AN UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE

The Temptation of Christ Ary Scheffer, 1854
The Temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11)
Ary Scheffer, 1854 (from here)

We like to imagine ourselves as the United States of America, but as the bonds that once held us together are dissolving, we are rapidly becoming the Corrupt States of America. Pride, greed, envy…. our people are becoming inured to every imaginable sin.

You may say I exaggerate. Perhaps, but please explain. On Thursday I saw this article in The Washington Times.

Nearly a dozen Republican freshmen urged party colleagues to avoid tactics that risk another federal shutdown, while a leading Democrat said Wednesday his party will not “burn down the House” in pursuit of a stopgap spending deal, as congressional factions jockeyed to avoid political blowback and meet next week’s deadline to fund the government.

A “Dear colleague” letter warns fellow Republicans of the pitfalls that accompany a tea party bid to reject any spending plan that doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos showing its officials, among other things, haggling over prices for harvested fetal organs.

While not invoking Planned Parenthood by name, the freshmen say they don’t want an “unnecessary and harmful” repeat of the 16-day shutdown that followed a 2013 bid to defund Obamacare. (continued here)

Then I found this news in the paper today.

A bid by Republican Senate leaders to strip funding from Planned Parenthood failed Thursday when eight Republicans joined Democrats to filibuster the move, dooming conservatives’ hopes of forcing a shutdown showdown with President Obama over the fate of the abortion provider.

Supporters mustered 47 votes for their bill — well shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster — and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, quickly pulled the Planned Parenthood fight from the floor and proposed a “clean” bill to fund basic government operations into the next fiscal year without any ideological strings attached. (continued here)

“Without any ideological strings attached.” What a sickening way of putting it. Can you imagine our great and glorious Republican leaders voting their beliefs — at least what they say they believe.

How did funding for Planned Parenthood get into the bill in the first place? The answer is that too many of the people WE ELECT just don’t care. When they talk about doing it for the children, what they really mean is doing it to them. Children don’t vote, and they don’t donate money to political campaigns. That’s why government programs that supposedly exist for children always end up putting the lion’s share of money into the hands of the unscrupulous.

And we know this. We like to blame the politicians for being corrupt, but Satan tempts every human soul. Satan seeks after every human soul, not just the souls of politicians. As our leaders know well, even the poorest and least powerful among us can be tempted. In fact, it costs relatively little to find something that might tempt someone who has little.

Therefore, when those who would lead us run for Congress, they seek to bribe us. They call their bribes Social Security, Medicare, a free education, food stamps, and so forth. And with each dollar they spend on “social programs,” or, bribes, they must either take money from someone who worked for it, or they must borrow money and increase the debt load on future generations. Future generations — young people and children, even those yet to be born.

What happens when we elect people who have offered us a bribe? Others bribe them. Some of those who bribe our leaders are our fellow citizens, the rich. Some are foreign nationals, perhaps even foreign governments. Thus, the policies of our government go on sale to the highest bidder and become weird, even self-destructive.

Consider that Congress controls the budget, but the leaders of the Republican Party pretend to shiver in terror at the mere thought of a government shutdown. If President Obama wants something, like this funding for Planned Parenthood (Aborting babies and selling their parts has now become a prime function of government,), he just threatens a temper tantrum, and Congress meekly gives in.

Why is that? Why would Congress render itself useless? What happens during a government shutdown? Does the problem have to do with the special interests the GOP represents? Do these special interests stop getting fed at the federal trough during a government shutdown? Is that why the GOP ignores its core constituencies? Those constituencies have nowhere else to go, but the special interests (the donors) could just as easily hand money to Democrats.

One last thought. A little assault on conventional wisdom. We make much of the so-called loyalty of elected Democrats to their core constituencies, but such loyalty doesn’t exist. Democrat voters just want their government handouts. With what belongs to others they are easily bought. Democrat special interests just want their place at the government trough. With what belongs to others they too are easily bought. Democrat politicians just want to spend other people’s money; that is what we elected them to do. Sadly, it has become clear that many Republican politicians just want to spend other people’s money too.

21 thoughts on “AN UNSCRUPULOUS PEOPLE

  1. I don’t know if this makes our reality even more depressing or less depressing, but here goes anyway. The funding for Planned Parenthood is actually quite complex and this bill would probably have done absolutely nothing to defend anything, even if it had passed. It is illegal for federal money to pay for abortions anyway. PP doesn’t really engage in abortions either, they subcontract that out. This way a they can honestly claim they themselves don’t provide abortions. In a similar way, federal money is actually handed down for things like “healthcare and education,” so technically PP doesn’t even receive any money from congress. Congress approves money for one thing and later it is simply moved from one fund into another, leaving everyone’s hands clean.

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    1. @insanitybytes22

      Thank you for your comment. I suppose I need to delve into the matter more than I have.

      I would just observe that the complexity is artificial, manufactured by people who make a mockery of honor, words, and rules. If they wanted to do so, Congress could cut off the money. Whether this legislation would have been effective, I don’t know. I assumed, since the Senate wanted no part of it, and Obama threatened to veto it, that it contained the required language, but with our legislatures and courts even plain language may not mean what we think it ought to mean.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. All true enough, Insanitybytes, but why are you injecting facts into this discussion? What’s going on on Capitol Hill is political theater and marketing campaigns trying to touch happy buttons for certain groups of voters and donors going into the next election cycle.

      Scout

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @novascout

        Theater? Yes, but if we want this thing we call life to be more than just a one-time audition, we must remember who wrote the script, who directs the play, and who judges our performances.

        All The World’s A Stage

        All the world’s a stage,
        And all the men and women merely players;
        They have their exits and their entrances,
        And one man in his time plays many parts,
        His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
        Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
        Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
        And shining morning face, creeping like snail
        Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
        Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
        Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
        Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
        Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
        Seeking the bubble reputation
        Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
        In fair round belly with good capon lined,
        With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
        Full of wise saws and modern instances;
        And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
        Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
        With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
        His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
        For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
        Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
        And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
        That ends this strange eventful history,
        Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
        Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
        William Shakespeare

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have to agree, Tom, that is durned good writing. Nice job. it has a familiar ring, but imitation is not necessarily a bad thing. I want more of this. Keep it coming.

          Scout

          Liked by 1 person

    3. Gently disagreeing with insanitybytes22:

      The funding for Planned Parenthood is actually quite complex…

      Not the federal side. There are three sources: Medicaid (about $390 million in 2013), National Family Planning Program (which operates under Title X of the Public Health Service Act) for about $50 million, and very minor amounts under Children’s Health Insurance Program (on the order of a million dollars or so).

      … and this bill would probably have done absolutely nothing to defend anything, even if it had passed.

      I presume you meant “defund” rather than “defend.” In a sense you’re correct, but I wonder if it is in the way you intended. H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, would cut off all of the federal sources of funding to Planned Parenthood. But only at Planned Parenthood’s choice. The bill says that they can continue to receive all of these funds, as long as they certify that they will not perform, subcontract, nor pay for abortions.

      It is illegal for federal money to pay for abortions anyway.

      This is technically true, but it has been bypassed by Obama’s executive orders. For example, Obamacare is now required to pay for abortifacient drugs, and money to PP is fungible enough that the accounting is no hurdle at all.

      PP doesn’t really engage in abortions either, they subcontract that out.

      They subcontract to doctors in some states, simply because that is a state requirement. Doctors in California hospitals are now subcontractors, as a general thing. But this does not change the abortions taking place in Planned Parenthood facilities. In any event, the bill requires them to certify that “Planned Parenthood Federation of America or any of its affiliates or clinics … will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion.”

      In a similar way, federal money is actually handed down for things like “healthcare and education,” so technically PP doesn’t even receive any money from congress. Congress approves money for one thing and later it is simply moved from one fund into another, leaving everyone’s hands clean.

      I’m not sure what you’re thinking about here, but PP receives nearly half a billion from Congress every year, as Congressional appropriations are required for Medicaid, Title X, and CHIP. Yes, it’s not described as “for abortion,” but the money definitely comes from Congress.

      It seems to me that few would describe PP, or Congressional leadership, as having “clean hands” in the matter.

      In short, the bill only defunds PP if they insist on continuing to do abortions. This is PP’s choice. And two-thirds of Planned Parenthood’s funding is from non-federal sources anyway.

      Incidentally, the Congressional Budget Office notes that Medicaid already pays for nearly half of all US births (a bit over 45%), and that to calculate the effect, they assume that black children will be a burden on society, so that the more of them are born, the more the government will have to pay to support them. CBO suggests that an increase in the birth rate among blacks caused by the loss of PP abortion funding will cost the US more than the roughly $500 million a year now going to PP. Evidently, illegal immigrant births are what they’d rather see increasing instead — despite the known fiscal impacts of those.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well said, Keith. I don’t dispute anything you’ve said, you’ve supplied the details to the idea I was laying out.

        Naturally some of the money for PP comes from the federal government, which ultimately comes from us all, but it comes in the form of funds to other services like state medicaid. Medicaid cannot fund abortions, so many states like mine, just shift the funds from one side of the desk to another, so the state part of our medicaid funds pay for abortions, while the federal funds do not. Of course, receiving the federal funds in the first place is what frees up the state funds and enables us to use them for things the feds may not be willing to fund.

        It’s an imbroglio and not to sound too jaded here, but there are special interests, the cost effectiveness of welfare policies, racism, a whole slew of ugliness that far exceeds, “let’s just defund PP.”

        The tangled webs we weave really do get a bit overwhelming, like how no one can legally sell human organs, so instead people just charge “shipping fees.”

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        1. @insanitybytes22

          Virginia, where I live battles over funding PP and regulating abortion clinics. The battle rages back and forth.

          To solve any big problem, we have to break it into parts. At least, I am not smart enough to solve a big problem any other way.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. @Keith

        Thanks for doing my homework. You really ought to make a post out of that. The topic of abortion may or may not be the sort of stuff you normally post, but the human rights aspect of it certain fits in.

        That last paragraph is a doozy. That’s the subject for another post.

        Like

  2. What a sad state of affairs we’ve come to Citizen Tom, but not at all surprising. I didn’t know either as IB states that PP’s funds don’t come directly from congress. I would imagine though that there would have been a major affect if Congress pulled their money, even if it just meant the shifting could not have taken place as seamlessly. You’ve hit the nail right on the head too with your comments on Republican special interests and Democrat vote buying getting in the way of any true reform. I dare say we are pretty much screwed for the near and perhaps long term.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have been headed down this road at least since the 1830’s. When Horace Mann and others like him created the public school system, they initiated a system of indoctrination that undermines the teaching of the Christian faith and devalues capitalism. The public school system provides a “secular” education (government knows best) that ignores the contributions of the Christian faith, and it is based upon the socialist, not the capitalist economic model. When Americans conceived and accepted the idea as rational, they must been drunk.

      So how quickly can we turn it around? I don’t know. Without God’s help, I don’t even think we can.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Tom – how does public education “undermine the teaching of the Christian faith and devalue[ ] capitalism”? We teach religion to our children in the family and in churches. If we think they need extra dosages of religious teaching, we send them to religious schools (as I did with my older child). What’s the problem with that?

    Scout

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  4. Yeah, Yeah. You’re repeating the claim, but not answering the question. Why isn’t religion something that is and should be taught in homes and in churches? If the lessons aren’t taking (and i have no reason to believe that they aren’t taking at a higher rate than at any other time in our history), why is that not the fault of the parents and the churches? How do we blame this on public schools, institutions that have nothing to do with religion.

    Scout

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    1. My posts answer your question. At any rate, you have it backwards. It is you who should be providing answers. Why isn’t the belief in God and the tenets of the teachings of Jesus Christ something a child should be immersed in as the Bible requires? When children spend most of their day in school, why any good Christian want to put their children in a secular (Godless) environment? Worst! Why would any sane person want politicians (people no one trusts) in charge of the schools that teach their children? Why would anyone want complete strangers to actually provide that instruction?

      Why do I have to explain any of this to someone who calls himself a Conservative? The lunatic Left puts a pretty face on their pig, but lipstick does not hide it. Cowardice, the refusal to admit the injury we have done to our children does, however. The public school system is just about as radically anti-Christian and anti-Capitalist as it gets.

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  5. Actually, your linked posts don’t answer my question, then or now. I did enjoy reading back through the comment threads. There is some good stuff in there. Whatever happened to old Tildeb? He/she really raised the level a bit, don’t you think?

    Nonetheless, given your previous and present unresponsiveness, and to set an encouraging example, I will answer your questions:

    I agree with you that a parental obligation is to teach children about the tenets of their parents’ religious faith. The last place I want that to happen is in a government school.

    I don’t think it is a problem that children spend most of their day in school, although I have a continuing issue with the problem that there is a lot of inefficiency in the school day and that perhaps more information could be conveyed in a shorter time.

    I wouldn’t want politicians teaching my children, but I have no problem with teachers teaching my children. I have had situations, both mine and those of people I know, where I have thought that a particular teacher here and there was not up to snuff and that a better teacher for the same subject could have been found. Having said all that, neither I nor anyone I know was ever taught by a politician in the public schools, unless it may have been the case that a teacher, at a later or earlier point of his or her career went on to run for public office.

    The reason that I accept (and others accept) strangers as teachers is that most of us don’t have enough close personal friends or acquaintances to teach a complete curriculum to prepare our children for the demands of a modern, technical world. I suppose, if I knew enough people to cover an entire K-12 curriculum pedagogically, I could cobble together a program whereby my kids would be taught by acquaintances all the way through. But that would be inefficient, and every other parent would have to do the same thing, presumably with different people (given that we all don’t know the same people). It would be a chaotic mess. So I rely on the state to certify teachers (a function that the state performs with varying degrees of competence), virtually all of whom are strangers, to teach my children and the children in my community.

    As for your observation that the public school systems are “radically anti-Christian”, I have no (as in zero) evidence of that. I am a product of public schools. One of my children went to public schools, the other to Catholic schools. I have a lot of friends who went to public schools and/or whose kids went to public schools. I have never heard of any anti-Christian event or teaching across this set of acquaintances. Of course, while this may be a numerous sample, this is anecdotal. But I rather think you are exaggerating, if not completely making things up, to suggest that the public school curriculum is “radically anti-Chrisitian” (or “radically anti-capitalism”). I very much hope that the public school system is strictly non-religious, because I would not trust non-theologians/clergymen to teach religion. Can I assume you share that view?

    By the way, what does this have to do with Conservative/Liberal issues? We Conservatives don’t want the state messing around with our religion. Can I count you in on that proposition?

    OK, I came clean in response to your questions. Why don’t you have a go at mine here and in my 1110 comment?

    Scout

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