What’s Driving President Obama, Tea Party Republicans and Iran’s Ahmadinejad

In today’s video Q&A on ethical and moral issues in the news, which is embedded below, we focused on three … Continued

In today’s video Q&A on ethical and moral issues in the news, which is embedded below, we focused on three stories — two domestic and one international — all of them about hidden or seemingly hidden agendas which are shaping the news.

The first topic was President Obama’s proposal to cover more than 80 percent of his almost 440 billion dollar jobs initiative by levying higher taxes on those he deems wealthy. What does it mean to be “wealthy”? Who decides and by what means are they deciding?

Does the President’s approach really make sense? As one who believes that increased taxes must surely be a part of any meaningful and effective recovery plan, I embrace the need for some increases. However, it is troubling that this new initiative takes us right back to what appear to be the President’s two favorite numbers, 200,000 and 250,000.

How were these figures chosen? Why these figures and not the million dollar figure advocated by Warren Buffet? Is this just about the number that Democrats think they can sell to voters? Until these questions are answered, how can we move forward intelligently?

We also addressed the performance of GOP presidential candidates at last night’s debate. Why was so much time spent debating cervical cancer vaccinations in Texas? What does that tell us about Republican voters, or at least what the candidates presume about them?

As with most such hotly debated, but quite narrow issues, the reason is that the HPV debate is a proxy fight for a much larger issue — how much goverment can inject itself into citizens private lives. But is public health simply a private matter?

Finally we talked about Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s announcement that he planned to free two imprisoned hikers. Of course, his plan is just that — a definite maybe. President Ahmadinejad said that he “hoped to” arrange the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

Should this news be greeted with excitement or caution? Is this a pardon or a ransom demand? When Sarah Shroud was released, it was upon payment of a 500,000 bond was posted and the two men may have to do the same.

While it’s certainly worth every penny and more to secure their release, this makes them nothing less than kidnap victims, and the Iranians nothing more than kidnappers.


Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • YEAL9

    Is a rabbi who promotes a historically and theologically flawed religion and is paid over $300,000/yr for doing so, a private matter?

  • Carstonio

    “the reason is that the HPV debate is a proxy fight for a much larger issue — how much goverment can inject itself into citizens private lives. ” -Um, I suspect the larger issue is really about sexuality in gender roles. Too many people seem to wrongly assume that HPV vaccines will encourage girls to be promiscuous. While I don’t have the medical knowledge to judge if the vaccine should be mandatory, I do say that the fact that the disease is transmitted sexuality shouldn’t be a consideration. We should use the same standard as for diseases transmitted in other ways.

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