.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Crossing Jordan

It must really suck to be Jordan right about now...



To the east of Jordan there is a full-blown civil war going on in Iraq, to the west the Palestinians are getting froggy towards one another, and Syria is about to plunge Lebanon into yet another civil war on Jordan's northern border. The only point of stability is Jordan's southern border, except al Qaeda's true enemy is the Saudi monarchy so something could jump off there at any time, especially during a time of regional turmoil. Add to that the fact that Iran is approaching the point of being able to produce nuclear weapons and the sure fact that Israel will never allow that to happen and Jordanian airspace just became insecure - if they try to protect their airspace then Israel will destroy what little air force they have, but if they do not defend their airspace then there will be hell to pay in the Arab League.

Sucks to be Jordan right about now.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:30 PM :: (1) minds freed

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Word For The Week

Text:
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.


Revelation 3:14-22
Context:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."


Matthew 22:34-40
There is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with people who are lukewarm about things that matter. George Bush and his Republican Party are taking this country to Hell in a hand basket and too many Americans' only response is, "Whatever." Touch-screen voting is being implemented across the country even as we see in Sarasota that 18,000 votes can instantly "disappear" in order to help one candidate over another and the only response that we hear from too many Americans is a heart-felt, "Whatever." Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties are being slaughtered as grist for the Iraqi mill and all that too many Americans have to say is, "Whatever." This lukewarm Laodecean attitude is the reason why wicked men can hatch their plans to deprive the populace of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - the people will merely say, "Whatever."

This is even more true of those who call themselves Christians. There are too many Christians who are zealous for God but when it comes to their fellow man their response is essentially, "Whatever." Someone needs help with breaking the cycle of poverty? "Whatever." Someone needs food, clothing and shelter? "Whatever." Someone needs health care or to be comforted in prison? "Whatever." Many people who call themselves Christians are indeed zealous for God, but in too many instances - like a true Laodecean - their love is lacking for their fellow man.

Likewise, there are too many people who call themselves Christians who are zealous for their fellow man but whose response when it comes to God Himself is essentially, "Whatever." God requires the Christian to pursue His holiness? "Whatever." God refers to homosexuality as being uniquely abominable, using the Hebrew word חועבה "toebah" to refer to homosexuality and other practices which are abominable while using the Hebrew word שקץ "sheqets" to refer to all other practices that are simply to be avoided? "Whatever." Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life - no one comes to the Father except through Me" and the lackadaisical Laodecean replies, "Whatever."

There are too many Christians In Name Only, and much the same way that Republican In Name Only Lincoln Chaffe was spewed out of his seat in the Senate and Democrat In Name Only Zell Miller would have been spewed out of his Senate seat if he had sought another term, Christians In Name Only will be spewed out by Jesus when the eternal election day comes to pass. When we stand before God to give an account of all that we have done in this life there will be many conservatives standing before Jesus, saying, "Lord, Lord, did we not vote Republican in your name, and in your name drive out homosexuals and prevent many abortions?" just to hear Jesus tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" However, there will also be progressives standing before Jesus in judgment, saying, "'Lord, Lord, did we not feed the hungry, and clothe the naked and comfort the sick and imprisoned?" just to hear Jesus tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Faith without works is truly dead, and works without faith is equally dead. Only a faith that works will lead to eternal life, and that faith must be placed in Jesus Christ - the only way to the Father is through the Son.

I know, whatever.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to love Him forever,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Comics

Thanksgiving
Eat Up
Doggie Style
Done Did It
Turkey Shoot
Just Desserts
The Butcher's Bill
Dead Center
WTF
Stay The Course
Problem Solved
McPresident
John & Bobby Kennedy
Diplomatic Concession
Three Phat Ho's
Circular Logic

And my favorite for today: Oedipus Wrecks

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 12:45 PM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, November 20, 2006

Must See TV

Wasn't it Ronald Reagan that said that there was no more racism in America?



To hell with him too.

Naturally, Richards has apologized, if that's what you want to call his "I'm not a racist!" statement. It sounds a bit like the guy who says, "Yeah, I had sex with a dozen school-boys, but I'm no child molester!" Some publicist said, "I think it's a career ruiner for him. ... It's going to be a long road back for him, if at all." Ranks right up there along side O.J.'s chances with White women...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:20 PM :: (6) minds freed

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Word For The Week

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."


Matthew 19:1-12
One thing that I find to be exceedingly humouros is how people will scream at the top of their lungs that there is no such thing as absolute truth, that it is wrong for someone to try to assert their opinion as God's truth, yet when it comes to a heart-felt belief of theirs they immediately pirouette and embark upon a crusade to make sure that their prefered principle is followed from Alabama to Africa to Afghanistan. This does not mean that their prefered principle is necessarily wrong - it may well be a universal truth - but if one is going to assert universal truths then it would be a good idea to affirm the existence of universal truths.

This is the kind of problem that the Pharisees faced in our text today. They tried to trap Jesus, making Him take sides in a debate among the Pharisees between the schools of Shammai and Hillel regarding the correct intterpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1. It was a classic case of missing the forest for the trees as the Shammai school believed that divorce was permissible for anything indecent - even something as trivial as burning dinner - while the Hillel school believed that divorce was permissible only for something indecent, specifically infidelity.

Jesus corrected both schools, faulting them for focusing on getting out of marriages instead of honoring God's intention for marriage - a man and a woman bonded together for life - saying, "Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Jesus didn't speak to the mechanism for bringing a couple together, be that dating or arranged marriages or eHarmony, but spoke to the life-long commitment between a man and a woman to become a "one flesh" union.

One problem that too many people experience is the divorce of power and responsibility, especially in the Western world. Too many people seek power and not enough people seek responsibility, because the Biblical motif is one of servant leadership, not the tyranical exercise of power. People are given "responsibility for" and not necessarily "power over" - this is what Jesus spoke about in Matthew 20:25-28 when He told His disciples, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

In marriage a husband is given responsibility for his wife, not necessarily power over his wife. He is responsibile for her well-being just as Jesus is responsible for the well-being of the Church (q.v. Ephesians 5:15-33). And just like Jesus does not coerce the Church into anything, a husband is to lovingly head his household - taking responsibility for all that goes on within the household. Now any effective leader will delegate responsibility to those who are better equipped to handle those areas, such that if a poet is married to an accountant then the poet would be wise to let the accountant handle the check book, but ultimately it is the husband's responsibility - he is accountable. In many ways this is akin to the Miller Lite Man Law commercial where they ordained the "You Poke It, You Own It" Man Law. Essentially, if you put you finger in a beer while carrying it back to the guys at the table then you own that beer. Likewise, if a man decides to have sex with a woman then he is responsible for her upkeep for the rest of her days. No exceptions.

People like the power, but they too often duck the responsibility.

Jesus' disciples understood exactly what He was saying and they weren't having any part of it, saying, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." To their thinking the only way to get their wives to "act right" was to threaten them with divorce and starvation - divorce and starvaton were closely linked back then because women weren't strong enough to be employable as manual laborers and the economy wasn't one where you could just go get an office job or work at McDonalds. The disciples, as most men of their day (and ours), were interested in having their wives serve them, in having their wives in a place below them or behind them, but Jesus corrected them by taking them back to creation - a woman's place is beside the man, not behind or under or in front of the man. The man is responsible for the woman, but the woman is his equal in dignity and stature even while he is the head of the household.

This order can be seen within the Godhead. Jesus is fully divine, yet He submits to the Father. The Holy Spirit is fully divine, yet He submits to the Son. There is a functional subordination within the nature and character of God, so it should come as no surprise that within God's creation He has ordained functionally subordinate roles for the family.

Not everyone will accept this.

Naturally, there are those who will not accept any kind of subordination - functional or otherwise - as they view themselves as prime movers, the captains of their fate, the masters of their souls. It is a cute fantasy that is easily debunked by one well-placed hurricaine or tornado, but it is a fantasy that people are entitled to maintain if they so desire, free will and all that. This is what Jesus meant when He told His disciples, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given" and "The one who can accept this should accept it." Much as it may gall some people, not everyone is called to salvation - some people are perfectly happy on their road to perdition and there is nothing that I or anyone else can do to deter or detour them - but those of us who are called by the name of Jesus Christ should accept the words of Jesus and live accordingly, fulfilling our responsibilities and exercising power from a loving perspective of servant leadership.

Man Law.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to know where your towel is,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 8:18 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Comics

Truth & Consequences
Faith-Based Recreation
Common Ground
Mission Accomplished
Starting Point
Bull Run
Return Of The Living Dead
A Leopard's Spots
Way Down South
Garbage Service
Change In Scenery
Loyal Opposition
Gridlock
Bi-Partisan BS
Lipstick On A Pig
Tis The Season
Freudian Fallacy
Hammer Down
Rudi 2008
Fuzzy Math
Leaving For Condi
Grownups...
...Disciplining The Impudent
Grounded
Terminal Condition

And my favorite for today: Reclaiming America

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 8:45 AM :: (1) minds freed

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hail To The Victor

Bo Schembechler
April 1, 1929 - November 17, 2006

I was prepared to come home from work and post a scathing (if sanctimonious) screed about how everyone in Black America was catching the vapors about the passing of Gerald Levert, even while nobody seemed too terribly moved by Ed Bradley's passing last week and next to nobody noticed Ralph Wiley's passing a couple years ago. Bradley and Wiley were two Black men that I looked up to, Black men that I admired, Black men who pursued the truth and exposed it to the light of day. Ralph Wiley's medium was the written word while Ed Bradley's realm was the world of television, but both of them inspired me to be more than I am, and it really galled me that people would be so moved by the passing of an entertainer, albeit a good one and from what I hear an all-around great guy.

My mindset changed as I was shutting down my system at work and preparing to leave the building when someone mentioned to me that Coach Schembechler had passed. I thought that they were joking, here on the eve of the biggest Michigan-Ohio State game in my lifetime, but they pulled up the article for me on their PC. After the initial shock I found myself even more shocked at just how much that upset me - here I am getting caught up about a football coach that I have never met.

Mr. Kettle, meet Mr. Pot.

The truth of the matter is that I can't rationalize it as losing a great personal motivator - I've never heard a Schembechler speech. I can't rationalize it as mourning the loss of a personal inspiration - I never thought that deeply about Coach Schembechler. I can't even rationalize it as a loss for the University of Michigan - Coach has been off of the sidelines for more than a decade now. The truth is that the greatest coach of the team that I love - the University of Michigan Wolverines - has passed and I am moved by his loss.

Just like millions of Black folk are moved by the sudden loss of Gerald Lavert.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to prune the forest that I have just discovered growing in my eye...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:39 PM :: (2) minds freed

Monday, November 13, 2006

Campaign Reform

Here's an idea for future campaigns - functionally similar to the current system but much more cathartic...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:27 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Word For The Week

For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. But in the third year Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to see the king of Israel. The king of Israel had said to his officials, "Don't you know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us and yet we are doing nothing to retake it from the king of Aram?"

So he asked Jehoshaphat, "Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?" Jehoshaphat replied to the king of Israel, "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses." But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, "First seek the counsel of the LORD."

So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked them, "Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?"
"Go," they answered, "for the Lord will give it into the king's hand."

But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there not a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?"

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, "There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." "The king should not say that," Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, "Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once."

Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns and he declared, "This is what the LORD says: 'With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.'"

All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. "Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious," they said, "for the LORD will give it into the king's hand."

The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, "Look, as one man the other prophets are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably."

But Micaiah said, "As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me."

When he arrived, the king asked him, "Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?" "Attack and be victorious," he answered, "for the LORD will give it into the king's hand."

The king said to him, "How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD ?" Then Micaiah answered, "I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, 'These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.' "

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Didn't I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?"

Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD : I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'
"One suggested this, and another that. 21 Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.'

" 'By what means?' the LORD asked.
" 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said.
" 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.'

"So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you."

Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. "Which way did the spirit from the LORD go when he went from me to speak to you?" he asked.

Micaiah replied, "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room."

The king of Israel then ordered, "Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king's son and say, 'This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.' "

Micaiah declared, "If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me." Then he added, "Mark my words, all you people!"

1 Kings 22:1-28
Micaiah was a true prophet of the LORD. He was fully committed to the will of God. Look at verse 14 of I Kings 22. “But Micaiah said, ‘as the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.’” Micaiah was not interested in what would advance his career in ministry, or what would ingratiate himself with the king. He was interested in and committed to doing the will of God who called him and spoke through him. Micaiah had God as his top priority, just like we are supposed to.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” David, king of all Israel and Judah, understood that he was to seek God first. In II Samuel 7, David sought to do a work for God. David was living in a beautiful palace, but the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence, was outside in the cold under a tent. David thought this was wrong and wanted to build a temple for God in which to place the ark. But God told David, paraphrasing verses 5-17, “Thanks, but it isn’t that crucial. However, since you’re your heart is set on me I’m going to bless you.” God blessed David because David sought God first, because God was his first priority. God chose to bless David based on David’s relationship with God. Nothing was more important to David that the will of God.

The first desire of David’s son Solomon was to do the will of God. In I Kings 3, God tells Solomon to ask for anything that he wanted. Solomon praised God and asked God to give him wisdom to govern God’s people effectively to the glory of God. Since he requested something that would help him serve God and not something to fulfill the lusts of his flesh, the lusts of his eyes, or the pride of life, God blessed him with the wisdom he requested and all of the material riches and social honors that one could imagine, simply because Solomon’s first priority was the will of God. Solomon was fully committed to the will of God.

There was a young aspiring preacher who was visited by an angel. The angel said to the young preacher, “Your ministry will grow and be prosperous if you do according to all of the words I am about to speak: Never mention the word sin – ever. Never mention the word repentance or even refer to it. Offer them salvation in terms of deliverance from their problems. Motivate your people to be moral and upright human beings and your ministry will flourish. The bigger the building you build, the more people that will fill it. And everyone who commits themselves to this salvation will join me in eternity…” How many pastors have compromised their ministries in this fashion? How many preachers will only preach what the people are willing to hear? How many are committed to say that which God has told them to say only as long as it will be well received? Micaiah was fully committed to the will of God. Are we fully committed to the will of God, to seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

Micaiah was also courageous in the face of perverse authority. Ahab was the most wicked king that Israel had ever seen. The name of his wife, Jezebel, is still synonymous with wickedness to this day. A king has power over the life and death of his subjects, even the prophets. With a word he could have had Micaiah killed. Despite that, Micaiah still spoke what the LORD told him to speak – a word of rebuke and judgement – which he knew would upset the king. Look at verse 18 in I Kings 22. “Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?’”

You see, people usually know when they’re wrong, but they often want to kill the messenger for telling them that which they already know. Most messengers know this and become afraid to deliver the message, desiring to avoid the retaliation of the recipient. Parents stop spanking their children, teachers stop failing students, preachers stop mentioning sin. All from fear of what might happen to them if they take a stand for that which is right.

But you know, there were three Hebrew boys who were not afraid to take a stand for what was right. They stood up to the most powerful man on the planet, Nebuchadnezzar, and told him to his face, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They took a stand. They were fully committed to the will of God and they were courageous in the face of perverse authority. They understood that it’s all good – for believers. The Word of God says “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s all good.

God knows what we need, and if we seek him first to do His will, he will provide for all of those needs. No weapon forged against us will prevail, right? So what’s the matter with our standing power? Why can’t we take a stand? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego took a stand for the LORD. Micaiah, a prophet of the LORD, took a stand for the LORD. Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

You see Micaiah was also convinced of God’s truth. He wasn’t just running off at the lip with what he thought or what he believed or what was the logical conclusion from the scientific or statistical data. He was convinced, no, he KNEW that the word of the LORD was true. In verse 28 we find the last words recorded from Micaiah. “And Micaiah said, ‘If you indeed return safely the LORD has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘(Mark my words) NIV, all you people.’” He knew the truth of the Word of God, that it was without error, that it is God-breathed and useful for instruction and correction. Ahab had him sent to prison where Micaiah was to stay until Ahab returned safely from battle. Micaiah told him up front that he would be spending the rest of his days in prison because Ahab would never return from battle alive. Micaiah was convinced of God’s truth and courageous in the face of perverse authority because he was fully committed to the LORD. He was a prophet of the LORD.

Moses was committed to the LORD when he faced pharaoh and commanded him to “Let my people Go!” and the captives were set free.

Joshua was committed to the LORD when he marched around Jericho for seven days and the walls came tumbling down.

David was committed to the LORD when he confronted Goliath and God granted the victory.

Nathan was committed to the LORD when he rebuked King David and the king repented.

Elijah was committed to the LORD when he faced the 450 prophets of Baal and fire fell from heaven.

Jesus was committed to doing the will of his Father who sent him and now salvation’s free to you and me.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good.

Ezekiel got a taste and it was sweet as honey.

John got a taste on the Island of Patmos and it was like honey to his lips but he couldn’t stomach the testimony.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

You see there is no one righteous, not even one, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

It is written that the wages of our sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD.

And God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

But in order to have salvation we must accept it, and we do that by confessing with our mouth, “Jesus is Lord of my life,” and believing in our heart that God raised him from the dead.

We must commit our life to serving Jesus Christ – our whole heart, all of our mind, our entire body and our very soul. Now, no man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will love the one and hate the other.

• You cannot serve both God and Money.
• You cannot serve both God and Lexus.
• You cannot serve both God and prosperity.
• You cannot serve both God and America.

You must choose this day whom you will serve. Whether the ancestral gods of your forefathers beyond the Atlantic or the self-centered, humanistic and materialistic gods of the Americans in whose land you live, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

And if you will be fully committed to do the will of God, I implore you to be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey the Word of God; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let the Word of God depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything according to it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Haven’t I already told you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to to be true to Him,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday Comics

Job One
Payday Loans
Grave Miscalculations
We The People
Personal Responsibility...
...vs. Republican Values
Stuff Happens
Toodles
Thong Song
Oh Happy Day
I'm A Democrat
Republican Eunuch
Viva La Revolution!
Republican Season
50-State Mission Accomplished
Hell To The Naw
Just Say No
Two Thumbs Up
Southern Comfort
Uppity Insurgency
No Remorse
Hook 'Em!
Rodeo Clown
Ownership Society
Colinoscopy
True Temptation
Governing's For Grownups
Presidential Campaign Season
Collateral Damage
The Vision Thing
Check, Mate
Waterboard Time
Minimum Wage
Rollin' On Dubs
Unlimited Warfare
Hand It To Republicans
Kicked That Elephant

And my favorite for today: Impeachment Suit

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:20 AM :: (0) minds freed

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Journalistic Ethics

I wasn't going to post anything tonight, having watched the Louisville Cardinals blow a 25-7 lead, sinking their hopes of playing Michigan (Go Blue!) or Ohio State for the national championship. However, as I was skimming the late news before heading of to bed I came across an apparently innocuous article in the Washington Post about the recall of acetaminophen. This article perked my attention because I had just popped two Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom tablets to fight off this bug that seems to be jumping up on me (the primary ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen) so I clicked the link to the article with an accute interest in its contents.

It turns out that much of the store-brand acetaminophen (CVS, Safeway and Food Lion, et al.) is manufactured by a single producer - Perrigo Co. - and Perrigo was recalling their all of their acetaminophen tablets. This recall had absolutely nothing to do with Tylenol, so why is it that I saw this picture accompanying the article:


Only at the bottom of the small print did it read, "The recall does not affect Tylenol." Now I don't think that there is a basis for a lawsuit here, but Johnson & Johnson would be wise to consider it. I am no fan of MNCs - especially drug dealers - but this is just plain wrong. Ed Bradley never would have participated in such "journalism" and we will truly miss that dignified Black man. May he rest in peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:40 PM :: (0) minds freed

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Take No Prisoners

How should the Democrats approach their new majority in the Congress (assuming Webb's lead holds in Virginia)?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:15 PM :: (0) minds freed

Why I'm Not A Republican

As Judgement Day draws nearer (November 7, 2006) I think it is an appropriate time to revisit my political affiliation. When I talk to Republicans they often comment that I don't sound like a liberal, and they're right. When I talk to Democrats they often note that I don't sound like a liberal, and they're right. In fact, one of the very few things that my Democratic and Republican friends could agree upon is the fact that I think and sound much more like the people who constitute the Republican base than those who constitute the Democratic base. So why is it that I am a Democrat, and a partisan one at that? It's really not that complex:

NIGGER PLEASE
One doesn't have to actually utter the word "Nigger" to convey the thought associated with the word, much the same way that saying that a woman has Ann Coulter tendancies would be calling her a female dog without uttering the appropriate word, or commenting about the foreskin on a man's neck would convey the meaning without uttering the appropriate word. America's Pac, a Republican group that claims to be refuting the belief on the part of the Republican Party that they cannot attract the Black vote, recently aired an ad that featured the following dialog:

Amos: If you make a little mistake with one of your ‘hos,' you'll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked.
Andy: That's too cold. I don't snuff my own seed."
Amos: Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican."

Now the ad doesn't actually name the speakers Amos & Andy, but they might as well have. The fact that someone alligned with the Republican Party would think that minstrel advertising would appeal to Blacks reveals either their contempt for Blacks or their absolute ignorance of Black culture. Based on the Republican Party's track record I would tend to believe the former, but if it is pure ignorance then it also shows their contempt of Blacks in that they didn't even bother to check with their target audience to see if it would be effective or offensive. Personally, I think they couldn't care less about Blacks and our votes - they simply want to show White suburbanites that today's Republicans are not Trent Lott racists since they do Black outreach. WTF ever.



SPIC N SPAN
Of course, Republican bigotry is not limited to Americans of African descent. A Congressional candidate in California named Tan Nguyen (Republican, of course) mailed out a letter to 14,000 Latino residents of Orange County which falsely claimed that immigrants could be subject to criminal penalties if they voted in a federal election and that anti-immigration groups would be able to access a federal computer system containing the names of those who vote in October and November. Aside from the fact that no such law or database exists this naked attempt at vote-suppression is normal for Republicans, be it through purging felons from the voting files (and anyone with a name similar to a felon, sorry Mrs. Jackson - I am for real) or through installing fewer voting machines in urban precincts than in suburban precincts or through opposing every initiative to make voting more accessible and verifyable. Mr. Nguyen operated in accordance with the Republican playbook, he just neglected one minor detail - you have to use shadow groups to do your dirt (e.g. Swift Boats or Club For Growth or America's PAC). Obviously, the County GOP has asked Mr. Nguyen to withdraw from the race, feigning righteous indignation at their candidate who had about as much chance of winning in that district as Barney Frank would have winning in Mississippi. SSDD. And Black Republicans are demonstrating that they understand the Jesse Helms playbook too:



Family Values
I affirm the ethical system that is commonly referred to as "Family Values" at every point, however I do not believe that it is the job of the government to enforce that ethical system. Our laws reflect all of our values, and I certainly believe that every American has the right to work toward persuading a majority of their fellow citizens to support laws that reflect their views and values, but I have a serious problem with people dragging the name of Jesus Christ into secular politics, as I have noted on several occasions (An Evangelical View On Progressive Politics; Religious Right And Wrong; Theocracy, Rapture, And You; Pharisees, Sadducees, & Scribes; et al.).

I especially have a problem with this overwrought focus on the family. I believe that the family is a practical and valuable entity, but the United States of America is organized around the individual - not the household - and unless one advocates a one-household-one-vote Constitutional Amendment (which would likely repeal the 19th Amendment in the process) it is impossible to logically assert the family as the primary organizing unit of society. Paychecks are cut to individuals, not families. Criminals are punished individually for their crimes, not their entire families. People are elected to office individually, hired for jobs individually, and sued in court individually, not bundled with their families. American society is based upon the individual, and how those individuals interact with each other should be of little interest to the government - every small-government conservative should affirm that without question, as I have already noted.

But does the fact that America is organized around the individual mean that Christians should simply shut up and say nothing about the value of families? Hardly, but valuing the family unit is not among my highest priorities and it ought not be among the highest priorities of Bible-believing Christians. Why not? The priorities of Christians ought to match the priorities of Jesus Christ, and Jesus commanded us to focus on His kingdom, saying, "...the pagans run after [material] things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." The things that we ought to prioritize are the things that will transcend this life, things that are eternal, like the salvation of men's souls. When we take an eternal view of secular politics is it abundantly clear just how futile all of this talk about families really is: there are no families in eternity, just individuals.

Say what?

Consider this discussion between the Sadducees and Jesus:
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"

Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
If there is no marriage in eternity then why are we so pressed about families here and now? When people try to redefine marriage into something that it has never been then we should certainly resist them, and when people try to equate moral turpitude with the union of one man and one woman we should certainly say No, but this is not an issue that requires any kind of priority. Marriage was instituted for the benefit of mankind - "It is not good for the man to be alone" - mankind was not created for the purpose of marriage. Marriage is a means to an end, not an end unto itself, much like the Sabbath. Who cares if three men want to call their intimate relationship a marriage - what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? It certainly does not conform with God's revealed design for mankind and a Christian should certainly reject it, but reject it and move on - it's not that important and it's certainly not enough to make me vote Republican.



ABORTION

I am Pro Life, I believe that human life begins at conception. This is something that would be expected of an Evangelical Christian such as myself, but the interesting thing is that my Pro Life stance has next to nothing to do with Christianity - the Bible is mostly silent on the question of abortion. Most of the Biblical passages that are used to support the position that human life begins at conception actually speak - in context - to God's foreknowledge and sovereignty, not to the nature and character of the baby in the womb:
The reason why I am Pro Life is because from the moment of conception there is no ontological difference between that baby and a full-grown adult besides growth and development. There is no point after conception where the baby "becomes" human, she is human from the moment a human genome is created - at conception - and as such it is just as wrong to kill her as it is to kill a full-grown vagabond by running over him with your car. No one else might ever know about the death of such an unknown individual but it is no less wrong. Ontologically, a human being is created at conception and the same laws that apply to killing any human being have to apply across the board to all human beings, be they newly conceived or terminally ill.

So how in the world could I vote for a Democrat? Simple - abortion is not a voting issue for me.

Say what?

If over a million children are being murdered every year with the approval of the government then abortion is not a voting issue, it is an overthrow the government issue. I don't think that too many people were impressed at Nuremburg when people said that they voted against the holocaust. When it comes to opposing abortion there is no middle of the road - either it's the murder of a million children a year, every year, or it's not. Either it is an evil practice that has to be eliminated immediately, by any means necessary, or it is merely the elimination of unwanted bio-matter. There is no middle way on abortion, yet suburbanites lack the courage of their convictions to actually do something about it. Soccer moms hate that babies are being slaughtered but they have to get Becky to practice - they'll just vote Republican and feel better about themselves for having struck a blow for the "good guys."

Let them comfort themselves with the ashes of Slavs, Gypsies and Jews from Auschwitz, because that's the end result of their voting - death and dismemberment. The Republicans have appointed ten (10) of the last twelve justices to the Supreme Court, and Republicans have appointed every Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the last 50 years, but Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. If the Republican Party was serious about ending abortion then they would have done it by now, but they are more interested in milking the issue than solving the problem.

But even if Roe v. Wade were overturned abortion would still be legal in America - the red states would immediately ban abortion and the blue states would immediately legalize abortion, leaving the purple states to fight it out. The GOP in purple states like Michigan and Pennsylvania tend to be more moderate, and concentrating the abortion fight in those battleground states - along with the money and volunteers that the national party craves - would strengthen a wing of the GOP that they have spent a generation trying to exterminate. The GOP has no interest in killing the goose that lays the golden campaign contributions or in resurrecting a dead wing of their party so they will keep abortion legal for as long as they can milk contributions from those who are long on expectations but short on personal commitment.

And yes, the Democrats do the same thing from the other side of the aisle.

And if you stop to think about it, both parties are full of male-bovine fecal material on the issue of abortion. It is the Republican Party which believes that government has no place in the private affairs of citizens. It is the Republican Party which believes that the government that governs least governs best. It is the Republican Party that should be articulating the Pro Choice argument, yet they take the opposite position. Why?

The Democratic Party seems to have no problem with the idea of creating a new branch of government to save some helpless creature against the wiles of the powerful, so why is it that the Democrats are absent when the most helpless of all needs someone to stand up for them? It is the Democratic Party which believes in an active government that protects the disenfranchized against the decision-makers. It is the Democratic Party which believes in protecting the least of these even if that means limiting the options of others who already have that which the least of these are trying to achieve - LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - yet Democrats side against the most helpless of all, unborn babies. Why?

The answer in both instances is the same - constituency.

When abortion became a big issue in the 60s and 70s the feminists and others who were pushing for abortion on demand were already solidly in the camp of the Democrats, so the Democrats ignored their governing philosophy and adjusted to accommodate the desires of their core constituency. The Republicans were beginning to welcome a flood of Southerners who were abandoning the Democratic Party in droves after Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress and signed it into law, and the Southern Baptists were (and are) among the most committed in their opposition to abortion, and the Republicans weren't going to alienate their new constituency by maintaining fidelity to their governing philosophy so they adjusted to accommodate the desires of their new constituency. Political parties are about winning elections, not philosophical consistency, so they focused on what was important to winning elections - their constituencies - and they've ensured that the gravy train of money and volunteers continues to flow by keeping Roe v. Wade on the books and blocking any initiative that would decrease the demand for abortions. "They" being Democrats and Republicans.

And nobody dares mention fertility clinics which potentially kill as many unborn babies as abortion clinics...

When it's all said and done, both the Democrats and the Republicans are full of crap regarding the issue of abortion - neither party has any interest in ending abortion, and those who claim to viscerally oppose abortion have no intention of actually doing anything about it other than sending the Republicans millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteers. Nothing is going to change when it comes to abortion - I give you the last 30 years as proof-positive - so for me, at the end of the day, abortion is not a voting issue.

Two tears in a bucket...




ECONOMICS
If there is a measure of debate regarding my party affiliation when it comes to social issues then there is no debate as to where I stand on economic matters - I solidly stand in solidarity with those who work for a living, with those who have to earn their keep, with those who have to struggle to make ends meet. Without question I side with the Have Nots over the Have Gots inasmuch as it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, specifically regarding:

The Minimum Wage and Welfare
Slavery was abolished with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, but it is still in effect today. In slavery the master provided for the slaves' food, clothing, and shelter and the slave worked whenever the master scheduled them to work. Today's wage slaves are paid just enough to cover their food, clothing and shelter, and they haven't had a raise in a decade, such that many people end up worse off if they try to leave welfare in order to get a McJob. It just so happens that the Republicans have controlled Congress for the last decade, and while they have made every effort to cut taxes on the Have Gots they have done nothing for the Have Nots, and they never will. It's almost like they've never heard the words of Jesus, where He said:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Jesus: bleeding-heart liberal...


Taxes
For as long as I can remember Republicans have been proclaiming the need to lower taxes, but one thing that I have never heard from Republicans is what they believe to be a fair level of taxation. There is one Republican who has been honest enough to say outright that which today's Republicans imply - Steve Forbes. The Republicans ultimately want to eliminate the progressive scale of taxation whereby poor people are taxed a smaller percentage of their income than are the wealthy. Republicans want a flat tax because they no longer hold to the belief that was once unquestioned in America and indeed throughout the civilized world - noblesse oblige. From a practical standpoint it is certainly true that the wealthy benefit more from a stable society than do the poor, therefore they should pay a higher percentage. The police protect life, liberty and property from theft and it isn't the poor who are at risk of having property stolen. A stable society bolsters the position of the wealthy at the top of the economic food chain - keeping them from Marie Antoinette's fate - so it only makes sense for them to pay a disproportionate percentage since they benefit disroportionately from a stable society. Today's Republicans want no part of a progressive tax code and they have no fear of a popular uprising, "Oderint Dum Metuant" having replaced "E Pluribus Unum" as the nation's motto under the GOP.

Health Care
The United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world without some form of univeral health care. Even Costa Rica has universal health care, and there is a relatively simple way for the United States to implement it here: if the federal government were to remove the enrollment restrictions from Medicaid then we would instantly have universal health care, corporations would no longer need to foot the cost of medical insurance for their employees, and if the increases in taxes were entirely absorbed by the corporate employers and everyone who was on commercial health insurance switched to Medicaid then the corporate employers would find themselves with a windfall of roughly $2000 per employee and family member covered per year. Consider the numbers:
Medicaid Members (2004): 42.4 million
Medicaid Budget (2004): $173 billion
Medicaid cost per member (2004): $4080
Medicaid cost if extended to every US Citizen (300 million people): $1.224 trillion
Current corporate spending on employee health benefits: $1.8 trillion

Savings: $576 billion each and every year, not counting the $250 billion annual savings from Medicare

Sources:
Medicaid At A Glance
Health Insurance Costs
Cost Of Inaction
Bush FY 2004 Medicare Budget
If the increase of taxes were split between employers and employees then corporations would realize an even greater windfall, yet the Republicans would never support such a proposition since it has as it's primary concern the well-being of people instead of the well-being of profits. There's a really simple equation when it comes to health care:

Profit Motive + Inelastic Demand Curve = Exploitation

Only in America.


Labor
The right of workers to collectively bargain is non-negotiable, both in the public and private spheres. On this fundamental principle I will never waver - there is nothing to discuss - and that has no place in the GOP. Neither do I.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:15 AM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 5



[/1000 words]

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 12:01 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Word For The Week

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Matthew 25:31-46
As we prepare to vote this Tuesday it would be a good idea for us to focus on the things that matter, and the things that matter are those things that matter most to God. Jesus taught His disciples on the Mount of Olives about the end times, about His return and the judgment, and He described a seperation of the faithful from the unfaithful. Those who were found to be faithful to God were those who were found doing that which God had commissioned them to do, as Jesus illustrated throughout the Olivet Discourse. Jesus makes that point in Matthew 24:45-46 before illustrating the point three times in Matthew 25:1-46. Jesus said, "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns." It is those whose master finds them doing what He has commanded them to do who will be rewarded in eternity, while the rest will be cut to pieces and assigned a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So as we prepare to vote this Tuesday, what should our priorities be? If we are to be faithful to Jesus Christ and His teachings then we should think carefully about what He said, and what He did not say. In our text - or any text, for that matter - He did not say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For you means-tested the hungry and told the thirsty to get a handout from someone else, you built a 700-mile fence to keep out the strangers and you ignored the homeless who who needed clothes; you told the sick to get a job with benefits and you made sure that those who were in prison served the maximum penalty." That's not what Jesus said. What Jesus did say was, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

Choose your destiny and vote accordingly.

Now does this mean, as some would say, that you can be Christian without being a Christian? No, it does not. That is, in fact, the biggest fallacy of the Religious Right - trying to get people to outwardly act like a Christian ought to act without facilitating the inward conversion that should manifest itself as outward works that conform to the character of Christ. Instead, the Religious Right focuses on the effect, not the cause, while in our text today Jesus presumes the cause (faith in Him) since He'd set the context in the previous chapter. In our text, as in the two illustrations preceding our text (Parable of the Ten Virgins, Parable of the Talents), Jesus is talking about a separation of those who claim to be His servants, of those who actively serve Him - He is not including those who simply emulate a couple aspects of His character. Jesus is talking about Christians - at least people who call themselves Christians - and there will be a division of the flock between sheep and goats, but those who do not actively serve Him are not even in the flock and they will not be among His elect for whom He returns.

It will be much like the end of the movie A Time To Kill when the sherriff rounded up all of the Klansmen, and then - to the surprise of everyone - tossed one of his deputies into the group of Klansmen. The deputy's actions betrayed the calling that he claimed so he was cast into prison with the rest of the criminals. You could almost hear the deputy cry, "But sherriff, didn't I arrest criminals in your name and in your name maintain law and order?" and the sherriff reply, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoer!" Naturally, the sherrif will cast criminals into prison - that does not require a parable - the point that Jesus is making here, as in the rest of the chapter, is that there will be so-called deputies cast into the eternal prison as well.

As we prepare to vote this Tuesday we would be wise to consider that there will be many conservatives on the Day of Judgment who stand before Jesus, saying, "Lord, Lord, did we not vote Republican in your name, and in your name drive out homosexuals and prevent many abortions?" just to hear Jesus tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" However, there will also be liberals standing before Jesus in judgment, saying, "'Lord, Lord, did we not feed the hungry, and clothe the naked and comfort the sick and imprisoned?" just to hear Jesus tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Faith without works is truly dead, and works without faith is equally dead. Only a faith that works will lead to eternal life, and that faith must be placed in Jesus Christ - the only way to the Father is through the Son.

Choose your destiny and vote accordingly.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to choose life eternal,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Comics

GOP Campaign Strategy
Attack Ad Template
Bum Rap
Sideways...
...Scientific Method
Napa Valley Fat Cats
False Prophet
GTFOHWTBS
STFU
Losers...
...Who Don't Study Hard
Doing Harm...
...To The Troops
You Decide
Yes
Get A Job
Complicated "Stuff"
First Things First
Stay The Course
Great Expectations
Krusty The Clown
Washington Insiders...
...Staying On-Message
Sign O' The Times
Bone Thugs -n- Harmony

And my favorite for today: Bottom Line

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 10:30 AM :: (0) minds freed

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why I'm Not A Republican, Part 4

This is the fourth part of my examination of my partisan leanings and why I can not allign myself with today's Republican Party. Part I dealt with the most obvious reasons, Part II dealt with the GOP's misplaced perspectives on Family Values, Part III dealt with abortion, and today I'd like to cover the biggest reason why I'm not a Republican:

ECONOMICS
If there is a measure of debate regarding my party affiliation when it comes to social issues then there is no debate as to where I stand on economic matters - I solidly stand in solidarity with those who work for a living, with those who have to earn their keep, with those who have to struggle to make ends meet. Without question I side with the Have Nots over the Have Gots inasmuch as it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, specifically regarding:

The Minimum Wage and Welfare
Slavery was abolished with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, but it is still in effect today. In slavery the master provided for the slaves' food, clothing, and shelter and the slave worked whenever the master scheduled them to work. Today's wage slaves are paid just enough to cover their food, clothing and shelter, and they haven't had a raise in a decade, such that many people end up worse off if they try to leave welfare in order to get a McJob. It just so happens that the Republicans have controlled Congress for the last decade, and while they have made every effort to cut taxes on the Have Gots they have done nothing for the Have Nots, and they never will. It's almost like they've never heard the words of Jesus, where He said:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.
Jesus: bleeding-heart liberal...


Taxes
For as long as I can remember Republicans have been proclaiming the need to lower taxes, but one thing that I have never heard from Republicans is what they believe to be a fair level of taxation. There is one Republican who has been honest enough to say outright that which today's Republicans imply - Steve Forbes. The Republicans ultimately want to eliminate the progressive scale of taxation whereby poor people are taxed a smaller percentage of their income than are the wealthy. Republicans want a flat tax because they no longer hold to the belief that was once unquestioned in America and indeed throughout the civilized world - noblesse oblige. From a practical standpoint it is certainly true that the wealthy benefit more from a stable society than do the poor, therefore they should pay a higher percentage. The police protect life, liberty and property from theft and it isn't the poor who are at risk of having property stolen. A stable society bolsters the position of the wealthy at the top of the economic food chain - keeping them from Marie Antoinette's fate - so it only makes sense for them to pay a disproportionate percentage since they benefit disroportionately from a stable society. Today's Republicans want no part of a progressive tax code and they have no fear of a popular uprising, "Oderint Dum Metuant" having replaced "E Pluribus Unum" as the nation's motto under the GOP.

Health Care
The United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world without some form of univeral health care. Even Costa Rica has universal health care, and there is a relatively simple way for the United States to implement it here: if the federal government were to remove the enrollment restrictions from Medicaid then we would instantly have universal health care, corporations would no longer need to foot the cost of medical insurance for their employees, and if the increases in taxes were entirely absorbed by the corporate employers and everyone who was on commercial health insurance switched to Medicaid then the corporate employers would find themselves with a windfall of roughly $2000 per employee and family member covered per year. Consider the numbers:
Medicaid Members (2004): 42.4 million
Medicaid Budget (2004): $173 billion
Medicaid cost per member (2004): $4080
Medicaid cost if extended to every US Citizen (300 million people): $1.224 trillion
Current corporate spending on employee health benefits: $1.8 trillion

Savings: $576 billion each and every year, not counting the $250 billion annual savings from Medicare

Sources:
Medicaid At A Glance
Health Insurance Costs
Cost Of Inaction
Bush FY 2004 Medicare Budget
If the increase of taxes were split between employers and employees then corporations would realize an even greater windfall, yet the Republicans would never support such a proposition since it has as it's primary concern the well-being of people instead of the well-being of profits. There's a really simple equation when it comes to health care:

Profit Motive + Inelastic Demand Curve = Exploitation

Only in America.


Labor
The right of workers to collectively bargain is non-negotiable, both in the public and private spheres. On this fundamental principle I will never waver - there is nothing to discuss - and that has no place in the GOP. Neither do I.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:30 AM :: (2) minds freed

Obama-Biden Transition

Commentary & Reference

Local Media Outlets

Syndicate this site

Subscribe in NewsGator Online