Tuesday, January 31, 2012
By Katie Pavlich
I may be doing my first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this summer; they've cut ties with Planned Parenthood. The breast cancer organization used to provide funding to the abortion provider for mammograms, but has made the decision to discontinue this practice. Planned Parenthood has issued a statement on their website about the issue:
“We are alarmed and saddened that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation appears to have succumbed to political pressure. Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In the last few weeks, the Komen Foundation has begun notifying local Planned Parenthood programs that their breast cancer initiatives will not be eligible for new grants (beyond existing agreements or plans).
Remember, Cecile Richards is the woman who thinks seeing a baby before having an abortion is "abhorrent."
Planned Parenthood is trying to blame the Komen decision on political pressure, but really, it's most likely the unethical actions of Planned Parenthood, such as promoting underage sex trafficking, had a bigger impact.
Or maybe Komen cut funding based on the fact that Planned Parenthood actually doesn't provide mammograms.
To read a related article, click here.
To read another article by Katie Pavich, click here.
Posted by Brett at 7:14 PM
The Opportunistic Rise of Barack Obama
By Guy Benson
By now it's a familiar tale: On July 27, 2004, Barack Obama strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention and captivated the nation with a soaring and memorable keynote address entitled "The Audacity of Hope." The speech marked America's first encounter with a rising political star. By the time Obama took the stage in Boston, he was already a shoo-in to become the next United States Senator from Illinois; he enjoyed a massive lead in the polls back home, where the state Republican Party was in total disarray and his carpet-bagging opponent seemed to specialize in alienating voters. Since that summer night more than three years ago, Obama has rocketed into the political stratosphere and now faces the possibility—if not the probability—of becoming his party's standard-bearer in the 2008 election.
Several questions still linger. How did Barack Obama rise from relative obscurity to his current level of prominence? How many Americans have heard of Alice Palmer, Blair Hull, or Jack Ryan? These names may hold no significance to the legions who now chant "yes we can," but they are names that Barack Obama should remember well. The mainstream press, which affords Obama nearly unanimous glowing coverage, has repeatedly failed to report a reality that doesn't quite fit the Obama-as-Messiah narrative. Namely, that this self-stylized agent of hope and change is a political opportunist extraordinaire. Barack Obama's dizzying ascendancy to political celebrity has been marked by less-than-inspirational bare-knuckle politics, an unremarkable legislative career, and a slew of lurid scandals that conveniently sunk formidable opponents.
Obama's first big break came in 1995 when Democratic Congressman Mel Reynolds resigned from office amid allegations of a sexual relationship with an underage girl. As state officials convened a special election, a venerable Chicago politician and civil rights leader named Alice Palmer chose to vacate her State Senate seat to pursue the open Congressional slot. After she was defeated handily, Palmer returned to run for re-election, only to discover that her hand picked successor was unwilling to relinquish his spot on the ballot. Though a series of legal challenges, Barack Obama strong-armed Palmer—and several other Democratic challengers—off the ballot, clearing a path to victory by destroying all potential competition.
During his unexceptional tenure in Springfield, Obama managed to rack up 129 "present" votes, including numerous noncommittal tallies on controversial issues such as abortion and gun rights. He also developed a curious, albeit rare, pattern of registering incorrect votes—including an accidental "no" vote on a hotly contested child welfare bill. When confronted with his mistaken vote, Obama asserted that he was "unaware" that he had voted the way he had, and asked that the record reflect that he had "intended" to vote the other way. Similar cases of supposed vote-casting confusion afflicted Obama on five additional occasions.
As the 2004 general election approached, Obama began to eye greener pastures. He decided to run for US Senate, positioning himself as an antiwar candidate. His longshot effort attracted throngs of college students, yet Obama gained little traction against the party's frontrunner, millionaire Blair Hull. But a bombshell scandal resurrected Obama's prospects. In amazingly short order, Hull experienced what the Chicago Tribune described as "the most inglorious campaign implosion in Illinois political history." Late in the primary race, unsealed divorce papers revealed allegations that Hull had verbally and physically abused his ex-wife. The Hull campaign tanked, and Team Obama celebrated. The nomination was theirs.
Illinois political observers then turned their attention to what promised to be a fiercely competitive general election race between Obama and GOP frontrunner Jack Ryan, a well-funded, charismatic businessman. Once again, however, scandal lurked in sealed divorce papers. Over the objections of both Ryan and his ex-wife—actress Jeri Ryan—the damning documents were made public, and the resulting headlines were salacious: Ryan had allegedly pressured his wife to visit sex clubs. Like Reynolds and Hull before him, Ryan dropped out of public life in disgrace, with Obama happily playing the role of beneficiary.
With Jack Ryan out of the picture, a desperate Republican Party trotted out a polarizing non-Illinoisan to face Obama in the fall. Alan Keyes' disastrous Senate campaign is perhaps best remembered for Keyes' spate of vicious, counterproductive attacks launched against Obama, including the assertion that Jesus Christ himself would have voted against Obama. The rout was on.
DNC organizers, anticipating Obama's assured victory and recognizing his potential widespread appeal, wisely offered him a coveted primetime speaking slot during the summer convention. Although the Beantown gathering was designed to be a political infomercial for the ill-fated Kerry/Edwards ticket, Obama stole the show with a speech that inspired millions and, more-importantly, transformed him into an instant media darling. Obama had seized his moment and smashed a rhetorical homerun. Less than half a Senate term later, he announced his Presidential bid.
Now only two figures impede Obama's path to the presidency. Unless Hillary Clinton can revitalize her sputtering campaign, or John McCain can defy the political odds and prevail in a tough electoral climate for Republicans, Barack Obama will become our next Commander-In-Chief. Unlike most seasoned politicians, who earn presidential nominations through many years of legislative, executive, or military accomplishments, Obama has exploited his rock-star status to skip to the front of the line. With many of his supporters apparently distracted by his powerful persona and vague, uplifting message, few people seem to notice, or care, that Obama's qualifications to be president are more than a bit thin. Americans would be well-served to shake themselves from the "change" trance long enough to examine Senator Obama's relatively meager record.
To read another article by Guy Benson, click here.
Posted by Brett at 7:01 PM
Hamas and the Washington establishment
By Caroline Glick
To date, the Republican presidential primary race has been the only place to have generated any useful contributions to America's collective understanding of current events in the Middle East. Last month, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich became the first major political figure in more than a generation to pour cold water over the Palestinian myth of indigenous peoplehood by stating the truth, that the Palestinians are an "invented people."
As Gingrich explained, their invention came in response to Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement. Since they were created somewhere around 1920, the Palestinians' main purpose has not been the establishment of a Palestinian state but the obliteration of the Jewish state.
For his truth telling, Gingrich was attacked by fellow politicians and policy hands on both sides of the ideological divide. To his credit, Gingrich has not backed away from the truth he spoke. Rather he has repeated it in two subsequent Republican candidates' debates.
The second important contribution that Republican presidential candidates have made to the discourse on the Middle East was undertaken by Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a candidates' debate in South Carolina on January 17, shortly before he pulled out of the race. When asked about Turkey, Perry said that country "is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists." He went on to say that the US ought to be having a debate about whether Turkey should continue to serve as a member of NATO.
Like Gingrich, Perry was pilloried by all right thinking people in the US foreign policy elite. And like Gingrich, Perry was right. The hoopla his statement generated showed just how destructive so much of America's received wisdom about the Middle East has become. Moreover, it demonstrated the extent to which the US has adopted Middle East policies that are inimical to its national interests.
After Hamas won the Palestinian elections in January 2006, Turkey was the first country to invite Hamas's terror master Khaled Mashal to Ankara. Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan's move provoked criticism from the Bush administration. But Erdogan just shrugged it off. And he was right to do so. By 2006, then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice had come to view Erdogan as the US's indispensable ally in the Muslim world. As she saw it, he was proof that Islamist parties could be democratic and moderate.
The fact that Erdogan embraced Hamas could not get in the way of Rice's optimistic assessment. So, too, the fact that Erdogan embarked on a systematic campaign to stifle press freedom, curb judicial independence and imprison his political critics in the media and the military could not move Rice from her view that Erdogan personified her belief that moderate jihadists exist and ought to be embraced by the US.
Rice's starry-eyed view of Erdogan set the stage of US President Barack Obama's even stronger embrace of the increasingly tyrannical Turkish Islamist. Since Obama took office, not only has Ankara stepped up its support of Hamas, and ended even the pretense of a continued strategic alliance with Israel that it maintained during the Bush years. Turkey began serving as Iran's chief diplomatic protector while vastly expanding its own strategic and economic ties with Tehran.
In the face of Turkey's openly anti-American behavior and actions, Obama clings to Erdogan even more strongly than Rice did. Obama reportedly views Erdogan as his most trusted foreign adviser. According to the media, Obama speaks with Erdogan more often than he speaks to any other foreign leader. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Obama listed Erdogan as one of the key foreign leaders with whom he has formed a friendship based on trust.
Over the past few weeks, Turkey has emerged as Hamas's largest financier. During an official visit in Turkey, Hamas's terror master in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh received a hero's welcome. Erdogan pledged to finance the jihadist movement to the tune of $300 million per year.
COMMENTATORS CLAIM that Turkey's sponsorship of Hamas was necessitated by Iran's abandonment of the terror group. Iran, it is claimed, cut Hamas off in August due to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood's refusal to actively assist Iran's other Arab client - Syrian President Bashar Assad - in massacring his domestic opponents.
These analyses are problematic for two reasons. First, it is far from clear that Iran cut Hamas off. Iran's rulers have invited Haniyeh to Tehran for an official visit. This alone indicates that the mullahs remain committed to maintaining their relationship with the jihadist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.
And why would they want to cut off that relationship?
By serving as Hamas's chief sponsor since 2006, Iran has won enormous credibility in the Arab world. This credibility has bought Tehran influence with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and beyond. Particularly now, with the Brotherhood taking over Egypt and much of the Arab world, Iran would only stand to lose by cutting off Hamas.
The second problem with these assessments is that it makes little sense to believe that Turkey has replaced Iran as Hamas's main state sponsor since Iran and Turkey are not necessarily competing over Hamas. Given the interests shared by Tehran and Ankara, it is far more reasonable to assume that they are coordinating their moves regarding Hamas.
Iran became Hamas's chief financier and weapons supplier the same year that Erdogan emerged as Hamas's most important political supporter. And in the six years since then, Iran and Turkey have become strategic allies. Even with regards to Syria, the fact that Assad remains in power today is due in no small measure to the fact that Erdogan has used his influence over Obama to ensure that the US has remained on the sidelines and so effectively supported Assad's survival.
In light of Erdogan's enormous influence over leaders in both US parties, it is little wonder that Perry's factual statement about the nature of the Turkish government and the need for the US to reassess its strategic alliance with Turkey provoked such an across the board outcry. Erdogan's close relationship with Obama - like his previously close relationship with Rice - renders it well nigh impossible for US government officials and inside-the Beltway "experts" to make the kind of commonsense assessments of Turkey's counterproductive regional role that an outsider like Perry was able to make from his perch in Austin, Texas.
CONTRARY TO what several leading commentators have argued since the onset of the Syrian popular rebellion against Assad, Hamas has not been seriously damaged by the events. True, its leaders are looking for a new place to station their headquarters. But there is no law that requires terrorist organizations to have one central office. The families of Hamas's leadership have decamped to Jordan. Hamas leaders have close relations with the Qataris - who remain major funders - as well as with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Sudanese regime.
In addition to these state supporters, through its relations with Turkey and Fatah, Hamas has Washington as well. To understand how Washington acts as Hamas's protector, it is necessary to consider not only the corrosive impact of Washington's relations with Turkey, but also the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Since its inception in 1993, the peace process has been predicated on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. To the extent that Israel makes concessions, the peace process is seen as advancing. To the extent that Israel fails to make concessions, the peace process is seen as collapsing. True, at certain times, the Bush administration blamed the Palestinians for the failure of the peace process, but the blame owed to the fact that Palestinian terrorism made Israel less amenable to concession making.
Palestinian terrorism was not in and of itself blamed for the demise of the peace process. Rather it was perceived as the means through which Israel avoided making more concessions. And at certain times, the US supported Israel's avoidance of concession making.
Since Israeli concessions to the Palestinians are the only tangible component of the peace process, the US, as the chief sponsor of the peace process, requires the Palestinian Authority - run by Fatah - to be accepted as a credible repository for Israeli concessions regardless of its actual nature. Consequently, despite Fatah's two unity deals with Hamas, its sponsorship of terrorism, its incitement of terrorism, its refusal to accept Israel's right to exist, its adoption of negotiating positions that presuppose Israel's demise, and its conduct of political warfare against Israel, neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration ever showed the slightest willingness to consider ending their support for the PA.
If Israel has no peace partner, then it can't make concessions. And if it can't make concessions, there is no peace process. And that is something that neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration was willing to countenance.
It is true that under Obama the US has become far more hostile towards Israel than it was under Bush. The most important distinction between the two is that whereas George W. Bush sought to broker a compromise deal between the two sides, Obama has adopted Fatah's negotiating positions against Israel. As a consequence of Obama's actions, the peace process has been derailed completely. Fatah has no reason to compromise since the US will blame Israel no matter what. And Israel has no reason to make concessions since the US will deem them insufficient.
Noting this distinction, Washington Post commentator Jennifer Rubin wrote this week that for the benefit of the peace process, it is important for a Republican administration to be elected to replace Obama in November. As she put it, "If history is any guide, progress is made in the 'peace process' when the Israeli prime minister operates from a position of strength and has the full support of the US president. We might get there, albeit not until 2013."
The problem with her analysis is that it is of a piece with the insiders' attacks on Gingrich and Romney alike. That is, it is based on the false assumptions of the peace process and the generally accepted wisdom embraced by the American foreign policy elite on both sides of the aisle that the PA is a reasonable repository for Israeli concessions.
Here it is worth noting that this week Fatah-controlled PA TV aired a sequence venerating the murderers of the Fogel family. Udi and Ruth Fogel and their children Yoav, Elad and Hadas were brutally murdered in their home last March.
Fatah's glorification of their murderers is yet further proof that the foundations of the peace process are false. Peace cannot be based on appeasing societies that uphold mass murderers as role models. It can only be based on empowering free societies to defeat societies that embrace murder, terror and in the case of Hamas, genocide.
And this brings us back to the Republican primaries and Gingrich's and Perry's statements. For the US to secure its interests in the Middle East, it requires leaders who are willing to reassess what passes for common wisdom on both sides of the aisle.
To read another article by Caroline Glick, click here.
Posted by Brett at 6:44 PM
By Mona Charen
The advice columns of newspapers are good windows into the conscience of a culture. There you will find a field guide to what is considered socially acceptable and unacceptable. One of the advice columnists for the Washington Post, Carolyn Hax, is consistently sensible and solid in her suggestions. Straightening out busybodies, drug abusers, interfering in-laws and ungrateful children with equal aplomb, she's usually a pleasant read with the morning coffee.
But not always. A recent response to a letter from "Grandmother-to-be" provides an example of the collapse of social wisdom on the subject of marriage and childbearing. "My 26-year-old son's girlfriend -- of four months -- is pregnant," wrote grandma. "I have very mixed emotions about this, mainly because he just met her, and I do not know her. They work and live across the country. I am disappointed in their behavior. How do I tell my friends the news? I am embarrassed."
If I were an advice columnist, I would start with the reminder that telling one's friends is a low priority at the moment, while acknowledging that feeling ashamed of her son (not the young woman, as she has no relationship with her and thus cannot justifiably feel disappointed in her) is understandable under the circumstances.
Next, I would have pointed out that since the couple will be parents, the very highest priority should be to encourage them to marry as soon as possible. A shotgun wedding? Obviously not. Those days are gone. But for all concerned -- most particularly for the unborn child -- a stable family is now essential.
Hax indeed began by dismissing the friend worry but with a very different emphasis. "There's a child on the way, and this is your big concern? ... American adults overwhelmingly choose premarital sex . . . Plus, birth control isn't perfect, so you have statistical permission not to single this couple out for shaming."
Well, if shame still attached to getting pregnant outside of marriage, it would be no bad thing. But fine, Hax seemed to be going in the right direction with the next sentence. "Any big concern belongs with the stability of the home that will welcome this baby . . ." But then, instead of recommending an immediate and tasteful elopement, she wrote, "If they plan to raise the baby as a couple . . ."
If? For so many 21st century Americans, that's the way it's done. A child on the way will not affect the couple's decision about marriage. They may move in together. They may not. She may move into her mother's house. He may visit every day -- for a while. She may try to raise the child by herself. It may not be her first or his. The fate of the relationship is regarded as utterly separate from the fact of the child's existence.
Many, many young adults who already have babies and toddlers will explain that they "aren't ready" for the commitment of marriage, or that they haven't found the right person. How have we managed to get so confused?
The collapse of marriage among the lower and lower-middle classes is rapidly tapping our national strength. Women from wealthier families get it. They basically wait until they're married to have babies. They know that two parents create stability, financial security and the social structure to optimize the chances of rearing happy, healthy and productive new citizens. The illegitimacy rate among women with college educations, while it has tripled since 1960, is still only about 8 percent. By contrast, 67.4 percent of illegitimate births were to women with less than a high school diploma in 2006, and 51.4 percent were to women with only a high school degree.
The failure to marry on the part of the lower and lower-middle classes, not the tax code, Wall Street or competition from China, is what is aggravating inequality in America.
The toll is incalculable. In every way that social science can measure -- school performance, drug abuse, unemployment, suicide, poverty, depression, dependence on government handouts, mental illness, violence, and far more -- children raised by single parents (especially when their parents never married) are at a severe disadvantage. The failure to form families is devastating our schools, exacerbating inequality and diminishing happiness on a grand scale.
So yes, "Grandmother-to-be" should be worried -- not about what to tell her friends -- but about what will become of her grandchild if his/her parents choose to join the ranks of the great unwed.
To read another article by Mona Charen, click here.
Posted by Brett at 5:03 PM
The Pipes Plan' lays out a 10-step solution
by Neil W. McCabe
At the Jan. 26 launch party in Washington for her new book, The Pipes Plan, the president of the Pacific Research Institute called on Americans to reject and dismantle the president’s healthcare reform agenda before it is too late.
When then-speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass a 2,700-page healthcare reform bill no one had read, so people could find out what was in it, she decided to write a 270-page book that everyone could read to learn how to get rid of it, said Sally C. Pipes, whose book is a 10-step plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
There was a personal reason, too, she said. Her first-hand experience dealing with her own mother's illness also compelled her to present a concrete solution to the healthcare problem.
“It is interesting that Obama in his State of the Union address only devoted 44 words to healthcare,” she said.
“I think it’s because the American people don’t like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” she said.
“Fifty-three percent of Americans want it repealed and as to the individual mandate, 82 percent, according to Gallup, want that repealed.”
Pipes said the American people have been fooled by the claims by President Barack H. Obama Jr., especially the claims that reforms will bend the cost curve downward and that his program will achieve universal coverage.
“Under the plan, still 23 million Americans will be uninsured by 2019,” she said.
Joining Pipes at the event was Virginia Atty. Gen. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, was one of the leading opponents of president’s healthcare reform, who made his own remarks before Pipes.
“I am a specialist at dismantling ObamaCare, so, it is good to have other people who have thought through replacing it,” said Cuccinelli, a member of the group of more than 20 state’s attorneys general suing the federal government in order to have the entire law revoked.
“After we beat this thing in court,” he said. “I think it will be the only time that anyone has eliminated an entitlement—it will be kinda sad that the only time way we’ve ever done it is by court action, but we will take what we can get.”
The next day, those who fought to end the healthcare reform will have the obligation to present an alternative plan, he said.
“Our side, the limited government side, will be face with a different kind of battle from that moment,” he said.
“This president will go on the attack and we will be blamed for any person who passes away for any reason—including 100-plus-year-olds,” he said.
“Be ready for it, it is all they do,” he said.
“Campaigns are sales marketing and communications, and this president is outstanding at those things,” Old Dominion’s attorney general said. “Governing is a lot more—which he has found, and we have suffered.”
Cuccinelli said one of the great obstacles to getting rid of the healthcare law passed in 2010 is that so many people will benefit from its funding and regulatory regime.
By picking out winners, there is now an entrenched and enriched group of people who will fight to save and expand their gold mine, he said.
Pipes, who was raised in Canada, said in her own discussions with that country's Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper, she was surprised when he told her there was no way politically he could dismantle Canada's government-controlled head-on.
Harper told her the forces supporting the status quo were too powerful, she said.
When her own mother took ill, Pipes said it forced her to deal with the Canadian system, which was a wake-up call to her about what was coming to America before the winners from ObamaCare became too powerful.
“What the American people don’t realize is the in Canada, the government is the sole provider of healthcare,” she said. Private providers are prohibited by law there.
“But, they have an escape because Canadians can come to the United States and pay out-of-pocket,” she said.
In a well-publicized case, the Newfoundland premier was criticized in the Canadian press when he went to Miami for cardiac treatment, she said.
“When he got back, he said: ‘It’s my heart. It’s my health. It’s my choice,’” she said.
“My own mother died in December of ’05 of colon cancer,” she said.
The previous June, she convinced her mother to see a doctor about getting a colonoscopy, which is detailed examination with a very small camera or through a fiber optic cable, Pipes said.
“Her doctor said: ‘You know, at your age we cannot get you a colonoscopy —we have people in their 50s waiting six months,’” she said.
“By November of ’05, my mother had lost 30 pounds and called me to tell me she was hemorrhaging,” she said.
“We got her into an ambulance and to the hospital,” she said. “She spent two days in the emergency room, two days in the transition lounge waiting for a bed, she finally she got her colonoscopy, then my mom died two weeks later from metastasized colon cancer.”
Pipes said, “This is what happens with the government global budget and says who get what.”
To read a related article, click here.
Posted by Brett at 2:31 PM
By Robert Knight
When I was a copy editor at the Los Angeles Times, a young reporter submitted an article about a single mother having trouble obtaining government checks.
The story was designed to elicit outrage at callous bureaucrats who should be showering this poor woman with subsidies. I asked the reporter if she knew anything about the father. Was he providing any assistance? Was he a deadbeat dad?
The reporter, who has probably gone on to MSNBC, responded: “How dare you ask that question? How dare you be so judgmental? It’s nobody’s business.”
Well, given that the unfortunate woman was asking taxpayers to take the place of the man who sired her children, it was everybody’s business.
It’s no secret that the decline of marriage has contributed mightily to poverty, crime, abortion, drug and child abuse, alcoholism, school dropout rates, sexually transmitted diseases and virtually every known social ill while exponentially bloating state and federal budgets. Every liberal attack on marriage ensures more government jobs for liberals to pick up the pieces.
As the federal government lurches toward a $16 trillion national debt and the states face bankruptcy, the welfare state is strangling freedom and the economy while keeping millions in wretched dependency.
Every attempt to rein in the behemoth is met with threats by public employee unions, fusillades from left-wing think tanks, and media smears.
Exhibit A is unfolding in the City of Brotherly Love, where the welfare state works so well that Philadelphia is a perennial contender for murder capital of the U.S. There's something to be said for Philly, the home of Ben Franklin, Bill Cosby, Independence Hall and hoagie sandwiches. But Philadelphia is also awash in liberal bureaucracy and social pathologies unleashed by the collapse of minority families thanks to the Great Society’s vision of the Good Life.
Here’s the gist of the current drama:
At issue: Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Secretary Gary Alexander’s attempts to reduce waste and fraud.
The real target: Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
The goat: Robert W. Patterson, a DPW official. I worked with Mr. Patterson a few years back at the Family Research Council. He’s a good guy and a careful writer.
Patterson, who was appointed policy adviser in October, came under fire in mid-January from the Philadelphia Inquirer, which “began asking about Patterson’s side job as editor of The Family in America, published by an Illinois-based research center that advocates for the ‘natural human family … established by the Creator.” You know, the Creator that America’s founding fathers cited in the Declaration of Independence, which the Continental Congress adopted in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
However, The Family in America is not a faith-based journal but a scholarly compilation of articles and research summaries published by the Howard Center, whose president is Allan C. Carlson, arguably the nation’s leading social historian. To the Philly hit team, the journal is immediately suspect because it isn’t aggressively secular.
Here’s a snippet from a Philadelphia Daily News editorial:
“Religion is at the center of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, where Patterson works as an editor. It’s fair to wonder how right it is for his extreme views to help shape a policy – in Patterson’s case, welfare policy – that will affect so many in need. And we can’t help but be disturbed by the contempt Patterson must have held, given his beliefs, for many of the clients served by the department.”
Add mind-reading to the amazing powers of the Philly scribes, along with shockingly casual religious bigotry. They KNOW that Mr. Patterson harbors bad motives. After all, he promotes marriage between one man and one woman.
The Inquirer and its cousin Daily News zeroed in on an article in the New Research section of the Family in America that summarized a scientist’s findings that semen had some positive effects on women. Here’s how a Daily News blog describes Patterson’s most colorful crime: “he wrote stories about semen as a mental elixir for women.”
An Inquirer article on January 26 attacked Patterson again, giving a cartoonish version of his views and noting his “musings on how condom use could rob women of reported mood-enhancing benefits of chemicals.”
Unmentioned was the fact that Mr. Patterson had digested a Sept. 22, 2010 blog article in Scientific American summarizing several scientists’ research on the topic. If you want to provoke a liberal wolf pack, try introducing scientific evidence for male-female complementarities.
At the same time the papers were hammering Patterson, the Inquirer ran stories about the Corbett administration’s attempt to reform Medicaid. The January 18 headline screams: “Since August, 88,000 Pennsylvania children have lost Medicaid benefits.”
The article includes unanswered volleys such as “They have chosen to send a signal, and it is very callous,” by a senior fellow from the hard-left Center for American Progress, identified as “a Washington think tank.”
Think of this as a microcosm of what the national press will do when House Republicans this year renew their common sense plan to reform Medicaid in similar fashion to the 1996 welfare reform that replaced open-ended federal matching funds with finite block grants.
Finally, there was this gem:
“Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Phil.) said he believed the reviews were part of a pattern ... of the Corbett administration’s ‘putting their foot on the neck of poor people.’”
Is that all? From the tone of the articles and editorials, one would think Corbett had commissioned a traveling guillotine squad, perhaps with Patterson in a black hood.
But only one head fell in the flurry of liberal righteous indignation, and that was Bob Patterson’s. He resigned from the DPW and will continue to edit the Family in America.
It’s bad news for Pennsylvania, but good news for the rest of the nation.
To read another article by Robert Knight, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:54 PM
By Cal Thomas
One of the memorable slogans from the Reagan administration was "peace through strength." Reagan believed a strong defense was a safeguard against enemy attacks and the best hope of victory should America go to war.
President Obama is taking the opposite approach. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently announced cuts in defense spending of $487 billion over the next 10 years. Supposedly, these cuts will reduce the federal deficit, but Congress always finds new ways to spend money, so I am not optimistic.
The cuts were announced before critical questions were asked: What is America's role in the world in the 21st century? Where does the military fit into that role? The administration thinks a sleeker, more mobile military -- like SEAL Team Six, which has had recent successes taking out Osama bin Laden and rescuing hostages from Somali pirates -- is the way to go, but even the highly-trained SEALs can't confront, say, a nuclear threat from Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or China's increasing military power. The administration says it will preserve its manpower and weapons systems in the Middle East and shift resources to Asia.
Ships and planes take time to build. If America is not building them to ward off present and future threats, someone else -- like the Chinese -- will. The world does not remain stagnant and threats are not always obvious.
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, says he is "deeply concerned" by the announced defense reductions, including the elimination of "at least 12 new Navy ships over the next five years and retiring at least nine ships earlier than planned."
Akin also worries about what will happen to the estimated 100,000 soldiers and Marines who will become unemployed in a struggling economy.
According to the website U.S. Government Spending.com, defense spending fluctuated in the last century. It hit a peak of 42 percent of GDP during World War II, declining to 10 percent during the Cold War to about 5 percent today.
Reagan's defense buildup followed cuts during the Carter administration. Reagan increased defense spending from 5.6 percent of GDP in 1979 to 7 percent of GDP by 1986. President George W. Bush's administration increased defense spending from 3.6 percent of GDP near the end of the Clinton administration in 1999, to 6 percent in 2010, to confront Islamic extremism.
The Obama administration, usgovernmentspending.com adds, plans to drop defense spending to 4.6 percent of GDP by 2015.
Do these reductions parallel a decline in the threats against America and American interests? Quite the opposite. The administration engages in wishful thinking about the so-called "Arab spring," which is devolving into a religious tornado with the radical Muslim Brotherhood calling the shots in Egypt and elsewhere and the Taliban poised to regain control in Afghanistan.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai have agreed that NATO should pull out all combat forces from Afghanistan by next year, not 2014, as planned. This can only encourage the Taliban, who have recently been sending signals they are not the bad guys most people rightly think they are.
A recent Wall Street Journal story noted that public statements by the Taliban make them sound more "moderate," adding, "The big unknown is whether this new rhetoric represents a meaningful transformation -- or is merely designed to sugarcoat the Taliban's real aims."
It's a safe bet to say it's the latter.
The "big unknown" is what a sound U.S. defense strategy should take into account. As former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once put it, "There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns ... there are some things we de not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."
It is to protect not only against the "known knowns," but the "unknown unknowns" that a credible defense strategy should be maintained. Cutting our defenses without a plan of action is an invitation to war.
To read another article by Cal Thomas, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:46 PM
By Katie Pavlich
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are officially trying to cover for Attorney General Eric Holder just before he testifies on Thursday about Operation Fast and Furious, with anti-Second Amendment Ranking Member Elijah Cummings leading the way. Last night, Cummings released a 95 page waste of paper and taxpayer money report, alleging that top Justice Department officials did not authorize the program, despite evidence showing otherwise. The report tries to pin the blame back on a few "rogue" managers in the ATF Phoenix Field Division. This is the same argument we've heard since the beginning of the scandal: it was a local operation, nobody important knew anything.
A few important points:
First, Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer (the number two man in DOJ), approved wiretaps for Operation Fast and Furious. Wiretap applications require excruciating detail about a case to be presented before approval. Wiretaps are considered the most intrusive tool law enforcement can use. Breuer, who read through the wiretap applications, knew details of the strategy used in Fast and Furious, letting guns walk into Mexico without alerting Mexican authorities, yet he approved it anyway. New emails released last Friday in a late night document dump, show Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed about Brian Terry's death just hours after he was murdered in the early morning hours on December 15, 2010. Later in the day, Holder's deputy chief of staff at the time Monty Wilkinson, was told directly by former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke that the guns found at the murder scene were part of Operation Fast and Furious. According to the report, Wilkinson doesn't "recall" that email, despite replying to it with, "Call you tomorrow." Burke, who resigned from his position as U.S. Attorney in August, was in "complete agreement" with former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Division Bill Newell about Fast and Furious tactics according to a January 8, 2010 briefing memo.
If Wilkinson's "I don't recall," argument sounds familiar, there's a reason why. On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder testifed before the House Judicary Committee that he had only known about Fast and Furious, "for a couple of weeks." Five months later, memos addressed directly to Holder surfaced, with details and discussion about the program. In defense, Holder said he didn't read the memos and that his staff didn't inform him of their content.
Second, the report claims Fast and Furious was not used as a way for the Obama administration to push through back door gun control measures.
"The report debunks many unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Contrary to repeated claims by some, the Committee has obtained no evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was a politically-motivated operation conceived and directed by high-level Obama Administration political appointees at the Department of Justice," Cummings wrote in the report.
FLASHBACK: Designed to Promote Gun Control
"Internal ATF emails seem to suggest that ATF agents were counseled to highlight a link between criminals and certain semi-automatic weapons in order to bolster a case for a rule like the one the DOJ announced yesterday [Monday]."
Townhall has obtained the email which states "Can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same FfL and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks Mark R. Chait Assistant Director Field Operations."
Remember this email from Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations Mark Chait?
Wondering what a demand letter is? This:
“The international expansion and increased violence of transnational criminal networks pose a significant threat to the United States. Federal, state and foreign law enforcement agencies have determined that certain types of semi-automatic rifles – greater than .22 caliber and with the ability to accept a detachable magazine – are highly sought after by dangerous drug trafficking organizations and frequently recovered at violent crime scenes near the Southwest Border. This new reporting measure -- tailored to focus only on multiple sales of these types of rifles to the same person within a five-day period -- will improve the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks responsible for diverting firearms from lawful commerce to criminals and criminal organizations. These targeted information requests will occur in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas to help confront the problem of illegal gun trafficking into Mexico and along the Southwest Border.”
Although Cummings claims he wants to bring justice to the Terry family for his murder, which was a direct result of this recklass program, he has done the opposite by using the scandal to promote new gun control measures, implying ATF should be given more power and as a chance to blame President Bush for using the "same tactics" that were used during Fast and Furious for other programs during his time in the White House. During Bush-era "gunwalking" programs, the Mexican government was informed and cooperating with ATF to interdict and follow guns into Mexico. During Fast and Furious under President Obama, Mexican officials were left in the dark as 2500 guns were delivered to the hands of ruthless cartel members thanks to DOJ and ATF officials.
Note to Cummings: Your cover-up is showing.
To read a related article, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:30 PM
By John Hawkins
It's a mystery to some people why so many Tea Partiers and grassroots conservatives can’t stand Mitt Romney. What is it about him that turns them off so much that at one time or another, they've preferred Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich to him nationally despite the fact that he has every advantage in the race? Would Mitt Romney be better than Barack Obama? Sure, but there are some very good reasons that so many grassroots conservatives still find him to be a thoroughly unlikable candidate.
1) He's not a conservative. There have been a lot of conservatives who've talked a good game during the primaries and then have let us down in D.C., but if Mitt Romney becomes the nominee and gets elected, some people seem to be hoping that he'll be the first Republican moderate to go to D.C. and turn into a fire-breathing conservative. Based on his record, if Mitt Romney is nominated, he will be the least conservative candidate since Nixon.
Moreover, keep in mind that in 1994, when Mitt Romney was 47 years old, he was telling people that, "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush" and the Contract with America was "not a good idea." Eight years later in 2002, when he was 55 years old, Mitt Romney was saying, "I think people recognize that I'm not a partisan Republican, that I'm someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive.” Oh, joy! So he was a progressive, like Hillary Clinton! After four years of governing as a barely right of center moderate and coming up with Romneycare, a piece of signature legislation that any liberal Democrat would be proud of, Mitt Romney supposedly became a conservative -- precisely at the same moment he started running for President. What a stunning coincidence!
One of the great ironies of the campaign is that Newt Gingrich has been quite properly dinged for being a good Republican soldier and endorsing Dede Scozzafava over the Conservative Party's Doug Hoffman and now, a lot of the "good Republican soldiers" are endorsing a male version of Scozzafava for President over Newt.
2) He doesn't believe in anything politically other than Mitt Romney. What conservative cause has Mitt Romney ever fought like hell for in his career? There are none. What has Mitt Romney ever done for conservatives in his career? Nothing of significance...oh wait, I forgot; when he was asked about it in the Florida debate, he noted that he started a family and a business, which is nice, but probably puts him on par with about half of the people reading this column.
In the last decade alone, Mitt has been against an amendment to stop gay marriage and for an amendment to stop gay marriage, for cap and trade and against cap and trade, against Bush's tax cuts and for Bush's tax cuts, for abortion and against abortion, for gun control and against gun control....it goes on and on. Like Arlen Specter, Romney would feel just as comfortable running as a Democrat or Republican and like Barack Obama, all of Mitt's promises come with an expiration date. It's almost impossible to know where Romney will be on any issue in six months, including Obamacare, much less where he'd be after he got elected and settled down inside the Beltway. How do you get fired up about a guy like that? How do you believe in him the way conservatives believe in guys like Jim DeMint?
Mitt Romney is a repeat of the same show conservatives have seen over and over again and we all know the ending if the candidate gets elected. These plastic men, these political Stretch Armstrongs get inside the Beltway Bubble, the media starts working on them, the establishment starts whispering in their ear and next thing you know, they're explaining how important comprehensive immigration reform is to the conservative cause or why we need another Bridge to Nowhere.
When you're a grassroots conservative who has been mocked, ridiculed and attacked for believing in conservatism, capitalism, and the Constitution, sold out again and again by people in your own party, and told your nation is on the verge of a debt-driven crisis that could bankrupt us, the last thing you want is to be treated like you're stupid by a phony Massachusetts moderate who tells you he believes the same things you do when you damn well know he doesn't mean a word of it.
3) Mitt Romney has benefitted from a tremendous media double standard. Other than Herman Cain, who at least is a conservative who has worked tirelessly for the Tea Party, Mitt Romney is the single least qualified man running for office in the Republican field. Yes, Mitt's business experience is a plus, but it didn't help him in Massachusetts, where he was an awful, unpopular governor whose signature program, Romneycare, has been a miserable failure. Romney has gotten where he is because he's rich, the establishment is behind him, and much of the conservative media has been greasing the skids for him.
The double standards have been extraordinary and grating. The other candidates had to bring up Bain Capital because much of the conservative media wouldn't touch the very issue that Ted Kennedy used to beat Mitt Romney's brains in back in 1994. Even today, when you try to point out that Mitt's "100,000" jobs created number is pure vapor, that he made a lot of money off of deals where the taxpayers and the FDIC had to pick up the tab, or that it looks awful for Mitt to make millions on deals where businesses went under and hundreds of middle class workers lost their jobs, you're answered with cries of "capitalism" and "free enterprise!" Good luck with that strategy in the general election if, God help us all, Mitt gets that far.
Furthermore, remember when Newt Gingrich was ahead of Mitt in Iowa, running a positive campaign, and was told "Politics ain't beanbag" after Mitt creamed him with millions in negative ads? Then remember when those same people squealed with outrage when Mitt got exactly what he had been dishing out after New Hampshire? We were told Newt was campaigning like a liberal when he hit Mitt on Bain Capital, but when Mitt ran dishonest ads featuring Tom Brokaw crowing about a now discredited ethics investigation, the same people were silent. After the last debate, it was amazing to hear talking heads telling everyone how wonderful Mitt did after Rick Santorum gutted him like a Christmas turkey on Obamacare and Romney was booed by the audience after he was caught lying about not having seen an ad that he personally endorsed.
Let's be honest and name some names: Jen Rubin, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, National Review, Fox News and the Drudge Report among others have been shilling for Mitt Romney and attacking his adversaries during this primary the way the New York Times will for Barack Obama in the general election. That doesn't make them RINOS, liberals, part of the establishment or bad people. Reasonable people can reach different conclusions about which candidate to support. But that being said, these people should realize that as far as a lot of other conservatives are concerned, they are betting their reputations on Mitt Romney. What they are in effect saying in so many words is, "Vote for Mitt Romney and we promise you that not only will he get elected, he'll govern conservatively." Given his record, that's liquidating your house and putting it on a spin of the roulette wheel.
4) Mitt Romney is cozying up to the establishment, not the Tea Party. Never have so many self-interested, politically-gutless establishment space fillers gathered in one place as on the endorsement list for Mitt Romney. If Bob Dole, John McCain, Susan Molinari, Lisa Murkowski, Jim Talent, Joe Scarborough, Mel Martinez, Jim Gerlach, Judd Gregg, Jon Huntsman, John Sununu and Norm Coleman are all lining up behind a candidate in a contested GOP primary, it's an almost ironclad guarantee that candidate is not going to be worth a bucket of warm spit once he gets into office. If you want to know why you're seeing so many Tea Partiers lining up behind Newt Gingrich, who despite his flaws has done more for the conservative cause than any other living politician, it's because they see the politicians backing Mitt Romney and they're well aware that they're not friends of grassroots conservatives.
It's absolutely unbelievable that after the grassroots helped the GOP have its best year in half a century that we may end up with a human "SCREW YOU!" to the Tea Party like Mitt Romney as the nominee. Here we have a moderate establishment-endorsed candidate who supported TARP, is open to more bailouts, came up with the mother of Obamacare, and he has no bold plans to tackle the deficit -- and this is the guy Tea Partiers are supposed to support after fighting to beat Republicans like that in primaries during the 2010 election cycle? Why don't we just drag Robert Bennett out of retirement to run at the top of the ticket?
5) Mitt just isn't likable enough to be a good politician. Mitt Romney comes across like a sort of bizarro-world combination between John Kerry, Richie Rich, Charlie Crist, and Data from Star Trek. This is what makes the first part of this Saturday Night Live skit so funny -- Mitt really does come across as that weirdly out of touch with hu-man emotion sometimes.
He's also an extremely nasty campaigner -- a little like Barney Frank, without the modicum of vicious charm that endears him to liberals. Want to know why this campaign has been so divisive? That's easy: Mitt Romney embraced win-at-all-costs character assassination and negative advertising as the primary tactic of his campaign and the other candidates had to respond to it. Since he's proven too unlikable to be pulled up very much, Mitt's strategy has been to pull the other candidates down, even if it leads to a mud fight that lessens anyone's chances of winning in a general election.
Additionally, as Mike Huckabee has noted, "[Romney] looks like the guy who fires you, not the guy who hires you" -- and by the way, he does. This, along with the incredibly effective Bain ads that helped sink Mitt in South Carolina are why he's had to release pictures of himself awkwardly doing laundry -- because his campaign believes it allows normal human beings to be able to relate to him better. Is that a good sign? That our "super electable" GOP candidate feels compelled to release pictures of himself standing in front of a washing machine to reassure people that he's more like them? Of course, it won't work because Mitt Romney may be the first politician I've ever seen who has the ability to NEVER appear to be completely sincere about anything. Combine that with his campaign's smug "Megan McCainesque" sense of entitlement and Mitt Romney would be going into the 2012 campaign with a likability deficit even compared to Barack Obama, who has nauseated the entire country with his radicalism, incompetence, and Barney the Dinosaur style sloganeering. What it all comes down to is that when people see a pampered, prissy, fake, spiteful son of a governor who's being served the GOP nomination on a silver platter because he kissed the right establishment behinds, benefitted from an enormous media double standard, and has more money than everyone else, well, let's just say that's exactly the sort of person who inspired someone to come up with the word schadenfreude.
To read another article by John Hawkins, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:15 PM
By Thomas Sowell
The Republican establishment is pulling out all the stops to try to keep Newt Gingrich from becoming the party's nominee for President of the United States -- and some are not letting the facts get in their way.
Among the claims going out through the mass media in Florida, on the eve of that state's primary election, is that Newt Gingrich "resigned in disgrace" as Speaker of the House of Representatives, as a result of unethical conduct involving the diversion of tax-exempt money. Mitt Romney is calling on Gingrich to release "all of the records" from the House of Representatives investigation.
But the Wall Street Journal of January 28, 2012 reported that these records -- 1,280 pages of them -- are already publicly available on-line. Although Speaker Gingrich decided not to take on the task of fighting the charge from his political enemies in 1997, the Internal Revenue Service conducted its own investigation which, two years later, exonerated Gingrich from the charges. His resignation was not due to those charges and occurred much later.
Do the Romney camp and the Republican establishment not know this, a dozen years later? Or are they far less concerned with whether the charges will stand up than they are about smearing Gingrich on the eve of the Florida primaries?
There are also charges made about what Congressman Gingrich said about Ronald Reagan on March 21, 1986. But this too is a matter of public record, since his remarks are available in the Congressional Record of that date, so it is remarkable that there should be any controversy about it at this late date.
On that date, Gingrich praised Reagan's grasp of the foreign policy issues of the day but later questioned whether the way the actual policies of the Reagan administration were being carried out was likely to succeed. Gingrich was not alone in making this point which such conservative stalwarts as George Will, Charles Krauthammer and others made at the time.
Since a column of my own back in the 1980s suggested that the administration's policies seemed to be to "speak loudly and carry a little stick," I can well understand the misgivings of others. But that is wholly different from saying that all who expressed misgivings were enemies of Ronald Reagan.
One can of course lift things out of context. But if you want to read the whole context, simply go on-line and get the Congressional Record for March 21, 1986. Among the other places where the smears are exposed are the Wall Street Journal of January 29th, Jeffrey Lord's article in the American Spectator's blog of January 27th, and an article by Heather Higgins in Ricochet.com of January 29th.
Unfortunately, there are likely to be far more people who will see the smears than will have time to get the facts. But, if nothing else, there needs to be some understanding of the reckless accusations that have become part of the all-out attempt to destroy Newt Gingrich, as so many other political figures have been destroyed, by non-stop smears in the media.
Gingrich is by no means above criticism. He has been criticized in this column before, over the years, including during the current primary season, and he will probably be criticized here again.
But the poisonous practice of irresponsible smears is an issue that is bigger than Gingrich, Romney or any other candidate of either party.
There have long been reports of people who decline to be nominated for federal judicial appointments because that means going before the Senate Judiciary Committee to have lies about their past spread nationwide, and the good reputation built up over a lifetime destroyed by politicians who could not care less about the truth.
The same practices may well have something to do with the public's dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates in this year's primaries -- and in previous years' primaries. Character assassination is just another form of voter fraud.
There is no law against it, so it is up to the voters, not only in Florida but in other states, to punish it at the ballot box -- the only place where punishment is likely to stop the practice.
To read another article by Thomas Sowell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:28 AM
By Dennis Prager
The Muslim world is threatened by religious fanaticism. The Western world is threatened by secular fanaticism.
Both seek to dominate society and to use state power to do so. Both seek to eliminate the Other -- for Islamic fanatics, that means non-Muslim religions and secularism; for secular fanatics, it means Christianity and virtually any public invoking of God. The Islamists impose Sharia law; the American Civil Liberties Union and the left generally impose secular law. The Taliban wiped out public vestiges of Buddhism in Afghanistan; the ACLU and its allies seek to wipe out public vestiges of Christianity in America -- as it did, for example, in Los Angeles County, when it successfully pressured the County Board of Supervisors to remove the tiny cross from the county seal. A city and county founded by Catholics -- hence the name "The Angels" -- was forced to stop commemorating its founders because they were religious.
This fanaticism has been on display most recently in the state of Rhode Island. This past Christmas, the governor, Lincoln Chafee, renamed the state Christmas tree a "holiday tree." Though Christmas is a national holiday, for the secular fanatic, anything Christian -- or, as we shall see, anything that relates to religion or God -- must be banned from public life.
The latest expression of the secular equivalent of Islamism is the lawsuit brought against a Rhode Island high school, Cranston High School West, for allowing a banner, written by a seventh grader in 1963, to remain hanging on one of the school walls. An atheist student, along with the ACLU, brought the lawsuit and a judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for it to hang in a public school.
To appreciate how fanatical the student, the ACLU and the ruling are, you have to know the words on the banner. So here they are:
Our Heavenly Father
Grant us each day the desire to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, to be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School west. Amen
The idea that this prayer violates the Constitution of the United States is as much a mockery of the Constitution as it is of common sense. Only a fanatic can welcome the removal of such a non-denominational, sweet, moral exhortation from a high school wall. America is indeed as endangered by the ACLU as the Muslim world is by Islamists.
Defenders of the judge's decision point to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1962 banning state-mandated prayer in public schools. The parallel is invalid. No student is asked, let alone compelled, to state what is on the Rhode Island high school banner. But arguments citing the Supreme Court ruling serve only to confirm my argument: that secular fanaticism has been taking over America. The New York State prayer that the Warren Court outlawed 50 years ago was as non-sectarian, as morally uplifting and as inoffensive as the Rhode Island prayer.
Here is it is in its entirety:
"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country."
After reading that one sentence, it is intellectually dishonest to maintain that the Warren court's decision was not an expression of fanaticism. One would have to deny that there could even be any such thing as secular fanaticism. Indeed, if it could have, the Warren Court would have declared the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional for its citing the Creator.
It is no wonder, then, that Alaska Airlines announced last week that it would no longer dispense along with meals its famous little cards with a verse from Psalms.
There are Americans who think that we are a better society without a state Christmas tree, and without high school students seeing a prayer to be kind human beings, and without the Alaska Airlines attempt to elevate American life in a small -- and, again, non-denominational -- way.
But the Islamist thinks he is improving Muslim life, too, of course.
To read another article by Dennis Prager, click here.
To read another Democrats vs. religious liberty article, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:16 AM
By Erik Wasson - 01/31/12 12:43 PM ET
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday predicted the deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012.
The office also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013.
These are much dimmer forecasts than in CBO's last report in August, when the office projected a $973 billion deficit. The report reflects weaker corporate tax revenue and the extension for two months of the payroll tax holiday.
A rising deficit and unemployment rate would hamper President Obama's reelection effort, which in recent weeks has seemed to be on stronger footing.
If the CBO estimate is correct, it would mean that the United States recorded a deficit of more than $1 trillion for every year of Obama’s first term.
CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told reporters that Congress will have to make important choices this year regarding the supercommittee trigger and tax policy that will have huge effects on the deficit.
While unable to recommend choices, Elmendorf said that addressing the deficit sooner rather than later is easier.
The deficit was $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010 and $1.3 trillion in 2011. The largest deficit recorded before that was $458 billion in 2008.
CBO had forecast an 8.5 percent unemployment rate for the end of 2012 in its August report. It now expects the jobless rate to be higher and to still be at 7 percent in 2015.
The higher unemployment numbers are due to lower economic growth than previously estimated. Gross domestic product for 2011 is now estimated to have grown 1.6 percent in 2011, down from the 2.3 percent forecast in August. CBO a year ago had predicted 3.1 percent growth for 2011.
The outlook for 2012 has also worsened. GDP is forecast to grow only 2 percent this year, compared to a previous estimate of 2.7 percent.
Budget cuts from the August debt deal and projected tax increases set to kick in when the Bush tax rates expire at the end of the year, will “restrain economic growth this year and significantly restrain growth in 2013,” according to CBO. But it says the fiscal prudence will help growth in the out years.
It is unclear whether the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire. Republicans want all of the tax rates to be extended, and the White House wants Bush tax rates for families with annual income below $250,000 to be extended.
Gross federal debt would rise from $14.8 trillion at the end of 2011 to $21.7 trillion under CBO's projections.
The CBO uses a “current policy” baseline that assumes the Bush-era tax rates will not be extended after 2013, however.
The deficit will be much higher if Congress takes several actions that many expect.
If the Bush tax rates are extended, for example, the deficit would rise.
It would rise if Congress patches the Alternative Minimum Tax, which lawmakers have routinely done to prevent higher taxes from being imposed on middle class taxpayers.
It would also rise if Congress continues to pass the “doc fix” that prevents a cut to Medicare payments to doctors, something that Congress has done on a near-annual basis.
Finally, if Congress does not follow through on cuts mandated by the failure of the supercommittee, the deficit will grow. Lawmakers are already talking about canceling scheduled cuts to the Pentagon’s budget.
In the “alternative fiscal scenario” where these things happen the gross federal debt rises to $29.4 trillion by 2022.
Elmendorf noted that allowing the lower tax rates to be extended or for the triggered cuts to be dodged would boost short term growth by as much as 2.9 percent in 2013 and lower unemployment to as low as 7.4 percent.
But he said such a choice would come with a steep price, with $400 billion added to the deficit in 2013 alone.
“There is no plausible scenario where the alternative fiscal scenario is sustainable,” he said.
Elmendorf noted that extending all the Bush era tax rates and patching the AMT adds $5.4 trillion to the deficit. He said that just ending tax reductions for the wealthy could contribute about $1 trillion to deficit reduction.
Despite political rhetoric that focuses on discretionary spending, Elmendorf made clear that the bigger driver of the deficit increase are entitlement programs.
“Clearly the deficit will not be brought under control without changes in either revenues or Social Security and federal healthcare programs,” he said. “The gap that has opened between what we are used to getting from the government and the revenue that we are used paying into the government has widened and will only get wider in the coming decade.”
Obama will release his 2013 budget request on Feb. 13. He is expected to included in it recommendations for reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over a decade and to call for the end of Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy.
By the end of March, House Republicans plan to vote on their alternative budget, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Ryan hopes to release a budget similar to his 2012 budget, which included changing Medicare into a private insurance system for future retirees.
"With four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, no credible plan to lift the crushing burden of debt, and a Senate majority that has failed to pass a budget for over 1,000 days, the president and his party’s leaders have fallen short in their duty to tackle our generation’s most pressing fiscal and economic challenges," Ryan said in reaction to the CBO report.
Posted by Brett at 10:35 AM
By Terence P. Jeffrey
January 30, 2012
(CNSNews.com) - Roman Catholic Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh says the Obama administration is telling American Catholics: “To Hell with you.”
“The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’” the bishop said in a column posted on his diocesan website. “There is no other way to put it.”
The bishop was responding to a regulation, finalized by Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Jan. 20, that orders all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives--including those that induce abortions--without any fees or co-pay.
The regulation includes an exemption for “religious employers.” But to qualify for this exemption, the employer must primarily serve members of its own faith, primarily employ members of its own faith, and primarily focus on inculcating the tenets of that faith—a rubric that would not apply to Catholic hospitals, universities, or charitable organizations.
There is no exemption at all for individual citizens or private businesses.
The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics cannot be involved in them. After the regulation was first announced in August, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic lay leaders urged the administration to rescind it while pointing out that it would require Catholics to act against their consciences and their faith and was thus a violation of the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
Last fall, the Catholic bishops called the regulation an “unprecedented attack on religious liberty” and took the unusual step of asking local pastors to urge parishioners from the pulpit to contact HHS and ask that the regulation be rescinded. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, personally met with President Barack Obama in November to explain the Catholic Church’s objections to the regulation.
But a week ago Friday, Sebelius announced that the regulation would take effect for individuals and private businesses as of Aug. 1 of this year. She said that religiously affiliated non-profit organizations—such as Catholic hospitals, universities and charitable organizations—would be given until Aug. 1, 2013 to “adapt” to the regulation, but then they would be required to adhere to it also.
“It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face,” Bishop Zubik wrote of the administration’s decision to force Catholics to act against their faith.
“Let’s be blunt,” said Bishop Zubik. “This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.
“This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone--not only Catholics; not only people of all religion,” said the bishop. “At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens.”
“Last September I asked you to protest those guidelines to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, and contact your political leadership in the federal government,” said Bishop Zubik. “I asked that you request that this flawed mandate be withdrawn because of its unprecedented interference in the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of the Catholic community, and our basic democratic process.
“You did,” said the bishop. “And you were joined by Catholics throughout the country (and many others as well) who raised their voices against the mandate, raised their voices against a meaningless religious exemption.
“On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration answered you and me,” said Bishop Zubik. “The response was very simple: ‘To Hell with You.’”
“Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration,” the bishop wrote, “have said ‘To Hell with You’ to the Catholic faithful of the United States, to Hell with your religious beliefs, to Hell with your religious liberty, to Hell with your freedom of conscience.”
Bishop Zubik said the Catholic Church cannot submit to this regulation and urged Catholics to again tell President Obama, HHS Secretary Sebelius and members of Congress to rescind it.
“They have given us a year to adapt to this rule,” he said. “We can’t! We simply cannot! Write to the president. Write to Secretary Sebelius. Write to our Senators. Write to those in Congress.”
Bishop Zubik was far from alone in condemning the regulation and calling on Catholics to demand its reversal. Across the country over the past week, many Catholic bishops wrote similar articles and statements.
“The bell is tolling for religious liberty in America. All of us should listen well,” said Bishop James D. Conley, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Denver.
Bishop Conley called on Catholics to fight the administration’s health-care plan.
“If plans go unchanged, the Catholic Church, acting through our Catholic institutions, will no longer have legal protection for the free exercise of religion,” he said in a column posted on the diocesan website. “Secretary Sebelius is wrong; this is not a year to ‘adapt.’ The Catholic Church will not adapt by violating fundamental elements of our faith. Instead of adapting, this is a year to unify, and to fight injustice and flagrant disregard for the institutional protection of our religious practice.
“The recent decision by HHS should make clear for all Catholics that under the proposed health care plan, the freedom to practice our religious faith is in jeopardy,” said Bishop Conley.
In a column for his diocesan newspaper, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the administration is trying to seize a power the U.S. government has never had.
“The Health Department justifies denying exemptions to Catholic charities, hospitals and colleges because it says they are not really ‘religious’ institutions. This may be the most troubling part of this new mandate,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Because in effect, the government is presuming it has the competence and authority to define what religious faith is and how believers should express their faith commitments and relationship to God in society. These are powers our government has never before assumed itself to have.”
“But the issues here go far beyond contraception and far beyond the liberties of the Catholic Church,” said Archbishop Gomez. “They go to the heart of our national identity and our historic understanding of our democratic form of government.”
Archbishop Gomez also called on Catholics to defend their faith and their religious freedom.
“But this is clear: Now is a time for Catholic action and for Catholic voices,” said Archbishop Gomez. “We need lay leaders to step up to their responsibilities for the Church’s mission. Not only to defend our faith and our rights as Catholics, but to be leaders for moral and civic renewal, leaders in helping to shape the values and moral foundations of America’s future.”
To read another article by Terry Jeffrey, click here.
To read another article about Obama's disregard for Religious Freedom, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:17 AM
Let's be clear on this: OBAMA did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American sailor, who Obama, just a few weeks ago, was debating on whether or not to PAY, did. In fact, if you remember a little less than two years ago, his administration actually charged and attempted to court-martial 3 Navy Seals from Seal Team Six, when a terrorist suspect they captured, complained they had punched him during the take down and bloodied his nose. His administration further commented how brutal they were. The left were calling them Nazi's and Baby Killers. Now all of a sudden, the very brave men they vilified are now heroes when they make his administration look good in the eyes of the public. Obama just happened to be the one in office when the CIA finally found the b...... And our sailors took him out. Essentially, Obama only gave an answer. Yes or No, to him being taken out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN victory!! Forward on IF YOU AGREE!!"
Col. USMC (Ret.)
OBAMA'S OWN WORDS TRAP HIM:
2008: "Navy Seal Team 6 is Cheney's private assassination team."
2011: "I put together Seal Team 6 to take out Bin Laden."
2008: "Bin Laden is innocent until proven guilty, and must be captured alive and given a fair trial."
2011: "I authorized Seal Team 6 to kill Bin Laden."
2008: " Guantanamo is entirely unnecessary, and the detainees should not be interrogated."
2011: "Vital intelligence was obtained from Guantanamo detainees that led to our locating Bin Laden."
Posted by Brett at 9:35 AM
Monday, January 30, 2012
Science is all about questioning theories.
by John Hayward
Opponents of the global warming cult have often been confronted with a little presto-chango logical fallacy. When the dearth of evidence that human activity contributes to any sort of climate change became painfully inconvenient, the cult began deliberately conflating “man-made” or “anthropogenic” warming with temperature fluctuations that might be entirely natural phenomena.
This allowed the fanatics to posture as reasonable people of science, while dismissing those who advanced reasonable questions as fanatics. If you agreed that the globe might be warming, you were automatically signed on to the entirely different belief that human activity was causing it. Various studies purporting to show increases in temperature were cited, and magically transformed into “proof” that the economy-destroying, power-centralizing agenda of the Church of Global Warming must be adopted immediately. Greenhouse gases are killing the Earth! The science is settled!
This was always about power and money, not science. Here’s a little data crunching from one of the great cathedrals of global warming alarmism, the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit – which was also the source of the “Climagate” emails that revealed much of the global warming movement was based on deliberate fraud. As reported by the UK Daily Mail:
The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.
The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.
Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
“Released without fanfare,” eh? That’s funny, because this has to be one of the most important stories in modern history. The entire global warming movement just went up in smoke. All of the shrieking hysteria about greenhouse gases, which still drives multi-billion dollar command economics programs in the United States has just been revealed as a pile of anti-scientific garbage.
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.
Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.
We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.
So the primary factor driving “climate change” is not people running their air conditioners and driving around in cars, but rather… the Sun. Were your kids told any of this when their public-school teachers were busy indoctrinating them in Green dogma about man-made global warming? Was it ever even suggested that maybe human activity had far less to do with global temperature changes than solar activity?
The modern “climate change” movement began with warnings of global cooling, and the threat of an impending Ice Age, back in the Seventies. This was changed for purely political reasons, because it obviously wasn’t something that could be blamed on human activity. But car engines are hot, and hot gas comes out of their mufflers, so maybe that gas is forming into toxic clouds in the upper atmosphere, and turning the Earth into an oven! Factory smokestacks even look kind of like ovens, don’t they? We can scare people into giving up their economic liberty with that!
A Duke University climatologist quoted by the Daily Mail noted “if temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories.” Questioning theories? Now that sounds like science! Unfortunately for the cultists, it’s not very helpful for getting cap-and-trade legislation passed, or selling “carbon credits.”
Other stories hinting at this outcome have popped up over the past few years, but this one is definitive… and utterly devastating to the official religion of the U.S. government. Think of all the millions charlatans like Al Gore have raked in from gullible suckers over the years. “An inconvenient truth,” indeed. The birth of global warming was heralded by big-budget Hollywood movies and hysterical political campaigns. Its final demise occurred without fanfare.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
To read about more Global Warming hijinx, click here.
Posted by Brett at 6:32 PM