International – Dakota Voice http://www.dakotavoice.com Exposing the pernicious lie Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:52:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.5 Libertarians Should Invest More Down Under http://www.dakotavoice.com/2011/09/libertarians-should-invest-more-down-under/ Mon, 12 Sep 2011 11:15:09 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=58793 Libertarians and economists both recognize that countries with more economic freedom experience higher gross domestic product (GDP) growth. That growth translates into higher stock returns for investors savvy enough to look for governmental fiscal restraint rather than government stimulus. While many economists acknowledge that freedom matters, few investment strategies take advantage of this fact.

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image-David John Marotta

David John Marotta

Libertarians and economists both recognize that countries with more economic freedom experience higher gross domestic product (GDP) growth. That growth translates into higher stock returns for investors savvy enough to look for governmental fiscal restraint rather than government stimulus.

Since 1994, the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom has used a systematic empirical measurement of economic freedom to evaluate countries worldwide. Their conclusions clearly show that economic freedom and higher rates of long-term economic growth go together. Investors can use the study to select countries for their foreign stock allocation.

The foundation defines economic freedom as “the absence of government coercion or constraint on the production, distribution, or consumption of goods and services beyond the extent necessary for citizens to protect and maintain liberty itself. In other words, people are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in the ways they feel are most productive.”

A country’s economic freedom score is based on 50 measurements. They fall under these 10 categories: trade policy, fiscal burden of government, government intervention in the economy, monetary policy, capital flows and foreign investment, banking and finance, wages and prices, property rights, regulation, and informal market activity.

Free countries impose few or no restrictions on foreign investment. Thus they represent the greatest opportunities for investment. More than a third of the world imposes serious restrictions on the ability to run businesses, purchase real estate, or transfer capital. These countries are best avoided.

Australia ranks as the third freest among 183 countries in the 2011 Index of Freedom.

Australia scores better than the United States in six of the ten economic freedoms. Its lowest score is in Fiscal Freedom.Australia’s top income tax rate is higher than the United States at 45 percent plus a Medicare levy of 1.5 percent. Their corporate rate is a flat 30%.

The U.S.corporate tax rate at 35% is currently the second highest rate in the world. In two years when the Bush tax cuts expire, it will rise to 39.5% and be at that time the most punitive tax rate in our global economy.

At that time, businesses in Australia’s 30% environment can return 9.5% more profits to shareholders and investors and still remain competitive withU.S.companies. In our global economy a 9.5% competitive advantage provides much more fertile soil for investments. And that is Australia’s worst category of economic freedom.

Australia’s best category is Financial Freedom where is ranks first in the world. The latest Heritage report praises that in Australia, “All banks are privately owned. Government regulation is minimal, and foreign banks, licensed as branches or subsidiaries, offer a full range of services. … Regulation is focused on capital adequacy, solvency, and prudential behavior.”

Contrast that with what the Heritage report has to say about the United States, “A number of prominent financial firms or banks failed or were bailed out, and the government has intruded on firms’ management in unprecedented ways. The damage caused by mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remains largely unabated. Concerns continue over the intrusive nature and cost of the 2002 Sarbanes–Oxley Act, which increased disclosure and internal control requirements to the detriment of smaller firms. The impact of a sweeping overhaul of financial regulations passed in July 2010 is yet to be measured, though it appears to do little to reduce the chances of future government bailouts.”

Sarbanes-Oxley, put into place after the Enron meltdown, costs about three Enrons every year in compliance costs. These onerous regulations have driven American IPOs onto London’s AIM exchange. They have also made it so that foreign banks refuse to allow citizens in the United States to become clients simply to avoid having to abide by such a business killing regulatory environment.

Now the Dodd-Frank bill of 2010 has added additional rocks to the American financial services soil. Why would a bank submit to our Financial Stability Oversight Council? The ten regulators in this group have the task of monitoring any system wide risks in our financial system. They have also been given nearly unlimited power to address these risks by forcing financial firms to sell assets or close a portion of their business.

Odd that all of our focus on regulations actually left our financial system vulnerable to the politics of pushing loans to those who should not receive them such that we destabilized our own financial markets.Australia, with less regulation and therefore more business freedom, provided a more stable environment.

Again, from the Heritage report, “From the early 1980s until 2007, successive Labor and Liberal governments deregulated financial and labor markets and reduced trade barriers.”

All that freedom has produced economic expansion.

As of the end of the August, 2011, Australia’s five-year average return beat the S&P 500 by 6.51% (7.29% verses 0.78%). And its ten-year return outperformed by 11.39% (14.09% verses 2.70%).

Australia is not alone in its economic freedom, but it is in an elite group. There are only a handful of countries with high economic freedom. We’ve been writing about these countries for years now and analyzing their returns annually against their more restrictive neighbors. Freedom matters. Over the past decade these economically responsible countries have had an average return of 11.51% while the EAFE index has averaged 4.96% and the S&P 500 only 2.70%.

One of the Heritage Studies explains why the freedoms they track are so important: “All government action involves coercion. Some minimal coercion is necessary for the citizens of a community or nation to defend themselves, promote the evolution of civil society, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This Lockean idea was embodied in the U.S. Constitution. For example, citizens are taxed to provide revenue for the protection of person and property as well as for a common defense. Most political theorists also accept that certain goods–what economists call “public goods”–can be supplied most conveniently by government.

“When government coercion rises beyond that minimal level, however, it risks trampling on freedom. When it starts interfering in the market beyond the protection of person and property, it risks undermining economic freedom. Exactly where that line is crossed is open to reasoned debate. The goal in the scoring of economic freedom is not to define these extremes–either anarchy or utopia–but to describe the world’s economies as they are.”

There is an easy low-cost way to invest in Australia. iShares MSCI Australia Index Exchange Traded Fund (EWA) follows the MSCI Australia Index. It is comprised of 73 stocks and has a low expense ratio of 0.53%.

China and Japan are Australia’s biggest trading partners. Rich in natural resources, investing in Australiais an investment if the growth of China without worrying about the government of China. The MSCI Australia Index is 30.2% materials stocks and 6.7% energy stocks. These include BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Newcrest Mining and Woodside Petroleum.

In addition to EWA, another easy way to invest inAustraliais iShares MSCI Pacific ex-Japan Index Exchange Traded Fund (EPP). EPP has about 150 stocks primarily from three different countries. It is 64%Australia, 20% Hong Kong, and 14%Singapore. All three of these countries are among the freest countries in the Heritage report. The expense ratio for this fund is even lower at 0.50%. Investing in EPP is an easy way to gain exposure to all three countries.

In our ‘Gone Fishing’ portfolio for a typical 40-year old, EPP  represents 10.86% of the total portfolio allocation and 30% of what is invested in foreign stocks. That results in about 6.95% of a typical 40-year old’s portfolio being invested in Australia. We refine the percentages in each country more precisely in our managed portfolio models.

We believe that this is one of the times when your asset allocation should tilt foreign and overweight the handful of countries with high economic freedom. While many economists acknowledge that freedom matters, few investment strategies take advantage of this fact.

To learn more about freedom investing visit our website at http://www.marottaonmoney.com/freedom-investing

David John. Marotta CFP®, AIF®, is President of Marotta Wealth Management, Inc. of Charlottesville providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com. Subscribe to his blog at www.marottaonmoney.com. Questions to be answered in the column should be sent to questions at emarotta dot com or Marotta Wealth Management, Inc., One Village Green Circle, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA 22903-4619.

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Where in the World Should You Invest? http://www.dakotavoice.com/2011/03/where-in-the-world-should-you-invest/ Mon, 28 Mar 2011 11:08:17 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=52850 Finding countries where you can plant your investments in fertile soil may be one of the most important asset allocation decisions you make for the next several years. Last year the United States lost its place in the list of countries with the most economic freedom for the first time in the 15-year history of the index. Part of the lower scores was a result of the U.S. debt and deficit exploding. If 65% of foreign investments are in countries with a high debt and deficit, then 100% of U.S. investments have the same problem.

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image-David John Marotta

David John Marotta

Finding countries where you can plant your investments in fertile soil may be one of the most important asset allocation decisions you make for the next several years.

In 2002 I coauthored a column with my father, George Marotta, entitled “Will the US Go the Way of Japan?” in the “Charlottesville Business Journal.” Our answer to the question was no. We argued that when the United States has an Enron go under, there isn’t a too-big-to-fail syndrome. But when a large Japanese company is in danger of failing, the government comes to the rescue. The company becomes a drag on their economy for the next decade or more.

In that column we wrote, “The ruthless culture that allows large companies to go bankrupt in the US hurts less in the long run than the Japanese style of business subsidies. In the US, the government keeps hands off business; in Japan the government interferes with the operations of business and commerce.”

My, how times have changed. Now, unfortunately, the United States is going the way of Japan.

Now Japan is struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake. I was asked recently if that tragedy would stimulate its economy. Regrettably, nothing could be further from the truth.

I would suggest that everyone read Henry Hazlitt’s classic “Economics in One Lesson.” In Chapter 2, “The Broken Window,” Hazlitt debunks the fallacy that a hoodlum throwing a brick through the window of a baker’s shop is somehow good for the economy.

Certainly the baker has to pay to have his window repaired, but now he only has his window back and no money to buy a new suit. The community is poorer one new suit that could have been made and in exchange simply got its window back. But the community doesn’t see what is never made.

The broken window fallacy may seem obvious, but it comes in many forms. Some pundits are mistakenly arguing that the earthquake and tsunami will be just the economic stimulus Japan needs to pull out of its malaise. This conclusion confuses need with demand.

In our country we print stimulus money and believe we have created wealth. Stimulus money may increase government spending, but the growth of government is a negative in the equation of economic prosperity. This fallacy mistakenly equates purchasing power with money.

Economic fallacies like these are “so prevalent,” Hazlitt writes, “that they have almost become a new orthodoxy. . . . The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consist in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

The politicians in many countries focus instead on the short-run effects on a special-interest group and ignore or belittle the long-run effects on the community as a whole.

Japan wasn’t the best place to invest even before March 11. Its economy is smaller now than it was in 1992. The MSCI Japan Index averaged an annual total return of -0.29% from March 1996 through February 2011. Japan dropped another 9% this month as a result of the earthquake. Most of Japan’s troubles have been self-inflicted by its own government. Freedom matters.

Japan scored 72.8 out of 100 (mostly free) in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. Since 1994, the Heritage Index has systematically measured economic freedom in countries worldwide. The foundation defines economic freedom as “the ability of individuals to control their own labor and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state.”

Overall Japan is the 20th most free country, which isn’t bad but is not great either. Not when 9 of the top 11 countries have large markets with easy ways to invest in them directly. In two important categories, Japan’s scores are particularly poor. It ranks 145th in fiscal freedom. The top corporate income tax rate is 41%, the highest in the world. Even Japan realizes this is too steep. Next month they are cutting that rate to 36%. The U.S. top corporate tax rate is 35%, rising to 39.5% in 2013.

Japan also ranks 114th in government spending. Japan has some of the highest sovereign debt and deficit. Their ratio of outstanding gross debt to gross domestic product has risen from 68% in 1990 to about 230% in 2010.

Freedom matters. You can’t afford to plant your investments in anything but fertile soil. If you simply invest in the MSCI EAFE foreign index, 22% of your investment is in Japan. What’s worse, about 65% is in countries with low economic freedom and a high debt and deficit.

This isn’t a reason to keep your investments here, however. Last year the United States lost its place in the list of countries with the most economic freedom for the first time in the 15-year history of the index. Part of the lower scores was a result of the U.S. debt and deficit exploding. If 65% of foreign investments are in countries with a high debt and deficit, then 100% of U.S. investments have the same problem.

Today, perhaps more than ever before, may be the time to overweight very specific foreign countries with low debt and deficit and high economic freedom. Put your investments in fertile soil where they can grow unimpeded.

David J. Marotta CFP, AIF, is President of Marotta Wealth Management, Inc. of Charlottesville providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com. A graduate of Stanford University, Marotta writes a weekly financial column and has been published or quoted on financial matters in many major publications including The Washington Post, The LA Times, The Miami Herald, Money Magazine, Dow Jones Newswire, and more. He and his wife have completed a three-year study in Biblical Exegesis at the McKenzie Study Center in Eugene, Oregon. He lives with his wife Krisan and their two children in Charlottesville, Virginia. Questions to be answered in the column should be sent to questions at emarotta dot com or Marotta Wealth Management, Inc., One Village Green Circle, Suite 100, Charlottesville, VA 22903-4619.

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Japan Relief Effort: Check out the Charity Before Writing the Check http://www.dakotavoice.com/2011/03/japan-relief-effort-check-out-the-charity-before-writing-the-check/ Mon, 14 Mar 2011 18:10:20 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=52316 South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says people who are thinking about donating money in the wake of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan should first “check out the charity,” and make sure that they are reputable and registered. Links are provided so you can verify South Dakota and national charity efforts for validity.

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An SH-60B helicopter assigned to the Chargers of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 14 from Naval Air Facility Atsugi flies over the city of Sendai to deliver more than 1,500 pounds of food to survivors of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami. (Photo source: U.S. Navy)

South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says people who are thinking about donating money in the wake of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan should first “check out the charity,” and make sure that they are reputable and registered to do business in South Dakota.  “Our office maintains an on-line list of those non-profit organizations that are registered to conduct business in our state. Both non-profit and for-profit corporations must be registered with the Secretary of State’s office. “

“Although we have not yet received any complaints from consumers, scam artists are quite adept at exploiting natural disasters to take money from people who only desire to help,” Gant said. “Traditionally South Dakotans are quick to open their hearts to people in need, but we don’t think that anyone should use that as an excuse to take advantage.”

Secretary Gant continued, “Any non-profit that says they are registered with the State of South Dakota will be filed with our office. You can search for non-profits at www.sdsos.gov through our on-line corporate database. There, you’ll be able to see if a South Dakota registered company is in good standing, and who their local registered agent is.”

If you are solicited to donate for charity relief, here are a few tips to help you make a wiser donation.

  • The American Red Cross and its subsidiary local organizations are chartered by an act of congress, and generally do not conduct telemarketing to solicit donations for disaster relief.
  • If solicited in person, ask to see identification for the person asking for the donation, as well as the charity they claim to represent.
  • Always ask how much, or what percentage of the donation is going to charity.
  • If the person soliciting can’t or won’t provide information about programs or finances, that’s a red flag. If they’re a reputable charity, they will gladly provide the information.
  • If the charity is required to file with the IRS as a non-profit, ask to see a copy of their federal 990 or 990-ez form.  For federally filing non-profits, you can also search for them on websites of non-profit filings such as www.guidestar.org.
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Ethanol Lobby: Fuel Trumps Hunger http://www.dakotavoice.com/2011/02/ethanol-lobby-fuel-trumps-hunger/ http://www.dakotavoice.com/2011/02/ethanol-lobby-fuel-trumps-hunger/#comments Wed, 02 Feb 2011 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=50140 Here is some food for thought: The amount of grain needed to fill the tank of an SUV with ethanol just once can feed one person for an entire year. Another hard-hitting fact: The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels, as stated in an article on Food Freedom’s website. Still think the federal government’s mandate of ethanol in vehicles is a good idea?

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Here is some food for thought: The amount of grain needed to fill the tank of an SUV with ethanol just once can feed one person for an entire year.

Another hard-hitting fact: The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels, as stated in an article on Food Freedom’s website.

Still think the federal government’s mandate of ethanol in vehicles is a good idea?

Not only is the federal government’s insatiable appetite for ethanol causing a world food crisis, it has proved itself to be an uneconomical form of energy. An article in the National Review points out, “Ethanol is so uneconomical that Congress supports it three different ways — with a mandate for its use, a tax credit to subsidize it, and a tariff to keep out competitors. Rarely are so many levers of government used to prop up one woeful product.”

Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), is concerned about the apparent disregard the federal government, especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has for the crisis it is causing by enforcing these ethanol mandates.

“The ethanol subsidy, and the mandates imposed by the EPA, has had the adverse impact of driving up the cost of corn,” he says. “In 2008, food aid budgets were brought to the brink, and food riots broke out in the Third World, because corn got so expensive.”

With 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop now devoted to the government-created demand for ethanol, it is no wonder parts of the world are in upheaval.

ActionAid USA is an organization that works to end extreme poverty and hunger in the world and has come out strongly against ethanol subsidies. In a joint press release with other groups against the use of ethanol and ethanol subsidies, Marie Brill, senior policy analyst for ActionAid USA, said, “With predictions of another food price crisis on the horizon in 2011, Congress should be re-evaluating the costs and benefits of converting food to fuel, instead of approving a $6 billion giveaway to the biofuel industry through VEETC. Adding an ethanol subsidy to the tax package will help break the budget, and it won’t give hungry people the break they need. We cannot afford to spend billions fueling hunger by throwing good taxpayer money after bad biofuels.”

But, with a Renewable Fuels Standard already in place and a $6 billion a year subsidy to gasoline refiners who blend corn ethanol into gasoline, it appears food being converted to fuel is a much higher priority to the federal government and the EPA than the lives of those people in Africa who are now starving to death as a result.

The world has already seen the consequences of this ethanol mandate in action. In Tunisia, skyrocketing food prices caused major food riots and have resulted in the starving of poor peasants throughout the world.

An excerpt from the article on Food Freedom’s website sums up well this devastating effect of the EPA-mandated policy.

“This energy legislation requires a five-fold increase in ethanol use by 2022. Some 15 billion gallons must come from traditional corn-blended ethanol. Nothing like combining PhD models and political corruption to cause worldwide chaos. Ben Bernanke and Charley Grassley have joined forces to bring down the President of 23 years in Tunisia. People tend to get angry when they are starving. Bringing home the bacon for your constituents has consequences. In the U.S. only about 10 percent of disposable income is spent on food. By contrast, in India, about 40 percent of personal disposable income is spent on food. In the Philippines, it’s about 47.5 percent. In some sub-Saharan Africa, consumers spend about 50 percent of the household budget on food. And according to the U.S.D.A., ‘In some of the poorest countries in the region such as Madagascar, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and Zambia, this ratio is more than 60 percent.’ ”

The government’s interference in America’s free markets by favoring those involved in the process of converting corn to fuel is destroying governments and lives around the world.

“Ethanol is not a wise investment for the U.S. to back,” says ALG’s Wilson. “It is expensive to create and transport and is not an efficient form of renewable energy. Furthermore, it is causing a global food crisis leaving people in other nations starving. No form of renewable energy is worth that cost.”

But the EPA continues to be all for it, even recently deciding that vehicles as old as 2001 are able to use the product.

As the world’s hungriest people go on starving America will be driving around in vehicles full of fuel that could have fed them for an entire year.

How’s that for food for thought?

Rebekah Rast is the national correspondent of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau. Americans for Limited Government is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country. You can follow her on Twitter at @RebekahRast.

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Hu’s on First http://www.dakotavoice.com/2011/01/hu%e2%80%99s-on-first/ Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:36:09 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=49982 To watch our President bow, to see the communist flag flying at the White House it’s easy to believe China has assumed its place as the Middle Kingdom: the land between heaven and earth where Red Emperors sit on Dragon Thrones doling out cash to rescue the poor barbarians who can’t seem to balance their books. When will our increasingly imperious banker call the note? Perhaps only Hu knows Wen.

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Robert R. Owens, Ph.D.

Robert R. Owens, Ph.D.

A cliché is defined as a trite expression.  It’s often a figure of speech whose effectiveness has been worn out through overuse and excessive familiarity.  Yet a cliché is also a type of short hand: an instantly recognizable illustration that carries a wider meaning in a shorter phrase.  The recent triumphal visit by the Chinese President Hu Jintao has left many Americans wondering if Hu’s on first.

Most of us have seen something called a Chinese fire drill.  This is when a car, usually driven by teenagers, stops at a traffic light and everyone jumps out of the car for a blurred moment of deranged rearrangement.  The driver becomes a passenger, a passenger becomes the driver, a person from the back moves to the front, and the occupant of the coveted shotgun seat descends to the rear.  This is an apt picture of the current state of international affairs.

The once world-shaking empires of Europe suffering the effects of two suicidal wars and decades of social welfare rot now stand in line to collapse as History passes them by.  America, once the arsenal of democracy silently watched as China went from making our socks to making our I-pods, cell phones, and computers.  Now as the light is about to change China climbs in the driver’s seat and says, “Hold it down in the back seat!”  How long will it be before they’re saying, “Don’t make me pull this car over” if we keep impudently petitioning for a level playing field?

image - President Hu Jintao of China at White House

President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of China shake hands at the conclusion of the State Arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Jan. 19, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

To watch our President bow, to see the communist flag flying at the White House it’s easy to believe China has assumed its place as the Middle Kingdom: the land between heaven and earth where Red Emperors sit on Dragon Thrones doling out cash to rescue the poor barbarians who can’t seem to balance their books.

Our trade policy, with the Chinese, resembles their famous water torture where drip after drip bores a hole in an upturned and exposed forehead rather than equitable relations between equals.  Another fitting illustration for our trade policy with China is death by a thousand cuts. Whenever something was a long time coming people used to say it was on a slow boat from China.  Now that almost everything in America comes here on a boat from China it’s beginning to appear that slow and steady has won the race.

For all the expertise of our mature government, that has had a century of international prominence, our negotiations with the novices from Beijing resemble more a bull in a China shop than anything else.  We are bested at every turn often surrendering our advantages with all the wisdom of a man with a royal flush folding because someone else is bluffing with a pair of eights.

You might ask what any of this has got to do with the price of tea in China.  The Bush dynasty, the Clinton Interlude, and the Administration at the End of the World have spent us into oblivion.  They’ve exchanged the reality of being the number one manufacturer and the go-to creditor of the world for the mirage of being a kinder gentler social welfare state with our hand out.  We politely ask if our East Asian Bankers could please in their infinite much appreciated kindness assist us in any of numerous foreign policy debacles, such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, or North Korea.  Our imperious masters smile and say, “Not for all the tea in China.”

It’s imperative that the Red Emperors on their Dragon Throne eventually squelch or emasculate any competing systems that allow their populations to have true freedom.  As long as there’s freedom somewhere the inhabitants of slave states will yearn for liberty.  As long as those in chains can see others walking where they wish as they wish uneasy lays the head that wears a crown.  Consequently they must ultimately compete for mastery not co-existence.

So will our inscrutable financiers compromise?  Will they relent and give our goods the same open door we give theirs?  Will we convince them to abandon their mercantilist policies, which resemble nothing more than the policies we followed in the 19th century which led to our economic and industrial rise, and instead embrace our open border free trade policies which don’t seem to work so well for us?  The possibility of Mr. Obama’s kowtowing bringing compromise or even respect hasn’t got a China man’s chance.

So are all these illustrations merely an illusion, or has China built a great wall between our inept leaders and America’s ability to maintain its place in the first ranks of the world?  Look at our military stance with regard to China.  Our leaders make assumptions based on China’s publicly announced defense budget when people standing on the corner reading local papers realize their announced defense budget is the tip of an iceberg heading for the USS Titanic.

In the past decade the Chinese launched 30 submarines while our fleet of submarines has shrunk.  They’ve developed a stealth fighter that just by coincidence looks almost exactly like ours and while we’ve quit building the original they’re gearing up to turn their clones out like toasters.  And for a real game changer our peaceful trading partners have developed a ballistic missile which can take out our Aircraft Carrier battle groups anywhere in the world.

As we flush our power down twin drains fighting insurgents we call terrorists, the Chinese are preparing to stand toe-to-toe with America on the world stage.  Do they want war?  Their greatest military genius taught them long ago, “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

We watch as our hapless leaders bumble around like vaudeville comics dropping their hats and pulling at their ties as the scales of time tilt leaving America wondering, if Hu’s on first, “What’s on second?”  After years of deficit spending and leadership by the twin headed party of government growth it may end up that “Don’t Know’s on third.”  When will the lights go out?   When will our increasingly imperious banker call the note?  Perhaps only Hu knows Wen.

Dr. Robert R. Owens teaches history, political science, religion, and leadership for Southside Virginia Community College. Dr. Owens is the author of “America Won the Vietnam War,” “The Asuza Street Revival,” and called “The Constitution Failed.”  He is available for speaking engagements.

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WikiLeaks WikiTreason http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/11/wikileaks-wikitreason/ http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/11/wikileaks-wikitreason/#comments Mon, 29 Nov 2010 19:47:16 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=47413 The anti-American website WikiLeaks has once again dumped a lot of documents onto the internet designed to hurt America's power and prestige internationally. If we looked, I'm sure we'll find people in our own government who made all of these leaks possible. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if high level people within the Obama Administration were involved. given the discomfort Obama and other Leftists feel at American power and security on the world stage.

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WikiLeaks logo (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The anti-American website WikiLeaks has once again dumped a lot of documents onto the internet designed to hurt America’s power and prestige internationally.

Fox News interviewed former UN Ambassador John Bolton (below) about this latest hostile act against America.

Earlier this year, after the release of a video designed to make the U.S. military look bad, Army Private Bradley Manning was arrested in connection with the leak. Over the summer, more documents dealing with the war in Afghanistan were released by this group.  Somehow, huge amounts of sensitive information is making its way into the hands of foreigners who despise the United States and want to see our country humiliated.

If we looked, I’m sure we’ll find people in our own government who made all of these leaks possible.  In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if high level people within the Obama Administration were involved.  Barack Obama has made it clear since he was a presidential candidate, and since he became president, that it is his desire to see America weakened on the world scene.  His Apology Tour, bowing to foreign leaders, his intentional assault on the American economy through ObamaCare and other means, his discomfort in seeing America viewed in any way as victorious over anything, the disdain and contempt for the U.S. military from the Left, and so on.

Obama has appointed dozens of anti-American zealots to positions in our government, including a new Supreme Court justice with a fondness for foreign law. Even for the Obama Administration, it is difficult to imagine a security failure of this magnitude; it seems unfathomable that so much sensitive information could have gotten into WikiLeaks hands without high-level help from inside the Administration.

Such intentional leaks would only be in keeping with Obama’s clear desire to see the United States weakened and humbled on the international stage.

Leftists may be uncomfortable with American power and security, but patriotic Americans definitely are not.  We hope congress will investigate these leaks to their fullest extent, and prosecute any and all Americans who are involved with these leaks to the fullest extent of the law.

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Geert Wilders Message Against Islam: ‘I will continue proclaiming it’ http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/10/geert-wilders-message-against-islam-i-will-continue-proclaiming-it/ http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/10/geert-wilders-message-against-islam-i-will-continue-proclaiming-it/#comments Mon, 04 Oct 2010 23:32:37 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=44608 The trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders for telling the truth about Islam has finally begun. But he is not coming into the court room like a lamb to the slaughter. He made it clear that no matter the outcome of the trial, he will continue telling the truth about Islam, and sought the recusal of the presiding judge for bias.

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The trial of Dutch politician Geert Wilders for telling the truth about Islam has finally begun.  But he is not coming into the court room like a lamb to the slaughter.

From the Telegraph:

Mr Wilders faces five charges of inciting racial hatred between Oct 2006 and Mar 2008. If found guilty, Mr Wilders faces over a year in prison or a £6,600 fine.

Speaking at his trial yesterday, Mr Wilders said: “I am sitting here as a suspect because I have spoken nothing but the truth. I have said what I have said and I will not take one word back.”

Throwing down an open challenge to the court, Mr Wilders, 47, attacked the three judges sitting in the Amsterdam court for prosecuting him for “stating my opinion in the context of public debate”.

“I can assure you, I will continue proclaiming it,” he said.

However, proceedings were suspended for 24 hours, after Mr Wilders demanded that the court’s presiding judge be replaced.

The trial is now on hold for 24 hours while the court considers a request by Wilders to have Judge Jan Moors recuse himself after he made a biased statement against Wilders.

From Expatica.com

After a brief initial statement in the morning in which he defended his right to free speech, Wilders announced to the court that he would invoke his right to remain silent and not answer any questions.

This moved presiding judge Jan Moors to observe that Wilders has often been accused in the media of making wild statements and then avoiding the discussions they evoked, adding “it seems as if you’re doing it again”.

Wilders then sought the recusal of Moors and his two assistants, claiming they had demonstrated bias against him.

Perhaps Wilders should have filed a lawsuit or criminal complaint against the judge for hate speech. That would have been fitting for this kangaroo court.

Leftists in the United States are working as hard as they can to do away with our First Amendment freedom of speech so that they can hammer people for disagreeing with things like special rights for homosexuals, Islam, and so forth. This unconscionable oppression against Wilders illustrates why patriotic Americans must resist the socialists and their Leftist policies in America–our very freedoms are on the line.

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9 of 10 Christians Cleared of Charges in Haiti http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/04/9-of-10-christians-cleared-of-charges-in-haiti/ Wed, 28 Apr 2010 11:36:37 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=35880 Kidnapping and criminal association charges against 10 U.S. Christians who tried to transport Haitian children out of the country to an orphanage have been dropped. However, the leader of the group of volunteers, Laura Silsby, still faces a charge of arranging irregular travel and will stand trial in Haiti, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said Monday.

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imagesbannerscp_120x1201Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Audrey Barrick|Christian Post Reporter

Kidnapping and criminal association charges against 10 U.S. Christians who tried to transport Haitian children out of the country to an orphanage have been dropped.

However, the leader of the group of volunteers, Laura Silsby, still faces a charge of arranging irregular travel and will stand trial in Haiti, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said Monday.

Silsby, who remains jailed in the Caribbean country, could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

The latest announcement comes a week after the Haitian judge corrected earlier reports that indicated the charges against the group were dismissed. While a spokesman for Idaho Sen. Jim Risch said the senator was told on April 15 by the State Department that nine of the volunteers no longer faced any charges, Judge Saint-Vil said last week he had yet to make a decision at that time.

Most of the 10 Americans belong to two Baptist churches in Idaho.

The team traveled to Haiti in January after a massive earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Plans to build an orphanage in the Dominican Republic for Haitian children had already been in place and the disaster prompted them to accelerate their plans.

They attempted to take 33 Haitian children to the orphanage they were setting up in the neighboring country but were arrested on Jan. 29 and subsequently charged with kidnapping a minor and criminal association.

The volunteers said they simply wanted to help the children who lost their parents after the massive earthquake. But complications arose when they were found without all the proper paperwork and when many of the children were discovered to have at least one living parent.

Last month, Judge Saint-Vil brought additional charges of “organizing irregular travel” against Silsby after discovering an earlier attempt to take the children out of the country. The team tried to take 40 children to the Dominican Republic on Jan. 26.

Silsby will stand trial along with Jean Sainvil, a Haitian-born pastor from Atlanta who also helped organize the venture, according to The Associated Press. The trial could begin as early as this week.

Nine of the volunteers were allowed to return to their homes in the U.S. in February and March.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Poll: Respect for America Diminishes Under Obama http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/03/poll-respect-for-america-diminishes-under-obama/ Tue, 09 Mar 2010 12:22:22 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=33358 Apparently all the running around the world, apologizing for America and bowing to every foreigner in sight just isn't improving respect for America internationally. A new poll finds Americans believe America's respect internationally has been diminished under President Obama.

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Apparently all the running around the world, apologizing for America and bowing to every foreigner in sight just isn’t improving respect for America internationally. Whoda thunk?

From the Washington Times:

A majority of Americans say the United States is less respected in the world than it was two years ago and think President Obama and other Democrats fall short of Republicans on the issue of national security, a new poll finds.

The Democracy Corps-Third Way survey released Monday finds that by a 10-point margin — 51 percent to 41 percent — Americans think the standing of the U.S. dropped during the first 13 months of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

“This is surprising, given the global acclaim and Nobel peace prize that flowed to the new president after he took office,” said pollsters for the liberal-leaning organizations.

Well, I suppose he could always go back to the model that’s worked so well for America for over 200 years: strength, conviction, leadership and resisting evil.  I just don’t know if his worldview would enable him to convincingly pull that off, though.

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Tea Party Movement Spreads to the UK http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/tea-party-movement-spreads-to-the-uk/ http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/tea-party-movement-spreads-to-the-uk/#comments Fri, 26 Feb 2010 19:53:54 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=32735 Apparently the Tea Party movement has spread from the United States where it was born a year ago to the United Kingdom. The universal human yearning is for freedom, and is obviously not confined to one nation or people.

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My friend and cohort for liberty Shamra Johnson of the Sioux Falls 912 group put me on to this.

Apparently the Tea Party movement has spread from the United States where it was born a year ago to the United Kingdom.

MEP Daniel Hannan, the European Parlaiment member who spoke out for freedom last year in Europe, has announced a Tea Party event in Brighton.

The Tea Party Movement in the USA has demonstrated the huge scale of public opposition to excessive taxation. In the UK, tax is much higher and, in addition, British membership of the democratically unaccountable EU raises the issue of “no taxation without representation”. From the Boston Tea Party to the Brighton Tea Party, it’s time to demonstrate our opposition to excessive taxation.

See you there!

Bravo! How wonderful to see freedom ring out from America and take root across the ocean!  We American Tea Partiers wish our British compatriots in freedom all the best.  Cheers!

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Textbook in India Features Beer-Drinking, Smoking Jesus http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/textbook-in-india-features-beer-drinking-smoking-jesus/ Mon, 22 Feb 2010 11:50:28 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=32655 An illustration of Jesus holding a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other has sparked outrage among India’s Christian community. What’s worse is that the image was published in a textbook for primary school children.

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imagesbannerscp_120x60Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Ethan Cole|Christian Post Reporter

An illustration of Jesus holding a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other has sparked outrage among India’s Christian community.

What’s worse is that the image was published in a textbook for primary school children. The beer-drinking Jesus illustration was found under the letter “I,” for idol, in a textbook teaching children how to write cursive.

“Jesus Christ, who we, along with other Christians across the world, consider as the Son of God, was demeaned,” expressed the Indian Catholic Youth Movement of the Shillong Archdiocese in a statement. “The publication of the despicable picture has deeply hurt our religious sentiments, and its publisher has manifestly breached the provisions of the Constitution of India.”

Shillong is the capital of India’s northeastern Meghalaya state, where the image was first discovered this week in textbooks. More than 70 percent of the population in Meghalaya is Christian.

Since the discovery of the image, all the copies of the book containing it have been removed from schools and bookshops in Meghalaya, according to Ampareen Lyngdoh, the education minister of the state, .

“I am appalled and condemn the violent pictorial presentation of Christ,” Lyngdoh told The Associated Press on Saturday. “The children for whom the textbook was meant look up to Christ with reverence, and they are shocked beyond words.”

Meghalaya government officials say they plan to take legal action against the Delhi-based publisher, Skyline Publications, although they did not provide details. And the National Council of Churches in India has demanded the Meghalaya government establish a mechanism to examine all school books before they are distributed.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has instructed Christian schools across India to remove all textbooks by the publisher.

Following the outrage, Skyline Publications has issued an apology for hurting the religious sentiments of the people of Meghalaya state. It also said all the copies of the book are being withdrawn from the market.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Haiti Relief Worker: I Thought We Had All the Paperwork http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/haiti-relief-worker-i-thought-we-had-all-the-paperwork/ Sun, 21 Feb 2010 12:23:34 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=32627 Jim Allen, one of the eight American volunteers freed from jail in Haiti, said he believed the team had all the paperwork necessary to take Haitian children to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

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imagesbannerscp_150x601Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Michelle A. Vu|Christian Post Reporter

Jim Allen, one of the eight American volunteers freed from jail in Haiti, said he believed the team had all the paperwork necessary to take Haitian children to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

“We were told that all the documents required to get kids into the Dominican Republic she (team leader Laura Silsby) had,” said Allen to Anderson Cooper on CNN’s “AC360” Friday evening. “And on the Haitian side there were some documents that we needed to acquire and that was part of our goal also.”

When asked if he had seen the documents, Allen said he did see them when the children were being loaded onto the bus. The documents, said the American volunteer, were filled out as each child boarded the vehicle.

“I didn’t look at the documents and read the documents, but I watched them write down their names and write down their birthdates and I watched the pastor sign it,” he said.

Jim Allen is one of the ten American Christian volunteers who was arrested Jan. 29 by Haitian authorities as they were trying to transport 33 Haitian children to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. Haitian officials say the group did not have permission to take the children out of the country. The American team was subsequently charged with child kidnapping and criminal association.

The Haitian judge overseeing the case released eight of the ten volunteers on condition that they promise to return if needed as investigators continue to examine the case. The eight Christian volunteers returned to the United States early Thursday morning. Two volunteers, including Silsby, were held in Haiti for further questioning.

Among the volunteers, Allen had gained special attention because it was made known that he joined the group only 48 hours before the trip.

Allen affirmed during the interview that he did not know team leader Laura Silsby before the trip. He said he only knew two people in the group before the trip: his cousin – who invited him – and his nephew. The Texas welder also stated that he only had a day or two notice before flying to Miami and then Haiti.

His understanding of the trip was that he would help prepare an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.

Allen, in an earlier live interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” said he and other members have no “ill feelings” towards Silsby or anyone else regarding what happened in Haiti. He said everyone had a genuine concern for the Haitian children who were suffering after the massive earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince last month.

During the “AC360” interview, Allen addressed the controversy surrounding the fact that up to two-thirds of the children the group was transporting had at least one living parent. The group had said the children were orphans.

Allen said he was “not at all” aware that many of the children had a living parent. There were adults who came with the children to the bus, but Allen said the volunteers thought they were aunts, uncles or grandparents.

“They specifically told us this child has no one to take care of them,” Allen said, “that both their father and mother are no longer living.”

Despite the confusion and nearly three weeks in prison, Allen said what he regretted the most about the ordeal in Haiti was that he was not able to help anyone.

“I felt like God actually called me to go help these people,” Allen said. “What I regret the most is that I wasn’t able to do anything.”

Most of the ten volunteers are from two Idaho Baptist churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Allen hailed from Texas and another member came from Kansas.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Christians Arrive in Miami After Release from Haiti http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/christians-arrive-in-miami-after-release-from-haiti/ Fri, 19 Feb 2010 19:03:50 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=32589 Eight of the ten American volunteers detained in Haiti for the past three weeks on suspicion of child abduction were finally released and arrived in Miami early Thursday morning.

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imagesbannerscp_150x601Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Ethan Cole|Christian Post Reporter

Eight of the ten American volunteers detained in Haiti for the past three weeks on suspicion of child abduction were finally released and arrived in Miami early Thursday morning.

The Baptist volunteers, mostly from two Idaho churches, arrived at Miami International Airport on a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane shortly after midnight. After they cleared U.S. Customs, at about 1:25 a.m., seven of the group members went into an elevator at Miami International Airport Hotel, according to The Miami Herald.

None of the volunteers spoke to reporters at the airport about their ordeal in Haiti.

However, Jim Allen, the Texas welder who joined the group 48 hours beforehand, released a statement saying “faith means everything to me and I knew this moment would come when the truth would set me free.”

The eight Americans are part of the ten-member U.S. team that was arrested Jan. 29 by Haitian authorities while trying to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic by bus. They say they wanted to take the children to an orphanage and care for them after a 7.0-magnitude quake devastated Port-au-Prince.

Haitian authorities, however, say the group did not receive government permission to take the children out of the country.

The volunteers were subsequently charged with child kidnapping and criminal association.

On Wednesday, the judge overseeing the case released eight of the ten Americans on bail. But the volunteers were not required to post bond to leave. They only had to promise to return to Haiti if needed during the ongoing investigation.

Two Americans, however, still remain in Haiti for further questioning. The judge ruled that team leader Laura Silsby and Charisa Coulter should remain in Haiti so that authorities can question them on why they visited Haiti on a trip before the earthquake.

Attorney Gary Lissade, who represents Allen, said the fact that the Haitian judge allowed eight of the Americans to leave the country without posting bond is a good sign. He expects the charges will be eventually dropped.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Sources: Hatian Judge May Free Baptists Accused of Child Abduction http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/sources-hatian-judge-may-free-baptists-accused-of-child-abduction/ Fri, 12 Feb 2010 12:35:25 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=32406 ome of the American Baptist volunteers faced with charges of child kidnapping may be freed as early as Thursday, sources say. The Haitian judge overseeing the case is expected to rule soon on whether to release the ten Americans who attempted to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic without permission.

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imagesbannerscp_120x1201Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Ethan Cole|Christian Post Reporter

Some of the American Baptist volunteers faced with charges of child kidnapping may be freed as early as Thursday, sources say.

The Haitian judge overseeing the case is expected to rule mid-afternoon on whether to release the ten Americans who attempted to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic without permission.

Though the judge’s ruling cannot be confirmed, Reuters and CNN sources familiar with the case have said the judge might release two volunteers Thursday and six more next week. The last two members would remain in jail, according to the account.

Reuters sources say the judge decided the Americans had no “criminal intentions” when trying to remove the children from Haiti. Meanwhile, CNN sources say the Baptist volunteers could be released on bail and be allowed to return to the United States while authorities continue to investigate the charges.

Many of the current reports on the court case of the American missionaries in Haiti are based on inside sources that are not identified.

In late January, a group of ten American Christians were arrested while trying to transport a busload of Haitian children to the Dominican Republic. The group says it was taking the children to an orphanage in the neighboring country where the youths would be cared for and educated.

During the investigation, it was discovered that at least 20 of the children were not orphans as the group had said. Moreover, a Haitian police officer testified that the group made an earlier attempt to transport children before he stopped them.

The officer, who also testified in court, said he asked to see documents granting the group permission to take the children out of the country. The American team’s leader, Laura Silsby, said they had permission from the Dominican Republic to take 100 children across the border. Dominican authorities, however, have denied the claim.

A Dominican legal representative for the American team, Jorge Puello, claimed he has the paperwork from the Dominican government. He did not, however, show the documents to reporters.

On Wednesday, the legal representative of one of the team members, Jim Allen from Texas, announced that he has filed a separate motion requesting Allen’s release.

Allen’s wife, Lisa, said her husband was recruited just 48 hours before the group’s departure. Allen is a construction worker and wanted to lend his skill in the rebuilding effort, according to his wife.

“Jim is an honest, hard-working American who just wanted to help those in need,” said Lisa Allen, in a statement. “Jim was invited to go with a group from Idaho just a couple of days before they left. He felt compelled to use his skills to help complete a temporary orphanage for those who had lost everything.”

The Liberty Legal Institute is representing Allen and has sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week requesting her to help secure the release of the American citizen.

Allen was invited by his cousin from Idaho to join the team. Most of the ten volunteers are from two Baptist churches in Idaho.

“We hope and pray that the State Department is doing everything it can to get all these Americans, in particular Jim Allen, home,” said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Legal Institute. “We have faith that the Haitian judge will do the right thing after Jim’s facts come to light.”

Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have called on President Obama to help secure the release of the ten American volunteers and secure their safe return home. The two Idaho Baptist churches are affiliated with the SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Details Emerge About Missionaries Arrested in Haiti http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/details-emerge-about-missionaries-arrested-in-haiti/ http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/02/details-emerge-about-missionaries-arrested-in-haiti/#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2010 19:14:01 +0000 http://www.dakotavoice.com/?p=32041 Five of the ten U.S. missionaries who were detained for taking children out of Haiti were questioned by a judge Tuesday. Rather than wait for a permanent facility to be built, the team felt "God ... laid upon our hearts the need to go now." They leased a 45-room hotel at Cabarete, Dominican Republic, to serve as a temporary orphanage.

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imagesbannerscp_120x1201Reprinted by permission of the Christian Post

By Audrey Barrick|Christian Post Reporter

Five of the ten U.S. missionaries who were detained for taking children out of Haiti were questioned by a judge Tuesday.

The Baptists had traveled to the earthquake ravaged country to rescue orphans and bring them to the Dominican Republic but now find themselves in a Haitian jail, accused of child trafficking.

Judge Ezaie Pierre-Louis questioned five women missionaries for several hours and is scheduled to interview the men on Wednesday.

“After the hearing tomorrow, I will make a report to the prosecutor, then he will decide what he does next,” the Haitian judge said, according to BBC News.

Members at Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho, say the incident is a misunderstanding.

Haitian orphans. The orphanage, constructed by U.N. workers, was the first building erected in Port-au-Prince after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Haitian orphans. The orphanage, constructed by U.N. workers, was the first building erected in Port-au-Prince after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. (Photo credit: Marcello Casal Jr/)

Plans for building an orphanage in the Dominican Republic for Haitian children were in place before the earthquake struck the Caribbean island on Jan. 12. The disaster that left hundreds of thousands dead and millions homeless prompted Laura Silsby, 40, and Charisa Coulter, 24, to move quickly on their plan, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. They estimated that the number of Haitian orphans increased by 300 percent as a result of the earthquake.

They received the support of their church and partnered with missionaries from another church in Twin Falls, Idaho. The team named their yet-to-be-built orphanage “New Life Children’s Refuge” and planned to drive a bus of 100 orphans from Port-au-Prince to the neighboring country.

New Life Children’s Refuge would help children “find healing, hope, joy and new life in Christ,” as the mission statement reads, and provide education and vocational skills as well as “opportunities for adoption into a loving Christian family.”

Rather than wait for a permanent facility to be built, the team felt “God … laid upon our hearts the need to go now.” They leased a 45-room hotel at Cabarete, Dominican Republic, to serve as a temporary orphanage.

But the mission went awry when they were stopped at the border Friday night with 33 children. The team did not have any formal paperwork to take the children.

Also, some of the children turned out not to be orphans. Haitian parents had entrusted their children to the missionaries with the hope that their son or daughter would have a better life and with the understanding that they would be able to visit their children.

Silsby has denied allegations of trafficking and said their only intent was to help those that lost their parents or were abandoned.

“We believe we have been charged very falsely with trafficking,” she said, according to BBC News. “We all gave up everything we had… to come here to help these children and by no means are any part of that horrendous practice.”

The missionary team’s churches, including Central Valley Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., have defended the team and have been praying for their safe return.

Copyright 2009 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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