Sunday, October 31, 2010
Up From Multiculturalism
By Mike Adams
The 2012 presidential election is fast approaching. The five Republican candidates are participating in a nationally televised debate. One of the questions read by the moderator is selected from among dozens submitted by audience members. The question reads: “I am a young immigrant who recently moved to the United States. What are two things I can do to become a success in America?”
Four candidates give responses so vague the audience can hardly discern their meaning. Then the fifth candidate gives her answer, which would soon dominate newspaper headlines across America: “Learn English and adopt Christian values.”
It’s tough to imagine an American politician speaking so bluntly and with such truthfulness. In Germany, however, such a statement was recently uttered by Chancellor Angela Merkel. She had the guts to say that Germany's recent drift towards multiculturalism has been an unmitigated disaster. And she went one step further calling on their immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values.
Merkel’s remarks were not spontaneous. She was weighing in on a controversy she could hardly avoid. It began when a German central bank board member said his country was being dumbed down by uneducated and unproductive Muslim migrants. The point can hardly be disputed. But no one had the guts to state the obvious.
Merkel rightly understands that subsidizing immigrants does not make a country strong. In fact, it makes a country weak if the subsidies are not made in exchange for compliance with certain demands – such as speaking German and abandoning the Muslim practice of forced marriage.
Even Turkish President Abdullah Gul seems to understand the view articulated by Merkel. He has now publicly encouraged members of the Turkish community living in Germany to master the German language. He goes so far as to suggest that Turkish children living in Germany should master German at ages so young that they will be able to speak without an accent before they reach adulthood.
A recent study showed that around one-third of Germans feel the country is being "over-run by foreigners" and the same percentage feel foreigners should be sent home when jobs are scarce. Nearly 60 percent of the 2,411 people polled thought the four million Muslims in Germany should have their religious practices "significantly curbed."
The Islamic community seeks to use these statistics as proof that they are victims of human rights abuses. Those claims are tough to take seriously when one considers the violent history of Islam. It is a religion of conquest that has historically relied upon the denial of human rights as its chief method of evangelism.
The Islamic community also seeks to use these statistics as proof that Muslims are victims of “prejudice” rising to the level of “Islamophobia.” But even a cursory reading of the Koran shows that they are taught to segregate themselves from “unbelievers” and “infidels.” They have no desire to be integrated. It’s against their religion.
The Islamic community further seeks to use these statistics as proof that they are victims the kind of racism Jews suffered under the rule of Hitler. But these claims are undercut by the torrent of anti-Semitism pouring out of the Muslim world on a daily basis – including, but not limited to, Iranian threats to wipe Israel off the map.
Angela Merkel is simply stating the obvious fact that some cultures are clearly inferior to others. It is not an abuse of human rights to say that people should be educated and productive. It is not prejudiced to judge bad behavior after it happens. It is not racist to set high standards for all races.
The German people are lucky to have a leader like Angela Merkel. God knows we need someone like her here.
To read another article by Mike Adams, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:32 PM
Is President Obama Promoting a Radical Socialist Agenda
By Janice Shaw Crouse
Stanley Kurtz’s new book, “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism,” is a detailed look into the forces that shaped Barack Obama. Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has written a highly-detailed and definitive account of the president’s conversion as a radical activist; he provides minute and abundant evidence confirming the long-disputed label of “socialist” that has dogged the president since his undergraduate days. Kurtz describes Obama’s ideology as “stealth socialism” and called his views “Barack Obama’s secret.” In the preface of the book, Kurtz writes, “The president has systematically disguised the truth about his socialist convictions, sometimes by directly misrepresenting his past and sometimes by omitting or parceling out damaging information to disguise its real importance.”
Kurtz begins his account in 1983, presenting evidence that Barack Obama, then a senior undergraduate at Columbia University, attended several annual sessions of the “Socialist Scholars Conference.” Kurtz describes the shift of strategy that took place at that meeting to turn the socialist movement from its goal of “nationalization” to community organizing as the best means of promoting the movement during the Reagan administration. Kurtz details the evidence that Socialist Scholars conferences influenced Obama and refutes the president’s claim that his embrace of community organizing was an “impulse.” Instead, in Kurtz’s fully-documented account, the Socialist Scholars conferences provided the future president with a vision for transforming America, as well as a way for Black Americans to be the driving force behind that transformation through the efforts of the Midwest Academy, a training institute that Kurtz credits with Obama’s political ascendency.
Many of the “class warfare” themes that dominate President Obama’s current rhetoric are rooted in that period of his life — such as the “haves” v. the “have-nots” and big business v. the poor. Kurtz shows that the influence of Chicago politics on the future president’s life began at that time with his involvement with Chicago mayor Harold Washington. President Obama extols Washington — a politician Kurtz says openly identified with Chicago’s socialists and the person Kurtz credits with overthrowing the “centrist Democratic machine” in Chicago — as his “political idol” and role model, along with Saul Alinsky, for his political life.
It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of Harold Washington and other Chicago radicals in the 1980s in shaping the politics of Barack Obama. Kurtz details the ways that Washington spearheaded the radicalization of the Democratic Party and shifted the party’s focus to building coalitions of poor and minority voters. He also shows how groups like ACORN functioned to swell the party ranks and fuel the anti-business and class warfare agendas. Perhaps more importantly, Kurtz traces the influence of friends and associates from that era of Obama’s life who are now among his most controversial political advisors and appointees. Kurtz describes them: “Barack Obama’s colleagues and mentors were some of the smartest and most influential stealth-socialist community organizers in the country. Their strategies of political realignment and social transformation guide the Obama administration to this day.”
Kurtz’s research reveals the intricate, though sometimes “stealth,” connections between Obama and the “populist” radical coalitions of the 1980s. Those connections included links to Jeremiah Wright’s radical activities, as well as the activities of coalitions like the Midwest Academy, the Illinois Project Vote, and the “Public Allies” projects.
More troubling than any of the obvious, open and/or stealth associations are the instances where Kurtz details the ways that President Obama “distorted” and “obfuscated” the record of his involvement with ACORN and his relationships with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and his mentor, Bill Ayers. Kurtz notes that the deceptions include accounts in the president’s memoir, “Dreams of My Father.” These deceptions, according to Kurtz, are dangerous because “we will be irreversibly down the path toward social transformation before we recognize as a nation what’s at stake. The strategy of achieving socialism through a series of ‘non-reformist reforms,’ so popular among American’s community organizing elite, is premised on precisely that deception.”
The patterns of behavior, distortion, and rhetorical devices that characterize President Obama’s rise to political prominence are disturbing on numerous fronts. The “obfuscation” about his past alignments and associations is particularly troubling, as is the evidence that he continues to govern as President under the same ideology that guided his past behavior and associations. If the driving forces behind his past political ideology and associations remain constant — as Kurtz’s account seems to substantiate beyond refute — the questions about his strategy for implementing his vision for change are legitimate and crucial for the future of our nation.
With the 2010 election just around the corner, Obama is engaging in a nationwide campaign similar to the one he waged for the presidency in 2008; his get-out-the-vote strategy is targeting the youth, minority, poor, and women’s vote. As centrist independents, all varieties of conservatives plus Tea Party voters look at his past through the lens of Kurtz’s exhaustive and thorough research, all have far more information about the “transformation” that the president promised in 2008. Through Kurtz’s book, the political picture is crystal clear, and the president’s purpose is painfully obvious.
What is equally certain from the evidence Kurtz presents is that the prospect for the nation’s future depends upon the results of the 2010 and 2012 elections. We cannot, however, wait until 2012 to place checks and balances on the radical policies and purposes of this most ideologically-driven of presidents. As Norman Thomas said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
Yes he is - how do I know? Click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:29 PM
End of the Pelosi Era of Irresponsibility
By Lurita Doan
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, the close of the 111th congress punctuates Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as, arguably, the worst Speaker of the House in the history of the United States. No other Speaker has eroded American competitiveness as thoroughly, practiced such a vile and bitter partisanship where friends and allies in Unions and other left-wing causes were rewarded at the expense of others, all while deliberately encouraging Americans to become increasingly dependent upon government.
What a sad spectacle.
Repairing the damage should be the first task of the 112th Congress, and the first order of business is to stop the madness of unrestricted spending. Speaker Pelosi has boasted of the $5 trillion increase in the national debt and the punitive, legislative warfare that she championed through Congress that has squandered our treasury and left us the greatest debtor nation on earth. Restoring some level of fiscal sanity will not be easy, but it is the most urgent task. Fiscal discipline will require a line-by-line review of the budget, a practice that elected officials love to discuss but rarely execute.
Americans cannot continue the Pelosi madness of borrowing money from China to redistribute to union activists and favorite left wing causes. Nor can our nation, once again, extend unemployment benefits for additional years after making payments for the already mandated two years.
Another of Speaker Pelosi’s damaging legacies is the coarsening of our politics. We can no longer afford the incivility that has become the norm in political discourse. During her tenure, Pelosi has overseen multiple pieces of legislation shoved through the House using arm twisting, veiled threats and “bribes” that take the form of political pork. The various pieces of legislation involve tens of thousands of pages of gibberish which neither the Speaker, nor many who allegedly drafted the legislation, has read.
Small businesses have endured their own special hell as a result of Pelosi’s complete lack of understanding of what it takes to create the kinds of jobs that grow the economy. Pelosi, with no business experience to fall back upon, has not allowed her colossal ignorance to stand in the way of making intrusive, destructive, confiscatory policies that have crushed small businesses across the nation. This, too, will take time to repair.
Perhaps most egregious of all, Nancy Pelosi has opened a Pandora’s box of double-speak, often achieving a level of incoherence, that has masked her hostile intent and determination to effect a wealth transfer from those who have worked hardest to those who have hardly worked at all. Prudent Americans that were careful to live within their means, buy houses that they could actually afford, and save their own money have been punished for these sins during Speaker Pelosi’s term.
Instead, an elaborate wealth redistribution system has been established to confiscate money from the hard-working to reward many that were most irresponsible. In Pelosi’s world, it’s okay to reward a homeowner who unwisely bought a house he knowingly could not afford and who then fails even to make interest payments for months on end. In Pelosi’s world, it’s okay to support bail outs for failed companies, especially those with huge union representation, by raising taxes on smaller companies. Pelosi has promoted mediocre Democrat statesmen from obscurity to prominence.
For example, Pelosi has followed her septuagenarian friend, Henry Waxman, down the rabbit hole into a wilderness where there are no limits to the amount of bureaucracy embraced by Congress and the Obama Administration. Waxman has proposed, and Pelosi endorsed, a system where all national issues and challenges are solved by an ever expanding amount of government oversight. Of course, according to this view, no amount of oversight, and no amount of cost for the oversight, is too much. Chaos and disruption to our energy production, power generation and healthcare delivery system were viewed as less consequential if the primary goal of inserting more governmental bureaucracy, oversight, and control over the private sector could be achieved.
Our nation now faces a dismal truth: Speaker Pelosi has been a disaster. Should Republicans take back the House, as is widely expected, a new and, let us hope more competent Speaker will assume responsibility for re-exerting American power, economic vitality, and civic health.
So it is time for goodbyes. Americans should wish Mrs. Pelosi well as she exits the national leadership. Her place in history, as the first female Speaker of the House, is secure. Unfortunately, Mrs. Pelosi will likely be recorded as the most irresponsible Speaker of the House that left the nation, in every way, worse off than when she first took over the gavel. It’s time for her to go.
To read another article by Lurita Doan, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:24 PM
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Jesus, Christians and Politics
By Frank Turek
The United States Congress was in a rare joint session. All 435 representatives and 100 senators were in attendance, and the C-SPAN-TV cameras were rolling. The members were gathered together to hear a speech by a descendant of George Washington. But what they thought would be a polite speech of patriotic historical reflections quickly turned into a televised tongue-lashing. With a wagging finger and stern looks, Washington’s seventh-generation grandson declared,
Woe to you, egotistical hypocrites! You are full of greed and self-indulgence. Everything you do is done for appearances: You make pompous speeches and grandstand before these TV cameras. You demand the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats wherever you go. You love to be greeted in your districts and have everyone call you “Senator” or “Congressman.” On the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness! You say you want to clean up Washington, but as soon as you get here you become twice as much a son of hell as the one you replaced!
Woe to you, makers of the law, you hypocrites! You do not practice what you preach. You put heavy burdens on the citizens, but then opt out of your own laws!
Woe to you, federal fools! You take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, but then you nullify the Constitution by confirming judges who make up their own laws.
Woe to you, blind hypocrites! You say that if you had lived in the days of the Founding Fathers, you never would have taken part with them in slavery. You say you never would have agreed that slaves were the property of their masters but would have insisted that they were human beings with unalienable rights. But you testify against yourselves because today you say that unborn children are the property of their mothers and have no rights at all! Upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed in this country. You snakes! You brood of vipers! You have left this great chamber desolate! How will you escape being condemned to hell!
Of course such an address never really took place. Who would be so blunt and rude to address the nation’s leaders that way? Certainly no one claiming to be a Christian. Are you sure?
Jesus said something very similar. What? Sweet and gentle Jesus? Absolutely. If you read the twenty-third chapter of Matthew you’ll see that much of my fictitious speech is adapted from the real speech Jesus made to the Pharisees. Contrary to the spineless Jesus invented today by those who want an excuse to be spineless themselves, the real Jesus taught with authority and did not tolerate error. When people were wrong, Jesus corrected them and sometimes he got in their faces to do so.
While Jesus was often more diplomatic, he knew that sometimes you need to be blunt with people. Sometimes you need to be direct instead of dancing around the issues. In fact, if you fail to be direct, you risk enabling people, allowing them to continue on their merry way, destroying themselves and the nation.
“Oh, but Jesus wouldn’t say that kind of thing to politicians,” you say. “He wouldn’t get involved in politics.”
Who were the Pharisees? They were not just the religious leaders but also the political leaders of Israel! You mean Jesus was involved in politics? Yes! Paul was too. He addressed the political leaders of his day and even used the privileges of his Roman citizenship to protect himself and advance the Gospel.
But didn’t Jesus say, “Give unto Caesar.” Yes. So what? We all ought to pay taxes. But that doesn’t mean we ought not get involved in politics. In our country, you can not only elect “Caesar,” you can be “Caesar!”
Jesus told us to be “salt” and “light,” and he didn’t say be salt and light in everything but politics. Christians are to be salt and light in everything they do, be it in their church, in their business, in their school, or in their government.
That doesn’t mean establishing a “Theocracy.” Christians should be great protectors of liberty, including freedom of (not from) religion. In fact, having Christians involved in government happens to be advantageous for even non-Christians. How so?
It is only the Christian worldview that secures the unalienable rights of the individual in God— rights that include the right to life, liberty, equal treatment, and religious freedom. Islam won’t do it. Islam means submission to Allah and Sharia law. It doesn’t protect individual rights. Neither will Hinduism (the Caste system) or outright secularism, which offers no means to ground rights in anything other than the whims of a dictator. Only Christianity grounds the rights of the individual in God, and also realizes that since God doesn't force anyone to adhere to one set of religious beliefs, neither should the government.
I often hear Christians claiming that we ought to just “preach the Gospel” and not get involved in politics. This is not only a false dilemma; it’s stupid (how’s that for direct?). If you think “preaching the Gospel” is important like I do, then you ought to think that politics is important too. Why? Because politics and law affects your ability to preach the Gospel! If you don’t think so, go to some of the countries I’ve visited—Iran, Saudi Arabia, China. You can’t legally “preach the Gospel” in those countries—or practice other aspects of your religion freely—because politically they’ve ruled it out.
It’s already happening here. There are several examples where religious freedoms were usurped by homosexual orthodoxy. This summer a Christian student was removed from Eastern Michigan University’s (a public school) counseling program because, due to her religious convictions, she would not affirm homosexuality to potential clients. A Judge agreed (a similar case is pending in Georgia). In Massachusetts, Catholic charities closed their adoption agency rather than give children to homosexual couples as the state mandated. In Ohio, University of Toledo HR Director Crystal Dixon was fired for writing a letter to the editor in her local newspaper that disagreed with homosexual practice.
More violations of religious liberty are on the way from the people currently in charge. Lesbian activist Chai Feldbaum, who is a recess appointment by President Obama to the EEOC, recently said regarding the inevitable conflict between homosexuality and religious liberty, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” So much for tolerance. The people who say they’re fighting for tolerance are the most intolerant, totalitarian people in politics.
Getting involved in politics is necessary if for no other reason to protect your religious liberty, and the liberties of us all. So if you’re a Christian, follow the example of Christ—call out hypocrites and fools, and vote them out on Tuesday!
Oh, I almost forgot. If you’re a pastor and you’re worried about your tax-exempt status, please remember two things: 1) you have more freedom than you think to speak on political and moral issues from the pulpit, and 2) more importantly, you’re called to be salt and light, not tax-exempt.
If you’d like the complete case for Christian involvement get Jesus Is Involved In Politics! by Neil Mammen.
To read another article by Frank Turek, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:39 PM
Left's Tolerance Limited to Liberals
By Ken Connor
The Good Book tells us that pride goes before a fall, and with the midterm elections looming perhaps nothing encapsulates the truth of this maxim more than the leadership of the Democrat Party and its constituency of liberal media elites. The Left's inability to engage opposing views with seriousness and respect and their unwillingness to tolerate divergent opinions within their own ranks reveal an ugly intolerance lurking beneath their veneer of open-mindedness, an intolerance that has fueled the continued, rapid growth of the Tea Party and all but sealed the electoral fate of many Democrats come November 2nd.
A new series of advertisements for MSNBC on the airwaves this week capture perfectly the kind of paternalistic condescension that's crippling the Left in the eyes of so many American people. The ads are intended to communicate the spirit of progress that guides the network, and to set MSNBC above and apart from its chief competition and ideological nemesis, Fox News. In airing these ads, MSNBC is essentially extending an invitation to the American people. "Join us" they say, in our quest to "move forward" towards a better America for all. There's only one small problem. According the ideological litmus test imposed by the network, vast segments of the American population don't qualify to participate in MSNBC's vision.
Among the many images included in the ads is a snapshot of President Obama signing the health care legislation, a picture of two men exchanging wedding vows in a same-sex wedding ceremony, and footage of the First Family celebrating Obama's nomination at the DNC convention in 2008. These are the kind of things MSNBC has in mind when it speaks of American society's "evolution" towards a better tomorrow for all. Therefore, if you voted for John McCain, or opposed the Democrats' health care legislation, or believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman, then you are a heartless, selfish, racist bigot who is anti-progress and anti-American. As anyone who's ever tuned in to watch Chris Matthews or Rachael Maddow or Keith Olbermann knows, MSNBC's vision of a "diverse" America does not include the conservative viewpoint.
The Left's brand of tolerance was also recently on display at National Public Radio, where last week longtime news analyst Juan Williams was fired after he appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and expressed a "controversial" opinion about Muslims and September 11th. For daring to say aloud what many Americans think and feel in the post-9/11 age – namely, that boarding an airplane alongside individuals dressed in traditional Muslim garb makes him feel nervous – he was accused of violating NPR's standards of journalistic ethics. Never mind the fact that 99% of Williams' commentary on O'Reilly's show that evening was in defense of a tolerant, sensitive approach to Islam, or that NPR's other correspondents routinely color their reporting with their own Liberal, hyper-partisan bent. For daring to depart from the accepted Liberal line, Williams had to go.
The Tea Party phenomenon, in particular, has the likes of Matthews, Maddow, and Olbermann sputtering with outrage and confusion. These commentators simply can't fathom how anyone could support the ideas advanced by such backward neanderthals! President Obama and the Democratic leadership are similarly irritated by the ongoing success of the movement, and have – like their ideological brethren in the media – concluded that the only possible explanation for the American public's lack of support is a combination of ignorance, fear, stupidity, and the evil influence of shadowy special interest money. David Brooks recently satirized the delusional hubris of the Democrats in a New York Times op-ed:
"Democrats are lagging this year because the country appears incapable of appreciating the grandeur of their accomplishments. That's because, as several commentators have argued over the past few weeks, many Americans are nearsighted and ill-informed. Or, as President Obama himself noted last week, they get scared, and when Americans get scared they stop listening to facts and reason. . . . The Democrats' problem, as some senior officials have mentioned, is that they are so darn captivated by substance, it never occurs to them to look out for their own political self-interest. . . . They see this campaign as a poetic confrontation between good (themselves) and pure evil (Karl Rove and his group, American Crossroads). As Nancy Pelosi put it at a $50,000-a-couple fund-raiser, 'Everything was going great and all of a sudden secret money from God knows where – because they won't disclose it – is pouring in'. . . . [T]his Lancelots-of-the-Left tale underlines a self-affirming message – that Democrats are engaged in a righteous crusade against the dark villain who tricked Americans into voting against John Kerry."
Amidst all the mudslinging, rationalizing, and scapegoating, there hasn't been much room for any substantive discourse across party and ideological lines; the Democrats simply refuse to engage on this level. The more America's cohort of self-identified "Tea Party Patriots" continues to grow, the deeper the Left buries its collective head in the sand. One is reminded of Scarlett O'Hara's famous method of dealing with the unpleasantness of reality: "I'll think about it tomorrow!" With one week to go before the election, however, the time for Democrats to change course has all but run out.
To read another article by Ken Conner, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:36 PM
Preparing for the Obama Blame Game
By Austin Hill
One must be careful to not assume too much.
But, as columnist Pat Buchanan stated it late last week, “the polls and pundits are all in alignment now,” and it seems to be a foregone conclusion – even at the White House – that the Obama Democrat party is going to suffer a severe rebuke. So it’s probably wise for all of us to consider how our President and his remaining allies in the media and in Congress might try to explain-away and assign blame for his party’s impending implosion.
This is not partisan political punditry – there’s a lot at stake here. We are, after all, talking about the most powerful man in the world, and he is our freely elected President for at least a couple more years. And anybody who has given a cursory review of Mr. Obama’s book “Dreams From My Father,” and anyone who has observed the President’s apologetic, “atoning” foreign policy over the past twenty-two months, must recognize his propensity to blame Americans for whatever he may believe is wrong in the world.
So with a staunch rejection of Barack Obama’s transformational agenda at hand, let’s consider how the President and his “friends” might try to target and blame Americans for it all. In no particular order, here are a few themes that will undoubtedly emerge in the coming days and months.
“Americans are racists:” This line of rhetoric should surprise nobody, as it has been tossed around ever since newly elected U.S. Senator Obama began running for the presidency in 2007. It hasn’t come from Mr. Obama himself, so much, but from his “friends.” Everyone from the thuggish activists at “Organizing For America” and A.C.O.R.N., to outgoing Senator Harry Reid, have been quick to label as “racist” any American who has dared to question or disagree with Mr. Obama. The destructiveness of the President policies hasn’t mattered – the only reason anybody would oppose the Dear Leader is because he is black, or so the story goes. And despite how counter-productive and petty this will seem in the coming months, we should still expect more.
“Americans are ignorant and stupid:” Earlier this month President Obama re-introduced this theme at a liberal political fundraiser in Massachusetts. The sentiment should have been apparent back in the Spring of 2008 when he noted in San Francisco that too many Americans “cling to their guns and religion.” But earlier this month, he once again noted that “we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared…" That was his way, apparently, of explaining away the dismal polling data for his fellow Democrats, and his own disapproval rating.
But this is not just a way for the President to dismiss his own failure. This line of reasoning seems to speak to a deeply held conviction for President Obama – his ways are not our ways, and his ways are perfect. If we allow ourselves to get sidetracked by high unemployment or a destabilizing foreign policy or a healthcare market that has been thrown into chaos by his “reform” efforts – well, we’re just not seeing the big picture, and ignoring all the goodness that Dear Leader has created for us. “Ignorant,” “stupid,” “scared” – that’s why we are about to reject his agenda at the ballot box. Be prepared for Obama allies on Capitol Hill, and in the media, to unload on us big-time.
“Obama has been mischaracterized, and misunderstood:” Since the days of the 2008 presidential campaign, both President Obama and Vice President Biden have encountered questions about being “socialists,” and their so-called “socialist agenda,” to which both the President and Vice President have bristled. And since becoming President, Barack Obama has used all the power and influence of his bully pulpit to target media outlets and personalities with whom he disagrees – namely Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and the Fox Newschannel. Be prepared for more of this in the coming weeks and months, as the President and his “friends” try to explain their electoral disaster on “misleading” pundits who dispense “mis-information.” The President will also likely try to finesse this alleged “problem” into renewed calls for “media reform” legislation.
“Corporate America hijacked the election:” The President has repeatedly insisted that the political advertising produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during this election cycle was purchased with “foreign money.” Of course, there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that this is true, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has bankrolled their ad campaigns all within the parameters of federal election law. But forget the facts – this theme will be reiterated even more loudly after Tuesday, and will likely include attacks on the Diebold Corporation, manufactures of electronic voting machines, with claims that Diebold rigged certain key elections.
I’m very optimistic about Tuesday’s election, and I’m prepared to feel celebratory afterwards. But I’m also anticipating some pretty nasty politics emanating from Washington in the comings weeks and months. Conservatives, in particular, will need to remain thoughtful , and “measured,” in their response to it all.
To read another article by Austin Hill, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:31 PM
Friday, October 29, 2010
It’s the Spending, Stupid
By Orrin Hatch
The Democratic operative, James Carville, coined one of the most legendary campaign catchphrases, “it’s the economy, stupid.” Close to two decades later with our federal deficits this year and last, the highest on record since World War II, that phrase should be changed to, “it’s the spending, stupid.”
On January 1st, every American will see their income taxes go up unless Congress acts. The White House and its Capitol Hill allies, who’ve irresponsibly refused to take action, say we can’t afford to stop the tax hikes on the top two tax rates. They make it sound like taxes are why our deficits are so high. But anyone who believes we don’t tax enough, well then I’ve got ocean front property in Nevada to sell you. The reality is that the driver of our deficits is runaway federal spending.
When Democrats took over Congress, our national debt stood at 36 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP); today it’s roughly 61 percent. Over the same time period, federal spending has gone from 19 percent to almost 25 percent of GDP.
More and more spending has to be funded by more debt or higher taxes. And that’s the real reason the White House wants to raise taxes, because as President Obama declared, “there are a lot of better ways I’d spend that $700 billion,” from pushing through a tax hike of that magnitude. The Democrats are experts on spending.
But these levels of spending are unsustainable and will kill economic growth. The only people who don’t think that this kind of spending is harmful seem to be those who believe that government, and not hard-working Americans, should be in the economic driver’s seat. In fact, former Obama Administration Budget Chief Peter Orszag said that the “new normal” for federal spending is 25 percent. I completely disagree.
Last year, I introduced legislation capping federal spending as a percentage of GDP at roughly 20 percent. This would force the White House and Congress to make the tough decisions to get our fiscal house in order.
Regrettably, the White House and its liberal allies aren’t interested in containing spending. In the final hours before the Senate adjourned, the other side of the aisle blocked a common-sense amendment to reduce spending by 5 percent. Now, clearly more has to be done than that, but it was a start and the majority refused to support even that modest effort.
The left views higher taxes as a means of funding an ever-expanding government, intruding more and more into people’s lives. What they fail to understand is that keeping taxes low empowers the American people to invest their own money how they want - leading to more investment, more jobs and robust economic growth.
The reverse is also true – that higher taxes and more deficit spending kill the economy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, our GDP would take a whopping 1.4 percent hit if we let taxes go up on January 1. The President’s former lead economic advisor, Dr. Christina Romer, found that “tax increases are highly contractionary” and that there's “a powerful negative effect of tax increases on investment.” Her analysis concluded that $1 in tax cuts results in a $3 increase in GDP, demonstrating why lower taxes are key to investment and an economic recovery.
A recent poll of our nation’s job creators found that the single best thing that will get them growing and hiring again is to stop these tax hikes. And for good reason: if the President has his way then about 50 percent of all small business income impacting around 750,000 small businesses will face job-killing tax hikes.
Regrettably, the White House doesn’t seem to be listening. But that’s been a hallmark of this administration since coming into office. These businesses are holding tight to their cash reserves in anticipation that this administration will raise their taxes. Maybe that’s one reason why our unemployment rate is stuck at 9.6 percent with economists questioning how strongly our economy can recover.
Forestalling these massive tax hikes would send a green light to businesses large and small that it’s safe to invest, expand and hire once again. A clear signal of low taxes and restrained spending is just what America’s job creators need.
Orrin Hatch is the United States Senator from Utah and serves on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Senate Committee on Finance.
Posted by Brett at 9:54 PM
Who’s Really Dividing the Country?
By Virgil Goode
The Democrats are going nuts over Sharron Angle’s latest anti-illegal immigration ad, “The Wave.”
Senator Robert Menendez (R-NJ) called the ad “racist” and “despicable” because it tries to “portray all Latinos in this country in a negative light in a state that has such a large, vibrant and productive population.”
TV Talk show host Joy Behar was less restrained. She described is as “a Hitler Youth commercial” and called Angle “evil,” “a moron,” a “bitch,” and even says the ad is enough to warrant her eternal damnation.
So what exactly makes this ad so bad? The ad begins by stating the facts about illegal immigration noting: “Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear.”
This is simply the truth. There are between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens in this country, over 2/3 of whom came to here by crossing the Southern Border illegally. Calling that a “wave” is an understatement. As for violent gangs, the FBI considers MS 13 to be the most dangerous and fastest growing gang in the country.
Many of these gang members such as Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana who was just sentenced to death for two counts of murder are illegal aliens.
And you can be sure that Americans who live near these gang members or on the Southwest border are living in fear.
The ad then states,
“And what's Harry Reid doing about it? Voting to give illegal aliens Social Security benefits, tax breaks, and college tuition. Voting against declaring English our national language -- twice. And even sided with Obama and the President of Mexico to block Arizona's tough new immigration law. Harry Reid, it's clear whose side he's on -- and it's not yours.”
Again, every word is true. The anti-amnesty group NumbersUSA gives Reid a F- grade for his votes in favor of amnesty, increasing legal immigration, and giving rewards to illegal aliens.
Behar, Menendez, and the rest of the opponents of the ad do not even attempt to dispute the facts. But they say it is racist because the illegal aliens portrayed in the ad are Hispanic.
But that is simply reflects the reality of the demographics of illegal immigration. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 78% of all illegal aliens are Hispanic. This number is much higher in the Southwest.
I sympathize with the law abiding Hispanics who feel stimagitzed by illegal aliens. But it is not fair to attack people as “racist” for simply pointing out the facts. Rather, patriotic Hispanics have all the more reason to support deporting the illegal aliens who give them a bad name.
The truth is that Hispanics are among the biggest victims of illegal immigration. The violent gangs often prey on members of their own community. Cheap illegal alien labor undercuts the wages of legal Hispanic immigrants.
Yet Obama and the Democrats insultingly assume that all Hispanics support amnesty and do not care about any other issue besides immigration.
When Univision host Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo interviewed Barack Obama, he gave the president a choice of topics to discuss, “A.) Immigration reform B.) Immigration reform, C.) Immigration reform D.) All of the above.” Obama responded, “I think I'll take D.) All of the above. Absolutely.”
He continued to tell Sotelo that Latinos need to “punish our enemies” who he had defined as those “who are supportive of the Arizona law, who talk only about border security but aren't willing to talk about the other aspects of this, who don't support the Dream Act, who are out there engaging in rhetoric that is divisive and damaging that -- those aren't the kinds of folks who represent our core American values.”
When the Pew Hispanic Center asked Hispanic Voters what their top issues were, Immigration was listed as the number 5 issue. The Center for Immigration Studies asked Hispanic voters if they would prefer to deal with the illegal immigrant population by either "Enforcing the Law and causing them to return home over time", or "granting legal status and a pathway to citizenship to most illegal immigrants,” Hispanics supported enforcement over amnesty 52 percent to 34 percent.
By assuming that all Hispanics support amnesty, Univision, Sen. Menendez, and President Obama are the ones who are perpetuating stereotypes to divide the country.
To read about real comprehensive immigration reform, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:34 PM
A Crossroads Election
By Thomas Sowell
Most elections are about particular policies, particular scandals or particular personalities. But these issues don't mean as much this year-- not because they are not important, but because this election is a crossroads election, one that can decide what path this country will take for many years to come.
Runaway "stimulus" spending, high unemployment and ObamaCare are all legitimate and important issues. It is just that freedom and survival are more important.
For all its sweeping and scary provisions, ObamaCare is not nearly as important as the way it was passed. If legislation can become laws passed without either the public or the Congress knowing what is in those laws, then the fundamental principle of a free, self-governing people is completely undermined.
Some members of Congress who voted for ObamaCare, and who are now telling us that they realize this legislation has flaws which they intend to correct, are missing the point.
The very reason for holding hearings on pending legislation, listening to witnesses on all sides of the issue, and having Congressional debates that will be reported and commented on in the media, is so that problems can be explored and alternatives considered before the legislation is voted into law.
Rushing ObamaCare into law too fast for anyone to have read it served no other purpose than to prevent this very process from taking place. The rush to pass this law that would not take effect until after the next two elections simply cut the voters out of the loop-- and that is painfully close to ruling by decree.
Other actions and proposals by this administration likewise represent moves in the direction of arbitrary rule, worthy of a banana republic, with only a mocking facade of freedom.
These include threats against people who simply choose to express opinions counter to administration policy, such as a warning to an insurance company that there would be "zero tolerance" for "misinformation" when the insurance company said that ObamaCare would create costs that force up premiums.
Zero tolerance for the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution?
This warning comes from an administration with arbitrary powers that can impose ruinous costs on a given business.
Those who are constantly telling us that our economic problems are caused by not enough "regulation" never distinguish between regulation which simply enforces known rules, as contrasted with regulation that gives arbitrary powers to the government to force others to knuckle under to demands that have nothing to do with the ostensible purposes of the regulation.
As more businesses reveal that they are considering no longer buying health insurance for their employees, as a result of higher costs resulting from ObamaCare legislation, the administration has announced that it can grant waivers that reduce these costs.
But the power to grant waivers is the power to withhold waivers-- an arbitrary power that can impose millions of dollars in costs on businesses that the administration doesn't like.
Recent proposals from the Obama administration to force disclosure of the names of people who sponsor election ads would likewise open all who disagree with Obama to retaliation by the government itself, as well as by community activists and others.
History tells us where giving government one arbitrary power after another leads. It is like going into a Venus fly-trap, which is easy to enter and nearly impossible to get out of.
The headstrong, know-it-all willfulness of this administration, which threatens our freedom at home, also threatens our survival in the international jungle, because Obama seems determined to do nothing that will stop Iran from going nuclear.
The Obama administration goes through all sorts of charades at the U.N. and signs international agreements on sanctions that have been watered down to the point where they are not about to bring Iran's nuclear weapons program to a halt. The purpose is not to stop Iran but to stop the American people from realizing what Obama is doing or not doing.
We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopardizes both our freedom and our survival.
To read another article by Thomas Sowell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:11 PM
Obama's Not So Hidden Agenda
By Frank Gaffney
Earlier this year, President Obama drove U.S.-Israeli relations--to use one of President Obama's oft-employed analogies--into a ditch. Arguably, ties between the two countries were never more strained than last Spring when Mr. Obama serially insulted the elected leader of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, vilified his country and tried to euchre it into making territorial, political and other ill-advised concessions to Arabs determined as ever to destroy the Jewish State. Unfortunately, what the President has in mind for Israel after the election next week will make his previous treatment of the Jewish State look like the good old days.
To be sure, ties between the United States and Israel - far and away America's most important and loyal friend in the Middle East - have improved lately from the nadir to which Mr. Obama plunged them since he took office. That has nothing to do, however, with a change of heart or agenda on the part of the President and his administration.
Rather, it is a reflection of a cynical calculation forced upon the Obama White House by its panicked congressional allies. Already laboring under the backbreaking burden of their association with a president and his agenda that have become huge liabilities, Democrats on Capitol Hill faced wholesale defections of their Jewish constituents and funders if their party's leader persisted in his assault on Israel. Public letters and private conversations had the desired effect: Barack Obama began treating his Israeli counterpart with a modicum of respect and the optics of a restarted peace process - however shortlived or doomed - helped conjur up an image of a renewed partnership between the two nations.
Make no mistake about it, though: Once the 2010 elections are behind him, it is a safe bet that President Obama will revert to form by once again exhibiting an unmistakable and ruthless determination to bend Israel to his will.
Worse yet, he will be able to take advantage of a vehicle for effecting the so-called "two state solution," no matter how strenuously Israel and its friends in Washington object: The Palestinians will simply unilaterally declare themselves a state and ask for international recognition - and Mr. Obama will accede to that request.
A number of the particulars involved in this gambit are unclear at the moment. For example, will the Palestinians announce the borders of their state to be the 1967 cease-fire lines, in which case large Israeli population centers (defiled as "settlements") will be inside a nation that is certain to be, to use Hitler's phrase, judenrein (free of Jews)? How will the Hamas-stan of Gaza be connected to the currently PLO-run West Bank - in a way that will make them "contiguous" without bisecting the Jewish state and ensuring that Hamas does not take over the rest of the so-called "Palestinian authority"?
Also unclear is precisely how Obama will handle the sticky issue of extending U.S. recognition of Palestine. Will he want to parallel Harry Truman's direct and immediate endorsement of the establishment of Israel in 1948? Or will he do it more disingenuously, as former UN Ambassador John Bolton speculated in the Wall Street Journal last week, by having the United States abstain from an approving vote by the United Nations Security Council. The hope behind the latter would be that Team Obama and its partisans will somehow avoid retribution from Israel's friends, both Democrats and others, both here and abroad.
The truth is that, either way, Mr. Obama will have dealt Israel a potentially mortal blow. Without control of the high ground and water aquifers of the West Bank, the Jewish state is simply indefensible and unsustainable.
Some may suggest that international forces (perhaps led by the United States) should be deployed in the areas Jews have historically known as Judea and Samaria so as to ensure that they are not used to harm Israelis in the low-lying areas to the west.
We have seen how such arrangements work in practice in Lebanon, though-- which is to say not well.
In southern Lebanon, UN "peacekeepers" have merely wound up protecting Israel's enemies, notably Hezbollah, as such foes of both the Jewish State and our own have amassed immense amounts of missiles and other arms and prepared to resume hostilities against Israel at a moment of that Iranian-backed terrorist group's choosing (or, more precisely, that of their sponsors in Tehran.) The same is certain to eventuate in the West Bank as paramilitary forces the United States has foolishly trained and equipped become a standing army and fall under the sway of Hamas.
Such a "two-state solution" will make another regional war vastly more likely, not prevent it. Yet, the Obama administration is committed to pursuing that goal as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made excrutiatingly clear in a pandering speech to the Americah Task Force on Palestine last week.
Among other ominous comments, she declared that "the World Bank recently reported that if the Palestinian Authority maintains its momentum in building institutions and delivering public services, it is, and I quote, ‘well-positioned for the establishment of a state at any point in the near future.'" She seemed determined in particular to emphasize the last seven words.
Voters need to know now whether President Obama and those in Congress who support his agenda are determined to help Israel's enemies destroy her - not find out that is the case after the elections.
To read another article by Frank Gaffney, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:07 PM
By Rich Galen
Going into the summer of 2010, we were assured by the political geniuses in the White House that Barack Obama and Joe Biden would be out selling it as "Recovery Summer."
In fact, on June 17 the White House published an announcement on its website saying,
"The Administration today kicks off "Recovery Summer," a six-week-long focus on the surge in Recovery Act infrastructure projects that will be underway across the country in the coming months - and the jobs they'll create well into the fall and through the end of the year."
Ah, that blasted reality.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a subdivision of Obama's Department of Labor) in July 2010 - a month into Recover Summer - there were 14,599,000 Americans who were unemployed.
After three months of "focus on the surge in Recovery Act infrastructure projects" in September 2010 there were 14,767,000 Americans looking for work. 168,000 more than before Obama and Biden went out into the countryside to tell us how well we're doing.
Unemployment is stuck in the mid-nine-percent range and every poll with the possible exception of those taken by Newsweek shows that Americans think their economic future is not very bright.
According to Gallup, in June - when Recovery Summer was announced - 36 percent of Americans thought the economy was getting better. 60 percent thought it was getting worse. As of last night 32 percent thought the economy was getting better and 62 percent thought it was getting worse.
The Recovery Summer turned into the Relapse Summer.
If you don't think we're going back in time, consider this: Germany (yes, THAT Germany) reported its unemployment rate at 7.5 percent - two percentage points below Barack Obama's unemployment rate.
And the Germans were disappointed with the numbers because the government thought it would be a tenth lower at 7.4 percent.
Everyone who thinks it's good for the world when the Germans are the overwhelming economic power in Europe raise hands.
Put your hand down, Günther.
Gallup also asks people who have jobs if they are working part time and want full time work. That measure of underemployed is at 18.2 percent. I don't think they think they're recovering.
The Washington Post's senior political analyst, Dan Balz, wrote a piece yesterday which summarized the mood of the nation following Recovery Summer: "Anger is one word that is often used to describe the electorate this year. But one word alone cannot adequately capture the sentiments expressed by voters on doorsteps and street corners, at community centers or candidate rallies. Along with the anger there is fear, worry, nervousness, disappointment, anxiety and disillusionment."
"Recovery," you will note, was not a word which made it into that sentence.
The practical result of all this will be seen on Tuesday. According to RealClearPolictics.com the GOP has got 222 seats more-or-less in its pocket; Democrats have 177.
Of the 38 seats listed as "toss-ups" 36 are held by Democrats. If the Rs and Ds just split those down the middle that might give John Boehner 240 seats going into the 112th Congress or a majority of 45 seats.
The last time Republicans had 240 seats or more? Right after World War II. During the 80th Congress the party division was 246 Rs, 188 Ds and one independent. Plus 58 for Republicans.
Before you start doing your Ren & Stimpy Dance o' Joy keep in mind that in the election of 1948 the GOP lost 75 seats and was back in the minority by 92 seats 263-171.
But, the 2012 election is two years away. Let's focus on the 2010 election which should be Recovery November for the GOP and a Relapse Election for the Dems.
To read another article by Rich Galen, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:03 PM
Standing Tall: The Rise and Resilience of Conservative Women
By Michelle Malkin
My military friends have a favorite saying: "If you're not catching flak, you're not over the target." This campaign season, conservative women in politics have caught more flak than WWII Lancaster bombers over Berlin. Despite daily assaults from the Democratic machine, liberal media and Hollyweird -- not to mention the stray fraggings from Beltway GOP elites -- the ladies of the right have maintained their dignity, grace and wit. Voters will remember in November.
When "comedian" and "The View" co-host Joy Behar lambasted GOP Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle this week as a "b*tch" who would be "going to h*ll" for using images of illegal alien gang members in a campaign ad, Angle responded by sending a lovely bouquet of flowers and a good-humored note: "Joy, Raised $150,000 online yesterday. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Sharron Angle."
Outgunned in the comedy department, Behar sputtered nonsensically and with bitter, clingy vulgarity: "I would like to point out that those flowers were picked by illegal immigrants and they're not voting for you, b*tch." Illegal aliens are not supposed to vote at all, Miss B. But why let such pesky details get in the way of a foul-mouthed daytime TV diatribe?
Just a week earlier, Behar delivered a hysterical rant against GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, accusing the mother of five and foster mother of 23 of being "against children" for opposing the expansion of federal health care entitlements for middle-class families and children (the SCHIP program) and for opposing the costly Obama takeover of health care. Behar merely parrots the demagoguery of Democratic leaders in Washington, who have ducked behind kiddie human shields to avoid substantive debate about the dire consequences of their policies.
As a result of the Obamacare mandates, of course, insurers have canceled child-only plans across the country. And there are plenty of compassionate reasons for opposing SCHIP expansion beyond its original mandate to serve the truly working poor. Behar called me a "selfish b*tch" three years ago over the same issue. Why is it "against children" and "selfish" to challenge the wisdom of redistributing money away from taxpayers of lesser means who are responsible enough to buy insurance before a catastrophic event -- and then using their tax dollars to subsidize more well-off families who didn't have the foresight or priorities to purchase insurance with their own money?
But never mind those pesky details. Behar persisted in smearing Bachmann as "anti-children, anti-children." Facts be damned.
Distortions on "The Spew" are bad enough. But the "mainstream" media's complicity in spreading false narratives about GOP women is an affront to the First Amendment. When Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell challenged Democratic opponent Chris Coons in a constitutional debate last week to name the five freedoms in that First Amendment, he blanked out after freedom of religion. Instead of reporting on the flub, the Washington Post and Associated Press misleadingly reported that O'Donnell had questioned whether the establishment and free exercise clauses were in the First Amendment. What she actually said to Coons during the debate was: "So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the First Amendment?" It is not, of course. But never mind those pesky details.
In one of the most despicable last-minute campaign hits, gossip website Gawker -- run by Internet smear machine operator Nick Denton -- paid for and published on Thursday an anonymous tell-all from a man purporting to have had a "one-night stand" with O'Donnell. This misogynistic trash can't be verified, and the author admits that the sensationally titled "one-night stand" did not actually include sex. The sole purpose and intent of such checkbook journalism: Humiliation.
Pundits and late-night TV pranksters have ridiculed O'Donnell for exposing liberal bias against conservative female candidates. But these same smug mockers have spent the past two years deriding Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, her children, her body, her accent and her brain. They snickered at reports of Democratic California gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown's campaign calling GOP challenger Meg Whitman a "wh*re." And they shrugged off "The View's" "b*tch" sessions as shtick.
The conservative women-bashers can laugh all they want. On November 2, success will be our best revenge.
To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:57 AM
What Matters Most
By Oliver North
CHICAGO -- According to pollsters and pundits, next Tuesday's midterm elections for the 112th Congress are going to be a referendum on the nation's economic travail. Since our Fox News' "War Stories" team returned from Afghanistan three weeks ago, we have been deluged by reminders from so-called "mainstream media" outlets that the Clinton-era political axiom "It's the economy, stupid" is all that matters. President Barack Obama should hope that's true.
If Americans vote only on the question of whether they are better off since Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Obama became the potentates of pork on the Potomac, then Obama may yet salvage his presidency for another term in 2012. He and his very liberal cronies know that today's hot-button issues -- government health insurance mandates, bailouts, buyouts, stimulus debt, unemployment above 9.5 percent and plans to raise taxes on small businesses -- are all likely to diminish in importance as the U.S. economy slowly and inevitably improves.
Obama has acknowledged here in Chicago and elsewhere that though he's not on the ballot, his agenda is. Yet he's also counting on voters' short-term memory -- hoping those we elect next Tuesday won't require him to abide by his oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." If those we send to Washington next week remember that what matters most isn't just the economy -- but also preserving, protecting and defending our Constitution and our people -- this president's agenda and his hopes for re-election are toast.
The representatives and senators we elect must do more than offer poll-driven seven-second sound bite platitudes about creating jobs, cutting the national debt and reducing home foreclosures. The security of our nation is being squandered by the Obama agenda. That won't change unless those we put in Congress on Nov. 2 have the courage to make real "change" happen.
Every American commander in chief should know who our allies and enemies are, ought to be able to define victory in war, and must be willing to protect our borders. Obama has proved himself unable or unwilling to do any of those. Congress, through the power of the purse, can make them happen.
Congressional authorizations and appropriations provide nearly $50 billion of our tax dollars to foreign countries. Every cent has some kind of string attached. The next Congress must recognize that our enemies are not "criminal extremists," but radical Islamists who have declared war on us. That also means Congress must ensure that support for Israel is not withheld by the O-Team to force some fatally flawed "two-state solution" on our only democratic ally in the Middle East.
Conversely, the aid we provide to Pakistan must be conditional on Islamabad's adhering to commitments it made for quashing the Taliban along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. If the Pakistani government won't do what it pledged to do, Congress ought to cut the subsidies.
Winning the war in Afghanistan isn't as elusive or as difficult to describe as our present commander in chief has made it seem. "Victory" is a representative government in Kabul that respects the human rights of the Afghan people, is able to protect them from internal and external threats, and is a friend to the West. The next Congress needs to insist on that outcome.
Obama's strategically unsound commitment to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan next July virtually pushed the Kabul government into an embrace with Iran's brutal theocracy. Reports this week that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been accepting "bags of cash" from America-hating ayatollahs shouldn't have surprised anyone. On July 30, this column reported on a Web video produced by "Voice of Afghan Youth" that revealed the Karzai-Tehran connection. Congressional oversight committees should investigate who knew what and when they knew it, as well as what promises were made in secret sessions between Karzai and Obama.
Securing our borders also must become a congressional priority. Instead of using our tax dollars to press a court case against the governor of Arizona for attempting to stop drug dealers, human traffickers, gun smugglers and money launderers from invading the state, Congress needs to insist that the Obama administration protect our borders.
Finally, the 112th Congress must make certain the O-Team does not succeed in wrecking the finest military force the world has ever known. Amending, eliminating or ignoring Section 654 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which bars open homosexuals from serving in our armed forces, would simply be wrong. Allowing this to happen in the midst of war would be catastrophic.
The abysmal state of our economy may well be what drives most voters to the ballot box next week. If the polls and predictions are right, by Wednesday morning we will be eyewitness participants to a profound and positive change for Washington. But unless we insist that those we elect focus on the issues above, we may yet lose on what matters most: preserving, protecting and defending our Constitution, our national security and our very way of life.
To read another article by Oliver North, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:50 AM
The Scott Brown Precedent and Israel
By Caroline Glick
On Tuesday, US voters are set to repudiate US President Barack Obama's agenda for their country. Unfortunately, based on his behavior in the face of a similar repudiation last January, it is safe to assume that Obama will not abandon his course.
Last year, in an attempt to block Obama's plan to nationalize healthcare, Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to the Senate. Brown was elected because he pledged to block Obamacare in the U.S. Senate.
Rather than heed the voters' message and abandon his plans, Obama abandoned the voters. Instead of accepting his defeat, Obama changed the rules of the game and bypassed the Senate.
So it is safe to assume that for the next two years, Obama will do everything he can to bypass the Congress and govern by executive orders and regulations. Although much can be done in this fashion, Congress's control of the purse strings will check his domestic agenda.
In matters of foreign policy however, Obama will be less burdened by - but not immune - to Congressional oversight. We can therefore expect him to devote far more energy to foreign affairs in the next two years than he devoted in the last two years.
This bodes ill for Israel. Since entering office, Obama has shown that his primary foreign policy goal is to remake the US's relationship with the Muslim world. Obama has also repeatedly demonstrated that compelling Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians and empowering international institutions that seek to delegitimize Israel are his preferred means of advancing this goal.
To date, Obama's demands on Israel have focused on blocking construction and delegitimizing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. And as far as he is concerned, Israel's response to his demands to date has been unsatisfactory. In light of this, at a minimum we can expect that in the immediate aftermath of next Tuesday's elections, Obama will deliberately provoke a new crisis in US relations with Israel over Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
But of course, this isn't Obama's only option. Indeed, he has nearly unlimited options for making life unpleasant for Israel. Obama doesn't even have to be the one to provoke the next crisis. He can simply take advantage of crises that the Palestinians provoke.
The Palestinians are threatening to provoke two such crises in the next several months. First, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to ask the UN Security Council to pass a resolution declaring all Israeli communities beyond the 1949 armistice lines illegal and requiring the expulsion of the 450,000 Israeli Jews who live in them.
Second, the PA's unelected Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is threatening to declare independence without a treaty with Israel next summer.
Simply by not opposing these deeply aggressive initiatives against Israel, Obama can cause Israel enormous harm.
Other outlets for pressure include stepping up harassment of pro-Israel groups in the US, holding up the transfer of arms to Israel, pressing for the IDF to end its counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria, and expanding US financial and military support for the Palestinian army. All of these moves will doubtless be employed to varying degrees in the next two years.
This onslaught on Israel will be implemented against the backdrop of a dynamic regional strategic environment. The evolving threats that Israel faces include among other things, Iran's acquisition of a nuclear arsenal, and Iran's takeover of Lebanon, Gaza and Syria. Israel also faces the likelihood that instability and fanaticism will engulf Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak dies and that Jordan will be destabilized after US forces vacate Iraq.
Over the next two years, Israel will be required to contend with these developing threats in profound ways. And over the next two years, all of Israel's actions aimed at mitigating these threats will need to be taken with the certain knowledge that the country will be in and out of crises with the Obama administration throughout. Whatever military actions Israel will be required to take will have to be timed to coincide with lulls in Obama-provoked crises.
The one good thing about the challenge Obama presents to Israel is that it is a clear cut challenge. The Scott Brown precedent coupled with Obama's track record on Israel demonstrate that Obama will not modify his anti-Israel agenda to align with political realities at home, and there is nothing that Israel can do that will neutralize Obama's hostility.
By the same token, the massive support Israel enjoys among the incoming Republican majority in the House of Representatives is a significant resource. True, the Republicans will not enjoy the same power to check presidential power in foreign affairs as they will have in domestic policy. But their control over the House of Representatives will enable them to shape public perceptions of international affairs and mitigate some administration pressure on Israel by opening up new outlets for discourse and defunding administration initiatives.
Against this backdrop, Israel must craft policies that maximize its advantage on Capitol Hill and minimize its vulnerability to the White House. Specifically, Israel should adopt three basic policy lines. First, Israel should request that US military assistance to the IDF be appropriated as part of the Defense Department's budget instead of the State Department's foreign aid budget where it is now allocated.
This change is important for two reasons. First, US military assistance to Israel is not welfare. Like US military assistance to South Korea, which is part of the Pentagon's budget, US military assistance to Israel is a normal aspect of routine relations between the US and its strategic allies. Israel is one of the US's most important strategic allies and it should be treated like the US's other allies are treated and not placed in the same basket as impoverished states in Africa.
Second, this move is supported by the Republicans. Rep. Eric Cantor, who will likely be elected Republican Majority Leader has already stated his interest in moving military assistance to Israel to the Pentagon budget. The Republicans wish to move aid to Israel to the Pentagon's budget because that assistance is the most popular item on the US foreign aid budget. Not wishing to harm Israel, Republicans have been forced to approve the foreign aid budget despite the fact that it includes aid to countries like Sudan and Yemen which they do not wish to support.
When the government announces its request, it should make clear that in light of Israel's economic prosperity, Israel intends to end its receipt of military assistance from the US within five years. Given the Republicans' commitment to fiscal responsibility, this is a politically sensible move. More importantly, it is a strategically critical move. Obama's hostility demonstrates clearly that Israel must not be dependent on US resupply of military platforms in time of war.
The second policy direction Israel must adopt involves stepping up its efforts to discredit and check the Palestinian political war against it. Today the Palestinians are escalating their bid to delegitimize Israel by expanding their offensive against Israel in international organizations like the UN and the International Criminal Court and by expanding their operations in states like Britain that are hostile to Israel.
Israel must move aggressively to discredit all groups and individuals that participate in these actions and cooperate with its allies who share its aim of weakening them. For instance, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who is expected to be elected Chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee has been seeking to curtail US funding to UN organizations like UNRWA whose leaders support Hamas and whose organizational goal is Israel's destruction.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his ministers must lead the charge discrediting groups like UNRWRA, the ICC, and the UN Human Rights Council. Since the Obama administration seeks to empower all of these organizations, at a minimum, such an Israeli policy will embolden Obama's political opponents to block his policies by curtailing US funding of these bodies.
The Palestinians' threats to declare independence and define Israeli communities as illegal are clear attempts on their part to shape the post-peace process international landscape. Given their diplomatic strength and Israel's diplomatic weakness, it is reasonable for the Palestinians to act as they are.
But two can play this game.
Israel is not without options. These options are rooted in its military control on the ground, Netanyahu's political strength at home and from popular support for Israel in the US.
Israel should prepare its own unilateral actions aimed at shaping the post-Oslo international agenda. It should implement these actions the moment the Palestinians carry through on their threats. For instance, the day the UN Security Council votes on a resolution to declare Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and Israeli neighborhoods in Jerusalem illegal, Israel should announce it is applying Israeli law to either all of Judea and Samaria, or to the large Israeli population centers and to the Jordan Valley.
If properly timed and orchestrated, such a move by Israel could fundamentally reshape the currently international discourse on the Middle East in Israel's favor. Certainly it will empower Israel's allies in the US and throughout the world to rally to its side.
The challenge that Washington now poses to Israel is not unprecedented. Indeed for Netanyahu it is familiar.
During his first tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu faced a similar predicament with the Clinton administration. In October 1998, then president Bill Clinton was about to be impeached. The Republicans stood poised to expand their control over the House of Representatives. Paralyzed domestically, Clinton turned to Israel. He placed enormous pressure on Netanyahu to agree to further land concessions to Yassir Arafat in Judea and Samaria. In what became the Wye Memorandum, Clinton forced Netanyahu to agree to massive concessions in exchange for which, Clinton agreed to free Jonathan Pollard from prison.
At the time, Israel's allies in Washington enjoined Netanyahu not to succumb to Clinton's pressure. They argued that in his weakened state, Clinton had limited capacity to harm Netanyahu. Moreover, they warned that by caving to his pressure, Netanyahu would strengthen Clinton and guarantee that he would double down on Israel.
In the event, Netanyahu spurned Israel's allies and bent to Clinton's will. For his part, Clinton reneged on his pledge to release Pollard.
Netanyahu's rightist coalition partners were appalled by his behavior. They bolted his coalition in protest and his government fell. Rather than stand by Netanyahu for his concessions, Clinton and the Israeli Left joined hands to defeat him in the 1999 elections.
The lesson Netanyahu learned from this experience was that he cannot trust the political Right to stand by him. While not unreasonable, this was not the main lesson from his experience. The larger point is that Netanyahu must not delude himself into believing that by falling into the arms of the Left he will win its support.
The post-election Obama administration will make the lives of Israel's leaders unpleasant. But Netanyahu and his ministers are not powerless in the grip of circumstances. They have powerful allies and supporters in Washington and the confidence of the Israeli people. These are formidable assets.
To read another article by Caroline Glick, click here.
Liberals at War With Liberty
By David Limbaugh
Why were liberals were so insanely paranoid about the alleged nefarious activities of President George W. Bush? Projection, anyone? They were mortified at Bush's alleged encroachment on our individual liberties, but now that they're in control, we see where liberty ranks on their list of priorities.
We've always known that the term "liberal," in modern parlance, is an oxymoron. Today's liberals are the exact opposite of the classical liberals of yesteryear, who actually believed in limited government and free markets.
Liberals have been seducing Americans out of their liberties for decades with false promises of security. Prior to Obama, we were on a slow march toward statism, but now we are on a rapid gallop.
That's mostly what next week's congressional elections will be about. Ordinary Americans are horrified and outraged that Obama and his enablers in Congress are fundamentally transforming America from a beacon of liberty to a bankrupt socialist state. They are outraged that this elite bunch of officious intermeddlers are waging all-out war against our social compact. Americans want America back.
This nation was founded as a constitutional republic, with the people electing representatives to serve on their behalf and tend to the proper functions of government but ultimately retaining sovereignty.
Most Americans are sophisticated enough to understand that we don't have a pure democracy and that we can't conduct government by daily polls or plebiscites. But they also don't expect that their wishes will be ridiculed, summarily rejected and spat upon by a sneering, disdainful autocracy.
President Obama and his henchmen are in the process of undermining the social compact in a number of ways. They are acting outside their constitutional authority, in defiance of the rule of law, to achieve political ends they -- not the public -- desire. They are ignoring the express will of the people and treating them like ill-informed rubes whose opinions aren't worthy of serious consideration, only phony placation. They are implementing a policy agenda that is substantively depriving us of our liberties across the board.
It's not for shock value that conservatives accuse Obama's band of being socialists. It's because there appears to be no limit to their appetite for gobbling up power and swallowing our individual liberties.
It's not just about power, either. They are imbued with a disturbing degree of moral superiority. They believe they have the right -- even the duty -- to tell us how we ought to live our lives because they know better than we do what is good for us. And they talk to us about Christian scolds!
This attitude underlies their views, from the seemingly least significant to the most pressing issues. Their czars and administrative dictators tell us that they are going to coerce us out of our cars and onto biking trails and walkways. They are giving people's hard-earned money away to other people to keep those other people in houses they can't afford, only to result in those others being unable to pay their mortgages and still losing their homes.
They are re-expanding the welfare state, increasing people's dependency on government, even though welfare reform was producing dramatically positive results while weaning people off the government teat. It's not results that matter; it's only the intermeddlers' professed good intentions. But how can good intentions any longer be fairly attributed to them, when the results of their policies are so uniformly disastrous, from the war on poverty to welfare to Social Security to, now, health care? And yes, I meant to include Social Security, because in its existing form, it is a complete hoax -- entirely unfunded because its revenues have been hijacked from the beginning by immoral, irresponsible politicians unwilling to make government live within its means. These same politicians still refuse to reform it toward solvency, preferring fear and demagoguery to the hard truth.
People are very anxious about the depressed economy, to be sure, but they are outraged at Obama and Congress' deliberately bankrupt spending in the fraudulent name of repairing the economy; they are incensed at this immoral larceny against them and future generations of Americans to satisfy professor Obama's quixotic experiment in socialist economic theories. And they are mortified that these reckless knuckleheads are wrecking the best health care system in the world under false pretenses -- from promising more choice and coverage, when there will be less of both, to reduced costs, when costs are already beginning to explode.
America, its founding principles, its Constitution, its robust liberty tradition and its strength are being stolen out from under us by a man who has no appreciation for America's greatness and who has contempt for ordinary Americans (we're "enemies"), whom he considers beneath him and unworthy of their sovereign prerogative to preserve this nation.
The people have had enough. Consequently, absent unimaginable, comprehensive voter fraud next week, we're going to see an unprecedented housecleaning.
To read another article by David Limbaugh, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:41 AM
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Brass Oldies: Part III
By Thomas Sowell
Politics is not the only place where some pretty brassy statements have been made and repeated so often that some people have accepted these brassy statements as being as good as gold.
One of the brassiest of the brass oldies in the law is the notion that the Constitution creates a "wall of separation" between church and state. This false notion has been so widely accepted that people who tell the truth get laughed at and mocked.
A recent New York Times piece said that it was "a flub of the first order" when Christine O'Donnell, Republican candidate for senator in Delaware, asked a law school audience "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" According to the New York Times, ?The question draw gasps and laughter" from this audience of professors and law students who are elites-in-waiting.
The New York Times writer joined in the mocking response to Ms. O'Donnell's question, though admitting in passing that "in the strictest sense" the "actual words 'separation of church and state' do not appear in the text of the Constitution." Either the separation of church and state is there or it is not there. It is not a question of some "strictest" technicality.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States begins, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution about a "wall of separation" between church and state, either directly or indirectly.
That phrase was used by Thomas Jefferson, who was not even in the country when the Constitution was written. It was a phrase seized upon many years later, by people who wanted to restrict religious symbols and has been cited by judges who share that wish.
There was no mystery about what "an establishment of religion" meant when that phrase was put into the Constitution. It was not an open ended invitation to judges to decide what role religion should play in American society or in American government.
The Church of England was an "established church." That is, it was not only financed by the government, its members had privileges denied to members of other religions.
The people who wrote the Constitution of the United States had been British subjects most of their lives, and knew exactly what an "established church." meant. They wanted no such thing in the United States of America. End of story-- or so it should have been.
For more than a century, no one thought that the First Amendment meant that religious symbols were forbidden on government property. Prayers were offered in Congress and in the Supreme Court. Chaplains served in the military and presidents took their oath of office on the Bible.
But, in our own times, judges have latched onto Jefferson's phrase and run with it. It has been repeated so often in their decisions that it has become one of the brassiest of the brass oldies that get confused with golden oldies.
As fundamentally important as the First Amendment is, what is even more important is the question whether judges are to take it upon themselves to "interpret" the law to mean whatever they want it to mean, rather than what it plainly says.
This is part of a larger question, as to whether this country is to be a self-governing nation, controlled by "we the people," as the Constitution put it, or whether arrogant elites shall take it upon themselves to find ways to impose what they want on the rest of us, by circumventing the Constitution.
Congress is already doing that by passing laws before anyone has time to read them and the White House is likewise circumventing the Constitution by appointing "czars" who have as much power as Cabinet members, without having to go through the confirmation process prescribed for Cabinet members by the Constitution.
Judges circumvent the Constitution by reading their own meaning into its words, regardless of how plain and unequivocal the words there are.
The Constitution cannot protect us and our freedoms as a self-governing people unless we protect the Constitution. That means zero tolerance at election time for people who circumvent the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Freedom is too precious to give it up in exchange for brassy words from arrogant elites.
To read part 2 of this article, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:48 AM
Public Employee Unions Funnel Public Money to Dems
By Michael Barone
Who is the largest single political contributor in the 2010 campaign cycle? You can be pardoned if you answer, erroneously, that it's some new conservative group organized by Karl Rove. That's campaign spin by the Obama Democrats, obediently relayed by certain elements of the so-called mainstream media.
The real answer is AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union's president, Gerald McEntee, reports proudly that AFSCME will be contributing $87,500,000 in this cycle, entirely or almost entirely to Democrats. "We're spending big," he told The Wall Street Journal. "And we're damn happy it's big."
The mainstream press hasn't shown much interest in reporting on unions' campaign spending, which amounted to some $400,000,000 in the 2008 cycle. And it hasn't seen fit to run long investigative stories on why public employee unions -- the large majority of whom work for state and local governments -- contribute so much more to campaigns for federal office.
Nor has it denounced the Supreme Court's decision last January in Citizens United allowing unions to spend members' dues on politics without their permission and without disclosure.
AFSCME's number one status is emblematic of a change in the union movement over the years. Before public employee unions won the right to represent employees in New York City in 1958 and federal employees in 1962, almost all union members worked in the private sector.
But unions today represent only 7 percent of private-sector workers, and in 2009, for the first time in history, most union members were public employees.
This would not have gone down well with President Franklin Roosevelt. "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," he said in the 1930s. A public employee strike, he said, "looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable."
It still is at the federal level, thanks to presidents of both parties and especially to Ronald Reagan's firing of the striking air traffic controllers in 1981. But successful strikes in many states and cities have given public employee unions huge clout and hugely generous salaries, benefits and pensions.
Even more important is the political reality that, as New York union leader Victor Gotbaum said in 1975, "We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss."
The anomalies don't end there. Public employees' union dues and contributions to union PACs come directly from taxpayers. So if you live in a state or city with strong public employee unions, you are paying a tax that goes to elect Democratic candidates (plus, perhaps, a few malleable Republicans).
The problem is that, as Roosevelt understood, public employee unions' interests are directly the opposite of those of taxpayers. Public employee unions want government to be more expensive and government employees to be less accountable.
Yes, some union leaders, like the late Albert Shanker of the American Federation of Teachers, have been concerned about the quality of public services. But they have been the exception rather than the rule.
Public employee unions have collected big-time from the Obama Democrats. The February 2009 stimulus package contained $160 billion in aid to state and local governments. This was intended to, and did, insulate public employee union members from the ravages of the recession that afflicted those unfortunate enough to make their livings in the private sector.
How it benefited the society as a whole is less clear. State governments in California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey are facing enormous budget deficits and much, much greater pension liabilities. Much of the life of their private-sector economies has been sucked out by the public employee unions, with a resulting flight of middle-income citizens unable or unwilling to bear such burdens.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, elected in 2009, has become a kind of folk hero for his defiance of the state's teacher unions, which expect 4 percent raises in years of no growth or inflation and balk at having members pay any share of health insurance premiums.
Public employee union members have become, as U.S. News and World Report Editor Mortimer Zuckerman writes, "the new privileged class," with better pay, more generous benefits and far more lush pensions than those who pay their salaries -- and who are taxed to send money to their leaders' favored candidates.
Franklin Roosevelt thought public sector unions were a lousy idea. Do you?
To read another article by Michael Barone, click here.