Yes, this blog was hacked. I guess they figured since I wasn’t posting they would.
Bill O’Reilly is not particularly conservative. He’s a Catholic and holds some social-conservative views but he’s mostly a squishy moderate. He is also a pompous ass and he gives Republicans and Conservatives a bad name when he spouts off on topics where he is ignorant, which tend to be all economic issues.
He’s particularly infuriating when it comes to 2 key topics in this election year: Insurance companies and oil companies. There are some common threads. Both have lower than average profit margins. Both are heavily regulated and in both cases government interference in the market place is resulting in price distortions.
This has been going on for years but has come to the fore in recent broadcasts in conjunction with the return to $4 gas prices. Tonight he invited a liberal Democrat mayor to debate and hilarity ensued. O’Reilly ran up against his own circular logic when he found his guest agreeing with pretty much everything he said.
Wise people know what they don’t know. O’Reilly “bloviates”, blissfully ignorant of his shortcomings. He is emboldened by his frequent guest, Lou Dobbs, another clueless charlatan who recently advanced a crackpot theory that Bill blindly subscribes to.
O’Reilly’s “theory”, such as it is, is that evil oil companies are choosing to ship domestically-produced oil to China, causing shortages here and driving up prices at the pump. He then contradicts himself by stating that supplies are up due to the lagging economy.
In the next segment Monica Crowley countered with the exact metrics that O’Reilly and Dobbs are missing and was rudely dismissed. It happened again with John Stossel. How long will these respected journalists put up with O’Reilly’s abuse? What are those inconvenient truths?
1. Oil companies have low profit margins, in the single digits. The impact is less than a dime per dollar. So remove the oil company profit and the $4 drops to $3.64. Problem solved, right? O’Reilly laughed at Crowley, rolled his eyes and blathered about “record profits”. This is the language of the left. Then he made snide remarks about the Beverly Hillbillies. That is the language of children.
2. Oil is fungible, meaning that a barrel of oil here is pretty much the same as a barrel of oil half way around the globe. More supply here adds to global supply and lowers the price for everyone. Obama has banned drilling off-shore and on-shore, particularly in Alaska. That is a core component of the high prices we see today.
3. Shipping costs. Why would an oil company ship U.S. produced oil to China when it is cheaper, and more profitable to sell it here? It’s simple, they don’t. We are net importers of oil. We lack pricing power for this reason.
Will O’Reilly wise up? Will he invite a guest to debate who has some professional knowledge of how the oil markets work? How about Walter Williams to give him an entry level tutorial on Economics 101? I am not going to hold my breath. The Chicago Tribune won’t print my letters so I seriously doubt that my “pithy” rebuttal will be read on The Factor.
Instead I’ll just be a good Capitalist, and stop buying O’Reilly’s product.
Anyone care to join me?
I have a suggestion for the Republican Party. I am not sure if we can get the various big-government hypocrites, reach-accros-the-aisle centrists, and other wishy-washy RINOs to agree, but how about issuing a statement like this:
We, the elected representatives who call ourselves Republicans do hereby promise to tell the whole truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth. We promise to stop claiming we are “cutting spending” when all we are doing is lowering, in rare instances, the rate of spending increases.
We promise to stop using the term “Social Security Trust Fund” because there is no such thing. Every penny ever collected for that program has been spent and we are dependent on current and future tax payers to fund the program. This is unsustainable.
We will request the same honesty from our Democratic counterparts but we will hold to this pledge with or without them. It is long past time that someone in this great nation did the right thing and we will proudly execute our sworn duties to uphold the Constitution.
We promise you, the American tax payers that balance their budgets at home, that we will do the same here in Washington.
We begin today. In November we will ask for your vote. With your help we can get America back on the road to fiscal responsibility. Join us on the only true path to prosperity before it is too late.
I hear a lot of complaining about the Republican Party these days. I share their frustration. How could it come to this? As the fourth year of the Obama era begins the state of the union is shaky at best. In 2008 an inexperienced leftist who donned a centrist disguise beat a weak opponent partly because the electorate was in such a state of shock that they were willing to ignore myriad red flags. I refer to his ultra-liberal voting record, murky background, radical friends and shady political pals. A lapdog media wasn’t interested in doing any vetting — opting instead to just cheer-lead.
The recent State of the Union was full of the same old stuff: congratulating himself for perceived accomplishments and complaining about Republican obstructionism. It’s pure trash and he knows it – but he’s betting that the American electorate will swallow it once again.
Anyone curious enough to look beyond the pliant press would have found that Obama’s speech was in many instances a word-for-word rehash of his previous “SOTU’s” here:
Further analysis shows his tax claims to be demonstrably false, here:
With evidence like that this election should be easy right? Obama is a now known quantity and the mask has been ripped off the entire Democrat Party. They marched in lockstep to shove Obamacare down our throats, bypassing an honest legislative process and ignoring the will of the people, including those in uber-liberal Massachusetts who voted for Scott Brown on that issue alone. They have reclaimed the crown as the biggest spenders – quickly eclipsing the Republicans of the previous era. Annual deficits are now running $1.5 TRILLION and we have nothing to show for it.
We should be planning our election night parties – and yet…
It is a mess. Many are fearful that we’re paving the way for Obama to be re-elected. From a very large field full of flawed candidates we’re left with a clueless Mitt Romney fending off desperate attacks from a flailing Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party seems to be doing the Democrats’ dirty work for them. We’re told by self-proclaimed experts that Romney is the only “electable” candidate and yet the guy has no track record of winning. The one time he did he passed a government-run health care bill that paved the way for the mess we’re trying to get repealed.
While Newt’s failures as Speaker of the House have been misrepresented – and his major victories diminished – Mitt is mostly given a free pass. Santorum is the non-Romney of the month but he is a lightweight punching out of his weight class. Ron Paul is given exactly the attention he deserves: credit for his criticism of our dangerous fiscal / monetary policy and scorn for his dangerously naïve foreign policy. Has anyone noticed that he is attracting the youth vote?
But how did the Republican Party let this happen? Well, let’s think about it for a minute. Who is the Republican Party? It’s the candidates who run as Republicans and the people who vote for them. It’s the current crop of elected officials who still self-identify with the party and caucus with them. Let’s not forget the Murkowskis of the world who are only Republican when it’s convenient, or the traders like Jeffords and Specter who changed teams. It is also the RNC – but they really only get involved AFTER the primaries, funneling money where it is most needed in closely fought general elections.
The candidates are a reflection of what we as voters demand. For too long we settled for mushy compromising centrists like Bush and McCain who did nothing to curtail spending or the rampant encroachments on our freedoms. I am not letting the Republicans in Congress off the hook. Spending bills start there. We have a President – not a king. Obama is clearly irritated by that. But the Republicans have not stood united as a party and held their ground. They should have been there all along saying. “We simply cannot afford this level of spending. We can’t defend our country and fund out-of-control entitlement programs. We cannot suspend the laws of economics to give houses to those who cannot afford mortgage payments. We will destroy our economy if we do.”
Nope. They reached across the aisle and danced around the third rails of politics and took the easy way out. McCain was one of them and Newt Gingrich was too. Romney pretends to “Mr. Private Sector” but he didn’t trust it to deal with the health care industry. It is no wonder attacks on him have stuck.
So the Tea Party was born. They are more loosely organized than the GOP. They do not have the big money yet. They only have a few true believers in office now; young leaders like Marco Rubio. Old phonies like Newt are merely pretenders trying to harness their energy. But the Tea Party activists at least have clear principles: smaller, efficient government; low, flat taxes; balanced budgets: strong foreign policy; free markets.
The debates are a disgrace. Who agreed to this? The RNC? This was a blown opportunity to clarify what the GOP platform is to be. We should be discerning not just where the candidates are different but where they agree. Liberal TV commentators should not be involved. Their slanted, “gotcha” questions waste precious time and give the Democrats advantages they should not be granted. Who lets the other team into the huddle?
Who are the party “leaders” who convinced Chris Christie and Paul Ryan not to run? Why didn’t those candidates seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? If Romney wins and does well, he is odds-on to run again and make it an 8 year wait for GOP contenders. Then maybe the pendulum swings left again. If Romney wins and lacks the will to make the bold moves we won’t get the recovery we need. Voters will tire and be susceptible to more “hope and change”. There are lots of ways that it adds up to a 12 year wait for these rising stars. This is their best chance and our best chance.
Now we are in a primary cycle where the voters are unanimous in their support for “none of the above” Not Romney and not the non-Romneys either. I think a brokered election would be thrilling and historic — but wait – the GOP wants to screw that up too. Their idea of a “White Knight” late-entry candidate?
Jeb Bush. (Crickets)
Are they tone deaf? Sure, I know all about Jeb. He’s the smartest Bush. That is beyond irrelevant. This country is not in the mood for another Bush while still suffering from a great deal of the fallout from the financial crisis that began during his brother’s term. Sorry Jeb.
I am still optimistic. True change does not happen quickly in a world still suffering from an epidemic of incumbency. Only we can impose the term limits that are so desperately needed.
They say we get the government we deserve. I am sure I am not the only one who feels I deserve better than this. I work, pay taxes, get informed, get involved and then vote.
There is a battle for the soul of the GOP. There is a call for return to core principles as opposed to watered-down liberalism or “compassionate conservatism”. The Democrats are in a state of denial about theirs. Obama is being attacked from the left for not doing enough. Incredible. “Moderate” Democrats don’t seem bothered that their party has been taken over by de facto socialists.
The silver lining in this mess is that at least Republican voters are showing that they care about character as this search for the non-Romney goes on. Democrats were too eager to embrace scripted charisma in an empty suit. We can do better. We will. Hopefully soon.
GOP voters are being told that Mitt Romney is our only chance. Rubbish. This comes from otherwise intelligent types like Michael Medved who committed to pathetic loser McCain early in the 2008 campaign.
The latest anti-Romney is Newt Gingrich. I don’t have to list the complaints here; they are well known — Mitt’s mistakes are also.
What’s maddening is it seems “they” have decided that Mitt’s mistakes are forgivable and Newt’s are not.
Now, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi for a TV commercial is stupid — and doing it to promote the global warming agenda is worse — but many fell into the climate trap and are now reversing themselves. That is the right thing to do if you couldn’t see then that it never passed the smell test.
Yet Romney is forgiven for spearheading Massacare, the precursor to Obamacare. Mitt wants to pretend there are major differences. Nonsense.
If you don’t understand that government control at any level can only make health care and insurance worse then you’re too dumb to be dog catcher, let alone President.
President Obama’s response to the continued-weak economy and nonexistent job growth is seemingly limited to giving angry speeches, and offering vague plans that don’t address the situation. He called a joint session of Congress to deliver a speech in which he would reveal the details of his long-awaited “American Jobs Act”. He insisted that Congress “pass it right away”—but it didn’t actually exist yet. Now he has latched onto the “Buffett rule”, and a deliberately deceptive representation of the current tax code. Campaigning on a promise of tax hikes is political suicide.
The GOP lacks a unified voice to respond to this. This is not a surprise—they are not unified. One of the key reasons the “Tea Party” came into existence was frustration with a rudderless GOP. Romney and Perry are presenting very different views on entitlement reform and other crucial issues. Since there is no consensus, it presents an opportunity for a candidate to exploit that vacuum and create the theme for 2012. The next GOP nominee will be the one that best articulates a winning vision of the future. A response that outlines an alternative agenda, with a specific set of policy alternatives, could propel a GOP candidate into the nomination. It would look like this:
Our economy is still stagnant, with high unemployment and $4 gas. A “double dip” is possible. President Obama has responded with more speeches. His latest strategy is based on the musings of Warren Buffett. His proposal will feature what he calls “The Buffett Rule”. He claims he wants to hike taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” but he has repeatedly called for tax hikes on those making more than $200,000.
Warren Buffett and the president are intentionally misleading the American people. They are suggesting that income tax rates and capital gains tax rates are the same thing. They’re not—and the president knows it. The left-leaning media is not eager to clear this up, so I will.
Many have suggested that Warren Buffett simply soothe his guilt by writing a check to the U.S. Treasury—but that misses the point. We want Warren Buffet to continue to invest in the best American companies. As much as I’d like Mr. Buffett to back up his words with actions, I think the proper response is to look at our tax code.
The U.S. already has a very progressive income tax code with the top earners paying 35%. IRS statistics show that the top 1% is paying 39% of all income taxes. Virtually every dime we invest is left over from income that has already been taxed. We tax long-term capital gains at a lower 15% rate for very important reasons. We want to encourage investment, and we want investors to feel they can move their capital to a new investment without being trapped by the tax code. This is essential to the formation of new businesses and the growth of the economy.
When Warren Buffett buys stock in a company he is providing the seeds for growth. With that infusion of capital, young businesses can build new plants and hire new employees. This is precisely where jobs come from—not failed government programs. I want Warren Buffett and other experienced financiers investing that money. When government reallocates that money we get scandals like Solyndra.
When tax time rolls around Warren Buffett behaves like every other tax payer. He takes steps to keep his tax bill as low as legally possible. He limits himself to a $100,000 salary to avoid the income tax he wants to impose on others. He holds his investments for the long haul to avoid the higher, short-term capital gains tax rate. He avoids paying lots of unnecessary brokerage commissions. Investors should emulate what Mr. Buffett does—and ignore what he says when he is making political speeches.
President Obama says he want to raise taxes on the rich—but there just aren’t enough of them around to pay for his spending surge. If we don’t significantly cut spending, the certain outcome is higher taxes, especially on the middle class. For too long, politicians of all stripes have avoided making the tough decisions where spending is concerned. The 25% increase in spending we’ve seen under the Obama administration makes that easy. I suggest a “last in / first out” method to eliminate entire programs. I’ll start by repealing Obamacare. Democrats are eager to return to the tax rates of the Clinton era. Fine, let’s match that with a return to the spending levels of that era; levels held in check by a Republican Congress.
The clear alternative to the toxic policies of the Obama administration, and the Democrat-controlled congress, is to foster a pro-business climate in America. Our corporate tax rate is among the very highest. If we want to compete globally, and stop outsourcing jobs, we need to lower it. We need to keep the capital gains tax rate low for reasons already outlined. Even President Clinton knew this, which is why he lowered that rate from 28% to 20% in 1997. The economy boomed and revenues increased. In 2008, candidate Obama rejected this economic truth when he famously told Charlie Gibson he’d raise capital gains tax rates for reasons of “fairness.”
Studies have shown that when top tax rates were as high as 90% under FDR, or as low as 28% under Ronald Reagan, the income tax revenue collected stubbornly remained around 8% to 9% of our nations GDP. When top tax rates were lowered under Presidents Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush, revenues increased. Revenue reductions have always been a result of recessions—so let’s stop having them. Let’s stop punishing the job creators and unleash their entrepreneurial spirits. Let’s stop practicing class warfare and the politics of envy, and focus on the economic freedoms that have made this country great. Free-market capitalism has been the growth engine of this country since its founding. The bailouts and tax loopholes are cronyism—not capitalism. We see that in evidence now with the Obamacare waivers for the president’s chosen favorites.
The flat tax is working around the globe. Countries that struggled under Soviet oppression and centralized planning are thriving now. We can simplify our tax code and eliminate the loopholes and provisions for special-interest groups.
We know the best way to increase revenues is to get the economy growing. We can ignite this economy with a spark from the energy sector. This sector has not just been neglected by the Obama administration—it has been targeted for destruction. Drilling bans, an out-of-control EPA, green-energy boondoggles and a weak dollar policy have resulted in $4 gas across the nation. By tapping our vast domestic energy sources we can create real jobs that can’t be outsourced. That will increase revenue to help close budget gaps. Lower prices at the pump will help everyone, from commuters to businesses that have struggled with increased transportation costs. We’ll help stave off the inflation that is already hindering our economy. Maybe most importantly, we’ll stop sending our dollars overseas to nations that harbor terrorists.
President Obama’s policies have failed. He wants to continue down that path. We need to go forward. We know what works. Low tax rates, restrained spending and pragmatic energy policies will foster an environment in which businesses create jobs. America has been a 200+ year experiment in economic freedom. Let’s throw off the economic shackles the Obama administration has strapped on us and make America great again.
We can debate with the left about economics until we’re blue in the face. We can show them Laffer Curves and explain how supply side economics harnesses basic human nature via incentives. Many of us have tried.
Here’s an easier way:
Simply show them today’s column by Alan Reynolds in the Wall Street Journal (LINK).
Or simply show them this graphic:
Some people are just stuck on stupid.
On target analysis from Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty in today’s Wall Street Journal. The math on these deals is overwhelming. The government has been in the habit of making myriad promises it simply cannot keep.
I watched Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on 60 Minutes last night. It was an awful interview with the odious Scott Pelley serving up carefully scripted questions that attempted to focus the blame for the ongoing economic mess solely on banks and Wall Street without a mention of the failed government policies and corrupt politicians that pushed them.
Bernanke was fully compliant in this spin cycle.
Bernanke’s arrogance is a danger to us all. He fancies himself a student and expert on the depression. He holds the myopic view that it was purely the result of the Fed at that time keeping a too-tight hold on the money supply. This is simplistic and wrong. Protectionism and a tax hikes played major roles.
Bernanke thinks he can solve this problem all by himself. If he wants to do us all a big favor the next time he’s in front of Congress or a TV camera he should note that even if the Fed did everything right they do not control tax policy or create the mountain of regulations that strangle our economy. He does not balance budgets or create the frightening deficit.
He should do his job and insist that Congress do theirs.
We need a Fed head that will remind us all that no one has ever devalued their way to prosperity and that printing money does not offset government mandated pyramid schemes. The next President should appoint a straight talking, free market advocate as Fed chairman. A stable currency is a basic necessity.
Ethanol is an inefficient and corrosive fuel that is consuming 40% of our corn crop and sucking up billions of tax payer dollars in subsidies. Each gallon of this scam fuel requires 1700 gallons of water and is creating massive pollution problems from the farm runoff.
It’s bad for the economy and the environment.
We need to end these programs entirely ASAP.
We’ve been hearing about earmarks for a while now. They’d like us to think they’re complicated. They’re not. But a simple stance on such a simple issue is tricky when we have rational voices weighing in on both sides. Krauthammer and Inhofe are reliable, good guys but they’ve explained that by eliminating earmarks we don’t cut spending-just shift the power of specific allocation of funds from the district’s congressman to the executive branch. Fine. Don’t allocate the funds. Most of these earmarks are federal funds used for local projects. It’s pork. If this stuff is so important then let the locals do it with local dollars.
But what really gets my blood boiling is not the “watching sausage made” excuse for the process-it’s the total dismissal of the cost by nearly everyone, including both McCain and Obama during the election. How many candidates have we heard say, “Well, it’s only 1.5% of the budget so it won’t have an impact in cutting spending.”
Never mind that our elected officials have an obligation to watch every penny! Never mind that politicians who don’t watch the small stuff can’t be trusted with the big bucks! Never mind that bribes are made in such ways!
Never mind. Just try this simple test:
Go up to a guy making $200K a year-you know, right at the “rich” threshold-and tell him you need 3 grand cash for a turtle tunnel or one of the other idiotic expenditures of our worse than useless congress. Then tell me 1.5% doesn’t matter.
Check out Sen. Tom Coburn’s waste list here: LINK
Just added, Sen.Coburn on earmarks in NRO: LINK
Can we count on Obama’s Justice Dept. to vigorously pursue the myriad incidents of voter fraud? No. It’s not even election day and I’m furious.
If you’re not angry yet you will be.
This is a cottage industry for the Democrat Party.
What a pleasure it has been to watch the smiling faces of the rescued miners as they are reunited with their families and friends. What a great international team effort. What a pleasant break from the non-stop BS as we approach the mid-term elections.
This will not get a lot of attention-but it should. The recently passed, so-called “financial reform” bill included a provision for a “Consumer Financial Protection Agency”. Obama is appointing Elizabeth Warren to oversee the creation of this agency.
There will be no senate hearings. Just add her to the list of Czars. While the TEA party impacts the primaries and the GOP is set to make significant gains, the Obama gang keeps pushing their extreme left agenda in any way they can that doesn’t include our vote.
Never mind that the bill does nothing to address our real financial problems, specifically ignoring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Democrats are not interested in the truth-only advancing their agenda. They will not dismantle the agencies or end the policies that resulted in the creation of dangerous mortgages and the forcing of banks to traffic in them-but they’ll spend billions of our hard earned tax dollars to create an agency to “help” us avoid the traps they created and continue to protect.
This whole agency is a big “nanny state” monstrosity, but the selection of Elizabeth Warren guarantees that it will be as awful and intrusive as possible. Here is a great column by Alan Reynolds that appeared in Investors Business Daily a few weeks ago.
From National Revue’s Jim Geraghty in his (free) Morning Jolt newsletter:
“we all know that Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people”
Sign up here: LINK for free newsletters like this from NRO online. Sorry if you find this addictive and cuts into too much time. I’ll count on readers to maintain their own internet discipline. 😉
For most of Daley’s 20+ years I endured the naive platitudes of his adoring fans “Oh the city looks so pretty”. My reply remains unchanged: At what cost?
Now we are finding out. The budget is in tatters with the Skyway sold and more recently the parking meter fiasco. The balance sheet is depleted. More debt and fewer assets, sold at huge discounts to true value, all rammed through without study or debate by methods that would Nancy Pelosi blush-if her fake face can still do that.
On top of the obvious financial malfeasance there are all the dirty deals, some proven, many more that just stink.
Daley’s retirement is a part of a new emerging pattern: career political hacks bailing out with their amassed wealth and leaving a mess for some other poor slob to figure out and for us to pay for.
The TEA party is having a major impact in elections nationwide and yet Illinois lags behind as evidenced by the GOP nomination of the pathetic Mark Kirk. Chicago level politics is worse. The power struggle will be a sight to see. Will there be a white knight like Paul Vallas stepping up to the plate? Will voters wake up or succumb to more pay to play corruption.
I am not optimistic. Rahm Emanuel. Gag me.
Stocks dropped today on yet another lousy housing report. This is a problem that is just not going to go away anytime soon and even if there was a quick fix the Obama administration would not be able to identify it-let alone resort to the free market principles required to allow it to work.
Liberals are holding fast to their silly explanations for what caused the economic slump, market crashes and high unemployment. They blame Wall Street or resort to their tired mantra of “tax cuts to the rich”. It is sad. Among the voters this just shows a real deep lack of intellectual curiosity. Among the elected politicians it shows a dangerous ignorance.
We’ve already covered the ripple effects of sub-prime loan packages that destroyed Bear Stearns and Lehman along with many smaller players here: LINK
But let’s just focus on home prices and home owners for a minute.
How bad is it?
Let’s look at some charts. The Case Shiller Index / (Prices in real terms) and one other chart show a bubble peak in Q1 2006 with prices now reflecting 2000 levels. See here LINK and here LINK. Or just Google it and find your own data source. (Note: Chart one reverts to default and you need to play with it to isolate the decade.)
We are now moving back closer to the long term average. There is no guarantee that we don’t dip below that line at least for a while.
By that measure almost every home purchased in these last 10 years is worth less today because the buyer paid more than the long term trends and averages (bubble prices). Those buying near the 2005/ 2006 peak may be experiencing devastating declines. Not all these buyers were “flippers” or scammers. Many were hard working kids who’d saved for a down payment and jumped in fearing that prices would go even higher. Everyone was victimized by this insane liberal housing policy. Some are or will be bankrupted by it. Some will have credit scores destroyed. Kids college plans may be altered. Retirement postponed. The construction industry has been destroyed. Every sector of the economy is feeling the fallout. It will take years to repair-longer if Washington keeps making the same mistakes.
There are some topics that may not appear on your radar screen. Is there anyone unaffected by housing prices. Is there anyone reading this who does not own a home or plan to?
This year’s elections are crucial. We need to punish the Democrats for supporting Obama’s socialist agenda and we need to be sure the GOP embraces some core principles best outlined by the various TEA parties and the “Contract From America”. LINK
We need to hold their feet to the fire and we need to get informed, get involved and get ready for 2012 and beyond. Stay angry.
It has been evident since the OJ trial that jurors are not up to the task. They do not understand the concept of reasonable doubt-specifically the definition of reasonable. It is sad but prosecutors need to dumb down their arguments to the lowest common denominator and judges need to make clear to jurors what their obligations entail.
It was evident to most of us that Blago was a crook without the benefit of tape recordings. I am left to wonder where we’d be if party power brokers hadn’t thrown Paul Vallas under the bus years ago. Illinois has such a long way to go.
There are reasonable arguments to be made as to why the government should not intervene to stop the building of a mosque right next to Ground Zero. The first amendment says that the “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” That is not what this is about.
While this issue is not excessively complicated it is certainly not that simple. Sure we have a first amendment but we also have zoning laws and community standards. Intending to build a mosque at that location is an extremely inappropriate gesture at best. Reasonable arguments can also be made that much darker intentions are behind it. More on that later.
The statements of support by NYC Mayor Bloomberg and now President Obama are pathetic. They are attempting to take the easy way out. They will be held accountable by the voters of America who know this is wrong. The acceptable response for a politician who prefers to hide behind the first amendment would be to say, “Look, I am a strong supporter of our constitution and particularly the first amendment right to practice whatever religion you choose. This however is a situation that calls for balance. There is a proper time and a proper place for religious expression and the Muslim community should consider the feelings of others. Ground Zero is a sacred place. A show of respect for that would go a long way toward advancing the Muslim image here in America. It may not be within my power to prevent the building of this mosque but I am asking that out of respect for the 3,000 lost souls that perished here that another site be chosen.”
I prefer the more direct approach. Expose the true intentions of those pushing this agenda. The main players in the push to build this mosque have ties to terrorism. The sources of funding are suspect. Muslims have a history of building mosques on top of churches in conquered lands. LINK
As for the freedom of religious expression, Islam presents another problem. For Muslims there is no division between their religion and their political structure. Sharia law is what you get when Muslims are in control. The results are horrifying. The recent cover of Time Magazine gives some perspective here: LINK
A deeper analysis from American Spectator is here: LINK
As always Krauthammer nails it: LINK
Those that are pushing for this 13 story mosque to be built are not telling the truth. “Takeyya” is the sanctioning of lies to protect or advance Islam. We are being asked to be tolerant of the most intolerant people on earth. Many Americans simply don’t know enough about Islam to understand the implications here. I suggest this movie as a place to start: LINK
On a personal level my religious views are pretty simple. I was raised by Catholics. I went to Catholic schools from age 6 to 18 and received a solid education there. As for the religion, it didn’t take. Nothing earth shattering-it just doesn’t work for me. I think life is about pondering the mysteries and I have little use for those that presume to have all the answers. Certainly we live in a far different world than existed in the time of Christ or Mohammed. We have explanations for many of the mysteries of those times. We know the earth is not flat and that the solar system and universe is vast. Yet the biggest mysteries remain. It will always be so.
I live in a world of believers of various faiths. I am comfortable there. I attend weddings and funerals. I found it interesting when I studied the world’s religions in school and I rather like some of the concepts. When religion preaches tolerance and fair treatment I have no conflict. “Do unto others…” is a good rule to live by. But when your religion impels you to tell me how to live my life the line has been crossed. The Jehovah’s Witnesses who rang my doorbell know how I feel.
I am proud to be an American. I think our Declaration of Independence and Constitution have done more to advance peace and prosperity than anything written before or since. We are guaranteed freedom to practice the religion of our choice so long as it does not trample on the rights of others. A religion that advocated kidnapping and cannibalism would not be in synch with our Constitution so clearly there are limits to even the first amendment. It has been expressed in the past as the right to yell fire in a crowded theater-there is no such right. I am also guaranteed the right not to practice any religion at all. Islam does not respect that right. In this clash of Islam and our Constitution I choose the latter. The President swore an oath to defend that Constitution. It appears he needs reminding.