Friday, February 27, 2009

Tax Cuts and Bought Votes

“The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man…” –Tennessee congressman Davey Crockett, 1828

Basic economics, folks. You can't get a reduction on taxes if you don't actually pay any. This is an injustice. But don't expect the Sojo crowd to take to the streets in holy protest.

Until 2006, the majority of voters were taxpayers. As of 2006, and for the foreseeable future, the majority of voters are thieves in search of access to other people’s money and property…

46% of Americans voted against the new “progressive” rush into unbridled secular socialism in the 2008 election. This 46% represent the “taxpayers” of America, the folks who pick up the tab for all the nonsense and waste that is our federal government today. They are now outnumbered by the people in search of access to their earnings and assets, all of whom showed up at the polls in record numbers to give Marxists the power to take property from “the greedy” and redistribute those assets to “the cheated.”

Those seeking “free-stuff” from the earnings of others, now rule over those who pay 97.01% of the federal tab already. Welcome to the ochlocracy.

h/t Red Planet Cartoons

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rendering to Caesar

Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, the Most Rev'd Charles J. Chaput, had some strong words for how to navigate the current political situation. In an age when the powers of the state - especially the federal government - are expanding and encroaching on various parts of our social and economic lives, he offers a sane critique that is distinctly Christian, catholic, and American. That it comes from the lips of the second Native American to be granted episcopal rank should lend credit to his words. In dealing with Caesar, this man carries the historical memory of his office through the gift of apostolic succession and the DNA-bound memory of a people who were robbed of their land by promises of phony goods and assurances of protected status.

The speech is in promotion of his new book, Render Unto Caesar. This isn't the first time the man has spoken with clarity and conviction on the issues of how Christian citizens are to behave in a republic. He's provided consistent leadership in the election, and I pray the whole house of Roman Catholic bishops in the US - as well as bishops in other judicatories - listen to this man who is made a chief shepherd in the flock of God. Below are some snippets:
We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty – these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square – peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation.

Caesar does have rights. We owe civil authority our respect and appropriate obedience. But that obedience is limited by what belongs to God. Caesar is not God. Only God is God, and the state is subordinate and accountable to God for its treatment of human persons, all of whom were created by God. Our job as believers is to figure out what things belong to Caesar, and what things belong to God -- and then put those things in right order in our own lives, and in our relations with others.

[As Christians] we have a duty to be politically engaged. Why? Because politics is the exercise of power, and the use of power always has moral content and human consequences.

The “separation of Church and state” does not mean – and it can never mean – separating our Catholic faith from our public witness, our political choices and our political actions. That kind of separation would require Christians to deny who we are; to repudiate Jesus when he commands us to be “leaven in the world” and to “make disciples of all nations.” That kind of radical separation steals the moral content of a society. It’s the equivalent of telling a married man that he can’t act married in public. Of course, he can certainly do that, but he won’t stay married for long.

“To suggest -- as some Catholics do -- that Senator Obama is this year’s ‘real’ prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred ‘prolife’ option is to subvert what the word ‘prolife’ means.”

I like clarity, and there’s a reason why. I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth -- which means candor.

President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change.

I think Catholics – and I mean here mainly American Catholics – need to remember four simple things in the months ahead.

First, all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil. In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions. The truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies.

Second, in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs. It’s worth recalling that despite two ugly wars, an unpopular Republican president, a fractured Republican party, the support of most of the American news media and massively out-spending his opponent, our new president actually trailed in the election polls the week before the economic meltdown. This subtracts nothing from the legitimacy of his office. It also takes nothing away from our obligation to respect the president’s leadership.

But it does place some of today’s talk about a “new American mandate” in perspective. Americans, including many Catholics, elected a gifted man to fix an economic crisis. That’s the mandate. They gave nobody a mandate to retool American culture on the issues of marriage and the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion in public life and abortion. That retooling could easily happen, and it clearly will happen -- but only if Catholics and other religious believers allow it. It’s instructive to note that the one lesson many activists on the American cultural left learned from their loss in the 2004 election -- and then applied in 2008 -- was how to use a religious vocabulary while ignoring some of the key beliefs and values that religious people actually hold dear.

Every new election cycle I hear from unhappy, self-described Catholics who complain that abortion is too much of a litmus test. But isn’t that exactly what it should be? One of the defining things that set early Christians apart from the pagan culture around them was their respect for human life; and specifically their rejection of abortion and infanticide. We can’t be Catholic and be evasive or indulgent about the killing of unborn life. We can’t claim to be “Catholic” and “pro-choice” at the same time without owning the responsibility for where the choice leads – to a dead unborn child. We can’t talk piously about programs to reduce the abortion body count without also working vigorously to change the laws that make the killing possible. If we’re Catholic, then we believe in the sanctity of developing human life. And if we don’t really believe in the humanity of the unborn child from the moment life begins, then we should stop lying to ourselves and others, and even to God, by claiming we’re something we’re not.

Catholic social teaching goes well beyond abortion. In America we have many urgent issues that beg for our attention, from immigration reform to health care to poverty to homelessness. The Church in Denver and throughout the United States is committed to all these issues. We need to do a much better job of helping women who face problem pregnancies, and American bishops have been pressing our public leaders for that for more than 30 years. But we don’t “help” anyone by allowing or funding an intimate, lethal act of violence. We can’t build a just society with the blood of unborn children. The right to life is the foundation of every other human right -- and if we ignore it, sooner or later every other right becomes politically contingent.

...for Christians, hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Virtus, the Latin root of virtue, means strength or courage. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the cheesy optimism of election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a spine in believers. And that’s why – at least for a Christian -- hope sustains us when the real answer to the problems or hard choices in life is “no, we can’t,” instead of “yes, we can.”

The word “hope” on a campaign poster may give us a little thrill of righteousness, but the world will still be a wreck when the drug wears off. We can only attain hope through truth. And what that means is this: From the moment Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” the most important political statement anyone can make is “Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fifteen Reasons I'm Already Tired of the Obama Era

by John Hawkins, posted at TownHall.com on Tuesday, February 24, 2009

15) The stimulus bill is the single largest spending bill in the history of humankind and yet, Obama is running around telling everyone how he's going to cut the deficit in a few years. Obama claiming to be a deficit hawk -- that's like getting a lecture on honesty from Bill Clinton.

14) ACORN, which engaged in large scale voter fraud during the 2008 election that won't be seriously investigated because Obama is in the White House, is now unapologetically breaking into houses across the country and encouraging squatters. Apparently, if you're a liberal group, you are above the law as long as the Obama administration is in the White House.

13) Despite the fact that America just conclusively proved it's not a racist nation by electing the first black President, race hustling bottom feeders like Al Sharpton and Julian Bond are making ridiculous charges of racism over an obviously non-racial cartoon. I thought the implicit promise of the Left was that electing Obama would put the race hustlers out of business?

12) Despite all the doomsday talk that we're hearing about how only European style socialism can save us from another depression, this recession isn't even close to being as bad as the one we endured in the early eighties. The utter lack of perspective about this topic is disturbing.

11) Barack Obama has already broken more campaign promises in a month than George Bush did in eight years. He's a living, breathing example of everything people hate about politics. He's habitually dishonest, will say anything if it benefits him politically, and he has already doled out more taxpayer money to his supporters via the stimulus bill than any politician in history.

10) Many of the same moderate Republicans who helped destroy the party over the last 4 years by pushing big spending, big government, pro-illegal immigration policies, and worst of all, John McCain, are once again declaring that the solution to our problems is to pursue many of the same policies that allowed the Democrats to take almost total control of D.C. "Thanks, but no thanks" for the "helpful" advice.

9) It's grotesque to see the worshipful treatment Obama is getting. It seems like his face is on the cover of half the magazines in the country, the press treats him with kid gloves, and they're naming schools after him. Meanwhile, he's just another sleazy politician who has yet to show an aptitude for much of anything other than reading off of a teleprompter.

8) In what is sure to be the first of many betrayals, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins sold the Republican Party and the American people down the river on the stimulus package. The amazing thing was not that they caved, since it has come to be expected from those three, but that they prostituted themselves to the Democrats so cheaply. Had they simply held out for another week or two, they could have given the GOP much more leverage, shaved at least another hundred billion off the stimulus package, and could have acquired tens of millions more in goodies for their constituents.

7) The Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, is a tax cheat. Let me repeat that: Timothy Geithner, the guy who is the head honcho of the IRS, is a tax cheat. One more time, Tim Geithner, the guy who will be in charge when the Obama administration institutes what will probably be the single largest tax increase in American history, later in Obama's first term, is a tax cheat.

6) Despite the fact that the Big 3 automakers have been so thoroughly destroyed by the unions that work for them that they have to come begging for billions per month just to survive, the Democratic Party is getting ready to try to ram a card check bill through the Senate that would expand the presence of unions all across the country. That's like finding a turd in the punch bowl and just tossing it into the lemonade.

5) The single most successful program of the Clinton years, welfare reform, has already been essentially repealed with no debate via the stimulus package. It's part of Obama's attempt to radically transform the country before the American people fully realize what's happening. So far, judging by the lack of discussion over welfare reform, it seems to be working.

4) The very same government that destroyed the banking industry by forcing it to make loans to people who couldn't pay them back is now using the very crisis it created to try to nationalize the banking industry. This is like making an arsonist the new fire chief after he burned down the fire station and 3-4 city blocks surrounding it.

3) Barack Obama is like Jimmy Carter on speed. In anticipation of the American people vomiting at the mere mention of his name in the future, he's trying to cram every single thing on the liberal wish list through so fast that our legislators don't even have time to read the bills that they're voting on.

2) We're literally going to spend hundreds of billions of dollars rewarding people for failing to pay their mortgages. Granted, they're not going to admit to that, but when people who pay their mortgages on time get nothing while people who aren't paying their mortgages get a break, courtesy of their fellow citizens' tax dollars, what else can it be called other than a reward for irresponsibility?

1) Prior to the stimulus bill being passed, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the recession we're in would be over by the 2nd half of 2009. In other words, we're going to spend 1.2 trillion dollars on a stimulus bill and best case scenario, it could pull us out of a recession 3-6 months early. Of course, it seems more likely that all the government interference and massive increases in debt could extend, rather than shorten the length of the recession. If we're not out of it by 2010, we know who deserves the blame.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

John Adams on the present crisis

“All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.” - John Adams

Do you understand how this works, Mr. Obama, when you write a sub-prime mortgage with China on our children's future? We no longer owe our debt just to ourselves, we also owe it to the whole world—much of it (approx. 8%) to China.

Beijing could easily trigger a dollar crash of massive proportions. China is estimated to hold over $700 billion in U.S. Federal dollar assets (not to mention what they hold from private debts). In comparison, the total number of dollars in circulation (as measured by M1) is $1.3 trillion. If China were to start dumping its dollars, U.S. interest rates would spike, inflation would soar, the housing market would get pummeled, and the economy would likely plunge into a serious recession.

Why continue the previous administration's disastrous policy?

America’s situation could have easily been avoided by living within its means and following simple, commonsense practices like avoiding debt to foreign powers, which obviously have their own best interests at heart.

God warned the ancient nation of Israel about the folly of foreign debt, and what the eventual outcome would be. Read it for yourself in Deuteronomy 15. God specifically told the people of Israel that if they wanted to prosper, they could lend to other nations but not borrow from them (verse 6).

As wise King Solomon noted, “The rich rule over the poor, but the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).

Our first black president is well on his way to reinstituting slavery in this country - though of a sort that is quickly recognized as such.

America being held economically hostage by a country that is still largely Third World shows just how precarious the U.S.’s economic position is...and how tendentious our liberties will be in the coming decades unless we return to principles of true conservatism (not the stuff that Bush II tried to soft-sell).