Today, a pair of opposing spokes ladies were disagreeing with each other on Foxnews. The interesting thing about this is that one of them represented a Tea Party group and the other represented the GOP, the Republican Party. The lady speaking for the GOP was disagreeing with Donald Trump's statements of policy regarding the border with Mexico. The Tea Party lady was agreeing with those statements.
We now have new drama to watch on the Republican Presidential campaign. Will other GOP leaders, representing the party itself, come out against Trump policies while Tea Party folks join in unity with Trump? Might such circumstances ultimately lead to a third party emerging behind Trump.
In such a case, Trump could say, "Well, the Republican Party has denied the support that these other folks have offered, so it makes sense to go ahead with a third party being organized for this election."
GOP, what are you gonna do?
Glenn Beck stated on his radio program aired on "the Blaze" (8/13/2015) that he has read the entire Koran. He has also read other holy writings of Islam.
Glenn said that the Koran is unlike the writings of the Bible in significant ways. The Bible has many different authors. When we read what one said we compare it to what others have written in the Bible. However, the Koran was written by only one person, Mohammed. His earlier thoughts as he wrote them are considered to be super-ceded by later comments on the same subject, meaning that his thinking evolved over time. Thus, later sayings in the Koran may be given more weight than earlier sayings in the Koran.
Glenn went on to say that the earlier writings of Mohammed seem to be relatively more gentle; later writings tend to be more violent in some subjects. Thus, he reached the conclusion that Islam as a whole gives validation to the violence we see today. It is not the interpretation of a few Muslims but rather the comprehensive teachings of Mohammed that give motivation to the violent jihad.
As an observer of these things, I would say that the conclusions of Glenn Beck need to be investigated further to see if these things can be refuted by the facts. This inquiry would call for us to become more familiar with the Koran and other key Muslim teachings so that opinions will be well informed, not inflammatory diatribes.
As an American with democratic ideals, I would wish that Islam could be as other religious forms in that we could be a pluralistic society with room for all to live peacefully, side by side. It is not for us to condemn any religion to suffer some unjust treatment. On the other hand, we cannot help but discern the differences, important ones, that bear on the safety and well being of all citizens and residents who differ in their religious beliefs.
Glenn Beck is a very intelligent man and I believe, a moral one. We all need to take a careful look into these matters and to form a very united opinion about them so that we can be wise and very strong in our treatment of deadly jihad.
The strategy of Gideon has a message for the USA this modern day. You may recall the story of Gideon from the book of Judges in the Bible. He was an Israelite who was so afraid of the enemies of Israel that he would thresh his wheat down in a pit so that his enemies could not see him working and steal his grain. Suddenly this angel appears to him and calls him a mighty man of God, a hero of Israel. Gideon's reaction is like, "Who? Me?" But, the God of Israel instructs him on exactly how to win a great triumph over those who had come to kill and to destroy Israel.
Gideon's idea was to gather as many soldiers as possible to fight the enemy but he could not gather nearly enough. So, the Lord gave Gideon a different strategy. The voice of the Lord told him to send any who were afraid to go back home with no dishonor. Then, the voice of the Lord told him that he still had too many. So, all the soldiers were to go to the brook and get a drink of water. Those that drank with their face in the water, the voice of the Lord told Gideon to send back home. He was to only select those who had used their hand to form a cup and drink from their hand. These amounted to only 300. Then, the voice of the Lord told Gideon to not use a sword or any weapon. They were to use only a torch and a clay pot. When the 300 entered the sleeping enemy camp, the Israelite horn was sounded, and all at once the 300 Israelite soldiers shouted and broke their clay pots and escaped. The enemy soldiers were in confusion and wound up killing each other in a horrible slaughter.
No, I don't say that we should send in special forces with clay pots and torches. However, if we can get our presumptions out of the way, get our soldiers out of the Iraqi camps where they are bait for ISIS, remove as much equipment as possible since it will be in the hands of our enemies be it ISIS or Iran, allow these contending enemies of ISIS and Iran to destroys each other, make Israel our center of refuge and strength in the Middle East, concentrate on home security, destroy the enemy's means of social media and other communication, and then perhaps we may make some progress with minimizing harm to the USA and our friends. This is what Gideon's strategy might look like today.
Forget about trying to win the hearts and minds of those focused on our destruction. They have been talking about hating us since we were established. Remember the Barbary Pirates of North Africa? Forget about trying to try these guys as criminals. They aren't criminals. They are enemies. They do what enemies do. They try to kill us. It is an act of war, not homicide.
The message we need to listen closely to is that when you are vastly outnumbered (Muslim population is well over a billion and a half, I think) you need a strategy much more clever than simply trying to overwhelm them. Oh, someone might say, we are only dealing with Muslim extremists. Well, I say, extremists are those willing to engage in violence at the moment. I truly believe that if we were to effectively eliminate ISIS by military action, there would be another few million willing to take their place.
We not only have shrinking financial reserves to fund a military, we also suffer from a shrinking number of young men willing to risk their lives for our country. That is because the USA has surrendered its moral civic basis by way of recent US Supreme Court decisions, surrendered its commitment to care for veterans by way of a dismal VA, surrendered its concern for its own welfare by allowing invasion of our southern border with Mexico, surrendered our equal justice under the Constitution by the IRA targeting conservative groups, and more. The USA struggles today to lift itself as any kind of superior moral force. It may have even given up such an effort.
Well, if and only if our leaders will someday soon recognize their misdirection and find its way to understanding and skillful leadership in the Middle East, we can learn from Gideon.
Hillary's new simplified tax plan: Line #1 How much was your total $ income last year? __________ Line #2 Send it in.
It seems that politicians have things confused. They think that in order to create wealth, you must first distribute it. That makes no sense at all.
Well, they say, the government enables businesses to make the money they do. There is some truth in that. But, to say that businesses do not create wealth, government makes it possible, is a half truth.
The real whole truth is that you must first create wealth before you distribute it. Businesses create wealth and government distributes it. Once the money is made, taxes are collected, then distribution of wealth can begin.
How is wealth created? Let's take a scene out of real life to make an easy to understand illustration.
You are on your way to work early in the morning and you are hungry. So, you stop by the local McDonalds to get an egg McMuffin and some coffee. But, the McD's isn't open yet. So you are waiting the few short minutes before the crew comes in to open up.
As you sit there in your car, you see the restaurant, its windows and parking lot. You can see inside where there are cash registers and appliances waiting to be turned on. You know there are freezers in there with the frozen food you are waiting for the crew to prepare for your meal.
So, how much do you think the restaurant owners could get for the raw food just as it is right now, unprepared, still frozen? About what they paid for it, right? OK.
Now, the crew arrives, opens the doors, turns on the lights and appliances etc. and you walk in. You give your order, the food is cooked, you are served, and here comes another question. Now, how much did you pay for the food once it was cooked and served? Answer, on average, about four (4) times what they paid for the raw food.
The difference between the two prices is the wealth that was created when labor was added to capital (that is, all the human made and processed things used to create the wealth). Yes, you could throw in natural resources too. The point is that labor and capital/resources combined together to create the wealth.
Someone might jump in and say, "Well, the government provided roads, utilities, and regulations, etc." yes, but they paid for these things out of taxes already collected from both businesses and working employees who paid taxes to make it possible for government to do these things.
This is not a "chicken or the egg, which came first?" riddle. It is very logical and easy to see that money had to be made and collected before it could be passed around among government agencies.
By the way, neither poor people nor wealthy people enjoy getting less than they earned. Students in high school are shocked to find out that there are some taxes they cannot get back in refunds (such as FICA and Medicare contributions).
The creation of more government services may be a good thing or not, depending on circumstances and needs. However, let us be clear, government needs to get out of the way of those making and honest dollar and helping others to do likewise.
Hillary's plans to have government do more means paying for it out the the pockets of both the wealthy and the working poor. Everybody ought to get a load of that information.
I still have one of those black coffee mugs with the inscription, "You're Fired" on it. The famous phrase uttered by the Donald on his original "Apprentice" TV shows is part of his "brand". It was that show which informed me and millions of others about what "brand" meant.
"Brand" is what we are known for. It is what people expect of us. We can make our "brand" worth money, or honor or dishonor or poverty, success or failure, reliability or not. In other words, our brand is our identity to others who do not know us except in some important aspect, like business or politics or education, etc.
What America has known Donald Trump for is his "brand". He has crafted our perception of that brand with a great deal of care. He does not wish to be identified in any way that is contrary to the brand that he has created. It has cost him a lot of time, expense, and use of other resources.
So, when the Donald enters the political arena, he enters not as a typical politician but rather he enters in a way consistent with his "brand." This has been refreshing to many folks, including myself. I join with others in relishing his taking established politicians to task for their failings.
However, if you have a "brand" it is difficult to move away from it without destroying it. If your "brand" says that you are confident, forceful, shrewd, then it is difficult to be humble enough to learn new things necessary for transition from business and marketing into statesmanship.
First, politicians have to get elected. After that, they are expected to be statesmen or states-persons, if you must. Businessmen are practiced in the art of the deal, as was the subject of Donald Trump's famous book. Deals in business center around transactions in money, property, and time.
Deals in politics and diplomacy do happen. They are transactions of their own sort. They may involve money, property, and time but they also have much higher stakes: war or peace, history, movement of whole peoples. These are far more complicated tasks than even the most sophisticated business mergers, deals, transactions, etc.
For example, many years ago, the banker David Rockefeller, was saying that his colleagues in world finance could predict with fair certainty the near future in world wide business. However, he added that they were far less successful in predicting political events such as changes in political leadership and even revolutions.
What is needed for leadership is one who is expert in the areas of both politics and statesmanship, or states-personship, if you must. Having a brand is great for marketing but does little to suggest that one possesses the kind of leadership America needs today.
Today, Israel is surrounded by a flurry of violence. But, it is not directed at Israel. The enemies of Israel are fighting each other. ISIS is fighting Iran. Sunni is fighting Shia. It is a tragedy that the USA is not siding with Israel, allowing Muslim jihadists to fight each other. Rather, the USA has taken sides with the Shia Muslims of Iran by creating the Iran Deal. This deal brings us into contention with the Sunni nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others. And, in the process, we have abandoned the fundamental commitment to defend Israel.
This puts the USA on the wrong side of history. In the book of Judges you will find the story of Gideon. He was an Israelite being subjugated, along with all of Israel, to the oppression of enemy tribes. Gideon was approached by an angel of God who challenged him to lead a force to fight the enemy. However, rather than actually fighting the enemy soldiers, they raided the enemy camp with nothing but trumpets and lamps. The commotion aroused the sleeping enemy soldiers and in the confusion, they fought each other. Israel triumphed as their enemies destroyed each other.
That is how ancient Israel was saved in that instance. Through Israel's history, this pattern was repeated from time to time.
Today, the USA finds itself in the camp of Israel's enemies, engaged in their fights rather than directly defending Israel. This is a losing proposition. The USA needs to return to its fundamental commitment to Israel while defending itself from those who invade USA cyberspace and borders.
The Duggars controversy, which I assume, is familiar to you, has raised voices of both attack and defense. The attacks based upon the feelings that the Duggars have assumed some perch of moral superiority or been hypocritical need to be addressed by society at large because these issues face all of us, not just the Duggars. The defense that the older son did these things when a minor, that the daughters were not sexualized by these events, that the son later joined a so-called "hate" group to denounce others of immoral conduct, also need examination. The American market place of ideas is jumping with activity as a result.
First, let's look at the moral perch. Neither the Duggars nor anyone who claims to be a Christian has a right to assume a righteousness that has not come to them as a gift by virtue of something beyond their control. Therefore, there is no moral pedestal for any Christian to stand on. In the interview with Megyn Kelly, of Fox News, I did not hear the Duggars overtly claim any such moral high ground over other people. Any such assumption of moral superiority appears to be in the perception of those attacking the Duggars.
When the older son, who did these immoral acts, confessed and repented of them to God and His Christ, over a series of events and years, received forgiveness by their family, including the ones victimized, he was restored to relationship with them. Let's take a look, for a moment, at the Duggar perspective. Christian Biblical logic calls for a penitent person to approach God in humility and faith, agree with Biblical teaching that their actions have been wrong, and then repent. (That is to say, the person changes their mind and reverses their course to what it should have been all along.) It follows, then, that such confession and repentance has a purpose. That purpose is restoration of trusting relationship. The object of that restoration is hope for ongoing relationship. That is what happened in the case of the wrongful son who was restored to relationship in his family. Such a forgiving family, such a restoration, and such a hope is something that just about all of us could use from time to time.
But, what about the issue of hypocrisy?
Think about a comparison situation. Early in his Presidency, Barak Obama stated that he did not think that same sex marriages should be legally recognized by government. Later, President Obama changed his mind and said that he now favors the concept. Same sex marriages should be recognized by government, says he. Now then, do people who favor same sex marriages condemn him for his first statement? Do they accuse him of hypocrisy for changing his mind? Well, you might say, he did not cover up his first statement. That is true, but he did change his mind and he was accepted into political relationship with those advocating same sex marriages, isn't that so?
What about covering things up so that money could be made in spite of a factor that could have stopped the opportunity offered by the reality show featuring the Duggars? Here, I believe, two issues are involved. First, did the Duggars have a valid claim to privacy for an internal family situation? Second, did they have a valid claim to receive money from presenting a pure moral front that had hidden flaws?
Considering that the family was dealing with the sensitive issue of broken trust and restoration of it, I believe that they did have the right to privacy up to that point. What do you think?
Considering that money is a great incentive for all of us to decide in favor of what we want or even need rather than what is truly good and wise, I believe there are further questions to be answered. Megyn Kelly addressed one of these. In her interview with the parents, she asked if they had considered that they would be under a microscope of publicity. Their answer was that their son's behavior was supposed to be sealed from public view. However, the question remains, would it not have been wisdom to understand that evil tries to destroy good? That human assurances cannot ultimately be trusted? And, should it have mattered whether or not the records would have been revealed? Would it have not been good to make a clearer disclaimer, that while the Duggars were striving to be a moral family, they they made no claim to moral perfection?
Moving on, what about the son's joining a pro-family organization that preaches moral integrity? Is that not hypocritical? Please consider that the son had been restored to relationship with his family. He had been restored, assuming sincerity in repentance and faith, in relationship with God. While the family and the spiritual issues had been resolved, the earthly social results had not. The Bible teaches that whatever a person sows (plants in the soil) is what they will ultimately harvest. This has come about for the son.
However, this does not disqualify the son, or anyone else, from speaking truth. None of us is disqualified to speak the truth on moral issues. If I am presently putting a needle in my arm while injecting heroin and at that time telling you to not do this, am I wrong for saying so? No. I have no superior moral standing to preach to you, but that does not matter here. Why? Because I am telling you the truth.
Now, someone might say, "What is truth?" I am not speaking here of subjective truth. No, I am not talking about truth in my own mind, according to my own ways of thinking and feeling. I am rather talking about objective truth that exists outside of us. Objective truth does not depend on whether we choose to value it or not, or even on whether we are aware of it. Objective truth is revealed by results.
Now, the son is speaking to the issues of pro-life. Is his logic backed up by objective truth? If so, then he has a right to say so, no matter his moral past or present standing. The homosexual comedian Benny Hill once remarked, "Ain't it funny that everyone in favor of abortion has already been born?"
Finally, it is not logical to attack the Duggars on the false assumption that they are an icon of moral superiority. Obviously neither they nor any of the rest of us qualify for moral perfection. What the Duggars think of any of us is no more ultimately important than what we think of each other or even what we think of ourselves. The ultimately important question is, "What does God think of us?" Well, what have we done about the sacrifice for us of Christ on the cross and His resurrection? We will all ultimately answer that question.
The slight of hand of many magicians involves getting your attention on the moving, shiny object away from the strategic moves made to work the trick. It seemed to be the case on the 6th State of the Union Presidential address by Barak Obama. He spoke in glowing terms of the spotty improvements in the economy as justification for grand domestic policy moves. He virtually ignored some of the glaring problems we face.
The President appealed to some segments of America's population such as the college bound students and their parents and poorer people who cannot afford their own health insurance. He ignored other segments of America. He called for tax increases on the most productive segments in our economy for the benefit of the least productive segments. He deferred speaking to major news outlets after the address but interviewed with Youtube stars after the State of the Union address He ignored virtually all of us on other vital matters.
The southern border with Mexico has horrible security problems for us all. The release of prisoners from Gitmo pose a very real threat to the safety of every American. The continuing appeasement of radical terrorism around the world does not work and his avoidance of the term Al Qaeda in his speech is evidence of that appeasement. So is his absence from the recent march in Paris by international leaders showing solidarity against such terrorism as the attack on Charlie Hebdo. These international threats were largely missing from any reference to them as threats by the President.
The growing danger from homegrown terrorism is multiplied by refusing to label certain groups in the USA as terrorist even though their words and actions give "aid and comfort" to our terrorist enemies. The homegrown racial riots on our streets are encouraged by the attitudes and activities of this administration's use of the Department of Justice and the judicial system.
The dilemma of the Bengazi attack that killed our Ambassador there and three other State Department members has never been resolved. Equality under the law seems to have been permanently denied to their families.
The scandal of the Justice Department in the case of firearms being allowed to be smuggled to Mexico and the resulting death of a US Border Patrol agent has never been adequately addressed.
The "stonewalling" of the Justice Department that denied information needed in Congressional inquiries was not addressed.
Equality seemed to be a theme in the President's message. But, the President did not address equality under the law in the case of the IRS systematic refusal to grant tax exempt status for conservative groups.
The economy was mentioned only in terms called "putting your best foot forward." The growing national debt is a real problem to all Americans, not just our grandchildren who will have to pay the interest on such overwhelming international debt, thus weakening America in other areas of welfare and defense, and even self-maintenance. The job growth he mentions are largely 30 hour a week or less jobs, not full time jobs with benefits. He talks about spending programs to benefit folks without regard to how we are already spending about 40% more (by borrowing) than we take in by taxes.
No mention was made of the declining ability of State and local governments to pay their bills. That has been because the tax base is shrinking. That is because people who work cannot pay as much tax as people who work 40 hours a week. Businesses that limit hiring to 49 people cannot pay as much in tax as companies that can hire 50 or more people without fear of health care laws. Companies already taxed the highest corporate taxes in the world, cannot pay more without harming their ability to create jobs and make taxable profits.
So much more can be identified which needed to be addressed long ago: government waste, squelching the coal industry, and more.
If you were to add up all of the disasterous policies of this government, if you were a disinterested observer who knew nothing of America but the results of the policies of this President, you might ask yourself the question: "Is this President trying to ruin his own country?" He could cause a lot of damage with his "shiny objects" and "slight of hand."
Her name was Ramona, a sixth grade student in my class at an elementary school in southern California, way back in 1968. A famous politician, brother of a slain President, and who only had hours left in his own life, came to the town where I was teaching. There was a parade scheduled where this politician was going to ride. He was seated next to another important politician, the leader of the California State Assembly, in the back of a fancy convertable car. Ramona had been released, along with other students, from school to go to the parade to see the famous people.
Ramona stood only a few feet away from the car as the parade was about to begin. She was excited. And, she overheard the famous politician ask for advice of the leader of the Assembly. "What shall I say to these people?" The people were almost all Hispanic there in El Monte, CA. The Assembly leader replied, "Oh, just say 'viva'". Ramona heard that.
The parade started. The car's ignition turned on. The brother of the slain President stood up and waved "V" signs with his fingers and shouted, "Viva!" The people shouted in response, "Viva, viva, viva!"
Ramona was disgusted. She came back to my classroom where I was still getting ready for the next day. Ramona told me her story about "Viva."
The picture she painted in words demonstrated the principle of the dupes, the dupers and the super dupers.
Dupes are those who are fooled by clever intentional false impressions. Dupers are those who dupe the dupes. Often, these dupers are also dupes. They simply pass their misunderstanding on to other dupes. Then, there are the super dupers. They know the truth but misrepresent it. They tell part of what they know but not all. And, the part they leave out is critical to understanding the main point. Or, they mix a truth with a lie. The half-truth is harder to discount than an outright lie. Or, they do tell a total lie that might be hard to disprove.
The duping process works well in the world, especially politics. However, it has a very basic flaw. It destroys itself over time. As Shakespeare said, "The truth will out." And, when truth is finally revealed, it not only undermines the lie, it also breaks the trust the dupes had in the dupers. The ability of the dupers to lead, convince, to dupe, is, or at lease should be, undermined.
If President Obama, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, have used the duping process, then evil has resulted. It is hard to see duping as the way to virtue. If the Constitution has been undermined, if political gain by duping has created betrayal of that oath taken by these political leaders to "support and defend the Constitution," then these mentioned have betrayed their own rights to hold their offices.