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Spam Bill

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:01 AM

What do you think? Today, the possibility of having a federal law enacted on spam became a lot more likely — is this a good thing? A bad thing? Something in between? I kind of have mixed feelings. It's good to crack down on spam, but at the same time, the government often creates a regulatory mess when it tries stuff like this…

Schwarzenegger, 40 DoP and Limbaugh Updates

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:00 AM

Ah-nold isn't Right: The rest of this post is about Mr. Limbaugh, but I first wanted to mention that Mysterium Tremendum has an excellent post that mostly says what I've been saying and thinking about Schwarzenegger. He might not turn out to be a bad governor, but I'm not sure conservatives should be celebrating. It's hypocritical, folks, there's no way around it.

Follow-up: Also, I finally responded to all of the great comments on my 40 Days of Purpose post. Thanks everyone.

Rush Limbaugh and Addiction: If you didn't already hear, Rush Limbaugh acknowledged the truth in the reports of addiction today. Shortly before signing off for the weekend, Rush started the undoubtedly difficult statement:
You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life. So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication. I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery.

Apparently, the surgery didn't stop the pain and Rush eventually got addicted to the pain pills. He will be in rehab for the next 30 days while others host the “EIB Network.” Rush went into more detail, which you may want to read, but I really liked one statement that I thought I'd quote here:

You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes.
They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem.

That's unusual for someone of his position. While I could be cynical about the statement, I found listening to it that he seemed sincere (a video of the statement broadcast from the “Dittocam” is available for free here, but only in Windows Media Player format). I wish more people would take complete responsibility for their actions. Rush has, at least to some extent, done what he has said people should do, and for that, I respect him.

He closed by saying, “I deeply appreciate all of your support over this last tumultuous week. It has sustained me. I ask now for your prayers. I look forward to resuming our excursion into broadcast excellence together.” I do too, Rush.

The Rush of News

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:15 AM

Unless you've managed to avoid the media today, you've surely heard the big news: Rush Limbaugh, the country's most listened to talkshow host and conservative commentator, appears to be tangled in a illegal pharmaceuticals scandal. Rush hasn't confirmed either way yet (of course) if he is guilty or not, but the fact that he doesn't deny the allegations and his tone of voice today makes me wonder.

There's also another interesting (in a horrible way) detail. According to that Fox News report, two of the alleged drugs associated with the accusations can damage hearing. If you recall, Rush lost his hearing very rapidly almost two years ago and received an implant to restore his hearing. I'm not sure, but that sounds like a rather large coincidence to me.

At any rate, I'm not saying all this to kick Rush while he's down. To the contrary — I feel sorry for Rush. Behind the bold statements of the man who “keeps half his brains tied behind his back just to make it fair” is a real human being that no doubt has some real problems staring at him at the moment.

Perhaps in the most bitter of ironies, Rush's attacks on President Clinton for, among other things, drug use, has come back to haunt him. There is nothing quite as horrible as getting accused of doing something you yourself have accused others of, although that is part of the experience of being human I suppose.

I hope the situation turns out to be less than it would appear. Rush, in my estimation, is one of the few conservative political pundits that doesn't have major issues — previously, that is. Unlike characters such as Bill O'Reilly, Rush has been on friendly terms with conservative Christians. I have also admired his willingness to stick out against the flow, even complaining about Republicans when they fail to follow conservative principles.

Yet, here we are. Assuming the situation is as it appears, I just hope Rush handles it well and can get his problems straightened out. If he handles these issues well, I, for one, will have no issues with continuing to be a “Dittohead” in the future.

Are You A Conservative Christian?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:20 PM

A site called the “Internet Monk” raises some thought provoking questions on the faith-political merger that is a “Conservative Christian.” In particular he wonders if we spend more time listening, reading and watching conservative news and opinion sources than we do studying and applying Scripture. OK, I'll admit it, I've definitely been guilty of that sometimes!

This guy hits the nail on the head concerning a number of issues, I think. First, while we should be interested in politics, they aren't the end all be all or shouldn't be (and while he doesn't say this, the question I have asked myself — especially since the Iraqi conflict started this spring — is, am I more worried about my particular political ideology being spread or the Gospel being spread?). In many cases politics are essential and we should deal with them to keep our freedoms (which in turn allow us to spread the Gospel), but we should also make sure they don't become our “Ultimate Reality,” in other words, we don't want them to become an idol.

Secondly, its nice to see someone speak out against Bill O'Reilly. Here's a guy who has called pro-family and pro-life advocates “fanatics.” He's compared these people, such as former homosexual Stephen Bennett of Stephen Bennett Ministries, to the radical fringes of Islam. He got upset with one interviewee, I think it was Jerry Falwell, for insisting that Christ is the only way to receive salvation. This guy might be a fiscal conservative, but he is very liberal on many social issues, and it is sad to see Christians endorsing the guy as he rips apart Evangelical Christianity.

My only big beef with the article was on his comments about Rush's theological views. I could be off base, but from what I've read in his books and elsewhere, I think Rush is a Christian. The cows will still probably come home before Rush starts having a Bible verse of the day on the EIB Network, however.

Anyway, I thought this article was interesting. I'm not going to drop politics. I'm still going to listen to Rush Limbaugh when I can (I haven't be able to lately). However, I thought it was a thought provoking article and well worth a few minutes to ponder.

Read My Lips: No Taxes?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:34 AM

Another fellow Missouri blog, Sophoristically Speaking, has an interesting entry. According to this entry, a Tennessee court has decided that there may not be a requirement to pay federal taxes. Interesting…

Mr. Former President: Thanks.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:27 AM

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 Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:39 AM

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 Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:07 AM

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 Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:41 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 Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:47 AM

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]


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