September 24, 2012

If you really want to impress me, feed the poor


It never ceases to amaze me how often we forget the simplest, most basic lessons we learned as children. Most of the problems we have in modern America occur because those of us who claim to be the servants of Christ don't serve anyone but ourselves. It does not matter which political party you vote for, which church you attend, what day of the week you celebrate the Sabbath on, or how many feasts and holy days you celebrate throughout the year. Generosity and compassion are NOT defined by how you vote or what you believe, they are defined by how you live!

Luke 10:25-37
New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The American atheists are right about one thing: too many Christians are judgmental, condescending, and selfish. We build huge megachurches, boast about attendance at our exclusive private schools, treat the homeless with disdain, and rely on our elected representatives to either clean them off the streets or provide shelters for them to live in. The American political system was designed around the assumption that most social ills would be the responsibility of the churches and the people who filled them. Christian charity was supposed to feed the poor, house the homeless, and help the unfortunate get back on their feet. About the only organizations that are still fulfilling this sacred duty are Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross. In contrast, Joel Osteen and people like him preach victory and prosperity but they don't build hospitals, fund free clinics, and support soup kitchens. Instead, the "tithe" people send them builds bigger studios, funds better production quality, and buys airtime in major cities to help them raise even more money to fund the luxurious lifestyle of the evangelist and his closest staff.

St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Shriners Children's Hospital, the Wounded Warrior Project, Ronald McDonald House are all making a huge difference in countless lives and they are doing it without federal grants or any other government money. Yet operations like "Code Pink", "Media Matters", "Planned Parenthood" and "Open Society Institute", all of which claim to be building a better world, would not last six months without billions of dollars in monies from all levels of government!

It really makes me angry when people online start demanding I abide by the dictates of their particular brand of Christianity, fail to gaze in devotion on their favorite televangelist, or refuse to acknowledge any intelligence and logic in their arguments in favor of big government and massive official poverty assistance. None of this garbage (for indeed it is pure garbage!) changes reality in any favorable way.

Who impresses me with their Christian service?
Catholic Charities, that's who!

Who impresses me with their global inclusiveness?
Red Cross/Red Crescent, that's who!

Who impresses me with their walking in the light of scripture?
The Freemasons and their Shriner hospitals, that's who!

I'll buy a new Toby Keith album (even if I don't like it!) long before I will invest a single penny in any "gospel" performer or "Christian" rock band. Do you know why? Because a pretty fair portion of the money earned by Red Solo Cup (a truly awful song!) goes straight into the Wounded Warrior project.

So if you really want to convince me that you know the truth of the universe and are working for the forces of good, then show me by how you live, where you spend your money, and which charities you support. Being an Assistant-Assistant-Pastor-to-the-Evangelism-Committee-of-Gigantic-Megachurch-of-Health-Wealth-and-Happiness will make me laugh in your face the moment you start quoting Bible passages at me in order to convince me how righteous your view of reality is. If you want me to believe your version of the Gospel, start by spending every Friday night working at the local homeless shelter. Now, that would impress me.



September 22, 2012

Taxmagedon


Read. Learn. Remember on November 6th: Countdown to Taxmageddon


September 20, 2012

The 2012 Obama campaign is getting a bit creepy


I don't know about anyone else, but these graphics creep me out completely. There are echoes here of National Socialism in 1938, and Stalin's World War II propaganda posters. Not to mention Revelation 13:16!


Is this a presidential campaign or a personality cult? Is Obama running for president or trying to establish a new religion? Are his supporters trying to build a better America or a New Jerusalem? Maybe I'm being paranoid, but these graphics reek of Robert Heinlein's Nehemiah Scudder.


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Update on September 23, 2012:

Someone created this and posted it on Facebook where it has begun circulating among conservatives. It reflects perfectly what I see happening with the Obama campaign.



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Update on January 22, 2013:

A collection of bizarre cover photos that came out just a few days before Barack Obama's second inaugural address.


September 19, 2012

The Scandalous Mitt Romney Fundraiser Video


The news wires are abuzz once again. It began with a secretly recorded video of a Romney fundraiser:

Mother Jones: Complete Romney Fundraiser Video Part One
Mother Jones: Complete Romney Fundraiser Video Part Two

During the course of that video he notes a key reality that every Republican candidate for the Presidency must face: 47% of Americans live in poverty, receive money directly from the government, and pay no income tax. Half of our country is dependent on the government for their daily bread and butter, their iPhone (which all of them miraculously seem to be able to afford), their iPod, their XBox (why do they all love the XBox?), and the rent for whatever hovel they live in until they get kicked out for spending their rent allowance on drugs and booze instead of rent. These are the so-called "working poor", many of whom don't work, some of whom live off of illegal drug sales, and the vast majority of whom believe the world owes them food, shelter, and entertainment. I know these people because I grew up one. I had one strike always against me, however, I was Caucasian. The underlying assumption behind every single government assistance program is that if you are white you don't need help!

I was denied Pell grants, I paid higher interest on my Student Loans, I was denied survivor's Social Security, I was denied everything I applied for until finally in an act of desperation I joined the Army just to insure I had food and shelter without going to prison. In the Army I learned the value of discipline. I learned self-reliance. I learned that if I was in trouble no one was coming to rescue me. I learned that the only way to survive was to get off my ass and take care of myself.

I got married while I was in the Army to a wonderful Japanese woman who a few years before had come to my high school as an exchange student. In short, I married my high school sweetheart. We moved to Japan after I finished my four-year enrollment. We lived in Tokyo where I worked full-time as an English Teacher, went to school full-time at Sophia University, and raised two sons. When one of my sons developed Perthes disease. Someone had to be home to take care of him, so I quit work and my wife went on to great success in the financial industry. We paid our own bills, including the bill for my son's treatment. Granted, Japan does have nationalized health insurance, but there are vast differences between this genuine national health insurance program and the massive wealth redistribution scheme passed under the deceptive name, "Affordable Health Care for America Act". There are way too many differences to go into here. The important point is, my wife and I both paid a substantial premium for Japanese national health insurance. That insurance only covered 70% of the cost of treatment for my son. We paid out of pocket about $25,000 altogether for two surgeries, a wheel chair, rehabilitation, and other direct expenses. If we had not been working there would have been no health insurance, even in Japan.

Now, let me be clear. It has been a long, difficult road to where we are now. My wife is still working in the financial industry which means ten to twelve hours a day five days a week, and often in the evening there are mandatory social events, conference calls from home, and endless piles of vitally important e-mail. She spends a couple of hours every Saturday and Sunday doing company e-mail or working on presentations. When we go on vacation, her work comes with her. If you want to be a highly paid executive you must work every single day of your life until you get there, and once you get there, you work even harder. The work does not end until you retire. If you are truly successful, it doesn't even end there because your company will be calling you up asking for advice and bringing you back into the office occasionally for consulting work. If you are not willing to do the work, then you have no moral or ethical right to be jealous of the income an executive receives. Period.

Some people will rightly point out that my wife is the one who works. Guess again. Remember when my son got sick I had to quit work? I spent fifteen years cleaning house, doing laundry, running errands, cooking meals, helping with homework (when I could, which wasn't often unfortunately), encouraging everyone in the family, and ignoring my own physical and emotional needs in order to insure my wife could concentrate on work and my kids could concentrate on school. Anyone who thinks a homemaker is an easy job either has never been one or has been a lousy one.

Do you know what it really means to be a "conservative"? It means doing what needs to be done every minute of every day irregardless of your own personal desires and needs. Happiness does not come from getting high, getting laid, dancing all night, gambling in casinos, or playing in a rock band every night in smokey bars. Happiness comes from doing what needs to be done and doing it well. Happiness comes from picking yourself up off the ground and getting back at it instead of laying there crying about how hard it all is and how cruelly the world has treated you. Conservatism is the philosophy and lifestyle of taking care of yourself and your little corner of world when everything around you is collapsing into chaos.

And that is the truth this "stealthy, revealing, scandalous" video has brought to light. Mitt Romney is absolutely correct. There are no victims in America! I'm sorry if that offends you, but that is simply the way it is. You are not poor because you're black, because you're a woman, because you lost a leg in a car accident, because your father raped you when you were twelve, or because you lost everything in a tornado. In this country you are only part of the 47% because you have not picked yourself up off the ground and done what needs to be done! So stop whining and start finding a solution. If you think the American way of life has made you a victim then please, move to Canada or France, or the Amazon jungle, or wherever it is you think America should be more like. If you want to vanish into the woods and live off the land there are millions of acres in Canada the government would love to have you come settle on. If you want to spend all day taking drugs and gathering wild foods there are massive empty jungles in South America and Southeast Asia filled with narcotic rich plants and trees that produce fruit all year round.

I spent twenty-five years, basically my entire adult life, in Japan. Japan is a paternalistic society with a strong socialist bend. People expect to work, and they work hard, but they also expect the government to keep prices low, to protect them from disease and crime, and to look over their shoulder every minute of every day to warn them if they are about to make a mistake. Life in Tokyo is a constant barrage of warning lights, announcements, warning signs, loudspeakers advertising everything under the sun, political jingoism, and the ever present eyes of Japanese police patrolling on bicycles, in police cars, and manning police boxes at every train station, most subway stations, and quite a few bus stops. Sometimes I wonder if there are more police officers in Tokyo than there are private citizens. Anyone who thinks America is an oppressive police state should spend a year in Tokyo. Seriously.

The point I am trying to make in all these comparisons is that I am thrilled Mitt Romney's speech at that fundraiser has been made public. I agree with him 100%. I have seen firsthand the kind of socialist utopia Barack Obama and his supporters are trying to build. I hated it so much that once my children no longer needed me I could live there no longer. Not even my love for my wife can overcome the constant stress of life in a paternalistic, big government, hierarchical, socialist utopia. It drove me crazy, quite literally. Four years ago, before I came to Ohio, I was so deeply depressed I was borderline suicidal. I got to the point where I could barely walk outside to run the daily errands. I felt trapped, controlled, excluded, isolated, and alone. Surrounded by 14 million people and still completely, irrevocably alone. That is the life that a socialist utopia provides. It only appeals to people who walk through the day in a cloud of complete, absolute oblivion and self-absorption. It requires a level of narcissism that goes way beyond my own substantial ego and arrogance.

There is nothing on earth more oppressive than a society dedicated to taking care of its people. This is because in order to take perfect care of you that society must control your thoughts, your opinions, and your perspective. If you long to be a mindless automaton in a vast social machine then Barack Obama is your candidate. He'll buy your iPod, your iPhone, your XBox, your food, a rusted out clunker for you to drive, and a cockroach filled apartment for you to live in. He'll give you an allowance to buy a dime bag of crack or pot once a month and blow your mind. If that is the life you desire than by all means, vote a straight Democratic ticket on November 6th.

But if you believe you have the right to make your own choices, to determine your own destiny, and to live your life free from government interference than vote a straight Republican ticket. Yes, there will still be corruption in government. Yes, there will still be obscenely rich people and frighteningly poor people. There will be homeless people living in the shadows of modern skyscrapers in every American city, but instead of 30% vacancy those buildings will be filled with people working. Stay off the drugs, put on some clean clothes, go to night school to learn how to use Microsoft Office, and you could be one of them. If you work hard, treat your colleagues and supervisors with respect, and spend your nights improving your knowledge and skills, then someday you'll be one of the executives on the top floor.

There has not been an election this clear since Ronald Reagan ran against Walter Mondale in 1984, the last election I voted in before going to Japan. Do you want a nation of mindless government dependents or a nation of hardworking office drones? Unfortunately, you can't have both. That is what we have now and it is destroying us. It takes three workers to support one government dependent regardless of whether that dependent in on welfare or is a retiree living off a monthly Social Security check. Either way, it takes three people to generate enough wealth to support that one dependent. That is why our nation is facing $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Too many people who could be working as office drones are living as mindless government dependents.

Flipping burgers at McDonalds might not be glamorous work, but it is work you can take pride in and if you do it well, you can work your way up to managing your own franchise. Making minimum wage as a bank teller is not the job you wanted your college degree to get for you, but if you do it well, great every customer with a smile, and study for an MBA online, then when you are my age you could be the CEO of a global banking giant with invitations to the annual Bilderberg Group meeting. In the America I want to see survive into the future the only person stopping you from joining the global elite is you. The only way for that to happen is to recreate an America where you either starve or you work hard and you succeed. It is not pretty, but at least it is real.

There is an old saying that no one quotes any more, "If you can't beat'em, join'em!" That little proverb is more true now than it has ever been before. So who will you join? The New Republican Party seeking self-sufficiency, freedom from government interference, and genuine liberty or the New Democratic Party seeking big government, massive social support structures, endless debt, and total control over the thoughts and actions of everyday people? You can't have both and unfortunately, there is no compromise. You can be a mindless government dependent or you can be an office drone. One path promises stagnancy, decay, and poverty for all, the other promises hard work, sleepless nights, and wealth unimaginable for the brightest and the luckiest. Myself, I plan to vote a straight Republican ticket. I might wind up starving and living under a bridge, but if I do, I will know it is my own failures that put me there and I can promise you this: I won't be demanding the government come rescue me!



September 18, 2012

Dear Democrats


Dear Democrats: I'm sorry, but your party leaders and elected officials are lying to you.

Daily Caller: Justice Department Regularly Enlists Media Matters to Counter Unfavorable News Stories

--------------------------------------------

Update on September 24, 2012:


September 17, 2012

It's not about "long-standing grievances"


I'm getting really sick and tired of hearing the same idiocy pouring out of the mouths of both professional commentators and analysts with fancy degrees in "international communications". When they go online, write op-eds, or show up on news programs spouting lines about "long-standing grievances in politics and economics" being the foundation of violent, radical protests by Muslims they are not just misinterpreting the reality of the dangers we face they are, in point of fact, dead wrong! This delusional thinking is the reason we have been fighting a world war against radical Islamic terrorists for virtually my entire life!

"Revival" is a condition that sweeps through every religion from time to time. Billy Graham, for example, was the driving force behind the 1960s revival in America that gave us the concept and phrase, "Born Again". Partly in response to Billy Graham and other revivalists holding open air tent meetings in Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia, laws were passed in Muslim countries prohibiting Christian evangelism, sometimes on penalty of death. Places like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt already had such laws so at first it seemed only natural that other Muslim countries would pass similar laws after sweeping Christian revivals threatened to transform their cultural foundations.

Then came the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. This marked the first time communist and jihadi terror groups worked together to carry out an operation outside of Israel. German neo-nazi's also assisted. The 1972 Olympic massacre saw neo-nazis, communists, and jihadis all working together openly. This was the first time, but it was not the last time, for this unholy alliance of collectivists to execute violent acts against innocents. This same alliance came into play to support Timothy McVeigh, the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing, and numerous other acts of terrorism. More often than not, if radical Islamists are doing the dying, radical communists or neo-nazis or both are providing funding, logistics, planning, and transportation. Not always, of course. Sometimes the background support is provided by Iran, North Korea, China, or some combination of the three. Pakistan's ISI is often working behind the scenes to support those attacks that take place in India or the United Kingdom.

This is a very real war with the entire globe as a battleground. Modern civilization has provided the tools for collectivism to once again raise its ugly head and attempt to control how the rest of us eat, drink, sleep, play, work, think, behave, and believe. The driving force behind radical Islam is a huge, sweeping Islamic revival that followed on the heels of the 1972 Munich Massacre. This fundamentalist revival is dedicated to reversing a Twelfth Century theology that transformed "jihad" from a violent external war into a spiritual internal war. This is the core difference between Christian or Buddhist fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism. In Christian and Buddhist fundamentalism the "law" is the driving force behind making the individual kinder, more compassionate, and more generous. In Islamic fundamentalism "Shari'a" is the driving force behind social conformity, reduction of women to mere chattel, glorification of violence as the key to masculinity, and the spiritual assertion that all other religions are required to submit to political rule by Muslim clerics.

The motivating factor behind the current crop of global protests is this Islamic fundamentalist revival that was sparked by the success of the 1972 Olympic Massacre. There is nothing "spontaneous" about the protests sweeping across the world this year in the same way that there was nothing "spontaneous" about the way the OWS movement swept over the globe last year. Collectivism is the core driving force behind both movements. It is not "organized" in the way a military invasion is organized, but it is united in the driving ambition to force the world into a strict hierarchy with no freedom of speech, unarmed citizens subject to oppressive government oversight, communal ownership of all property, and nationalization of all business. The neo-nazis seek this goal in order to "advance the evolution of humanity", the communists seek this goal in order to "advance the evolution of society", and the jihadis seek this goal in order to "unite the world in peace and righteousness". This is why they are working together. This is why a local protest can inspire global protests built on the same theme. It is not "planned", but that does not mean there is no planning behind it.

Collectivism holds its adherents to a single perspective. If communists take to the streets in New York to protest global banks and international industry, then communists around the world take up their placards in support. Likewise, if radical Muslims march on an embassy in protest to a "offense against the Prophet", then radical Muslims around the world also take up their placards and march. These protests then provide the cover for bombings and other violent attacks. These people are all united in their hatred of the freedom the rest of us take for granted. Power-hungry politicians, radical religious leaders, and even ambitious business leaders understand that these people exist and as a result they do everything in their power to both inspire them and twist the violence that results into a stronger power base for themselves.

There are two questions that everyone has failed to ask about the Cairo protest and the Benghazi embassy attack that launched the current round of global protests:
1. Who paid for video that inspired the attacks?
2. Who gave the authorization for it to be broadcast on Egyptian's national television channel?

True, that video alone is nothing. It is irrelevant. However, the person (or people) who paid for its production knew exactly how much trouble it would cause and that is why they funded it. Their plan was to use the video to inspire a protest that could then be used to advance their goal of limiting free speech and shutting down the open exchange of ideas. This was a calculated investment and if it had failed, they would have sponsored something else.

But of course, you'll want proof. Well, here's a funny thing. Absolutely nobody has noticed this interview by CNN's Nic Robertson which was broadcast the day before the Cairo protests: CNN Exclusive: Al Qaeda Leader's Brother Offers Peace Plan. I saw this video on the 10th. In the video, the prestaging for the next day's protest is visited and the Cairo protest is clearly announced along with its motivation, its intent, and the plan to invade the compound. The idiotic YouTube videos everyone is blaming for the protest were not mentioned even once! Events in Libya are hinted at by Mohammed al-Zawahiri, showing clear pre-knowledge that the Cairo protest was designed to cover and/or inspire protests in Libya and other "Arab Spring" countries, "and other actions".

When I saw the interview on the tenth I was horrified that CNN would be so overtly supportive of terrorist propaganda. When the Cairo protest overran the fences, tore down the American flag and raised the flag of Jihad I immediately thought of the interview I'd seen the day before. When the story broke about the attack in Benghazi it felt like someone had punched me in the gut. The interview was so blatant, and CNN so compliant. I felt personally betrayed by the producers of CNN. This is clearly an act of treason. Then, when absolutely no one in the media, not even Fox, referenced Nic Robertson's interview, hundreds of conspiracy theories began reeling through my mind. How could they be so blind? Unless of course, they were blind by intent. I have waited a full week for some responsible journalist to point to this interview but there has not been even a single reference to it!

This is a world war. This world war is four decades old. Make no mistake. Your future is being fought over. Simply by choosing who you believe you have already picked which side of this war you support.



hunting dragons


This is a poem I wrote back in August of 2010. What else can I say? Yesterday was that kind of Sunday.


hunting dragons

Sorry. I've been hunting dragons again
in that far-away land of dreams lost
with the wasted days of youth, buried
beneath endless stacks of aluminum
beer cans, soda cans, a metal mountain
shadowed behind the eternal fire of
our town's bankrupt tire recycler.

Do you remember it too?
Endless oak forests filled with fair folk floating on
butterfly wings, playing tiny flutes and drums.
Their heavenly music just out of sight, their
tinkling laughter at foolish mortals
like you and me.

Or was it another dream?
You know, the one with the ivory castle
shining in the midday sun, velvet
tapestries of unicorns flirting with maidens
while trolls watch from the shadows and
monkeys tap out melodies on harpsichords.
Their garden symphony led by harps and tambourines
held by squirrels, or maybe chipmunks.

We did have a garden, didn't we?
tended by gnomes, brownies
and other earthbound wee folk
with a taste for fresh milk, honey
and a love of clean wholesome dirt.

Sorry. I've been hunting dragons again.
Maybe next time you'll come with me?


September 14, 2012

Arab Spring becomes Autumn Rage


Normally I would link to half a dozen articles describing in lurid detail the events I'm responding to. Somehow, today that seems both redundant and wasteful. If you don't already know what is happening in the Middle East then either you are purposely ignoring it or you simply don't care. Providing links would not help because anyone seeking to avoid the very real turmoil burning through the Prophet's lands would not click on them anyway while anyone who has been following it already knows how bad it has become.

I could quote Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelations instead of linking to the daily news, but again I face the same dilemma. Those who are familiar with Biblical prophecy already know the key passages and how those passages apply to current events. Everyone else either denies the applicability of the Bible or simply doesn't care to hear about it, sometimes both. Thanks to the militant, evangelical atheism led by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens that appeared in the 1990's and lasted all through the first decade of the 21st century, most of the internet world is now cleanly divided into three camps: atheists, theists, and apatheists.

And so I arrive at a conundrum I never expected to face: negotiation and debate have become useless. The connected world has fallen out into clean camps with precise lines of demarcation between them. There is no genuine dialogue between the camps (or at least very little) and within the camps a strict adherence to doctrine prevails with free speech coldly suppressed either in the name of loyalty or under the guise of political correctness. Insults have replaced dialogue both internally and externally.

For two weeks now I have been fighting a brutal and debilitating tooth infection. At one point the fever and dehydration became so bad I thought my kidneys were failing. It has only been the last few days I've been able to eat solid food again, and even now I cannot eat much. I've lost nearly five kilos in two weeks simply from being too sick to eat. During this time I've watched the American political scene explode into some of the most virulent advertising ever produced while over the past seventy-two hours the Muslim world has exploded in violence over a pair of silly, childish, poorly produced YouTube videos.

I am fifty-one years old. When I was eighteen, I helped campaign to get Ronald Reagan elected. One of the last things I did before moving to Japan was help him get re-elected. Ronald Reagan rode into the Whitehouse on a wave of newfound American patriotism that came about as our nation finally faced up to the failure of Vietnam and began a national healing process that helped us remember who we are. Somehow, while I spent twenty-five years raising a family in Japan, that wave of patriotism died out again. One of the reasons I came back to America was to help rekindle that fire, the only fire hot enough to carry a free people into a dark, dangerous future.

While in Japan I met and befriended many people from many different countries, including a fair number of Muslims. I read the Qur'an a couple times as well as a commentary written by a Muslim cleric. The depth of patriotism and faith in people throughout the Middle East does not surprise me. However, the devotion to violence and Shari'a seen by the most radical extremes does surprise me. Unfortunately, when a peaceful culture is faced with violent extremism the most common historic response has been surrender. In the past, when the damage remained localized, this strategy limited the range of destruction and insured the survival of the peaceful families.

But now we live in a much different world. Our world is more divided and more radically adherent to diverse ideologies than it has been at any time since the Chinese streamed into the Korean War and forced United Nations troops south of the Han River. This is an extremely dangerous moment in human history. We stand at the threshold of a genuine global community. The real reason lines have become so tightly drawn and internal dissent has become so profoundly repressed in each of the diverse camps is that we are fighting an ideological war to determine the political and cultural future of our entire world. Will we build a Marxist worker's paradise, a capitalist global market based on free trade, or an Islamic utopia ruled over by Wahhabist Imams?

The choice is yours. Your purchases, your votes, your opinions expressed over coffee with your friends, these all come together into a grand whole that spreads throughout our entire world. You, whether you are a suburban Los Angeles housewife, a Cairo merchant, or a Berlin college student, are making choices and those choices are having a global impact. Our world is no longer defined by national boundaries, city streets, or provincial roads. Our world is defined by your individual choices multiplied on a global scale. No matter how badly you want to sit on the sidelines and let this chaos resolve itself, you change the nature of that chaos just by getting out of bed in the morning and choosing how to start your day. The kind of food you eat for breakfast, the kind of juice or caffeinated drink you wash it down with, represent a purchase you made. That purchase drives the movement of trillions of dollars around the world and those dollars feed the propaganda machines of each ideological group, those dollars arm terrorists both Marxist and Islamic, and those dollars feed the children of workers somewhere who prepared that food and drink, packaged it, and carried to the market where you bought it.

Your choices are shaping the chaos. Every choice you make provides resources to one group while denying them to another. Like it or not, you are on the frontline of this war to define the future. I am not going to tell you what choices to make. My role in all of this is to encourage you to think more carefully about each of those choices. Please take the time to make sure you understand the full ramifications of your morning juice or coffee. Our future will be defined by your choices.