Archive - 2008
Who would have guessed that such a reasonable analysis of the Obama/McCain race would come from the Iranian government:
We are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational, even though we know American policy will not change that muchâ€¦
But before you make up your mind based on Iranâ€™s analysis, you should know that al Qaeda has endorsed McCain. From an article in WaPo (link):
"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bushâ€¦
In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had "exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy." It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.
"It will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaeda," said the posting, attributed to Muhammad Haafid, a longtime contributor to the password-protected site. "Al-Qaeda then will succeed in exhausting America."
Obviously, al-Qaeda has no hope of defeating us in any sort of conventional conflict. Therefore, they have a different strategy as bin Laden outlined in 2004: (link):
"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.
He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers."
"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.
He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.
Good thing we were too smart to fall for that and didnâ€™t get lured into a seemingly endless occupation of a Middle Eastern country that would cost us hundreds of billions of dollars right before our economy teetered on the verge of collapse..er..I mean, unfortunately, he's right that we have been (and many of us continue to be) eager to take the bait.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a proponent of capitalism (in concert with a robust regulatory framework to limit its potential excesses). However, I find it quite curious that the concepts of socialism and communism are so taboo. Furthermore, it seems especially strange that Christians, of all people, seem to consider communism/socialism as the 8th deadly sin. It's as if they think that all that is necessary is to cry "SOCIALISM!" to reveal any tax proposal or social program funded by a progressive tax system as blatantly un-American.
In a recent blog post titled "Is Capitalism Christian?", Pastor Bob Cornwall quotes Jose Miranda:
The notion of communism is in the New Testament, right down to the letter -- and so well put that in the twenty centuries since it was written no one has come up with a better definition of communism than Luke in Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-35. In fact the definition Marx borrowed from Louis Blanc, "From each one according to his capacities, to each one according to his needs," is inspired by, if not directly copied from Luke's formulation eighteen centuries earlier. There is no clearer demonstration of the brainwashing to which the establishment keeps us subjected than the officially promulgated conception of Christianity as anticommunist (Jose Miranda, Communism in the Bible, Orbis Books, 1982, p. 7).
To refresh your memory about the passages Miranda cites:
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
Of course, I understand that the voluntary charitable acts of community described in Acts 2 and 4 are not equivalent to a political system, especially the totalitarian ones of the historical and present-day communist regimes, where such actions are coerced. On the other hand, these principles of community and caring for one another and the least of us are clearly fundamental to the Christian worldview, yet most Christians, myself included, don't routinely put these principles to practice in a way that is consistent with the example of Acts 2. Ironically, it seems like some of the people who are most eager for the US of A to be an explicitly Christian nation are some of the same that are so strongly antagonistic to these particular Christian principles being implemented in our government.
The other thing that is funny is the way McCain and his supporters are so quick to brand Obama's proposals as socialist and as radically different from the system we've had in place ever since the income tax was instituted - as if McCain himself wasn't making many of the same arguments just a few years ago. Here's the video:
Folks are loving Orson Scott Card's opinion piece of the same title (link) in which he calls out the media for what he sees as its dishonesty in not assigning blame for the sub-prime crisis to the Democrats. Let me first say that I like Card's science fiction books and that I agree that the Democrats deserve some of the blame. However, I find it funny that the editor's note highlights that Card is a Democrat. From what I can tell from Card's actions of the last few years, he's a Democrat in the mold of Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman. Furthermore, an alternative explanation to Card's charge of dishonesty is that the press has not championed the theory that Card describes because reality is not as simple and straightforward as he claims. Obviously, giving too much credit to people who can't afford it has consequences, but half the sub-prime mortgages were from institutions not subject to the Community Reinvestment Act (link). Furthermore,
...the reason for the financial collapse is that debt was chopped up and marketed as mortgage-backed securities to financial institutions all over the world. If the debt hadn't been sold...the bad debt wouldn't have been integrated into the rest of the financial system and it would have just led to the collapse of the original institutions providing mortgages. In other words, it wasn't the debt itself; it was the very lucrative selling of the debt that got us where we are today.
It was Phil Gramm who championed the Financial Services Modernization Act that allowed that allowed those shenanigans. The blame doesn't just belong with the Dems.
In small groups weâ€™ve been studying spiritual formation. Hereâ€™s my response to one of the exercisesâ€¦
Recall the first time you sensed Godâ€™s presence and some of the ways God has revealed himself to you since then. Close the letter by giving thanks for all that you know of God now and for what you would like to know in the future.
I donâ€™t remember the first time I sensed your presence, but as a kid the times I felt closest to you were in worship settings, like at Bible camp or youth rallies. I have felt your presence many times, for example, in school and at work when things have worked out well for me in ways that seemed to have little if any connection with what I had done or choices that I had made. I could ascribe it to luck or chance, but I donâ€™t believe that is what it is. I know that all good things come from you, but I also understand that your servants also suffer. Sometimes I wonder if my life has seen so little adversity because I wouldnâ€™t be able to handle it if it came. As a parent and in my relationship with my kids, I have learned to better understand your relationship with me and your other children. I wonder how much of what I think I know about you is based on what you have revealed in the Bible and on what I have experienced versus how much is based on my cultural setting or what makes me comfortable. I trust that youâ€™ll help me see through those deceptions as you continue to reveal your true self to me. I am especially thankful for the faith that you have planted in me because I can also how easy it would be for me to not believe under other circumstances. Thank you.