Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Mitt Romney won Michigan and Arizona. In Michigan Mitt won 41% of the popular vote to 37% for Rick, but they split the delegate count - in Mitt's home state!
Michigan awards their delegates by Congressional District. So while Romney narrowly won the statewide popular vote, we won the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 13th districts, and one more district, the 5th, is within a 100 votes and there might be a recount. Gov. Romney and I will each get one of Michigan's two at large delegates, giving us a split of 15-15.
Here's the bottom line: Mitt Romney and his SuperPAC outspent us by millions of dollars in his home state, and he couldn't come away with anything better than a tie in the delegate count. No matter what the press would have you believe this morning, we are now in for a long, important battle. But before I get to that, I just have to tell you, I thought a lot about my grandfather last night.
He was an immigrant from Italy. He became a coal miner, and worked hard every day. To think that his grandson could run in the most important Presidential election in American history is absolutely inspiring!
I thought of him a lot during the early days of this campaign when I was spending long nights crisscrossing Iowa to talk with voters, driving in my own car while other candidates were taking private jets. It's hard to be the underdog! Let me tell you, it's much more difficult to run a grassroots, shoe-leather campaign where you actually talk to voters, than to throw millions of dollars on TV.
To read another article about Rick Santorum, click here.
Posted by Brett at 5:29 PM
By Peter Ferrara on 2.29.12 @ 6:08AM
Lying is not going to rebut Newt Gingrich's compelling understanding of America's energy policy and huge energy reserves.
In a speech that the Gingrich campaign has begun broadcasting around the country, and which is posted at Newt.org, Gingrich presents a unique new vision for a booming American economy. I think you will find it pathbreaking. It is so compelling that it drew Obama into a transcontinental debate with the former Speaker, the first exchange that Obama has decisively lost since he appeared on the national stage.
Gingrich began the explanation of his vision like this:
What if we had a program that enabled the American people to develop so much new energy that we were, in fact, no longer reliant on Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran. We didn't care what the Iranians did in the Strait of Hormuz because we were safe in national security terms.
What if that new energy program created well over a million new jobs, high-paying jobs, jobs that put Americans back to work and kept the money here at home that we had been sending overseas, giving us a dramatic improvement in our balance of payments, strengthening the dollar and giving us a chance to live much freer and more independently?
What if that very idea also meant that we'd also have dramatic increases in federal revenue… without a tax increase but that, in fact, the federal government would have literally an entire new stream of money?
And finally, what if that big new idea meant that you personally were better off because you are buying gasoline for $2.50 a gallon, not for $3.89 or $4 or what some people project by the summer could be could be $5 or more?
How is that possible, you ask? Well, that is what is exciting, and that is one of the reasons I am running for President.
Gingrich begins demonstrating the new vision by pointing to the Bakken geologic formation in North Dakota, which turns out to hold far, far more oil than the U.S. Geological Survey used to think, 25 times as much in fact, or 2,400 percent more. That Bakken breakthrough exists today "because it is on private land, and liberals weren't able to block us from developing it," Gingrich explains.
The result is that the official unemployment rate in North Dakota is 3.5 percent, with nearly 20,000 jobs paying $60,000 to $80,000 a year remaining unfilled for lack of sufficiently skilled applicants. Revenue from the booming growth is gushing into the North Dakota state government so fast that after seven consecutive tax cuts, the state enjoys a rainy day fund of several billion dollars, even though the entire state budget is only $2 billion.
Gingrich then projects, "If North Dakota has that much energy, how much do we think we have everywhere else? Turns out, we may have more oil in the United States today, given new science and technology, than we have actually pumped worldwide since 1870. We may, in fact, by one estimate have three times as much oil in the United States as there is in Saudi Arabia." Or as there ever was in Saudi Arabia.
Then there is a parallel revolution in natural gas. We have long known there was a lot of natural gas in shale, but we did not know how to get it out. As recently as 2000, people thought we had seven years of natural gas supply left in the United States. Investors began committing big funds to building facilities for importation of liquefied natural gas from the Middle East.
But then entrepreneurs began applying to shale rock formations the horizontal drilling techniques that had been developed for deep water ocean drilling, where the most had to be gotten out of one hole by drilling in every direction. Combine that with the long-time technique of fracking, breaking up the shale rock with steam, water and sand (supposedly so scary to "environmentalists"), and the net result, Gingrich elaborates, is that
[W]e now have in shale tremendous amounts of natural gas that is recoverable. In one short decade, we went from 7 years of supply to over a hundred years of supply because science and technology had improved so much. Furthermore, instead of us importing liquefied natural gas from the Middle East, there is now serious talk that we're going to build facilities in Houston… to ship liquefied natural gas to China.
But this is all just the beginning, because, as Gingrich adds, "in places like the Marcellus Shale in Western Pennsylvania, in eastern Ohio, cutting down along the Appalachians, all the way out to Dallas, Texas, there is formation after formation after formation."
What that means is what I reported last year in my book, America's Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb. America has the resources to be the world's number one oil producer, number one natural gas producer, number one coal producer, number one nuclear energy producer, even the number one alternative energy producer. The reason you never heard about this before, as Gingrich explains, is that "the politicians in Washington, the old-time establishment, the elite news media, the bureaucrats, don't have a clue what's possible, or in some cases, they have a clue and they are opposed to it."
"And the result is not just money for big oil," Gingrich continues, "but people who own the property, farmers." Gingrich recounts a conversation with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, "who just had run into a farmer who suddenly discovered that he had natural gas on his farm and he had been given an amazingly big check by the natural gas company." That same story is being replicated, or will be, from Texas to Tennessee across the Appalachians throughout Pennsylvania, to long impoverished upstate New York (if the liberals get out of the way there).
It means as well big money for our bankrupt federal government. As Gingrich reports, "One of the leading experts on North Dakota has suggested that we might well have over the next generation $18 trillion, not billion, $18 trillion in royalties… for the federal government with no tax increases." Note, that is more than the national debt.
But that is not all. Gingrich adds, "If you had $500 billion a year that was not going overseas, that was paying royalties in the U.S., paying landowners, paying people to go out and develop the oil, paying the pipeline builders, you would suddenly have a booming economy right here at home." What that means is that suddenly "We get a lot more jobs, people come off unemployment, food stamps, welfare, public housing, Medicaid. All that saves money. And they go to work taking care of their family and paying taxes. So government revenue goes up, government expenses go down…. Second, as we develop this, the companies are going to make more profit, so they are going to pay more taxes back."
And the economy gets a further boost because "Every time prices go up, they are the equivalent of a tax on working Americans and retired Americans." Similarly, every time gas prices go down, it is like a big tax cut boosting the economy, and lower energy prices are a big tax cut for energy intensive manufacturing in particular. Newt concludes, "Now $2.50 may sound like it is an impossible number, but that's baloney. When I was Speaker of the House, we paid $1.13 on average during the four years. When Barack Obama became President, we paid $1.89 that week."
Obama's Pondscum Vision
President Obama felt compelled to respond to Newt and his campaign for $2.50 a gallon gas, in a speech in Miami February 23. Obama said regarding surging gas prices:
Now some politicians see this as a political opportunity…. You can bet that since it's an election year, they're already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas. And I'll save you the suspense. Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step 3 is to keep drilling. We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We've heard the same thing for 30 years.
Well, the American people aren't stupid. They know that's not a plan, especially since we are already drilling. You know there are no quick fixes to this problem. You know we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices. If we're going to take control of our energy future and start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year -- when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other part of the world -- if we're going to avoid being at the mercy of these world events, we've got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.
And that's why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years…. Over the last 3 years, my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada. And we've opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration. All told we plan to make available more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.
But, exactly contrary to Gingrich's vision explained above, Obama contends, "But here's the thing -- it's not enough….The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world's oil -- more than 20% -- just us. But we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves. We consume 20; we've got 2….[A]nybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what they're talking about, or just isn't telling you the truth."
So here is Obama's big answer, contrary to Newt's vision explained above:
We're making new investments in the development of gasoline and diesel and jet fuel that's actually made from a plant like substance -- algae. You've got a bunch of algae out here, right? (Laughter). If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we'll be doing all right. Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17% of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel we can grow right here in the United States. Now, none of the steps that I've talked about today is going to be a silver bullet. It's not going to bring down gas prices tomorrow. Remember, if anybody says they got a plan for that -- what?
AUDIENCE: They're lying.
Newt Slam Dunks Obama
Two days later, in San Francisco, Gingrich gave his reply to Obama's Miami speech, slam dunking Obama, and his Obamabot audience. Gingrich said, "After I came out for a program to get to $2.50 a gallon gasoline, Obama decided he had to make a speech on energy. It is a very revealing speech. It is factually false, intellectually incoherent, deeply conflicted on policy and in some places just strange."
Gingrich began by providing context.
In 2007, as a Senator, Obama was the only sponsor of a bill which would have eliminated an inventory of offshore oil reserves. This is part of the Left's great problem today. They really believe in "Peak Energy." They really believe that we're going to run out. The government has to be in charge. Jimmy Carter was right. We ought to have gasoline rationing. We ought to make sure we don't use all this up.
And the problem is they are wrong. Now, their fear is if they actually show us how much energy we have, we will actually want the energy. So they want us to not see the energy because then we can't ask for it because we don't have it. And so he literally introduced a bill that was in favor of ignorance. And it is fascinating because what North Dakota has done is that it has blown apart their worldview."
Gingrich was discussing here proposed legislation Senator Obama introduced to terminate the federal government's inventory of offshore oil reserves.
Gingrich also recounted what Obama had said about his energy policy campaigning in 2008 to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board:
Under my plan of cap and trade, electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket and power plants, natural gas, you name it, wherever the plants were, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations and that will cost money and they will pass that money on to the consumers. So if someone wants to build a coal powered power plant, that will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged the huge amount for all that greenhouse gas that is being emitted.
Gingrich explains, "So it is really open. Higher prices are good. They are necessary. Companies will be bankrupt. This is the true Left."
Gingrich also noted what Obama told a constituent worried about the impact of high gas prices on his family: "If you are complaining about the price of gas and only getting 8 miles to the gallon (laughter) you may have a big family, but it is probably not that big." When he found out how many kids the guy had, Obama told him, "Well, you definitely need a hybrid."
Gingrich added that in February 2009, Obama appointed as "anti-energy" Secretary Berkeley Professor Steven Chu, who had said that America needs the same gas prices as in Europe, which are $9 a gallon or more. "So when they tell you this [the high price of gas] is all an accident, baloney. This is a deliberate strategy of the Left to punish the American people into driving the vehicles" the left and Obama want them to drive.
Gingrich responded to Obama's claim that we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices saying, "Well, let me give the President a brief history lesson. In 1976 gasoline had reached $2.46 a gallon. By 1980, with Jimmy Carter's failing economic policies, it had gotten to $3.30," despite Carter's heavy handed gas rationing. "The first Executive Order Ronald Reagan signed deregulated gasoline. The Left was panic stricken. The New York Times thought the prices would skyrocket. Within 6 months it collapsed. In fact, the collapsed oil price was a major factor in beating the Soviet Empire because it stripped them of hard currency. By 1988 it had dropped to $1.72" -- half the price of when Reagan was sworn in, the result of 8 years of drilling. The price of natural gas has also collapsed over the past couple of years in response to soaring drilling.
To Obama's boast that America is producing more oil today than any time in the last 8 years, Gingrich noted that the North Dakota boom was on private land. He reported in his earlier speech that "Under President Obama because he is so anti-American energy, we have actually had a 40% reduction in development of oil offshore, and we have had a 40% reduction in the development of oil on federal lands." In his San Francisco speech, Gingrich added: "So in the area he controls, production is down and the area that is hard at the free enterprise stuff where people get rich, production is up. So he is now claiming credit for the area he can't control in order to have us think he is actually for what he opposes."
Gingrich continued, "And let me give you an example of the depth of audacity" of Obama's dishonesty.
"He says quote, 'Over the last 3 years, my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including through Canada.' Now, Mr. President, you know how limited your respect for the intelligence of the American people must be. How could you possibly veto the only major pipeline that matters from Canada, the Keystone Pipeline, and turn around and suggest to us that the fact that we have approved dozens of tiny ones -- this is like saying, 'My Navy has 11 ships, they're all rowboats.' I mean how do you deal with a President who is this fundamentally out of touch with being honest? It would be one thing if he said, 'Yes, I vetoed the Keystone Pipeline and here is why.' But to come and say, "I have approved lots of pipelines, why are you mad at me? Well, because you did not approve the one that mattered. The Keystone Pipeline is worth 700,000 barrels a day when you use it…. This President is driving Canada into a partnership with China in order to build a pipeline due west to Vancouver to deliver the oil to China. It is a strategic disaster of the first order."
While Obama tells us, "We plan to make available more than 75% of our potential offshore oil and gas resources," Gingrich explained in response, "This is [Obama] letting you know he is a lawyer. He has carefully selected out a phrase, which is totally misleading and technically inaccurate…. He is now telling you that in the areas we currently know about that they want to make 75% available. What he didn't tell you is under this definition, 85% of the offshore acreage" will still not be available because we don't know anything about reserves in those areas. (Remember this is the guy who wanted to abolish the inventory of reserves.)
Gingrich added, "One more example that shows how fundamentally dishonest this President is. He says, quote, 'We only have two percent of the world's oil reserves.' And what he is referring to is proven current reserves. But…in 1980, our proven reserves were 30 million barrels. Since then, because of advancing technology, because of changing prices, because of entrepreneurship, we have produced 75 billion barrels out of the 30 billion-barrel reserve, and we have more reserves today than we had in 1980."
Indeed, proven reserves can only exist in areas where drilling has been allowed and permitted. They don't include anywhere near the 1.4 trillion barrels of potentially recoverable reserves in the United States, more than has been pumped worldwide since 1870, three times as much as in Saudi Arabia.
So now the President goes on to say, quote, "We are taking every possible action to develop safely a near hundred years supply of natural gas in this country." That is fundamentally misleading. They have a task force of 8 different agencies trying to figure out how to block fracking, which is the method by which we get natural gas. They are methodically trying to undermine and cripple the natural gas industry, and it is stunningly dishonest for this President to pretend that he favors something that his administration is actively working to undermine.
Gingrich exposed Obama's confusion regarding fracking, saying that Obama lives in this fantasy world of government subsidies. He says, quote, "It was public research dollars that over the years helped develop the technologies that companies are right now using to extract oil and natural gas." Just to set the record [straight], fracking began in Kansas in 1947 and it expands to Oklahoma in 1949. It's done in Canada in the 1950s. And George Mitchell and the private sector are regarded as the pioneers in the development of "fracking." This would be like suggesting that the Air Force invented the airplane and they don't know who these two Wright Brothers are because, after all, they were private sector guys who were just bicycle mechanics, and how could they have invented the airplane when actually it must have been the Air Force because everything that was good is done by the government. That is the Obama mindset.
Finally, Gingrich addressed Obama's pondscum strategy, saying:
Now, I am a scientific optimist. I have a friend at Texas A&M who is developing algae that eats municipal waste and then uses alcohol as a byproduct, and some point down the road, it will probably be useful. But this is like Solyndra. The President is for any fantasy that doesn't work today as opposed to any practical thing that works today so as to take your money to prop up something which well might work -- Solyndra might work in 30 years. Solyndra might even work in 10 years but it won't work now, and it is being given venture capital by the Department of Energy…. But what are the odds that you're going to ramp up to a commercial price gasoline from algae in the foreseeable future? Not very good. Now most of us live in the foreseeable future. What are the odds that if you actually allow people to drill and if you allow people to build refineries, you could get dramatically less expensive gas in the foreseeable future? Really, really high.
The last point I want to make about what he said, he says three or four times, "There are no silver bullets." There is a pen. Big difference. The Presidential pen could today sign approval of the Keystone Pipeline. That is 700,000 barrels a day. The Presidential pen could today sign approval to go back to the Gulf of Mexico, and that is about 400,000 barrels a day. The Presidential pen could today approve areas of Alaska that we know have oil. That's about a million, two hundred thousand barrels of oil a day. Three signatures we would have 2.3 million barrels of oil a day in the United States. So I should say we are not looking for silver bullets. We are looking for Presidential leadership.
At the end of his speech he says, quote, "We need to sustain all of the above strategy that develops every available source of American energy, yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels and so on." Well, this is exactly what John Boehner has been campaigning on for four years. I hope the House Republicans in the near future will move an all-of-the-above energy bill. And we will see whether or not [Obama] really means this, which by the way he didn't, but it is a great line and it is exactly the Republican policy.
It is actually a poll-driven line by the President which, as Gingrich says, Obama transparently has no intention of following through on. It is just more Calculated Deception, to mislead the Bubbas.
This is a very revealing speech. You have an intellectual left winger who lives in a fantasy world in which he very cleverly uses language to say things that aren't true that sound good because he knows that if he tells you what he really wants to do, you will defeat him in a landslide. One of our jobs, of course, is to make sure that the American people understand what he really wants to do.
Our choice is between energy independence and never again bowing to a Saudi King and $2.50 gasoline and about $18 trillion in royalties over the next generation; enough you could literally pay off the national debt just with the royalties for the federal government from development with no tax increase, and at least a million new jobs. That is our side. His side is a series of fantasies in which your tax money is thrown away on products that are not commercially feasible, while you pay higher and higher prices, and are coerced into smaller and smaller and smaller vehicles. These are the two futures we are going to campaign on this year.
Isn't this the campaign that conservatives should want? Is there any doubt how that campaign would turn out? Conservatives need to recall after all the out of context misquotes or misunderstandings about what Gingrich has said in recent years, when he had political power, he governed as a Reaganite conservative, as someone who, in the words of Nancy Reagan, had the baton passed from Goldwater, to Reagan, to Gingrich.
To watch Part 1 of an interview with Newt Gingrich about the future of the campaign to beat Obama - click here.
To read another article by Peter Ferrara, click here.
Posted by Brett at 3:54 PM
By Lisa Fabrizio on 2.29.12 @ 6:07AM
Conservatives should not be blaming the victim in Obama's showdown with the Catholic Church.
Short weeks ago, the political world was in welcome upheaval at the news that Barack Obama's latest healthcare fiat was being met with great opposition, particularly by the Catholic Church. His dictate that certain forms of contraception be covered by all employers regardless of their religious beliefs had folks from both right and left arrayed against him, outraged at his blatant disregard for the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty. But then a funny thing happened.
Rush Limbaugh, influential in liberal as well as conservative circles, read on air from a column written by Dr. Paul Rahe, a professor at Hillsdale College, who basically said that the Catholic Church deserved what it was getting, as a result of its "Pact with the Devil," made decades ago. The piece makes numerous contentions against the Church in America; most of them true and some of them not so true, with further inference by Rush, suggesting that the Church was indeed in league with the Democratic Party and therefore rightfully deserving of its treatment by Obama and friends. Sort of what I call the William Kennedy Smith defense: that girl walked into the bar with me; ergo, she deserved to be raped.
Have many U.S. bishops acquiesced to parts of the liberal agenda in the last 70 or so years? Unfortunately, they have, as have too many Americans. Yet to posit that the Church is in bed with modern Democrats is a quite a stretch. The Church is the only worldwide entity that stands athwart their main pillars: abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia. Yet, as the Rahe view gains popularity, too many Americans have put the Church in their sights, instead of the Obama Administration.
The distressing part of all this is that many conservatives have now fallen prey to that most progressive of diseases: the "everybody knows it" syndrome. This dreadful malady takes hold when an appealing bit of personal opinion makes its way into the mainstream, then metastasizes into the realm of public acceptance. This nugget need not be factual, but it becomes an easy way to deal with issues that deserve deeper consideration.
Almost as disturbing as the "the Church deserves it" theory, is Dr. Rahe's claim that in 13 years of visiting parishes across the nation, he has only heard three anti-abortion sermons, and none on contraception, stating: "In the face of the sexual revolution, the bishops, priests, and nuns of the American Church have by and large fallen silent. In effect, they have abandoned the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church in order to articulate a defense of the administrative entitlements state and its progressive expansion."
Well, this surely comes as news to me and millions of other American Catholics. Living as I do, in Fairfield County, Connecticut, one of the most liberal enclaves of this nation, you'd think that I too would have trouble finding a parish that teaches the true Faith; that it would be impossible to find a spiritual home amongst the modern dwellings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, within a few miles of my home, there are at least five parishes so orthodox in worship, that they would be fit to host a visit from Pope Benedict XVI himself; indeed, my own parish church was recently named a minor basilica where, during any given week, Dr. Rahe might hear a few pulpit-pounding homilies dealing with abortion and avail himself of one of the 15 Confession opportunities. And yes, there is always a line.
The truth is, there are very many faithful Catholics in this country who reject the liberal agenda: just look to the U.S. Supreme Court, or to the many recent converts to the faith among the conservative punditry, or to two of the four remaining presidential candidates. The problem is, those who call themselves Catholic yet publicly and repeatedly reject Church teaching are the ones who get all the ink.
But, as they say, the times, they are a-changin'. Newly named Cardinal Timothy Dolan -- a classmate of my Pastor at the Pontifical North American College in Rome -- the jocular prelate who is currently charming the pants off the liberal media, has been gifted with the nauseating sobriquet of "rock star," as they celebrate his outward joviality while ignoring his rock-hard commitment to the Church and her teachings; a mistake they will hopefully come to regret. He is only one of many of the Pope's Panzer division of new hierarchy of the Church who will lead her for many years to come.
So before folks decide in favor of an indictment against a fading breed of 1960s bishops as representative of the Church in America, they shouldn't fall prey to the liberal media tactic of blaming the victims. The Church, going forward, may indeed lose many, many members who wear their Catholicism like a piece of clothing to be changed and discarded at a whim, but those of the true Faith will continue to uphold and defend it, come what may.
To read an article by Lisa Fabrizio, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:14 PM
The Lincoln-Douglass Debates
By Robert Morrison
No, there is no misspelling in the title. We all remember the Lincoln-Douglas Debates from school. They were a series of face-to-face encounters all over Illinois in 1858. Abraham Lincoln challenged Sen. Stephen A. Douglas to debate on the burning issue of the day – the extension of slavery into the territories. Sen. Douglas, a Democrat, was a famous and powerful political figure. Lincoln was a prominent attorney and a leader of the newly formed Republican Party.
Although Lincoln’s powerful performance against his opponent made him a nationally known politician, he did not defeat Douglas for the U.S. Senate (only because in those days the state legislatures elected U.S. Senators). Two years later, Abraham Lincoln, a former one-term Congressman, would defeat Sen. Douglas and two other rivals in the contest for President of the United States.
And that’s where Frederick Douglass comes in. Frederick Douglass was far better known than Abraham Lincoln throughout the 1850s. That’s because his powerful autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, had been a bestselling book throughout the North in America and throughout the English-speaking world.
Frederick had escaped slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, fleeing to Massachusetts and freedom. Embraced by the white-led Abolition movement, Frederick found their plans for ending slavery impractical. So, he moved to Rochester, N.Y., where he edited and published his own anti-slavery newspaper, The North Star. Abolition leader William Lloyd Garrison had forbidden his followers to vote and relied on moral suasion (and attacking Southern slaveholders) to end slavery. Garrison even advocated secession from the Union by the free states. “No Union with Slaveholders” was Garrison’s cry. Frederick Douglass could not see how this would help four million of his black countrymen if the Union were broken up and they were abandoned.
When Lincoln was elected president, we might think that Frederick Douglass had at last found his man. Like Lincoln, Frederick was an eminently practical man. Like Lincoln, he was largely self-taught. Where Lincoln had been born in a log cabin on the Kentucky frontier, Frederick had been born in even poorer circumstances – in a slave hut in Maryland’s Talbot County. He never knew his father and his mother was sent into the fields to harvest tobacco from his earliest days.
But Frederick Douglass debated President Lincoln throughout much of the Illinoisan’s term. While they never appeared together on the same speaker’s platform – and Frederick was as powerful an orator as Abraham – Frederick debated the President in the sense that he followed his every action, his every statement, his every speech – and responded fully to them all.
On five key issues, Frederick publicly differed with the President he had helped elect.
In speeches, letters and printed editorials, he held forth. Thus, he truly “debated” Lincoln.
First, Frederick denounced Lincoln’s idea of colonizing black freedmen in Central America. America is our home, he said. We were born here. This country was built with our labor. Our blood, sweat, and tears are mixed into the very mortar that supports the Capitol and the White House. We won’t go. And you cannot make us go.
Second, Frederick demanded Emancipation, immediate and unconditional. Still, he wept for joy when Lincoln did issue his proclamation in the fall of 1862.
Third, Frederick argued passionately for enlisting black freedmen in the U.S. Army. Why fight with one hand tied behind your back, he pleaded? If black men were good enough to fight for General Washington, why aren’t they good enough to fight for Gen. McClellan? Use your “Sable arm,” Frederick cried.
Fourth, Frederick insisted on equal pay for black soldiers. Many had been recruited as laborers by state governments worried about a white backlash if they were fully enlisted as combat soldiers. As such, these black soldiers were paid less. But Frederick knew the principle of equal pay for equal danger to equal men was essential.
Fifth, Frederick demanded full citizenship for freedmen. Only when the nation recognized this would there be a chance for a truly just society in America. Only with this principle recognized would the Constitution’s promise to each state of “a republican form of government” be fulfilled.
On each of these issues, President Lincoln over time moved toward Frederick Douglass’ position. Douglass would later concede, in a powerful memorial address in 1876, that Lincoln had a duty to consult the opinions of those who had elected him. Lincoln sympathized with the Abolitionists, to be sure. “If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong,” he famously said. But he viewed the Abolitionists as “the unhandiest (impractical) set of men” he’d ever dealt with. Still, he conceded “their faces are set Zionward.”
Lincoln did not view Frederick Douglass as impractical. He met repeatedly with him in the White House, the first time a President of the United States ever consulted a black man as a policy advisor. He even planned to use Frederick as a black Moses to lead his people out of bondage in the South if he, Lincoln, were defeated in the 1864 election.
Lincoln invited Frederick to his Second Inaugural. Douglass, because of his color, was barred by a young soldier from entering by the front door of the White House, but would not be deterred: He entered through an open first-floor window.
When Lincoln saw him, he called out loudly, “My friend Douglass!” and summoned him out of the crush of well-wishers to ask his opinion of the address. “Mr. Douglass,” said Lincoln, “there is no man’s opinion I value more than yours.” “Mr. Lincoln,” said Frederick Douglass of the speech now carved in stone in the Emancipator’s memorial, “it was a sacred effort.”
Abraham Lincoln did not take offense because Frederick Douglass opposed him or publicly criticized him. He respected Douglass more because he knew the strong heart and high moral purpose that motivated him. That’s why these Douglass-Lincoln debates matter.
To read another article by Robert Morrison, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:02 PM
By Ben Shapiro
President Obama apologized this week for the U.S. military's accidental burning of Qurans in Afghanistan. "I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident," said Obama. "I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies. ... We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible."
The Quran burnings prompted massive riots in Afghanistan, as per the Islamist handbook, page 248, which, incidentally, may be the only book other than the Quran published in most Arabic-speaking countries. U.S. servicemen were murdered. The Qurans were only burned in the first place because terrorists were writing messages in them to their friends. None of that stopped Obama from making his apology.
Obama sure taught those Afghani terrorists a lesson. He taught them to keep on being psychotic a-holes.
Let's say you're driving on a city street with your daughter in the car. You accidentally rear end a sketchy looking fellow in a pickup truck, scraping his bumper. He immediately climbs out of the truck, baseball bat in hand, and proceeds to wallop your little girl in the head. Should you apologize for rear ending him? Or should you try to protect her from the second shot by killing this psychotic monster?
The liberal answer is an odd version of the legal eggshell-skull approach to torts -- you leave the victim as you find him. From the liberal perspective, this means that if you scraped a guy's bumper, it's your fault if he goes berserk and murders your child. The same holds true on foreign policy: It was our burning of the Qurans that caused the psychotic behavior. The solution is not to burn Qurans and to apologize as early and as often as possible.
The real solution is something different: Kill the bad guys, or imprison them. No apologies. There's no way to avoid setting off psychotic people; sooner or later, they're going to go off and hurt somebody. The key to stopping crazy people is to go after them pre-emptively, to hunt them down, identify them and take them out of play.
If we don't, we embolden them.
Why not be a psychotic a-hole if you're going to be treated with kid gloves? In fact, you will only be treated with kid gloves if you do act like a psychotic a-hole. Here's why: Liberals assume that people who are insane don't mean what they say -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, for example. Once those demented and evil people carry out their threats, liberals then revert to typical eggshell-skull theory -- they were crazy, so we should have left them alone. It's a win-win.
It's actually a win-win-win -- the psychotic a-holes avoid vengeance because, after all, they're lunatics. We don't want to punish people for being crazy. They simply can't control themselves!
The result of all of this is a world run by psychotic a-holes. We are supposed to cater to them, so as not to offend their sensibilities. We are supposed to avoid vengeance, since they're not responsible for their actions. And we're supposed to give them anything they want, to keep the nuts happy.
These people aren't nuts, though. They're evil, and they're opportunistic. When they see weakness, they strike. It's as true for everyday criminals as it is for Islamists around the globe. We cannot surrender to any of them. But our president already is.
Obama Says His Apology “Calmed Things Down” in Afghanistan
Posted by Ben Shapiro Mar 1st 2012 at 5:17 am in Foreign Policy, Islam, Islamic extremism, Middle East, News, Obama, Soldiers, diplomacy
Yesterday, President Obama fired back at critics who claimed that his apology to Afghans for the military’s accidental burning of Korans was a sop to extremists.
Appearing on ABC News, he stated that the apology had “calmed things down.” He continued, “We’re not out of the woods yet. But my criteria in any decision I make, getting recommendations from folks who are actually on the ground, is what is going to best protect our folks and make sure that they can accomplish their mission.”
If only that were true. Obama hasn’t just apologized – he’s threatened punishment for the servicemen who accidentally burned the Korans (which terrorists had been using to coordinate with one another). And Obama’s apology, which he gave a full five days ago, did nothing to quell the violence in Afghanistan. The riots continued unabated, and two US military advisers were shot after the apology.
The fact is this: these riots generally peter out on their own. They don’t require florid apologies from the president of the United States. The problem with the apology isn’t that it made rioting worse (it didn’t). It’s that the apology gives the bad guys incentive to continue acting insane, as I wrote in my syndicated column today. Next time they see something they don’t like, they’ll simply riot and wait for the West to surrender. It’s worked before, after all.
Leave it to our self-centered president to claim credit for the riots ending. Fortunately or unfortunately, Obama’s words do not make seas recede or Muslim extremists stop burning things and killing people. All they can do is betray our unwillingness to hold evil people to account, emboldening them.
To read another article by Ben Shapiro, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:47 AM
By Dennis Prager
As high school seniors throughout America will be receiving acceptance letters to colleges within the next month, it would be nice for parents to meditate on what they are getting for the $20–$50,000 they will pay each year.
The United States is no better than any other country, and in many areas worse than many. On the world stage, America is an imperialist country, and domestically it mistreats its minorities and neglects its poor, while discriminating against non-whites.
There is no better and no worse in literature and the arts. The reason universities in the past taught Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and Bach rather than, let us say, Guatemalan poets, Sri Lankan musicians, and Native American storytellers was “Eurocentrism.”
God is at best a non-issue, and at worst, a foolish and dangerous belief.
Christianity is largely a history of inquisitions, crusades, oppression, and anti-intellectualism. Islam, on the other hand, is “a religion of peace.” Therefore, criticism of Christianity is enlightened, while criticism of Islam is Islamophobia.
Israel is a racist state, morally no different from apartheid South Africa.
Big government is the only humane way to govern a country.
The South votes Republican because it is still racist and the Republican party caters to racists.
Mothers and fathers are interchangeable. Claims that married mothers and fathers are the parental ideal and bring unique things to a child are heterosexist and homophobic.
Whites can be racist; non-whites cannot be (because whites have power and the powerless cannot be racist).
The great world and societal battles are not between good and evil, but between rich and poor and the powerful and the powerless.
Patriotism is usually a euphemism for chauvinism.
War is ignoble. Pacifism is noble.
Human beings are animals. They differ from “other animals” primarily in having better brains.
We live in a patriarchal society, which is injurious to women.
Women are victims of men.
Blacks are victims of whites.
Latinos are victims of Anglos.
Muslims are victims of non-Muslims.
Gays are victims of straights.
Big corporations are bad. Big unions are good.
There is no objective meaning to a text. Every text only means what the reader perceives it to mean.
The American Founders were sexist, racist slaveholders whose primary concern was preserving their wealthy status.
The Constitution says what progressives think it should say.
The American dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima was an act of racism and a war crime. The wealthy have stacked the capitalist system to maintain their power and economic benefits.
The wealthy Western nations became wealthy by exploiting Third World nations through colonialism and imperialism.
Defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is as immoral as defining marriage as the union of a white and a white.
If this list is accurate — and that may be confirmed by visiting a college bookstore and seeing what books are assigned by any given instructor — most American parents and/or their child are going into debt in order to support an institution that for four years, during the most impressionable years of a person’s life, instills values that are the opposite of those of their parents.
And that is intentional.
As Woodrow Wilson, progressive president of Princeton University before becoming president of the United States, said in a speech in 1914, “I have often said that the use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible.”
In 1996, in his commencement address to the graduating seniors of Dartmouth College, the then president of the college, James O. Freedman, cited the Wilson quote favorably. And in 2002, in another commencement address, Freedman said that “the purpose of a college education is to question your father’s values.”
For Wilson, Freedman, and countless other university presidents, the purpose of a college education is to question (actually, reject) one’s father’s values, not to seek truth. Fathers represented traditional American values. The university is there to undermine them.
Still want to get into years of debt?
To read another article by Dennis Prager, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:22 AM
By Walter E. Williams
Rick Santorum's speech at the Detroit Economic Club stirred a bit of controversy when he said: "I'm not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in America. There always has been, and hopefully -- and I do say that -- there always will be." That kind of statement, though having merit, should not be made to people who have little or no understanding. Let's look at inequality.
Kay S. Hymowitz's article "Why the Gender Gap Won't Go Away. Ever," in City Journal (Summer 2011), shows that female doctors earn only 64 percent of the income that male doctors earn. What should be done about that? It turns out that only 16 percent of surgeons are women but 50 percent of pediatricians are women. Even though surgeons have many more years of education and training than do pediatricians, should Congress equalize their salaries or make pediatricians become surgeons?
Wage inequality is everywhere. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Asian men and women earn more than white men and women. Female cafeteria attendants earn more than their male counterparts. Females who are younger than 30 and have never been married earn salaries 8 percent higher than males of the same description. Among women who graduated from college during 1992-93, by 2003 more than one-fifth were no longer in the workforce, and another 17 percent were working part time. That's to be compared with only 2 percent of men in either category. Hymowitz cites several studies showing significant career choice and lifestyle differences between men and women that result in income inequality.
There are other inequalities that ought to be addressed. With all of the excitement about New York Knick Jeremy Lin's rising stardom, nobody questions league domination by blacks, who are a mere 13 percent of our population but constitute 80 percent of NBA players and are the highest-paid ones. It's not much better in the NFL, with blacks being 65 percent of its players. Colleges have made diversity their primary calling, but watch any basketball game and you'd be hard-put to find white players in roles other than bench warming. Worse than that, Japanese, Chinese and American Indian players aren't even recruited for bench warming.
There's inequality in most jobs. According to 2010 BLS data, the following jobs contain 1 percent female workers or less: boilermaking, brickmasonry, stonemasonry, septic tank servicing, sewer pipe cleaning and working with reinforcing iron and rebar. Maybe the reason female workers aren't in these occupations is that too many are in other occupations. Females are 97 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers, 80 percent of social workers, 82 percent of librarians and 92 percent of dietitians and nutritionists and registered nurses.
Anyone with one ounce of brains can see the problem and solution. Congress has permitted -- and even fostered -- a misallocation of people by race, sex and ethnicity. Courts have consistently concluded that "gross" disparities are probative of a pattern and practice of discrimination. So what to do? One remedy that Congress might consider is to require females, who are overrepresented in fields such as preschool and kindergarten teaching, to become boilermakers and brickmasons and mandate that male boilermakers and brickmasons become preschool and kindergarten teachers until both of their percentages are equal to their percentages in the population. You say, "Williams, that would be totalitarianism!" But if Americans accept that Congress can make us buy health insurance whether we want to or not, how much more totalitarian would it be for Congress to allocate jobs in the name of social equality and the good of our nation?
Nobel laureate Milton Friedman said: "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both." Equality before the general rules of law is the only kind of equality conducive to liberty that can be secured without destroying liberty.
To read another article by Walter Williams, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:10 AM
By Michelle Malkin
The White House fairy tale about the Happily Ever After Auto Bailout is missing a crucial, bloody page. While President Obama bragged about "standing by American workers" at a rowdy United Auto Workers meeting Tuesday, he failed to acknowledge how the Chicago-style deal threw tens of thousands of nonunion autoworkers under the bus.
In a campaign pep rally/sermon billed as a "policy speech," Obama nearly broke his arm patting himself on the back for placing his "bets" (read: our money) on the $85 billion federal auto industry rescue. "Three years later," he crowed, "that bet is paying off for America." Big Labor brass cheered Obama's citation of GM's "highest profits in its 100-year history" as the room filled with militant UAW chants of "union made."
"Union made" -- but who paid? Scoffing at the criticism that his bailout was a massive union payoff, Obama countered that all workers sacrificed to save the auto industry. "Retirees saw a reduction in the health care benefits they had earned," Obama told the congregation, er, crowd. "Many of you saw hours reduced," he sympathized, "or pay and wages scaled back."
Let's clear the fumes (again), shall we? The bailout pain was not distributed equally. It was redistributed politically.
Bondholders standing up for their property and contractual rights got shortchanged and demonized personally by the president. Dealers and suppliers faced closures based on political connections and lobbying clout, rather than neutral efficiency evaluations. And as I first reported in September 2010, in the rush to nationalize the auto industry and avoid contested court termination proceedings, the White House auto team schemed with Big Labor bosses to preserve UAW members' costly pension funds by shafting their nonunion counterparts.
These forgotten nonunion pensioners (who worked for the Delphi/GM auto parts company) lost all of their health and life insurance benefits. Hailing from the economically devastated Rust Belt -- northeast Ohio, Michigan and neighboring states -- the Delphi workers had devoted decades of their lives as secretaries, technicians, engineers and sales employees. Some have watched up to 70 percent of their pensions vanish. They've banded together to seek justice in court and on Capitol Hill under the banner of the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association.
Through two costly years of litigation and investigation, the Delphi workers have exposed how the stacked White House Auto Task Force schemed with union bosses to "cherry pick" (one Obama official's own words) which financial obligations the new Government Motors company would assume and which they would abandon based on their political expedience. Obama's own former auto czar Steve Rattner admitted in his recent memoir that "attacking the union's sacred cow" could "jeopardize" the auto bailout deal.
Ohio Republican Rep. Michael Turner last month called attention to the glaring conflicts of interest that entangled Obama moneyman Tim Geithner's multiple meddling roles in screwing over the Delphi workers. Geithner served simultaneously as co-chair of the Auto Task Force, board member of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the federal agency overseeing pension payments to bankrupt companies) and Treasury Secretary. The General Accounting Office raised eyebrows at Geithner's "multiple roles" in the deal-making.
Thanks to a separate Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, we already know that Geithner's department and General Motors closely coordinated their PR strategy and collaborated on making fraudulent claims about GM repaying all of its government loans. The cash-strapped Delphi retirees are suing the transparency-ducking PBGC in federal court to unearth documents that may yield key details of the improper Obama administration influence over Delphi's bankruptcy organization.
As ebullient UAW officials hooted and hollered on Tuesday, Obama smugly attacked Republicans for "anti-worker policies" and their "same old you're-on-your-own philosophy." The Delphi workers know better: One union's government-subsidized, government-manipulated "success story" is the rest of the workforce's nightmare.
To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:06 AM
By Paul Kengor
In case you didn’t notice . . . With George W. Bush out of office and a Democrat in the White House, the secular media stopped its handwringing over the president mentioning God. With Rick Santorum’s surge, the hysteria has started again. Every religious utterance by Santorum will be a cause for apoplexy by the liberal press.
It will be just fine—perfect, actually—for President Obama to effectively claim that Jesus favors a 39.6 percent marginal income tax rate on wealthy Americans (as opposed to 36 percent), or repeatedly sermonize about being his “brother’s keeper.” It won’t be preachy for Nancy Pelosi to urge no domestic drilling as “an act of worship.” But if Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, dares to consider her husband’s presidential pursuit as “God’s will?”
Well, that’s plainly unacceptable.
Speaking of God’s will, I could offer countless examples of Democrats invoking precisely that. I’ve done articles, chapters, books on the subject. Pick your liberal/progressive: Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore. Democrats have never been shy about claiming God’s work as their own. The difference is that the secular press calls attention to this alleged malfeasance only when committed by conservatives.
To briefly illustrate the case, here are some examples from Bill Clinton:
“By the grace of God and your help, last year I was elected president,” said Bill Clinton, speaking at the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, November 1993. Or take this one: “Our ministry is to do the work of God here on Earth,” said Clinton to a church in Temple Hills, Maryland, August 1994.
Mind you, Clinton said this not merely while speaking in churches but actively campaigning in churches—another tactic the press only permits of Democrats.
In fact, Bill Clinton’s wife, as the senatorial candidate for New York in 2000, likewise campaigned in churches, as did Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee. On election eve in November 2000, Mrs. Clinton campaigned in seven churches in seven hours.
Bill Clinton, sitting president, happily helped Hillary and Al Gore and other Democrats that year, barnstorming churches like a country preacher. On October 31, 2000, Clinton hit the Kelly Temple Church of God in Christ in Harlem. Joined by a contingent of fellow Democrat politicians, Clinton reminded congregants why they were there:
Now, we all know why we’re here…. But I want to talk to you about the people that aren’t in this church tonight … but they could vote. And they need to vote, and they need to know why they’re voting. And that’s really why you’re here, because of all the people who aren’t here. Isn’t that right? …
So what you have to think about tonight is, what is it you intend to do between now and Tuesday, and on Tuesday, to get as many people there as possible and to make sure when they get to the polls, they know why they’re there, what the stakes are, and what the consequences are…. If you’ve got any friends across the river in New Jersey or anyplace else, I want you to reach them between now and Tuesday, because this is a razor-thin election.
Speaking to the Alfred Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, Bill Clinton employed Scripture as justification to head to the polls: “The Scripture says, ‘While we have time, let us do good unto all men.’ And a week from Tuesday, it will be time for us to vote.”
Clinton was joined at the Alexandria church by a prominent collection of Democrats. That talk came on October 29, 2000, at 12:40 p.m. Three hours earlier, at 9:40 a.m., he squeezed in another campaign talk to the congregation of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. There, Clinton pitched various federal legislation and blasted Republican-proposed tax cuts before urging worshipers to go vote.
When Scripture was mentioned at these churches, it was for political purposes. It was a total infusion of church and state. And why not? shrugged Clinton. As he told a congregation in Newark, he and fellow Democrats were doing the Lord’s work: “God’s work must be our own.”
Overall, Bill Clinton spoke in churches 21 times as president, over half of which came in election years. For the record, his wife did 27 churches in just two months in 2000.
The hypocrisy of the press on this issue is staggering. All a Republican needs to do is mention God and secular liberals go wild. Meanwhile, liberal Democrats can say anything they want about God—even while blatantly campaigning in churches—and their media allies will not utter a peep of protest.
“God’s will?” To the press, that’s the domain of Democrats alone.
To read another article by Paul Kengor, click here.
To read another article about Rick Santorum, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:01 AM
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Into the public exchanges with you, soldiers.
by John Hayward
Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon writes of a growing controversy in Congress and the Pentagon over the Obama administration’s latest brainstorm for cutting our defense budget:
The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.
The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.
The proposed increases in health care payments by service members, which must be approved by Congress, are part of the Pentagon’s $487 billion cut in spending. It seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017.
Military personnel have voiced some understandable concerns about this little scheme, which could “severely impact efforts to recruit and maintain a high-quality all-volunteer military force.” Here’s why:
Significantly, the plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels.
According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.
The new plan hits active duty personnel by increasing co-payments for pharmaceuticals and eliminating incentives for using generic drugs.
Veterans will also be hit with a new annual fee for a program called Tricare for Life, on top of the monthly premiums they already pay, while some benefits will become “means-tested” in the manner of a social program – treating them like welfare instead of benefits for military service. Naturally, this is all timed to begin next year and “avoid upsetting military voters in a presidential election year,” according to critics.
There will be congressional hearings on the new military health care policies next month. Opposition is building in Congress, and among veterans’ organizations, including the VFW, which has “called on all military personnel and the veterans’ community to block the health care increases.”
Retired Navy Capt. Kathryn M. Beasley, of the Military Officers Association of America, said the Military Coalition, 32 military service and veterans groups with an estimated 5 million members, is fighting the proposed healthcare increases, specifically the use of mean-testing for cost increases.
“We think it’s absolutely wrong,” Beasley told the Free Beacon. “This is a breach of faith” for both the active duty and retiree communities.
A strong opponent has already emerged in the House of Representatives:
“We shouldn’t ask our military to pay our bills when we aren’t willing to impose a similar hardship on the rest of the population,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.”
Besides relieving the pressure for spending reductions in the many, many programs that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party would rather fund than benefits for soldiers, an important Obama political objective is served by these cuts:
Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
“When they talked to us, they did mention the option of healthcare exchanges under Obamacare. So it’s in their mind,” said a congressional aide involved in the issue.
In other words, this is part of the overall strategy to dump as many Americans as possible into those budget-blasting “public exchanges,” which were already on course to cost at least $460 billion by 2019. The Heritage Foundation completed a study last year that concluded this cost could more than double, if enough private-sector employers decide to wash their hands of Obama’s health-care nightmare and dump their employees into the public exchanges… and that study didn’t anticipate a tidal wave of military veterans sliding into the deficit pit.
The long-term goal of provoking utter collapse in the ObamaCare “hybrid” of public control and private insurance will be met more swiftly, paving the way for the same people who shoved the ObamaCare fraud down America’s throat to declare the only real solution is a total government takeover: single-payer socialized medicine.
Congratulations, soldiers! You’ve been “recruited” into an operation Barack Obama considers much more important than national defense. That’s a fair assessment, isn’t it, liberals? After all, you’re always insisting that public funding is the sole measure of how much “America cares” about any other topic. Cutting those compulsory tax “investments” means the heartless budget-cutter just doesn’t “care” about the people who will be “harmed” by the cuts. That must certainly apply to the military – one of the very few programs our central government actually is authorized to spend money on by the Constitution. If not, can you explain why not?
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 6:59 PM
By Paul Kengor on 2.28.12 @ 6:08AM
That's what Obama and Axelrod have in mind this reelection season.
Would you prefer Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney to run against Obama? Well, it depends on whether you prefer to engage Obama on cultural grounds or on terms of class warfare. Obama and David Axelrod are going to give us one or the other. Thus, maybe the better question is: Can Santorum articulate and defend social conservatism better than Romney can defend free markets? Which of the two is a more forceful, eloquent spokesperson for the area that Obama and Axelrod will use to define and malign him?
As I noted here a few weeks ago, not only has Obama been pushing class warfare unceasingly for three years now, but his chief strategist, David Axelrod, has been scheming precisely such an assault against Romney. "Obama officials intend to frame Romney as the very picture of greed in the great recession -- a sort of political Gordon Gekko," reported an August 2011 Politico piece titled, "Obama plan: Destroy Romney." The piece quoted Axelrod: "He [Romney] was very, very good at making a profit for himself and his partners but not nearly as good [at] saving jobs for communities. He is very much the profile of what we've seen in the last decade on Wall Street."
This was the plan even before Occupy Wall Street exploded. Axelrod and Obama view Mitt Romney as red meat for the Occupy movement, the poster-boy for Wall Street greed.
"[Romney] says he represents business," Axelrod told MSNBC in October, "but he really represents the Wall Street side of business."
Axelrod told George Stephanopoulos that Romney is "not a job creator" but a "corporate raider" who outsourced "tens of thousands of jobs," "closed down more than 1,000 plants, stores, and offices," and joined "his partners" in making "hundreds of millions of dollars" at the expense of the poor. Axelrod calls this the "Bain mentality."
This poisonous rhetoric is just a taste of the buckets of class bilge to come if Romney gets the GOP nomination. The vitriol will get far worse. And no one will do it better and more happily than a smiling Obama, joyfully sowing seeds of class envy and hatred. Deadly sin as a core campaign tactic.
Perhaps the only thing that might please this prophet of "hope" more would be a good old fashioned crusade against the Catholic Church over "contraception." And that's where Rick Santorum comes in.
I'm increasingly convinced that Obama wants this battle with the Catholic Church over contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing pharmaceuticals. I think this is a fight not only close to Obama's ideological heart, but one he perversely feels can help him politically. If he can frame this debate as not about taxpayer support of abortion drugs, or religious liberty, or freedom of conscience, or the First Amendment and Constitution -- all of which it is -- but about "women's rights" vs. the stodgy old men who run the Catholic Church, he will make headway with certain voters. Don't underestimate Obama's ability to do just that with an American public educated by public schools and their television.
If Rick Santorum becomes the GOP nominee, he'll be an automatic spokesman for the Catholic Church's position. He's a living, breathing testimony to the Church's teaching, from his own personal life to his well-informed intellect and conscience. Here's the rarest candidate who has actually read Church encyclicals like Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae. Santorum cannot only spell "Magisterium" but knows what it is and believes and follows it faithfully.
That's just fine for Obama and Axelrod. They'll take that guy. Hey, buddy, you want a culture war based on Catholic Church teachings? You got it!
Never mind, of course, that Barack Obama started this fight with his heavy-handed HHS mandate to the Catholic Church. Obama's media will behave as if Santorum is the intolerant one, rudely and righteously thrusting his faith into the "public square." The media will not bother to portray Santorum as simply reacting to Obama's totally unnecessary decree and assault -- which is what really happened -- but as a sexist Neanderthal who just can't pull his nose out of your bedroom.
Obama and Axelrod will love this. They'll thrive in this arena.
Remember Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: Pick a target -- isolate it, demonize it. The Catholic Church may well be Team Obama's demon for 2012.
How's that for moral leadership? George Washington is rolling over in his grave.
So, that brings us back to my original question: Which of the two -- Romney or Santorum -- is a more forceful, eloquent spokesperson for the issues that Obama and Axelrod will use to define and malign him? I think the answer is Santorum, which is less a vote for Santorum than a vote of no confidence in Romney's persuasive abilities. Or does that bring us back to Newt?
One thing is certain: We can be sure that our Great Unifier president -- our "transformative" leader -- will again find a way to divide Americans, whether pitting them against each other by class or religion, by income or faith, by money or conscience. How's that for "hope" and "change"? Enjoy it, America, you elected it.
To read another article by Paul Kengor, click here.
Posted by Brett at 5:34 PM
By Ross Kaminsky on 2.28.12 @ 6:10AM
Free food for one seventh of the population yet we're not getting richer.
The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.
Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals" because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.-- Recent viral e-mail (author unknown)
The irony is amusing but the implications for our nation's finances and essence are not.
A USDA web page on the Food Stamp Program (FSP), officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), offers some outdated data:
• The FSP serves approximately 1 in 11 Americans every month.
• 67 percent of those eligible for the Food Stamp Program (FSP) participated in 2006, up from 65 percent in 2005 and 54 percent in 2001. This demonstrates continued growth in the proportion of eligible people participating for the fourth consecutive year.
• Over 10 million children and low-income people have been added to the program since 2001 and we continue to promote FSP participation aggressively among eligible people.
• America invested $34.9 billion in the FSP in FY 2008.
• Currently, just over 27.7 million low-income people benefit from the FSP every month.
Note the use of the word "invested" when it comes to this welfare program. Even Robin Hood didn't consider himself an investor.
Democrats and others who benefit directly or electorally from government transfers of other people's money suggest, and may actually believe, that welfare has a positive impact on the economy, and this is exactly what the USDA claims:
• Every $5 in new food stamp bnefits generates almost twice as much ($9.20) in total community spending.
• If the national participation rate rose just 5 percent, 1.9 million more low-income people would be able to spend an additional $1.3 billion on healthy food. This would generate $2.5 billion in new economic activity nationwide.
This explains why the Obama budget looks like it does. They literally believe in a free lunch.
Still, while the USDA appears proud of how many handouts it makes, it is either feeling stung by Newt Gingrich's calling Barack Obama a "food stamp president" or it's extremely lazy: The data reported on its web page is from 2008, not showing the explosion in growth of users and cost of the food stamp program during the Obama administration.
The number of people who got food stamps in November, 2011 was 46.3 million, an increase of more than 60 percent under the reign of Obama and more than 160 percent since 2000 (the year with the lowest number of food stamp recipients since 1989). According to Bloomberg News, "The number of Americans receiving assistance under the program set records every month from December 2008 until June 2011 and has changed little since September."
The proportion of Americans taking food stamps is closer to 1 in 7 than 1 in 11. Think about that for a moment.
In Fiscal Year 2011, the cost of SNAP was about $78 billion, more than doubling the FY 2008 cost, with $26 billion of the increase due to temporary provisions of the 2009 "stimulus" bill. But lest you take comfort in the word "temporary," government spending on food stamps rose by 6.9 percent in the year from November 2010 to November 2011 despite a 1.1 percent drop in the unemployment rate during that time. And Bloomberg reports that food stamp program costs in 2013 will remain 17 percent higher than in 2011.
Over the last three years, the increase in SNAP participants has substantially outpaced both the increases in the number of unemployed and the number of people living below the poverty line as the Obama administration spends taxpayer money encouraging Americans to take, and perhaps become addicted to, the government cheese.
Clearly this administration does not accept Ronald Reagan's wisdom that "We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added."
The New York Times recently noted, with an unmistakable hint of approval, that "Americans are relying on government benefits more than ever before" and that "even critics of the safety net increasingly depend on it." Team Obama is smiling with every additional handout-taking voter.
In its analysis of SNAP, the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities promotes the Keynesian "positive multiplier" view of welfare: "Moody's Analytics estimates that in a weak economy, every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates $1.72 in economic activity. Similarly, the Congressional Budget Office rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options it examined for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy."
The chief economist at Moody's, Mark Zandi, has been a leading cheerleader of "stimulus," quantitative easing, and other Keynesian policy suggestions despite repeated failures throughout history, including over the past few years, of government pump-priming. (Zandi, a Democrat, was a top economic advisor to John McCain, which suggests how little improvement we might have had under a McCain presidency versus an Obama presidency.)
Nancy Pelosi has claimed, perhaps based on a USDA study, that $1 redistributed through food stamps generates $1.79 in economic activity. (The $9.20 gained for $5 spent, as the USDA website claims, represents a 1.84 multiplier. This number has been replaced in the USDA's thinking by the 1.79 multiplier from the more recent study, but remains on the USDA website.)
Of course, if any of these numbers were true, government should redistribute much more income into food stamps and make us all fat and happy (though Michelle Obama would clearly object, at least to the former)
As Harvard economist Robert Barro notes, the Keynesian multipliers being offered to us by supporters of the welfare state are based on economic models, not on actual outcomes: "Theorizing aside, Keynesian policy conclusions, such as the wisdom of additional stimulus geared to money transfers, should come down to empirical evidence. And there is zero evidence that deficit-financed transfers raise GDP and employment—not to mention evidence for a multiplier of two."
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the SNAP participation rate and costs to the government will decline over the next decade as employment improves, but even at a projected 5.3 percent unemployment rate in 2022, food stamp program costs are only expected to decline less than 10 percent, to $72.6 billion, more than double the 2008 level. This is due to assuming a 20 percent increase in monthly benefits offsetting most of 27.4 percent drop in monthly food stamp recipients. Even that modest $8 billion drop in SNAP spending will be more than offset by a $10 billion (54 percent) increase in child nutrition programs, primarily the National School Lunch Program, as James Madison no doubt intended. Now it's not just a free lunch, it's a free lunch "for the children."
In other words, even when the economy gets better, even when employment improves and poverty declines, the welfare state ratchet will keep the costs to the taxpayer from dropping.
As the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner argues, "We are becoming a society that makes poverty more comfortable instead of doing what we need to reduce poverty. Food stamps is about taking people who are poor and enabling them to live better poor instead of focusing on things like job creation which actually gets people out of poverty."
For those who accuse opponents of the growing use of food stamps of racism -- as NBC's David Gregory did to Newt Gingrich -- the number of white householders receiving food stamps exceeds the number of black and Hispanic household recipients combined (based on 2010 data).
Food stamp spending represents a modest percentage of entitlement spending. But it represents the ever-increasing welfare state, the ever-growing sense among our citizens of entitlement, and the ever-shrinking understanding within the American soul of our Founding traits of self-reliance and voluntary private and family charity when self-reliance is insufficient.
Unlike the sign at the zoo cautioning us not to feed the animals, Americans are being taught that distributing food to each other through the tax code is economically wise and socially just. But, notwithstanding the attempts of the Obama administration to make us dependent on federal subsidies for everything from health care to energy to mortgages, we are not caged animals reliant on the generosity of the zookeeper for our very survival. Allowing government to treat us as if we are is a giant step down the road toward national insolvency. More importantly, it is an insult to our Founding Principles and an assault on our very humanity.
To read another article by Ross Kaminsky, click here.
Posted by Brett at 5:25 PM
Monday, February 27, 2012
By Guy Benson
Perhaps if Democrat Kathy Hochul -- who partially relied on Mediscare to win her seat -- bothered to look at our binding founding document, she'd discover something called the "free exercise clause" of the First Amendment. I do believe it may have some application here. I love the audible shock that ripples through the upstate New York crowd when their elected representative informs them that "the Congress" isn't especially interested in what the Constitution has to say on certain "aspects" of its sundry decrees. She goes on to pay lip service to religious freedom, suggesting that HHS' extremely narrow exemptions to the mandate are sufficient. Under this interpretation, the fact that "the decision has been made by this Congress than Americans are entitled to healthcare" renders conscience objections from religious institutions and individuals obsolete. This flies in the face of the Constitution's plain text, of course, as the Supreme Court just recently held in a unanimous ruling. In all fairness, Hochul isn't the first elected Democrat to openly dismiss or scoff at constitutional concerns regarding Obamacare's mandates:
Click here to view.
Phil Hare (D) Illinois.
Click here - Pelosi (D) California.
At least some other Democrats have attempted to pretend to care, even if it's meant inventing constitutional clauses out of whole cloth. No wonder the law is so very popular.
To read another article by Guy Benson, click here.
Posted by Brett at 7:58 PM
By Terry Paulson
Mark: "My name is Mark. I'm here at Government Anonymous because I'm addicted...addicted to government aid."
Leader: "Welcome Mark. What made you finally decide to come tonight?"
Mark: "I've always had a job. I've always earned my own way. When I lost my job two years ago, I thought I could get a job right away. I'd always done that. I updated my resume, used all my contacts, took interview after interview. I couldn't get a job."
Leader: "You're not alone. It's been difficult for many in this economy."
Mark: "I applied for unemployment. They suggested that I apply for food stamps. With their help, I was applying for any benefit I could get. Pretty soon I was spending more time applying for and keeping my aid than finding a way off. I was going on the minimal interviews required. I was just going through the motions. Government aid is designed to help, but it became a trap to me, an all-too-comfortable crutch. Even worse, I stopped believing that I could make my own way."
Leader: "Go on."
Mark: "I know that everyone is going to have times that they need help. I just thought it was my turn. After all, I had convinced myself that the money was there. Then when President Obama said that the rich--those top 1% he's always talking about--needed to step up and pay more, I wanted to believe that was fair. I didn't want to give up my benefits, but I didn't realize how much the rich already paid."
Leader: "What do you mean?"
Mark: "When I found out that the top 1% of American income earners already pay 38% of the federal income taxes and nearly 50% of Americans pay no income tax, I couldn't believe it. While I was being encouraged to game the system, I felt like I was justifying stealing from my neighbor. That's far from fair. And it's more than the poor who are getting these benefits. It's out of control."
Leader: "But why are you here tonight?"
Mark: "It's not just wrong to justify taking more from my neighbor; the government is broke. I didn't realize how much until I saw John Stossel explain it in a way I could understand. He didn't talk about trillions in debt. Who can understand how big a trillion dollars really is?. Stossel put the problem in terms of an average American family. If America was a family, its average income would be $24,700--its annual spending $37,900. This year, that family would have added $13,300 in new credit card debt. But that is nothing compared to the existing credit card balance--$153,500. Who could sleep with a debt like that? And who would be paying for this? Our kids will! We are taking now, and they will get the bill later."
Leader: "Is that why you’re here?"
Mark: "I'm tired of being dependent. I'm tired of taking instead of contributing. I'm tired of politicians over promising and not being responsible for my son's future. The president says he's ready to cut spending, but the deficit just keeps growing."
Leader: "I can see why this might impact your vote, but I'm not sure why it would get you here to Government Anonymous tonight?"
Mark: "I'm addicted, and I'm ashamed of being one of the takers. I'm ashamed of being dependent on government when I want to work. I want to be a better influence on my son. I want him to have a dream...the dreams I once had. Dreams I still want to have."
Leader: "Your son?"
Mark: "Yesterday, my son asked me something I didn't want to answer."
Leader: "What did he ask?"
Mark: "He asked me, 'When I grow up, will I have food stamps, too?' I wanted to cry. That's not the dream I want for him. That's not the dream I want. I want off."
Leader: "That's what we were waiting to hear."
To read another article by Terry Paulson, click here.
Posted by Brett at 5:51 PM
By Quin Hillyer on 2.27.12 @ 11:45AM
The establishment media half-wits are now having a predictably crazy, breathless collective seizure about Rick Santorum's 2010 speech blasting JFK'sfamous "absolute separation" of church and state speech. Well, I actually wrote about Santorum's speech when he gave it. Read my take on it here, and Kathryn Lopez' equally timely report on it here. Alas, the link I had to the speech no longer works; if ANYbody can find a link either to a transcript or to a video of it, please send it to me at Qhillyer@Gmail.com.
Note that even then, one of the examples Santorum used about government interference against faith was this one: • The ACLU is currently pushing HHS to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions under the emergency care mandate of Obamacare.
He was ahead of the game on this issue.
Here was my key paragraph on the subject:
After JFK's bit of political jujitsu, the moronic cognoscenti taught as established doctrine that faith should be completely segregated from the public square. To which Santorum answers: "Our founders' vision, unlike the French, was to give every belief and every believer and non-believer a place at the table in the public square. Madison referred to this 'equal and complete liberty' as the 'true remedy.'" Repeat: The idea was not to divorce all faiths from the public square, but to welcome all faiths into it.
That said, there was something JFK said that Barack Obama should learn: "I believe in an America...where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all....It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril."
To date, the Catholic church along with Baptist and numerous Evangelical or Pentecostal institutions has fought back against the Obamacare abortifacient mandate, but the "mainline" Protestant churches have been silent. Shame on them. Religious liberty is being infringed, and they stand silent. How pathetic.
Rick Santorum is right: The separation of church and state is not meant to be absolute. What IS meant to be absolute is that the state should be completely forbidden from infringing on the free exercise of religion. That's what the Constitution says. That's what it means. It is a right worth fighting for.
To read another article by Quin Hillyer, click here.
To read another article about Rick Santorum, click here.
Posted by Brett at 3:36 PM