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Monday, February 28 2011
University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Russ Castronovo recently canceled a week of classes for his American history students in a "sign of solidarity" with protesting teachers in Wisconsin. He wrote a column about his decision to do so in a recent edition of The Progressive.
In the column, Castronovo alleged he was standing up for the rights of workers everywhere and justified his choice to cancel classes based upon the fact that his 200 students unanimously voted it would be a good idea. On a recent show, Peter joked that all such a vote demonstrates is that none of his 200 students were paying for their own education. Castronovo also posited a bizarre take on how the Declaration of Independence binds our government to securing the people's happiness...oddly leaving out the integral word "pursuit." As Peter observed, that changes the philosophy of government dramatically from what the Founders intended.
On Monday's edition of The Peter Heck Radio Show, Peter invited Dr. Castronovo on to talk about his decision, the protests and his understanding of the Declaration of Independence.
Hear the audio of the interesting debate here.
Monday, February 28 2011
While the homosexual lobby continues to distort the notion of civil rights, falsely and disgracefully claiming that they are carrying forth the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. King's niece Alveda is once again directing attention to the real battle over civil rights raging in the United States - one where the left is at war with King's legacy.
Pro-life activist Alveda King reacted to the removal on Friday of a billboard advertisement in Manhattan that featured a black girl and the statement "the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb."
"It is an outrageous act of censorship that this billboard was taken down," King said. "This billboard should be posted in every city of the country.
"The message of this billboard is totally accurate," King said in a statement issued by Priests for Life where she is the director of African-American Outreach. "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb!"
She added: "And it should provoke outrage in the African-American community?not because it is racist, but because of the truth it reveals; the truth that is being kept from the African-American community."
The billboard was originally placed after the release of health department statistics in New York that showed nearly 60% of abortions were performed on black babies. Obviously, any graphical depiction of the location of Planned Parenthood's child-killing facilities will show an appallingly disproportionate number in predominantly black communities.
It is the disgustingly inherent racism of Planned Parenthood and the entire abortion movement that dates back to its infancy.
The billboard was part of a larger campaign:
The billboard message was a project of thatsabortion.com, which paid for the message as part of its LifeAlways project.
"There is a battle being waged in the United States that has taken more lives than any foreign war or act of terrorism," the Web site states about the project. "The enemy is abortion.
"Its supporters include the main stream media, liberal representatives in government, and Planned Parenthood, the country's largest abortion provider," the statement says.
CNN reported on Friday that Lamar Advertising, which owns the billboard, decided to take down the message after people who opposed it threatened workers in the building located next to the billboard.
The Rev. Al Sharpton had reportedly planned a protest at the site of the billboard on Saturday and pro-abortions groups had also complained about the pro-life message.
Mary Alice Carr, vice president of communications for NARAL Pro-Choice New York, said in a statement that the billboard was "attacking women for choosing abortion while simultaneously destroying family planning."
Think about the impotence of these arguments. First, Sharpton shows himself to be willing to destroy black children for the sake of his politics. He demonstrates his first interest is, and has been, advancing a liberal agenda...even when it comes at the price of black infants' blood.
Second, to say that the billboard was "attacking women" shows the desperation groups like NARAL are now feeling. They can't dispute the message of the billboard. They can't deny the gruesome statistics. They can't refute the numbers of abortion's disproportionate destruction of black children. So they retreat behind these silly rhetorical jabs they've been leveling for years.
Notice they don't answer this fundamental question: where IS the most dangerous place for an African American? That should tell you something.
The billboards may have come down...for now...but the tide has unquestionably turned around the country. Add this campaign to the recent exposing of Planned Parenthood's illegal activities, the crusades to defund the abortion mill, the Kermitt Gosnell revelations, the growth of the youthful pro-life movement, the push for personhood, the new strategy to shut down abortion in Virginia, and you realize: the writing is on the wall.
This will be the generation that finally ends the draconian and barbaric practice of child sacrifice in America.
Monday, February 28 2011
Where are the protests? I remember just a few short years ago driving and seeing homemade signs sticking up in people's yards demanding "habeas corpus" rights for terrorists, the end of renditions, the closing of Guantanamo, and the demise of the Patriot Act.
We were told by these self-loathing and Bush-hating liberals that the perpetuation of any of those things were tantamount to war crimes and further indication of how evil the United States had become. Barack Obama was selected by these left-wingers because he would surely deliver us from this dark night. Hillary might, but she couldn't be trusted like he could be.
So after continuing Bush's policy on renditions, denial of habeas corpus, keeping Guantanamo open, now word comes that:
President Barack Obama has signed a three-month extension of key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act.
The law extends two areas of the 2001 act. One provision allows law enforcement officials to set roving wiretaps to monitor multiple communication devices. The other allows them to ask a special court for access to business and library records that could be relevant to a terrorist threat.
A third provision gives the FBI court-approved rights for surveillance of non-American "lone wolf" suspects - those not known to be tied to specific terrorist groups.
Obama signed the three-month extension of the provisions Friday. They were to expire Monday.
To put all this in plain English: Obama has done a total 180 from what he promised on the campaign trail. Why? Because he's got the job of protecting Americans now, and he has realized that Bush's actions weren't made because he was a totalitarian or authoritarian (you would have thought such accusations would have been proven silly once Bush ceded power to Mr. Obama in the first place.but they persist.such is the wisdom and sanity of the left).
Obama now seems to realize that protecting Americans lives and their privacy rights is a fine line with no easy answers. Not that I expect to hear him tone down his perpetual campaign against Bush or to explain these realities to his now oddly silent "rights brethren." Not that I expect Michael Moore to make a movie trashing Obama the way he did Bush. That's expecting way too much intellectual honesty and consistency from these folks.
All I want to know is when I'll start seeing those homemade yard signs pop up again? And if I don't.what should that tell us?
Sunday, February 27 2011
Apparently, "gay" no longer means happy for many Hoosier homosexuals. The new definition must be unhappy, miserable, belligerent and angry. (If you saw me on the Fox 59 news Faceoff segment last night, you'll know exactly what I mean.)
Following the passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment, HJR 6, in the Indiana House last week with broad, 70% support, the leader of a widely read homosexual blog called the Bilerico Project revealed his true nature.
The day after the amendment passed with support that even the Indianapolis Star labeled as "overwhelming" (just as everyone had expected), the editor of the blog put out a vile call for dirt on Indiana legislators. In a vulgar manner that only Larry Flynt could approve, Bil Browning put out a call for any and all rumors against any legislator in the state house. He then salted his post with obscene examples of things he wanted more information on which would bring fines from the FCC if they were repeated on the evening news.
Speaking of the media, if someone on the political right had done this, it would be national news followed by universal scorn and denouncement! Yet, no such reaction has occurred from this profane stunt, even though the many legislators with whom I have spoken, and several in the media, do know of the post.
By their own admission, this is the second time in less than five years that Bilerico has tried to "out" and smear elected officials with vile unsubstantiated rumors as a tactic to bring "tolerance" for homosexuality and placement of the full homosexual agenda into Indiana law and public policy. In a bizarre twist, they seem most eager to smear even just one legislator with the ultimate insult - closet homosexuality! I am not sure if they even see the irony in thinking that this would be a major embarrassment when they defend and celebrate homosexual behavior on a 24/7 basis.
Saturday, February 26 2011
Business in the Indiana House of Representatives has ground to a halt with 39 of 40 Democrat State Representatives purposefully abandoning their posts. With the lone exception of Representative Steve Stemler, who has shown up to work, the Democrat elected Representatives have fled across state lines. Most are holding up in a hotel in Urbana, Illinois.
By design, they left Rep. Terri Austin behind as their spokesperson, and another Democrat to quickly second any motion Democrat minority leader Patrick Bauer instructs Rep. Austin to make. The move was made solely to stymie the Republicans, who by rule, cannot conduct business without a quorum of 67 House members.
Republicans have walked off the floor briefly before. However, it is a fact that they did so only because of an abuse of the rules. No such thing has happened in this case. To the contrary, Speaker Brian Bosma actually appointed two House Democrats to chair committees and has allowed several solely Democrat authored bills to move freely through the process. This is a fairness that as Speaker, Pat Bauer never even considered.
The move has likely killed 23 bills, which had passed out of committees, with fair, and in many cases, lengthy debate and majority votes. Yet without a quorum, those committee reports cannot be adopted so the bills can proceed on to full floor debate and a final vote. Sadly, it may also place one of AFA of Indiana's priority bills in jeopardy, which is House Bill 1205, prohibiting your state tax dollars from going to abortion providers. HB 1205 is waiting on a Second Reading (floor debate and amendments) while the legislative clock keeps ticking.
The main reason for the walk out is not social issues like marriage protection or abortion, which the left loves to portray as a waste of time getting in the way of the "important" issues. In reality, our issues actually have fairy significant bi-partisan support. The reason for the temper tantrum is because of a bill prohibiting an employee in Indiana from being forced to join a union as a condition of employment. This bill, also called "right to work" legislation, cleared a House committee with a vote last Friday.
Last night, Representative Bauer issued his out-of-state demands listing eleven bills, mostly economic in nature, that they want killed. (A few of which have already passed the House with bi-partisan support.) The Illinois vacationers want the House Republicans to kill bills expanding charter schools, school choice vouchers for poor students and "right to work" proposals. They even want the proposed state budget revoked before they will return.
This kind of high drama makes for great newsprint and excitement for the political talking heads, but it is horrible government. In November, Hoosier voters gave House Republicans historic majorities to govern. House Democrats have not been shut out or mistreated. This unprecedented temper tantrum is shameful and should be widely denounced as such.
This stunt is also starting to cause a feeding frenzy among local labor unions and political liberals. Moments ago, a spokesman for the Indiana State Teachers Association was quoted on WIBC radio in Indianapolis predicting Wisconsin-like chaos in Indianapolis involving some 25,000 union members. Let's pray that Indiana's wayward elected officials return to Indiana to do the people's business.
Friday, February 25 2011
The Center for Constitutional Rights has recently filed a lawsuit against the state of Louisiana for what they consider the "discriminatory" Crime Against Nature statute that forces those who solicit certain depraved sexual conduct to register as a sex offender.
The lead counsel on the case, Andrea Ritchie, Esq. is the co-author of a new book, "Queer Injustice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States."
Ms. Ritchie appeared on the Peter Heck Show today for an interesting discussion over the homosexual agenda and where it is leading us. Listen to the audio here.
Friday, February 25 2011
Determining that the law is unconstitutional, Barack Obama has done a flip-flop on his previously stated position on so-called "gay marriage." In case you're wondering why Obama is bringing that issue up right now, his Press Secretary, Jay Carney acknowledged that Obama was forced into the decision by a court deadline.
Classic Obama: "I would prefer to have just kept riding the fence and not telling anyone what I think, but they made me." Not surprisingly however, Obama dispatched his Attorney General Eric Holder to break the news:
Holder explained that he and Obama felt that the government could not defend the traditional definition of marriage as a rational distinction in federal court, saying that any morality-based defense of DOMA would amount to "animus" and "stereotype-based thinking" that the Constitution prohibits.
"The [legislative] record contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships - precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against," Holder wrote.
In other words, because Congress enacted DOMA for moral reasons, the Obama administration will not defend it, because it thinks those moral reasons amount to "animus" towards homosexuals.
Got that? The regime has decided that laws written "for moral reasons" are inappropriate discrimination against people. In other words, our grand leader has determined that every law written is inappropriate.
Follow the logic through to its conclusion: laws against molestation discriminate against perverts...unconstitutional! Laws against violence discriminate against the aggressive...unconstitutional! Laws against slavery discriminate against those with large plantations that need harvested...unconstitutional! (Insert your favorite law here)...unconstitutional!
This is what happens when you elect the morally bankrupt to lead you. The moral incongruity demonstrated by this administration boggles the mind and should shake the soul.
Incidentally, though the administration is shirking its responsibility to execute the laws of Congress and defend them in court, Congress can do so. It looks like the new conservative majority in the House will have to do the president's job in that area too.
Friday, February 25 2011
Remember the fun that the Democrat left had with the perverted sexual term "teabaggers" to describe their political rivals in the Tea Party movement? Well, it looks like these lefties have opened the door for a nickname of their own. Coined by political columnist Michelle Malkin, the "fleebagging" era has arrived.
Faced with stifling debt, bloated pensions, and intractable government unions, liberal Midwestern legislators have fled those states ? paralyzing Republican fiscal-reform efforts. Like Monty Python's Brave Sir Robin and his band of quivering knights, these elected officials have only one plan when confronted with political hardship or economic peril: Run away, run away, run away.
Scores of Fleebagger Democrats are now in hiding in neighboring Illinois, the nation's sanctuary for political crooks and corruptocrats. Soon, area hotels will be announcing a special discount rate for card-carrying FleePAC winter convention registrants. Question: Will the White House count the economic stimulus from the mass Democratic exodus to Illinois as jobs "saved" or "created"? More important question: How much are taxpayers being charged for these obstructionist vacations?
After recounting the fleebagging in Indiana and Wisconsin, where Democrats (intentionally placed in the minority by voters fed up with their budget busting allegiance to the out-of-control collective bargaining of public sector unions) have cowered away in neighboring states to avoid doing their jobs, Malkin points out that this strategy is nothing new for the left.
Almost eight years ago, more than 50 Texas Democratic state lawmakers holed up in Oklahoma and New Mexico for weeks to stymie a vote on Republican-sponsored redistricting plans they opposed. Over the past week, it was thousands of public-school teachers in Wisconsin who faked illness and boycotted their classrooms. And it's union henchmen calling out loud for statewide strikes to bring Republican reformers to their knees.
The Party of Truancy has become a laughingstock ? and Americans aren't waiting for left-wing late-night comedians to bring down the hammer of well-earned mockery. The Internet has lit up over the past week with "Wanted" posters and all-points-bulletin alerts for missing Democrats.
Blogger John Hayward of the conservative Human Events newspaper joked that "the next issue of National Geographic will track the migratory patterns of fugitive Democrats across the great plains." Seton Motley of the Washington, D.C.-based Media Research Center weighed in: "First, Wisconsin. Now, Indiana. When we said ?runaway government,' it was a complaint ? not a suggestion." Comedian Stephen Kruiser snickered that OFA ? the Democrats' political organizing arm, Organizing for America ? now stands for "Organizing Fleeing Americans."
Note: Many of the loudest Washington and Hollywood critics of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's decision to resign from office in 2009 are themselves now AWOL on the Wisconsin and Indiana AWOL-ians. Who's all for mocking "quitters" now? Anyone?
Regardless of how you feel about these issues, running away and not doing your job is a profile in cowardice. That should be remembered come election day 2012. Last November, voters did a good job putting adults in charge of the checkbooks. But it is plainly apparent that there are plenty of fit-throwing juveniles who still need to be removed. If you're wondering which ones, look for the empty seats.
Friday, February 25 2011
I have been uneasy from the start with the idea that Mitch Daniels would run for President. To be frank, I think Mitch has been an effective, efficient and good governor for Indiana. He has taken seriously the economic problems of the state, has been out in front of the issues and has protected the state from the very crises now facing several others who have suffered through the profligate spending of less conscientious managers.
In short, Daniels is excellent with a budget.
Beyond that, I have been uncomfortable with the fact that Daniels has never seemed to grasp the reality that economic conservatism is but one plank in the national remedy that we need. His propensity for considering social conservatism a distraction and his relative obliviousness to foreign policy conservatism is alarming for someone angling for a run at the presidency.
In Indiana, this hasn't been a glaring problem because of the irrelevance of foreign policy at the state level and because of the strong conservative backbone of the state. But at the national level, Daniels would have to demonstrate the backbone himself. And even before his ill-advised call for a "truce" on social issues, I've never been confident he has it.
But I would have never thought it would have been on economic policy that Daniels blew his presidential chances. And yet, when faced with the opportunity to stand up to fleeing Democrats, demand they quit obstructing the democratic process and deal with the right to work legislation introduced by Republicans, Daniels took a pass:
Daniels told reporters this afternoon that he expects House Democrats will return to work if the bill dies. It would be unfortunate if other bills are caught up in the turmoil, he said.
He will not send out state police to corral the Democrats, the Republican governor said.
The Democrat minority has (the) right to express its views, he added.
Ralph Alter, writing at The American Thinker, summed up the feeling of stunned conservatives everywhere:
Word to Mitch: the stifling effect of labor unions on the economy is not a social issue.
Daniels' unwillingness to stand on principle on issues important to social conservatives suggested that there might be a weak spot in the former Reagan Budget Director's resume. Daniels earned the sobriquet "Mitch the Knife" for his willingness to stand on economic principle while helping trim the fat out of the federal budget.
Apparently, Daniels now wants to be known as "Mitch the Nice." That won't work for me or any of the conservatives that I know. Now is the time to draw the proverbial line in the sand and act on the mandate provided conservatives in the 2010 mid-term elections. Reigning in union greed must be a top priority.
Sorry Mitch, but it's only taken two weeks in the national public eye to prove that you ain't no Chris Christie or Scott Walker.
I can't say I'm disappointed that Mitch has tubed his own chances. I have appreciated him as Indiana's Governor. But there are far more candidates who are better choices for a country in desperate need of conservative leadership.
Thursday, February 24 2011
A few recent and notable quotes - some good and others not so good:
"The American people love government, but they don't like too much politics in government." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), Daily Caller, Jan. 5, 2011
"It's like living next door to the Simpsons - you know, the dysfunctional family down the block." - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, after neighboring Illinois passed a massive tax hike. WLS Radio (Chicago), Jan. 11, 2011
"CNN needs to stop elevating anti-gay opinions to the level of the actual experts who they should be talking to. - The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, demanding that CNN ban interviews with family advocates. Mediabistro.com, Jan. 6, 2011
"I guess my biggest failure was not getting re-elected." - President Jimmy Carter, on his biggest failure as president, Bigthink.com, Dec. 16, 2010
"I went to Europe because of this last election. I couldn't face - I didn't want to be here for this bloodbath." - Barbra Streisand, on why she left the U.S. in November, The Daily Caller, Dec. 16, 2010
"It is perfectly legitimate for a student to say, ?I think homosexual conduct is against the word of God.'" - Arthur Spitzer of the ACLU's Washington, D.C., branch, voicing concerns over "anti-bullying" laws and free speech. The Washington Post, Nov. 30, 2010
And a classic from the past:
"Religion in a family is at once both its brightest ornament and its best security." - Samuel Adams
Thursday, February 24 2011
If this were not so costly to the American taxpayer, it would be wonderful comedy.
It has been reported that 14,000 "home buyers" wrongly received tax credits for federal mortgage relief. In fact, 1,300 of them were living in prison at the time of filing, including 241 serving life sentences. Sixty-seven of the 14,000 received tax credits for the same house, and 87 more potentially fraudulent tax-credit applications were filed by Internal Revenue Service employees.
One might argue that this represents an extremely small percentage of federal mortgage relief filers. Over two million applications were submitted. How many more fraudulent applicants, we can legitimately wonder, have not been caught? Why should any taxpayer express relief that only a small percentage of applications are fraudulent? Why should we not demand that no approved applications be fraudulent?
Thursday, February 24 2011
Watching the protests in Madison and Indianapolis, you're seeing a lot of talk about how the intent of Republican leadership is to "bust the unions." This, of course, is referring to public unions (entities that are bargaining for more of your money, since taxpayers are their employers). Most Republicans are denying this...at least publicly.
In a recent column, Jonah Goldberg explains why he hopes the protestors are right, and why public unions have been a 50 year mistake. Unlike private-sector unions which were born out of a hostile and often bloody relationship with management (think the coal miners of the early 1900s), government unions have no similar backdrop of maltreatment.
Government workers have never been subject to horror stories that precipitated the rise of private sector unions because they have had civil service regulations and congressional laws that have always secured good working conditions for government jobs. If that's the case, what was the point of JFK instigating the public union rise?
One word...politics. Goldberg writes:
Traditional organized labor, the backbone of the Democratic party, was beginning to lose ground. As Daniel DiSalvo wrote in "The Trouble with Public Sector Unions," in the fall issue of National Affairs, JFK saw how in states such as New York and Wisconsin, where public unions were already in place, local liberal pols benefited politically and financially. He took the idea national.
The plan worked perfectly - too perfectly. Public-union membership skyrocketed, and government-union support for the party of government skyrocketed with it. From 1989 to 2004, AFSCME - the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees - gave nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections, with 98.5 percent going to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Why would local government unions give so much in federal elections? Because government workers have an inherent interest in boosting the amount of federal tax dollars their local governments get. Put simply, people in the government business support the party of government. Which is why, as the Manhattan Institute's Steven Malanga has been chronicling for years, public unions are the country's foremost advocates for increased taxes at all levels of government.
Make sure you make note of that last sentence. While private-sector unions like the UAW have to be aware that they can't demand too much from management or they will wreck the business that gives them a job, public sector unions like teachers' associations have no such restraint. They know they're not going to "wreck the government that gives them a job." That government can just go and tax people more.
It's an ugly cycle that screws the taxpayer: public unions demand more money - Democrats vote to give it to them - your taxes go up to pay it - your money then goes into the unions who pay back Democrats with campaign contributions. And the cycle keeps repeating itself. Goldberg explained why collective bargaining is the very thing that government unions need to lose:
The labor-politician negotiations can't be fair when the unions can put so much money into campaign spending. Victor Gotbaum, a leader in the New York City chapter of AFSCME, summed up the problem in 1975 when he boasted, "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss."
This is why FDR believed that "the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," and why even George Meany, the first head of the AFL-CIO, held that it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."
As it turns out, it's not impossible; it's just terribly unwise. It creates a dysfunctional system where for some, growing government becomes its own reward. You can find evidence of this dysfunction everywhere.
Indeed we can. Public unions like teachers associations are sending out the warning call to all their members that this is the most serious threat such unions have ever faced. For the sake of taxpayers everywhere, it might not be such a bad thing if they are right.
Thursday, February 24 2011
For years we've lamented the refusal of Republicans to lead when given the chance. And looking at the Senate Republicans in Washington, we see evidence that many of them still don't get it.
But we are seeing that the most substantial result of the November 2010 elections is what happened in state legislatures and governor mansions across the country. Within the states we are seeing the essence of leadership. We are seeing Republicans there finally show some guts.
Case in point:
Wisconsin's 14 Democratic senators are being threatened with recalls and having their paychecks withheld because they've been hiding out of state since Thursday. But they say those threats won't deter them in their opposition to the anti-union bill that prompted their flight.
The senators have been gone for five days. As long as they're away there aren't enough senators left to take action on a bill by Republican Gov. Scott Walker that would strip unionized public employees of most of their bargaining rights.
The pressure is ramping up for the Democrats to return. A Utah-based group has filed paperwork to recall some of them, and the Senate passed a measure withholding paychecks from absent lawmakers.
What does this do? Well, the Republicans in Wisconsin only need one Democrat senator to be present to make a quorum in order to do business and pass their bill. This move will guarantee they get their one Democrat senator. After all, the Wisconsin walkout itself is in defense of the right of public workers to get a free ride from the taxpayers. It only makes sense that these Democrats will believe themselves entitled to their taxpayer paychecks for not doing their jobs.
This is the type of serious backbone we need in our leaders. No more games. The adults must take charge.
Thursday, February 24 2011
By now you might have heard about a 16 year old wrestler from Iowa named Joel Northrup who chose to forfeit his way out of the state wrestling tournament because he was to square off against a girl.
Citing his religious convictions that taught him that a man should not engage a woman in combat like that, he spoke highly of the young 14 year old girl he was to face, Casey Herkelman. For her part, Herkelman, her family, and the other female in the tournament lauded his convictions.
Not everyone did. Always looking for an opportunity to be obnoxious and get attention, ESPN's Rick Reilly decided to spend an entire column trashing Northrup for his decision:
"It's his religion and he's strong in his religion," says Megan Black, the only other girl who made state. (These were the first two in the state's history. Black lost both her matches.) "You have to respect him for that."
Does any wrong-headed decision suddenly become right when defended with religious conviction? In this age, don't we know better? If my God told me to poke the elderly with sharp sticks, would that make it morally acceptable to others?
And where does it say in the Bible not to wrestle against girls? Or compete against them? What religion forbids the two-point reversal?
Clever. That Mr. Reilly would compare the decision of a male not to engage in combat against a female to poking elderly people with sticks only proves how clueless the man is. In actuality, we should use the reverse of Mr. Reilly's analogy to make it more appropriate. Suppose that a frail, elderly woman joined the local jousting competition. Would Reilly trash me if I declined to stab her based on my convictions?
The truth is that Reilly's argument is a mess of moral incoherence. In one breath he condemns moral relativity by saying "just because you think that it's okay to do something doesn't mean that it's acceptable." But the entire point of his piece is to trash moral objectivity.
In actuality, Rick has now put himself in a position where, in order to be consistent, he would have to argue that men be allowed to join female volleyball and basketball and softball teams. In fact, his denunciation of a male not wanting to engage in aggressive physical contact with a female is nothing more than a commendation of a unisex approach to sports and society. No doubt, Reilly did not mean to open that can of worms...yet another proof of how out of his league he is in this column.
Rick, stick to writing about grown adults putting balls through various apparatuses and leave the moral philosophy to someone who is capable of deep thinking.
Thursday, February 24 2011
I got an email asking what I thought of conservative Michael Medved's argument that folks like Dinesh D'Souza, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin were doing the conservative movement a disservice by suggesting that Barack Obama was intentionally harming America at home and abroad.
Medved's contention is that this will turn people off and a more "moderate tone" that focuses not on Obama's bad intentions or rotten character is a better approach.
While I think moderation can be a good thing, there is a danger in moderation. The danger is that we play down realities that we should be very concerned about. For instance, what if Limbaugh and others are right? What if Obama is a dangerous extremist? Are we better served by hiding that fact or by illuminating it?
I would argue it's best to expose the blight in bright light in order to guarantee its removal at the earliest opportunity. Taking the opposite tack, while cautious and well-intentioned, can yield disastrous results.
Thomas Sowell's recent column on this issue highlighted that reality:
Moderation is fine ? if it is not carried to extremes. But some moderates seem to think that it is always a good thing to tone down your words. Yet history shows that muffling your message can mean forfeiting many a battle to extremists.
No one has had more of a mixed and muffled message than Sen. John McCain, which is why Barack Obama is president of the United States.
The best policy is to call a spade a spade and let the chips fall where they may. You don't have to be intentionally provocative or flagrantly offensive in doing so. But when a policy is misguided, call it misguided. When a practice is evil, call it evil. When a person is advocating both, call them out for advocating both. And when appropriate, don't hesitate to question why their character would allow them to do so.
Wednesday, February 23 2011
Not many updates have emerged regarding the apparent attack and sexual assault of CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan on the streets of Egypt. This is most likely due to privacy requests by Logan's family, and if so, those should be honored. What shouldn't be honored is the idiocy of CBS News to put Ms. Logan in that situation to begin with.
As columnist G. Murphy Donovan writes in a scathing piece on CBS' culpability in the attack, the stage was set by a procession of politically correct talking points:
Demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt were represented as "peaceful and democratic," never mind that neither country had any experience with democracy since the Roman republic. The peace rhetoric pretty much ignored the mayhem, killing, arson, and looting as long as it was done in the name of anti-regime sentiments.
Indeed, hypocrisy became comic opera when pyramid tour guides brought counter-revolutionary camels and horses to the fray in Tahrir Square. Tragically, some of the animals and their keepers were summarily executed on the spot, presumably in the name of democracy.
Nevertheless, in the space of a week, President Obama was pressing for "democratic" reform and Mrs. Clinton was holding the Cairo rioters up as a "model" for some undefined Arab utopia. Presumably, CBS executives, and possibly Ms. Logan herself, bought into this false narrative and wanted to be in Tahrir Square for the victory lap. Al Jazeera was the worst of the "revolutionary" shills, seldom broadcasting any footage that would challenge the anti-Mubarak narrative.
The drumbeat from most reporters, following al Jazeera's lead, was to portray the demonstrators as peaceful, diverse, ecumenical, and enlightened. No anti-American or anti-Israeli sentiments were reported. The stage was set for tragedy when CBS allowed a slight blond American to mingle with a predominantly male, testosterone fueled, anti-Semitic and xenophobic mob in Tahrir Square. Indeed, Christiane Amanpour, Katie Couric, and Anderson Cooper had already experienced near misses. And if Christina Lamb's research on the subject is to be believed, the photogenic Mr. Cooper was as likely to be assaulted as any female reporter.
Donovan does not mean to blame Logan for the attack, but rather explain that the intentional naiveté about the Arab culture led to her being placed in an insanely dangerous position. Logan is, after all, considered to be an attractive female reporter. She is also one with a bit of a reputation for extramarital adultery. Mix those things with the misogynistic Arab culture in an inflamed and passion filled riot and you've got a nightmare brewing. A nightmare CBS should have seen coming a mile away.
Adulterers, especially females with celebrated indiscretions, are seen as prostitutes or worse in the world of Islam. No Arab male would fear prosecution for assaulting such an American infidel, even one with press credentials. CBS executives had to know this; which probably explains network attempts to hide the Logan's trauma from Egyptian authorities and the American public. A cowardly media mainstream is unlikely to seek justice for one of their own, especially a woman. Treasured illusions about Muslim civility are too important to put at risk.
Lara Logan's image was not the only risk factor. The near universal refusal of the professional left, the academy, and several American administrations to recognize or confront the golems of Islamic and Egyptian culture are part of the back story too. Many religious or cultural practices enable the abuse of women in Egypt and other Arab communities. These include, but are not limited to: vindictive fatwas, child marriage, honor killings, genital mutilation, amputations, stoning, purdah (burkas and hijabs), polygamy, consanguinity, slavery, and death penalties for adultery. Christina Lamb's Afghan protégé characterized women under Islamic law as "insects in the dust."
The silence of American feminists on institutionalized Arab misogyny is deafening. High profile American women like Madeline Albright (now at PEW Global Attitudes), Hilary Clinton, and now Michelle Obama, ladies who could make a difference, have yet to act against the systematic abuse of women among one fourth of the world's population. Tongue tied feminists are co-conspirators with the "animals" of Tahrir Square.
The most important thing we can hope for is that Ms. Logan recovers. But we should also hope, expect and demand that the illusions about the Arab world be demolished and a candid conversation about the differences between their worldview and the Western one built on the Judeo-Christian ethic be held. That is the best way to prevent future tragedies like this one.
Wednesday, February 23 2011
Mainstream media outlets are seizing upon a recent event at the Creation Museum to carry forth their agenda-driven template that regards anything termed "fundamentalist Christian" as discriminatory, bigoted and hateful. The reality, as is seemingly always the case, is something far different than what is being portrayed.
The situation arose surrounding a neat Valentines Day event the Museum organized for interested patrons called, "Date Night at the Creation Museum." Giving the full story, the folks at Answers in Genesis explain the odd developments:
Many weeks before the February 11 "Date Night at the Creation Museum," ministry leadership became aware that Mr. Joe Sonka, a fervent museum opponent, was planning to crash a museum dinner where couples would hear a special talk by Ken Ham on marriage principles from the book of Genesis. In a January posting on his website, Mr. Sonka announced his strategy to send a same-sex couple to the event, stating: "Let's get to work doing a fundraiser so we can send the most flamboyantly gay couple imaginable to this dinner."
Apparently Mr. Sonka decided to find a co-conspirator to pose as his "date" for the evening. The "date" arrived with another man/woman couple and waited in the foyer. They were approached by security (with a prepared script) and informed that since the Museum was aware this was a set-up intended to disrupt the evening for the paying guests, the man would not be allowed to enter the event with Mr. Sonka when he arrived. The other man/woman couple was allowed to enter the banquet.
That there can be any dispute over the logic, rationality, fairness or appropriateness over the Museum's actions is only evidence of the emerging cultural hostility towards Christians and their beliefs. Consider:
Since the museum is on private property, we have the right to require appropriate, respectful behavior from our guests, and not "flamboyant" behavior. Accordingly, we have signs posted on the complex that declare: "The Creation Museum is private property, a Christian environment . . . Guests at the museum are expected to conduct themselves in a polite, respectful manner at all times;" conduct "offensive to other guests or to the staff will be subject to removal from the premises." We have every right to remove people from our private property who engage?or have expressed the intent to engage?in behavior that disrupts the experience of other guests, including those individuals who want to act in an ostentatious manner to call attention to themselves and be disrespectful towards people who might take offense at their disruptive actions.
Mr. Sonka, the main offender in this intentional and strategic set up, has a history of writing hateful articles against AiG and the museum. For example, on December 26 he wrote on his blog that we commit intellectual "child abuse."
This was a set-up, albeit a poorly coordinated and manufactured one. But regardless of this, many media sources have decided to report on this as "further evidence" of the bigotry within Christian thought. The stories conclude that these men were kept out of a lovely evening because they love each other (which isn't even true given that Sonka's "date" was not his homosexuality partner anyway). Furthermore,
In the past, our staff has observed what they believed to be "gay" couples walking through the museum, and these guests were not approached (except in the rare instance where they were deemed to be acting in a disruptive manner). The Creation Museum has always welcomed individuals and groups who do not necessarily share our views; we want all people to be exposed to the biblical truths presented in the museum, which are not generally being seen or heard in a society that is increasingly intolerant of Christianity.
And that's the real story here. In the final analysis, this isn't about Christians being bigoted or hateful towards those who practice Biblically condemned sexual behavior.
The thwarting of an attempted event-crashing last Friday evening is yet another sad example of our times when a hateful, intolerant, politically correct person with a contrarian agenda publicly declares that he will engage in flamboyant, disruptive behavior on the private property of a ministry, after which he and like-minded anti-Christian bloggers malign the officials of the Christian facility for our beliefs and actions. Museum officials acted to ensure that the other 96 dinner guests would be able to enjoy their dinner, music, and a special message on Genesis and marriage without disruption. These bloggers are not only revealing their intolerance of Christianity and the museum's views, but they are condoning the inappropriate, deceitful behavior of two people who intended to spoil a special dinner event by making a scene. It's another example of intolerant anti-Christians who manufacture their own situation so that at the end they hope to pound on their chest and cry "victimhood."
Wednesday, February 23 2011
I don't follow baseball. I haven't since the strike they had in the 1990s. It's not a personal protest. It's just that I lost interest. But that doesn't change the reality that we can still learn a few things from what is happening in the Major Leagues. Take one of the league's biggest stars, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.
The man is a stud. He can smack a ball farther than most anybody in the world. He also just turned down a contract worth over $200 million because he thinks he's worth more than that.
Stop right now and gauge your reaction to that statement. What was it? Did the word "greed" pop into your head? If so, have you paused to consider why it did? Matthew Sullivan provides a possible answer that is worth considering:
It has taken many years, but that is how politicians have helped frame our thought. They've used the same faulty logic to create/play the class warfare card. And why not? It's been unbelievably effective. How else could you explain that roughly half of the population doesn't pay federal income taxes and yet we still hear people crying that the "rich" aren't paying their "fair" share? Those "greedy" rich that want to keep all of our money. Not their money, the people's money.
While class warfare chastises the greedy earners, it preys on something much worse. It is a little thing called envy ? wanting what others have, instead of what you can provide yourself. If greed motivates you to provide for yourself ? to excess depending on who you ask ? envy encourages you to take what others work for, further strengthening the destructive attitude of entitlement that many Americans can't get themselves out from under.
Sullivan asks the provocative question what we are worth. That's a loaded question, but here's what he means: I probably wouldn't be worth $10 to a baseball team. I provide no service that they place in high demand. Therefore, the contract I would be able to get from any professional baseball team would be quite small. Pujols has a service that - as time will probably prove - is worth well over $200 million to them. If they have the demand for it, Pujols has the supply of it, and he wants to get what he's worth by playing the market, what is it to me?
After all, do I lose money because Pujols makes more? No. So what makes him greedy? In fact, is it not those of us who bemoan his worth that are the greedy ones? Envying his skill, his gifts, his wealth? Sullivan addresses the man who complains about Pujols' contract this way:
We need to liberate our mindset from the envious shackles our ambitious politicians have bred and exploited in us.
To his corporation, he might be worth $60K. He**, he could be killing it for them and be worth $200K, making him fortunate enough to be in the second-highest tax bracket.
But what if he believed his value to be $60K and his employer only offered him $55K?
Would he be greedy for turning them down? That is how you should look at Pujols's situation. In relative, not absolute, terms. It is the only way we as a society will be able to move beyond class warfare. Not enviously trying to put ourselves in other people's shoes, but applying a comparable situation from our own world.
While no one is underpaid, there are many who fail to command the full freight for their services. However, this isn't the work of corporate conspirators intent on keeping the helpless middle class down. If someone isn't capturing their full demand curve, the fault lies squarely on their own shoulders for not putting themselves out in the open marketplace and allowing employers to compete for their services.
That is exactly what Pujols is doing. And that is how his worth will be determined, on the free market.
Wednesday, February 23 2011
In the leftist euphoria - the tears, cheers and parties - that followed the 2008 presidential election, many liberal progressives believed that the country had finally chosen to follow the path of European style socialism. Barack's "Change We Could Believe In" was on its way.
There is indeed a revolution that we are experiencing today. And it is indeed the result of Barack Obama's presidency (with a healthy dose of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid thrown in). But it is a revolutionary backlash against the Obama-Pelosi-Reid government overreach.
And the scope of it is often overlooked:
But here's the real kicker. Two years of Obama-Reid-Pelosi overreach and excesses may have been the table-setter for the real revolution now unfolding. Voters and taxpayers first needed to see the irresponsibility and recklessness of unalloyed liberalism to appreciate that conservative government is far superior. Thank you, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.
Of course, the real revolution began last year with the 2010 midterm elections. Yes, the GOP made the largest gains in U.S. House seats since 1948. But the underappreciated story is that the GOP racked up huge gains in state legislative contests, and further down ballot, Republicans swept plenty of local offices. State legislatures control congressional redistricting. Republicans now dominate enough key statehouses to lock-in GOP congressional electoral advantages for a decade.
The author of this piece, J. Robert Smith, reminds readers that Jefferson once told us that the states were the "laboratories of democracy." Certainly that is the case today as Governors Walker, Kasich, Daniels, Christie and others, are slashing budgets and returning to the concept of individual autonomy, states rights, and constitutional government.
As Smith points out:
Christie, Kasich, and Walker are seeking to demonstrate that limited, financially responsible government is best for economic and societal health. If successful -- and we should all have high confidence that these governors will succeed -- the lessons will not be lost on voters and politicians in other states. Revolutions are like that; it takes just a few courageous leaders to embolden others and for revolutions to spread.
We desperately needed "change we could believe in." It seems we are getting it. And Barack Obama will forever be credited for spawning it - just not in the way he or his fawning worshippers intended or expected.
Tuesday, February 22 2011
Peter Heck was joined on-air live by nationally known conservative superstar Star Parker.
In the course of the interview, Parker demonstrated again why she is known for her courageous and articulate defense of conservative principles, as the two discussed the importance of social issues, Star's background, race and the GOP, and her wonderful organization, Urban CURE.
The audio of the interview can be found here.
Tuesday, February 22 2011
Herman Cain has written an excellent piece about how President Obama - the man elected to lead the federal government - has taken a total pass on his responsibility to do so. Cain writes:
The president's proposal just continues to kick the can down the road without a serious solution.
His claim of a $1.1 trillion deficit reduction over 10 years is certainly not a serious solution. That so-called reduction is about a 1 percent reduction per year, which will be eaten up by inaccuracies in the projections and rounding errors. When you compare the 1 percent per year to the annual deficits of over 70 percent per year for the last two years, that's not a solution and that's not leadership.
To clarify his position, Cain astutely contrasts the lack of leadership of President Obama with the profound leadership being exhibited by some of the country's state governors, including Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Pointing out that when you lead, "you will be criticized because working on the right problems.will not make everybody happy," Cain posits:
Unlike what Obama has proposed, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is actually leading boldly to help get Wisconsin's budget balanced. Governor Walker has proposed that public sector workers, mostly unionized, pay a portion of their health insurance, and a modest portion of their retirement contributions.
That sparked an uproar with demonstrations at the state capitol by the unions last week, because their position is to give in on nothing even though the state is broke. The problem has been ignored for years and Governor Walker has proposed a bold solution as a start to fixing the problem. That's leadership.
My North Star National colleague Dan Calabrese last week cited Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as doing the same thing. Leading! Tell people the whole truth, and propose and explain a real solution instead of another "I want to be re-elected" band-aid.
The truth is that the United States is blessed right now by some real leaders who are not telling the people whatever they want to hear, simply so they can get elected. In the spirit of the Founders vision of true political leadership, they are telling the people what they need to hear and managing the budgets they have been entrusted to keep balanced.
You can say that Mr. Obama is not to blame for the difficult position he inherited. Fair enough. But Mr. Obama has chosen not to make any tough decisions that might endanger his re-election chances. That's not hope. It's not change. And it's certainly not leadership.
Tuesday, February 22 2011
We're up to five fellow Western cultures who have denounced the failure of multiculturalism and have recognized the need to espouse the superiority of the Judeo-Christian ethic of Western values. While that's an encouraging sign, it would be nice to see the United States acknowledge it and take steps now to avoid this trap before subjecting ourselves to the very destructive consequences that have prompted these other countries to reverse course.
This issue was addressed recently by Townhall columnist Emmett Tyrell:
So how did the Europeans end up with multiculturalism, a multiculturalism that seems to favor Islamic culture over other cultures? The Germans have outlawed Nazi culture. The Italians are not particularly hospitable to fascism, and as I already have pointed out, the French are appalled at cannibalism and do not even have a good word for McDonald's or KFC. I think it started with the way they teach their history. Militarism, colonialism and racism are all prominent ingredients of European history books, particularly British history. For that matter, American history stresses these ingredients also. I have been reading American college history texts, and they present an alarmingly ugly view of the Western past.
By presenting the West as repugnant and the other civilizations as our prey, particularly during colonial days but also in modern times, we encourage such social pathologies as jihadism. President Sarkozy says he is not going to tolerate the kind of fundamentalism in France that leads ultimately to jihadism. How is he going to achieve this without calling for a fundamental reform in how French history is taught?
Maybe now is the time to recognize this in the United States? Must we really subject ourselves to the same dilemmas now facing Europe and other places, or can't we learn from their mistakes?
There is an immediate need to start addressing this in our educational curriculum. There is nothing wrong with expecting those who willingly immigrate to your country to assimilate into your country's culture. That isn't nativist, bigoted or discriminatory. It's sane.
Tuesday, February 22 2011
What's happening in Wisconsin is an outrage. And no, it's not an outrage that the Governor and Republican lawmakers are trying to do the responsible thing and balance their budget - a move that includes asking state workers (including teachers) to pay half their pension costs and 12.6% of their health benefits. For this, they have become the scourge of the Democratic Party.
And that is an irony in and of itself. I have often been chastised for occasionally referring to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party." Several folks have taken it upon themselves to let me know that such a mislabeling is offensive and childish. Hmmm...I guess when I think offensive, I think a bunch of teachers calling in sick and then parading through the streets. When I think childish, I think a bunch of Democrat lawmakers running away so they prevent a vote from taking place.
That was the point Larry Kudlow was making in a recent column:
The Democratic/government-union days of rage in Madison, Wis., are a disgrace. Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan calls it Cairo coming to Madison. But the protesters in Egypt were pro-democracy. The government-union protesters in Madison are anti-democracy; they are trying to prevent a vote in the legislature. In fact, Democratic legislators themselves are fleeing the state so as not to vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget cuts.
That's not democracy.
Kudlow is right. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Until the Democrat Party stops backing undemocratic movements like this union bullying, perhaps they've forfeited their claim to the name "Democratic," no?
And how instructive that President Obama has waded into the fray on the side of the anti-democratic movement? Kudlow commented on this as well:
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker said it would be "wise" for President Obama to keep his attentions on Washington, not Wisconsin. "We're focused on balancing our budget," he said in a television interview. "It would be wise for the president and others in Washington to be focused on balancing their budget, which they're a long ways from doing."
Obama should stay out. And Governor Walker should stand tall and stick to his principles. A nationwide taxpayer revolt against public unions can save the country. Otherwise, the spiraling out-of-control costs of state public-union entitlements will destroy the local fisc, just as surely as the unreformed federal entitlements of Social Security and health care are wrecking our national finances.
As difficult as it may be for them to grasp, the democratic process in November handed the state governments over to the fiscally sane among us. Those Republicans now in charge are making the tough choices that should have been made a long time ago, but that the Democrats (and too many weak Republicans) chose to ignore for the sake of goody-promising.
We are in the midst of a very large taxpayer revolt. That's the direction our democratic institutions are heading. And the American people are seeing that the major impediment to the implementation of that democratic decision making is the Democrat Party.
Monday, February 21 2011
Apparently, from the reported quotations from their members and their self-adopted slogan "Fight like an Egytian", teachers in Madison see themselves as engaged in the same kind of struggle that those in Cairo have been in: against a thuggish dictator who had been in power for decades. I am struggling to find the parallels.
We could spend a lot of time discussing the compensation of Wisconsin educators and the specifics of how they aren't exactly scraping out a living, but we won't. Suffice to say, the average compensation including benefits has been put at around $50K per year for the salary they receive and $30K per year for the value of the benefits they enjoy.
Teachers (and representatives who had skipped town to avoid the vote) have been recorded on air as defending their decisions to call in sick and/or leave town as necessary to slow down the legislative process because the pending legislation had not been read thoroughly enough and that additional time was needed to properly understand what was happening in the Badger state. Does anyone recall the vote on Obamacare? Where was this sentiment and zeal last year?
One of the most troubling aspects of the teachers' strike has been the mob mentality that infuses it. It appears that the teachers in Wisconsin are dedicated to the democratic process only so far. In this Republic, allegiance is to the system, not the politicians or even the outcomes. Remember, this is not a democracy. You need look little further outside Madison Wisconsin for why mob rule is not a just form of governance.
It is hard to watch the effective sit-in of the capital in Madison, both inside and out, when images of children come across the screen. Not only are these young people not of voting age, but they have no business being present on matters some of them are quick to admit they do not even understand. Sad to see our young folks used as props. The parents who have allowed their children to participate in this adult discussion should be ashamed of the way their children have been exploited as "useful idiots".
Like in Greece, when these unionized labor forces found not that their benefits are about to cut but that they were simply being asked to contribute more toward their OWN BENEFITS, they took to the capital and shut down their places of employ. In the coming days, economically painful choices await all of us. What happens if all of us decide to set it out when things do not go our way?
The right to collective bargaining is not being stolen from these teachers. It is, without question, being curtailed. The unionization of public-sector employees effectively gives these people the ability to reach into taxpayer wallets as far as they would like. Remember that nearly every state runs an effective deficit, made whole only through subsidy from the federal government. Ask yourself, "How much of my wallet do I need to avail to public employees?" Should there be no limit to how much of your money our public employees can demand?
Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are taking on a budget imbalance that every governor and every legislature in every state should be following suit. How can we ask our federal government to balance their budget when we refuse to at a state level?
As a nation we are in a massive financial hole. One that cannot be overcome without principled leadership by our executive politicians. Governor Walker, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels are among some of our very best state leaders who should be applauded in their efforts to maintain fiscal sensibility. No matter what the union mobs may say.
In the coming days, similar legislative actions are being or will be pursued as states attempt to shore up their balance sheets. How will we respond as a nation and as a people? Will we pout like schoolchildren or look the challenges in the eye, like grown-ups? If Wisconsin tells us anything, we will certainly have people who will do the former. Will we have enough who will do the latter?
Monday, February 21 2011
Hearing John Boehner declare that the President's budget is dead on arrival in Congress isn't surprising. He's the leader of the opposition party, after all. But hearing Obama agree? That's surprising.
If Obama's statement to not take his budget "too seriously" didn't indicate how preposterous it is, nothing will. Besides being built upon phony expectations and fuzzy math, the budget isn't worth the paper it's presented on:
Starting with the bottom line, according to the administration's own numbers, the 2012 budget would push debt (held by the public, not government trust funds) up to nearly $12 trillion at the end of 2012. That's up from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008. So the federal government will have borrowed as much during President Obama's four-year term in office as it had during the previous two-century-plus history since the Republic was founded in 1789.
And that's before the entitlement-spending explosion associated with the Baby Boom retirement hits with full force. Over the coming decade, spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare's new entitlements will soar, from $1.6 trillion in 2011 to $3.0 trillion in 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
With the costs of entitlements rising rapidly, what does the Obama budget plan to do to head off a crisis? Nothing. As a result, by their own numbers, the budget would run deficits of $7.2 trillion over the next ten years, pushing the nation's accumulated debt to an astounding $19 trillion in 2021, or nearly 80 percent of GDP.
James Capretta goes on in this piece to acknowledge that those consequences are the best-case scenario. And anyone who is sane recognizes that with government, the best-case scenario never emerges. It's Capretta's belief that Obama is merely proposing an un-serious budget to simply cause a delay that will result in what he really wants: an emergency tax hike to stave off a financial meltdown. It's a backdoor policy that the Republicans better be aware of and willing to avoid.
The Republicans best course of action is to lay waste to this budget and craft their own. Why is it that with this president, the best idea continues to be ignoring his ideas and proposals and start over?
Monday, February 21 2011
At some point you think the embarrassment would get to be too much for either Sheila Jackson Lee or her constituents. Evidently, we're not to that point yet.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) claimed that there was no financial penalty for not having health insurance under the new health care law, saying that it was in fact an "incentive" to get people to do the right thing.
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing about the individual mandate to buy insurance, Jackson-Lee said, "I would make the argument, one, that it [the individual mandate] is an incentive to do right - that it is not penalizing you because a penalty is punishment, and you're not punished if you have health insurance, in fact.
"And so, you are in fact incentivized to have health insurance rather than take the negative, which is to suggest that because you have a penalty you're being punished," she said.
Honestly, I find it beyond frightening that a member of Congress can be this uninformed about the very legislation that they are voting for and defending. Here's the verbatim text from the legislation:
"If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) [have government-approved insurance]... there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual, Section 5000A of the law reads."
Another section of the health care law, entitled "Payment of Penalty," stipulates that if an individual fails to carry a government-approved health insurance policy for any month during the year, they must pay a maximum penalty of $750.
Of course, there is always the possibility that Jackson-Lee isn't stunningly uninformed about what she's discussing. She might really know what the legislation says and does. In that case she's a liar. Either option isn't flattering for her or those who continue to elect her.
Sunday, February 20 2011
Last week, the Indiana House Public Policy Committee voted to pass House Bill 1205 which prohibits state tax dollars from going to organizations which perform abortions. Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, is estimated to receive about 1.6 million in Indiana state tax dollars every bi-annual state budget. HB 1205, authored by Rep. Matt Ubelhor passed on a 7-3 vote.
Here is how that committee vote broke down:
Voting Yes: Reps. Culver, Davis, Knollman, Lehman, Lutz, Messmer and Wesco.
Voting No: Reps. Austin, Eberhart and GiaQuinta
Reps. Linda Lawson, Pelath and Summers, likely "no" votes, left the hearing before the vote occurred.
The committee also voted to pass House Bill 1210 which contained a variety of measures including strengthening Indiana's informed consent law. It also requires that an abortionist be in good standing with his or her local hospital, to which he must then refer patients, should complications occur. HB 1210 passed 8-4 on a party line vote.
Both bills will now go to the full House for further debate, possible amendments, and a floor vote.
This issue is also before the US Congress. Today, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence co-authored an editorial about this subject with Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council. You can read that editorial, "Getting taxpayers out of the abortion industry" here.
Saturday, February 19 2011
As you may have heard, the Indiana House has overwhelmingly approved the Marriage Protection Amendment (HJR 6) with 70% support from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill had nearly 40 co-authors signing onto the measure. In fact, former Speaker of the House Patrick Bauer, who had blocked the amendment many times, actually voted for it this time! Rep. Terri Austin who once claimed she really wanted to protect marriage yet tearfully cast the deciding committee vote keeping it off the 2008 ballot voted "no" on HJR 6. She did so even though this new language has existed verbatim in two other states for years without any legal problems. I guess her vote was predictable following her recent re-election endorsement from a leading homosexual activist group (Indiana Equality).
There is much that could be said about this issue in light of the desperate allegations against it. One that deserves comment is the charge that protecting marriage is discriminatory and bigoted. Do homosexual activists really believe that the desire to pass along the importance of both mothers and fathers to the next generation of children is something akin to racism? If so, why did 60% of African Americans in California who voted for the first black president in 2008 also vote to protect marriage? Why is opposition to same-sex marriage often the strongest among this demographic of the public, if marriage protection is discrimination?
Homosexual activists and even a few legislators who spoke against HJR 6 tried to raise the bogeyman of old interracial marriage laws and then attempted to equate them to marriage protection today. The fact is those laws, which once prohibited interracial marriage, were about keeping two races apart so one race could oppress the other, which is bad policy. HJR 6 and Indiana marriage law is about bringing the two sexes together so Hoosier children receive the love of both a mother and a father which is good policy. (HJR 6 is also about keeping a standard for the future so fewer women will get stuck with the difficulties of raising a child alone.) Having a parent of two different races is not the same as depriving a child of a mother or a father, which same-sex marriage would intentionally do, by definition.
Saturday, February 19 2011
During the health care debate, the Democrat members of congress pressured the CBO to present a "deficit neutral" figure by shifting the goal posts to only consider certain parameters. Well, the Democrats and President Obama are at it again, this time with the federal budget.
In a recent press conference, President Obama hailed his recent budget proposal as "not contributing to the debt" by the middle of next decade. That's a little odd considering by their own figures they increase the deficit from $11 Trillion to $19 Trillion in that time period and no yearly deficit ever gets below $600 Billion. So what gives?
To arrive at a "balanced" figure, he counted revenues coming in and subtracted out expenses from government. Presto! Balanced budget! Amazing huh? He's got the budget all balanced, right? Not so fast. In coming to this conclusion he left out one teensy-weensy detail. In arriving at this conclusion he ignored the current debt, the interest payments, and the growing interest payments going forward.
This would be like claiming that your business is in the black because income from sales exceeded product costs. We'll ignore the mortgage payment on the building, or car loans or taxes to the government, or dividends to stock holders. Those don't count. We'll just pretend they don't exist. Using this kind of business management would land someone in jail. In congress, it gets you re-elected.
Sadly this has been the norm from this administration and the Democrat leadership in congress. While seeing people perpetuating such nonsense in jail would be emotionally satisfying to a degree, I'll be content to see President Obama be a one termer and his allies in congress in the minority once again.
Friday, February 18 2011
I was checking out C-SPAN the other day...
Stop right there. Anyone who starts a paragraph with that sentence is a certifiable nerd. Resume.
...and listening to the debates on the House budget proposal. At the time there were a collection of over 600 amendments that they were debating. If one were to put on a blindfold and simply listen to the arguments, it would be relatively easy to determine which side each speaker represented. One the one side you heard the dangers of the impending debt crisis. On the other you heard the consequences of any cuts to any programs.
Both arguments played on fear. One can argue which side is right or wrong. But interestingly, only one side is guilty of attributing bad motives to the other. We could use a ticker, but I think we all know the answer as to which side. Why is this? It's a curious thing that the Right believes the Left to be naive or mistaken but the Left believes the Right to be evil.
Have you heard any Republicans charge Democrats with purposefully intending to harm children and their future by ignoring debt? But listen to the Democrats and you hear that Republicans don't care about clean air, clean water, education, poor people, elderly, or the sick.
Case in point, consider Rep. Jay Inslee (D- WA). In his recent tirade on the House floor, he made the charge that Republicans wanted kids to get asthma and want more dangerous air.
I think this needs to be taken to a whole new level. Why stop at asthma? Let's push the envelope and say that Republicans won't be satisfied until everyone is dying from toxins in the air and drinking contaminated water.
How about saying they want to see our natural parks turned into landfills? Let's just come out and say that Republicans want everyone to remain uneducated, unemployed and hungry. Why not suggest that if given the chance Republicans would push elderly down the stairs and cut off the breathing tubes of clinical patients? Why not throw out some tags with it while we're at it. We could say Republicans are racist because they want to cut entitlement programs or sexist because they want to block federal funding for abortion.
I'm all for this. Keep the charges and insults coming in this new era of civility. Rep. Jay Inslee, I salute you, and let the names begin!
Friday, February 18 2011
How long will it take to undo Obama's backwards foreign policy mistakes? In the latest example of his ongoing effort to coddle enemies and tick off allies, Turtle Bay reports:
The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.
And by doing this, we continue to send the ignorant message that the violence in the Middle East is the result of Israel not giving up enough. This continues to add credence to the question I, and others, have been asking for some time now: why does the Democratic Party of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama continue to get the support of the Jewish community?
Not surprisingly, Barack's groveling before the Palestinians did not impress them:
But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama administration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.
So did we think better of our willingness to sell out our friends? Nope:
Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal.
Our cowering foreign policy has undoubtedly begun to wear tremendously thin on our allies. This administration cannot end soon enough.
Friday, February 18 2011
He is the epitome of a shameless shyster. Trial lawyer turned political opportunist John Edwards may be about to be slapped by the long hand of the law he exploited for profit for so many years.
According to the Today Show:
A two-year grand jury investigation of John Edwards has reached a decisive point. Prosecutors believe they have a strong case, but have not yet gotten a green light from the Justice Department to charge the former presidential candidate, NBC News has learned. The issue: did Edwards violate election laws by trying to cover up his affair with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter.
Sources close to the investigation say Justice Department attorneys are now conducting a final review of evidence, and an indictment could come within days or weeks. In what could be an ominous development for Edwards, prosecutors already are making arrangements to record the sworn testimony of a key witness for possible use in a future trial, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"It would be surprising now if he wasn't indicted," said Stephen Saltzburg, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University law professor. "If John Edwards was aware that money was being paid to hide his mistress... and it was done to help his campaign, then he's in trouble."
Federal prosecutors are trying to prove Edwards had a hand in the payment of more than $1 million provided by two key supporters...money used, according to numerous sources, to keep Hunter quiet and out of sight. Prosecutors are examining whether the money spent on Hunter should have been treated and reported as campaign contributions, since keeping her way from the press was crucial to Edwards remaining a viable candidate. One year ago, Edwards admitted he fathered a little girl with Hunter. Frances Quinn Hunter turns 3 on Feb. 27.
Key testimony will come from a former aide who acted as middleman for the transactions.
It isn't good or noble to glory in the misfortune of others. But John Edwards has brought this on himself with his unscrupulous behavior. It's hard not to feel a sense of satisfaction if justice is served.
Friday, February 18 2011
General disclaimer: calling someone's statement stupid does not necessarily imply that they are stupid. They may be, but that conclusion is left up to the reader to decide.
It happened on CNN's American Morning with Kiran Chetry. She was interviewing libertarian Republican Representative Ron Paul of Texas.
After Kiran suggested that he was not much of a social conservative, Paul contradicted her saying he was "strong right to life." And then she said it. Drum roll please:
You know, freedom to make your own decisions and right to life don't always go together though.
Paul asked her to repeat herself, and even then, based on his answer it appears he didn't fully hear her or understand what she was saying. If he did, I would like to think he would have pounced over its idiocy.
Without the right to life, no other rights exist. You cannot have freedom if you do not first have life. This attempted inversion of the hierarchy of natural rights is either evidence of Chetry's ignorance or her slavish devotion to the abortion cult.
Whatever it is, think of where this stupidity would lead us: if the freedom to act was valued higher in our culture than the right to live, every homicide, suicide, infanticide law would have to be repealed. After all, forbidding murder is certainly violating someone's freedom to make their own decisions.
Friday, February 18 2011
Not to be depressing, but if recent media headlines come to represent the general sentiment of the United States, we're headed for a disaster. As I've commented on the show recently, reading Barack Obama's budget proposal for 2012 makes you feel as though you've been with Alice to Wonderland and had tea with the Mad Hatter.
In the midst of the most serious deficit and debt concerns in our nation's history, the man in the Oval Office calls for more of both. Literally. His budget is a $3.7 trillion spending spree that will run a deficit of over $1 trillion. In ONE YEAR.
The President's "budget cuts" that he frames as "tough choices" amount to spittle in the ocean. The scalpel he is taking to the budget, as he proudly touts, is chipping off the bark of a 200 foot radius Cedar tree.
Obviously that is unacceptable. Obviously that is madness. Want to see something worse?
In Obama's home state of Illinois, the Herald's sub-headline intoned, "Obama's big budget has some big cuts within it."
While the Herald at least admitted that its former state senator's proposed budget is "big," the Star-Telegram made the fatuous assertion that "Obama plan aims to rein in deficits" with only $90 billion in cuts to federal spending.
The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the Daily Herald, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the DC Express, couched the administration's massive budget as a fiscally responsible plan that makes "deep" and "big" cuts to "rein in deficits.".
"Obama budget makes deep cuts, cautious trades," trumpeted the Post's A-1 headline, even though the federal government is expected to run a $1.1 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2012.
The Globe echoed the Post with an above-the-fold headline that could have been ripped out of a White House press release: "Deep cuts, chance of gains for state in Obama budget."
Let's put this bluntly: if Americans come to feel as though the meaningless cuts Obama has proposed are "deep" or "big," we have no hope of righting our ship. If these proposed cuts are all we're willing to stomach, we are headed for a calamity far worse than the Great Depression.
We need a leader in the White House now more than ever.
Thursday, February 17 2011
There is a reason why I keep bringing up the dangerous course we are on toward legitimizing adult-child sexual behavior: it keeps popping up in high places. Try out this underreported headline: "Italy's Berlusconi Indicted in Prostitution Probe."
His penchant for younger women has cost Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi his wife, and now may cost him what he cherishes most: power.
The 74-year-old premier was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges he paid a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex, and then used his influence to cover it up -- an offense, if proven, that could see him barred permanently from public office.
In typical arrogant fashion, Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing and his supporters express outrage that this is an issue about which to be concerned.
The world is saddled with concerns about sex slavery and adult-child sexual behavior, yet refuses to take action against the monsters responsible for this perversion. Instead, we are told that we must give legitimacy to the liberal drivel about moral relativism.
This will be the apogee of sexual anarchy, which has been marching boldly forward with the make-believe rights of homosexual relationships. Remember how that began? Practicing homosexuals were all consenting adults who weren't hurting anyone else. They just wanted government - and everyone else - out of their bedroom. But it wasn't long before it became more than merely being left alone and tolerated. Now they have demands that they want met. For example, if you are a landlord, you cannot refuse to rent to someone on the basis of "sexual preference." No matter your personal belief, you cannot deny a homosexual couple access to your rental property.
How long will it be before a landlord cannot deny to rent to a sexually active adult-child "couple?"
We are on the road to more institutional perversion.
Thursday, February 17 2011
I landed upon the final segment of Hannity a couple of nights ago with his Great American Panel. One of the topics concerned Michelle Obama's crusade for health and nutrition. The liberals on the panel justified her crusade only by changing reality.
First, their support was for keeping everyone "informed" about nutritional content of fast food, junk food, et al. They completely ignored the conservatives' stated concerns about government's role in mandating what Americans eat or don't eat. The libs just kept going back to the "keeping everyone informed" perspective. As Hannity pointed out, we are informed. We already have the ability to know the nutritional content of anything we consume, if we want to know it. We also know the health impact of too much sodium, fat, cholesterol, etc. The concern is with a government that will mandate our food choices on the basis of what is deemed the "healthiest" choices. The libs ignore that part of the concern altogether.
Second, they like to point out that unhealthy food choices lead to higher health care costs. The implication is that it costs the government, ie, taxpayers, more because of the health issues arising from poor eating habits. It is at this point that I yell at the TV screen for the conservatives to state the obvious that it is not government's business to be paying personal healthcare costs. This is the responsibility of the individual.
Here is the not-so-secret secret to positive change: require the individual to bear the consequences of his/her decisions. What a concept! Since we know that overindulging in typical fast/junk foods likely leads to health problems, let the individual make the informed choice and then bear the consequence of that choice. If the result is obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues, then the individual is responsible for paying for those problems. It's not up to you, me, or any other American citizen-taxpayer.
Take this approach, and it won't be long before more Americans take healthier diets seriously, which is what the left claim they want. Instead, those who overindulge with unhealthy diets continue to do so because they get to avoid the full cost. They get to shuffle their medical bills onto their taxpaying neighbors. What is the motivation to change if they can rely on someone else to pay the bills?
Well, the motivation, according to the folks in the land of left-believe, must therefore come from the government. Our benevolent, nanny-state government must step in to make the "appropriate" decisions we are incapable of making.
What conservatives know is that more government leads to tyranny. I think that liberals know this, too, but they choose to suppress that reality and replace with the hope that the imposing government they seek to create will always be benevolent.
Misguided creatures, aren't they?
Thursday, February 17 2011
Say what you will about the Left, but one thing that they can't be faulted for is good intentions. If only they weren't so morally pompous and totalitarian in the process it would be more forgivable. But sometimes the wastefulness of these feel-good programs become so incredibly self-evident that even their most staunch supporters drop their cause and run to the next battle. Such is the case with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's much hyped "Green the Capitol" initiative.
The "Green the Capitol" program was of the best of intentions, and in true Leftist fashion, it was one which demanded compliance. Under Princess Pelosi's utopian vision, the House dining commons would set the example for the rest of the country in pushing the Green initiative.
Fatty, fried, and traditional cafeteria staples were replaced with the best organic alternatives and animal conscious foods. Plastic flatware was replaced with compostable cornstarch based cutlery. Rules on disposal with corresponding receptacles were generously distributed throughout the cafeteria and recycling rules religiously enforced. Ok, maybe choice and freedom were sacrificed in the name of health and environment, but people can't be trusted with such decisions.
But there was trouble in paradise. For starters, everyone hated it. The cornstarch cutlery was about as sturdy as Gumby and was jokingly believed to be able to dissolve in one's coffee. Staffers used to traditional staples like hamburgers or chicken were left guessing what the "cuisine" of the day was.even after eating it. The added cost of organic goodness left many underpaid staffers grumbling.
Maybe we are missing the big picture. The goal was saving the world and "going Green". Costs are all relative and pleasures can be sacrificed in the name of the Cause, right? Unfortunately, going Green didn't just go into the red (at a cost of nearly $500,000 a year on the taxpayer dime) the program demonstrated very little benefit ecologically speaking. Energy consumption actually increased under the program when accounting for the pulping and waste management. Additionally, with the composting process the net result is methane which supposedly is more harmful than carbon dioxide. The net benefit of the program in global warming terms: the equivalent of one less car on the road. By all accounts, "Green the Capitol" was an utter failure and received no opposition when it saw the chopping block with the change of the gavel.
So Obamacare is still in flux and the budget is still up for debate but the cafeteria is a little less green...that is unless you're talking profitable and fiscally responsible. Take heart, Pelosiphiles out there, at least she has a choice what she can eat even if she can't force it on the rest of the House anymore.
Thursday, February 17 2011
Columnist Michael Tanner has written a piece called "Top Ten Obama Budget Failures." I admire his courage. How one person could try to limit himself to picking out just ten of the failures of this budget is an extraordinary undertaking. Read the whole piece if you get a chance, but here's a few of the best:
Red ink as far as the eye can see. At no point over the next ten years does the president propose that the government actually balance its budget. In fact, the budget deficit never drops below $600 billion. By 2020, the deficits are over $700 billion again and rising.
Greek-style debt. Overall, the president's budget adds roughly $13 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. By 2020, our gross debt reaches $26 trillion.
More spending. Unprecedented budget deficits, unsustainable debt ? and what does the president propose? Spending $53 billion over ten years on high-speed rail. Nothing better symbolizes the triumph of narrow special interests over the national interest. In total, the president's budget includes $8.7 trillion in new spending over the next ten years on everything from education to "green jobs."
Higher taxes. The president's budget imposes $1.6 trillion in new taxes on families and businesses over the next decade. This includes more than $900 billion in higher income taxes and $435 billion in unspecified transportation taxes.
No entitlement reform. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported that Social Security had begun running permanent budget deficits. Medicare is facing future budget shortfalls larger than the entire budgets of most countries. In fact, if the unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs were to be included in our national-debt figures, our total future indebtedness could top $127.5 trillion. The president's response to this looming crisis was to do . . . nothing.
More money for Obamacare. The budget includes $465 million next year to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency charged with implementing most of the law's major provisions, such as Medicare changes, Medicaid expansion, insurance reforms, and the exchanges, will hire an additional 650 bureaucrats. Moreover, CMS director Donald Berwick told reporters that additional Obamacare funding is scattered throughout the budget.
David Letterman stopped being funny a while ago when he opted to become the dirty old man. But his Top Ten lists are always intended to make people laugh. If you love your country, Mr. Tanner's well written Top Ten will do the opposite...it will make you weep.
Thursday, February 17 2011
Not having "enough" money is a stress on a lot of people. Having too much month at the end of the money can tempt us to yearn and even envy those who have such great wealth that everything is at their fingertips. But while being lowly in means offers many challenges, the pitfalls, traps and dangers of great material wealth are incredibly numerous as well.
Take for instance this epically sad story unfolding before our eyes:
Country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus blames Disney's "Hannah Montana" for his daughter Miley Cyrus' issues, angrily saying "the damn show destroyed my family," the New York Post reported Tuesday.
Blaming publicists and Miley's handlers, Cyrus gives an anguished interview in GQ's March issue, where he adds he wishes "Hannah Montana" never happened.
"I hate to say it, but yes, I do. I'd take it back in a second," said Cyrus, who is divorcing Miley's mother, Tish.
Think about that for a second. That show brought the Cyrus family virtually everything that the world tells us we should strive for: wealth, possessions, fame, attention, glory. And here is Billy Ray Cyrus, having seen his marriage collapse, his daughter be corrupted into decadence, and his family shattered saying he would take it back in a second.
Sure, this sad story is a cautionary tale for those who would think about exposing their children to the temptress of fame and fortune, but it's more than that. It's a reminder to all of us that no matter your situation, there is danger everywhere. Wealth can't protect you, fame can't shield you, possessions can't hide you.
It's yet another reason to heed the words of the old song, "In Times Like These:"
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds, and grips the Solid Rock.
Thursday, February 17 2011
So wrote conservative commentator Star Parker in explaining her decision not to attend or participate in this year's CPAC convention. Much has been said about the foolish decision for the American Conservative Union to pursue the votes of a tiny portion of a tiny portion of the electorate (who probably won't vote for a true conservative anyway), in exchange for chucking some of the largest, most prominent conservative groups in America, including the Heritage Foundation, American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, Family Research Council, Media Research Center and the National Organization for Marriage.
Also, I've spoken to the reality that no group seeking to undefine the institution of marriage (and thus the family unit) can be construed as anything remotely "conservative." But Star says it better:
The foundation of the worldview that so-called "gay conservatives" embrace has far more in common with liberalism than with conservatism.
It's a worldview that is man-centered rather than God-centered. It is a worldview that rejects eternal truths passed on from the beginning of time. Although the worldview that "gay conservatives" choose to invent may diverge from the worldview of liberals, their common ground is they make it all up.
And it is here where "gay conservatives" and "liberals" fundamentally depart from conservatives.
Conservatives believe that there are objective and eternal truths, not of the product of any individual human mind, that are transmitted through the generations. Culture is not like HDTV or iPhones where the newest model is the best.
These eternal truths provide the light in the fog that keeps us from crashing on the rocky shores where our base instincts lead us.
"Gay" is liberal, not conservative, regardless of what their stand may be on government spending or taxes.
It's why, like all liberals, they use language to create reality, rather than appreciate that words have meaning that reflect reality.
So they have re-invented the word "gay," re-invented the word "marriage", and now they want to re-invent the word "conservative."
The "gay" conservative group GOProud is relishing its role as the institution breaking apart the conservative alliance. They are defiantly taunting traditional conservative stalwarts, calling them "losers, clowns," and "not relevant." If that doesn't speak volumes to the American Conservative Union about the Trojan horse they have allowed into their camp, nothing will. And CPAC will itself slide towards irrelevancy.
Understanding Parker's point that GOProud has much in common with the left, it's hard to imagine they'll be too disappointed if that happens.
Thursday, February 17 2011
There's a school of thought that says the United States should take a passive role in the events of the world, choosing to react to them rather than proactively help shape them. I think it's clear that unintentionally, Barack Obama has accepted this view.
Harvard History professor Niall Ferguson, appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program explained the President's response to the unfolding events in Egypt this way:
Well, I think the execution during the crisis was flip followed by flop followed by flip. I mean, how many times did the President's position change? One minute he wanted Mubarak out, the next minute he wanted him to be part of an orderly transition. There were at least four different people saying four different things. In fact, I came to the conclusion that the United States had two foreign policies running concurrently. If it was Monday, it was Secretary Clinton's; if it was Tuesday, it was back to President Obama's. It was in shambles.
Challenged by left leaning host Mika Brzezinski who argued that such flip-flopping "worked," (I can only assume that Mika was attempting to credit Obama with the fact that the Egyptian revolution ended with no bloodshed and the toppling of a dictator) Ferguson responded:
It's worked, has it - I wish I shared your confidence. Right now we have a six-month period of military rule, right now we have as far as I can see virtually no organization on the part of secular democrats. The only organized opposition force in Egyptian politics right now is the Muslim brotherhood. Now if you look closely at what the Muslim Brotherhood stands for, it's for the imposition and enforcement of Sharia law and the restoration of the Caliphate. And anybody who could count this as a major breakthrough for United States foreign policy hasn't got a clue about what happens in the wake of a revolution like this. It is far too early to say that this is a triumph. On the contrary, the risks are extremely high that between now and the end of the year, the Muslim Brotherhood will get into power. And then we will be staring at something comparable in its magnitude to 1979 in Iran.
Time will tell whether that unfolds or not. But what we can be assured of is that the Obama administration was totally unprepared for something that it should have been prepared for. As Ferguson went on to illuminate, Mubarak was old and sick, not to mention that democracy-spreading in the Middle East was the entire philosophy of the previous administration. That the Obama team had no concept that this might take place, and then when it did, to have no apparent strategy is an alarming reality indeed.
It's what I meant when I posited the question weeks ago whether Sarah Palin would have handled the situation more effectively. By that, I didn't and don't mean that a different result in Egypt would have emerged. I simply mean that she would have had a more coherent response - one that was prepared, anticipated and consistently reinforced. In other words, it would have been a response indicative of a superpower.
If I were in Obama's position, I can't possibly predict the precise strategy I would have preferred. It's simple to say that the United States should stand for the spread of freedom. But what if the "spread of freedom" involves potential threats to the security and interests of the American people? Is our first interest as a country protecting our own, or being a world policeman? These are all difficult questions that reasonable people will disagree over.
But what there is no disagreement about is the fact that the United States is best served by leaders who don't fly by the seat of their pants in the midst of major, destabilizing international events. Like it or not, this is yet another indication of the naïveté of our President and the cluelessness of those surrounding him.
Wednesday, February 16 2011
The wonders of social technologies such as facebook and twitter are being given a lot of credit for the growth and success of anti-government protests in Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations. In such places, citizens put their lives on the line, literally, when they gather to protest. However, with the widespread use of real-time technology, modern protestors remain connected and encouraged to continue.
Maintaining the maxim to never let a good crisis go unused, Democrat Senator Dick Durbin has been compelled to complain to Facebook executives that they are not doing a good enough job protecting their users.
"Recent events in Egypt and Tunisia have again highlighted the significant costs and benefits of social networking technology like Facebook to democracy and human rights activists," Sen. Dick Durbin said in a letter to Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
"I commend you for providing an important tool to democracy and human-rights activists," the Democrat from Illinois said.
"However, as millions of people around the world use Facebook to exercise their freedom of expression, I am concerned that the company does not have adequate safeguards in place to protect human rights and avoid being exploited by repressive governments," Durbin said.
"Facebook has facilitated efforts by activists to organize demonstrations and publicize human-rights abuses," he said.
"At the same time, the Egyptian and Tunisian governments have reportedly used Facebook to monitor activists, which is surely aided by Facebook's refusal to allow activists to use pseudonyms," the senator said, citing Belarus, China, and Iran as other countries using social networking to track activists.
In spite of an enormously successful business model used by Facebook, politicians know best. Senator Durbin knows best. If given the opportunity, I would not be surprised to discover Sen. Durbin, et al, proposing policy to demand Facebook and other social networking sites change their methodology to suit their demands. That's what government is for, after all - to impose the obviously "better" ideas of a few bureaucrats on everyone else.
To their credit, Facebook responses defy the Senator's pressure:
Responding to the senator's letter, Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman, said "the trust people place in us is the most important part of what makes Facebook work.
"As demonstrated by our response to threats in Tunisia, we take this trust seriously and work aggressively every single day to protect people," he said.
As for pseudonyms, Noyes said: "Facebook has always been based on a real name culture, and we fundamentally believe this leads to greater accountability and a safer and more trusted environment for people who use the service."
Referring to the appeal to join GNI, Noyes said, "as Facebook grows, we'll absolutely be considering which groups we can actively participate in but it's important to remember that our global operations are still small, with offices in only a handful of countries."
A former Senate Chaplain was once asked if he prayed for all the Senators. He reputedly answered, "Madam, I look at all the Senators and then pray for America."
Wednesday, February 16 2011
In the first half of this series we observed CNN committing journalistic malpractice by avoiding inconvenient details and providing a misleading slant while covering a research project examining mental health issues and abortion. While this was clearly disappointing, it's hardly surprising. But there's an even darker side behind this story that comes upon examination of the study itself.
Some of the methodology problems have already been highlighted in part 1. But bad methodology alone shouldn't be too alarming. Every study has limitations and good science examines both the merits and limitations of research. But what science shouldn't tolerate is agenda driven research. That's exactly what one finds when the details of this study are uncovered.
This study was conducted by researchers from the National Center for Register-Based Research at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. When universities receive funding from outside sources, a common practice is to provide a disclosure form so as to provide full disclosure of any potential conflicts of interests. This study provided such a form. What was uncovered was very revealing.
The first alarm bell went off for me when I noticed the following:
Meeting with group of researchers about potential collaboration on study on abortion and mental health. After meeting it was clear that it was not possible to collaborate on such a study, as data could not be merged directly. As a consequence of this we decided to conduct the study only on Danish data.
The researchers in question are those associated with the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the primary source of funding in the study. This to me said one of two things. Either it was too difficult to coordinate and provide sufficient controls between research groups in Denmark and the US, or the US group was trying to manipulate the study.
That raised me to question who the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation was and why they might want to influence or be interested in this study. As it turns out, this foundation is a non-profit organization created by Warren Buffett with an endowment of over $3 Billion. Who's at the top recipient list of this foundation? You guessed it. Planned Parenthood tops the list with an estimated $45 Million dollars received thus far. An additional $8 Million was given to Planned Parenthood's international group and $50 given to universities with a tag for the funds to be utilized towards the Ryan program or the Family Planning Fellowship, programs designed for the advancement of abortion and abortion studies in colleges.
When NPR first covered this foundation, they engaged in their own journalistic malpractice. When asked "You mean you didn't know Warren Buffett's foundation has been funding abortion-rights organizations?" NPR reported at the time. "Well, that's just the way the Buffetts wanted it." The organization's been a bit hush-hush about where their money has been distributed with good reason. Afterall, it's hard to push a pro-choice agenda and pro-abortion research when it's revealed that a pro-choice group is responsible for funding the research to back their position.
Everything about this study should have sent off red flags from the methodology, to the funding sources, to the interaction between parties, to the way it was covered in the media. I return to the CNN report where they said the following: "So far the debate has largely been driven by politics rather than science." Indeed.
Wednesday, February 16 2011
In the state of Indiana, there is much debate over proposed education reform. Teachers, lawmakers, and other citizens are vigorously debating the proposals. Of course, all participants on all sides declare that they want "what is best for the children."
Maybe teachers should watch out. As has occurred in many different fields, perhaps real, live teachers in every classroom is not a necessity. Perhaps human teachers are becoming obsolete.
The white egg-shaped drudge was grown by the Korea Institute of Science of Technology (KIST); they began training classes Monday at twenty-one facile schools in the city of Daegu.
The twenty-nine robotic teachers have been about 3.3 feet high and have a TV arrangement for a face. They circle around the classroom vocalization to the students, celebration of the mass books to them, and dancing to music by relocating their conduct and fluttering their arms.
Perhaps we can consider this the next stage of evolution, and we would not want to contradict public classroom teaching on that topic.
Daegu education official Kim Mi-Young tells reporters that the robots so far have been popular with students: "The kids seem to love it since the robots look, well, cute and interesting."
Yep. Teachers, watch out.
Wednesday, February 16 2011
I have said before and I will say again that I truly believe this will be the generation of Americans that finally turns the page on the revolting chapter of abortion in this country. One of the major reasons I feel this way is that we are finally starting to ask the logical question that the pro-life movement should have been forcing for the last 38 years: what is in the womb.
The abortion movement is intellectually helpless at that point. To say that it is not human insults the intellect to such a degree that it is impossible to describe. Most self-respecting abortion proponents don't even begin down this path. Instead they begin injecting emotion wherever possible and impossibly asserting a scientific difference between the value of a "human life" and a "potential human life." They attempt to say that being human is different than being a person. Oddly, they retreat behind religion and philosophy (something they have accused pro-lifers of doing for years) in order to uphold their selfish and immoral practice.
A movement predicated upon keeping alive the ancient practice of child sacrifice is not one worthy of our respect and not one that should be treated on the same plane of moral and intellectual equivalence as a movement to preserve an inalienable right to life.
It's nice to see some lawmakers showing the guts to say so:
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said on Thursday that because modern technology can reveal fetal development in the womb, Americans are starting to ?wake up' and realize the reality that abortion ends a human life.
"And I am convinced more than ever that we're asking that real question, ?Does abortion really kill a baby?'" Franks said at a press conference on Capitol Hill to discuss the latest efforts by Republicans in the House to introduce legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers that receive taxpayer dollars through Title X Family Planning provisions.
"Because, ladies and gentlemen, if abortion really does kill a baby, then in this, the seat of freedom, we are living in the midst of the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity," Franks said.
Franks went on to quote Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence that announced the idea of American respect for natural rights:
"It was Thomas Jefferson [who] said that the care and protection of human life, and not its destruction, is the only object of good government," Franks said.
Indeed it is. And that is why in a country founded upon such principles, the stain of abortion is so lasting, so egregious and so appalling.
Wednesday, February 16 2011
I didn't watch the Grammys. I'm not disappointed in my choice. Though I am not overly surprised to hear about Lady Gaga showing up in an "egg" and "incubating" before her performance, nor am I shocked to hear that many of these "entertainers" have decided that having a potty mouth is a good substitute for intellect and talent, Brent Bozell's recent column floored me.
After discussing the antics of the foul-mouthed, perverted singer named Pink (the one who infamously wrote and performed a song about former President Bush that received the effusive praise of the late Marxist storyteller Howard Zinn), Bozell turned attention towards the recording artist "Cee-Lo."
Cee-Lo has a very classy song out named "F--- You." Impressive.
But here's what caused my jaw to hit the floor:
I haven't had the heart to YouTube this to see if it's true. I don't want to know if it is. The mere fact that it was ever organized and agreed upon is distressing enough. Is nothing sacred?
Now it's about to get ridiculous. MTV reports that Cee-Lo will perform an "unforgettable" version of his "F--- You" song at the Grammy Awards with...are you ready?....The Muppets. Brian Henson, the son of Muppets founder Jim Henson, has signed on to provide this star's "weird and cool" band.
The world of pop music today is selling a far different message than what most parents realize. Traditional values, even the most simple expressions and symbols of common decency - the Muppets! - are deliberately being torn to shreds. When you can't even count on the Muppets to behave in front of children, the world has become sick enough to make your head spin.
Wednesday, February 16 2011
Following the gulf oil spill, Barack Obama enacted a ridiculous moratorium on offshore drilling that has accomplished absolutely nothing except destroy American jobs. Offshore drilling is still being done by other countries.and in fact, given our moratorium, foreign countries have expanded their efforts.
Smart oil companies are not idly sitting and waiting for Mr. Obama to change his mind. They are taking their business elsewhere and hiring foreign workers. Yes, that is literally "shipping our jobs overseas." This becomes all the more outrageous when you consider that Obama intentionally distorted and manipulated the words of experts in order to justify his anti-business scheme. Having collected their signatures on a statement about the oil spill, Obama's staff changed the content of the statement to make it appear the experts approved of the foolish moratorium.
And as this embarrassing charade continues, the USA Today reports:
Seahawk Drilling Inc. said it has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to sell its fleet of offshore drilling rigs to a competitor for $105 million.
Seahawk, which announced the deal with Hercules Offshore Inc. Friday, has been hurt by a slowdown in Gulf of Mexico drilling after the BP oil spill last April. The government halted drilling in deep waters and imposed tough new rules that have curtained all energy exploration in U.S. waters.
Ed Lasky comments on this development:
Mr. Lasky is right. Anyone who fails to see Mr. Obama's unnecessary antipathy towards American business and the private sector is simply refusing to pay attention. If you want to know why our economic recovery from our recession is so slow and stagnant, this is but one example of many that help explain it.
Employees will be let go; shareholders are suffering big losses as the stock plunges. Gulf communities have already been stricken by big job losses and declines in state tax revenues. We have become even more dangerously dependent on overseas sources of crude and prices have skyrocketed as Obama turned the handle to the off position when it comes to Gulf oil drilling.
There has been a lot of damage caused by Barack Obama's policies and there will be a lot more to come as long as he is in office.
Wednesday, February 16 2011
The abortion activists are rabidly coming to the defense of their wounded heroes, Planned Parenthood. In the midst of yet another expose on how PP mistreats and abuses women, the activists are attempting to dismiss it as an anomaly. This isn't the norm, they cry, as they unbelievably call for federal investigations into crisis pregnancy clinics who help scared women keep their children rather than kill them.
Michelle Malkin reminds us that far from being something new, this latest PP embarrassment is just more of the same:
In 2007, while an undergrad at UCLA, Rose visited a local campus Planned Parenthood clinic posing as a 14-year-old minor seeking an abortion after being impregnated by a 23-year-old man. California's mandatory reporting laws require abortion providers to report statutory rape involving girls under the age of 16. Rose secretly captured video of her visit in which the staff advised her to "figure out a birth-date that works," to obtain the abortion and avoid getting the man in trouble with the law. Instead of vowing to do more to protect girls from predators, Planned Parenthood threatened to sue Rose to shut her up.
That same year, a teenager came forward in Ohio to blow the whistle on how a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Cincinnati had ignored her cries for help after her father ? who had been molesting her for three years from the age of 13 ? forced her to have an abortion. She told an abortion staffer, who was required by state law to report suspected abuse to police. But the women's health provider so beloved by liberals on Capitol Hill did nothing.
Another Ohio teenage victim of sexual abuse filed suit against Planned Parenthood after the soccer coach who abused her at age 14 forced her to undergo an abortion. "Although she used a junior-high school I.D. and the coach, 21, paid with a credit card and driver's license," the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune reported, "Planned Parenthood failed to report the abuse." .
Tell that to the Washington, D.C., family of 13-year-old Shantese Butler, who was left permanently injured and infertile after a botched Planned Parenthood abortion. Students for Life of America reported that Shantese was left with "severe abdominal bleeding, severe vaginal injury, severe injury to the cervix, significant uterine perforation and a small bowel tear." In addition, parts of the unborn child were found inside Shantese's abdomen.
And don't forget the Nebraska Planned Parenthood clinic that refused to disclose the terms of a settlement with another victim whose botched abortion resulted in a perforated uterus, massive blood loss, an emergency hysterectomy, permanent infertility, seizures and lifelong pain and suffering. According to the suit obtained by Life News, the woman told the abortionist and his assistants to stop, but was told: "We can't stop." The Planned Parenthood employees held her down to complete the procedure.
Malkin's entire column is worth a read. She appropriately and rightly calls for the immediate defunding of all government grants and contracts to Planned Parenthood. She also goes further, saying it's time to see Planned Parenthood leaders drug before Congressional investigative committees and interrogated about the blood on their hands.
Tuesday, February 15 2011
A part of the difficulty in public debate is the ease with which research and data can be manipulated and spun to promote a particular agenda. We've seen this frequently in the past few years with the revelation of falsified, fraudulent, or distorted information with global warm...er...climate change research. But even well intentioned and sound science can be manipulated or misrepresented. Such is the case with a recent CNN report on a study conducted to examine mental health issues related to abortion.
What do you think when you see a headline that says the following:
Study finds no rise in post-abortion mental issues
This is the headline used by CNN in covering a report from the New England Journal of Medicine. The study highlighted was conducted by a team of Danish researchers examining the prevalence of mental health issues and women who either delivered or aborted a child. The study followed 350,000 women with no previous history of mental health concerns between 1995 and 2007. Individuals were examined in the year prior and the nine months following either a birth or an abortion as to whether they had sought treatment for mental health issues. What the result of the study found was that the rise of mental health issues post abortion was minimal while there was a noticeable rise in mental health issues post birth.
But here is where the story behind the story comes out. As mentioned, CNN covers the story as showing no rise in post-abortion mental issues, leading one to believe that the two are not related. But there are several major flaws in this.
- While it is true that mental health concerns did not rise pre-to-post for those who had abortions, what is conveniently left out is the fact that mental health issues for those having abortions (14.6 per thousand) were nearly quadruple those of the childbirth group (3.9 per thousand) prior to birth/abortion and double (15.2 per thousand) that of the childbirth group (6.7 per thousand) after birth/abortion. What this means is that regardless of the rise of mental health issues associated with the abortion, the prevalence of mental health issues is significantly higher among those having abortions.
- Anyone who understands the process of childbirth knows that the woman's body undergoes tremendous changes. Post-birth the body's hormone levels go haywire as the body tries to readjust to simultaneously being independent of a child and providing for this newborn. Often these changes associated with emotional sense of loss with the baby now out of the body create a condition called post-partum depression. Introduce the stresses of new responsibilities of caring for a child, the after effects of birth, financial concerns, family, work, etc., and it can be overwhelming for a new mom. Anyone who understands mental health concerns would find no surprise to the rise of mental health issues associated with new mothers in the months immediately following birth.
- Studies on mental health issues and abortion have demonstrated that those having an abortion most often suffer from symptoms similar to posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is an anxiety disorder most commonly associated with those who have undergone extreme cases of harm such as accident survivors, rape or abuse victims, or soldiers facing the horrors of war. Often these symptoms don't surface until months or years after the exposure to the trauma. This being the case, the study itself is flawed in that it only examined the mental health concerns of those involved in the nine months after the birth/abortion.
In CNN's latest example of journalistic malpractice they make one of the most unintentional statements of truth. "So far the debate has largely been driven by politics rather than science." Truer words couldn't have been spoken.as will be demonstrated in part II of this series.
Monday, February 14 2011
That seems to be the question on a lot of people's minds as the Republicans in the House move to fulfill their pledge to the Americans who elected them in the November landslide. The Republicans promised the people during the campaign that they would find a way to stop the implementation of the ObamaCare that had been shoved down the people's throats despite their most strenuous objections (only fools pretend that there was popular support for the passing of the legislation).
The historic landslide victory clearly indicates the American people were demanding such action. The Republicans are moving now to provide it. All that remains to be seen is whether the Democrats will shut down the government in response.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee told CNSNews.com that he is committed to defunding the health care law, adding that a government shutdown over the law is in the hands of President Barack Obama.
CNSNews.com asked Price, "Since the House Republicans' budget will not include funds for the health care law and the CR [Continuing Resolution] will not include funds for the health care law, do you think Senate Democrats will shut down the government to force Republicans to fund the health care law?"
"That's a great question. That's a question to ask them obviously. What we want to do is make certain that the American people understand and appreciate that we're putting every single ounce of energy we can into being certain that this law doesn't come to pass in terms of activity on the American people," he told CNSNews.com.
And if the Senate Democrats don't do it, what will be Obama's response? Given the constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws of Congress, will he?
CNSNews.com also asked Price if he thinks there will be a government shutdown over the health care law.
"Well, I think that's up to the president. If he wants to close down the government based on upon an unconstitutional law, then that's his prerogative. We're not interested in shutting down the government. What we're interested in doing is solving the challenges that we face based upon fundamental principles in the area of health care and elsewhere," he responded.
Given the negative kickback Republicans received when blamed for shutting down the government during the Clinton years, there is no question the media will attempt to frame any coming shutdown as the fault of the Republicans again.
Republicans have to continue expressing the message Obama himself articulated: elections have consequences, we are carrying forth the mandate of that election. The negative kickback should be feared not by Republicans, but by those on the wrong side of this issue.
Monday, February 14 2011
As more Americans than ever consider themselves pro-life, as the horrors of abortion clinics have been revealed in recent weeks, as Planned Parenthood has once been exposed for their illegal activities that harm the health and well being of women, you would think that backward lawmakers who continue to support the barbaric practice of child sacrifice would be desperately trying to change the subject.
In a shocking display of the coldness of their hearts, the exact opposite is true. Amazingly, pro-choice-to-kill-kids politicians are trying to take the offensive by proudly touting their belief not just in child sacrifice, but in your responsibility to pay for it:
A group of House Democrats -- asked directly if they support the use of federal (taxpayer) funds to pay for abortion -- said yes, they do. At press conference on Wednesday, the Democrats also voiced their opposition to two Republican-sponsored bills that would prohibit federal funding of abortion. CNSNews.com asked if any of the House members at the press conference supported the use of federal funds for abortion.
"There is not one person in this room that would favor -- no, all of us in this room oppose the Hyde Amendment," Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said. "All of us in this room oppose restricting federal funds for abortion."
The Hyde Amendment, created in 1976, is attached each year to the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services, and it prevents any program under HHS, such as Medicaid, from paying for abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is at risk.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said no one in the room is happy about the Hyde Amendment, including its author, the late Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). He also said the Republican-sponsored bills barring taxpayer funding of abortion "declare war on women."
So who are these astounding lawmakers? In addition to DeGette and Weiner,
Other House Democrats who took part in Wednesday's press conference include Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).
Though their appalling pride in the evil they support may shock us, it shouldn't surprise us. In the pre-Civil War era, there were similar politicians who proudly championed the denial of human rights to their fellow citizens. One cannot help but see the long shadow of the slave-owners ideology fall over this cadre of corrupt Democrats.
There is no doubt that history will one day regard them the same way their southern progenitors are regarded.
Monday, February 14 2011
As the Republican tidal wave of 2010 was building, the media was desperately attempting to stifle it by portraying their slate of candidates as radical right-wingers.
I've talked before about the desire of the left to realign the political spectrum. Through their allies in academia and the media, they attempt to define what is left as center, what is center as right, and what is right as radical. From MSNBC to the pages of the NY Times to CNN, liberal journalists lamented the loss of the "Republican moderates."
This talk has continued even after the country showed their contentment with such "radical right-wing" politicians by electing them in droves. Chris Matthews recently suggested that the Republicans were moving into an era where if you weren't far right, you weren't "right enough." Of course, if Matthews really believed that this was a bad political move for the Republicans, he wouldn't be criticizing it (unless you believe that Chris is worried about getting Republicans elected to office).
I suppose you could make the argument that they are just worried about the polarization of American politics. That's silly, but it would at least make them look less overtly biased. But such a defense isn't plausible. Why? Because there's virtually no talk whatsoever about the emerging extinction of "moderate Democrats."
At this point, that seems to be the dominant trend:
Last month, Sen. Joseph Lieberman announced he wouldn't seek re-election. He lost the Democratic primary in Connecticut in 2006 because of his support of the Iraq war, but won in November as an independent.
The irony was that the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president was re-elected largely by Republicans who spurned their party's little-known nominee. But Republicans seem likely to field a stronger candidate in 2012, leaving Lieberman little room in the middle.
Then last week, Rep. Jane Harman announced she would resign soon to become head of Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center. Harman, who voted for the Iraq war resolution and supported robust foreign and defense policies, was conspicuously passed over by Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee when Democrats won control of the House in 2006.
It's not just Harman and Lieberman:
Last week also saw the announcement that the Democratic Leadership Council would close its doors, after the retirement of its longtime president, Al From, in 2009. From, an aide to Louisiana Rep. Gillis Long, founded the DLC in 1985 in the wake of Ronald Reagan's two victories, in which he won the electoral vote by 1,014 to 62.
The DLC championed policies, notably welfare reform, intended not to expand government but to make it work better. It gave early national prominence to a young governor of Arkansas, of whom From used to say, "Clinton really gets it." .
But over the last decade, satisfaction with the political successes of Clinton-type governance were replaced by rage against the works and deeds of George W. Bush. That rage seemed vindicated when Democrats won congressional majorities in 2006 and when Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 with a larger percentage of the popular vote than any Democratic nominee except Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
The constituencies targeted by DLC strategists -- Southern whites, urban ethnics, blue collar workers -- are growing or are not shrinking as much, and at least in 2010 they voted heavily Republican. It's not so clear that Democrats can win without them.
So where are the long faces and the hand-wringing concern from all the media types about the loss of the moderate Democrats?
Friday, February 11 2011
Yesterday, over 1,000 members of the Indiana State Teachers Association and the Indiana Federation of Teachers held a demonstration inside the State House.
Many chanted, "shame on you" outside of the House Chambers to the point of its echoing through the floor of the legislature. However, 60% of the body still voted to expand charter schools in Indiana by a 59-37 vote. There are an estimated 3,500 children in on current waiting lists wanting to attend the 62 charter schools in Indiana.
The union members gathered to protest what they called the Governor's dismantling of public education in Indiana. A major part of their opposition is the Governor's call for vouchers to allow parents to send their children to the school of their choice. This has always been an abomination in the minds of the teacher's unions and many public school administrators who fear that choice will harm public education and that it forces pubic schools to compete on an uneven playing ground with regard to special needs students and various funding matters.
I understand those concerns. I am aware that many hard working teachers see this debate as an indictment against their dedication and ability. I have also heard mayors from Milwaukee, WI and Cleveland, OH, where they have had school choice programs for many years, claim that most students choose to remain in their current school, that teachers are OK with the choice program, and that overall quality of public schools has improved.
Nevertheless, I'd like to raise a question for the people of faith reading this weekly email. According to the Indiana Department of Education 96.1% of Hoosier K-12 students attend a public school. (A percentage by the way that is a 30 year high and has been very slowly increasing since 1979 when that number was at 94.1%.) This equates to 1,047,145 public school students.
What if parents were given a choice and 5% of those parents (which may be a high number) choose a private school? What if the majority of those schools that had chosen to participate in the program were Christian schools? What impact might this have upon Indiana from a cultural, moral, spiritual or societal basis? Perhaps 50,000 children might hear the Gospel, some for the first time, see it lived out in the lives of their peers and teachers every day, and be educated in a religious setting. (I am not saying a Christian teacher in a public school is not living out their faith.)
Could 50,000 more counter-cultural children of faith, change Indiana or the world? Is this an historic opportunity for Indiana churches and private schools?
I understand that not everyone on this list is supportive of school vouchers for various reasons. We do not know all the details of the legislation yet, or even have all the answers to questions surrounding public funding. Yet, this is one perspective among many to consider as this debate moves forward. Abraham Lincoln reportedly observed that, "the philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next." Many believe Lincoln has been proven correct in some negative ways in generation after generation since he uttered those words. Still, it is interesting to wonder if the Governor's reform might have a positive, life-changing opportunity for thousands of children and families that many within the church may not have yet fully realized.
Friday, February 11 2011
On Wednesday I ran the audio of Barack Obama telling Bill O'Reilly that he "absolutely" denied he was interested in redistributing wealth. This, of course, was the most ridiculous thing he could have said. Even those on the left took issue with the lie.
MSNBC's self-professing socialist Lawrence O'Donnell seemed incredulous when asking Howard Dean about the comment. Both men agreed that Obama was not being honest given that he had actively sought a tax hike on the wealthy only. In case you don't follow, hiking taxes on the wealthiest Americans and not everyone else...then taking that money and putting it into programs that benefit the poorest Americans, that is the very definition of redistribution.
O'Donnell was ticked Obama was being a coward and not defending it. Dean was more upset, suggesting that it's the government job - it's entire purpose - to redistribute wealth.
Columnist Erik Rush commented on Obama's shocking denial this way:
Perhaps I ought to be beyond surprise at this point, but I'll admit I was slack-jawed with astonishment. Obama, who has gone on record numerous times advocating redistribution of wealth - from the notorious "Joe the Plumber" footage from the 2008 campaign to his interview faulting the Constitution for not including provisions for same - unequivocally denied supporting this policy.
His words also contradict most of what he's proposed and executed since taking office, since nearly all of his policies, legislation and executive orders have had wealth-redistribution components. In fact, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed last year (and crafted in part by hard-line Marxists) is one of the largest wealth-redistribution plans ever proposed.
As far as taxes go, Obama was compelled to compromise on taxes in the wake of the 2010 midterm election; his intentions were to raise taxes on everyone making over $250,000 a year - people whom progressives label as "the rich." His mendacity was quickly exposed by taxpayer advocacy groups that thoroughly documented the fallacy of his statement.
Rush also expresses disappointment that O'Reilly did not push Obama on this point, asking,
But we have numerous instances of you on audio and video advocating for redistribution of wealth, of faulting the Constitution for not providing for it. All of your mentors, advisers, everyone who works for you, have been dedicated to the redistribution of wealth. What do you have to say about that, Mr. President?
Republicans are fools if they do not spend the next 20 months running with this obvious deceit. Obama has revealed his Achilles Heel. He does not have the stomach or the ability to defend what he believes. He doesn't because he knows that the American people are not on board with socialism. That's precisely why Republicans can't give him a pass. The more they force him to lie about who he is and what he believes, his fellow believers will continue losing patience with his refusal to stand up for their shared convictions.
If Republicans truly want to defeat Obama in 2012, he has just given them all the ammunition they need.
Friday, February 11 2011
Leave it to Newsweek's Lisa Miller to run a piece featuring "scholars" who believe the Bible is actually totally fine with premarital sex and homosexuality. Perhaps we should consider it a sign of success that those on the left have decided to spend a little less time suggesting the Bible is irrelevant and a little more time trying to rewrite its meaning. After all, their efforts to revise the Bible to match their own personal views are indicative of the fact that they recognize the Bible's unmatched influence.
Anyway, Miller turned to a couple left-wing professors to help us understand that the "Biblical View of Sex" is not what those radical Christians would have you believe. As it turns out, these geniuses have revealed that God is pretty okay with sexual depravity after all:
Jennifer Wright Knust and Michael Coogan mine the Bible for its earthiest and most inexplicable tales about sex?Jephthah, who sacrifices his virgin daughter to God; Naomi and Ruth, who vow to love one another until death?to show that the Bible's teachings on sex are not as coherent as the religious right would have people believe...
With their books, they hope to steal the conversation about sex and the Bible back from the religious right. "The Bible doesn't have to be an invader, conquering bodies and wills with its pronouncements and demands," Knust writes. "It can also be a partner in the complicated dance of figuring out what it means to live in bodies that are filled with longing."
At least they don't attempt to hide their efforts to "steal" the traditional, historical understanding of the Biblical text to meet their new age, sexual anarchist proclivities. As evidence of their claims that sexual depravity is really a cool thing, Miller highlights that in the Old Testament:
Husbands, in essence, owned their wives, and fathers owned their daughters, too. A girl's virginity was her father's to protect?and to relinquish at any whim. Thus Lot offers his two virgin daughters to the angry mob that surrounds his house in Sodom.
And here's where it all falls apart. The tragic flaw in Miller's reasoning (as well as her two "scholars") is that she uses Biblical accounts of depravity as evidence of God condoning that depravity. There's a monumental gap between the two. There are plenty of accounts of murder in Scripture...but only a wacko would claim that homicide is Biblically condoned.
And speaking of wacko readings of Scripture, more from Miller:
The Bible is stern and judgmental on sex. It forbids prostitution, adultery, premarital sex for women, and homosexuality. But exceptions exist in every case, Knust points out. Tamar, a widow without children, poses as a whore and solicits her own father-in-law?so that he could "come into" her. Her desire to ameliorate her childlessness trumps the prohibition against prostitution.
For crying out loud. If Miller thinks that finding unconventional sexual behavior in Scripture is proof that such behavior is God-ordained, she needs to lay down the laptop and check into a clinic.
Remember, Miller and her cohorts' purpose was to redefine our understanding of what kind of sexuality the Bible approves of, yet all they give is a mere sampling of some of the more bizarre sexual accounts provided therein. That falls woefully short of their original intent.
Many of the examples cited by Miller and her dynamic duo of Scripture wizards are actually cautionary tales given to warn us of the dangers of sexual depravity. But by ripping them from context, Miller hopes to convince the Biblically illiterate that those stories are actually championed and heralded by God as worthy of imitation.
This is nothing more than a feeble attempt to discredit the Biblical position of Godly sexual behavior. It fails at doing so, but succeeds at demonstrating the embarrassing depths to which so-called academics will sink, and the shoddy journalism they are willing to produce in the hopes of diminishing the Word of God.
Friday, February 11 2011
Undoubtedly humiliated by the embarrassing revelations of their illegal activities, Planned Parenthood appears to be preparing to lash out at Live Action Films, and its owner Lila Rose.
It was Live Action whose undercover videos have revealed the horrific abuses of taxpayer dollars going on in Planned Parenthood abortion mills, and have demonstrated the organization's total disregard for the safety and health of women. Given that this completely undermines the false front Planned Parenthood has historically attempted to maintain, it's not surprising that they are wanting to divert as much attention as possible.
Here's what they're apparently considering:
The Thomas More Society in Chicago is representing Lila Rose and Live Action as Planned Parenthood is now firing back in response to the pro-life group's undercover research.
The most recent investigations were in New Jersey, Virginia, and New York, where video footage shows clinic workers counseling a man and woman (posing as a pimp and prostitute) on how they could obtain birth control and abortions, including for underage girls trafficked from other countries. (See earlier story)
"The reason that Lila needs legal representation is because Planned Parenthood is trying to come after her," explains Peter Breen, attorney with the Thomas More Society. "They've made noise about coming after her because the incidents shown on the film really appear to be, or at least they may be violations of, federal law, [and] in some cases, violations of state law in terms of aiding and abetting."
Uh, let's put this plainly: Planned Parenthood is desperate. I understand they don't like being exposed, but the only ones they have to blame are themselves. Live Action didn't run afoul of any laws in producing and releasing these videos.
"The states that they have gone to are states where you can do what we would think of as undercover journalism -- the grand tradition of whether it's 60 Minutes...Dateline or whomever showing through undercover investigation that someone is violating the law," the attorney explains. "Or in this case, they may be violating the law, but they're certainly showing as well that they are perfectly willing to violate the law."
Breen adds that Planned Parenthood is so nervous about what Live Action has exposed that clinic officials have asked the FBI to investigate Rose.
Planned Parenthood's angry kneejerk reaction is quite instructive. Notice they are not using Live Action's work as an opportunity to clean up their act and launch a national campaign to root out their workers who are abusing women. No, they instead are wanting to go after the folks who are bringing those evil practices to light.
That says all you need to know about Planned Parenthood's non-existent remorse.
Friday, February 11 2011
I haven't commented on Christina Aguilera's mistake in singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl until now because I didn't find it relevant. She didn't intend to mess up the words like Steven Tyler did at the Indy 500 a few years ago...she just had a brain lapse. Anybody who has ever spoken or sung in public has experienced that. And when you start to screw up, your mind goes blank even more. What is actually amazing to me is how well she was able to recover and go on with the song without stopping.
I didn't think this needed to be addressed because most fair minded folks could tell from her contrite apology afterwards that it was an accident, and that she was pretty embarrassed about it.
Evidently Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri thought it not only deserved to be addressed, but the anthem deserved to be trashed. Yes, you read that right. Petri didn't trash Aguilera for her mistake. She trashed the Star-Spangled Banner itself.
Behold the ignorance:
The only original part of the song, the lyrics, are even worse.... Not only is this terrible, dated and irrevocably attached to an oddly specific incident that Francis Scott Key suffered through during the War of 1812 -- it is a question. When we sing this anthem, we are asking whoever is listening if our flag is still waving.
This is, how do I put it, ABSURD? TERRIBLE? EMBARRASSINGLY INCOMPETENT-SOUNDING? ALL OF THE ABOVE?
I'd say it's pretty apparent that Ms. Petri has never actually read through the entirety of the anthem, including the remaining verses. If she had, and was capable of scrounging up even a modicum of patriotic spirit, she would recognize why Key's poem became so immensely popular. She would also recognize that the "question" element is actually understood today as a rhetorical one.
When we sing the words, they are meant to inspire us to ask ourselves anew whether through all the haze and fog of the daily tragedies, the bombs of conflict and the explosions of calamity we can still see the red, white and blue glimmering as a beacon of hope. The words may have been written during the War of 1812, but their meaning is just as significant in our present day. That's why most Americans love the anthem and are moved every time its played - whether at the Olympics, state events, or yes, even football games.
That Petri can't grasp this only indicates the true "embarrassingly incompetent-sounding" words weren't Francis Scott Key's...but rather her own.
Petri's literary garbage was printed on the Washington Post's website February 7, and then reprinted in the hard copy edition of the paper as an op-ed on February 8.
What does that mean? It means that while Aguilera does not deserve scorn for her mistake, Petri and the Post deserve it tenfold. What an embarrassment to the author this drivel is, and what a sad commentary on the literary standards of the Washington Post that they can't find anything better to print.
Thursday, February 10 2011
The Liberty Tree entry by Micah Clark points out an excellent reason to oppose homosexual marriage and "parenthood."
In a letter to the editor I wrote nearly a year ago, I demonstrate another reason why homosexual relationships can and should be opposed.
In a recent letter, Mr. John Tressler wrote that sexual behavior cannot be immoral if it does not harm another person. "If someone engages in actions that do not harm others or themselves, then to call it immoral or even illegal is illogical," he declared. The fallacy of Mr. Tressler's conclusions begins with his premise, as can be demonstrated from the evolution worldview.
A basic tenet of biological evolution is natural selection, which causes traits that aid survival and reproduction to become more common and traits that hinder survival and reproduction to become more rare. This is commonly referred to as "survival of the fittest." According to the worldview of evolution, the overarching purpose of a species is to survive. Every species has a method for reproduction; homo sapiens is no exception. As mammals, the reproduction and survival instinct includes the important component of nurture. It is well established that the species homo sapiens demonstrates superior survival traits when reproductive behavior and nurture are held together. Engaging in reproductive behavior outside the boundaries of the nurturing relationship decreases the survival traits and abilities of the species, which is counter to the worldview of evolution. Consequently, such behavior is immoral because it impedes, and thus harms, the survival of the entire species. From the worldview of evolution, not only should immoral reproductive behavior be avoided, it should be eradicated.
Herein lies a critical distinction between the worldview of the evolutionist and the Christian. Even though both worldviews can legitimately and logically declare sexual activity outside of nurturing relationships immoral, the Christian invites the immoralist to consider and respond to the love of God rather than to demand eradication for the sake of the survival of the fittest.
Food for thought.
Thursday, February 10 2011
On Monday the House Judiciary Committee heard 30 minutes of testimony from each side of the marriage debate. The members then voted 8-4 to pass House Joint Resolution 6 on to the House floor where the issue has not been since 2005. The Indiana Senate has passed the measure several times with 80% support from both Democrats and Republicans in every vote. (Interestingly, no Republican has ever voted against protecting marriage in Indiana. The one who might have, never had the opportunity because he wasn't re-elected after his first term in the Indiana House.)
In spite of possible attempts to weaken it with amendments from supporters of single-gender marriage, the amendment will likely move quickly with a final vote perhaps by the end of this week. It should receive around 70 out of 100 votes then go over to the Senate in March.
AFA of Indiana is very involved in this issue. As I sat in the House Chamber listening to the other side testify, I was struck by ideas that would have been thought preposterous only a few years ago. Many of those who testified against the amendment mentioned that they were homosexuals, who intentionally deprived their adopted child of a mother or a father, though they didn't say it this way, of course.
Society should do all it can for single mothers, but it should never intentionally deny children of an opposite gender parent. By definition same-sex marriage does exactly that in many circumstances. Walking away from the importance of both genders in marriage will devalue marriage into just another living arrangement. This deconstruction will harm children and society as marriage becomes meaningless.
We have apparently come to the point in which people can express offense at the notion that a marriage involves a male and a female as a societal good, because they have convinced themselves that raising children intentionally without an opposite gender parent is no big deal. Yet, I remember listening to Rosie O'Donnell tell Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime that she had grown tired of her toddler son asking "mommy, why no daddy?" Her answer was typical of today's mindset. She said, "Because I am not that kind of mommy." Yet it was not about her. Rosie's son, like every other, is that kind of child. He needs both a mommy and a daddy. Political correctness and the notion that there is a "right" to do whatever one desires regardless of its morality, which society and government must embrace, cannot change child development truths and who we are as humans.
Thursday, February 10 2011
I bring to your attention a letter from a Kokomo, Indiana, medical doctor that prescribes market cures for Obamacare. In a brief and brilliant letter, he highlights major issues of medical costs and risks and how to spread them across the marketplace.
Americans converted health care into a tax shelter early on during World War II by transferring taxable dollar compensation into employer-paid, tax-free medical benefits. Because of the heavy burden of taxes, this creates an ever-growing incentive for employees, as well as employers, to arrange for their compensation in the form of non-taxed benefits. Because these benefits are restricted to employer-based plans, the insurance is not portable, reducing the freedom of the employee to find another job elsewhere, should he or his family develop a medical diagnosis. Also, plans of this sort are more expensive than individual plans as they cover a large range of treatments, hair transplants, alternate therapies and the like. Given the large tax break, we tend to purchase more than our family requires. The ideal solution to the problems caused by this tax law would be to delete the deduction completely. That being not politically feasible, the next best solution would be to give the deduction to the individual or family and deny it to companies. This solves the problem of portability and that of pre-existing illness, as the policy is owned by the insured, not the employer. It also allows the individual to purchase only the coverage that suits one's situation best. Those choosing less-comprehensive coverage would reap the economic benefits.
Liberal defenders of Obamacare are out in force charging that Republicans have no alternatives to the legislation. There are many reasonable proposals such as Dr. Watson's letter and conservative think tank solutions available. Liberals merely choose to ignore them for fear of once again being shown lacking in the public forum of logical ideas. I invite you to read the entire letter.
Thursday, February 10 2011
Congressional Republicans continue to demonstrate a surprising backbone on the issue of repealing and stopping the unconstitutional ObamaCare law. Besides passing repeal through the House and forcing the vote in the Senate, Republican leaders are now signaling that they will soon be taking action to defund ObamaCare implementation.
This has been the trump card that many have been wondering if the Republicans would play. It appears they will play it:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told CNSNews.com today that "one way or the other" the upcoming continuing resolution necessary to keep the government funded through fiscal 2011 will deny funding to the ObamaCare law.
At his weekly press briefing, CNSNews.com asked Cantor, "On the CR [continuing resolution], when that bill comes to the floor, will there be any funding for the health care reform law in it?"
Cantor said, "I expect to see, one way or the other, the product coming out of the House to speak to that [ObamaCare funding] and to preclude any funding to be used for that."
Also, following the briefing, Cantor aides confirmed to CNSNews.com that while the continuing resolution had not been written yet, Republicans expected to amend the law to preclude any money from being spent to carry out the new health care provisions, which were signed into law by President Obama last March.
Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), told CNSNews.com in an e-mail that House Republicans were committed to denying funding for what he described as a "job destroying" law.
"[M]ake no mistake, House Republicans are committed to repealing ObamaCare (which we have already voted to do) and--if the Senate fails to act on repeal--we will use every means at our disposal to stop this job-destroying law," Steel said.
The Founders wisely gave the power of the purse to Congress, and specifically the power to originate spending in the House of Representatives (the branch originally designed to be the sole body elected directly by the people). Republican control of that House essentially dooms the implementation of ObamaCare if the Republicans have the backbone to stifle it.
Obviously public support is with them, but media support certainly will not be. Republicans will face a monumental tide of "obstructionist" claims from the leftist media as they proceed down this path, and will face threats from Democrats that there will be a government shutdown if Republicans hold the line - a shutdown that the media will ensure is blamed on Republicans.
It will be a test of will and spine for sure. To this point it appears the Republicans are passing that test. The more rigorous exam, however, appears yet to come.
Thursday, February 10 2011
I have been saying for years that the current homosexual movement in America is nothing but the newest manifestation of the larger cause for sexual anarchy that was birthed in the 1950s with Alfred Kinsey. It morphed into the free love movement of the 60s and has been intent on breaking down societal barriers against sexual depravity - any sexual depravity - ever since.
We are already seeing the next stage that will follow homosexuality in the new cause celeb: the transgendered movement. All the arguments are the same. "Civil rights," "anti-discrimination," "self-fulfillment," "personal happiness," "who are you to judge," "constitutional rights," "personal expression." These same phrases have been used in every new plank in the push for sexual anarchy.
And, beyond the transgendered movement, we may be seeing the next step as well:
A Canadian judge is now considering a landmark challenge to his country's ban on polygamy as unconstitutional ? a case being closely watched in Utah.
Testimony ended last week in the proceeding, sparked by the Canadian branch of a polygamous sect based in Utah. Since late November, British Columbia Chief Justice Robert Bauman has heard from nearly 20 witnesses ? some of them Utahns ? and taken many more affidavits and video testimonies about plural marriage.
The justice is expected to issue a ruling later this year on whether an anti-polygamy law dating to 1892 violates Canada's guarantee of freedom of religion.
Polygamists have also been observing the "historic" proceedings, said Marlyne Hammon, a member of the action committee for the polygamous community of Centennial Park, located just south of the Utah state line in Arizona.
"If Canada were to drop that law, it would send quite an important message out to the world," she said. "They can see [polygamy] is not what everyone says. It's about people.".
"What's happening is children are being born into this, but we don't have the same rights, we don't have any protections," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Jessop as saying. "It's not being prosecuted, but it's not being regulated, either. My theory is decriminalizing the crime would be giving people some rights, so we have claim to property, we have claim to help.".
"The people here in this state, we've established ourselves in our homes," Hammon said. "We want to continue on fighting for our civil rights."
I hate to say "I told you so," primarily because this is one issue I'd love to be wrong on. But I'm not. Conservatives aren't. Our society had better wise up and realize that this movement has never been about rights. It's always been about transforming our society away from the confines of sexual morality and the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Before we pull those stakes from the ground and remove the barriers, we might want to consider what will result.
Thursday, February 10 2011
It isn't possible to run for the presidency anymore without an earnest interest in the job. Wishing - as I have - for a candidate like George Washington, who had to be clubbed over the head and drug into the office, is silly. Washington was an extraordinary man in an extraordinary time. The nature of politics and our elective system is far different today than it was in the post-revolutionary period.
I understand that it takes someone with a healthy ambition, a resilient ego and a passion for leadership to have any chance at becoming president. But surely we can try to balance that with someone who is also humble and hesitant about undertaking such a monumental task, can't we?
What I'm saying is this: there's something we should distrust about the person who has been craving the White House their whole life. And, ironically, the closer lawmakers get to that position (the more popular they become, the more nationally known their persona is), the more that hesitancy should grow as they come to fully comprehend the weight of the responsibilities placed upon the president. Those who demonstrate an insatiable thirst for the office are prime candidates for the very kind of power-hungry megalomaniacs we should keep far away from 1600 Pennsylvania.
That's why I'm increasingly impressed with Mike Pence. He had the opportunity to make a reasonable play for the White House and he demurred. It's why I'm increasingly impressed with Jim DeMint. Once Pence bowed out, most staunch conservatives started looking to DeMint as their top choice.
has been encouraging to me:
DeMint says President Obama is "clearly beatable." But the GOP nominee, he argues, will need to be formidable, since the president may be able to bounce off of a rebounding economy. Numerous potential candidates, he says, "are watching to see where Obama's popularity will be. A lot is going to depend on whether people believe that he has anything to do with the economy coming back. And it will come back; you can't keep the American economy down."
NRO [National Review Online] wonders: In coming months, if [Jeb] Bush and other conservative favorites decide to sit out 2012, will DeMint feel compelled to jump in? "I really am trying to avoid that," he tells us. "I'm looking for good candidates out there in the field."
"I would have to feel a strong pull from people all over the country," DeMint says. "Again, it's not something that, right now, appears to be in my future."
But could a grassroots ?Draft DeMint' movement stir him to run? "I don't want to suggest that I'm waiting for any kind of draft," he says. "It's really not what I want to do. I really don't have any intention of running. . . . I'm not ruling anything out, but it's not something I want to do."
In some ways this is what all politicians looking to run for president feel compelled to say. But it you pay attention, you get the feeling that DeMint isn't just saying this. He means it. And that makes him even more attractive of a candidate.
Thursday, February 10 2011
Media bias isn't always about what they say. It's also about what isn't said. And sometimes it's a combination of both.
Consider the contrasting coverage provided by CNN of two recent "protest" events. First, the liberal cause:
Anchor Brooke Baldwin led the 3 pm Eastern hour with the pro-illegal immigration rally:
BALDWIN: There is a new front opening up in the immigration battle. Where else would this be happening? Arizona. At this hour, children and their parents- I'm talking also itty-bitty babies there being carried- they're marching on the Capitol complex building in Phoenix, just as the state Senate considers another proposed crackdown. So, here's what you need to know: there's this new bill that would essentially deny American citizenship to any child born on U.S. soil if their parents came here illegally.
Sounds serious, right? Later in the segment, Baldwin acknowledged the size of this "march."
BALDWIN: Casey Wian, thank you. And I just want to remind everyone- these pictures you're seeing, that are on the right side of your screen, those are live pictures- there they are again- and by my sort of guesstimate, maybe two dozen, maybe three dozen- so, obviously, not a huge crowd, but a crowd nonetheless.
Two or three dozen. According to Newsbusters, CNN devoted an entire segment of nearly 4 minutes to cover somewhere between 24 and 36 people upset with a state law regarding immigration.
So what about the conservative cause?
Exactly two weeks earlier, John King USA was the only program during the afternoon and evening of January 24, the day of the March of Life, and the morning of January 25 which mentioned the annual event. During his 11 second brief, anchor John King showed no footage from the demonstration.
Tens of thousands show up to defend human rights in Washington, protesting the most controversial, immoral practice of our day and CNN devotes 11 seconds. Bias? What bias?
Wednesday, February 09 2011
While much of the talk about the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare has been focused on the act itself, Philip Hamburger has written a very intriguing piece that suggests that may not be all about this healthcare travesty that is unconstitutional:
The Department of Health and Human Services has granted 733 waivers from one of the statute's key requirements. The recipients of the waivers include insurers such as Oxford Health Insurance, labor organizations such as the Service Employees International Union, and employers such as PepsiCo. This is disturbing for many reasons. At the very least, it suggests the impracticability of the health-care law; HHS gave the waivers because it fears the law will cost many Americans their jobs and insurance.
More seriously, it raises questions about whether we live under a government of laws. Congress can pass statutes that apply to some businesses and not others, but once a law has passed ? and therefore is binding ? how can the executive branch relieve some Americans of their obligation to obey it?
The dangers of inequity are obvious. Will only corporations and unions get waivers, or can individuals also get them? For example, if a family physician feels financial pressure under the health-care law to fire one of his employees, will he get a waiver to avoid adding to unemployment? Indeed, can even a small corporation get a waiver? Small businesses provide most new jobs, but the answer is obvious: Waivers are mostly, if not entirely, for politically significant businesses and unions that get the special attention of HHS or the White House. The rest of us must obey the laws.
Hamburger goes on to explain the long history of kings and autocrats who issued "waivers" to those in society they preferred, and the consternation and resistance such picking of favorites initiated.
As a result, British Parliament began restricting the power of the executive to behave in such ways. The American experiment followed the British example with even greater restraints placed upon the executive's authority to grant "dispensation." As Hamburger explains:
Even more strikingly, no American constitution, state or federal, allowed dispensation, let alone its delegation. Nor should this be a surprise. The power to dispense with the laws had no place in a constitution that divided the active power of government into executive and legislative powers. The dispensing power was not a power to make laws, nor even a power to repeal laws, but rather a power to relieve individuals of their obligation under a law that remained in effect. It thus was a power exercised not through and under the law, but above it.
Of course, after a violation of a statute, the executive could refrain from prosecuting the offender or even pardon him. Until the legislature changed the law, however, neither the legislature nor the executive could simply tell a favored person that he was not bound by it. Waivers can be used for good purposes. But since the time of Matthew Paris, they have been recognized as a power above the law ? a power used by government to co-opt powerful constituencies by freeing them from the law. Like old English kings, the current administration is claiming such a power to decide that some people do not have to follow the law. This is dangerous, above the law, and unauthorized by the Constitution.
As upsetting as it may be to some to admit it, that last sentence is coming to define the Obama presidency.
Wednesday, February 09 2011
Liberals just have a way with words. Whether it's the insane euphemisms they concoct to hide the mercilessness of abortion, or the word-dances they perform to avoid offending radical Muslims, a liberal-to-English dictionary is almost essential for anyone hoping to follow American politics.
But besides making up new terms to hide who they are and what they believe, liberals have a tendency to try to co-opt words and phrases that are used against them, in a futile attempt to diminish their shame. A perfect example: judicial activism.
In recent years, a brand-new definition of "judicial activism" has been created by the political Left, so that they can turn the tables on critics of judicial activism.
The new definition of "judicial activism" defines it as declaring laws unconstitutional.
It is a simpler, easily quantifiable definition. You don't need to ask whether Congress exceeded its authority under the Constitution. That key question can be sidestepped by simply calling the judge a "judicial activist."
A judge who lets politicians do whatever they want, whether or not it violates the Constitution, never has to worry about being called a judicial activist by the Left or by most of the media. But the rest of us have to worry about what is going to happen to this country if politicians can get away with ignoring the Constitution.
The author of the preceding, Thomas Sowell, is commenting on the Obama administration's dubbing of Judge C. Roger Vinson (the federal judge who just struck down ObamaCare as unconstitutional) a "judicial activist." Obama hopes to accomplish two things by labeling Vinson such: 1) delegitimize Vinson's ruling in the eyes of the public, 2) diminish the meaning of the phrase so that it no longer hurts the treachery of liberal judges.
Of course, as Sowell explains:
"Judicial activism" is a term coined years ago by critics of judges who make rulings based on their own beliefs and preferences, rather than on the law as it is written. It is not a very complicated notion, but political rhetoric can confuse and distort anything.
Precisely. It is the height of illogic to contend (as the Left is doing right now) that reading the letter of the Constitution and expecting the laws of Congress to comport with it is "judicial activism." True judicial activism is when a judge feels entitled to go beyond the Constitution and write his own amendments or text into the document to justify legislation that he personally prefers.
This is the exact opposite of what Judge Vinson did. In fact, he proclaimed the entire topic of healthcare inconsequential in his decision. All that mattered was whether Congress was going beyond its Constitutional authority. That is the essence of judicial restraint: demanding fidelity to the Constitution.
But Obama and the left seek to make down up and up down. By doing so they kill two birds with one stone: they tarnish Judge Vinson for standing in the way of their extra-constitutional behavior, and diminish one of the major arguments common sense Americans use to prevent their left-leaning judicial activists from doing it in the future.
Wednesday, February 09 2011
As winter records continue to be shattered around the globe, the anecdotal evidence against any man-caused global incineration continues to amass. But like the proverbial flat-earthers, the anthropogenic global warming movement - spearheaded by almost president Al Gore - continues to believe.
And in a sign of growing desperation, they are engaging that dangerous blend of irrationality and militancy.
High priest Al Gore has emerged, presumably from a cloistered winter retreat?there's a reason he shows up more in June than January?to assure the faithful that far from invalidating global warming, blizzards further validate it. He blogged that "the scientific community has been addressing this question for some time now and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming."
To buttress this point, Gore strangely cites as an authority the political pundit Clarence Page. (Was Eleanor Clift unavailable?) "A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species," Page maintained in an AlGore.com-linked column. "That's simple science for me, a guy whose scientific education pretty much ended with the old ?Watch Mr. Wizard' TV show and a subscription to ?Popular Mechanics.' "
A July heat wave? That's global warming. A frigid winter? That's global warming too. Hurricanes? Global warming. Drought? Global warming, global warming, global warming.
When evidence against a theory is interpreted as proof of a theory, there is no point in continuing the debate. All roads lead to Rome, or in this case, all facts prove global warming. It's worse than unfalsifiable theories. It's worse than circular reasoning. It's true believer syndrome.
This is precisely what I've been saying on the show, and many other "skeptics" have been arguing for some time now. When you make any weather pattern the assumed consequence of your theory, you may have guaranteed yourself "incontrovertible proof" of your hypothesis...but that proof convinces only those who have abandoned any willingness to see the racket you're running.
Daniel Flynn goes on to make an impressive analogy:
More than five hundred years ago, Christopher Columbus used meteorological phenomenon to induce the natives to do his bidding. Wanting food and labor, Columbus threatened the indigenous Jamaicans that his god would make the moon disappear if they didn't do what he wanted. They balked. He awaited the scheduled eclipse. Frightened, they pledged themselves to him in exchange for getting the moon back.
Other than our pretentions of advancement, what's the difference between those primitives and us? Columbus duped them with tales of horror in the skies. Similarly, Al Gore and company tell tales of meteorological chaos if we don't agree to policies that they would support even without the issue of global warming. "Your village green will turn into a desert if you don't do as I say" is at least as persuasive as "I'm going to make the moon disappear if you don't feed me."
One can forecast eclipses with precision. Less predictable, even for the weatherman, is tomorrow's temperature. What does one make of a mere politician who tells us he can forecast the next century's temperature?
Who knew Al Gore was so similar to a great figure like Christopher Columbus. Of course, the analogy is only as good as far as it goes. While Columbus only chose one meteorological phenomenon as proof of his wild claims, Al Gore tries to hijack every phenomenon that occurs.
Wednesday, February 09 2011
Who would have thought just two years ago that some conservatives would actually be considering promoting a third Bush for the office of President? W's legacy was in great question and there was a prevalent feeling of Bush fatigue throughout the country.
Yet now, some key conservative leaders are thinking Jeb Bush (W's brother and former Governor of Florida) would be an excellent candidate. I'm certainly not ready to jump on that bandwagon.at all. But I will acknowledge that I have previously noted that Jeb has always been my favorite of the family. He is more of a social conservative and despite a couple flaws (see his stance on illegal immigration), seems to be much more in the Reagan mold than his Dad's.
Rich Lowry, writing at National Review, makes the case for Jeb in 2012:
It's a wide-open field for a nomination that's worth having. Rarely do you get such a convergence of a beatable incumbent president with a wide-open field to challenge him. Obama is slightly below 50 percent in the polls, with a real weakness in the middle of the country, and he's saddled with a recovery that has yet to produce substantial job growth. Yet there is no true frontrunner in the race to challenge him. It's hard to imagine an environment better suited for a heavyweight like Jeb to make a run.
2016 is too late I. By 2016, Jeb will have been out of office ten years. No doubt he will have made many contributions to the cause in the interim, but by then his main credential ? his governorship and its accomplishments ? will seem like yesterday's news. Right now he has the feel of an elder statesman of the party while his time in office is still fresh.
2016 is too late II. By 2016, a bumper crop of Republican talent will be poised to storm the national stage. Marco Rubio not only will be the hot new thing out of Florida, he'll be seasoned. Chris Christie will be ready. A host of senators and governors ? freshly minted in the 2010 elections, so it's too soon for them to run now ? will be ready to go. Jeb will not be such a predominant figure in such a robust field. The crop of prospective GOP candidates this time reflects the downdraft in Republican fortunes in 2006 and 2008. Jeb would loom all the larger for it.
He's not just another Bush. Jeb is different from his patrician dad and different from his thoroughly Texan brother. As soon as people see him on the national stage, they'll realize he's his own person and has to be taken on his own terms.
Jeb can unite the party. Jeb probably has a better chance to unite the establishment and Tea Party wings of the GOP than anyone else, certainly a better chance than Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney would seem to have at this juncture. The establishment would presumably flock to Jeb, while he'd have a record of solid conservative accomplishment to sell to the conservative base. Some tea partiers will have zero interest in another Bush, and Jeb will take his lumps on immigration (at NR, we'll look forward to administering some of them, and trying to change his mind). It's a very volatile environment, and were he to run, much would obviously depend on how he actually campaigned. But he would stand a good chance of avoiding a damaging division in the party.
Lowry makes some other good points, but the fact remains that running a third member of the same immediate family is going to rub many people the wrong way. Granted, no conservative is going to be so turned off by that notion that they vote for Obama instead, but it can greatly effect their enthusiasm. That isn't what we need in 2012.
Unless the 2012 field of declared candidates is a lot more underwhelming than it should be, I remain pretty skeptical of the feasibility of this idea.fair or not.even with as much as I appreciate Jeb.
Wednesday, February 09 2011
Quick! Name five recent popular movies in which the plot conflict is resolved without violence. Most of the time, the violence is in the form of some type of firearm - past, present, or future.
If I were to believe Big Entertainment, there is hardly a law enforcement officer or military personnel or villain or common citizen-turned-vigilante who has not taken shots at someone else. No town in the old west went a day without a shootout at "high noon," or some other time of day. No contemporary city goes a day without high speed chases and reckless shootouts. No planet out in space is devoid of the need of superior firepower.
All this comes from the sector of society most likely to stump for the eradication of Second Amendment rights.
So, I am coming out in favor of gun control. Yes, that's right! I am right here, right now making a proposal for gun control. Now, pick yourself up off the ground and look at my proposal.
I propose that Congress enact legislation right away that makes it unlawful to use gun violence to resolve plot issues in any form of entertainment. Surely all those talented writers and producers out there can figure out how to bring about peaceful resolutions to conflict. That is, after all, what they deem can and should happen in the real world. Why not lead the way in their fantasy worlds? It ought to be even easier in their land of make-believe to bring about peaceful resolutions to even the stickiest conflicts.
It is the left, after all, who has made it clear that recent gunshots were fired because someone stuck crosshairs on a map or used certain gun/warfare metaphors to describe political disagreements. Since these abstract uses of our language play such a big influence on individuals' decisions, how much more does the covert graphics of movies and television shows impact gullible viewers? Oh, the horror of it all!
Therefore, in order to spread a wider net of protection on everyone, I implore Congress to take away the guns from Big Entertainment. They are clearly irresponsible when given access to them. Help me to make our planet a safer place: ban guns on movie and television sets.
Tuesday, February 08 2011
I just read where federal authorities are conducting raids to crack down on insider trading violations.
While at both hedge funds, [Noah] Freeman obtained material, nonpublic information, and the funds traded on that inside information, according to a complaint filed this week by federal authorities.
This is the latest development in a massive investigation by the U.S. Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into potential insider trading in the hedge-fund industry.
In response, I cannot help but ask, "What's the big deal?" Insider trading is merely an extension of the popular "consenting adult" argument used by today's sexual anarchists. Exchanging insider information is done by consenting adults. After all, obtaining it and acting on it doesn't really hurt anyone else. So what if another person is a little ahead of the game or not in a company's stock move? Even though everyone might not have access to the information, everyone has access to the price movement and other information about the stock. Everyone should be practicing safe investing/trading, shouldn't they? That should be enough to protect everyone from any of the remotely possible negative side effects of the actions of consenting adults. That's the line we're being fed by the sexual anarchists, anyway.
Actually, I also have a less tongue-in-cheek observation about insider trading laws. By definition, they cannot be evenly applied because they require knowledge of the participant's intent; ie, mind reading. I offer this illustration: Suppose I have a friend working for Acme who tells me that it would be wise for me to dump my Acme shares because of some bad news being announced in a couple of weeks. I do so, and the authorities get wind of it. As Martha Stewart found out, we could face some big trouble.
However, suppose I tell my friend who works at Acme that my Acme stock has done me good, and that I am going to sell some of my holdings to finance a trip to Europe. He asks, "Can you hold off selling for a couple of weeks?" "Sure," I reply. "Why?" "Well, after the upcoming announcement, the stock will probably skyrocket." Sure enough, my friend's prediction comes true, and I sell some shares for a more significant profit. (Hey, I can stay in a nicer hotel!) Even though I act on insider information by not selling earlier, there is no way that this can be prosecuted. After all, a lot of folks probably took profits after the stock jumped in price.
On the whole, I favor insider trading regulations because markets work best when made as transparent as possible. But, as one can see, such laws can never be perfect.
Besides, as sexual anarchists are teaching, there are no absolutes when it comes to morality. What is immoral to me is not necessarily immoral to someone else. As long as the parties involved are "consenting adults" and "no one is hurt," what does it matter?
Tuesday, February 08 2011
I am frequently intrigued whenever the opinion page of the paper offers a study in contrasts. Such was the case today. The dichotomy involves the extent of employer control in the workplace.
One letter opposes the "right to work" legislation currently being considered in the Indiana legislature. In the author's mind, "right to work" legislation results in Hoosier's working for less, "with fewer benefits and fewer workplace protections." He concludes, "It is clear that the Chamber business union is against employee democracy and would rather have all rights reside with the employer king."
On another topic, the newspaper editors express their opposition to an Indiana law prohibiting most employers from banning guns in their parking lots. They express support for individuals' rights, but they submit that "an employer might want to know whether an employee has a gun in the parking lot." Their concluding remark? "Employers have long had the right to impose certain restrictions on their employees. Guns in the parking lot should be no exception."
There you have it. Depending upon your legislative agenda, employers have a right to impose control over their employees, or they don't have that right. When it comes to imposing unionism on the employer, liberals declare that the employers have no right to impose "certain restrictions." But when it comes to the employee exercising the constitutional right to bear arms, liberals declare that the employers have a right to impose "certain restrictions."
Maybe - just maybe - this is why we need less, not more, government intervention in our workplaces and our lives.
Tuesday, February 08 2011
It stands to reason that if there are a number of different "kinds" of Christians in the world, there are also a number of different "kinds" of atheists. Mike Adams has written a great piece that illustrates the huge distinction between two major groups of these nonbelievers: the unbelieving atheist and the evangelistic atheist.
I've encountered both. Prior to my radio show and public writing and speaking career, the majority of atheists I came across fell into the first group. Once I started sharing my thoughts and opinions in public, all that changed. Whether in emails or phone calls, web postings or blogs, I am bombarded far more frequently today by the evangelistic atheist. And there's an enormous difference.
Adams explains the unbelieving atheist this way:
There are a number of reasons why a person might identify himself as an unbelieving atheist. I believe very firmly that one can be reasonably mistaken in one's unbelief. While I think atheists are uniformly wrong, I do not consider them to be uniformly unreasonable.
It may well be the case that the unbeliever was raised by atheist parents in a home without religious instruction. I know of atheists who were raised in homes without a copy of the Bible. Each had to rely upon second hand accounts of what the Bible says on a variety of issues. Most of them never got around to reading it firsthand.
Those who lack religious influence in the home and religious instruction at an early age are at a disadvantage in 21st century America. Long before President Obama declared that we are no longer a Christian nation, our courts and schools began to lay the foundation for post-Christian America.
There is no mistaking the fact that our public school system has become secularized to the point of relinquishing any claims of neutrality. Most schools have reached the point of being overtly anti-religious. Kids who have no firm foundation in Judeo-Christian ethics are likely to become highly resistant to conversion at a later age. You can thank our public schools for that. We all pay for public education in more ways than one.
In contrast, the evangelistic atheist is far more abrasive, rude and egotistical, as Adams accurately describes:
But the evangelistic atheist is a different breed altogether. One atheist evangelist sits in his office with piles of anti-religious books as he prepares his next lecture for his Sociology of Religion class. He curses more than he uses words like "a" and "the." And he posts the headlines of the latest church scandal on his office door. He takes more pride in the failure of others than in his own personal achievements.
Another evangelistic atheist writes books distorting the history of Christianity and the life and words of Jesus - all the while calling it scholarship. He develops courses on "Atheism and Unbelief." He even posts "Godless!" (Compete with the exclamation point!) in the "religious views" portion of his Facebook profile. Yet he claims emotional detachment on issues of faith and religion.
In short, the evangelistic atheist is characterized less by the absence of belief than by a zeal for destroying the beliefs of others.
I wrote a column following the birth of my first daughter about the amazing testimony the miracle of human life is to the existence of God. That column was widely circulated in the online atheist community. I received more feedback from it than any other column I have ever written. It was some of the nastiest vitriol I have ever encountered. Some of it would literally make you sick to your stomach to read.
It would be unfair and untrue to suggest that this is indicative of all atheists. The simple nonbeliever (or seeker, as they would be better defined) is not the kind to behave this way. That's why I appreciate this piece by Mike Adams so much. It helps us differentiate between those who are sincerely misled, but are still reasonable people...and those who give them a terrible name.
Both must be confronted. Recognizing their different approaches makes us more effective in doing so.
Tuesday, February 08 2011
Barack Obama is a failing president. Much of that can be attributed to unwise and unsound policy. But that's not it. After all, Bill Clinton is widely assumed to have experienced a "successful presidency," and he pursued many similar policies. So what gives?
For all his talk about uniting and inspiring hope, that is where Obama has failed most dramatically. Part of that was due to the wildly outrageous expectations he and his staff allowed to be put on his administration. Having no record to run on, and being supremely unqualified to assume such a high office, Obama concocted a media image of himself as the grand champion of all mankind, riding a white unicorn to Washington. That worked wonders in the campaign. It has led to bitter disappointment and disillusionment ever since.
And amazingly, the one skill that can't be learned or faked, is the one that is plaguing his presidency most...leadership:
Anyone can lead when things are going right and there is not a dark cloud on the horizon. But it takes a leader like Washington, Lincoln or Churchill to take command in the middle of a national crisis, squarely face the enemy, rally the troops, crush the enemy and lead the nation to victory.
Can you imagine Obama drilling Washington's army in the dead of winter at Valley Forge, or leading a charge up Little Round Top at Gettysburg, or breaking through the Nazi lines as Patton did at Bastogne? Today, if you were fighting the Russians would you be comfortable with Obama having your back?
If you want to know how a real leader thinks and talks, re-read Lincoln's Second Inaugural address. As I sat and watched Obama give his State of the Union message on TV, I desperately listened for the words of encouragement that President Lincoln might have given.
He may have said something like, "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray that this mighty economic scourge may speedily pass away ... Yet if God wills that it continue ... the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
I was listening in hopes of hearing Obama give a closing that summed up the ravages our soldiers and their families are suffering because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Something like, "Let us strive on to finish these wars we are in, to bind up the nation's wounded, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Perhaps it's unfair to compare Obama - or nearly anyone - to Lincoln...even though Obama was fine with those comparisons when it was helping him get elected. Even still, it has become quite apparent that while Obama is proficient at political bickering and finger-pointing (note that a recent Gallup poll has indicated he is the most polarizing president in over a generation), he lacks the ability to transcend politics and inspire people to national unity.
That's not policy...it's him.
Tuesday, February 08 2011
Looking at the Newsbusters blog over the weekend, I was amazed at the way the media treated the 100th Birthday of Ronald Reagan. In the short term, they have apparently given up the destruction of Reagan's legacy in preference to just transforming it from something substantive to something emotional. In other words, rather than focusing on making everyone hate Reagan, they are content to make everything think of him as just a nice guy who could speak well.
But that wasn't what made Reagan a legend. With as great as his personal skills and charm were, it was also about his policy. A few highlights:
Tax reform: Not only did he cut tax rates, but the Tax Reform Act of 1986 simplified the income-tax code by eliminating many tax shelters, reducing the number of deductions and tax brackets. Reagan's dream of tax returns fitting on a postcard has been nullified as Congress has regressed and continued to make the tax code more complex, necessitating a new push for reform.
Peace through Strength: The military was diminished during the Carter years, but Reagan reversed that by rebuilding the armed forces. His Peace Through Strength philosophy was manifested by his reviving the B-1 bomber that Carter canceled, starting production of the MX missile, and pushing NATO to deploy Pershing missiles in West Germany. He increased defense spending by more than 40%, increased troop levels, and even got much-needed space parts into the pipeline. Those efforts ensured that America remained a military superpower.
Star Wars: Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative was derided by his opponents as being technologically unfeasible, but the mere threat of the U.S. building the system was instrumental in the Soviet Union's collapse. The successful use of Patriot missile batteries in the first Gulf War proved the critics wrong, and the missile defense system that ensued has lessened the threat of ballistic missiles.
Ending the Cold War: The Cold War had raged since World War II and communism's quest for world domination remained an existential threat to the United States when President Reagan took office. Reagan reversed the policy of detente and stood firm against the Soviet Union, calling it the Evil Empire and telling Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" in Berlin. He was relentless in pushing his Strategic Defense Initiative and gave aid to rebels battling Soviet-backed Marxists from Nicaragua to Angola. Those efforts were critical in the ultimate collapse of the Soviet empire and essentially ended the Cold War.
Reaganomics: Reagan's mix of across-the-board tax cuts, deregulation, and domestic spending restraint helped fuel an economic boom that lasted two decades. Reagan inherited a misery index (the sum of the inflation and unemployment rates) of 19.99%, and when he left office it had dropped to 9.72%. President Obama take note: Under Reaganomics, 16 million new jobs were created.
That only scratches the surface, but it's a start. The media has apparently committed itself to rewriting the Reagan story. Though that shouldn't be surprising given their commitment to rewriting the rest of American history, it is an alarming development that the conservative movement must fiercely prevent.
Remember Reagan by keeping his vision alive.
Tuesday, February 08 2011
I received quite a few emails after my recent column from folks who don't think Judge Vinson's ruling that struck down ObamaCare is nearly as big of a deal as I do. That's not surprising.I usually get emails from folks who disagree with my opinions. What is surprising is to see them disagree with what should be pretty straight-forward fact.
In this case, my point that Judge Vinson's ruling is a blow to activist legislation that seeks to expand the role of the federal government to unprecedented levels should be universally understood. Whether you like the legislation or not, that's exactly what it is. Whether you like the Judge's ruling or not, that's exactly what it does.
I'm also perplexed by those that say, "It doesn't matter or mean anything. Everything will just continue like it is until the Supreme Court rules on it." I don't doubt that the Supreme Court will hear this case, and will ultimately have the final word on the matter. But suggesting that this ruling is meaningless is a dangerous proposition indeed (particularly for those on the left who rely on obedience to judicial fiat for the preservation of some of their most cherished "rights" like abortion and homosexual marriage).
The Vinson ruling, taken out of our political fray, is a straight-forward rejection of ObamaCare.in its entirety. Liken it to the numerous judicial rulings striking down several of FDR's New Deal programs. Eventually FDR loaded the court with like-minded progressives. But it wasn't assumed he had the ability to pull an Andrew Jackson and just ignore the rulings if he didn't like them. That seems to be what many on the left believe today.
To a casual reader, the ruling seems to shut down Obamacare entirely. Judge Roger Vinson declares the law unconstitutional and notes that when faced with such a court ruling, the executive branch is expected to comply. So far, there has been no "stay" to the ruling, which would allow implementation of Obamacare to proceed until higher courts have had a chance to weigh in.
But in sharp contrast to this reading, the Obama administration has implied that the ruling has no effect whatsoever. "Implementation will continue," promised Stephanie Cutter, assistant to the president and a deputy senior adviser, in a White House blog post. She provided quotes from experts to support the administration's position ? all but one of which merely disagreed with the ruling, rather than asserting that it didn't have the force of law.
This is quite an arrogant and authoritative decision on the part of the Obama administration. At least there should be an acknowledgement that the ruling is binding on the parties of the lawsuit (including 26 states).
Some have suggested that since the ruling didn't include an "injunction," the Obama administration can continue its implementation. But based on the legal concept of preclusion, that's the exact opposite way this should be viewed. David Rivkin, Jr., an attorney for the plaintiffs put it this way:
"Unless and until the federal government is able to obtain a stay.this absolutely precludes the government from implementing any provisions of the act ? and this is important ? with regard to the parties of the case."
Kevin C. Walsh, an assistant professor at the University of Richmond Law School, says the main issue is the doctrine of "preclusion." This doctrine holds that once two parties ? in this case, the federal government and the plaintiffs ? have litigated a matter in court, the matter is settled between them, and they cannot relitigate it from the beginning (though the loser can appeal the decision to a higher court). But when the federal government is the defendant, preclusion doesn't apply to entities that were not involved in the suit. This means the federal government can implement the law with regard to everyone but the plaintiffs.
It's not surprising that average Americans might be confused by these legal realities. But the Obama administration knows them. They are choosing to ignore them and are hiding behind political posturing in doing so. That should be extremely concerning to all of us.
Monday, February 07 2011
Sunday was President Reagan's 100th Birthday. While the left has pretty much succumbed to the reality that most Americans regard Reagan as a national treasure, and one of the country's greatest chief executives, they certainly aren't on board.
That is demonstrable by not only their legacy of hostility to the man and his ideas (for a partial listing of the attempts to rebut Reagan's legacy, check out Tim Graham's post here), but their attempts to cover over the important lessons of Reagan's leadership by distracting Americans to focus solely on Reagan's warmth, communication skills and general charisma.
Given the disastrous presidency we are currently suffering through - something they bear a great deal of responsibility for bringing us - it is no wonder the media is doing their best to pretend the very policies and principles that made Reagan a success (the very qualities Obama eschews and opposes) never existed.
In an effort to combat their fool's game, I offer this link to Reagan's landmark speech, "A Time for Choosing." These are the principles that launched his political career, defined his presidency, and brought America a rebirth from the ashes of malaise and mediocrity that years of "progressive" leadership had confined her to.
Watch it. Remember it. Looking at the state of our economy, our national spirit, and our diminished stature in the world, all coming again as the result of "progressivism," America is ripe for a return to those principles. The sooner the better.
Monday, February 07 2011
This should do it. Following the recently released, devastating video by LiveActionFilms, Planned Parenthood should not be able to escape. The video just adds to the barrage of bad news for the child-killing industry that has emerged the past few weeks. As Michael New writes:
The past couple weeks have been difficult for supporters of legal abortion. Unplanned, a book by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, has quickly become a bestseller. Last week, Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder for using scissors to kill babies delivered alive in his abortion mill. His clinic was described by regulators as a "filthy, foul-smelling house of horrors." Last Monday's March for Life in Washington, D.C., attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd. And yesterday, Live Action Films released that undercover video which shows a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey willing to assist a pimp whose prostitutes are minors ? in some cases as young as 14.
You need to watch this video. It shows Planned Parenthood doing what we've known they've been doing for years: skirting the law, being "cool" with underage prostitution rings, and finding ways to allow the abuse of women to continue unabated all while claiming to be about "promoting women's health." It was always counterintuitive. How could a group whose conscience allows them to kill children for profit honestly have any serious devotion to the well being of others?
But their carefully crafted public image persisted. Until now. It's gone. And this video, which follows a string of similar videos exposing much of the same, puts the final nail in the coffin of PP's credibility. Newly elected Republican Sean Duffy told National Review following this release:
It's chilling to see how callous this Planned Parenthood employee was toward the plight of underage sex slaves. Her casual collaboration with someone she thought was a pimp is criminal and demands an immediate investigation. Putting aside the controversial subject of abortion, Planned Parenthood holds itself out as a ?trusted health care provider' for women and young people; this video challenges that notion and exposes the profit motives that leave too many young, vulnerable girls unprotected by adults who are actually in a position to stop the abuse. At a time when our government is operating on credit from China, this video will make many American taxpayers question the $360 million they give to Planned Parenthood annually.
This video adds to the momentum that has been building for some time now. The feeling is palpable that this will be the generation that brings the abortion holocaust in America to a conclusion. So long as it persists, we are not a society that abides by our founding principles, we are not a society that can prate of the rights of man, and we are not a society that can expect to stop the extenuating calamities that come from a culture of death.
Keeping this tragic practice in front of the eyes of Americans, all while exposing the deadly and deceitful games being played by the abortion crowd's most "reputable" organizations is a necessary strategy in continuing this momentum. So watch the video. Pass on the video. And pray unceasingly.
Monday, February 07 2011
In his first U.S. Senate speech, Kentucky's Rand Paul did not disappoint. While leadership is lacking in the White House when it comes to taking the necessary steps to slash our government spending problem, Paul gets it.
Barack Obama ran on the platform of change. The truth is that he has not come close to delivering anything remotely resembling change in terms of our fiscal woes. In fact, he has added to them, immensely. Mr. Obama promised that the practice of "taking out a credit card from the Bank of China in our kids and grandkids name" was going to change when he was president. It has. He has taken out three or four more such credit cards.with policy proposals that will assuredly increase that number. Then, in a pathetically transparent extension of lip service only to the deplorable debt crisis now facing our economy, Mr. Obama promises not to take a chainsaw but a "scalpel" to the federal budget.
And that's exactly right. We are attempting to cut our way through a 200 foot radius Cedar tree, and Obama proposes using a scalpel. There is no question in the mind of any serious American that he is not interested in providing any serious solutions to solving the problem we face. But Rand Paul is.
Most notable, however, is Paul's Beltway-busting budget, which aims to cut $500 billion this fiscal year. In an interview with National Review Online, Paul touts his blueprint as the opening shot of his crusade to shake up Washington. "This is just the beginning," he says. "It's time to get serious."
"People in official Washington think this a pretty bold, maybe overly bold, proposition," Paul chuckles. "But it only cuts about a third of the annual deficit."
For one, it nearly eliminates the Department of Education. It also guts federal HUD housing funds, upends the Department of Commerce, and chokes off funding for the Department of Energy. The Department of Health and Human Services loses $26.5 billion. Legions of big-government fiefdoms are chucked. Federal arts programs disappear. The Smithsonian is privatized.
And the cuts go across the board. Paul argues that Republicans need to clip the defense budget; Democrats, he adds, need to stop ladling cash to domestic bureaucrats. Paul's plan, for example, would impose a 2.7 percent cut (below 2010 levels) at the Department of Defense. Overseas contingency funding would be reduced by $16 billion; funds for military personnel by $14 billion.
For those who suggested the "Tea Party" candidates were nothing but typical Republicans who would not be serious about making the change in Washington they - like so many before them - promised to facilitate, Rand Paul is proof they were wrong.
What remains to be seen is if others will follow him. If not, November 2012 is a chance to send him some reinforcements.
Saturday, February 05 2011
Millions of Americans go to work each and every day making products and providing services that make this nation great. Throughout their working lives, very few Americans receive any type of special recognition for their efforts beyond pay and benefits and the personal rewards of their labor. Of those few who do receive additional recognition, they are typically honored in ceremonies outside the public spectrum.
Then there is the entertainment industry. Not satisfied with bilking billions of dollars from a gullible public through what they like to call art and entertainment, they need to receive their other pats on the back with the biggest fanfare possible. No small, private affairs for them. That would never come close to salving their gargantuan egos. No, they must trot their stuff in the most gala manor imaginable. They must wear multi-thousand dollar clothes and jewelry. They must have parties worthy of their elite status.
Nor does one award ceremony suffice. Not even close. They must have their movie awards, TV awards, music awards, and others in between. They are truly the neediest Americans.
As sad as all this display of egocentricity is, though, what is sadder to me still is the undeniable fact that a large portion - too large as far as I'm concerned - of the American public applauds the entertainment industry for this affluent display of self-congratulation. The same folk who typically trash American values through their "art" turn around and receive undeserved honor from the very public they belittle and mock. Sad.
Friday, February 04 2011
The most picked-on American in the public eye right now has to be Sarah Palin. Anytime any issue comes up, it seems, someone is compelled to issue some snide remark about her. Those "someones," of course, carry the liberal label. Latest case in point: Ronald Reagan's son, Ron Reagan, Jr.:
"Sarah Palin is a soap opera, basically," Ron Reagan Jr. told The Associated Press. "She's doing mostly what she does to make money and keep her name in the news."
What prompted such a tirade? Well, poor Sarah has the audacity to keynote the Reagan 100 Opening Banquet sponsored by the Young America's Foundation. This is all it takes to be the worthy recipient (aka, target) of the left's version of "civil discourse."
"She is not a serious candidate for president and never has been," said Reagan, who, it should be noted, is more liberal in his politics than his father was.
At least USA Today made a slight acknowledgement that the younger Reagan is not the conservative his father was. Understated, but at least noted. After all, why wouldn't Reagan's son be invited to speak at the Young America's Foundation's celebrations?
It would appear to all thinking Americans that Ron, Jr., has forgotten how his ideological buddies treated his own father. Writing A Patriot's History of the United States, Larry Schweikart provides this reminder:
Another strategy to discredit Reagan was to attack his acting career, pointing to the absence of many critically acclaimed roles. This allowed them to label him a B actor. Yet this argument contradicted another line of attack on the Gipper, claiming he had no genuine political instincts or serious policy ideas, and that he was merely a master of the camera. For example, a photo caption in American Journey, after acknowledging Reagan's communication skills, dutifully noted that "critics questioned his grasp of complex issues." Reagan "was no intellectual," announced the popular textbook The American Pageant.
During the ensuing thirty years, nothing has changed in the land of left-believe. What are they afraid of? It is well past the time for American conservatives to continue to show them exactly what they have to be afraid of.
Friday, February 04 2011
Several legislators received an interesting letter from the president of the Indiana Association of Licensed Child Care Centers (IALCCC) this week. The letter calls upon the Senate to not only pass Senate Bill 56, but to view it as a "very small step in the right direction" which "does not do nearly enough." They specifically say that SB 56 should be amended "to make it even more meaningful."
What is the "first step" of Senate Bill 56? Some see it as the sweeping new regulation of church childcare ministries crossing a barrier that churches have had for over 30 years. Even though parents, pastors or congregants are not calling for more government regulations, the IALCCC is calling for the extensive licensure of all childcare providers including churches. They specifically want enforcement of these new regulations by the state Family and Social Services Agency.
The bill would allow the state to fine or close almost any church childcare ministry without a court order, a hearing, or even a verifiable citizen complaint. Church run day care ministries already have to meet fire and safety building code ordinances and inspections by local authorities. No one I know disagrees with this logical requirement.
The IALCC wants state agencies to have broad new authority over any childcare entity. They operate from the premise that churches are not able to run effective and safe day care ministries without government help. They also seem to believe that parents are not smart enough to pick good care for their own children without the help of bureaucrats in Indianapolis. The condescension set forth in SB 56 is almost offensive. For example, among its many requirements, it states that church childcare ministries must have running water (as if they think churches don't already or that parents wouldn't expect this on their own initiative?)
The problem with groups like the IALCCC is that while they think they have the best interest of children in mind, (as if parents and churches do not) they do not see that the principles of religious freedom set forth by our founders were designed to protect churches from the government. That is what the "wall of separation" language in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists was all about. It was not as many judges and the ACLU, want to think a separation between churches and state that keeps churches out of government. It was to be a one-way wall to keep the government out of America's churches. There are many who fear that what the IALCCC wants is a slippery slope toward unnecessary government intervention into church ministries.
Friday, February 04 2011
UPDATE: Listen to Peter talk with Emery McClendon about this event live on-air. Audio available here.
On Monday, I talked about an appalling piece of race-baiting that appeared in the Kokomo Tribune's "Public Eye" section over the weekend. The political gossip column is authored by Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith. They don't individually take credit for which parts they write themselves, so there's no way of knowing for sure who deserves the most criticism for this shoddy bit of journalism-at-its-worst.
The piece was entitled "Where's the Inclusion?" and focused on a recent statewide Tea-Party planning meeting held in Tipton, IN. As was typical, the "Public Eye" was apparently wearing a patch over their right one and viewing the world solely from their left eye, as this piece amounted to nothing more than smearing a bunch of patriotic Americans for being...wait for it...bigots and racists:
Ever since the Tea Party movement started, leaders have contended the organization is inclusive, not exclusive.
But one has to wonder about that statement following the initial meeting of Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate last weekend in Tipton, a meeting that brought together 70 Tea Party groups interested in preventing U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar from capturing the Republican Party's nomination in 2012.
One has to wonder? Why? As evidence, the "Public Eye" cited an "ethnic joke" about people from Afghanistan and convenience stores. Sort of like the one that Vice President Joe Biden once made when campaigning for President? Funny, I can't recall the "Public Eye" blasting Joe and his left-leaning supporters as un-inclusive.
But then came this little jewel:
Another telling incident occurred when, of the close to 200 people at the Tipton County meeting, the lone black in attendance, a man from Fort Wayne, was selected to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Unbelievable. In other words, the "Public Eye" decided to single out the man with dark skin pigmentation and label him a token. Now, who was it that had the race problems? Call me crazy, but I don't think it's the people who are rallying for Constitutional government, traditional morality and individual liberty. In fact, it's pretty amazing that Smith and de la Bastide don't see that as a message that minorities could support. Apparently to them, minorities must all think the same way.
Further, it seems to me that rather than a bunch of patriotic Americans rallying to elect a conservative to the Senate, the ones with the real race problems are the ones who are sitting at that meeting with a tally book trying to count the people with dark skin. What kind of a person does that? One that wants to disgustingly smear people he doesn't agree with politically, that's who.
As it turns out, I happen to know the "lone black in attendance." He's a disabled American veteran named Emery McClendon. I have shared the stage with him many times at Tea Party events throughout the state. He's a great man with a great family who believes that Barack Obama is doing untold damage to the country with destructive policies.
Did the "Public Eye" express any interest in seeing why Emery was there, why he was chosen to lead the Pledge, or what his thoughts on American government were? No. They were merely interested in his skin color. They were merely interested in identifying him as a "token" and using him to smear their opponents (the tea party).
All of that says a great deal about their character and their commitment to serious journalism. Seems to me that the "Public Eye" would be well advised to remove the plank from itself before attempting to flick the speck of sawdust from the Tea Party's, no?
Friday, February 04 2011
It's ironic, isn't it? The repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was sold to us as a necessary step in bringing to an end the unjust practice of preventing those who love their country from serving just because of "who they were." As it turns out, that wasn't what the policy was about at all.
As many of us have been pointing out for some time, the purpose of the homosexual lobby is not about achieving "equal rights." It's about denying rights to Americans with traditional morality and a Christian worldview. This is a rights-denying movement, not a rights-obtaining movement. As further evidence of this fact, this news shouldn't come as any surprise:
Pentagon leaders preparing to impose open homosexuality on the military are serving notice that discrimination against the deviant lifestyle will not be tolerated... Officials said they will complete implementation plans for the new policy by Friday, February 4, and will commence indoctrination training this month.
[Gordon James] Klingenschmitt, [a] former Navy chaplain, now heads up "The Pray In Jesus Name Project." He believes a purge is coming.
"Chaplains are now being faced with a choice: either quit the service, or reconcile with homosexual sin," he states. "Promotions and assignments are going to be controlled by whether or not chaplains reconcile with homosexual sin. It's really leading to a purge, I'm afraid."
He contends that "many" conservative chaplains are going to be persecuted by the Obama administration -- an administration he says is "forcing these bad policies to punish chaplains who quote the Bible outside of the Sunday chapel."
Klingenschmitt says while some liberal chaplains may go along with the new policy, he believes evangelical, Bible-believing chaplains are not going to reconcile with something God has called sin -- and consequently are going to be forced to resign from the military as soon as the implementation plans are put in place.
Just like in schools where the homosexual lobby advances their "anti-bullying" crusade by bullying Christian kids into silence, this policy to "allow people to be themselves" will force Christian chaplains to choose between "being themselves" and being employed.
If you don't yet realize that our society is being presented a choice between traditional morality and the new "morality" of sexual anarchy, you may be a lost cause of cluelessness.
Friday, February 04 2011
As the country is locked in a winter death grip, you knew this was coming. I commented on the show the other day about how angry and exercised the global warming fanatics get whenever we skeptics make anecdotal jokes about "global warming plows" clearing the road of the large "global warming drifts." But how much more annoying is it to see these very same folks use every single weather event that occurs as "evidence" of global warming.
Droughts or floods, blizzards or record heat, rising water levels or shrinking water levels, wind or deathly calm...any extreme weather HAS to be the result of global warming. And right on cue comes the prophet of the Warmers, Al Gore himself:
Last week on his show Bill O'Reilly asked, "Why has southern New York turned into the tundra?" and then said he had a call into me. I appreciate the question.
As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming:
"In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow."
"A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species."
What a racket: when you say that every weather pattern is the result of global warming, nothing that happens can be used as evidence against your theory. Of course, as it turns out, me driving my SUV might not be what's causing these ice storms after all:
Apparently, Mr. Gore has never noted that climate scientists once thought snowfall would disappear. But wait, there's more.
According to Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event."
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
Also, apparently Mr. Gore is unable to track the global monthly temperature. If he had, he would note that there is no "global warming" this month.
Note to Al: The global temperature has been falling in December and January in concert with a strong La Niña. In the chart below, negative values indicate cooling/La Niña, while positive values indicate warming/El Niño.
The author of that blog (the most widely read science blog on the internet), Anthony Watts provides plenty of scientific data to back up his claims...unlike Mr. Warmer. Poor Al. His hysteria is no longer believed, his fraud has been exposed, and his credibility is crumbling around him. Of course, he always has those millions of dollars he's made perpetuating this great myth to fall back on. Perhaps I don't feel too bad for him after all. Happy sledding, Al.
Friday, February 04 2011
If there were a competition within the Obama administration for the most clueless cabinet member, it would be a more exciting contest than the NFL playoffs or the NCAA tourney. Unquestionably, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano would get a 1-seed. Her latest:
The Obama administration's approach to U.S.-Mexico border security "is working," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday, and anyone who suggests otherwise is "misstating the facts and unfairly politicizing border issues."
Speaking at the University of Texas at El Paso, Napolitano hailed the administration's Southwest Border Initiative for strengthening the border "in a way that many would not have thought possible." She also described in detail the administration's "smart and effective approach" to enforcing immigration laws throughout the country.
At the same time, Napolitano admitted the administration is "deeply concerned" about the violent Mexican drug cartels that are trying to undermine the rule of law in northern Mexico. "So today I say to the cartels: Don't even think about bringing your violence and tactics across this border. You will be met by an overwhelming response. And we're going to continue to work with our partners in Mexico to dismantle and defeat you."
While the U.S. "must guard against spillover effects into the United States," Napolitano said it "is inaccurate to state, as too many have, that the border is overrun with violence and out of control. "This statement?often made only to score political points?is just plain wrong," Napolitano said. "Not only does it ignore all of the statistical evidence, it also belittles the significant progress that effective law enforcement has made to protect this border and the people who live alongside it."
Napolitano's self-congratulation comes on the heels of a somewhat different analysis of the situation. That description came from Arizona's Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu:
Babeu said Napolitano's claim was "not surprising." But he also said her remarks did not reflect conditions on the ground in Arizona, where in the last two years the amount of illegal drugs entering the state that have been confiscated by local authorities has doubled, and the number of pursuits of criminal illegal aliens has tripled.
"Why isn't the secretary of Homeland Security speaking to these threats?" Babeu asked in a telephone interview with CNSNews.com. "Why does she keep trying to convince us through argument that everything is just fine to the point that she's trying to hypnotize us into believing this crap."
The National Sheriffs' Association cited in its press release that Babeu "has earned both statewide and national attention for his strong stance against illegal immigration." The release said that Babeu's "stance and actions against those responsible for drug and human trafficking has earned him the distinction as one of ?America's Toughest Sheriffs on Illegal Immigration.'"
In her Thursday address at George Washington University, Napolitano said DHS's efforts have been "relentless and effective" and that the agency's priority continues to be "the removal of criminal aliens who pose a danger to public safety and national security." But Babeu said the Obama administration's strategy on border security is "unacceptable" and is not working.
"[Napolitano] continues this mantra of everything is just fine; unprecedented resources have been added; the border's more secure than ever before," Babeu said. "She does not speak to the fact that more people this past fiscal year came through the Tucson section of Arizona and across our border than were apprehended."
So who ya gonna trust on what's happening down there? The recently named "Sheriff of the Year" who is actually on the ground along the border...or Janet Napolitano's officially scripted statements from her cushy office in Washington, D.C.? Exactly.
Thursday, February 03 2011
Remember a few days ago when the world of diplomats ooed and awed over Chinese President Hu Jintao's confession that "a lot still needs to be done" with human rights:
WASHINGTON ? In a rare concession on a highly sensitive issue, Chinese President Hu Jintao used his White House visit on Wednesday to acknowledge "a lot still needs to be done" to improve human rights in his nation accused of repressing its people. President Barack Obama pushed China to adopt fundamental freedoms but assured Hu the U.S. considers the communist nation a friend and vital economic partner.
Hu's comments met with immediate skepticism from human rights advocates, who dismissed them as words backed by no real history of action. Hu contended his country has "made enormous progress" but provided no specifics.
Still, his remarks seemed to hearten and surprise U.S. officials, coming during an elaborate visit that centered on boosting trade and trust between the world's two largest economies.
Perhaps a bit of understatement. Consider this report from Weiss analyst Tony Sagami:
Most Americans don't know it, but Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are unavailable in China. That is why Big Brother is more of a reality in China than anywhere else in the world.
China has taken surveillance, which they call homeland security technology, to new, invasive heights with a national network of surveillance cameras, biometric identification cards, and facial recognition software.
Train stations, airports, busy streets, universities, religious sites, banks, factories, libraries, border crossings, parks, athletic fields, government buildings, schools, and popular gathering spots are monitored.
Get this ? every internet cafe in China has surveillance cameras that are hooked up to local police stations so they can keep an eye on not just WHO is using the internet but WHAT sites they are visiting and what they are posting. Facial-recognition software makes it possible to photograph, record, and identify users no matter where they go.
It is the LAW that every internet café must install these surveillance cameras.
That's quite pervasive and invasive. Now I'm not in favor of rushing into conflict with China - it will probably happen eventually anyway - but it seems to me that more concern could have been stressed by this American administration, as past administrations have done.
But, when a nation likes China holds a major stake in American debt, there's not much that can be done, I suppose. Those chickens, as brought up by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are certainly coming home to roost.
Thursday, February 03 2011
President Obama once again stands before a national audience and declares his faith and trust in Jesus Christ:
Social justice, humility and "to walk closer with God" are President Obama's daily prayers, he told the National Prayer Breakfast this morning.
In a speech laced with Scripture, he initially covered familiar ground, noting how he came from a non-religious family that, nonetheless, showed him "the imperative of an ethical life and the necessity to act on your beliefs." Then through his work as a community organizer he says, he "came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior."
I would certainly like to believe the truth of this, but President Obama's actions cause me to question his words. It is fine that President Obama seeks to implement "social justice" as an outgrowth of his faith, but nowhere in the New Testament is there a call for government to impose a morality of social justice. Instead, social justice is a natural outgrowth of our personal walk with the Lord.
There are, however, significant instructions about our moral behavior as Christians. Unfortunately, President Obama is all too willing and eager to dismiss such instructions, even those specifically from his Lord:
You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)
Not suggesting that the President is committing adultery - merely pointing out that Jesus declared that adultery is real and is a sinful act. Yet, President Obama encourages legislation that expands the legitimization of sexual anarchy in our culture.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)
Yet, President Obama is solidly pro-abortion even to the point of allowing infants born alive after a failed abortion to be put to death through neglect.
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. (Luke 6:43-44)
Sadly, what the President says concerning his Christian faith bears little resemblance to what he actually does.
Thursday, February 03 2011
If he were anything but a darling of the liberal elite, Al Gore would have been pounded long ago about the con man he is. Like any good con, though, he keeps it on for as long as his dupes allow.
How can he go wrong, after all, when he can attribute every major weather event - cold or hot - to climate change (aka global warming)?
"As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now, and they say increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming," Gore writes in a blog post.
Not even Bernie Matoff could boast a scam like that.
At least there are those who are willing to inject counter claims to climate change hysteria:
"If one actually studies the history of weather over the last 2,000 years, you see massive storms, amazing heat, brutal cold waves, devastating droughts, terrible floods and disastrous hurricanes -- none caused by global warming," [meteorologist Art horn] told FoxNews.com.
Some scientists continue to point out that the longer long-term trend found in ice core data shows that the Earth has already undergone several cycles of warming more extreme than at present (perhaps as recently as the ninth century).
With Al Gore around, though, the con is still on.
Thursday, February 03 2011
At least ten states, with Arizona again taking the lead, are looking at tightening election eligibility verification requirements. In Arizona, such a bill seems likely to pass with the legislation already having as many co-sponsors as it needs to pass the Senate, and 25 co-sponsors in the House with only 35 votes needed to pass.
In Indiana, the eligibility bill, Senate Bill 114, is still waiting a hearing in the Senate Elections Committee Chaired by Senator Sue Landske. The bill requires a candidate for the office of President to certify that the candidate has met the requirements set forth in the US Constitution's Article 2, Section 1 clause 5. In short, the newsworthy portion of the bill requires that the Election Division of the Indiana Secretary of State receive a certified copy of the candidate's birth certificate to appear on the Indiana ballot. Similar bills have appeared in Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Missouri, Montana Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
It may be easy for President Obama's supporters to malign such legislation as a political ploy by those they malign as "birthers." On the other hand, it could be argued that the President's supporters should welcome such legislation as a means of formally and conclusively putting these rumors to death as a kooky urban myth propelled by his harshest enemies.
I assume that the President was born in Hawaii, as he claims. I'd like to believe that any person seeking to occupy the Oval Office has the integrity and basic respect for our Constitution and nation to meet these simple requirements when they commit to run for the office. Still, I see no reason why Senate Bill 114 should not receive committee consideration. If the bill has merit, it should go to the full Senate for further discussion and passage. If it does not warrant passage, it can be voted down in committee or withdrawn by Senator Delph after limited public debate.
If you have an interest in this issue, you may want to contact your State Senator or the members of the Senate Elections Committee about a hearing for SB 114. Here are the members of the committee.
Senator Landske - Chair
Senator Lawson - Vice Chair
Senators Alting, Arnold, Broden, Glick, Head, Hershman, Lanane, Miller
You can call the Indiana Senate at 317-232-9400 or the Senate Switchboard at 1-800-382-9467.
Thursday, February 03 2011
The vote to repeal ObamaCare that the Senate took yesterday provides us a few good lessons to take with us.
Lesson 1: Republican leaders have some guts. Mitch McConnell forced the vote by attaching it to a piece of legislation the Dems were taking up. This was after Harry Reid had announced that the Senate "would not" be voting on ObamaCare repeal. McConnell called his bluff and pushed it. The Dems relented. That's a good sign.
Lesson 2: Red State Democrats caved as always. Joe Manchin totally betrayed the people of West Virginia after having just been elected as a "conservative Democrat." Jon Tester turned to jello and opposed repeal. This proved to their constituents what many of us have already learned.if you want conservative representation in Washington, you NEVER vote for a Democrat. Period. Tester and Manchin must face voters again in 2012.
Lesson 3: Republicans should keep this pressure up. Relentlessly. Continue attaching it to multiple bills and force vote after vote after vote. With ObamaCare becoming less popular every day, with waivers being granted to all of Obama's friends every day, with powerful court rebukes of the law's unconstitutionality, with states refusing to implement it, this law becomes more and more difficult to defend. As 2012 looms larger, Democrats will begin caving. As they do, ObamaCare becomes the major issue of the 2012 election.exactly what Republicans want.
Lesson 4: Several Democrats are fully aware of the law's terrific flaws, and are now attempting to hijack Republican positions and advocate for repeal of certain parts (see the 1099 tax reporting element repeal vote). The bill is very weak and Democrats do not have the stomach to keep defending it.
Lesson 5: The Republican strategy of pushing a state opt-out bill is very shrewd. By doing so, up to 30 states are likely to opt out of key options. When they do, the entirety of ObamaCare becomes untenable. Full repeal and replace becomes increasingly likely. Not only that, but the issue becomes the major topic in state elections in 2012 as well...that ensures continued growth of Republican dominance of state capitals.
ObamaCare is a nightmare. But the reality is that it is becoming the biggest nightmare for those who enacted it and are attempting to defend it. They've made their bed and now they are really suffering to lay in it. Republicans...keep up the pressure...push them down in it until they plead to repeal.
Thursday, February 03 2011
Try to contain your shock when you read that yet another one of Obama's closest allies during the 2008 election has been granted a waiver from the ObamaCare regulations:
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the union representing New York City's public school teachers, is the largest beneficiary of a waiver from one of the provisions in the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama last year.
The UFT is a chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which spent $1.9 million on the election of President Barack Obama in 2008. The UFT is also an affiliate of the New York State United Teachers, which spent $46,139 in independent expenditures on the election of Obama.
The health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires that annual caps on how much an insurance plan will pay in benefits for an enrollee in any given year must be eliminated by 2014. Under the law, the Department of Health and Human Services is now phasing the coverage limits out. In 2011, yearly caps can be no less than $750,000; in 2012, they can be no less than $1.25 million; and in 2013, they can be no less than $2 million in 2013.
The best part was the UFT's explanation of why they needed the waiver:
The UFT notice, posted on its Web site , explained that providing insurance would be cost-prohibitive without the waiver.
"To maximize the [Welfare] Fund's resources, the Fund must prudently manage and administer these programs," the notice said. "One way of accomplishing this is by establishing reasonable annual dollar limits on benefits, such as prescription drugs. The Affordable Care Act requires plans to remove these annual limits. Without an increase in the Fund's fixed contribution rate, which is highly improbable at this time, it would not be able to sustain benefits in excess of the current annual limits."
You got that, right? Enacting ObamaCare would be cost-prohibitive. Meaning, ?we can't keep sustaining our benefits if you make us enforce this monstrosity.' So, Obama grants them a waiver to keep them exempt from the requirements everyone else will face thanks to this ill-advised law. Well, everyone except Obama's closest political allies like major unions, all of whom seem to be getting exemptions.
It's the unanswered question by all those who voted for and supported this legislation: if it's so great, why are all the folks closest to the president getting waivers? Anyone? Anyone?
Thursday, February 03 2011
Sexual anarchists in California have set up a win-win situation for themselves at the expense of taxpayers. That we continue to allow ourselves and our tax dollars to be used in such appalling ways demonstrates either our ignorance or our complacent willingness to be pushed around by corrupt politicians.
Cheryl Sullinger, senior policy advisor for Operation Rescue, says schools in The Golden State are indoctrinating children and youth with its approach to sex education and promoting a culture of abortion.
"Organizations like Planned Parenthood are allowed to come in [to schools] and give presentations to children -- and they're also a big promoter of a loose attitude towards free sex," she laments. "They believe that children [should] be allowed to have sex, and they promote this throughout their literature and throughout their presentations."
According to Sullinger, students are encouraged to have so-called "safe sex" and are handed poor-quality condoms and contraceptives. The result, she says, is that when the contraceptives fail, young people often resort to Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics.
"Then they're standing by to offer the abortion services," the activist explains. "So this is a win-win situation for them because...they're creating a need for the service they provide -- and that is abortion."
Sullinger states that children as young as kindergarten and elementary school have been indoctrinated with this pro-abortion form of sex education in the state's public schools.
The sexual anarchists are focusing on corrupting young minds with their "new morality," and are doing it on your dime. They get lawmakers to spend your tax dollars to bring them into schools and teach a brave new world of sexual experimentation. To be "safe," that involves lawmakers spending your tax dollars on condoms they produce to hand out to kids. And then when this increased sexual activity results in unwanted pregnancies, they stand ready and willing to abort those children, making money from that as well (either through direct payment from the families involved, or from the taxpayer for those who "can't afford" to kill their kids).
It's pure, unadulterated evil that would use our dollars and turn it into blood money. And it's evil politicians who facilitate it or allow it to occur.
Thursday, February 03 2011
Will Senator Charles Schumer from henceforth be known as a "balloonhead" on MSNBC?
As I discussed yesterday, Michele Bachmann has become the primary target of Chris Matthews on MSNBC who seemingly dedicates every show to explaining how dumb she is. And, as I discussed yesterday, that becomes quite humorous to watch when Matthews ends up being wrong on the very history he is excoriating Bachmann for messing up.
But this is nothing new for Chris or for the entire staff at MSNBC. They seize upon every opportunity provided by a Republican misspoken word (especially if it be a conservative, woman Republican) to bemoan the deplorable state of civic education in America. How can we expect to survive as a republic, they sanctimoniously ask, if these are the kinds of people we elect to high office.
You might remember the embarrassment one of Matthews' colleagues, Rachel Maddow faced when she criticized Republican leader John Boehner for referencing the Preamble to the Constitution by mockingly stating that the Constitution has no Preamble. Maddow, doing her best to feign embarrassment for Boehner, proclaimed with great zeal that it's the Declaration of Independence with a Preamble. Of course, as it so happens, the Constitution does have a Preamble. A pretty popular one, in fact.
Nevertheless, one must wonder if the staff at MSNBC is going to have anything to say about the senior Democrat Senator from New York who offered his own little civics lesson to the masses:
SCHUMER: So I would urge my Republican colleagues, no matter how strongly they feel -- you know, we have three branches of government. We have a House. We have a Senate. We have a president. And all three of us are going to have to come together and give some, but it is playing with fire to risk the shutting down of the government, just as it is playing with fire to risk not paying the debt ceiling.
For those who took government class from someone like Maddow or Schumer, the three branches of American government are: the legislative (which includes BOTH the House and Senate), the executive, and the judiciary. Given how much the left relies on the judiciary to enact its legislation, it's surprising Schumer would be so clueless about its existence.
Wednesday, February 02 2011
These are perilous times. Citizens in Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon, and Egypt have gathered in massive protests against their respective governments. They are decrying corruption and demanding change. And change is happening.
This administration and others have been implying that these changes in the Middle East are moves toward freedom and representative government:
"We are trying to promote orderly transition and change that will respond to the legitimate grievances of the people," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on "Fox News Sunday."
While it is true that governments like those of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak need to be reformed, it is likely not true that the coming replacement will bestow personal liberties. It is most likely that Islamic organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood will pick up additional powers. Should that happen, those regions and the world will experience significant upheaval and instability.
Hasan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brothers in 1928 with the goal of turning Egypt into an Islamic state. Within a few years, the Brothers spread across the Arab world, planting the seeds of Islamic insurgence. This organization has spawned significant Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas. One of their uniting features is their hatred toward Israel and America. Indeed, Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat's peace treaty with Israel united disparate Islamist factions against him and led to his eventual assassination. Throughout the late 1900s, Muslim Brother leaders like al-Zawahiri have sought to wreck the Egyptian state and impose a religious (re: Islamic) dictatorship.
Although being touted, however cautiously, as a move against corruption and toward freedom, history suggests that this move against Mubarak has more to do with his accommodation of Israel and the West.
It has always been the openly stated goal of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and their factions that they will accept nothing less than the worldwide imposition of Islam on all cultures. As we fail to acknowledge this - as liberals certainly fail to do - we can be certain that we will be in for very dangerous, perilous times ahead.
Wednesday, February 02 2011
It's a landmark ruling. Judge C. Roger Vinson's decision in Florida v. Health and Human Services, if upheld by upper courts (which must be seriously considered plausible if not likely), stands to be a powerful and profound step towards retaining Constitutional government in the United States. She may have been bloodied and beaten after years of abuse, but the Constitution still has some life left in her.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, constitutionalism finds a champion in Judge Vinson who offers a well-researched and powerfully stated opinion that has the distinct ability to persuade fair legal minds who might even favor ObamaCare on a personal level. Vinson proves, unequivocally, that this law is an unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of the federal government's power that obliterates the limitations wisely placed upon it by the architects of our Republic.
Though a very involved and thorough ruling, there are a couple highlights that deserve particular mention. First, Vinson hammers into the ground the ObamaCare proponents leading argument that Congress can enact this bill through their interstate commerce clause power:
It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting ? as was done in the Act ? that compelling the actual transaction is itself "commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce" [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.
Vinson went on to explain this further by giving a direct, if unintentional, shout-out to the Tea Party faithful:
It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be "difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power" [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.
Great stuff. It makes you wonder if alleged comedian Janeane Garofalo, who appeared on Olbermann's now defunct program during the healthcare debate to announce that the Tea Party movement, "didn't k now their history at all," and "had no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about," got any salve for her toes that were judicially smashed with that statement?
One other powerful part of Vinson's ruling that deserves mention is his rebuttal to the argument of ObamaCare defenders that it is "uniquely justified" given that everyone eventually gets sick and therefore has to engage the healthcare market. Vinson reasons:
There are lots of markets ? especially if defined broadly enough ? that people cannot "opt out" of. For example, everyone must participate in the food market. Instead of attempting to control wheat supply by regulating the acreage and amount of wheat a farmer could grow as in Wickard, under this logic, Congress could more directly raise too low wheat prices merely by increasing demand through mandating that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily, rationalized on the grounds that because everyone must participate in the market for food, non-consumers of wheat bread adversely affect prices in the wheat market. Or, as was discussed during oral argument, Congress could require that people buy and consume broccoli at regular intervals, not only because the required purchases will positively impact interstate commerce, but also because people who eat healthier tend to be healthier, and are thus more productive and put less of a strain on the health care system. Similarly, because virtually no one can be divorced from the transportation market, Congress could require that everyone above a certain income threshold buy a General Motors automobile ? now partially government-owned ? because those who do not buy GM cars (or those who buy foreign cars) are adversely impacting commerce and a taxpayer-subsidized business.
Vinson's entire ruling is a powerful defense of limited government and individual liberty. In the end, it may also be ObamaCare's ultimate undoing. For that, the nation owes Judge Vinson a debt of gratitude we shall never be able to fully repay.
Wednesday, February 02 2011
If history has taught us anything, it's that government bureaucracies grow faster than a Chia pet on steroids. By codifying their regulations and criteria for solving problems, they are void of the common sense and cost-benefit analysis private individuals and companies can engage before taking action. Exceptions become the rules in bureaucracies, which inevitably result in unnecessary and wasteful hoops to be jumped through, paperwork to be filled out, and idiotic procedures to follow for the most mundane tasks.
Case in point:
In a classic example of this process, the EPA has decided that, since milk contains oil, it has the authority to force farmers to comply with new regulations to file "emergency management" plans to show how they will cope with spilled milk ? how farmers will train "first responders" and build "containment facilities" if there is a flood of spilled milk.
Since there is no free lunch, all of this is going to cost the farmers both money and time that could be going into farming ? and is likely to end up costing consumers higher prices for farm products.
It is going to cost the taxpayers money as well, since the EPA is going to have to hire people to inspect farms, inspect farmers' reports, and prosecute farmers who don't jump through all the right hoops in the right order. All of this will be "creating jobs," even if the tax money removed from the private sector correspondingly reduces the jobs that can be created there.
Does anyone seriously believe that any farmer is going to spill enough milk to compare with the Exxon Valdez oil spill or the BP oil spill?
Do you envision people fleeing their homes, as a flood of milk comes pouring down the mountainside, threatening to wipe out the village below?
It doesn't matter. Once the words are in the law, it makes no difference what the realities are. The bureaucracy has every incentive to stretch the meaning of those words, in order to expand its empire.
Thomas Sowell is a master of common sense, and that's why he is the perfect individual to counter this nonsense. He writes,
When I had young children, I often thought it would be useful to have a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica for them. But I never bought one. Why? Because there were other little things to spend money on, such as food, clothing, and shelter.
By the time I could afford to buy a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, the kids were grown and gone. But at no time did I consider the Encyclopedia Britannica "useless."
Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions ? and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.
No doubt the EPA's costly new regulations may somewhere, somehow, prevent spilled milk from pouring out into some street and looking unsightly. So the regulations are not literally "useless."
What is useless is making that the criterion.
But that's what government bureaucracies do. It's why they are inherently so wasteful. It's why they should not be entrusted to do those things that we can do for ourselves. It's why, even with the best of intentions, government involvement so often makes things worse for all of us. They become a drain on our resources, a pinscher on our productivity, and a clamp on the creative forces that make for a vibrant society. Less government is best government.
Wednesday, February 02 2011
I get some interesting emails.
As listeners to the radio show know, my wife is pregnant with our second child. As a result, I have received some very interesting emails from well-intentioned folks telling me the value of what they call "natural child birth."
First of all, the concept of "natural" is relative. If you're talking "natural," are you talking out in the field like the pioneers did? Or is a bedroom okay? What about a hospital without the medicine? It can get confusing for me when we aren't specific.
But I will also add this: if anyone thinks I am about to approach my wife and tell her that she can't have pain medication because I want her to have the baby "naturally," they are nuts. If I'm going to die standing up for something, it's going to be something more important than that.
The truth is that there are those who believe that medicine at child birth is somehow violating a Biblical principle. They believe that since God's curse on Creation following the Fall included pain at childbirth, any attempt to alleviate that is denying what God intended. That position is quite lacking in my estimation. And it was beautifully countered in a piece I recently came across at Answers in Genesis:
God told Eve that He would greatly multiply her sorrow and her conception and that in sorrow she would bring forth children (Genesis 3:16). Part of the sorrow of childbearing is the sorrow that comes with bringing another sinner into a world full of strife (Romans 3:23). We do tend to adore our precious babies, but as we raise them we discover they are just as human, fallible, and sinful as we are. Indeed, our children sooner or later prove to us that they need the grace of Jesus Christ as much as we do!
As to the question of whether it is biblically wrong to try to diminish pain in childbirth?a question I have often heard?I would answer with an emphatic "No!" The extreme pain of childbirth is part of the Curse, but so are sickness and death. We live in a cursed world as a result of sin, and that Curse affects all areas of our lives, not just childbirth.
Dr. Tommy Mitchell recently responded to a similar question. He was asked, "Is there some special spiritual level you achieve by suffering through childbirth?" He replied, "No, it's just part of living in a fallen, cursed world. I don't see the pain of childbirth as some special ritual that women must suffer through."
The groaning and travailing in pain by the whole creation as described in Romans 8:18-23 constantly reminds us that we need our Savior and only He can fix our world and our hearts. Nevertheless, in compassion for one another and in imitation of the compassion of our Lord, we try to relieve the suffering of the sick and dying. To suggest that there is anything unbiblical about relieving pain in childbirth as much as is safely possible makes about as much sense as refusing to ease the suffering of the sick and dying.
One other point I would add: Ironically, it's the "natural birth" advocacy that often times dabbles in New Age spirituality that can mislead believers if they become too enamored with it. So based on my understanding of Scripture and my experiences with my wife during the birth of our first child, I say load up the epidural and have it.
Wednesday, February 02 2011
It is amazing to me that more is not being made of Barack Obama's call for a "high-speed rail" that connects 80% of the country. Not because I have any objections to a high-speed rail.if it's market-warranted. But because if it was market-warranted and profitable, it would have already been built.
The fact of the matter is that the reason we don't have a high-speed rail right now is because people have a multitude of other options that are cheaper and more reasonable than the vast cost any company would incur in building a rail. But in classic Obama fashion, he proposes that vast cost be assumed by...you, the taxpayer.
And what will be the logical consequence? It's not as if we don't know:
High-speed rail is a budget buster. Japan, with the world's leading system, illustrates the financial devastation that high-speed rail can produce. For 25 years, Japan borrowed to build a system serving the ideal rail corridor, nestled along a single coast with a population of more than 75 million people. Ridership was artificially increased by high gasoline prices and one of the highest highway tolls in the world. Yet this modest system, only twice as long as proposed California system, played a major role in driving up a gargantuan rail debt that was transferred to Japanese taxpayers. The rail debt added more than 10 percent to the national debt. This is akin to adding $1.4 trillion to the U.S. national debt.
Virtually everywhere high-speed rail has been constructed, financial liability has fallen to the taxpayers. In Taiwan and the United Kingdom, taxpayers assumed billions of dollars in private debts for much more modest high-speed-rail systems than Japan's.
That's what is coming if the Republicans in Congress don't honor their commitment to limiting spending, particularly on these unnecessary and wasteful projects.
I'm not opposed to a high-speed rail. I might even ride one. But it needs to come as the result of market innovation, not government subsidization.
Tuesday, February 01 2011
The Israeli paper Haaretz is calling it like they see it:
Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as "the president who lost Iran," which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic Republic. Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who "lost" Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America's alliances in the Middle East crumbled.
The superficial circumstances are similar. In both cases, a United States in financial crisis and after failed wars loses global influence under a leftist president whose good intentions are interpreted abroad as expressions of weakness. The results are reflected in the fall of regimes that were dependent on their relationship with Washington for survival, or in a change in their orientation, as with Ankara.
America's general weakness clearly affects its friends. But unlike Carter, who preached human rights even when it hurt allies, Obama sat on the fence and exercised caution. He neither embraced despised leaders nor evangelized for political freedom, for fear of undermining stability.
To be sure, there will be numerous theories proposed as to why Obama's administration has reacted as hesitantly as it has. Thanks to his "I'm better than Bush" approach to foreign policy, President Obama was certainly in a dilemma when this revolt broke out. As Haaretz notes:
Obama began his presidency with trips to Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and in speeches in Ankara and Cairo tried to forge new ties between the United States and the Muslim world. His message to Muslims was "I am one of you," and he backed it by quoting from the Koran. President Hosni Mubarak did not join him on the stage at Cairo University, and Obama did not mention his host. But he did not imitate his hated predecessor, President George W. Bush, with blunt calls for democracy and freedom.
Obama apparently believed the main problem of the Middle East was the Israeli occupation, and focused his policy on demanding the suspension of construction in the settlements and on the abortive attempt to renew the peace talks. That failure led him to back off from the peace process in favor of concentrating on heading off an Israeli-Iranian war.
The administration faced a dilemma. One can guess that Obama himself identified with the demonstrators, not the aging dictator. But a superpower isn't the civil rights movement. If it abandons its allies the moment they flounder, who would trust it tomorrow? That's why Obama rallied to Mubarak's side until Friday, when the force of the protests bested his regime.
The one conclusion that can and should be drawn from all of this is that once again, Obama's naïve approach to world diplomacy has left us in an awkward position. We now appear impotent and ineffective in dealing with internal uprisings against our friends. We simultaneously appear incapable of pressuring our allies to extend human rights to those within their borders who have legitimate recriminations. Is this part of making us "more respected in the world?" Hardly.
It was interesting that even Chris Matthews asked on his syndicated program the other day whether Bush was better equipped to handle the Egypt situation than Bush.
I'll go one better: is there anyone who thinks that Sarah Palin would not have handled this situation with more precision, decisiveness and clarity than the Bumbler-in-Chief?
Tuesday, February 01 2011
The other day on the radio show I played an audio clip of Chris Matthews calling Rep. Michele Bachmann a "balloon head." I played the clip because one of his guests spectacularly called him out for hostile and inflammatory rhetoric. But after the show, I started wondering what exactly it was that Bachmann had said that had stirred Matthews' ire.
Luckily for me, Matthews is obsessed with Bachmann, and thus obsessed about her over the following days as well. As it turns out, Chris may be the balloon head:
On Wednesday, Matthews announced: "Michele Bachmann took the stage last night to offer the Tea Party rebuttal to the State of the Union just a few days after she spoke in Iowa and said?get this?the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to get rid of slavery in the United States."
Is Matthews not familiar with fellow Pennsylvanian Dr. Benjamin Rush? He signed the Declaration of Independence and served as president of the American Society for the Abolition of Slavery.
What about the man whose name graces the city from where Hardball broadcasts? George Washington willed freedom for his slaves upon his wife's death and decreed that those unable to support themselves "shall be comfortably cloathed and fed by my heirs while they live." Though not particularly vocal on slavery, slaveholder Washington wrote Robert Morris: "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it."
The House of Hardball is certainly ignorant of the House of Adams. Matthews mocks Bachmann thusly: "She said the Adams family got rid of slavery." She didn't say that, but what if she did? In my neck of the woods John Adams did indeed get rid of slavery. He wrote the Massachusetts Constitution, the world's oldest governing document still in operation, which a judge, in the very county where Matthews went to college, ruled had outlawed slavery in the Bay State.
This Founding period witnessed the Declaration of Independence setting an ideal for America to aspire to, the Constitution eliminating the importation of slaves, the Northwest Ordinance forbidding slavery in the area that became Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and the abolition of slavery in all of New England, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. They did all that and founded a nation.
But that's not all. Matthews' historical ignorance (or mistakes) put him in a rather uncomfortable position if his audience was paying attention:
Matthews actually took the slaveholders' position, presumably inadvertently, on the three-fifths compromise. "And here's this woman waving the Constitution around, palling around with Scalia, and she doesn't even know what the Constitution had in it. They never got to the part that said that African Americans were three-fifths human beings." Here, he either cynically distorts history to make a cheap rhetorical point or advertises his superficial understanding of the Constitution. After all, Southerners sought to fully count slaves to inflate the political representation of slaveholders; Northerners wished not to count slaves.
With his Bachmann/Palin fascination (why, do you suppose he concentrates so much of his vitriol on women?), Matthews is running into the same wall that Olbermann did with Bill O'Reilly. Trying so hard to discredit his opponent, he ends up making himself look foolish, obsessed and ridiculous.
Tuesday, February 01 2011
Well, well, well...how about this little tidbit of hypocritical news. Via the Daily Caller:
A fact of this year's Academy Awards has some in the entertainment and civil rights communities scratching their heads and raising their eyebrows: There are precisely zero African-Americans nominated for the coveted acting, best picture, and director Oscars.
At a time when racial set asides are aggressively enforced at all levels of American society, the obvious question is: Why isn't liberal Hollywood following its own rules?
It's a question that has not gone unnoticed by self-appointed diversity cops. Lisa Respers France of CNN.com fretted about the fact that despite the variety of nominees and winners last year, this year the show will be a monochromatic event. "There are no women or people of color among the director nominees, and the acting nominees are all white. Javier Bardem, who is up for best actor for his role in "Biutiful,' is a Spaniard and therefore European," she wrote, pointing out that this is a continuation of a historical trend wherein fewer "meaty" roles have been written for African American actors.
This will be the first time in ten years that there will be no African American nominees for these awards.
Appalling, isn't it? Now that surely isn't because the actors nominated for the awards who aren't black actually turned in better performances. It surely isn't because the movies chosen (who have no leading black actors) were better movies. No, it must be because there is an inherent strain of racism persisting in Hollywood! There's no questioning this fact.
Sharpton should organize! Jackson should march! The NAACP should cover up another George Washington bust and hold a rally!
Or as the Caller suggests:
Could it be that enlightened Hollywood is just as in need of one or two diversity seminars as the rest of corporate America? Or that the liberal entertainment establishment holds itself to different standards then the "regular people?"
Indeed. You made the bed with your stupid accusations of racism and calls for affirmative action, Hollywood. Now lay in it.
Tuesday, February 01 2011
In case you were tempted to believe that the so-called "gay-rights" movement (which again is nothing but the current manifestation of the crusade for sexual anarchy began by Alfred Kinsey in the 1950s) was a passive group of folks who wanted peaceful coexistence with those holding to Christian morality, think again.
In their unceasing assault to make everyone approve of their sexual choices and movement to transform our culture, these left-wing radicals have demonstrated again that they will not rest until everyone's conscience is infringed upon and forced to submit to their sexual tyranny. The target of their aggression this time: Chick-fil-A.
And of course, ABC News (the same organization that didn't find the march of tens of thousands of pro-lifers on Washington last week newsworthy) found time to cover their crusade in a sympathetic manner:
[T]he January 30 World News Sunday did find time to run a report highlighting complaints by gay rights activists over Chick-fil-A - a family-owned restaurant chain known for its Christian-based social advocacy - supplying food to a socially conservative group in Pennsylvania that promoted a ban on same-sex marriage in the state that was enacted in 1996. The piece, by correspondent Steve Osunsami, featured soundbites from four different people who had words of disapproval for Chick-fil-A, including a member of the liberal Human Rights Campaign. But Osunsami did not include clips from anyone outside the company to support the restaurant chain or the concept of traditional marriage, although he did use a soundbite and a statement from company president Dan Cathy toward the end of the report defending his family's position.
Anchor Dan Harris framed the issue from the point of view of gay rights activists declaring "enough" as he set up the piece. Harris: "We're going to take a look tonight at a budding controversy that pits a wildly popular fast food chain against the gay community. The owners of Chick-fil-A have proudly built Christian principles into their corporate culture, but when one of its outlets donated food to a group that has worked to block same-sex marriage, gay rights groups said: Enough."
Osunsami began the report by recounting that tensions go back as far as a decade, but that the battle "blew up" after Chick-fil-A decided to provide lunch to "The Art of Marriage" conference in Pennsylvania. Osunsami: "This argument between gay rights groups and Chick-fil-A is more than a decade old, but it blew up last week when the fast food retailer revealed it was providing lunch at a conference called 'The Art of Marriage.'"
Three different unidentified people were shown in soundbites voicing disapproval toward Chick-fil-A as Osunsami related that "Across the country and online, gay men and women and their families are furious."
And around the country, men and women who hold to traditional morality are thankful for the principles of the Chick-fil-A ownership and furious about ABC (and other mainstream media outlets) continuing to cater to these sexual radicals attempting to cram their preferences down everyone's throats.
None of those folks were interviewed by ABC. None of those who patronize Chick-fil-A precisely because of their values were interviewed. No, this was merely free publicity for the sexual anarchy movement presenting a manufactured "outrage" intended to smear and bully those with Biblical convictions.
Remember that the next time you pass a Chick-fil-A. Take the time to stop for a chicken sandwich.