Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page
One of the problems with blogging so infrequently is that I often let major events pass without comment from me. Instead, I end up on the sidelines watching the drama unfold, shaking my head at what I’m seeing and hearing.
Take these Tea Parties. I have sat back and watched as time and again reporters have declared that these “teabaggers” are pawns of the Republican Party and Fox News, protesting Barack Obama’s tax increases against the super-rich. I have also watched as people pre-disposed to disliking both Republicans and Fox have taken those claims to be the truth.
For example, Francisco over at Jawa Report shares these comments left on a friend’s Facebook profile:
Yea…. PAY your taxes losers… we all pay ours… Quit b**ching!!!
This whole idea of the “Tea Party” is another example of the repubs being sore losers as they were replaced by a brother in the white house.
But what are the Tea Parties really about? It’s not about Republican or Democrat, income levels, tax brackets or even about paying taxes at all. It’s about a large segment of the American citizenry who are upset about massive debts our government has taken on against the will of the people in order to spend on bills and programs that are also against the will of the people.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I saw signs and protesters outside of government buildings in Downtown Portland last year to protest TARP while George Bush was still in office. Those same people are the ones organizing and attending these Tea Parties now that Obama is office.
We don’t like knowing that we will have to repay this money that we didn’t want to borrow in the first place. We don’t like the loopholes and the earmarks. In short, we don’t like how our tax dollars are being spent.
It’s really just that simple.
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?…
Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off…And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him…
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man…
But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be ccrucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will…And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself…
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man…
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee.
Here was the greatest miracle of human history. Earlier He had told them, “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). But they had not understood. Now they knew. He had died in misery and pain and loneliness. Now, on the third day, He arose in power and beauty and life, the firstfruits of all who slept, the assurance for men of all ages that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
On Calvary He was the dying Jesus. From the tomb He emerged the Living Christ. The cross had been the bitter fruit of Judas’s betrayal, the summary of Peter’s denial. The empty tomb now became the testimony of His divinity, the assurance of eternal life, the answer to Job’s unanswered question: “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).
Having died, He might have been forgotten, or, at best, remembered as one of many great teachers whose lives are epitomized in a few lines in the books of history.
Now, having been resurrected, He became the Master of life. Now, with Isaiah, His disciples could sing with certain faith, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).
Fulfilled were the expectant words of Job: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
“Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25–27).
Well did Mary cry, “Rabboni; which is to say, Master” (John 20:16) when first she saw the risen Lord, for Master now He was in very deed, Master not only of life, but of death itself. Gone was the sting of death, broken the victory of the grave…
And so, because our Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith. But what shall we use? No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
As His followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing His image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves. And so our lives must become a meaningful expression, the symbol of our declaration of our testimony of the Living Christ, the Eternal Son of the Living God.
It is that simple, my brethren and sisters, and that profound and we’d better never forget it.
Obama goes nuclear against the two lenders for issuing huge retention bonuses to their executives using bailout money:
Now before I talk about the new steps we’re taking to get credit flowing to small businesses across our country, I do want to comment on the news about executive bonuses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I think some of you have heard a little bit about this over the last few days. These are corporations that find themselves in financial distress due to recklessness and greed. Under these circumstances, it’s hard to understand how mortgage lenders at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac warranted any bonuses, much less $210 million in extra pay. I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping these companies afloat?
In the last six months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has received substantial sums from the U.S. Treasury. And I’ve asked Secretary Geithner to use that leverage and pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole. I want everybody to be clear that Secretary Geithner has been on the case. He’s working to resolve this matter with regulator James Lockhart.
But I think Mr. Lockhart and certainly everybody involved needs to understand this is not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s about our fundamental values. All across the country, there are people who are working hard and meeting their responsibilities every day, without the benefit of government bailouts or multi-million dollar bonuses. You’ve got a bunch of small business people here who are struggling just to keep their credit line open — that they are foregoing pay, as one of our entrepreneurs talked about, they are in some cases mortgaging their homes, and doing a whole host of things just in order to keep things afloat. All they ask is that everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, play by the same rules. And that is an ethic that we have to demand.
Yeah, I don’t expect he’ll be saying anything like this anytime soon either. I’m pretty sure demanding the ethic that everyone play by the same rules is reserved for those corporations that haven’t contributed huge sums of money to Democratic party leaders, including Obama himself.
In case you didn’t figure it out already, the above quote was simply an edited part of Obama’s speech about AIG bonuses. We all watched as outrageously outraged citizens were whipped into a frenzy by Democrats, threatening to bus demonstrators to AIG executives’ homes and to execute them with piano wire, yet the world remains strangely silent over automatic government pay increases and retention bonuses for the very organizations that got us into the mess we’re in right now. Go figure.
Seton Motley warns to not hold your breath waiting for the pitchforks and torches from the media.