Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jay Flickinger

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Jay Flickinger and his wife Kelly live in Virginia near their children and grandchildren. He served as a pastor for 20 years. Jay has a Th.D. from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

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Is the baby ready?

Between 1935 and 1945 some 19,000 children were born as the beginnings of Hitler’s master race. Good SS boys were encouraged to “hook up” with blue eyed blond haired Nordic girls. The children born of such unions were placed in foster care or raised in special orphanages for raising good little Nazi children. If any of the infants were less than “perfect” they were killed or sent to concentration camps.

Fast forward to today. New Science reported, “A team in China has corrected genetic mutations in at least some of the cells in three normal human embryos using the CRISPR genome editing technique.”

CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a DNA editing procedure that is being used in research as a potential tool for the benefit of humanity. This technology was developed in 2012 by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier.

This gene editing technology is currently being employed to research possible application in agriculture, microbiology, disease treatment and biofuel. According to Dr. Dounda, professor of molecular and cell biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UC Berkeley,

“There are many others arenas in which better gene-editing tools can promote global health, specifically by improving crops and sustaining a healthy microbial environment that has been shown to prevent illness, improve crop yields and nurture a balanced ecosystem. At UC Berkeley we have the expertise in plant science and microbiology research to make a real contribution by designing higher-yield, more pest-resistant crops that a large proportion of the world’s population depend on, and fostering the microbial populations critical to human health and the health of the planet.”

The potential for CRISPR to benefit humanity is promising. However, as with any science, there are risks. What are the possible unintended consequences?

Before CRISPR, Brazilian scientists desired a more productive honeybee. So, in 1956 they imported African honeybees to South America to breed this new strain. Some of the bees escaped and bred with different honeybees. Now the world has “killer bees.” An unintended consequence. This reminds one of Dr. Ian Malcolm’s famous line from Jurassic Park, “I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way.”

What are the potential negative consequences of CRISPR technology? No one really knows at this point. There are warnings of “off-target effects.” Off-target effects are unintended changes in the genome that may occur as the result of CRISPR. Sharon Begley reported, “Although each CRISPR has zero to a dozen or so ‘known’ off-target sites (where known means predicted by those web-based algorithms), . . . there can be as many as 150 ‘novel’ off-target sites, meaning scientists had no idea those errors were possible.”

Presently scientists have no idea of the possible negative consequences that may be caused by CRISPR. There can be up to 150 unknown side effects. If they are unknown why isn’t it possible for there to be more than 150?

In the future, if CRISPR technology is perfected (as if that were possible in an imperfect world), its potential for good is tremendous. That is, if we ignore the fact that we’re playing god with human embryos. Just imagine a world without cancer and birth defects. A world filled with happy, healthy people—a “master race” if you will.

What if a government decides to weaponize these CRISPR perfect people? Let us return to the opening paragraph. Imagine for a moment that CRISPR technology had been available to Nazi Germany. It doesn’t seem a stretch to assume that Hitler would have employed this technology in attempting to create his master race. You know, a Captain America type soldier. On the other hand, what if one of the “off-target effects” creates a Resident Evil type monster? This is the stuff science fiction and horror movies are made of.

Ignoring the hyperbole of the above paragraph (Or is it?), science without ethics is frightening. Dr. Dounda is aware of this. “By the spring of 2014, I was regularly lying awake at night wondering whether I could justifiably stay out of an ethical storm that was brewing around a technology I had helped to create.”

What is meant for the good of humanity, in the wrong hands, is often twisted and used for nefarious purposes. There is no end to the evil intent of some. “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5 ESV).

Does humanity have the moral ability to ethically use our scientific discoveries? And if you think we are morally capable, what is the standard? Does the United States determine what’s right and wrong? What about China or Russia? Or should the United Nations should be the final arbiter of morality? Those who believe in transcendent truth, shudder at the idea of mutable humans defining morality.

The answer to the question of moral ability will most likely depend on an individual’s worldview. For those of us who believe in the God of the Bible, the answer is a resounding NO!

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Why is Congress blocking Gorsuch's confirmation?

In his book, Men in Black, Mark Levin wrote, “Judicial activists are nothing short of radicals in robes–contemptuous of the rule of law, subverting the Constitution at will, and using their public trust to impose their policy preferences on society. In fact, no radical political movement has been more effective in undermining our system of government than the judiciary. . . Such is the nature of judicial tyranny.”

Such judicial activism was displayed this past February, by U.S. District Judge James Robart and the 9th Circuit Court in their rulings on Trump’s first travel ban. The court blocked its implementation, which temporality halted all refugee admissions from seven countries. The reason given for the ban was to give the U.S. government more time to properly vet individuals who may threaten national security.

Federal Law grants the President the authority to require such a ban. Federal Immigration Law Section 1182(f), states: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” This seems to give the President legal authority to ban travel from certain countries.

However, the courts did not agree. In a unanimous ruling the 9th Circuit Court halted the temporary travel ban. One reason stated by the Court was that the order did not provide “what due process requires, such as notice and a hearing prior to restricting an individual’s ability to travel.”

It seems as if this “activist court” was more concerned with people from other countries than they are with the safety and welfare of the citizens of the United States. Which begs the question, Do, ‘all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants have due process rights?” According to the Court, the answer is yes.

Now here we go again. This past week, President Trump’s revised travel ban was rolled out. Like before, it was DOA. Judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked its implementation. In Hawaii, Judge Derrick Watson ruled that a reasonable person, “would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.” Also, in Maryland U. S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang, was convinced that the travel band was a Muslim ban, pointing to Trump’s campaign statements as proof.

There is news the Administration will challenge the ruling in Maryland in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond Virginia.

Assuredly the Left is going to challenge, in the courts, every action the Administration takes. Many issues will find their way to the Supreme Court. These rulings reinforce the urgent need for President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court to be quickly approved by the Senate. On March 20, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to begin hearings on the Neil Gorsuch nomination.

As Larry Arnn, writing for Hillsdale College, acknowledges, “Donald Trump’s nominees could keep the court split or they could tip the court back toward limited constitutional government for an entire generation. An opportunity exists to undo the Progressive judicial activism that has undermined our Constitution the past century. This court’s docket will certainly include controversial issues–such as Obamacare and immigration–and Donald Trump’s nominees will play an important role in the direction of our country.”

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Who wears the pants?

In 2015, a well-known Christian pastor received a letter from a “judge—a very significant judge in a very significant court.” In this letter the judge lamented, “One of the duties of a judge is to marry people. I am now under government mandate to marry people of the same sex. I cannot do that. I cannot do that.” The pastor, prophetically stated in his sermon, “He will lose his position. Clerks, Christian clerks across the country, who issue marriage licenses, and can’t do that either, are losing their jobs. The takeover is going to be massive. Christian people in high places are going to be replaced by people who will do what this court says you must do.”

Here it is 2017 and the pastor’s warning rings true. This past week the Wyoming Supreme Court publicly censured Judge Ruth Neely for refusing, on religious grounds, to perform same-sex marriages.

Remember Kim Davis? In 2015, the Kentucky clerk did a stint in jail for refusing to perform or authorize marriage licenses of same sex couples—on religious grounds. As The Atlantic reported at the time, “She was just the only one who refused either to perform her job, or quit it. In Texas, Rusk County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle stepped down, as did Live Oak County Clerk Karen Irving. Cleburn County, Arkansas, lost its clerk, as did Grenada County, Mississippi; the clerk’s office in Decatur County, Tennessee, lost its entire staff.”

Kim Davis’ story was updated recently. The ACLU had asked the court to order her pay over $230,000 in legal fees. Federal Magistrate Edward B. Atkins denied their request. He stated since the plaintiffs did not win their case the ACLU was not entitled to the legal fees.

Was this a victory for religious liberty? Was the right to freedom of religious conviction upheld by the courts? Before the question can be answered a little background is in order.

As the result of Davis’ time in jail the law, in Kentucky, was changed. As Breitbart reported, “Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed an executive order eliminating the provision requiring a county clerk’s name and title to appear on a state marriage license. The Kentucky General Assembly later made the executive order permanent by an act of the legislature, thus eliminating the point of contention in the ACLU’s lawsuit.” This was the reason the ACLU did not win their case.

A victory for religious liberty? Hardly, simply an executive order by an elected official. What if Matt Bevin was not the governor? Would a Democratic governor have signed a similar order protecting the religious beliefs “objecting clerks?” Has religious liberty now become the plaything of elected officials and the courts?

What has happened to “certain unalienable rights?” Those unalienable rights, granted by the Creator, expressed in the Declaration. What happened to the Bill of Rights? The Rights that protect us from government overreach.

Probably, this is not the last of Kim Davis’ legal troubles.

Now back to Judge Ruth Neely. In their decision to censure her, the court wrote to the effect that Judge Neely shall either perform no marriage ceremonies or she shall perform marriage ceremonies regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation.

Thankfully the Court did not go as far as the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics desired. They asked that she be removed from her position.

Interestingly, Judge Neely never refused to perform a same sex marriage, she was never asked too. She simply stated publicly that her religious beliefs prohibited her from performing one. Under oath she testified, “If I ever were to receive a request to perform a same-sex marriage, which has never happened, I would ensure that the couple received the services that they requested by very kindly giving them the names and phone numbers of other magistrates who could perform their wedding.”

Is the pastor correct in his assertion, “Christian people in high places are going to be replaced by people who will do what this court says you must do?” Is the day coming, even in the United States, when practicing Christians will vanish completely from public life?

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Ruuuunnnn! Wait, no don't, just more fake news.

In 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a red button that was meant to read, in Russian, “Reset.” Secretary Clinton stated that it was President Obama’s desire to “reset” the U. S. relationship with Russia. Mrs. Clinton said that they had worked very hard to use the correct Russian word on this button. “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Of course, we all know now that they got it wrong. Instead of “Reset” the red button read, “Overcharged!”

Overcharged! Considering today’s political climate, “overcharged” was perhaps the correct word after all. Overcharged with personal accusations, political allegations and people with overcharged emotions and hysteria.

Overcharged accusations of Russia hacking the presidential election. Overcharged allegations of a Trump Administration’s relationship with Russia. Overcharged so that Michael Flynn was forced resign for having phone conversations with the Russian Ambassador. So overcharged, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, felt it necessary to recuse himself from any investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The reason for his self-imposed recusal—meeting with the Russian ambassador while a U. S. Senator. “Overcharged” seems the right word to cover it all.

Now, a Putin spokesman has stated publicly, that people associated with Hillary Clinton met with the Russian Ambassador. Dmitry Peskov told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met with, “people working in think tanks advising Hillary or advising people working for Hillary.” Peskov also stated, “Well, if you look at some people connected with Hillary Clinton during her campaign, you would probably see that he [Kislyak] had lots of meetings of that kind.”

A former Clinton campaign spokesman denied that any such meeting took place.

Peskov went on to say it was simply part of Ambassador Kislyak’s job to meet with both sides of the campaign in order increase Moscow’s understanding of things going on in America. He denied that Russia was in anyway trying to interfere with the 2016 election. “There were no meetings about elections” Peskov said. He went on to say that these meetings should not be seen as interfering with the electoral process.

Many would agree with Peskov. Russian interference played no role in the last presidential election. They are more inclined to think that the charges of interference are made to delegitimize the Trump presidency. Others are convinced that Russian involvement made all the difference.

Did the Russians, in some way or the other hack or influence the last presidential election? Or like the button Secretary of State Clinton presented to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, is it all “OVERCHARGED?”

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Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly was recorded, during a private meeting lamenting, “President Obama himself said he was gonna stay in Washington until his daughter graduated. I think we oughta pitch in to let him go somewhere else because he’s only there for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to run a shadow government that is gonna totally upset the new agenda.”

Later a Kelly spokesman walked back the accusation. “Rep. Kelly does not believe that President Obama is personally operating a shadow government. He does believe it would be helpful to the new administration if the former president would personally call for an end to all leaks and obstruction by personnel from his administration who currently serve in the executive branch.”

Not “personally operating a shadow government,” but then asking the former President to “call for an end to all the leaks and obstruction.” Does the Congressman believe in the reality of a “shadow government” and that President Obama, if not “personally operating” it, has influence over it?

In all fairness to the former President, the reason he gave for staying in D. C. was so that his youngest daughter Sasha could finish high school. Which is indeed admirable. He was quoted as saying, “We’re going to have to stay a couple of years in D.C. probably so Sasha can finish, transferring someone in the middle of high school? Tough.” Sasha, currently a Sophomore, will graduate in 2019.

However, in view of the numerous leaks, the anti-Trump protests, the rowdy audiences at Republican town hall meetings, and President Trump’s tweet accusing the former President of wiretapping, one wonders if there is perhaps a puppet master working behind the scenes.

Last month, the New York Post ran an article titled, “How Obama is scheming to sabotage Trump’s presidency.” In it they called attention to the efforts of OFA (Organizing for Action), a 501(c)(4) organization touting some 250 offices nationwide and a membership of over 30,000. Organizing for Action has raised over $30,000,000 since 2013. Interestingly, prior to that time, it went by the name Obama for America (OFA), and was the Former President’s campaign organization.

To add fire to the “shadow government” conspiracy theory, it was recently reported that President Obama’s former advisor Valeria Jarrett labeled by some, the Obama Whisperer, had moved into his Kalorama residence in the nation’s capital.

It is alleged that this will be the nerve center of the opposition. Again, allegedly, the ultimate goal is to impeach or force the resignation of President Trump. The dream of every good Leftist.

Furthermore, former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder has been quoted as saying of Obama, “It’s coming. He’s coming.” And he’s ready to roll.” And Obama “will be a more visible part of the effort.” According to Holder these efforts will focus on fundraising and redistricting. Is that all? Really?

Is there a shadow government, is there a puppet master behind the scenes, or are these simply paranoid delusions?

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Who's looking after her?

This last presidential election cycle was all about “Outsiders.” From Bernie Sanders, to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, they all ran as the “outsider candidate.” Why? The answer is obvious. People are sick and tired of politicians and the whole political system.

Why are people tired of the system? Because it seems as if politicians lie, waste our hard-earned money on insane programs, and give it away; often to the undeserving. One wonders if they care more about their reelection than the good of the country. Political office, it seems for many, is the quickest way to the good life and personal fortune. No wonder Donald Trump is our president, people were looking for the real “Outsider.”

“Outsiders” have always been a breath of political fresh air. Elected officials that run against the political wind, those who dare, even at the expense of their own political good, to stand for constitutional principles and our personal liberties.

Before the title “Outsider” became part of our national vernacular, there were modern day trailblazers, those who stood against the “Establishment.” Those who, even though were in the body politic, for the good of the citizenry, fidelity to the Constitution and love of country, were outside. Persons in government who did go along to get along.

One such “Outsider,” from the Clinton era, was Bob Barr. Congressman Barr was appointed by Ronald Reagan as U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In that capacity, as a Republican, he successfully prosecuted Pat Swindall. Swindall (appropriately named) was a Republican member of the U. S. House of Representatives for Georgia’s 4th District. He was convicted of perjury.

This did not sit well with other Republicans.

Congressman Barr led the call to impeach then President William Jefferson Clinton. Which as the Washington Post reported at the time, was “making the Republican leadership just a tad nervous (Washington Post). He was always an “Outsider.”

This “Outsider’s” purpose was to serve the people who put him in office, not the political elite. At the time he was calling for the impeachment of President Clinton he quipped, “My constituents didn’t send me up here to glad-hand and have a good time. They sent me up here to get something done.”

As the consummate “Outsider,” in 2008 Bob ran for President of the United States, not as a Republican, but as the Libertarian candidate.

What does this “Outsider” do when elected office is behind him? Continue to fight for the rights granted the individual in our beloved Constitution.

Bob Barr practices law and runs Liberty Strategies in Atlanta, Georgia. He has a weekly column published nationally and has served on the board of the NRA since 1997, along with sitting on the board of several other organizations.

Bob also heads Liberty Guard, a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting individual liberty. Liberty Guard has one mission: Protect and Defend Individual Liberty! This has always been Bob’s driving passion.

“We recognize that life, liberty, and property were granted to us by God, and set forth by our Founding Fathers. Our country was created to protect these freedoms – but has lost sight of their fundamental importance in recent years. We seek to correct that – and place focus back on these founding principles” (Liberty Guard).

Liberty Guard demands a flat tax. They have delivered thousands of petitions to the Congress on a rolling basis.

In 2010 Liberty Guard formed the Opt-Out Alliance. This program was created to protect air travelers from unwarranted screening methods, such as naked body scans.

Currently Liberty Guard is considering the Deep State, the bureaucrats who are imbedded in the government, that are responsible for the leaks undermining the Trump Administration. Not only are these government employees a problem for any administration, that governs contrary to their personal ideologies, but due to the unlimited power they have in the arena of personal data collection and the possibility of misusing the data, they are worrisome to anyone who values their privacy. They literally have the power to destroy the career and reputation of anyone who disagrees with their political views.

Solutions to reining in the Deep State are not readily available. However, under the leadership of Bob Barr, always the champion of privacy, Liberty Guard desires to expose this corruption and offer legal solutions.

Presently Liberty Guard boasts 123,898 members. It has saved $32,000,000 tax dollars and delivered over 1,000,000 petitions.

So, what does this “Outsider” do when elected office is behind him? Continue to fight for the rights granted the individual in our beloved Constitution.

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