A fringe, small-church pastor wants to burn the Muslim scriptures, the Qur'an. Burning the Qur'an benefits only extremists, and hinders the cause of dialogue and peace.
Palestinian leader Abbas' vision of a new state includes no Israeli political or security presence. On the surface, this sounds reasonable, until one realizes that neither Abbas nor any other Arab leader has given unconditional recognition of Israel's right to exist in secure borders. They also flatly refuse to have any shared capital in Jerusalem. Now is the time for all people of conscience to urge Israel to extend the freeze on new settlements in exchange for real progress and for Abbas to look for ways to agree on terms instead of excuses to exit the talks. Oh yes, and the current vision has no room for Jewish citizens either, unlike Israel, which gives full rights to its Arab citizens. By the way - in 1947 the U.N mandate gave 80% to a new Arab nation, today called Jordan. The other 20% was divided between Jewish and Arab Palestinians. Israel's original borders contained a majority Jewish population. In essence, Arabs were given 90% of the territory and still refused to live in peace. Notice that Israel has prospered while most nations around her are awash in poverty. The refugee camps are a deliberate strategy of the Arab states to keep hatred of Israel alive - so that radical Islam will not topple their regimes! Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PA are all funded by the Saudis and others to make sure they keep the pressure on Israel and off of their benefactors.
The Ground Zero Mosque is not illegal; however, it is unwise and a deliberate flash point conceived by radicals to further their agenda. It is amazing that the Left will defend this construction while shrilly condemning any Jewish or Christian symbols and words in public space. The demonic alliance of the radical Left and militant Islam have one shared aim: the destruction of the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of the American life. Each of these subversive forces thinks they will win the battle for the public square once the old religious influences are gone. The tragedy of such thinking is that the removal of our lasting values will end in either religious or secular totalitarianism and the loss of liberties gained over hundreds of years.
Too much governmental control of the economy yields stasis and decline as creativity and wealth production yield to mind-numbing bureaucracy and zero-sum thinking. No ethical or regulatory oversight yields Love Canals, foul air, lakes and rives. We must encourage private initiative and public responsibility. We must protect profits and property rights while promoting community well-being and opportunity. Whenever taxes are low, government revenues increase. The Democrats refuse to see this simple math because they cannot imagine any restraints on spending. The Republicans have to demonstrate an intelligent understanding of what federal, local and state governments should do - and what prerogatives must be left to the people.
Historical ignorance is fueling folly in the public square. Freedom without morality and reverence becomes anarchy and eventual totalitarianism - hence Nazi Germany in 1933. Centralized control gives us Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Today's "liberal" foundations were yesterday's "robber barons." The problem is not that the rich should not give back. The deeper problem is that the compassionate, non-profit sector forgets where all the money comes from! At some point, wealth must be created. Risk and reward are vital to progress.
"Social justice" must include not only fair trade practices and public accountability - it must empower wealth creation and understand that there will be differences in income levels. I do not see Al Gore divesting himself of the more than $100M he has made since losing the 2000 election. George Soros may give to liberal causes, but his wealth comes at the expense of whole nations. Conversely, the Right has not articulated who should be the recipients of public generosity and how to help people in times of economic upheaval. It is not enough to say, "get a job" when there are no jobs. Jim Wallis of the Evangelical Left needs to realize that conservatives are not against fairness and generosity - they just think such values are best administrated locally and privately. Glen Beck needs to stop castigating those to promote social justice and demonstrate by his words and deeds creative ways to partner with folks outside the conservative bubble.
We can trim the federal budget and balance it within three years. Of course this means 10 new fighter jets instead of 15 and hammers that cost $20 instead of $900. It also means decentralizing all humanitarian aid and helping thousands of federal workers find jobs in the private sector. It means privatizing all political and public employee pensions. It means inviting ethical business execs to examine all levels of government and streamline the systems. It means that we cannot prosecute wars and have a welfare state. Europe is more generous with her public benefits because the USA has borne the major military costs for two generations.
The clouds are still in the sky, but I hope I have been clear. There are ways forward, but they are the "road[s] less traveled" and only faith, hope and love in large amounts will propel us forward.