Truth is the beginning of wisdom…

Archive for the ‘Social Concerns’ Category


Posted by straight shooter on December 24, 2011 under Economy, Political, Social Concerns

This is a report written in 2004 but keep in mind the monetary marker that indicates poverty level has increased to

The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

  • Fortysix percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a threebedroom house with oneandahalf baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Seventysix percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than twothirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly threequarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
  • Ninetyseven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • Seventyeight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • Seventythree percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

Read article here.

Barack Obama’s “America [Must] Serve” Plan

By Scott Shields
Published 03/19/2010

Throughout Barack Obama’s campaign for president, he expressed his desire to increase community service in America. He outlined his plan, called “America Serves,” on, the website that provided details of his presidential agenda and transition. A screen-shot of America Serves is still available at

President Obama’s plan for community service is now described as a part of the White House’s agenda, and is outlined at

The introductory paragraph for America Serves on the original presidential transition website read as follows:

When you choose to serve – whether it is your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood – you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That’s why it’s called the American dream.

I also am a strong believer in community service, and I volunteer my time for multiple causes. (One could argue that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is not simply an American ideal, but that the Founding Fathers believed the Creator endowed all men with those rights, as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, but that may be splitting hairs.)

After that lofty introduction, however, details for Obama’s plan are listed. Details that, when analyzed, are not so inspiring; nor would the Founding Fathers be thrilled that their words were associated with it. President Obama informs us that he will “call on” Americans to serve. In Obama’s world, however, “call on” does not mean “ask” – it means “require.”

Children will be “required” to give 50 hours of community “service” in middle school and high school. An “energy-focused” youth-jobs program will “provide disadvantaged youth with … getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields.”

My immediate thought is that maybe – just maybe – I might have a better sense of whether my preteen or teenage child should be performing community service, or whether he might have other needs that require time spent elsewhere. Maybe I’ve had to hire a tutor to help him, or maybe he needs to watch a younger sibling after school. Maybe we have only one car and have limited ability to take him to and from the place of community service.

Regardless of the circumstances, I do not want the government reaching into our home and giving us another mandate about how to raise children.

College conscripts

One section of the America Serves plan indicates that President Obama will “require” 100 hours of service in college. Like many of the statements candidate Obama made and President Obama has made, it is not quite true. College students will actually be required to give 100 hours per year of college. A student who attends four years of college (the most common duration) will have a burden of 400 hours.

In exchange for the 100-hours-per-year commitment, President Obama proposes an American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000 a year.

A tax credit is a curious compensation vehicle for college students because the vast majority do not generate sufficient income to take full – or even partial – advantage of that tax credit. Perhaps he envisions that the tax credit will carry forward for future years, but is that not simply a payment for services? And how can a program be called “public service” when the “service” is required and is compensated? I would like to know how that differs from requiring every college student to be a federal-government employee.

But the federal government’s intervention into college and universities does not end with mandatory conscription of every student. America Serves also calls for “at least” 25 percent of College Work-Study funds to “support public-service opportunities instead of jobs in dining halls and libraries.” [Emphasis mine.]

The height of arrogance, but typical. The government is, apparently, not only entitled to intervene in the operations of a university, but also feels that at least 25 percent of work-study jobs are simply not needed. After all, colleges don’t need fully staffed dining facilities and libraries, do they? Or, perhaps, those jobs really are needed — in which case the colleges will simply have to hire workers to replace the work-study students the government has decreed should not be toiling in demeaning positions in cafeterias and libraries.

Retiring Americans will also be “engaged” to participate in America Serves. (The language is unclear whether “engaged” means “invited to volunteer” or is Obama-speak and participation will be mandatory.)

Note, also, that referring to “retiring” (not “retired”) Americans leaves open the possibility of similarly conscripting those Americans who may still be working full-time, raising children, supporting their parents, et cetera. After all, many “retiring” Americans are looking to at least 15 years of working before being eligible for Social Security benefits. (Wouldn’t paying Social Security taxes be considered “serving your community”?)

Slavery is not freedom

Thus, President Obama manages to invoke the lofty principles of the Declaration of Independence (“life, liberty, pursuit of happiness”) and infuse them with the exact opposite meaning: mandatory government labor. This written sleight-of-hand is a clever – though Orwellian – act of commingling the idea of forced labor and the warm glow of patriotism and humanity. Nevertheless, it will take a more profound man of letters to convince me that forced labor promotes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And forced labor is what it is. For how else do you refer to mandatory community service? Sure, Obama may declare that “your” community service could be configured how you want – if you’re a college student in a pre-med program, for example, you could serve in a hospital. If you are a high-school student and want to work with your hands, you could serve with a carpenter.

But what if your schedule is jam-packed with school, sports, and a paid part-time job? What activity will you curtail to meet your “civic duty”?

And what if someone refuses to participate in America Serves? Saying “no” to the government is not like saying “no” to a boss or to a teacher; it is not like saying “no” when asked to volunteer your time to a cause or an organization. Sure, saying “no” to a boss or teacher has negative consequences, but saying “no” to the government is almost never an option. (If you doubt that, try saying “no” to the IRS, a judge, or a police officer.) Having a monopoly on legalized violence means never having to accept “no” for an answer – whether or not it is unfair to the citizen.

Most galling of all Obama thinks he and the government have a right to take decision-making out of students’, parents’, and professionals’ hands, and to insist that the government has a claim on their time because it knows best. Many people choose not to perform community service, but Obama does not respect that decision; rather, he believes that community service provides such great benefits to society that individual decisions not to participate have no legitimacy.

One of the benefits of voluntary community service is the opportunity to willingly help others less fortunate or to promote a cause about which one feels so passionate that he offers his most valuable asset – his time. In return, the volunteer can take great pride in knowing he has done something worthwhile.

But can psychic benefit be achieved if the person is forced to assist others, or forced to select a cause to promote? There is just as much potential to feel that the activity is punishment – as if the “volunteer” is a cog in nothing more than a glorified chain gang.

I have no doubt that some children and adults would benefit from being exposed to the kinds of undertakings America Serves might promote and from participating in them. However, to subject all affected Americans to the program for the possibility that some may derive benefit is the same thinking that has led to all Americans’ paying taxes to support pet projects of some members of Congress.

In a very real sense, how is mandatory, government-enforced service any different from slavery? In both situations, you do not have a choice about whether to participate – you must participate with minimal (if any) recompense.

Murray Rothbard describes involuntary servitude in his classic discussion of individual rights, For a New Liberty:

[What] is slavery but (a) forcing people to work at tasks the slavemaster wishes, and (b) paying them either pure subsistence or, at any rate, less than the slave would have accepted voluntarily. In short, forced labor at below free-market wages.

Obama would counter that, under America Serves, Americans will have a multitude of choices to fulfill their obligation. But that is a specious argument, because the most important choice – whether or not to participate – is not an option. Just consider America Serves to be cafeteria-style involuntary servitude.

[Can you once again say socialism?]


Posted by straight shooter on February 16, 2010 under Abortion, General, Social Concerns

Planned Abortionhood slithers into Haiti to capitalize on its lucrative pastime of killing babies with relief funds donated to major organizations like UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  Find other good organizations to give to that will get the relief fund to the people for what it was intended. Not the ones in this article.

What is Planned Parenthood really doing in Haiti?

Charlie Butts – OneNewsNow – 2/14/2010 4:15:00

Planned Parenthood International Planned Parenthood has focused on the earthquake in Haiti to raise funds – but for what purpose?

While aid workers continue the hard work of meeting the basic needs of Haitians, International Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are making their presence known. Paul Tuns is editor of The Interim, which bills itself as “Canada’s Life and Family Newspaper.”

“When you dig around and look at [their] website and look at the medical services that they are providing, the priorities that they give are to – quote – “low-cost, quality sexual and reproductive healthcare,” he states.

The pro-life journalist says while Planned Parenthood does not further define on its website and in its literature what that entails, “we know from experience [that it] includes contraceptives, birth control and condoms – and often, but not always, abortion.”

According to Tuns, there has been a call from pro-abortion sources – mostly in Florida – to increase abortion facilities at this time of need. But what Haitian women really need, he explains, is food, water, and shelter, as well as prenatal care, quality delivery services, and post-natal care. He cautions people about the groups they give money to for aid and relief.

“Groups such as UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross are all clearly involved with either doing abortions, promoting sterilization, or working with groups that do abortions,” he shares.

Tuns says Samaritan’s Purse and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief are just two of the Christian-based relief organizations that merit pro-life support.


Posted by straight shooter on February 11, 2010 under Education, General, Religion, Social Concerns

Truth, Love, and Endurance

Dr. King and Christian Activism

As Americans observe Martin Luther King Day today, I am reminded of the rich Christian tradition of activism in this country. For millions of Christians who have gone before us, activism was considered fruit of the faith. Not only was the civil-rights movement led by evangelical Christians like Dr. King, so too were campaigns for abolition and women’s suffrage heavily influenced by Christians expressing their faith.

But for much of the 20th century, Christians – especially white evangelicals – shied away from activism. Part of the reason is that from about the 1920s to the 1970s, many evangelical Christians simply withdrew from the public square. Defeats in Prohibition and the discouraging results of the Scopes trial left many evangelicals disheartened. Soon the rich activist tradition was lost or divorced from true faith.

But in the African-American community, Christian principles and hopes prodded the rise of the civil-rights movement. It was not until the ’80s with the rise of the Moral Majority, that activism began to resurface among white evangelicals. Unfortunately, as Tim Stafford notes in his new book, Shaking the System, by then, “The very idea of Christians advocating for public causes created panic among secularists and dreams of utopia (a long-lost Christian America?) among true believers.”

This is why I like Stafford’s book so much: It draws from the rich history of Christian involvement to revive that lost knowledge of what it looks like to be a Christian activist.

True Christian activism, Stafford writes, always begins with the truth. “That means,” Stafford says, that “the true activist is a witness, anxious to pass on truth to others.” This is how the abolition movement began in the United States. About 30 years before the Civil War, the truth that slavery was a sin began to break through the consciousness of more and more Americans.

Soon all activists, however, learn that not everyone can handle truth. That is why a second thing that any Christian should know about engaging the world with a Christian worldview is to expect resistance. When truth collides with the status quo, Christian activists had better know where their ultimate hope lies.

Christians must also have a strategy for shaking the system: from prayer to dialogue, from political involvement to pressure tactics such as boycotts and strikes.

But above all, like Dr. King, the activist must possess courage and an unyielding faith in the God of justice. Injustice does not loosen its grasp easily. We must be prepared for a long haul, drawing on the rich resources of community and that abiding hope and passion for truth. And we must avoid violence: in our rhetoric and our actions. As Martin Luther King reminded those who gathered at his home after it had been bombed, “Don’t get panicky. … I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love.”

So if the life of an activist holds so much discouragement and risk, why get involved at all? Because a Christian understanding of the world compels us to combat injustice and promote truth. That is a thought worth reflecting on, when we speak of people like Martin Luther King – a man who exhibited those qualities.


Posted by straight shooter on February 11, 2010 under General, Health Care, Sex Trafficking, Social Concerns

Driscoll on Haiti Quake: Sex Trade Occurring in Port-au-Prince

By Michelle A. Vu|Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jan. 20 2010 02:46 PM EDT

Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle landed in “hell” this week where he witnessed a teenage boy shot in the head and a girl sold to an older man. He was in the collapsed city of Port-au-Prince where rubble from former buildings and streets piled with corpses give the impression of an aftermath of a war zone.

Driscoll, along with Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago-area, landed in the capital of Haiti on Monday to assess the situation and needs of Haitian churches and to deliver 1,000 pounds of relief supplies.

On his first day on the ground, Driscoll said he heard a gunshot behind him and when he turn to look he saw a teenage boy immediately killed by a shot to the head. The teenage boy was just a few feet away from a seminary property and next to a makeshift clinic where thousands of people slept outside, Driscoll reported on his Facebook page.

In an interview with USA Today on Tuesday when he returned to America, Driscoll said the boy was murdered “for no apparent reason. He was just shot in the head and left in the street.”

Fears of violence, looting, and chaos in the aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince last Tuesday grew when relief supplies, including food and clean water, could not meet the immediate needs of quake victims.

But the fears somewhat eased Wednesday when U.S. troops provided security for water and food aid deliveries.

In addition to concerns of unrest due to shortage in relief supplies, aid agencies are also concerned about the some 4,000 criminals that escaped from prisons after the earthquake struck.

“It gets too dangerous,” said Remi Rollin, a private security guard hired by a shopkeeper to prevent looting, to CBS News. “After sunset, police shoot on sight.”

There are about 12,000 U.S. military personnel on the ground in Haiti, and the U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed this week to temporarily add 2,000 U.N. troops and 1,500 police to the 9,000-member peacekeeping force in Haiti.

Besides being troubled by the security situation, Driscoll also confronted an incident he believed to be part of the sex trade in Haiti’s capital amid the wreckage.

“If u want a phone, cigarettes or a teenage girl you can get them here in Port au Prince,” Driscoll tweeted. “Like the American who said he’s on a relief mission and bought a hungry girl despite our confrontation.”

The pastor elaborated in the USA Today interview that a man pushing a cart while selling cell phones, cigarettes “and a few young girls” asked Driscoll, “You want to buy loving?”

Another man, who claimed to be a translator for a relief agency, negotiated with the seller on a price for a young girl.

“I (Driscoll) asked him what he was trying to do,” the American pastor recalled. “He said, ‘Oh, she’s a friend of mine. We’re just trying to connect.’

“That’s ridiculous. A young girl. A man 20 or 30 years older. I told him this was unacceptable. MacDonald confronted him, too. But there were no police and you could argue all you wanted but the girl took his money and they walked away.”

Driscoll plans to report the American man, and submit his photo, to the relief agency he supposedly works for, according to USA Today.

MacDonald and Driscoll are part of a new effort called Churches Helping Churches, which led them to travel to Haiti this week. The initiative seeks to address the immediate and long-term needs of churches affected by disasters. Many times churches provide social services – such as health care, humanitarian aid and education – to the local communities, so rebuilding local churches would help address the communities’ practical as well as spiritual needs.


Posted by straight shooter on December 27, 2009 under General, Political, Sex Trafficking, Social Concerns

First the Obama administration backed off on prosecuting pornography and drug use, and now it’s hoping to ease restrictions on international sex trafficking.  With barely a peep from the press, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is trying to overturn a key policy of PEPFAR-the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.  Under this new rule, the countries that receive HIV/AIDS dollars under PEPFAR would no longer have to oppose prostitution and sex trafficking-which was a condition of the funding under President Bush.

Since 2003, PEPFAR has been one of the most successful initiatives launched by the U.S. government to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa.  It was initially passed in 2003 with the anti-sex trafficking provision, and both were reauthorized last year.  Every time this program comes before Congress, anti-prostitution organizations have fought to ensure that your taxpayer dollars wouldn’t flow to organizations that promote the trafficking of human beings.

Apparently, the Obama administration thinks that position is too restrictive.  Instead of protecting the most vulnerable, this President is trying to relax the rules for groups that exploit women and children!  Not only is prostitution associated with several health, emotional, and physical risks, but it’s also one of the leading causes of HIV/AIDS in these regions.  Some reports estimate that close to 70% of prostitutes in certain areas are infected with this disease.  Of course, this begs the question: Why would we fund the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa if our own policy is promoting it?

Senator Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) ability to sway all 60 Democratic Senators to vote for his health care bill monstrosity wasn’t an exploit of legislative prowess-but taxpayer-funded bribery. On the heels of the “Louisiana Purchase,” a deal that saw Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) pocket $300 million in pork, Senator Reid stuffed billions more into the Democrats’ stockings in exchange for their crucial Sunday night vote. In the leadership’s edition of “Let’s Make a Deal,” Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebr.) was the biggest winner of all. While Americans in the other 49 states will have to pick up the tab for the bill’s expansion in Medicaid, the Nebraska Democrat made sure his state got off scot-free. He traded in his pro-life scruples for a guarantee that the Cornhuskers will never pay a cent toward the government’s plan. And for what? An abortion “compromise” that may actually be worse than the actual bill.

Under Senator Nelson’s opt-out plan, states can refuse to offer abortion coverage-but their taxpayers will still be subsidizing the states that don’t! Meanwhile, the senators from Vermont and Massachusetts watched the Nebraska deal unfold and decided to negotiate for something similar. All together, these statewide exemptions could cost a minimum of $1.2 billion! Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida all protected their Medicare programs from cuts, while other states will have to find ways to manage with the scaled-back program in the underlying legislation.

Also, Senators Nelson and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) have made sure that certain insurance companies in their states are off the hook from a new $7 billion dollar tax. On page 328 of Senator Reid’s manager’s amendment, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), the master of illicit sweetheart deals, got his kickback-a $100 million bonus for the University of Connecticut to do with whatever they want. A staunch supporter of the public option, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) was “persuaded” to drop his concerns after Senator Reid offered his state a $10 billion grant for “community health centers”-money that could easily be funneled to facilities that perform abortions. Playing hard-to-get certainly has its advantages in this new political climate.

Yesterday, some of the Democrats who didn’t get the same incentives are kicking themselves. When Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) couldn’t get past the reporters swarming Ben Nelson on her way to the cloture vote, she quipped, “I know I’m not as important as Senator Nelson. I didn’t get the money for my state. I was too stupid.” To read more about how this bill could destroy American medicine, check out this excellent op-ed from Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, ” Change Nobody Believes In.” We do have one quibble with the article though. Senator Nelson might think he got abortion restrictions (he didn’t), but even he admits he isn’t quite sure.

The UN has in front of them the Defamation of Religions Resolution which it plans to introduce later this year. Everyone should be in opposition to this resolution.

The Defamation of Religions Resolution seeks to criminalize words or actions against the religion of Islam as attacks. As incredible as it sounds, passing this resolution could allow a Christian to be persecuted under UN approval. You need to voice your protest of this resolution.

This resolution seeks to protect the Islamic religion instead of individuals who hold other religious beliefs. The result is that this resolution gives UN sanction to Muslim majority countries to persecute Christians and other religious minorities for not sharing the same beliefs as Muslims. It also provides legitimacy to these countries’ blasphemy laws which are often used to accuse, imprison, and even murder Christians.

While Defamation of Religions Resolutions have been introduced and passed in previous years, causing many Christians to lose their lives, it is up again this year for re-authorization. Policy experts at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom believe there is an opportunity to defeat it this year.This resolution needs to be defeated as a human rights issue.


Maine Stands UpAfter weeks of parading around Maine as the faces of compassion and normalcy, the masks of same-sex “marriage” have finally come off. So have the gloves. After Tuesday’s defeat, homosexual activists are shocked, they’re angry, and now they are determined to make the voters pay.

In a new campaign, the people of Maine Marriage Equality have decided to unleash some California-style harassment on the churches that publicly sided with traditional marriage … Question 1. Ever the sore losers, the Left is calling on it’s supporters to file IRS complaints against any house of worship that supported marriage as God intended it. Intimidation is what they do best, and Maine Equality is hoping to show off those talents by stripping Maine churches of their tax-exempt status. Fortunately it is completely within a church’s legal rights to preach on social issues, particularly as they pertain to Scripture.

Once again, liberal extremists are showing that this debate isn’t about tolerance – but domination. It’s not about the freedom to marry – it’s about losing the freedom to speak publicly about your beliefs. That’s why liberals so intent on publishing the names of donors and supporters of marriage initiatives. They want to exact a steep price for any opposition to their agenda. At the very least, this vicious intolerance should show congregations that what’s at stake in this fight is nothing less than their liberty.

Kudos to the people of Maine.


Posted by straight shooter on October 22, 2009 under Drugs, General, Political, Social Concerns

Employees at the Justice Department must have a lot of time on their hands now that the Obama administration has stopped prosecuting obscenity and marijuana use. Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that enforcing federal drug laws isn’t a “priority” for this President. The debate is over 14 states, which, in contradiction to U.S. law, allow patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Under the Bush administration, the DOJ didn’t target the sick, but it did clamp down on “larger operations that were selling marijuana for recreational use.” Obama has abandoned that approach and made it easier for criminals to sell to anyone – so long as they claim to produce medical marijuana. In states that do allow it, medical marijuana has opened the door to “pot clinics” that prescribe weed for everything from sleeplessness to stress … an any excuse will do to smoke pot mentality. But despite its so-called benefits, medical marijuana is even opposed by the American Medical Association. After all, what kind of doctor would prescribe smoking as a legitimate treatment for anything?Government Marijuana