California’s Nightmare Will Kill Obamanomics

Posted on July 6, 2009. Filed under: News, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

United States

Kevin Hassett’s article is funny and sad. Sad becuse it’s true; funny because of his observations. Sample of funny:

The federal picture is so bleak because the Obama administration is the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of the U.S. I would imagine that he would be the intergalactic champion as well, if we could gather the data on deficits on other worlds. Obama has taken George W. Bush’s inattention to deficits and elevated it to an art form.

Sample of sad:

It takes years and years to make a mess as terrible as the California debacle, but the recipe is simple. All that you need is two political parties that are always willing to offer easy government solutions for every need of the voters, but never willing to make the tough decisions necessary to finance the government largess that results. Voters will occasionally change their allegiance from one party to the other, but the bacchanal will continue regardless of the names on the office doors.

To get into our current financial mess, we started with the idea that banks should loan money to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back. When banks balked, the US government bought the worthless loans. Now banks are happy, they can loan money to everybody.

This system flourished under George Bush, and collectively we happily spent our children’s future. When the system started to collapse in 2008, we spent more money to try and make it through the election cycle. It didn’t work.

Now our children are broke. Obama’s solution, then, is to also spend our grandchildren’s future. This is also unsustainable. We are spending money we have not earned, and selling IOU’s to China to pay for it. Eventually, China will not want to buy our IOU’s, and the value of the dollar will collapse. The Fed will be forced to raise interest rates to try to entice people to buy our IOUs.

Do we want the US to become a third world country? Is that our goal? At this point, I don’t care what the government wants to spend money on, I’m against it. I don’t want to pay for abortions in Africa or studying the drinking behavior of Chinese prostitutes. And I don’t want to spend so-called “Stimulus Package” money or pay for universal healthcare or credits to by housing or cars or energy efficient appliances. I don’t want the US government to suck money from our wallets via cap-and-trade or “taxing the wealthy.” I would be happy if Washington would just put the pens down and sat on their thumbs for a few years and did absolutely nothing.

Remember this: government does not grant freedom. Liberty is given to us by our Creator. Government can only pass laws which limit freedom.

I want to be free.

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What Did We Learn?

Posted on November 5, 2008. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama beat McCain handily, 349 to 163 electoral votes.

What we should have learned, I don’t know that we did. What we should have learned is that we have principles and ideals and we should stick to them.

Ronald Reagan knew it, and we gave him victories. The 1994 Republican House knew that, and we gave them victories.

Ever since then, our leaders have been trying to reach across the isles. And we get trounced, every time.

George Bush Sr, “No New Taxes.” Until he reached across the isle, and we voted him out of office.

Republicans spent money in 2004-2006 like, well, like they were Democrats. And we voted them out of office.

What was McCain except a big reach across the isle? Part of the Gang of 14 that chose to work with Democrats instead of pushing for the judicial appointees which we will never get. Not in my lifetime. The Democrats will fill each and every one of those posts with liberal activist judges that should have been filled by conservative strict constructionists. Reaching across the isle hurt the conservative cause. Wait till Obama appoints 4 new judges in his first term to the Supreme Court, and then see if reaching across the isle helped us in any way.

McCain promised to take hatchet to the government spending and cut our earmarks, but when it came time for the $700 billion bailout of our economy, not only did he vote for it, but he also voted for an additional $150 billion in pork. That’s when he lost the election for sure.

Lesson learned. Stick to your principles.

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The Loss of Conservatism

Posted on November 4, 2008. Filed under: News, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

WASHINGTON - APRIL 18:   Republican presidenti...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

If the major news media has succeeded today in discouraging conservatives from voting, the trifecta will be complete – Legislative, Executive, and Media.

The blame for such a loss can be spread to many people. Let’s start at the top.

I like President Bush, and I threw my entire support behind him for the Iraq War. I think he is a good, honest President. But as a communicator, he failed. The left managed to brand him with a paint of hate, and Bush stoically didn’t respond. Terrible mistake. He also mistakenly believed he could appease the left with vastly expanded programs; Medicare, prescription drugs, No Child Left Behind, etc. Soon the spending of the Republicans put the spending of the Liberals to shame.

McCain reflects that belief that if we’re more liberal, liberals will like us. They don’t. And they can out-liberal us any day of the week. The real reason Republicans are losing is that once in power, they forgot they were the party of limited government. Just like the elder George Bush losing office because of his broken “No new taxes” pledge, the Republicans are being voted out of office because they are too liberal.

Americans won’t stand for the ultra-liberal policies about to be imposed on us, but by the time the Democrats are tossed out, the next incremental step toward a socialist nanny-state will be firmly in place. We’re about to lurch to the left -

But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

They’ll be able to do this because they hold nearly fillibuster-proof majorities, a far left puppet president who will vote “present” rather than tackle hard issues, and an ecstatic liberal news media. Toss in the liberal court system they will immediately appoint, and conservatism will be a little-remembered philosophy confined to the flyover states.

Conservatives, we did this to ourselves by trying to out-liberal the liberals. I sure hope we learn the lesson this time. We only win when we hold to our conservative principles. We didn’t do that thel ast 4 years, and we’re about to pay heavily for it.

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One Less Bad Candidate to Vote For

Posted on February 8, 2008. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I think I keep hoping for some unknown conservative candidate to suddenly appear and give me somebody to vote for. Like the ghost of Ronald Reagan, perhaps.

What I want is a candidate that is socially and fiscally conservative. Socially conservative because, like it or not, the President sets an example for the morals of this country. Bill Clinton taught millions of middle schoolers that oral sex isn’t really sex, and an outbreak of oral sexual diseases broke out. He taught us that it’s ok to stretch the truth, it’s ok to lie by omission. I think a generation of dishonest youngsters are on the way. George Bush didn’t do that, but I feel misled; I thought “compassionate conservatism” was still conservatism. Under his leadership, Republicans spent money like drunken sailors. Whee!

When the Republican National Committe send their fundraising letters, I trash them. If they were conservative, I’d support them.

Duncan Hunter was my early favorite, but his campaign never got traction, and he’s dropped out. That left me choosing between Huckabee and Romney.

Huckabee is socially conservative. But is he fiscally conservative? His record as Arkansas governor doesn’t appear so. He’s all for mandating health goals. I don’t want the government involved to that level in my life. I also don’t think he has enough international experience. But I like him socially. I just can’t figure out why the second choice of Huckabee supporters is McCain.

And Romney is socially conservative. But fiscally, he too spends more than I’d like. But now he’s dropped out.

That leaves McCain, an unstable “maverick” that has done significant harm to conservatives. He dislikes evangelicals, he’s soft on border control, he co-sponsored that McCain-Feingold usurping of the First Amendment, he voted against tax cuts, and he was part of that group that unblocked the stalemate on judicial nominees. I *wanted* the stalemate; I disliked the fact the judicial committee could derail a nomimation and keep the full Senate from voting. McCain is a pain.

Look, a campaign slogan. McCain is a pain.

As of now, I don’t think Huckabee can make a comeback, and I’m not sure I’m sold out for him anyway. That leaves McCain.

Will I support him? McCain’s strongest suit is he is very strong on defense. To me, he’s weak on everything else. But compared to the socialist, defeatest Democrats, McCain looks comparitively good. Comparitively.

So when Romney dropped out earlier this week, there’s one less bad candidate to vote for. Now I only have to choose between three bad candidates: McCain, Clinton, Obama. With that poor selection, I’ll go with McCain.

I’m going to have to hold my nose and remember the alternatives are worse.

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Christian Behavior in God's Church

Posted on November 5, 2007. Filed under: Bible Study | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’ve discovered how slow to understand I must be. We’ve been remarking that when Chris or Fred teach, they get large amounts of text to cover. Chris had the entire Beatitudes plus half of the New Testament to teach in 30 minutes. Fred gets, like, the entire Old Testament when he teaches. And when I teach, Got assigns me an entire sentence. Today’s no exception; we’re going to study Matthew 18 today.

At this point in the ministry of Jesus, the time of His death and resurrection was approaching rapidly, and Jesus’ teaching begins to focus on preparing His disciples to carry on after His crucifixion. Last week, Fred showed us how Jesus taught about the qualities of the church and how we worship and serve Him in unity and obedience; this week, Jesus teaches about interpersonal relationships and how we are to treat one another within the church.

I. Christian Humility (v. 1-9)

Who is the greatest person in America? George Bush? Hillary Clinton? And what makes a person great in America?

The qualities that make a person great in our society are different than the qualities that make a person great in the eyes of the Lord. In fact, sometimes the qualities are the exact opposite. “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

I read a story about Billy Graham, a man who has consistently demonstrated the light of Christ publicly without wavering. In his early ministry years, he was scheduled to preach in a small town and needed to mail a letter. He asked a young boy where the local post office was. The boy told him, Billy Graham thanked him, and then told the boy, “If you come to the Baptist Church this evening, you can hear me preach about how to get to heaven.” The boy answered, “I don’t think I’ll come. You don’t even know how to get to the post office.”

Let’s look at Matthew 18:1-4

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

What quality makes a person, not just great, but the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Humility. Probably the biggest sin in the bible is pride, because so many sins originate in pride. Pride tells us how important we are, how infallible we are. Pride tells us that we don’t need God.

Humility is the opposite of pride. Humility tells us that we need God. Humility tells us that everything we are, everything we have, and everything we are ever going to be comes from God. Humility helps us recognize that we have not been placed on this earth so that others may serve us, but for us to serve others.

Matthew 18:7 tells us that our world is a sinful place, full of pride and arrogance and independence from God. There’s no avoiding it; you don’t fill a glass full of mud and expect to drink fine champagne out of it. You don’t fill a world with sinful people and expect paradise on earth. “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!” As Christians, as Jesus’ church on earth, we should be diligent about making sure we are not the cause of a brother’s sin. Jesus goes so far as to say that if your foot causes sin, cut it off and throw it away.

Why does this warning come right after Jesus’ admonition to be humble? What does “humility like a child” have to do with worldly sin?

I think it’s related to the pride that is in all of us. None of us are too good to sin. Our human nature leads us to sin constantly. Disobedience to what we know God wants us to do. Gossip. Lust. The only one strong enough to resist the constant temptation in our world is the Holy Spirit that lives in us, and when we lean on the power of God, we can resist all temptation. When we try to do it on our own, we will most certainly fall. Humility helps us recognize the power of the Lord working within us, and not our own work.

II. Christian Attention (v. 10-14)

Humility also helps us see the importance of others. When we are within the church, we are spiritually strengthened. We can encourage and we can be encouraged. But what about those outside of the church? What about those inside the church but spiritually weak?

The human tendency is to see ourselves better than others, to pump ourselves up. Our church is better than that church, our family is better than that family, our country is better than that country. As a follower of Jesus practicing humility, we are instructed to continue to lift others up. See how in verse 10 Jesus says, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Since this phrase “little ones” comes so soon after the instruction about being like a child, “little ones” could mean a child, but it can also mean weak or marginal people. Every person in the Christian community is considered important to Jesus, and those who come to faith have a guardian angel that always sees the face of God. Hebrews 1:14 describes these angels as “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation.” If these “little ones” are considered so important to God that they have their own angel, shouldn’t they also be important to us? We should take special care to look out for those who need looking out for most. For verse 11 says, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

[As an aside, sometimes when I’m studying, I come across “rabbit trails;” interesting tidbits of information that have little or no bearing on the lesson that the Holy Spirit is directing. Verse 11 was a particularly enticing rabbit trail; I discovered that the NIV doesn’t have verse 11 in it. We can talk about it at lunch, but after following this rabbit trail for too much time, I’ve decided that verse 11 should be in there.]

Jesus continues with a mini-parable about lost sheep in verse 12-14 –

Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers.

As we grow in Christ, we should take care that we don’t grow in pride. We grow in humility; we grow in service and caring, and all the more sensitive to reaching out to those who need spiritual nourishment.

III. Christian Reconciliation (v. 15-20)

Jesus next gives His church instruction on how to resolve differences among believers. In verse 15-17 –

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Let’s make sure we know who Jesus is talking about. In the first sentence it begins, “if your brother sins against you,” this is specifically to Christians within the church, when Christians are in conflict with one another. Of course Christians are in conflict with one another. It seems that every time we forget who’s Lord of our lives, we’re in conflict. The measure of our spiritual maturity is not whether we’re ever in conflict, but whether we use the conflict to grow spiritually.

This is so important – we have conflicts within the church, conflicts sometimes right here in this class. And perhaps, just perhaps, once or twice, we’ve had a conflict with our spouse. Unresolved conflicts among Christians destroy our unity, but learning how to resolve conflicts in a Christian way can bring us closer together. This is so important; a few chapters back in Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus says,

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Leave your gift; first go and be reconciled. When you are at odds with another believer, your gift practically worthess. God doesn’t want your stuff; He created it, after all. He wants you to be in unity with His church. The unity in the church is what makes the church effective; the unity in the church is what motivates God to be responsive to our prayers.

Think about that; God is responsive when we are obedient and in unity with one another. Do you ever feel your prayers are unanswered? Is there unresolved conflict between me and my spouse? Is there unresolved conflict between me and somebody in this class? These questions are related.

A. Right Attitude

First, be honest with yourself about your role in the conflict. With humility, ask God to show you how you have contributed. Remember, this is conflict with another Christian. I can almost guarantee you that when I am in conflict with another Christian, when I am in conflict with my spouse, there is some measure of disobedience in me. As Christians, we certainly don’t argue because we think we’re wrong. No, I argue because I think I’m right, and my Christian brother argues because he thinks he’s right. If I can’t see my own contribution to this conflict, then I am blinded by my own pride. It’s only with humility that enables me to see my own disobedience. If you have unanswered prayers, ask God to show you how you have been disobedient to Him. Then, leave your gift at the altar and go be reconciled with your spouse or your brother or sister.

B. Right Approach

How do we reconcile? First, we go tell everybody else about the conflict. I mean everybody. “You know what so-and-so did to me? Well, let me tell you. She said this and she said that and I don’t know why God doesn’t send some sort of lightning strike to turn her into charcoal.” We should gossip to as many people as you can.

Or at least, that’s what we often end up doing. Jesus gives us different instructions, and they begin with a private conversation. Let your brother or sister know, with humility, what they’ve said or done that’s hurt you. Do it soon so that the problem doesn’t fester and make you bitter; remember, your prayers are hindered as long as the conflict remains. And do it face-to-face; it says go and *show* him. Don’t send a text message, don’t send an email, and don’t leave a voice mail.

This is the first step toward unity in our marriages and unity in our church, and we often miss this first step. It’s hard, but mostly because our own pride tells us that we’re right, they’re wrong, before we ever have a conversation with them. Humility and being honest with ourselves about our own selfish motives are required before we can resolve conflict with our brother.

Because we rarely complete this private meeting, we almost never get to step two when we bring a third party. Our tendency is to bring along somebody to gang up on them, but Jesus wants us to bring a neutral party as a witness. Step three is to bring the issue to the church, a pastor. Our effectiveness as a Christian, as a married couple, and as a church depends on the unity we create by humbly resolving the differences between us.

IV. Christian Forgiveness (v. 21-35)

And finally, Jesus instructs His church on Christian forgiveness. In verse 21-22 -

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Most manuscripts say seventy times seven; I’ve worked out the math, and that’s 490 times. I recommend getting a PDA so you can keep track of the number of times you’ve forgiven somebody, so that when you get to the 491st time, you know you don’t have to forgive them anymore. If you don’t have a PDA, try keeping a piece of paper in your pocket or purse with their name and a running tally of the number of times you’ve been forced to forgive them. I know Fred keeps such a list, and so far I’m only up to 112 things he has forgiven me for. I’m hoping his version of the bible says 490 instead of 77.

Why such a big number? Of course, we’re not supposed to keep track of our brother’s sins against us. We’re supposed to forgive every time; we’re supposed to constantly forgive. We’re a lot like Peter in this scripture; if we forgive our brother, if we forgive our spouse, we think we’ve done something magnificent. But we feel like there ought to be a limit, at some point, we don’t have to forgive anymore. I don’t deserve this, I can’t take that, I’m through with this. The Jewish rabbis at the time taught that forgiving 3 times was sufficient. Peter felt that by the time he got to 7, he should win some sort of medal. Wouldn’t you? We think we’re showing great faith and love by forgiving 7 times, but Jesus calls us beyond faith and love; he calls us to humility and service by forgiving seventy times seven. The definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:5 says love keeps no record of wrongs. No record at all.

This is not blind or shallow or careless forgiveness. Philippians 1:9-10 tells us that abounding love also increases our depth of insight and our discernment, so there’s no reason we have to become a doormat. If Chris gives me $100 to go buy pizza for the class, and I decide to buy lottery tickets instead, should Chris forgive me? Of course he should. Should he trust me with $100 again? I sure hope so, cuz I was *this* closing to winning it big last time.

The parable told by Jesus in Matthew 18:23-35 illustrates the importance of forgiveness between brothers and sisters.

“The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’

“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

The servant goes through 3 stages of forgiveness. In verses 23-27, the man is a debtor. He owes a lot of money, far more than he can ever pay back. But he thinks somehow that he can pay it all back, given enough time. There is a lack of repentance brought on by pride here; does the man say he’s sorry and confess and repent? No, he’s ashamed he’s caught. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 it says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Worldly sorrow is just being sorry you got caught.

This servant has no hope of paying off his debt, even if his pride tells him he can. His case is hopeless. The only thing that keeps him out of prison is the grace from the king.

In the second stage of forgiveness, the servant is also a creditor. When the servant thinks the king is out of sight, he comes across another servant that owes him pennies compared to the huge debt that the gracious king forgave. Instead of sharing with his friend the forgiveness that he has already received, the servant mistreats his friend. His friend’s words were almost identical – “I can pay it all back!” But instead of forgiveness, the servant mistreats his friend and demands the money is paid back. The servant was unwilling to be gracious even though he wanted others to be gracious to him.

The servant was absolutely with his legal right to demand payment, too. Nobody denies that he was owed the money. But even though he had a legal right, he didn’t have a moral right.

The last phase of forgiveness is really a stage of unforgiveness. He becomes a prisoner. Through the grace of the king, the servant had been released from prison. Through his own selfish unforgiveness, the servant puts himself back in prison. In essence, the king has given the servant a choice; he can live free through grace, or he can live imprisoned through the law. Through Christ Jesus, we are free. We were so far into debt, we didn’t even know how far in debt we are. We believed we could get into heaven just by paying the debt, by doing good works. But Christ freed us from our debts, and he wants us to experience not only being forgiven, but also forgiving others.

This parable was told to believers, to brothers and sisters in Christ. We have indeed received forgiveness from our Lord, but we often haven’t truly experienced forgiveness. We continue to live by justice, demanding what is ours. When we live this way, demanding justice from others, we are putting ourselves in prison, the prison of the unforgiving heart. We can be just like this servant, ready to receive the forgiveness of Christ, but stingy to share it. God forgives us frequently, readily, and endlessly.

It’s not enough for us to receive this forgiveness. To truly experience forgiveness, we must learn to grant forgiveness as easily as we received it. We have received so much that we don’t deserve, and all we had to do was say, “I accept.” To encourage the type of church of believers that Jesus wants us to be, let us practice forgiving others as our advocate as already shared with us, for it is with Christ Jesus that we have been set free from our prison. As it says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

edit I am reminded that holding back forgiveness is like putting the one who wronged you in jail – except you have no key to the door. You must stand there and hold the jail cell door shut. While your adversary may be in jail, you are too; you cannot go anywhere if you’re holding the door.

As Christians in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to build the church that He has called us to be, we must have a humble heart, recognizing the pride that keeps us from leaning on our Creator. We must watch for our spiritually weaker and younger brothers and sisters, making them feel welcome and loved so they do not drift away, for Jesus cares for each and every one of His sheep. We must recognize our own selfishness and disobedience and the conflicts that come between us, and lay our gifts at the altar and be reconciled with our spouses, our brothers, and our sisters. And we do this by forgiving them quickly, seventy times seven times, so that we do not become imprisoned by our own unforgiveness, just as we have been forgiven by our loving and gracious Lord Jesus Christ.

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Free Country! Come and Get It! (ding ding ding)

Posted on May 18, 2007. Filed under: News, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My country doesn’t understand me.

Whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, this bill should make you suspicious. It was negotiated behind closed doors for 3 months by George Bush and Ted Kennedy. Regardless of your political viewpoint, I know you don’t agree with both of those guys. Nobody can.

The Senate is poised to grant ammnesty to 12 million illegal aliens. If your house was on fire, would you be rebuilding while it was still burning? No, of course not. You’d put the fire out first. If your house was flooding, would you be trying to lay down new carpet? Of course not, there’s still water pouring into your house.

If illegal aliens were streaming into your country because of free schooling, free health care, and free government services, would you grant them amnesty and eventual citizenship in an effort to stop the problem? Or is it possible that free U.S. citizenship might be an incentive to come here illegally?

The bill promises that maybe someday we’ll have a secure border. Sort of like last year’s bill that promised us a fence. Before we do anything about the existing illegal aliens, don’t you think it makes sense to stop the problem from reoccurring first?

CONGRESS: SECURE OUR BORDERS *FIRST!*

Update:
What’s funny about this so far is who’s for and against the bill the first day -

Democrats for it:
Kennedy
Feinstein
Martinez
Chambliss
Isaakson
Salazar

Democrats against it:
Pelosi
Reid
Becerra
Sweeney (AL-CIO President)
Dorgan

Republicans for it:
Bush
McCain
Cornyn (maybe)
Hutchinson (maybe)
Chertoff
Kyl

Republicans against it:
Tancredo
Romney
Lamar Smith

Straddling the Fence:
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards

Oddly enough, Mexicans oppose the plan, too.

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Bush Seeks Better Ties in Latin America

Posted on May 1, 2007. Filed under: Fun Stuff, Politics | Tags: , , , |

Bush Seeks Better Ties in Latin AmericaThe headline reads “Bush Seeks Better Ties in Latin America.”

From the picture, you can see why. George Bush is wearing no tie at all, most likely embarrased by his current tie selection. My advise to President Bush, though, is to forego ties in Latin America and to look to China or Asia-Pacific. Silk ties there are cheap.

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Democrats Misplay "God Card"

Posted on February 14, 2006. Filed under: Faith, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I wrote last July that I fully expected the liberal Democrat party to try and claim Christianity for themselves under the name of “progressive Christianity.”

A prime example is in USAToday recently that tries to show that “playing the God card” isn’t working for George Bush and the Republicans. Even if, as the author admits, “Bush, for his part, at times has invoked religion appropriately and even eloquently” and that even while overall support for Bush may be dropping, evangelicals still overwhelmingly support Bush.

I am not surprised that both Republicans and Democrats will attempt to invoke religion to win elections in 2006 and 2008. But the USAToday article misses a key point – Christian conservatives vote Republican because the Republicans support their ideals. Democrats do too, but only occasionally and when politically expedient, then come off as hypocritical when they do. Townhall’s Patrick Hynes discusses that playing the “God Card” has actually hurt the Democrat Party. Before the 2004 election, 40% of Americans viewed the Democratic Party as “friendly toward religion.” After trying clumsily to gain support for their policies by calling on God, this fell to 29% by August 2005.

Democrats have some serious decisions to make about the future of their party and its message. The Democrat Party cannot long stand as one that demands separation of church and state in all — even symbolic — matters while at the same time claiming Biblical substantiation for liberal public policies. They cannot imply John Roberts’ queasiness about Roe v. Wade breaches the “impregnable wall,” as Sen. Dianne Feinstein did during Roberts’ confirmation hearings, while at the same time urge income redistribution because “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). They cannot call Republicans “theocrats” for trying to save Terri Schiavo while they also claim John the Baptist endorsed their welfare state when he said, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none …” (Luke 3:11).

Just as Democrats are telling voters they are unserious about national security through their over-the-top rhetoric about Iraq, the Democrats’ “God card” gambit demonstrates to the American public that they are not serious about matters of faith in public life.

The big problem the Democrats have is a) much of their party is composed of people not just passive about God, but actively opposed to God. They support removing “under God” from the pledge of allegiance and prohibit the free expression of Christianity in schools, then the other half tries to undo that perception by claiming the liberal “give to the poor” philosophy is something Jesus would want. The Democrats won’t be able to have it both ways; it comes off as way too insincere, even for politicians.

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Ill Wind May Not Blow to the Whitehouse

Posted on September 10, 2005. Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Will Hurricane Katrina spell the end of George Bush’s Presidency? Almost certainly yes, with a few caveats. :P

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush’s presidency. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush’s second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush’s second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnist are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should be held responsible for the terrible poverty in the southern states revealed by the flooding.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody holds Bill Clinton responsible for making Mississippi the poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as president, or for making Arkansas the second-poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as governor. Otherwise, people might suspect that it is a bit more complicated than that.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should not be concerned by accusations of racism against the federal government.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody remembers that Jesse Jackson once called New York “Hymietown” and everybody thinks Condoleezza Rice went shopping for shoes when the hurricane struck because she cannot stand black people.

Otherwise sensible Americans of all races will be more concerned by trite, cynical and dangerous political opportunism.

As the full horror of that sinks in, this columnist is simply glad that everybody cares.

* From a tip from Right Voices and Slugger O’Toole. Original article by Newton Emerson in the Irish Times.

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Baggage Screener By Day, Rapper Terrorist By Night

Posted on July 15, 2005. Filed under: Serious Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , |

Who screens the screeners?

HOUSTON — When Bassam Khalaf raps, he’s the Arabic Assassin. His unreleased CD, “Terror Alert,” includes rhymes about flying a plane into a building and descriptions of himself as a “crazy, suicidal Arabic … equipped with bombs.”

Until last week, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

It’s difficult to lead two separate lives. He can’t celebrate terrorism with one personality and protect against terrorism with another.

Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his “authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave and alarming detail various criminal acts you intend to commit, state your belief that the U.S. government should be overthrown, and finally warn that others will die on September 11, 2005.”

Khalaf, who was born in Houston and is of Palestinian descent, said working as a baggage screener was the best paying job he’s ever had. He said he hoped to use any extra money he earned to produce his CD.

“Controversy sells,” Khalaf said. “It brings a lot of attention. Everybody wants to label all Arabics terrorists just because a couple of people messed up. Well, I’m going to play along with that character. I’m going to let you think I’m one.”

Well, ok, if you insist. I think you’re a terrorist.

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