"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives"
Provided courtesy of the DefendtheNaturalFamily.com
Republicans retreat on "gay marriage"
Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer
Just a few years ago, House Republicans were trying to etch their opposition of gay marriage into the Constitution.
Now? They’re almost silent.
It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.
Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.
It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference.
“In one decade, what’s shocking on TV is accepted as commonplace in the other,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a veteran of the culture wars of the 1990s. “It’s the same with sexual mores all over that if you look at campuses and universities, they have a lot of gay pride clubs and so there has been a deliberate and effective outreach to the younger generation about being more accepting of same-sex relationships.”
But there’s also a political strategy at work: The economy has displaced moral issues in today’s politics. Ask most House Republicans today if they have deep convictions about gay relationships, and it hardly registers.
“I personally have deep convictions about my children having a financially stable country that they can live in,” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said in an interview. “I want my daughters to have the opportunities that I had, and that’s what concerns me. That’s what keeps me up awake at night, not worrying about who’s sleeping with who.”
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a 32-year veteran of Congress, never a man of many words, simply said, “I don’t hear it discussed much.”
Even die-hard social conservatives like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert aren’t digging in.
“That’s not something we’re focused on now,” Gohmert said.
-----National party operatives have taken notice. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions all did fundraisers in the 2010 cycle with the national gay and lesbian GOP grass-roots organization, Log Cabin Republicans.
The group’s Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said that while the three party leaders got flak for doing the events, they stood their ground.
“Twenty years ago they would have thrown us under the bus,” Cooper said. The group recently hosted a 40th birthday fundraiser for Priebus.
Even among the most conservative ranks there has been some softening. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) — who holds a 93 percent lifetime score with the American Conservative Union — recently attended a Log Cabin Republican meeting in Houston. Poe’s office said his “views on same-sex marriage have not changed, however, he found that there were plenty of things they did agree on and he really enjoyed listening to what they had to say.”
Leadership, too, has played a role. At the top levels of House Republican leadership, aides have tried to “quell” legislative proposals on the sanctity of marriage.
Read this story at dyn.politico.com ...
"The instruments, by which [government] must act, are either the authority of the Laws or force. If the first be destroyed, the last must be substituted; ... and where this becomes the ordinary instrument of government, there is an end to liberty."
GOP fears Latino revolt
Republicans worried about their party’s standing with Hispanic voters have launched an election-year scramble to put a better face on their party’s immigration problem.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, is working with senators from other immigrant-heavy states like Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas on their own version of the DREAM Act to help undocumented children. Kyl and Hutchison have held several closed-door meetings with a key Democrat to see whether there’s bipartisan support for a compromise plan. Republicans are also exploring changes in visa rules to attract more high-skilled workers and tourists. But above all, key Republicans are pushing a change in rhetoric, urging Mitt Romney to shift tactics away from the strident comments he’s made during the primary season in hopes of convincing Hispanic voters that Republicans will give immigrants a fair deal.
Read this story at politico.com ...
"Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue."
--John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, 1776
You can't even casually surf the Internet on any given day without numerous reminders of just how radical [Alleged] President Obama is -- and this is during an election year, when it should be in his political interest to mask his radicalism.
Minding my own business, I happened on an article by Jacob Laksin on FrontPageMag.com, titled "Obama's Pick for World Bank Hates Capitalism." I'd heard a bit about this before but hadn't yet studied it. I'm so used to Obama's extremism that such revelations hardly move me, much less surprise me. I know where he stands; I just wish everyone else did.
Obama has nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank. In 2000, Kim edited a collection of studies under the title "Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor."
The "book's radical central premise," writes Laksin, is that "capitalism and economic growth (are) bad for the poor across the world." Kim co-wrote the introduction, which includes the claim that the book shows "that the quest for growth in GDP and corporate profits has in fact worsened the lives of millions of women and men." It says that even in those instances in which free trade and free markets have led to economic growth, they've done so without benefiting "those living in 'dire poverty,' one-fourth of the world's population." Can't you just hear Obama himself in those words?
One thing that helps the plight of the very poor, according to one chapter, is a socialized health care system, such as the one in Communist Cuba. The chapter's author touts that system because of the Cuban government's "commitment not only to health in the narrow sense but to social equality and social justice." As we opponents of Obamacare have said repeatedly, Obamacare is hardly just about making health care more affordable or more accessible, neither of which it will do in the end, but is a stealth vehicle to greatly expand governmental control over limitless aspects of our lives to enable the leftist central planners to effectuate "social equality and social justice" under the innocuous guise of providing health care.
As with so many of its ideas, the left is wrong about the record of free markets on the poor, notes Laksin, who points to "overwhelming evidence" that economic growth raises income levels and reduces global poverty. But again, leftist ideologues aren't motivated by a desire to improve the lot of the downtrodden, domestically or globally, but by a burning passion for statism.
This book is right out of Obama's playbook. Can you not see the common thread running through these alleged glories of the Cuban system and Obama's approach to health care and his war on oil, coal and gas, along with his corresponding commitment to green energy and his various stimulus bills, all of which increase our national deficits, debt and unemployment but greatly increase governmental control?
Obama's nomination of Kim should be no surprise to anyone, considering his consistent record of radical associations and appointments, from Van Jones to transnationalist Harold Koh. For Obama, one's radicalism is not a deterrent to one's resume, but an enhancement. His appointment of Van Jones was not a mistake owing to the administration's failure to vet him as Obama's defenders later claimed once Jones' radicalism was exposed. Obama appointed Jones precisely because his administration was intimately familiar with Jones' views; indeed, the White House carved out a new position -- green energy czar -- specifically tailored for his worldview and then happily placed him in it.
Tearing myself away from this uplifting article, I next encountered one detailing Obama's ongoing fulfillment of his promise to bankrupt the coal industry -- with his Environmental Protection Agency's issuance of new proposed rules on carbon emissions, which will please the goddess Gaia but won't do much for the production of energy, economic growth, jobs or the poor, for that matter. This was after watching a report on Fox News earlier that morning highlighting Obama's obstruction of oil shale production based on other dubious environmental doom-saying.
Next, I saw John Fund's piece on National Review Online outlining Obama's background in the sordid community organizing tactics of famed leftist radical Saul Alinsky and Obama's close ties with the now fallen ACORN. According to New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor -- in her new book on Obama -- Obama still thought of himself as a community organizer when he was senator. He still does today, and, Fund warns, conservatives should be prepared for his Alinsky tactics in the 2012 campaign.
Maybe this all wouldn't be so exasperating if Obama didn't hold himself out as a uniter, but he is the furthest thing from it, as he, if anything, is doubling down on his polarizing radicalism and his unswerving commitment to a statist agenda for America.
"[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community."
-- Benjamin Rush, letter to David Ramsay, 1788
This saps credibility from the notion that there is any starkly fateful difference between GOP Republicans and Obama-faction Democrats. They are opposite wings of the same elitist faction, flapping in unison as socialism takes flight. … (“Is Republican infighting a bad thing?”)
As I anticipated, “the elitist machinations of the sham party system are predictably moving America toward another false choice between an avowed socialist Democrat and a prevaricating socialist Republican.” Marco Rubio’s endorsement of Mitt Romney kicks off an orchestrated wavelet of “influential” endorsements, signaling an end to the sham competition that culminated in a not very credible “dramatic face-off” between Romney and one of his 2008 cheerleaders, Rick Santorum. After a brief flash of truthfulness in which Santorum admitted that the “choice” between Romney and Obama is a falsehood liable to be fatal to American liberty, the former U.S. senator has dutifully retracted it. Not only will he break out his briefly discarded Romney-for-President pompoms on cue, he manfully allows as how it would be his patriotic duty to consider serving as Romney’s VP if asked to do so.
Read this article at wnd.com ...
"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, 1816
Provided courtesy of the Committee for American Resource Self-Reliance
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Environmental Protection Agency had "no legal basis" to disapprove a Texas plan for implementing federal air-quality standards, a federal appeals court said.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the agency to reconsider the Texas regulations and "limit its review" to ensuring that they meet the "minimal" Clean Air Act requirements that govern state implementation plans.
"If Texas's regulations satisfy those basic requirements, the EPA must approve them," the court said in its 22-page ruling this week.
The EPA rejected Texas' rules on minor new-source review permits in September 2010, saying they didn't meet Clean Air Act requirements. The Texas attorney general, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses sued the EPA, challenging the ruling.
The EPA failed to identify any provisions of the law that the Texas program violated, the appeals court said. The agency also missed a deadline to rule on the Texas permit plan, the court said.
Read this story at star-telegram.com ...
Provided courtesy of Tom Hoefling's 'Say NO to Socialism!'
Terence P. Jeffrey
During oral arguments in the Supreme Court this week, Justice Stephen Breyer posed and answered the core question at issue in the controversy over the constitutionality of Obamacare’s mandate that individual Americans must buy government-approved health insurance policies: Can Congress order individuals to buy a good or service?
“Yes, of course they could,” said Breyer.
In the history of the nation, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government has never done this.
But Breyer, on Tuesday, stated his belief that the basic power of Congress to do such a thing was settled by the Supreme Court as early as 1819, in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland, in which the court decided Congress had the power to create a Bank of the United States.
Breyer explained his point of view after becoming impatient with the convoluted answers Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had offered up in response to questions from Justices Sam Alito and Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts.
Alito had asked Verrilli if Congress could force young people to buy burial insurance because everyone is going to die someday. Roberts asked Verrilli if Congress could force people to buy cell phones because it would facilitate contacting emergency services in the event of an accident. And Kennedy asked Verrilli: “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it.”
“I'm somewhat uncertain about your answers to, for example, Justice Kennedy,” said Breyer. He “asked, can you, under the Commerce Clause, Congress create commerce where previously none existed.
“Well, yes,” said Breyer, “I thought the answer to that was, since McCulloch versus Maryland, when the Court said Congress could create the Bank of the United States which did not previously exist, which job was to create commerce that did not previously exist, since that time the answer has been, yes.
-----When Breyer was confirmed to the Supreme Court, only 9 Republicans in the Senate voted against him.
Read this story at cnsnews.com ...
Provided courtesy of the Peace Through Strength Institute
The Washington Examiner
This week, Americans were given a window into the way world leaders speak to one another in private. A conversation between [Alleged] President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was caught on a microphone that neither man realized was live.
"On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved," Obama said. "But it's important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space ... This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
"I understand," Medvedev responded. "I will transmit this information to Vladimir." The exchange comes two-and-a-half years after Obama scrapped Bush-era missile defense plans in Eastern Europe, bowing to pressure from the Russians.
This unfortunate hot-mic exchange will have security implications, and it will surely sour our relations with allies in that part of the world. But as much as America's allies might be angered by Obama's words, Americans should be even more so. Their president -- the man charged with conducting America's foreign policy and overseeing its defense -- told another world leader that he is willing to make concessions on an important issue once he has finally and permanently escaped accountability to them. At that point, Obama said, he will have "more flexibility," presumably to do something they might disapprove of in an election year or view as not in the nation's best interests.
Set aside the important question of missile defense -- Obama was a skeptic on that long before he ran for president. This magic microphone moment calls into question Obama's concept of government service. If he is acting in Americans' interests, why must he hide his intentions until his second term? The incident also suggests a rather dim view of American citizens -- as rabble unable to grasp the pros and cons of issues like missile defense.
Read this story at washingtonexaminer.com ...
Provided courtesy of SayNOtoSocialism!
The only real lesson of the ObamaCare defense is that if you define the macro broadly enough, you are entitled to completely control every aspect of the micro. Everyone can be compelled to buy health insurance because health care is no longer a service bought from a doctor, it is a national market which everyone by definition participates in. The market is then divided between good consumers who buy health insurance and the parasites who don't. Alternative possibilities such as people who pay as you go, choose alternative health care or reject medicine entirely for religious or political reasons don't figure into a macro equation which sees people in the macro, not as individuals.
Defenders of the Mandate insist that you couldn't similarly force people to buy Broccoli or a Chevy Volt but why not? You might not be able to individually force people to buy a specific product, but once you define a transportation market or an edibles market, you can force people to participate in that market on the terms set by the government and its allied businesses.
So there wouldn't be a mandate to buy a Chevy Volt. That would be a crude abuse of power. Instead we can define a transportation market in which everyone is presumed to participate in. Since everyone at some point in their lives has to buy a car, ride in a car or take a bus or a plane somewhere, we can include everyone as a participant in the business of going places. And once everyone has been included in the transportation market, a mandate can then define the terms on which they can participate in that market.
Buy a Chevy Volt? No. Buy an electric car or alternative means of transportation which meets a target carbon footprint, or participate in a collective ride sharing system that meets the same requirements. Absolutely yes. And if rather few non-Volt vehicles meet those requirements, that's just incentive for more companies to make their own Volts. Or for you to buy a Volt.
Compel you to eat broccoli? That's easy as pie. Everyone already buys food which makes them participants in an edibles market. Since their consumption also affects their health care which now directly interacts with the government, the only way to provide them with affordable health care is to control their diet.
Here's one easy way to do it. Compel health insurance companies not to sell plans to anyone who does not commit to follow nutritional guidelines. Then fine them for not having health insurance. Allow them to buy health insurance again only after they agree to regular sessions with a nutritional counselor.
But the broccoli mandate is easy enough too. Since everyone buys food, everyone is a participant in the edibles market. To provide good affordable and nutritious food, which is now a right, to all Americans, and safeguard affordable healthcare, everyone is now mandated to participate in the Federal Annual Nutritional Purchase Program which would offer discounted produce, with a subsidy for farmers, on an installment plan that everyone would be compelled to pay into.
To deflect public criticism, the FANPP would be mandatory only for families with children under thirteen. There would be a variety of alternatives, but at the end of the day you would be compelled to buy broccoli and arugula and anything else that the brilliant busybodies decide is good for you.
Could anyone actually compel you to actually eat it? There's no need to go too 1984, but it's worth bearing in mind that there are sensors that monitor whether a homeowner has taken out their recycling the appropriate number of times, complete with fines for those who haven't, or for those whose labors haven't registered on the sensor. Within a decade it will be child's play to track every item of food in the supermarket and your refrigerator and your trash with edible RFID tags, plug all that into a database and then crunch the numbers and see if you really are eating your vegetables.
There is no limit to the controlling antics of the nanny state under the leadership of men and women who are certain that they know best and that only by taking complete control of everyone's lives will their pet projects for making the world a better place work out. It won't work of course, but that just means they will try harder.
The real message of the Mandate is that socialism interfaces closely with crony capitalism and that government solutions depend on forcibly enlisting everyone into their ranks because otherwise the program isn't even workable enough to get started.
The failures of ObamaCare will necessitate a constant campaign of scapegoating, blaming companies and ordinary Americans for not doing what needs to be done for everything to run smoothly. And that scapegoating will necessitate new solutions, new programs and new regimes. Companies will be nationalized, patients will be regimented and like the NHS, the coverage will veer from treating it as the only thing keeping us from dying in the gutter to warning that it is constantly on the edge of the abyss. There will be constant talk of reforms, whispers of privatization, and the misery will go on.
That is what the Mandate really means, the power to impose a total system on everyone. As the system becomes more dysfunctional, it will lose its vestige of private care and become a total government monopoly for its own good and ours. But of course it doesn't end there. It never does.
Read this story at sultanknish.blogspot.com ...
"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the...ignorant believe to be liberty."
-- Fisher Ames
"It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights."
--Benjamin Franklin, Political Observations
"Men must be ready, they must pride themselves and be happy to sacrifice their private pleasures, passions and interests, nay, their private friendships and dearest connections, when they stand in competition with the rights of society."
-- John Adams, letter to Mercy Warren, 1776
"The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live. "
--John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. I, p. 161.
"A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation."
-- Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792
"Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own. "
-- Daniel Webster