Saturday, July 28, 2012

“You Didn’t Build That” – in Context

The latest Orwellian excuse cliché’ being offered as a defense against Obama’s “you didn’t build that” gaffe, is that these four words were “taken out of context”. This is to suggest that somehow, a clever opponent of Obama grabbed those four words out of a 46 minute speech, in such a way as to give the words a different meaning that they would have had, if we were to listen to the whole speech.

The problem is that the more of the speech you listen to, the more accurate those four words appear to summarize the speech.

Let’s look at a simple example of taking something “out of context”:

Let’s say I told you that I was talking to a man earlier today and he told me that all women were evil.

Now, if you were to then go around telling everyone that I said that all women were evil, you would be technically correct, but without the context that I was describing the words of another person, to have now ascribed an opinion upon me that I did not express and would make dinner conversations at my home rather more uncomfortable. You would have done something dishonest. You would have committed a lie of omission.

Now if I had then added the statement, “And so I laughed and told the man that he was right”, then your statement while technically true, would still not be completely accurate, but would accurately transmit my intended meaning and accurately portray my stated opinion. But it would still be out of context in a sense, but accurate nonetheless. For the record I do not believe that women are evil, nor do I think in those terms.

I believe the liberals and Obama himself are trotting out the first case, where they say that he didn’t mean that businesses didn’t work hard. But he DID say that, because he said a lot of people work hard. What you are doing is not special. Obama supposedly didn’t mean that business owners weren’t smart because a lot of people are smart. He absolutely argued that what business owners are doing is not exceptional and that they owe a debt to society because of the infrastructure of our society allowed them to exist and start their business.

There is nothing out of context in that synopsis. He absolutely is making that argument because it is the foundation of his pitch right afterwards to tell these same people that they should pay more taxes. This is not out of context, it is a completely accurate portrayal of Obama’s statement and his beliefs.

American business owners are livid because if starting and running a business wasn’t harder and take more guts, sweat, determination, and smarts than the average person, then everyone would be doing it and everyone would be successful. The truth is that it takes more guts, sacrifice, time, dedication, stress, smarts true grit to start and run a business than doing almost anything else in our society. Why do you think people would do such a thing? There must be some reward for this? Yes. The reward is freedom, a sense of accomplishment, of controlling your own destiny, and yes…MONEY. People that work harder make more money. That is fair and just and the way it ought to be.

In Obama’s speech he uses this portion to tell all those greedy rich folks making more than $250,000.00 per year that they need to chip in more in taxes. He is talking about small business owners because he knows the vast majority of people making over $250,000.00 per year are business owners with sub-Chapter S-Corporations, where the company profits go to their personal income tax statements, and doctors.

Since Obama has never created a job in his life, or struggled to make a payroll, or managed a company of any kind in his entire life, I can understand why he doesn’t know what he is talking about here. But I am going to say something here that may come as a surprise to him and many of you out there:

A person with a small business that is an S-Corp, where their personal income tax shows them making $250,000.00 or more in cash, is probably bringing home less money that someone with a $50,000.00 per year salary.

Let’s say I have an S-Corp that earns $200,000.00 in profit in a year. And I pay myself a salary of $50,000.00 out of the company’s costs before profits are calculated. So, to the IRS, I have earned the $50,000.00, plus the entire $200,000.00 company profit goes to my personal income taxes. So on paper, I make $250,000.00. To keep it simple, let’s say the tax rate is then is 30%, so now my taxes that I owe, are $75,000.00. Except, I only take home $50,000.00. The company has profits it needs to retain and unexpected costs that crop up, warranty issues, legal fees, rainy day funds, etc. The remaining cash needs to stay in the company. I’ll need cash on hand to purchase raw materials or to pay for labor and materials before I can collect on my receivables that may be 60 or 90 days away.

In that light, I hope you can see that someone making $250,000.00 per year is not “rich”. Most people that make that kind of money in raw salary have ways of hiding their money in shelters and investments and can make their taxes look a lot lower that what they are. Obama’s focus on this $250,000.00 number is a direct assault upon the middle class, the working man, the working poor, and the engine of the American economy and the foundation of the American Dream.

Who do you think hires more people in this country? Is it small businesses with less than 50 employees? Or is it big corporations? It’s the small businesses folks. And Obama and the Democrats are at war with them.

No one took your words out of context Mr. President. We understood you loud and clear. You think that the government made it possible for all those greedy business owners to make their profits and now it’s time to pay up. That IS the context. That IS what you said. That IS what you meant. That was the whole point of your argument. In a dizzying array of rhetorical skill, your argument to convince all these greedy business owners that they should pay up, you insulted them by telling them that their smarts and hard work weren’t special in any way. That their dedication and stress and sacrifice wasn’t so great and that really it was the government that made it happen for them. So, morally, it really isn’t their money anyway. They have a debt to “the People” to pay, and “the People” want it now.

Obama is making the age-old Marxist argument that the individual has no claim upon his own labor, or rather that the State has a greater claim and a moral authority and justification to seize it. Even after decades of Marxist economic indoctrination in our public schools, the American people for the most part reject this notion and that is why Obama is getting blow back. As a cover, he and his handlers, sycophants and apologists are falling over themselves to say that his remarks were taken out of context, or in other words, calling everyone dishonest for insisting that his words and intentions actually mean what they mean.

Obama was caught in a rare, candid moment, where he expressed his honest opinion about the American system, and the Democrats are scrambling to cover it up and make it go away.

Do you believe that God granted us certain unalienable rights? Or do you believe that the government does have or should have the power to dole out and restrict those rights? Did God create us with inherent rights as human beings, made in His image? Or are our rights merely an illusion, meted out by our societal betters, based upon which “class” or “group” we are in? Which country do you want to live in? One where your rights are sewn into your DNA and no government has the right to deny them? Or one in which men in powerful places get to decide which of your rights you get to keep and which ones they will take away for their purposes?

This is the great question before us in November and the decision could not be more clear. A vote for Obama or any Democrat is a vote for a philosophy that can only end in tyranny if allowed to run its course.

Judge for yourself. Here is a Youtube of the full speech:

The “out-of-context” portion receiving criticism starts around 34:00 and following.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Preposterous Tale

The idea that God would take human form, and allow himself to be mutilated, tortured and eventually killed so that my sins might be atoned for, is a preposterous tale. It simply cannot be accepted.

The Creator of the universe, who literally spoke into existence the stars and planets; the plants the animals, the exquisite elegance of the periodic table of the elements and the simplicity of the gravitational constant. This all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-seeing being, who exists outside of time-space, entered into His universe and took on human flesh to bridge the unfathomable chasm that separates His holiness from me. To reach out His hand and offer eternal life by His side. Not because I did something to deserve it, but rather He chose me and loved me from the foundation of the world. The beginning of time. It is simply unacceptable.

But then I look around. I see the total depravity of the human condition. No philosophy without God survives the test of barbarity. No society void of God’s Grace is free from cruelty and wickedness, not just extant, but woven into the very fibers of the public discourse and the government itself.

In my own life, I cannot function without sin. I cannot go a day without a lewd thought, anger toward another – all rooted in my selfish pride and lusts. I fool myself of my righteousness, only to be exposed at a later date.

And then I realize that this preposterous tale, is so outlandish and so crazy, that it must be true. Like a man dying of thirst I grasp for the chalice of God’s Grace and drink deeply, forever grateful for His mercy. There can be no other answer. Nothing men can conjure up, fabricate or hallucinate comes close.

Which turns my disbelief and dismissal into awe and humility. His Grace literally takes my breath away.

May God Bless you this Easter weekend, in the inestimable name of Jesus, I pray.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sadness Has A Weight Of Its Own

"But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Sadness. It has a way of pressing down on your chest.

Your sobs pour out in labored lunges, forced by the pressure you feel. It is hard to breathe.

I was awoken this morning with the urgent call to come down to the hospice care facility where my friend was fighting his last hours against cancer today.

Andy Tofel passed away into the Glory of the Lord today surrounded by people that loved him dearly. We cried a lot. We mourned the loss of our brother, our friend, our husband, our child, our grandchild, our father, our nephew…our BROTHER. But during the day, we could not be sad for long stretches. We inevitably transitioned into conversations of what a wonderful man Andy is. What a tremendous blessing that he was to everyone who had the good fortune of knowing him.

I cannot think of one of the 'fruits of the spirit' that are mentioned in Paul's Letter to the Church at Galatia that Andy didn't display in my 21 years of knowing him. Emails and text-messages came pouring in to the family as we were gathered around his bedside. The nurses told us that hearing was the last sense to go. So we talked to him. And we read notes from people. The stories were amazing. Andy touched so many people in such a direct and personal way that it is hard to exaggerate his influence amongst those who knew him, however tangentially it may have been.

I think I speak for everyone there when I say a note of gratitude for all the love expressed and felt throughout this time. As I gather my thoughts and prayers, I will write more of Andy, for he is worthy of the effort and will be too sorely missed for words to express so soon after.

He was a once in a lifetime friend for most of us and, as hard as it is, it is harder still to think of a man more deserving or worthy to send to glory today.

Andy would have been embarrassed by this kind of talk and would have noted how he too was a sinner, and unworthy of God's grace…which makes me feel all the smaller, meaner, and less significant…and more grateful for Andy's friendship in my life.

Thank you Lord, God Almighty, for Andy Tofel, without which my life would have been much nastier and more brutish. I go to sleep now, hoping the weight of the sadness is lifted tonight by the irresistible joy that comes from remembering his life.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tears From Heaven, Fall Like Rain

There is something magical and breathtaking about rain falling on the desert, even in winter.  There was a great sadness that came over me today, and the storm clouds came in over Tucson, as if to sympathize.  It was a cold spell that rolled in today, because the day before it was 70 degrees.  The rain would drizzle and spit for awhile, and then the clouds would open up to pale blue sky and sun for a bit, then a dark cloud would rush in and sprinkle some more. 

These swings would coincide similarly to my ability to contain my sadness.  I started to think that my mood was much like the sky today, here and there pulling it together for some sunshine and losing it again to rain.  Like the tears, falling from heaven to sympathize. 

I decided that my sadness was caused by an event for which the angels in heaven were in attendance and had an interest in the outcome.  Then I began to see the beauty in the sunshine playing joyfully with the clouds, creating mozons and reflections, backlighting and haziness.  As I drove towards home, the mountains were shrouded in mist, which always makes them seem like islands and of stunning beauty.

As I observed this, my sadness was tempered with a realization of the eternal nature of God and the vastness of His creation; "Cease striving, and know that I AM God." Psalm 46.  The words "the tears of heaven fall like rain" came into my mind and I started to see the heavens pouring out their tears upon the earth

In my Bible study group this evening we looked at the 30th chapter of the book of Isaiah and I ran across this; 

"Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.  Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher.  Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left"  Isaiah 30:18-21

And I was stricken.  In this sadness, I have seen a glimpse of the "bread of privation and water of oppression", and in that moment the beauty of the Lord's creation was splendid before my eyes.  And I cried out.  And my eyes saw the heavens sending tears down to the earth.  And I contemplated the restorative and healing nature of water falling upon the desert, and my eyes beheld my Teacher.

Amidst great sadness, is great joy that can be found if one focuses on God.  Amidst great suffering is great wisdom and beauty and love.  We can choose to focus on the privation and oppressions of your life, or on the countless blessings.  We can be resentful, hurt and angry, or thankful, encouraged, and joyous.  The choice is ours.

"Who can hold the oceans, in the hollows of His hands?" 

Let us pray for the green pastures and still waters offered us in Psalm 23, and the peace and rest that surpasses all understanding.  Amen.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Educating Gabby, Part II

Still insensed, I wrote this with more ammunition...

I thought it would be good to repost them for the upcoming election to remind everyone what happened back then.

Educating Gabby, Part I

This is a repost of something I wrote last year in the furvor of the health care debate...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Puritan Prayer

"When Thou wouldst guide me I control myself

When thou wouldst be sovereign I rule myself

When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself

When I should depend on thy providing I supply myself

When I should submit to thy providence I follow my will

When I should study, love, honour, trust thee, I serve myself;

I fault and correct thy laws to suit myself,

Instead of thee I look to man's approbation,

And am by nature an idolater.

Lord, it is my chief design to bring my heart back to thee.

Convince me that I cannot be my own god, or make myself happy,

Nor my own Christ to restore my joy,

Nor my own Spirit to teach, guide, rule me.

Help me to see that grace does this by providential affliction,

For when my credit is god thou dost cast me lower,

When riches are my idol thou dost wing them away,

When pleasure is my all thou dost turn it into bitterness.

Take away my roving eye, curious ear, greedy appetite, lustful heart;

Show me that none of these things

Can heal a wounded conscience,

Or support a tottering frame,

Or uphold a departing spirit.

Then take me to the cross and leave me there."


Arthur Bennett, ed., "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975),91  -- taken from  "The Owner's Manual for Christians" by Charles Swindoll", 2009, p119.

Charles Swindoll's book is excellent, refreshing, and cleansing.  I highly recommend it to anyone…even non-Christians.

Holiness and purity are the rarest of things and wonderful to behold.  You feel cleaner just reading this book.  Truly a blessing.