If you support our national security issues, you may love and appreciate the United States of America, our Constitution with its’ freedoms, and our American flag.
If you support and practice our fiscal issues, you may value worldly possessions.
If you support and value our social issues, you may love Judeo-Christian values.
If you support and practice all these values, that is all good; an insignia of “Wisdom” . - Oscar Y. Harward
National Debt Clock-Click Here-Real Time
Friday, October 30, 2009
Promoting "God's Holy Values and American Freedoms"!
ConservativeChristianRepublican-Report will temporarily suspend this publication as I go into Carolina Medical Center-Union on Monday AM for an out-patient cataract surgery on my right eye. I will return ASAP. Then on November 10, I will continue with the second surgerical cataract operation; this one on my left eye; hopefully, a mere few days.
God Bless you all.
Oscar Y. Harward
Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries. -- Sister Corita Kent
"You can't have a better tomorrow if you're thinking about yesterday." -- Charles Kettering
"Daily Devotions" (KJV and/or NLT)
"I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)
What, in your life, is impossible? What impassable obstacle is facing you? In God, nothing is impossible and no way is impassible.
Napoleon, one of the greatest military geniuses of human history, was only saying what everyone else thought when he proclaimed, "God is on the side of the heaviest artillery."
And who would have argued? There are certain laws that govern human affairs. One of these is that the side with the greatest resources usually wins the war.
But history didn't play out that way---at least not for Napoleon. He had 250 cannons, a vast army of experienced fighters, and his own strategic skill. The Duke of Wellington, his opponent, had only 160 cannons, a loose coalition of ragtag troops, and a desperate situation. But Napoleon lost.
Now: What odds would you have given the unimposing handful of Jesus' disciples versus the power and dominion of the Roman Empire, which made Napoleon's empire look puny? Yet ultimately, the message of God's love overcame even the Roman Empire. When men devise the "laws" of human affairs, they fail to reckon with the power of God. God plus one is always a majority.
We make a sad mistake when we discount the power of Almighty God. Too many Christians execute their plans as if it all depends upon them, rather than Him. Is massive spiritual revival in America impossible? Not for God. Is it impossible to make it through this time of economic challenge? Not for God.
"The Patriot Post"
"Every thing useful and beneficial to man, seems to be connected with obedience to the laws of his nature, the inclinations, the duties, and the happiness of individuals, resolve themselves into customs and habits, favourable, in the highest degree, to society. In no case is this more apparent, than in the customs of nations respecting marriage." -- Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794
Message to GOP: Don't Take Tea Partiers For Granted
It's the dream of every political strategist: a large and highly motivated group of voters ready to get out, work for, and financially support a slate of candidates whom they align with politically. True to form, the national Republican Party missed the opportunity to take full advantage of the Tea Party movement, mainly because the GOP is continuing to back candidates who don't always work for lower taxation and less government.
Tea Party protesters angered by Republicans supporting Wall Street bailouts and the Waxman-Malarkey cap-n-tax bill are also bitter at the GOP establishment -- particularly the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- for backing certain incumbent or anointed candidates who are working with Leftists in Congress.
To that end, conservatives and political activist groups such as Club for Growth are throwing their support behind candidates whom the GOP establishment has shunned, such as Chuck DeVore in California for U.S. Senate; Marco Rubio in Florida for U.S. Senate (who is in a primary battle against the "moderate" outgoing governor Charlie Crist); and Doug Hoffman of New York, who, as we reported last week, opted to run under the Conservative Party banner after being spurned by local Republican officials. Instead, ACORN-backed Dede Scozzafava, whose positions make the Democrat candidate look like Ronald Reagan, is the official Republican candidate running in the upcoming Nov. 3 special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District, though her campaign is out of cash. Backing ACORN candidates is unfortunately illustrative of the elite GOP's mindset.
In a year where the political winds and poor performance of Democrats both favor a Republican resurgence, their treatment of this motivated voter bloc shows the national party is doing itself no favors by listening to the Beltway insiders rather than the people. GOP big shots may look back after next November and lament a lost opportunity.
National Security - Warfront With Jihadistan: Troop Increase
While the Teleprompter-in-Chief dithers over whether to win the war in Afghanistan by increasing the number of combat troops requested by his commanders, more troops have already started to join the fight. These troops were already in the deployment pipeline before the recent request by General Stanley McChrystal for up to 80,000 additional combat troops. Most of the new troops are support and logistics forces, including engineers and medical personnel, as well as intelligence officials and military police. They will sustain the 21,000 combat troops Obama sent in March. Total U.S troop strength in Afghanistan now numbers about 65,000.
Great Britain also appears ready to raise its troop levels in response to the increased Taliban resistance, according to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Five hundred additional British troops may join the 9,000 already in Afghanistan, providing "certain conditions" are met by the Afghan government. Why isn't the presence of jihadis enough of a condition?
As for the jihadis, it appears that the Taliban are in a better financial situation than their al-Qa'ida brethren. David Cohen, a Treasury Department specialist on terrorist financing, recently said that the Taliban use bribery to raise significant funding from Afghanistan's poppy farmers and heroin traffickers. They also earn money by offering "protection," for a price, from legitimate Afghan businesses. On the other hand, al-Qa'ida is apparently cash-starved and losing power and influence, the product of, according to Cohen, a long-running effort by the U.S. and its allies to target rich donors and interfere with the group's ability to move money between borders. Sounds like a good strategy to apply to the Taliban.
Business & Economy - Income Redistribution: Taxing the Patience of Business
Realizing its free-money-for-everyone policy has become problematic now that it has met the enemy -- that is, reality -- the Obama administration has been putting the full-court press on ways to pay for its government-granted bounty. The latest proposal, beamed down directly from Planet Obama, was to raise taxes more than $200 billion on those "evil" multinational companies -- you know, like Microsoft, General Electric, IBM and the others that led Western civilization to be the first out of the back-breaking Industrial Age and into the Information Age. Wait, we're getting a mental flash: something about goose .... golden egg -- well, whatever, it escapes us at the moment. It was nothing, really.
Never mind the fact that the existing confiscatory taxes against U.S.-based multinational corporations have helped to make them as competitive as "Team Prius" at the Funny Car Nationals. No, Obama's answer is not to lower domestic corporate taxes to entice businesses to operate principally within the U.S., but rather to raise taxes for all companies that do business here, wherever they are based. Um, brilliant.
Business is a particularly juicy target for the administration, because liberals suffer from a love-hate relationship with business: namely, they love to hate it. However, they also realize that "big business" also implies jobs (read: votes) and "big money," which can wield big political power, especially when provoked.
Accordingly, the administration has tabled -- for now, at least -- the squeeze-more-blood-from-business-turnips proposal. Still, faced with a $12 trillion national debt -- $2 trillion of which accrued just this year alone -- don't look for the administration to scrap these money-grabbing schemes for long. In fact, aides have pointed out that although the administration has ditched the idea for now, it may (read: will) revisit the plan as part of a "broader tax overhaul sometime next year."
In defending their position, business critics -- including the president -- swipe that U.S. multinationals "ship jobs overseas" and ought to get no tax breaks, period. They further label these companies "tax cheats." Of course, even the most basic, emperor-has-no-clothes introspection would beg the question as to why these companies had shipped any jobs overseas, but apparently answering that question amounts to tensor calculus for Capitol Hill's smooth-brains.
We hope, however, that this answer will reduce to simple math, once legislators start learning first-hand from the thinning of their ranks about how subtraction works.
Driven by a sense of panic over the need to be seen doing something about the high unemployment rate, Democrats are working hard to prove the truth of Ronald Reagan's observation that the most frightening words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Instead of pursuing tried-and-true methods of job creation by making a favorable business environment via low taxes and low regulation, liberals think businesses would rather put their time to "good use," filling out government forms. Complete enough forms, jump through enough hoops and comply with arcane regulations, and employers will eventually receive a gubmint check as part of a payroll tax reimbursement scheme only a bureaucrat could love. Although this ridiculous idea validates the utter failure of the Democrats $787 billion stimulus debacle to rescue the economy, it's worth noting this same idea was tried without success by the Carter administration.
Not content with merely serving out Carter's second term, the Obama administration pretends to be mystified about the future recovery predicted by some economists as being jobless despite the normalization of credit markets. More similarities with the economic implosion of the late '70s are sure to follow so long as the government continues to believe the economy is nothing more than a command-and-control phenomenon. As President Reagan once presciently quipped, "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. When it stops moving, subsidize it." What we need are free-market politicians and fewer bureaucratic meddlers to get in our way.
U.S. Cedes Control of Internet
Global access to the Internet is poised to become global control of the Internet. With little fanfare, Washington has quietly ceded control over the technology the United States developed and shared with the rest of the world in the first place. According to the UK Guardian, the change came in the form of a contract negotiated between the U..S. Department of Commerce and ICANN, the California-based company that "ultimately controls the development of the internet thanks to its oversight of web addresses such as .com, .net and ..org." In essence, the new agreement ended the old one between ICANN and the U.S. government, "opening the door for a virtual United Nations, where many officials gather to discuss potential changes to the internet."
This means that, while the United States previously held some sway over ICANN's actions, decision-making authority will now be expanded internationally, including to countries with histories of censorship and human rights abuse as well as to those with a penchant for global regulation and taxation.
Of course, the EU welcomed the cession, no doubt satisfied that its recent whining over too much American control was rewarded (surprise!) with appeasement from the Obama administration.
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has endured attacks from the Left for decades. But wild-eyed leftists took it a step further by derailing the Missouri native's bid to buy the St. Louis Rams' NFL franchise (as a minority partner, yet). On Wednesday, the group attempting the purchase dropped Limbaugh.
The anti-Limbaugh charge was led by a lineup of CNN and MSNBC "journalists," race hustler Al Sharpton and other dimwitted leftists (but we repeat ourselves). MSNBC's tingly-legged Chris Matthews fantasized that, like James Bond villain Mr. Big, "at some point somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into [Limbaugh's] head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp." But that's not the end of it.
These two networks, along with the sports channels and who knows how many locals, repeated a concocted quote attributed to Rush as evidence of his racism: "Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back; I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark." The only problem is Limbaugh never said it. Retractions or corrections of the record have been relegated to such places as Twitter, where CNN's Rick Sanchez tweeted, "we didn't confirm quote. our bad." Classy.
The minor detail of the quote being fake didn't stop David Zirin, sports editor of The Nation, a magazine described by its staff as the "flagship of the left," from calling Limbaugh an "unreconstructed racist" and a "swine" who views black players "with naked and open contempt because of the color of their skin." Nor did it stop Al Sharpton from crowing that the group's decision to drop the radio host "is a moral victory for all Americans -- especially the players that have been unfairly castigated by Rush Limbaugh."
(Newsbusters has more on this character assassination here, here, here and here.)
So to recap, Rush has been on the air 15 hours a week for 21 years and the best the media could come up with was a fake quote? And that's a "moral victory"? It reminds us of the "Two Minutes Hate" in George Orwell's "1984," in which the "Enemy of the People had flashed onto the screen" and the people were conditioned to hate him, even using the word "swine." David Zirin, call your office.
"The CNN and MSNBC 'news' networks are guilty of promoting outright falsehoods and purposely using fabricated disinformation created by left-wing radicals to destroy a conservative leader. There is no grey area here. .... Perhaps if they spent less time fact-checking SNL comedy skits and more time fact-checking what they laughably call 'news,' they would have a chance to salvage their tattered reputations, sinking even faster with this intentional character assassination." --Media Research Center president Brent Bozell
"Police say an Ohio woman being driven around in a limousine announced at a coat store she'd won the lottery and would pay for everyone's purchases but ended up causing a riot when customers realized it was a hoax," reports the Associated Press. For some reason, that made us think of the limousine liberals in Congress promising health insurance for everyone. More from the AP: "Columbus police Lt. Michael Deakins says the woman announced Tuesday she'd spend $500 on everyone at a Burlington Coat Factory, prompting customers to gather at registers and call relatives. When police arrived, 500 people filled the store and another 1,000 were outside." That's nothing. According to Democrats, 47 million "Americans" (or is it 30million -- we never can keep track of their statistics) are beating down the doors and demanding ObamaCare for all.
"Cashiers rang up sales before discovering the woman had no money. Angry customers grabbed clothes without paying," said the AP report. These thieves, no doubt, were Democrat constituents. And finally, the woman was arrested on three other warrants but hasn't yet been charged for the coat chaos, "pending a mental health evaluation." Before any more is done with ObamaCare, perhaps we should schedule 535 of those same evaluations for Congress.
ADF attorneys ask U.S. Supreme Court to review Okla. Ten Commandments decision
High court asked to stop another attempt to censor acknowledgment of nation’s religious heritage
WASHINGTON — Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund asked the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that said a Ten Commandments display at the Haskell County, Okla., courthouse is unconstitutional. A district court had ruled in favor of ADF attorneys representing the county in the lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, until the 10th Circuit reversed the decision.
“Americans shouldn’t be forced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s political agenda,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “There is no wall of separation between our religious heritage and the public square. Thomas Jefferson’s ‘wall’ protected the church from government control, not the public square from references to America’s religious heritage. Such public acknowledgments do not create a constitutional crisis. If they did, we’d have to sandblast many walls and monuments in Washington, D.C., including the walls of the Supreme Court.”
In March 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of one offended individual, filed suit to remove a Ten Commandments monument located on the Haskell County Courthouse lawn. The lawn includes memorials to the Choctaw Indian Tribe, World War II veterans, Vietnam War veterans, Korean War veterans, and settlers buried in unmarked graves, among others. In August 2006, a federal district court judge ruled that the presence of the monument was constitutional. The ACLU appealed that decision to the 10th Circuit, which reversed the lower court ruling.
In the petition for review filed in Haskell County Board of Commissioners v. Green, ADF attorneys wrote, “Circuit courts need this Court’s guidance on the proper analysis to apply to monuments passively acknowledging religion’s historical significance that are part of historical displays on government grounds. Otherwise, these cases will continue to be decided on irrelevant facts like those that led to the finding of unconstitutionality in this case: age of the monument, how quickly it was challenged, whether it is displayed by a small or large town, and the personal religious views of the government officials who allowed it.”
“The Ten Commandments should not be attacked to cover up their role in American history,” said Theriot. “They clearly have historical significance for our country. To ignore that would mean rewriting the history books.”
Attorney Brent Olsson of the Oklahoma City firm of Huckaby, Fleming, Greenwood & Olsson, LLP, is assisting with the case.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. ADF President Alan Sears is co-author with Craig Osten of the book The ACLU vs. America.
Hate crimes law - ungodly, unconstitutional, unnecessary
This legislation, tied onto the 2010 Military Budget, is another example of the anti-God, radical, Liberal left-wing, White House and Capitol Hill Democrats at its best, or should I say at its worst. This is a law which is in violation of our Holy Bible. - oyh
Jim Brown - OneNewsNow
A Christian evangelist who was once arrested, jailed, and charged under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law says the federal hate crimes bill signed into law by President Obama is one of the most dangerous laws in the history of the United States.
With the stroke of President Obama's pen yesterday, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act became law. It creates additional penalties for violent crimes motivated by the victim's "actual or perceived" gender, "gender identity," sexual orientation, or disability.
Michael Marcavage, director of Philadelphia-based Repent America, was one of 11 Christians who were jailed and charged with a hate crime for carrying Bible verse banners and preaching at a 2004 homosexual pride event in Philadelphia. The charges were later dismissed -- and in 2008, the state's Supreme Court ruled the law had been passed illegally by the Pennsylvania legislature.
Marcavage says the new federal hate crimes law is yet another move by the federal government to "silence Christians."
"What this bill does is [seek] to shut down those who dare to speak against the sin of homosexuality with the hope and freedom that is found in Jesus Christ," says the Christian activist.
"Having been charged under a hate crime, I'm definitely moved with compassion on those who the government is trying to silence us from reaching out to," he continues, "but we're going to continue to do as we have been doing, and ministering to those trapped in the bondage of this lifestyle."
Marcavage offers three reasons why he opposes the new law. He says it is ungodly because it "seeks to shut down the gospel of Jesus Christ"; unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment; and also unnecessary because there are already laws on the books that punish violent crimes.
After 10-year dispute, expansion of hate crimes law to gays signed
Move may help Obama quell rising discontent from rights groups
By Perry Bacon Jr. - Washington Post Staff Writer
When a gay Wyoming college student was slain in 1998, congressional Democrats pledged to broaden the definition of federal hate crimes by the end of that year to include attacks based on sexual orientation.
The effort instead turned into a decade-long proxy war between liberal groups that want to expand gay rights and conservative groups that do not. But Wednesday, President Obama signed the bill and then hosted a White House reception for gay activists and the parents of the slain student, 21-year-old Matthew Shepard.
"After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are," Obama said after the signing.
During that period, the House and the Senate separately approved the hate crimes expansion numerous times. But congressional Republicans repeatedly used legislative tactics to block final passage, arguing that most crimes that would fall under the law could be prosecuted under other statutes, and conservative groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition said the legislation would turn "homosexual behaviors as well as cross-dressing, transvestism, and transsexualism into federally-protected 'minority' groups."
This year, with enlarged majorities in Congress, Democrats attached the hate crimes law to a $681 billion defense spending bill this month over GOP objections. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the approach put "radical social policy" on the "back of our soldiers."
The legislation extends provisions first passed in 1968 that make it a federal crime to target individuals because of their race, religion or national origin. Under the law, judges can impose harsher penalties on crimes that are motivated by such animus, and the Justice Department can help local police departments investigate alleged hate crimes.
According to the FBI, law enforcement agencies around the country reported 7,624 hate crime incidents in 2007, the most recent year for which data were available. More than half were categorized as racially motivated, and about 17 percent were based on sexual orientation.
For Obama, the signing could quell rising discontent among gay rights groups, which have complained that he has done little to advance their causes in first year in office.
In particular, many gay activists say, Obama has not made good on his pledge to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prevents gays from serving openly in the military, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which effectively allows states that do not permit gay marriage to not recognize the unions of gay couples married in states that do.
"I think that obviously there's a great deal of impatience and frustration within our community, not just related to the last 10 months, but the last 10 years," said Joe Solomonese, president of the District-based Human Rights Campaign, which has worked for years on the issue. "But the White House was an absolutely critical partner in getting this legislation to the president's desk, and I have no doubt the White House will continue to be a partner in this fight."
Shepard's mother, Judy, said in a statement that she and her husband, Dennis, "are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly."
Although the House of Representatives passed the law 249 to 175 in a mostly party-line vote in April, the Senate added the legislation to the defense bill instead of passing it separately. The move angered Republicans, most of whom voted against the defense bill because of the hate crimes of both provisions in Congress.
"The Republican machine, they don't have the megaphone of the Obama administration, but maybe if they could have more effectively got their message out," said Mathew D. Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal group.
But Rick Scarborough, head of the Texas-based conservative group Vision America, which has long opposed the hate crimes legislation, said there may be little Republicans can do to stop further gay rights legislation.
"I think they [bills that would expand gay rights] are morally wrong, and I'll continue to do my best to enter the debate," he said. "But it's a new day. These were the promises of Barack Obama, and he's living up to them."
This piece originally appeared on the Family Research Council website on October 26, 2009.
A situation is unfolding in Florida that is illustrative of how far American culture has listed toward a militantly-secular society that is overtly hostile to expressions of faith and Judeo-Christian traditions. This unfortunate episode is the predictable result of the Supreme Court's half-century of deviation from the constitutional design for religious liberty, a deviation now reinforced by legal principles that are foundational to the American system of law. Religious liberty must be reinstated by the Supreme Court if society is again to enjoy the benefits of our young people receiving moral instruction.
Although others have written at length about the religious beliefs and practices of the Founding Fathers and the Early Republic, less space has been devoted to understanding how we arrived at the current state of affairs. Such an understanding is a sine qua non to finding a route to remediate our religious freedom jurisprudence and restore proper constitutional protection to religious expression in America.
I. An Unprecedented Outrage in Florida
On September 17, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida considered whether three employees from the Santa Rosa County School District should be imprisoned for praying. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has brought a lawsuit against the school system for various instances where faith-based actions occurred at various school-related events. The school district ill-advisedly signed an agreement with the ACLU in an attempt to end the litigation. The federal judge on the case then issued an order binding both parties to the agreement.
But the wording of the agreement was broad and sweeping, and predictably a couple incidents transpired that became dual focal points of the present controversy. As to the facts of the scenario, it is sufficient to note that the first of these incidents, in which the principal of Pace High School asked the athletic director to pray at an after-school lunch wherein only adult employees and volunteers were present, did not violate the order. Another incident, at which a school clerk asked her private-sector husband to pray at an evening awards banquet, likely did violate the order.
Apparently unconcerned about the debatable nature of these marginal incidents, however, the ACLU scurried back to court, where the judge issued contempt citations against all three individuals and referred the matter to the U.S. attorney's office for Florida's northern district. The prosecutor (an appointee of Barack Obama) in turn decided to pursue contempt citations against all three, which led to the September 17 trial date. The possible penalties included a $5,000 fine and six months in jail.
The first two individuals (Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman) are now being represented by Liberty Counsel. Mat Staver, the head of that organization and the dean of Liberty University School of Law, asserts that to the best of anyone's research, this is the first instance of people being criminally prosecuted in the United States for praying.
Liberty Counsel prevailed at the September 17 proceeding. The threat of contempt citations against all three defendants was removed at the trial, with the principal and athletic director being adjudicated "not guilty" at trial. Liberty Counsel is now proceeding further with this matter, seeking to have the trial judge vacate and modify the original order, and is prepared to take this matter up on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit if it does not succeed in the district court.
Although the aphorism that "there's a first for everything" is often true, it is a sad commentary on the state of religious liberty in modern America that we are seeing this sort of proceeding, even if it is for the first time. The nation would have been better off had we never seen such a travesty; it is unprecedented, and ought to remain that way.
This is not necessarily a criticism of the judge presiding over this case, as the judge simply incorporated the agreement that the parties had made. Nor is this a criticism of the criminal justice system, although critical remarks seem appropriate for a U.S. attorney who did not exercise his prosecutorial discretion to immediately take incarceration off the table as a possible punishment.
Rather, this is a revealing moment of just how far our culture and our constitutional law have strayed from their historical and philosophical moorings. Something is terribly wrong when simple expressions of faith can result in ordinary people doing time behind bars.
This sad episode is unfolding because the judge in question found that the agreement, even if undesirable and unwise, did not violate the Constitution. And it is true that this agreement may indeed not violate current Supreme Court precedent on religious liberty.
But that is precisely the problem.
II. The Rule of Law in a Common Law System
America has a common-law system. That means that when our courts issue an opinion in a case, the holding of that case becomes law; it is binding precedent for that court and all inferior courts. When the case concerns a statute or regulation, the court's judgment and opinion can be superseded by changing the underlying law. But when the question presented in the case is constitutional in nature, then the court's judgment and opinion become the authoritative interpretation of the Constitution for that issue, controlling all within that court's jurisdiction.
The magnitude of the consequences of such decisions naturally depends upon the court in question. The United States--including its territories--is divided into 94 judicial districts. The holdings of the district courts only bind that district, and everyone enjoys a right of appeal. Those districts are grouped into twelve appellate circuits. The appellate decisions of the U.S. courts of appeals are then binding on that court and all of the states and lower courts within them. And the entire nation is then bound by our highest tribunal, the United States Supreme Court.
The common law system usually provides stability for our country's laws under the doctrine of stare decisis. A lower court is inescapably bound by the precedents of whatever higher courts can claim jurisdiction over it. And under the doctrine of stare decisis (which loosely translated is Latin for "let the decision stand" or "stand by the decision") a court must adhere to its own precedent unless there is a special justification for overruling it. Stare decisis rests on the premise that it is usually better for a question of law to be settled, than for that question to be settled correctly.
That doctrine is the font of much of the security America enjoys under the rule of law. So long as judges are careful and methodical, and the jurists are well-educated, experienced and of sound judgment and measured temperament, there is a cumulative effect whereby wise decisions are reaffirmed, the occasional faulty decision is eventually overruled, and the government and society come to rest and rely upon legal rules and principles to which all are equally subject and from which all enjoy equal protection.
Yet there should be a measured reliance on stare decisis to prevent us from going too far afield from the purpose and meaning of the Constitution. Stare decisis is a general policy, not an inexorable command, as the Supreme Court restated as recently as 1997 in Agostini v. Felton. The Constitution was deliberately written to achieve certain things, mostly concerning either the structure and duties of government or certain specific, enumerated rights possessed by individuals. If a faulty precedent becomes the basis for an entire line of cases, at the point where that precedent and its progeny works against the meaning of the relevant constitutional text--or is destructive of the principles that the text was meant to propagate--then the judiciary should remediate its own jurisprudence.
But where is the balance drawn? Each judge--and more regularly each Supreme Court justice, because it is more often the case that only the Supreme Court is truly free to reconsider these matters--draws the line in a different place. It is a balancing of precedent (protected by stare decisis) versus first principles.
Take an illustrative example. Justice Clarence Thomas (the most conservative member of the Court) is perhaps its most outspoken proponent of advancing first principles through constitutional interpretation. He is so often willing to overturn precedent to return to first principles on a given issue that Justice Antonin Scalia (the second-most conservative member) has said that Justice Thomas doesn't believe in stare decisis. Justice Scalia was knowingly exaggerating with that statement, but he used it to make the point that, relative to where Justice Scalia draws the line, Justice Thomas seems to not feel obligated at all to adhere to precedents that Justice Thomas believes to be wrongly decided.
Yet this is a relative standard. In 2006, the Supreme Court decided the campaign finance case Randall v. Sorrell, challenging a Vermont law limiting campaign contributions. In addition to the central question in the case, the petitioners also presented the question of whether the Court should overrule Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 case where the Court held that contributing campaign money was sufficiently removed from advancing political speech that such contributing enjoyed less First Amendment protection than political speech, and as such could be more heavily regulated without running afoul of the Constitution. (Conservatives have always considered Buckley to be an egregiously-wrong decision.)
Although the Court struck down the Vermont statute as excessively burdening the First Amendment, it also voted 7-2 to uphold Buckley. Chief Justice John Roberts--the most stringent adherent of stare decisis on the Court--held that Buckley was such a well-settled precedent that it should be retained regardless of its admittedly-serious defects. Justice Samuel Alito voted not to overturn Buckley because the petitioners had not bothered to fully argue that issue in their briefs, and he believed stare decisis minimally required a petitioner to endeavor making a compelling argument for overturning precedent. Justices Scalia and Thomas both voted to overrule Buckley, writing that Buckley so plainly violates core free speech principles that it is completely intolerable under the First Amendment. In Randall, Chief Justice Roberts could have said that neither Justice Scalia nor Justice Thomas believes in stare decisis.
So much depends on what standard one employs as a comparator. American law would not be a firm foundation for our society without stare decisis providing stability and predictability to our system of law. But precious freedoms and essential principles could be lost over time due to faulty adjudications if stare decisis were an absolute bar to revisiting issues in court. Few if any judicial functions require more discernment and care than finding this crucial balance.
III. Flawed Religious Freedom Jurisprudence, Enshrined in Precedent
That is the problem with the Supreme Court's religious freedom jurisprudence. The Supreme Court case law governing the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment--collectively referred to as the Religion Clauses--is heavily freighted with a series of liberal precedents that are in conflict with historical practices and understandings to such a degree that it would be unrecognizable to our Founding Fathers, or indeed perhaps to any American statesman before the New Deal. This period saw a concurrent leftward shift in the federal judiciary, which reached its most extreme orientation during the final years of the Warren Court in the 1960s, placing our constitutional law in a belligerent posture vis-a-vis people and institutions of faith regarding their First Amendment rights.
This secularizing trend began in the 1947 case Everson v. Board of Education. In Everson, a New Jersey school district was reimbursing parents of parochial school students for the cost of transporting their children to and from school, as authorized by New Jersey statute. The parents won that case 5-4, but this proved a Pyrrhic victory, as two rules were promulgated by the Court's opinion that have haunted our religious liberties since that day.
It is often difficult for non-lawyers to appreciate the significance of Supreme Court opinions. In legislative or administrative matters, all that ultimately matters is the final vote or disposition; words preceding the dispositive act are generally inconsequential. But in law the converse is more often true; the written opinion trumps the Court's vote in terms of importance. The judgment in an individual case binds the parties in that dispute, but the words of the opinion handed down include rules of law that bind not only every court in the land, but every government official at the federal and state level.
Such was the case with Everson. First, the Court held that the Establishment Clause applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. By its own diction, the Establishment Clause only applies to the federal government. That was true for the entire Bill of Rights before the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868. While there are compelling philosophical and legal arguments as to why certain rights--such as free speech, free exercise of religion, or the right to keep and bear arms--should apply to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, the historical record is clear that the Establishment Clause was designed solely to prevent the federal government from choosing a single Christian denomination as the official American religion, with taxpayer support for those churches, fines and levies against other faiths, and possibly even government licenses for preaching (as had existed in Great Britain). This entire rationale was lost by extending the Establishment Clause to the states.
The second monumental change in religious liberty in Everson was the "wall of separation between church and state." This case was the genesis of that doctrine in American law, which is cited for the proposition that the Establishment Clause requires the principle of neutrality: that government must be neutral in matters pertaining to religion, including not favoring religion over irreligion. That "wall of separation" phraseology comes from an 1802 letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut. Although it is quite evident that this phrase from that letter-which was private correspondence, not a policy statement-meant that churches enjoyed a wall of protection shielding them from government interference, this metaphor has been employed for sixty years to support the idea that the public square should be walled off from any manifestation of religious sentiment or influence. Everson originated that doctrine, which has increasingly plagued the United States ever since.
In the 1960s, the Warren Court began employing the Everson precedent, with its separation of church and state, to begin secularizing American society. In 1962 and 1963 the Court declared school prayer and Bible reading unconstitutional. The 1960s also saw the Court strike down laws inhibiting the teaching of evolution, signal that many other changes regarding faith in public would be forthcoming, and in the 1968 case Flast v. Cohen made it much easier for unaffected citizens to bring lawsuits challenging religious acts and displays.
That trend continued through the Burger Court and Rehnquist Court (although it should be clearly noted that Chief Justice William Rehnquist consistently voted to reverse this trend). Among other things, in the 1970s the Court promulgated the anti-religious Lemon test in Lemon v. Kurtzman, which continually evolves into new forms as the Court's membership changes, and which conservative justices attempt to overrule at every opportunity. Under Lemon, government acts are illegal if they lack a predominantly-secular purpose, advance or inhibit religion, or excessively entangle government with religion.
The Lemon test has continued to dog people of faith since then. In the 1980s, the Court barred the showing of the Ten Commandments in schools. It then barred moments of silence in schools, nativity scenes in government buildings, and certain religious symbols on government land. In the 1990s, it outlawed prayers at school graduation ceremonies, and in 2000 expanded that ban to forbid even voluntary, student-led prayer at Friday night football games.
From 1989 until the present, the dominant test for Establishment Clause lawsuits has been the endorsement test. Under that test--which is one of the many variations of the Lemon test--a government act touching upon faith or religion is unconstitutional if it gives the appearance of a government endorsement. The reason this test has dominated for so long is because it was the test used by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and in her role for those years as the swing vote on the Court (meaning her vote was often the fifth vote in 5-4 splits), she had the power to determine the test used by the Court. Many traditional religious displays were struck down during these years because they ran afoul of this defective test, as it is not difficult to mislabel many faith-based displays or expressions as "endorsements."
IV. Hope for a Significant Shift from the Roberts Court
That test will now likely shift in the Roberts Court. The Roberts Court has not yet taken up a major Establishment Clause issue, though history dictates that such a case will arrive soon enough. But now that Justice Samuel Alito has replaced Justice O'Connor, the swing vote on the Court (and the sole moderate jurist) is Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Kennedy has always dissented from the endorsement test, writing instead that the proper test is the coercion test (another variation of Lemon), under which government actions touching upon faith are unconstitutional if those present feel coerced to participate or support it. Although still problematic, Justice Kennedy's test is much friendlier to people of faith in every setting but one (that one being public schools when children are present).
In such a regime, situations such as the travesty unfolding in Florida referenced at the outset should be unthinkable. Activities involving prayer outside of a public school setting have always received special protection by the Court. Indeed, in the 1983 case Marsh v. Chambers the Court even set forth a special rule to protect legislative prayer (which is public prayer offered in governmental meetings or events), holding that the Lemon test does not apply and that instead such public prayers are constitutional so long as they are not used to proselytize the prayer-giver's faith or disparage other faiths.
The fact that this Florida situation exists is a testament to how hostile our law has become to expressions of faith, and that our society is now willing to countenance such antipathy. The radical secularization initiated by the Warren Court is bearing fruit, as for the first time those who entered elementary schools after the Court had sanitized those schools of Judeo-Christian references and moral absolutism are now mature adults in positions of power to act upon what their earlier experiences taught them was normal. Many millions of Americans now expect and demand that they not be exposed to any sort of religious expression in public, creating tension with many millions of other Americans who observe and value the United States' moral and religious heritage.
Effective restoration of the proper place of faith and religion in our society will require remediation of the Supreme Court's Establishment Clause jurisprudence. Although much should change for the better with Justice Alito taking Justice O'Connor's seat, Establishment Clause cases will not result in outcomes consonant with our Founding Fathers' design for religious liberty and moral instruction to produce a virtuous citizenry until Lemon v. Kurtzman is overruled by a rule that benevolently accommodates expressions of faith and does not interfere with religious thoughts or institutions.
Only then will expressions of faith in the divine, along with predicate concepts of absolute truth, personal accountability and transcendent reality, and consequent concepts of virtue and morality, be able to again exercise a formative (and reformative) influence on American society. Only then will people of faith--especially adherents of the various denominations of Christianity that still propound normative behavior derived from moral principles decreed by a transcendent deity who has revealed himself to humanity--again enjoy the liberty originally enshrined in the Constitution.
With each passing day, more young Americans are developing firm convictions regarding the profound questions of life, including those pertaining to morality and normative behavior. A cultural decline affecting all of our institutions, including even the institution of marriage, is advancing in contemporary American society. This insidious trend is manifesting in our children in alarming ways, to the detriment of our foundational social structures. People of faith must restore proper constitutional safeguards for religion, to fully engage in this cultural conflict and regain the high ground in our public discourse.
Inhofe: Cap-and-Trade Largest Tax Increase in U.S. History
By: Jim Meyers
Sen. James Inhofe tells Newsmax that the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats support would amount to “the largest tax increase in the history of America” ? and won’t accomplish anything.
The Oklahoma Republican also he would be “shocked” if the bill has enough votes to pass the Senate.
The bill, which the House passed, requires a 17 percent reduction of greenhouse gases ? mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels such as coal ? by 2020 compared with 2005 levels, and about an 80 percent reduction by mid-century. It would also allow polluters to buy and sell emission allowances as a way to ease the cost of compliance.
See Video: Sen. James Inhofe talks about the dangers of cap-and-trade to the American economy – Click Here Now
Inhofe is the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which is holding several meetings this week.
Special: Get Sarah Palin?s New Book ? Incredible FREE Offer — Click Here Now.
Inhofe told Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella that the meetings are addressing the cap-and-trade bill that “Barbara Boxer and John Kerry are trying to get to the floor of the Senate and get considered at some point.
“Here’s the problem they have: The public has drifted away from their side. I can remember when 70 percent of the people in America thought that anthropogenic gas and CO2 were causing global warming. That’s not true anymore.
“If people go to my Web site, inhofe.senate.gov, and look it up, [they will see that] I’ve given many speeches on the Senate floor talking about, documenting, literally hundreds of scientists who are on the other side of this issue and are now saying, wait a minute, this isn’t true.”
Inhofe said the earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling, and the most recent warming period “ended nine years ago, so we’ve been in another period since that time. Consequently they’re losing the [support of] science rapidly.
“As for the economics, people know this would be the largest tax increase in the history of America, and you don’t accomplish anything with it.”
Inhofe disclosed that he recently asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson whether the cap-and-trade bill would actually result in a reduction in C02 emissions, and she said it wouldn’t.
“The reason it wouldn’t is that it doesn’t matter what we do in America ? if we drive our manufacturing base off to places like China, India, and Mexico, places where they don’t have any emissions standards or restrictions, then it’s going to have the effect of increasing and not deceasing CO2.”
Nevertheless, Inhofe added, “There is a level of desperation” in the Democrats’ efforts to push through the bill.
Martella asked whether manmade greenhouse gas emissions are in fact the biggest culprit in climate change, as supporters of cap-and-trade maintain.
“They’re trying to say that, but with every day that goes by, science is no longer their friend,” Inhofe said. “We in fact know that is not true.
“Stop and think about this: If we were to have heavy restrictions in the United States, as are called for in the cap-and-trade bill that’s offered by John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, that would be a tax increase of between $350 and $400 billion a year.
“That would mean for anyone who is watching or listening to you and me right now, it would cost them about $2,000. I say about because in Oklahoma and Texas it’s a lot more than that. It’s closer to $3,000.
“Now why would you pass a tax increase that size if it doesn’t have any benefits, even if you believe that manmade gases cause global warming? It’s totally unreasonable.”
Inhofe told Martella that a recent report indicated the U.S. is “the number one provider of what you have to call recoverable assets. Our problem is that we’re not developing our own resources.
“Now we know that we have the largest reserves of oil and gas and coal in the world, and yet politically, the Democrats will not allow us to drill. They have a moratorium on drilling offshore. They won’t allow us to develop our own resources.”
Martella noted that the climate change bill was written by two of the most liberal members of Congress, Boxer and Kerry, and asked whether any moderate Democrats would oppose the bill along with the Republicans.
“Absolutely, There’s quite a few of them,” Inhofe responded.
The bill passed the House with 219 votes, “barely a majority,” he said, just as a similar bill in the 1990s did. That bill, he pointed out, “didn?t even come close in the Senate.
“In the Senate they’d have to have 60 votes, and quite frankly, right now I’d be shocked if they have 30 votes in favor of this huge tax increase.”
That is not only far short of the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster, it is also short of the 51 votes needed for a majority in the Senate.
Inhofe added: “They don’t have the votes, and they’re hysterical.”
Stupak: Take Abortion Out of Obamacare Bill
By: Dan Weil
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., threatened to work with Republicans to reject healthcare reform, unless House leaders allow a floor vote on a measure to remove abortion rules from the bill.
The issue is whether health plans that receive subsidies from the government should be allowed to provide coverage for abortions.
Stupak’s amendment would ban taxpayer funds from being used for abortions.
“This has been federal law since 1976,” Stupak said in an interview with C-Span. He pointed out that President Obama has said he won’t allow healthcare reform to pay for abortions.
“We have to have a vote,” Stupak said. “I don’t know why we have to change that basic principle in our law.”
He said Democratic leaders aren’t pleased with his stance. “The speaker (Nancy Pelosi) is not happy with me,” Stupak said.
He said he has been working with Democratic leaders on a compromise, but they haven't reached agreement.
Stupak has no plans to retreat. “I’m comfortable with where I’m at. This is who I am. It’s reflective of my district. If it costs me my seat, so be it.”
Stupak said he has support from about 40 Democrats who will vote against healthcare reform unless the bill’s abortion language is changed. That would be enough to sink the bill if every Republican representative votes against it.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s insistence on putting a public option in the bill brought to the floor is facing increasing opposition.
Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman said he will probably vote against the measure if it includes a public option, and other moderates are undecided.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., told The Washington Post, "I'm skeptical about what Senator Reid has proposed." She opposes a public option but said she will "stay open to a principled compromise."
ObamAmerica: Reign of the Czars
by Lurita Doan
President Obama’s decision to appoint so many czars is clearly troubling members of Congress, who have taken the unusual step of holding hearings on the issue. The decision of the two Senate committees is remarkable because a President’s management style is rarely questioned by the Senate or House during the first year of his term, especially when they are all members of the same political party. But, Obama’s decision to appoint almost 40 policy czars, and then give them broad powers and budgetary responsibilities, has created a more serious constitutional issue.
The Senate is primarily concerned that President Obama may be end-running the Constitution, along with the growing fear, shared by many citizens, that the power and the extraordinary amount of funding that is controlled by the Czars may be undermining the authorities of the senate-confirmed agency heads on whom the Senate has placed its imprimatur and its trust.
Czars currently influence or directly control over a trillion dollars of government spending, which is more than the spending of the entire federal government during the Reagan Administration. And, yet, few of the Obama czars were ever vetted through the traditional review process where potential conflicts of interest are revealed. Nor are Obama’s czars accountable to the Senate to justify policy or spending decisions.
In addition, three issues concerning czars continue to perplex:
Do the non-Senate-confirmed Czars undergo the same vetting process as other political appointee, such as background checks by the FBI, White House and Ethics Office review of Standard Form 278—financials and potential conflict of interest statements, to name just a few?
Has the President clearly outlined the duties and objectives of the Czars in relation to the Senate-Confirmed cabinet members who, currently, appear to share similar job objectives and responsibilities?
Will the White House permit Czars to testify to Congress, or will the White House exert Executive Privilege, thereby circumventing Congress’ statutory role of Advice and Consent?
So far, the answers to these questions doesn’t look promising. The circumstances surrounding the resignation of Van Jones, the Green Jobs czar, highlighted the disturbing fact that, at least in the case of Jones, the traditional political appointee vetting process was not followed, and that, indeed, he may not have completed all of the requisite paperwork before commencing employment with the government.
The clarification of czar and czarina duties and responsibilities is now an urgent requirement by the Senate because Obama’s many Czars are very powerful. For example, Ken Feinberg, the Pay Czar, has just cut the salaries and bonuses by 90% of some of Wall Street CEOs and senior staff whose companies received bailout funds. One can debate the wisdom and potential long-term negative consequences of the government’s heavy hand, but the inappropriateness of a czar making a such a critical decision seems clear.
As a czar, Feinberg is immune to oversight and accountability. He is, arguably, one of the most powerful men in America since he seems to have the ability to decide how much people should be paid. Are any of us comfortable with a pay czar with the powers and ability to arbitrarily set pay and bonus levels for bankers and senior staff? Would we not be better served if our normal governmental checks and balances were in effect?
There are also potential unintended consequences of Feinberg’s actions. A few days ago, President Obama promised to put more money into small and regional banks to kick start small business lending. Feinberg has set a precedent for governmental interference in pay negotiations. There is a possibility that few of those banks are likely to accept government TARP money, since with it comes the implicit authority of the pay czar to set compensation levels for bank employees. The result is that small businesses may not see any improved lending any time soon.
In a similar manner, Carol Browner, the Energy and Environmental Czar recently assumed broad powers to dictate automotive manufacturing emissions standards. Curiously, the Administrator of the EPA, who is a member of the President’s Cabinet appears to defer to Ms. Browner. And yet, the Senate has not vetted or confirmed Carol Browner, nor are they able to hold the EPA responsible for decisions and actions taken by a policy czar.
The White House has already provided an indication of their intent regarding future congressional testimonies by czars. Recently, Senator Feingold invited the White House to attend, and to testify, at the hearing he hosted on czars and the Constitution. The White House declined to attend.
To be fair, Czars, both senate-confirmed and those otherwise appointed, seem to be a mixed bag under the Obama Administration. Some seem to have exemplary credentials, solid expertise that can certainly provide additional advice to President Obama if he does not feel his Cabinet members provide sufficient counsel. Others are so clearly unsuited for their positions that they are an embarrassment.
Past Presidents have appointed czars to lead special efforts, and all Presidents deserve to have the assistance of the experts that they believe will help them do the best job for the American people. But, President Obama has taken this past practice to dizzy, new extremes, and concerns grow that he has created a de facto shadow government.
The 15 Senate-confirmed Cabinet members are overshadowed and outnumbered by the Czars, whose decisions seem to reign supreme on policy issues. The potential for disruptive White House turf wars and feuding grows, as each czar adds yet another layer of management between the Cabinet Member and the President.
American taxpayers are questioning the broad powers of the czars. The Senate is too. The Senate may be controlled by members of the President’s own political party, but there are limits to just how much power and financial control they will blindly seed to the President. Even if that President is named Obama.
EXCLUSIVE: Democratic donors rewarded with W.H. perks
Offered access to bowling alley, movie theaterhearing nixed
By Matthew Mosk
During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
• TWT INTERACTIVE: "Bowling for dollars at the White House"
One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley for his family. Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.
Mr. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, to golf with him during the president's Martha's Vineyard vacation in August. At least 39 donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St. Patrick's Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green, photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.
• Obama campaign biopic already dated
• Tainted donations vex political campaigns
• Campaign-giving restriction is nullified
• Justices hit campaign fund curb
• Obama, GOP hopefuls hunt cash, friends
Presidential aides said there has been no systematic effort to use the White House complex to aid fundraising, though they acknowledge the DNC has paid for some events at the presidential mansion.
Many guests at the White House not only had fundraising connections, but also have personal friendships with the president, Mr. Obama's aides said.
"Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit the contributor from visiting," said Dan Pfeiffer, deputy White House communications director.
• See White House response to story: White House touts ethics in rewards for fundraisers
"The e-mail Bag"
Q: What's the main problem with Barack Obama jokes?
A: His followers don't think they're funny and everyone else doesn't think they're jokes.
Q: Why does Barack Obama oppose the Second Amendment?
A: It stands between him and the First.
Q: What's the difference between Rahm Emanuel and a carp?
A: One is a scum sucking bottom feeder and the other is a fish.
Q: What's the difference between Greta Van Susteren and Barack Obama?
A: Greta only talks out of one side of her mouth.
Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser.
Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One's full of tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for prisoners.
Q: What's the difference between a large pizza and the typical Obama backer?
A: The pizza can feed a family of four.
Q: What's the difference between a zoo and the White House?
A: A zoo has an African lion and the White House has a lyin' African.
Q: If Pelosi and Obama were in a boat and it started to sink, who would be saved?
Q: What do you call the US after four years of Obama and the Liberal congress?
A: An Obama-nation.
Q: What's the difference between Obama and Hitler?
A: Hitler wrote his own book.
Q: What's another difference between Obama and Hitler?
A: Hitler got the Olympics to come to his country.
Q: Why doesn't Obama pray?
A: It's impossible to read the teleprompter with your eyes closed.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Promoting "God's Holy Values and American Freedoms"!
The real secret to making magic is a bunch of people all working together. -- Tony Jeary
"Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was." -- Richard Evans
"Daily Devotions" (KJV and/or NLT)
"For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
"I just don't get God," you've said. "He's too complicated, too confusing, and, most of all, too invisible! I can't wrap my mind or my arms around him."
Join the club. We have all felt that way. God is a Spirit, and we live in a material world. Complicating matters more, there's that whole idea of the Trinity: three-in-one, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost who are still, somehow, one God. How in the world are we supposed to deal with that? One answer: Water.
Water is an interesting substance. All physical life depends upon it, just as all spiritual life depends upon God. Did you ever stop to consider that water is three-in-one, too? In its solid form, ice or snow, we can chew it or throw it. In its liquid form, water we can drink it or swim in it. In its gas form, steam or vapor, we can breathe it.
We experience water very differently in each of its three forms, yet it never ceases being H2O---a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. When you were a child, you had no comprehension of how the water molecule "worked." But you could still enjoy a good glass of water, a snowcone or a fluffy cloud.
As God's children, we find that He is far beyond our intellectual comprehension. But we can still experience a personal relationship with Him. We can still call call Him "Abba (Daddy) Father." We can still worship Him "in spirit and in truth."
"The Patriot Post"
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -- James Madison
The BIG Lie
"[The AHIP report is a] hatchet job ... bought and paid for by the same health insurance companies that have been gouging too many consumers for too long as they stand in the way of reform yet again." -- Sen. Max "The Gouger" Baucus, who predicts that all Democrats and possibly more than one Republican will support his bill
This Week's 'Braying Jenny' Award
"When you think of the campaign that's been launched against the public option by the insurance industry -- because they can't take the competition. Anyone who had any doubts about the need for such an option need only look at the health insurance industry this week." -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Pelosi is reduced to taunting and threatening anyone opposed to her schemes, saying that it only further makes the case for a government-run "public option" for health insurance. But how could any industry compete with the federal government's ability to run at a deficit forever? She went on to mock the "discredited" AHIP report. No one has actually discredited the report, mind you, Pelosi only says it's been discredited.
Hope 'n' Change: About That Free Lunch
Creative accounting allows Washington to get away with a lot, and the current health care debacle is no exception. Recent analyses of House and Senate proposals by the Congressional Budget Office rely upon static scoring (i.e., not factoring in behavioral changes caused by the legislation,) fantastically optimistic projections and simple omissions of unfavorable facts that trumpet deficit-neutral bills having no basis in reality. The libertarian Cato Institute, for example, took a close look at the CBO's numbers and discovered a variety of unsupportable claims.
For starters, the 10-year projection that measures out the trillion-dollar House bill in itself is misleading. Most of the bill's major provisions don't kick in until 2014, making for a 6-year projection in which costs ramp up slowly. After the first three years of the program, around the time of the 2012 election, costs would accumulate to about $100 billion, relative chump change that will allow Obama's re-election campaign the opportunity to pledge that health care has been a cost-saving success. But four years beyond that, long after the current president passes the threshold of electoral accountability (assuming he wins, perish the thought), costs catch a fever. Cato estimates a $2.4 trillion tab (even Sen. Harry Reid admits as much), double what the House bill and the CBO project. And what happens after 2019 is a true horror story.
The Baucus bill, all the rage on Capitol Hill these days, is another fraud of epic proportions. It claims to have no impact on the deficit by assuming, in part, that growth rate cuts in Medicare's physician payments will help offset its $829 billion price tag. All well and good, but Congress never makes those cuts because no one wants to be on record as cutting an entitlement for one of America's most powerful voting blocs. Just by taking these cuts out of the equation, the bill automatically goes $200 billion into the red. Additionally, there is no reckoning of the built-in costs that will hit consumers, including penalties for high-price insurance plans, penalties for not having insurance and the general rise in cost of various health care procedures over the span of several years.
Obama and his Democrat lackeys have either bullied or beguiled the CBO, once a reliably non-partisan entity, into fabricating analyses concluding that Congress has produced sweeping legislation that does not negatively affect the deficit. If ever the phrase "voodoo economics" applied, it's now.
This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award
"I will actually give you a speech made up entirely -- almost at the spur of the moment, of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is, and a candidate will never say, but what candidates should say if we were in a kind of democracy where citizens were honored in terms of their practice of citizenship, and they were educated in terms of what the issues were, and they could separate myth from reality in terms of what candidates would tell them:
'Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I'm so glad to see you, and I would like to be president. Let me tell you a few things on health care. Look, we have the only health care system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. [laughter] That's true, and what I'm going to do is I am going to try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people. But that means you -- particularly you young people, particularly you young, healthy people -- you're going to have to pay more. [applause] Thank you.'
'And by the way, we are going to have to -- if you're very old, we're not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It's too expensive, so we're going to let you die.' [applause]
'Also, I'm going to use the bargaining leverage of the federal government in terms of Medicare, Medicaid -- we already have a lot of bargaining leverage -- to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs. But that means less innovation, and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market, which means you are probably not going to live that much longer than your parents. [applause] Thank you.'" --Robert Reich, President Clinton's labor secretary, in a speech at Berkeley in 2007. Democrats, death panels and dying early -- it's all in there, folks.
From the Left: The War on Fox News
The Obama administration is clearly not content to have a majority of American news media in its back pocket. It wants total obedience and has now openly declared war on Fox News Channel, which White House Communications Director Anita Dunn recently accused of being "a wing of the Republican Party." She added that from here forward, "We're going to treat [Fox News] the way we would treat an opponent. ... We don't need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave."
Consider the source, though. Dunn is also on the record saying that one of her "favorite political philosophers" was Mao Tse Tung, who was responsible for more than 70 million deaths in Communist China.
Obamanauts are furious with Fox for being the only major broadcast news outlet that has not toed the party line. Apparently, the administration thinks the way "legitimate news organizations behave" is to out-and-out lie about the opposition, like CBS News with its "fake but accurate" hatchet job on President George W. Bush just prior to the 2004 election, and like the outrageously phony quotes attributed to Rush Limbaugh in recent days (more on that later).
Fox, on the other hand, has recently exposed the corruption of ACORN and the extreme leftism of former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, but this doesn't make it anti-Obama. Rather, it makes Fox pro-information, as the ACORN exposé and Van Jones's public insults about Republicans were real and noteworthy events, though most of the media chose not to report them.
The White House attack on Fox News goes beyond the simple cowardice of the Obama administration. Not only are they afraid to field tough questions from an aggressive news organization but government appointees in high places like Mark Lloyd, the FCC's Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer, are calling for ways to address the "structural imbalance" of talk radio and, presumably, the manner in which FNC does business. For his part, Lloyd is on record as being enamored of Hugo Chavez's "democratic revolution" and his takeover of the Venezuelan media. All aboard for the "Fairness Doctrine."
Bunker Buster Bomb
MOP up on aisle 3... A new conventional bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is about to join the Air Force inventory, and not a moment too soon. Designed to penetrate farther into solid rock than previous 2,000-pound bombs, the MOP will dress out at a staggering 30,000 pounds, of which more than 5,000 pounds is high explosive. Dropped from a B-2 bomber at 30,000 feet, with a GPS guidance system steering it onto the target, the MOP can reportedly penetrate more than 120 feet of solid rock before detonating. Patriot readers can probably recommend some initial targets for the MOP -- Iranian and North Korean buried nuclear programs, mountain cave hideouts in Tora Bora, and the like. While the Defense Department denies any specific targeting requirements that would call for the MOP, the timing is certainly interesting.
In other news this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried and failed to make lemonade out of lemons when the Russians refused even to pretend to favor additional sanctions on Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov could only bring himself to say that "all efforts should be made to support further talks." Clinton then cited this clear rebuff as proof of the "reset" in U.S.-Russian relations. Guess it depends how you define "reset." See what dropping our missile defense plans and betraying our Polish and Czech allies got us?
Stop the "Obamacare" Union Power Grab
Hoffman the only true conservative in race
To the Editor:
I can celebrate! Anyone can join me in celebrating: anyone who is tired of politics as usual and an out-of-control federal government that is gaining to much control over “we the people.” There is a fresh face on the horizon, coming forward to make a difference. His name is Doug Hoffman and he is running for the 23rd Congressional District to replace Rep. John McHugh.
Hoffman’s candidacy brings to mind the biblical story of David and Goliath. He is running against two major party candidates, both of whom have demonstrated extreme liberal views and actions. Hoffman is the only true conservative in this race.
David of old used five smooth stones to defend the name of God. Hoffman is defending traditional conservative values. His five smooth stones are five simple staments of truth. He believes in the sanctity of life; in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman; in shrinking the trillion dollar national debt; that Obama health care will be disastrous to the health care of the American people and in stopping out-of-control government spending and the resulting raising of taxes.
It is my hope that we in the 23rd Congressional District will claim our rights as Americans Nov. 3 to vote not for a party, but for a man of integrity who will represent those conservative values that are presently being trampled on in Washington. Then we will celebrate!
He’s not an “R’ or a “D” but a “C”
To the Editor:
Some people always vote the “R” or “D” line. When asked why, I was surprised to find “because I always have” was a frequent answer.
This year, we have an important race in the 23rd Congressional District. Most years it wouldn’t get much attention, but this one has attracted national attention. Why would Upstate New York get the attention of the “powers that be” for the “R’s” and “D’s”? Why is the president going to a fundraiser for the “D” candidate in New York City? Why has the GOP recently contributed “six figures” to the “R” candidate? I believe the reason this election is getting so much attention is because the people in Washington are worried.
They are worried because there is a viable third candidate. We have a “C” candidate this year. Usually, the “C’s” go along with the “R’s,” but this time the “R” was so much like the “D,” they decided to offer a different option.
Doug Hoffman is the Conservative Party candidate for 23rd Congressional District. He’s not a lawyer or career politician. He is a CPA and small business owner. Washington is worried because a CPA can look at their plans and tell us how many tax dollars they will really cost. A small business owner can look at tax proposals and tell us how they will affect job creation. Washington is worried because, even though Hoffman has some big-name endorsements, he has more “grassroots” support than the “R” or the “D,” so the only people he will be beholden to when elected is “we the people.”
So, when casting your vote Nov. 3, think about how well “because I always have” has worked so far.
Glenn Beck — What Is The Exit Strategy for ObamaCare?
The Relationship Between Power and Peace
Paul Coughlin - Contributing Writer, Author, Speaker
When I want to burrow deeper into a word or concept, I sometimes turn to sign language. Recently, during a break in a Michael McDonald concert, I noticed a woman, to the right of the stage, signing to a small group of people. I was mesmerized by her unvarnished and unblinking use of signs to describe everyday life.
There was no posturing or pretense as this gifted communicator reflected the mood and nature of the songs. When I asked her for the sign for courage, she clenched her fists, knuckles away from her body, elbows bent—the position your arms would be when finishing a pull-up, where your fists rest just below your chin.
"Courage means ‘strength, power,'" she told me. And that sign is the visual equivalent of the Hebrew word for courage (hazaq), which means "to show oneself strong." Thankfully, there are expressions of Christianity that put forth courage as a gift of God's Holy Spirit.
Anglicans, Catholics, and Lutherans believe there are seven primary gifts of the Holy Spirit, as found in Isaiah 11. Here we're told that the Spirit of God rests upon messiah, helping him and those who know him to do their part in the messianic kingdom. Isaiah gives very specific information:
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
This word power is also translated as strength and might, derivatives of courage. Thomas Aquinas unfolded this spiritual gift when he wrote that the gift of fortitude (courage) allows people "firmness of mind [that] is required both in doing good and in enduring evil, especially with regard to goods or evils that are difficult." According to Aquinas, the gift of courage compels a Christian's will toward going God's will here and now.
Another view of the intriguing Isaiah passage says that the gifts listed are threefold: (1) wisdom and understanding for government, (2) counsel and power (courage) for war, and (3) knowledge and fear of the Lord for spiritual leadership.
We must also pay attention to what Isaiah writes next because it's intrinsic to our comprehension of what the Holy Spirit will compel us to do with our thumotic courage.
With righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
Biblically, again and again and again, we see that courage is intrinsic to justice, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace. Through the Prince of Peace, we learn that peace itself is hard-won. Here we learn, specifically, that peace follows judgment and springs from righteousness—not from perpetual pleasantness and never-ending niceties.
Please don't miss how this remarkable passage so vividly reveals God's heart and will for the needy and the poor. We are to do more than merely provide food and shelter—we are to judge on their behalf, to move their direction, to plead their case for them when necessary. We should be more than their dietitian or landlord: We need to be their advocate.
Unfortunately, our current notion of peace itself is poorly conceived, even self-serving. We usually think of it in the framework of inner peace, an inner sense of well-being. We also frequently regard peace as being "about me, my feelings, my thoughts, my experience, my needs." There is an inner peace that comes from the Holy Spirit, yes, but why wouldn't we think this would include the likelihood that God would gift us with the ability to help bring about peace on earth as well?
Furthermore, regarding inner peace, we need to admit that this also comes from a life well-lived through the discharge of one's duties. Simply doing what one ought to do is a strong vaccine against the malaise of existential anguish and depression that haunts many people. We fulfill our responsibilities and continue moving toward our aspirations in part when we possess and employ our fighting spirit.
The fruit of peace likewise should lead toward the proliferation of peace; it shouldn't result in appeasement. Unfortunately, we're not very good at distinguishing peace-making from peace-faking. Rick Warren reminds us:
Peacemaking is not avoiding conflict. Running from a problem, pretending it doesn't exist, or being afraid to talk about it is actually cowardice. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was never afraid of conflict….Peacemaking is also not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind.
The falsehoods in our worldview have us believing we're the world's doormats. In his oft-overlooked bluntness, though, Jesus sets us straight: "If your brother wrongs you, reprove him; and if he repents, forgive him." That's pretty straightforward and assertive. He likewise once told his disciples that if they had no sword they should sell their cloak to buy one.
The Bible gives us many examples of the rugged virtues we're called to embrace, so why do we focus only on the sweet and sugary ones that, when overemphasized, give us spiritual cavities and further deep-freeze our already frosty thumos? The answer is that we don't want toughness in our spirituality, even when it's unavoidable, and even when it can save lives. We don't want creative tension and unsettling disruption—we're afraid these might be offensive to others and, from a leadership angle, thereby lower the body count on a given Sunday. We like numbers. Numbers keep our budgets growing.
I understand budget problems. I've gone months unable to pay my bills due to ministry expenses, and I've hated how that feels. But service to others is a priority we make, for right now seekers coming into our churches aren't seeing fervent love and action but rather the ordination of mildness and conformity. On the most segregated day in America, they are seeing people "more cautious than courageous, [people who] have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of the stained-glass windows" regarding matters of justice and cruelty.
So we only quote the things that make our faith feel safe and comfortable; we hide from stuff that's revolutionary, adventurous…truly transforming. We'll do most anything to escape or ignore what seems threatening to our status quo.
Remember, though: The Bible commands us to be strong and courageous more than two dozen times! (Interestingly, it also lists about the same number of examples of cowardice, each a cautionary tale. It's as if God is instructing us to embrace courage each time there's an opportunity to flee it). We're told that the righteous are as bold as lions; how on earth have come to think we should be as sugary as cotton candy or as saccharine as diet soda ("sweetness"—both real and fake)?
The health of our thumos, the state of our spiritual maturity, and thus our ability to live well depend upon our accepting this revelation of what it means to follow god and reflect his true nature, which brings both disruption and comfort. Once more, here there is no contradiction, but rather completion.
Senate moderates voice concern over public option
Enlarge by Haraz N. Ghanbari, AP
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks about health care reform during a news conference, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
By Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — Inclusion of a government insurance plan in Senate health care legislation is posing problems for moderate senators whose votes are critical to passing the bill. Reverberations could be felt across the Capitol, where House Democratic leaders are finalizing a bill with a government plan.
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman said Tuesday that while he won't vote to block Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan from going to the Senate floor for debate, he would ultimately oppose the measure because it includes a public option.
Meanwhile, Maine Republican Susan Collins, who had earlier indicated interest in trying to pass a bipartisan bill this year, issued a statement underscoring her opposition to "a taxpayer-subsidized, government-run health insurance company."
Lieberman said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he's worried a public option would be costly to taxpayers and drive up insurance premiums. An independent who caucuses with Democrats, Lieberman is among a group of about a dozen moderate senators whose support Reid will need as Senate critical health care votes near.
Lieberman said he's open to the possibility of supporting a plan set up and run by the states.
It's not clear that Reid, D-Nev., has the 60 votes needed for the controversial government insurance plan to prevail on the Senate floor. If it fails, that could affect the thinking of House members, particularly moderate Democrats.
"There are some members of the House, obviously, who are very concerned about what the Senate does ... because they want to vote for something that can pass, that can be enacted," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
"On the other hand there are a whole lot of people in the House, the great majority of the Democrats in the House, who want to see a health reform bill pass in the fashion that we believe is justified ... and I think an overwhelming majority of Democrats are in favor of the public option," Hoyer added.
Lawmakers must meld the House and Senate versions of the health care bills.
House Democratic leaders have been debating the shape the government insurance plan will take in their bill, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushing for a strong version that would tie payment rates to providers to rates paid by Medicare -- likely resulting in cheaper costs for patients but lower payments to hospitals and doctors, something that troubles moderates.
Pelosi doesn't appear to have the votes for that plan. Hoyer said that switching the design to allow the Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate payment rates with providers -- the approach Reid is taking -- gets more support for a public option, which Hoyer said currently commands between 200 and 218 votes. A simple majority in the House is 218.
Reid's plan would allow individual states to opt out of the public insurance plan. In the wake of his announcement Monday the focus of the health overhaul debate shifted to the handful of moderate senators whose support will be crucial to get him to 60.
Reid's decision amounted to a victory for liberal lawmakers who have pushed for a public insurance option they contend would create needed competition for private industry and provide affordable choices to consumers.
The reaction from moderate Democrats -- they fear a public plan could drive insurers out of business and take over the marketplace -- ranged from muted to skeptical. The one Republican who has so far lent her support to Democratic health overhaul proposals, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, said she was "deeply disappointed" by Reid's decision.
Snowe had supported allowing government insurance in individual states only if the private market wasn't providing sufficient choice and competition.
Among the moderates whose support is in question are Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.
Landrieu said in a statement that she's still "very skeptical" about a government plan run from Washington but would keep working with Reid to find a "principled compromise."
Nelson "is not committing how we will vote regarding any proposal Sen. Reid is advancing," said spokesman Jake Thompson.
Lincoln, who's up for re-election in 2010, said through a spokesman she intends to study the details and decide how to vote based on the impact on her home state.
Both the House and Senate are struggling to complete work by year's end on legislation extending coverage to millions who lack it, banning insurance industry practices such as denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions, and slowing the rise in medical costs nationally.
Obama Told House Democrat He Wasn’t Talking about House Health Bill When He Told Congress ‘Our Plan’ Doesn’t Fund Abortion
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.) told CNSNews.com that President Barack Obama told him in a telephone conversation that when he said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” he was not talking about the actual bill drafted in the House but about the president’s own health care plan—which has never been written.
“I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what,” Stupak said of Obama’s nationally televised declaration to Congress that the health-care plan will not allow federal funding of abortion.
Both the House and Senate versions of the health-care bill permit federal funds to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions.
In his speech to the joint session of Congress, Obama directly rebutted the claim that the plan would fund abortions, calling it a misunderstanding.” But in his later telephone conversation with Stupak, according to the congressman, Obama said that when he claimed in the speech that the plan would not fund abortions he was not talking about the House plan, he was talking about his own plan.
CNSNews.com read Stupak the verbatim transcript of President Obama’s joint-session-speech statement about abortion funding: “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up: Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.”
CNSNews.com asked Stupak: “Is that a true or false statement?”
“That is exactly what he said,” said Stupak.
“But is it an accurate statement?” asked CNSNews.com.
“I called him,” said Stupak. “I called the president--had a discussion with the president. And I read exactly what you just said. And he said: ‘What it says is “under my plan”’—meaning the president’s plan. And I said: ‘With all due respect, sir, you do not have a plan. The only plan we have out is the House plan.’ So, I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what.”
CNSNews.com then asked Stupak if Obama was referring to a plan that existed only ‘theoretically, some different plan than the one you actually drafted in committee?”
“Correct. Correct,” said Stupak. “And when I pointed this out, he said: ‘Go back and work with the people on your committee and get this matter worked out. Work with the speaker. Work with us, would you?’ And I said: Yes, I would. And we have tried. But we haven’t been able to resolve our differences because we do not want public funds going for abortion.”
Stupak serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel that has primary responsibility for crafting health-care legislation. The House health-care-reform bill approved by this committee would create health insurance “exchanges” in each state where people using federal subsidies to purchase their insurance could choose the plan they want from among a group of government-approved plans.
On July 30, the committee approved an amendment to the bill sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D.-Calif.) that mandates that at least one insurance plan in each exchange must cover abortions.
On Aug. 19, in a radio presentation, President Obama nonetheless said that it was “not true” that the bill would allow government funding of abortion. On Aug. 21, the independent group FactCheck.org analyzed the bill in light of this statement by President Obama and concluded: “Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans.”
The Senate Finance Committee’s health-care bill had not been completed at the time that President Obama delivered his Sept. 9 speech to Congress. When it was completed, however, it also included a provision like the Capps Amendment. Thus, both House and Senate versions of the health-care bill as they now stand would allow people to use federal dollars to buy health insurance plans that cover abortions.
In the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Stupak offered his own amendment to the health care bill that would have prohibited federal funds from being used to cover “any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion.” This amendment mirrors the language of the Hyde Amendment that is included each year in various annual appropriations bills. Because the Hyde Amendment only affects funding included in the appropriations bill that carries it, its prohibition on abortion funding would not apply to the permanent funding stream for federal health insurance subsidies that would be set up by the health-care reform bills drafted by the House and Senate.
On July 31, by a 27-to-31 vote, the Energy and Commerce Committee defeated Stupak’s effort to include the Hyde language directly in the health-care bill itself and thus prohibit abortion funding through that bill and the programs it would create.
Stupak told CNSNews.com he has organized a group of “about 40 likeminded Democrats” who will try to kill the health care bill itself unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) agrees to allow an up-or-down vote on his amendment when the bill comes to the House floor.
"The speaker has told me I will not have my amendment," said Stupak. "It will not be made in order."
Stupak also said that during his telephone conversation with Obama the president indicated that he supports Stupak's goal of prohibting federal funding of abortion through the health-care reform plan, although the president did not say that he supports the specific language of Stupak's amendment.
"I would call upon the President to help us out here," said Stupak.
Here is a partial transcript of CNSNews.com’s interview with Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.):
Jeffrey: “When President Obama came and spoke to the joint session of Congress on September 9th, he said, quote: ‘And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up: Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” unquote. Is that a true or false statement?”
Stupak: “That is exactly what he said.”
Jeffrey: “Okay, that is what he said. But is it an accurate statement?”
Stupak: “I called him. I called the president--had a discussion with the president. And I read exactly what you just said. And he said: ‘What it says is “under my plan”’—meaning the president’s plan. And I said: ‘With all due respect, sir, you do not have a plan. The only plan we have out is the House plan.’ So, I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what.”
Jeffrey: “So President Obama did not tell you, Congressman Stupak, that the plans that have been drafted in the House—the bill that actually came out of your committee—does not fund abortion.”
Stupak: “He did not say that.”
Jeffrey: “He did not assert that. He said that ‘his’ plan--”
Stupak: “His plan.”
Jeffrey: “Theoretically, some different plan than the one you actually drafted in committee?”
Stupak: “Correct. Correct. And when I pointed this out, he said: ‘Go back and work with the people on your committee and get this matter worked out. Work with the speaker. Work with us, would you?’ And I said: Yes, I would. And we have tried. But we haven’t been able to resolve our differences because we do not want public funds going for abortion.”
Jeffrey: "Did President Obama indicate to you that he supports your amendment?"
Stupak: "He is supportive of what I am trying to do. However, we are getting down to crunch time. And I would call upon the President to help us out here. The speaker has told me I will not have my amendment. It will not be made in order. It will not be part of 3200. So the Capps language—which [means] citizens would have to start using their funds, public funds, to pay for abortions--will be part of 3200. And I will not have an opportunity on the House floor to delete that language or put the Hyde language in there to supersede the Capps language."
Jeffrey: "So, the president has represented to you that he supports the goal—"
Jeffrey: "--of prohibiting federal dollars from being used to buy insurance that covers abortions?"
Jeffrey: "Without saying that he supports your specific language?"
Stupak: "Without saying he supports my specific language."
Obama’s Safe Schools Czar Advocated ‘Queering Elementary Education’
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer
Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education. (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama’s safe schools czar wrote a foreword to a book in 1999 that called for elementary school children to explore their sexual identities, for teachers to incorporate homosexual themes in grades K-5, for discarding a “hetero-normative” approach to education and for “acknowledging children as sexual beings.”
Kevin Jennings, now the assistant deputy secretary for education who heads the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, began the foreword to Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue about Sexualities and Schooling (Rowan & Littlefield Publishers) by writing about the Columbine school shooting in Colorado and comparing it to the beating-death of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and, from there, to the issue of intolerance in schools.
“We remain silent in the face of intolerance,” wrote Jennings, then president of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, an organization he founded. “We do little to teach the values of equality and justice. We simply fail to set any kind of expectation at all that these young people must respect each other even (especially?) when differences among them are vast and profound.”
“Nowhere is this failure more evident than when it comes to antigay prejudice, and nowhere is that particular failure more manifest than it is in our elementary schools,” wrote Jennings.
The book for which Jennings wrote the foreword includes essays from gay and lesbian educators that advocate teaching acceptance of homosexuality in elementary school and kindergarten. (The book is edited by William J. Letts IV and James T. Sears, who also wrote essays for the book.)
In his foreword, Jennings rejects the premise that sexuality should not be taught in elementary schools by arguing that it already is taught, but to instill and promote anti-gay hatred.
“I often find myself confronted with people who attack me for ‘bringing this issue into our schools,’” he wrote. “How laughable this statement is, I think. The reality is that this issue--anti-gay bigotry--is already in our schools. Little kids are learning to hate, and they’re learning it right now in elementary schools across America.”
“Face it: ‘That’s so gay’ has become a mantra of elementary-school children, a mantra invoked whenever a child encounters something or someone they do not like or understand or appreciate,” Jennings wrote. “But the hatred and attitudes they express are not the exception--they are the rule. And we shouldn’t be surprised when troubled people vent their rage in murderous fashions on those they learned it is okay to hate.”
Jennings also criticized conservative political figures in the foreword.
“I’ll admit that in a world populated by the likes of Jesse Helms and Gary Bauer and Pat Buchanan, we can’t blame our schools for all the prejudice we see visited upon queer people,” Jennings wrote. “After all, when the senate majority leader [Trent Lott] compares us to kleptomaniacs, it’s hard to blame bigotry entirely on one’s third grade teacher (although one wonders exactly who Mr. Lott had for his teachers given the profound level of ignorance that pours forth from his mouth).”
To accuse any individual who does not share Jennings’ opinion of hate is a means of silencing debate, said Gary Bauer, president of American Values, a pro-family advocacy group.
“I recall when Matthew Shepard was murdered and a number of people singled out James Dobson as being responsible,” Bauer told CNSNews.com. “Such charges are obscene. The only purpose is to try to silence debate and expression of traditional values.”
On page 9, one of the book’s editors, James T. Sears, states, “Acknowledging children as sexual beings or allowing males (particularly homosexuals) to teach in elementary grades dislodges the classroom from the ‘safe haven’ of heteronormativity.”
Sears, identified as an “independent scholar” living in South Carolina, continues, “Childhood innocence is a veneer that we as adults impress onto children, enabling us to deny desire comfortably and to silence sexuality.”
He also wrote, “Allowing children freedom to develop their sexual identities absent guilt or conditional love is an important attribute of queer households (and classrooms).”
"Heteronormative" is described in Chapter 9 as framing education in such a way that heterosexuality is normal while anything else is abnormal. On page 103, the chapter’s author William J. Letts IV, one of the other editors, denounces a text that explains the difference between boys and girls. He writes that schools push for boys to play with G.I. Joe action figures and girls to play with Barbie dolls as part of a larger social push.
“Boys don’t have to stand to urinate (nor do girls have to sit--they could squat),” wrote Letts, adding, “that’s just how they got conditioned.” Letts is a former elementary school science teacher.
In Chapter 3, Kathy Bickmore writes, “The first reason to discuss sexuality in elementary school is that it is already present in students’ lives. Assumptions about children’s ‘innocence’ regarding sexuality are outdated.”
On page 21, Bickmore, who taught education at the University of Toronto, wrote: “Sexuality and homosexuality in particular, is generally seen to be unsafe content for young children’s classrooms. This assumption misjudges what many children already know about themselves and their world, and also misses the point of what helps an ‘innocent’ develop into a self-sustaining ‘citizen.’”
President Barack Obama. (AP Pool Photo/Jason Reed)
This month, 53 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama asking him to remove Jennings from the Department of Education.
“As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America's schools--an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children,” the letter said.
“As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students,” the letter said.
“The totality of Mr. Jennings' career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality,” it said. “There is more to safe and drug-free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”
Jennings’ foreword indicates what kind of agenda he brings to his government office, said Bauer.
“A person’s history tells us a lot about what they will do in a position of power,” Bauer told CNSNews.com. “Most parents, including millions of people that voted for Barack Obama, will not be and should not be comfortable with someone like Mr. Jennings’ agenda for elementary school children.”
A spokesman for the Department of Education could not be reached for comment Tuesday despite repeated inquiries.
Also, two pro-homosexual rights groups--the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation--did not respond to inquiries from CNSNews.com about Jennings and the book.
Another essay in Queering Elementary Education says, “Choosing literature for children with explicitly gay and lesbian themes, characters and situations is a direct approach to including part of many children’s’ home lives.”
This essay by James R. King and Jennifer J. Schneider, both of the University of South Florida, further states on page 131 that, “Teaching homosexuality is precisely about differences, learning from differences and broadening the ways we understand others. The combined fears of sexual taboo and job insecurity (either real or imagined) have proved sufficient to keep homosexuality in the classroom closet. We can no longer afford the heterosexist elitism. Our students already know better (and worse).”
An essay by Kevin P. Colleary, who was a doctoral student in education at Harvard University, asserts on page 157 that, “Whenever a discussion of family or community occurs--both topics of greater importance in almost all grades K-3 social-studies curriculum documents--there is an opportunity to talk about gay and lesbian families, and/or specific communities or neighborhoods where many gays and lesbians lives in almost every major city.”
The book’s fourth chapter begins with a scene of kindergarteners reenacting Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It goes on to ask why not envision another reenactment. “Children have made a banner that says ‘Stonewall Inn.’” The reference was to a June 1969 riot by homosexuals outside the Stonewall bar, a riot viewed as a civil rights watershed event among gay activists.
That chapter was written by Betsy J. Cahill of New Mexico State University and Rachel Theilheimer of Manhattan Community College. The two go on to write: “Teachers can tell children about the lesbian and gay people they know or know about. In the video, It’s Elementary, a teacher and children brainstorm ideas about gays and lesbians. They listen to music by musicians such as Elton John and Melissa Ethridge. In a discussion the teacher points out that the musicians are gay. This is one example of how a teacher might formally teach about gays and lesbians.”
In Chapter 8, Eric Rofes, who taught at Bowdoin College, writes about whether he influenced any of his elementary students to become gay. He was only able to locate eight former students from an elementary class he taught 20 years earlier. He found that these students were not gay.
But he said an openly homosexual teacher can encourage a new generation of activists. “Finally, the greatest influence of openly lesbian, gay and bisexual teachers may be on students’ relationships to political activism, and social movements,” he wrote. “By witnessing up close the importance of political advocacy on a teacher’s job security and social position, children’s understanding of the importance of activism and its relevance to their lives might be enhanced.”
In an essay addressing how universities can work with school districts, Kate Evans, a professional writer, wrote on page 245, “University administrators can place student teachers only in schools that include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies. If university allies discover local districts without such policies, they can work toward change by speaking at school board meetings and talking with professional contacts.”
In the book’s final chapter, Margaret Mullehern and Gregory Martinez, both of Boise State University, write about the challenges of including homosexuality in school multicultural programs.
“As teacher educators, we feel responsible for educating pre-service elementary teachers about how they can help children understand the damaging effects of homophobia and the positive contributions of gays and lesbians,” they wrote on page 255. “Thus, the decision to include sexual orientation in our multicultural education courses was easy.”
“However, as this chapter details, teaching queerly required more than a conviction,” they continue on page 255. “Confronted with a lack of knowledge and remnants of the homophobia we had grown up with, we had to peel back layers of fear and discomfort and educate our selves.”
Thomas Sowell - Syndicated Columnist
Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official -- not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate, but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President -- could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?
Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers -- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?
Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?
Scary as that is from a medical standpoint, it is also chilling from the standpoint of freedom. If you have a mother who needs a heart operation or a child with some dire medical condition, how free would you feel to speak out against an administration that has the power to make life and death decisions about your loved ones?
Does any of this sound like America?
How about a federal agency giving school children material to enlist them on the side of the president? Merely being assigned to sing his praises in class is apparently not enough.
How much of America would be left if the federal government continued on this path? President Obama has already floated the idea of a national police force, something we have done without for more than two centuries.
We already have local police forces all across the country and military forces for national defense, as well as the FBI for federal crimes and the National Guard for local emergencies. What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.
How far the President will go depends of course on how much resistance he meets. But the direction in which he is trying to go tells us more than all his rhetoric or media spin.
Barack Obama has not only said that he is out to "change the United States of America," the people he has been associated with for years have expressed in words and deeds their hostility to the values, the principles, and the people of this country.
Jeremiah Wright said it with words: "God d--- America!" Bill Ayers said it with bombs that he planted. Community activist goons have said it with their contempt for the rights of other people.
Among the people appointed as czars by President Obama have been people who have praised enemy dictators like Mao, who have seen the public schools as places to promote sexual practices contrary to the values of most Americans, to a captive audience of children.
Those who say that the Obama administration should have investigated those people more thoroughly before appointing them are missing the point completely. Why should we assume that Barack Obama didn't know what such people were like, when he has been associating with precisely these kinds of people for decades before he reached the White House?
Nothing is more consistent with his lifelong patterns than putting such people in government -- people who reject American values, resent Americans in general and successful Americans in particular, as well as resenting America's influence in the world.
Any miscalculation on his part would be in not thinking that others would discover what these stealth appointees were like. Had it not been for the Fox News Channel, these stealth appointees might have remained unexposed for what they are. Fox News is now high on the administration's enemies list.
Nothing so epitomizes President Obama's own contempt for American values and traditions like trying to ram two bills through Congress in his first year -- each bill more than a thousand pages long -- too fast for either of them to be read, much less discussed. That he succeeded only the first time says that some people are starting to wake up. Whether enough people will wake up in time to keep America from being dismantled, piece by piece, is another question -- and the biggest question for this generation.
Signing away sovereignty
By Ed Lasky
Americans concerned about the decline of American power under the presidency of Barack Obama should turn their radar on and keep it on. We should be aware that Obama intends to roll out for Senate approval a series of international treaties that will further bind America to the will of the international community if they are ratified.
Bit by bit, America's autonomous power is being taken away. The Boston Globe provides a public relations gloss by calling these treaties a means of fulfilling "Obama's vision of global cooperation." This is one view, I suppose. Another view would be that our policies will be tied down by these treaties -- and we will be judged by international bureaucrats and held to their interpretation of what our obligations are under the treaties.
Bryan Bender in the Boston Globe:
President Obama's vision of global cooperation - symbolized by his surprise Nobel Peace Prize - is in for a crucial test in the months ahead when he begins sending a series of treaties to the U.S. Senate, where skepticism among Republicans and some Democrats will make approval exceedingly difficult, according to government officials and specialists. [...]
... the Obama administration says it will seek ratification of three major pacts aimed at reducing nuclear weapons. It also will seek approval of a set of regulations to manage use of the oceans and, by the end of the president's first term, a new treaty to combat global climate change. [...]
"I think he is going to have a real fight on his hands,'' said Steven Groves, a specialist in international law at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank.
International treaties require only Senate approval. The "People's House" has no say and no sway. While Obama's treaty agenda may be challenging, it is not insurmountable, especially when the full court press begins with the media, activist groups, and others in the Obama "we are the world" perspective; they never come up for approval in the House of Representatives.
Obama will begin with treaties designed to achieve his vision of a world without nuclear weapons. But that is just the beginning. Efforts will begin to bind America to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (setting guidelines for countries' use of the world's oceans, including economic activities and the protection of maritime resources). This will hurt our nation's ability to mine the world's seas for oil and gas, and other resources.
Instead of capitalizing on America's technological strength in these areas (some of it created with our dollars) to tap these resources for our benefit, America will be subject to the dictates of U.N. bureaucrats regarding how these resources can be developed.
Our national security and economic security depends on our access to strategic raw materials, and we will face overseers in the form of U.N.-style bureaucrats. We know how friendly they are to America.
But wait, there's more: treaties subjecting us to the desires of climate change advocates will follow. There was a reason Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Protocol but never dared to submit it to the Senate for approval. He knew it would fail. But that was then; this is now.
Gun control treaties, perhaps under the guise of small arms trade treaties, will certainly be in Obama's queue.
Once in place, treaties will lock America in. They are rarely broken, and countries, including America, rarely withdraw from them. Even if America later were able to withdraw from treaties, permanent harm already will have occurred.
Expect Obama and his minions to attempt to Rahm through these types of treaties in the Senate.
These international treaties will have domestic consequences that could be massive. But we should know by now that radical change in America is what Barack Obama desires the most. If he can get the world community on his side, he will be that much closer to his, and their own, goals.
Abdullah Baali, the Ambassador to the United States from Algeria and a former U.N. official, is of the opinion that "it is absolutely essential that the U.S. ratify these treaties." That should be a warning flag for Americans. President Obama wants to outsource our policy to the international community, refuses to use our strength and talent to protect the American interest, and is determined to weaken America in the years ahead.
Obama clearly sees American power, in and of itself, as evil. We have seen this attitude displayed in his countless apologies for so called American transgressions over the years before the Obama Presidency. Obama is trying to force America into an unprecedented, massive makeover to please the international bureaucrats whose approval and acclaim he so desperately craves.
Obama does not view Uncle Sam as symbolizing America (especially the Uncle Sam that is accompanied by exhortations to defend our country); rather he views Gulliver as the ideal symbol of our nation: a giant who blunders about, causing harm and damage, and who must be restrained by the Lilliputians of the world.
We should know by now that our Academic in Chief wants to pass the global test made famous by Senator John Kerry (now the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, alternative Secretary of State, and the man who will shepherd these treaties through the Senate).
Having won the highest office in the land by saying things that pleased the necessary groups, now he has set off to please the so-called international community -- and particularly those foreign leaders who disdain America and what we represent.
No wonder he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize: the far-left wing Norwegian judges gave him a nice pat on his head for passing their test with flying colors -- albeit not the red, white and blue ones.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.
"The e-mail Bag"
Northwest Pilots Not in Cockpit; Found at Home Hiding in Box
‘Happy Ending,' Airline Spokesman Says
From: Borowitz Reports.
MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) - The mystery surrounding the Northwest Airlines flight that strayed 150 miles from its intended destination was resolved today as Northwest reported that the two pilots for the flight were never in the cockpit to begin with.
"We found them safe at home, hiding in a box," said Northwest spokesperson Carol Foyler. "We're just glad that this story had a happy ending."
Despite the positive resolution to the pilots' drama, Northwest said they were moving forward on a number of safety measures, such as banning the computer game Guitar Hero in the cockpit.
Elsewhere, Elizabeth Taylor revised her statement that the Michael Jackson film "This Is It" is "the most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen" to read, "I have gone completely around the bend."