Monday, June 23, 2008


Barack Obama rolled out his version of the Presidential Seal last week. Obviously, it was for the purpose of campaigning, but some of the changes were telling. The substitution of "Yes We Can!" for "E Pluribus Unum" reflects a view of our country that is increasingly popular.   A large number of voters do not speak English and are trying very hard not to acculturate to mainstream American values. The multi-cultural model is to have a lot of cultures side by side with incidental overlaps as opposed to cultures giving up distinctives for the sake of actually having one nation. It doesn't take one too much effort to see what has happened to nations where this has happened. France is a prime example, with a large Muslim minority determined not to fit in. The Balkan tragedy is a result of the glorification of multi-culturalism.

To be sure, despite our national motto, and the professed loyalty of some to that ideal, we have many from both parties who are dividers and not unifiers. They divide over endless issues and often simply because they don't like some people and some political positions. We have lost any national consensus on many critical issues, and that is a shame. Saying we are one doesn't make it so, but I hardly think that is a reason to give up.

Now as a Christian, we are called to not be a part of the world, but distinct from the world. We have different values and different priorities.  So what is the difference? Well, if we truly follow the Bible, we give honor to the King and submit to human institutions because God tells us they are his institutions and those in them are ministers of his. Therefore, while we are apart from the world, we support our nation and its institutions even while we fight for things to improve. Also as a church, we should be striving for "E Pluribus Unum" in the church, because God values unity with no separations because of ethnicity, place of origin, or economic or social status. "Yes, We Can" was the cry of the rebels building the Tower of Babel.  "Yes, God Can" should be our rallying cry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


For some time, it was been extremely necessary to have a discerning spirit when it comes to politics.  Actually around 1800, the mud being thrown makes the 24/7 attacks on Presidents Bush and Clinton over the last 16 years and candidates Obama and McCain look a bit mild.

People believe that repeating  things over and over again makes them true.  People believe almost anything if they hear it often enough - they believe global warming and macro-evolution are incontrovertible facts but seldom ask why dissent is so aggressively sublimated. They are told that Christians are the most intolerant of all peoples, but nations with Christian majorities are consistently the most tolerant nations of all.  They call it hateful to speak up against the practice of homosexuality, but the hatred of homosexuals toward Christians who stand on the Bible is very defining of what true hatred really is.

The extended battle between Hillary and Barack left John McCain largely untouched. I believe that Republicans who supported others are even more wary of John McCain than Hillarycrats are of Barack Obama. Here is a man who likes to say he crosses the aisle. The problem is, whenever he crosses it, he adopts the positions of those  he  partners with in some of the worst legislation imaginable. McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Leiberman.
Where is the McCain part of  these bills?  So are  our worst fears realized because  McCain actually has adopted the radical positions of his partners?

McCain has a storied POW story, but does he  truly  respect the fighting soldiers by wanting to bring enemy combatants onto US soil to enjoy the largesse of the US Court system for the first time in hisory?  Yikes, Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during our CIVIL war.

McCain wants to drill for oil here, which most Americans support as the most sensible thing to do - after all, even environmentally and politically-correct Norway is energy independent because of responsible off-shore drilling. We all are looking for new ways to reduce our need for oil, but fuel cell cars and other options are still a few years away for the masses. Responsible drilling in Anwar and the continental shelf will give us a generation to perfect what is now still not ready for prime time.   Yet, McCain, without a shred of scientific acumen, throws his lot in with the deeply flawed Al Gore arguments for man-made global warming.  All the bureaucratic mess that will result would offset the gains made with new drilling.  It really IS possible to be consistent, John McCain.  Please try sir.

McCain also wants the conservative Christian vote, but he sticks his finger in their eye whenever he gets close enough to any of them to entertain dialogue. He is unenthusiastic for moral causes even if he votes right much of the time on those issues.  We aren't looking for a vote, we are looking for a leader who will passionately and enthusiastically batter the opposition through truth to gain support.  I get the feeling there is little passion - this is the job he wants to retire with (not a bad pension plan so he doesn't have to beg Cindy for money).

We need discernment to look past the stuff.

For a while, people were repeating ad nauseum that Barack Obama was a Muslim. Then he started saying he had always been a Christian. Well, Barack did go to mosque for a while, but so what? Children usually go where directed. The only relevant question about that now would be whether he has sympathized or still does sympathize with radical Islamic elements.  That question has yet to be fully answered because of his obvious and extended tardiness in disassociating himself from those parroting Islamic mantras and his  own contradictory statements in talking about Israel and  the middle east.  Which is right - the books or the campaign speeches? And the campaign speech designed for Jews or the campaign speech designed for those who want the United States to lose in Iraq and lose whatever prestige it has left in the middle east?

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, much pillaried for his conservative viewpoints not shared (at least publicly) by most blacks, went to Yale because of affirmative action and was a Black Panthers organizer.  Many of yesterday's radicals are conservatives today. Some say sarcastically that a conservative is a liberal who was just mugged. We cannot look to a person's past as a sole qualifier - or disqualifier.  John McCain's experience as a POW is yesterday's news. What he is saying now is critical.  The same could be said of Barack Obama's more radical associations over the years or in fact the positions of many people - Harry Byrd and his years in the Klan, John Murtha's disgusting turn on the troops and many others.

McCain should have to state how he is different from the past if indeed he is different. He also should be truthful about WHY he is so quick to compromise.  Will he do that with our sworn enemies as well?

Where Barack should be taken to task NOW is in his  statements about his Christian faith.  His book got it right.  His time with his mom was that of an atheistic upbringing, which is NOT Christian!  He should have  simply said he was raised an atheist except for a time when he was taken (or sent) to mosque.  Later, as a young adult, when seeking, he found a spirituality he liked in a nominally Christian church and has been pursuing that since.  What is so hard about that???

We simply have to be discerning by being aggressive about finding lots of credible news sources. The mainstream media is certainly not telling the whole story, but only a tiny sliver.
Its sins of omission greatly slant public opinion.  It is glaringly obvious to any objective person.
When Mr. Obama talks about cutting our military to second or third world status, it says volumes about his thoughts about the United States becoming as irrelevant as Europe in the world theatre. When Mr. McCain talks about crossing the aisle, we should not expect excellent Supreme Court Justice nominations such as John Roberts or Antonin Scalia.  Instead, we could easily end up with another Sandra Day  O'Connor or Anthony Kennedy (both appointed by Ronald Reagan).  These two hardly have been models of strict constructionist interpretations of the constitution.  

It takes a lot of work - but keep probing, keep researching, and see where it leads you!  Do not take anything at face value, but look deep below the surface. A whole lot is at stake!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


With all the pomp and circumstance this campaign season, little is being said about a major pay DECREASE that will affect many Americans.  It is not just the very rich - I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who are finding ever more obscene ways to spend their wealth. That goes for the secular rich, who believe they are entitled because either their inheritance, their investments, or their business gave them the jackpot.  It also goes for the religious rich, who believe that their wealth is a sign of God's blessing of them, giving them entitlement as well.  I never begrudge anyone success, but whether the person is secular like Warren Buffett, or religious such as those in the "prosperity" fold, if the person blessed by God does not freely share with the poor, pay his or her employees well, and heavily invest in making the church and the world better, I have little respect for them, and I believe there are oceans of texts in the Bible which heartily agree.

The fact is, if there is no ram in the bush and either John McCain or Barack Obama gets elected, there will be a decrease in disposable income  for a whole lot of people not expecting it. Both McCain and Obama, neither of whom profess an ounce of scientific education, have thrown their weight behind the Global Warming alarmists, ironically at a time when much of the hype is being discredited.  $5.50 and higher gas prices are not far behind, especially since drilling and refinery construction in the United States are unfortunately relics of the past. Higher prices for food and EVERYTHING that has to be transported as well as more restrictions on business with no clear environmental benefit will further squeeze those in the middle such as you and I, but the rich will find more new ways to profits from this malaise.  They ALWAYS do.

With McCain, radical immigration policies will further depress wages in many industries beyond what has been seen to date.  No country has survived this type of invasion and survived. There has been very limited acculturation.  We are becoming more Balkanized by the year (study the history of the Balkans if you want to know what the future of city-states with little in common will be). We have so many people who refuse to learn our language and culture who are voting. Upon what do they base their decision?  Unfortunately, all too often it is based upon rumor, propaganda and demagoguery, and perhaps simply self-interest, but not upon a sound knowledge of what is best for all.

There is more.  Capital gains taxes are being proposed by Obama to go from 15% to 28%.  If he wins in November, look for massive asset selloffs between the election and the inauguration, resulting in a decrease in investment and a spike in unemployment that will make the recent return to over 5% levels look modest.  The fact is, very rich folks aren't in my circle, but those who work almost always work for folks much richer than they are. Governmental leaders keep thinking they can outfox big business, the oil companies, or the target de jour. Remember Bill Bradley's tax simplification?   There were more gifts to big business (earmarks) buried in that than there are ants at the garbage dump.

There is still more.  I suspect that the FICA limit - the amount above which Social Security taxes are no longer deducted - will rise with either candidate.  Often the increase is linked to the cost of living. Obama originally proposed removing the ceiling, which would have been catastrophic.   This is a DOUBLE increase - the employer pays the same as the employee, and guess who will pass through that business tax increase in terms of higher prices?  Beyond that, self  employed persons such as myself who pay double the employed person's tax will have over a 12% additional tax imposed on income over $102,300, right when health care costs, fuel costs, and other costs of living are increasing far more than wages.  Combine that with the repeal of the Bush tax cuts, which, contrary to the rhetoric, affect you and me, and our already high tax burden will become unlivable.  Mr. Obama since we originally wrote this article has proposed a FICA window between 102,300 and $250,000 where FICA would not be deducted.  This is a step in the right direction, but may not be achievable due to its novel approach.

Exactly why do Republicans and Democrats believe that higher taxes will improve out lives? Have they EVER?  The reason many people flip a coin between the two parties is that Republicans have spent big time as well when they were in power. It is only a difference in degree, not core philosophy. People used to mock "banana Republics" where American foreign aid went.  The money was always siphoned with little getting to the point of need.  The same is true in this country at ALL levels of government.  Look at the cities who struggle the most - they are all high-tax cities run by Democrats.  Look at our country with the increase in spending presided over by Republicans.  Where is the fulfillment of the promises made? Are fewer people in poverty? Every four years, we hear how everything is going to change.  We simply cannot believe that raising taxes is the panacea to our problems.  If it were, most Americans would go along with it. To simply transfer wealth to lame government agencies which make life more difficult instead of alleviating suffering is no gain.

What really sobers me, though, it that those proposing these confiscatory taxes have done LITTLE out of their own pocket to help others. Remember Al Gore's $353 donations to charity in 1998?  When Barack Obama delivered his  stem-winder speech in 2004, he was giving only .4% out of a huge income to charity.  The AVERAGE American gives five times that much. Only when in the Senate and when tax returns were expected to be shown did he even get to 5%.   It is always about other people's money. Charity begins at home.   McCain's figures were much higher, though many of the beneficiaries were private schools his children attended.  Still, Bush gave over 10%, and Cheney just under 10%. Many citizens rich and poor of both parties give substantially to church and charity and history has proven that those dollars go much farther that those given to the black hole known as government.

Have you ever wondered about your tax rebate?  By the time you factor in the cost of advertising it, processing it, and paying interest to the Chinese to fund it, it won't be much of a difference from paying one of those robber baron credit card companies so the government will get their money back.

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you had better speak up, because those who sit on millions, and who not affect their lifestyle one iota by sacrificing for the good of others, are preaching to YOU to sacrifice still more and to cough up more of the little you have left after taxes and actually giving substantially to charity yourself.  It seems no different from King George to me.  Will there be another Tea Party, not only in Boston, but from Maine to California to Texas to Florida?   It took a long time to get to where we are, but like anything else, it will take precious little time to lose it all.