Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Babka Brilliantly Answers Your Questions

Endorphin Dann asks: "If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Yes. An example in the news right now is Pat Robertson (who now thinks his call for murder puts him in the same class as Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Excellence In Baloney Network

I had some errands to run today - a chance to break free from my desk. And so, as I do about every two to three months, I tuned into the Rush Limbaugh Show on the Excellence In Broadcasting Network.

I admire Rush. Seriously. He’s an American success story. And he is really, really talented at what he does.

Apparently he has diminished talents in moral logic. Being a shill for Republicans tends to extinguish your ability to separate truth from error. It doesn’t seem to matter to Rush if has to dissemble, be illogical, or just rant; it's his party, right or wrong.

On today's show, hour two, the serving du jour was baloney. His charge was hypocrisy. And what, pray tell, was this hypocrisy that Rush so cleverly exposed?

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rescue workers and the National Guard were going to be “occupying” Louisiana (yes, he really said that, which is why I put it in quotes). And the media, even the liberal-Democrats, were lauding the rescue workers and Guard. These are the very same liberals and media (sic) that “maligns” the men and women working in Iraq, rebuilding Iraq – that goes so far as to call them “murderers.”

Oh, the humanity!

I don’t know what decade Limbaugh is living in. Perhaps he’s harkening back to the undeclared war of his youth – you know the one he didn’t serve in but supported. But in these modern times, I don’t hear the mainstream media “maligning” the men and women over there.

I have yet to hear of Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer, or read how the Washington Post called them “murderers.” Who could he be talking about?

Is this a straw man?

Oh, it’s that and more, because then he resorted to false analogy to demonstrate the alleged idiocy of these men of straw: Rescue personnel in Louisiana = military presence in Iraq.

Rush, there’s a Golden Rule of difference. Let me break it down for ya...

...And Rush, you’ll be able to see the difference because nightly news won’t be reporting on sniper deaths, ambushes, and road side bombings of volunteer rescue workers and National Guardsmen in Louisiana.

Of course, in the Excellence In Baloney world of Ditto-headery, the only reason they’re reporting those deaths in Iraq now is a liberal attempt to demoralize all of us.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

As Promised from today's Show

Information about Larry Pratt’s radio show is available here.

My new segment “WAR” is based on the work of two “frozen in time” sites, BushWarsBlog and TruthAboutWar (a project I coordinated and worked on). The material from the BushWarsBlog was arranged by its author, Steve Perry (most likely not of Journey fame) for the City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul), one of the key cities we at the TruthAboutWar project aired our radio spots in the weeks leading up to the attack on Iraq. Perry’s chronicled 40 whoppers by the virtuously Christian administration of George W. Bush (sorry, that just stick in my craw). I’ll probably just take each item in order.

Here's #1) The administration was NOT bent on war with Iraq from 9/11 onward. They had merely exhausted diplomatic options. THAT’S A LIE.

Some compelling evidence for this claim was already available BEFORE the unconstitutional March 19, 2003 attack on Iraq. Click here to see what we said at TruthAboutWar about it.

Here’s what Steve Perry wrote:
[Note: I realize this is a family website, and I don’t want people who have child safety features to be blocked from coming to my site because of the President’s apparently salty language, so I’ve edited the direct quotes of Dubya by Mr. Perry]

Throughout the year leading up to war, the White House publicly maintained that the U.S. took weapons inspections seriously, that diplomacy would get its chance, that Saddam had the opportunity to prevent a U.S. invasion. The most pungent and concise evidence to the contrary comes from the president's own mouth. According to Time's March 31 road-to-war story, Bush popped in on national security adviser Condi Rice one day in March 2002, interrupting a meeting on UN sanctions against Iraq. Getting a whiff of the subject matter, W peremptorily waved his hand and told her, "F@$% Saddam. We're taking him out." Clare Short, Tony Blair's former secretary for international development, recently lent further credence to the anecdote. She told the London Guardian that Bush and Blair made a secret pact a few months afterward, in the summer of 2002, to invade Iraq in either February or March of this year.

Last fall CBS News obtained meeting notes taken by a Rumsfeld aide at 2:40 on the afternoon of September 11, 2001. The notes indicate that Rumsfeld wanted the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden].... Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Rumsfeld's deputy Paul Wolfowitz, the Bushmen's leading intellectual light, has long been rabid on the subject of Iraq. He reportedly told Vanity Fair writer Sam Tanenhaus off the record that he believes Saddam was connected not only to bin Laden and 9/11, but the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The Bush administration's foreign policy plan was not based on September 11, or terrorism; those events only brought to the forefront a radical plan for U.S. control of the post-Cold War world that had been taking shape since the closing days of the first Bush presidency. Back then a small claque of planners, led by Wolfowitz, generated a draft document known as Defense Planning Guidance, which envisioned a U.S. that took advantage of its lone-superpower status to consolidate American control of the world both militarily and economically, to the point where no other nation could ever reasonably hope to challenge the U.S. Toward that end it envisioned what we now call "preemptive" wars waged to reset the geopolitical table.

After a copy of DPG was leaked to the New York Times, subsequent drafts were rendered a little less frank, but the basic idea never changed. In 1997 Wolfowitz and his true believers--Richard Perle, William Kristol, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld--formed an organization called Project for the New American Century to carry their cause forward. And though they all flocked around the Bush administration from the start, W never really embraced their plan until the events of September 11 left him casting around for a foreign policy plan.

One more note by yours truly:

Mr. Perry is, IMHO, understating his final point. Joe Plummer with StoptheLies.com, an expert on the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, has an excellent soundbite on this. He says,

Imagine a candidate who campaigned with the primary plank of his platform being, ‘ending pornography now,’ who, once elected, lined his cabinet with pornographers. George Bush said in his 2000 campaign that we should have a humble foreign policy, that he wouldn’t create a ‘nation-building corps.’ But once elected, he surrounded himself with the Project for the New American Century gang, each of whom believed in a new version of Manifest Destiny for the Middle East and that we should spend, literally, hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding the Middle East according to their specifications.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sundry thoughts

1) I would like to find a new blogging program. I've really appreciated my present service, but now I think I've outgrown it. There are several things I want to do with this page, like adding trackbacks, or breaking the articles on the home page so that I can fit more on the screen and people don't have to scroll down "forever" if they're interested, or ... well, you get the idea.

Any suggestions? Does Blogger have the utility I need or should I switch? And if switch, then to what? As you make your suggestions, please keep in mind I'm not a programmer and I've learned just enough HTML to be dangerous, but I'm not interested in becomming a full-fledged programmer. You can leave your suggestions by clicking permalink below and scrolling downto the comment section.

2) My one hour radio show tomorrow at 5 pm Eastern, 4 pm Central, can be heard by virtually everyone reading this on the Genesis Communications Network. Given who I am - a born-again Christian who believes passionately that Big Government is evil, that politics is corrupting, and that George W. Bush doesn't deserve conservative Christian support - I cannot pass up the opportunity to talk about Pat Robertson's, "Hugo Chavez remarks." I'll also be introducing a new Update to the show highlighting the lies of the Bush Administration - lies that, in my mind, justify charges for impeachment. You'll be entertained as well as informed by the show.

Surgeon Generel's Warning: Trying out this show for a week or two will turn it into an addiction, and it's the gateway to harder drugs likes deep thought.

3) Thought for the day: Not only is ‘war the health of the State,’ but it also benefits the supporters and the vendors to the State. Bush, Cheney have rewarded those who put them in power, as well as enhanced their team’s power. Power is the key: the need to run the world – dominate the lives of others. Power lust is the cardinal sin of our times.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Objecting To How DownsizeDC.org Is Fighting Kelo

Everytime we, at DownsizeDC.org, send out a message to our list, urging folks to support our amendment to S. 1313, a Congressional bill that responds to the Supreme Court's Kelo/eminent domain decision, I get email from someone who says something along the lines of, "The federal government's involvement in this matter ( both the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court) is another violation of the 9th and 10th amendments of our Constitution. Let's not fall into the trap of trying to right an egregious wrong with another wrong."

Well, here's my response...

I understand your concern. No issue that we’ve tackled has prompted so many questions or concerns by people who respect the Constitution or federalism in general.

It is our position that the Supreme Court should never have taken this case – but they did. Once they did, it was our position that they had no business changing the definition of the takings clause – but they did.

It is our position that this is a state level issue and several states have better laws on this subject – those should be enforced. It is the reality that many judges and local politicians believe to the core of their being that five black robes is the law of the land, and that reality is being carried out not only in New London, CT, but as Reason’s Hit & Run blog has pointed out, other “jurisdictions that are moving quickly to condemn homes and businesses in order to replace them with shopping centers, condos, etc.,” include

• Arlington, TX condemning homes for a new Cowboys stadium, “and in the wake of Kelo officials "filed condemnation lawsuits against some holdout property owners this month.”

• “Sunset Hills, Mo…., voted to condemn a cluster of homes to make way for a shopping center, despite the pleas of some elderly homeowners who said they had nowhere else to go and no desire to move.”

• “Officials in Oakland, Calif., evicted a tire shop and an auto repair shop to make room for a development that is part of Mayor Jerry Brown's plan to bring 10,000 residents to the central part of the city.”

• “Santa Cruz, CA, where city officials started legal action this month to seize a parcel of family-owned land that holds a restaurant with a high Zagat rating, two other businesses and a conspicuous hole in the ground and force a sale to a developer who plans to build 54 condominiums. The owner of the so-called ‘hole in the ground’ had ‘proposed hard-to-build, idealistic plans, involving alternative energy sources and unusual designs, that have never gotten off the ground’; his family says he's being penalized for trying to build something special on his property. The city says that its condemnation ‘is moving forward’ because ‘The Supreme Court gave us reassurance of our ability to proceed.’”

And that last line should make clear why something has to be done. Federalism is just one part of the separation of powers our founders gave us. The checks and balances of the three branches are another. And the federal government needs to pass a law that forbids the use of federal funds in an eminent domain decisions, which is what S. 1313 purports to do.

But in our opinion, it doesn’t go far enough – nowhere near. If the Supreme Court has given localities the reassurance of their ability to proceed to redefine the takings clause so that the government can confiscate private property for the benefit of big developers who will generate more tax revenue for the locality, then private property, perhaps one of the two most important hallmarks of our system, is a memory, even a joke.

S. 1313 has no real teeth (you can learn more about it here). If the law is broken, it doesn’t provide both an enforcement remedy and a remedy available to the property owner under attack. Our amendment does! But my favorite part is the penalty.

If you believe in the 10th Amendment, then you believe nearly everything the federal government spends money on is unconstitutional. Indeed, illegal. It’s hard to conceive of a transfer of funds from the feds to any locality that is constitutional. Our remedy would use a private taking for private purposes as an excuse to shut off the tap. That’s what I call a win-win.

Heck, I’d like to see localities try these takings so that they’d lose all of their federal dollars!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Charging rent for stolen property

This message, sent on the Downsizer-Dispatch list Wednesday, generated a great deal of positive response, so I share it here with you...

Congress will return to work in just a few days. This work will consist of robbing, extorting, controlling, and spending the hard-working taxpayer into bankruptcy - handing out favors to friends, and piling up mountains of debts to cripple your children's future.

Since Congress makes the laws they are under the delusion that anything they do is legal, no matter if it is unwise, unethical, or un-Constitutional.

This may seem harsh at first glance, but I don't think it's that harsh when looked at more closely. There is something distinctly criminal about the way politicians do business. And I'm about to share a classic example with you (about charging rent for stolen property).

We need to shed our illusions about what a politician is. They may look nice, sound nice, and dress nice. They may have families and hopes and dreams just like we do. They may not look or sound like Tony Soprano. But the more I have been able to observe them, the more I have come to feel that there is something pathological about most successful politicians.

A successful politician is a person with a compartmentalized mind. A person who can say mutually contradictory things to different people and not even notice the contradiction. A person who can smile, and really mean it, while he punches you in the gut. A successful politician can rationalize or justify anything. These are the hallmarks of a sociopath.

Yes, I know, this is harsh. But I will assert again that it is also true. And yes, I know, there are exceptions, and I also know that not all successful politicians behave badly all the time. But exceptions do not establish the rule. It is important to understand that. . .

Our system has become so corrupt in so many ways that it is very difficult for a non-sociopath to get elected. It now requires a borderline criminal mind to negotiate the intricacies of gerrymandered districts, vote peddling, campaign finance laws, and other aspects of our rigged system. Our electoral process, as currently constructed, requires a person who looks like your neighbor, but behaves like Tony Soprano. It requires a sociopath.

This sociopathology is evident in the responses members of Congress have sent to DC Downsizers about the "Read the Bills Act." These responses are the most clever kinds of lies. Most of these responses have been crafted to persuade the reader that of "course the Congressperson agrees with RTBA," while making no commitment to do anything about it. These responses are the product of minds that can no longer fully distinguish right from wrong. They communicate the semblance of rectitude, but contain the substance of moral rot.

We must shed our illusions about "mom, apple pie, the flag, and the glories of democracy." We must understand that we are in a WAR.

Our enemy is the successful politician. Our enemy is a person who can say one thing and do another. Our enemy considers himself or herself above the standards of behavior that apply to normal human beings. Our enemy is the successful politician. And our enemy gives no quarter.

I will have more to say about this in the weeks and months ahead. I will argue that we need to put ourselves on a war footing - that we must think in a strategic and tactical way, in terms of war, and use war metaphors to focus ourselves for the fight ahead.

But to succeed at this, we must first come to recognize and accept, painful though it may be, the nature of our enemy. Our enemy is the successful politician, and our enemy is a sociopath. Our latest evidence of this comes from the Kelo case, which established the power of government to steal personal property for private gain.

The Kelo case came about because the city of New London, Connecticut seized private homes and land for the purpose of private development. The Supreme Court endorsed this theft, and in this confused day and age, that makes it the de-facto law of the land.

And now the politicians, who run the organized criminal band known as the City of New London, are charging the victims of this theft "back rent" for daring to continue to occupy their own property during the time when their case wound its way to the Supreme Court.

That's right. People who are having their property stolen from them are being charged rent for using their property by the very people who are stealing it from them.

It's time to hammer Congress again. It's time to demand that they do something to stop legalized theft. It's time to demand that they impose stiff penalties for any government entity that steals private property. And the way to do that is to add Downsize DC's enforcement amendment to S. 1313. You can send your message to Congress, demanding this action, by clicking here.

I would also like to thank the latest group of people to help us buy ammunition to fight our war against the criminal politicians. These are their names: Ralph Heymann, Arthur C. Wiggins, Herbert Boehl, John Savard, George C. Dick, J.M. Inks, Jr., William H. Olinger, David T. Yett, George Gardiner, Robert Throwbridge, Nancy Woods, Jason Hurst, Hank Brooks.

And I would like to thank the latest DC Downsizers to make a monthly credit card pledge to expand our fight. These are their names: John Notgrass, Robert L. Morgan, Jerold N. Arnowitz, Todd R. Singer, David A. Stansbury, Douglas Washington, Jeffrey S. Bloduc, David R. Mason.

And I would like to thank the following people for contributing $125 or more to join the Campaign Committee for the "Read the Bills Act": Dominic A. Solimando, Jr., James R. Back, David W. Landram, Dr. Michael Mitchell.

If you would like to join this company of fine people by making a contribution to fund our fight, you can do so here.

There is a box you can check on the contribution form if you wish your support not to be made public.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer. More soon.

Jim Babka
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Op-ed: The Truth About War: “Brookpark Marines” and a Message of Life

By Jim Babka

I’m from Northeast Ohio. Two weeks ago, the dominant news story was the funerals of young Marines, killed-in-action in Iraq. At a memorial service held as the bodies returned home to Brookpark, Ohio, Governor Bob Taft asserted that these young men “died for freedom.”

Well, I believe, and boldly assert that the Iraq War, which has slaughtered over 1,800 Americans and (conservatively) more than 28,000 Iraqis, is a needless, groundless, undeclared (therefore unconstitutional and consequently illegal) war, built on a foundation of lies (justifying impeachment).

If I’m even partially right, then those young men did not die for freedom – even if that’s what we’re being told and what all of us want to believe.

It’s hard to write those words, because when any of us loses a loved one under tragic circumstances, we seek meaning beyond the death – a sense of purpose that will blunt the blow of our loss.

This is a very human thing to do. I relate to it from personal experience.

Finding Meaning in Loss

In 1978, my 37 year-old mother was killed by a juvenile, drunk-driver. I was 10. Even then, I searched for meaning. In the changed lives of others, I found it. And I was ever so grateful that the line of “mourners” extended down the aisle, out the door, and around the building of the funeral home. Had my Mom touched so many lives?

So I can appreciate the ceremony and the thousands who salute these fallen men – who line procession routes, send condolence cards, and pay respects at the funeral home. It means a great deal to their families.

But at some point we must come to the recognition that death is the end of human life. It is not glorious for mortals to die. Those twenty-something’s who fall in THIS war and those who die in car accidents share something in common – both are truly victims.

We should be worried about sending the wrong message to our children – that dying for lying politicians is a worthy goal, a life well-lived. You see, politicians don’t really value these lives – they’re statistics in a bigger picture.

How Politicians Benefit from War-death

For those of us who are pro-life, this message, which is so hard to sell in today’s “culture of death,” must be proclaimed. I feel compelled to speak out against those who would commit the sons and daughters of hard-working Americans, even while their children and grandchildren enjoy the luxury and promise of long life… the opportunity to achieve career goals, start a family, and eventually, play with their grandchildren.

During the Iraqi War and Occupation, only two of those responsible for sending or permitting working-class children to go to this war, sent his own son, daughter, or grandchild.

Let’s put that in perspective. Neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney, not Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, or Colin Powell sent their progeny. None of 100 Senators and only two of 435 House Members sent their off-spring to face a death which they are so eager to call “noble” or “heroic.”

Don’t our leaders want their children to act nobly? …to be heroes and heroines? Or does this “honor” – this privilege to die – only belong to those who pay the salaries of these leaders with their sweat and toil?

Must they bear the sacrifice, while their leaders, posture?

Yes, politicians engage in posturing. As these young men were brought back to Brookpark, Ohio, as a memorial service was held in their honor, it was the politicians who were called upon to speak. No one thought this odd. It’s all become so normal. But,

Truly Honoring the Sacrifice

Why don’t the deaths of these young Marines stir us to moral action?

And what would constitute moral action?

Step one: An immediate and full withdrawal of our troops. Bring our children home. Let the reservists, in particular, resume their lives. They didn’t sign up for foreign adventure. Most signed up for their future – a college education. Yes, they’ll do their duty. Yes, they are committed and brave. But they pledged to defend their homeland and the Constitution – not be part of a “nation-building corps.”

Step two: Impeach the President and the Vice President, along with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense. Their high crime was lying to the American people to get us into war. The motive is well-established for Cheney and Rumsfeld, in particular, when they signed an open letter to then-President Bill Clinton, as members of the Project for a New American Century. They alone saw in the terror of September 11th, a political opportunity. Impeachment would serve as a deterrent to future politicians eager to advance their agenda and enhance their legacy through war.

By taking these two steps we will truly honor the lives of these young men. Their dying purpose will be to teach the nation an expensive lesson it should’ve learned long ago – that, Randolph Bourne was right, “War is the health of The State,” and a boon for the power-lust of politicians, who don’t participate in the sacrifice, but stand to benefit at the expense of those who do.
Jim Babka is the President of the Downsize DC Foundation and DownsizeDC.org, Inc. He is also the host of the syndicated Culture Repair Show, and the writer and presenter of the audio “Why Conservative Christians Are Re-evaluating George. W. Bush.”
(Republishing this column is encouraged, so long as it's properly attributed and there's a link back to this blog -- notification or trackbacks appreciated).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Response to: Fr Oakes is wrong, we don't come from monkeys

Overnight, Bill Stenson wrote a comment to yesterday's entry on my blog. The issues he raises are so important, that I didn't want his comment, nor my response, to be lost in the comments section (a much-lesser read part of this site thanks to the fact that I don't yet know how to configure this page properly – but I'm learning HTML now, so give me some time).

Here is what Bill, a self-identified Catholic, wrote:

...This pseudo intellectualism that Fr Oakes engages in is partly due, as one of his critics describes, to his over "anxiety" to defend the Pope's 1996 qualified position on evolution. Fr Oakes gives the distinct impression that all opinions of the Pope are somehow ex-cathedra which must be defended to the last... We are free to reject this Papal opinion on evolution in the same way that we are free to reject his opinion that the EU is a good idea as these are nothing other than the Pope's political opinions which do not pertain to Papal pronouncements on faith and morals or the essentials of the Christian...

As regards the "order" argument that you comment on I see that Fr Oakes himself ascribes this only to point 5 of St Thomas's proof of the existence of God when he was talking about "things lacking awareness". Of course there is an order in the universe governed by "someone with awareness".

He was not talking about human beings that are created in the image and likeness of God but to "things" and objects. There is no proof anywhere that human beings evolved from a "thing" or an object or even an ape or a monkey and Fr Oakes himself seems to avoid discussing this in his discourse.

I would think the unique finger print of everyone that has ever been or will ever be, the unique genetic code, etc., is proof positive of intelligent design. We also have knowledge of right and wrong instilled in each one of us and that is the indellible mark of God in our conscience which shows itself from a very early age.

And now, my response:

I found Fr. Oakes to be anything but pseudo intellectual, and I don’t see what his motivations have to do with anything, even if he was only trying to defend the Pope (though the evidence that such was his primary motivation is scant).

No one wants to respond to Oakes’ "Intelligent Design leads to 'God of the Gaps' ...an incredible shrinking god" argument. I didn't take debate class, so I don't know what if, anything, is the form of logical error when one skips the counter-argument entirely and goes instead to their interlocutors' motivation?

Yet your concerns are valid. Let me try to answer your questions.

As for the distinction of "awareness", you seem to be suggesting that Aquinas' 5th point doesn't apply to humans. Do you go so far as to assert that humans engineer their own children? That anyone designed each of their distinctive characteristics? If so, what is the evidence for this? ...or was this an “ordered process”, completely compatible with Thomist thinking?

Let me go at this another way: Do you believe that _each_ biological human being is specifically created by God, and that this is the reason for unique finger prints, etc.? This would suggest that God involves Himself in every instance and element of biological development, rather than fashioning the genetic laws under which these processes occur. If so, does He provide birth defects?

You seem to be missing the actual distinction between "design" and "order" - perhaps even between plans and construction. The order, aka natural law, has, in my opinion, a lawgiver. This is an entirely logical premise, a reason to believe we are teleological beings. Science cannot demonstrate otherwise. As I stated in my last blog post, science is not the tool I would recommend for addressing this question.

Let me clarify: When I say, "teleological," I don't mean that in the old Paleyan sense, or in the way Intelligent Designers do as they place a giant mousetrap on the stage at one of their speaking events, and then they leap, via analogy, to the concept that somehow reproductive biology works like building that mousetrap (it doesn't). I see why this argument is appealing, but further instruction in how science works demonstrates that Paleyan design is a duck that won't hunt. So I mean teleological in the sense of the fine-tuning of the universe – The Anthropic Principle, if you will.

I would go even further than you offered Bill: There is, in my opinion, a God-shaped hole in mankind. Each of us seeks meaning beyond our day-to-day existence and our eventual death. It is to theology that man generally (and should) turns to find a way to fill this hole. Those that don't turn to theology make other choices to fill that space: many choose pleasure, others choose material possessions, and the morally darkest of us choose power (over others). The Bible, in particular, explains the futility and danger of these paths, and points us to another narrow lane.

In so doing, this book shares with us the story of the first man to "walk with God," the first human who was made conscious by God. The Genesis account reminds man that the Creator had drawn man from the Earth and had bestowed a special gift on the man. Now, this man had responsibility.

Thus, I think that Adam was "created" by God, in that he was animated by God with imagination and intellect. I think man was made in the image of God in that he was intended to be like the Logos (John 1... and before The Fall was "like Christ") – something each of our respective religious traditions tries to teach us. Creativity and sanctification are both outgrowths of this "god-likeness."

Instead of mousetrap and watch analogies to explain our biology, why not an Adam who was in the Garden of Eden as we can enter the Kingdom of God. As each of walks away from God, we lose life itself. We're barred from entrance into the God's Garden/Kingdom, if not for Christ. And our faith gives each of us meaning, and I believe, a future.

I keep coming back to one principle, over and over – and no one wants to respond to it.

God is NOT schizophrenic. If He is the Author of Nature (Rom. 1:18-20), and I believe He is, and the Author of (our special) Revelation (i.e., the Bible), then these two will be in agreement.

Both are being used to speak to us. Holding a literalist view of the Genesis account in the face of what has become overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary is to ignore the first great work God authored – to my mind a sin. Treating science like the enemy is a stumbling block for our children, a form of anti-intellectualism, so many of whom will "outgrow" their faith when they find that it's just not relevant to daily life.

I, for one, refuse to confine God to the upper story of my existence – to make a schizophrenic divide in my own life between the public Jim and the private Jim, between facts and values. Character is destiny. Destiny is reality. Who I am becoming, because of my relationship with Christ, helps shape what I will be, or to put tongue in cheek, how I will evolve.

If you assume it was the intention of the Creator to make man and have a relationship with him... If you believe that it was God’s plan to give us the gifts of imagination and intellect, to make us almost god-like, both in the realms of creativity and the ability to make better moral choices... If the evidence convinces you that it was the Divine Lawgiver’s intent to have a well-ordered universe that was predictable, so that we could make plans and participate in improving the lot of humanity... If you confess that it was the Divine Author’s script that enabled us to discover both morality and the Lawgiver Himself (again, Rom. 1:18-20), while somehow respecting man’s contingent (often called, "free") will, then evolution is entirely plausible on a theological/philosophical basis.

And the monkey objection is a side-show.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Links from today’s radio show...

Start with the Fair Tax website. An intriguing proposal and an easy to read book by Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder, is also available at this website. Is the Fair Tax worth the effort? I’m investigating that. I'll probably have more to say about this in the near future.

Information about Larry Pratt’s radio show is available here.

The City of New London sinks to new lows in the Kelo/eminent domain fight. Not content with the unconstitutional decision they secured, they’re charging “back-rent” – 5 years worth – against the plaintiffs, wiping out their remaining equity. Learn the details here.
And then, take action here.

You only have to scroll down to the August 17 entry in this blog to see how I arrived at my decision that, “evolution is the best explanation presently available to explain our natural history.” One caller suggested that he can see design by looking at his own hand. Indeed.

I lacked time to fully respond (if you’d like to sponsor another hour, because I could certainly use it, let me know at jimbabka at jimbabka dot com). You can hear what I said about the Big Bang on today’s show once the archive is up and available (coming soon), and why it’s fully plausible (likely in my opinion) that there was a Being (God) who set the universe in motion and wrote its laws.

But I really encourage you to read the Fr. Edward Oakes articles to see why there’s a difference between “design” and “order” (I’m not going to give you the links here, because I really, really want you to go through my August 17 blog entry, and you can find them there).

Here’s my dirty oversimplification:

Anything that makes copies of itself (reproduction) is going to be different from the original. Some of those differences in the copy are going to be worse, and some better. Nature tends to preserve the superior copies and eliminate the inferior ones. And to that, even Intelligent Design doesn’t really object. They just call the part they agree with, micro-evolution. Where people get in trouble is that they look for an analog in the man-made mechanical world, and we haven’t yet made reproducing mouse-traps or watches.

Science is not a sufficient tool to tell us what happened before the Big Bang - to determine where the universe and natural law came from. But what happened after the Big Bang is traceable, and is becoming better known all the time because of science.

Intelligent Design suggests that “some intelligent entity” fills the gaps that science cannot explain. Still, most Intelligent Designers believe the Earth is billions of years old and refuse to say who this intelligent entity might be. They offer no falsifiable (a very important word) evidence to demonstrate their idea which is really more philosophical than it is scientific.

The problem is, if their model of design can be explained away (and most likely it will be, or already has been) the result is a loss of faith. Why not just view, consistent with Romans 1:18-20 (referenced twice in the August 17 piece) that the Author of Nature isn’t schizophrenic – that what He’s told us in His revealed Word is consistent with what He gives us in His created world?

Science should be viewed as a gift of God, rather than a threat to our Traditions.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

New post at DownsizeDC.com re: Homeschooling better than Gov-schooling

A wonderful article by entrepreneur Perry Marshall, demonstrating how and why Gov-schooling corrodes the entrepreneurial talents of its victims, forms the basis of my latest blog posting at the new, upbeat, human progress site, DownsizeDC.com. Before you leave a comment, whether or pro or con, go learn about and read the entire Marshall article. Trust me; it’s well worth your time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Shocker to My Friends – my new perspective on the question of origins

I wanted so badly for Young-Earth Creationism to be right. That was the fundamentalism with which I was raised. And my childhood wasn’t so bad. My mother and father were great people. You would’ve liked them. But the Earth is too old for that to work and the whole movement was anti-science – like science was somehow the enemy. That didn’t even seem Biblical to me (Romans 1:18-20).

Then, I wanted so much for Intelligent Design (ID) to be right. I mean, I really wanted it. At least this group seemed to be dealing with real science. Behe was demonstrating complexity in biology. Dembski was demonstrating the mathematical odds against the seeming randomness of evolution. Johnson was attacking the presuppositions and carving what was to become the Discovery Institute strategy. It sounded like an open dialogue in the liberal tradition. But alas, all they were offering was a spiffed up version of “the God of the gaps.”

It appears to this simple observer that both approaches are very flawed.

Evolution is the best theory we’ve got to explain, scientifically, our natural history.

Yes, I still believe in God and in Jesus as my Savior. Richard Dawkins is wrong to insinuate (with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer) that evolution suggests there’s no God. It does no such thing.

Genesis 1 doesn’t even seem to preclude an evolutionary approach. The question is really one of interpretation. Funny – it seems every other doctrine on the planet seems to hinge on interpretation method as well.

The dirty secret of Young Earthers in particular is that they don’t allow Scripture to speak for itself and they confine it to a vacuum (Sola Scriptura on Science). In this instance they ignore the very Author of Reality who explicitly intended for those who didn’t have His Scriptures to see the evidence of His existence in nature itself (again, Romans 1:18-20).

I’ve been left to wonder, how did Abraham make it to the Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11)? Even the most ardent fundamentalist knows he didn’t have a single book of the Bible. But somehow, he saw and heard God who is the same; yesterday, today and forever.

Now, I was stalled in my journey because I noticed the overuse of ad hominem employed by the evolutionists. Usually, when you resort to name-calling, or even suggesting that your opponent is dragging his knuckles on the ground, you’ve conceded that you’ve already lost the argument – that this is the best you can muster. And the fury with which you evolutionists swarmed to attack the ID’ers, well, me was beginning to think ya’ll doth protest too much!

Alas, I “saw the light.” It didn’t help their case that the ID gang use a system of quoting their opponents that appears less than forthright – an approach that if honest (as they claim), could still be classified below-the-belt. And that made the fury on the evolutionist’s part more understandable.

Now, my pal Ed Brayton will be bothered by this next statement – at least I hope he is. This doesn’t mean that I’ll be joining his drive to have Evolution (notice the capital “E”) taught in public schools as our natural history. Because Ed loves science and is a libertarian, his campaign to protect the teaching of evolution in public schools is disturbing to me.

Ahh, I must wrap up. This is too long for a blog post.

I’d like to offer some advice to my new friends. Having just “come over,” now I can teach you something. In public at least… Stop yelling. Stop name calling. Stop poking fun. Start persuading; the facts are on your side.

And don’t make this a religious question – not if you really want to persuade people about SCIENCE. If philosophy and theology is your ax to grind, or you just hate God, then don’t expect people to let go of their hopes that the Discovery Institute or Answers in Genesis are the answer.

The straw that broke this camel’s back came in a Ronald Bailey blog entry about a Jerry Falwell Creation Conference in Lynchburg, VA. I’ve come to learn, again to my chagrin, that the central cast of the Christian Right leadership cares little about what the Bible actually says and more about being able to dine at Caesar’s table. All I need to know about Rev. Fallwell is the Justice O’Connor story, as told by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson in their book, Blinded by Might and the unjust and fraudulent smear he made against the Life Extension Foundation. I believe he would’ve succumbed to the third temptation our Lord faced, and done so in a New York minute (and given his svelte figure, probably the first temptation as well: see Matthew 4), had he been so confronted and had it within his power to satisfy the devil’s wishes.

And so, if Jerry Falwell and other Christopublicans are riding the hobby horse of creationism and intelligent design, I instinctively wonder, “What’s wrong with these ideas?”

Here are some other resources that helped me to arrive at my present decision. Scan them and see if there’s some way you can employ them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Christ Had Room for Quantum Physics

Found this at MsquaredT blog. And I’m quoting it nearly in full here because even though I’m not a Moby fan, I think both he and Pastor Matt Thomas have some really good _questions_ for today’s church.

First, Moby:
so, do you think that it’s time to invent a new religion?
i mean, i know that sounds absurd and absurdly presumptuous.
but what do we know now that is different from what we
knew ages ago?
that the universe is gigantic?
that the universe is old?
that we are made up of matter that used to be other things?
that our actions are seemingly insignificant from a universal perspective?
that matter, at it’s most basic level, doesn’t do what
we think it would/should do?
i sound flippant.
but really, given what we know about the universe and about ourselves, isn’t it absurd to hold on to conventional ideas about our significance and identity and relevance and so on?
again, i sound flippant.
i don’t mean to.
but it’s hard to describe this in a journal(not blog)entry.
i actually think that the teachings of christ accomodate most of the new ways in which we perceive ourselves and our world.
the problem is that although the teachings of christ accomodate this, contemporary christianity does not.
here’s more seriousness dressed up as flippancy:
christ: acknowledging quantum realities.
christiantiy: depressingly newtonian.
does that make any sense?
well, to me it does.
and to some of you it might make sense, also.
i’m sorry that i’m being light and flippant.
i should just be straightforward.
we know things about our universe and about our world and about ourselves that make our previously held ideas about human significance utterly absurd. in order to move forward we need to accept that how we understand ourselves in the future has to be informed by what we know about ourselves from a quantum perspective.
and luckily, there’s not a christian(or new testament)perspective that compels us to hold on to much of tradition.
many christians might disagree, but i would ask them to cite scripture to support their dissent.
i know, ‘quantum perspective’ sounds nonsensical and nerdy.
but we need to move on(no political pun intended).
we all know better.
we’re all holding on to past conceptions of human endeavours and human significance, and they’re outdated and erroneous and anachronistic.
our human significance is both far greater and far smaller than anything than we’ve hitherto recognized.
that is the truth.

Pastor Matt Thomas:
The quantum perspective radically changed how we perceive the world; our structures have not yet dealt with that fact - even though quantum’s been around for nearly 100 years. Instead, we’ve told Jesus Christ that he cannot deal with this world, that he’s all about the next. We make going to heaven, i.e., getting the h*ll out of here, the end goal of faith, rather than “love God with your whole being and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

But Jesus... was perfectly content with living in the smallest of quantum probabilities, and somehow knew how to access them - so that water could be walked upon, sight could be restored, the lame could be made to walk, and death could bring new life. Oh, yes, and locked doors could be passed through.

With Newton, these are abberations; with quantum, these are distinct possibilities, however improbable. Nevertheless, we don’t expect these things to occur. We don’t believe that they will happen, nor, to one extent or another, do we really want them to. They’ll stir things up too much.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Three More Hours of Jim Babka “On Air” - July 30 & 31

On July 30, I filled-in for Harry Browne again. But this show was different. HARRY RETURNS. Yes, Harry was a guest on his own show. His voice was in poor shape and he hadn’t followed the news for weeks, and yet, as a powerful testimony to the power of his ideology and philosophy, he had good insights on everything we discussed.

Harry started by explaining why he’d been away so long. Much of the show as devoted to the Libertarian Party’s “Commonsense” Iraq Exit-Plan. [Note: I wouldn’t have covered this topic if Harry hadn’t been my guest. Discussing anything Libertarian Party only manages to win you grudging enemies. There’s just no real upside. So don't bother writing me complaining about how this was covered. It'll do you as much good as teaching a pig to sing.]

Thanks to one of the callers, we also discussed getting screened at airports and searched at sporting events and more. Harry also gave a ringing endorsement for the Read the Bills Act. We had five callers and three emails.

Here's hour one. And here's hour two. Both edited for your listening pleasure.

The next day, I did my show. I had two callers. I opened the show by discussing how the House Leadership pulled some bad stunts as they pushed CAFTA through and I discussed the need to do something about these stunts. Robert O’Gwynn, programmer for DownsizeDC.org, joined me to talk about Senator Evan Bayh’s stonewall tactics. This week's GOA Update – last week’s goal of passing a bill in the Senate to protect gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits was partially realized and GOA has an action plan for a clean bill in the House.

It turns out the Kelo/eminent domain decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is being used just as we feared. And last night’s discussion of screenings and searchings inspired me to discover two great things we could to fight terrorism that respect individual rights.

Here's my show archive link, also edited for your listening pleasure.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Links from today's radio show

Ok folks. Here are the links I promised. (The show needs to be edited and will be available soon).

Let's start with the link to the action item shared with you today from Gun Owners of America.
http://www.gunowners.org/a081105.htm Go read it and act -- help protect the gun manufacturing industry from hustler-politicians and their inner-city, gun-control lawsuits.

My new hero, Edward R. Myers, who is Devoted to God, not the Pledge (registration may be required).

No Joy in Juiceville -- yes, I believe there should be open steriod use in baseball!

Global Struggle against Violent Extremism: Marketing Gimmick or Ominous Turn?

The hypnotic mantra -- Iraq is NOT Vietnam, say it again and again until you're convinced. This will allow you to ignore the facts.

Philokalia (4 Volumes) -- will really deepen your spiritual walk and enhance your prayer life. Learning about the Jesus Prayer, from the perspective of ancient Eastern Orthodox monastic tradition.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Six hours of Jim Babka ON AIR (July 16, 17, 23, 24)

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve begun taking the considerable trouble of editing the shows so you don’t have to listen to all the commercials. Not sure how long I can keep this up. As you can see, it delays getting the shows posted. (I’m just looking for excuses).

For the third week in a row, I guest-hosted The Harry Browne Show. I had two callers and four emails. Topics covered: The neo-conservative Empire is crumbling; the Bush hypocrisy of condemning “torture chambers;” continued discussion of why the Constitution isn’t the best tool for selling small government; ACTION ITEMS = Patriot Act, Snitch Drug Bill, and CAFTA; also discussed disinformation campaign about health supplements. Also dealt with an unusual objection to Read the Bills.

Listen to hour one here and hour two here.

Then on my show the next day, I continued the Constitution survey and discussed the CAFTA Action Item and the health supplement disinformation campaign. Explained why I oppose CAFTA even though other free-market activists support it. The GOA Update was a Larry Pratt piece on a clever way to confound and drive gun-controllers out of a “free state.”

Regarding the Supreme Court, discussed why Ann Coulter was right about retiring Justice O’Connor (even if Ann does use a broomstick for transportation), and why I’m not the least bit interested in who the replacement will be. Oh, and I responded once again, this time doing a better job, to a rare objection to the Read the Bills Act.

I closed the show with a very unique question about Bono and African “debt forgiveness.” For this show I had no callers, and one email. But I didn’t care, I was on a roll!

You can listen to that episode of the Culture Repair Show here.

Then, the following week, I guest-hosted Harry Browne’s show again. The show was a somber one, and was dedicated to Harry Browne, who is quite sick and in the hospital, and to my father, for this would’ve been his 67th birthday. Consistent with that somber note, I talked about the war – particularly conservative Christian support of it. I contend that both the cruel War on Drugs and our failed foreign policy/the War in Iraq exist because they are supported by Christians. If these folks lived by their theology, then both wars would come to an end.

Laurence Vance, LewRockwell.com columnist and author of Christianity and War was my guest. We had six callers. Of all the shows I’ve done this far, I am proudest of this one (though the Chris Rufer interview was pretty-stellar as well) in that they provided information, in both a thorough and adult fashion, that you won’t get anywhere else, and the callers that responded contributed to the quality of the show.

Quality, educational listening is available at these links: First Hour & Second Hour.

And then, the next day I did more on the War on Drugs and THE War, particularly in Iraq – “War is the health of the State.” I covered things we didn’t have time to cover including, the horror of war, the moral arguments against the war on drugs and the war in Iraq. My GOA Update was an action item on Democrat/Gun controllers about to load up a pro-gun bill with anti-gun amendments. I had one email and two callers, including my most fun, confrontational, hysterical caller in the show’s short history.

I closed the show by giving reasons to be hopeful – how the nanny/warfare state is crumbling right now! And you can listen to this show here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Laurence Vance, Christians, and War

Laurence Vance appeared on The Harry Browne Show when I guest-hosted on July 23. I said that by Monday I’d have the articles he’s written about Christians and War posted here. That would’ve been July 25th. Well, as this tardy blogger is getting used to saying, “Better late than never!”

The following list of articles is something with which every serious, God-fearing person should invest the time to read. If you think George W. Bush is a good Christian man and you support the war, and you haven’t read these articles, then I boldly say, you just haven’t thought about this issue Biblically yet. Yes, I meant that!

Here they are…

Think Christian was the piece that finally prompted me to call Vance and request an interview. In this piece he asks Evangelicals to do something truly novel – think! The thesis to this piece is that while the President (whom he quotes directly) elevates the military to “holy sacrosanct reverence,” it’s not a place you’d want to send your kids if your concerned about their mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

Throughout the show I quoted from Are You A Christian Warmonger?, while taking a page from Jeff Foxworthy. I would say, “You might be a Christian Warmonger if you believe…” and then I’d insert one of the 20 statements offered by Mr. Vance. The sad thing is, I’ve heard nearly everyone of them from my Christian friends.

Easily Vance’s two most provocative pieces (and for that reason, very important) are Should a Christian Join the Military and God Bless Our Troops?, in which Vance asks the pointed question, “Why should He?”

Here are a bunch of his other articles.

Christianity and War – the one that started it all and eventually led to a book.

Falwell’s Folly – February 2004 column responding to Jerry Falwell’s audaciously titled WorldNetDaily article, “God is pro-war,” suggesting that President Bush’s invasion of Iraq was Biblical.

The U.S. Global Empire and Guarding the Empire was an analysis of troop placement and strength, demonstrating that we were the largest empire in world history and true hegemonic power.

Christian Killers? – is it a contradiction in terms?

Christianity and War Revisited – just what is Vance’s new book about?

One wonders what Bible the aforementioned Christian Warmongers are reading? Perhaps these are their favorite passages: The Warmonger’s Beatitudes and The Warmonger’s Psalm.

The Christianity of George WMD Bush is a fruit inspection, as in, “by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Last but not least, two more articles that are longer essays that I highly recommend.

The Horrors of War documents just how awful, not glorious, war really is. Why would anyone want this?

And Vance’s very best work – his most original, in my opinion – is Charles Spurgeon on Christian War Fever. Baptists and Calvinists should take special note. The greatest Baptist preacher of all-time, was prolific on the subject of war and Christian support of “war fever.” Hint: He thought both were very terrible and un-Christian. [But then again, Spurgeon smoked cigars and enjoyed finer adult beverages, so what did he know? {Funny the things that twist Evangelical’s panties these days!}].

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