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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oil and Drug

                       "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls
                        around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
                                                                                                       - 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

In my previous post, I have talked about Sarah Palin's stance on energy independence as it relates to our national security, the economy and our environment. Central to her plans is to utilize the domestic resources available to us. That  includes opening up a tiny slice of ANWR that's already been designated by Congress in 1980 for oil exploration but has remained untouched due to misleading campaigns of some powerful special interest groups.

With our economy in the tank and an average family spends $4 for every $10 they earn, it is conceivable that oil drilling would one of the top, if not the top, of the first issues that Sarah Palin would tackle if given the chance to be at the Oval Office.

It is my hope, though, that the day the new president opens up ANWR should also mark the beginning of an all-out war on drugs as well. It is a well-known fact that financial contributions (thru charities, NGOs, education, mosques, to cite a few) of wealthy individuals and groups from rich oil-producing countries, especially in the Gulf, advertently or not, find their way to terrorist groups. Should the new US president pursue domestic oil independence, which Sarah Palin definitely would, the imminent shrinking of oil money would make these terrorist groups turn to drugs in a more accelerated and impassioned way. It is no secret that illicit drug trade funds the terrorist groups to pay for their weapons, training and operations. Drugs will be the easiest route to meet that need, as the Talibans are already doing. There is a lot of money to be made in drug trade and Afghanistan and Mexico will have no qualms in taking the lead in filling the void.

There are people out there who would want to do America harm - in whatever way and capacity that they can. America has to be alert and  forward-thinking and pro-active. That is why, the new president must confront this drug issue with more intensity and focus beginning on day one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Excites You About a Palin Presidency?

                            "Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee;
                             and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings
                             of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under,
                             blessings of the breasts, and of the womb." - Genesis 49:25

It is no secret that I am rooting for Sarah Palin to run in 2012 for the presidency, a fact that is a constant source of amusement and debates in my all-Democrat family.  So when my child asked me, "what excites you about a Palin Presidency?", I didn't need a second to reply: energy independence.

I do not see Sarah Palin as a caped-woman or someone with a halo above her head but I do believe that her stance on most issues besetting the country is very informed and spot-on. Her unapologetic advocacy for responsible resource development, especially on drilling for oil, does have genuine credibility as she has first hand experience as Chairperson of Oil and Gas Conservation Commission of the State of Alaska and as governor of her state. Energy independence after all, as she often talks about it, is deeply entwined with our national security, economy and the environment.

It is exciting to think of the wide and far-reaching effects of energy independence in many facets of our lives. Our anemic unemployment rate, which currently stands at 9% for April 2011, would get an immediate boost. Opening up 8% of ANWR alone is projected to create up to 735,000 jobs, the multiplier effect of which is just enormous. A steady paycheck for one American worker means money going into mortgage or rent, thereby lifting up the country's distressed real estate market. It means money going into food and service industries. It means money that will pay for local, state and federal taxes, which in turn fund our schools, roads, libraries and social services. Opening up just 8% of ANWR will have such an economic impact that will not be limited to the fifty states of our union but will also be felt by the rest of the world. Because when America is prosperous, the whole world benefits from the generosity of Americans and their profensity to spend their dollars whether on tourism, imported products and services and charities.

Energy independence ensures our national security. The discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia literally transformed the nation of tents and camels into one of the most powerful and influential in the world. Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries control in their hands the spigots of oil that powers our cars and industries. The flow of oil from these spigots also determine how much we pay  at the pump, for the prices of all products that are, in one way or another, touched by petroleum, or what car and how we drive. As former President George Bush said, "America is addicted to oil".  Sadly, our addiction to oil also funds the terroristic activities of some people who want to do America harm. Intelligence reports confirm that some of these oil profits end up supporting causes and activities of terrorists who want nothing but the downfall of America. 9/11, suicide bombings, attacks on Western military bases and personnel all have oil stains on them. By pursuing energy independence, America can drain the money that finances all these terrorist groups and cells. There is just no other way around it. We need to produce our own energy supply.

God has promised us a life of abundance and surrounded us with gifts of sustenance - in the seas and in the lands, both above and underground .But we must be willing to develop them. With smart, appropriate technology we can extract them responsibly and prudently.  As with any industry, accidents do happen and environment concerns should not be casually dismissed. We owe it to the future generations that natural resources remain as clean and safe to sustain their livelihoods and lifestyles. In the face of each misstep or disaster, we need to be wiser and more cautious. Uncle Sam does have the responsibility to make sure that laws and regulations on resource development and explorations are followed to the letter and inspections are done on a regular basis. But by restricting our ability to be energy independent, Uncle Sam is also giving away our freedoms and our ways of life. A question that I have posed in the past will always ring true: if a 500- or 5000- car pile up happened on I - 5, do we shut down the whole interstate highway? Obviously, no president would issue such an irresponsible order as that would shut down our economy. Instead, investigators and inspectors should be out there to make sure that the same accident does not happen anywhere else. We need to balance our need for energy supply and the protection of our natural resources.

When it comes to energy independence, Sarah Palin is right. Drill, Baby, Drill! Right Now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In Search of Angels and Miracles

                      "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard
                       you in all your ways"   -   Psalm 91:11 NIV

A military chaplain, who was in the Marines, related this story. One snowy day in Washington as he was driving back to his base, he got stalled behind a long stretch of stopped cars on the highway. The highway billboard was flashing: snow chains required. That was a warning to all drivers going on the mountainous Snoqualmie Pass. Some drivers were already at work putting on their chains, some didn't have any and some had them in their hands but simply had no clue as to how to put them in place. Our soldier priest, feeling chivalrous in his cammie uniform decided to help those mechanically-challenged ones and got busy. Car by car, he'd get down on his knees, install those mesh of cable wires, then off the thankful driver would go. After working on about half a dozen vehicles, he finally got to his own. Unfortunately, he discovered that his very own chain had snapped cables and were simply useless. There wasn't anybody behind him to help and drivers on the road were just zipping by. Crying out loud in frustration at the unfairness of his situation, he looked up to heaven and yelled, "perhaps You could send me an angel or something!". Lo and behold, five minutes later, a  punk in leather pants with spiky hair pulled up, said "my old man was in the Marines", handed him an extra set of chains and was gone. Needles to say, his story had a happy ending and he made it back to the base safe and sound.

Stories about angels have always fascinated me. The Chaplain truly believed that that leather-clad kid was the angel sent by God. He may be right but I believe an angel has been on that Pass long before that kid showed up - it was him, our soldier priest. He may not have the wings to spread but he had able hands. The clunking sound of those snow chains that he had deftly wrapped around tires was probably the best music to the ears of those stranded drivers.

In this life, we all find ourselves in less-than-ideal or -comfortable circumstances at one point or another. God loves us so much that if and when we find ourselves in dire situations, He'd like us to be able to get out of it. Thus He gave each one of us the ability to pull ourselves out of the hole. We can be the angels we ask for and didn't have to earn wings for it. God has provided us with everything that we need to be able to live life to the fullest. We are gifted with intelligence to invent and innovate and to think things through, we have hands to create and build but we must allow our feet to take the first steps toward whatever goals we have set. Most of the time, we do not need to ask for angels to come rescue us and we do not need to pray for miracles to alter the course of our lives. We just need to think wisely, act responsibly and then get moving.

In this tough economic times, average families and individuals are faced with hard choices. Homeowners who are underwater must decide whether they should sell or fight to keep their properties. A single woman might be faced with an unplanned pregnancy. What does she do with the baby? An employer might need to take drastic measures to keep his business afloat. Should he let go of his trusted employees or should he take in more bank loans when business is floundering? It's a helpless feeling for consumers paying $50 at the pump to fill up a Geo Metro and when even donuts are getting more expensive yet their holes seem to be getting larger. There are a lot of things to worry about these days. But perhaps these are the times when we must sit down at the kitchen table and reflect on our values and priorities, take stock of our situations and take responsibility for our actions.

Problems and challenges are a fact of life. They are mostly temporary yet the lessons we learn from tackling them will most likely stay with us forever. Do we pray for angels to come help us through or should we look at the end of our arms and see that the helping hands we're asking for are right there? We might even surprise ourselves with the strength of our own body and spirit. And when we do turn things around, that could be the sweetest miracle that we were waiting for.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To Be Against Abortion is a Choice, Too

                                          "Thou shalt not kill."   -   Deuteronomy 5:17 KJV

The House of Reperesentatives recently voted to strip funding of Planned Parenthood. Hopes aren't too high, though, that the Democrat-controlled Senate would follow suit. Pro-choice vs. pro-life. Which side are you on? Abortion is one very sad issue. It is sad because caught in the midst of these debates  is something that cannot defend itself - the fetus in a mother's womb.  But what if the fetus could talk? What would it say? "Feel my feet kick, Mom. Someday these feet will run like the wind." "I can open my eyes in here, Mom. Do I have your eyes or Dad's?" If the mother aborts the unborn child, she'll never know the answers.

A pro-lifer's stand is simple enough to state. Life begins at conception, thus an unborn fetus has a right to be born and to live. If a mother does not feel fit to raise the child (whether for reasons of health, finances or the circumstance for which the baby was conceived), there is a viable option of giving up the baby for adoption. Pro-choice advocates , on the other hand, fight for women's reproductive self-determination to decide for herself and her body and the right to have abortion. Affixing "pro-choice" to abortion cause, however,  is misleading. If a woman chooses to carry through the pregnancy and gives birth to a baby, that is a woman's choice, too. Yet pro-choice supporters would fight tooth and nail any pro-lifers who would encourage  a woman to not terminate the pregnancy. For the pro-abortion groups, there is only one ultimate choice - abortion.

By the fifth week of pregnancy, a fetus' heart starts to form and can be detected by an ultrasound. By week 6, it starts to pump blood. To the pro-choice advocates, a pulsating heart does not mean anything. Unless a being is walking and breathing out in this world, it cannot be called a person, thus has no right, legally or otherwise. Both sides have been debating this issue for decades but it's a debate that has only turned up dead bodies (those of  abortion providers, supporters of either side or the multitudes of aborted babies).

It is quite hard to make sense when some people would willingly die for a tree, when politicians would sacrifice farmers' communities to save  a 2-inch fish, or when celebrities would protest KFC's cruel treatment of chickens for keeping them in crowded coops. It is incomprehensible for people to claim that slaughtering of turkeys are too graphic yet they would have no qualms in snuffing an unborn fetus out of a woman's womb.

My family used to raise chickens when I was a young child and I have seen how a chicken journeys from its cage to a chopping block then to my dinner plate.  I remember holding down a chicken by its body while a sibling chopped off its head. While still holding the fowl to let some of the blood drain out, I would feel in my hands its heart pounding fast, then slower and fainter until it beat no more. Its warm body had turned cold. It's dead.

Some people might find the chicken story too graphic. As crude as the comparison may seem, a chicken's death is  nothing compared  to what one can imagine a fetus being aborted goes through. I have never seen a film of an actual abortion. I doubt if there ever is one ( that would be too horrific for a tree-hugger or an animal rights advocate to watch and pro-choice groups might not allow such film to circulate in public - yes, they have such clout!). But I can picture in my mind a fetus being suctioned out of a woman's birth canal - limbs. hair, heart, fingernails and all. The crumbled mess of blood and flesh is stashed away in a trash bag, discarded in a dumpster along with our daily filth, dead and cold. Just like the chicken.

For those who insist that a fetus is a mere blob of cells, I would like them to step forward, and volunteer to hold an aborted fetus' heart in the palm of their hand, watch it contract and expand until it stops pulsating completely. Then tell me, is it life or just a mushy piece of flesh?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Blind Truth

"Truth is blind. It knows no color, no class, no gender. It is what it is."