Friday, February 29, 2008

Obama's Defense Strategy

Senator Obama tells us why we shouldn't vote for him to be President in November:

He will end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. To understand why this would be exceedingly reckless go here.

He'll set a goal of eliminating nuclear weapons from the world. This is empty rhetoric. How, exactly, does he propose to disarm the rest of the world including Israel, India, Pakistan, China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia?

He'll work for a global ban on fissile material. This would mean that nuclear power plants, the only feasible alternative to coal burning power plants, would be taken off the table not jut in the U.S. but around the world.

He'll end our missile defense program. This is the prgram that currently gives us hope that we'll one day be able to shoot down an incoming nuclear-tipped ICBM. Why would he want to deprive us of a technology that could one day save millions of American lives?

He'll take our ICBMs off hair trigger alert, but I didn't think, though I could be wrong about this, that they were on one.

In any event, the Senator simply doesn't sound to me like he's really thought through what he's saying. His strategy for a strong defense seems to be not to have one. It's disturbing to think that someone of his views may be our next Commander-in-chief.


Badgering Rape Victims carries a deeply troubling story about a twelve year old girl who was raped, but when the case went to trial the defense attorney badgered the young girl, damaging the credibility of her testimony to the point where the rapist, an adult against whom there was considerable evidence, got off on a reduced charge.

This is outrageous enough but the story takes on a surreal aspect when we learn that the lawyer, despite her aggressiveness toward the young victim and her lack of sympathy for the ordeal the girl was going through, is a prominent champion of women's rights.

The story becomes almost incredible when we learn that the lawyer was Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Rodham Clinton often invokes her "35 years of experience making change" on the campaign trail, recounting her work in the 1970s on behalf of battered and neglected children and impoverished legal-aid clients.

But there is a little-known episode Clinton doesn't mention in her standard campaign speech in which those two principles collided. In 1975, a 27-year-old Hillary Rodham, acting as a court-appointed attorney, attacked the credibility of a 12-year-old girl in mounting an aggressive defense for an indigent client accused of rape in Arkansas - using her child development background to help the defendant.

In May 1975, Washington County prosecutor Mahlon Gibson called Rodham, who had taken over the law clinic months earlier, to tell her she'd been appointed to represent a hard-drinking factory worker named Thomas Alfred Taylor, who had requested a female attorney.

In her 2003 autobiography "Living History," Clinton writes that she initially balked at the assignment, but eventually secured a lenient plea deal for Taylor after a New York-based forensics expert she hired "cast doubt on the evidentiary value of semen and blood samples collected by the sheriff's office."

However, that account leaves out a significant aspect of her defense strategy - attempting to impugn the credibility of the victim, according to a Newsday examination of court and investigative files and interviews with witnesses, law enforcement officials and the victim.

Rodham, records show, questioned the sixth grader's honesty and claimed she had made false accusations in the past. She implied that the girl often fantasized and sought out "older men" like Taylor, according to a July 1975 affidavit signed "Hillary D. Rodham" in compact cursive.

Rodham, legal and child welfare experts say, did nothing unethical by attacking the child's credibility - although they consider her defense of Taylor to be aggressive.

"She was vigorously advocating for her client. What she did was appropriate," said Andrew Schepard, director of Hofstra Law School's Center for Children, Families and the Law. "He was lucky to have her as a lawyer ... In terms of what's good for the little girl? It would have been hell on the victim. But that wasn't Hillary's problem."

And that's the point. Hillary was able to suppress her feminist principles in order to win the case, even if it meant browbeating and confusing a sixth grade rape victim so that the child's testimony was discredited.

The victim, now 46, told Newsday that she was raped by Taylor, denied that she wanted any relationship with him and blamed him for contributing to three decades of severe depression and other personal problems.

"It's not true, I never sought out older men - I was raped," the woman said in an interview in the fall. Newsday is withholding her name as the victim of a sex crime.

Questions: What difference does it make if the girl did seek out older men? Does that justify the rape? Don't feminists like Ms Clinton remind us that sexual provocations on the part of women never justify sexual assault? Is anyone in the MSM ever going to ask her about her tactics in this case?

Answers: None, no, perpetually, be serious.


Interview With Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhatten and author of the very popular (currently #18 on the New York Times best-seller list) The Reason for God, is interviewed by Anthony Sacramone at First Things.

In answer to a question about how thinking has changed between the 1940s when C.S. Lewis was writing books on Christian apologetics and the current era Keller replies:

Lewis definitely lived at a time in which people were more certain across the board that empirical, straight-line rationality was the way you decided what truth was, and there's just not as much of a certainty now. Also, when Lewis was writing, people were able to follow sustained arguments that had a number of points that built on one another. I guess I should say we actually have a kind of rationality-attention-deficit disorder now. You can make a reasonable argument, you can use logic, but it really has to be relatively transparent. You have to get to your point pretty quickly.

In New York City, these are pretty smart people, very educated people, but even by the mid-nineties I had found that the average young person found Mere Christianity-it just didn't keep their attention, because they really couldn't follow the arguments. They took too long. This long chain of syllogistic reasoning wasn't something that they were trained in doing. I don't think they're irrational, they are as rational, but they want something of a mixture of logic and personal appeal.

Another question tries to pin down how Keller would describe the church of which he is the pastor. Sacramone says: I've heard you refer to Redeemer as a seeker church. Do you see Redeemer as part of the emerging church phenomenon, and what does that mean?

No, no, no, no. The words "seeker church" now I think mean Willow Creek to most people, which is a service that is strictly-Willow Creek branded that term, so I probably can't use it anymore.


Yeah, well the seeker church is a church in which you have sort of low participation, there's a talk, there's good music-but it's not really a worship service. You're not trying to get people engaged. You are targeting nonbelieving, skeptical people as the audience. That's considered a seeker church. And I would have always said that Redeemer is the kind of church in which we're trying to speak-it's a worship service, but we're trying to speak in the vernacular. We're trying to speak in a way that doesn't confuse or turn off nonbelievers. We want nonbelievers to be there. I think that a lot of ministers would never say, "We expect nonbelievers to be constantly there, lots of them there, incubating in the services." And we do. We do expect that. In that sense we'd be a seeker church. But now I'm afraid I don't think it's a good word to use, because when people hear "seeker church" they're thinking something else.

I found that if you define megachurch as anything over two thousand people, then yes, then we are. But here's four ways in which we're not a megachurch, or we don't do things people associate with megachurches. One is, we do no advertising or publicity of any sort, except I'm trying to get the book out there so people read it and have their lives changed by it, but Redeemer's never advertised or publicized. And the reason is, if a person walks in off the street just because they've heard about Redeemer through advertising, and they have questions or they want to get involved, there's almost no way to do it unless you have all kinds of complicated programs, places where they can go. But if they come with a friend who already goes there, their questions are answered naturally, the next steps happen organically, the connections they want to make happen naturally . . . We do not want a crowd of spectators. We want a community.

Secondly, we do almost no technology. We don't have laser-light shows, we don't have Jumbotrons, we don't have overheard projectors, we don't have screens. We don't have anything like that. Thirdly, we have a lot of classical music, chamber music-we are not hip at all. We don't go out of our way to be hip.

There's much more on the interview at the link.