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Saturday, April 30 2011

Watching a portion of a "news" magazine program the other night helped put into perspective the hypocrisy of Big Media, Big Entertainment, and Big Government celebrities.

 

The focus was, of course, on preparations for the royal wedding. Everyone, including media personalities, just "has" to be attired properly for the ceremony, and proper attire for this ceremony gets to be quite opulent.

 

 

One of the featured providers was a highly regarded hat maker. His creations appeared to me to be tasteful and very lavish. I have nothing against hat makers, clothing makers, or even the pomp and circumstances of a royal wedding.

 

However, most, if not all, of the participants and guests of this event are the very people in media, entertainment, and politics who blast common citizens every day about capitalist greed. They purposively assault free markets as nothing more than bastions of unfairness that consigns helpless victims to dismal poverty.

 

On the other hand, they - the media, entertainment, and media elites of the world - are the champions of the poor and downtrodden as they enact policies and regulations to take the resources of productive citizens to redistribute to the "unfortunate." Never mind that these confiscated resources get to be funneled through them first.

 

Yet, when given the chance to spend almost obscene amounts of wealth on lavish hats and clothing that will never be worn again, they never turn it down. They relish it. They love it.

 

There are still people in poverty, but that is not their concern when it is not a convenient issue to further their march to control others. This is not a time to redirect resources, especially theirs, to those struggling financially today; this is a time to engage in unbridles opulence. This is a time to delight in elitism on parade.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 09:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, April 30 2011

While watching a local news program this evening, I discovered that liberals are finally learning something about Big Government. Indiana has been one of those states experiencing a fierce legislative session this year. Some state education reforms were introduced by the Republican governor and Republican majority legislature. Democrats and their allies, such as unions, have fought them tooth and nail; nevertheless, some are being passed.

 

 

One of the news reports I saw tonight featured teachers and political figures in one nearby school district who described the flaws they see in the reform bills. In effect, they complained that the reforms are inappropriate for their district. They suggested that they know better than state legislatures and bureaucrats what is best for their students and their school district.

 

Welcome to conservatism! Opposing overreaching government into local schools has been a hallmark of conservatives for decades. True, most of the concerns revolve around the federal takeover of the local school, but lessons are lessons. Even liberals begin to see the light when it becomes blazingly apparent what kind of destruction takes place when local decision-making is hamstrung. Welcome to our world!

 

I guess we can say that some liberals have finally been schooled.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 06:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 29 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

I think it's pretty safe to say that the heyday of the labor union is now officially over.  Membership is down, and the most damaging part of that reality is that it is happening as the result of workers simply being given a choice to join or not join.  Simply put: workers in America now see their labor union leadership as a bigger threat to their interests and well being than the management those labor unions were meant to protect them from.

 

 

That's a stunning development, and a sad commentary on the exploitive nature of union bosses around the country.  I've wondered for some time how anyone can miss the bizarre position of labor unions who claim to be "for the working man" while trying to enact policies that don't let the "working man" decide whether to contribute to those unions or not. 

 

If you give that any thought you'd realize: if the labor union really is working in the best interest of the worker, when given the choice, the worker will almost always choose to join the labor union.  But if that worker sees the union as taking more from them than what they get in return, the worker is unlikely to join.  That workers are not joining tells the tale and renders the final verdict on that question.  Unions rallying in the streets to demand legislation that compels people to contribute to them isn't going to sell well in a country that's experiencing a reawakening of constitutionalism, limited government, freedom and personal autonomy.

 

Don't believe me?  Think this is all just an unjust, irresponsible Republican-led attack on their mortal enemies in the labor union movement?  Take a look at this from Massachusetts.  Yes, that's right...Massachusetts:

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.

 

The 111-to-42 vote followed tougher measures to broadly eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, Wisconsin, and other states. But unlike those efforts, the push in Massachusetts was led by Democrats who have traditionally stood with labor to oppose any reduction in workers' rights.

Democrats have done this.  They led it, they supported it, they authored it, they passed it.  The reason this is so remarkable is not so much that Democrat lawmakers came to the conclusion that public employee unions are far different than private employee unions because they aren't bargaining over management's money.  They're bargaining over tax dollars with lawmakers who are doling it out to those unions, who then turn around and make contributions to their lawmaker-friends' campaigns.  Even FDR knew this and condemned it, for crying out loud.

 

 

No, what's remarkable is that these Democrats who voted for these changes were the very ones who were receiving the money from the unions.  You know the economic situation caused by these exorbitant public union contracts must have been desperate for Democrats to take this action.  Why?  The unions are not happy:

"It's pretty stunning,'' said Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. "These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected. The same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. The same Democrats who tell us over and over again that they're with us, that they believe in collective bargaining, that they believe in unions. . It's a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber.''

 

"We are going to fight this thing to the bitter end,'' he added. "Massachusetts is not the place that takes collective bargaining away from public employees.''  The battle now turns to the Senate, where President Therese Murray has indicated that she is reluctant to strip workers of their right to bargain over their health care plans.

Someone should tell Rob that his predecessor, AFL-CIO president George Meany said in 1959, "It is impossible to collectively bargain with the government."  Of course it is.  Because it's not the governments' money.  Therefore, lawmakers can make all kinds of gifts with money that doesn't belong to them to groups who promise to turn around and hand them large portions of it back to get re-elected.  It's a racket.  A racket that's been costing taxpayers a tremendous amount of money for years.

 

So much so that even the Democrats who have been benefiting from it have felt obligated to correct it.  They should be applauded for their political courage.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 29 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

Comparing political opponents you don't like to Hitler is so passé.  For Republicans, if they really want to get under the skin of Democrats, they should use a much more heinous individual to them.  Karl Rove has seemingly figured it out:

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is now up and operating. It's an interesting amalgam: Tactically, it's Bushian?but strategically, it's Nixonian.

 

That's right...Rove just dropped the Democrat-dreaded "N-bomb" on Obama.  The truth is that Rove's analysis is an interesting and intellectual one, and one that - if the Obamabots could get past their deranged hatred of the man - would provide the current president's re-election team something to seriously consider.  But they won't.  And that could be disastrous for them in 2012.  Rove explains:

But Mr. Obama is making a mistake by following the advice of President Richard Nixon, who argued White House hopefuls must run to their party's flank in the primary and tack back to the center for the general election. While Mr. Obama doesn't face a primary challenge, the White House is worried about the intensity of the Democratic base and feels compelled to feed it red meat now.

 

This bit of conventional wisdom assumes two things. First, that ordinary voters aren't paying attention now (they are). And second, that veering hard left in 2011 won't limit Mr. Obama's appeal in 2012 (it will). Many swing voters are repelled by the class-warfare rhetoric Mr. Obama uses to fire up the Democratic base. Appealing to envy is usually not a winning formula.

 

Impressions once created are hard to change. When they do, change is often accompanied by disappointment, as evidenced by what's happened since those hope-filled days of 2008, when independents believed Mr. Obama meant it when he pledged to lead us into new era of post-partisanship.

Rove points out that Obama - unlike Nixon at the time - is in trouble on the issues.  Economy approval 39%.  Deficit approval 33%.  Healthcare approval 37%.  This means that while Nixon was operating his strategy from a position of electoral strength, Obama is not.

Mr. Obama's Nixonian strategy will do nothing to change these numbers. Instead, it risks permanently alienating independents, soft Republicans, and a few Democrats who dislike his appeal to the hard left. Savaging the GOP's deficit-reduction plan as "radical" and "nothing serious" may fire up Daily Kos bloggers and gratify Nancy Pelosi. But it's likely to turn off swing voters.

 

The president will face no serious Democratic primary opponent, and it will be at least next March or April before the GOP settles on its candidate. So while Mr. Obama does need to raise funds and build a grass-roots network in battleground states, he did not need to abandon his role as chief executive for campaigner-in-chief quite so quickly.

But he has and now he is being made to look silly for it.  Silly and irresponsible.  Rove goes on to outline the other option that was available to Mr. Obama.  But ultimately that's mere hindsight.  The President has proven himself, above all else, to be stubbornly convinced that he is the smartest guy in the room.  No chance he'll be taking any advice from someone like Karl Rove.


That may be the best thing Republicans could have hoped for.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 29 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

There is a silent menace that is strangling the life out of the American economy - and it is doing so under the radar of most Americans.  The Environmental Protection Agency, supposedly an executive branch agency with the responsibility to assist the president's enforcement of environmental policy, has been imbued with power far beyond what is necessary.  Massive power + little, if any, accountability = disaster for the individual and the economy.

 

Representative Ted Poe recently exposed this reality in an op-ed:

Instead of protecting the environment, these rules dreamed up by the EPA in Washington are destroying American industry and killing job creation, which is just what our economy needs right now.  This type of federal meddling is exactly what causes companies to lay off workers, move overseas, and in many cases, fail.  The purpose of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect the environment?not to regulate American industry into nonexistence.


The EPA's blatant disregard of the fragile state of our economy is alarming.  Businesses in the United States already are operating in an environment of uncertainty, which makes investors hesitant to invest in American businesses.  The EPA's efforts to force companies to comply with its expensive (and many times environmentally unnecessary) regulations will inevitably increase the cost for businesses, and accordingly consumers, and destroy job growth.  If the EPA continues on its crusade of destruction and over-regulation, manufacturing and energy companies will take their business to friendlier lands overseas, jobs will be destroyed, and the environment will not be any better off.

So what kind of things are they up to, specifically?  Most are aware that President Obama, unable to get his climate legislation through Congress, simply equipped the EPA to carry out the carbon-regulating with impunity.  And most are aware of how devastating these regulations are for business and industry (if you wanna see jobs be shipped overseas, watch what happens when these regulations start hitting with full force). 

 

But, as Rep. Poe illustrates, that only scratches the surface:

It wants to control what kind of light-bulbs Americans use, how much power the utility companies generate, the "particulate coarse matter"?more commonly known as dust found on farms and ranches, how much water we have in our toilets, and one of the newest ones:  What kind of anti-bacterial soap we use to wash our hands.  That's right, the EPA's overstepping of authority now touches almost every aspect of our lives.  So, if you're a mom who has been using the same soap for years to protect your children from spreading germs, sorry.  You need to go to the pharmacy and buy some new "improved" EPA-authorized soap.  While you're there, you should pick up a box of only-Made-in-China compact fluorescent bulbs?because thanks to the EPA?incandescent bulbs will be banned by 2014.

The bottom line?  Poe hits the nail on the head when he writes,

The reality is that the EPA policies are driving up energy costs at a time when gas is nearly $5 a gallon, destroying jobs when unemployment is hovering at 8%, and sending companies overseas at a time when investment in America is at a low. 

No president, no political party would ever be supportive of these kinds of excessively counterproductive policies if their primary concern was getting Americans back to work and getting the engine of the American economy humming again.  Remember that in 2012.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 29 2011

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Several months ago I publicly criticized a college professor at Indiana University - Kokomo for marking a student's labeling of Nancy Pelosi as a liberal wrong (the professor had corrected the student by drawing a line from Ms. Pelosi to the "moderate" label).  The professor and University's defense that it was merely a "thought-provoking exercise," was as weak as it was transparent.  Notice that the student's labeling of Rush Limbaugh as "far-right" wasn't redrawn to moderate so as to provoke any discussion.  Hmmm.

 

At the time I explained that this was merely the latest example of a larger strategy on the part of the left to reposition themselves as "centrists."  They know the polls.  They live by the polls.  And the polls all show that conservatives outnumber liberals by a 2 to 1 margin in this country.  So marketing yourself as "liberal" is not a smart move politically.  Marketing yourself as "centrist" however, is very chic.

 

Consequently we have leftists - from college professors to media commentators to politicians - who are doing their best to redefine the American political spectrum.  They sell socialists as liberals, which makes true liberals appear centrist, thus making true centrists as conservative, and true conservatives become the radical right.  Hey...if you can't sell your ideas, at least you can sell snake oil to the masses, right?

 

As part of that plan, we find the Washington Post's Ezra Klein taking up the cause:

Perhaps this is just the logical endpoint of two years spent arguing over what Barack Obama is ? or isn't. Muslim. Socialist. Marxist. Anti-colonialist. Racial healer. We've obsessed over every answer except the right one: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican of the early 1990s. And the Republican Party he's facing has abandoned many of its best ideas in its effort to oppose him.

 

 

If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal health care; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans have staked out before.

Got that?  Never mind the stimulus, the TARP, the takeover of business, and the fact that the Republican attempts to compromise in the 90s to avoid HillaryCare before it collapsed due to conservative resistance could hardly be called Republican acceptance of universal healthcare, Obama is no socialist.  He's a remake of George H.W. Bush.  He's a centrist!  That is until they go after the MoveOn.org vote.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 29 2011

Once again, the government cavalry has ridden out to assure us mere mortals that fears of dollar devaluation are unfounded.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talked tough on the U.S. dollar Tuesday, saying that the United States will never attempt to lower the value of the greenback to gain an advantage in global trade.

 

"We will never embrace a strategy of trying to weaken our currency to try to gain economic advantage," Geithner said, going further than his usual comment that a strong dollar is in America's interest.

The devaluation of the U.S. dollar will wreak havoc on the dollar-denominated savings of ordinary Americans. Of course this government wants to deflect concerns that their actions, whether intentional or not, will result in lower valuations for the greenback.

 

Unfortunately, the actual markets do not reflect positively Mr. Geithner's reassurance (see accompanying Dollar Index chart). Neither does the commentary of analysts such as those of the Weiss Market Research team. Take, for instance, this recent observation by Claus Vogt:

When the currency of great nations and unions sinks steadily in value ? as we are seeing now with the once-mighty U.S. dollar and even the once-proud euro ? one must step back from the day-to-day fray of financial markets and look at current events from a much broader, historical perspective.

 

What we see is a history littered with examples of horrendous crimes. But the biggest, the worst, and the most devastating have, almost without exception, been perpetrated in the name of the state.

 

The separation of powers is one such protective mechanism. But equally important is strict adherence to a currency that cannot be multiplied at will.


Equally poignant is Mike Larson's
article declaring officers of the Federal Reserve are the founding members of the "Ostrich Club:"

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen. New York Fed President Bill Dudley. Rather than use their official titles, I think I'll just call them the founding members of the "Ostrich Club!"

 

Why? Because they're shoving their heads in the sand and hoping obvious problems will go away, rather than doing anything about them! Specifically, they're ignoring both anecdotal and empirical evidence that inflation is raging.

 

It's nuts!

Any reader of my post can decide that high-ranking government officials know better than anyone else what their policies will yield. That's fine; believe that if you want. But before you make that your final answer, consider this truth...

 

During the opening stages of the real estate meltdown, while government officials at the Treasury, the Fed, Congress, and the White House were all assuring Americans that this was only a small, isolated economic setback, Mr. Larson, Mr. Vogt, Dr. Martin Weiss, and other members of the team were warning Americans about the risk and dangers they faced (as were many other market analysts). They guided subscribers through the devastating financial landmines so that they landed with intact instead of wrecked portfolios.

 

Who you choose to believe is your call, but I think that the wise reader would want to consider the track records of all the players.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

Okay, so which is it?  Rachel Maddow went on an irresponsible rant against the Republican budget plan on her program the other night (nothing new), and in the process managed to throw out hyperbolic statements (nothing new) that were far from reality (nothing new), and that were so bizarre that they were perhaps unintentionally contradicted later in the show by a fellow liberal guest (nothing new).

 

Here was Maddow:

MADDOW: Well now, a year and a half later, the same sort of thing is happening, minus the talking points and the vinyl-wrapped buses. This time, with Congress on recess, town hall events across the country are again lighting up with anger and frustration, but this time it is about the official Republican Party budget plan. The Paul Ryan budget plan, which drastically cuts taxes for the richest Americans back to what they were in the 1930s. It drastically cuts taxes for corporations. It gives billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies, those poor, orphaned, hard-luck oil companies. And it also, incidentally, ends Medicare, it repeals Medicare. It turns Medicare instead into a coupon system and it makes senior citizens buy private health insurance.

 

Ends Medicare?  Coupon system?  Makes senior citizens buy private insurance?  These outrageous scare tactics are reminiscent of the classic, time-honored, election-year traditional rhetoric of Democrats everywhere who claim Republicans want to "gamble away your Social Security on the stock market."  They also completely undermine Maddow's supposed credibility as a bright liberal mind and policy wonk, and reveal her to be an irresponsible disciple of the Olbermann school of public discourse.

 

The plan doesn't end Medicare, it reforms it to save Medicare.  It doesn't turn it into a coupon system, it would allow individuals more control over their Medicare dollars.  It doesn't make seniors buy private health insurance, it allows them to stay on a private health insurance plan they like instead of being forced to downgrade to Medicare in order to get their Social Security check.

 

But Maddow has more obstacles to overcome with these accusations than just the facts.  She also has her fellow liberals like former Clinton adviser and Washington Post writer (who would have thought a former Democrat official would be working for a mainstream media outlet?) Matt Miller to deal with.  Miller, undoubtedly unintentionally, later destroyed Maddow's entire performance while complaining that Obama isn't tough enough:

MILLER: Obama doesn't do enough, not only on the debt, but on reorienting enough of federal spending away from the elderly, which is where all the growth is in the budget. Even Paul Ryan is increasing Social Security and Medicare by something like 75 percent over the next 10 years. The entire federal budget today goes for consumption for the elderly on health care and pensions and there's less and less left for education, to recruit a new generation of teachers ...

Note to Ms. Maddow: if you're going to try to push the lie that Republicans are trying to end Medicare, don't bring on a guest who reveals that their plan increases Medicare by 75% in the next decade.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011

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Why is it that every time a conservative suggests that profiling might be a more effective tool to use in our airport security than strip searching Granny and groping little Timmy, the left flips out about racism and bigotry?


The reason I'm asking isn't so much because I don't understand their argument (weak as it is).  It has more to do with the fact that if you're looking for racist and bigoted treatment of Muslims, you need look no further than the modern left.  What do I mean?  First, the back-story:

On Good Friday in Dearborn, Mich., the notorious Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones was jailed and fined for the crime of refusing to pay a so-called "peace bond" to cover the costs of extra police protection for Jones' planned demonstration outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.  Judge Mark Somers also ordered Jones to stay away from the massive Dearborn mosque for three years.


Jones was only in jail briefly, and the fine was a symbolic one dollar, but clearly Dearborn authorities see him as a threat to public order.  Why?  Was Jones threatening to burn down the mosque, using copies of the Koran as kindling?  Did he threaten the Dearborn Muslims?or Muslims anywhere else?  Did he strap a suicide vest to himself and detonate it in a crowd of infidels?  Did he plant explosives in his underwear and try to blow up an airliner in mid-flight?  Did he load a car with explosives and try to explode it on a crowded night in Times Square?  Did he murder 13 Americans while shooting "Allahu Akbar" at Fort Hood?  Did he murder an American serviceman outside a military recruiting center in Little Rock for Allah and Islam?

 

Of course Terry Jones did none of those things.  In reality, he poses no potential or actual threat to anyone.  His sole claim to fame, and to hatred, and to notoriety, is that he burned a single copy of a book of which there are millions, if not billions, of extant copies.  This act, of course, so enrages some Muslims that it has led them to murder innocent people half a world away, and to burn down stores in Afghanistan that invariably contained a copy of the Koran?thereby destroying more copies of the Islamic holy book than Jones ever has.

Frankly, I had no idea that Terry Jones was up in Dearborn recently.  Why?  Because I don't care about Terry Jones.  He's an inconsequential individual that obviously desperately craves the attention that the media ignorantly pours out on him.  The real story here is the reaction of our judicial system and what that says about its view of Muslims.  Robert Spencer continued: 

The brute fact of this violence has led directly to Judge Somers' action.  He is concerned, and with good reason, that a Jones protest in Dearborn would lead to violence.  But not from Jones.  The city of Dearborn and Somers clearly shut down Jones' protest because they were afraid it would lead to violence from Muslims.  But if Jones and his fellow protesters were not being violent themselves, wouldn't the responsibility for any disturbance be upon those who decided to react to whatever Jones was doing by causing the disturbance?

Did you follow that?  The city of Dearborn just assumes that Muslims are so violent, unpredictable and radical that they can't be expected to conform to the laws of civility if someone upsets or offends them.  And the left is who furthers this idea.  They blame Terry Jones for the violence.  Think about what that says!

 

No one would excuse me from shooting up civilians at a mall because I didn't like the blasphemy of the movie "Dogma."  No one would excuse a tea partier if they bomb an ACLU building because they don't like Levi Johnston's new tell-all Palin book.  Those actions would be seen as disproportional and unacceptable responses to someone else's free expression, wouldn't they?

 

 

So why don't we expect and demand the same from Muslims?  Why?  Because liberals don't think Muslims are capable of self-restraint, good manners, decency or confining themselves to the laws of society.  That's why they patronize them by reassuring them that theirs is a Holy Book.  That's why they lock some nut from Florida up because he wants some face time on the camera for burning a book.  It's why they are on a crusade to silence any and all criticism of Islam in American society.

 

Which means we better realize what is happening: their bigotry is leading us down a direct path to tyranny.  That's what should provoke the most outrage of all.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

How many times did we hear about how unprepared Sarah Palin was for high political office?  How many times did we see media types set forth the idea that she was a dunce or an idiot?  And since the end of the campaign, the combination of their fear of her influence and their deranged hatred for women who are conservative have caused them to continue peddling that narrative (along with throwing in a little mockery of her Down Syndrome son, of course).

 

 

And what about Mr. Obama?  Though no one has ever produced a shred of evidence to support the theory, those same media types have constantly talked about how brilliant he is.  "Smartest president we've ever had," they've claimed.  Stupid mistakes aren't stupid mistakes when he makes them - no, we're told that we just can't comprehend the superior, nuanced mind of The One.  Perhaps.  Or perhaps he's really not that smart at all and his stupid mistakes are just that. 

 

Given the striking contrasts the media has developed in the minds of Americans between these two candidates, some might be surprised to learn something that the New York Sun just pointed out.  That dunce from Alaska was saying that Obama's grand solution to our economic woes was going to fail long before we now realize that it failed.  Check this out:

"The big question as Chairman Bernanke gets set for his first quarterly press conference is how Sarah Palin was able to figure out sooner than everyone else that the Federal Reserve's campaign of quantitative easing wouldn't work.  Disappointment in the Fed's policies is being reported this morning at the top of page one of the New York Times.  It reports that ?most Americans are not feeling the difference' from the Fed's ?experimental effort to spur a recovery by purchasing vast quantities of federal debt.'  It reports that ?a broad range of economists say that the disappointing results show the limits of the central bank's ability to lift the nation from its economic malaise.'"

The truth is that figuring it out wasn't that difficult.  That is, if you understand Economics 101.  The Sun notes that Palin grasped,

"the connection between a weak dollar and rising prices for oil and food."

To be honest, most folks who understand the simple, basic rules of economics could figure that out.  So, this revelation by the New York Sun isn't so much a commendation on the wisdom of Sarah Palin, as it is a condemnation of the ignorance of the Obama Administration.  Maybe this explains why Obama and his team of experts are always "surprised" by the "unexpectedly weak" economic numbers and indicators that are popping up with regularity.

 

 

The Sun seems to be asking an important question: "How could the smartest president we've ever had - and all the super geniuses that he has supposedly surrounded himself with - been so unable to predict the failure of a simple economic formula that even a loser from Alaska can figure out?"

 

Methinks the answer be that the Alaskan in question operates with common sense street smarts foreign to the White House, while our Oval Office exec is proving to be SIMNO (smart in media-name only).

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011

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I remember writing a column a year or two ago about a convention of animal rights activists who were demanding that we extend human rights to dolphins.  As shocked as some were to see such a ridiculous proposition as that being made, they convinced themselves that such a belief was the mere product of the fringe elements of the left.  This wasn't mainstream left-wing thought, right?

 

Well, he hasn't spoken to the dolphin issue, but Obama's former green jobs czar Van Jones has popped up again to advance an equally ridiculous belief: the "rights of the earth."  Just coming off Earth Day (the liberal Christmas), it couldn't be better timing.

 

 

According to Fox News (the only news agency willing to cover the story), Jones is helping, "to push for a new, global architecture of environmental law that would give Mother Nature the same rights status as humans."  Actually, anyone who understands the left knows this isn't anything new - it's the same old collectivist ideas that seek to strip power from the individual...just wrapped in an eco-friendly paper.

 

John Hayward lays it bare:

The "Rights of the Earth" movement is one of the greatest travesties against justice ever conceived.  The point of the exercise is to create a code of compulsive law in defense of an omnipresent constituency - all of Nature - which cannot speak for itself.  The high priests of the movement will do the speaking, and a massive cadre of bureaucrats will gain tremendous power by converting their words into law.

Now, some of you bright ones out there might be thinking, "Oh, well two can play at this game!  If the Earth is to be treated like humans, than it can be held responsible like humans.  So the next time a volcano, hurricane or tornado wipes out a city, warm up the lawyers!"  Sorry...

There will be no reciprocal obligations placed upon the Earth.  Citizens will not be able to sue Nature for wiping out their homes in a flood, or starving them with a drought.  Corporations will be able to purchase indulgences from the priesthood of the all-powerful State. but they won't come cheap.

Again, all this movement boils down to is the same old, tired effort of Marxist/socialists to control your life by destroying liberty.  But the word "Marxist" doesn't play well here.  Though some are becoming more bold about it, crusading as a socialist won't get you very far with Americans. 

 

But prating on about the "rights" of this or that gets people to sit up and pay attention.  Everyone wants to be on the side of rights.  And if you can throw something uber-hip like planetary awareness and environmental consciousness in there too, your warm embrace from mush-minded hipsters everywhere is assured. 

 

They won't even bother to notice that behind the delightful trappings of your Earth celebrations are the policies that undermine their liberty, destroy their freedom and shackle their minds.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011

For two-plus years now, Democrat liberals have been deriding "birthers" as fools engaged in petty politics. Granted, it is easy to generate, circulate, and perpetuate a conspiracy theory. Consider, after all, the conspiracy theory that Bush was behind the 9-11 attacks. So demands for the Obama birth certificate have been met with derision up to this point.

 

Regardless of how unfounded the birth certificate controversy has been, the truth of the matter is that an employer is required by law to verify prospective employees' origin of birth. So requests to verify and validate Mr. Obama's origin of birth have not been completely out of line.

 

 

Yet, for two-plus years, the Obama administration played a bait-and-switch game. Instead of just submitting the certificate and putting any such controversy to rest, they posted some faux form. They responded to requests for verification with arrogant mockery. It was all a distraction from the really important matters of national issues. On and on they went.

 

Then, all of a sudden, the (alleged) official birth certificate is submitted for inspection. And in spite of all the pressing matters of national importance, President Obama takes time out of his busy schedule to hold a personal press conference about it instead of delegating it to his press secretary.

 

All of this motivates me to muse: In spite of their sometimes pitiful silliness, it is not "birthers" who have been petty throughout this ordeal. Birth certificate pettiness originated and was perpetuated by the Obama Administration. One would think that they would have more pressing matters to attend to than intentionally dragging out this wild goose chase. Yet, this is the sadly typical and petty character of this administration.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 09:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 27 2011

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Over the course of the last two years, I remember being accused of being a "Birther" twice.  Both accusations came in emails.  Only one of them was tied to comments I had made - the other was just one descriptor in a long list of nasty accusations by someone who didn't seem to care for my politics in general.

The reason I haven't heard that accusation a lot is because I've been pretty clear from the beginning that I believe Barack Obama was born in the United States.  My question has always been simply this: why would anyone in their right mind continue letting this fester, generate scandal in the mind of even one voter, and most of all: spend even a single dime on legal efforts to prevent the birth certificate from being seen publicly.  It doesn't make sense.  The long-form birth certificate is not a secret document.  There's nothing classified about it.  So why go to those lengths to keep it hidden?  And why reveal the Certification of Live Birth and claim it was the long form?

Privately I speculated to friends that I honestly assumed what Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie unintentionally mentioned a while back - that the certificate didn't exist.  Not because the President wasn't born in Hawaii, but because it had been misplaced, lost, accidentally destroyed...whatever.  That explanation would seem to fit with the President's efforts to keep it hidden.  If he didn't have it, and that became public, it would generate a firestorm - even calls for his immediate removal from office.  It would usher in a constitutional crisis given that every act, every law, every order the President has participated in to this point would have been null and void.  Oh yeah, and it would crush his re-election hopes.

So that's what I assumed.  And then today, out of nowhere, the President decides to do what people have been calling for him to do for two years.  He revealed the long-form birth certificate.  What has that done?  A couple things:

1. It has vindicated those who maintained that no birth certificate had been shown.  It puts egg on the face of people like Bill O'Reilly who constantly yapped that he had seen the certificate and verified it.  Really, Bill?  Then what was this?

2. It is going to raise even more questions as to why the President went through this whole mess for over two years - and subjected the country to it as well.  Far from it being big of him to just show the certificate so the country could move on to more important things, the President has been the sole cause of this talk to persist for two years.  He won't be getting many thanks and congratulations for that, I'm afraid.

In the short term, I was most amused by the President's classic condescension of telling everyone essentially, "Well, I was going to come out here and solve all the world's problems, but instead you people made me talk about this instead.  So you won't get any important stuff today because I've only got 10 minutes and I'm spending it on this birth certificate nonsense."  Why only 10 minutes?  He was heading out to be on Oprah (the important stuff).

In the long term, I am predicting this won't settle the controversy.  The bizarreness of someone who spent a bunch of money to fight court challenges to force him to show something he did today voluntarily is only going to fuel speculation that it's a fake and forgery.  Now we'll be hearing not that Obama is ineligible, but that he is ineligible and a criminal.  Thanks for that, Mr. President.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 27 2011

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I can't say I'm surprised.  More disappointed than anything.  Representative Ron Paul appears poised to make another presidential run:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he's going to try a third time.

 

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign's leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.

 

My views on Ron Paul are pretty well stated by now.  I appreciate his strong stand for Constitutional fidelity, though I believe that his unfettered libertarianism can, at times, undermine his deeply held conviction of individual liberty.  I also don't think he can win the nomination - however, that is not the source of my disappointment in his decision to run.

 

Whether I think someone can or will win the nomination is nothing more than an opinion - and not something that I would ever suggest should prevent someone from running if they want to.  Indeed, there are many who are undoubtedly thrilled that Paul is in the race because he provides them someone who best represents them on the ballot.  Fine.

 

My disappointment is that his entry prevents the entry of someone I think would be more beneficial and significant in the race: his son.  Rand Paul, the passionate Tea Party-oriented Senator from Kentucky has burst onto the national scene this last year.  He is stronger than his father on the issue of liberty because, as more of a conservative than libertarian, he understands the critical connection of faith, virtue and liberty.

 

But Rand Paul had already announced that he would not run against his dad.  It's not that I want to prevent Ron from running...again.  It's that I wish he hadn't prevented someone better suited for an energetic and meaningful campaign from running.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 27 2011

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On the show yesterday, I played the audio of Donald Trump brashly calling in to Eliot Spitzer when he was live on his CNN show and calling out the Spitz for his misrepresentation of The Donald's net worth.  It was classic Trump.  In commenting on the exchange, I remarked that this is exactly why Trump is a good thing.  He is (if they will pay attention) teaching the Republicans how to act.  When the media lies, don't be afraid to call them out.

 

Thomas Sowell actually picked up on this same point in his recent column.  But Sowell goes a step further, wisely cautioning about the double edged sword this prospect could be for Republicans:

Trump has what so many other Republicans are so painfully lacking: the ability and the willingness to articulate arguments clearly, forcefully, and in plain English. Too many Republicans talk like the actor of whom a critic once said, "he played the king like he was afraid that someone else was going to play the ace."

 

 

What electrified so many Republicans about Sarah Palin in the 2008 election campaign was that her speeches offered such a contrast to the usual mealy-mouthed talk common among other Republican candidates, including Sen. John McCain. Whether you agreed or disagreed with her position on the issues, you didn't have to wave your hand in front of her eyes to see if she was awake.

Exactly.  This is why The Donald can be good for Republicans if they learn the Trump lesson.  But that is a big "if."  The other potential scenario?

What seems more likely is that Donald Trump as a candidate for the Republican nomination would use his superior articulation skills ? not to mention brash irresponsibility ? to trash all the other Republican candidates for that nomination, leaving them damaged goods in the eyes of the public, and therefore less able to gather the votes needed to prevent the reelection of Obama.

The public is desperate for a Republican with a backbone - even a little gutsy and brash.  That's why there's been such a sudden surge in popularity for Trump.  And it's also why Trump can be a great example for Republican candidates...or a disastrous vanquisher of the typical mealy-mouth capitulators Republicans have a tendency to be.  As Sowell laments,

Why Republicans seem not to understand the crucial importance of putting the same time and attention into articulating their positions as the Democrats do is one of the enduring mysteries of American politics.

 

It was obvious that the Democrats coordinated their talking points and catch-phrases ? "social justice," "tax cuts for the rich," etc. ? even before the overheard and recorded statements of Sen. Chuck Schumer about Democrats' plans to repeatedly use the word "extreme" to characterize Republicans.

 

But how many Republican catch phrases can you remember? Republican rhetoric tends to range from low key to no key.

 

Nor is there much evidence that Republicans have asked themselves how the left wing of the Democratic party gained such ascendancy in recent years, in a country where millions more people identify themselves as conservative than as liberals.

 

In short, there is little or no evidence that most Republicans see any need to fundamentally change their approach to the public. But if they think that they can rely on Obama's declining popularity to win the 2012 election, they may be in for a rude shock. Worse yet, the whole future of this country and of Western civilization will be in jeopardy ? in a world where the likes of Iran and North Korea become nuclear powers while we engage in empty talk at the U.N.

Sum it up this way: Obama has to go.  A McCain approach in 2012 won't get it done.  The Donald's approach will get it done, but not if it's The Donald who is doing it.  Republican voters better understand that - for their own good, and the good of the country.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 27 2011

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My friend Micah Clark forwarded me an article about an article about President Obama's confusing approach to foreign policy (follow that?).  The original piece was written by Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, and in a very lengthy way, explains in great detail the frightening picture of what is becoming "The Obama Doctrine."


The money paragraph is this:

Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the President's actions in Libya as "leading from behind." That's not a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic Convention, but it does accurately describe the balance that Obama now seems to be finding. It's a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world. Pursuing our interests and spreading our ideals thus requires stealth and modesty as well as military strength. "It's so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world," the adviser said. "But it's necessary for shepherding us through this phase."

 

If you've been struggling to find an explanation as to why the President has behaved the way he has behaved on the international stage, this is a succinct way of getting it.  He doesn't believe we are the world's superpower any longer.  He doesn't believe that we have a duty to lead the world because we no longer have the power to lead.  Consequently, he is much more comfortable behaving at best as a co-equal to other countries, at worst in a submissive role.

 

For a generation of Americans who have grown accustomed to being led by an America-first policy, this will be a rude-awakening.  But this is the state of the modern liberal mind in America.  They see robust expressions of American exceptionalism as jingoistic, unnecessary, uncouth braggadocio that inflames hatred towards us around the world.  Remember it was Obama himself who downplayed this concept, suggesting American exceptionalism was nothing more than a national pride expressed by members of any country towards their own nation ("just like the British believe in British exceptionalism").

 

But that's not the case.  American exceptionalism is the understanding that America has, and America is something unique and different than every other place on earth.  That we have contributed more, and have an opportunity to continue contributing more to the eternal struggle for the rights of man than any other nation in world history.

 

It, without question, demands a position of leadership - something that this Administration is undoubtedly opposed to.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 27 2011

Like many other Americans who believe that we need a big return to Constitutional Republicanism, I greeted "the Donald's" presidential candidacy implications with uncertainty and skepticism. On the one hand, he does espouse a great deal of fiscal sanity - not that it takes much fiscal knowledge to overwhelm the current occupant of the Oval Office.

 

On the other hand, "the Donald" has never exhibited to me much in the way of moral conservatism or propriety. (I have yet to figure out why there are more "conservative" politicians who have divorced and remarried than liberals who tout policies destined to wreck family values). While I tip my hat to his business success, he comes across to me as a typical elitist. Yes, as we are well aware, there are right-wing elitists.

 

 

The great thing about conservatives is that there are so many of us who dig below the sound bite surface of Big Media and other deceptions. Columnist Michelle Malkin exposes a significant flaw in "the Donald's" faux conservatism:

"Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesn't have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property, because a governmental agency -- the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA -- will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell. Here is how the process works.

 

"After a developer identifies the parcels of land he wants to acquire and a city planning board approves a casino project, CRDA attempts to confiscate these properties using a process called 'eminent domain,' which allows the government to condemn properties 'for public use.' Increasingly, though, CRDA and other government entities exercise the power of eminent domain to take property from one private person and give it to another.  At the same time, governments give less and less consideration to the necessity of taking property and also ignore the personal loss to the individuals being evicted."

Furthermore, Mr. Trump solidly champions the Kelo v City of New London Supreme Court ruling that expanded the use of eminent domain.

[Trump] told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto that he agreed with the ruling "100 percent" and defended the chilling power of government to kick people out of their homes and businesses based on arbitrary determinations:

 

"The fact is, if you have a person living in an area that's not even necessarily a good area, and government, whether it's local or whatever, government wants to build a tremendous economic development, where a lot of people are going to be put to work and make (an) area that's not good into a good area, and move the person that's living there into a better place -- now, I know it might not be their choice -- but move the person to a better place and yet create thousands upon thousands of jobs and beautification and lots of other things, I think it happens to be good."

As Peter Heck recently noted in a Liberty Tree blog, the results of a government's central planning seem to always fall short of the advertised mark for some inexplicable reason. Such has been the case with the city of New London debacle.

 

In spite of nuzzling up to some TEA Parties, "the Donald" clearly is a statist. I doubt that he will do much to reign in this rampantly expanding and over reaching federal government.

 

Yes, I hope that the GOP can do better.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 02:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 27 2011

I was half-heartedly reading about the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (aka, "Mob Museum") when I ran across a tidbit that I am certain immediately raised my blood pressure.

The publicly-funded mob museum, meanwhile, is slated to open in December at a downtown Las Vegas courthouse where a detailed mob hearing that helped expose organized crime to ordinary Americans was held in 1950.

Publicly-funded!

 

Translation: taxpayer funded. Hard earned money has been lifted from our pockets into Mob Museum pockets. The extortion continues.

 

 

In a time when federal spending must be reduced - indeed, it is well past that time as Americans face bankruptcy on the national scale - we get to fund a Mob Museum! Yet what do we hear from the land of left-believe every time spending cuts are mentioned? The usual template, of course: Children and senior citizens will be dying in the streets as health care and food programs are taken away. Our infrastructure will collapse as money is taken away from bridge maintenance. Law enforcement and firefighting personnel will be laid off in droves.

 

Blah, blah, and blah.

 

I have an idea. Even though it will not be enough, at least start with cutting funding to stupid things like Mob Museums and Cowboy Museums and Kinsey Sex "Research" boondoggles (apparently unbeknown to the land of left-believe residents, we already know how sex and reproduction work). If they are viable, they will find non-publicly-funded resources. Surely enough Las Vegas casino money can be found to fund a Mob Museum. (Wait! What am I thinking? Why would Big Gambling have their bottom lines impacted when they can shake down the American taxpayer?)

 

This should be the easy stuff. In fact, it should never have received federal taxpayer funding in the first place - ya know, that Constitutional thingy. They should never continue to receive taxpayer funding during this fiscal crisis. Yet they do. Unreal! And the extortion continues.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 11:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 26 2011

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Perhaps you've heard of the excessive violence that took place in Syria over the Easter weekend as government forces killed hundreds.  What you haven't heard, of course, is any outright condemnation and demand for action against such atrocities coming from the Obama Administration.

 

I guess we're to assume the vaunted "Responsibility to Protect" (given the very hip logo R2P by the very hip Obama team) ends at the border of Syria?  That was the question Richard Baehr was pondering:

Recall that Hillary Clinton, a few weeks back, said Assad was a reformer, and the Administration encouraged him to continue with his reforms. This does not seem to be advice that is being heeded.   The Assad regime seems to prefer blowing people's brains out, and submission.  

 

It would be hard to argue that Libya has more strategic importance to the West and the U.S. than Syria, which has funneled weapons to Hezb'allah and Hamas, interfered for years in Lebanon, and aligned itself politically with Iran, despite decades of U.S. engagement. Our troops are engaged in three wars, unemployment remains close to 9%, the economy is slowing (projected growth rates have been adjusted lower by many economists in recent weeks), gas prices are at an all time high, and yet, the President had a good week.  

 

Or to put it more precisely, he had a good fundraising week.  It is 19 months before the election, and the President is doing what he does best: campaign and fundraise for the one job that really matters to him. 

 

In case you were moved by Obama's most compassionate call to protect innocent Libyans from the atrocities of their leaders, perhaps you'd like to view what the great "reformers" in Syria are up to?  If so, find it here.

 

I previously asked the question how someone who found action in Iraq unjustifiable could possibly intervene in Libya.  Baehr now asks an equally important and unanswered question: how can someone who finds action in Libya justified not do the same in Syria?

 

Obama can't answer these questions because Obama isn't a leader.  He's an agitating, fund-raising community organizer...period.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 26 2011

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Remember the Kelo case?  That was the outrageous 2005 decision of the Supreme Court that upheld the uprooting of people from their homes because the city wanted to use eminent domain to transfer ownership of the property to developers whom they thought would generate more tax revenue for the city.

 

It was a power grab by the city that surely made the Founders - big believers in private property rights - to spin in their graves.  Arbitrary government action to evict a group of mostly low income Americans so that the government can make more money.  Sounds much more like the kind of government that provoked the American Revolution, not the kind that resulted from it.


 

Nevertheless, the Court ruled in favor of the government and thus initiated a massive expansion of the government's power of eminent domain.  So what does that area look like now?  A vacant lot, actually.  Kelo's home actually still stands (I guess you could consider it a memorial to corrupt, arbitrary big government).

 

And as if all that wasn't enough, how about the newest development (by the way, the area in question is called Fort Trumbull):

Would-be Fort Trumbull Developers Seek Tax Break

 

A developer hoping to build housing at Fort Trumbull said Thursday they will seek tax abatements from the city to move the project forward.

 

Robert and Irwin Stillman, the father and son owners of Westport-based River Bank Construction, said the abatements were necessary to make the project financially feasible.

 

"If abatements are not approved, we would have to reconsider,'' Robert Stillman said during a meeting Thursday afternoon with The Day's editorial board.

Uh...wait a minute.  The developers who were given this land (who still haven't built anything) now want further tax breaks to build?!  Where's the media on this one?!  Beyond maddening, this reality absolutely undermines the entire rationale the liberals of the Supreme Court used in 2005.  Tom Blumer explains:

In its opinion (scroll to Section IV), the Justices opined in 2005 that "The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including-but by no means limited to-new jobs and increased tax revenue." In 2011, a city which could have collected five more years of property taxes from established homeowners by now is instead contemplating and appears likely to approve tax breaks to a developer of rental units it hopes to convert to condos when the real estate market gets better. 


This outcome makes a complete mockery of the Supreme Court majority's belief that a "carefully formulated ... economic development plan" was ever in place. The press's five-year lack of coverage makes a mockery of its claim to be interested in meaningful story follow-up.

Who would have ever predicted that government central planning would end so poorly for the people?  Oh yeah, conservatives would have...and did.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 26 2011

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Talking with friends over the weekend about the ridiculous rise in gas prices, I was amazed to hear how many of them had bought into the notion that it was all due to the evil oil speculators.  I know this is something that Obama is furthering (for obvious reasons), but it's something that has also been pushed by people like Bill O'Reilly.

 

I'm frustrated by this misunderstanding not so much because I want Obama to be hampered by the gas prices politically (though that is fine by me given that he is a large part of the problem), but because I wonder where the same accusation of reckless speculation is in the general discussion of our economic health.

 

 

Where is the condemnation of our economic speculators?  Bill Kristol, appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, pointed out that if the problem is speculation, it's Obama doing the worst kind of it:

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Juan mentioned speculators before. The two biggest speculators who have damaged the U.S. economy are Barack Obama, who speculated on the huge stimulus package, which has boomed the deficit. We now have $3.6 trillion of deficit under Obama, which has really created a huge fiscal problem for us. And Ben Bernanke, who did quantitative easing, a second quantitative easing with $600 billion.

 

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: And explain what that is.

 

KRISTOL: And that was buying up government bonds, government paper, to try to stimulate the stock market, which he did a little bit with a little bit of a --

 

WALLACE: And lowered interest rates.

 

KRISTOL: And he's kept interest rates at zero percent.  So, we have had a wildly stimulative fiscal policy and monetary policy. Growth is slowing down anyway. It has been a total failure.  I think the key for Republicans, in my view, is to run comprehensively against the Obama/Geithner/Bernanke policy -- fiscal and monetary policy -- and say the whole Keynesian model has failed. This has been a perfect test of it, this is what --

 

WALLACE: So that's the bumper sticker, "Keynes was wrong"?

 

KRISTOL: Yes. Obama and the Washington establishment was wrong, including, incidentally -- I think with Geithner and Bernanke, who were holdovers from Bush, a populist Republican running against the entire establishment, understanding that more government spending and unbelievably cheap money depreciating, debasing the dollar, that that is the way to make America strong, that is the wrong model. And I think Republicans need to articulate an alternative model, as Reagan did, to come back to this, in 1979.

You can rationally make the argument, as NewsBusters Noel Sheppard did, that interest rates have to stay low given all of our other problems or the economy will tank.  But aside from that, the accuracy of Kristol's indictment is unquestioned.

 

Our government spending spree, coupled with the rise of inflation, decline of the dollar, increase in commodity pricing - all the result of our failed experiment with left wing economics - is killing our recovery and crushing our hopes of a return to prosperity.

 

So in the larger sense, I'll happily join the chorus: stop the speculation!

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 26 2011

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It's the unanswered question.  The timeless quandary: what made America so great?  I've asked my students to answer that question and I always get a host of different answers.  Google it online and you'll get an eclectic array of different responses.  But as with so many other great mysteries explained with ease by The One, President Obama's recent deficit speech has set us all straight on why we should be so proud of our country.

 

 

Was it the technological breakthroughs that improved the quality of life of countless millions?  No.

 

Was it the medical advancements that have extended life expectancy, cured diseases, and saved countless millions around the globe?  No.

 

Was it the remarkable sacrifice and enduring courage of those who stood up to tyrants, toppled dictators and resisted communism's evil dominion?  No.

 

So what was it that makes America so great, Mr. President?!  He speaks:

In his highly anticipated deficit speech at George Washington University recently, Obama spoke of Social Security and Medicare and stated, "We would not be a great country without these commitments."

Of course!  We weren't great until 1935 and 1965 (the enactment dates of those two programs, respectively).  Any dunce knows that.  Of course, not to question the wisdom of The One, but please recognize what that means:

 

So, for nearly 200 years (1776-1965), America was not a great nation in the eyes of the 44th President of the United States.  Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were among those who led a good nation, perhaps, but not a great one in Obama's eyes.  Despite our growth from an infant republic in 1776 to the dominant nation of the world by mid-20th century, a period which included victories in two world wars, along with massive technological, industrial, and medical advances, still we were not a great nation according to Obama.

 

Attempting to calculate the impact America has had upon the rest of the world and to the betterment of the human race would be an exercise in futility, even prior to Social Security and Medicare.  Countless lives have been saved through American medical advancements and breakthroughs.  Production methods have been created and enhanced by American ingenuity and technological innovations, largely from Americans, have transformed the methods and speed by which we communicate around the world. 

 

These are but a few accomplishments and defining qualities that have made America great.

 

It is these advancements and the potential for increased quality of life that has attracted and continues to entice so many to the United States.  From 1850-1950, for example, 37 million individuals emigrated to the United States of America.  They did not come to America seeking government programs.  America provided opportunity to seek "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

 

Therein is the greatness of America-opportunity.  It is opportunity to accomplish more than in any other country.


But not to our President.  And that, as the author of this piece, Chad Stafko, points out, is the most concerning thing he said in that speech.  President Obama defines American greatness by its government. 

 

Never mind the fact that the two programs are unsustainable.  Never mind that one is in the red and the other is depriving hospitals around the country of the full reimbursement of their services (to the point that many hospitals are beginning to deny treatment to Medicare patients). 

 

President Obama wears the same blinders to those flaws that he wears to hide the enduring reality about American greatness: it's the people, not the government.

 

This president doesn't get that - never has.  And that, in the end, is why far from being an articulate explainer of American greatness, he is one of its greatest threats.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 26 2011

In his latest editorial, Peter Heck addresses President Obama's lack of maturity and the negative impact it has upon the dignity of the office. Included in the article are episodes of President Obama's public ambushes of selected opponents: notably Representative Paul Ryan and the Supreme Court justices. Peter also notes Mr. Obama's gravitation toward frequently irreverent late night shows and his public use of foul language during a morning television interview.

And while several presidents have been rumored or known to have used colorful language in private (Nixon and Johnson are a bipartisan couple of potty-mouths that come to mind), Barack Obama has the dubious distinction of being the first to do so publicly during a morning television interview.  The President apparently thought that using profanity while threatening to kick people's bottoms would be a fine example of presidential poise to set for the nation's youth as they ate their morning Cheerios.

Sadly, Mr. Obama is a product of this culture of vulgarity. Granted, he is also helping to shape it and perpetuate it, but it has nevertheless been building long before his appearance on the political scene.

 

 

Mr. Obama knows that vulgarity plays well and pays well. Unfortunately, all too many Americans agree. Virtually every style of popular entertainment assaults any notion of traditional values. Big Entertainment monoliths continue to push well established boundaries of decency that protect the vulnerable in our society. Unfortunately, too many rank-and-file citizens blindly follow along because they have been given the moral compass of humanism, a compass that points in the convenient direction of any of their talking-heads.

 

As Peter pointed out in a Liberty Tree article, porn has become more Constitutional than Jesus. Sad, truly sad, for the moral vacuum caused by hypocritical and deceitful humanists causes the type of human suffering they claim they deplore.

 

Yes, standards of dignity and decency should be modeled by every occupant of the Oval Office. As Peter sadly points out, though, those who seek to defend profanity and vulgarity are on the constant vigil to draw as many as they can into the abyss with them.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 09:48 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 25 2011

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Keep it in perspective.  It's a phrase that I need to tattoo on my forehead to be completely honest. I get so worked up about the gas pump I choose not having a catch to hold the pump so I don't have to do it manually - and people are starving in Africa.  I get frustrated when my family is late to church - and people are dying in Korea for trying to hold secret church services in their house.  I get madder than a hornet at some of the idiotic political decisions that are made in this country on a daily basis - and I forget the words of the old song:

This world is not my home.  I'm just a'passin through.  My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.  The angels beckon me, through heaven's open door.  And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

That hit me anew last night as I sat at my computer after a long, tiring, and somewhat frustrating Easter Sunday.  It wasn't a bad day.  But it wasn't the best.  And as I sat there and contemplated how I'd let the frustration get the better of me too many times, my mind was drawn back to the meaning of the word "Gospel."  It means, quite literally, "Good news."  And as simple as that may sound, it made me remember something beyond profound: because of Christ, I have hope.  Real hope.

 

 

Not hope for political change.  Not hope for better pay or working conditions.  Not hope for less stress on the job.  Real hope.  The kind that transforms lives and makes people taunt the greatest challenge we face, "Where, O death, is your sting?"  Now that's hope.

 

As I started to smile thinking about it, I logged onto the internet and started doing some looking.  Not at the typical political stuff I look at every day.  Stuff that matters.  I found this commentary:

The Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the fledgling and deeply flawed church at Corinth to address several concerns and offer corrective counsel.  Toward the end of the epistle, he reminded his audience that part of the reason why they were so dysfunctional in their faith and practice had to do with what they had forgotten -- or at least minimized.  He drew them back to the basics.  And it all had to do with what Jesus had done a few decades before.

 

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (I Corinthians 15:1-8 NIV)

The author of this piece, David R. Stokes (freakishly, that is my minister's name...different guy, but tough to overcome the feeling like I was pre-ordained to be reading this last night), goes on to remind the reader what Corinth really was.  This was a time after Jesus' death known as Pax Romana (Roman Peace).  In essence, it was a time of peace from outside aggression.  You were safe if you were in Rome (sound familiar?).  And along with that wonderful peace came time to pursue other things - meaning decadence and immorality was rampant (sound even more familiar?).  But what was in Corinth was actually worse than what we are experiencing here in America in terms of debauchery, hard as that may be to believe.

 

What Stokes went on to say hit me like a freight train, and I think it will you too:

Many of those early practitioners of the Christian faith, however, didn't seem to be intimidated by such a potentially daunting challenge, the problem-laden Corinthians notwithstanding.  This was largely because they grasped the concept that the message of the Gospel was more about redemption than reformation.  It was more about individual salvation than solving social problems.  And it was more about a world to come than the world that was -- or is.

 

This is not to say that these souls on fire were indifferent to cultural or political matters.  They just seemed to know that ultimate hope and change were never really possible via human means and methods.  To bring about social justice, the kind implied in the command to love neighbor as self, required obedience to a greater commandment first.  That would be the one about loving God completely.

 

Loving God fuels righteous deeds, healed relationships, and cultural conscience and stability.  The attempt to truly love one's neighbor in a social justice sense without acknowledging and loving God tends to devolve into a mere struggle for power.


It's why the Founders encouraged the spread of Christianity in schools, in public and private life.  It's why we should do the same.  Christians must engage the political world because they have the only true solution that will heal our society: personal righteousness that comes through obedience to God.  But we must engage it in a way that always remembers that the cross can do what politics can't.

 

As we stand for moral truth in our culture, may we never lose heart, give in to frustration, or throw up our hands in despair.  Because ultimately our greatest calling is not to win a power struggle, but to set the captives free with the hope of all humanity.  Real hope.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 25 2011

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I believe the Scriptural admonition is "Woe to those who call evil good."  Perhaps we could paraphrase that in light of a recent story out of New York public libraries to say, "Pathetic are those who call perversion a constitutional right."  Here's the scoop:

Shakespeare's plays, Einstein's theories -- and porn queen Jenna Jameson's steamy online sexcapades.

 

New Yorkers can take their pick at the city's public libraries, thanks to a policy that gives adults the most uncensored access to extreme, hard-core Internet smut this side of the old Times Square.

 

The electronic smut falls under the heading of free speech and the protection of the First Amendment, library officials say.

 

"Customers can watch whatever they want on the computer," said Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Malika Granville, describing the anything-goes philosophy that's the rule at the city's 200-plus branches.


Of course, this isn't really anything new.  In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union has defended porn in public libraries for quite some time.  It was their president, Nadine Strossen who authored the book, "Defending Pornography," after all. 

 

Yes, just so you have it straight: the ACLU and the left believe Nativity Scenes on public library lawns violates the U.S. Constitution, but explicit pornography on public library computers is the essence of the First Amendment.

Under US law, all libraries that take federal funding only must install filters on publicly used computers to block content containing illegal obscenity and child pornography, and New York City officials say they comply to the letter.

 

If localities want to further restrict viewing, they must specifically enact a policy, although the move almost certainly brings with it legal challenges.

 

But even with the filters, anyone 17 or older can turn them off and troll for whatever sexual content floats their boat -- no matter how deviant.

 

"The library cannot and does not guarantee that the filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography or materials that are harmful to minors," the policy says.

Library officials and civil libertarians say it's a free-speech issue.

 

"In deference to the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, the New York Public Library cannot prevent adult patrons from accessing adult content that is legal," said New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise.

Which means, of course, that your child, carrying their Curious George book to the counter for check-out can turn and get an eyeful at anytime.

 

But no one better think about subjecting them to even hearing the name of Jesus in their schools.  Woe to us, indeed.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 25 2011

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A few months back, I mentioned the story out of the American Northwest where "Easter Eggs" had become known as "Spring Spheres" so as not to offend the sensibilities of those who take umbrage at the religious melding with the presupposed secular.  On one hand, the idiocy of such a name almost makes me want them to keep calling them that until they become national laughingstocks.  On the other hand, I have this overriding fear that our inculcation of political correctness may have rendered too many common sense Americans unable to do the proper "laughing at" to see this become reality.

 

 

Evidently, it's not just the Spring Spheres.  Jack Kerwick wrote a fabulous column at the American Thinker over the weekend that discussed his frustration with the renamed Easter Bunny at his mall.  Now just "The Bunny," Jack shook his head as his wife (a teacher) informed him the same had happened at her school: Easter candy was now to be called "Happy Springtime" candy.

 

But Kerwick did something that I hadn't done when I previously discussed the potential for a "War on Easter" unfolding silently around us.  He explained two key realities: 1.) a war on Easter has a greater chance of success, and 2.) defending Easter is perhaps more important for Christians than defending Christmas.

 

No doubt, the left is seeking to undermine them both because they either are ignorant of their heritage or, as Kerwick explains, they resent it.  But consider why we as Christians should be more inclined to circle the wagons around Easter than even Christmas:

While Christians believe that Christmas commemorates the birth of God Himself, those who reject the doctrine of the Incarnation can still view Jesus' birth as something worth celebrating.  All that is needed for this purpose is a belief, not in His divinity, but in his greatness.  Thus, in either discussing Christmas with one's peers or teaching it to children, a reference to the birth of this wonderful man could for all practical intents suffice.

 

Such is not the case with Easter. 

 

Easter is nothing less than Christ's resurrection from the dead.  It is this event upon which Christianity hinges.  To paraphrase Saint Paul, if Christ didn't rise from the dead, then there is no justification for our faith.  Ultimately, Christmas and Easter are inseparable episodes in The Greatest Story Ever Told; we can't have one without the other.  But considered abstractly, Easter is by far the most religiously significant.  It is at that moment that the life and work of Christ reach their climax.  It is on Easter Sunday that the tides of world history are forever turned.  It is then that humanity receives its new lease on life, its liberation from both death and, thus, the fear of death.

 

This Easter we will serve ourselves and our world well by reminding ourselves and others of the reason for our celebration. 

I joked with John Branyan on Friday's show when he said - as I have before - that the Resurrection is the single greatest event in all of world history.  I suggested that without the incarnation (Christmas), there could have been no Easter, so what's more important?  Mr. Kerwick has helped explain why my joke falls flat and any Christian in their right mind will rise up to defend and proclaim the meaning of Easter at every opportunity. 

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 22 2011

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Everyone needs an ombudsman...particularly those involved in the public dissemination of information.  For those of you unaware:

om·buds·man /ämbədzmən/ Noun: An official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints against maladministration, esp. that of public authorities.

The only problem is that a quality ombudsman will cost you money.  So I opted for one lacking in quality but who came at the right price.  My friend John Branyan has officially accepted that title and will be joining me on Fridays for a review of all the stupid things I said and perspectives I had on topics covered this week.

 

 

It's only to be expected that with an unpaid, unprofessional ombudsman like John, the conversation may drift into new, previously unmentioned topics as well.

 

On tap for this week: Earth Day, JFK conspiracy, the budget and American selfishness, the persistence of the global warmers, Easter and much more!

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 22 2011

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Okay, I have to admit that after several years of seeing and commenting on the lack of tolerance the so-called tolerant crowd possesses, I was still shocked at this one.

 

Major leading lefty blog site "Wonkette," known for its satire and snarky comments (nothing wrong with that), has gone to new heights in the category of vitriol and lack of class.  Check this out:

The satirical, left-leaning blog Wonkette seems to have gone too far in a recent post titled, "Greatest Living American: A Children's Treasury of Trig Crap On His Birthday."

 

The post, written by Jack Stuef, contains numerous off-color "jokes" about Sarah Palin's 3-year-old special needs son Trig Palin, and implies he may have been conceived as a result of incest.

 

 

"What's he dreaming about? Nothing. He's retarded," wrote Steuf.

 

The piece also includes several Youtube clips of Trig which mock the child and his disability.

What would ever possess someone to do this?  Honestly?  There's a word: hatred.  I'm sorry, but there is simply no other explanation for why a post like this would clear the conscience censors of any rational human being unless that human being is overwhelmed and overcome by an irrational hatred for another human being.  Obviously that hatred is directed at Sarah Palin.  But it is so uncontrolled, so unrestrained, that it foments in the mockery of a child with Downs Syndrome.

 

When called upon to immediately remove the post, the Wonkette editors claimed there was nothing wrong with it, as it was a condemnation of Sarah Palin using Trig as a political prop.

 

Even if that were true (which I don't believe it is), write a post calling her out for that.  Write a post saying that she should be spending more time with her son.  Write a post saying that she should be talking about Trig only as an advocate for special needs funding.  Whatever...but don't mock the kid.

 

 

That's what's so amazing here.  Not only did a lefty think this post up, but it cleared other lefties' sensibilities and consciences enough to be posted.  And on top of that, it's being defended!  And on top of that...

Papa John's, Vanguard, and Huggies all announced today that they will be dropping their advertisements from Wonkette.

 

"Thank you for alerting us to this. We've taken step to make sure our advertising doesn't appear on that site in the future," tweeted Papa John's Pizza's corporate twitter account.

 

...

 

In another tweet, Wonkette called on consumers to boycott Papa John's.

You got that?  A well-read, popular liberal political blog mocks a special needs child viciously.  Advertisers like Papa Johns logically don't want to be associated with such behavior, so they pull their ads.  And the liberals attack Papa John's, calling for a boycott!

 

A boycott for doing what?!  Standing up for tolerance, good manners and common decency?  Yep.  Because those are elements that when it comes to politics, the left continually demonstrates they have absolutely no regard for whatsoever.  To call this a disgrace and a horrendous blight on the left is a titanic understatement.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, April 22 2011

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As if backing the one Arab liberation movement that was incapable of overcoming its thug dictator wasn't embarrassing enough, now comes news of what many had suspected for some time: al-Qaida has joined the rebel fight in Libya with the hopes of finding another breeding grounds once the tyrant is removed.

 

Of course, the American media aren't going to run wild with this story, because it doesn't help their Obamessiah.  But the French press is reporting it.  As Jack Cashill notes,

An April 19th article in the prominent French daily, Le Figaro, does not shy from chronicling the obvious.  It highlights an interview that Al Qaida spokesman Saleh Abi Mohammad gave to the Saudi journal Al-Hayyat, which is published in London.

 

 

According to Abi Mohammad, Al Qaida is fighting alongside the Libyan rebels in numerous cities and, in the town of Dernah, has already formed with its allies an Islamic Council, "pour gouverner la ville en vertu de la sharia."

 

When asked whether Al-Qaida welcomed foreign intervention, Abi Mohammad answered, (my translation), "It is always preferable to die like a martyr than to ask the help of the crusaders."  He believes that the rebels could have prevailed without assistance, and he does not consider foreign help as "positive."

 

The French author of the article accurately sums up the Al Qaida message as "rather disturbing, one that we err in underestimating."

Remove the tyrant, score a victory for freedom and human rights.  That seems to be the justification being given by Obama and other world leaders for the action we are taking there.  But what if the resulting vacuum produces a terrorist haven?  You know, the enemies of freedom and destroyers of human rights?

 

On a larger scale, this represents the great difficulty in involving ourselves in Middle East affairs.  We have great strategic interests in the region, and therefore isolating ourselves from events there does not seem like a prudent idea.  But, as we found during the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, our well intentioned actions might later end up backfiring.

 

This bizarre action in Libya now falls into this same category.  Except, in this case, we have the benefit of seeing the handwriting on the wall.  The only question remains whether we'll read it, and what we'll decide to do as a result.  Call me a cynic, but I am not overly confident that this President and his team will have any idea what our response should be.  They have been persistently and frighteningly surprised by crisis after crisis, event after event...and this most recent bombshell out of Libya is no change in that pattern.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 22 2011

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As gas prices continue to climb, you would think that President Obama might be feeling the pinch to explain to the population why he continues his anti-domestic oil crusade.  You would think he would feel the need to expound upon why our pursuit and "investment" in solar and wind technology that could and would never replace our fossil fuel dependency is a better use of our time and money than in expanding our domestic fuel exploration that could significantly strengthen our economy.

 

 

After all, energy prices affect every aspect of our economic situation.  High fuel costs drive up the cost of production, consumption, shipping, construction, food...everything.

 

But instead of coming clean about his destructive policies, and the globalist anti-energy ideology that hides beneath them, the President has, predictably, found a boogeyman to blame:

"It is true that a lot of what's driving oil prices up right now is not the lack of supply. There's enough supply. There's enough oil out there for world demand," Obama said at a campaign-style event not far from Washington.

 

...

 

"We're now in a position where we can investigate if there's unfair speculation. We're going to be monitoring gas stations to make sure there isn't any price gouging that's taking advantage of consumers," promised Obama.

 

"But the truth is that it is a world commodity, and when prices spike up like this there aren't a lot of short-term solutions. What we have are medium- and long-term solutions," he said.

Malarkey.  The president has offered no long-term solutions to our foreign oil dependency because the only real long term solution is to invest heavily in the development of our own, astronomically large, domestic oil supplies.  Instead, he has continued to hold us - quite literally - over a barrel with asinine moratoriums and executive drilling bans while gas prices climb and climb and climb.

 

 

The media, you ask?  Where are they when it comes to calling the president on this?  Surely you jest.  Here's where they are:

[The destructive nature of President Obama's oil policies] certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the [BP] oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.

Instead of asking whether Obama's anti-oil policies could be increasing the cost of gas, the networks blamed other factors such as Mideast turmoil or the "money game" played by speculators. Certainly, the turmoil in Libya, Egypt and surrounding nations has increased worries about oil production and can influence the price. But the networks also should have looked for explanations much closer to home.

Should, but won't.  The president blames everyone but himself, and the media isn't about to do it either.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 21 2011

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As the vast majority of Americans know, we are now in the midst of what has been called "Holy Week" in the Christian religion.  Even for those denominations who don't necessarily "celebrate" lent (as it's sometimes known), it is the week that contains the bookends of Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, with Good Friday coming in between.

 

 

Obviously this week holds great religious significance to a large portion of the American population.  And so the mainstream media will clearly honor that reality, right?  Ahem.

 

Culture and Media Institute findings:

Media Undermine Christian Holiday: Nearly two thirds of all stories about Easter were negative (22 out of 34).

 

Easter Used to Attack Catholic Church: Ninety-one percent of the negative Easter stories were about the pedophilia scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Love That Mother Nature: 100 percent of Earth Day stories were positive.

Yes, in case you didn't realize, unfortunately for the vast majority of Americans who recognize and focus on the message of Christ's redemptive work particularly at this time of year, it unfortunately came near the same time as Earth Day this year.  And since Earth Day is far more consistent with the media elite's preferred religion of humanism, Jesus is getting the shaft.

 

As Erin R. Brown notes:

Easter is the quintessential Christian holiday - the celebration of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church.

Holy Week marks the seven days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Christians around the world mark it by attending services, praying and piously observing the holiday.

But in 2010, ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows mentioned "Easter" primarily in connection to the pedophilia scandals that swirled around the Vatican last year, being sure to highlight the "gravest outrage," "scandal," "sexual abuse" and "crisis."

Instead, the networks chose to worship something else: Mother Earth. In contrast to Easter, the 40-year-old eco-holiday Earth Day that focuses on the "plastic lying around the earth" and "going green," managed to get nothing but positive attention from the broadcast media.

How about a couple actual examples to demonstrate the findings?  Let's start with a couple networks, ABC and NBC.  How did they choose to report on the greatest Christian memorials of the year, you ask?

ABC's "World News Saturday" provided the perfect juxtaposition of how the networks disparaged Easter and praised Earth Day in 2010. "This is the holiest weekend in the Christian calendar," said ABC's Dan Harris on April 3, 2010. "But Easter is providing no respite whatsoever from what may be the gravest outrage in the modern history of the Catholic Church."

...

 

NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams showed the same pattern as ABC in its reporting on the Vatican's scandal. "This, of course, is Good Friday," Williams said on April 2, 2010. "And in a service at the Vatican today there was an unusual defense of the pope and the growing sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church."

Might I make a quick sidebar?  I'm not a Catholic, but I am fed up with the obsessive focus on the Catholic Church's pedophilia scandal.  It needed to be exposed.  It needed to be denounced.  It needed to be rectified.  And it was.  For years now.  But the media has now latched onto it as a way to castigate and run down the church and its message.  They're going for the jugular, and have no hesitation about the transparency of their efforts.

 

For instance, how many media reports have you heard talking about the pedophilia scandal within the homosexual community?  It is a rampant problem, with major homosexual publications editorializing in favor of sex with children.  Vocal homosexual lobby groups have called for the lowering of sexual consent age.  And horrific anecdotal stories of confused children being preyed upon by homosexual predators abound.  But the media says nothing.  Why is that?  I'll let you see you if you can figure that out, as we transition back to the way the media, contrasting their coverage of Easter, talked about Earth Day:

"As we said earlier, this is Earth Day, the 40th anniversary, in fact, of what's considered the birth of the modern environmental movement," anchor Brian Williams said on "Nightly News." "On this Earth Day there was this item in the news today, a way to remind us all to take a fresh look at something we look down and see just about every day: cigarette butts. Not only are they the most common form of litter, they are filled with toxins, every one of them that can leach out into the environment and make their way into drinking water supplies and pets, among other things."

CBS and ABC did their part as well.  Welcome to the world as liberals would have it.  Easter week is to be associated with the victimization of kids.  Earth Day is far more glorious.  How ironic that the One who offers the only hope to save the Earth is thrown to the curb by those who want to celebrate it.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 21 2011

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When I was a senior in high school, my AP Government teacher assigned us to read Plato's "The Republic" over the summer.  I can't say that I did that with due diligence, but I remembered enough to be able to write about it the first day back.  In fact, I dedicated pretty much my entire analysis to Plato's admonition about "Watching the Watchmen."

 


In other words, it's fine that government watches over us to check bad behavior...but who watches over them for the same?  This idea was certainly not lost on Founders like James Madison who wrote one of my favorite lines of the Federalist Papers, "In framing a government which is to be administered by men, over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself."

 

It's a challenge that didn't end with the Constitution.  It's one that continues to this day.  And it's one that John Stossel recently saw reflected in the battle over filming police officers.  I know it seems odd.  In fact, I had no idea this was even a controversy, to tell you the truth.  But, as is typical with Stossel, he is on the front lines in the battle for freedom against the creeping hand of tyranny:

I believe in the right to privacy.
   
Yet I can think of someone who deserves very little privacy -- a policeman making an arrest. Unfortunately, in some states it's a crime to make a video of a policeman doing just that. People recording police have been threatened, detained or arrested. Some were jailed overnight.
   
That's wrong. Police work for the public, they're paid with tax money, and most importantly, they have tremendous power. They've got the legal right to pull guns, detain us, lock us up and, in some cases, shoot us. The potential for abuse is great. So it's a good thing that modern video cameras are now so commonplace. Any abuse of police power in a public place is likely to be recorded. Why should that be a crime in some states?

It's a good point.  I have the utmost respect for police officers and the incredible work they do.  I'm alarmed at the increasing danger of their occupation and the growing strain we place on them and their families as our culture's moral backbone withers.  Without moral restraint, police powers (and responsibilities) grow.

 

That being said, given that police officers - like all - are fallible men, the potential for abuse and corruption is present.  And in a position of authority, that is even more serious than normal.  It's why Stossel is right: there should be no expectation of privacy for a police officer conducting their duties in public.  The voice that argues otherwise is one to be quite wary of indeed.

 

 

Again, I didn't even know this was a controversy.  It seems like common sense.  But as I read the following account, I realized not everyone seems to understand that:

In Maryland, motorcyclist Tony Graber got in trouble for recording a cop who pulled him over for speeding. Graber didn't know it was cop. He was just a guy in plainclothes with a gun. The cop eventually identified himself.
   
"Graber didn't get arrested until he posted that video on YouTube," Balko explained. "Once he posted it ... the state police raided his home -- came into his home early in the morning, guns drawn -- confiscated a bunch of computer equipment, held him and his parents at gunpoint, arrested him. He spent several nights in jail. He had felony charges hanging over his head until the case finally got to court."
   
Fortunately, a state judge threw out the charges and wrote a strong opinion: "Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation."
   
He ended by asking, "Who watches the watchmen?" -- a question Plato raised in "The Republic." Good for the judge. But Balko points out that no one punished the authorities who abused their power. "The prosecutor who charged him, the cops who raided him and arrested him -- they were all wrong about the law and did real harm to him, and none of them are going to suffer any consequences."
   
Most police officers told us that they're fine with cameras, and some were happy they were recorded when they were vindicated of misconduct charges thanks to a video made by a bystander. The cops who object tend to be problem cops. That little phone with a camera is a good thing. Now it's even a weapon against tyranny.

The old adage says that character is reflected by what you do when no one is looking.  Its meaning relies on the truth that when people are watching, we tend to be on our best behavior.  So let's not write laws that restrict the amount of people who can be watching the watchmen.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 21 2011

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I received some very good emails about the recent budget deal, including one that pointed out that "cutting" $38 billion from our national government's budget accounts for about 8 days of its yearly spending.  Yes, you read that right.  We are supposed to be in awe that the Republicans and Democrats just figured out a way to balance their books for 8 out of 365 days.

 

I don't think so.

 

But there were some good things that have come out of the budget debate, even if the final product leaves a lot to be desired.  Phyllis Schafly has an analysis out where she listed the things we have learned by watching it.  I appreciated many of her points.

 

Some of the best:

We've turned a corner. The debate is no longer about what new phony "stimulus" spending Obama will try to rush through Congress but about how much and what appropriations to cut.

This isn't to be overlooked.  No, what was cut was not anywhere close to being enough.  But years of apathy on our part has resulted in this runaway mess and it's going to take time to get things going in the right direction (a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution will necessitate that we do - which is why it is a critical step to achieve).  But Mr. Spending Spree himself is now having to take seriously the idea of cutting his profligate ways.  That's a small victory worth noting.

The Democrats are better negotiators than Republicans. After the midnight Obama-John Boehner deal on the remainder of the 2011 budget, which was announced as a $38 billion reduction, we discovered that it was really only $20 billion, just a 1 percent reduction, because Obama had hidden in the agreement "phantom cuts," "orphan earmarks," credit for eliminating czars who were already toast and generous funding for his favorite programs such as Head Start, "Race to the Top" and Pell grants.

This one is not such good news.  But it's important to notice.  Republicans should know better than to think Democrats are going to give up their gravy train.  We need more cynical conservatives elected who won't fall for this.

U.S. voters are still vehement in demanding repeal of Obamacare and the extra spending it includes. Support for Obama's signature legislation has dropped to only 35 percent.

ObamaCare left in place will single-handedly undo any efforts to turn our financial ship around.  The nightmare hasn't even really begun yet, and it's already bad.  It must go.  Period.

The Republicans are far too timid in dealing with the fiscal and unemployment problems created by illegal immigration. That is costing us a mountain of taxpayer spending for means-tested financial handouts, hospital and medical care and U.S. citizenship given to anchor babies.


Amen.  This is a bread and butter issue that has to be pressed in the coming 2012 elections.  It will mean chucking more than just Democrats, that's for sure.  America is the land of opportunity.  And if we don't stop the drain illegal immigration puts on our economy, that opportunity for legal immigrants and citizens will soon disappear.

"Yes we can" (using a useful slogan from Obama's campaign) put Medicare and Social Security on sound financial footing that will enable those two programs to survive. Paul Ryan's and Jim Jordan's budgets both show us how.

Any politician who tells you we don't need to "mess" with Medicare and Social Security is lying to you.  They are not to be trusted.  The programs are unsustainable and must be fixed yesterday.  Right now, that can still be done by preserving benefits for those who currently rely on them, but making adjustments for future individuals who have time to plan for the changes.  But the longer we wait, the greater the chances become that those currently on the programs will face cuts.

 

Schafly's whole list is worth reading. 

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 21 2011

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Cal Thomas found in his recent column the latest example of the left's embarrassing inconsistency on matters of "choice."  It's been one of my longest standing beefs with liberals that they claim to be champions of choice when it comes to killing kids, but on virtually every other issue, they war against the freedom to choose: from schools to healthcare to food.

 

Rarely does this reality become quite as glaring as it did in Washington, D.C. recently.  Thomas describes it:

The Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., Vincent Gray, distinguished himself last week by getting arrested in an act of "civil disobedience" reminiscent of the '60s. The mayor, six council members and more than 40 other protesters were detained by Capitol police for blocking the street to oppose the congressional budget deal that deprived D.C. of federal funds for abortions.

 

 

They were also protesting a mandate under the same agreement that revives a popular school choice program, the "Opportunity Scholarship Program," which allows poor children in failing schools an opportunity to attend schools they and their parents believe will give them the best possible education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had pulled the plug on the Bush-era program after pressure from the teacher's union which, in a reversal of Bush's "No Child Left Behind," behaves as if no child in a failing school should be let out.

You got that, right?  A protest that encompassed demands for "choice" when it comes to human sacrifice, but simultaneously demands no "choice" when it comes to escaping failing schools.  I guess I have to ask the obvious: what do liberals have against children?

 

And D.C. is actually a very instructive example.  On the one hand, it has an incredibly high abortion rate - as do many inner cities.  In fact, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, there are 265 abortions for every 100 live births in D.C.  That number is astounding.

 

Concurrently, D.C. public schools are among the worst.  As Thomas points out, locking kids into these disaster zones, D.C. liberals sentence their own youth to lives of poverty, illiteracy, and welfare dependence.

 

So again I ask rational minds: what compassion is there to be found in an ideology that cares so little about children it will rally in the streets to facilitate their slaughter.  And for those few that survive the holocaust, they will lock them in deplorable conditions with no hope of escape?  That's the glory of liberalism.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, April 21 2011

I regularly receive and read articles from a selected group of market analysts. From these sources of analysis - and others - I note disturbing trends. In spite of the initially successful surge of conservative organizations - notably the TEA Party - most of the analysis that I receive indicates that health care reality will be toward greater government involvement and control. One recent article includes this observation:

Right now, we need to pay attention to domestic political winds. It seems that, regardless of the people's ideological leanings in the short-run, we have a shift in psychology afoot in the long run.

 

Even in the U.S., folks are beginning to view health care as more of a conceptual RIGHT than a privilege. I expect this mindset to grow in popularity, and, alas, I view political attempts to delay the inevitable as fleeting at best.

 

That may not be what many of us WANT to happen.

That third sentence indicates the quicksand we have decided to wallow in. It likewise indicates the ultimate dangers inherent in this psychological shift.

 

 

Once entrenched as a conceptual right, as "Obamacare" declares, subsequent market distortions and inefficiencies become inconsequential to American citizens. With this mindset, health care becomes another bargaining chip that professional politicians can use to easily manipulate the public and buy votes. Private health care sectors become the targets of political rhetoric and regulation.

 

Even though touted by liberal politicians and their media minions as a means of protecting helpless Americans from uncaring, greedy corporate interests, another corporate-political alliance will be forged that ensures that the lives of ordinary Americans will be negatively impacted. Health care companies will learn quickly how to thrive in the environment of health care socialism, which will accelerate the elimination of private sector innovation.

 

Will anyone be helped by this developing system? Yes. Initially, there will be those who appear to have "access" to otherwise unaffordable procedures and treatments. Like any pyramid scheme, the early participants reap significant benefits at great cost to subsequent participants. Professional politicians, select corporations, Big Media minions, and other power brokers will benefit.

 

In the end, though, we will all be worse off as drive and innovation gives way to apathetic self-centeredness. The cost of socialized health care will ultimately be higher than any free market system. As has already been demonstrated in nations adopting these schemes, inefficiencies translate into costly and deadly treatment delays.

 

The big question that remains, though, is what happens to the world of health care when the nation that has been propping up the deleterious impacts of socialized health care around the world succumbs to its own health care tipping point? Personally, I don't think that it is going to be a pretty picture.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 20 2011

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As a teacher I have said a number of times that I am totally opposed to bullying.  And that includes bullying in all forms: bullying someone because they're overweight, bullying someone because they're effeminate, bullying someone because they're "super-religious," all of it is unacceptable.

 

Will it happen?  Of course.  But I believe schools should deal swiftly and harshly with all bullying - though it won't eliminate the bullying, it can do a great deal to minimize its impact on victims who should not ever have to view school as a place of intimidation, or a place that they get sick in the morning thinking about having to go and face.


 

But, as is usually the case, those who claim to care most about this issue are the ones who have turned it into a political platform rather than a serious attempt to crackdown on its prevalence.  As we see in a litany of examples, do-gooder liberals convince themselves that by having a sit-down talky-talk and "national conversation" about the problem, it will someone make the problem go away.

 

Actually no, it won't.  The problem, as I have stated, will never go away entirely.  But the way to make it shrink is to ream the bullies and deal with them harshly.  Of course, that's something liberals have fought for generations to eliminate from schools as well.

 

Thomas Sowell talks about this nonsense in a recent article:

When educators are going to do nothing, they express great concern and make pious public pronouncements. They may even hold conferences, write op-ed pieces or declare a "no tolerance" policy. But they are still not going to do anything that is likely to stop bullying.

 

In some rough schools, they can't even stop the bullying of teachers by the hooligans in their classes, much less stop the bullying of students.

 

Not all of this is the educators' fault. The courts have created a legal climate where any swift and decisive action against bullies can lead to lawsuits. The net results are indecision, half-hearted gestures and pious public pronouncements by school officials, none of which is going to stop bullies.

 

When judges create new "rights" for bullies out of thin air, just as they do for criminals, and prescribe "due process" for school discipline, just as if schools were little courtrooms, then nothing is likely to happen promptly or decisively.

 

If there is anything worse than doing nothing, it is doing nothing spiced with empty rhetoric about what behavior is "unacceptable" -- while in fact accepting it.

I can hear my liberal friends now saying things like, "Oh but Peter, school administrators might become abusive or go too far!"  In other words, they might start bullying the bullies.  So let me get this straight: they trust adolescent bullies to behave appropriately after singing Kum-ba-yah and talking about their feelings with a counselor more than they trust highly trained, well paid administrators to administer justice fairly?

 

Then why are we training and paying them so much?  Sowell continues by illustrating another part of the problem:

President Barack Obama has joined the chorus of those deploring bullying. But his own administration is pushing the notion that a disproportionate number of suspensions or other punishments for members of particular racial or ethnic groups is discriminatory.

 

In other words, if a school suspends more black males than Asian females, that is taken as a sign of discrimination. No one in his right mind really believes that, but it is part of the grand make-believe that pervades our politics and even our courts.

 

For years, there have been stories in New York and Philadelphia newspapers about black kids beating up Asian classmates. But do not expect anybody to do anything that is likely to put a stop to it.

 

If these were white kids beating up Hispanic kids, cries of outrage would ring out across the land from the media, the politicians, the churches and civic groups. But it is not politically correct to make a fuss when black kids beat up Asian kids.

You want to stop bullying in schools to the greatest degree possible?  Okay, then tank the political correctness garbage and punish swiftly and harshly those students - of any color, race, creed, nationality or gender - who bully.

 

If you haven't figured it out yet, doing so will require wresting control of our schools from the liberal left.  Liberals are a bully's best friend.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 20 2011

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In my column this week, I ask the question what has happened to the war in Libya.  Though sporadic news coverage mentions its existence, we aren't being bombarded regularly with the sorry state of affairs unfolding there obviously as a result of the media's obsession with protecting Obama in the lead-up to his re-election bid.

 

But in case there was any confusion as to how things are going, Patrick Buchanan's recent column lays it to rest:

Of our Libyan intervention, one thing may be safely said, and another safely predicted. When he launched his strikes on the Libyan army and regime, Barack Obama did not think it through. And this nation is now likely to be drawn even deeper into that war.

Drawn deeper?  But I thought the president had promised no boots on the ground?  I thought this was to be a war of a matter of days, not months, and certainly not years?  I thought the president had announced that we had already handed over everything to NATO.  Well, there might be some truth in that last point (though obviously, as I have pointed out previously, we are NATO).

 

For Moammar Gadhafi's forces not only survived the U.S. air and missile strikes, after which we turned the air war over to NATO, his forces have since shown themselves superior to the rebels. Without NATO, the rebels would have been routed a month ago. And, today, NATO itself stands a chance of being humiliated.

 

"NATO's Bomb Supply Is Running Short," ran Saturday's headline in the Washington Post over a story that began thus:

 

"Less than a month into the Libyan conflict, NATO is running short of precision bombs, highlighting the limitations of Britain, France and other European countries in maintaining even a relatively small military action over an extended period of time. ...

 

"The shortage of European munitions, along with the limited number of aircraft available, has raised doubts ... about whether the United States can continue to avoid returning to the air campaign if Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi hangs on to power."

 

Only six NATO nations have planes running strikes on the Libyan army, and the French and British, who are doing most of the bombing, are running out of laser-guided munitions. And their planes are not equipped to handle U.S. smart bombs.

 

NATO air attacks are thus becoming less precise and lethal, as Gadhafi is pounding Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the west, and his army is again contesting Ajdabiya, the gateway to Benghazi. In short, the war is not going well.

Not well, indeed.  Imagine for a second that this was a war that George W. Bush had initiated.  Do you think we would have heard the word "quagmire" broached yet?  Of course.  Do you think we would have been subjected to a constant drumbeat of his ill-advised entrance into a conflict that has no impact on American interests?  Obviously.

 

But again, this isn't about consistency in journalism.  It's about getting a man re-elected.  And keeping Libya quiet is apparently going to be a critical step in achieving that end.  For as Buchanan surmises,

If the United States does not get back on the field, the Libyan army will likely crush resistance in Misrata and push the rebels back to Benghazi and Tobruk. As the rebels lack the soldiering experience or organization to conduct an offensive, and their NATO air arm is weakening, the best they can probably hope for in the near term is to hold on to what they have in the east. Which means a stalemate - a no-win war.

That becoming public means a no-win re-election.  So expect the media silence to continue.unless the alternative media pushes them into having no choice but to cover it.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 20 2011

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The "climate change" movement is in trouble.  Having cried "rising sea levels" one too many times, no one is really paying attention anymore. 

 

Looking back, it probably wasn't the brightest idea to attribute every meteorological phenomenon to global warming if they were looking to sustain popular belief in their crusade.  One mega-blockbuster from Hollywood about how Dick Cheney was bringing on the next ice age with his cold-hearted policies was probably enough.


 

Hysterics will generate attention, but they won't last.  And they haven't.  But at least you can give them credit for being persistent.  Their latest claim demonstrates the lovable desperation we've come to appreciate from the Goreites.  And it also demonstrates the obsession they have with providing only the best, most scientific analysis of the issue.

 

It happened on NPR's (who else?) program All Things Considered on Saturday night.  As Tim Graham noted:

Instead of finding a scientist, NPR offered an expert with these credentials: "Paul Solotaroff is a contributing editor at Men's Journal and Rolling Stone. He has written features for Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, and the New York Times Magazine, and he was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004. His work has been included in Best American Sports Writing." (His most recent book, published last summer, was titled The Body Shop: Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron -- Or, My Life In the Age of Muscle.)

I know Graham is mocking him a bit, but I would challenge that Paul Solotaroff knows every bit as much about the issue as Al Gore himself.  Note that isn't to be interpreted as a compliment to Solotaroff.  Nonetheless, here's how the conversation unfolded:

NOAH ADAMS, anchor: In Yellowstone, the whitebark pine trees are affected by the increase in temperature. The whitebark seeds are a basic food for the grizzly bears. Last year, grizzlies attacked several visitors, killing two. Paul Solotaroff writes about it in the April issue of Men's Journal. He believes there's a definite connection.

PAUL SOLOTAROFF: About five, six years ago, arborists begin to notice that these extraordinary trees that have for many, many thousands of years survived winters of 50, 60 below, suddenly were dying and not dying by the handful, but dying by the stand, eaten alive by something called mountain pine beetles.

ADAMS: So the beetles, they can - it's not hot enough so they can go to work.

SOLOTAROFF: They can go to work and they can now spend the winter inside these trees, hatch their larvae, survive the winter themselves and attack the trees they've set up shop in and then fly to new trees and eat them alive as well.

ADAMS: Now, tell us about the attacks on the campers in Yellowstone. How many people were killed? How many were injured? What was going on there?

SOLOTAROFF: Well, there hadn't been a bear-caused fatality in two and a half decades in Yellowstone. And over the course of six weeks, two people were killed. One, a most unfortunate episode in which a botanist was wandering in an area that had just been visited by grizzly bear study team and they'd found a grizzly and they've knocked them out to take hair samples, tooth samples and the like. And they didn't post signs, warning that they were there and it was a bear that had been sedated. And so this poor guy wandered into a clearing, and there he found the bear waking up. And the bear killed him and ran away.

If I might interject for a second.  We are supposed to believe that the reason this bear went postal on the botanist was because he was ticked about the beetles eating his food?  I'm gonna guess it had more to do with the team of humans that jumped him, knocked him out stone-cold and then started yankin' his hair out for testing.  The bear wakes up from sedation, still stumbling around kinda groggy, and there's another one of them right there.  I'm gonna say that has a lot more to do with it than the beetles.  But hey, that's just me.  Back to the transcript...

And then six weeks later, a tragically thin mother bear and her three cubs wandered onto a campsite where they smelled cooking fish and they attacked several campers, and then finally wound up killing and devouring an EMT from Michigan.

Scary stuff, isn't it?  I don't mean the mauling of humans.  I mean the tragically thin bears running around.  I can't imagine the horror of seeing such a thing.  It makes me want to sell my SUV right now.


 

NPR was ecstatic about this.  Graham jokes that they were so thrilled by his scary stories that they probably made a campfire in the studio as they listened to more accounts of grizzly attacks:

ADAMS: You have a very scary sentence in your article about the hunger of the bears. It is this: So desperate have they become that they run toward gunfire, having learned that hunters leave gut piles after a kill.

SOLOTAROFF: Yeah. It isn't just a lack of whitebark and those fleshy seeds. I mean, bears need to eat 13, 14,000 calories a day to maintain body weight and also fatten up for the four or five months to go to sleep. And if it were only the pine nuts that have become scarce, they probably be able to find a compensating food source.

The problem is that the fish are dying as well. The streams have gotten so warm, because the summers are longer. The runoff from snow is skinnier. Meaning that by July and August, the fish are dying of heat stroke essentially. And so bears who could depend upon cutthroat trout and brown trout and rainbow trout to pan out their protein diet are now going hungry in trout streams as well. And it's this kind of, you know, deprivation that is turning bears increasingly desperate.

Forget rising sea levels.  Your obsession with the comforts of cheap energy are turning bears increasingly desperate.  Have you capitalist pigs no shame?

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 20 2011

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Well, I'm convinced.  I admit to always having been a skeptic, but sometimes things just click together and make sense to the point that the light bulb just goes off in your head.  For the longest time I have believed two things with a strong amount of certainty:

 

1) JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, who acted alone;

 

2) There are no extra-terrestrials out there visiting Earth every so often in flying saucers.


 

My world has now been rocked by a recent report from the Daily Mail:

An uncovered letter written by John F Kennedy to the head of the CIA shows that the president demanded to be shown highly confidential documents about UFOs 10 days before his assassination.

 

The secret memo is one of two letters written by JFK asking for information about the paranormal on November 12 1963, which have been released by the CIA for the first time.

 

Author William Lester said the CIA released the documents to him under the Freedom of Information Act after he made a request while researching his new book 'A Celebration of Freedom: JFK and the New Frontier.'

 

...

 

Alien researchers say the latest documents, released to Mr Lester by the CIA, add weight to the suggestion that the president could have been shot to stop him discovering the truth about UFOs.

The Mail is close, but not quite there.  It seems pretty apparent to me that Lee Harvey Oswald was an alien life form.  Think about it: I've seen "The Men Who Killed Kennedy."  I've seen "JFK."  The rapid fire that Oswald supposedly engaged in was just not humanly possible.  While that's always fueled conspiracy theories, this recent information explains it perfectly.


Sure it wasn't "humanly" possible...but what it was possible for an alien with far better dexterity, agility and reaction time.

 

Simply put: this is a bombshell.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

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I absolutely loved the AP headline attached to yesterday's tax filing deadline.  There, in big bold letters, it screamed: "Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically."  Fits the template nicely, doesn't it?  The same time frame where the president is speaking about how the evil Republicans want to starve Granny while paying off the super rich, the AP runs a story like that.  Coincidence?  Right.

 

Even more telling is what the headline COULD and SHOULD have been.  Consider what the story's first paragraph revealed:

As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.

Umm...did you catch that last part?  In the same sentence that boasted the lead, we see this little jewel: "nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all."  Isn't that somewhat noteworthy?  Couldn't the headline of this story been, "Half the Country Pay No Income Taxes, as Wealthier Bear Heavy Burden?"


 

It's all in the perspective you bring to the story.  And might I also ask, which of those two realities seems to be the most concerning?  The fact that the job creators (aka "the super rich") aren't having to pay as much to the government...or the fact that while still reaping the benefits and services of the government, half the country's households aren't contributing a dime to its operation?

 

For anyone interested in the sustainability of our way of life, the latter is of utmost concern.  But since our bitter partisan-in-chief is trying to get re-elected, he needs to do some high profile demagoguery, and ragging on the job creators has always been a go-to formula.

 

That's why you see headlines like this, while bearing the lead.  It's why you see CBS News Sunday Morning reporting the talking points dutifully:

"All the data are overwhelmingly showing that for the last 30 years money has been flowing upward. It's not trickle down economics. It's Niagara up."

What they leave out is the fairly obvious reality that hiking taxes on the wealthiest is going to do nothing to stem this concerning trend.  In fact, it's only going to exacerbate it.  If you want to expand the tax rolls, the best way to do it is to cut taxes on everyone - particularly those whose wealth creates jobs.  That puts more people to work, giving more people incomes, meaning more people contribute to the government, and shazam, the government revenue increases.

 

But none of that fits the current caricature of the right that the President is trying to paint right now.  Which means none of it will see the light of day in the mainstream media.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

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Peter was joined on Tuesday's show by American Family Association of Indiana's Executive Director, Micah Clark.  Micah also is a contributor to the Liberty Tree blog.


 

Now that the Democrats have decided to come back to work in Indianapolis, a lot of legislation is flowing towards the Governor's mansion.  How much of it is pro-family, and pro-life?  Clark keeps a close eye on that, and came on to answer those questions.

Posted by: Anna Anderson AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

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One of the things I'm attempting to discipline myself about is to turn off the radio when I leave the radio station following my show.  The reason?  Our flagship station defers to ESPN radio right as I'm signing off, and the program that begins airing immediately is the Doug Gottlieb Show.  The only thing guarnateed to be worse than Mr. Gottlieb's perspective on sports, is his understanding of politics.


 

Most in "the biz" know that sports media is some of the most liberal media there is, but Gottlieb adds something extra to the standard left-wing tilt: he adds the critical element of being uninformed and proud of it.  After hearing Gottlieb share his ignorance with the world regarding the issue of abortion last year (perhaps someone should tell Doug that even his most loyal fans tune in to hear him talk about putting balls in little baskets, not about critical political and social issues), I figured it was best for my blood pressure to avoid tuning in.

 

I violated my own rule the other day - and paid the price for it.  Gottlieb was sharing his belief that L.A. Lakers' star Kobe Bryant should have something more than just a heavy fine for his recent behavior - perhaps a suspension.  Knowing it was almost time for the NBA Playoffs, I wondered what huge offense Bryant had perpetrated.  I did some looking.  I wish I hadn't.

 

Bryant apparently was caught on camera using a derogatory term beginning with the letter "f" that is used to describe those practicing homosexual behavior.  That Bryant directed those comments towards a referee certainly explains why the league would take action against the player.  And certainly, this is a word that those of us with a hint of decency don't make part of our vocabulary.


 

But the outrage over this act is extraordinarily bizarre when put in perspective.  Tim Graham explains:

Back in 2007, The New York Times was delighted when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the TV networks and against FCC fines for fleeting profanities on broadcast TV. "If Bush Can Blurt Curse, So Can Network TV," the Times wrote in its Page One headline.

 

But in 2011, when gays are outraged that NBA star Kobe Bryant was caught on television during a game mouthing the "gay F-bomb" at a referee, and the NBA assesses an amazing $100,000 fine for this one word, Times sports columnist William Rhoden argued the fine was puny and that Bryant should be forced to sit out the first game of the playoffs.

Add Doug Gottlieb to that list.  The folks all about free expression - the same folks who rag on devout Christians for getting upset about blasphemous movies and jokes or think they're exaggerating their concerns about the "war on Christmas" - quickly do a turn-about when it's one of their own protected classes in question.

 

In other words, "if you're offended by the f-word, get over it!"  But, "we're offended by the other f-word, and so you must be punished for saying it."  Hypocrites.

 

The New York Times, for their part, decided to throw in a bit of hyperbolic accusation on top of their sanctimonious sermonizing, by throwing in these words of a former sports star now practicing homosexuality outwardly, John Amaechi:

Kobe, stop fighting the fine. You spoke ill-advised words that shot out like bullets, and if the e-mails I received from straight and gay young people and sports fans in Los Angeles alone are anything to go by, you did serious damage with your outburst.

 

 

...

 

Right now in America young people are being killed and killing themselves simply because of the words and behaviors they are subjected to for being perceived as lesbian or gay, or frankly just different. This is not an indictment of the individuals suffocated by their mistreatment, it is an indication of the power of that word, and others like it, to brutalize and dehumanize. This F-word, which so many people seem to think is no big deal, is the postscript to too many of those lives cut short.

No one is defending the use of an offensive term.  It is, after all, offensive.  My beef is simply to ask why these folks on the left don't feel it necessary to apply their protected status to those they disagree with?  For instance, why can the homosexual lobby demonize ex-gay groups with impunity?  Why can liberal Hollywood activists trash Christians?  Why can liberal politicians verbally assault and unjustly accuse tea partiers?

 

Why don't those examples of verbal expression warrant fines, suspensions and indignant outrage?  Let me know if Doug Gottlieb addresses those questions.  If I remember, I won't be listening.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

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Call it irony.  The United States Postal Service recently issued a statement apologizing that it modeled its stamp of the Statue of Liberty not after the one in New York harbor, but the one from the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas.

 

The irony was not lost on Mark Steyn:

An ersatz statue of pseudo-liberty standing guard over the world's biggest gambling operation: What better way to round out a week in which the Republicans pretended to pass the most historically historic budget cut in history while the president pretended to come up with a plan to address the debt?

 

...

 

After the revelations that the $38.5 billion 2011 budget cut will in reality either cut a mere $352 million from the 2011 budget or, in fact, increase it by $3 billion, it might be easier just to build a replica White House, Capitol, and Congressional Budget Office at the new Beltway Casino next to Caesar's Palace. Vegas is no longer the world's biggest gambling resort; America is. Barack Obama says we need to "win the future," and one more roll of the dice should do it: a trillion dollars of chips on the stimulus came up empty but let's pile another couple trillion on Obamacare, and "high-speed rail," and "green jobs," and "broadband access" . . . And all the while Wayne Newton is singing "Danke Schoen" in Chinese. But don't worry, we're not just throwing our money away. We're playing to a system! The president calls it "investing in the future."

 

How do you "invest in the future"? By borrowing $188 million every hour.


It gives new meaning to Obama's call to "win the future," doesn't it?  President Obama's only solution to our spending problem is to spend...and spend...and spend some more.  Schools, highways, rail systems, green jobs, you name it...we'll borrow some more money from China and roll the dice.

 

After humorously poking fun at the silliness of Obama's tired speeches citing the exact same examples over and over again, Steyn asked a very serious and worthwhile question:

Question: How much do you have to invest in the future before you've spent it and no longer have one?

We may be closer to finding out the answer to that than we may want to admit.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

Ah, the time has come.

 

For the warmth of spring with its wakening beauty? Well, we do wait wishfully for that in my neck of the woods.

 

Sadly, the time has come for liberal pundits across the spectrum to let conservatives know which of their potential candidates are president-worthy and which are not. With no consideration for any of the rationale behind some actions, they move to taint every thought that threatens their precious liberalism. Anyone who opposes immoral social and fiscal policies is a "radical right-winger." In his recent column, Carl Leubsdorf writes:

In the end, Obama's birthplace is unlikely to be a decisive issue. The odds are against either Bachmann or Trump actually winning the nomination. But last year's Republican primaries and this year's initial maneuvering shows their candidacies may help conservative GOP primary and caucus voters force potential nominees to the right of independents, who decide presidential elections.


Conservatives dare not support candidates who liberals contend will upset "independents." That won't win elections, after all. Conservatives need to put up candidates that liberals suggest. Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

 

This whole scenario is akin to atheists who delight in going around telling Christians that they are not properly practicing their faith! The idea of an atheist who runs around denying the reality of any deity and who would not recognize the presence of the Messiah any more than did the Pharisees when He was standing before them in plain sight telling another that he is more familiar with righteous living than the Christian practitioner is ludicrous and laughable. So is the idea of liberals who run around telling conservatives who their logical candidates should be.

 

But, they get their hearing and will no doubt sabotage the minds of some who have a hard time recognizing truth.

 

Nevertheless, as we all recognize, every time liberals get to flex their political muscle and put actions where their mouths are, sensible Americans recognize and reject the despicable and deceitful depths to which liberals stoop. One hopes, then, that conservatives stop heeding silly liberal admonitions and concentrate on those who are willing to practice the ideology that will once again benefit Americans.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 12:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

It is normally conservatives who are deceitfully and dismissively portrayed as wanting only to maintain the status quo and to thwart positive progress. As the recent education and union battles in some states have recently shown, the status quo has acquired some interesting defenders.

 

As a resident of one of the states in which education and labor reforms have been proposed, I have been deluged with numerous flyers, ads, and articles maintaining that change is bad. One flyer arrived this morning in my newspaper proclaiming, "MYTH: Public Education is failing in Indiana."

 


Massive protests against proposed education reforms have been staged in this state's capital by teachers whipped into a frenzy by their union personnel (not during spring breaks, though). They declare that the proposed reforms will not "be good for the children." The extension of the protest, then, is that the status quo is good "for the children." By logical application, they declare that the status quo is also good for the taxpayer.

 

What is lost among the headlines and heated rhetoric is, of course, objective, rational discussion about the impact of maintaining the status quo over proposed reforms. Not surprisingly, teachers and unionists are concerned over threats - perceived or real - to their personal benefits. The resulting reality is that as such threats surface, progressives clearly demonstrate that they are not progressive.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 09:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 18 2011

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A few years ago I overheard some friends talking about a new minister named Rob Bell.  They were watching some of his videos online and when I asked what they were doing, they told me...before following it up with, "But we don't think you'd probably care for him too much." 

 

 

Frankly, they weren't terribly far off in that assessment.  Please understand I don't know Rob Bell and I'm sure he's a delightful and warm and genuine person.  But the reason my friends felt that I wouldn't "care for him" was because they knew I'd have bigger problems than just the fact that he was of the hipster emerging church movement: the jeans wearing, un-tucked shirt school of latte-sipping gospel spreading.  Though it's not my style, I can deal with that.  My preferences are just that...preferences...so long as it's the true gospel that's being spread.

 

But I've always feared that too often a casual attitude demonstrated in approaching the throne of God reflects a casual attitude about the holiness and authority of who sits on that throne.  With Rob Bell, such a concern is seemingly validated.

 

A recent Time Magazine profile explains Bell's disastrous decision to blaspheme the Word of God and consequently lead an untold number of congregants who follow him - rather than Christ - down a destructive path.  The Time piece begins by telling the opening story of Bell's new book, "Love Wins."  In the account, Bell has an art show at his church that includes a piece quoting Gandhi.  Someone who attended the show posted a note on the piece that said, "Reality Check: Gandhi is in Hell."

 

Now, I can certainly appreciate Bell being concerned about the lack of tact.  But what I can't understand is any minister who supposedly holds to the authority of Scripture using this incident as the impetus to begin preaching something fundamentally opposed to Christian doctrine:

He suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal - meaning that, as his book's subtitle puts it, "every person who ever lived" could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be. Such a simple premise, but with Easter at hand, this slim, lively book has ignited a new holy war in Christian circles and beyond.

For those who might be confused as to the significant danger of this "holy war," Dr. Albert Mohler put it plainly:

"When you adopt universalism and erase the distinction between the church and the world," says Mohler, "then you don't need the church, and you don't need Christ, and you don't need the cross. This is the tragedy of nonjudgmental mainline liberalism, and it's Rob Bell's tragedy in this book too."

Precisely.  And the reason "tragedy" is such an appropriate term is that this failure doesn't involve just Bell and his own family.  It includes countless families that have trusted him with their spiritual guidance.  This unfolding disaster reflects undoubtedly why Scripture warns those who teach and preach to be wary - for they will be judged more harshly than others.

 

But Bell doesn't appear overly worried about his judgment...or, more frighteningly, anyone else's for that matter.  His own words betray his greater interest may be accumulating earthly accolades - becoming the leader of what he perceives as a great Christian revolution:

"I have long wondered if there is a massive shift coming in what it means to be a Christian," Bell says. "Something new is in the air."

What arrogance.  No Rob, there is no shift coming in "what it means to be a Christian."  You may be successful in diminishing the number of people who adhere to Biblical Christianity, or who regard all Scripture as God-breathed.  But no mortal - no matter how many people fill his parking lot (something Bell bizarrely boasts about in this piece) - will alter the immortal meaning of being a disciple of Christ.


 

And I would implore Rob Bell to take a good sniff at that smell that is "in the air."  It's nothing new at all.  It's the same, tired old stench of false teaching.  Consider:

He believes in Jesus' atonement; he says he is just unclear on whether the redemption promised in Christian tradition is limited to those who meet the tests of the church.

Tests of the church?  Where did this man get his theological training?  It becomes clear from this statement that Bell is one who, consciously or not, rejects the infallibility of Scripture and the inerrancy of God's Word.  Much as Bell might love to tuck "Love Wins" right in there between Galatians and Ephesians, the Word stands alone - and if one can ignore the exclusive nature of the Gospel message (meaning while open to all, the narrow path is reserved for only those who choose it), interpreting it away for some universalist, liberal doctrine that soothes itching ears, what prevents one from doing the same with any sticky or uncomfortable teaching of Scripture?

 

Even the Time writer gets the problem:

[T]o take away hell is to leave the church without its most powerful sanction. If heaven, however defined, is everyone's ultimate destination in any event, then what's the incentive to confess Jesus as Lord in this life? If, in other words, Gandhi is in heaven, then why bother with accepting Christ? If you say the Bible doesn't really say what a lot of people have said it says, then where does that stop? If the verses about hell and judgment aren't literal, what about the ones on adultery, say, or homosexuality? Taken to their logical conclusions, such questions could undermine much of conservative Christianity.

Drop the intentionally misleading word "conservative," and that assessment is about spot-on.  This has been the tactic we Christians have had to protect ourselves against coming from the world.  They have sought to call into question certain Biblical teachings, and we have resisted by stressing that once you relinquish the inerrancy of one portion of the Word, who is to stop another from calling into question the plan of salvation itself?  To our horror we have now found that questioning taking place by one of our own.  This isn't an outside assault against Biblical authority.  It's internal subterfuge - a mutiny from within. 

 

Bell is later quoted as saying it is fair to speculate about heaven and hell because no one has sent back video footage of what happens after we die, so we don't know for sure.

 

If you needed more proof of Bell's sorry confusion, his arrogant willingness to boldly mislead, or his blasphemous undermining of the authority of Scripture, you need look no further.  A true disciple of Christ recognizes that we may not have video footage, but we do have the testimony of One who has seen both sides of the eternal divide - One who conquered Hell to reign in Heaven. 


 

It is He who said that no man comes to the Father except by Him, with no alternative Gandhi route mentioned.  It is He that we are told represents the one name under heaven by which we must be saved.  It is He that the most popular Bible passage of all time reminds us whosoever believeth in, shall live eternally. 

 

And it is by His authority and His Word I choose to stake my life; not that of Rob Bell, who in the end - despite undoubtedly earning earthly wealth and fame for doing so - has accomplished nothing more than adding the latest chapter to the sorry text of humanism...and has willfilly joined the lineage of those who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. 

 

Pray for "Pastor" Bell's repentance, and especially for those who he has permitted Satan to tragically lead astray through his false teaching.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  13 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 18 2011

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I've heard the conventional wisdom: Sarah Palin has the ability to be a king-maker, she will be much less powerful if she runs for president and doesn't get the nomination; Palin's brand is forever tarnished, but someone like Michele Bachmann can pick up where she left off; Palin is too embroiled in pop culture battles with the media to be taken seriously.

 

I'm still not buying it.  Conventional wisdom has always been wrong on Sarah Palin and I think it will prove to be wrong this time as well.  Obviously, anything can happen, and it does seem odd to me that Bachmann would enter the presidential race (if she officially does) without Palin's blessing and support, but I just think there is a spot in this primary for Palin.


 

Her speech in Madison, Wisconsin didn't convince me otherwise:

Conservative Sarah Palin returned to the U.S. political arena on Saturday after several months absence with a feisty speech attacking both the establishment Republican Party and Democratic President Barack Obama and proclaiming "the 2012 elections begin here."

 

...

 

As snow and sleet fell on Madison's main square, Palin attacked the budget compromise between Republicans and Obama on cuts of around $38 billion instead of $100 billion promised by Republicans in elections last November.

 

"That is not courage, that is capitulation," she said, adding that a recent bruising battle in Wisconsin over union bargaining rights provided a number of lessons.

 

"We didn't elect you just to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic," she said. "We didn't elect you just to stand back and watch Obama redistribute those deck chairs."

"Redistributing deck chairs."  Classic Palin.  Trump has the guts to say things that needs saying, but doesn't have the street cred as an authentic conservative.  Others like Pawlenty have that, but lack the fire-power, wit and charisma.  Palin is one of the few out there that has it all.  No she won't get a fair shake from the media.

 

But then again, remember the treatment of the media's darling John McCain in 2008: no one without the name Barack Hussein Obama will be treated fairly - Palin may be the only one who doesn't expect to.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 18 2011

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Let's see if we can put this as plainly and as kindly as possible: our President has a bit of a problem deciphering between who are the real enemies of our country.  If you want evidence of this, simply pay attention to the olive branch extended to jihadists vs. the hickory stick reserved for Republicans.  Let's start with the latter:

Ryan was reeled in by the suggestion that the invitation was an olive branch, a White House concession that he had grappled responsibly with a monstrous problem and that a gracious, cooperative presidential response was in order. But it was a setup. The Chicago mob strategically seated Ryan a few paces from the lectern, whence the don went Al Capone on him. The congressman was made into a prop, Exhibit A in a presidential tirade that mocked his plan and his party as scourges of the elderly, the destitute, and the chronically ill.


Now contrast that with another speech the president gave with a slightly different audience than a group of Republicans who were attempting to solve problems and save American lives and fortune:

It wasn't that way in Cairo in June 2009. That was when al-Azhar University ? the font of Sunni theology and training ground for the virulently anti-American clerics who green-light jihadist terror ? sponsored his eagerly awaited oration on U.S. relations with the Muslim world. As usual, the speech was specious: a whitewash of the legacy of Islamic savagery, the expurgation of violent injunctions from Islamic scripture, historical ignorance of the Jewish claim to Israel, and even the adoption of "resistance" as the euphemism for Palestinian terrorism ? a touch that must have brought a smile to the faces of Hamas and the president's pal Rashid Khalidi, the former PLO mouthpiece turned Columbia professor.

 

More interesting than the speech, though, was the guest list. The Obama administration made a point of inviting prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood. And they didn't get the Paul Ryan treatment. This really was an olive branch, more like the Corleones having the Tartaglias over for a sit-down. The ramifications rumbled through both Egypt and the United States.

Rumbled indeed.  Mubarak is now out, and the Muslim Brotherhood poised to take over in Egypt. 

 

Contrast the two speeches and their tone.  Now, unlike Paul Ryan and the Republicans, whose sin is that they have a different ideology about how to best save the Republic than Mr. Obama, what do we know about the Muslim Brotherhood?  Andrew McCarthy continued:

Using documents seized by the FBI from a Brotherhood leader, prosecutors proved that the organization considers itself to be engaged in a "grand jihad" (the title of my book on the subject). The goal, in the Brotherhood's own words, is to destroy Western civilization from within by sabotage. The Brothers seek to accomplish this through companion organizations they've embedded in the West, groups like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), and CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations).

 

That is why prosecutors designated those groups, along with some of their members, as unindicted coconspirators in the HLF case.


Lovely.  Add to this the reality that Obama's Justice Department under Eric Holder has now put the kibosh on any terror-financing cases brought against these coconspirators.  Islamist organizations will be able to continue pretending to be champions of moderate Islam, all while fund raising for terror groups.  The result?

Until we act decisively to cut off the financial pipeline to these terrorist groups by putting more of these people in prison, they are going to continue to raise money that will go into the hands of killers. And until Congress starts grilling the people inside DOJ and the FBI who are giving these groups cover, that is not going to change. My biggest fear is that Americans are going to die and it will be the very Muslim leaders we are working with who will be directly or indirectly responsible.

But at least the President is serious about exposing Paul Ryan.  What a joke.
Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, April 17 2011

A couple of notes concerning labor unions appeared recently in my local newspaper:

At a rally in Washington, D.C., in July denouncing employers who hire nonunion carpenters, many of the chanting protestors were nonunion day workers hired by the carpenter's union to make the demonstration look bigger, according to a Wall Street journal report.

 

In August, Jim Callaghan, a long-time writer at the headquarters staff of the United Federation of Teachers, was fired after trying to organize his colleagues into their own union local. Callaghan said that UFT staff deserve the same protections as the teachers they represent. (A UFT spokesman said most UFT employees are already unionized.)

A free-market advocate like myself recognizes that labor is a piece of the economic picture that can be negotiated like anything else in the supply-demand pipeline. Therefore, employee organizations like unions and labor negotiations are a legitimate element of free-market dynamics. In this regard, I do not oppose the concept of unionization.

 

 

What I do oppose is union thuggery and hypocrisy. These two accounts are indicative of what is broken with unions. I recall other accounts over time that refer to union organization employees being denied the right to organize.

 

The use of hired protestors is prevalent throughout the storied history of liberalism. It is well documented that California Democrats frequently employed cult leader Jim Jones to send his devotees to various protest rallies in order to boost numbers.

 

This brings to mind one of my favorite bumper stickers:

 

How to anger a conservative: Tell her a lie.

How to anger a liberal: Tell him the truth.

 

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 06:45 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, April 16 2011

Wednesday, the Indiana Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services approved a bill to update Indiana's informed consent statute for abortion. The bill, HB 1210, would require abortion providers to give written (rather than oral) instructions to a woman considering abortion. That written information from the Indiana Department of Health would include information about risks of abortion as well as childbirth, alternatives to abortion, the financial responsibilities of the father and information on the gestational age and development of the baby.

The bill also includes significant safety requirements concerning hospital follow-up with the abortionist in case a woman has complications. The basis for this portion comes from testimony from various emergency room physicians, particularly in Fort Wayne, describing problems in which their hospital could not quickly or easily reach the doctor who flies to do abortions and then returns to his home in Chicago. This can be a significant problem when time is of the essence when an abortive patient comes to an ER in a critical crisis situation.


Another key provision of HB 1210 is the recognition of fetal pain after 20 weeks in a late-term abortion. Committee Chairman Sen. Patricia Miller, a nurse by profession, pointed out to a doctor who disagreed with this research, that it is common practice to use anesthesia for the fetus during in vitro surgeries. The doctor said that there were many reasons for this including to "calm" the fetus for surgery. Yet, there are calming drugs such as Valium, and the baby is still given anesthesia blocking pain. Why? The answer seems obvious and the research is also revealing that nerve development and pain are present between 16 and 20 weeks of a baby's gestation.

The other purpose of this "20 week" section of the bill is to prevent a late-term abortionist in Nebraska who has stated his intention to open up shop in Indiana from acting upon that threat.

House Bill 1210 passed the Indiana House with over 70 votes and more than 50 co-authors. Yet, the committee took out some portions of the bill to get the issue to the Senate floor on a 6-2 vote. One issue concerned Obamacare and abortion funding. The other was a warning that there may be a link between pregnancy termination in terms of a miscarriage or an abortion and breast cancer. The stated reason to remove this information was the claim that this was not settled science. There is a lot of debate over this issue because it is fairly new research and because of the highly charged political ramifications if such a link can ever be established. There may come a day when Hoosier women will be told of this possible risk, but the committee decided that such a policy decision, as part of informed consent for abortion, will have to be revisited some other session.

There is a whole lot going on behind the scenes on life issues right now. I hope to share more of those details with you when possible. HB 1210 will be open to amendments and Senate passage next week. It is always easier to dilute or to block a bill than it is to pass one. The pro-abortion forces are fighting us every step of the way. For this reason, we are working around the clock to keep this measure alive and moving through amendments, a full Senate vote, and onto the Governor's desk.

Posted by: Micah Clark AT 06:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 14 2011

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A lot of Tea Party conservatives are a little uneasy about the recent budget deal.  I think that's with good reason.  Cutting $38 billion, while substantial in most quarters, is a mere drop in the bucket of the kind of spending that needs to be cut.  To some, this deal may be indicative of the typical Republican capitulation - willing to compromise their principles to look like they're getting along.

 

I want to state that I think that is possible.  But something else is possible too, that to be fair, I think deserves a hearing.  It's entirely within the realm of possibility and even probability that the Republicans in the House have just outsmarted the "smartest president we've ever had."  How so?  By cutting this "deal," they now have the upper hand to demand - and receive - much larger, much more substantial cuts in the next month or two.

 

 

How?  It's really not that complicated.  Marc Thiessen explains it this way:

Going into last week's showdown, the conventional wisdom held that Republicans were in the weaker negotiating position ? in danger of repeating the debacle of 1995 when President Clinton succeeded in blaming them for shutting down the government and used the standoff to rescue his flagging presidency. Yet on Friday, Republicans succeeded in forcing Obama to accept some of the largest spending cuts in history. Why? Because the president wisely recognized that the political landscape had changed dramatically since 1995. If Obama was confident voters would have blamed the GOP for a shutdown again, the government would be closed as you read this. Instead, the president caved.

 

What does portend for the coming debt-limit fight? It means Republicans hold all the cards. After all, if Obama was not willing to allow a temporary government shutdown on his watch, he certainly will not allow a cataclysmic government default. As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently warned Congress, default would "cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover." President Obama will not allow this to happen under any circumstances. Unlike his threat last week to veto a short-term spending bill and let the government close, he has no such leverage when it comes to the debt limit.

Thiessen's right.  Barack Obama would have let the government shutdown by rolling the dice on the hope that Americans would blame Republicans for it like they did in 1995.  But Barack Obama will not let the country default on his watch because he knows that he will be held accountable and his presidency will be over.  This is a whole different animal, and Republicans have all the leverage.  So what if the debate stalls?

If negotiations stall, House Republicans could pass a series of small debt-limit increases, with spending cuts attached, to keep the government solvent. Obama would be in no position to veto such temporary measures ? because his veto would cause the government to default. Republicans can keep doing this until Obama capitulates. In the end, the president will have little choice but to swallow whatever spending reforms the GOP demands.

And those demands can be virtually anything.  It can be Paul Ryan's plan of cutting $179 billion from the 2012 budget and $241 billion from 2013.  It can be Ryan's reasonable and necessary reform plan for Medicaid - allowing states "block grants" of money to try new and innovative ideas with the program.  Or his plan to provide government subsidies to seniors who want to buy their own insurance rather than use Medicare - allowing this choice would save an incredible amount of money given that the most popular Medicare plan (Part D) is already built around this very concept.

 

 

Republicans can insist on President Obama committing to major entitlement reform, or committing to a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution (a long term solution) because they hold all the cards.  As Thiessen writes:

This is no time for Republicans to play small ball. In the debt-limit fight, the GOP enjoys a perfect storm of public support, political leverage and presidential weakness. This means Republicans have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something big. They must seize it. If Obama wants to raise the federal debt limit, the price should be the even deeper cuts and reforms proposed by Ryan - and a balanced budget amendment that would force Congress to implement them.

There may be reason for Tea Party conservatives to lament the lack of Republican backbone.  But I don't think we know that is the case yet.  The Republicans have given themselves all the leverage to do what needs to be done and what the Tea Party has been demanding.  I will wait to see if they use it before I cast judgment.
Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 14 2011

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In an ongoing effort to bring you a glimpse of what life would be like if the conservatives disappeared and let liberals run the place, I present exhibit 1,494: the mandatory lunch.

At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.

 

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

 

"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."

 

Carmona said she created the policy six years ago after watching students bring "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips" on field trips for their lunch. Although she would not name any other schools that employ such practices, she said it was fairly common.

 

So common she can't think of another one.  For the purposes of full disclosure, I must admit that I am one who looked forward to every day that I took my lunch to school.  Being a teacher, I have grown to appreciate the tireless efforts of the cafeteria staff to make wonderful meals out of government processed food.  But as a kid, when I knew Mom's PB&J with a little baggie of Doritos was waiting for me at lunch, it was a good day.

 

Now, of course, the Principal (as all good liberals) has the best of intentions.  She wants kids to be healthy.  But once again, we see the irresistible temptation for liberals to not just encourage what they see as appropriate, but to mandate it.  And in the process, they relieve the object of their care of their freedom.  Small example, systemic problem.

 

Of course, maybe what Little Village Academy is doing is better than another school in the area, Claremont Academy:

At Claremont Academy Elementary School on the South Side, officials allow packed lunches but confiscate any snacks loaded with sugar or salt.

How delightful.  School storm troopers to run the Hannah Montana lunch pail through the x-ray scanners.

 

The story cited some others who seem to get it:

"This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility," said J. Justin Wilson, a senior researcher at the Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom, which is partially funded by the food industry.

 

"Would the school balk if the parent wanted to prepare a healthier meal?" Wilson said. "This is the perfect illustration of how the government's one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again. Some parents may want to pack a gluten-free meal for a child, and others may have no problem with a child enjoying soda."

And that, of course, is what the liberal masters can't have.  They know better than the parents.  They know better than everyone.  You will eat what they give you, and you will like it.

 

Loss of parental rights, loss of liberty, government infringement into yet another area of individual autonomy, and little Eric Sanchez denied his Lunchables.  All in a day's work for the left.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 14 2011

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Well this pretty much says it all, doesn't it?  Nancy Pelosi speaking at Tufts University (emphasis mine):

To my Republican friends: take back your party. So that it doesn't matter so much who wins the election, because we have shared values about the education of our children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, our security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors. Because there are so many things at risk right now -- perhaps in another question I'll go into them, if you want. But the fact is that elections shouldn't matter as much as they do...But when it comes to a place where there doesn't seem to be shared values then that can be problematic for the country, as I think you can see right now. 

Now, what was that about George Bush consolidating power according to his authoritarian proclivities, Nancy?

 

 

If this doesn't sum up the totality of left-wing thought, I don't know what does.  Elections shouldn't really matter - what matters are the whims of those who are in charge.our "betters."  They know what is best for us, they can run our lives better for us, they are set above us.

 

If you were wondering how Nancy Pelosi could continue to push - and browbeat her fellow Democrats into voting for - a 2,000 page healthcare overhaul that no one had even read or had any real idea what was buried inside it...all over the will of the American people expressed in town hall outrage, Tea Party rallies, special elections from Virginia to New Jersey to Massachusetts (for crying out loud)...this explains it perfectly.

 

Nancy and the left aren't really interested in the whole democratic process.  They know better.  Just trust them.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 14 2011

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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has been considering a presidential run for some time.  A couple years ago, establishment Republicans and leading conservatives started noticing his impressive budget record as Governor of Indiana and began the murmurs. 

 

Daniels initially had downplayed and denied any interest.  According to the Indy Star, he's more than happy to talk about it now.

If he runs, he said, "it would simply be because I do think, and I hope I am wrong, that the country has put itself in a very difficult place.''

 

There is incentive to tackle the problem now, he said, before the problem is too dire. He warned that if the nation delays Medicare and Social Security reforms, the goal he and many others share of not reducing benefits for those approaching retirement age may prove to be out of reach.

 

"We're starting to run out of time," he said.

 

 

A potential Daniels campaign is compelling in large part because he is willing to talk about tough choices that most candidates for president strategically avoid.

 

The pundits and others who have pushed Daniels to run are doing so primarily because he is willing to have adult conversations on issues such as Social Security, Medicare and defense spending. Tuesday, he talked idealistically about the idea that voters would welcome such conversations, even though they would lead to tough decisions.

 

It would take the right message, he said.

 

"I hope you would call the American people to the challenge of our day," he said, adding: "We have arrived at a testing point, and some people are already writing our obituary."

It sounds good. But, I asked, is the nation, and the political world, truly capable of a reasonable debate over such hot-button issues? Recent history casts doubt on that premise.

 

"I can't prove it to you," he said. "But we'd better find out."

I've spoken about Mitch Daniels and his potential candidacy a number of times on the air and this is pretty much how I come down: he has been a fine governor here in Indiana.  He is a fiscal conservative who is renowned for saving money and getting the budget in the black.  In that regard, he would be perfect for our economic situation in the U.S. 

 

That being said, Mitch swings and misses terribly in understanding how social issues are at the heart of economic issues.  His nonsense about "calling a truce" on social issues indicates a few things to me:

 

1.) He doesn't grasp that the secular left is not interested in a truce, and will be rabidly pursuing their agenda regardless of what conservatives do.  Thus, a conservative "truce" is more appropriately described a surrender.

 

2.) He doesn't grasp that social conservatism (pro-family, pro-life) is necessary for true fiscal conservatism to flourish - free markets untempered by morality and responsibility will be destructive, not productive for our society.

 

3.) His glaring deficiencies on these points have been less dangerous in a conservative state like Indiana where he hasn't needed to take a strong stand on them given that the left is not as vocal and powerful here as it is nationally. 

 

My take: Mitch would be a great Secretary of the Treasury or budget chief...but is a non-starter for President.
Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 14 2011

On the same day that a letter was published praising the virtues of humanist free-thinking, an article was printed about teen drinking and drug use studies. Cites the article, "Downing five or more alcoholic drinks nearly every day isn't seen as a big problem for many of the nation's teens... The study... also showed upward trends in marijuana and Ecstasy use among young people in grades 9 through 12."

 

I consider it both Providential and instructive that the letter and article ran on the same day. The farther that God's invitation to receive His love is cast away from our culture, the more aberrant behavior we experience. Humanist behavior is nothing more than mob rule. Witness the humanist achievements of the Reign of Terror of Jacobin France, the Holocaust of Nazi Germany, and the pogroms of Stalinist Russia. Indeed, the evolutionist worldview of humanists unavoidably leads to such murderous systems as the survival of "the fittest" invades and dominates our lives.

 

 

In complete contrast to such grievous consequences of humanist behavior, the Lord invites us to "reason together." The author of the April 12th letter indicates that devout Christians would be outraged if their children were brought to activities where they were told that they should "think freely" on issues. If such imagined activities were truly activities of free thinking based upon all available resources and evidence, virtually all devout Christians I know would welcome them.

 

What devout Christians detest is narrow-minded humanist editing of abundant evidence that indicates the veracity of the Christian faith and parading their revisionist proof-texts as academic integrity. What devout Christians detest is narrow-minded humanist bigotry that seeks to demolish protective barriers of morality and then act as if they are clueless as to why teenagers and younger children see no problem with wrecking their lives with alcohol and other drugs. What is left, after all, when the human hope of divine love is removed as a formative influence on culture?

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 06:50 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 13 2011

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I have to admit being endlessly entertained by Donald Trump's recent foray into the political world.  He isn't one that the media can easily dismiss or disregard.  And he's saying things that most conservative Republicans would have been scared to death to say - because when they do, they're immediately branded idiots, fools, or radical right-wingers. 

 

Any one of those dismissive labels is going to be tough to brand on Donald Trump.  He's already well known and established enough for the media to create and shape what they want the people to perceive him to be.

 

But because of his flirting with a run for the presidency, many on the right have started asking if he would be a decent candidate.  My early take?  A couple things: I know the man has claimed to be pro-life, but if there's going to be any weakness with Trump as a candidate, I'm assuming (perhaps unfairly) that it will be on the so-called social issues.  Time will tell.

 

 

Secondly, I think he's perhaps one of the most well-positioned of any of the would-be candidates that have emerged to this point.  So if he does make a run, he will have to be taken seriously.  If that wasn't evident before his interview with Meredith Vieira on the Today Show, it certainly is now.  Passing Trump off as nothing but a reality-TV star who is a publicity hound isn't going to work.  In fact, his TV presence could actually be a benefit to a potential run.

 

James Travis explains why:

Trump can make a decision.  The Donald's main function on the shows is to whittle down the field of contestants until only the winner remains.  But what's important to observe is how he goes about making his decision each week.  Watching Trump choose whom to fire is a study in decision-making.  Trump is measured and patient.  Trump consults with experts.  Trump seeks opinions from everyone involved: teammates, the opposition, his own trusted advisers, and customers.  He withholds judgment until he has all the facts, but once he has the information he needs, he renders his decision swiftly and confidently.  Trump's trademark phrase -- "You're fired!" -- is now iconic in the American lexicon.  When it's too close to call, Trump isn't afraid to go with his gut.

 

Above all, Trump is fair.  As he sits in his boardroom, flanked by his executives and facing the contestants, Trump is a judge.  Watching him deliberate, it's evident that he values fairness.  It's clear from his words and his actions that he understands the impact his judgment has on the lives of others and his own responsibility to render a decision equitably.

 

Trump commands respect.  The Apprentice shows center around Donald Trump.  He is the commander-in-chief of his enterprises, and he carries himself with authority.  There's never any doubt about who is in charge.  Everyone, no matter how old or young, famous or not, wealthy peer or average Joe, calls him "Mr. Trump."  When Trump announces his decision, there is never a debate.  Everyone fired in the boardroom accepts the decision as final, thanks Trump for the opportunity, and leaves immediately.

And for those who dismiss this by suggesting it's all scripted, might I direct your attention the current president and his teleprompters?  Honestly, point to a presidency in the last 50 years that hasn't been heavily scripted.  The truth is that they all are because of the nature of the job.what's important is the man behind the script.  Travis writes,

[A]nyone who watched the Today interview would have to come away with a clear sense that Trump is his own man.  Most likely, the Donald Trump we see on The Apprentice is as close to the real Donald as anyone gets to see.  With Trump, what you see is what you get; there are no holds barred and no punches pulled.  Sure, the ego is on full display sometimes, but the man has also clearly matured with age.

The Donald recently proclaimed himself to be Barack Obama's worst nightmare.  He may be right.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 13 2011

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Democrats everywhere are lamenting the idea of cutting government spending.  They stand at the ready with every sob story in the book to explain how cutting a penny of government spending is going to cause schools to close, poor people to starve, or kids to be malnourished.

 

 

This represents the timeless strategy of the Democrat left and the unending frustration of conservatives.  Every time conservatives start addressing the obvious need to trim back the size of government, liberals find the people who will be affected by that trimming back, hold them up as the victims of a cruel conservative assault and sway public opinion to support their disastrous status quo.

 

Is there a way around it?  Is there a good counter method for conservatives to pursue?  Thomas Sowell thinks so.  In his recent column, he analogizes this battle to MacArthur's strategy in the WWII Pacific: don't waste time and effort on attacking heavily defended enemy positions that you don't have to take. 

 

Instead, focus on areas of significance, but ones that are much more difficult for the left to defend:

My plan would start by cutting off all government transfer payments to billionaires. Many, if not most, people are probably unaware that the government is handing out the taxpayers' money to billionaires. But agricultural subsidies go to a number of billionaires. Very little goes to the ordinary farmer.

Big corporations also get big bucks from the government, not only in agricultural subsidies but also in the name of "green" policies, in the name of "alternative energy" policies, and in the name of whatever else will rationalize shoveling the taxpayers' money out the door to whomever the administration designates ? for its own political reasons.

The usual political counterattacks against spending cuts will not work against this new kind of spending-cut approach. How many heart-rending stories can the media run about billionaires who have lost their handouts from the taxpayers? How many tears will be shed if General Motors gets dumped off the gravy train?

It would also be eye-opening to many people to discover how much government money is going into subsidizing all sorts of things that have nothing to do with helping "the poor" or protecting the public. This would include government-subsidized insurance for posh and pricey coastal resorts that are located too dangerously close to the ocean for a private insurance company to risk insuring them.

But what about the big three of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? 

 

 

Those programs are a tightening noose around the neck of the American economy.  Can we really pretend they aren't a problem while focusing on just these other areas?  Of course not...but the way in which we approach these three is what matters:

Instead of attacking these programs as a whole, what is far more vulnerable is the compulsory aspect of these programs. If Medicare is so great, why is it necessary for the government to force people to be covered by Medicare as a precondition for receiving the money they paid into Social Security?

Many people with private health insurance would rather continue to rely on that, instead of being trapped in Medicare red tape. It is not a question of taking away Medicare but allowing people to opt out, saving the taxpayer from having to subsidize something that many people don't want.

It is not a question of forcing people off Social Security either. But private
retirement accounts can offer a better deal.

Even someone who retires when the stock market is down is almost certain to get a bigger pension from a decent
mutual fund than from Social Security.


By giving young people the option, while continuing to honor commitments to retirees and those nearing
retirement age, the sob-story defense of runaway spending can be nipped in the bud.

Now, approaching it this way doesn't mean that Democrats won't try their timeless strategy of weaving a sob story.  We have seen unscrupulous Democrats mislead and distort the truth about such efforts before (remember Silent Joe Donnelly's dishonest and shameful attack on Jackie Walorski for wanting to "gamble away" Social Security on the stock market).  But that's where the Tea Party can do its part to spread the word.

 

By addressing these topics in these ways, conservatives can not only disarm the Democrats, they can realize the very cuts necessary to save the Republic. 

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 13 2011

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I've said it before and I'll say it again - the most lasting impact of the Tea Party revolution that began in the 2010 election cycle is not what occurred in Washington, but what occurred in state governments around the country.  This is true not just because of the suddenly-resurgent 10th Amendment movement, or the boldness of states reclaiming their rights under federalism.  It's also true because of the direct impact those state governments are having on national politics.

 

Take my home state of Indiana.  Heading into 2010, Democrats controlled the State House and held down 5 of the 9 Congressional seats.  Besides seeing Republicans take the seats of two Democrat Congressmen (Ellsworth and Hill), the 2010 election brought a tidal wave of Republicans to take over both the State House and the State Senate by large majorities.  Yes, that instigated conservative legislation at the state level, but it also set the stage for dramatic changes to the states' representative district lines (for both state races and national races) that will impact the next decade.

 

old                                                   new

 

Consider what it does to the national races:

The goal for Republicans is a map where they can hold onto a seven-to-two edge over the next decade. (Republicans currently have a six-to-three edge in the congressional delegation.)

 

Democratic Reps. Peter Visclosky and Andre Carson will be tough to beat in heavily blue Gary and Indianapolis districts, respectively, but if Republicans can take [Democrat Representative Joe] Donnelly's seat and keep their 2010 gains, the delegation should be more than three-quarters Republican for the foreseeable future. (See The Fix's preview of the map-drawing in Indiana from November.)

You might remember the day after the election, I commented that Donnelly's remarkably narrow victory over Jackie Walorski was going to be a short-lived victory for him.  His betrayal of constituents by following his liberal Democrat leadership had almost cost him his job in a district that had been heavily gerrymandered in his favor by Democrats back in 2000. 

 

When those lines were redrawn in 2010, Donnelly would undoubtedly lose his unfair advantage and consequently his seat - particularly given the fact that Walorski had proven herself to be a capable fundraiser and worthy opponent who would now have the benefit of great name recognition.  And here we are:

Under the new map, his district will be significantly altered in a way that would make it very tough for him to win. Gone are heavily Democratic Michigan City in the northwest and Kokomo in the south. The district shifts east to pick up all of heavily Republican Elkhart County and part of Kosciusko County from neighboring Rep. Marlin Stutzman's (R) 3rd district. It also grabs two smaller counties that lean significantly toward Republicans ? Miami and Wabash ? from Rep. Dan Burton's (R) 5th district.

This news managed to accomplish the impossible: it made "Silent Joe" Donnelly issue a statement:

"As for my future plans, my decision will ultimately be based on how I can best serve the people of this great state," Donnelly said. "I will soon be sitting down with my wife and children and expect to make a decision in the coming weeks."

And we'll all be waiting with bated breath, Joe.  Additionally, the maps will shore up some support for Republican Todd Young in Indiana's 9th district.  Obviously the Democrats are not happy about the new maps.  But even outside political analysts agree, they are much cleaner and more appropriate than the skewed and rammykacked maps the Democrats concocted in 2000.  The Washington Post's Aaron Blake put it this way:

[D]espite the Democrats' objections, the new map actually looks significantly cleaner than the one Democrats drew in 2001.

 

Daniels has called for a clean map ? where communities of interest are intact and the districts aren't contorted into odd shapes ? and he appears to have gotten it.

In other words, the Democrats' epic overreach following the election of Barack Obama has backfired by provoking a kickback in states all over the country that is undoing their unfair gerrymandering and setting the stage for a decade-long shift back towards the right.  All hail the hope and change!

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, April 13 2011

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Hey, here's some great news: more sleaze is coming to network television!

 

At several speaking engagements and on the radio I have long-maintained that if one of the networks would take a huge risk, cancel their entire line-up of sitcoms and dramas, and replace them with TV Land programming like The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, Mister Ed, the Cosby Show...that network would clean up in the ratings.

 

 

There is a market - a large market - for family friendly entertainment.  But Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry are out of their league when it comes to coming up with appropriate programming.  They've apparently become so seared by the fads of pop culture that they don't even know how to be funny or entertaining without crude or disgusting humor.  It's sad, actually.

 

As further evidence, consider that NBC is looking to pick up a new show for the fall called, "The Playboy Club."  And, for perhaps the first time in network history, NBC is having potential actors sign a nudity clause.  Yes, nudity.  Brent Bozell explains:

"Nudity" in this contract is defined as well, nudity. But that's not what grabs attention. This is: "Nudity as defined above and/or simulated sex acts may be required in connection with player's services in the pilot and/or series," the clause reads, according to Variety. Actors may now be required to be naked on NBC.

 

Despite this new low, Variety was told there was no nudity in the pilot, and producers didn't plan any such thing for NBC. But apparently, the broadcast version would provide temptation for the titillated to buy the DVD for the "extras." (And if there will be no nudity, why a nudity clause?)

 

Variety guessed that the "Playboy" show could travel in the opposite direction from edgy HBO fare like "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City." A "clean" version would air on NBC, and then a sleazier version might appear in pay cable - or perhaps on an edgy basic-cable channel like FX.

 

The Parents Television Council condemned NBC for its blatant attempt to obliterate broadcast decency standards with this show. When Comcast bought NBC Universal, the PTC asked the Federal Communications Commission to press Comcast to stipulate it would not use the public airwaves to "distribute pornographic material." As PTC president Tim Winter now states, "The ink isn't even dry yet on the company merger and we're already saying ?We told you so.'"

Classy stuff, NBC.

 

There's a reason that the highest grossing movies have consistently been family-friendly animated films like Toy Story.  They're clever, they're cute, and most of all...they're clean.  Sadly, that has yet to dawn on the entertainment folks.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, April 12 2011

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So I'm gone for a week and when I come back, a whole war has disappeared!

 

After Barack Obama's attempted defense of his Libyan War, I made the comment on the air that the media was going to have to work overtime to not make this action look like the giant hypocritical mess that it is.  One way they would do that, I posited, was to wipe it from the headlines.

 

Obama himself laid the foundation for this by claiming that we would be transferring control of the operation over to NATO.  Even liberal comedian Jon Stewart saw through that ruse by exclaiming, "We are NATO!"  He's right.  The lead commander of NATO forces is always American and we are footing the vast majority of the bill.  It's American might, American forces, American bombs, American firepower, American resources, American tax dollars, and American resolve that is fueling action there...even if it is hiding under the NATO banner.

 

 

But like the dutiful lapdogs that they are, the media has followed the template.  The Libyan War is nowhere to be seen.  And maybe that's because it's a mess over there.  Mark Steyn details what I mean:

What with all the budget talk, I was just wondering whether that third war - or kinetic scope-limited whachamacallit - was still going. You remember, it was in all the papers for a couple of days. So I guess things have gone quiet because it's all wrapped up now? Apparently not:

 

NATO has said it strongly regrets the loss of life after a "friendly fire" attack on rebel tanks in eastern Libya which left at least four dead.

 

Earlier, a Nato commander had refused to apologise, saying that until Thursday's strike, the alliance had not been aware the rebels had tanks.

 

Ah. Well, these things happen between allies, especially when allies in the air aren't aware their allies on the ground have tanks. But how about the general outlook?

 

The battle for Libya is heading for deadlock, a top general said Thursday.

 

U.S. Gen. Carter Ham, who led the coalition air campaign in Libya before NATO took over last week, said it was unlikely the Libyan rebels could beat Col. Moammar Khadafy.

 

Asked at a Senate hearing about the chances that the rebels could reach Tripoli and oust Khadafy, Ham said, "I would assess that as a low likelihood."

 

He said the situation was becoming a stalemate.

 

As I wrote a week ago:

 

The Tunisians got rid of Ben Ali in nothing flat, Mubarak took a couple of weeks longer to hit the road, and an exciting new ?Islamic Emirate' has just been proclaimed in South Yemen. But, with his usual unerring instinct, Barack Obama has chosen to back the one Arab liberation movement who can't get rid of the local strongman even when you lend them every functioning NATO air force.


That's a bit unfair on the poor old rebels. But, if you wanted to devise a forlorn emblem of the impotence of the hyperpower, this non-war for non-victory is hard to beat.  

The media worked overtime to make Afghanistan and Iraq into quagmires.  They trumpeted every death, every setback, every struggle in their ongoing effort to defeat President Bush.  Now, they have the perfect example of American presidential incompetence, a flailing Commander-in-Chief leading a confusing, bizarre military operation with no real purpose.  And they're silent.

 

If Obama can't win re-election with this media working for him 24/7, it will put an exclamation point on how unfit for this office he truly was.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 12 2011

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For the second straight year, Peter Heck has been asked to speak at the Indianapolis Tea Party spring rally held at the State Capitol building in Indianapolis.  The event will be held this Friday, April 15th beginning at 5:00 pm on the west side of the Capitol.  Peter will be speaking and emceeing the event.

 

 

On Tuesday's show, Peter hosted Tea Party organizer and board member Rick Barr on the radio show to talk about the event's theme and importance.

Posted by: Anna Anderson AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 12 2011

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Get this - on last Sunday's edition of the NBC Nightly News, host Lester Holt said the following:

In Vietnam, the times, they are a changing. The man who became a powerful voice against the Vietnam War in the 1960s took the stage in that country tonight. Bob Dylan - seen on the right in an amateur video of the event - played in Ho Chi Minh City to an audience of 8,000 to a mix of Vietnamese and foreigners.

 

After a concert in China last week, the 69-year-old Dylan was criticized for submitting his song list to Chinese authorities. Two of his most famous songs - "Blown in the Wind" and "The Times, They Are a Changing" - were not performed in China. Unclear if those songs were banned. Human Rights Watch said Dylan should be ashamed of himself for letting a government tell him what to sing.


A couple things that I think are noteworthy about this.  First, is it not hilarious and somewhat pathetic that all these "rebel liberals" who proudly tout their opposition to "the man," and their resistance to authority willfully and gleefully champion the most authoritative governing system the world has ever known?  Communism represents the total destruction of the individual - and individuality.  And yet there in the hearts of expression-loving liberals everywhere, we find friends of the commies.  I will never understand that radical inconsistency.

 

But the second thing I find humorous is that Human Rights Watch is blasting Dylan for submitting his songs to government approval before singing them.  This left-wing outfit in the mold of other groups like the ACLU holds hands with the very movement demanding elementary students submit the lyrics of their Christian songs for government/school censoring before talent shows and choir concerts!

 

Why are the same folks who censor elementary kids from saying Jesus criticizing Dylan for his shameful submission to China's censorship?  Pot, meet kettle.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 12 2011

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April 15th is coming, and while most Americans may think of tax day preparations associated with that date, those of us involved in the government education system know it as the annual "Day of Silence" sponsored by the radical homosexuality advocacy group, GLSEN.

 

 

Every year I am amazed that GLSEN is not called on their hypocrisy by anyone in the mainstream press.  After all, this is a group that maintains that any religious or moral conviction that homosexuality is dangerous, immoral or inappropriate is tantamount to bullying and must be eliminated.

 

Stop and think about that: a group supposedly against bullying those who have different sexual preferences, is advocating the bullying into silence of those who have different religious preferences than them!  It's astounding.

 

But because the mainstream media has been on board with the sexual anarchy movement for well over a generation, they are quietly complicit with this anti-Christian yearly protest. 

 

And more than just that, Linda Harvey at Mission America has explained some of the dangerous assumptions that are promoted by this Day of Silence (DOS) in public schools:

1. The "Day of Silence" is based on the unproven and erroneous assumption that some people are "born gay." In contemporary academia, so little committed to logic, evidence, and intellectual exploration, no one challenges this assumption, researches it, or demands evidence to support it.

 

 

2. DOS claims there is a nationwide epidemic of bullying based around "anti-gay" sentiments. Hard facts reflecting trends in school incident or police reports have never, to our knowledge, been used in any school district to support this claim. Instead, DOS cites the badly-constructed and highly-biased internal "research" produced by the DOS-sponsoring group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), called the National School Climate Survey. This research uses a biased survey instrument laced with emotionally-loaded terminology and collects responses via the Internet. Paid GLSEN staff members amass the data and publish the results. No independent verification exists, and the known volatility of surveys administered to youth as well as web-based research, is never taken into account. GLSEN inflames student emotions by citing the tragic suicides of several students in recent years as proof that traditional moral opinions stimulate violence.

 

Homosexuality advocacy groups like GLSEN are never called on to prove that the belief that homosexual acts are immoral causes bullying. The fact that a bully may disapprove of homosexuality does not prove that his or her bullying acts were caused by his beliefs or that serious, thoughtful religious convictions cause bullying.

 

3. DOS believes the only way to reduce bullying is for all students and teachers to affirm homosexuality and "gender change" and for none to be allowed to question it. GLSEN holds that schools cannot be "safe" as long as conservative views on the nature and morality of homosexuality are expressed or studied. The DOS/GLSEN calls for "tolerance" and "diversity" constitute empty rhetoric.

 

4. Embedded in all homosexuality-affirming activities and resources is the fallacious comparison of homosexuality to race. DOS and pro-homosexual programs in general propagate emotion-based, shallow claims and diminished critical thinking skills by implying or asserting there is only one acceptable viewpoint on this issue, by not encouraging fact-based assessment, and by censoring competing viewpoints.

If GLSEN is attempting to infiltrate your school, or if the Day of Silence is being promoted by your district, don't sit back - take action by contacting your administration immediately to inform them that they must not be complicit with the bullying tactics of GLSEN directed towards Christians kids.  If your school truly does believe bullying is wrong, they won't allow a group like GLSEN within 100 yards of the front door.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 11 2011

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I was truly away from the world for the last week, so it wasn't until my family stopped at a McDonalds in Columbus, GA and my two cheeseburger meal was interrupted by Don Lemon on CNN telling me about President Obama hailing the "budget compromise" that I even knew about it.

 

I'm still yet to really dig in and get the details, but I can tell you I'm immediately skeptical.  And here's why: the Democrats have shown for decades (and the Republicans have been complicit) no interest whatsoever in making the tough cuts necessary to save our Republic from its impending fiscal collapse.  No interest.

 

Every time you hear a spokesman for the left tell us that the only money problem we have is too much concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and that the solution is simply to find government policies that will redistribute that wealth, you can know that the speaker is interested only in political power, not saving the country.

 


Take Michael Moore, who recently told an ignorant but cheering crowd of public union employees in Wisconsin that, "Our country is not broke."  Moore read from his prepared text that our country was awash in wealth and cash, but that the problem was it was only in the hands of bankers and the wealthy.

 

This is the line you hear parroted from Democrats around the country.  Preying upon our base instincts of jealousy and envy, they strengthen the prospects of their short-term political success by distracting us with promises to line our pockets with someone else's money.

 

That why this video is so incredibly important to spread and share.  In it, Bill Whittle examines the truth about how long we could actually "live" off the rich.  It will astound you.  Taking information and analysis from the statistical genius of Iowahawk, Whittle exposes the following:

 

Take every penny from the wealthiest 500 corporations in America (Big Oil, Big Walmart, Big All-of-Em)...and that pays for our government through February 9th.

 

Take every penny from all the wealthy sports stars (NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, PGA, NASCAR...all of em)...and that will pay for our government for another day (February 10).


 

Take every penny from families making over $250,000 a year (remember, that's the line President Obama has decided makes you unworthy of your money)...and that pays for another 141 days of our government budget (July 2).

 

Take every penny from Hollywood property by evicting them from their homes and selling them at market value...and that pays up to August 4.

 

Kill every billionaire in the country (and let's throw in the almost billionaires too), take every penny they have in their bank accounts...and that pays for the Obama government through Christmas.

 

Now, defund both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and let's cancel all foreign aid...and that pays us up until December 30th with one more day to go.

 

At this point, we've drained every penny from the wealthy, so we're going to have to ask everyone else to chip in $40 per person.  That covers us through the end of the year.

 

See how easy it is!  Michael Moore and the left are right!  If we just took all the money from the rich, we could fund all of our wonderful government programs for a whole year!  Of course, the problem then becomes that January 1st is here again and we've got another year to pay for in front of us.

 

But having taken every penny from "the wealthy" to barely pay for just one year, what do we do then?  Keep in mind that the vast majority of Americans will have lost their jobs given that we decimated those "fat cat" companies who just so happen to also be our country's largest employers.

 

 

This is the short-sightedness of the liberal left's class warfare.  They guarantee their political success by promising you goodies from someone else's pockets.  But we've followed their prescription for so long now that we're at a crisis point.  Our budget is unsustainable.  Pretending otherwise is beyond foolish - it's economic suicide.

 

Margaret Thatcher always said the problem with socialism is that you run out of other people's money.  Michael Moore and the Democrat Party keeps preaching it anyway.  Whether our country survives, depends entirely upon whether we have enough Americans remaining to see beyond their temporal selfishness, reject these prophets of Marxism, and demand the sacrifices necessary to right our ship of state.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 11 2011

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Most people are aware of the "War on Christmas."  This politically-correct frenzy of removing Christ from a holiday about Christ has generated a lot of attention in recent years.  As I noted last December, it seems as though the tide of that war has shifted back towards sanity as more and more businesses who had previously opted to go PC are rethinking their decisions.

 

But after seeing their gains dwindle during the Christmas season, the secular humanists on the left have set their sights on a new holiday: Easter.  The truth is that for many Americans, the commercialization of Easter has already rendered it meaningless.  I can't site a study to tell you what the precise number is - primarily because I don't want to know what they precise number is - of Americans who believe Easter is a holiday about bunnies and eggs.  Suffice it to say, it is probably alarmingly high.


 

But even that is apparently unacceptable to some of our friends on the left - friends who happen to be teaching in public schools:

Seattle, Washington sounds like a town competing for the most ACLU-friendly city in America. A public school teacher there told a teenage volunteer she could hand out Easter eggs with candy....as long as she called them "Spring Spheres."

 

Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio's Dori Monson Show that a week before spring break, the students commit to a week-long community service project. She decided to volunteer in a third grade class at a public school, which she would like to remain nameless.

 

"At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," Jessica said. She was concerned how the teacher might react to the eggs after of a meeting earlier in the week where she learned about "their abstract behavior rules."

 

"I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay," Jessica explained. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres.' I couldn't call them Easter eggs."

As expected, the idiocy of this teacher's politically correct request was undone by the superior wisdom of elementary students.

Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to "roll with it." But the third graders had other ideas.

 

"When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' So they knew," Jessica said.

 

The Seattle elementary school isn't the only government organization using spring over Easter. The city's parks department has removed Easter from all of its advertised egg hunts.  

That third graders realize how stupid political correctness is doesn't excuse it.  Nor does it relieve us of the responsibility to uproot it and eliminate its speech/expression stifling effects.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, April 11 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

Perhaps someone can ask Congressman Joe Donnelly why this is a good thing for his district's economy?  According to news reports, a hospital frequented by constituents of the ObamaCare-supporting Joe Donnelly in central Indiana, Howard Regional Health Systems, is preparing to cut $13 million thanks in large part to the new law.


 

In case you're wondering, those $13 million in cuts could affect patient care and services, as well as workers from doctors to janitors.  All just part of the Democrat Party's ongoing efforts to help, "the working man."

 

Check out this telling line from one story:

"There has been a significant change in our payer mix, which is reflective of Kokomo, as it went through the recession, the restructuring of the employer base and changing demographics," he said. "We're positioning ourselves for that changing population, which will lead to more Medicare and Medicaid."

 

Hospitals are reimbursed by the federal and state government for Medicare and Medicaid patients at 70 percent of the cost and, at Howard Regional, commercial insurance carriers paid 130 percent of the cost, according to Allender.

 

"That cost shifting has always been able to give us good financial performance and sustains the system," he said. "That is unraveling and particularly we're seeing less commercial and much more Medicare and Medicaid. That has to be offset by expense control.

 

"If we only get 70 cents of every dollar spent on Medicaid and Medicare, we obviously have to control the costs," Allender continued.

Got that?  Those evil insurance companies Joe Donnelly and Barack Obama wanted to save us from were paying 130% of the cost owed to the hospital.  Government insurance (Medicare and Medicaid) only reimbursed the hospital at 70%.  Hospitals like Howard Regional were able to sustain such under-paying from the government because there were private insurance companies picking up the slack.

 

But under the genius ObamaCare system, all of that changes.  States are forced to increase the rolls of Medicaid by making it easier for people to get that assistance.  Further, a mandate that all Americans be insured will naturally cause those rolls to explode beyond all comprehension. 

 

That means that places like Howard will see a marked increase in business - more people insured means more people coming in for every ache and pain they've got.  But the majority of those people will be carrying government insurance which underpays the hospital.  This puts such an enormous strain on the hospitals finances, that even now (before the law is even fully implemented) Howard Regional and others are having to do their best to prepare for the worst.

 

That means more people unemployed (ironically meaning, more people on government assistance, meaning even more strain on the private sector to pick up the slack).  ObamaCare is an unfolding nightmare - for insurance, for hospitals, for doctors, for nurses, for working men and women everywhere.

 

If this report is concerning, hold on...unless it's repealed soon, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 11 2011

Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)

 

I can't be sure, but I may be moving to Hollywood soon.  Here's what happened:

 

My wife and daughter and I were leaving our hotel in Disney World to head to one of the parks.  The doors of the elevator had just opened and before I could push the stroller out the door, a young kid came rushing in.  His dad reached forward and grabbed him, pulling him back and saying, "Let the people come out first."  Watching the stroller to avoid hitting him a second time, I didn't pay any attention to the dad, except to say "Thanks." 

 

Then I heard my wife say, "Hey, I love your work."  I heard the dad say, "Oh thank you very much."  It was at that point that I looked up and realized the dad whose son I just drilled with my stroller was actor Steve Carell. 

 

 

Jenny later told me that she should have tempered her remarks by saying, "I love some of your work."  But we both agreed that might not have come across as nicely as it was intended.


So why might I be moving to Hollywood?  There's little doubt that Steve will be soon asking me to star in his next movie.  Sure, it was a brief interaction, but I'm confident he picked up on my innate talent.  I'll keep you posted.

 

The whole event though made me realize something that I've thought about before, but that struck me as we talked about the incident later.  Fame has great benefits - Carell was staying on the top floor in a massive 3 bedroom villa.  But imagine being Steve Carell and trying to walk through Disney World and enjoying it with your family.  It wouldn't be possible.  There's something to be said for anonymity, and it's important to not lose sight of that.

 

A few other vacation observations:

 

1. Frank Costanza was right when he once postulated on Seinfeld that, "You can drop a grand in Disney World like THAT!"

 

2. No matter how much I may love what I do for a living, absolutely nothing compares to spending time with your family.  Maybe that's yet another reason why heaven will be so great.

 

3. Kurt, our waiter at the Garden Grill restaurant, told us at least 6 times that he was really a pastry chef.  He explained - in detail - the art of making pastries...all while my glass of tea set empty for 20 minutes.  I try to be a patient man, but having a fidgety baby sitting in a high chair as Kurt drug our meal into a two hour history of the culinary arts was a bit more than I could take.  Yet, I did still tip him the 20%. 

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 05:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, April 10 2011

As the Indiana Legislature debacle continues to unwind with the Democrat fleebaggers returning to Indiana, it continues to remain a bit mysterious as to why they left in the first place or remained as long as they did once they left. When asked in March why he fled, Indianapolis Representative Gregory Porter told Indianapolis Star reporter Matthew Tully:

 

[T]hey were protesting a bill that would allow the state to take over the state's worst-performing public schools. But the bill in question would only add to the landmark 1999 law that allowed such takeovers. Porter criticized the idea and said the issue would keep him in Urbana. But after being questioned, he acknowledged he co-authored the original bill that gave the state the authority to assume control of failing schools...

Let's see... Mr. Porter is protesting a bill that merely adds to a bill that he co-sponsored that is already on the books.

 

Puzzling, yet so typical of Democrat politics and politicians whether in Indiana or Wisconsin or Washington DC.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, April 09 2011

During my high school days, elements of a dress code were still in place. That was the ?70s though (1970s, smart aleck), and authority was being challenged bit by bit. A lot of the challenges swirled around the length of male student's hair (well, length of female student's hemlines, too, but that's for another article). Hair down to the shirt collar was deemed too long.

 

One of the students challenging the hair length rule was our band drum major. Not only was he being threatened with expulsion, he was also told that he would not be allowed to participate in our next halftime show if he failed to get his haircut. Band students were on pins and needles.


 

Well, most band students. When our drum major climbed aboard the bus sporting a fresh haircut that put him back within dress code rules, the bus exploded with cheers and applause.

 

I do not know if anyone else refrained from cheering and applauding, but I did not join in. I was far from elated. "Why should someone be cheered and applauded and congratulated for complying with a rule he should have been following all along?" I thought. "Why should bad behavior be rewarded?" I still wonder that today.

 

Fast forward to our present day. Indiana state Democrat legislators have staged a multi-week walkout. They fled to Illinois in order to disrupt the Indiana political process and to thwart the will of the voters who returned Republicans to the majority in the last election.

 

 

They have come back. And, not surprisingly, there are those who praise them for their return. Huh? They should never have been gone in the first place. They have shirked their responsibilities and wasted taxpayer resources. They have demonstrated themselves to be spoiled brats who cannot play with others unless they get only their way. And now they receive cheering and applause.

 

I'm still not cheering.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 12:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, April 09 2011

Our school corporation's spring break this week caused me to think about the recent protests at the Wisconsin and Indiana state legislatures. Some of these protests were well attended by public school teachers. Various Big Media outlets proudly highlighted teachers who even brought students to participate in "the process of government" and/or took time in their classrooms to indoctrinate (er, instruct) their students on why government spending beyond the taxpayers' means is a necessary responsibility of government.

 

 

As was adequately documented, the teachers leaving their classrooms to protest at their state capitols took "personal days" and/or "sick days" (being provided written excuses by doctors who were also at the protests).

 

Notice, though, how the teacher presence at these protests has dropped to about nil during the spring break season. This is, after all, their time off. They have trips planned. Or jobs around the house that need to be done. There is no time for protests during their time. Things like this will have to wait until they are back on the job so that they can walk off the job. at taxpayer expense.

 

Protest about education and public union reform? Sure, but hey: not on my time!

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 08:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 08 2011

This may not be everyone's idea of a dream job, but it works for me: IRS customer service representative. I'll elaborate.

 

Some rather straight-forward appearing transactions last year have thrown me into a section of IRS tax regulation with which I am unfamiliar. The more I think I have it figured out, the more complex turns it takes. Therefore, I have called the IRS for assistance numerous times this tax season.

 

First, I emphasize that all of the IRS representatives I have talked with have been polite and civil. Some have been downright witty. Not a one I have spoken with has come across as arrogant or surly.

 

 

Now for the dream job part. Even though I am calling because I cannot sort out the instructions in the appropriate IRS publication in front of me and hope to get assistance about how to properly understand and apply the written instructions, I discover that the representatives can refer only to the appropriate publications, which I have already done, and not elaborate. In response to my queries, most of them read verbatim from sections I have already read. When I ask about specifics concerning my situation, I discovered that not any of them have any experience whatsoever with the transactions I am calling about. This is in spite of the fact that on each call I am transferred to the department that handles "that section of tax law."

 

As we proceed, I quickly learn that during the course of conversation, I become the subject matter expert. I know the details of the types of transactions in which I have engaged, and I already know what portions of what publications apply to my situation. The only thing that I have difficulty figuring out is how to properly report the transactions on the myriad of forms referenced in the instructions. And neither can the IRS representatives with whom I speak.

 

So what happens when the IRS assistant declares that he or she does not know how to answer my question?

 

I am told to consult a tax professional who can handle that issue for me!

 

Seriously? I have to go pay big bucks for someone else to take a stab at guessing where to put my facts and figures on tax return paperwork because IRS customer service representatives cannot figure out what IRS instructions mean?

 

That's why I see this as a dream job. You respond to a taxpayer's question by referring to and reading from the instructions he/she has probably already tried to slog through. Then, when you cannot make any sense of it either, simply tell the taxpayer that you are not trained to go any farther, and that they need to consult a tax professional. Then you're done. That's it! Time to move on to the next taxpayer victim.

 

Dream job. I ought to check into this.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 11:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 08 2011

Would you rather spend your weekend watching NASCAR (or doing any other pastime) or preparing taxes? Would you rather spend your precious resources on a paid tax preparer or take your family out for a nice meal?

 

The questions are intended to be rhetorical. My educated guess is that the normal American would rather spend less time and less money on tax preparation.

 

Our federal income tax system is convoluted to the point that not even IRS customer service representatives understand it. That's what I was told by more than one IRS help-line employee this year!

 

I am not rebelling against the payment of taxes. All I ask is a simpler, less time-consuming, and less expensive way to pay them. Is there such a way? Happily, yes there is.


 

The alternative is known as the Fairtax. This is an actual sponsored Congressional bill. Imagine not having to collect and maintain tax documents. Imagine not having to pay out more money to pay your tax. Imagine not having to pore over unintelligible IRS publications and regulations. Imagine not having to choose between NASCAR or a nice family dinner and tax preparation.

 

This - and more - is all possible. Go to www.fairtax.org for detailed information about this method of tax collection. Seriously consider the benefits of this proposal. If you find yourself in agreement with it, let your Senators and Representative know that you support the Fairtax.

 

Yes, let's simplify our lives!

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 10:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 07 2011

Prepare yourself for a new angle on government control.

A new Yale University study finds some women turn to food to feel better the same way addicts turn to drugs to get their fix. Researchers used functional MRI brain scans to determine the effect comfort food like ice cream has on their brain.

 

They found the subjects' brain chemistry responded in a similar way to people with drug and alcohol addictions.


What choice does government have, then, but to exert authority and to impose regulations on "comfort foods" like ice cream. Obviously, if we are addicted to such foods, then we cannot make personal choices to not consume them. We therefore very much need the state to step in and once again save us from ourselves.

 

Yes, it is apparent that Americans have become addicted. There is an obvious addiction to too much government.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 02:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 07 2011

Some of you may recall a troubling news story that broke in December concerning a Nebraska abortionist's announcement that he may be moving his operations to Indiana. The individual is LeRoy Carhart, a late-term abortion specialist described by Newsweek magazine as "a person determined to train as many late-term abortion providers as possible." The magazine also described him as "the abortion evangelist."

Many have asked what could be done to keep someone like Carhart out of Indiana.   Our answer is coming before the Indiana Senate very soon.   House Bill 1210 is a major pro-life bill with several components including key language to strengthen Indiana's fetal viability law after 20 weeks gestational age of the baby.

HB 1210 came out of the House with 72 votes in support and a remarkable 40 co-authors wanting their name on the legislation. It also contains provisions that strengthen Indiana's informed consent law to include written information from the Department of Health about risks, adoption alternatives, fetal development as well as risks of childbirth, rather than simply unverifiable verbal instructions. HB 1210 also includes hospital admitting privilege requirements to protect women, should they have complications, and ensuring that the emergency room physicians can quickly contact the abortionist. (The abortionist working in South Bend and Fort Wayne allegedly flies in from somewhere out of state.)

Your calls and emails to the Indiana State Senate about House Bill 1210 are much needed. Your State Senator needs to hear from you.

You can find your State Senator easily using your zip code through this link: http://district.iga.in.gov/DistrictLookup/

You can call and leave a message for your Senator at 317-232-9400.

Posted by: Micah Clark AT 08:58 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, April 06 2011

As I mentioned previously, I wanted you to see Congressman Mike Pence's response to the attack ad campaign against him from Planned Parenthood. Rep. Pence has led the way in the US Congress to keep your federal tax dollars away from Planned Parenthood because taxes should not go to subsidize the abortion industry.

Pence's editorial, which appeared in National Review Online late last week, is an outstanding item, which everyone should read. I have read a lot on this issue because it is one we are fighting here in Indiana too, to the tune of nearly $2 million from each biannual state budget. Congressman Pence makes the case for protecting taxpayers and life better in this editorial than any other piece I have read. This is required reading in order to best understand this vital battle.

Incidentally, when you contact your State Senator about HB 1210, you may also want to let your legislator know that you do not want your state tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood or any other abortion providers. A vote on that matter in the Senate is very possible.

Posted by: Micah Clark AT 04:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, April 06 2011

Recent headlines demonstrate to me that April Fools has become not just a day, but a way of life in America.

The Rutgers University Programming Association paid Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi of the reality TV show "jersey Shore" $32,000 Thursday to dish on her hairstyle, fist pumps, as well as the GTL - gym, tanning, laundry - lifestyle. That's $2,000 more than the $30,000 the university is paying Nobel-winning novelist Toni Morrison to deliver Rutgers' commencement address in May.

 

Money for Polizzi'z appearance came from the mandatory student activity fee.

 

Snooki's advice to students: "Study hard, but party harder."

Well, then, there's student college money (read: parent's money) well spent. I'm certain no campus fraternity or sorority or any Rutgers student ever thought to "party harder" prior to Snooki's well-compensated pearl of wisdom.

 

April Fools!


 

But it doesn't end there!

 

The publisher of Archie Comics is giving its first openly gay character his own mini-series this summer.

Dan Parent, who is writing and drawing the four-issue series that comes out in June, tells the Associated Press that the character, Kevin Keller, has connected with the comic book publisher's fans... He says that the series will focus on Kevin's friendships, his strong bond with his father and his coming out to friends and family.

I wonder how old Kevin is? Will he be shown dating same-sex partners? What if Kevin has an affinity for older men? Will he be given the right to pursue such relationships? After all, it is his body. Who has any right to tell him what he can and cannot do with his own body no matter what his age may be?

 

Once more, liberal sexual anarchists get to inject their fiction as fact.

 

April Fools!

 

As if that's not enough, Charlie Sheen kicked off a 20-city tour last Saturday. Except for unavoidable headlines, I have not followed Charlie's purported "melt-downs" and weird shenanigans.

Now, the 45-year-old warlock is coming to a theater near you in an attempt to cast a spell on the world of live entertainment. A month-long 20-city Sheen road show kicks off in Detroit where he's expected to - well, it's not entirely clear what he's going to do.

In honor of our new post-Tucson era of civility and with typical liberal sensitivity, Charlie titles his show "My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option." I doubt that any rational person has any idea what that is supposed to mean, but doesn't it just ooze civility and sincerity?

 

Face value tickets are $126. It is reported that they have fluctuated from $24 to $332 in the secondary markets. Although the source of this particular quote has been in question, it remains accurate to observe in this situation that "there's a sucker born every minute."

 

Who but a sucker would buy a ticket for this show? "A fool and his money are soon parted."

 

April Fools!

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 02:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 04 2011

It is such a relief to know that the world has a religion of peace. In the peaceful, humble fashion that is consistent with their tradition, adherents of Islam once again express their difference of opinion with infidels who have not yet seen the light.

Anger over the burning of the Muslim holy book erupted into deadly violence for the second straight day Saturday in Afghanistan, with demonstrators setting cars and shops ablaze in a riot that left at least five civilians dead, officials said.

 

The desecration of the Koran at a small Florida church has outraged millions of Muslims and others worldwide, fueling anti-American sentiment that only further strains ties between the Afghan government and the West.

On any given day across America, Big Entertainment mocks, ridicules, desecrates, and blasphemes the deeply held religious convictions of Judeo-Christian believers. In spite of that, not one of those treating the Judeo-Christian faith with such disrespect lives in fear of reprisal. Yet, according to their frequent verbosity, Christianity is a religion to reject because "Christians always want to impose their morality on everyone."


 

So now we have adherents of the religion of peace and tolerance upset over the "desecration" of a Koran murdering innocent victims who had nothing to do with the act. Is there anything remotely rational about any of this?

 

Islam is a sociopathic religion. Properly understood and applied, it drives its adherents to complete, antisocial fanaticism. Consider, for instance, Islam's form of eschatology ("end time" theology). Most, if not all, religions contain a form of eschatology. Except for one, no major world religion calls for its adherents to create the predicted chaotic, apocalyptic environments of the "last days." Traditional Judaism calls upon its adherents to create a near-perfect world to usher in the Messianic age. Christianity calls upon its adherents to love and pray for those who persecute them.

 

Islam calls upon its adherents to create the chaotic bloodshed to usher in the twelfth Imam. Islam calls its adherents to respond violently to incidents of disrespect. Islam calls upon its adherents to convert by force (ie, the sword).

 

So here we are... the religion of peace strikes again.

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, April 03 2011

Indiana Planned Parenthood is waging a war against Indiana Congressman Mike Pence for his efforts to remove your tax dollars from the grip of abortion providers - Planned Parenthood being the nation's largest. In fact, they have recently spent $35,000 in advertising against the Congressman in just the Indianapolis media market itself.

The ad campaign targets women with a distortion of what Pence is clearly attempting to do - prevent your hard earned tax dollars from subsidizing the abortion industry. The ads portray Planned Parenthood as the victim of an effort to hurt women and to remove the "good" that it does.


According to the polls, the ads are having some impact. This is interesting because, if you don't muddy the waters with talk of helping the poor and simply ask, "do you want your tax dollars to pay for abortions?" the answer is, and always has been, an overwhelming "no" in all the credible polls.

Some might point out that bank robbers don't rob banks every day. They may coach little league on the side, but that does not make them model citizens. If Planned Parenthood wants to truly do good for women it should get out of the abortion industry. It can then continue to have Title X funds through the granting process and agencies. That amount, by the way, is in the billions over the last three decades.

Next week, I will have a response from Congressman Pence to these ads and the protests that have occurred outside of his district office that I hope to share with you.

Posted by: Micah Clark AT 08:33 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, April 02 2011

After an historic 37-day walkout, which created the longest legislative shut down in US history, the Indiana House Democrats have returned to fulfill the honor and rare privilege the voters gave to them as State Representatives.

The big question now surrounds the making up of lost time before the legislature ends on April 29th. The House still has to pass a budget and a redistricting plan. Additionally, there are scores of bills that were left waiting when the walkout occurred on February 21st. It will be interesting to see what bills are acted upon and which ones die, either due to lost time or some sort of behind the scenes agreement. The Democrats have filed an astonishing 334 amendments to HB 1001, the budget bill. The vast majority of these will have to be set aside in order to meet the deadlines.


One thing the Republicans seem to be holding their ground on is the matter of fines against the AWOL legislators. Those fines began on March 7 at $250 per missed session day. The fines were increased to $350 per day on March 21. The fines total about $3,150 per House Democrat. Minority Leader Patrick Bauer told reporters "those fines are worth it." He also claims that the Democrats won the battle against what he called the GOP's "radical agenda."

Governor Daniels, who has pushed several of the economic and education measures, which are allegedly at the heart of the shutdown, saw it differently. "The only thing 'radical' about this session has been the decision by one caucus to walk off the job for five weeks," the Governor responded.

The House Democrats may have won the battle, but did they lose the war in the long run? That decision is up to Hoosier voters in 2012. The House Democrats will say that they stood up for the "rights of workers" and that they should be re-elected for that stand. If the House Democrats lose seats, then majorities of voters may well have remembered this walkout and voted in accordance with what the polls show today is majority disapproval of this costly stunt. (The full cost in terms of lost policies remains to be seen.)

Posted by: Micah Clark AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 01 2011

UPDATE: Indiana Legislature Passes Marriage Amendment!

Last Monday the Indiana Senate took up the issue of protecting our marriage statutes with a constitutional amendment. Last November you may recall voting on a constitutional amendment to protect a property tax cap law successfully pushed through the legislature by Governor Daniels. This is the same type of proposal. HJR 6 will protect our marriage laws for future generations of children who deserve the best shot at having both a mom and a dad.

When HJR 6 came up for 2nd reading amendments, the tolerance crowd began to yell chants from the Senate balcony. About forty homosexual activists, including the pastor of a large Indianapolis "gay church" were led out of the observation balcony for screaming "jobs, not hate" and other things at Senators. The Senate President closed the gallery. In my 20 years at the state capitol I have seen this sort of behavior from homosexuals fairly often. I have yet to see a group of evangelical Christians, who are routinely labeled as bigoted and intolerant by our culture, disrupt any legislative procedure.


Homosexual activists will often justify their disruptive behavior by saying that it is OK because the legislature is trying to take away their rights. However, there is no right to same-sex marriage. The marriage of two men has never been legally recognized or approved by Indiana law as the moral equivalent of a husband and a wife. Interestingly, there are routinely dozens of pro-life bills filed in every session of the Indiana legislature that do change existing public policies. Yet, to their credit, rarely, if ever, does the "pro-choice"' crowd behave disrespectfully or this disruptively.

The Senate passed HJR 6 on to the 3rd reading stage by a party line vote. It rejected two efforts to nullify the measure by paving the way for civil unions. I hope that most legislators realize that allowing civil unions is not a compromise position. It is a Trojan Horse for the undermining of marriage and both the courts and the homosexual demands groups see it that way.

Here is what the Alliance Defense Fund, one of the top legal organizations in America working in courtrooms across the nation to protect marriage, says about civil unions:

Every time civil unions have been imposed on a state, demands for same-sex "marriage" have followed. The activists lobbying for civil unions really want same-sex "marriage." Since they cannot convince people to redefine marriage (losing 31 out of 31 times when marriage protection or redefinition has been brought to a vote of the people), they pursue strategies such as civil unions as a stop-gap until they get what they really want. The bottom line is that you can't really talk about civil unions without talking about same-sex "marriage" because there really isn't any difference. The goal is the same.

Yesterday, three Senate Democrats joined all the Republicans to pass HJR 6 on a very strong 40-10 vote. The measure will come back in 2013 or 2014. If passed by the legislature in either of those sessions, it will go on the ballot for Hoosier voters to finally have their say in this matter on the November 2014 ballot.

Posted by: Micah Clark AT 05:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 01 2011

A recent Kokomo Tribune letter to the editor extols the virtue of reason. According to its author, Shaun Slack, reason means rejecting belief in God. His reason for this is that since we reject a culture, such as Saudi Arabia, that say they are under a god, then we can likewise reject claims that "the god of American Christians is true."

 

Actually, reason is making rational conclusions from available evidence. It is a search for and recognition of truth. Rather than using reasoning skills, Mr. Slack slaps together some selective anecdotal portrayals of Christianity and completely ignores the body of evidence that sheds light on the truth of the self-revealed God of creation. Numerous notable religious skeptics and atheists have changed their mind about the Christian faith after embarking upon the challenge to prove Christianity false using the available evidence.


 

Although Mr. Slack suggests that belief in God has held up progress, he fails to acknowledge the reality that every major social advance in America has been born from Christians seeking to implement God's message of grace and justice. It appears that his axe to grind now, however, is over the issue of homosexual marriage. He writes, "Well, it makes it more likely that gays might be stripped of the right to marry the person they love because someone says it is not biblical." Hmm. There are many kinds of unions that are not afforded the legal status of marriage. Besides, if Mr. Slack actually applied reason, he would recognize that an evolutionist worldview demands the eradication of homosexuality, not the opportunity to marry.

 

In his closing sentence, Mr. Slack tells us that "if we want to be free, we have to be free to think, reason and run our society for ourselves, not a god." There are historical examples of such societies. One example is the Jacobin government of the French Revolution. Rejecting all religious authority, it sought to be a completely secular government. The result is the infamous reign of terror in which 16,000 to 40,000 citizens are estimated to have been executed.

 

Evidence such as this leads me to reason that running a society for ourselves is not in our best interest.

 

"'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord." - Isaiah 1:18

Posted by: TheOldSalt AT 06:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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