Archive for December, 2008

So, about that

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 24, 2008 by Justin

Well, I’ve not got a lot for you today/this week. With Christmas and such I really don’t have a lot of time to write/think about what to write, so for now. I’ll just say, Merry Christmas.

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Exciting Stuff.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on December 19, 2008 by Justin

I know this is completely and totally outside of the realm of what I normally write about, but I’m very much looking forward to this movie. The only movies I have seen fit to block 2 hours of time out of my schedule for since February were the comic book movies (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Dark Night, and The Punisher). This is because I love comic books, comic book characters, and comic book/super hero movies. My favorite, all time comic book Character is getting his own movie…check it out.

Dangerous Ground

Posted in Political with tags , , on December 17, 2008 by Justin

Our country, right now, is treading on very dangerous ground, and I think few people realize just how dangerous it is. In the past few months we have seen the Congress of this country authorize a “bailout” of the financial industry, our President has said that he will bailout the auto industry (to be referred to as the UAW bailout henceforth) against the wishes of Congress, and the American People, recently that same president was also quoted as saying that he “had abandoned free market principals to save the free market.”

The financial industry came from a budget that Congress could not fund without borrowing the money from other countries. That alone should set off alarm bells in your head. In addition to this the bailout is dangerous because the federal government is taking ownership stakes in the companies it bails out. Oh, and the companies don’t have a choice if they get bailed out or not, the government tells them. Not only is this bad because the government is taking partial ownership of these companies, but also because the government is getting to pick the winners and losers, not the free market.

The President deciding to unilaterally move forward with the UAW bailout is also dangerous. This is dangerous in that he is going against the will of Congress, going against the will of the people, and once again, the government is picking the winners and losers. The House first passed the UAW bailout, only to have it stopped by the Senate who recognized that it was in fact a bailout of UAW, not the manufacturers. The Senate also realized that the bailout would only serve to postpone the destruction of the American auto industry unless major changes were made to make those companies competitive. Ask almost any American citizen, who is not employed by UAW the auto manufacturers, or doesn’t have a UAW family member if they want the UAW bailout passed, and most of them will tell you no. In moving forward with the UAW bailout we are funding three auto makers with government money, meanwhile “foreign” marks such as Toyota and BMW that are actually owned by some American via the stock market, and employ many Americans in South Carolina, Missouri and other states survive based on their profitability.

The concept of abandoning free market principles to save the free market is really dangerous. Basically, you’re poisoning the body to keep it alive. This works with Chemo therapy as a treatment for cancer, but its a dangerous proposition when it comes to governance and economics. By abandoning free market principles in favor of government control, you are giving power hungry people, more power. I can’t think of very many instances where the power hungry politicians in Washington voted themselves more power, to later relinquish that. Just like the politicians in Raleigh passed a “six month temporary sales tax increase” in 2002 that is still on the books today. Its like the saying goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” we cannot afford to continue giving government this much control over the economy.

I said all that to say this, the dangerous ground we are walking on, is on the edge of a slippery slope into fascism. One operational definition of fascism is that it is private ownership of the means of production, with government control. Right now, in this country, many people are afraid about their future, and they are turning to the government to solve their economic problems. It’s already been shown, by FDR, that government can’t solve a depression/recession. The country was no better off in 1938 than it was in 1932 when FDR took office and started implementing all his government programs. The thing that saved the country then was the necessity of production for the war effort, not the Tennessee Valley Authority or any other social program. The fascist Nazi party came to power in Germany as a result of the hard economic times the country was facing. The people, out of their fear, voted in a party that promised to create jobs and income through government control. We all know how that turned out for them. The circumstances in Russia were similar prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, which led to Stalin and Lenin. Don’t let fear and uncertainty in these economic times lead you to make similar mistakes.

on the state of American Christianity

Posted in Church, Political with tags , on December 13, 2008 by Justin

Nichole posted a blog that someone she knew had written, and then asked for responses, below is the comment I left in response.

I’m going to break my response down by concept.

“Christianity as a political facade”:
For those Christians that happen to be involved politically, or politicians that claim to be Christians this may be true in some cases, but for your average, everyday American Christian, like you or I this is simply not the case. Your average American Christian often doesn’t care about politics except every four years when the presidential beauty contest rolls around.

“the persons who founded this country were no more followers of Christ than the plane hijackers of Nine-Eleven.”:
In the cases of some of those people this is true, but others probably were really Christians. How can we 200+ years later look back on what was written about someone’s life and determine where their heart was with God. Especially when many people contest that its not our place to judge a persons salvation if they claim to be Christians when we know them on a personal level today.

“Christian’s duty to submit to authorities in the fourteenth chapter of Romans.”:
As this pertains to the people that were involved in the American revolution, these people chose to leave the authority of England for the Americas so they could live and worship freely, then England came along and tried to control what they did not establish. In addition, there were people in the American Colonies that did not come here from England, and somehow found themselves under British rule. The Revolutionary war was not about not submitting to authority, but rather if the country/people claiming authority really had that authority. Also, does submission to authority include supporting immorality? Its my personal opinion that the way the people living in the colonies were treated was immoral. They sent paper to diplomatically declare independence, and the British sent troops to kill them in response. The people that fought in the war were only acting in self defense, and in defense of their neighbors.

Selling our goods and not keeping storehouses:
The Bible also says that when we give our storehouses will be blessed, if we don’t have storehouses, they cannot be blessed. IRAs and 401ks also generate a source of income (fruit) if we have no income/fruit later in life when we may not be able to find employment because of our age; how can we tithe and give? If we don’t store up for ourselves by via retirement account (401k/IRA) then we’ll have to live off of social security, I thought we were supposed to look after ourselves and not be dependent on others. Or what about the fact that we are supposed to provide for our Children’s grandchildren; how can you accomplish this if you don’t have storehouses. In the passage in Luke 12 Jesus says, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” Not “be on your guard against having stuff.” Greed is defined as the love of money, not having money, or seeking to have money. Furthermore, it takes money to accomplish the things that God wants to accomplish, if we don’t have it, we can’t accomplish them. If you have been led to give, and you don’t in favor of putting money in your storehouse, that is a problem, but if you give what you are led to give, and still have money left to put in your storehouse, there is nothing wrong with that.

Christians being too busy fighting political battles to raise their kids and such:
This is only a select few. As I stated earlier, most Christians are mostly uninterested in these issues. However, the one’s that are *solely* interested in these issues are probably setting back the proper will of God which is to see the whole world come to know Him.

“stop whining that our tax dollars are going to support the undeserving and remember that Jesus’ blood was spilt for us who are thousand times more undeserving.”:
I agree that we should stop whining about it, the appropriate response is two fold. 1. Give to charities that effectively help those in need. 2. Go through the appropriate channels to lobby our government to decrease our tax burden, while maintaining respect for authority.

Further update on the auto bailout

Posted in Political with tags , on December 12, 2008 by Justin

It is now being reported that our outgoing president is going to override the wishes of the Senate, and the US people and use a portion of the 700 billion dollar bailout (intended for banks, and bailing out mortgages, at least that’s what they told us) to bailout the auto industry, should their failure become eminent. This Republican president, that I voted for in 2004, has set the conservative movement back years during his eight years as President, with his big spending ways.

At least they got something right.

Posted in Political with tags , , on December 12, 2008 by Justin

So far congress has rejected bailing out the Auto Industry. I hope they continue to do this. The mayor of Lansing, Michigan called into the local morning show on one of the talk radio stations today and was going on about how it was a double standard to bailout Wall Street but not the United Auto Workers Union automobile industry. I still think we shouldn’t have bailed out Wall Street either, but that’s another argument. The mayor also argued that it wasn’t the auto manufacturers fault but unfair trade agreements that put them in this position. Then he tried to say that it was a loss for American workers to not have this bailout. I guess he doesn’t realize that Toyota, and Hyundai, and BMW and a lot of the “import” auto manufacturers make cars in the US, too. They just do it in non-union states, therefore cutting their costs.

That’s all I have on that for today, giving you guys a short one.

Update – Just heard that Rep. Barney Frank (D, Mass.) has admitted that the bailout is about the workers, not the industry. Also, Boortz had some interesting things to say about the bailout, if you’re interested.

The follow up, as promised.

Posted in Political with tags , , on December 9, 2008 by Justin

Lets begin with some background. The founders of this country had a very limited view of what the role of the federal government should be. They believed that the federal government should protect the citizens of the country from foreign attack, regulate interstate commerce, and write laws for the purposes maintaining order and protecting people’s property, real or intellectual (writings and such). As a result of the need for money to fund a military to protect the country, congress was given the authority to tax the people “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence (sic) and general Welfare of the United States.” 1 . The first personal income tax was levied to pay for the Civil War, in 1861. The first peace time personal income tax was levied in 1894. “The rate was 2% on income over $4000, which meant fewer than 10% of households would pay any. The purpose of the income tax was to make up for revenue that would be lost by tariff reductions.”2 This tax was later deemed unconstitutional and removed. The 16th amendment then re-allowed for the taxation of income, and was sold to the American public that it would only be a tax on the rich. This tax was paid yearly, rather than being collected out of your paycheck before you got it, also known as with holdings. Tax with holdings were passed in the early 1940s during the funding of WW II, and were sold to the people that if they passed it they would not have to pay that years taxes, what the people didn’t realize is that the government planned to – and did – recuperate that money the following year by actually taxing people at a higher rate, which they didn’t necessarily realizes because it came out before they got their weekly paychecks. Basically, our current tax system was not intended at the creation of our country, and has only grown from the inception of the income tax, and income tax with holdings.

The interesting thing about government is that it has one major power that you don’t, the ability, to take from someone else their property, at gun point. You may be thinking, “At gun point? No one has ever come to me with a gun to get me to pay my taxes.” Try not paying them, I guarantee that when they subpoena you to appear in court for tax evasion the Sheriff will in fact be carrying a gun. And, when they find you guilty, and put you in jail, the bailiff at the court will be carrying a gun, as will the prison guards.

What’s all this got to do with selfishness? Go back to the first paragraph, “The 16th amendment then re-allowed for the taxation of income, and was sold to the American public that it would only be a tax on the rich.” The average Joe American that the government needed to approve this amendment to get it passed never thought they would be subject to the tax. They just thought they would receive some benefit from it. There have also been studies done that have shown the most people are willing to pay a higher tax themselves in order to see someone with more money have even more of theirs taken away by a tax. This is a result of wealth envy, and the desire to punish those who have achieved more. So I ask you, which is more selfish, wanting to keep what you rightfully earned, or agreeing to a small amount of tax, just so that someone with more money will get taxed at an even higher rate?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to paying taxes for the purposes of funding our military. I’m not opposed to paying taxes for the purposes of funding the FBI, CIA, NSA, or Dept. of Homeland Security. I’m not even opposed to paying taxes to fund the general expenses of government, I mean I’m sure it costs money to keep the lights on on Capital Hill. I am opposed to paying taxes for the purpose of giving a “tax credit” to someone who doesn’t pay taxes, if those people need help, I’d rather give that money to a charitable organization that will help them help themselves, and will actually produce results. I am opposed to paying taxes for the purpose of subsidizing E85 ethanol to make it cost competitive with real gas, based on the myth that it is better for the environment. I would rather have that money to spend on a car produced by an automaker that’s making advancements in fuel efficiency. I am opposed to paying taxes so that David Price can buy votes by getting farm subsidies for NC farmers that lost crops due to a late frost. I would rather spend that money on apples those very same farmers produced and are being sold in the store. I am opposed to paying taxes, to pay debt, on a government bailout of business that either made poor decisions and placed themselves in a position to fail, or even worse businesses that were told by the government3 to make poor decisions and place themselves in a position to fail. I would rather keep my money, and have the opportunity to buy a house, therefore injecting more money into the mortgage/real estate market, and have the opportunity to invest that money into our financial markets. This would provide a more real turnaround than some tax payer supporter bailout.

Notes
1. Article 1, Section 8; US Constitution
2. Wikipedia US Income Taxes
3. An entry on this topic