Monday, December 29, 2008

Politics, Faith and Homosexuality

So... I'm still stuck here. I put everything on the back burner through Christmas and tried not to think about any of it, unsuccessfully. The truth is that I am a bit of a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy and to get along. I want to stay neutral in those areas that cause the greatest discord. However, isn't neutrality really a cop out of sorts?

Is it possible to have a society that is governed in complete absence of faith of any kind? Is it possible for those of deep faith to divorce their convictions in service to the society in which they live? What about humanism? Isn't that a faith of sorts minus a traditional church structure? If it is okay to do whatever you want as long as it doesn't infringe on another's right to do the same... why do we have any other laws at all?

Roland said something in the comment section of another post that has been in the back of my mind. He grew up on a farm and said that homosexuality is found in nature. I've heard that argument many times before. I guess if you are an evolutionist that would be a legitimate argument from the standpoint that we are all animals but... in the animal world that kind of behavior is about establishing dominance. I've never seen where that behavior in animals has been a (cough) completed act... if you get what I mean (uh... dying here). I think this argument is a weak one and doesn't take into account the unique ability of humans to reason and control themselves.

It has been my argument all along that homosexuality goes against nature. I still believe that. Are they created that way or is it a choice? There have been many studies and there has yet to be any discovery of a genetic link predisposing someone to that sort of activity. That being said, isn't all human action subject to that person's will? Even if someone is genetically predisposed toward any kind of aberrant behavior it doesn't remove moral responsibility or make the behavior right. What about, as Just Me pointed out, pedophiles? What about men/women that are chronically unfaithful to their spouse? What about eating disorders? I am personally familiar with that one. If choices are hard to make for some does that remove the responsibility for those choices?

How does all of this fit in with how our country is run? Do we stipulate that in order of fairness that all civil servants be void of faith? Who sets the standard? How can a state pass legislation regulating what kind of cooking oil restaurants use because of the harmful effects, yet people in that same state riot over decisions made during the election concerning gay marriage? It's okay for the state to regulate what people are eating? How does something like that go through when alcohol is legal? What about parading through the streets naked as a form of protest? How is that legal? How about in my own state where it is now legal for men and women to use whatever restroom they believe they belong in? Does anyone else out there find any of what is going on in our country bizarre?

If you are neutral are you complicit in those things in which you claim neutrality? Is it possible to love people that live a lifestyle that is detrimental to them? How do you reach out in love and acceptance of where they are and still maintain your standards of right and wrong? Don't we have a personal responsibility as citizens to live out our convictions... and are those convictions real if we are able to lay them to the side in favor of peace that will only last until the next battle to push the line back further?

As for the current fight for gay marriage rights... The common definition of marriage has always been the union of one man and one woman. Some online and newer dictionaries have added to their definitions to include more politically correct wording. I did a bit of research on civil unions and was shocked to learn that they are only available in some states and that there are some differences between legal marriage and a civil union... most notably the divorce option. I do not understand why the fire power behind the gay movement doesn't go after making civil unions more accessible. It seems to me that that would be the easier route. Looking at it from that perspective makes me feel that this fight really is a fight to undermine some basic tennets of our society. If it were only a fight for the same rights it would be apparent that the way to go would be through civil unions due to it being the path of least resistence yeilding the results they say they are seeking. However, this is also a battle over a word and the definition of that word... to the point of irrationality and a seeming desire to bend all others of another mind set to their will. There are many battlefronts here and you need to look at all of them. The push for earlier and earlier sex education in order to indoctrinate children into the belief that homosexuality is normal and good for one.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What are "Rights"?

We hear a lot about "rights." Just what are "rights"? There are Women's Rights, Children's Rights, Minority Rights, Gay Rights, etc. We have, "The Bill of Rights," here in the United States...

Where are the lines drawn? Who draws the lines?

I cannot be heard in places where there is background music playing. Do I have a right to make those businesses turn it off? I can't help that I can't be heard so does that mean that everyone else should be mandated to modify their behavior in order for me to be more comfortable?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gay Marriage Continued...

Roland made a profound statement in his last comment on the last thread:

Conservatives argue so much about wanting 'freedom' from government, but then they insist on having the right to dictate how OTHER people live their lives.

As a Conservative I do want freedom from government.

My going back to whether homosexuality is a sin or not is me just working through it all in my mind from my core outward. I'm trying to understand and see homosexuals as people with histories, hopes, dreams, fears and lives they are trying to live in a world in which they are defined by their sexuality (whether chosen or not). I'm not known as a "heterosexual." I'm a woman... a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.

I am trying to reconcile my faith with my political stands. Essentially, in this area, I have wiped out everything I previously thought and am attacking it from what is the beginning for me. My doing this on the blog is to, hopefully, draw others into the conversation to help me along the way. I know that in many ways my life experience is limited. I want to hear from others and what their experiences are and what they believe... and why.

Along with attempting to reconcile my faith with my political stands, I am also trying to decide how faith should or should not play a part in our governmental structure here in the U.S. I'm even wondering if Christians should be part of the political scene. Really, the inside of my head on these issues has become quite a mess.

That brings me to my questions for today:

1. If gluttony is a sin why do churches often participate in it? Why is it not condemned from the pulpits?

2. If we have the freedom to choose to accept the sacrifice of Jesus shouldn't we respect the freedom of others not to choose it?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Avoiding Politics

So... obviously I haven't been posting here. I stressed myself out and have been wanting to just bury my head in the sand. It is also the holidays and I just want to try to create some sort of Norman Rockwell views of our family, our home, and our country. I'm bored of the speculation of what Obama will do once in office. We'll find out soon enough. I haven't been keeping up with the political news. I just don't want to care about it right now.

However, I wanted to tackle the issue of gay marriage and did a lot of research. It has been causing me some real heartburn. It has brought me all the way back to my core beliefs and brought up so many questions that I just want to run away. But I can't. It is there. In the back of my mind. Bothering me. So, I am going to share some of those questions. Tell me what you think.

Questions:

1. If God has given us a free will to choose to follow Him or not, is it right to expect others to follow our convictions?

2. It seems to me that Christian morality has been under attack for some time. People are fighting against what they see as restrictions based on Christian principles. Aren't all laws based in some sort of morality? What is the standard? Who comes up with it? Some argue what is wrong for most is not wrong for all. Is our system really set up for majority rule?

3. Are there levels of sin? I always believed there were not. Aren't all of us guilty of sin?

I'll stop here for today. Believe me, I have many more questions. These questions are from a Christian trying to figure things out and I know all who read here are not of the same belief system.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Week!

My daughter is home from college for the week! My son also has the week off from school. I am taking a political break and concentrating on getting ready for Thanksgiving and enjoying my family!

Be sure to take some time this week to think about what all you have to be thankful for in your life and for what we all have to be thankful for as Americans. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents... Conservatives and Liberals... we all bring something to the American table!

God Bless y'all and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gay Marriage

I have been doing a lot of research on gay marriage this week. I'm working on an editorial of sorts but my housewifely duties have been suffering. And Thanksgiving is in one week... I've got some projects I've got to finish!!! I will say that in really digging into this issue I've learned that I've been misinformed in some areas and it has caused me to really re-evaluate some things and try to form a fully developed opinion based on facts.

Questions:

1. Where do you stand on gay marriage?

2. What do you see as the differences between gay marriage and civil unions?

3. Do you see this issue as one of equality?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Part 2

Just Me asked the following questions in the comments of the previous post:

Maybe I'm not as informed on the science as I should be, but why can't they use stem cells from umbilical cord blood? Why must we use stem cells from embryos?

I thought stem cells were stem cells. What's the difference here?


The difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells is embryonic stem cells can form any adult tissue except placenta or fetus while adult stem cells can form only a few other than the parent tissue. Also, embryonic stem cells can be cultured to generate millions of stem cells needed for replacement therapy... adult stem cells are rare, difficult to isolate and cannot be cultured.
a
A possible problem with stem cell therapy is rejection by the immune system of the recipient. It is believed that by replacing the nucleus of an egg cell with the nuclear DNA of the patient that you could generate a perfect genetic match and circumvent any chance of rejection. However, this process is in reality cloning, albeit in a therapeutic sense.
a
I do not know enough about umbilical chord stem cells... my guess is that they present the same limitations as the adult stem cells.
a
The fact is there is and has never been a ban of embryonic stem cell research! The ban is on federal funding for research on newly created embryos. Okay, there was no federal funding for embryonic stem cell research at all prior to the decision by President Bush in 2001 to allow federal funding for research on the already existing embryos slotted for destruction at that time... but I am not aware of any specific ban against federal funding other than it had never been granted. Federal funding is about resource distribution... who and what will get how much of the nation's taxpayer dollars. It is not about restricting rights. For example, there is no constitutional right to federal funding of biomedical research.
a
The fight for ESCR is for our fedral government to foot the bill. Those fighting for federal funding of ESCR believe that by withholding federal funding for research that involves the creation of new embryos or the future destruction of embryos in existence, the President effectively banned embryonic stem cell research... as if the only way that this research will be able to continue is if the federal government pays for it. They also believe that the congressional ban (through withholding federal funds) is wrong because they see it as an imposition of religiously based moral views.
a
Again... there is no constitutional "right" to federal funding for biomedical research... or for anything else that is not in direct relation to running the government.
a
For those of us that believe life begins at conception this is a clear cut issue. Personally, I would not participate in certain fertility procedures due to this belief. However, there are many different views in regard to when a human life is viable... there are those that are satisfied with restricting the use of embryos for ESCR to only the first 14 days after fertilization.
a
Stepping away from the fight over when life begins... there is still the issue of whether this research should be paid for by the American public. The federal government just put forth a massive bail out... that we, the American people, will be paying for. Where will the money come from in this economy?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Well... we've all heard it on the news. Obama is planning on lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

First of all, I want to make clear that President Bush did not ban private and state research funding... just federal funding. The fact is that embryonic stem cell research within the private-sector has always been permissible without restriction in the United States. I find the demonization of President Bush over this issue to be quite astounding. It also bears noting that there never was federal funding for embryonic stem cell research prior to his taking office.

I believe life begins at conception. I was fortunate enough to not have fertility issues. I cannot stand in judgment of those that seek alternate avenues to procreate but, there are certain procedures that I would not personally involve myself in had that been the case. It pains me to say that because I have not personally experienced the anguish of not being able to bring a child of my own into this world.

I do, however, suffer from Spasmodic Dysphonia which is a form of Dystonia. It is a movement disorder in which the nerve endings in my vocal chords over contract making it difficult for me to speak. Dystonia causes those that suffer from it to have all sorts of uncontrollable muscle movements involving areas such as the face, neck and limbs. It is truly debilitating for those who have it. There are similarities between dystonia and Parkinsons, both of which it is believed that embryonic stem cell research might provide the cure for. I am extremely fortunate in that only my vocal chords are affected. My heart breaks for those who have it much worse than I do. That being said, even though I and many others could possibly benefit from the research, I am still against it.

I do not understand the fervor in which this type of research has been sought. There have been great strides made in adult stem cell research. The embryonic stem cell research that has been done has yet to provide the results that were believed possible. Those out there think that the answer to that is to mandate federal funding... to throw more and more money into research.

I'm just an uneducated housewife but doesn't anyone see the danger here? Is science exempt from ethics? Wouldn't federal funding open the door for the need for more and more embryos? Isn't that creating a market for them? Are Americans willing to sell their soul to advance a science that is unproven? Aren't their doors we ought just not walk through?

Back to Obama... he's making some pretty big promises. We here in America are facing some pretty tough times. Our economy is getting worse by the day. Where is this federal funding going to come from?

I'd like you to read the following excerpt from the AAAS September Research & Development Funding Update:

"Congress has made little progress on the federal government’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2009, which begins October 1, leaving federal funding for research and development (R&D) in limbo. Congress is preparing to leave Washington for the rest of the year after completing action on a bailout for the financial sector, postponing final budget decisions for most federal agencies until 2009. To keep the government operating, lawmakers approved a continuing resolution (CR) extending funding for all programs in unsigned 2009 appropriations bills at 2008 funding levels through March 6. The CR contains final FY 2009 appropriations for the Departments of Defense (DOD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA); all three receive substantial increases for their R&D portfolios, but other federal agencies in the remaining 9 of the 12 appropriations bills will be operating temporarily at or below 2008 funding levels for several months. Earlier in the year, congressional appropriators endorsed large increases for the three physical sciences agencies in the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI), increases for human spacecraft development, increases for biomedical research in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and increases in other parts of the federal research and development (R&D) portfolio. But instead, most federal programs will continue to operate at or below 2008 funding levels for several months into the new fiscal year. In real terms, the federal investment in basic and applied research has already declined since 2004, and under the CR federal funding of research would decline again in 2009 for the fifth year in a row. "

Again, I ask, where is the funding going to come from? And I would like to know when it became acceptable in this country to FORCE its citizens to participate in ventures that they are morally opposed to? Will this funding come from tax dollars? Or will Congress just order up the printing of additional monies to cover it... and, if so, will those monies be paid back by our tax dollars? How does this work? Someone please tell me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh Lord Have Mercy!!!

Our friend Roland of Militant Ginger has blessed me with this blog award!!!

Roland awarded four other individuals and as I read through his descriptions of their blogs I nearly burst into flames and was afraid my family was going to come home to my ashes in a pile before my laptop. If you go to his blog to read about the other blogs he graced with this award... know that some of them contain adult only content.

Here is what he had to say about me:

The Uneducated Housewife's Guide to Politics: Coffee Bean is a clean living, conservative Christian, so might not be entirely comfortable with the idea of me celebrating her charismatic cranium with a Big Sexy Brain Award.

However, her Uneducated Housewife's Guide was one of the most active and stimulating blogs leading up to the election, in which she pitted libertarian, Democrat, Republican and Conservative against each other to chew up the issues that affected us the most.

What makes Coffee Bean smexy is that she breaks the conservative stereotype and thinks for herself. Both her Uneducated Housewife blog, and her day-to-day blog, are filled with intelligent, thoughtful ponderings in which she does something the hardcore liberals and conservatives are unwilling to do - admit that she doesn't know all the answers. Coffee Bean is an example to all of us and that humbling fact makes her very smexy indeed.

I thank you, Roland, from the bottom of my heart. You are most kind!

Now... I do want to pass this award on to a certain someone. He and Roland have gone head to head in the comment section here many times. It has been, at times, enlightening, horrifying and, above all, quite humorous. Yes, I am talking about Two Dogs. This blog would not be nearly as much fun for me if either of you weren't commenting! I very much appreciate both of your contributions!

And... I am sitting here laughing... I must say, I am enjoying myself immensely!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm Still Here!

I'm just busy! You can read what I'm up to here. Hopefully, I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thought Provoking Blog Post by OSO

One Salient Oversight (OSO) was once a regular commenter here... I think I scared him away or something. Anyway, I've been trying to get caught up on reading other blogs and have spent a good bit of time on his blog this evening. Now... I don't agree with everything OSO has to say but I have very much appreciated his sharing his views. I particularly liked this post. Please take the time to read it (especially you Roland!).

The Fairness Doctrine

Obama said back in June that he did not support The Fairness Doctrine... However, many Democrats do, including Nancy Pelosi.

Questions:

1. What are your thoughts on The Fairness Doctrine?

2. Do you believe Barak Obama will stand by his word?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations to Barak Obama

This has been a truly historic election on many levels...

Graham left a link to this article in the comment section of this post. I loved the article! I hope y'all take the time to read it. I'm not sure that Graham and I took the article the same way... but it is an article of hope for me. A hope that regardless of who is leading our country that those of us within it will take the time to look at those around us and do what we can to help those in need. There are differences in how the opposing parties approach the needs of those in this country that are in trouble... but, I am hoping that all of us will remember to keep a human face on those issues.

I am also hoping and praying that those of us that supported McCain will move forward in ways that foster respect for us and for our beliefs. The will of the American people has been spoken.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Things Aren't Lookin' Good for McCain

Well... the next four years will be interesting, no?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wise Words

There are a whole lot of people, and from all walks of life, who are incapable of grasping the simple common sense that was written in 1916 by William J. H. Boetcker, a Presbyterian minister. Although misinterpreted over the years as being quotes from Abraham Lincoln, they still ring true 92 years later. So on this last day of the 2008 presidential campaign, let's be reminded of these wise words he once wrote:

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.

You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves."

ONE MORE DAY!!!

I don't know who all is reading this blog but I do know that it is being read by a certain number of people. So, here is your chance!

Closing Statements!!! Tell us all why we should get behind YOUR candidate in the comments!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Listen Up!!!

My friend, Elysa (who has contributed on this blog as has her homeschooled daughter), sent me the following e-mail from her brother-in-law:

I have a good friend that witnessed the Castro regime first hand. He's Cuban born and now an American citizen. Out of curiosity, I asked him if an article I read was an accurate depiction of Cuban-Americans. Below is a link to the article. And below that, is his response. I thought his insight is worth sharing.

M.G.
Hattiesburg, MS

Cuban-Americans 'allergic' to Obama-talk - A Cuban-born author and anti-Castro activist says Barack Obama won't make any inroads with voters in the Cuban-American community by pushing a wealth redistribution message. That community, he says, is all too familiar with the consequences of such a policy.

RESPONSE:

Yes it is TRUE. We are allergic to Obama. We are more than allergic, we are mortified over his ideas and the possibilities. We lived them once and don't want to see it ever again. Here is a brief reason why.

Most of my family were Spanish and French immigrants that came to Cuba over 150 yrs ago. They had nothing and worked hard to build businesses and purchase properties. Raised their children (my grandparents and parents) to be productive members of society and to assist the poor to have a better lives. My grandfather adopted a little black boy at the age of 7 from our town. Sent him to private schools, fed him, clothed him and made him a successful man with a business. We hired poor people from the country, brought them to the cities to live under our roof as workers to give them a better life, so they in turn could help their families. My parents rented properties to poor people in the best parts of town according to how much they could pay. We voluntarily "shared our wealth" and with great results. Everyone was happy. However, a few disgruntle members of our society felt we need CHANGE.

Along comes the Castro brothers promising CHANGE and with the idea of "sharing the wealth (by force)". They promised freedoms yet took them away. They promised to correct Congress by dissolving it and took over the entire government in less than a year. They took our properties, they took our money to share it with the less fortunate. In 1950's, Cuba's economy was to par with the US and the envy of every Latin American country. The Cuban peso was equal to the dollar. Today, the economy is completely non-existent and the peso is worth about 0.9 cent (yes, less than a penny.) The brain surgeon makes 280 pesos (about $22) a month, so does the teacher, the butcher and the street sweeper. He cannot own real estate or cars. They are all government "own" (better yet, stolen.) Food and clothing is rationed and it is minimal to sustain life. Travel between cities and towns is restricted. You cannot move to another place unless the government gives you "permission". Only high government officials, live the high life. The general public are slaves to the government with no way out.

As you can see, this is a very sore subject for Cubans, both old and young. Even my children, all American born, understand the suffering of the Cubans. Yes, we are allergic because we have been there before and don't what it to happen again.

Some Americans want CHANGE and think they will be better off? "Sharing the wealth" will not do it. Some of the candidate's ideas will backfire. We will be sent back to the 1800's economically and the ones asking for "change" will be enslaved again along with everyone else.

God save this country if this CHANGE takes place. Just make sure your Congressmen don't let those changes go thru.

Thanks,
Name withheld for confidential reasons

Feel Free to pass this along as you see fit!!!

If Iraqis Could Vote, They Would Vote for McCain!

I found this article (by way of Gateway Pundit )to be quite interesting!

Back in September I had the chance to talk about Iraq with a helicopter pilot that had just retired and who had served in Iraq. I've found that when I've had the chance to talk with those that have served in Iraq I am told a much different story than what is usually offered up in our newspapers and on our news programs. This helicopter pilot told me that many Iraqis are afraid of working with the Americans because they they will be targeted if the U.S. pulls out. At the same time, there have been many brave Iraqis to step up and do just that, regardless of their safety should we leave.

What will happen to these people if we pull out too soon? How would that affect our standing in the world? What message would that send to the terrorists? Whatever the reason for the war... we are in it and we have a duty to finish it. We cannot go in there and turn everything upside down just to walk away. The United States needs to stand up and make it right. We must help the Iraqi people establish their freedom and protect that freedom. You cannot make it right by walking away.... Over 4,000 American lives have been given and we have a duty to those to make sure that their lives were not given in vain!

I find it ironic that as we fight for the freedom of another people we are facing the possibility of losing our freedom here... and not by force. Do people hear what Obama says??? Do people not understand what it means??? Is this election going to come down to a tax calculator and votes being cast for how much money they think they will get personally? Have they not noticed the number at which people will be taxed more keeps getting lower and lower from the mouths of Obama and Biden themselves?

I pray to God that something happens this weekend to open the eyes of the American people!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barak Obama Breaks Promise



Well I, of course, watched Barak Obama's 30 minute infomercial with great interest. It was very well done... from the examples of down to earth struggling American families, to the camera work, to the inspirational music in the background throughout... and to the live impassioned speech at the end. It was impressive. Hopefully, people will see it for what it was. A well produced PR piece.

The text that goes along with the above clip can be found here. Barak Obama was only able to produce that infomercial through a broken promise. A man of his word he is not.

What are your thoughts on the infomericial and/or Obama breaking his promise to accept public financing and to work with the Republican nominee to ensure that they both operated within those limits?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Responses to Letter

We've gotten some responses to my husband's letter via e-mail that I'd like to share. Someone commented yesterday that they thought this site was about laying it out so they could make a choice and that they were disappointed that I shared my (our) choice... When I started this blog it was not my intention to use the blog as a platform for what I believe. I did want to present the different sides so that those of differing views could say what they believe and why rather than me saying what they believe and why. I always strive to understand other people and where they are coming from so that we can communicate on a deeper level that includes respect.

My comments, obviously, will be in red. Mr. Macchiato's response will be in blue. I will also be editing the e-mails so that they are anonymous.

Thanks for the message. Unfortunately, I am probably the wrong audience.

You argue good versus evil. This is not a decision between a good man and a crazed terrorist. This is a decision between two good men with different opinions on how to turn the country around. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are not evil. The Democratic party is not determined to create socialism, abort all children, take money from the rich and give it to the lazy, nor to open our borders to criminals.

I was not decided on this race until McCain chose Palin as a running mate. She is, by miles, the least qualified of the four to have any involvement in governing the US. I was disgusted by the choice, and nothing in her campaign has changed my opinion. McCain is a great man, but he has sold his credibility in his pursuit of the presidency.

I am a registered Republican. I would personally benefit more from McCain's tax plan that I would from Obama's. I have affordable healthcare. I don't care for abortion. I firmly believe that each individual is responsible for their choices and destiny. I worked my way through college - and don't necessarily agree that those opportunities should be handed to anyone. I own a gun. Still, I will vote for Barack Obama for several reasons:

· I am tired of the Republican good vs. evil argument (especially since the evil argument contains threads of racism)


· McCain and his advisors hands are ALL OVER the financial crisis. Many of his advisors worked with Fannie Mae, and he has been a strong proponent of deregulation. The financial crisis is a direct result of deregulation in the banking industry and the conflicting interest created by that deregulation.

· Barack Obama is more likely to inspire and build confidence - the most important aspect to a recovery

· I am scared to death that something would happen to McCain and Sara Palin would be President

· John McCain is enamored with military conflict and has a dated view of the American station in world affairs. It is not 1955, or even 1995. We don't need a meathead approach to foreign policy.

Your response is an intelligent one (mostly). I don't agree with the bit about good versus evil or with the bit about racism. You can’t play the religious zealot card or the race card every time you disagree with a conservative. I wish I shared your faith in the goodness of Barack Obama and the Democrat Party. I believe that there are well meaning Democrats, but by and large they are not in positions of leadership especially in Washington DC. I think that the Democrat Party benefits from dependency and that the more they can further dependency, the more they can secure their grip on power.

Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined. You may not like her views on things, but she has been a successful mayor and governor. She has a proven track record of reform and fiscal responsibility. She understands energy policy probably better than anyone else in the race.

I too am a registered Republican, but I am a conservative first. Neither tax plan will affect me personally, except that Obama’s plan will hurt the business that I work for. Our business is an S Corporation. Our majority shareholder is in a 35% federal tax bracket, plus 4.63% state income tax, plus Social Security and Medicare Taxes. How much is enough?? We too have health insurance, but our out of pocket expense are still high for the reasons I explained before. I’m glad that you don’t care for abortion. Abortion is a matter of right and wrong for me. It should not be tolerated. I too am a big believer in personal responsibility. I didn’t work my way through college. I was fortunate (my mom and dad paid). We do not own a gun. Still, I would never vote for Barack Obama.

I am tired of Democrats playing the race card every time someone questions Obama’s associations. He is associated with some very unsavory, very untrustworthy folks.

Democrats including Barney Frank and Chris Dodd pushed an amendment to the Community Revitalization Act during the Clinton Administration that for the first time allowed for the securitization of subprime mortgages. Millions of federal dollars were funneled to ACORN through this legislation. ACORN used this money in part to intimidate banks into making bad loans. The aforementioned Community Revitalization Act also created rules which caused banks to make bad loans, including rules which downgraded them if they did not make loans to certain disadvantaged borrowers or locate branches in bad neighborhoods. Banks which refused to follow these rules were not allowed to expand their businesses. Democrats including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, not John McCain, have all profited handsomely from the demise of Fannie Mae and Lehman Brothers. John McCain saw the looming crisis and tried to fix it in 2006. He was blocked by Democrats.

I would argue that Barack Obama is perceived by our enemies as being weak. Why else would they prefer him to be president?? I don’t think that Barack Obama knows what the heck he is doing in regards to the economy. Tax increases have NEVER led to prosperity. Even John Kennedy knew this and that is why he cut taxes.

Sarah Palin is arguably much better prepared than Barack Obama, and she would have McCain’s advisors to rely on. I won’t argue that she is more qualified than Joe Biden on foreign policy, since he is far more qualified than his running mate. That being said, Joe Biden has pretty much been on the wrong side of every foreign policy issue for the last 30 years.

I would argue that John McCain understands the cost of war far better than anyone else in the race. John McCain has served heroically and has suffered greatly. He also has a son in the war, as does Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. As I stated before, whether you believe in the reasons for the war or not, we cannot afford to surrender now. The Iraqis who have helped us would be subject to genocide, and we would most likely be forced to return to clean up the mess we left. The prosecution of the war had been a disaster until the surge. Victory is now within in reach. I believe that while the Iraqis have suffered greatly and the cost to our country has been great in terms of bloodshed and dollars, Iraqis and others in the Middle East will reap the blessings of freedom for generations to come.

As for nations like Iran, it is naïve to think that they can be reasoned with. I believe we should exhaust every diplomatic effort before we take military action, but we cannot stand idly by while Iran destroys Israel. What every American must understand is that radical Islam hates everything that we stand for beginning with tolerance. Women have no rights in these countries. Gays are put to death. No dissent of any kind is allowed. Their beliefs call for our destruction, conservative and liberal alike, man and woman alike, gay and straight alike, white, black, Latino or Asian it doesn’t matter.

Please understand that I respect your right to believe differently than I do. I have several friends that are either Democrats or liberals. I just think that all of us are making a grave mistake if we elect Barack Obama. I do not think he is trustworthy, and I do not share your opinion that he is a good man. I think he is especially dangerous in light of the fact that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi control the congress. Many of the things that they would like to do will be extremely harmful to our nation.

In the event that Barack Obama does win, I sincerely hope that I am dead wrong.


You are certainly passionate and informed on the specifics, more so than I am.

The good vs. evil comment has little to do with religious belief. My point is more that, while there are practical reasons to oppose Barack Obama, I don't understand the fear that he is untrustworthy. It is highly unlikely that there are sinister motives behind his policies. If you want to make that argument, you could make a more powerful and similar argument against the Bush administration. I do not believe that Barack Obama, nor anyone in either party intends to hurt America. Politics are an ugly business. There is no way that you can make your arguments of the Democrats grip on power without including the more heinous eight years of Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and their befuddled front man. The good vs. evil venom preys on basic human emotion and fear of change. It's ugly. As for racism, I was not referring to your argument specifically, rather the undertone of conservative speculations about his name, ties to muslims, etc.

Sarah Palin's experience as a small town mayor and Governor of Alaska does not in any way prepare her for national politics. She has zero experience navigating congressional politics and zero experience in foreign policy. She is also poorly educated relative to the alternatives. Your argument is that she can balance a budget. Many can. She has no business whatsoever on the National Political scene. None. There is no way to argue differently. It is naive to suggest that her advisors can walk her through foreign policy, congressional politics, and all other nuances of the job should McCain die. Why bother giving her the job if her advisors will have to do all the work? We can just pay the advisors and save the $400K salary.

I have not heard Barack Obama say that we are going to take the troops out of Iraq on January 17th. He has said that we need a timetable to transition policing (that's what we are doing) to the Iraqis. That makes sense. If not, the Iraqis can at least start footing the bill. You are worried about spending. How about $1 Billion a month on that war? The battle with Terrorists is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We cannot afford to continue the War on our own on two fronts. We need to transition the War in Iraq, or solicit help from nato countries. Barack Obama is more suited to those negotiations. (If you are worried about genocide, why aren't we in Darfur? President Bush does not care about genocide in non-oil producing countries. Just a snide side note.)

There is a fairly neutral article in the October GQ issue on John McCain and his involvement in Iraq. It paints a portrait of a patriotic man, but points out his enthusiasm for this war, and war in general. It also points out his loyalties to Bush. You should read it.

Foreign governments, particularly Muslim nations do not have the same values we do. Of course we cannot reason with them on the basis of philosophy. We can, however, wield a financial stick. That's all diplomacy ever is. We will withhold if you don't, we will give if you do. The world prefers Obama not because he seems weak, but because he seems reasonable. McCain is a throwback - dictating the world without recognition of a new economic parity.

I also disagree with your assessment of your placement of blame on the democratic party for the financial crisis. The securitization of mortgage and debt are not dragging the economy down. The securitization instruments themselves may in fact still prove useful in spreading risk. The insatiable demand for the assets based on AAA ratings are the root of the problem. The irresponsible rating of the assets (paid consulting fees by the companies who's assets they are rating - deregulation) and the unregulated derivatives and credit swaps are what will drag the economy down. The sub-prime mess itself was relatively small in dollar terms. The collapse or AIG and Lehman were do to the credit swaps - unregulated and irresponsible insurance of bad assets. This is a function of deregulation - a mantra of conservative Republicans.

All that said, I could be wrong. I greatly respect John McCain, and I have felt sorry for him during the campaign. I am repulsed by politics. It would not be the end of the world if McCain were elected. Whoever wins will have a brutal job ahead of them. For me, it boils down to hope in a new direction. That part may be naive, but the alternative is just depressing. In any event, it's been a good discussion and I appreciate your opinions.

Again, I am very interested in those whose views oppose mine (ours) and it is dialog such as the above that I've been looking for. We are, or should be, Americans first when it comes to politics and we each get our one vote. I fully respect each person's freedom to vote however they see fit. Yes, I have decided to vote for McCain, but that doesn't mean that I no longer am interested in what the other side has to say.

We also got the following comment via e-mail.

Too late. I've already voted.
You have obviously drunk the Koolaid.
It won't be nearly as bad as you think.
The four stages of loss are as follows:


1 - Denial
2 - Anger
3 - Bargaining
4 - Acceptance

Once the fairness doctrine is reinstated and the right wing hate mongers are forced to go hide on paid radio, folks will have to figure all this out for themselves and they just may come to some different conclusions.

Freedom means folks are free to do things you may not agree with.

You are going to be far better off with a Democratic Congress, filibuster-proof Senate and a Democratic president. We just have to make sure they don't keep it all for too long since power corrupts completely.

Having all the wealth concentrated in the top 1% of people isn't good for the economy. The only thing that creates jobs is demand. We hire employees to meet that demand. Where does demand come from? It comes from the people who spend their money (providing they have some) on something besides derivitives and other get richer faster schemes.


No Kool-Aid here, but I wonder what kind of magic potion the DNC is handing out to get you all to discount Obama's bad friends. Obama's questionable associations go way deeper than Bill Ayers or Jeremiah Wright (as if they weren't bad enough).

I wonder if ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC or NPR will observe the “fairness doctrine”. The liberals already have their voice in the media. Maybe you don’t recognize it because you have drank too much of the magic potion. Hate Mongers?? Are you talking about Jeremiah Wright, Father Pfleger, Louis Farrakhan or someone else? Just because somebody disagrees with your politics doesn’t make them hateful. I thought free speech was a right in this country.

People are free to do many things that I don’t agree with. Where I draw the line is when their rights infringe on the right of others.

If we’re going to start redistributing wealth, why don’t we start with Warren Buffett. He seems to be a good Democrat. I would not even agree with this. Taking money from people who have worked for it and giving it those who haven’t is just wrong. Taxes are necessary, but they should be fair to everybody. 35% when coupled with state taxes, sales taxes, Social Security and Medicare is more than enough. If you tax small businesses another 4.63% (and I know it is not all small businesses, but it is many, the ones that create jobs), you take away money that is typically spent on equipment purchases, new buildings, etc. How will this help the economy?? Tax increases have never led to more prosperity for anyone. The last time we raised taxes during a recession, it led to the Great Depression. I guess since Herbert Hoover was a Republican, the Democrats need to try it for themselves (brilliant).

CEO, CEO, CEO. There, I said it for you. Maybe Democrats should look at where CEO’s and corporations dole out their money starting with Franklin Raines and Exxon. It isn’t just ordinary people giving Obama all that money.

As I wrote above, if Obama wins, I sincerely hope that I am dead wrong about the intentions of Obama, Pelosi and Reid.


We both know that small businesses are defined as less than 400 people. That includes the one I work for.

The tax Obama is talking about is personal income tax. Many small businesses are sole proprietorships and therefor their tax is personal income tax. Most "small businesses" are incorporated and he is proposing tax breaks for them to assist with modernization, re-tooling, etc.

The candidates keep it simple for the masses but you and I both know there is a lot more to it,
I agree with and share your hopes that he will surprise his critics and do the right things.


Most closely held corporations (like the one I work for) are in fact S Corporations. S Corporation shareholders pay taxes at personal income tax rates. Incentives and tax credits are nice but they generally result in more tax forms, and I’m pretty sure that Obama’s tax increase minus credits would still result in a net increase.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Letter from my Husband

My husband and sponsor, who I lovingly refer to as Mr. Macchiato on my blogs, has written a letter he wants me to share.

Dear Family & Friends,

The outcome of this election will affect our future and those of our children for generations to come. We have a choice between traditional American Values including free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, limited government, the right to choose our own doctor, the right to vote in private when choosing a union, traditional marriage and the sanctity of life or the “fairness doctrine”, gun control, massive government, socialized medicine, coercion, gay marriage and abortion on demand. We have a choice between a true American Hero who has lived his adult life under the scrutiny of the media, and a man whom we know little or nothing about.

On the Economy – Take it from a small company accountant, Obama’s planned tax increase WILL hurt small business and kill job creation. No tax increase has ever led to prosperity. Small business is already over burdened with taxes and regulation. Have you ever heard of employment taxes (Social Security, Medicare, Federal Unemployment, State Unemployment), workers compensation insurance, health insurance regulations, 401(k) regulations, census bureau reporting, garnishments, tax levies, tax liens, sales tax, use tax, permits, reporting, reporting and more reporting?? These are all unfunded burdens that small business must bear. In fact, many small companies do not offer benefits due to the regulatory hassles that go with them.

Tort Reform – John McCain supports tort reform. Runaway lawsuits are destroying business and destroying our healthcare system. Frivolous lawsuits are yet another way small businesses are being torn down. Experienced doctors retire early because their malpractice insurance costs too much. Fewer and fewer qualified students are entering medical schools. Why not fight?? The cost of defending these lawsuits is often more than the cost of settling and unless you have been through one, you cannot understand the disruption it brings. We need loser pays. Why should a few profit while the rest of us pay?? Why has nothing been done?? You guessed it… The number one donor to the DNC is the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Healthcare – John McCain supports healthcare reform. Fact, socialized medicine is a disaster in every country where it has been tried. If you’re healthy, it’s great. If you’re not, you’re screwed. It is six months to get an MRI in Canada. Wealthy Canadians come to the USA for healthcare. You don’t have the freedom to choose your own doctor in Britain. What if you have a brain tumor?? What if you are not deemed worthy of being healed?? Where are you then?? What country will you go to when the USA no longer has a pay for service healthcare system?? There are two things that could be done that would dramatically reduce the cost of healthcare. First, implement loser pays. Legitimate lawsuits would continue while frivolous lawsuits would stop. Defensive medicine is very expensive. Trust me. I have been a victim of unnecessary tests. Second, control the borders. We cannot afford to provide free healthcare for illegals (and we do). Why is it that Liberals fight every attempt to reform the healthcare system, while pushing socialized medicine?? Could it be their buddies at the Trial Lawyers Association?? Could it be they are compassionate, or do they just want another way to control us?? What will we do when there are no more doctors?? Do we really expect young people to invest 10 to 12 years of their lives plus tens of thousands of dollars becoming doctors so they can work for half of what they do now?? Why not become an attorney and sue doctors for ten times the pay??

Immigration – John McCain supports border security first. We must stop pandering to illegals to garner votes. Control the border now. Make it easier for law-abiding, hard-working people to emigrate. Keep the criminals out. Do not reward anyone for breaking the law.

Energy Independence – John McCain supports offshore drilling plus a host of other “green” alternatives. We cannot achieve energy independence in the short run without drilling. Windmills cannot replace coal-fired power plants. Solar panels cannot replace nuclear power plants. To believe otherwise is simply naïve. A jet airplane will not fly on batteries and a locomotive will not run on biodiesel (yet).

Judges – John McCain will appoint judges that interpret the law not make law from the bench. We have a congress for making laws. We cannot have judges making new laws every time some legislator does not get his or her way.

Sanctity of Life – John McCain believes in the sanctity of life. Life begins at conception. This is an undisputable fact. We should not terminate the life of a defenseless human being simply because we made a mistake any more than we should terminate the life of someone who cannot provide for themselves. Choose before you hop in the sack. If you can’t help yourself, live with the consequences for nine months, and then give the baby up for adoption. As for back alley abortions, I cannot sympathize with someone who dies while breaking the law. What about the emotional distress abortionists inflict on “law-abiding” women every day?? What about increased breast cancer rates?? Is anyone ever glad that they had an abortion?? Yes it might be your body, but the fetus’ body is not.

The War – Whether you agree or disagree with the reasons for the war. We must win. John McCain supported the surge. Barack Obama did not. Barack Obama was wrong. If we leave Iraq now, there will be genocide. If we leave Iraq, America’s credibility will forever be diminished. Who will enter the next war with us when we cannot finish the job?? All the next enemy will have to do is outlast our political will just like Vietnam. Are Vietnamese better off because we left?? Is anyone better off living in a totalitarian state?? John McCain understands war probably better than any leader since Dwight Eisenhower. Barack Obama has never served, and in fact has been critical of the troops he wishes to command. Who will follow him??

Education – Why are liberals pro-choice on matters of life and death, but they are against parents sending kids to the school of their choice?? Could it be the teacher’s union?? Hmm, I wonder how much they give to the DNC. John McCain supports school choice.
Why do liberals insist on throwing good money after bad?? Public schools receive the most funding, yet they are at the bottom of the barrel. Private schools spend on average half of what public schools do, yet they perform better. Home school families spend less than private schools, yet they out perform both. Are liberals really concerned about education or are they concerned about thought control??

Gun Rights – Criminals will always have guns. Why prevent law abiding citizens from owning guns?? John McCain supports gun rights. Why do we have second amendment rights?? Our founders knew that ultimately an oppressive government could not survive while the citizenry had the right to keep and bear arms. The second amendment guarantees every other right promised by the constitution.

Limited Government – Any government big enough to give us everything we want is big enough to take away everything we have. John McCain has fought for limited government his entire career. The Federal government has far exceeded its constitutional authority. It is literally bankrupting the country. We cannot afford any new spending or any new wars for that matter. Barack Obama has proposed one trillion dollars in new spending. Who will pay for it?? Social security is bankrupt, yet Barak Obama proposes to give tax credits to those paying social security taxes. The social security trust fund is comprised entirely of US Government securities. If the government can’t pay its debt, then what happens??

National Security – John McCain understands what it takes to keep America safe. Our troops respect him. Barack Obama is the least experienced candidate for President that I can think of. He has been inconsistent on his foreign policy. He has said that he would sit down with leaders of rogue regimes without precondition. Do we really think we can reason with terrorists or rogue leaders?? Hmm, did that work for Neville Chamberlain?? Would Barack Obama really defend Israel if attacked??

The Financial Crisis – Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Maxine Waters are all at the center of this debacle. Barack Obama benefitted from massive campaign donations from the CEO of Lehman Brothers and from Franklin Raines the head of Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae also gave massive amounts of money to ACORN. John McCain, George Bush and even Bill Clinton tried to reign in Fannie Mae. They were blocked while others profited.

The Other Guy – What do we really know about him?? What is his relationship with Bill Ayers?? Why would he have a relationship with someone who bombed our Pentagon?? Why would he attend a church for twenty years that preaches hatred against whites, Jews and others?? I would not attend a church that preached hate against blacks for twenty minutes let alone twenty years. What is his association with Tony Rezko?? What is his relationship with Rashid Khalidi?? What is his relationship with ACORN?? Why did his campaign give ACORN $850,000?? Is ACORN preparing massive voter fraud??

I am sorry if I have offended anyone, but the stakes are high. I will not sell our country down the river for the promise of free healthcare and tax credits for those not paying income taxes. I will not sell our country down the river for the promise of a quick end to a war that is not over. John McCain represents a return to fundamental American principals of governance. He is not George Bush. Barack Obama will take us down the path toward socialism. He has said as much (redistribution of wealth, universal healthcare). Are you willing to trust Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi with your future?? What will they do with unchecked power?? Will they stack the deck against future opposition?? Are you willing to take that risk??


Sincerely,

Mr. Macchiato

Monday, October 27, 2008

This is Interesting


I found this through Two Dog's blog which led me to Gateway Pundit. I've really stayed away from posting this sort of thing on this blog but the time is drawing near and this is Barak Obama speaking himself.

Eight Days

We are getting down to the wire! Yes! I am working on a comparison of sorts and I want to get all my facts straight so it is going to take me some more time. I'm curious to know though...

1. If you are still undecided, what factors are you considering that are making the decision hard for you?

2. If you are decided, what were the deciding factors for you?

3. Do you have any caveats in your decisions?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eleven Days and Counting

So very counting... I am ready for this election to be over. Whatever the outcome. Just Done. Do you wonder what the rest of the world is thinking about all of this? I haven't spent much time on here talking about the ridiculousness but I've been watching. What has happened to our culture?

Anyway...

Who do you think is going to win?

I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if Obama wins but I wouldn't be surprised if McCain wins either.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Back!

I am back and out of the loop! Hopefully, I can find some time today to get back up to speed on some things. In the mean time...

1. How do you feel about the election today?

2. Has there been any information that has come to light over the last week that has you thinking?

3. What are the hot topics going around?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sad News

A dear friend died this week and I am on my way to Mississippi to go to the funeral. I'll be back next week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm Sick of Politics

What is there to holler about today? Last night while I was circling the airport trying to pick up my husband I heard some guy on the radio comparing stuff Obama wrote at different times to the book he wrote, Dreams From My Father. He didn't feel that Obama could have possibly written it. He then took a leap and compared it to writings of Bill Ayers and came to the conclusion that Bill Ayers must have actually written the book... and that Bill Ayers and some other dude are like parental figures to Obama... My mouth is still hanging open. What? Of course, my reaction is much the same as when I first found out about Ted Haggard and we all know how that turned out. Anyone else hear this craziness? Any thoughts?

Saw on the 10 minutes of Good Morning America that I watched this morning waiting for the weather segment that the McCain campaign is now going to focus on the economy rather than attacking Obama. I'd heard the McCain campaign was all on the attack. Huh?

I'm about ready to pull my hair out and run stark raving mad through the streets in my town. But, with clothes on. I haven't lost it completely.

So, what ridiculousisities have you heard? Yes, I made up that word. Any other angry people out there want to step out and send me another e-mail on my intellectual ineptitude? Feel free! I can use the laugh.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Plan A, B, or C?

Our middle daughter is a freshman in college and this summer we had to sit down and figure out which dining hall plan to purchase for the semester. I got to thinking about that… What if we Americans could purchase specific plans in regard to our government? What would that look like?

PLAN A:

Rights: Jobs, Food, Housing, Healthcare, Education.

Advantage: Freedom from responsibility.

Price: Choice

PLAN B:

Choice: Jobs, Food, Housing, Healthcare, Education.

Advantage: Freedom from government control.

Price: Hard work

PLAN C:

Freedom to pick and choose from Plan A and Plan B

Price: Currently undetermined. To ensure availability of this plan in the future, we advise you purchase Plan B.

Of course, we would be told it isn’t that simple. But, what if it is? Clear away the smoke of debate and the rhetoric thrown out by both sides. What are we left with? Aren’t there ideologies at the very base of these candidates? What are those ideologies? In my opinion, it is either Plan A or Plan B.

Now, I know that life is not that simple and there is much left out of the above equation. However, wouldn’t those basic ideologies be the driving force behind the candidacies?

When I was a little girl my Aunt told me a story that made an impression on me that has stuck with me through the years. She was a wonderful story teller and I very much enjoyed how she changed her voice to make the story come alive.

There was a village in which everyone was starving and one man went into the village square and put on a large pot of water to boil and threw in a stone. This caught the attention of the other villagers and they secretly watched from within their homes as this man stirred the water in the pot and talked of how glorious the soup would be. He would then mention something that might make the soup better… onions, potatoes, carrots, etc. One by one the villagers came from their homes with something they could add to the pot. They came together as a community and no one went hungry that night.

Imagine that the story went a different direction for a moment. What if the leader of the village went and entered each of the villagers’ homes and just took what was needed for the soup? What if some of the villagers had worked hard and stored up more than the other villagers and instead of being given the opportunity to share willingly, their stores were taken and split evenly among those that had not worked hard and planned ahead?

People that work hard and plan ahead are not bad people. People that don’t have the ability to work hard and plan ahead through mental and/or physical limitations or circumstances beyond their control are not bad people. Even the people that do not work hard and fritter away their resources are not necessarily bad people. Many people learn valuable lessons from making those kinds of mistakes. What if those teachable moments are interrupted? What if, rather than experience some discomfort they are just given what they want or need? Is that good for the person? Is that good for the community as a whole?

I personally believe it is much more effective and much more beneficial to the community to inspire those with more to give willingly of their resources, time and money rather than to have a mandate requiring more and more from them. We already have differing tax rates for those in differing tax brackets. What Obama is proposing will seriously affect small business and have a negative impact on our already suffering economy.

Just as trickle down economics has not provided what was hoped for, neither will trickle down change. Change is something that has to occur from the inside out. It begins in our individual hearts and then spills out into our homes, then into our towns, cities and states. The spirit of America’s citizens is what makes this country great, not its government. It is that spirit of freedom that launched this country, the very spirit of freedom that is in danger today.

You are purchasing a plan with your vote. Which plan will you choose?

Something is Bothering Me

I was planning on going back to my asking of questions and reading what y'all have to say in the comments but... a few things are bothering me.

Last night, during the debate, Obama said something about making sure that WE provide China with the energy they need (due to their building of coal burning plants and the need to clean up the environment). I did not listen to the talking head dissection of the debate last night, nor am I planning to today (I'm really tired of it) so I don't know if anyone else has brought this up. WHAT?!?! Don't we have more important things to attend to at the moment?

AND... I just don't get something. Call me dumb. We have got how many cars on the road that run on gas? I think any and all avenues toward cleaner and more efficient energy use need to be pursued. There are very smart people out there and necessity is the mother of invention, right? In the mean time, however, we are a nation dependent upon oil. I am so sick of people talking about getting rid of SUV's... where do they think they are going to go? If people in this country don't buy them... they'll surely be sent down to Mexico and sold there. The fact is not everyone can just go buy a hybrid. The law of supply and demand will take care of the vehicle issue, but all of the vehicles on the road have a certain life span. While we are moving in the direction of lowering/eliminating our dependence upon oil we have to ensure we have the oil we need to get there. I don't get it. Okay... the world does not have an endless supply of oil... we need cleaner and more efficient energy supplies... I get that. I get that we as individuals need to be aware and start doing the things we can to move in that direction. What about the practical side?

Politicians lie. They do. What each of us has to do is to figure out what is most important to us and then cast our vote for the candidate that we believe is more likely to go in the direction we think they should. There are no guarantees. This really is not a democracy and our votes are really nothing more than hopes.

If you believe that the government should be our Daddy... that health care, education, jobs and homes are rights without responsibility and that you lack the ability to plan for your future and need to be told what to do... and you have no problem with your great grandchildren standing in line for hours for their ration of scratchy toilet paper... vote for Obama.

If you believe that government should be limited and that you should have the freedom to make your own choices... vote for McCain.

Above all... PRAY.

Presidential Debate

Snore.

Same ol' Same ol' if you ask me.

Can we just vote now?

Any thoughts? Any concerns? Anyone paying attention anymore?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Death Penalty

My personal political policy statement sparked some heated debate on the death penalty! I’ve been reading everything with interest. It is very easy to get lost in the impersonal debate. Cost, statistics, interpretation of law, the constitution and even the bible serve to make things even more complicated. But, what about when you break it down and step out of the impersonal and into the personal?

I grew up an Army Brat. Part of my childhood was spent in Washington State which happens to be where most of my family is from and currently resides. We moved there from El Paso, Texas, when I was eight years old and into a wonderful neighborhood in which I experienced most of my happiest memories as a child. I was part of a pack of neighborhood girls and there was always someone to hang out with. There were two friends that I was particularly close to that I was able to stay in touch with to this very day.

Over fourteen years ago we were living in California when my mom told me over the phone about a girl that had been found on the grounds of a high school that had been badly beaten and left for dead. She was in a coma and in an effort to get her identified the authorities showed her in her hospital bed on the news. We were shocked when we learned a few days later that it was one of my friends.

C was days from turning 27 years old. She was the manager of a Gap clothing store and living in a trendy area of Seattle with some roommates. I had not been in contact with her since before she graduated from college. My family had moved to California when I was in the 7th grade and hers moved to Idaho a couple of years later. She went to college in Oregon and then made her way back to Seattle.

C had spent the day at Seattle Sea Fair. Two men that did not know each other prior to that night had joined up while breaking into cars in her neighborhood. They saw her when she arrived home and forced her back into her car as she was getting out. They made her buy cigarettes and beer at a convenience store and then took her to a park where they both raped her. They then took her to a high school in another town where one of the men stabbed her 27 times with a screw driver, twice through her skull and into her brain, and left her there.

A teenage boy who lived near the school was not able to sleep and decided to walk to the school and maybe run around the track. When he got on the school grounds he started walking in the opposite direction of the track and thought that he was going crazy because he did not intend to go that way. And then he saw her. He ran home and woke his mother and they called for help. C would have surely died had he not come along when he did.

One of the men took things from her purse and car and gave them to his mother for Mother’s Day. He had been released from prison the day before the attack on C. The other man took C’s car and detailed it before abandoning it in a Seattle neighborhood. They were able to identify him through one half of a thumbprint that he left on her dashboard. Once they picked him up he led them to the other man... the man who did all of the stabbing.

I was able to fly up to Seattle about a month after the attack. C was still in the hospital and I went to see her along with our other friend. The friend we both considered our individual best friend. Her head had been shaved and the defense wounds on both sides of her hands where she had tried to protect herself were still starkly visible. She recognized us and we were able to communicate with her but she was forever changed. She can no longer speak and is partially paralyzed on one side. She has worked hard to recover as much as she was able, exceeding expectations even. Her parents took her back to Idaho where they had a house built to give her as much independence as possible but still be there to assist. She volunteers at a school where children read to her and is involved in violence against women prevention. The men were sentenced to 99 years and 77 years in prison… by C herself. The judge felt it was appropriate to allow that.

What if that boy had not found her? The intent was clearly for her to die. Why is it that attempted murder does not carry the same penalty as murder? They certainly took the life that she had hoped for…

I stated that I was against the death penalty but it was more from the standpoint that it was more expensive to execute than to incarcerate for life. I don’t know where I got it into my head that that was the case. Typically, the crimes in which people are sentenced to death (in states that allow it) are the types of crimes in which people are not ever up for parole. Of course, I have not researched this but it seems to be common sense. I just have a hard time with the idea of executing someone when they are already locked away and there is no further risk to society. I know there are probably exceptions to this and examples of cases where further harm was done. I’m just speaking of this in general terms and in the majority of the cases.

That being said, I’ve also been thinking a lot about my friend. What if those men had succeeded in killing her? The one that did the stabbing had been let out of prison the day before… early. Stepping into the personal changes things a bit… What if one of your loved ones was brutally murdered through no fault of their own? What if they were not the first victim? Wouldn’t you want to be sure without a doubt that that would never happen again at the hands of that murderer?

I am not a lawyer nor do I have any interest in trying to change the minds of others to reflect my views in this area. I can’t even say exactly where I stand because it is a very difficult issue and I reserve the right to not make a blanket statement that falls in line with any group… religious or political. I don’t think the answer is within our prisons or laws. I think the answer is in reaching out to children at risk and doing what we can to inspire them to a life of victory.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday Night Live

I read somewhere during the last election that an alarming percentage of people got their political news solely through Saturday Night Live. SNL has been around for well over twenty years and has always been on after the late news on Saturday nights. We've often found their political skits to be funny... especially with knowing the real background. However, it concerns me that people are watching these skits without that background knowledge. Now SNL is going primetime on Tuesday nights up until the election. Obviously, they are aware of their impact on politics.

What do you think about Saturday Night Live going Prime Time until the election?

Friday, October 3, 2008

WOW...

I read a wide variety of blogs when I have time. I tend to go on kicks where I concentrate on different types at different times. I like to read blogs that are very different from mine and are written by people with different views. Dooce is a big name in blogging and I don't often read her blog but every so often I click over for a peek. I like the letters she writes to her daughter each month and I like the stories about her dogs. My sense of humor has a strong sarcastic streak but Dooce sometimes pushes it too far for me. She put up a very interesting question yesterday.

Indulge me for a second and consider this scenario: let's say you're given the opportunity to donate some money to a desperate family who would use it to feed their children, but were only able to do so if you donated the same amount of money to someone you knew would use it to buy crack. Would you do it?

To me that is not really a hard question if it is a face to face situation. Of course. However, I believe the reason behind this question to be along the lines of making a point. I know from what I have read of Dooce's blog that she is a very liberal Democrat. She once explained that she felt that she had been very blessed. Her family had been able to send her to college but she felt bad for those families that couldn't. She said she didn't have a problem with some of her money being taken so that others could benefit from it. I understood where she was coming from and saw her heart.

The problem I have with this is that I don't see our government as the entity that should be providing everything and still allow us to maintain our freedom. Taking the above question and applying it to our taxes... seeing that money as going toward the families that deserve it even though those that don't will receive the same benefit... is socialist. Our government is not the only way in which to reach out to those in need. This line of reasoning is dangerous. People are willingly being led like sheep to a slaughter and do not see it!

Those who stand up against federally funded social programs (like welfare) do not do it out of hate and greed. Look up the differences in giving between Republicans and Democrats. It is astounding! The issue is governmental control. When people are aware of specific needs within a community there are those that step up to do what they can to fill in the gap. There is something to be said for people working together for the common good. This does not need to be done by our government. Take that desire to see that those in need are helped by rolling up your sleeves and getting personal in it. Find those areas you are passionate about and those organizations or ministries that you can really get behind and support. It is that kind of caring that will bring about real change. Not more government money with government regulations thrown into more programs that are broken.

The Great Debate!

1. Who do you think won?

2. Do you think this debate will have any lasting bearing on the election?

3. Do you have any observations you would like to share?

**Be sure to scroll down so you can read my political policy statement!

This Week's Winner is...

Miss Smartie Pants! I know where ya live!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Personal Political Policy Statement

I did not intend to ever fully disclose my views on this blog. I wanted to use this blog as a tool to show people the opinions of those from differing political views. Where my children are concerned I feel that it is better to let them see for themselves what people believe and why rather than to have their father and I tell them. However, my children are not really reading this blog. I do believe that this blog is of value to some so I keep it going.
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To understand my political policy statement I think that I should first explain my core beliefs. I am a non-denominational Christian. I was not raised in a Christian home, but neither was it non-Christian. It just was not discussed. We did have a small nativity that my mother put out during the holidays each year and we did occasionally attend Easter or Christmas services throughout my childhood. My walk began at the age of 8 and has had many bumps and bruises along the way. I’ve had to figure out a lot of things for myself.

There is nothing remarkable about me. I am just a middle aged woman living an average life in the United States. I have been married to my husband for twenty years and have been able to stay home while raising our three children. Our oldest is on her own, our second is a freshman in college, and our youngest is a sophomore in high school. When I read through history I wonder about the people that lived, loved and died and all that remains of them is a collective number in a few books. I sometimes panic and feel an urge to somehow make my mark on this world in such a way that I’m not one of the forgotten. I’m just one person out of billions on this earth at this time. Is my need for significance and purpose in this world at the root of my belief in God? I don’t think so. I do find comfort in the belief that God knows the very number of hairs on my head and that none of us (past and present) are just nameless, faceless numbers to Him.

I’ve gone through many transitions of thought in regard to my faith. There was first the innocent acceptance that later gave way to doubt and feelings of unworthiness. The desire to be good and perfect gave way to failure and despair. My life is marked by stumbling, falling, and getting back up again. So often the grace aspect of Jesus’ sacrifice is lost. It is not about what we do, but about what He has already done. It was finished on the cross and that is the good news. I believe that as a follower of Jesus Christ that it is my duty to spread that good news… to give hope to the hopeless, to love the unloved, to forgive the unforgiveable. It is not about theology, doctrine, rules or telling others how to live their lives.

I believe that each of us in born with a certain level of potential that we have no control over. I believe that we do have control over whether we reach that potential. The fact is as you look around at the people in your life you can see that everyone is different. Most people excel in certain areas and not in others. Intellectual superiority is taking God given potential for granted and for privilege when it should be taken for responsibility. That may sound like an elitist statement to some. However, it is not a statement to say that those of superior intellectual ability should automatically be the ones in control. I’m just an uneducated housewife so I am not talking about myself here. I’m talking about having respect for all regardless of their ability and people using what gifts and abilities they have with humility… whatever those gifts and abilities may be.

I believe arguments such as Old Earth vs New Earth Creationism and Evolution within the Christian community are distractions. Personally, I believe that God is God and He can do anything and is not bound by the same restrictions we are. Do I believe God created the Universe and the Earth in 6 days? I believe He could but I don’t know if He did. I do not see whether one believes the creation account is a literal 6 days or an allegorical six days as a salvation issue (meaning you have to believe in a literal 6 day creation to be saved) and I deeply resent any implication that if someone believes in Old Earth Creationism or the evolution/adaptation of life here on earth that they are picking and choosing what they want to believe. I see nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t understand that... because I don’t.


Political Policy Statement

I believe that the government has over reached its intended purpose. I consider myself a Conservative Republican but I don’t always fit in that box. I do not consider myself to be politically savvy and freely admit there is much I do not understand. However, I do consider myself to be somewhat politically aware. I am deeply concerned about our country and the implications for my children and future grandchildren as well as all people in general. I tend to sit back and observe in the political arena rather than actively engage and usually prefer to keep my opinions to myself. I do not like conflict and avoid it… yet find watching conflict play out amongst others interesting… although, not in person. I often find myself in the position of peacemaker.

Security

The most important issue for me is our nation’s security. Our borders need to be secured and illegal immigration needs to be stopped.

The best offense is a good defense but the fact is, we need both.

Freedoms

Life: I believe that life begins at conception. I am not against all birth control or sex education as long as abstinence is included. I do not feel educating about birth control or giving information as to where to get birth control (free or otherwise) is sending mixed messages… although, I believe just handing out condoms is. The fact is that it is a teen’s choice whether they engage in sexual activity or not. I prefer to know that kids have been thoroughly educated as to the dangers of sexual involvement outside of marriage which include emotional issues, sexually transmitted disease, and unwanted pregnancy. Abstinence is possible when it is a choice made by the individual practicing it. I believe it is the parents’ responsibility to decide when, where and how their child learns about sex. I am against abortion, IUD’s, the Morning After pill, and any other forms of birth control that do not prevent conception but implantation.

I do not understand those that say they are Pro-Life and yet Pro-Choice. You hear it all the time. Joe Biden is an example. He says that he does not feel he has the right to make that choice for someone else. Okay… I understand that. However, the Supreme Court mandated that abortion be legal throughout the United States and abortions are made available through federally funded pregnancy centers with our tax dollars. How is it right to dig into the pockets of those morally opposed to abortion and force them to participate in it in that manner? Don’t I have a moral obligation to fight having my money used in that way?

I am not for the death penalty for a couple of reasons. I don’t have a problem with criminals like serial murderers being put to death but… there have been many cases of death row inmates being exonerated through DNA testing. I would like to have the guilty given every opportunity to experience forgiveness in this life, but not at the expense of additional risk to society. The main reason I feel this way is the cost of defending an inmate on death row. It is staggering. I think that money would be put to better use by building larger prisons, investing in rehabilitative programs, and investing in preventative programs for children at risk.

Freedom of Religion: I believe we are free in this country to believe what we choose and to practice our faith. It seems to me that there has been a shift in this country and there is freedom of religion… but not so much if you are a Christian.

Gay Rights: I believe those individuals with sexual orientation issues are human beings first. I am not against civil unions or voluntary benefits for same sex partners (many companies do not provide health insurance for employees’ spouses or children). But it gets a little sticky in how to implement anti-discrimination laws. Some do not understand the current fight for gay rights/marriage and what the implications are for faith based businesses, ministries and even churches. There are many arguments that, on the surface, seem reasonable. What does it matter if gay people get “married?” Gay people are entitled to live their lives as they choose. If it doesn’t affect you personally, why do you care? Well… the thing is that if gay “marriage” is sanctioned by law it puts faith based organizations and business owners at risk. We live in a highly litigious society and it would only be a matter of time before these institutions, including churches, would come under attack.

Education: I believe it is ultimately the responsibility of the parents to raise and educate their children whether that is through the public school system, private school, homeschooling or some other means. I’m all for the privatization of the school system and free market principles being brought into the education arena.

We have had our children in public school, private school, charters and I am a 9 year homeschool veteran. Our oldest daughter is dyslexic and we were told by school staff that we needed to lower our expectations to what she was capable of… which they felt was a much reduced work load and testing orally. I do believe you need to assess each child as an individual and tailoring your approach to educating them is a good thing. However, I do not believe that not expecting a child to learn something or not have any pressure at all to succeed is good. You also have to take into account what the “real world” is like. Employers do not have differing expectations for differing people in the same roles. Being able to read, write and do basic life skills math is very important and those goals should be reached if possible and every avenue explored in order to reach that goal.

We have been careful to teach our children that it is not the world’s job to conform to them and their needs. This can be a fine line to draw when you are homeschooling and tailoring things to what your children need at that time, especially when it is different from their peers. The fact is not many people care what others’ individual struggles are unless they are personally affected. The formative years should be a time where kids are being prepared for the real world… not having it forced on them before they are ready.

Gun Control: Not for it. I am not an NRA member, nor do I own a gun. I’m thinking about it though.

Welfare: I do not believe the government should be involved in welfare programs. I think that would best be handled through the private sector and faith based organizations. Since welfare is government funded I don’t believe those receiving welfare benefits should be able to vote. It is incestuous in nature to have people dependent upon government programs given the power to keep those programs in place.

Affirmative Action: People should be given jobs according to their ability not their race, gender, or sexual practices.

Economics

I only have a rudimentary understanding of economics and have a hard time grasping things on a national and international level.

Taxes: I believe taxation without representation is alive and well here in America. I believe some taxation is necessary for the upkeep of roads, emergency services, administration, etc. However, funding for schools, social programs, grants, etc. should not be coming from the federal government. I understand the thinking that says if everyone throws a percentage into the pot then we will have that money to give out to those who are less fortunate. The problem is with how that money is spent. I don’t want our personal dollars going to programs that I find offensive whether they are for clinics that provide abortions or grants for despicable “art” or for promoting programs I do not support.

I cannot see the money coming out for taxes as our only contribution. When I drive by someone on the side of the road with a sign my first thought is not that the problem is with our government and that I should throw on a pair of green tights and join in on the pilfering of the evil rich so that the wolf disguised as Big Daddy Robin Hood can toss a few coins their way on my behalf. I don’t look away from those in need. I want to take the resources I have and use them in a way I feel is appropriate.

I do not understand how someone can think that only raising taxes for those making $250,000 a year or more will help our economy. I am an uneducated housewife but… I think those that make the most money are already paying the most taxes. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that by raising taxes at that level that it would have some affect on businesses? Wouldn’t that potentially affect the availability of jobs, especially within small businesses? Wouldn’t the loss of jobs adversely affect those further down the tax scale? I’ve heard trickle down economics don’t work but how is the loss of jobs due to tax increases for the employers providing the jobs going to help?

Healthcare: I feel that my view in this area is narrowed to personal experience and while I have opinions in this area I am aware that I do not have complete information nor do I have a cohesive concept of how things work in my mind or would work with healthcare reform. I do not believe socialized healthcare is something we want in this country. There are also problems with Universal healthcare. I am hoping that someone will come up with another more viable option soon.

Free Market: Capitalism makes the most sense to me!

The United States Role in the World
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Iraq: Regardless as to what the real reasons why we went in are... We need to finish it. Taking the necessary steps to hand Iraq back over to the Iraqi people is not something that can be mandated by a timeline. The sacrifices made by our troops must have a good ending for the Iraqi people.

Big Brother?: With the technological advances of the last century we are truly living in a global community. I do not see the United States as an island unto itself and separate from the rest of the world. It would behoove each of us to sit up and take note of the global scene and take steps to understand what is going on in the world as a whole.

United we stand. Divided we fall. This is true within our homes, churches, and communities. This is true for America as a whole. Housekeeping issues arise and conflict occurs but when outside the walls of our homes, churches, communities and our country I believe it is imperative to be united.

The United States lacks the resources to police the entire world. However, when neighbors and friends are being attacked we cannot stand idly by.

The United States had the capability to jam radio signals in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. The radio was being used to incite the killing of approximately 800,000 people over a 100 day period. Jamming the radio signals alone could have saved an untold number of lives there without any of our armed forces setting foot on their soil. It should be considered a crime.

Nearly six million Jews were annihilated in the Holocaust during World War II. That was two out of every three Jews living in Europe at that time. How is it that so many were killed before the world took notice and stepped in?

Hundreds of thousands have died in Darfur since 2003.

It is a hard fact of life that the use of force is sometimes needed to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I strive to be a Good Samaritan in this world and would like to think that my country does as well.