His sins were multiple sexual interactions with a girl under the age of 16.) He did ... and the church reported him to the authorities. So she's suing the church. You know this is a no-win, right? If they report it they've violated their (nonexistent) confessional confidentiality. (That's a Catholic thing, not an LDS thing.) If they don't report it ... well, ask Paige Patterson. The evil LDS church says its priority is protecting victims. The wife isn't concerned about victims, so she's suing. Because she and her family are the victims now, I guess, and that's all that matters. Not truth or justice.

Unequal Equality
Back in February of 2019 a federal judge ruled that a male-only draft violated the Constitution. So it's a bit odd that the recent rush on the Selective Service caused problems. Many people were worrying about their daughters getting drafted to join "Trump's war" (my term, no one else's) with Iran. As it turns out "Women cannot be drafted as current legislation governing the Selective Service only refers to 'male persons,' so the drafting of women would require new legislation," according to the Selective Service. Now, I'd much rather that we didn't send the finest of human kind into the worst that human kind can do, but what's up with equality? They want to be allowed into combat, but not drafted. I saw similar double standards when I was in the service. Females I worked with wanted to be "treated as equals" until the treatment meant that they'd be made uncomfortable ... like the males might be. I offered to treat them with equality -- "Here, you carry this 80 lb transmitter and I'll get the toolbox." -- and they demurred. No male coworker suggested he shouldn't do the work. But the point is that it's not about equality. It's about power. They want the power to choose (Sound familiar?), a choice that others sometimes don't get. They want equal privilege without equal responsibility. Beware of the "equality" plea. It's not always "equal treatment" that they seek. (Please note: This is a generalization. It is not true of all "equality" seekers. Just generally true.)

The False Dilemma
The House (read "Nancy Pelosi") has been holding on to those articles of impeachment since last year when the House (not the Senate and not all of Congress, despite what you think you've heard) impeached Trump. The Senate needs to do the same procedure of examining the evidence and coming to a conclusion now, but Pelosi has been waiting for indications of a "fair trial." What does that mean? Not what it sounds like. She told Democrats that she is getting ready to send them up, perhaps next week. But she added this. "In an impeachment trial, every senator takes an oath to 'do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.' Every senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the president or the Constitution." This is a classic logical fallacy, the false dilemma. You can either impeach Trump or deny the Constitution. There is no option to disagree with the House regarding the president's culpability. In this version, "fair trial" can only be "impeach Trump" and anything else is "against the Constitution" -- not fair. We've seen this before. We'll see it again. It doesn't bode well for a bipartisan cooperation when the only "fair" thing is "my way."

I got an email from Ligonier the other day. They asked for prayer. The email said that they had translated R.C. Sproul's sermon, What did Christ do?, into Farsi and were transmitting it Thursday night into Iran. Pray for Iran to receive the Gospel, because "it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom 1:16).

For Humor Sake
The Babylon Bee had a string of excellent headlines this week. The Bee links to current events and offers a bit of satire for your enjoyment (or not). For instance, the Bee released a headline "Democrats Call for Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death of Soleimani," and a CNN reporter complained that the satirical story was watched read more than CNN's. So the Bee followed up with "CNN Attacks Babylon Bee: 'The Internet Is Only Big Enough For One Fake News Site'." At the Golden Globe Awards Michelle Williams gave an impassioned speech about keeping abortion legal, suggesting that she is the success she is today because of abortion. The Bee offered, "Michelle Williams: 'Sometimes You Just Have To Ask Yourself, 'How Many People Do I Have To Kill To Get An Acting Career?'." And I just laughed at the headline, "Democrats Grasping At Straws To Impeach Trump Now Regret Banning Straws." To name a few.

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