by baldilocks

By now, everyone knows that a woman was beheaded in a Moore, NolenOklahoma workplace by a Muslim–one who was terminated from that same workplace for proselytizing there. It also appears that this Muslim–Alton Alexander Nolen aka Ja’Keem Yisrael–was a repeat felon. None of his felonies were nearly as violent as the act he committed against Colleen Hufford (murdered) and Traci Johnson (critically injured). (Ms. Johnson might have been beheaded also, were it not for Mark Vaughn, who ended this particular jihad by shooting Nolen three times. This is Oklahoma we’re talking about, after all)

It’s interesting to speculate as to the spiritual path on which Nolen traveled. He was a felon, but only a small-time one. Drug felonies, mostly, and the worst thing he did before the murder was to seriously injure an OK sate trooper while resisting arrest. That, in itself, is bad enough. But the beheading is a giant leap into criminality…or, rather, a giant descent.

Roger L. Simon asks whether our prisons have become jihad factories. It is a rhetorical question, to be sure. Muslims have been actively proselytizing and gaining prison converts for decades. I’m guessing that the most famous one was Malcolm X, who converted in the late 1950s. Nolen reportedly converted to Islam a few years back during one of his stays in prison.

The Apostle Paul said that each individual is always heading in a singular direction–either to Heaven or to Hell–and that every step that each of us takes is one step toward the final destination. I submit that Nolen took one huge step toward his when he converted to Islam–an ideology which exhorts its believers to, first, invite infidels to convert, then give them a choice between converting and being beheaded.

The murder is merely a beacon as to where Nolen’s final rest might be.

I say “might” because Nolen is still breathing. Some might say, unfortunately, but because he is still breathing, their is a chance that he can make a 180-degree spiritual turn. (Just to be clear, this is not a commentary on any earthly penalties which he will likely pay.)

Along this train of thought, I began to think about Christians who minister to prisoners. I don’t know whether Christian prison ministries have a higher or lower “success rate” than do their Islamic counterparts, but I don’t think it matters. What I do think matters: that we Christians pray for and support those who go into the earthly dens of iniquity and tell the captives of sin how to get free.

And we should also pray for the captives themselves; that they will hear and heed the voice of God the Father. And that they will do so before their Enemy–and ours–leads them to a fate worse than death.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep them going and the COFFEE to keep her going!

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While Venezuela, at one time arguably the richest country in the region, sells itself to Cuba and careens into disaster, and Argentina, another has-been, defaults yet again, it is easy to despair about the state of things in our hemisphere.

It comes as a relief to read about the Pacific Alliance, a common market in the making between Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Do not confuse the Pacific Alliance with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an ambitious, 21st century trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam).

The Pacific Alliance is about getting things done, with the presidents of the four countries attending meetings with specific statements and detailed timelines to advance agreed-upon goals (emphasis added):

Also in contrast to the underlying purpose of other groupings—including economic blocs such as Mercosur—Pacific Alliance members have achieved consensus on a model of economic and political integration aimed at attracting investment and creating export platforms for the global market. All have opted for a pragmatic relationship structured around bilateral free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the U.S., the EU and Asian countries.

The Pacific Alliance is perceived as a geopolitical counterweight to ideological and political trends on display in countries ranging from Brazil to Venezuela. It looks outward, acting in some ways like a free-trade zone (through the several bilateral accords among its members). But it is also oriented toward promoting greater cooperation and partnership among member countries. Another key objective is facilitating entry into the Asian market and, particularly, creating greater bargaining power than any of the individual countries could muster separately when approaching China. At the same time, the Pacific Alliance seeks a competitive edge for its members when competing with Asian countries for trade with the U.S. by providing better—and cheaper—products.

Last March I wrote about Vice-President Biden’s meetings with the four Pacific Alliance presidents.

Now in New York for the UN General Assembly, the presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru issued a joint article , Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru: Better Together summarizing the Alliance’s purpose (emphasis added),

We firmly believe that the main purpose of the Pacific Alliance is to improve the welfare of all our citizens through the promotion of growth and economic development, and the improvement of the competitiveness of our economies.

Among the measures: reviewing foreign investment laws so they are more attractive to foreign companies, agreeing on zero percent tariffs for 90 percent of traded goods, cooperating on environmental and social issues and scientific and technological innovation, police and customs cooperation to track cross-border criminal activity.

The Alliance has many challenges ahead, not the least of which involve political populist tendencies among their leaders, but, considering what it has accomplished on its first three years, that’s pretty good news to celebrate.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by baldilocks

The following text is the first part of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The last time that I reminded readers of its existence was in 2011, when President Obama decided, without congressional authority, to pull the rug out from under Muammar Qaddafi.

PURPOSE AND POLICY

SEC. 2. (a) It is the purpose of this joint resolution to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgement of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicate by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations.

(b) Under article I, section 8, of the Constitution, it is specifically provided that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution, not only its own powers but also all other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

There are some who dispute the constitutionality of the Act, but I don’t think it matters anymore. I don’t think that President Obama ever got the approval of Congress for the incursion in Libya and I don’t think he will bother to get one for this war in Syria–which he is pursuing with a coalition of ten nations. Interesting number, that.

What I do expect: more unchecked tyranny by the person in the Oval Office.

Also, there’s this:

17 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.

–Isaiah 17:1-3

It’s fairly certain that I’m not the only one who is a bit unnerved at watching baldilocksbiblical prophecy unfold before my eyes.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep them going and the COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

 

 

 

 

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

It’s been a week for headlines:
Danger at the Southern Border with Islamic terrorists operating in Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez

Eight bodies found after attack on Guinea Ebola education team

Iranians sentenced to 91 lashes for Pharrell ‘Happy’ video
A group of six Iranians is sentenced to six months in prison and 91 lashes for releasing a music video in which they dance along to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy”

State Dept. Filtered Out Some #Benghazi Documents

Scotland Rejects Independence in Vote, a good thing in my opinion, but the prelude to the vote was fraught with anxiety among many because of national security implications since the UK’s Trident nuclear missile submarines are based in Scotland.

France is ditching the ‘Islamic State’ name — and replacing it with a label the group hates: “Daesh.”

And on and on.

Mankind has always lived in a state of chaos. The above headlines are examples of contemporary chaos, but one only has to browse through Barbara Tuchman’s excellent book, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century to realize chaos is nothing new.

Whether the chaos is more or less imminent or more or less acute, the truth is that war, disease, and the Seven Deadly Sins (the vices known as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony, not the TV show) are part and parcel of man’s constant struggle on earth.

But so is gratitude. The dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful,” but I have in mind a more specific form of gratitude.

By gratitude, I mean gratitude for God’s Grace granting us the ability and the strength to rise above our nature, to overcome hurdles, to struggle against evil.

So I today I’m starting the weekend with Psalm 118:24, which opens the Episcopalian Mass on Easter Day:

This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

In times of struggle, Psalm 118 always comes in handy. It is also very timely.

Blogging on politics shall resume shortly.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

While all the headlines about criminal pro players blazed, my sister and I went to see the ultimate football movie, When the Game Stands Tall the other night. The main reasons were that Jim Caviezel stars, and it’s not a chick flick since I hate chick flicks.

Most of the movie takes place on the field. Mind you, I’m a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens (where alumni buy condos with a view of the football field), and my sister’s son and her husband both are avid Miami Dolphins fans (and proud owners of season tickets), but neither one of us is keenly interested in sports.

The movie was fascinating.

Unlike most sports movies, it’s not about an underdog (Rocky, The Champ), charming losers (Tin Cup), or fantasy settings (Field of Dreams), and the hero doesn’t die of a tragic illness (Bang the Drum Slowly, The Pride of the Yankees).

It’s based on the true-life story of high school football coach Bob Ladouceur, who, as the movie blurb says,

took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport.

Ladouceur coached the Spartans to consistently “give a perfect effort from snap to whistle” indeed. The winning streak was an extraordinary accomplishment for any coach, by any standard, but that is not the reason why this film is a must-see.

The reason why this story is so compelling is that Ladouceur leads his team members to live by an ethic that transcends sports:

I have often heard it said that football builds character. I disagree; I believe it reveals character. There are many different people, events, and experiences that contribute to character formation. Every single person at this gathering has a special talent. Mine I think happens to be coaching – many times I wish that I had certain talents my students possess but that’s what God gave me. This point could not be better illustrated that in Jesus parable of the Three Servants in Matthews gospel. In it, a wealthy landowner gave three of his servants a certain sum of money to see what each would do with it. The first two returned the money with profit. They used their courage and ingenuity to parlay their sum into something more. The third hid the money and just returned what he originally received. The landowner didn’t expect much – he just wanted the servants to have the courage to use what talent they had and do something. The key point to the story is and I quote, “The land owner gave to each servant according to his ability.” The assumption here, is that each of us has some sort of ability: talent. Now it’s our responsibility to discover what that is and what’s more, have the courage to use it.

Ladouceur believes in integrity and Christian values as a way of life for each member of his team. As Erik Daniel points out,

Where most high school football movies are about sex, pride, drinking, and disobeying your parents, When The Game Stands Tall stresses the importance of purity, humility, and family.

The film shows the entire team reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison, with reverence, which, as of itself, will probably bring out an atheist hissy fit or two. (That may be why 78% of the audience liked it but only 17% of the critics did at Rotten Tomatoes.)

While the poster tag line reads “It’s not how hard you fall, it’s how you get up”, I also find in When the Game Stands Tall an especially American theme: It’s not just about how you play the game, it’s how you win.

Add to all this a great team of perfectly-cast engaging young actors, and you have a winner.

Go see it.

Rated PG. Suitable for the whole family, but leave the preschoolers home since there’s a shooting, and realistic, rather violent, scenes during the games may frighten some of the youngest viewers.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by baldilocks

In the wake of the thirteenth anniversary of the Islamic attacks of 9/11, I found myself revisiting the stand at the Gates of Vienna. I had already known about the Battle of Vienna, but, in the Baldilocks minipast, I had glossed over the specifics—the pertinent dates of the stand, September 11-12, 1683, and the leadership role that the King of Poland, Jan Sobieski, played.

The battle was won by the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the latter being represented only by the forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (the march of the Lithuanian army was delayed; as a result they arrived in Vienna after it was relieved). The Viennese garrison was led by Ernst Rüdiger Graf von Starhemberg, an Austrian subject of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. The overall command was held by the commander of the Polish forces, the King of Poland, Jan III Sobieski.

As it happens, I am reading—or, rather listening to–Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, which, highlights the attempt of the two to rid Europe of the Poles. Of course, we know that the Poles were not unique in this respect, but the attempt to exterminate the Poles is particularly ironic in light of the role that the 17th century Polish monarch played in protecting Europe from Islam.

All of the European tribes/nation-states were long-standing enemies to each other, and, in fact, resumed their wars following the successful pushback of the Muslims. Indeed, after the death of Jan Sobieski’s successor, Poland fell into civil war, and a century later, Austria, Prussia and Russia partitioned Poland–which only came back into existence in 1918 at the end of World War I.  As I’ve already alluded to, the 20th century incarnations of the latter three nations would do again on September 1, 1939.

But, the point is that the European kingdoms/national entities united to defeat a common foe: Islam. And, they united under a common banner: Christianity. (Sobieski had been asked by Pope Innocent XI to lead the coalition.)

A couple of days ago, I pointed to the role that Islam played—and is still playing–in the fragmentation of the African continent. Islamic slave raiders have been committing a primitive form of genocide against the hundreds of tribes of Africa for 1400 years and many observers have noted how Africans have failed to develop over these same centuries.

But, if we put all of the information together, we can easily see what a difference unity makes.

One set of tribes united against invaders and their continent flourished, in spite of continual internecine wars. Another set of tribes failed to unite against the same invaders and, as a result, the continent became mired in chaos, slavery and death. The other result: the continent was softened up for colonization by any power seeking to do so.

There’s another difference between the two continents in relation to Islamic incursion and it’s a spiritual one.

[To be continued]

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: novel, Internet, blog fees, and COFFEE

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—–>>>>

 

by baldilocks

This post originally appeared at my old blog in 2010–a response to a person who called me “dumb” and implied that IBaldilocks mini was a “traitor to my race” for opposing the building of the Ground Zero Mosque. That may seem ridiculous on its face, but it points to a deeper deception: that Islam is a “black religion” because of its widespread presence on the African continent.

We have seen the actions of groups like Boko Haram and ISIS as they conquer non-Muslims: they murder/castrate the men and boys and sell the women and girls into sex slavery. What fewer people know is that this is a 1400-year pattern for Islamic conquerors. They are merely following their leader.

And what a minority of black Americans know is that, for nearly that entire time period–well before the European slavers and colonialists noticed the continent–black Africa was continually subject to this Islamic onslaught, with the usual choice offered.  

One might call Islam “Africa’s death,” regardless of the choice each individual black African has made.

In 2008, I posted the following video via YouTube. It had been part of a series which exposed the truth about the Islamic Civilization with special emphasis on the horrors of the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade.  My intent was to counter the exhortations of Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and the like-minded who continue to excoriate America and the rest of Western Civilization for past sins against black African Slaves and Americans of African descent.

Continue reading “The Other Black Genocide”

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

According to many Obama supporters, pretty much all criticism of Obama is racist; you can add the New York Times, that arm of the VRWC (Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy) to the racist list: Today they have Bruce Ackerman in the op-ed page,
Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution

PRESIDENT OBAMA’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.

That was the opening salvo; Ackerman ends with,

He is acting on the proposition that the president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has unilateral authority to declare war.

In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold.

You could argue, as some of the NYT commenters, that Obama has not declared that the U.S. is going to war against a nation, just that “We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

Whatever that means.

For now, Obama’s sending only “an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq,” but “these American forces will not have a combat mssion” to fight “terrorists [who] are unique in their brutality.”

John Kerry assures us it’s not war, “it is a major counter-terrorism operation.” David Corn calls it a “nuanced war”.

I guess that explains why the Turks, the Germans, and the Brits are not joining in Obama’s broad coalition of partners. Germany will provide support to the Kurds, but Germany and the UK won’t be providing airpower for American airstrikes. They are not nuanced enough.

Then there’s Obama’s line, delivered with a distinct lack of affect, about

This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.

Yemen and Somalia, two failed, strategically marginal, states, with active untamed insurgencies, while, as Dr. Krauthammer points out,

The Islamic State controls a vast territory in the heart of oil-rich Mesopotamia, threatening everything of importance in the Middle East.

How will this glaring mismatch of ends and means all turn out? As Pete put it,

This is by design because no matter what President Obama and the Democrats say, the only way to beat ISIS is boots on the ground and they know it. However they are determined to avoid that responsibility.

Richard Fernandez is gloomy, “My own view on the matter can be summarized in a word: Libya. Libya on a gigantic scale.”

Clearly, the Islamic State is Islamic. What is not clear is whether the Commander in Chief realizes that the Constitution does not grant him unilateral authority to declare war . . . because, nuanced or not, war is war.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by baldilocks

If your mother tells you that she loves you, get a second source.baldilocks
–Anonymous
The Ray Rice abuse video is being cast in many ways: his fault, her fault, the NFL’s fault, male abusers, female abusers, disparity in punishment between male and female aggressors, blah, blah, blah. Assuming that the Rices get the earthly penalties they deserve and the mental help they need, these opinions are less important than a long-term malaise demonstrated by the reaction to the Rices’ mini-drama.

Let’s roll the “tape.”

The very first incident in the video is committed by Ray Rice. He spits on his then-fiancee. The woman responds by slapping Rice on the face. Then, in the elevator, he spits on her again, enraging her. She begins to hit him again, and, in response, Rice cold-cocks her.

We don’t know what happened before, and, really, who cares? The court of public opinion goes by what it sees and hears…or, sometimes, what it fails to discern. And, this court is as faulty as more formal courts. This isn’t a surprise nor it should it be. All human endeavor is bound to have faults. (Thanks, Adam.)
The more alarming thing about the Rice situation is this: how effectively a group opinion can be formed without that opinion being based on the entirety of objective evidence. No matter how many times this happens, I am amazed by it each and every time.
In this case, many are asserting that Mrs. Rice was the aggressor due to the fact that the initial spit from Mr. Rice was missed. (Full disclosure: I missed it also, until someone pointed it out.) But, here’s the point: many are ignoring the truth of what the video reveals, in spite of the evidence.
As a Christian, I’m mindful of the fact that the Enemy roams the earth as a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour via his favorite tactic: deception. I’ve been fooled before and it will probably happen again. That’s the value of prayer, however, and thinking situations through.
Pride, anger, outrage–or even the erroneous assertions of trusted friends–can distort reality. Whether it’s about some sick relationship between a professional athlete and his spouse or about the larger troubles plaguing our country, the truth should be the most important factor.
This little soap opera is a test-case from the Father of Lies.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014.  Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

With apologies to Carter G. Woodson. This essay was originally posted as a Facebook note on June 24, 2010. SinceBaldilocks mini it’s getting some recent attention over there, I figured that it could use some attention here.

by baldilocks

Reading as a pair of acquaintances had a back-and-forth about American and Russian literature got me to thinking about how we Americans—especially those of us who attended urban inner-city public schools–have been short-changed with respect to our formal primary and secondary education. From that train of thought, I began to muse on how many of us black Protestant Christians have been cheated in the same manner. Continue reading “The Mis-Education of the American Christian Negro”