A Really Inconvenient Truth

A Really Inconvenient Truth

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The most inconvenient truth for climate alarmists is the burgeoning number of influential scientists with dissenting opinions on global warming.

Al Gore says global warming is an inconvenient truth. “Inconvenient” adds a clever twist to the name of the would-be president’s popular documentary and book. But far worthier of scrutiny is the other word in the title: “Truth.”

Man-made global warming, says the former politician and a rising sea of climate alarmists, is not just inconvenient, it’s an unequivocal, undeniable truth. In fact, the truth about global warming is so convincing, that “debate in the scientific community is over.”

Says who? Well, the United Nations for starters. February of last year, the United Nations issued a press release highlighting its latest report, which apparently proved “changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps now show unequivocally that the world is warming due to human activities” (emphasis mine throughout). According to Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (unep), Feb. 2, 2007, will be remembered as the day “where the question mark was removed behind the debate on whether climate change has anything to do with human activity on this planet.”

Then in December, at the circus-like Bali conference in Indonesia, an updated version of the report, produced by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc), was embraced by scientists and world leaders alike. Since then, the report—which is riddled with qualifying statements that corrode the report’s fundamental premise (that global warming is a man-made crisis)—has been touted by the mainstream press as conclusive proof of man-made climate change.

To climate activists, the case is closed on man-made global warming. But is it?

Flinging the word truth around is easy. Convicted criminals claim that the truth is they’re innocent; car salesmen say the truth is they can’t afford to drop the price further; a child with brownie mix smeared all over his face argues that he’s telling the truth when he denies running his tongue round the mixing bowl.

The real test of truth is whether or not it conforms with reality and is backed by verified, indisputable facts.

For climate alarmists, the really inconvenient truth is that a burgeoning number of scientists, climate experts and even politicians around the world are discussing facts that clash with the so-called truth that the globe is warming because of human activities.

The real truth is that the theory of man-made global warming—despite being virtually canonized in the UN and the minds of a slew of politicians and celebrities, and naturally in the mainstream media—remains one of the most contentious issues in science.

That contention was on full display in New York City last week.

Those who depend solely on the mainstream newsmedia to keep them informed might have missed the headlines about the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute and featuring nearly 100 speakers and 500 attendees skeptical of man-made global warming. The highly successful three-day conference occurred in the wake of recent reports of global cooling and the release of a blockbuster U.S. Senate minority report featuring over 400 prominent scientists disputing the theory of man-made global warming.

Last week’s conference testified to one towering truth in the world of science: Debate within the scientific community over global warming is far from dead and buried.

The high-water mark of the conference was the presentation of a report produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (nipcc) claiming nature, not human activity, was the cause of climate change. The nipcc is comprised of international scientists and was formed as a counterforce to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

International scientists, climate experts and policymakers at the event listened to lectures and panel discussions exposing the fraud of the global warming “truth,” perused studies and reports showing stark division in the scientific community over global warming, and swapped stories about how they’d been “denied tenure, shut out of scientific conferences and rejected by academic journals because no matter how scrupulous their research,” their conclusions contradicted the truth espoused by the climate change pharisees (National Post,March 10). Many attendees spoke of colleagues too afraid to attend the conference for fear of losing their jobs.

Many of the details at the conference can be found in this piece from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Those who take the time to investigate the links therein will experience an eye-opening exposé of the staggering scale of the global warming scam. Take funding for global warming research, for example. Over the past decade, research intended to prove the veracity of man-made global warming has been funded to the tune of $50 billion, while global warming skeptic research has received a comparatively measly $19 million.

During the conference, the Business and Media Institute (bmi), a division of Media Research Center (America’s largest and most respected watchdog group), also released its comprehensive study on how the mainstream media reports on global warming. bmi’s analysis of 205 network stories between July 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2007, exposed the mainstream media as the largest propaganda vehicle for global warming crusaders:

Global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average, for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. abc did a slightly better job with a 7-to-1 ratio, while cbs’s ratio was abysmal at nearly 38-to-1.Scientists made up only 15 percent of the global warming proponents shown. The remaining 85 percent included politicians, celebrities, other journalists and even ordinary men and women.Of the three networks (abc, nbc and cbs), 80 percent of stories (167 out of 205) didn’t mention skepticism or anyone at all who dissented from global warming. cbs did the absolute worst job. Ninety-seven percent of its stories ignored other opinions.

The lesson: Transforming a lie into truth before an unwitting public is made easier by silencing dissenting opinions. Eighty percent of news stories omitted the opposing view altogether. How fair and objective is that?

Media bias isn’t confined to television networks. Read this March 4 article by Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post on last week’s climate conference in New York City. “Sponsored by the Heartland Institute,” she writes, “the 2½-day session poses a stark contrast to the near-unanimous chorus of concern expressed by top U.S. politicians and most of the scientific mainstream.”

Stark contrast to the near-unanimous chorus of concern”?

Might the perceived “near-unanimous” concern about man-made global warming be a result of the gag-order imposed on thousands of scientists and hundreds of reporters from around the world espousing a dissenting opinion? Any person who watches cbs News or reads the Washington Post would be forgiven for joining the ranks of those who believe global warming is a man-made crisis. Why? Because unanimity is easy when dissenting voices are ignored.

Despite Al Gore and the UN’s claim that the case is closed on global warming, there are dissenting voices! Besides last week’s conference in New York, besides the 400 skeptical scientists that signed the U.S. Senate minority report released a few months ago, countless other studies show dissent in the scientific community over man’s role in global warming. One Canadian survey of 51,000 earth scientists and engineers by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (apegga), released last week, showed that 68 percent disagreed with the statement that “the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled.”

Near-unanimous?

Later in the Post piece, Eilperin compares the UN-sponsored ipcc report with the nipcc report, pointing out that some of the authors of the nipcc report “were not scientists.” The clear implication is that the nipcc report lacks scientific credibility, which is patently untrue.

But let’s address scientific credibility. According to the bmi study mentioned above, just 15 percent of global warming proponents shown on network television are scientists, while the remaining 85 percent are politicians, celebrities and ordinary men and women (whose viewpoints are often shaped by the mainstream press). Clearly, scientific credibility is not a primary concern of the global warming propaganda machine.

Eilperin concluded her piece with a series of quotes from climate alarmists taking potshots at the so-called quacks who attended the New York conference. Because the media and many politicians are now ignoring the climate skeptics, Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer said, “They have to get together to talk to each other, because nobody else is talking to them.”

Oppenheimer’s remark makes for a tidy little soundbite. But in truth, that conference illustrated the rising tide of scientists proving themselves willing to come out and declare man-made global warming to be a giant fraud. The U.S. Senate Commmittee on Environment and Public Works reports:

In such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, Argentina, New Zealand, Portugal and France, groups of scientists have recently spoken out to oppose and debunk man-made climate fears. …In January 2008, environmental scientist professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder and director of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, announced publicly that he considered Co2-related climate fears to be “dangerous nonsense.”In addition, at least one scientist publicly pondered reconsidering his view of man-made climate fears after the Senate report of 400 scientists was released in December. “It (the Senate 400 scientists report) got me thinking: I’m an environmental scientist, but I’ve never had time to review the ‘evidence’ for the anthropogenic causes of global warming,” wrote environmental scientist professor Rami Zurayk of the American University in Beirut on Dec. 27, 2007. “When I said, in my opening speech for the launch of unep’s (United Nations Environment Program) Global Environment Outlook-4 in Beirut: ‘There is now irrevocable evidence that climate change is taking place …’ I was reading from a statement prepared by unep. Faith-based science it may be, but who has time to review all the evidence? I’ll continue to act on the basis of anthropogenic climate change, but I really need to put some more time into this,” Zurayk wrote.

Professor Zurayk’s stark admission raises an interesting question: How many scientists on the man-is-the-cause-of-global-warming bandwagon are there simply because they have followed their colleagues, the UN, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Bono? How many have proven, scientifically, that global warming has been induced by man?

The collective embrace of man-made global warming as the cause of the growing number of environmental and climate disasters is a globe-encompassing red herring, a giant distraction from the real cause of these natural catastrophes.

Environmental and climate disasters are indeed becoming more common. But the primary and fundamental cause of these problems is not global warming. To learn more about the great global warming hoax, the real causes of environmental and climate disasters, and the solution for these crises, read “The Politics of Global Warming” and “The Cause of Weather Crises.”

Federal Reserve: Printing Money to Save Banks

Federal Reserve: Printing Money to Save Banks

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Another day, another $200 billion injected into banks. Goodbye dollar value. Hello Zimbabwe currency.

The Federal Reserve rode to the rescue again on Tuesday by making even more easy money available to Wall Street’s big bankers and bond dealers. The Fed is clearly starting down the inflationary path; the inevitable result will be a sharply lower U.S. dollar—one that will eventually resemble Zimbabwe’s currency.

The Fed said that a “rapid deterioration” in the inter-bank lending markets impelled it to begin a series of additional cash injections in an effort to prop up the balance sheets of America’s stricken banks. Underlining the severity of the current banking crisis, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank each joined the Fed’s lead to loan more money to the stricken financial institutions.

The creative new loan program, called tslf (Term Securities Lending Facility), makes it much easier for borrowers to obtain money from the Fed and hold on to it for much longer. Whereas before, banks could only borrow money from the Fed overnight, now they may borrow for up to 28 days. In addition, the new lending program will expand the collateral the banks can use to obtain the loans. The Fed’s new plan actually goes so far as to allow banks to use slumping mortgage-backed securities as collateral—the very type of securities that caused the banking crisis and got the banks into trouble in the first place.

This latest move “was seen as a direct lifeline to investment banks, which previously couldn’t borrow in past Fed liquidity plans,” according to the Associated Press.

But it could also be viewed as the beginning of a full-scale Federal Reserve-sponsored bailout. Peter Dunay, chief investment strategist at Meridian Equity Partners, says that the new deal means the Fed is “basically going to take the bad loans off the banks’ books.”

In other words, “The Fed is saying if you don’t want those mortgages, then give them to us,” confirms Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital, an investment firm in Darien, Connecticut. In return, we (at the Fed) will print into existence as much new money as you (the banks) need to rescue you from the consequences of your speculative lending practices.

So the Fed will take $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities off bank books. But the next question becomes, what will happen after a month, when the banks are still in trouble and they need to pay back all that newly created money to the Fed? What will the Fed do then? Force banks to buy back all their slumping mortgages? Not likely—that would just force the bankruptcies the Fed is trying to avoid. Judging by Federal Reserve history, there will be another plan to somehow keep the mortgages off the books and stop the banks from having to own up to their losses. The new plan will probably involve throwing more money at the problem.

But where does it end? The Fed has already said it is willing and ready to expand the $200 billion loan on short notice as required. Unfortunately, the “throw more money at the problem” solution is just getting started. As Fed chief Ben Bernanke noted to the National Economics Club in 2002: “[T]he U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.” Lou Crandal, chief economist at Wrightson icap, a financial research firm, says the Fed’s bank-lending plan essentially creates a multi-hundred-billion-dollar bank “out of nothing.”

But can the Federal Reserve continue to just create money to give to banks? Yes, but not without consequences!

The trend of printing money to “fix” problems means Americans could be in for some serious cost-of-living increases.

In his 2002 speech, Bernanke also noted that “[b]y increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can … under a paper-money system … always generate … positive inflation. … Alternatively, the Fed could find other ways of injecting money into the system—for example, by making low-interest-rate loans to banks ….” It is no coincidence that food prices are soaring, gold is reaching for $1,000 an ounce and oil is over $105 per barrel.

Even the Financial Timessays Bernanke’s latest bailout attempt takes the nation one “step closer” to what it calls a “nuclear option,” which is the last-ditch effort of printing money to buy assets, pay debts, prop up banks, stimulate the economy, and so on. The Times calls it the “nuclear option” for good reason. Once fiat currencies start down this road, it’s a one-way street to inflationary collapse. For more on this subject, refer to: the fall of the Roman Empire, Weimer Germany, and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Think wheelbarrows filled with newly minted paper dollars, and postage stamps in the $3,000,000 range.

“The Fed thinks that inflation is the way to solve our problems, but all this does is create bigger problems,” says Schiff.

A couple billion here, a few hundred billion there, and pretty soon you have a real liquidity crisis; the kind where you are drowning in money—none of which is worth much of anything. Couple this banking bailout with President Bush’s plan to print up and hand out $180 billion to taxpayers, and visions of a U.S. Zimbabwe-style currency crisis becomes all the more real.

“Nobody in his or her right mind wishes to see what is coming,” says economic analyst Jim Sinclair. “It approaches the ‘Day After’ and ‘Mad Max’ in a financial sense.”

The Trumpet continues to advise its readers to reduce their standard of living, get out of debt, and increase savings. Start preparing now by reading “Storm-Proof Your Financial House” and The Seven Laws of Success.

Iran Supplying Hezbollah With Long-Range Missiles

Iran Supplying Hezbollah With Long-Range Missiles

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More Israeli citizens are within range of deadlier strikes from a group that doesn’t understand “cease-fire.”

Iran is smuggling missiles to Hezbollah through Turkey, a senior idf official has said. Citing a source within the Israeli government, research department Brigadier General Yossi Beiditz told EU ambassadors in a briefing last week that Iran continues to ship arms and equipment to terrorists via planes traveling through Turkish airspace or overland in trucks disguised as Turkish cargo carriers. From Turkey, the missiles travel through Syria before being delivered to Hezbollah compounds in Lebanon.

One clear example of this smuggling operation occurred in May 2007 when Turkish officials confiscated a train shipment of Iranian weapons, including 300 rockets, registered as cleaning materials.

Ten months later, the main difference is that the weaponry Iran is now sending to Hezbollah is far more threatening and deadly for Israel’s citizens.

According to Beiditz’s source, Iran has now delivered Hezbollah missiles with a 185-mile range, giving the terrorist organization the capability to strike strategic targets in southern Israel, such as Dimona, where an Israeli nuclear reactor is located. These long-range missiles also give Hezbollah the capability to shoot from safer distances further away from the Israeli border.

But these missiles boast more than just a longer range. They are also more accurate and can carry a heavier, deadlier payload.

Hezbollah learned how to effectively wage a missile campaign against Israel in the Second Lebanon War. Since the end of the war, the Iranian proxy terrorist group has replenished its arsenal and then some, dramatically increasing its numbers of rockets and missiles.

Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented the Security Council with Israeli information showing Hezbollah to possess 10,000 long-range rockets and 20,000 short-range rockets.

Iran has taken advantage of the cease-fire and an impotent UN peacekeeping force brought in after the Second Lebanon War by rearming Hezbollah to the teeth. And despite UN Resolution 1701, which orders Hezbollah to disarm, the terrorist group is more than prepared for the next fight.

According to an interview published Wednesday with the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Akhbar daily, the deputy chief of Hezbollah, Naim Kassem, said the group is ready for another war with Israel, and the “Israelis know they have to pay a high price in any war.”

So the question is, is Israel ready for another war with Hezbollah? Can Israel defend itself against an improved missile campaign? For more information on the dangers Israel faces from missiles, read “Israel’s Missile Defense Strategy.”

Winds of Change

Winds of Change

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As Zimbabwe takes another step toward oblivion, here’s a look at how a once-proud nation fell so far.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed a new law that gives “indigenous” Zimbabweans majority ownership of all businesses. This new law will make matters even worse for an already impoverished country.

It is hard to see how conditions could get worse for this once prosperous nation. While few official figures are available, estimates put unemployment at 80 percent. Official figures also put the inflation rate at 24,000 percent, though in reality inflation in Zimbabwe is very hard to measure. When there is no food on the shelves, it is hard to tell how much the price has risen.

This new law is not going to fix that. It states that “indigenous Zimbabweans shall own at least 51 percent of the shares of every public company and other businesses.” The term “indigenous” refers to “any person who, before the 18th April, 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person.”

This new legislation brings back memories of the tragic land reforms that took place several years ago. According to Harare-based economist Godfrey Kanyenze, “It will entail the destruction of the economy. We should have learned from the blunders of the land reforms where people who were not properly equipped rushed to grab farms. The result was a disaster in the agricultural sector and we are now importing maize from the countries where the former farmers have migrated to.”

The land now known as Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa. Today it is a den of tyranny, starvation and squalor. In 1960, British Prime Minister Howard Macmillan forecast that “the wind of change” would soon blow over the continent. This is where those winds of change brought Zimbabwe.

The British colony of Southern Rhodesia (the former name of Zimbabwe) was wary of these winds of change. It was easy to see that British withdrawal from Africa would lead to a “one man, one vote, one time” system, where the newly independent colony would end up under the thumb of a dictator, or in the grip of civil war.

The Rhodesian leader at the time, Ian Smith, with majority support from the white segment of the electorate, decided that this would not happen to his country. On Nov. 11, 1965, Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence from Britain. It was the only way to keep the country from the tyrants that Communist guerrillas would bring to power. Ian Smith had seen the sad results of decolonization elsewhere and was only too aware of the rapid penetration of Soviet and Chinese Communist influence into Africa in the wake of the colonial powers’ flight.

The date of the declaration was significant. In the British Commonwealth, November 11 is a day of remembrance for all those who have given their lives in battle for the cause of freedom. The timing reminded the world that Rhodesians had voluntarily fought and died for the freedom of other nations. Now they were asking the rest of the world to support theirs.

The rest of the world did not. At least, no governments did. Though there was obvious sympathy from the Portuguese colonies and South Africa, the rapid collapse of Portugal’s colonial possessions and South Africa’s own national interests mitigated against any combined southern African resistance to the march of Marxist terror sweeping Africa at the time. Officers in the British armed forces, however, remembered and respected their old ally. They made it clear to the government they would not comply with any orders to attack Rhodesia. Both times when Ian Smith held talks with the socialist British Prime Minister Harold Wilson aboard British wars ships, it was the Rhodesian prime minister that the officers invited to dinner, while Wilson was ignored.

The rest of the world chose to side with the Marxist terrorists. Armed with Soviet- and Chinese-made weapons, the Communists committed horrible atrocities against black and white alike. Meanwhile, Rhodesia was under UN sanctions from the rest of the world, pushed by Britain. Britain could not use its military to force the country to surrender, so it tried other means such as trade sanctions instead.

The terrorists often attacked women and children, missionaries and Red Cross workers—anyone unable to fight back. Here’s one example from June 23, 1978, as documented by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (mipt): “Black nationalist guerrillas bayoneted, axed and clubbed to death eight British missionaries and four of their children at an Elim Mission School in the Vumba Mountains. Among the victims was a 3-week-old child. Several other Britons were wounded in the attack; one was raped.”

Two of these guerrillas were later killed. Notebooks that they carried showed they were members of the Zimbabwe Africa Nationalist Union (zanu). Their leader is now quite infamous. His name is Robert Mugabe.

Perhaps one of the cruelest attacks came on Sept. 3, 1978. The Hunyani, a Vickers Viscount passenger plane carrying 52 passengers and 4 crew men, was shot down. The plane crashed, but due to the pilot’s skill, there were 18 survivors. Promising them help, the guerrillas rounded up 10 of them and then shot them.

A group run by Joshua Nkomo organized the massacre. Nkomo chuckled about his “triumph” in an interview with the bbc.

Joshua Nkomo served as Mugabe’s vice president from 1987 to 1999.

In February 1979, a second plane was shot down. There were no survivors.

Under this kind of pressure, betrayed and abandoned by the rest of the world, Rhodesia caved in and compromised. At one point, Smith appealed to Henry Kissinger for help. “What about loyalty and honor?” he asked. “I am afraid those things have no place in the modern world,” was Kissinger’s tragic reply.

In 1979, majority elections were held. Mugabe did not win. Bishop Abel Muzorewa became president, despite threats and intimidation from Mugabe and Nkomo.

Muzorewa’s free and fair election was not good enough for the Marxists though. The terrorists didn’t stop their “war,” and the West didn’t lift its sanctions.

The West got its way. Mugabe became president on April 18, 1980, after an election campaign marred by fraud, intimidation and violence.

President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to the UN Andrew Young was asked what he thought of Mugabe. “Does Mr. Mugabe strike you as a violent man?” said a reporter from the Times. “Not at all, he’s a very gentle man,” Young replied. “In fact, one of the ironies of the whole struggle is that I can’t imagine Joshua Nkomo, or Robert Mugabe, ever pulling the trigger on a gun to kill anyone. I doubt that they ever have.” Later he said: “I find that I am fascinated by his intelligence, by his dedication. The only thing that frustrates me about Robert Mugabe is that he is so … incorruptible.”

Young knew better than that. The Western world deliberately ignored the facts so that the peaceniks wouldn’t have to awake from their never-never land of political correctness.

Zimbabwe is dominated by two main tribes, the Mashona (or Shona for short), and the Matabele. Mugabe was Mashona. After becoming president, Mugabe turned on the Matabele. It is impossible to tell how many he killed, but the Timesestimates about 20,000. Other estimates are much higher.

Opponents of Ian Smith and the white Rhodesians accused them of being racist. The man they replaced him with went on to commit genocide.

Is it any wonder Zimbabwe is in the state it is today? The West put a murdering Marxist Mugabe into power. It should not then be surprised when he turns out to be a terrorist. There is a long list of such murderers being endorsed by Western leaders as a matter of expedience in their drastically flawed foreign policies.

Mugabe now seems set to lead his nation into even more misery. Elections are scheduled for March 29. Will they be free and fair? Never.

Kick Your Kids Outdoors

Kick Your Kids Outdoors

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Spring is here. The weather’s warming up. If your children just want to sit on their cans, consider this.

Recently I was talking with someone working a construction job on a large lake in Oklahoma. Next door to his job site is a grandfather who has tried to make his home as inviting as possible for his grandkids: He bought a couple of boats for them to fish and ski with; he has beautiful acreage on which they can run around and play to their hearts’ content. But, the grandfather lamented, whenever they visit, his grandchildren just want to sit inside and watch movies or play video games.

More and more young people don’t even know what to do with themselves outside.

I remember spending a lot of my youth outdoors. It happened that my family lived within a short walk or bike ride away from seemingly endless acres of woods, in which my sister and I would climb trees, build forts, and indulge our imaginations in countless ways. We had miles of roads to bike, fields to explore, sand piles to jump off. I also grew up a half-mile from a beach filled with myriad interesting things—crabs, clams, kelp, skipping stones, driftwood and other surprises that would wash ashore.

Today, urbanization has turned yesterday’s open woods into housing developments and strip malls. Sending kids out to roam the neighborhood is more dangerous. As a result, it seems that for most young people, the real world has shrunk.

At the same time—thanks to television, movies, video games and the Internet—the virtual world for young people has dramatically expanded: a noisy, hyper world that requires no imagination and which they can experience while sitting comfortably on their cans.

I have to wonder, though, how much of the problem lies in our own laziness as parents.

These thoughts have rattled around in my head the last few months as my daughters and I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which vividly describe the joys, labors and trials of a homesteading family in the mid-1800s. Each page verifies in extraordinary detail the truth that our lives today are, by historical standards, undeniably easy. The result is, we are far less capable, and far less filled with wonder.

Is it possible to reverse the trend?

I picked up a couple of books filled with crafts for young people, one for girls and one for boys, written in the 1880s—about the same time that events in the Little House books took place. I am amazed at how intensive and involved these activities are. These books describe how to make knives, how to rear wild birds, how to build boats. The American Boy’s Handy Book includes these chapter headings: “Home-Made Hunting Apparatus, Etc.,” “Practical Taxidermy for Boys,” “Snowball Warfare.” The American Girl’s Handy Book includes instruction on how to make plaster casts, how to reseat a chair, how to paint china, how to transform old furniture into new. A chapter on “How to Make a Hammock” reads, “It is not difficult to make a hammock; anyone can soon knit one that is strong and comfortable, and it should not cost more than 50 cents. The materials required will be one hammock-needle about 9 inches long (this can be whittled out of hickory or ash, or purchased for 10 cents); two iron rings 2½ inches in diameter, which will cost about 5 cents each; two mesh-sticks or fids, one 20 inches long and 8 inches wide beveled on both sides: the other 9 inches long and 2½ inches wide, beveled on the long edge; these you can easily make yourself from any kind of wood.”

You get the idea. Children in the 1880s must have been a different breed.

An activity book telling girls today how to make a hammock would, I’m sure, begin: “Step one: Buy a hammock.”

Today we are simply less capable because we are used to having everything handed to us. Frankly, as a 35-year-old man, I would burst with pride if I successfully made the hammock described in this book. (And as I proudly invited guests to try it out, I would remain utterly tight-lipped about the fact that I found the instructions in a girls’ crafts book.)

Pondering these points has made me more determined to provide my children regular stimulating challenges. I want to hunt down opportunities to keep them active, to engage their imaginations, to work their hands, to show them what they can do if they only make the effort. It is so much easier to keep a child indoors, to plop him in front of a screen of some kind. In some ways it is even safer. But I’m convinced that, in the long run, it comes at a high cost.

I’ve spent many summers volunteering at church-sponsored youth camps. It always makes me smile to see teens biking, canoeing, shooting arrows, running and playing outside. Over the years, I have noticed that, generally, the stamina, physical coordination and skill level among teens has dipped somewhat. (The military has noticed this trend in its new recruits as well. One recruiter said while their overall physical capabilities have dropped, “They do have strong thumbs.”) Still, at a good summer camp they push themselves physically, often past what they feel capable of, and have a rigorous outdoor experience. It exposes them to realms of possibility they probably would never discover on their own, and contributes to happy, shining faces and a visibly healthier outlook on life.

Young people have strong, youthful bodies for a reason. We need to encourage them and teach them how to engage themselves vigorously in real-world activity—to do, as Ecclesiastes says, whatever their hand finds to do with their might.

Report: A Quarter of Teenage Girls Have Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Report: A Quarter of Teenage Girls Have Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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One in four American teenage girls have at least one STD. Is there any solution to this tragic epidemic?

In the first national study of common sexually transmitted diseases infecting teenage girls, researchers found that one out of every four American teenage girls is harboring at least one std. Bloomberg reports,

About 3.2 million women between ages 14 and 19 had human papillomavirus, chlamydia, genital herpes or trichomoniasis. That number would be even higher if less-common diseases such as hiv/aids, syphilis and gonorrhea were included in the analysis, according to the report released [March 11] by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [cdc].Sexually transmitted diseases cost almost $15 billion to treat annually in the U.S., and more than half of those infected are under 24 years old, according to the Atlanta-based cdc. About half the young women in [the] study reported having sex, and 40 percent of sexually active women had stds. hpv, a virus that causes cervical cancer, was the most common infection, prevalent among 18 percent of the teen girls in the study.”What we found is alarming,” said Sara Forhan, author of the study and a researcher at the cdc’s division of std prevention. “One of the things that we think is particularly important is how fast the stds appear. In those young women who report sex with just one sexual partner in their lifetime, the prevalence of stds is 20 percent.”The study analyzed data from 838 teenagers who participated in a national health study in 2003 and 2004. Researchers used the nationally representative sample to project rates across the U.S.

In an effort to downplay the fact that a full 18 percent of America’s teenage girls are infected with the carcinogenic human papillomavirus (hpv), cdc officials stressed that many people who contract hpv never know it because most hpv infections “clear on their own” without causing any major health problems.

The American Social Health Organization’s Internet homepage states that the symptoms caused by many varieties of stds are not really serious enough for them to be labeled actual diseases. The organization is recommending that the designation “disease” should be scaled back to “infection” for several varieties of stds. Candidates for this treatment would include stds such as gonorrhea, herpes and hpv.

The fact is that American teens are being deliberately fed false information by those who are more concerned about being politically correct and promoting “sexual freedom” than they are about protecting people’s sexual health. Unscrupulous educators are downplaying the true dangers of stds in an effort to hammer home their political agenda.

The infection of 26 percent of American teenage girls with stds—to say nothing of the infection rate in adults and teenage boys—is a serious epidemic that should not be downplayed or taken lightly.

Screenings, vaccinations, and so-called safe-sex practices are only futile attempts to treat the effects of the problem while ignoring the root cause. The root cause of this epidemic is sexual immorality. Information about stds that implies that everybody is at risk is wrong. If a person abstains from sex until married, marries someone who has done the same, and the two stay faithful to each other, their chances of contacting an std are approximately 0 percent.

There is an alternative to the half-truths and outright lies being promulgated in our “anything goes” society. Anyone who avoids unmarried sex will avoid the curse of stds and experience wonderful, long-term benefits.

For more information on how to preserve your sexual health and on the God-ordained uses of sex, read “Sexual Health: What Every High School and College Student Needs to Know” by Joel Hilliker and The Missing Dimension in Sex by Herbert W. Armstrong.