Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big Brother Is Watching You, 3

In Big Brother is Watching You, I told you about police surveillance drones. In Big Brother is Watching You, 2, I told you about mobile interrogation centers where the expression on your face constitutes probable cause for detention.

Now, coming soon to a Wal-Mart near you -- a mobile watchtower that can turn any fenced area into a prison compound. My comments follow the video:



First, note that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) figures into all the surveillance/control technology in this series. Second, note that Wal-Mart also plays a prominent role, perhaps because they form an integral part of the DHS turn-in-your-neighbor offensive.

Also, I think that the one narrator on the video made a correct observation when he said the present purpose is to desensitize the populace to seeing the guard towers. Otherwise, the police would station them in high crime areas rather than in a mall or Wal-Mart parking lot.

Thanks to RPC for the link to this video.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

Since I grew up in post WWII America, it should come as no surprise that my folks had the sheet music for Frank Loesser and James Sanderson's "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." Through the years, however, whenever some radio station played the song, they invariably played the very catchy Kay Kyser version, which only included the chorus.

I have included the lyrics below the video, in case you want to follow along. Oh, and in case you didn't know, a sky pilot is a chaplain.




Down went the gun-ner, a bul - let was his fate
Down went the gun-ner, and then the gun-ner's mate
Up jumped the sky pi-lot, gave the boys a look
And manned the gun him-self as he laid a-side TheBook, shout-ing:

"Praise The Lord, and pass the am-mu-ni-tion!
Praise The Lord, and pass the am-mu-ni-tion!
Praise The Lord, and pass the am-mu-ni-tion and we'll all stay free!

Praise The Lord, and swing in-to po-si-tion,
Can't af-ford to sit a-round a'-wish-in'
Praise The Lord, we're all be-tween per-dition
and the deep blue sea!"

Yes the sky pi-lot said it You've got to give him cred-it
for a son-of-a-gun of a gun-ner was he,
Shouting: "Praise The Lord,
we're on a might - y mis-sion!
All a-board! We're not a - go - in' fish-in',
Praise The Lord, and pass the am-mu-ni-tion
and we'll all stay free."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Second Day of Christmas

The second day of Christmas is also known as the Feast of Stephen. If you're not familiar with it, and/or you don't know why we sing "Good King Wenceslaus" this time of year, you can read my previous post on it here:

Happy Stephenmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tidings of the King

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:4-5)


Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.


Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.


No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.


He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love. (Isaac Watts)


To me, one of the most appealing facets of the Nativity Day celebration lies in its emphasis on a more complete, robust AND SCRIPTURAL proclamation of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, the King. That is to say that at this time of year you will hear more about Him as the Anointed Ruler who came to put things right.

Evangelicals -- along with too many Reformed -- tend to think of the Gospel strictly in terms of personal salvation. This emphasis, in fact, serves as the very model for a 21st Century marketing program:

  1. You have a need -- sin & the prospect of eternal hell;
  2. Our product's benefits meet your need -- pardon & eternal life;
  3. We offer easy terms -- only believe.
Now, I do not want you to think that I in any way want to belittle or discount the grace of God in Christ with respect to personal salvation. It is vital, necessary and integral to God's total plan, and it should fill us with fearful wonder at the severity of God's gracious love.

However, when churches isolate that one aspect of God's pronouncement and treat it as though it comprised the whole of God's plan for the individual believer, the Church and the world, then -- to my mind, at least -- it takes on a self-centered aura. The Gospel becomes very much me-centered: MY sin; MY guilt; MY need; MY salvation, MY eternal life of bliss, MY . . . MY . . . MY.

This approach to the Gospel tends to minimize the truth that the chief end of all things (including our salvation) is God's own glory (Romans 8:28). The Scripture passages and the carols based on those passages that we hear at this time of year fall on my ears as a welcome relief and corrective to our often unbalanced preaching of the Gospel.

Yes, these Scriptures and songs acknowledge the world's fundamental brokenness, and our own broken condition as well. Nevertheless, the focus remains upon the King who has come to set things right: HIS government, HIS justice; HIS righteous character; HIS glorious reign; HIS Divine Nature . . . and much, much more about HIM.

If the ultimate objective of the Gospel of the Kingdom aims at the glory of God and of His Christ, then the chief expression of that glory manifests itself through a society subdued to the peaceful and prosperous reign of Christ (see Matthew 28:16-20 for the mission of the Church). A full-bodied proclamation of the Gospel includes Christ's credentials as God's Anointed King; the promise that the righteous character of His reign will issue in worldwide justice and peace; that the only terms He offers include acknowledgement of and absolute surrender to His Lordship; and the promise of forgiveness and eternal life to those who submit.

This is the apostolic message as we see it in the Book of Acts. It embraces the message of personal salvation, but places it in its broader, more appropriate context. It also makes Christ rather than the sinner the focal point of the Gospel message.

The first example of Apostolic preaching looks so little like today's Gospel preaching. Consider Peter's message as follows. I have put the parts about Christ in bold print and the references to personal salvation in caps.

Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them,REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST. FOR THE PROMISE IS UNTO YOU, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO ALL THAT ARE AFAR OFF, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL. (Acts 2:14-39)

Now note that the in the following ancient carol, the preponderance of the message focuses on Jesus. I count a Christ-centered Gospel as one of the best things about this season.


O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;


Refrain


O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.


True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;


Refrain


Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;


Refrain


See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;


Refrain


Lo! star led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
We to the Christ Child bring our hearts’ oblations.


Refrain


Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?


Refrain


Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.


Refrain

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Combat Master's Christmas Tale

Over the years, the nature of my work required that I spend too many Thanksgivings and Christmases in lonely, empty buildings away from my wife and children. In spite of that -- or perhaps because of it -- Nativity Day has acquired a taste of nostalgia and longing such that I can identify with those who must spend the day away from those they love most.


I dedicate this story to all of them. I hope I remember it well enough to do them the honor they deserve. Further, I hope that each of you will find something of your own story in it.


Some, no doubt will think my story is an empty fabrication: a mere fancy of my tired, old and idle mind. But such people cannot know that the Nativity Day atmosphere which I breathe shines bright with promise and weighty with hope. 


The ignorant will say it's magical, but its power draws on something much deeper and more powerful than magic. The word miracle comes much closer to describing it. In the Nativity celebration, life surpasses legend, and we find that we embrace more freely those things that ought to be. 


*****

It was the eve of our Nativity Day celebration, and for once, the mountain was shrouded by blizzard instead of mist. The weather had been clear when I started out to bring a small gift to my teacher, the master of all combat arts, ancient and modern. As I climbed, the snow fell softly at first, then the flakes became so thick and the wind gusted so strongly that it became nearly impossible for me to see my way.

White flakes started to crust the thick, full beard of the hardy Scot as he thanked me for my present. Then he said, "Ye'll not be going home in this weather, lad. Come with me."

He led me to his well-concealed stone cottage, and welcomed me into his home that was so much like its builder and owner: austere, yet sturdy, honest and warm. The heat of the fire and a couple of tankards of mead made the silence between us feel easy and friendly.

I watched the warrior follow his nightly ritual. First, he field stripped, cleaned and oiled his M-14. Then he did the same with his Model 1911. He hung them in their places above the mantel.

Then he dressed the edge of his claymore with a pocket hone, oiled it and hung it over the mantel where the warmth would drive away any moisture. Finally, he turned his attention to his dirk, but when he finished with it, he laid it by his side, for since his wife died, it was the only companion he took to his bed.

When he finally spoke, the combat master's Scottish brogue was low and sonorous. "Clodhopper, this night reminds me of a Christmas eve ever so long ago . . . " Then he told me this tale:

The enemy hated our faith and made war on us to snuff it out. My companions and I were fleeing a force that outnumbered us twelve to one. I was wounded, and my pace slowed my brothers-in-arms so that we surely would be caught. 


The ground lay bare that December 24th, but the chill wind bit deeply as the sky darkened. Well knew I that the enemy needed no snow to track us, for the blood that dripped from my wounds left trail enough to follow.


Finally, I insisted that they go one way and I another. They would not have done it, had I not outranked them, and even then they almost stayed. But for the beginning snowfall, they probably would not have left me alone.


I finally prevailed by insisting that the snow would cover both our trails, and I could hide much more easily alone. They were a stout bunch who hated to leave me, and they would doubtless have stayed, had they known the true extremity of my weakness.


With the last of my strength, I hacked off some pine boughs with my claymore and dragged them under the low-lying branches of a pine tree. Then, I scooped out a nest in the deep, insulating carpet of pine needles, rolled up in my great kilt, and pulled the pine boughs over me, expecting that I would not live til morning.


The snow fell deep and fast, covering my blood trail and the tree that provided my shelter. Chills and fever took turns on me, that night, and at some point I heard the heavy boots of those who hunted me crunching through the snow mere feet from my hidey hole. The echo of their curses sounded in my fevered brain long after they had passed.


Then, at some point, I must have slept. I must have slept, for I had the strangest dream . . . if, indeed, a dream it was.


In my dream, I stood in a vast hall filled with many tables that fairly creaked under the load of a great and hearty banquet. About each table sat such a company of men as has never gathered in this life.


They reminded me of my companions -- good, true, honest and faithful men -- warriors all. The men were a merry lot as they ate and drank, but their laughter was not rude and their manner was courteous, filled with mutual love and respect.


Then I espied at the head of the hall, a dais that supported a wondrous manly throne of rich, carved oak. Upon the throne sat the King, beholding with sincere approval His warrior host.


Realization dawned upon me that I stood in the Hall of Valiant Warriors who served the true and rightful Warrior King. Pagan warriors had heard of the place, and they corrupted its beauty and simplicity in their myths of Valhalla, but now I stood in the actual midst of the great warrior-servants of the true King.


And how shall I describe Him, Clodhopper? Authority without arrogance . . . dignity without pride . . . and His eyes filled with the kind of compassion you find only in those who have suffered much. 


Then my eyes fell upon His wrists and the deep scars from the nails that had wounded Him in His battle for the souls of men. On that day, a Roman spear pierced His side, but the dark lord's lance shattered into splinters against His mighty Soul.


Now and then, one or another would rise from this table or that and bear a plate of food to the dais and bid the King eat. He received the offer with grace and affection, but He, Himself, did not even once take a morsel of the great feast.


I started at the voice of one I had not noticed beside me. "Welcome, Mac."


"Y' know me, then. But you have the advantage, for I know you not." 


"You may call me 'Ben'."


It amazed me that one of these mighty men should recognize one such as I. Even more amazingly, he assured me that he not only knew me, but that he and some others had eagerly awaited the chance to trade stories with me.


Before I could answer, the hall grew suddenly quite still. The men's gaze followed that of their King to the far end of the hall, where a pitiful, naked, bedraggled wretch limped through the portal.


No square inch of the man's body was without some laceration, bruise or swelling. Some wounds looked fresh, but others stank from putrefaction.


I watched in wonder as he tried to approach the King's dais, but his strength failed him. He collapsed to the floor in an aisle between two rows of tables.


Two warriors closest to where he fell rushed to him, one on each side. I thought that perhaps they would carry this beggar out of their assembly and away from the sight of their King. Instead, the most singular thing happened.


The mighty men gingerly lifted the beggar to his feet, and with their arms under his, conducted him slowly to the King. They treated him with the tender gentleness that you may have the privilege to observe in men of great courage and strength.


As they did so, the King stood to His feet, and every man in the hall arose and snapped to attention.


When they came to the foot of the dais, they stopped at a crystal fount filled with clear, pure water. There they bathed the beggar's wounds and the purity of that water healed his flesh. Clotted blood, bleeding wounds and putrefying sores shrank away and became faint battle scars, much like those borne by all the mighty men in the hall. 


Now I knew that he was not a beggar, but a soldier most recently fallen in the service of the King. He knelt before his sworn Sovereign who said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."


At that, his fellow-warriors draped him with a great kilt just like those worn by everyone in the company, and the King presented him with a sword and a shield. "These you shall bear for me in the great and final day of battle."


I turned to my companion, "Tell me, Ben, why am I here. Like yon man, I entered wounded and filthy, but I do not feel a part of this company."


"It is not yet your time, brother. You have come here because although you must continue the fight, we do not want you to battle on without hope. There is a seat reserved for you here, and one day you shall feast among us as we gather strength for the final victory."


The words "final victory" chased round and round in my fevered mind as consciousness slowly forced itself upon me. Thick snow blanketed the forest that long ago morning of December 25th. I arose from concealment, still weak, still fevered and sick, but alive and filled with renewed purpose and devotion, for I had seen a wounded and broken warrior honored by the King.

My teacher fell silent after the story, and so we sat again, both of us lost in thought. Then suddenly, "So, Clodhopper, tell me now a story of your battles. I long to hear of a great victory you've won.

I cringed with shame. "I have no great victories, and no real battles to recount. That's not what my life has been like at all." He did not say a word, but only fixed me in his gaze until I spoke again.

"All right, you want to know what my life is really like? I'll tell you a typical story from when I was a young believer."

The year after I surrendered my own life to the King, I accepted the challenge to carry my Bible to school every day, as testimony to my faith. My biology teacher saw my Bible, and he singled me out for ridicule in front of the class.


One day, he even falsely accused me of vandalizing a nature trail that he had made -- again, in front of the class. I never engaged the man in battle, and after that year, I had only limited contact with him.


At the end of my junior year, he proctored an exam I was taking. I finished it early, and to occupy myself, I wrote out John 14:1-6 on the scratch paper along with a little poem I had memorized. As I looked it over, a shadow fell across my desk, and the biology teacher stood over me.


He picked up my papers, no doubt thinking that I had smuggled some crib notes into the exam room. He stood there and read the Scripture passage and the little poem by R.C. Trench:

   Weep not for broad lands lost,
   Weep not for fair hopes crossed.
   Weep not when limbs wax old.
   Weep not when friends grow cold.
   Weep not when death must part thine
   And the best loved heart,
   Yet weep, weep all you can.
   Weep, weep because thou art a sin-defiled man. 


Then the unbelieving teacher said, "Interesting," and returned my papers to the desk. Later, during my senior year, he exacted petty revenge upon me for whatever crimes he imagined I had committed against him.


At that time, he made me look and feel a fool, and he humiliated me in front of others. 


I tell you this story because it's fairly typical of my life. So often when I try to stand for what's right and true for the sake of my King, others have put me down, I've lost a job, or been mocked and scorned.


I cannot pick up a sword and go after these people. It's not the way my life has fallen. My story is not like yours, a tale of taking part in great battles and facing deadly enemies with rifle or blade.

The combat master fixed his eyes upon mine as he asked, "Did you rejoice?"

"What?"

"Did you rejoice when the teacher humiliated you?"

"Uh . . . well . . . no."

"Acts 5:41 tells us that after the authorities had publicly  beaten and humiliated the apostles, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."

I remained silent as he continued. "You must understand that the deepest wounds a soldier carries, no mortal eye can see, and no human surgeon can heal. Though you've not fought with weapons such as hang on my wall, you carry deep wounds of that sort, as well.

"Forget not the King's cross. He lifted no material weapon, and He suffered shame and humiliation for our sakes. And it looked for all the world to see as though He suffered a great defeat amid the scornful laughter of those who mocked.

"And yet, though it appeared a loss, it turned out the most decisive victory in the War of the Ages -- a great strategic victory that the King won naked, wounded and alone without rifle or sword.

"That is why He honored that poor, naked and broken warrior in my dream. Because that warrior followed his Sovereign.

"As our King won the great strategic victory, so you and a multitude of your brothers have won many tactical victories in His name. Those victories may have looked like defeats --they may not have even looked like battles -- but they were victories nonetheless because His cross supports and affirms them.

"One day the sheer weight of those victories will crush what remains of the Kingdom of Darkness, and all the world will know our King's reign of peace, justice and truth. In that day, you will need no medals, for your scars will tell the story of your battles and how you emerged victorious.

"I have known many warriors, and I have trained many pupils through seemingly countless years, and many times I have looked at one or another and thought to myself, 'This one reminds me of the honored warrior in my dream.'

But tonight, Clodhopper, tonight I fancy that the honored warrior looked a lot like you."

I had nothing more to say, and it was just as well, for the lump in my throat was too large to let a single word past.
*****

That's how  I remember one particular Nativity Day eve that I spent away from my loved ones. I missed them that night, but I would not trade my experience in the combat master's cottage for anything. Anything except maybe to hear the King say to me, "Well done . . . ."

It's a funny thing, how I've thought of my family during the Nativity celebrations when I could not be with them. Yet, those holidays when I am with them, I also cherish the lonely times, when the kind words and good wishes of a good, true and strong friend shone in my darkness like a beacon from the King.

Tonight, I will be in church with my wife and youngest daughter. I will listen to Christmas favorites played on Celtic harps by young women in lovely dresses. But my thoughts and wishes will also be with the lonely warriors who, away from home, struggle in the dark with enemies seen and unseen.

Please accept my wish to you, dear brothers and friends, for a most happy and blessed celebration of the King's birth. And if you feel lonely, defeated, wounded or downhearted in any way, please remember this as the Christmas eve that you climbed the snow-capped mountain and waited out a blizzard before the fire of a warrior whose heart is as great and strong as the mountain he calls home.

And if you ever doubt the value of your efforts, remember that after you listened to his story and he listened to yours, you heard him say, "Tonight, I fancy that the honored warrior looked a lot like you."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Security Tip: Electronic Pickpockets

In November of 2009,  we took a trip to Buffalo, New York. On the way back to South Carolina, someone somehow got hold of my credit card info and ran up a bill of many hundreds of dollars.

My credit card company detected the fraud, and we were not held liable for the purchases, but the experience made us more aware than ever of the need for credit card security. Thanks to RPC for the link to the video below.
 
I remember reading somewhere that you can use Mylar film (the tough, aluminized plastic that's used in space suits & potato chip bags) to block radio frequency waves. Perhaps I should wrap my credit cards in the stuff before I put them in my wallet.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday WARSKYL Warm Fuzzy Revisited

Many families share Nativity Day traditions, and to some in the WARSKYL family, it has become traditional to expect the retelling of my warmest, fuzziest family holiday memory. It contains a threat of danger, some guns and a happy ending.

Here is the story as I first posted it at Thanksgiving, 2007:

When my older girls were in their teens, we made the trek from Pennsylvania to Riverview, Florida for a visit to my folks. I don't remember if it was actually a holiday or not (but it should have been). My brother & his family were also there, so bedtime was marked by sleeping figures of various sizes curled up all over the tiny house.


Sometime around 2 or 3 AM, I was awakened by a voice outside the house saying, "We have the house surrounded. Come out with your hands up." I wasn't sure what to think, and my first instinct was to grab my Model 1911 from under my pillow and step out of the bedroom door to see if anyone else had heard this demand. They had.


We all met in the center of the house. My brother had his .45, my dad came out of his room with his Remington .380, and ONE OF MY DAUGHTERS had her Helwan 9mm. I can't think of a family get-together where I've felt more warm and gooshy (This is probably the ONLY time you'll see the phrase "warm and gooshy" in this blog). It would have marked an intruder with poor timing indeed to come through the door at that moment.


It makes me proud that all had the same reaction, all (who were able) came armed, and (not least) all were exercising muzzle awareness -- no one inadvertently pointed a weapon at any other family member.


The menacing voice with the threatening message, it turned out, was a recording that belonged to a burglar alarm at a construction site nearby. The air must have been just right to carry the sound to my parents' house so clearly.


A man does what he can, and occasionally Providence gives him a glimpse of the progress he has made. Those moments can provide encouragement . . . but they can also provide warm, fuzzy holiday memories.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mary Tyler Moore Christmas Show

Okay, I know Mary Tyler Moore is not the usual fare over here at WARSKYL. But the show is all about what it's like to spend the holiday working away from friends and family on Christmas (or what I prefer to call the Nativity Celebration).

If you've ever had to be away from loved ones on that day, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, then watch the video to sort of prepare for a special story I've written for Nativity Day eve.

And, yes, the master of combat arts ancient and modern does appear in the story. In fact, you will have a deeper insight into what makes him tick than ever before.

Meantime, you can watch the video.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Big Brother is Watching You, 2

Continued from "Big Brother is Watching You"

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2)

It is hard to describe what it is like under circumstances when every detail, every act, every word might suddenly cause one's death. Fear can destroy one's sense of proportion. We lived in a world that suffered from gross magnification. Everything was too large, too heavy, too significant. We learned to preserve our spirit; otherwise, we would die. (From Tomorrow Will Be Better, Zdena Kapral)

The author of the quote above is a Czech who lived under Nazi and Communist regimes. I use it because the threat of such a nightmarish reality creeps more closely upon us every day.

In my previous post, I talked about our civil authority's increasingly pervasive -- and invasive -- surveillance of its citizens. The inevitably logical outcome will be terror in the name of fighting terrorism.

I also made reference to the novel 1984 which describes a society under total and constant surveillance by its totalitarian overlords. Another concept found in the book is that of thoughtcrime, .the crime of thinkiing thoughts unapproved by the regime.

The video below should chill your blood. Its first impression is pretty ho-hum, because it's produced as one of those boring PR films that that we all so easily tune out. Also, the subject matter is about security and preventing terroristic acts, which we all support, right?

If you manage to stay awake, however, the subject matter may trouble you. First, the fact that this technology was developed for Homeland Security should grab your attention.

Next, during the interrogation we hear two questions repeated over and over, so that you get the impression that the two great terrorist threats are explosive devices and recording devices. It seems that surveillance is meant to be a one-way street.

(You may say that the video is presenting a scenario for a musical concert, but that raises the question of why Homeland Security would be interested in preserving performers' copyright privileges.)

Finally, and most importantly, notice that at the end of the interrogation, one individual is detained solely on the basis of how a computer reads the expressions on his face. The assumptions are that facial expression reveal inner thoughts and inner thoughts are probable cause for detainment.

In effect, we have moved one step closer to criminalizing unapproved thoughts.

The network program Lie to Me has played an important role in convincing the unthinking masses into accepting the idea that science now makes it possible to read a person's every thought and motive in his/her facial expressions. Although it's only fiction, it makes the real-world implementation of prosecuting thoughtcrime seem plausible and palatable.

Am I being overly dramatic? Watch the video, and you tell me.

Thanks to my wife for the quote at the beginning of this article, and thanks to RPC for the link to this video.

Series continues here

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cool Quote from John Witherspoon

Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country.

As the Waters Cover the Sea

I'm starting a new series on my Access to Destiny blog. It directly relates to my discussion of education.

Here is the link:

As the Waters Cover the Sea

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Big Brother Is Watching You

In 1947, George Orwell published the mother of all dystopian novels, 1984. In the story, protagonist Winston Smith lived in a totalitarian society headed by Big Brother.

One facet of Big Brother's total control over the populace was a comprehensive network of surveillance technology. It was so pervasive that at any given moment, it might zero in on anyone, anywhere.

Kate Murphy's New York Times article Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live brings the potential of 1984 to 2010. The article tells how much you reveal with a simple snapshot taken by your cell phone.


When Adam Savage, host of the popular science program “MythBusters,” posted a picture on Twitter of his automobile parked in front of his house, he let his fans know much more than that he drove a Toyota Land Cruiser.


Embedded in the image was a geotag, a bit of data providing the longitude and latitude of where the photo was taken. Hence, he revealed exactly where he lived. And since the accompanying text was “Now it’s off to work,” potential thieves knew he would not be at home.


If thieves have access to this information, do you think Big Brother does not? And don't forget the GPS chips in so many newer cars on the road today.

But let's not neglect video surveillance: American cities that would like to emulate London's camera-on- every-corner snooping into the lives of its citizens. Right out of 1984.

Orwell's novel also had unmanned drones that spied on people. We're not far behind there, either. Consider the following news video of Houston P.D.'s test of a surveillance drone.

The fact that reps from Homeland Security attended the test, and the fact that officials tried to keep secret the existence of this new surveillance equipment does not bode well for our much-eroded Fourth Amendment rights.



(Thanks to RPC for the link to this video)

Couple the capabilities of these technologies with the Orwellian concept of thoughtcrime, and you have the recipe for an unparalleled totalitarian reign of terror.

To be continued

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Security Tip: Take Car Keys to Bed

This Security Tip came to WARSKYL from RPC. I invite you to pass it on.


What to take to bed with you - not a joke
Pretty neat idea. Never thought of it before.
 

cid:image001.jpg@01C9DF96.FB2F2870

Put your car keys beside your bed at night



Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbours, your parents, your Dr's office, the check
-out girl at the market, everyone you run across.


Put your car keys beside your bed at night.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the 
car battery dies.

This tip came from a 
neighborhood watchcoordinator.
Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this:
It's a 
security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it.
It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain.
It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your 
car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around.

After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that.

And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot.



The alarm can work the same way there.


This is something that should really be shared with everyone.


Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Daddy, why do we live in a police state? -- 4

Continued from "Daddy, why do we live in a police state? -- 3"

True loyalty . . . cannot subsist in an arbitrary government, because it is founded in the love and possession of liberty. . . . it is the scourge of the griping oppressor and haughty invader of our liberties. . . . Whoever, therefore, insinuates notions of government contrary to the constitution, or in any degree winks at any measures to suppress or even weaken them, is not a loyal man. Whoever acquaints us that we have no right to examine into the conduct of those who, though they derive their power from us to serve the common interests, make use of it to impoverish or ruin us, is, in a degree, a rebel to the undoubted rights and liberties of the people. (Sam Adams as quoted in the article "True Loyalty vs. TSA Treason")

In this series, I have tried to make the point that the primary terrorism that should concern us as Christian Martialists comes from our own civil authorities. An article on crimefile news makes the same point:

If you have not noticed, our government has suspended the Fourth Amendment in the name of anti-terrorism. If you haven’t noticed, It’s our own government that has become the terrorist.

The article focuses on a move by Homeland Security to invite people with certain character traits (i.e.,nosy, intrusive people -- know anyone like that in your neighborhood, church or workplace?) to call the feds and report anything they find suspicious about you. You can read the article here.

The article also links to Homeland Security's press release about the inauguration of their neighborhood unpaid informant program. It includes a video appeal for citizen participants from Secretary Janet Napolitano, and a promise of  "public education materials" to come.

In light of Homeland Security's track record (see my posts, Profile of  a Terrorist? & Who Are the Good Guys? & It Ain't Over Til It's Over) you can imagine what kind of activity these materials will target as suspicious. I doubt that devout Muslims will rate even an honorable mention, despite the fact that apart from the acts perpetrated by our own civil authority, for the past two decades virtually all terrorist acts against this nation have come from that sector (e.g., see Homegrown Hate Crimes Against Our Troops).

I know the kind of people who will respond to Secretary Napolitano's recruitment appeal. I have suffered character assassination and ultimately became a refugee in my own country because of people like that.

Series continued here

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Comic vs. the Police State

The truth hurts. And if it hurts the mindless bureaucracy that frustrates and tyrannizes us, the truth can be really funny.

With material like this on the web, no wonder the feds want to get control of the internet -- solely for our protection, you understand.



I got the link for this video from Kelly on Facebook.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Silent Night, Holy Night

Silent Night, Holy Night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child,
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

I was about sixteen years old sitting in the living room by the lights of the Christmas tree. I awaited the rest of the family's return from somewhere, so we could go to our church's Christmas program.

It was a perfect time to reflect on the wonders of the incarnation of our Lord. I remember it as a wondrous, deep and moving time.

For me, the celebration of the King's coming should always include reflection, devotion and a quiet resolve to live in loyal obedience to His reign. Contrast that to what you see in the video below.



RPC, who sent me the link to the video, also commented:

I have seen crowd violence similar to this when the circumstances were "right." Also, I have had one grocery store owner out in the middle of the Virgina coal fields tell me how "mad" people got when the delivery truck to the store did not make it in for a week and a half.

The video hints that the answers to our national barbarism lie in political principles. However, the kind of political and economic reform that we need can only come from a spiritual Reformation.

It does not matter nearly as much whom we elect to Congress or the Oval Office as much as whom we acknowledge as King.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing . . . .

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Fence-Post

I got the link to this from Seth on Facebook. So glad I took the opportunity to go there and read it.

Take three minutes. If you're a true warrior, it will encourage your heart & make your day go better.

http://dailyanxiety.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/fence-post/

And the Government Shall Be upon His Shoulder

The season of Advent is officially upon us. Last night Laura & I sat in a pew and listened to Handel's Messiah sung by a choir that included our youngest daughter (19 yrs.). It is a work that I appreciate more and more as I age.

The words come directly from Scripture, and the music drives the message deep into the soul. The Messiah stands as a benchmark of Christian progress in the arts.

The themes that treat our Lord's present reign from Heaven struck me particularly strongly last night.

The Government shall be upon His shoulder . . . 


The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ . . .


And He shall reign forever and ever. Alleluia!

As the truth of the message implanted itself within me, I realized that very few of the leaders of our police state have not heard them at least once at some time in their lives. They have received notice that they bear rule at the sufferance of the King of kings, to whom they shall one day give a strict account.

I do wish that they may repent. If they do not, all the majesty, glory and inflated ego of their imperial accomplishments will not even make a ripple in the Lake of Fire.

I do not wish them to end up there, but it provides a strange comfort to know that the great evil they do shall go down in the holy flames of God's wrath.

May this Advent season serve to remind us that we do now live under the rule of God's Anointed. Let us acknowledge and obey Him.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Daddy, why do we live in a police state? -- 3

Continued from "Daddy, why do we live in a police state? -- 2"

There are certain Bible verses that people in specific circles tend to abuse.

Winos in rescue missions all seem to know about Paul's admonition to Timothy: "A little wine for thy stomach's sake."

Unbelievers (and nominal believers) who do not want to be held to account for their sins often quote, "Judge not lest ye be judged," and/or, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

Professing Christians unwilling to pay the high price of loyalty to King Jesus will often quote the first half of His command in  Matthew 22:21: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. . . ."

The complete command says,

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. (Matthew 22:21, emphasis added)

Now, back to my narrative . . .

For two years, I maintained that the IRS had wrongfully disallowed my deductions and imposed a fine contrary to the U.S. Constitution. In the interim, I moved my family to Brandon (not Bradenton!) Florida, not far from where my parents lived.

It was a difficult time for Laura & me, but one day an IRS agent's visit to my parents' home made life even harder. He intimidated my mother with all the dire consequences that would befall my family and me (not I, please) if I continued to resist the dictates of the tyrannical  bureaucracy (probably not exactly the way he referred to the IRS).

Within two weeks of his visit, they called my father in for an audit -- something that had never happened in his life. My dad had always worked for wages, and his tax forms were pretty much cut-and-dry, so the audit was unusual, to say the least.

When my folks talked to me about it, they were under the emotional stress of IRS extortion. Mom told me about what a "nice man" the agent who visited her was. (Note: Nice men don't use intimidation of family members as a club to coerce you into capitulating to their wrongful claims.)

Somewhere in the conversation, Matthew 22:21 came up, and I tried to explain that in America, we are supposed to have a government of laws, not of men, and that the supreme law (by which the government was supposed to abide) resided in the Constitution. Thus, the Constitution is Caesar, and by resisting tyranny, I was rendering to Caesar the things that belonged to Caesar.

(In those days, I suffered from a what is still a common lack of perspective in evangelical circles; I believed the erroneous propaganda that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Since that time, I have come to realize and acknowledge the Word of the Living God as the one Law supreme over every land.)

In the end, fear and weakness won out over principle and resolve.

You have, no doubt seen the situation portrayed in many films and TV programs. In the 1940's 'B' pictures, the evil Nazi agent approaches the loyal American immigrant: "You do not vish to cooperate? Haff you forgotten your family dat is still in dee old country?"

Today, you see the mob boss talking to the police officer or the investigative reporter: "You have a really beautiful daughter. It's a shame what some people do to beautiful girls."

Or with much less subtlety, the orc holds a gun to the wife's head: "You will do exactly what I say, or I'll blow her head off."

Those are terror tactics. And that's exactly the position the "nice man" put me in.

As a consequence, Laura and I went in to see the "nice man" at his office in Tampa, Florida. We handed over a check for fines and interest -- by then over $600 -- and we produced the documentation for the previously disallowed mileage deductions.

Within two weeks, we received a check from the Treasury Department that refunded 100% of the fines and interest. There are two ways to look at this.

One kind of person would say, "See, you could have saved all that trouble and worry if you had just paid them in the first place." Another kind of person would say, "Hmmm. . . . it looks as though it wasn't about the money as much as getting you to bow the knee to the Tyrant State."

I tend to agree with the second person. The whole point of the exercise was to force me to violate my lawful convictions so that I would acquiesce to naked power. "You have parents in Florida?"

I see a fourfold outcome here.
  1. I rendered to Herod (the IRS) the things that belonged to Caesar (the Constitution) -- a bitter pill and a blow to my pride, but not exactly a violation of Matthew 22:21;
  2. I learned a valuable, first-person lesson in police state terror tactics and therefore decided I must choose my battles carefully, for if I stuck by my guns (figuratively speaking, of course), I would probably have a chance to fight just that one battle before winding up dead or in prison;
  3. I, no doubt, had my my name flagged by the IRS and possibly by other federal agencies as a potential troublemaker, or worse;
  4. I survived to continue the fight.
To be continued

Friday, December 3, 2010

American Combat Judo Revisited

I have previously written about Bernard J. Cosneck's American Combat Judo here and here, with a significant mention here.

Recently, I ran across an article in an online Judo magazine that discusses Cosneck & his system relative to WWII combatives and the systems that have arisen from that era. The article begins on page seven.

Here's the link:

American Combat Judo

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gifts for the Christian Martialist -- Special Today Only

In "Gifts for the Christian Martialist", I introduced a new line of WARSKYL products. Today, I have been informed by the manufacturer that you can get $6 off the net price if you buy a shirt, and you can get free shipping on all orders over $35.

To take advantage of this, you must use the code: JINGLESALE82

Details here