A perfect example of disingenuous political rhetoric

October 28, 2008

My rant du jour…

This is a perfect example of why I find most political rhetoric so disingenuous:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2008/11/03/081103taco_talk_hertzberg?printable=true

Pay special attention to the last couple of paragraphs.  McCain-Palin like to whip people up into a frenzy with accusations of “socialism” but look at what their words and actions have shown in the past.  They only bring it up because it is politically expedient to do so.  It looks to me like they secretly agree with the same principles they are vilifying.

Here are the last few paragraphs of the article, and what I find to be the most interesting.  The emphases are mine:

Of course, all taxes are redistributive, in that they redistribute private resources for public purposes. But the federal income tax is (downwardly) redistributive as a matter of principle: however slightly, it softens the inequalities that are inevitable in a market economy, and it reflects the belief that the wealthy have a proportionately greater stake in the material aspects of the social order and, therefore, should give that order proportionately more material support. McCain himself probably shares this belief, and there was a time when he was willing to say so. During the 2000 campaign, on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” a young woman asked him why her father, a doctor, should be “penalized” by being “in a huge tax bracket.” McCain replied that “wealthy people can afford more” and that “the very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do.” The exchange continued:

YOUNG WOMAN: Are we getting closer and closer to, like, socialism and stuff?. . .
MCCAIN: Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.

For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama “Barack the Wealth Spreader,” seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.

10/29/08 Update: Here’s another really good commentary on this subject.

11/3/08 Update: The Waco Tribune-Herald published a shortened version of this that I sent in as a letter to the editor.

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Rachel’s first cross country meet

October 27, 2008

It was the district meet.  She hadn’t run cross country before due to volleyball.  She ran 14:40 for 2 miles and finished 10th overall out of maybe 75 or 100 girls (7th and 8th grade girls combined–she’s in 7th).  Go Rachel!

Update: Not only did she get a medal for her 10th place, McGregor got 3rd as a team so she got a team medal as well!


Was Jesus a wealth-distributing socialist?

October 21, 2008

Jesus: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…”

  • Was Jesus a wealth-redistributing socialist as the Democrats are charged with being?
  • Are we willing to do that?
  • While this is spoken to an individual, can we really argue against social programs that help the poor?  I’ve hated on those programs in the past, but I’m re-thinking things…
  • Do Republicans have it right in that it should be left up to private donors to decide how to redistribute their own wealth or do Democrats have it right that the government needs to help out the unfortunate more?

Jesus: “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

  • The call seems clear. Help those that are less fortunate.
  • While we cannot just count on government to do this, is it wrong for “Caesar” to be a part of the solution?  I don’t know.  I do know that it is wrong to count on government to be the entire solution.
  • Could government’s involvement serve de-motivate individuals and churches (both in respect to giving to others and to helping themselves)?

I don’t have any conclusions…just ramblings…and trying to be an open book.  Sometimes thinking out loud helps me and the others around me.  I don’t know if anyone else wrestles with these things or if it is more black and white than I am making it out to be–I just look and see LOTS of gray.

Here’s the irony of it all: before I was really walking with the Lord I was much more inclined to vote Republican exclusively.  I was of the opinion that what’s mine is mine–don’t take it from me. Let others help themselves.  Don’t penalize my success, etc.  It is not an attitude I am proud of.  However, now that I am trying to look at the election through a more spiritual lens, I feel myself less compelled to vote for the party most consider to be “God’s Party.”  Crazy.  As I said, there is a lot of gray out there for me.

These are just some of the things I’ve been pondering as I think about how to vote this election year.  If you’ve got answers for me, I’m all ears…


10-18-2008 Football vs. Belton

October 19, 2008

Drew had a good game.  He made some good tackles and even recovered an inadvertent onside kick.  Click the photo above to go to the photo album. We were down 0-2 at halftime but came back to win 14-8.

My commentary on the game:

  • Despite Drew and James moving the ball up and down the field last week as running backs, neither played running back this game.  We couldn’t move the ball consistently and had too many turnovers.  I’m not sure of the thought process behind the lineup.
  • We scored on a couple of reverses but had very little in the way of offense overall.
  • We rely too much on those types of plays–our safety resulted from a reverse run from inside our own 5 yard line.  Go figure.
  • We played good defense–the guy that coaches our defense (my shout out to Coach Patterson) is the best coach out there.  He really explains things well to the kids.
  • If the other team hadn’t had 2 TDs called back we would’ve lost.
  • But the bottom line is that the kids had fun and we won the game.

Andrew the running back

October 11, 2008

(Photo by Gene Taylor)

Andrew got to start his first game at running back and played there the entire first half.  He and James ran really well and the offense moved the ball well and scored.  We won 12-6.  Click the photo above to go to a photo album with game photos.  I’ll be posting a video shortly.  Stay tuned.

Updated with video.  Notice how he really cuts it up field–I was really proud of that!  All of his runs were between 5 and 15 yards.  He never broke a really long one, but he was never held to less than about 5 yards.  All in all, I thought he did a great job.

Another update:

I forgot to mention that he had another interception too!  He’s had 2 picks in the last 3 games.


America’s Credibility is Slipping Further

October 10, 2008

First we lost our credibility when it comes to aggression against other nations.  See my post here:
https://thedavid.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/hypocritical/

Now it seems we’ve lost our credibility when it comes to the economy.  This thought has been knocking around my head for the last week and there is an article in today’s Washington Post that says a lot of what I’ve been thinking.  It is definitely worth the read:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/09/AR2008100903425.html?hpid=topnews

“People around the world once admired us for our economy, and we told them if you wanted to be like us, here’s what you have to do — hand over power to the market,” said Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. “The point now is that no one has respect for that kind of model anymore given this crisis. And of course it raises questions about our credibility. Everyone feels they are suffering now because of us.”

Unsurprisingly, anti-American leaders like Hugo Chavez are all too quick to point out the irony (see http://www.mcclatchydc.com/world/story/53611.html):

“If the Venezuelan government, for example, approves a law to protect consumers, they say, ‘Take notice, Chavez is a tyrant!'” Chavez said in one of his recent weekly television shows.

“Or they say, ‘Chavez is regulating prices. He is violating the laws of the marketplace.’ How many times have they criticized me for nationalizing the phone company? They say, ‘The state shouldn’t get involved in that.’ But now they don’t criticize Bush for having nationalize . . . the biggest banks in the world. Comrade Bush, how are you?”

Do not hear me saying that I support Chavez and his ilk–I most certainly do not.  He is a tyrant despite this rhetoric.  The fact that he can even draw these comparisons is what bothers me.  Once again, we have lost our moral high ground.

President Bush, the buck stops with you.   You have damaged our great country.  You led us into Iraq.  You led congress into passing the bailout package.  Thanks a whole helluva lot.