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Monday, August 31, 2009

The End of the Empire

' The course of the Empire destruction' by Thomas Cole.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Freedom comes from God not Government

How free Americans became pigs at a trough
Posted: August 29, 20091:00 am Eastern© 2009
By: Patrice Lewis
I frequently receive e-mails from readers professing admiration for our (ahem) "simple" life. (For those unfamiliar with our lifestyle, we have a homestead farm, a home business, and we homeschool our kids.) What many people don't understand is the sheer hard work the "simple" life entails. Difficult? Undoubtedly. Worth it? Unquestionably.
We live this way because we're big believers in personal responsibility. We try to be responsible for every major aspect of our lives – our jobs, finances, health care, food and children's education. To us, it's simply what grown-ups do.
Apparently, that's what makes us different. It's not that we live rural or milk a cow – it's that we're independent.
Do you have any idea – any inkling at all – how much more streamlined our nation would be if everyone preferred independence and refused to allow others, especially the government, to be our mommies and daddies?
Thomas Sowell had a superb article this week on the issue of personal responsibility. "Whether the particular issue is education, economics or medical care," he wrote, "the preferred explanation tends to be an external explanation – that is, something outside the control of the individuals directly involved."
External. That means you've shoved the responsibility for your education, your income or your medical care onto someone else.
What will it take to restore common sense and rein in out-of-control government? Get Glenn Beck's latest book, inspired by Founding Father Thomas Paine
Our government now encourages the removal of responsibility for our actions. If you take away the consequences of bad behavior, the incentive to improve is also gone. If a woman is given money, housing, medical care and (worst of all) accolades for having a baby out of wedlock, why should she stop having babies out of wedlock? More babies equal more goodies and more praise for the "difficulties" she "overcomes."
Low-income people are seen as a problem for society to "solve" without considering that – get ready to rain insults upon my head – most people are low-income because of their personal choices. (Not all, but most.) Having kids out of wedlock, refusing to take advantage of educational opportunities, having bad habits, engaging in risky behavior, refusing to work … it all adds up to a life of poverty by choice.
My husband and I also chose to embark on a life of near-poverty. In our case, though, we made the decision to sacrifice financial gain and nine-to-five gridlock for living closer to the land and closer to home. We aren't looking for others – or the government – to alleviate our low-income status.
Sowell points out that "Americans can have the best medical care in the world without having the best health or longevity because so many people choose to live in ways that shorten their lives." [Emphasis added.] In other words, people refuse to take personal responsibility for the fact that they overeat, under-exercise, smoke, drink, do drugs, engage in risky behavior and otherwise act like idiots … and then complain they're not living to be a hundred years old. "Americans can end up ruining the best medical care in the world," says Sowell, "in the vain hope that a government takeover will give us better health." HellOOO??
Every time the government provides us with goodies – Social Security, education, medical care, welfare – it further enslaves us with golden shackles. The government wants us to be dependent on it because that's the only way it can increase its power and reach. But benefits come with expenses – and those expenses are forcibly funded by people at the point of a gun.
So quit being lazy, folks. If you want your children educated, stop asking the government to do it for you (they do a lousy job anyway). If you want medical care, stop demanding the government provide it (they'll screw it up, guaranteed). If you want a car, a job, a vacation … start looking at your own resources, ingenuity, creativity and personal support system to provide it. It's not my responsibility to give you these things; nor is it your responsibility to give them to me. Government largesse forcibly removes my money to give it to you and vice versa. "Force" is the operative word.
Every time the government passes legislation to provide a benefit, be wary. It means the incentive to provide that thing for yourself is proportionately reduced … and you become a slave to the government for that item. It's a vicious spiral. Lack of incentive creates a crisis for the government to solve, which it then solves by providing more goodies and taking away more incentives. When will it end? Not until we've become the U.S.S.A. instead of the U.S.A.
We're well on our way to that extra "S." Even the words of our founding documents (which were written to insure our freedom to be self-sufficient) have been bastardized and twisted to justify a nanny state. The "promotion" clause in the Preamble to our Constitution – which says the government will promote the general welfare – is probably the single most misused phrase. Promote does not mean "provide." "Promote" means the government will get the hell out of the way so people can provide these things for themselves.
In other words, if it's not laid out in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, it's not (or shouldn't be) the federal government's job to do it for you. Unfortunately, our government has convinced us that it's supposed to "do it" for you – and greedy, lazy people welcome it. What used to be free and independent citizens are now pigs at the trough, gobbling up every benefit the government can offer in exchange, apparently, for their immortal souls.
That's what this nation has become: Greedy pigs at the trough, not the free and independent citizens we were meant to be.
Our wise Founding Fathers, who get wiser every time I read their writing, were well familiar with the pitfalls of socialism. The American colonies had already tried and discarded that experiment. They knew the dangers of asking the government to provide everything because of the incentives (and freedoms) it took away. This isn't rocket science, people. It's just common sense.
Uh-oh … unless common sense isn't common anymore.
On second thought, we're in trouble.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Glory of the Roman Empire - Thomas Cole

Click on Image to enlarge

Thomas Cole (1801-1848)
See also: Hudson River School
"Thomas Cole, born in Lancashire, England, was trained as an engraver of woodblocks used for printing calico. Because he did not have any formal education in art, his aesthetic ideas derived from poetry and literature, influences that were strongly to mark his paintings. The Cole family emigrated to America in 1818, but Thomas spent a year alone in Philadelphia before going on to Steubenville, Ohio, where his family had settled. He spent several years in Steubenville designing patterns and probably also engraving woodblocks for his father's wallpaper manufactory. He made his first attempts at landscape painting after learning the essentials of oil painting from a nebulous itinerant portraitist named Stein. In 1823, Cole followed his family to Pittsburgh and began to make detailed and systematic studies of that city's highly picturesque scenery, establishing a procedure of painstakingly detailed drawing that was to become the foundation of his landscape painting.
"During another stay in Philadelphia, from 1823 to 1824, Cole determined to become a painter and closely studied the landscapes of Thomas Doughty and Thomas Birch exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy, His technique improved greatly and his thinking on the special qualities of American scenery began to crystallize. Cole next moved to New York, where the series of works he produced following a sketching trip up the Hudson River in the summer of 1825 brought him to the attention of the city's most important artists and patrons. From then on, his future as a landscape painter was assured. By 1829, when he decided to go to Europe to study firsthand the great works of the past, he had become one of the founding members of the National Academy of Design and was generally recognized as America's leading landscape painter.
"In Europe, Cole's visits to the great galleries of London and Paris and, more important, his stay in Italy from 1831 to 1832, filled his imagination with high-minded themes and ideas. A true Romantic spirit, he sought to express in his painting the elevated moral tone and concern with lofty themes previously the province of history painting. When he returned to America, he found an enlightened patron in the New York merchant Luman Reed, who commissioned from him The Course of Empire (1836), a five-canvas extravaganza depicting the progress of a society from the savage state to an apogee of luxury and, finally, to dissolution and extinction. Most New York patrons, however, preferred recognizable American views, which Cole, his technique further improved by his European experience, was able to paint with increased authority. Although he frequently complained that he would prefer not to have to paint those so-called realistic views, Cole's best efforts in the landscape genre reveal the same high-principled, intellectual content that informs his religious and allegorical works. A second trip to Europe, in 1841-42, resulted in even greater advances in the mastery of his art: his use of color showed greater virtuosity and his representation of atmosphere, especially the sky, became almost palpably luminous.
"Cole's remarkable oeuvre, in addition to naturalistic American and European views, consisted of Gothic fantasies (The Departure and The Return, 1837), religious allegories (Tbe Voyage of Life, 1840), and classicized pastorals (Tbe Dream of Arcadia, 1838). He consistently recorded his thoughts in a formidable body of writing: detailed journals, many poems, and an influential essay on American scenery. Further, he encouraged and fostered the careers of Asher B. Durand and Frederic E. Church, two artists who would most ably continue the painting tradition he had established. Though Cole's unexpected death after a short illness sent a shock through the New York art world, the many achievements that were his legacy provided a firm ground for the continued growth of the school of American landscape."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Apostle Paul's last letter

Paul preached everywhere he went. His last days were spent in a prison in Rome. But even in prison he continued to spread the word of God via letters to the Saints.
2 Timothy 3 (New American Standard Bible)

"Difficult Times Will Come" 1But realize this, that (A)in the last days difficult times will come.
2For men will be (B)lovers of self, (C)lovers of money, (D)boastful, (E)arrogant, (F)revilers, (G)disobedient to parents, (H)ungrateful, (I)unholy,
3(J)unloving, irreconcilable, (K)malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, (L)haters of good,
4(M)treacherous, (N)reckless, (O)conceited, (P)lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5holding to a form of (Q)godliness, although they have (R)denied its power; (S)Avoid such men as these.
6For among them are those who (T)enter into households and captivate (U)weak women weighed down with sins, led on by (V)various impulses,
7always learning and never able to (W)come to the knowledge of the truth.
8Just as (X)Jannes and Jambres (Y)opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, (Z)men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.
9But they will not make further progress; for their (AA)folly will be obvious to all, just (AB)as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also.
10Now you (AC)followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, (AD)love, perseverance,
11(AE)persecutions, and (AF)sufferings, such as happened to me at (AG)Antioch, at (AH)Iconium and at (AI)Lystra; what (AJ)persecutions I endured, and out of them all (AK)the Lord rescued me!
12Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (AL)will be persecuted.
13But evil men and impostors (AM)will proceed from bad to worse, (AN)deceiving and being deceived.
14You, however, (AO)continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
15and that (AP)from childhood you have known (AQ)the sacred writings which are able to (AR)give you the wisdom that leads to (AS)salvation through faith which is in (AT)Christ Jesus.
16(AU)All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
17so that (AV)the man of God may be adequate, (AW)equipped for every good work.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Third temple

64% of Israelis want Temple rebuilt
Even half of secular Jews say time is right
Posted: August 01, 200912:40 am Eastern© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Nearly two-thirds of Israelis say the time is right to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, according to a Ynet-Gesher survey.
Even half of non-religious Jews favor rebuilding the Holy Temple – an idea politically unthinkable in Israel just 10 or 20 years ago.
The poll was release on the saddest day on the Jewish calendar – the fasting day of Tisha B'Av, or the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. It commemorates a series of tragedies that befell the Jewish people all on the same day, most significantly the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart on the same day. Jewish tradition calls for the reading of Lamentations.
Aside from the destruction of the Jewish Temples, a remarkably large number of massive calamities befell the Jewish people on Tisha B'Av. Jewish rebellion leader Bar Kokhba's famous revolt against Rome failed in 135 B.C. Following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, the razing of Jerusalem occurred the next year. The first crusade pogrom against Jews in Palestine began on that date in A.D. 1096.
The Jews were expelled from Britain on Tisha B'Av in 1290 and were expelled from Spain that same day in 1492. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising was crushed by the Nazis on that day in May 1943, resulting in the slaughter of about 50,000 Jews.
Nationalists in Israel also mourn the removal of Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005, which began the day after Tisha B'av.
The book of Lamentations, written in poetic verse, mourns the desolations brought on Jerusalem and the Holy Land by the Chaldeans.
The rebuilding of the Temple is an extremely controversial idea in Israel because currently Jewish access to the Temple Mount is restricted by the Muslim Waqf, which was granted administrative authority over the Jews' holiest sites, which are occupied by Muslim shrines.
Some Jewish leaders believe access to Jews should be restricted until the Third Temple is built.
Israel recaptured the Temple Mount during the 1967 Six Day War. Currently under Israeli control, Jews and Christians are barred from praying on the Mount.
The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshippers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.
Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.
The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It remains open, but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered "sensitive" by the Waqf.
During "open" days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any "holy objects" to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.
During Tendler's visit to the mount, he can be heard in the video complaining about the Israeli rules.
"I'm little bit annoyed at the instructions that we get," he quipped, "as if we were aliens and have to be told how to behave on [the Temple Mount]."
King Solomon built the First Temple in the 10th century B.C. The Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C. The Jews built the Second Temple in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in A.D. 70.
The First Temple stood for about 400 years, the second for almost 600. Both Temples served as the center of religious worship for the whole Jewish nation. All Jewish holidays centered on worship at the Temple – the central location for the offering of sacrifices and the main gathering place for the Jewish people.
According to the Talmud, God created the world from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount.
The site is believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, where Abraham fulfilled God's test of faith by demonstrating his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Jewish tradition also holds that Mashiach – literally "the anointed one," the Jewish Messiah – will come and rebuild the third and final temple on the Mount in Jerusalem and bring redemption to the entire world.
The Western Wall, called the Kotel in Hebrew, is the one part of the Temple Mount that survived the Roman destruction of the Second Temple and stands to this day in Jerusalem.
The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple have been uttered three times daily by religious Jews since the destruction of the Second Temple. Throughout all the centuries of Jewish exile from their land, thorough documentation shows the Jews never gave up their hope of returning to Jerusalem and reestablishing their Temple. To this day Jews worldwide pray facing the Western Wall, while Muslims turn their backs away from the Temple Mount and pray toward Mecca.
Muslims constructed the al-Aqsa Mosque around A.D. 709 to serve as a place of worship near a famous shrine, the gleaming Dome of the Rock, built by an Islamic caliph, or supreme ruler.
About 100 years ago, Muslims began to associate al‐-Aqsa in Jerusalem with the place Muhammad ascended to heaven. Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque," and from a rock there ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah that became part of the Quran.
While Palestinians and many Muslim countries claim exclusivity over the Mount, and while their leaders strenuously deny the Jewish historic connection to the site, things weren't always this way. In fact, historically, Muslims never claimed the al-Aqsa Mosque as their "third holiest site" and always recognized the existence of the Jewish Temples.
According to an Israeli attorney, Shmuel Berkovits, Islamic tradition mostly disregarded Jerusalem. He points out in his book "How Dreadful is this Place!" that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for to the other monotheistic faiths.
Muhammad also made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of Allah. As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings later influenced the strict Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites exist only on the Arabian Peninsula, and that "in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron."
Not until the late 19th century – when Jews started immigrating to Palestine – did Muslim scholars claim that Muhammad tied his horse to the Western Wall and associate Muhammad's purported night journey with the Temple Mount.