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Putin won by appealing to our reason, not to our emotions

Thanks to our flawed educational ventures, rational argument is almost unknown to us
TheChristians.com
Sep 17, 2013

President Putin: Flummoxed by his argument, his foes attacked him personally.
President Putin: Flummoxed by his argument, his foes attacked him personally.

            

It is hard to deny that Russian President Vladimir Putin hit a home run last week, in appealing directly to the American people through an op-ed piece in the New York Times not to launch a missile attack on Syria. Some conservative commentators said he made his case resoundingly. Liberals, while deploring it, had to concede that it was exceedingly well written. But what made it well written was the fact it was well reasoned.

Rational argument has almost disappeared from Western political discussion, principally because it has almost disappeared from Western education. We are enjoined not to think but to feel. The White House rationale for a missile attack on Syria, for instance, consisted almost entirely of videos of children who suffered and died from nerve-gas. Heart rending they certainly were, but the prevention of further attacks will not depend on what we feel, but on what we think, and what in consequence we do. Putin knows this, and so at one time did we. That’s why his line of reasoning came to many as such a refreshing, even startling, change.

His article sets out four propositions:

1. The reason there has been no world war since 1945 lies in the veto power within the United Nations Security Council which assures that the council can only act unanimously.

2. The U.N. charter puts legal limitations on the right of any single power to start a war.

3. An American attack on Syria would not meet those conditions.

 4. Hence an attack of Syria without Security Council approval would be illegal and possibly trigger a world war. Therefore, Americans, please dissuade your government from doing this.

If you can’t beat the argument, beat the man

The liberal response has consisted almost wholly in a personal attack on Putin himself. Who, after all, was he to talk about rights and morality? Look at his record. All of which may be emotionally understandable, but did nothing whatever to refute his central contentions. It was the old argumentum ad hominem – if you can’t defeat a man’s argument, attack the man himself instead.

 - See the rest at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/641#sthash.vlglxNv4.dpuf

Blessed are the peacemakers, you jerk!

A continuing rise in road rage may reflect a waning of religious faith and discipline
TheChristians.com
Sep 13, 2013

What would Jesus do?
What would Jesus do?

Road rage is on the rise says the Washington Post, which polled people around the District of Columbia. It found the proportion of drivers admitting to often feeling “uncontrollable anger” at a fellow driver had doubled since a 2005 poll, to 12 percent.

The American Automobile Association got a similar result when it tracked police reports through the 1990s: traffic disputes that got violent rose 50 percent across America over one five-year period. According to a new Canadian study of eight years of complaints posted on Roadragers.com, the acts which most often trigger road rage are: cutting in and weaving (comprising 54 percent of posts), speeding (29 percent) and hostile displays (25 percent).

What’s causing it?

Underlying explanations differ widely depending on the source: sociologists suggest our sense of community is breaking down. Psychologists suspect that driving imparts a dangerous mix of entitlement and invincibility. Leon James, a University of Hawaii professor and author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving, told the Post their 12 percent who admitted to road rage were just the honest ones. James’ own tests found 30 percent admitting to raging, while 85 percent had experienced it from other drivers, making James believe almost everyone rages.

But surely both numbers could be true: a smaller percentage of aggressive drivers impact many non-ragers as they weave through crowded traffic lanes. When they cut off another of their ilk, there is mutual rage: i.e. the New Jersey detective who recently shot and killed another driver, or the man and woman who waved a knife and gun at each other from separate vehicles on a D.C. expressway in March.

- See the rest at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/631#sthash.P8RD4AVh.dpuf

"I saw a scene of utter cruelty": Eyewitness account of Syrian jihadists beheading a foe

Warning: Hide the children; the photo at the end of this post is very graphic.

Jihadwatch.com

The idea that we would even be considering aiding these jihadis, and are already giving them weapons, is unconscionable. It will forever be a blot on the history of the United States. Even if Islamic supremacists write those histories, the theme of this chapter will be the spectacular success of their disinformation campaign in the U.S., and how they got the U.S. Government to come to the aid of al-Qaeda within twelve years of 9/11.

“Witness to a Syrian Execution: ‘I Saw a Scene of Utter Cruelty,’” by Patrick Witty in Time, September 12 (thanks to Anne Crockett):

All wars are vicious, but the civil war in Syria seems every day to set new standards for brutality. As the fighting rages in its third year, increasing numbers of atrocities are committed by soldiers and fighters from forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad, as well as armed rebels and Islamic militants from the numerous, loosely aligned groups opposing Assad. The violence is frequently sectarian in nature, with fighters claiming they act in defense of their faith, be it Sunni, Alawite, Shiite or any of the other sects that contribute to Syria’s religious landscape.The perpetrators of atrocities themselves often use digital cameras or smartphones to photograph or film their acts of torture and murder, uploading the images to the Internet. These images and videos are used for propaganda, and their authenticity is often impossible to verify. It is very rare that a group of fighters from either side gives a professional photojournalist from a country outside Syria full and unfettered access to chronicle an atrocity as it unfolds. The images above are products of that access.
What follows is a harrowing series of photographs of Islamic militants publicly executing, by decapitation, a young Syrian in the town of Keferghan, near Aleppo, on August 31, 2013.
Because of the danger in reporting inside Syria, it was not possible to confirm the identity or political affiliation of the victim. Nor are we certain about the motivation of his killers. One eyewitness who lives in the area and was contacted by TIME a week after the beheadings said that the executioners were from ISIS, an Al-Qaeda franchise operating in Syria and Iraq.

Yes, their motivation is an utter and absolute mystery.

TIME obtained the images exclusively from a photographer who was recently in Syria. This decapitation was the last of four executions he documented that day. TIME has agreed not to publish the photographer’s name, to protect him from repercussions when he returns to Syria. What follows is an edited account of his experience:

 Read the rest at http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/09/i-saw-a-scene-of-utter-cruelty-eyewitness-account-of-syrian-jihadists-beheading-a-foe.html

Beheading.jpg 

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 16, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on September 16

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Is the Pope Catholic? Two Columnists Say “No”

4:20 – Helping Disabled Catholics Access the Fullness of the Faith
The National Catholic Partnership on Disability is an organization that works collaboratively and effectively with the USCCB, dioceses and archdioceses and Catholic ministries across the country.  The mission is to help create access to faith for Catholics with disabilities.  This work is broad and deep, and includes creating specialized resources for faith formation and sacramental preparation, outreach to Hispanic families, as well as a vibrant program to support families facing an unexpected prenatal diagnosis, among many others.  NCPD estimates there are about 14 million Catholics with some kind of a disability that need more access to the faith. Executive Director Jan Benton joins us. 

5:00 – Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case for Limited Government, a Free Economy, and Human Flourishing
Over the past fifty years, increasing numbers of American Catholics have abandoned the economic positions associated with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and chosen to embrace the principles of economic freedom and limited government: ideals upheld by Ronald Reagan and the Tea Party movement but also deeply rooted in the American Founding. This shift, alongside America’s growing polarization around economic questions, has generated fierce debates among Catholic Americans in recent years. Can a believing Catholic support free markets? Does the Catholic social justice commitment translate directly into big government? Do limited government Catholic Americans have something unique to contribute to the Church’s thinking about the economic challenges confronting all Catholics around the globe? Samuel Gregg draws upon Catholic teaching, natural law theory, and the thought of the only Catholic Signer of America’s Declaration of Independence to develop a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America’s experiment in ordered liberty. 

5:40 – Kresta Comments – Is the Pope Catholic? Two Columnists Say “No”

 

 

Reality Show Contestant Strips; Coca-Cola Exec Insults the Catholics

By Kathy Schiffer, Ave Maria Radio

Fanatics.  Intolerant.

That’s what the president of Coca-Cola Spain has called critics of a controversial reality show who have called for a boycott on his product until the company cancels their advertising for the show.

Marcos De Quinto, CEO of the soft-drink giant’s Iberia Business Unit which sells its products in Spain and Portugal, has charged life and family defense groups of launching a “guerrilla style attack”.   In an outburst on Twitter, De Quinto raged:

“May God spare us from groups like ‘The Guardians of the Faith,’ who want to tell us what TV shows to watch, what books and newspapers to read, what party to vote for.”

He tweeted a message to Ignacio Arsuaga, president of the Madrid-based religious liberty organization HazteOir.org, the group sponsoring the protest:

“If having to think like you is the price I have to pay for you to keep drinking Coca-Cola, I prefer you don’t drink it.”

According to Beverage Daily, De Quinto also criticized the Catholic secret society El Yunque (National Society of the Anvil), accusing them of harassment and describing them, in a September 2 tweet, as a “mafia sect.”

And he retweeted a message accusing the group Foro de La Familia of being “Ultra-Catholics” and “rabid anti-abortionists.”  He insisted, though, that he was not criticizing‘good Catholics’, Christians or Christianity.

Catholic News Agency reports that other advertisers including McDonald’s and Burger King have already pulled their advertising from the program “Summer Camp,” a Spanish-language version of “Survivor,” after one of the female contestants was forced to strip to her underwear and jump into a pool of melted chocolate, while the host invited her fellow contestants to lick the chocolate off of her.  Catholic watchdog groups complained that the show humiliated women in order to boost ratings.

De Quinto’s outspoken dismissal of critics’ concerns has sparked protests in the Spanish-speaking world.  Across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama, hundreds of Twitter users used the Twitter hashtag #BoikotCocacola to announce their decision to stop buying the soft drink products until De Quinto retracts his statements.

Bishop José Munilla Aguirre, bishop of San Sebastián, was critical of De Quinto, pledging in an August 30 interview on the Cope Radio Network that he personally would drink

“only pure and crystalline water instead of Coca Cola until the situation is cleared up, because I think the president of Coca Cola in Spain has made a big mistake and should retract his statements.” 

The bishop went on to say,

“I was under the impression that this company’s international advertising approach was very respectful of family and social values, and this does not square with the statements made by this president.”

De Quinto, who sails under the Coca Cola flag, has nonetheless described himself on Twitter as a “pirate.”  Beverage Daily offered an English translation of his Twitter profile:

Pirate.  I sail without a flag.  I don’t pretend to convince you about anything, maybe only make you doubt what you believe.

The boycott appears to be building steam, especially in the Spanish-speaking community; and Coca-Cola has posted drops in share prices.

In addition, HazteOir.org has been informed by their attorney that there are sufficient grounds for suing for slander and libel.  The group is still reviewing the messages which De Quinto posted on ilTwitter, and will consider whether to sue.

Dad Wears Short Shorts to Teach Daughter a Lesson, Becomes Online Celeb

By | Parenting
Yahoo
 
A Utah dad got so fed up with his teen daughter’s too-short shorts that he taught her a fashion lesson she’ll never forget. Scott Mackintosh publicly modeled his own version of his daughter’s Daisy Dukes and, in the process, became an Internet hero.

“I simply did this in hopes that my daughter would know of my great love for her and that she knows of her great worth,” Scott Mackintosh told the Deseret News about the photo of himself in cutoffs, which has since become a Tumblr sensation.  “Now that it has gone viral, I hope that young women everywhere understand their great worth. I will look like an idiot any day if that point gets across.”

The story behind the trail of Mackintosh’s short-shorts photo is as old as the Internet, beginning when his daughter posted it on Tumblr; and as of Thursday it has received over 130,000 notes from fans of the image.

“My mom told me to change my ‘slutty’ shorts before we went to dinner,” was how daughter Myley described the photo. “I said no. So my dad cut his jeans to fit in. We went to dinner and then mini golf like this.”

Then Mackintosh, a father of seven, published his side of the story on his wife’s blog, Becky Mack’s Blog of Mild Chaos. He wrote:

“I know the world has varying degrees of what is modest and what is not when it comes to clothing. In our family we have pretty definite modesty guidelines; No mid-drift or low-cut shirts, no short-shorts, short skirts and we even go as far as saying no sleeveless shirts unless playing sports or on the beach. Having raised four daughters and three sons, I’m a bit protective. Some may call me old fashion, but I call it “A Dad who loves his daughters” (and sons too) I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and that’s okay, my daughter does it all the time. I’m a firm believer that the way we dress sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act.”

Continue reading here…   
Video below

 

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 13, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on September 13

4:00 – 6:00 – Direct to My Desk
Today we open the phone lines and let you set the agenda with your questions and comments. As always, we have topics we will bring up for discussion but the show only works with your input. We look at the latest way the mainstream media is butchering a story about a papal statement and why the mainstream media can’t get how to report on the Church and Pope Francis, we answer a listener’s response on the yoga discussion we had earlier this week, and more. Be ready to call 877-573-7825.

Helium balloons lift aviator Jonathan Trappe Up for transatlantic trip

American who has used the method to cross the Channel and the Alps takes off from Maine suspended by 370 balloon   

Jonathan Trappe soars in bid to be the first man to cross the Atlantic in a balloon cluster system
Jonathan Trappe soars in his bid to become the first man to cross the
Atlantic in a balloon cluster system. Photograph: Paul Cyr / Barcroft USA

An American aviator has begun the first attempt to cross the Atlantic suspended by hundreds of coloured balloons. Jonathan Trappe took off from Caribou, Maine, on Thursday morning as his capsule was lifted by 370 helium-filled balloons in heavy fog and he headed east from the US.
The concept may sound like the story from the Disney film Up but Trappe, 39, specialises in cluster ballooning and was the first person to cross the Channel and the Alps using the method.

The transatlantic trip could be as long as 2,500 miles (4,000km) and take between three and five days. Depending on the weather, he could land anywhere between Iceland and Morocco.
Trappe is relying on state of the art weather data from the meteorologist who advised Felix Baumgartner on his record-breaking skydive from the stratosphere last year. The latest weather reports suggested winds would take Trappe to western Europe.

“Weather is absolutely the most dangerous factor,” said Trappe, speaking immediately before launch. ” It’s the only thing that will carry me across, but bad conditions could also ruin the attempt or endanger my life.”

Read the rest here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/12/helium-balloons-jonathan-trappe-up-transatlantic

Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences

God’s mercy has no limits, says pope in 2,500-word letter to Italian newspaper answering questions from non-believer   
theguardian.com,
    Pope Francis
    Pope Francis, who called for Christians to engage in ‘sincere and rigorous dialogue’
    with atheists. Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features
    As letters to the editor go, it was certainly out of the ordinary, stretching to more than 2,500 words and not one of them veering on the irate or indignant. But the missive received by Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, nonetheless made it into print on Wednesday – on the front page and under the impressively brief byline of “Francesco”.
    Responding to a series of questions asked in the summer by Scalfari, who describes himself as an interested “non-believer”, Pope Francis used his trademark conciliatory tone to discuss the Catholic church’s attitude to atheists, urging those who do not share his faith to “abide by their own conscience” and reminding them God’s mercy “has no limits”.

    Expressing the belief that it was important for Christians to engage in “a sincere and rigorous dialogue” with atheists, Francis recalled Scalfari had asked him whether God forgave those “who do not believe and do not seek to believe”.

    “Given – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart,” the pope wrote, “the question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one’s conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one’s mind about what is good and evil.”

    Now in his sixth month as pontiff, Francis has made a conciliatory style and pragmatic openness to dialogue with groups on the margins of the church’s traditional activities one of his trademarks.
    In May, however, relaxed remarks during a homily, which appeared to imply that non-believers could be “saved” if they did good, prompted a swift clarification from the Vatican that he meant nothing of the kind.

    Read the rest here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/pope-francis-atheists-abide-consciences

    Judge’s Ruling Makes North Dakota First to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome

     

    by Steven Ertelt | Bismarck, ND | LifeNews.com | 9/12/13 12:37 PM
    A judge’s ruling dismissing part of an abortion center’s lawsuit against a North Dakota law that bans abortions on disabled unborn children on the basis that they are disabled makes the state the first to have such a ban in place.

    With the governor’s signature on the ban earlier this year, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 percent of the time.

    The state legislature approved the measure and Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed it in March.
    The measure would also ban abortion based on gender selection, an issue of increasing concern in the United States has people from nations like China and India migrate to the United States and bring their cultural preference for boys with them.

    Now, a judge has dismissed the legal challenge to a portion of the law the state’s lone abortion business challenged in its lawsuit. IN an AP report, the abortion center claims that’s okay with it since it reportedly doesn’t do abortions for those reasons anyway. However, it provided no proof that it asks abortion clients if they are having an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome or another condition.

    Read the rest at: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/09/12/judges-ruling-makes-north-dakota-first-to-ban-abortions-based-on-down-syndrome/

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