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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obamacare a Political Loser for Democrats

Whatever the Supreme Court decides on Obamacare, President Obama
and the democrats will be the loser. If the Court strikes down Obamacare (as it
should), it would reverse the signature accomplishment of the Obama presidency.
Obama will then be justifiably labeled as having been the architect of one of
the greatest (if not the greatest) assaults on individual liberty in U.S.
history, and his critics will have the U.S. Supreme Court decision to back that
argument.

If Obamacare is upheld, conservatives will then turn to the
electorate and say, “Again, the courts let us down!” From the decision day to Election
Day the GOP will run ads declaring that the only way to then reverse the wildly
unpopular bill will be to elect republicans.

(This will probably be the topic of my next column.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

George Washington was a "One-Percenter"

With a win in Illinois, Mitt Romney continues to build on his delegate lead, and thus, on his air of inevitability, in the race for the GOP nomination for president. Also, as the weather gets warmer and the political season gets hotter, the Occupy Wall Street (or Main Street, or McDonalds, or your favorite park) crowd will again break out their tents and sleeping bags and get back to camping, chanting, defecating, fornicating, robbing, and raping—along with providing talking points—like “one-percenter”—to the democrats.

Of course, for months now liberals have painted Romney as a super wealthy Wall Street elitist—a “one-percenter” in the words of the Occupiers. Withan estimated net worth of between $150 and $200 million, Romney is certainly in the top one percent of the wealthiest Americans. As Thomas Sowell recentlynoted, “Can a man who has been defensive about his own wealth fight off the standard class warfare of Barack Obama, who can push all the demagogic buttons against Mitt Romney as one of the one-percenters?” The answer is a resounding “yes!”

First of all, Romney should point out that he is in pretty good company. According to 24/7 Wall Street, many U.S. Presidents were among the wealthiest (using 2011 dollars) Americans of their
time. In fact, according to 24/7’s figures, Romney would be far from the richest president in U.S.
history.

That honor would go to our first President, George Washington. With his vast amount of land (approximately 60,000 acres), his wife’s inheritance, and given that his presidential salary was two percent of the total U.S. federal budget in 1789, 24/7 Wall Street estimates that Washington was an elite “one-percenter” with a net-worth of about $525 million.

Thomas Jefferson was also a “one-percenter.” With his architecturally extravagant home, Monticello, containing 11,000 square feet of living space and perched on a 5,000 acre estate, Jefferson had an estimated worth of $212 million.

James Madison and Andrew Jackson were both worth north of $100 million, while John Adams, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams were all worth over $20 million.

Teddy Roosevelt was born into significant wealth and was the beneficiary of a large trust fund, which, of course would make him one of the most reviled of the “one-percenters.” His net worth was estimated to be $125 million. This means that if Abraham Lincoln hadn’t been such a slacker (worth less than $1 million), Mount Rushmore could have been named “One Percent Peak.”

Teddy’s fifth cousin and later U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt, was also born into privilege that qualified him as a “one-percenter.” As a youth, he made frequent trips to Europe, attended an elite boarding school, and later went to Harvard. The architect of the New Deal was also the beneficiary of a large inheritance. He had an estimated wealth of $60 million.

However, each of these pales in comparison to the Kennedy family fortune. Preceding his father Joe Kennedy in death, John F. Kennedy was unable to inherit his father’s vast wealth. And vast it was. Through stock, industrial, commodity, and real estate investing, along with what some have
deemed to be illicit means, Joe Kennedy accumulated a truly enormous amount of wealth. In 1957, when Forbes magazine published its first list of the richest Americans, Kennedy’s fortune was estimated to be between $200 and $400 million ($1.6 to $3.5 billion in today’s dollars). This placed him in Forbes’ top 20.

If alive today, perhaps President Kennedy, when addressing the Occupiers (if he were allowed to speak) would utter something like, “Ask not what your country can do for you, just ask a ‘one-percenter’ like me!”

The fact is that, whether or not they were “one-percenters,” all U.S. presidents, including liberal favorites like FDR and JFK, were very accomplished men. (Though Obama is BY FAR the least accomplished.) It would be nearly impossible to become President of the U.S. and not be a significantly gifted individual. Generally, leaders—whether political, business, spiritual, military, athletic, and so on—are by definition very gifted. In our capitalistic culture (what’s left of it), this generally leads to some, if not significant, financial success.

Despite the rantings of the Occupiers, financial success in and of itself is nothing to be condemned. In fact, the greatest social activist of all time, Jesus Christ, never condemned wealth or the wealthy. His message on wealth was not to let it get in the way of following Him. Also, when it comes to money, Christ taught us to be personally generous with however much we have.

In light of this, when examining a candidate’s personal finances, instead of focusing on his bottom line, a better indicator of whether he is fit to lead would be his personal generosity. If a candidate claims to care for the poor and less fortunate, did he put his own money where his mouth is, or as is too often the case, is he more focused on giving away other people’s money?

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Answering Steve Siebold

Per Steve Siebold’s letter to the editor in the Gainesville Times March 14: Yes, it would be immoral to associate oneself with an organization that has devoted itself to pornography—even if the “cause” might be deemed moral. In other words, (of course) the end does not justify the means. One would think that a man who, according to one of his many websites, “ranks among the top 1% of income earners in the professional speaking industry worldwide,” would be aware of this.

Obviously Mr. Siebold has built his house on a foundation of sand and resides in the flimsy world of moral relativism, as he declares that I was “suggesting that an agreed-upon set of morals has been established by society.” He concludes, “They have not. The religious community can kick and scream that the Bible dictates morality, but until they present sufficient evidence of its divine inspiration, they will continue to be marginalized.” Marginalized or not, when a person lives under a “morality” that justifies pornography, abortion, etc., is it little wonder that we are now debating “post-birth abortion?”

He then calls Ben Franklin an “atheist.” Franklin wrote his own epitaph which declares: “The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out, stripped of its lettering, and guilding, lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.”

Also, at a very crucial point at the Constitutional Convention in May, 1787, Franklin gave a short, but resounding speech. (The debate over representation was becoming very bitter, and the Convention was on the verge of breaking up.) In it he said, “In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered…I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of man.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?…We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it."

Doesn’t sound like an atheist to me. Mr. Siebold needs to take some of his vast “mental toughness” (see his website) and devote a little of it to studying American history.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Social Issues are really Moral Issues

One of the greatest deceptions perpetuated by the mainstream media concerning the American political scene is that whenever the “social issues” are prominent in election debate, conservatives lose. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote about an upcoming book by Jeffrey Bell—“The Case for Polarized Politics”—that helps dispel this myth.

“Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964,” notes Bell. “The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. . . . When social issues came into the mix—I would date it from the 1968 election . . . the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections.”

Bell concludes, as have many others, that American social conservatism began in response to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Thus, it is unsurprising that all of the most significant “social” issues in America today are sexual issues.

To borrow from pastor, author, and Christian apologist John MacArthur (as I have done before), “Within the moral realm in our society the conflict is almost exclusively about sex.” Abortion, fornication, homosexuality, divorce, and so on, he adds, are all sexual issues.

Therefore, the phrase “social issues” is a bit of a misnomer. Topics like abortion, homosexuality, marriage, contraception, and the like are not hot political issues simply because—as the word “social” implies—they relate to people’s personal lives. They are hot political issues because they reside deeply in the moral realm of our culture. We are not debating mere “social” issues; we are debating moral issues.

Being a nation that was “conceived in liberty,”—and for modern conservatism to have so wrapped itself up in the concept of liberty—it is often seen as a contradiction that conservatives wish to “legislate morality.” However, as Edmund Burke (considered by many to be the father of modern
conservatism) noted, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites…Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.”

Is there little doubt that when these words first came to Burke in the late 18th century, among other things, mankind’s sexual appetite was foremost in his thought? Since our founding we have had laws that govern moral, including sexual, behavior. Our Founders, and throughout our nation’s history, most of our lawmakers and judges understood well Burke’s implication that true liberty cannot exist without those “moral chains” which bind our “appetites.”

For decades now, and with significant success, liberals have fought to break those Judeo-Christian “moral chains” that they have deemed unjustly binding. For example, in late 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 ruling, overturned the Texas sodomy law, and therefore invalidated similar laws in the 12 states that still had them on their books.

In his dissent, Justice Scalia summed up the conservative position well: “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers' (the 1986 Supreme Court decision upholding Georgia’s sodomy law) validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today's decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.”

Scalia continued, “The Court embraces… the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” He concluded that, “This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation.”

“Laws without morals are in vain,” said Ben Franklin. In other words, all law is rooted in some morality. On morality, C.S. Lewis declared that, “Moral rules are directions for running the human machine. Every moral rule is there to prevent a breakdown, or a strain, or a friction, in the running of that machine.”

Liberals have not really ended all morals legislation; they are attempting to redefine what is moral. They want to rewrite the “directions” for running the “human machine.”

Consider Europe, where liberals often look for their new marching orders in their war against Judeo-Christian morality. Recently, the UK Telegraph reported that, in the Journal of Medical Ethics, an article entitled “After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” argues that newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life.”

The Journal’s editor said that those who made “abusive and threatening posts” about the study were “fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.” With such “values” (morals) espoused by the left, is there any wonder that conservatives have been—and I believe will continue to be—successful when it comes to debating the moral issues in America?

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More Liberal Idiocy on Display

Recently liberal cartoonist Garry Trudeau--author of the "Doonesbury" strip--decided to weigh in on the Texas law requiring an ultrasound before an abortion. (This topic has been in the news and on the blogs of late beacuse of the state of Virginia recently passing a similar law.)

According to various news outlets, "In the 'Doonesbury' strip, a woman goes to a Texas clinic to have the procedure and is forced to get a sonogram...A state legislator asks if she has been at the clinic before and, when she says she had been to get contraceptives, he replies: 'Do your parents know you're a slut?' Later, she says she does not want an intrusive vaginal examination but is told by a nurse: 'The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10-inch shaming wand.' The nurse adds: 'By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.' The cartoon ends with the woman going home to wait 24 hours before having the abortion, as the Texas law requires..."

The "intrusive vaginal examination" as rape line has been parroted by liberals for weeks now. For example, on Feb. 20 AJC columnist Jay Bookman wrote, "In Virginia, the Republican-dominated state legislature is close to enacting a law that would require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds to determine the gestational age of the fetus...such tests can be conducted only through “transvaginal ultrasounds” performed with the instrument above.

"Put candidly and clinically, the instrument must be inserted deep into a woman’s vagina and then manipulated until it produces a clear image. Versions of the bill have passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming margins (63-36 in the House; 28-11 in the Senate). Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican often mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee, has said he would sign the bill into law.

"Think about that: As a condition of exercising her constitutional right to choose, a woman in Virginia must accept a government-mandated physical probe into her body, a probe that serves no medical function whatsoever." (Though Bookman himself didn't specifically mention rape, plenty of his liberal lackeys who post on his blog took his cue.)

As I noted then, "But while exercising her 'constitutional right to choose,' a woman who is in the 1st trimester of her pregnancy who goes to an abortion clinic to kill her child, will have an ultrasound performed as part of her abortion procedure! (They just don’t show it to her, but the VA law requires that the woman be shown the ultrasound). Her cervix is then dilated by multiple thrusts of instruments of gradually increasing size. She then will have a curette (a scraping device) inserted into her uterus and the baby, along with the placenta, will be scraped out into a bowl. The woman might also have a suction device inserted into her uterus to suck out the baby and other contents."

In other words, the idea that the ultrasound is "rape" or even "intrusive" is completely bogus. Virtually EVERY abortion procedure ALREADY requires an ultrasound. As Commentary's Alana Goodman noted, "Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office [noted] 'To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.' According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards. '...If she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,' Schreiber told me."

Trudeau described Republican state moves on women's healthcare as "appalling" and "insane." What is truly "appalling" is the continued denial of liberals that what resides inside a woman's womb in another human being. Trudeau added that he thought the issue of reproductive freedom had been settled with the 1973 ruling Roe v Wade. In other words, if it's legal, it's okay, right? Well the ultrasound prior to abortion procedure is now legal in TX and VA, so it must be okay.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com