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Read My Lips: No Taxes?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 8:34 PM

Mr. Former President: Thanks.

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:27 PM

In part, Clinton stated, “I thought the White House did the right thing in just saying 'we probably shouldn't have said that.'” He continued, “You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in a while. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That's what I think.”

Unlike other democrats that have seen this as an ideal way to hurt the Bush Administration's chances for reelection, most notably Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), Clinton urged that it was time to move on. He urged that “People can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons.”

Of course, not everyone of the former President's staff agreed. You can read the full report here.

In all, I'm left a bit speechless by this. Everyone knows Clinton was critical of the administration's moves toward Iraq earlier this year. Yet has shown a very commendable view at a time when he could have easily been a strong voice for the Dem's best hope at hurting the administration thus far. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm impressed with former President Clinton's forward focus on the issue.

For that, I thank you Mr. Clinton. Let's hope that this is the action people try to copy from you.

Rant: Has the GOP Outlived Its Usefulness?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 8:39 PM

Think about it: “our” party has recently decided to nod approval toward a Medicare prescription bill… a bill that will cost an unimaginable amount of money to provide prescription drugs coverage to medicare recipients. This is crazy. It makes sense that Medicaid provides prescription drug coverage, but why Medicare? Why does every American senior need socialized prescription drug coverage?

Frustratingly, the part of the bill that might help dodge the large costs, allowing people to go to managed care providers for “enhance” coverage, is just a senior scam in the waiting. Right now, through what my grandmother is going through, I can see what managed care does to medicare: steal it from those who can afford to pay extra for the managed care and are tricked into signing up for it. In this case, the managed care provider called the shots as to how the hospital treated my grandmother and then refused to pay for rehab afterwards, assumedly, all the while collecting the medicare benefits my grandmother paid for through taxes — benefits that would have paid for all of these things!

So, at best, the prescription drug benefit will socialize an industry and bring the government more into everyday life. At worst, it will just feed more money into the beast that is HMO's. Neither option is good, and I can't see why any sane politician would support this.

At any rate, I'm going off track. I'll just say this: This bill is such a odd thing to support for Republicans that I think Rush Limbaugh was stumped as to what was going on — the best he could come up with was that this was an attempt to take a campaign issue away from Democrats. If I recall correctly, he even admitted once to being stumped. When was the last time that happened?

There are lots of other problems with the Republicans, right now. Many support the, I'll say it, evil PATRIOT ACT. Many support destroying embryos for stem cell research. The administration has supported turning a blind eye to Microsoft's behavior that violates antitrust regulations. The administration and congressional Republicans supported the final McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. Colin Powell went on MTV and told teens to ignore the biblical morals that parents and religious leaders teach them and decide their own morals — “forget about taboos, forget about conservative ideas” regarding premarital sex and condom usage. The GOP Chairman was “honored” to meet with an organization that actively promotes the homosexual agenda to show the party's “tolerance.” These are all catastrophic failures going against the positions of the very people that elected these politicians.

I wonder if it isn't about time we started a new party. We've been stuck with the same two parties for far longer than any of their predecessors. I still agree with most of the Republican platform, but I think the politicians within the party are ignoring that platform. Hatch, McCain, Bush, Powell, and Ashcroft are just a few people, all of which I have agreed with at times, who are supporting these bad policies.

I think President Bush still has potential, but maybe it's time people spoke up to remind him and other leading Republicans that it's good if they are [campaign slogan]”uniters and not dividers”[/campaign slogan] but it's more important that they support the policies the people who elected them thought they promised. Thought the party stood for. The policies many people still think are right.

That leaves the question: where did the old Republican party go and how can voters who still support its positions get it back?

Patriotism At the Peril of the Nation

By Tim Butler | Posted at 8:07 PM

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 was created to protect our country from terrorism, instead many from both sides of the aisle have realized it really could be used to dismantle that which we aim to protect. With new threats that expand on the USA PATRIOT Act being considered right now, everyone should consider the serious nature of the USAPA. As such I have spent some time over the past few months assembling the key facts that should provide a cursory consideration of this serious threat. This post is kind of long, but please find the time to read this piece and consider it.

Syria and the Pax Americana

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:41 PM

Syria is a sponsor of terrorism. Syria probably has WMD's. Syria is run by the Ba'ath party and has probably taken in members of the Iraqi Ba'ath party. Syria should not be our next military target. What could I possibly mean by that?

It's simple. With Iraq, we had justification — we had been in a previous war, or a continuing war with an intermission, with them and had UN resolutions (if not the UN itself) behind us. We had a country that we had dealt with through diplomatic means for twelve years and had gotten no where with.

That isn't the case with Syria. Frankly, we do not have the right simply to attack any country that has WMD's and doing so to another state in the middle east will create such a great hatred toward us that we likely will suffer unimaginable consequences afterwards. Attacking Syria would provoke the Muslim world into such a panic that a Jihad on a scale never before considered could come out from it. Our European allies would further distance themselves, potentially drawing the battle lines for a war to end all wars.

It concerns me, if the administration is really considering this, that we will create a doctrine of Pax Americana, as it has been dubbed. On an apocalyptic note, could the very country that has seemingly been against the UN-style of globalization be on route to the creation of a one world government? I sincerely hope not.

As Christians, especially, I think there is good reason to oppose this war. Many Muslims equate America with Christianity. As we are in, and not of, this world, should we willingly do things that will negate our chances to reach out to those who need the Gospel? This is the price we may pay, this is the price we ought to concider.

Back in February, I wondered out loud about the same potential price concerning our present conflict. Even now, I worry that increasing anti-western sentiment in the middle east may close off millions of people from the Gospel (regardless of how good the overall benefits of the operation are). However, an attack on Syria would surely cause hatred many times over that which our present conflict has and will, taking a bad situation concerning evangelism and making it worse.

The United States government should understand, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a war that those who support the Iraqi conflict will support by default. As a conservative, I've always been uneasy about our international policy — I guess I'm somewhat of an isolationist by nature. I'm not saying we should avoid other countries, in this day and age, we can't. But, we shouldn't try to appoint ourselves to the position of judge, jury, and executioner for the world.

But in my gut, I fear we will.

Mr. Hatch: Stop it!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:47 PM

Hatch, in response to the threat that the Dems might add some stuff to a current anti-terrorism bill, is considering adding an amendment to that anti-terrorism legislation that would eliminate the sunset clause in the USA PATRIOT ACT (according to the New York Times). This will be disastrous if approved. It is a rare moment when you'll find one of my positions that more of the left agrees with than the right, but when that's the case, it shows how serious I really am.

The PATRIOT Act, is, in my opinion, one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed. It has the potential to make McCarthy look like the nicest guy in the world. The PATRIOT Act's modifications to FISA, privacy laws, and so forth, are at best, a violation of the constitution. Worse, the changes allow the DOJ to do as it pleases without anyone to report to. The department has no responsibility to let Congress or others know what it is doing with its enhanced powers — thus there is no check to avoid corruption. Remember: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Now, you are probably saying, but good 'ol John is running the DOJ right now, no worries! Well, I like Attorney General Ashcroft too, but he isn't going to be in there forever. Consider this: would any supporters of the PATRIOT Act support it if Janet Reno was going to be the one given the power? I doubt it. Scary image, isn't it? But, beyond that, even Ashcroft could abuse the power — no one, not even someone from the party I support, should be given such unilateral and secretive power.

As a conservative, it appalls me that my side of the aisle is supporting legislation that will increase the reach and power of the federal government. I support what my president said during the 2000 election, “I trust people, not government.” I want smaller Federal government, and smaller government in general.

Quite frankly, the problem with stopping terrorism is not the laws the PATRIOT Act seeks to push out of the way, it is the utter and unacceptable incompetence of the FBI. I'll talk more about that in a few weeks, and I'm not saying the FBI isn't being worked on, I'm just saying we aren't going the right direction in trying to improve our intelligence.

PLEASE, if you support the freedoms and due process guaranteed by the constitution; if you support the ability to checkout books at the library without it going on a secret government record; if you support privacy in e-mail and other electronic communications, contact your representative and senator and let them know that no matter what side of the aisle you are on the PATRIOT ACT is something that really should sunset.[/RANT MODE]

Thank-you.

Media and the War: Who's Fair, Who Reports What We Want?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:56 PM

Now, I'm not saying I spent countless hours scribbling notes or anything like that, but I was interested in seeing media bias in the war and if, as one friend put it a short time ago, CNN really stands for the “Communist News Network.” First, save Fox News' Geraldo Rivera and NBC's Peter Arnett, I think the media deserves a round of applause for war coverage. Overall, I haven't seen anything that screams “unfair” from any network (I do wonder how the press come up with the stupid questions they ask at press conferences and the “almost ads” for the upcoming “shock and awe” were annoying, but, I degress…). Good job, guys!

After reading a piece like this, I must say I wonder whether other conservatives are watching a different CNN than I am, however. Now, I should say, I'm not normally an avid TV news (or TV) watcher, so this is based mostly on war coverage, but I just haven't seen anything that bad and certainly not anything completely left wing biased.

Just as I write this, there was a fellow named Michael Medved on CNN seemingly defending the president (I'm only half listening). I looked at his web site, and guess what, he has been a guest host behind the golden EIB microphone when Rush Limbaugh is away! Yeah, that's right, a dittohead was being interviewed by Aaron Brown on primetime CNN. Not bad, I say.

In fact, I've found that while maybe most of the interviewed people weren't head-over-heals in support of the war, most of the people behind the anchor desk seem to be pro-war or at least pro-troops-and-government. Mr. Brown, for example, almost got into a verbal brawl on CNN with an Al-Jazeera correspondent after the said network aired the video showing the bodies of the Americans a few weeks ago.

Brown, who seems to be a thoughtful kind of anchor, has also spent most of the last three weeks opposite former NATO Supreme Commander and American Gen. Wesley Clark, who seems to support the Pentagon on virtually everything that has happened thus far. While Brown has maintained some sense of a journalist's goal for asking pointed questions to both those he agrees and disagrees with, I've yet to seem him seem to attack much that has happened.

The afternoon/evening anchor for the coverage, Wolf Blitzer (who normally has 4 p.m. CT show), also has been seemingly pro-war from what I've seen. I believe it was actually Blitzer who today referred to Iraq's minister of information as the “minister of disinformation.” Hehehe. Good one, Wolf. I hardly think that comes from an Iraqi sympathizer.

Then, there is Larry King. King, of course, is the anchor of the network's flagship program, and thus ought to say something about the network's position. During the war, he has almost always had several pro-war people on each night. For example, Kuwait's ambassador to the United States has appeared numerous times, as have many many generals. King's nightly guest for the war, Colonel David “Hack” Hackworth has also proved a supporter of the action, making many statements suggesting it would be a simple and very good military campaign that will be effective (in much more brash terms, such as “wham, bam, bomb say-dam”). In fact, Hack's almost “glee” at the campaign caused some callers to call in and complain that he wasn't taking the war seriously enough (the colonel chalks it up to his Irish heritage).

King also did something really interesting before the war: he did an entire show on Evangelical Christian and Christian opinion of the plan! He brought on three conservative Christians (Max Lucado, Dr. Bob Jones, and a head of a seminary) and then placed two liberal Christians opposite them. In other words, not only was King interested in Christian opinion, by default, he gave the Evangelical side an edge simply by the fact that almost each interviewee got equal time.

Now, the article I linked to earlier accuses CNN of focusing too much on the few countries in Europe that do not support us. I'd imagine than means France and Germany. That's for good reason: many (most?) Americans actually care what our historic allies think. It really isn't nearly as interesting if Liechtenstein decides to support us as it is if France is complaining about our actions. I may be off-base, but I think it does matter that our allies don't agree with us — I'm not saying we should change our path, but I don't think hurling insults at them is the key to unbiased coverage either.

Fox News, supposedly, is suppose to be the place where “they report and you decide.” When I got the opportunity to get cable, I was quite anxious to see this great news source. I haven't watched it all that much, but a few hours of Fox gave me a very bad taste. For example, the fellow that was reporting on Friday (IIRC) reported that Saddam International Airport was 100% under American control. CNN reported that there was still fighting going on… and surprise, surprise, the next morning some fighting was still going on. Admittedly, CNN wasn't giving as much of a “pro-war” stance, but isn't the truth better than showing a certain stance? The Fox News anchor, looking for another pro-campaign comment while talking with an embed later that evening tried to suggest that Iraqi civilians with their hands up and a white flag (while crossing a bridge) didn't just have their hands up in surrender, but because they were celebrating the arrival of Americans! This was so clearly incorrect that the embed actually disagreed with the anchor!

Bernard Goldberg, in his book Bias, says almost the same thing. He has become known for his bold attack on the liberal media. But, as an “old fashioned liberal,” Goldberg notes that doesn't mean he wants a conservatively biased news source, like many who rail against the media wouldn't mind. He wants unbiased news. News reporters should greet both sides with skepticism, not just the side we don't like.

And in that way, I think CNN has done a good job. Watching CNN, I have gotten the impression that most Americans support the war (true), that there are good reasons to do it (true), that there have been some problems (true), and that there is a very vocal minority against it (true). And, for those who think the name minority gives the people committing civil disobedience too much credit, guess what Aaron Brown just referred to them as? “The fringe [of America].”

So, good job CNN. Thanks for doing a very decent job.

[Note: I don't mean this rant/editorial to offend anyone on my side of the aisle who thinks I may be a modern day Benedict Arnold of conservatives, I had originally planned to write it in a less antagonistic fashion, but it just came out this way. I should also note that I do have a bone to pick with Fox News because they have recently threatened legal action against an Evangelical Christian (and ex-gay) who runs a group aimed at helping people escape homosexuality because the said Christian made a tape of the harsh attacks Bill O'Reilly fired toward him in an interview, but to the best of my ability, I did not hold that against Fox News in my consideration of it here.]

Uhhhh, so that's the choice?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 6:50 PM

American Flag...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 6:32 PM

At What Cost?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 5:02 PM

What do I mean? Many people around the world (not just Muslims) are looking at this as a “Christian Fundamentalist” war. While that isn't really the case, the fact that President Bush is a Christian does make it seem at least somewhat plausible. The problem, as I see it, is that people may be less prone to the Gospel if they think it is that thing that those “war mongers” talk about. The fact that many (most?) evangelical Christians (including myself) are conservative in politics means that we are indeed closely aligned with the “war mongers.”

Further more, the doctrine of the Preemptive Strike, no matter how right it is in nature, seems to go against everything that we stand for, if we take the Bible at its word. Again, it could be argued that the attack is in order because Iraq is violating UN resolutions, but in that case, the administration should stick to the UN framework, at least for now, and drop the preemptive strike concept.

I should mention that I was a big supporter of the war. I think in many ways it would be a good thing in the long run. But, I'm not sure I can justify support for it if it will end up creating more and more enemies of the church that are less prone to accept the good news of Jesus Christ.

In essence, I worry that we are trading spiritual things (bringing people to the Gospel) for wordly things (safety from a rogue regime). Is it worth it?

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