I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Apparently I Am A Bigger Threat Than Al Qaeda

President Barack Obama is apparently unable to make a decision and stand by it. Last Thursday the President promised that no officials from the Bush administration would be prosecuted for the practice of enhanced interrogations. Just a few short days later; he reopened the door to prosecuting officials who wrote memos detailing the legality of enhanced interrogations. What could have caused the President to so quickly change his mind? Of course, he created a political fall guy if the public outcry against any prosecution is too great. He firmly planted the Attorney General, Eric Holder, in the political line of fire.

The legal questions surrounding enhanced interrogations gained attention last week when the Obama administration declassified CIA memos detailing which methods could be legally defended. The various methods included the now infamous water boarding, but also included such methods as a facial grab, facial slap with an open hand, serving the terrorists a bland, but nutritious diet, and threatening to place a terrorist in a confined space with a caterpillar.

These methods have been called torture by some, but have been called highly valuable by Clinton appointee George Tenet. Tenet said during a 60 minutes interview that he knew that these methods provided valuable information that allowed law enforcement officials to prevent a 9/11-style attack in Los Angeles. In fact, the Bush administration briefed members of Congress on the techniques used during interrogations in 2002. Of course, the hypocritical congressional leaders created a stampede to get in front of the cameras to feign their outrage about such practices when they became public knowledge.

Now that it is public knowledge, what have we lost in terms of national security? Now that the murderous terrorists know what methods we use and now will not use, how can anyone expect the CIA or military to be able to effectively interrogate the captured terrorists? All that they are authorized to use now for interrogations is the Army Field Manual, which will not allow such harsh tactics as insults or name calling. I guess all that is left is to serve them Prime Rib without a proper salad beforehand.

The Obama administration has taken a stance that seems to indicate that what other countries think about us is more important than preventing another terrorist attack on our country. They are more afraid of “right wing extremists” than they are of a terrorist attack from Al Qaeda.

The Department of Homeland Security has added that dangerous group of people, known as conservatives, to their watch list. Apparently they believe that if you are Pro-life, support the second amendment, oppose government expansion and regulation of every aspect of our lives, want our borders secured, oppose higher taxes that stifle economy, any combination of the above, or the worst kind of hate monger, a veteran, then you are a risk to Homeland Security.
The investigation into the enhanced interrogations will take years and will probably include a few indictments of lawyers who wrote the memos, but it will do nothing to prevent another terrorist attack and I guarantee it will not quell the desire on the left to see Cheney and Bush brought up on charges. Cheney and Bush will not be charged simply because, although this investigation has no merit from the beginning, Obama does not want to open the door on any future investigations into anything he does while in office.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

What Significance Does Easter Hold?

This week holds varying degrees of significance for a wide variety of people. For some, Easter is nothing more than a typical Sunday where they sleep in and dread going back to work on Monday morning. For others Easter represents one of the two Sundays throughout the year that they go to church. For some with school age children, Easter is the time that the children are on spring break and it is time for the annual family trip to the beach. There are others of us, that the entire week preceding Easter possesses a deeply spiritual meaning.

As a Christian, I believe that the Biblical account of the week from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday is a true account. I believe that Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of donkey as the people laid own palm branches and their coats in front of Him. Jesus entered triumphantly on Sunday, but by Friday evening He had been crucified. He had been executed in a horrific display of human anguish, not for His own crimes against humanity, but for all of our crimes against God.

The life and death of Jesus Christ were a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah. He came, not to deliver Israel from the clutches of their Roman rulers, but to deliver all mankind from an eternity separated from their Creator in hell. Jesus willingly accepted the torture and barbaric crucifixion so that we may receive eternal life.

He died knowing that not everyone would believe or follow Him. He died knowing that people throughout history would ridicule and mock his name and his followers. He died knowing that 2000 years later many in the world would still reject him. He died knowing that I would fail in my Christian faith time and time again. He died knowing that I would compromise my morals for mere moments of instant gratification. He died so that I could turn my life around and follow Him. He died so that I may live. He died simply because He loved me and every other human being on the face of the earth enough to take our place. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

He died on that cross so that I may live. If the story ended there with His body being pulled down from the cross and placed in a tomb, then his death would have been just another story of an innocent man being executed. Thank God that the story did not end on Friday. Thank God Sunday came. For on Sunday, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. His resurrection is significant because it was the proof that Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God. It showed that death held no power over Him and as such holds no power over Christians. This does not mean that we will live forever in a typical human understanding; it means that we will live eternally with our Father in heaven.

This Easter it is my hope, no my prayer that you truly understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for you and I. I pray that you realize that it does not matter what you have done in the past or that you will fail again in the future. Jesus died for you so that you can repent of your sins and experience the love and grace of God. I pray that you do believe, but I also realize that not everyone will believe. I do not hold any ill will towards anyone who does not believe, it is your decision to make. I pray each and every one of you have a very Happy Easter.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is Obama Leading Us Into Socialism?

I have taken a bit of criticism over the past few weeks because I have defined President Obama’s proposals as socialist. In the interest of fairness, I have decided to explore socialism and it’s definition to see how closely aligned Obama’s proposals are to socialism.

To begin we must first define socialism. According to Yahoo, socialism is defined in one of two ways. First it is “any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.” It is also defined as “the stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.”

I am tempted to just end this article now because I believe that those 2 definitions sum up what the Obama administration has proposed in just their first few weeks in office, but what would be the fun in that? Let’s take a look at some of the proposals to come out of Washington since January 20 and see if they fit the socialist mold. One last note before my liberal minded friends begin the catcalls about Bush, Bush definitely started the socialist ball rolling with his own meddling in the free markets, but he is gone now and we are dealing with this President and his socialist agenda.

The automotive industry bailout, while passed during Bush’s last days, has shown some true socialist tendencies. Since the bailout, the White House has fired the CEO of General Motors and the new CEO has been given notice of what the administration expects him to do. The White House insists that they do not want to run the auto industry, but yet they have fired the CEO of GM and they are demanding that the auto industry manufacture the least profitable models. A report has come out of GM showing that the most profitable models that they manufacture and sell are Sport Utility Vehicles and trucks, but yet they are being told to come up with a plan to manufacture more hybrids and electric vehicles. Shouldn’t the free market decide which vehicles it wants the auto makes to manufacture?

President Obama recently made a terrifying statement, at least to anyone that was paying attention. He stated that they will change the laws to allow the government to “seize control” of troubled companies and sell of their “toxic assets” to other companies to save the financial markets. Exactly how would the omniscient government decide which companies to seize? What right does the government have to swoop in and seize control of a company that a private citizen has built? What constitutes a troubled company?

The last proposal that I want to analyze is his proposal for reforming health care. He has proposed universal health care for all Americans. The argument is that there are too many uninsured Americans and because they are uninsured, they are not receiving proper medical treatment. First of all, it is illegal for a hospital to turn away a patient in need of medical care. If you do not have insurance and you are involved in a car accident, do you really believe that the ambulance will not deliver you to an emergency room for medical treatment? Secondly, why does anyone believe that the same inefficient government who runs the Social Security Administration will do a better job with you health care? Does anyone love going to stand in line at a government institution? When was the last time that you were pleased at the service you received when you called the IRS? The same government that was so upset with the AIG bailouts, even though they specifically approved them in the stimulus bill that they never read, you want to decide whether or not you deserve cancer treatment after the age of 65?

Socialism has been tried around the world and it continually fails to deliver on its promises of equality. Mark J. Perry, of the Foundation for Economic Education has cited what he believes to be the fatal flaw of socialism. He says, “It is a system that ignores incentives.” Margaret Thatcher once quipped that the result of Britain’s socialist agenda was they eventually “run out of other people’s money.” Winston Churchill saw the differences between Capitalism and Socialism this way, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.” At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Ben Franklin is reported to have responded to the question of what type of government do we have, with “A Republic, if you can keep it.” It has taken more than 200 years of politicians slowly chipping away at our freedoms to get to this point, but I think we can safely say that we are now on the verge of losing the Republic in favor of Socialism.

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